Evernight – Claudia Gray

Title: Evernight
Series: Evernight #1
Author: Claudia Gray
Paperback, 1 Reprint Edition, 327 pages
Published February 10th 2009

Bianca wants to escape.

She’s been uprooted from her small hometown and enrolled at Evernight Academy, an eerie Gothic boarding school where the students are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn’t fit in.

Then she meets Lucas. He’s not the “Evernight type” either, and he likes it that way. Lucas ignores the rules, stands up to the snobs, and warns Bianca to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him.

“I couldn’t stand it if they took it out on you,” he tells Bianca, “and eventually they would.”

But the connection between Bianca and Lucas can’t be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart . . . and to make Bianca question everything she’s ever believed.

1alineBreakI just realized I had been reading contemporary romances and mysteries for the past month and haven’t read any vampire / werewolf / witch tales lately. I thought I need a diversion.
Then one day, I chanced upon Evernight by Claudia Gray. I heard about the author from Twitter and other social media sites, though I haven’t read her books. When my cousin gifted me the whole Evernight series during my birthday, I put this on my TBR list. I didn’t have any idea what this book was all about; I didn’t even access Google nor Wikipedia for a glimpse. I was so intrigued about this boarding school that made Bianca ran away on her first day. And then she met Lucas and fell in love..
Bianca Olivier is a new student to Evernight Academy, a Gothic boarding school with “perfect” but predatory students. Ahe knows she doesn’t belong but she can’t escape because her parents are now teachers at the school. Bianca believes the best of her parents and trusts them about everything even when her brain tells her not to.

As school progresses, Bianca befriends Lucas, Raquel, a loner like her, and Vic, Lucas’ roommate. She develops enemies, like Courtney and Erich, who are what Bianca calls “The Evernight Type”. At a party, she befriends a handsome, popular, but friendly guy, Balthazar More.

Balthazar asks her to the Autumn Ball. There, she, Lucas and Balthazar get into an argument, and Balthazar leaves them alone. Outside, under the gazebo, she and Lucas kiss for the first time. Bianca gives in to temptation, bites Lucas and drinks his blood. After she realizes what she did, she screams for help. Upon hearing, Courtney comes out and says “Well, it’s about time you grew up and became a vampire like the rest of us.”.
At first, the story was a little dragging, that it took me about 7 chapters before I learned about Bianca’s true identity. I got excited from there on. The end of the story was left hanging which is good because it allowed me to come up with my own theories about the Vampire academy.
Yeah, this sounds YA Fantasy and a little like Twilight, but I think Evernight is cooler and harshier (is that a word?) So far, I enjoyed the first book, and I can’t wait to start the second one.
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Neverwhere

Title: Neverwhere
Author: Neil Gaiman
Paperback, 370 pages
Published September 2003

Under the streets of London there is a world of which most people could never dream. When Richard Mayhew accidentally stumbles on this hidden city of monsters, saints, murderers and angels, he is catapulted from a safe and predictable world into one that is eerily familiar yet utterly bizarre.

This is my second Gaiman book (the first one was Stardust, which I read 2 years ago but forgot to review), and I can’t help but compare Neverwhere  with another children’s book, Alice In Wonderland.  Neil takes me to an underworld of doors and creatures I actually never wanted to meet.

The protagonist, Richard Mayhew, as I have mentioned above, was actually like Alice In Wonderland where he embarked on a journey with Lady Door, a girl who can open any door, (of course), locks, windows, even handcuffs. And there he also met two vicious men, Mr. Vandemar and Mr. Croup who would do everything and anything just to get the girl. And there was also an Angel in disguise. An angel holding a deep secret that only Door can unlock.

Neverwhere is a good book. At first, I found the story boring and predictable, but I pushed through it and the second half was entertaining. In the end, everything ties together with mystery and makes you want to keep reading after some really interesting revelations and plot points. I consider the end to be the best chunk of the novel, which is concluded well and inventively, preceded by an unlikely climax.

Gonna read Coraline next!

A few words from author: NEIL GAIMAN

I make things up and write them down. Which takes us from comics (like SANDMAN) to novels (like ANANSI BOYS and AMERICAN GODS) to short stories (some are collected in SMOKE AND MIRRORS) and to occasionally movies (like Dave McKean’s MIRRORMASK or the NEVERWHERE TV series, or my own short film A SHORT FILM ABOUT JOHN BOLTON).

