Saturday, December 18, 2010

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Entice (Need, #3) by Carrie Jones

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (December 14, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1599905531
ISBN-13: 978-1599905532

Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. But that's not quite how things have worked out.

For starters, well, Nick is dead. Supposedly, he's been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it's taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla?

And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there's that other small problem: Zara's been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn't just turned. She's Astley's queen.
 
Review:

Coming to terms with her new self is not something Zara is quite ready for, something that is shown repeatedly as she looks to her friends for comfort and reassurance. Being a pixie does have it's perks, she can't deny herself that. But after finding her friends time after time questioning her judgement and her sense of self, Zara still has her doubts as to if the transformation was the right answer after all. Entice has a dual duty when the theme is put into question: to save Nick--determination, and for Zara to blend being a pixie queen with her everyday life--acceptance. There's also a bigger power at work in her small town that must be dealt with in order to bring back Nick, their ultimate warrior against the ensuing battle. Will Zara succeed with Astley's help to find Nick in the mystical Valhalla? And Zara's most dreaded notion, will he choose to come back at all?

After reading Entice, you can vividly see that Zara is still the Amnesty girl who wants to save the world and have as much help as possible couldn't hurt. Astley is one of my favorite characters in Entice; if not my very favorite. He has his past and background hidden around him like a mysterious cloak, but his kindness toward Zara, his new queen, is undeniable and quite heart-warming. Dare I say, he looks after her and cares for her quite a bit more than rugged Nick ever did. I hope to see more of them as couple throughout later books if possible. Zara needs him repeatedly throughout Entice; and he's always there. They work together trying to find where Valhalla lies and for the return of Nick. The fluidity of Entice and how it flows as an installment in the Need series is put to the test when Jones throws in the difficult obstacles the characters must work through. I was anxious at first to see how their personality and loyalty to each other was tested and for some it did prove to be too much, but for others it started a revelation that showed their true colors as characters and supporters in Zara's story. The sacrifices made for Zara's benefit in gaining purchase on the Valhalla trail were crucial and cost dearly. That actually almost broke the spirits of some of the characters most loyal to Zara, but I loved seeing how they were real people who had action views on Zara's transformation and all the changes that came along with it.

I thought that Entice ended on a good note that will serve to intrigue readers into the further challenges ahead for Zara and her crew. Some rough spots were unanswered and I look forward to seeing if they will be resolved.

And of course, if you couldn't tell before, I'm Team ASTELY.

Grade: B
This ARC was sent by Bloomsbury for my uninfluenced review.

Other exciting Need series news...Check out the links below to answer polls, be a fan on Facebook and watch the trailer!

Poll on Team Nick or Team Astley: http://www.facebook.com/NeedPixies?v=app_138079047824
Be a Fan on Need Series' Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NeedPixies





Giveaway:

To enter to win your own finished copy of Entice by Carrie Jones and some new Need/Drake Chronicles bookmarks, just fill out the form below!
Giveaway ends January 2nd and only US participants may enter.


Giveaway is now closed.


LiLi

Friday, December 3, 2010

Captivate (Need, #2) by Carrie Jones


Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (January 5, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1599903423
ISBN-13: 978-1599903422

Zara and her friends knew they hadn't solved the pixie problem for good. Far from it. The king's needs grow deeper every day he's stuck in captivity, while his control over his people gets weaker. It's made him vulnerable. And now there's a new king in town.

A turf war is imminent, since the new pixie king, Astley, is moving in quickly. Nick nearly killed him in the woods on day one, but Zara came to his rescue. Astley swears that he and Zara are destined to be together, that he's one of the good guys. Nick isn't buying it, though Zara isn't as sure -- despite herself, she wants to trust the new king. But it's a lot more than her relationship with Nick that is at stake. It's her life -- and his.

Warning!
THIS REVIEW DOES HAVE SOME SPOILERS THAT OCCUR IN NEED, BOOK 1.

