December 2014 Book Reviews

FROSTFIRE

Amanda Hocking

5 stars

I’m a huge fan of Amanda Hocking’s books, the Trylle in particular, so I couldn’t wait to read this. Set in a world within our own that you can’t help but crave to be a part of, revisiting the troll tribes is such a treat for readers. I am SO glad the author brought us back into this fascinating world. 

Bryn Aven doesn’t feel like she belongs in the Kanin tribe, being half Skojare. Her heritage puts her at a disadvantage, but Bryn works twice as hard for what she wants — to be a top-ranking tracker and eventually join the elite guard charged with protecting the city. She’s focused and determined, and shows little weakness. Then Bryn comes up against someone who haunts her past, and she begins to fall for her boss. Though Bryn fights against her personal feelings, remaining true to her ultimate goal of protecting the kingdom at whatever cost, there’s only so far she can push herself, and things start to get complicated.

A story of royalty, secrets, betrayal, and forbidden love, Frostfire is an incredible start to what I imagine to be another popular series. The Trylle blew me away, Watersong was utterly enchanting, and the Kanin Chronicles promises to be just as spectacular. I loved getting a look at how another tribe lives, with new characters to love and cameo appearances from Trylle favourites. The Kanin series is set four years after the Trylle books, so readers will likely appreciate this more having read the Trylle trilogy beforehand, but it is not necessary to have done so before reading Frostfire.

Amanda Hocking’s work is always perfect for me. Completely gripping, read with ease, flows flawlessly from start to finish. I need some kind of bonus star because five doesn’t seem enough. I already love this series and I can’t wait to find out more.

ENSNARED

A.G. Howard

Another mad adventure for Alyssa, Jeb, and Morpheus. This time in AnyElsewhere, with Alyssa on a quest to save the boy her human side loves and the one her netherling side craves from a realm of torment and danger, to defeat Red, and to save Wonderland at the same time as keeping everyone she cares for safe and happy. Sounds easy, right? Nope! AnyElsewhere dials up the madness with an array of creepy critters and mutated Wonderland rejects. Previously, we’ve seen Alyssa try to detach herself from Wonderland and that side of herself, but when she allows her madness to creep in, anything seems possible. Alyssa’s strength really shines in this dark world and I loved every step of the journey alongside her.

Chaotically beautiful, and rich with vivid descriptions, the pages burst with magic and wonder. The shaping of the world is breathtaking, and the imagining of the inhabitants of this twisted place is done brilliantly. This story had me under its spell from page one. ENSNARED is a terrific (and satisfying) conclusion to an amazing series. I’m going to miss A.G. Howard’s wicked Wonderland. Team Morpheus forever!

 

CAN’T LOOK AWAY

Donna Cooner

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, as I don’t read a lot of contemporary, and I’m not a follower of beauty and fashion vlogs or anything like that, but I’d seen a lot of positive feedback and, from past experience, pushing myself out of my comfort zone with reading can really pay off. So I picked it up, and I absolutely LOVED it.

Torrey Grey has a YouTube channel. She is BeautyStarz15. She films hauls and makeup tutorials, gives fashion advice and tips. She has hundreds of thousands of subscribers. When she takes her younger sister along to the mall to meet her best friend and film outside a store, she ends up arguing with her sister when she refuses to hold the camera for them.

Her sister leaves and is killed in an accident. Torrey blames herself – if they’d only stayed home, if they hadn’t argued, what then…

Torrey suffers personally and publicly, and the journey of her struggle was handled so well. Her family moves, she starts a new school, meets new friends, and a boy who works at the funeral home. I loved The Day of the Dead and Luis’s grandmother, sugar skulls and Halloween parties. There was always so much going on, so much for Torrey to deal with. The story knitted together perfectly.

Real and relatable. I’d love to go back in time ten years and give this to fifteen-year-old me. Even without the vlog and the subscribers and social media, my teenage self definitely connected with Torrey. And, on some level, my adult self too. I felt like I “got” the book. I agreed with it and believed in it. And I kept on thinking about it well after the last page. I was itching to pick this up whenever I put it down. It really was excellent.

ALSO READ THIS MONTH:

Half Bad by Sally Green

Darkness Hidden by Zoë Marriott

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins

The Queen of Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter 5 stars