Saturday, May 22, 2010

11. White Cat

White Cat by Holly Black

Review: Black is widely known for her Spiderwick Chronicles. She is notaries for twisted plot lines and changing the meaning of words. Her books often take place in a world much like our own with facts altered and magic introduced. White Cat is no exception to this unique style. An aspect I like about Black’s work, I never know what to expect.

It takes place in the modern world with a catch, less than half the population is cursed with powers like controlling emotions, erase or create memories, transformations or in rare cases... death. The society has adapted to the situation by wearing gloves, as the magic is triggered by the touch of bare skin. Removing ones gloves is equal to holding a loaded gun in daylight. The use of magic is illegal.

As a result this minority is associated with criminals and considered the Mafia, some even become con-artist. A tragic incident from Cassel’s past causes him to question his family’s involvement with the Mafia. However, it is hard to determine if one has been ‘worked’ when the possibility of erasing memories is a reality. This plot was different from many books I have read. The story caught my interest and the writing kept me captivated.

In White Cat the word which Black chose to shift was work. In this world individuals involved with the Mafia are considered cursed workers. They make money by working the non-cursed population. This repositioning of the word work was one of my favorite parts. I adored the idea of certain individuals possessing these powers. Combined with the realistic setting, it seemed possible for these abilities to exist outside Cassel’s world.

Though I have yet to read the Spiderwick Chronicles, I read Black’s Modern Faeries Tale series for young adults. I was not expecting this unique and twisted story from Black after being disappointed with Tithe but White Cat blew me away. I enjoyed it from start to finish. From the story, to the characters, to the dynamic twists, to the uniquely realistic world, I was entranced. I greatly enjoyed this new series that Black delivered. I look forward to reading more about Cassel and his future plans in the books to come.

<3 Kitty

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fresh Face Friday

Fresh Face Friday by Star Shadow
So it is time for week two of a multiple Blog Project called Fresh Face Friday, we are co introducing a great new blogger that has under 100 followers. By sharing a bit on each of our blogs, as if it was a tour.. after you have checked out all our blogs.. we will link you to our new blog "Fresh Face" for a sponsored Giveaway. Hope you all enjoy

This week we have the pleasure of Introducing Kitty from Book Reviewologist (that's me!) She is a newer blogger who currently has under 25 followers, so lets help her out a bit.. She has some fabulous reviews up by the way... be sure to check them out as well.

1. What made you decide to start blogging?
It was a New Year’s resolutions decision, and I got a review column in a newspaper.

2. How did you come up with the idea for your blog?
Since I mostly end teen books I wanted the blog to revolve around that. However the newspaper job had me reading fiction so now it has turned into a collage of both. The name was just something funny my roommates call, because I always have an opinion of the books I read.

3. Tell us a bit about your blog?
My mission is to review books from all genres (best to my ability) and provide helpful opinions, which may lead viewers to discover new authors and titles. Feel free to suggest a book you would like me to read and review. Don't hesitate to ask me for recommendation. I don't bite ^^- Summary from my blog.

4. Tell us a bit about you?
I’m in my earlier twenties and female the last time I checked. I love reading! I work at a bookstore which doesn’t help my addiction much XD I also love Japanese cultural and enjoy manga and anime. Watching anime takes up my time when I’m not reading. I also love video games and traveling. I’m currently in school studying tourism and have almost been all over the world. My goal in life is world domination, or own a book store.

Giveaway Instructions:
So for reading all those questions about me, you get a chance to win a book! The giveaway is by Barry Pollack’s Forty-Eight X: The Lemuria Project.

Here is what it is about:

On the tropical island of Diego Garcia in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the United States has gathered together its most talented geneticists to work on the top-secret Lemuria Project. These secret experiments create a revolutionary new warrior so strong that the age of casualties of war would become only a sad and distant memory. Haunted by a dark and dangerous past, Colonel Link McGraw is the officer chosen to train these new soldiers. As a trained and commissioned officer in the United States Armed Forces, McGraw knows what constitutes the perfect soldier: following orders without question. When Egyptian beauty Fala al Shodaha and Israeli Joshua Krantz, scientists in their own right, stumble across the top-secret project, they are determined to uncover its true nature and pursue their quest to Diego Garcia. Tensions mount as Krantz and McGraw clash over the project-and vie for the affection of the lovely Fala. When they discover they aren’t the only ones on the island competing for her attention, shocking truths are revealed that beg the question, Is it too late to save themselves-and the entire human race-from almost certain annihilation?

