Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Juliet- Anne Fortier

Twenty-five-year-old Julie Jacobs is heartbroken over the death of her beloved Aunt Rose. But the shock goes even deeper when she learns that the woman who has been like a mother to her has left her entire estate to Julie’s twin sister. The only thing Julie receives is a key—one carried by her mother on the day she herself died—to a safety-deposit box in Siena, Italy.
This key sends Julie on a journey that will change her life forever—a journey into the troubled past of her ancestor Giulietta Tolomei. In 1340, still reeling from the slaughter of her parents, Giulietta was smuggled into Siena, where she met a young man named Romeo. Their ill-fated love turned medieval Siena upside-down and went on to inspire generations of poets and artists, the story reaching its pinnacle in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy.
But six centuries have a way of catching up to the present, and Julie gradually begins to discover that here, in this ancient city, the past and present are hard to tell apart. The deeper she delves into the history of Romeo and Giulietta, and the closer she gets to the treasure they allegedly left behind, the greater the danger surrounding her—superstitions, ancient hostilities, and personal vendettas. As Julie crosses paths with the descendants of the families involved in the unforgettable blood feud, she begins to fear that the notorious curse—“A plague on both your houses!”—is still at work, and that she is destined to be its next target. Only someone like Romeo, it seems, could save her from this dreaded fate, but his story ended long ago. Or did it?

In my opinion, this book is an easy 5/5
I'll be honest- The only reason I read this book was because it was Romeo and Juliet. I'm a sucker for that story. I wasn't expecting much out of it. "Modern day Romeo and Juliets" are usually too similar for my taste. However, this book was different. It focuses mainly on versions of the story that came before Shakespeare's famous play. In this version, Romeo and Juliet aren't whiny little kids that randomly fell in love. There's a story.
Julie and her twin sister Janice are orphaned when they are young and adopted by their great aunt and moved from Sienna, Italy to West Virginia. Their great aunt dies when they are 25 and leaves Janice her entire estate, but only leaves Julie a key to a safe deposit box in Sienna that belonged to her mother. She's told her name is really  Guilietta Tolomei and that whatever is in the deposit box was very important to her mother and could contain a fortune. So, with nothing to lose, she sets off for Italy and meets Eva Maria Salimbeni along the way, who makes such a big deal over her name that she insists on accommodating her in any way she needs, including volunteering her godson, Alessandro Santini, to take care of those needs. Guilietta and Alessandro hate each other from the start.
Alessandro aside, she gets to the safe deposit box and finds it filled with notes and stories and genealogy from a Guilietta Tolomei and Romeo Marescotti from the 13th century- The true story of Romeo and Juliet! Mystery and adventure unfolds as Guilietta digs in to the past and finds some interesting things out about her famous ancestors- Including a curse on her family. Now she must set things right, or at least make sense of it. But she's not the only one interested in her findings. She soon becomes the target of a deadly stalker and those who want to use her.

I would really recommend this book if you like romance, fairy tales, books like The DaVinci Code, or just looking for something good to read. I guarantee you'll love it.

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Glow (Sky Chasers, #1)Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jacket Description:

If a sudden attack destroyed the only world you'd ever known, would you be brave enough to save who was left? Would love be strong enough to survive the fight? Either way, there's no turning back.

The Empyrean is the only home fifteen-year-old Waverly has ever known. Part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space, she and her boyfriend, Kieran, will be pioneers of New Earth. Waverly knows she must marry young in order to have children who can carry on the mission, and Kieran, the handsome captain-to-be, has everything Waverly could want in a husband. Everyone is sure that he's the best choice. Still, there's a part of Waverly that wants more from life than marriage, and she is secretly intrigued by the sky, darkly brilliant Seth.

Suddenly, Waverly's dreams are interrupted by the inconceivable- a violent betrayal by the Empyrean's sister ship, the New Horizon. The New Horizon's leaders are desperate to populate the new planet first, and will do anything to get what they need: young girls. In one pivotal moment, Waverly and Kieran are separated, and they find themselves at the helms of dangerous missions, where every move has potentially devastating consequences, and the decisions of the heart may lead to disaster.

