Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Healer's Apprentice

Title: The Healer's Apprentice

Author: Melanie Dickerson

Pages: 257

Rating: ****

Summary (From Goodreads): Rose has been appointed as a healer's apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter's daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her---a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill.When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she's never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose's life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.

Review: This book was sent to me for review a little while ago, and I FINALLY got to read it. And am I ever glad it was! I am a sucker for fairy tales and happy endings, and this book was right up my alley. Sleeping Beauty was always my favorite princess, so I was really excited about this novel.

The Healer's Apprentice is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale; it is quite different. It is more realistic in some ways, but still very much a fairy tale. There are some new characters to the story (who are amazing) and some characters are eliminated or changed (Aurora's fairies and Malificent, respectively.)

I LOVED LOVED LOVED Lord Hamlin. He is the PERFECT Prince Charming. However, I also liked Lord Rupert, and I felt Rose's interactions and feelings for each lord were realistic and definitely relatable (I know if a prince told me I was beautiful, I'd feel pretty good too! No shame in that Rose!)

This was one of those books where I knew the ending (duh, it's a retelling of a story everyone knows) but I didn't know how it would get to that point, and that was the best part. When obstacles arose, I knew the good guys would win, but I could never for the life of me figure out how! That curiosity is what made this book all but impossible to put down.

There were a few small things that bothered me, however. The author couldn't seem to decide if she wanted to write the book in a more modern verse or in old-fashioned English. Sometimes the characters spoke as we would today, while other times she'd throw in a "thither" or "thou." Very minor, though. Also, the princes' admiring of Rose's beauty got a bit old. "You're so beautiful" over and over and over again. Yeah guys, I think she gets it. It made the princes come off as shallow and only interested in her looks (rightfully so, in one case. But again I'm treading the line of spoiler-zone.).

All in all, I LOVED this book. These minor things are the only things keeping it from five stars.

A warning however: the book gets quite religious at the end, thanking God for his gifts, and lots of praying takes place. If that bothers you, you probably won't enjoy this book as much as I did.

Recommended for: anyone who loves a fairy-tale ending (aka hopeless romantics)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Am Number Four

Title: I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies #1)

Author: Pittacus Lore

Pages: 440

Rating: ****1/2

Summary (from Goodreads): In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now.

The Nine had to separate and go into hiding. The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

I AM NUMBER FOUR is the thrilling launch of a series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future—and live a normal life on Earth.


Review: I tried to describe this book to some friends, and it comes off sounding incredibly nerdy: "Oh well, these aliens are living on earth because their planet was destroyed, and now the people who destroyed their planet want to kill them and eventually take over earth." Lame, right?

THIS BOOK IS SO FAR FROM LAME! I'm not big on all the alien theories and such, but I loved this book. It sucked me in; it's over 400 pages, and yet I finished it in less than five hours. Yeah. That's how awesome this book is.

The writing is pretty good. I've read better, but it was far from terrible. It kept me interested, obviously, and it wove a very unique story that I couldn't bear to step away from. What kept it from being great was how stupid John acts sometimes. I have to keep reminding myself he's a fifteen year old guy, and they don't always make the best decisions. But I felt like, as one of the last members of his race, he should have a certain set of priorities.

But that's as far as I'm going to go into spoiler zone.

The characters were incredible; I don't read many books from the male perspective, so it was nice to get a new take on things. John was as realistic a teenage boy as an alien can be; there were some stock characters, however, such as Sarah and Sam, but they still add plenty to the story.

This book will knock your socks off. Perfect as a last minute addition to your own Christmas list, or a quick gift for a friend.

The sequel, The Power of Six, is said to be coming out June 7, 2011!

Recommended for: sci-fi, supernatural lovers

AND I am Number Four is being released as a movie this spring! And, as those of you who remember my Mortal Instruments review will recall, one of my favorite young actors will be gracing the screen as John Smith: ALEX PETTYFER!!!


Anyway, here's the totally epic-looking trailer!*WARNING: it does give away a plot twist from late in the book...but it didn't ruin anything for me.*****

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Amazing Grace

Title: Amazing Grace

Author: Megan Shull

Pages: 256

Rating: ****

Summary (from Goodreads): Grace Ace Kincaid has it all. Shes a teen sports sensation. Her face and body are on the cover of every magazine. Shes front and center on the red carpet. She has the world at her feet, as long as she toes the line.But then she says three little words. Three words that take her out of the spotlight to Medicine Hat, Alaska. Population 272. Grace has the chance to start all over again. Its something she wanted so much. Now the question is: Who will she be?

Review: Hot guy? Check. Amazing best friend? Check. Cozy little town? Check. What more do you want?

I read this book for the first time about five years ago. I found it at my library and just HAD to read it again. It's one of those books. It took me barely 24 hours to finish.

Grace is a celebrity who decides to call it quits. She is just too overwhelmed with everything that she feels like she's losing herself. It'd be nice if some real-life celebrities would do this before they go over the edge (*cough* Britney Spears *cough*). Her mom has the perfect reaction--no questions, no persuasion, just says "Ok." Suddenly Grace is trading her make-up and five gajillion dollar wardrobe for parkas and sweaters in Alaska. This seemed much more fitting for her; if she was enjoying her life as a celebrity, she wouldn't have been so excited to give everything away.

I loved the setting. Alaska is often forgotten, I think. This book was great to read at this specific town because I could actually think "Wow, maybe there is someone out there who is actually colder than I am right now."

Now, let's talk about the guy. That's all anyone really cares about anyway, right? Teague is perfect. He is gorgeous, courteous, giving, and of course he falls for Grace the first time they meet. A little too perfect? Perhaps. But I really don't care. Also, how awesome is his name? I'm totally naming my son after him.

Fisher (another awesome name!) is the perfect quirky best friend for Grace. Ava is pretty cool, even if her character isn't developed as much as it could be.

This is a quick, sweet read. Cheesy? Oh yes. But it's fun. Upon finishing it this time, I felt like Megan Shull could have done more with it; many characters and minor plot lines were either hastily answered or only briefly mentioned. But Amazing Grace is short and sweet; curl up in front of the fire for a day with it, and you won't regret it.

Recommended for: romance lovers.