Monday, September 1, 2014

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson


Originally Released: September 1st, 2011
Series: Shades of London, Book One
Published by: Putnam Juvenile
Page Amount: 372 pages, US Hardback
Author's Website.
The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.
Information from Goodreads.com

Review: 
So this book was suggested to me by several of our youtube viewers after I read a book called Project Cain and confessed my desire to read more books about classic serial killers. While it was definitely not what I expected, I found myself pleasantly surprised at the content in this book.

The plot was really good, especially when I discovered this was a series. As I was reading this I kept thinking about how good of a series it would be, but thought it was a stand-alone so it kind of confused me at some points. But it sets up a really cool genre of weird that hasn't been tapped on successfully in the past (in my experience so far) and I think it does a pretty okay job. Was there some design flaws? Yes. Did it hinder anything about the book? Not really.

I am also going to say I enjoyed the characters. They weren't my favorite out of any stories I have ever read, but like I said before it is setting up a really good series. When I thought it was a stand-alone I thought they weren't diving deep enough into these characters I was falling into like with, and when I figured out it was a series I realized how appropriate that was. You don't show all the skin on a first date after all.

All in all, this book grabbed my attention and kept it through the remainder of the read. I didn't find myself unable to put it down, but I was never reluctant to put aside important things like cleaning, homework and sleep to devour its pages. I can't wait to read the sequel.

First Line:
"If you live around New Orleans and they think a hurricane might be coming, all hell breaks loose."

Friday, August 29, 2014

Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel


Originally Released: January 1st, 2012
Series: Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, Book 2
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Page Amount: 310 pages, US Paperback
Author's Website.
Tragedy has forced sixteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein to swear off alchemy forever. He burns the Dark Library and vows he will never dabble in the dark sciences again - just as he vows he will no longer covet Elizabeth, his brother's betrothed.

If only these things were not so tempting.

When he and Elizabeth discover a portal into the spirit world, they cannot resist. Together with Victor's twin, Konrad, and their friend Henry, they venture into a place of infinite possibilities where power and passion reign. But as they search for the knowledge to raise the dead, they unknowingly unlock a darkness from which they may never return..
Information from Goodreads.com

Review: 
Once again I was blown away by the uniqueness of this story. Wow. Though Frankenstein and his monster have been around for ages, and thus have had many awful repeats and spin-offs, I can honestly say I have rarely read such a truly enticing tale surrounding a well loved classic.

I have not had the pleasure of reading anything quite like this story. Normally, when I am reading young adult literature that is not about the typical mythical creatures I feel like the author tries to justify their story too much. There is so many excuses as to why whatever they are writing about tied into the story that seem to promise, hey, there may not be sparkly vampires in here but, just hear me out. Oppel's stories have no such motive. They were so thick with interesting detail that I scarcely felt like I was reading. I could picture these moments clearly in my head and feel the character's feelings deep in the pit of my stomach.

Such Wicked Intent is the first book (since I was much younger and reading the basilisk in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets whisper through the walls for the first time) that has sent frightened shivers up my spine and had me glancing around the room to ensure the terror was only in the pages. However fleeting this moment was it absolutely thrilled me. I have been waiting for a book to put a scare into me, and I was beginning to think it wasn't possible.

All in all, I am in love with this book and its predecessor This Dark Endeavor. They are creepy, unique in every fashion, and seriously make me want to consider alchemy... or not.

