Thursday, 1 December 2011

Mini Review Madness: Unleashed, The Amulet of Samarkand, Firespell, Betrayal, Deception

Morning all! For today's Mini Review Madness I'm going to be having a look at the following books:

Wolf Springs: Unleashed - Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
The Amulet of Samarkand (graphic novel) - Jonathan Stroud
Firespell - Chloe Neill
Betrayal - Lee Nichols
Deception - Lee Nichols

*

Wolf Springs: Unleashed - Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): Katelyn McBride’s life changed in an instant when her mother died. Uprooted from her California home, Katelyn was shipped to the middle of nowhere, Arkansas, to her only living relative, her grandfather. And now she has to start over in Wolf Springs, a tiny village in the Ozark Mountains. Like any small town, Wolf Springs has secrets. But the secrets hidden here are more sinister than Katelyn could ever imagine. It’s a town with a history that reaches back centuries, spans continents, and conceals terrifying truths. And Katelyn McBride is about to change everything.

Broken families, ageless grudges, forced alliances, and love that blooms in the darkest night—welcome to Wolf Springs.

Mini review: Now I'm always the first to roll my eyes when another werewolf novel hits the market - we have enough already, damn it! However, as tired as I am with this trend, I did find myself enjoying Unleashed.

The atmosphere was great and the writers did a really good job of building tension throughout the novel. I am definitely sick of the werewolf trend but if you've still got the energy for another werewolf novel then I would recommend this one.

The Amulet of Samarkand (graphic novel) - Jonathan Stroud

Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): Nathaniel, an eleven-year-old magician-in-training, thinks he's ready to take on more challenging spells. With revenge against the proud and ambitious Simon Lovelace on his mind, he masters one of the toughest spells of all and summons Bartimaeus, a 5000-year-old djinni, to assist him. But summoning Bartimaeus and controlling him are two different things entirely, and when Nathaniel sends the djinni to steal Lovelace's greatest treasure, the Amulet of Samarkand, he finds himself caught in a whirlwind of magical espionage, murder, and rebellion.

Jonathan Stroud, along with acclaimed comic books-writer Andrew Donkin and artists Lee Sullivan and Nicolas Chapuis, turns the beloved and internationally best-selling first book in the Bartimaeus trilogy into a spellbinding graphic novel sure to excite and delight fans across all magical planes.

Mini review: I'm a big fan of graphic novels and have read a fair few during 2011 - this is definitely one of my favourites. The illustrations are gorgeous and the story completely gripping. I haven't read the novel version of The Amulet of Samarkand but I'm keen to try it now. Thumbs up!

Firespell - Chloe Neill

Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia’s boarding school, Lily Parker thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she’ll have to face…

When Lily’s guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she was shocked. So was St. Sophia’s. Lily’s ultra-rich brat pack classmates think Lily should be the punchline to every joke, and on top of that, she’s hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building.

The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout’s a little weird—she keeps disappearing late at night and won’t tell Lily where she’s been. But when a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout running from a real monster.

Scout’s a member of a splinter group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, who’ve sworn to protect the city against demons, vampires, and Reapers, magic users who’ve been corrupted by their power. And when Lily finds herself in the line of a firespell, Scout tells her the truth about her secret life, even though Lily has no powers of her own—at least none that she’s discovered yet…

Mini review: I'm always keen to try books that are set in boarding schools so I snapped Firespell up straight away. I wasn't disappointed by the setting, though I felt the story wasn't as strong as I was hoping. Lily is a sweet character but I didn't find her interesting enough to carry the story.

Firespell was an enjoyable read but I wouldn't rush to recommend this to those who aren't big fans of the genre already.

Deception - Lee Nichols

Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): When Emma Vaile’s parents go missing while away on a mysterious business trip, she’s left all alone in her creepy old house. But her brother’s very cute best friend, Bennett Stern—Emma’s knight in J. Crew armor—arrives unexpectedly to whisk her away to New England. There, Emma settles into his family’s museum-like mansion and enrolls at an old-fashioned private school. She quickly finds friends in the popular legacy crowd at Thatcher and spends her free time crushing on Bennett.

But the eerie visions she’s been hiding from everyone have gotten worse. Emma has memories of Thatcher that she can’t explain—it’s as if she’s returning home to a place she’s never been. Finally, Emma confides in Bennett and learns she is a ghostkeeper, a person who can communicate with ghosts. Bennett brought Emma to Thatcher to protect her, but now he needs her help tracking an other-worldly murderer.

Mini review: Another private school story - can't get enough of them at the moment. This is the first book in a new(-ish) paranormal romance series and I could tell, I felt like a lot of the book was setting things up for the rest of the series but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

I liked Emma as a character and found her interesting; she's more than the usual passive paranormal romance heroines so that's a good thing. Deception is certainly an interesting novel and I love the look of the series as a whole; I'm sure it's going to be very popular.

Betrayal - Lee Nichols

Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): Emma Vaile is the most powerful ghostkeeper in centuries. Which is great for battling the wraith-master Neos and horrible for her social life. Emma knows fellow ghostkeeper Bennett Stern is her soul mate, but when ghostkeepers fall in love, the weaker one loses all power. And until Neos is defeated, Bennett and Emma can't risk it.

When the temptation of being with Emma gets to be too much, Bennett disappears, pursuing a dangerous path to increase his powers. Heartbroken and alone, Emma tries to lose herself in school. But when the Knell, a secret ghostkeeping society, sends two new ghostkeepers to Echo Point—one a snarky teen guy, the other a British scholar—Emma throws herself into training to battle Neos. But as the team grows stronger, so do the ghosts. And worse, one of their own will betray them. One Emma never suspected. . .

Mini review: The sequel to Deception, I read Betrayal straight after finishing the first book in the series and I definitely enjoyed this one a lot more. The action is ramped up and jumps straight in at the deep end; we see Emma develop so much from the girl she was at the beginning of Deception and I love that we see her go on such a journey.

The third book in the series, Surrender, is due out later this month and while I don't think I'll continue with the series I did enjoy the first two books a lot more than I thought I would so I was pleasantly surprised.

1 comment:

  1. I quite like Unleashed as well! And I enjoyed the Lee Nichols books too. I gave up on Firespell though, I just didn't connect with it at all.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you kindly for the comment, you sweet thing.