Pardon our dust during our re-vamp, and while you're here be sure to stop by the Faceless Fancy Page! The Etsy Shop and the Faceless Fancies Facebook are now live!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Jenny's 2cents on Book Sequels

So we've heard you'd like to see more 

We're starting with Book Sequels. Love'em or Hate'em?
You can read Nick's post here: I Dislike Sequels.

While Nick dislikes sequels an avoids them for fear of tarnishing an epic book one, I love them. Well, actually sequels and I have a Love/Hate relationship. I love them, most of the time, and they usually hate me. Observe.

This is me when I finally get my hands on a long awaited sequel.

And then I do finally read it and this happens...

True Story.

Luckily my coffee table is super heavy and I can't easily overturn it, but I have shaken many a book while yelling WHY?!?! in rage. I call it Sequel Rage.

     That first picture easily applies to any book I've been waiting anxiously to get my hands on, but more so to sequels. I love being able to jump back into the worlds of my favorite books. Sequels give me the opportunity to visit old characters I adore and meet new ones, check on budding romances, and you always get to learn more; more about the characters, more about the world they live in and what's going on. It's great.
     I will admit though, I am a little weary to start a sequel almost every time because I am afraid of the ending. I like it when the ending of a book is wrapped up, but left open just enough for a continuation. Like Percy Jackson for example, at the end of The Last Olympian all is well again and you get a new prophecy. It could have ended there no problem. But not every book gives that same consideration and cliffhangers kill me! Yeah, a part of me is afraid the book won't live up to the path the previous paved for it, but mostly it's that chance at a cliffhanger ending that leaves me hesitant, even if I'm super excited for the book. So sometimes sequels end up sitting on my TBR shelf for a while. For example, Beautiful Chaos, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, and a few others are still patiently waiting.  
   But not every sequel ends up waiting, most I delve into fairly quickly especially if it was a Hush, Hush, Ghost and the Goth novel or A Million Suns. Those I hugged and stared at and lamented about only being able to read it for the first time once, for maybe 10 minutes and then immediately devoured the book. No self control.
   However, as much as I love sequels there comes a time when books should just stop, no matter how much I love the series.*Cough, cough* The Mortal Instruments *cough, cough*  All good things must come to an end right?

How do you feel about sequels?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Jenny Reviews: A Quarter of Magic

A Quarter of Magic - Click to buy on AmazonA Quarter of Magic
By Zoe Tyson
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Self-published available through Amazon
(Digital copy was provided by author for an honest review)

Description as listed on Amazon

Fantasy Adventure for Young Adults from ZoĆ« Tyson. In a World born out of magic lives 14 year old Miloney Merren. In his World humans are ruled by an immortal species of creature. And the creatures have one major rule. A human must never have magic. Unfortunately for Milo, he does... And it’s getting out of control. Will he be able to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to help his family and friends? "When magic becomes dangerous, you need to remember one thing. It will either define you or kill you." 

Pair that summary with this beginning....

"There were three things that Miloney Merren wished for on a daily basis.

One, was that he wished he lived somewhere else. Two, he wished he could swap his sister for a nicer one. And three, he wished the horrible creature that stood in the corner of his classroom would die.

Today was no exception. Milo still fervently wished for all these things. But unfortunately, none of these wishes were possible, because one, he wasn't allowed to live anywhere else -ever. Two, no amount of magic could turn his sister into someone else. And three, the horrible creature that stood in the corner of his classroom was immortal."
... And you have what I would say are the makings for one great book.

    I was immediately drawn into Milo's world eagerly reading to know more. More about Magic, more about potions, where do the exiled go and what the heck is a Terramang and why are they so vile?! Unfortunately, I wasn't drawn in for very long. I found myself getting distracted about half way. I wanted to love this book so much more than I did. Don't get me wrong, it's a good book, but it just wasn't for me.
   What I did enjoy about this book was the concept. People have Magic! And it's not like casting spells type of magic, but more along the lines of abilities; sensing emotions, seeing the future, turning invisible. How cool is that? Anyone found with Magic is exiled to a place called Orlost where eventually they have their magic taken from them, rather harshly too. Orlost is a whole other world, in fact there are several worlds all linked by portals and each portal is guarded by a Crosspatcher. I really liked the idea of different worlds and I wish I had gotten to see more of them, specifically ones the other kids who team up with Milo came from. I love seeing the worlds that authors create in their books.
    There were a few neat plot twists and an interesting character or two that the kids meet in their journey, but I couldn't over look a few things that brought the story down for me. First of all, it read like a middle grade read, which doesn't bother me at all, I love middle grade, but there were several times that the kids didn't sound like kids. They often used words that I wouldn't imagine 14 year-olds using in every day conversation. Also, I'm the type of person that likes to be shown things instead of told and it felt like whenever there was a unexpected occurrence a character piped up with an explanation. I like to figure some things out on my own and as they happen. One of my biggest issues though, was that I got lost a little too easy. Certain things happened during the story that just sat funny with me. Two characters disappear only to show up towards the end with very little explanation as to their disappearance. It was like their game pieces were suddenly swiped from the board. And while I'm all for killing characters to create a drive in your main character or evoke emotion in your readers, there were a couple deaths that seemed pointless.
    While this book may not have been my cup of tea, it doesn't mean that someone else won't love it. If Magic and adventure sound like your thing give it a look. It's definitely worth giving a try.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I dislike sequels!

