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.

 

Valley of Silence

The last part of the Circle Trilogy – The Valley of Silence

Author: Nora Roberts

Hardcover, Large Print, 506 pages
Published November 1st 2006

Having traveled through the Dance of the Gods to the land of Geall, the circle finds themselves convincing then training the people of Geall to defeat Lilith’s vampire army. The Valley of Silence is a forbidding place for the battle of all battles, but the circle continues to prepare through magic and a few early stakeouts that test their strength individually and as a team.

Moira finds herself playing the roles of warrior and royal, as she follows the tradition of her people and prepares to take the crown before leading them into battle. And if that isn’t enough, she finds her thoughts turning to Cian more often than not.

So what’s a chaste and intelligent young woman to do when given less than a month with the man she loves, who’s not a man, but a vampire? And how will the people of Geall fare against an army of blood-thirsty vampires who have had centuries to prepare?

Cian, the undead twin brother of Hoyt, must learn how to trust the circle and not let love get in the way, even if he had to work hand-in-hand and face-to-face with the one who made his heart beat after a millennium. The fact that Cian is a vampire and his lover is a fighter of life, complicates matters more. What’s worse is, his kind was the very same beings who have killed the parents of the one he love, Queen Moira.

Since vampires are known to be evil & do not have place in this world, Cian set himself apart from the others. He was the only one of his kind who drank pig’s blood and treated people as friends instead of killing them. He vowed to kill his creator Lilith and perish all her minions and live again for a thousand years, but he had to turn his back on Moira and forget her, even if it broke her heart.
Will there be an end to their suffering? Will Cian ever find love? Will Moira ever move on from her heartbreak?

This is my favorite among the three books. I learned more about Cian and how he came to be, and how his life was changed when he met Moira. The war war that took place in the Valley of Silence was crisp and detailed. I even forgot about the old man who was story-telling in the end.

The twist about Cian is a must read, too!

And yes, I was more than satisfied with the ending – the way a Nora Roberts’ book should be. and honestly, among the three pairs, i liked Cian & Moira’s story the most! so I’m rating this last book with 5 Bookmarks!

Dance of the Gods

Dance of the Gods

Title: Dance of the Gods (Circle Trilogy 2)
Author: Nora Roberts
Paperback, 321 pages
Published October 3rd 2006

Second part of the Circle Trilogy – Dance of the Gods – features the relationship between Blair, the vampire slayer of the 20th century New York and Larkin, the shapeshifter, who belonged to the 16th century Geall.

As the circle of six prepare for their final clash with the dark army of the vampire Lilith, the battleground shifts. In Ireland, a stone circle serves as the portal to another land and an ancient time.

It is in Geall that all will meet their fates—the sorcerer, the witch, the warrior, the scholar, the one of many forms and the one who was lost. And as their courage is tested, hearts will bond as never before.

Set in the luscious green fields of Ireland, home of the undead Cian & sorcerer Hoyt, and training grounds of the Circle of Six, the warriors met Lora, the cunning French beauty brought up & sired by the evil tyrant, Lilith. When Blair failed to vaporize her on their first meeting, Lora swore to kill her in the end after numerous tries of luring the girl to join the coven. Larkin, the shifter of shapes, flew side by side with dragons in the air to keep Blair away from their nemesis. Two equally strong but hard-headed warriors strove to keep the circle together but can’t keep their hands off of each other, even when faced against the greatest evil of all. Will their love continue to flourish beyond the transcends of time? Who will sacrifice to join the other in the Old World? Who will decide to face the new world in the future?

After a week-long marathon, Nora Roberts never failed to amaze me. This second book is much better than the first one, complete with details of chivalry, tall-tale adventures and passionate encounters of two unlikely beings. I liked the way the author set my mind to a whole new perspective about dragons and sorcery. Ohhh.. Dragons! My weakness!

Blair as a warrior and once-a-hopeful bride, shows prowess and class in the midst of a fight. Larkin, on the other hand, was open & accepting, even to the new & modern things that seemed impossible in his homeland, Geall. PLease forgive when I say that I want to read the next book, Valley of Silence because of Cian, the vampire! I’d love to see more of him and his cunning personality.

Of course, I recommend this book to all who wish to be fascinated with fairytales, romance & war.. Onto the third book… soon!

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.