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RefractedLight

RefractedLight

Hi,  I'm Dani!  And I read, love, and blog about YA books!

Currently reading

The Faerie War
Rachel Morgan
The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy)
Sherry Thomas
Endless
Amanda Gray
Progress: 62 %

"Doctor Who" - Pest Control (Dr Who Audio Original 1)

Dr Who: Pest Control [CD] - Doctor Who ★★★½
American Girl On Saturn - Nikki Godwin Review coming soon!

These Broken Stars

These Broken Stars - Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner Review to come

When the World Was Flat (and We Were in Love)

When the World Was Flat (and we were in love) - Ingrid Jonach ★★½Review to come.

The Stone Rose

The Stone Rose - Jacqueline Rayner,  David  Tennant Uh yeah. I think I may have officially reached a new level of geekdom -- Doctor Who TV show-based novelizations? The next thing you know I'll be attending Comic-Con as a Dalek. Not... that... there's anything wrong with that. *whispers confidentially* Between you and me, I think I'm just still coming to terms with true reality and scope of my nerdiness. Don't worry, I'll get there eventually. Maybe not dressed as a Dalek, but anyway... David Tennant. DAVID TENNANT. The man is amazing, and he narrates this (abridged) audiobook, which is why I HAD to get it from Audible upon discovering it. As far as the story goes it's a super fun romp through ancient Rome with some really great Rose/Ten moments... and possibly a-- Well. I really can't say, can I?The narration is fantastic. It's obvious Rayner gets these characters and Tennant has all their inflections and tones down perfectly. It's just SO MUCH FUN to hear the Doctor sound like the Doctor. :)P.S. - I'd like to just say that this recent infatuation with Doctor Who is all Heather's (my co-blogger's) fault. I've purposely avoided this show for years, convinced it was the height of utter ridiculousness and JUST. TOO. CAMPY. And while in some ways it is exactly that, the characters are just so compelling and I cannot stop watching. Like, seriously, I cannot stop watching. Help.P.S.S. - Heather, you were right.

Chameleon (Supernaturals, #1)

Chameleon (Supernaturals, #1) - Kelly Oram ★★★½

Being Jamie Baker

Being Jamie Baker - Kelly Oram 3.5 stars

Life After Theft

Life After Theft - Aprilynne Pike Between 3.5 and 4. Possible snippet to come.

The Day the Crayons Quit

The Day the Crayons Quit - Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers It's a rare thing indeed when my son and daughter (ages 3 & 6) are both equally engaged in the same book, but it has been achieved with the The Day the Crayons Quit. The kids giggled, guffawed, snickered, went to get their own well-loved crayons to hold while listening to me read, and then wanted an encore presentation immediately upon reaching the end. The creative premise, the charming illustrations, the hilarious individual letters from the crayons-on-strike all served to make this gamble from the library a book we're now buying for our favorites shelf.

Choke (The Breathless, #3)