       Hello, my name is Nick Camarata and I dislike sequels. Yep, I said it. Sequels are not my friends. To me, sequels, most of the time, do nothing but become disappointments in the attempt to keep an IP (Independent Property) going for a lot longer than it should. Movies seem to suffer the most with this issue but I see it flowing in books as well.

      Do you sometimes find a book that you just absolutely love? The characters, the writing style, the story, the ending, everything in general? Now in most books, they end up leaving room for another book in the future. It's almost expected in most cases for YA. Then the sequel is released. You rush out and pick and barely pull yourself from it for those annoying real life things. Though, as you read it, you think to yourself, "What is this crap?" or "This is not what I thought it would be." While I haven't really been around YA books for a long time, I've heard my wife give her opinion about a series or two. Twilight and The Mortal Instruments are two series that I remember her ranting about.

      Since my start of really reading books on a regular basis, I've come across some great series. Rot & Ruin, Across the Universe, Divergent, and The Name of this Book is a Secret are just a few examples. Out of the 4 series I've listed there, I've only read 1 of their sequels. Sad thing is, I own the sequels to all of them. I just can't pick them up in fear of these great series be tarnished of their greatness. While I have been told that the 2nd outings of each of these books are wonderful, I still hold off as much as I can.

      I, however, did sit down with Rot & Ruin's sequel, Dust and Decay, and was very pleased. In fact, I was blown away by it. This series is one of those cases where the sequel ended up being way better than the original. Not that the original was bad. It was a great book. It's just the sequel was phenomenal. I know, I know. I should just suck it up and and pick the sequels of the other series but I just love the first books so much, I just can't bring myself to do it... yet.

Does anyone else out there have the same problem I do? Do they worry so much that their beloved series will be destroyed by the curse of the sequel? Let me know in the comments below so I don't feel entirely alone and crazy on this subject.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nick reviews TimeRiders

by Alex Scarrow
Published by Puffin
Release Date: February 4th 2010
Edition: Kindle Edition, 412

What GoodReads has to say: 
Liam O’Connor should have died at sea in 1912.
Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010.
Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2026.

Yet moments before death, someone mysteriously appeared and said, ‘Take my hand ...’
But Liam, Maddy and Sal aren’t rescued. They are recruited by an agency that no one knows exists, with only one purpose—to fix broken history. Because time travel is here, and there are those who would go back in time and change the past. That’s why the TimeRiders exist: to protect us. To stop time travel from destroying the world... 

A book about time travel you say? Winner for me! This book was a pleasant 99 cent surprise. I knew that I would love this from the moment I started reading. The writing easily grabs you from the start and rarely gives you a few seconds to let you catch your breath. The characters are well done and very likeable. Especially the walking humanoid computer, Bob, that accompanies Liam throughout the story. Reminded me of Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Terminator a few times. Also, for some reason, the person who forms the "TimeRiders" and guides them to become a great team, Foster, reminded me of Liam Neeson. If you can get me to picture any of your characters in your book like that great man, you are doing fantastic. I really enjoyed the villain in the story as well. Villains that are doing what they believe is honestly going to make the world a better place, but execute it so that it ends up causing more grief than good are my favorite. Especially when if it has anything to do with rewriting history. Even better when it involves kicking Adolf Hitler off his high horse.

There was a moment or two during the time of reading about the villain, Kramer, that I was greatly confused on what or who they were talking about. Kramer and his posse are all German and they use the German language to refer to different military positions. At first, it was a bit confusing figuring out who was who in rank and who was the highest rank of them all. After awhile, it irons itself out and becomes understandable. Also, only a few times did the storytelling confuse me a bit too. It jumps back and forth from 1956 and 2001 to let you know what is going on in both time frames. Though, several of those times, it jumps back and forth from 1956 to 1957 and then back to 1956 and then forward to 2001. A bit confusing at first but that too irons itself out and makes sense the more you read.

Who would I recommend this to:
If you love YA science fiction, timetraveling, and even some history added in for fun, this book is for you. Like, for serious, if you have any way to read an eBook, go to Amazon right now and pick this book up for 99 cents. It is so easily worth the price of admission and then some. I will most certainly be continuing this series. Especially since the 2nd book has to deal with dinosaurs. Another instant winner! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Jenny Reviews Tiger's Curse

Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1)Tiger's Curse
By Colleen Houck
Release Date: 2011
Publisher: Splinter
Hardback, 403 pages (purchased)

What the inside flap has to say...