Review:

It's only after Zara saves a pixie king that things really start to get chaotic around Bedford, Maine. When she trapped her father, she originally thought that that was only the beginning when it came to dealing with the crazy pixies trying to take over her small, winter town. However, what she doesn't expect is for this pixie king to be nice to her. What's up with that? See, when Zara came to this pixie king's rescue, she encountered another untrustworthy creature that's recruiting for a war that's said to happen very soon. When bits of mythology and history of Norse gods come to life, Zara must try to do whatever it takes to protect her family and friends. In Captivate, Book 2 of the Need series, she will have to sacrifice more than ever before.

After I read Need I knew ultimately that I would go on to read the next book in this series because I felt the war that was brewing in Bedford. I liked many things about Captivate; mostly has to do with the trickling off of events that happens after the rescue in the first scene of the book. That definitely had me grasping for more, so much so that the first time I read Captivate I ended more skimming the end than actually reading it thoroughly--something I got to yesterday for the first time. Now that Entice, Book 3, is coming out, I thought I'd review Captivate now, since in a couple of days I'll be posting my review for Book 3 too.
Anyway, when Astley--the new pixie king--and Zara encounter each other numerous times before the great ending, you can definitely feel the tension between them. That, inevitably, creates tension between Zara and Nick. I really loved the similarities in personalities between the couple throughout the book and they definitely have their faults as well. However, I found some minor glitches that I couldn't get over while reading Captivate. Zara's behavior is more and more erratic closer to the ending and it's understandable but her mood swings are a little dizzying. She often finds that she's contradicting her own thoughts after she has them; and the Weres lack of trust in pixies creates a huge rift in the scheme of things. In the end, Zara and Nick really do love each other, and in the end, that's what's put to the test the most. Zara finds herself having to confront something she made up her mind on long ago. Her perseverance to see the people she loves safe is what I find the most admirable of all. Let's just say that if you liked, loved, Need then you will be dumbfounded about Captivate.

Grade: B-

This ARC was sent to me by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books for my uninfluenced review.

LiLi



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Minder by Kate Kaynak


Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (June 18, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0984531106
ISBN-13: 978-0984531103

Sixteen-year-old Maddie Dunn is special, but she needs to figure out how to use her new abilities before somebody else gets hurt. Ganzfield is a secret training facility full of people like her, but it's not exactly a nurturing place. Every social interaction carries the threat of mind-control. A stray thought can burn a building to the ground. And people's nightmares don't always stay in their own heads. But it's still better than New Jersey--especially once she meets the man of her dreams...

Review:

Living a dull life, Maddie is all but eager to get away from her know-nothing town in New Jersey; and from the devastating attack that haunts her, even though her attackers are dead. When she finds out about her dormant abilities, she slowly gets adjusted to the idea of being able to read everybody's thoughts; and even project some of her own. However, the latter seems to be an unconscious, distressing ability during her nightmares and the flashbacks to the attack. Who but the ultimately unique telekinetic would be able to calm Maddie's minder mind? After Maddie and Trevor form a bond that's rare, even among the G-positives--the people with the cool powers--they're connection is put to the test as the book builds up to it's major action scene. (And I say major because there's more than one action scene in Minder!)

Unprepared but nervously excited were just a few of the stirrings in me when I started reading Minder, and now all I can say is...I wish I'd heard about it sooner. Starting from the top and working my way to the end I had nothing but smiles and laughs for the feisty Maddie and her adorable Trevor; not to mention the other G-positives. See, that's what really did me in on this one. Since I have a psychology class, I could actually follow what the genetic aspects of the powers that the G-positives have in their system. I could even understand the terminology. That's when I thought that I would really enjoy this book. What some other YA novels try to grasp in their heroine protagonists can't hold their flame to Maddie's wild fiery. She's, I guess you could say, someone to be reckoned with if you know what I mean; not only does that quality make her realistic but also that's she's a genuinely protective person.

Minder's also had an unsubtle approach to some volatile scenes. I admired Kaynak's forthrightness when it came to some imagery that involved detailed morbid graphics. I really hope to read more of that around this genre. With this book specifically I only had minor disappointments--like the G-positives could have had more of an intricate background story and the relationship between Maddie and Dr. Williamson as a parental figure further explored--but overall I was fairly stunned and satisfied with this book; and I cannot possibly wait to get my hands on the sequel, Adversary.

Grade: B+/A-

LiLi