Silver and Stone (The Bloodlines Series #1) by J.D. Thompson

Title: Silver and Stone
Author: J.D. Thompson
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: August 3rd, 2001
Other Titles in Series: Blood and Champagne (to be released)

Rating:
Characters: 17/20
Plot: 17/20
Originality: 18/20
Writing: 18/20
Recommendation: 18/20
Overall: 88/100 or B+
Source: Review copy provided by author

Synopsis: Welcome to high school high society hell, where last season’s slingbacks can warrant a lunch table demotion, the wrong date will knock you off the it-list and behind every pair of oversized Chanel sunglasses lies a secret people are dying to keep.

As if senior year at Weatherford Preparatory School wasn’t hard enough, sixteen year old Alexis Bardolph had to add school outcast to the curriculum.

A new found notoriety following a family scandal, her lacrosse star boy-friend dumping her for a former BFF and a string of perpetually bad hair days were among the many things going wrong in her already turbulent teenage life.

But when the haunting nightmares that have plagued her since childhood begin to take an eerily tangible form and several Holler Creek residents are reported missing, Alexis can’t help but wonder if there isn’t more to her hellish dreams than meets the eye.

The unexpected arrival of a mysterious and dangerously handsome new student ultimately leads Alexis to troubling truths that not even her wildest imagination could have conjured.

Review: I was greatly excited when J.D. Thompson requested I review her newly released YA. Paranormal romance is not a genre I generally read, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. Silver and Stone is an absolute fun book to read, worthy of being praised alongside the best of young-adult fiction. I finished it in less than a day, and surprisingly found it to my liking. The flow of the plot from one moment to the next was superb, and the chapters were divided excellently. You would be hard-pressed to experience boredom while enveloping yourself in this fascinating story.

Of course, without in-depth characters a plot would get nowhere. Luckily, J.D. Thompson’s novel seems to be in plentiful abundance of such personae. She cleverly works strands of dialogue to bring the most out of her characters and is most adept at describing the emotions they feel while interacting with their environment. Thompson is definitely an author that knows what she’s doing.

Overall, I recommend the beginning of The Bloodlines series to the majority of paranormal romance lovers. This spectacular debut is dark, shocking, and provokingly hot!

http://jdthompson.blog.com/

Thompson, J.D. (2011) Silver and Stone.     

The Sorceress: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

Title: The Sorceress
Author: Michael Scott
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: May 26, 2009
Other Titles in Series: The Alchemist (#1), The Magician (#2), The Necromancer (#4), The Warlock (#5)

Rating:
Characters: 18/20
Plot: 18/20
Originality: 18/20
Writing: 18/20
Recommendation: 19/20
Overall: 91/100 or A-
Source: Library

Synopsis: Paris: Dr John Dee has torn the city apart in every attempt to intercept the immortal Nicholas Flamel ans Sophie and Josh Newman. Paris’s streets are in ruins, Notre Dame destroyed, the Comte de Saint-Germain’s home leveled. Dee has the book of Abraham the Mage, but he’s still missing the two pages the Dark Elders need for the Final Summoning. Without them the spell cannot be cast, and Dee is well aware that the Dark Elders will not rest until they are in power and the human race is destroyed–or he is.

London: Nicholas Flamel’s heart almost broke as he watched his beloved Paris crumble before him. The city was demolished by Dee and Machiavelli, but Flamel played his own role in the destruction. Sophie and Josh Newman show every sign of being the twins of legend, and Flamel had to protect them and the pages from the Dark Elders.
But Nicholas grows weaker with each passing day. Perenelle is still trapped on Alcatraz, and now that Scatty has gone missing, the group is without protection. Except for Clarent–the twin sword of Excalibur. But Clarent’s power is unthinkable, its evil making it nearly impossible to use without its darkness seeping into the soul of whoever wields it.
If he hopes to defeat Dee, Nicholas must find someone who can teach Josh and Sophie the third elemental magic–Water Magic. The problem? The only being who can do that is Gilgamesh, and he is quite, quite insane.