Wow that sounds awesome! So here is how you can win it. Trot over to my blog and based on my reviews (yes sadly you’ll have to read them) guess which book is my favorite. If you guess right I’ll put your name into a hat and draw the winner. The contest will end April 30 as that’s when I get back from vacation. I will be picking a winner on May 1st. Good luck!

<3 Kitty

Saturday, April 3, 2010

10. Incarceron

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Summary: Incarceron is a living prison composed of metal forest. It was designed to keep prisoners inside with no hope of escape. Finn is such a prisoner who cannot remember his past and dreams of the Outside world. On a raid mission he discovers a key that could unlock, not only his past, by possibly the prison. He discovers the legend of Sapphique, the only man to escape Incarceron, and realize his dreams could be reality. With the help from Claudia, a girl on the Outside, Finn embarks on the journey of his life.

Review: This book captured my attention for the first page to the last, but sometimes I felt like the story was getting nowhere. The different story lines kept jumping around and crisscrossing, which created mild confusion. The pages, at times, seemed to drag on like the book was writing as I was reading. However, Fisher managed to keep me engaged because of the captivating story.

Despite the fact I could predict the ending by the fourth chapter in, I kept reading. I enjoy the journey a book takes me on, even if I know the outcome. However, Fisher surprised me close to the end with a twist I did not see coming. This made me question my earlier theory, almost like Fisher lured me into a trap just so she could prove me wrong.

I enjoy the contrast of Victorian London to the modern technology age. The characters were bound by law to only exist in a certain century. However, devices such as dishwashers and the internet did exist. This aspect raised some interesting questions and created an entrancing world. It was the perfect balance between fantasy and science fiction.

The characters were unique to an extent. I felt like their base personalities were a mess of stereotypes with a little extra. This, combined with the predictable plot, makes the book unimpressive. However, I would read it again for the world and the descriptive language, which was outstanding.

In conclusion, Incarceron was an okay read, with an ending that frustrated me. I felt that Finn achieved nothing. His entire journey had been in vain. He became nowhere close to discovering who he was, in fact I would argue he is now more confusion about his past. He also managed to escape one prison, just to be bond my different laws in another prison. I guess freedom is not something everyone can achieve.

<3 Kitty

Sunday, March 28, 2010

9. Angelology

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

Summary: Evangeline has been a sister of the St. Rose convent since she was young. Verlaine was top of his class and quickly became a world class private investigator. Percival has been stricken down with a disease that threatens his family and entire race. Sister Celentine holds a secret that will bring all these players together. Destiny will lead them on an adventure to seek a knowledge that could change the world. However, is discovering something of this magnitude worth the price of their lives? Can a Sister really reveal the truth about angels?

Review: When I first discovered this book, I did not know what to expect. To be honest I picked it up because of the name. I thought Trussoni would possibly follow a similar pattern, mimicking authors like Dan Brown and Andy McDermott. A formula that mixes reality with fiction to create a suspenseful action adventure. I was surprised to learn this wasn’t the case for Trussoni.

I also did not expect the book to contain angel-like characters, but it was a pleasant surprise. The excerpt suggested the story was about discovery not actualization. Though, I was skeptical about certain facts and places, especially when the characters started quoting Genesis and the Bible.

After some personal research, it became clear that Trussoni was not only drawing from myths for inspiration but reality as well. I enjoy books that I can engage with; it gives the story more live when I have to research certain information. Not only did it make the exists of angels possible, but it enhances my knowledge of the world.

Trussoni keeps the reader on their feet by continually switch the point of view between several characters. A refreshing notion since this enables the reader to see more of the puzzle then the limited view of one character. This also expanded the setting and allowed for a clearer picture of the world Trussoni had created.