First and foremost, this book was an emotional roller coaster. One moment you're plunged into total despair, the next moment your bursting with excitement, and the moment after that you're going "get them, get them!". I love books like this one, that really pull you in.

The story circulates around two main characters: Waverly and Kieran. Kieran and Waverly are the first male and female conceived in deep space. Now at 16 (Kieran), and 15 (Waverly), they are in a relationship, and are being pressured to get married and have children (to help carry on the human race while Waverly is at her most fertile). Unfortunately, on the day Kieran proposes, the sister ship to the ship they are on attacks, stealing all the young girls. It becomes clear that the sister ship, The New Horizon has had a problem with fertility, and they don't want to die out. Now Waverly must help lead the other girls through the trials and tribulations that await them. In the meantime, Kieran must deal with the insanity on the home ship, all while trying to help find and save the girls.

Based on the jacket description ("she is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth" and "she and her boyfriend, Kieran, will be pioneers for the New Earth"), I kind of expected some romance in this story. Yeah... not so much. There was a little, don't get me wrong, but nothing at all like the jacket makes it out to be. The thing with Seth? Wait, what thing with Seth? That's right, no thing with Seth. And Kieran? The romance there didn't really ring true to me, to be honest. I wonder how it would have sounded with Seth. Maybe I'll find out in the next book. Maybe not.

But aside from the lack of anticipated romance, this really was a great science fiction novel. It's creative and believable (in the context of the book). I would recommend it to any YA Sci-Fi lover.

Amy Kathleen Ryan's Official Website:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fateful by Claudia Gray

FatefulFateful by Claudia Gray
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jacket Description:

Eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, troubled family she serves. It's 1912, and Tess has been trapped in the employ of the Lisles for years, amid painful memories and twisted secrets. But now the Lisle family is headed to America, with Tess in tow. Once the ship they're sailing on-the RMS Titanic- reaches its destination, Tess plans to strike out and create a new life for herself.

Her single-minded focus shatters when she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets of his own. He's in a hurry to leave Europe, and whispers aboard the ship say it's because of the tragic end of his last affair with the French actress who died so gruesomely and so mysteriously...

Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec's past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves exist and are stalking him- and now her, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over.

In Fateful, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray delivers paranormal adventure, dark suspense, and alluring romance set against the opulent backdrop of the Titanic's first- and last- voyage.

To start off with, I had extremely high expectations for this novel. I loved the Evernight series, and I am a huge Titanic geek. When I heard this book was coming out, I could hardly wait. That being said, this book was awesome. My only complaint was that the Titanic itself played a minimal role. The fact that the story took place on the Titanic only meant that you knew that the characters were going to have to face the sinking- other than that, the story could have been set anywhere that the division between social classes was clear. Aside from that, this book lived up to my expections all the way.

To start off, I have to say that I loved, loved, loved the main character, Tess. She was amazingly persistent, independent, self-reliant, and intelligent. That is something that a lot of novels unfortunately leave out. Tess isn't scared off easily... she's far too persistant for that.
I also loved Alec- Tess's love interest in the story. Alec is interesting, complex and very personable. Despite the fact that he is a werewolf, Alec's character is still believable and as realistic as a werewolf first-class passenger can be.

I also enjoyed many of the other characters in the story, including Irene, Ned and Mikhail. Through these characters, Claudia Gray proves yet again that she is highly talented in writing interesting sub-plots along with her main plot.

I would highly recommend this to any paranormal YA lover, but I would warn any die-hard Titanic fan that the Titanic is not primarily featured throughout the story. I would still recommend it none the less.

Claudia Gray's Official Website:

P.S. Sorry it's been so long since we all posted last. It's been a crazy month, but we hope to get more reviews up soon! Thanks!