In my spare time I read and sleep and eat and try to keep the blog at http://www.neilgaiman.com more or less up to date.

 

Morrigan’s Cross

Title: Morrigan’s Cross
Author: Nora Roberts
Mass Market Paperback, 326 pages
Published August 29th 2006

In the last days of high summer, with lightning striking blue in a black sky, the sorcerer stood on a high cliff overlooking the raging sea…

Belting out his grief into the storm, Hoyt Mac Cionaoith rails against the evil that has torn his twin brother from their family’s embrace. Her name is Lilith. Existing for over a thousand years, she has lured countless men to an immortal doom with her soul-stealing kiss. But now, this woman known as vampire will stop at nothing until she rules this world—and those beyond it…

Hoyt is no match for the dark siren. But his powers come from the goddess Morrigan, and it is through her that he will get his chance at vengeance. At Morrigan’s charge, he must gather five others to form a ring of power strong enough to overcome Lilith. A circle of six: himself, the witch, the warrior, the scholar, the one of many forms and the one he’s lost. And it is in this circle, hundreds of years in the future, where Hoyt will learn how strong his spirit—and his heart—have become.

Morrigan’s Cross – the first on the Circle Trilogy – the story of Hoyt & Glenna – the sorcerer & the witch

Morrigan's Cross

The Goddess Morrigan tells Hoyt he has a mission that must be completed by him and 5 others:

“There is a battle to be fought, the greatest ever waged. Good against
evil. You must gather the forces.”

“You must leave this place and go to another, and another still. Some will
come to you, and some you will seek. The witch, the warrior, the scholar, the
one of many forms, and the one you’ve lost.”

“A circle of six, as strong and true as the arm of a god. When that circle
is formed, others may be formed. But the six will be my army, the six will make
the ring. You will teach and you will learn, and you will be greater than the
sum of you. A month to gather, and one to learn, and one to know. The battle
comes on Samhain” ..

..and so the Goddess Morrigan created the Circle to protect the world from the wrath of the uncanny vampire – Lilith – creator of the undead. But before this happened, Morrigan first called upon Hoyt Mac Cionaoith – the sorcerer of the 14th century to gather up the circle and must time-travel to the present to persuade his twin brother into joining…

But how can this be possible, when the sorcerer’s brother was just like the creature that they are trying to defeat – a Vampire??
I love this book the instant I read about Hoyt strongly facing up against his enemy and sworn to protect his family and bring justice back to his “undead” brother..

Basically, the story started in Ireland over 900 years with the goddess Morrigan calling on a circle of six to stand against an immortal enemy. the tale continues as we are transported to present time and the characters found themselves a little bit pre-occupied with the modern world.

Hoyt struggled dealing with his undead brother and building a circle that would destroy Lilith once and for all. I really loved the spin on the brothers, especially how they were going to form the circle of six and hoped that the war would soon be over. Of course, the love story between Glenna & Hoyt was something that made it even more interesting to read. The first fight scenes went so well, I loved it!

I have read Morrigan’s Cross three years ago, and up to know, it has remained one of my favorite Nora Roberts creation. I actually wished she would write more like this. I enjoyed how she breathe life to her characters. Truly a remarkable talent.

Undercover by Beth Kephart

Title: Undercover
Author: Beth Kephart
Published: September 2007

Summary: {from the book jacket}
Like a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac, Elisa ghostwrites love notes for the boys in her school. But when Elisa falls for Theo Moses, things change fast. Theo asks for verses to court the lovely Lila a girl known for her beauty, her popularity, and a cutting ability to remind Elisa that she has none of these. At home, Elisa’s father, the one person she feels understands her, has left on an extended business trip. As the days grow shorter, Elisa worries that the increasingly urgent letters she sends her father won’t bring him home. Like the undercover agent she feels she has become, Elisa retreats to a pond in the woods, where her talent for ice-skating gives her the confidence to come out from under cover and take center stage. But when Lila becomes jealous of Theo’s friendship with Elisa, her revenge nearly destroys Elisa’s ice-skating dreams and her plan to reunite her family.

When I got this book in Booksale, I was charmed by the notion of a girl who writes love letters for boys and the fact that she is getting paid to do so. 