Review: Michael Scott’s knack for bringing readers plenty of action and adventure has not dimmed in the slightest. The third installment of this exciting series is an enjoyable read for those who prefer fast-paced plots. Books such as these will leave an imprint on the reader, making their thirst for more of the series nearly insatiable. For the lovers of mythology and magic, I highly recommend it.

The characters were, once again, solid and fascinating to read about. The continuation of the previously introduced character’s adventures was satisfying, although Michael’ influx of new personae is what I enjoy most about the series. His creativity is undiminished.

Overall, The Sorceress is a great installment to the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series. It could be recommended to almost anybody who enjoys a deceptively juvenile and in-depth plot. Readers who have been fans of the series since the beginning will love to indulge upon this book and satisfy the always hungry literary monster which resides in us all.

http://www.dillonscott.com/

Scott, Michael. (2009). The Sorceress. New York: Random House.  

Eldest (Inheritance Cycle #2) by Christopher Paolini

Title: Eldest
Author: Christopher Paolini
Publisher: Alfred Knopf
Release Date: August 23, 2005 
Other Titles in Series: Eragon (#1), Brisingr (#3), Inheritence (#4)

Rating:
Characters: 20/20
Plot: 20/20
Originality: 20/20
Writing: 19/20
Recommendation: 20/20
Overall: 99/100 or A+ 
Source: Borrowed from friend (Eddy)

Synopsis: Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesméra, land of the elves, for further training in magic and swordsmanship, vital skills for a Dragon Rider. It is the journey of a lifetime, filled with awe-inspiring new places and people, each day a fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and Eragon doesn’t know whom he can trust. Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle back home in Carvahall – one that puts Eragon in even graver danger… 

Review: The Inheritance Cycle is a series I am an undoubted fan of. Christopher Paolini’s debut, Eragon, was one of the best fantasies I’ve ever read, and it completely enthralled me. Only the lasting charm of a very good book can lead me to praising it so highly. Eldest was loaned to me by a dear friend, as was Eragon, and I can not effectively express the gratitude I have for him. If you are reading this Eddy, I thank you enormously.

When beginning Eldest, my heart immediately recognized the unique writing style of Christopher Paolini and practically melted. This is an adequate expression of how much I adore this series. Paolini has effectively mastered the molding of an in-depth plot, powerful characters, and inspired writing into a beautiful novel. He is one of the great inkweavers of the modern literary world.

The second installment of the Inheritance Cycle was a beautiful continuation of the series. Paolini worked his magic yet again in providing us readers with another succulent plot and a fresh batch of characters. Readers will traverse a written path, enamored by the extraordinary adventures of Eragon the dragon rider, and his companion Saphira. Eldest is truly an epic read for lovers of the fantasy genre.

So, if you ever have the chance to read Eragon, don’t hesitate to snatch the book and begin right away. When it comes to a great novel such as this, stealing and resorting to hedonistic greed is perfectly acceptable. Just joking! Only steal from your not-so close friends. 😉

http://www.alagaesia.com/

Paolini, Christopher. (2005). Eldest. United States: Alfred A. Knopf.

The Magician: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

Title: The Magician
Author: Michael Scott
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: May 26, 2008
Other Titles in series: The Alchemist (#1), The Sorceress (#3), The Necromancer (#4), The Warlock (#5)

Rating:
Characters: 18/20
Plot: 18/20
Originality: 18/20
Writing: 18/20
Recommendation: 19/20
Overall: 91/100 or A-
Source: Library

Synopsis: After fleeing Ojai, Nicholas, Sophie, Josh, and Scatty emerge in Paris, the City of Lights. Home for Nicholas Flamel. Only this homecoming is anything but sweet. Perenelle is still locked up back in Alcatraz and Paris is teeming with enemies. Niccolo Machiavelli, immortal author and celebrated art collector, is working for Dee. He’s after them, and time is running out for Nicholas and Perenelle. For every day spent without the Book of Abraham the Mage, they age one year-their magic becoming weaker and their bodies more frail. For Flamel, the Prophecy is becoming more and more clear. It’s time for Sophie to learn the second elemental magic: Fire Magic. And there’s only one man who can teach it to her: Flamel’s old student, the Comte de Saint-Germain-alchemist, magician, and rock star. Josh and Sophie Newman are the world’s only hope-if they don’t turn on each other first.