Choke (The Breathless, #3) - S.R. Johannes Uh. What just happened? WHAT JUST HAPPENED? I imagine that somewhere in the world, right now, S.R. Johannes is cackling evilly to herself for sending yet another reader into a post-cliffhanger frenzy. (No really, I’ve met Johannes, and she’s actually very nice.) But still, that was an evil, evil ending… … and I loved it! We pick up with Eria just after she’s left the Biome and discovered that she’s actually an artificial life-form, a Humanot. She’s not long on her journey to nowhere, when she finds a pre-recorded message from her dad further splintering her already fragmented reality. But as shocking as the revelations are, her dad does give her something to hold onto – a mission and a direction – a purpose, however nebulous and vague though it may be. He also gives her more of an idea of what she’s capable of as a Humanot, and her skill set is vastly impressive and useful in the wasteland beyond the Biome. However, to Eria, it’s also a constant reminder of what she’s lost and what’s she’s not. And this was my favorite part of this novelette, Eria’s struggle with her humanity. Is she human? She sure felt human before discovering her “artificiality.” Is any part of her human? Are all of her responses programmed? Who is she really? Can she ever really know? Is she capable of true emotion or free-will? What is her purpose? Why was she created? Eria’s internal conflict regarding her existence is simply fascinating. But never fear, the novelette isn’t just one big existential debate. Eria’s journey across the wasteland is fraught with danger, adventure, monsters and a cute human resistance fighter, Dirk, who may pose the greatest danger of all. Dirk has grown up hating BOTS, a group of rogue artificial lifeforms bent on wiping out the humans and their way of life, and he’s very vocal in his hatred of them. Despite herself and what she is, Eria likes Dirk – he’s her only ally and she needs his help and his community’s help if she’s to complete the assignment given to her by her dad. But all secrets have a way of getting out, and Eria dreads the consequences of discovery. For all his prejudices, I did like Dirk. I mean if I grew up fighting against super creepy robots bent on killing me and everyone I love, I’d probably have rather strong feelings on the subject too. But regardless, capable, charismatic, compassionate, and a bit of a rebel even among rebels, he is an extremely likable and an understandable character. Dirk and Eria establish a tentative friendship in Choke, and I’m curious to see if that friendship will be able to supersede a lifetime of hatred or if the party line that all robots are evil will hold firm. Storywise, I was impressed with how much happened in this novelette. And it was a page-turner as Eria jumps from one danger and adventure right into the next. And it is exciting and fast-paced right up until that doozy of an ending. (Sooooo evil.) Overall, Choke builds on the great foundation laid in the first novelette, altering preconceptions, introducing a new perspective, revealing more of this ever-intriguing world, all while dealing with the complex issues of humanity, reality and prejudice.

Ward Against Darkness (Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer)