In conclusion, this book will surprise you. The unique voices are captivating and the suspense is thrilling. Though I was annoyed with the 200 page flashback placed in the middle of the book, it did not detour from the plot. The end left me feeling inspired to look at the world differently, similar to the Da Vinci Code. I think any book that can alter your perception of reality, even for a moment, is worth reading.

<3 Kitty

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

8. The Body Finder

The Body Finder – Kimberly Derting

Summary: Violet Ambrose is unlike normal teenagers. She has the ability to see the sensory echoes of murder victims. This ability ranges from hearing bells, to seeing oil slicks or even tasting garlic. An ability she wishes to live without, until high school girls begin disappearing. Violet realizes her ability could be the key to catching a notorious serial killer. However, is it wise to chase a murder when your life could be at stake? Violet ponders this question along with her new found feelings for her best friend Jay. A guy she did not notice was attractive until a transforming summer.

Review: The Body Finder fits into the genre of mystery/thriller, which is unique because it’s not often seen in the young adult section. I believe this book can appeal to both adult and young readers. The mystery of the serial killer and deductive thinking will stimulate the adults, while the younger readers will be attracted to the romance aspect.

I really enjoyed Derting’s approach to the murderer. I was not expecting to read chapters from the killer’s point of view, but I found them delightful. The voice was sickeningly accurate. At least what I have always imaged a killer would be thinking, as Hollywood portrays. I was amazed at how Derting could differentiate between the voice of the killer and Violet. These chapters, I felt, really created the tone of the book and emphasized that creepy/dark atmosphere.

What truly amazed me was Violet’s ability. I have read my share of young adult books and Violet’s paranormal ability is more than simply unique. It was compelling and became increasing interesting as I read. Typically books revolving around death are morbid and dark, but Derting made death beautiful. The idea of hearing silver bells as an echo for someone’s murder is eerie, but enchanting at the same time.

The moment that made this book fantastic for me was the twist. Derting fooled me into a false security much like Violet. Then I was hit over the head with the foreshadowing I should have seen coming. The twist left me spellbound. Since I had believed the initial plot was over with 100 pages still left in the book.

In conclusion, The Body Finder is an amazing book. One I think will appeal to everyone who loves reading. To readers who do not normally read mystery/thrillers, I recommended this book to you especially. It is a fantastic read, and was the perfect book to start with in 2010.

<3 Kitty

Thursday, March 4, 2010

7. City of Thieves

Summary: City of Thieves is a piece of historical fiction that takes place in Russian during World War II. The book is a perfect snapshot of what it was like to live in a city under siege. The two main characters, Lev and Kolya, find themselves in jail; one for looting a fallen solider and the other for being branded a deserter. They wait their impending execution, until the commander proposes an alternative. Their mission: find a dozen eggs for His daughter’s wedding or face death. The two are thrust in enemy territory and defend their lives from monsters. In a city where food is non-existent, this task seems impossible.

Review: This book takes the perfect snapshot of Russia during World War II. It combines the horror of a city in seize with satirical wit. Benioff does not spare any detail nor censors any event the characters encounter; no matter how gruesome or perverted. He delivers nothing but the hard truth and still manages to make you laugh. Benioff creates pleasant characters with intriguing personalities and places them into cruel situations, were they either survive or perish.

I admire an author who does not censor a story. It shows respect towards the reader and adds spice to the characters. Anyone can write a story, only a true author can make you fall in love with the world. Despite the horrible nature of the story, I loved following the characters every step.

I loved this book from the first page till the last. Benioff’s writing style makes you feel like you’re walking right alongside Kolya and Lev. He places you in a world not many are familiar with. I found myself learning about Russian culture and cities as I read. This book inspired me to research further into Leningrad and Russian history during this time period.

It was ridiculous to think these two characters would attempt the task despite the impending danger. Especially when the world around them did not appear as it seemed. Then again, no one really believes they’ll do anything out of their comfort zone until faced with no other option. However, it made for a tragically humorous story which was memorable.

In conclusion, City of Thieves is a book that only comes around rarely and when is does, you cannot make it sit still. The book manages to be passed from person to person or given as a gift, because it leaves the reader with a profound impact to share it with everyone they know.