Review: The first installment left me pretty eager for the second. I enjoyed the fast-paced plot and action packed adventures. When I finally got my hands on The Magician, I thought, “how could a book get any more exciting?” The second book of Michael Scott’s fantastic fantasy is just as adrenaline pumping and fast-paced as the first, possibly even more so. It is a great read that I recommend to anyone who enjoys magic, conflict, and unimaginable adventures.

The characters were fairly solid, like the previous book, but with an extra infusion of genius on Micheal Scott’s  behalf, when he created Niccolo Machiavelli. A truly cunning character, Machiavelli takes the spotlight of the book in my opinion. His many aspects are masterfully welded together into one of the most fascinating personalities I have ever encountered before in a book. Truly, a job well-done. 😉

Overall, I could recommend this book to just about anybody. The younger crowd would be greatly appealed to the fast-paced, action-packed plot, while the older readers would be enamored my the many mythological references Scott includes. A very well rounded read in my opinion.

http://www.dillonscott.com/ 

Scott, Michael. (2008). The Magician. New York: Random House.  

Eona by Alison Goodman

Title: Eona
Author: Alison Goodman
Publisher: Viking Juvinile
Release Date: April 19, 2011
Other Titles in series: Eon

Rating:
Characters: 20/20
Plot: 20/20
Originality: 20/20
Writing: 19/20
Recommendation: 19/20
Overall: 98/100 or A+
Source: Library

Synopsis: Where there is power, there is betrayal…
Once she was Eon, a girl disguised as a boy, risking her life for the chance to become Dragoneye apprentice. Now she is Eona, the Mirror Dragoneye, her country’s savior–but she has an even more dangerous secret. She cannot control her power.

Each time she tries to bond with her Mirror Dragon, she becomes a conduit for the ten spirit dragons whose Dragoneyes were murdered by Lord Ido. Their anguish floods through her, twisting her ability into a killing force, destroying the land and it’s people. And another force of destruction is on her trail.

Along with Ryko and Lady Dela, Eona is on the run from High Lord Sethon’s army. The renegades must find Kygo, the young Pearl Emperor, who needs Eona’s power if he is to wrest back his throne from Sethon. But if Eona is to help Kygo, she must drive a dark bargain with an old enemy that could obliterate them all.

Review: The sequel to Eona is a true beauty, a gem in the world of YA literature. I enjoyed the first book, Eon, greatly, but this was even better. Alison Goodman continues this fascinating story with unwavering talent and passion. The characters were as rich as ever, and the plot couldn’t get any thicker. Alison’s writing is crisply refreshing compared to many of the other titles she shares the genre with. I must commend her for that.

While indulging upon these savory words, I realized that Eona affected me like no book has in a long time. I absolutely couldn’t set it down. I was completely enthralled while reading and often couldn’t look away when someone tried to get my attention. This is a remarkable feat because I often can’t find a book so capturing. It is truly phenomenal.