First Line:
"The books flew open like startled birds trying to escape the flames."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Emily the Strange: The Lost Days by Rob Reger


Originally Released: June 2nd, 2009
Series: Emily the Strange, Book 1
Published by: HarperCollins
Page Amount: 266 pages, US Paperback
Author's Website.
13 Elements you will find in the first Emily the Strange novel:

1. Mystery
2. A beautiful golem
3. Souped-up slingshots
4. Four black cats
5. Amnesia
6. Calamity Poker
7. Angry ponies
8. A shady truant officer
9. Top-13 lists
10. A sandstorm generator
11. DoppelgAngers
12. A secret mission
13. Earwigs

Emily the Strange: 13 years old. Able to leap tall buildings, probably, if she felt like it. More likely to be napping with her four black cats; or cobbling together a particle accelerator out of lint, lentils, and safety pins; or rocking out on drums/ guitar/saxophone/zither; or painting a swirling feral sewer mural; or forcing someone to say "swirling feral sewer mural" 13 times fast . . . and pointing and laughing.
Information from Goodreads.com

Review: 
Okay, this book was adorable. I'll admit, at first it was a little difficult for me to get into. In fact, I almost put it down. But once I got into the story and the writing style became familiar I fell in love! There are a lot of lists and some very short and choppy sentences. But it is supposed to be following the thought processes of a young strange girl. And while she is VERY strange, its a strange I can definitely relate to. It is also incredibly diary style with awesome drawings.

But apart from the very hipterishness of this book where there is gothic drawings and she wears all black and is super cool (coming from a hipster, I think hipster things are cool) and has weird things, this book actually has a pretty cool story line. You don't get straight into the meat of it until a lot later in this book but eventually a lot of questions are answered and it gets really suspenseful. Surprisingly so. I really thought the hipster in me would enjoy this book, but let's face it, I all around enjoyed it.

I already added the sequel and the graphic novel to my wishlist on amazon. So, buy it for me or I'll have to buy it for myself soon!

First Line:
"Ok. I think I better take some notes, cuz something super strange is happening to me."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Dark Companion by Marta Acosta


Originally Released: July 3rd, 2012
Published by: Tor/Macmillian
Page Amount: 356 pages, US Paperback
Author's Website.
Orphaned at the age of six, Jane Williams has grown up in a series of foster homes, learning to survive in the shadows of life. Through hard work and determination, she manages to win a scholarship to the exclusive Birch Grove Academy. There, for the first time, Jane finds herself accepted by a group of friends. She even starts tutoring the headmistress’s gorgeous son, Lucien. Things seem too good to be true.

They are.

The more she learns about Birch Grove’s recent past, the more Jane comes to suspect that there is something sinister going on. Why did the wife of a popular teacher kill herself? What happened to the former scholarship student, whose place Jane took? Why does Lucien’s brother, Jack, seem to dislike her so much?

As Jane begins to piece together the answers to the puzzle, she must find out why she was brought to Birch Grove and what she would risk to stay there..because even the brightest people make terrible decisions when they are offered the things they desire most.

NOTE TO READERS: This book contains some disturbing scenes because exploitation of the vulnerable is disturbing.
Information from Goodreads.com

Review: 
So, my feelings are really mixed on this book. Overall, I really enjoyed reading it. It wasn't one of those stories that you could fly through. I felt like there was a lot of substance while I was reading it. It had a good plot, characters I could enjoy, surprises and everything I usually enjoy about a book. But there was just something about it I couldn't get on board with. I wish I knew what it was so I could explain it, but it just felt mediocre to me. If I think about the individual aspects I usually rate on, I would say it was really good. But I just didn't feel that here.

It's definitely something different than you're expecting, but at the same time there is something so YA about it. All in all, I would say it is worth reading, but not putting ahead of some of the better novels out there.

First Line:
"On the night that I die, a storm rages, and the thin glass of the cheap windows shudders as if beaten by fists, and the wind howls like someone is calling come away, come away."

Friday, August 22, 2014

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler


Originally Released: October 18th, 2010
Series: Riders of the Apocalypse, 1
Published by: Harcourt Graphia
Page Amount: 174 pages, US Paperback
Author's Website.
“Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.”

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons
Information from Goodreads.com

Review: 
I wanted to like this book, I really did. It has such an awesome premise and purpose behind it. And throughout the whole book it really rings true. So as for the theme in this book, it gets five stars. It really addresses the issues girls feel when they look in the mirror. As a teenage girl, I too had times where I looked at myself, hated what I saw and considered skipping meals. And this book follows the exact thought process. Did I ever end up following through? No, because anorexia is thankfully a demon I never had to battle. But girls everywhere do, and I think this book needs to be read for that purpose.