<3 Kitty

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

6. Godmother

Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon

Summary: Lillian is an old women who spends her days in a Manhattan bookstore and nights at home in her apartment. But Lillian has an intriguing secret. Bound behind her back are feathery wings – the remnants of the fairy godmother responsible for getting Cinderella to the ball. But on that night something went terribly wrong. Lillian fell in love with the prince herself, and attended the ball in place of Cinderella. For her mistake, she was banished to live among humans. One day she meets Veronica and suddenly it becomes clear to Lillian, she's been given a second chance, all she has to do is find a soulmate for Veronica to right her wrongs and return home

Review: Everyone enjoys a good fairy tale from time to time. The stories are familiar and the characters follow the same destiny, concluding with happily ever after. The predictability of fairy tales is satisfying and causes them to be retold over and over for generations. Some fairy tales can become boring over time because of the never changing plot.

Turgeon takes what you know about the story of Cinderella and delivers a twisted, yet interesting dish. No one would consider reading the story through the eyes of the fairy Godmother, since she was merely a tool for Cinderella to attend the ball. It’s not possible to think the fairy Godmother might also be in love with the Prince. It is this hidden love that leaves Cinderella alone and the fairy Godmother banished from her homeland. The story follows her sorrowful journey of redemption and the longing to return home.

I enjoyed Turgeon’s unique twist to this classic tale. Each chapter began with a glance into the past. Were the truth behind what happened on the fateful night of the ball is reveled. I thought the ending would be predicable and as history shows, end with happily ever after. However, Turgeon took me for a ride I was not prepared for and I found myself starving for more. The book ends with an ambiguous twist that left me pondering the true outcome of the events in the story. Is it possible the story of Cinderella was just a fabrication of a distressed old woman?

In conclusion, this book delivered a beautiful retelling of Cinderella from a point of view I had never considered. The language was enchanting and the characters were realistic. Thought the setting was confusing at times because I’ve never been to Manhattan, so it was difficult to follow all the street names given. I often found myself losing the characters when they traveled to new destinations. However, I look forward to her next book were she places a twist on the Little Mermaid.

<3 Kitty

Saturday, February 6, 2010

5. Gatecrasher

The Gatecrasher by Madeleine Wickham

Summary: Fleur Daxeny considers her life perfect because she goes through more rich men than she has designer hats. She successfully crashes funerals to find wealthy men whom are distressed from sorrow. Fleur wastes no time in seducing her latest conquest, the rich widower Richard Favour. His children become caught up in a whirlwind by their father's new girlfriend. Fleur generally tries not to fall in love with her conquests, but she soon finds herself embracing Richard and his family. But just as Fleur contemplates ending her crashing funerals days for good, a long-buried secret threatens to destroy her new family.

Review: I do not normally read chicklet books, since most of the conclusions are predicable and the characters are stereotyped. However, Wickham has designed set formula for the creation each story, which makes the plot predicable but interesting at the same time. For me, knowing where a story is going does destroy my enjoyment value. In fact I find discovering how the events lead me to the conclusion the best part.

For reading something out of my preferred genre, I was impressed. The book held my attention with its multiply points of view and intriguing characters. Wickham continuously switches the point of view between all the relevant characters. This allows for more depth and understanding into each characters personality and background, making them and story loveable.

I had thought this book would be a brainless beach read, something to mindlessly read for pleasure and expect no substance. I was proven wrong. The story blossomed into a world where people are not who they initially seem. It was interesting to discover how little the characters knew of one another, until the secrets exploded like fireworks in the afternoon. It makes one wonder ‘where did that come from because I did not see it coming’.

Wickham has a habit of concluding her books with a climatic ending. This left me in suspense until the last page, were it all fell apart. The climax I thought was coming did not; in fact another climax had surfaced all together. Thou it was surprising and unpredictable, I was slightly disappointed. The ending was less desirable then the climax I had anticipated, but the beginning and middle were fantastic. I enjoyed the core of the book more than the ending.