Overall, I believe the series ended excellently. Alison Goodman infused the climax with much action and plenty of excitement. I have to admit that just thinking about it heightens my enthusiasm. I am such a book geek, am I not? 😉 A bibliophile, I guess. Anyway, I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a powerful plot, strong emotions, and conflicted romance.

http://www.alisongoodman.com.au/ 

Goodman, Jeanne. (2011) Eona. USA and Australia: Viking

Read my reviews of other books in the series:

 

The Diamond of Darkhold (Ember #4) by Jeanne DuPrau

Rating
Characters: 18/20
Plot: 19/20
Originality: 19/20
Writing: 19/19
Reccomendation: 20/20
Overall: 95/100 or A
Source: Borrowed from Grandma :)


Summary: It’s been several months since Lina and Doon escaped the dying city of Ember and, along with the rest of their people, joined the town of Sparks. Lina knows they are lucky to be there, but life aboveground is hard. Instead of opening a can for dinner, they must plant and harvest their food. And while there was no sun or moon in Ember’s sky, neither was there rain, sleet, or wind. Now, in the middle of their first winter, Lina finds herself feeling homesickfor her old city


It’s during this dark time that Doon finds an unusual book. Torn up and missing most of its pages, it alludes to a mysterious device, a piece of technology from before the Disaster. Doon becomes convinced that the Builders of Ember meant for them to find the device when they left the city, to help them in their new lives. Together, Lina and Doon must go back underground to retrieve what was lost and bring light to a dark world.


In the fourth Book of Ember, bestselling author Jeanne DePrau juxtaposes yet another action-packed adventure with powerful themes of hope, learning, and the search for truth.

Review: The Diamond of Darkhold is the fourth and last installment of the spectacular “Books of Ember” series. It was an absolute thrill to read and I enjoyed watching it come to a formidable end.

When Doon and Lina led the people of Ember out of their dying underground city and into the world above, everything was different and strange. A few months have passed since then, and the people of Ember are living in the small village of Sparks. Life in this new world is difficult, especially when facing the hardships of the Emberite’s first winter. Harsh weather and quickly depleting food and medical supplies make some Emberites think back to their easier life in Ember. Valuable supplies were left behind in Ember during the final rush to evacuate the city before the once-great generator finally gave out. If these supplies could be retrieved, it could make all the difference for life in Sparks.

In the story, Doon and Lina discover an ancient book written by the Builders of Ember. The unusual book is nearly destroyed, but it hints at an advanced device that the Builders might have left behind for the Emberites. This device was built to help make life for the citizens of Ember above ground easier. Together, Lina and Doon return to the abandoned city of Ember to find this device from the Builders. But Ember is a different city now, and is definitely not what they expect.

“The Diamond of Darkhold” is another great book from Jeanne DuPrau. The plot is immaculate, with plenty of great details and fresh new looks at areas of Ember that readers didn’t get to see before. With each new Book of Ember DuPrau shares just a little more information about the grand plot and intricate workings behind the history of Ember. I highly recommend “The Diamond of Darkhold” and the entire “Books of Ember” series to anyone who not just loves a fantastic adventure, but also a story with great moral inclinations.

http://www.jeanneduprau.com/index.shtml

DuPrau, Jeanne. (2008). The Diamond of Darkhold. New York: Yearling.

Read my reviews of the other Books of Ember:

     

The Prophet of Yonwood (Ember #3) by Jeanne DuPrau

Rating:
Characters: 19/20
Plot: 20/20
Originality: 19/20
Writing: 18/20
Reccomendation: 20/20
Overall: 96/100 or A
Source: Borrowed from Grandma :)


Summary: War looms on the horizon as eleven-year-old Nickie and her aunt travel to the small town of Yonwood, North Carolina. There, one of the town’s respected citizens has had a terrible vision of fire and destruction. As the people of Yonwood scramble to make sense of the woman’s mysterious utterances, Nickie explores the oddities she finds around town, while keeping an eye out for ways to help the world. Is this vision her chance? Or is it already too late to avoid a devastating war?

In this prequel to the acclaimed The City of Ember and The People of Sparks, Jeanne DuPrau investigates how, in a world that seems out of control, hope and comfort can be found in the strangest of places.