Unfortunately, Chapter Chicks is a book reviewing website, not a book-counseling-suggestion website, so I have to rate this book on the quality of writing and what-not. While the meaning of the book was there, the quality was lacking for me. It was by no means bad or hard to read. But the writing wasn't my favorite, the characters had not near enough depth considering four of them were horsemen of the apocalypse and the plot left way too many holes and didn't give me near enough development.

I plan on continuing with the series if I can get the books for a bargain like I did with Hunger. But I really wish someone would write an in-depth tale of the horsemen in YA form. Look at death in Supernatural (the kick-a tv show) he was a total bad butt. Someone throw him into a story. All in all, this felt like an underbudget student film. All the meaning and idea was there, none of the production.

First Line:
"Lisbeth Lewis did not mean to become Famine."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Maze Runner by James Dashner


Originally Released: January 1st, 2009
Series: The Maze Runner, 1
Published by: Delacorte Press
Page Amount: 726 pages, US Hardback
Author's Website.
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.
Goodreads.com

Review: 
This is one of those that have been difficult for me to pick up, and like most of our dusty books, I have really been missing out! I really enjoyed this read. It definitely wasn't something I fell right into and found myself devouring from the first word, but it set up a really mysterious story right away and I never found myself getting bored.

I feel like this book had a really dark feel to it the entire time. Where other books are really happy and uplifting, I felt something eerie about this book the moment I dived in. It just gave me this feeling of despair right away, and it kind of fit with the story. The dialogue is a little much to handle at first, but that is because it is a little much for your main character to handle as well. If you can get through the first ten pages without screaming, "What is a greenie?!" then you'll enjoy this book.

I think the description is really misleading, but I won't say why. And it is definitely one of the things that turned this book off for me I think. The book is a lot more than the description makes it out to be, and has a lot less 'YA-ish' elements. So, if that is something that is worrying you, don't hesitate.

All in all, this book set up a really good series for me I think. If it were a stand-alone I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much as I did. But knowing there are several other books in the series that will really answer my questions and help me FINALLY get to know some of the characters a little better makes me really look forward to it. I have the rest of the series in my amazon cart as we speak.

First Line:
"He began his new life standing up, surrounded by cold darkness and stale, dusty air."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
Rating: MUST READ
Originally Released: May 27th, 2014
Series: The Mortal Instruments, Book 6
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry
Page Amount: 726 pages, US Hardback
Author's Website.

In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!
Information from Goodreads.com

Review: 
I am seriously writing this right now? Is this real life? Did I actually finish one of my all time favorite book series? Is the world of Clary and Jace over for me? Yes. So wonderfully and regretfully yes. Yes, I say goodbye to yet another world and set of characters that have changed my soul with their words and stories. It seems like the only thing that I keep getting from these series is heartbreak and lessons in endings.

But talk of this series is a review for another day, it is time to talk about this book in particular, this final installment. It was everything I could have ever hoped for in an installment. The loss, the suffering, the tears shed (mostly my own) led me to a book I couldn't put down even if I wanted to. While I felt this book lacked some of the excitement and foreshadowing that I found myself loving in the other books, I knew it was because it was closing and wrapping so much up. NOT including the gaping hole in my chest.

And it does wrap everything I can think of up. Which is terrible to me because I am not ready to give it up. Am I the only one who is going through serious emotional withdrawals with this book? I mean come on, I can't be. Right? I don't even really know what to say about it. With this being the sixth book, there isn't much I can say that hasn't already been said. I love this world. I love this writing. I LOVE these characters. I am half tempted to burn it just to give it a proper Shadowhunter memorial.

Cassandra Clare, Jace, Clary, Simon, MAGNUS and all the others... thank you for giving me hope.

First Line:
"On the day Emma Carstairs's parents were killed, the weather was perfect."
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