Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Brightly Woven
By: Alexandra Bracken

This book was read and reviewed as a part of the 2010 Debut Author Challenge hosted by the Story Siren

The Story Siren

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Sydelle Mirabil is living proof that, with a single drop of rain, a life can be changed forever. Tucked away in the farthest reaches of the kingdom, her dusty village has suffered under the weight of a strangely persistent drought. That is, of course, until a wizard wanders into town and brings the rain with him.

In return for this gift, Wayland North is offered any reward he desires—and no one is more surprised than Sydelle when, without any explanation, he chooses her. Taken from her home, Sydelle hardly needs encouragement to find reasons to dislike North. He drinks too much and bathes too little, and if that isn’t enough to drive her to madness, North rarely even uses the magic he takes such pride in possessing. Yet, it’s not long before she realizes there’s something strange about the wizard, who is as fiercely protective of her as he is secretive about a curse that turns his limbs a sinister shade of black and leaves him breathless with agony. Unfortunately, there is never a chance for her to seek answers.

Along with the strangely powerful quakes and storms that trace their path across the kingdom, other wizards begin to take an inexplicable interest in her as well, resulting in a series of deadly duels. Against a backdrop of war and uncertainty, Sydelle is faced with the growing awareness that these events aren’t as random as she had believed—that no curse, not even that of Wayland North, is quite as terrible as the one she herself may carry.

My Review: I was really intrigued by the synopsis of this book and I was so excited when I got a copy of this book in the mail from Egmont. First of all, the cover is gorgeous, don't you think?
But, beyond the beautiful cover, this was a fantastic book! My favorite books are the ones that have deep characters and complex relationships. This book had plenty of both. Sydelle was a wonderful heroine. She was compassionate, but always stood her ground with North when necessary. It was really refreshing to read the different ways that she was able to get herself and others out of trouble.

North was fascinating. In many fantasy books I've read, wizards are almost invincible and infinitely wise. That was not the case in this book. North's character flaws were glaring, but not so much that he was a despicable person. Despite his shortcomings, it's obvious that he's a caring person and really tries to do the right thing.

The one complaint I had about this book is that there wasn't enough of Henry or her family from back home. I would have liked to have seen a little more interaction and a pull from home keeping Sydelle conflicted.

Overall, this was a wonderful fantasy book by a very promising debut author. I am really excited to read more of her work in the future. This book was released today, March 23, and it's definitely worth buying/checking out.

Book-A-Likes: Howl's Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones (Wizard with a temper); Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George (Weaving and sewing talented heroine)


I gave this book a hearty 5 stars!
Profanity: None
Drugs and Alcohol: Mild; North doesn't have a lot of control when it comes to alcohol
Sexuality: None
Violence: Moderate; Some of the fighting descriptions were a little graphic

Acknowledgement: I was sent a copy of Brightly Woven to review by Egmont USA. I was not compensated for this post, and all opinions are my own

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Okay, I'm just going to say it...I've been becoming a wee bit tired of "my boyfriend is SOOO dangerous he wants to kill me, but I love him anyway..." and tired of wimpy female protagonists. Which is why I was hesitant to pick up Shiver by Maggie Steifvater. Before I tell you what I thought of the book, I'll tell you more about it:

From Publisher's Weekly: For years, Grace has been fascinated by the yellow-eyed wolf that saved her from its pack when she was a child. Sam, bitten by a wolf as a boy, is that wolf. Long obsessed with each other at a distance, they finally meet after a wolf hunt (inspired by the apparent death of a local teen) sends a wounded and temporarily human Sam into Grace's arms. Their young love is facilitated by Grace's hands-off parents (“Once upon a time, I would've leaped at the rare opportunity of curling up with Mom on the couch. But now, it sort of felt like too little, too late,” Grace muses), but threatened by two linked crises: the fact that Sam will soon lose the ability to become human and the instability of a new lycanthrope.

My review: I loved this book. LOVED IT! I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful, fresh descriptions, and the honest-to-goodness good writing. I loved that Grace knew who she was and what she wanted, and wasn't afraid to be strong. I loved that even though Sam was a wolf, he had a very tender side. As for the "werewolf factor" I was so relieved that it wasn't werewolves-as-superheroes. It was a very realistic take on what turning into a wolf would mean to a human, and what sacrifices it would require. If I had to think of things to complain about, only one comes to mind. There were times when the plot lagged ever so slightly, and I wished it would move a bit faster. But overall, THIS ONE IS WORTH BUYING. (And I don't say that lightly!)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Profanity: Mild
Drugs and Alcohol: None
Sexuality: Mature but tastefully alluded to
Violence: Some, but surprisingly tame for the subject matter
Book-a-likes: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (both are beautifully written) and The Dark Divine, which is also has a main character named Grace who falls for a werewolf.


Monday, March 8, 2010

House of the Scorpion

Synopsis: Matteo Alacrán was not born; he was harvested. His DNA came from El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium — a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico. Matt's first cell split and divided inside a petri dish. Then he was placed in the womb of a cow, where he continued the miraculous journey from embryo to fetus to baby. He is a boy now, but most consider him a monster — except for El Patrón. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself, because Matt is himself.

As Matt struggles to understand his existence, he is threatened by a sinister cast of characters, including El Patrón's power-hungry family, and he is surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards. Escape is the only chance Matt has to survive. But escape from the Alacran Estate is no guarantee of freedom, because Matt is marked by his difference in ways he doesn't even suspect.

Review: I really liked the book, it was the type that you just can't put down till you get to the end. I really liked the story because it does not follow any of the classic forms of stories, it is not predictable in any way. I found it at the library and decided to read it because of all the medals on the cover; anything with that many awards has to be good to read.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5
Profanity: Yes, in Spanish
Drugs and Alcohol: LOTS! the story takes place on an Opium farm.
Sexual content: Mild
Violence: Plenty

Monday, March 1, 2010

In Our Mailbox

In My Mailbox Monday was started by Kristi at The Story Siren.

This week we were so excited to get some swag from Kimberly Derting promoting her upcoming book The Body Finder. Kimberly was kind enough to send enough stuff for all the Literati, plus a little extra that we are currently figuring out the best/most fun way to distribute.
Our awesome swag from Kimberly Derting
Kimberly sent us posters, bags, stickers and bookmarks. The bookmarks and posters were signed, which was AWESOME! We are still awaiting word from HarperCollins to see if we get an ARC to review. We've got our fingers crossed that we'll get the book. If not, we'll definitely be picking it up as soon as it's available on March 16. How awesome is the synopsis of this book?
A serial killer on the loose. A girl with a morbid ability. And the boy who would never let anything happen to her.

Violet Ambrose can find the dead. Or at least, those who have been murdered. She can sense the echoes they leave behind... and the imprints they leave on their killers. As if that weren't enough to deal with during junior year, she also has a sudden, inexplicable, and consuming crush on her best friend since childhood, Jay Heaton.

Now a serial killer has begun terrorizing Violet's small town... and she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Chilling, right? Thanks again to Kimberly for the awesome stuff. We're so excited to help her promote her debut novel. Be looking for a review from us soon!

If you are an author or publisher looking for a group of awesome teens to help promote your book, get in touch with us at literati.read@gmail.com