Review: I have been a fan of the Books of Ember series ever since I opened Jeanne Duprau ‘s debut for the first time. But after reading the third installment, The Prophet of Yonwood, for the second, I truly understand the wisdom she was trying to impart through her books. To understand what I am trying to say, I guess you would have to read it for yourself. I wouldn’t want to give any spoilers away. 😉 The prequel to The City of Ember is a truly great read. Besides describing the adventures of a young girl named Nickie, The Prophet of Yonwood has several pretty great moral statements.

The setting of the story is present-day (maybe a few decades into the future) in Yonwood, North Carolina, a small town in the United States. The book begins with a respected citizen of Yonwood, Althea Tower, having an apocalyptic vision, in which she envisions a future filled with explosions, fire, and violence. Althea Tower is named a Prophet by the town members, and the residents of Yonwood are struck by terror at the face of such a bleak future (especially with their country on the brink of a war). Yonwood tries to better itself in the name of God so that they may be spared this prophesied future. A few months later, Nickie, the protagonist of the story, and her aunt, Crystal, arrive in Yonwood planning to sell Nickie’s great-grandfather’s house, named Greenhaven. The story tells of how Nickie attempts to accomplish 3 inner goals, and of how she and Yonwood react to each other.

Many of the themes in Jeanne DuPrau’s earlier books are also present in The Prophet of Yonwood, with a few new additions as well. The characters and plot are excellently built. All the characters are believable and quirky and the plot is easy to follow and is very interesting.

In addition to delivering a fantastic story, Jeanne DuPrau has also presented quite a few moral themes in The Prophet of Yonwood. Throughout the book, she offers themes such as utopias, choice of trusts and sacrifice, true love, and life in general. Although she addresses many deep and philosophical topics, she does not disrupt the easy flow of the book. Adults and children both can enjoy this great read. I certainly did. :)

http://www.jeanneduprau.com/index.shtml

DuPrau, Jeanne. (2006). The Prophet of Yonwood. New York: Yearling.

The People of Sparks (Ember #2) by Jeanne DuPrau

Rating:
Characters: 18/20
Plot: 20/20
Originality: 19/20
Writing: 18/20
Recommendation: 20/20
Overall: 95/100 or A
Source: Borrowed from Grandma :)


Summary: When Lina and Doon lead their people up from the underground city of Ember, they discover a surface world of color and life. The people of a small village called Sparks agree to help the Emberites, but the villagers have never had to share their world before. Soon differences between the two groups escalate, and it’s up to Lina and Doon to find a way to avoid war!
In the riveting sequel to the highly acclaimed The City of Ember, Jeanne DuPrau explores the nature of conflict and the strength and courage necessary to overcome it.

Review: The second installment of The Books of Ember series is a spectacular sequel to the first! I was completely hyped-up as I read it for the first time, but the second was even better. DuPrau adventures further into the realm of morals, leaving a satisfied reader with another clear message: War can bring nothing good and as easy as it is to achieve, it is hard to escape. I am absolutely fond of this book, zealous even. The People of Sparks is not just an awesome adventure, but a thought-provoking and fascinating novel too. It was mindfully written and should appeal to adults as well as kids.

When the people of Ember surfaced from their dying city at last, they were introduced to an entirely different world. Instead of the familiar darkness and electric lights of their underground home, they were faced with an abundance of color, nearly painful heat, and light that came from the sky. The people of Ember were welcomed to this new and terrifying world by a small village called Sparks. The people of Sparks invite the Emberites into their homes and even feed them in return for hard work. Together, the two groups of people are forced to work together to survive in the world, nearly driving themselves to the brink of war in the process.

While reading this spectacular series, I noticed a connection between the names of the two cities in the first and second book, Ember and Sparks. I believe the author was quite clever in devising these names. In the series, the city of Ember is a dying city, hence the name Ember. The Village of Sparks is only a beginning, destined to grow and prosper, almost like the spark of a fire soon to come. See the connection? 😉

Anyway, The People of Sparks is a fabulous read for those who are familiar The City of Ember. I recommend it to anyone who likes a good adventure, coupled with a strong moral.

http://www.jeanneduprau.com/index.shtml

DuPrau, Jeanne. (2004). The People of Sparks. New York: Yearling.

