Mundie Moms

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Book Review: Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Published by: Harper Teen
Released on: July 3rd, 2012
Source: arc from publisher to review
4 stars: I Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn't mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It's up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity!

On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.

Acclaimed authors Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan team up to create a witty and poignant story of cool vampires, warm friendships, and the changes that test the bonds of love. -quoted from Goodreads

It doesn't matter if you're Team Vampire, Team Zombie, Team Human, or Team Unicorn (not that there's any Unicorns in this book), you'll enjoy this book. Heck you can even be Team Shadowhunter, and still enjoy this book. I don't know who's idea it was to have Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier join forces and allow their wit and talent for storytelling to collide, but it was genius! The book's tag line, "Friends don't let friends date vampires", by itself should be an indicator of what readers and fans can except to read about in this book. Love, friendship, a whole lot of paranormal elements, and plenty of humor make this a fun, fast paced read.

 I loved that this book was mostly about friendship first, followed by romance. Maybe I should say it's mostly about Team Human with a dash of Team Vampire, and a possible Team Zombie sprinkled in. Mel's story takes place in the quaint little town of New Whitby, Maine, where most of it's citizens are vampires. I'm not talking about vamps that were just turned. We're talking vampires that founded this city and were in the US when this country was basically born. So yeah, vampires are citizens, and people are fully aware of them, including her best friend Cathy, who falls head over heals in love with the only vampire to grace Mel's high school, Francis.

Normally I would have found Mel's sense of protection for her best friend admirable, but after awhile it got on my nerves, which was about the same time other characters told Mel to just let her friend be happy. Don't get me wrong, I would have wanted to do what Mel did at first, but I loved that Cathy wasn't some ditzy character who loved Francis just because he was a vampire. I liked that their love was a bit more old fashion, and on a deeper level than even I had excepted. What I loved about Mel is her ability to just dish it to Francis. I mean who cares that he's way more than 150 yrs old, and could kill her in no time if he really wanted to (which I'm sure he did more than once in this book). She wasn't scared of him, and despite learning a few moving lessons during this storyline, Mel is a character who doesn't care if you're a vampire or a human, she's going to do all she can to protect those she cares about, and it's that loyalty she has that I admired the most about her. I also enjoyed some of her laugh out loud banter with Francis, as well as with her love interest Kit. 

I enjoyed how this story was written. I felt like I was on one big adventure/mystery. Mel was trying to figure how to keep Cathy and Francis apart, while at the same time she was also trying to get to the bottom of her other best friend's father's disappearance and why her friend's mother, who just so happens to be the high school principle is acting so weird. On top of it, Mel finds out what it's like to fall in love for the first time. This story has this perfect balance of fun, mystery, paranormal tropes, and important life lessons all in one. Not to mention romance. We all know that you can't read a Sarah Rees Brennan book without having some sort of romance. Well both of the romances in this book are great.  Whether you're Team Paranormal or Team Human, I'd recommend picking this one up!

Book Review: Glass Heart (Cold Kiss #2) by Amy Garvey

Published by: Harper Teen
Released on: September 18th, 2012
Source: ARC from publisher to review
Series: Cold Kiss #2
4 stars: I Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Wren can do things that other people can only dream of. Make it snow on a clear, crisp day. Fly through an abandoned tunnel. Bring a paper bird to life.

Wren knows her abilities are tinged with danger--knows how easy it is to lose control--but she can't resist the intoxicating rush. And now that she has Gabriel by her side, someone who knows what she can do--what she "has" done--she finally feels free to be herself.

But as Wren explores the possibilities of her simmering powers, Gabriel starts pushing her away. Telling her to be careful. Telling her to "stop." The more he cautions her, the more determined Wren becomes to prove that she can handle things on her own. And by the time she realizes that Gabriel may be right, it could be too late to bring him back to her side -quoted from Goodreads

A great sequel to Cold Kiss, Amy Garvey does a fabulous job at dropping readers right back into the heart of Wren's story. I love it when sequels pick up right where the first books left off, and Glass Heart does just that. It took me a few pages to remember everything that had taken place in Cold Kiss, and as soon as I did I had no problems settling down with this book. The stakes are higher in this book. There's more danger, twists, and a bit of a darker plot line, which made the storyline a bit more exciting. Don't worry, there's plenty of romance in this book as well. I adore Gabriel, but more on him in a few. 

Wren grows up more in this book. She's someone I felt grew in away that was fitting for her story. She makes mistakes, and she's learning how to use her powers. She's also desperate to open up more to Gabriel, and she wants nothing more than for him to really love her for who she is, her power and all. It's during this time I felt like she became a little too consumed with the desire to want that, that she misses what's really happening around. I got that she had a lot to deal with, and need to come to terms about seeing her father again, but I did get frustrated with her when she would jump the gun and get made at Gabriel vs really listening to what he was telling her. 