Passion. Fate. Loyalty. 
Would you risk is all to change your destiny?

The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she'd be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world.

But that's exactly what happened.

Face-to-face with dark forces, spell-binding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.

Tiger's Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more. 

First off, isn't that cover pretty? Really that picture up above doesn't do it justice. it's even better up close and in person. Between the colors, intricate designs and the pink nose and brilliant blue eyes of the tiger it's not hard to see why this book has a permanent place on my shelf for the cover alone. But we all know it's the story that really matters here and just like the cover, its wonderful.

I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this book. I kept passing it up telling myself I would get to it eventually. Pft. I should have picked it up sooner. After reading the first couple pages of chapter one and seeing that our girl Kelsey here gets to work at a circus I was sold though. A circus, you guys! How fun is that?

Colleen Houck does such a wonderful job in describing the setting from the jungles and temples in India to the roadside stops that I had no trouble getting immersed in the every time I picked up the book. I very much enjoyed the Indiana Jones moments. The characters are so well developed that I had no problem connecting with them. I absolutely adore Kelsey's relationship with Ren, the tiger and the man. They have banter! I love banter. And Ren has that cute old school charm going for him, the ask first before kissing kind.
Though, I did have a slight issue in the beginning with dear Kelsey. She had a habit of getting on my nerves. She was a little too .... responsible? No... thoughtful? Ugh, my brain is failing me and I can't think of the right word. Let me put it this way, if a guy offers you a round-trip to India with ALL expenses paid plus a large chunk of change as payment when you return home, do you calmly reply "wow, that's a great offer. Let me think about it?" (Not an exact quote).  No! You yell "Heck yes!" *fistpump* and then compose yourself and weigh the pros and cons.
Note: I may or may not have yelled this same complaint while in a car full family members while driving through the Carolina mountains during our camping trip. And they may or may not have simply stared at me like I was crazy and went back to what they were doing. Not one of them sharing my feelings.

All  in all, it's a really good book and I can't wait to jump back into the series. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for something just a little different. Don't let the first short chunk of the book fool you, it gets really good.

An extra bit:
Some books have quotes that just stand out while you're reading and stick with you long after you're done. Not every book you read has one and there isn't always a reason why a particular quote stands out. This was one of those books for me. So I shall share . . .

He shifted, lying down again. "Now, turn around and go to sleep. I'm warning you that I plan to sleep with you in my arms all night long. Who knows when, or if, I'll ever get to do it again. So try to relax, and for heaven's sake, don't wiggle!"  (page 309)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Nick reviews Dust & Decay

Dust & Decay
by Jonathan Maberry
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: August 30th 2011
Edition: Hardcover 519 pages (purchased)

What the inside flap says...

      Benny Imura and Nix Riley can't forget the jet they saw fly over the zombie-infest mountains of the Rot and Ruin. The jet meant leaving, something that Nix and Benny were going to do. Now--after months of rigorous training with Tom, Benny's zombie-hunter brother--Benny, Nix, Lilah the Lost Girl, and Chong are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future.
       But from the start, everything goes wrong. They are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, and insane murderers, and are faced with the horrors of a rebuilt Gameland, where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in zombie pits. Worst of all... could the evil Charlie Pink-eye still be alive? 

It's certainly very tough to beat out a book like Rot & Ruin. It was an amazing zombie story and in my eyes, it could not be touched by anyone else in the YA Zombie genre. So, when I picked up Dust & Decay, the 2nd book in the series, I was expecting a lot more of the same great story that Jonathan Maberry created in the first book. Man, was I wrong. This book was even better. I will go as far as to say Jonathan Maberry is the Bob Ross of the YA zombie genre. Yes, he has painted that darn good of a zombie apocalypse. The characters are just as great if not better than they were in Rot & Ruin. Benny has done a lot of growing up and he is a bit more enjoyable to read about and not as "snot-nosed" whiny. One of my favorite parts about this book is that they include even more of the "Bounty Hunters" that exist in the Rot & Ruin. Good and bad, it's nice to see more of them around this time. Another great part about this one is that there is a lot more of the silly "Children of Lazarus" religion going on and it makes up for some quite interesting theories. Oh yeah and the ending. Just WOW.

I could sit here for 30 mins again and try to think of something negative to say about this book but I just can't. Oh wait! I know! It ended. There is my dislike.

Who would I recommend this to:
Everyone. Seriously, despite it being a zombie book, it is just that good. It's more than just any zombie book. There are a lot of good things going on in this book that opens your eyes a bit about humanity and how evil people can be. It's not one of those "Zombie killing" books that are so everywhere and run-of-the-mill. This book is truly unique and is just a wonderful book to read.