The City of Ember (Ember #1) by Jeanne DuPrau

Rating:
Characters: 18/20
Plot: 20/20
Originality: 19/20
Writing: 18/20
Recommendation: 20/20
Overall: 95/100 or A
Source: Borrowed from Mom :)


Summary: Lina Mayfleet desperately wants to be a messenger. Instead, she draws the dreaded job of Pipeworks laborer, which means she’ll be working in damp tunnels deep underground.


Doon Harrow draws messenger–and asks Lina to trade! Doon wants to be underground. That’s where the generator is, and Doon has ideas about how to fix it. For as long as anyone can remember, the great lights of Ember have kept the endless darkness at bay. But now the lights are beginning to flicker. . . .

Review: Jeanne DuPrau’s debut was absolutely exciting. She has concocted a great plot and a strong message for readers of this fantastic novel. Her writing was clear and refreshing, and her characters were wonderfully original. I enjoyed this book quite a bit and was left craving the next in the series. The cliffhanger ending was stunning.

The City of Ember was essentially built as a giant fallout shelter. Once, many years ago, the world underwent a dramatic disaster, presumably a war. The Builders who constructed Ember believed that the entire human populace would be wiped out during this catastrophe, and decided to construct a way to preserve some portion of humanity. So the City of Ember was constructed, a settlement buried deep underground in a giant cave, where hopefully it would survive the after-effects of a cataclysmic war.

Ember was supplied by the Builders with a massive hydro-electric generator that was capable of powering the entire city with lights, running water, and other conveniences. An abundance of canned food and other goods filled the impressive storerooms beneath the city, where it seemed it would never be depleted. The Emberites could live there almost forever. . . . Until their food begins to run out or the lights start to flicker.

Overall, the entire book was enthralling. From the very beginning, the novel had me captured. It is a very quick read, in part due to it’s size and also because you can’t put it down until you are finished. Besides an exciting and fast-paced adventure, The City of Ember also has a very clear and powerful moral: Greed can only ever harm yourself and others. This is a fantastic read for kids and adults alike.

http://www.jeanneduprau.com/index.shtml

DuPrau, Jeanne. (2003). The City of Ember. New York: Yearling.

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

Rating:
Characters: 17/20
Plot: 18/20
Originality: 18/20
Writing: 18/20
Recomendaton: 19/20
Overall: 90/100 or A-
Source: Library


Summary- The truth: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. Nearly seven hundred years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life.
The records show that he died in 1418.
But his tomb is empty.


The legend: Nicholas Flamel lives. But only because he has been making the elixir of life for centuries. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects–the Book of Abraham the Mage. It’s the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world.


That’s exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Humankind won’t know what’s happening until it’s too late. And if the prophecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the nly ones with the power to save the world as we know it.


Sometimes legends are true.
And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.

Review- This was a pretty decent read that left me eager for the next in the series. The legend of Nicholas Flamel always interested me and Michael Scott’s book helped satisfy my curiosity, even though it is a work of fiction. 😉 Out of all of the Alchemyst’s aspects, I believe I enjoyed the plot above the rest. It was fast-paced, full of action, and not something I read VERY often. I could tell it would be better suited for a slightly younger audience than myself, but I still enjoyed the book greatily.

The accuracy of the many historical references in the story was astonishing. Michael Scott sure knows how to research. All but two characters, the protagonists, were true individuals or mythical figures. That is quite a feat considering the vast amount amount of characters.

The Alchemyst is the first of a moderately sized seriess of six novels. I’m sure each is as good as the first or better. I look forward to to familiarizing myself with more of Micheal Scott’s work and perhaps having the honor of writing a few reviews. 😉

http://www.dillonscott.com/