In the process of seeking acceptance of her ability from Gabriel, Wren ends up drawing closer to the wrong crowd vs gravitating more towards those who do accept her, and care for her. I found myself getting irritated at her for some of the decisions she makes, but at the same time I felt her decision process was spot on with being a teenager and needing to learn to figure things out on her own. I also got where Gabriel was coming from too. His love and worry for her was definitely understandable. The thing about Gabriel and Wren is they're both stubborn in similar ways and didn't take the time to really listen to each other. Okay, more so with Wren, then with Gabriel. I felt like a lot of the drama that happened was because she didn't take the time to listen and was so concerned with herself and her power that she puts herself and those around in far more danger than she cares to admit. 

Speaking of danger, Amy Garvey throws in some awesome twists in this sequel! New character introductions and a shocking discovery heat things up quite a bit in this book, and I loved it! These elements provided the story's edgier, more darker undertones that fit in perfectly with this series's paranormal elements. If you enjoyed Cold Kiss I'd definitely recommend picking Glass Heart up! It's one exciting read. There are a few mentions of the f word in this book.

Book Review: Sweet Shadows (Medusa Girls #2) by Tera Lynn Childs

Recently I went on reading kick and finally read a few books that have been begging to be read. Really could you say I went on a mini Harper Teen high and read a few of their recent titles that I have been anxious to read. Along with Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs that I reviewed here, I also read Team Human by Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan, and Glass Heart by Amy Garvey, and a few more. These are great reads, and I'll be posting my reviews for each of the titles here on the blog through out the day.

Published by: Harper Teen 
Released on: September 4th, 2012
Source: ARC from the publisher to review
Stars: 4.5 stars- I Really Enjoyed It!
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Gretchen may have known she was a descendant of Medusa long before her sisters-after all, she's spent her life fighting the monsters that escape the abyss-but that doesn't mean it will be easy to teach the other girls the ropes. Can she rely on Grace and Greer, or even trust herself to keep them safe? Greer has pressing social commitments on her plate and precious little time to train in her newfound powers. But that wretched second sight won't leave her alone, and her fabled heritage seems to be creeping into her fashionable life.

Grace has worries closer to home-like why her brother, Thane, has disappeared. He's hiding something. Could it possibly be related to the secret heritage the triplets share?

With the warring factions among the gods of Olympus coming for them, the creatures of the abyss pushing into their world, and the boys in their lives keeping secrets at every turn, the three girls must figure out where their fate will take them and how to embrace the shadows of their legacy. -quoted from Epic Reads

I loved jumping right back into the sisters's world. Picking up right where Sweet Vemon left off, this storyline is much more intense, exciting and gets more in-depth with the Greek inspired mythology. Have I mentioned before how much I love this mythology?! I love that Tera stays true to these classic characters, while at the same time gives the classic lore a spin that works perfectly with this series. There's plenty of danger, twists, and these complicated romances the sisters are trying to deal with on top of fighting frightening, mythological creatures. If that wasn't enough, they still have to try and maintain a some what normal teen life style complete with going to high school. 

Gretchen, Grace and Geer are characters I've come to love. They're tough in their own ways and despite kicking some serious Greek mythological monster butt, they can still maintain their femininity perfectly, as well as being laid back. I feel like they're relatable in all the right ways, and despite all they have going on I found it easy to sympathize with each one of them as they try to prepare for what's to come, while shuffling homework, romance, and the secret lives they now lead. I like how each triplet has a distinct voice. I feel like I've gotten to know the girls well enough, that even if the book didn't list which sister was narrating which chapter (which it does list), I would have been able to figure it out. I love how each sister compliments the others. One sister has no problems kicking the crap out of someone, one's sassy, and the other a romantic. 

I've enjoyed getting to see that though the sisters each grew up in different homes, with different life styles, they have way more in common than they each first realized, and what I originally thought. I loved seeing how they've all grown extremely close, and have come to trust and rely on each other so quickly. It's what lies at the heart of the battle that's to come that fascinated me the most. I liked how Tera allowed me to see and understand the girls' being torn on their duty, and dealing with just life. The romance in this story is great! For each sister it's different. It's something that motives and drives the sisters to action in various ways. I have to say, I didn't see that shocking twist with Nick, Gretchen's love interest, coming. I loved the surprising potential love interest between Thane and Greer. Well I should say I'm anxious to see if anything will come out of it, and I'm waiting to find out what's going to happen with Grace. 

I love Greek mythology, and the suspense, and danger that lie with finding out and trying to figure out which Gods side with the triplets and which Gods want to see them fail intense is well written and drawn out in this book. The Greek Gods, it seems, are always at odds with each other, and it wasn't a huge surprise to me when a few Greek Gods intentions are revealed. Now that the girls know more about what's at stake, their roles as Guardians and Protectors may come at a cost as those they need to continue to help them are missing. I'm more than anxious to find out what roles the rest of the Gods have with the upcoming battle.

I can't wait to read more of this series! It's become one of those series I go to when I want to read something that gives me a little bit of everything I love. Great characters, an engaging story line, plenty of sass, romance, action, and butt kicking protagonists. If you're a fan of Tera Lynn Childs's books, love a well written Greek mythology, and are looking for an enjoyable read I'd recommend picking up this series.