I vividly remember the days when I used to write poetry too. My classmates in high school – up until in college – would approach me, state their love affair and I would compose a poem in a jiffy. No money involved. I was more than glad to help, because writing was, and is – still my passion.

After reading this book, it was like gooing back to my old self, relinquishing the moments of pain, magic, infatuation and hope. Much like Elisa who opted to love Theo in the background, knowing that he was head-over-heels in love with Lila, a psychopath, in my opinion.
The books with a heartwarming tale of a father’s love to a daughter which made me cried. A light read and kinda overwhelming because of the glorious of the language.

Samples of Love letters written by protagonist, Elisa:

 

Sandy,



I came to the track meet to see you run, and it was like watching the lead bird in a migrating V. You were something else. Again.

Last night, I left my window open and a firefly flew through. So much light and all I could think of was you.


You’re the pink quartz in the sunlight, all sparkly and alive. You’re the feather that the bluebird leaves behind.

Have you ever watched a leaf fall from a tree? It falls upward first, then it drifts toward the ground, just as I find myself drifting toward you.
 
Kudos to Kephart for hitting a home run with her first foray into YA fiction.

My rating for Undercover: 4 stars!

The World of Karov

Title: THE WORLD OF KAROV
(The Children of Demilee)
Author: Elyse Salpeter
Kindle Edition
Published December 2012

Adam and Alec look like identical twins, but their personalities are as different as possible. Adam is gentle and kind, whereas Alec is the essence of nightmares. Always jealous of his twin, Alec does everything he can to destroy his brother’s happiness, including kidnapping Adam’s fiancée on their wedding day and disappearing with her deep into the Canadian mountains. Adam searches for them for months, but he never finds them. Just when Adam is at his most grief-stricken point, a stranger appears and offers him a chance for a new life in a land filled with magic, gems, and powers unimaginable; a world mysteriously led by a special tribe of children who have hidden themselves away from a great evil that is seeking to destroy them. Adam takes the chance and goes with the stranger, but his past is never far from his mind. Eventually, reality comes back to haunt Adam, resulting in a final showdown with his brother…. and this time, only one will win.

I have been reading a lot of stories revolving around twins, the good and the bad, mostly about sisters. There’s The Lying Game by Sara Shepard, Entangled by Nikki Jefford, and The Man in the Iron Mask (by Alexander Dumas) to name a few. But the World of Karov is a totally different story. The evil twin, Alec is the very son of the Devil, killing animals, driving his mom crazy, taking away everything that his good twin, Adam loves. Including the one he was supposed to marry.

Adam spent so many months looking for Arianna, the love of his life while his health dangerously failed. Then came a stranger who soon took him to the world of Karov. A world filled with promise, mystery, and a dark future that looms upon Adam’s existence. Just when he thought he could fully live the life he dreamed of, his evil twin made it a nightmare.

How much pain does he had to take just to live a normal life? Will he lived to see that happen?

I’d like to say, this is one of those fantasy-themed stories which is dark yet illuminating. The fast-paced approach was riveting, the story depiction was well-delivered and the characters were developed as the tale progressed.

I’d like to give a round of applause to Elyse Salpeter for creating a different kind of world.  I have actually felt the pains that Adam experienced; the joys he had felt, and the sufferings he had undergone. Not a lot of authors have that capability to make their readers feel what their characters actually portray. Bravo, Ms. Elyse Salpeter! Looking forward to reading more of Adam and Alec’s tale soon.

The Book of Lost Souls

Title: The Book of Lost Souls
Author: Michelle Muto
Kindle E-book format
Published March 2011

summary from goodreads:

When teen witch Ivy MacTavish changes a lizard into her date for a Halloween dance, everything turns to chaos. And when no one is powerful enough to transform him back except Ivy, it sparks the rumor: Like father, like daughter. Ivy has heard it all before – that her father, who left when she was seven – was involved with the darkest of magic.
Making the rumors worse, someone uses an evil spell book to bring back two of history’s most nefarious killers. Ivy’s got a simple plan to set things right: find the real dark spell caster, steal the book, and reverse the spell. No problem! But she’ll have to deal with something more dangerous than murderous spirits that want her and her friends dead: the school’s resident bad boy and hotter-than-brimstone demon, Nick Marcelli. Nick’s offering Ivy more than his help with recovering the missing book – he’s offering her a way to ditch her scaly reputation as a lizard-lover. Demons are about as hard to handle as black magic, and as Ivy soon discovers, it’s going to take more than a lot of luck and a little charm if she wants to survive long enough to clear her status as a dark witch, get a warm-blooded boyfriend, and have her former date back to eating meal worms before the week’s end. 