Ward Against Darkness - Melanie Card This book! I have been waiting for this book for forever!!!!!!!!!! (← ridiculous amounts of exclamation points for necessary emphasis!) Ok, well technically not forever, because that would be a slight exaggeration and impossible, but since the moment I finished Ward Against Death two summers ago, I’ve been eagerly anticipating this book. Two years is an extremely long time to build up unrealistic expectations, to over-romanticize my love for the first book, for tastes to change and preferences to alter. So did it meet my expectations?Yes, yes, and most certainly in so many ways. In fact, let’s just list them:Romance. Ok. Can we just talk about Ward & Celia and the fact that they… don’t? Talk, I mean. After all they’ve been through, they’ve finally come to a place of mutual respect and tentative friendship. Their previous adventure together has instilled a sense of loyalty and trust, they value each others’ skills and advice. They’ve begun to understand each other better… and to feel something for each other that might transcend the boundaries of “just friends.” But in the first book, that “maybe more” part of their relationship is never really addressed. And in this book it’s much the same deliciously frustrating slow-building romance. The pacing here is just very believable; avoidance of their feelings being very natural to both Ward & Celia, their fears and doubts very understandable. They’ve not known each other all that long, are still in the process of learning who the other is, coming to know their own feelings, coming to realize who they are, what they are, and what they stand for. Melanie does lot of fantastic character and relationship development in Ward Against Darkness and is laying some great, substantial romantic groundwork, but still… *Smooshes Ward and Celia’s heads together* JUST KISS! Or talk first, then kiss!Sorry. *ahem* Moving on. Ward. In the two weeks, since Ward brought Celia back from the dead, his life, his character, and his perspective of reality have been strenuously questioned and tested. Ward, is more of a gentle soul, more apt to have his nose in a book than getting himself into trouble of the serious sort. Though sometimes in Ward’s case, those two things coincide. Though he’s had previous run-ins with the law before meeting Celia, his intentions were always good. He has a compassionate heart, a noble sense of honor, and a surprising amount of courage, confidence, and strength of character he doesn’t give himself enough credit for. Speaking of things he doesn’t give himself enough credit for… Ward is the most recent generation of necromancer in the De’Ath’s long family tradition of powerful necromancers. Thought a bit odd and sadly under-talented by his family, Ward’s never thought much of his mediocre power. But after bringing Celia back to life with the Jam de’U and the battle with the Innecroestri Karysa, it’s apparent there’s a little more to his power than he originally thought. And Ward Against Darkness gives Ward the opportunity to discover just how deep his power runs. In the first book, Ward is a bit of the endearing bumbling hero. In this book, there’s a bit of that, but he’s also proving to be very adaptable. He’s forced to think a little more like Celia. He’s presented with some situations that send him further into the morally gray; situations that test his mettle and show him just what he’s capable of; situations that are dark, difficult, and dangerous. It’s some really fantastic character building on Melanie’s part, because she made me mourn the “loss” of Ward’s innocence and naivete while also falling in love with the man that he’s becoming. Trial by fire. And I just hope that the fire doesn’t burn away something important, something essentially Ward. I fear that it may only get worse for Ward from here. *rubs hands together and laughs evilly.* Celia. Celia’s journey as a character is just as compelling. When she was alive she was a ruthless killer, dangerous, terrifying and amoral – she wasn’t what you’d call a “nice person.” She used people to her own benefit, manipulated them, she was emotionally unattached, and driven to be the best. And she was. And then she was murdered. And then she met Ward. Being around Ward – seeing his gentleness, his sincerity, his decency – Celia’s begun to question the way she’s lived thus far, to question the way she looks at the world. She’s been given a second chance at life, and she’s not sure she wants to be the person she was before. In addition to Celia’s soul searching, we are also given some insight into just what may have happened when Ward cast the Jam de’U bringing her back to life the second time. For all intents and purposes Celia seems alive, nothing about her suggests that she’s artificially alive. But since Ward isn’t sure quite what happened with his improvised spell, Celia’s fully aware that she’s living on borrowed time, and she’s wondering just what kind of creature he’s turned her into. Story. And a large part of the story revolves around this – Celia’s state of being and the who, what and why of bringing a soul back from the dead, and all that entails. In Ward Against Darkness, a case of remarkably bad timing and mistaken identity lead Ward to play the part of apprentice-hopeful to a very dangerous Innecroestri (a necromancer that’s fallen to the darkity dark, dark side)… and this guy is nasty. Really nasty – cruel, and sadistic, and perverse. But under the Innecroestri’s roof, Ward learns more about his power, what he could be capable of and how much he’s willing to compromise. He glimpses firsthand the dark path necromancy could lead him down, while Celia learns more about what she is… or isn’t. It’s a pretty dark book. The title is accurate. This adventure of Ward and Celia’s is definitely grittier and darker than the last, with lots of action, a megaton of tension, political intrigue, danger, close-calls, betrayals, with the promise of more darkness to come. It’s interesting to note that in Ward Against Death, Ward was adrift in the unfamiliar waters of Celia’s underworld, at her mercy to navigate through it. In Ward Against Darkness, this is flipped a bit. Though Celia is incredibly skilled at stealth, murder, defense, theft, etc. — and those skills do come in handy — all her talents are nothing if she has to go up against an Innecroestri who can immobilize her with the flick of a finger. She’s on Ward’s turf, such as it is, and must rely on him – his ability at subterfuge, his unreliable magic, his sometimes-flagging confidence – to see them through this most recent danger. Celia does play an important and active role in the plot, it’s just she doesn’t possess magic and in this instance, magic kinda trumps all. Melanie’s pacing is downright perfect and so action-packed. The story never lags or plateaus, the tension just keeps building and building, moving at breakneck speed right from beginning to end. I was completely captivated. And the story arcs she set up for the next book(s) are extremely well done. I cannot wait to see what happens next with all these different threads that’ve been left for the next book to pick up. Overall. Dark and gripping with just the right amount of danger and romance, Ward Against Darkness ticked all my favorite boxes and left me in that wonderful state of being satisfyingly dissatisfied in which I’m now eagerly (i.e. – impatiently) awaiting Ward & Celia’s next adventure. May it be fraught with much peril and kissing.

The Summer I Became a Nerd

The Summer I Became a Nerd - Leah Rae Miller 3.5 starsCute! Nerdgirls rule.

Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel, Volume 1 (Graphic Novel)

Clockwork Angel - HyeKyung Baek, Cassandra Clare I

What Really Happened in Peru (The Bane Chronicles, #1)

What Really Happened in Peru  - Cassandra Clare Wow. Just wow. Llamas, guinea pigs and ridiculously feathered hats abound in this hilarious and enlightening look into the complex enigma that is Magnus Bane.

