Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Review: Parallel Spirits by T.S. Welti

Title/Author: Parallel Spirits by T.S. Welti

Publication Date: August 9, 2012

Publisher: Blackhill Publishing

Source: Sent by author

Rating: 3.5 of 5 surfboards

Recently, I've been reading so many books that have to do with spirits, souls, the afterlife, etc. and they've all had different takes on the idea of what happens when you die. This book, however, had one of the more interesting approaches to the subject, and an idea that makes me wonder just who is watching over my shoulder.

From Goodreads: What if the price of immortality were a broken spirit?

After more than three centuries as a carrier spirit, Mara has finally found a willing host in sixteen-year-old Belinda. She sets out to help Belinda find the missing ingredient in her life: love.

Belinda agrees to let Mara help her fall in love so Mara can earn her body back. But Belinda has only agreed to their arrangement because she desperately hopes that a new romance will help her finally get over her failed date with her best friend, Frankie.

With the promise of a new body, Mara dares to hope she can repair her broken spirit. With sweet and handsome Conor as her new boyfriend, Belinda dares to hope she has found someone who can mend her broken heart. Until a spirit with whom Mara shares a dark past begins possessing Conor. Now a war is waging inside and outside Belinda's body and she quickly discovers what Mara has known for centuries:

Falling in love is as dangerous as exorcising evil spirits...

 To me, this book seemed very reminiscent of "The Host" by Stephanie Meyer, only this version was shorter and aimed towards a younger audience. I liked the idea of spirits staying on Earth to restore the balance of the wrongdoing that killed them in the first place. It creeps me out a little bit, because honestly, who wants a spirit watching you for several months only to take over your body in the end? I actually found myself thinking back to times when I've been in a dreamlike state, and wondering if perhaps I have a carrier spirit of my own. Then I realized I was just being crazy, because obviously I'm already a carrier spirit. Wait, what?

The romance in this story was really well written. I ended up smiling whenever Conor was with Belinda because he was just so darn sweet! And Frankie... Well, I felt for the poor guy. The friendzone sucks, and Frankie was a classic example of being "in the friendzone". Heck, I even liked Belinda. I just couldn't find myself rooting for one guy over the other because I felt they both deserved Belinda's heart. I couldn't even really tell which one is supposed to end up with her. I always like having a character to hope for, because I love it when my favourite character gets the girl. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or not that I can't figure out the "winner" of Belinda, but seeing as there's a second book coming out, there's a chance that said plot point could be developed more.

Following the same vein, there were a lot of loose ends that weren't tied up, or even gently knotted. I'd like to know what happened with some of the characters, or what they were going to be doing for the next however long a time until the next book takes place. In fact, I'd have liked to have some idea of where the characters were going to be in the next book, but as I closed the novel, I couldn't figure that out either. There were also a lot of things mentioned in the beginning that weren't mentioned again, things I would've liked to know more about. What happened with the guy in Belinda's class who gave her his number? What about the guy that she supposedly told off? Again, not really sure what happened to them, but they would've been nice little storylines to have added.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I mean, I finished it in less than two days, so that has to say something, right? And I'm curiously awaiting the next book. I liked the characters, I liked the idea, and I certainly enjoyed the romantic aspect of it all. I received this book as a paper copy, but I believe you can also get it as an e-book too, so it might be worth a shot to check it out.

BONUS: T. S. Welti spends some of her time writing in Portugal. Having a Portuguese stepfather means that I grew up with Portuguese family members, most of which grew up in Portugal. So... Yay, Ms. Welti!

Happy Reading!

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Title/Author: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Publication Date: September 27, 2012

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Source: Public library

Rating: 5 of 5 teeth

It has taken me so long to pick up this book and read it. I've checked it out of my library time and time again, never being in the right mood to read an indie novel, or not having the time, among other excuses. After finally sitting down with the determination to finish it, however, I find myself wondering why I wasted so much time ho-ing and humming about it. It was deliciously good!
From Goodreads: Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
 Oh, so good! I love that the setting is in Prague! So many books for young adults are written in North America, but none that I've read have taken place in Europe, especially seeing as the book itself is written by an American. So much of Prague's culture, while not a major playing point in the book that I can see, is explored and explained.

And Karou. Oh, how I love her! She's such a normal girl, if you take away the fact that her "father" is a chimaera, or that her family is made up of half humans. Other than that, she's got an apartment, she's a talented art student, she has an ex-boyfriend and she has a best friend. She's so perfectly rounded and created. Her story could fit into three books, and yet Laini Taylor made do with just one for now, which speaks so much to her writing abilities.

Speaking of the writing... The story was told so poetically, but not it poem form. The wording, the language, the dialogue... It was fanciful and delightful! There hasn't been a book in a long time that has made me see such imagery as this one. There was so much focus on the details, it was like I was watching a movie instead of reading a book.

Overall, I loved this book! It took me a while to read, shamefully, due to all of my other running around and work I've been doing recently, but not for lack of trying. I picked up this book whenever I had the chance to read for ten minutes or so. The next book I read might just pale in comparison to the excellence of this novel by Laini Taylor, a woman with pink hair who wrote about a girl with blue hair.

Happy Reading!