Meet the Regulars or the humans and the Kindreds or the supernaturals. These beings keep the town of Northwicke peaceful and in order. Until teenage witch Ivy turned her friend’s pet lizard, Spike, into a human, just to make her crush Dean get jealous. Spike soon got away and never wanted to be turned into a lizard again. That’s when no one wanted to get involved with her. And everyone thought she was just like her father – evil.

But Ivy has her best friends by her side. The vampires Raven & Gareth, and the werewolves, Bane & Shayde. Together they got entangled on a web of mystery and witchcraft. Together, they had to make sure that Spike, the lizard boy, in order to bring him back to his original form. And together, they had to clean up a cemetery as part of their punishment. That’s when two mysterious books appear from under a tree. The books 1001 Quick Recipes and A Botany of Spells, Magic for the Garden. Although these books seemed harmless, the other one was The Rise of the Dark Curse, by the name itself, is definitely a book of pure black magic. However, it was obvious to Ivy that there was still one book missing. And that was the most dangerous book of them all – The Book of Lost Souls.

Suddenly, a murder happened in Northwicke. And then a couple of dead people had risen, wrecking havoc and causing the murders in the once peaceful town. Soon Ivy’s life has turned to worse.

However, there was one hot demon named Nick who was willing to help. Was he really into Ivy, or did he have a hidden agenda? How about Dean? Would Ivy get a chance with him?

I actually found this story fun to read. The characters’ personalities were greatly detailed and the history of their names were even discussed. I love the mystery surrounding the books and the people or the supernaturals who were holding them. And the voices that we hear when the books are being opened – creepy!

Michelle Muto knows how to keep her readers interested and engaged. The story may seem a little predictable, but in a good way. I actually found myself smiling because the banter between Ivy and Nick was catchy and fun! Like this one:

Ivy asked, ” What do you want, Nick?”
The corner of Nick’s mouth eased into a grin that made Ivy’s insides somersault unexpectedly. “You,’ he said without breaking eye contact.”

Oh! I feel like  I’m in high school again.. Whew!

My rating for Michelle Muto’s Book of Lost Souls: 4 bookmarks!

Hoping to read more about Ivy MacTavish soon!

The Willows: Haven

Title: Haven (The Willows #1)
by Hope Collier

Paperback, 284 pages
Published October 14th 2011

When tragedy strikes, seventeen year-old Ashton Blake sets out on a cross-country road trip, leaving the comforts of Malibu for the mountains of Kentucky. Along the way, she encounters Gabe Willoughby—the mysterious drifter with eyes like the sea and a knowing smile. Getting to know Gabe raises questions about her past. But no secret can be buried forever, and Ashton soon finds herself in a world where water is air and myth becomes reality.
Just as Ashton comes to accept her newfound heritage, she’s summoned to fulfill a treaty laid down centuries before — a treaty that will divide her love and test her loyalty. In the end, her future isn’t her biggest concern, her humanity is. To run may mean war, but is she strong enough to stay?

Pardon me for not posting this review as soon as I read the book. I actually finished this a year ago, but I was too caught up with lots of books and reviews that this particular one has been sitting on my Draft list for three months. Good thing, my son, Kyle was with me when I was reviewing some books and he noticed this wonderful book cover. He said, hey mom, isn’t this the one you read before, the one that has my name on it? And there I was, nodding to him and thanking him for helping me out! Soon I was reminiscing about Ashton and her magical realm.

First, let me just say that this had been a very  enthralling book. It’s actually my first time to read a story focused on dryads and Naiads; I didn’t even know what they were. But I have heard about this mythical creatures in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books. At least I had an idea when I read The Willows: Haven.

I love how the author Hope Collier created a story about love for family, friendship, loyalty, and acceptance. I was instantly drawn to Ash the moment she left her birthday party and ditched her boyfriend. The main characters,  Ashton, Gabe and Kevin, as well as Kyle, were the main reasons why i couldn’t put the book down. It’s as if I was transported into their world and I have no intention of getting out because theirs is a magical and captivating.

I hope to continue reading their adventures soon. And I am looking forward to more stories to be catered by Hope Collier. 🙂