Anomaly

Anomaly - Krista McGee ★★★½Seventeen-year-old Thalli has always known that she’s a little odd, that she doesn’t fit in the perfect world she’s been created for. Her world has suppressed, even tried to breed out, emotion. Love, faith, hope – these are all foreign and forbidden concepts. Expressing individuality is frowned upon, and all that matters is an individual’s usefulness and efficiency so that one may better serve the State. But Thalli feels too deeply, is too curious, always has questions, is never content to take things at face value. She hides these feelings and impulses the best she can from those who watch over her and instead plays them out through her music, because to reveal her anomalies would mean certain annihilation… until one day, she’s discovered. She’s taken from her Pod, placed under observation by the Scientists where she learns things about her world, about the way the world used to be, about faith, about love, about purpose, about trust, about the difference between surviving and truly living. I loved Thalli’s gradual journey to self-awareness and faith. Her inner monologue is just beautiful, the way she sees everything from the perspective of a musician, and her analogies are gorgeous. Her musings and realizations are so heartfelt, and endearing, and poignant, and, though set in a world so unfamiliar to our own, very relevant. The future McGee has created is terrifying in it’s emotionless quest for scientific pursuit, for efficiency, for perfection. She does a fantastic job with building this world throughout, fleshing it out and giving us a view of the horrors encountered when man plays God. It’s just a very well done, detailed world. Now, I’ve hinted throughout the review, but feel like I should make mention that this book is very faith-based and would definitely fall under the umbrella of Christian fiction. I didn’t know that originally when I signed up for this blog tour, but since I share the basis of the author’s worldview, it was interesting to read something well-written from a Christian perspective. I just thought it worth mentioning since some people can be rather adverse to religious themes in novels. However, though I think the themes McGee incorporated into Anomaly are very important and very true, I feel like those parts of the book aren’t quite as strong and did come across feeling a little forced. There were also a few things about the story – plot points and developmental things – that I had trouble taking seriously… which I can’t tell you about, because that’d just be spoilery. However, despite the few things I had issues with, Anomaly as a whole sucked me in and I flew through this book in an evening. Other things I liked:Berk. He’s pretty lovable, resourceful, genuine, compassionate, has a surprising sense of humor and is refreshingly… real. He’s tough, but he’s not indestructible. Romance. This romance was intense, sweet and satisfying, but very clean. If I was rating it, it’d get a “G.” Seriously, Disney princesses get more action. And though it’s definitely a part of the story as Thalli is learning about what love is, it’s not an overwhelming part or the focus. Overall. Anomaly is an intriguing, faith-based take on the dystopian genre, and I’m very interested in seeing what happens next in the series.

The Beautiful and the Cursed

The Beautiful and the Cursed - ★★★★½With darkly atmospheric vibes and gothic romantic vibes, Morgan’s world of angels, demons, dispossessed and secret societies is absolutely captivating… once I finally got into it. I’ll admit, in the beginning this book was a little too easy to put down (not to mention that I was also somewhat exasperated by the fact that practically every person in Paris was described as ridiculously attractive), BUT I reached a point around the 100-page mark where it finally engaged me, and I was sucked in non-stop until the very climactic ending – which was fantastic and extremely satisfying – a few twists here, a few turns there, a dash of excitement, a pinch of absolutely terrifying creatures, a liberal sprinkling of mortal peril, and a heap of interesting consequences that I can’t wait to see play out in the next book.Also, I really enjoyed the fact that there were two main heroines, and sisters at that. Gabby and Ingrid are at the same time alike in their unyielding determination, in their bravery, in their sense of honor, and in their love and loyalty to their family, and yet so very different in temperament and approach. Their voices are wonderfully unique, and I really can’t say which sister I prefer as I enjoyed both their stories and their romances equally.Overall. In all aspects, The Beautiful and The Cursed turned out to be a ridiculously attractive book.* I originally gave this 4 stars when I finished, but I keep coming back to it and mulling it over, liking it better the more I consider it… so bumping it to 4.5 stars.