In conclusion, the book was like eating mousse that is only 50 calories, but still tastes good. I enjoyed every bite until I became depressed over its end. I find it useful to try new things and this was defiantly a good experience.

<3 Kitty

Friday, January 29, 2010

4. The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

Summary: My name was Salmon, like the fish. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. So begins the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on earth continue without her -- her friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her killer trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family unraveling. Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, The Lovely Bones succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, and even joy.

Review: When I was first introduced to this book I was told, the first few pages graphically describe the rape and murder of a fourteen year old girl. I was also told despite the disturbing introduction the book is amazing, this is in fact true. What I original thought was going to be a story about a dead girl conducting paranormal activities to aid her family in the capture of her killer, was actually about viewing the living and how they survive such a tragedy.

Sebold shows the reader how the death of a loved one can alter fate and an entire community. The characters left to cope with the tragedy began to drift apart or unexpectedly come together. The common fact remaining, a loved one has died, what do I do now?

This question invites the reader into a series of tales viewed through the eyes of Susie as she watches life on Earth continue. Thou the tales are intriguing, they perform more like character sketches then advancing any sort of plot.

Upon finishing the book, I was left with no sense of enlightenment; except that the dead walked among us and can hear us if we speak to them. I felt dissatisfied with the concluding events that addressed the murderer. I felt no resolution was reached. Nothing was discovered to put the loved ones at ease, to help them move on.

I sense that Sebold is trying to show justice is not always reached, and the harsh truth of reality is unsettling. However, reading in my opinion is to escape reality and therefore should not be present in a story. Who doesn’t appreciate a happy ending?

My conclusion, the book was an enjoyable collection of short stories that answer a bigger question. However, it was amazing and well written. Thou the book lacked a central plot I did enjoy my time spent with it. I can also say the book is before its time, because the contents deal with what most are not ready to face. Evil exists and it will sometimes go unnoticed.

<3 Kitty

Saturday, January 23, 2010

3. The Gargolye

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davison
Series: Single
Status: Complete
Genre: Fiction

In a burn ward, a man lies between living and dying, so disfigured that no one from his past life would recognize him. Then a woman named Marianne Engel walks into his hospital room, a schizophrenic sculptress from the psych ward, who insists that she knows him - that she has known him for 700 years. She remembers vividly when they met, in a convent in medieval Germany, when she was a nun and he was a wounded mercenary left for dead. Though he has forgotten this, she will prove it to him. So Marianne Engel begins to tell him their story, shattering his disbelief and slowly drawing him back to the past: reminding him of a word he’ll never uttered, love.

Davidson was born in Manitoba and spend seven years researching his debut novel. He took the time to learn about the burn ward, Japanese and folk lore from many cultures. It’s refreshing to hear about an author who takes the time to learn their story. It made the end result nothing short of perfection. Though the recovery for burn victims is a nasty process it was a necessary cog in his master piece.

The book takes the reader on a journey into the past from medieval Germany to Vikings in Iceland. With Marianne for a tour guide into these memories the Narrator recalls his past lives and discovers something about his present state of mind.
I enjoyed reading each mini-story within the book. The stories introduce new characters and I found myself even reading them again because I started to notice similar details in each story. Davidson’s research is reflected in his vivid language to describe each new setting. At times it felt like I was the Narrator seeing these memories for the first time and experiencing emotions I might have once had.

The end of each story left the question, “can souls really transcend time” in the mind of the reader. This aspect also created a romantic love story that implied love could survive anything, from tragedy to time. By drawing on parallels from Dante’s Inferno, this question can almost be answered with certainty.

Though I would not say the book was a page-turn, or a ‘stay up till 2am’ read, I did find myself drawn to its mysteries when it stared at me from my coffee table. I find books that make you question aspects about fate and reality thrilling. The Gargoyle is not a beach read; it’s one of those ‘curl up by the fire’ books and become enlightened. I was still contemplating the questions Davidson gave me weeks after I finished the book. I do believe this book can make one believe in the impossible.

Story: 10/10
Characters: 8/10
Setting: 10/10
Language: 10/10
Overall: 9/10 A

~Kitty <3