Llew's Reviews

Archive for May, 2008

Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague

Sunday, May 25th, 2008 by Miss Laura

I have been in reader HEAVEN! All of my favorite YA series have had another book come out. Septimus Heap has Queste out. After I finish devouring that, I get to hop on to Libba Bray’s third book wrapping up The Great & Terrible Beauty trilogy. Then, it’s on to Pullman’s prequel to the Golden Compass. I am so excited! I have such a huge stack of lovely looking fun reads that it’s making me giddy.

This one is the third in Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven series which is really quite likable. Normally, I like young adult books that are for the older readers whereas this one is more middle school level. It’s still a thick seemingly complex book though so I’m still a fan. I’ve had good luck with recommending this one because there’s really nothing for people to dislike.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Sunday, May 25th, 2008 by Miss Laura

In my regular blog, I detailed how due to Stephenie Meyer and “Twilight” series is gracing the top of all the best seller lists, I had bought myself a dream journal.

On her website she tells how she came up with the plot for the story from an intense dream she had one night. In fact, chapter 13 of her first book is basically a transcript of that dream. I’m fairly sure I’m among a large segment of the population who forgets their dreams within moments of waking up. So, what best sellers have I been missing out on? I mean SERIOUSLY. Coming up with story ideas is my biggest problem. Do you realize how hard it is to write without having a plot or an original story idea? I know, I know – Nicholas Sparks makes it look easy but still.

So I went and bought myself a dream journal. When I told Ben about it, he thought I mean like a “goal” journal where I would write down life ambitions and such. He has made fun of me for it so much. In fact, now if I dare to complain or ask for a favor he just replies, “Why don’t you go tell that to your Dream Journal.”

Now, the Host was not based off of a dream. It was based off of a story Meyer was telling herself to keep herself entertained on a long road trip while driving through Arizona to Salt Lake City. I’ve made that trip, but I didn’t tell stories to myself to keep myself awake. Of course, I was driving in the summer in a car that didn’t have air conditioning so any stores I would have told myself would take place in Antarctica. “Penguins, lovely.”

And unlike the dream journal, I don’t think I’m going to start taking long road trips in the desert just so I can try to come up with a good story too. This one was good. I don’t think that it has as compelling characters as Twilight (which has caused a lot of the adults to overlook some of the writing), but if you like Meyer’s other books and you’re willing to make it through the first several chapters (which are a real snoozefest) it gets pretty good. Halfway through I found myself caught up enough in the characters that I had trouble stopping until I was finished. I’m not saying it’s classic literature or that Meyer’s pen is obviously guided by angels. But it made me happy reading it.

I do love Stephenie Meyer – not just as an author but as a friend. She’s really awesome and has always been incredibly fantastic to her fans. I’ve had so many teenage girls who have written her and been astounded when she wrote back. She can’t keep up with that now, but she has always been so kind to all her fans. That’s what makes me love an author – almost as much as what and how they write. Because I love my customers and so it makes me happy when an author loves them too. Thus, I will always defend her and her books – sparkling vampires or not.

Also, if you’re still reading this – I’m having a Breaking Dawn midnight release party and it’s going to be seriously awesome. You should totally come.

Author Death Match: Melissa Marr versus Cassandra Clare

Sunday, May 25th, 2008 by Miss Laura


Shortly after I read Marr’s first book a friend commented about what a shame it was that one was getting all the shelf space in large bookstores and so lauded when Cassandra Clare’s City of Ashes series was being overlooked. My first chapter into Clare’s work and I immediately agreed with my friend. It’s a fantastic story with compelling characters who are funny (so funny at times) and without the forced “I’m cool! Teenagers please love me!” feel that Marr (and Holly Black’s) books give off.

However, by the very end I was beginning to waver because of a huge plot turn (that I can’t even allude to without spoiling it) which is also explored more in the second book. And let me tell you it’s a big EW factor. It actually left me feeling pretty disgusted by the end of the first book, but since I was able to immediately read the second (the third hasn’t been published yet) those feelings were assuaged slightly. I think it’s going to turn out be a big hoax but still EW.

But even with the Ew factor, Clare’s books are still much better. Victory is to Clare – Knockout!

Author Death Match: Holly Black Versus Melissa Marr

Sunday, May 25th, 2008 by Miss Laura


In this corner weighing in at 645 pages, I have a set of books set of books which are urban faeire tales with Seelie folk walking around with glamours to shield us mere mortal from their cruel beauty.

And in the other corner weighing in at 653 pages, I have a set of books set of books which are urban faeire tales with Seelie folk walking around with glamours to shield us mere mortal from their cruel beauty.

Hmm, wait. When I read the first book in each of these sets (where the second book is slightly related to each other as in they take place in the same world, but the second book isn’t a true sequel of the characters in the first books), I liked Melissa Marr’s tale slight better than Holly Black’s. Neither are fantastic books but there was something compelling about each one that kept me from stopping halfway through. They both try a little hard to be cool – look my humans have tattoos and problems! and so forth.

I didn’t love either book enough to whole heartedly recommend it to someone (unless they were a fan of the genre) but they weren’t horrible. Pretty much they’re on the same level – if you liked Holly Black’s books, I’d recommend Marr’s to you or vice versa.

However, Wicked Lovely & Ink Exchange have gorgeous covers so I declare them the winner by a hair!

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