Sunday, December 30, 2012

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (Inkworld, #1)

"Fear tastes quite different when you're not just reading about it, Meggie, and playing hero wasn't half as much fun as I'd expected.

After absolutely falling in love with the movie adaptation of this novel (and having it practically memorized), I figured it was about time to read this book. I was absolutely certain I would fall in love with it immediately, and that's probably why it took me so long to finally put it off of my "to be read" shelf and finally read it. I even made sure I had all three books in the trilogy before starting the first, because I was certain I would enjoy the first so much that I wouldn't have much patience for tracking down the sequels.

I wasn't wrong.

When Meggie spots a stranger outside her window in the middle of the night, her first instinct is to run to her father for security, but she soon finds herself realizing that he's keeping something from her. When the stranger warns of a man named Capricorn and they rush to the south of Italy to take refuge with her aunt, Meggie soon realizes that the world is a much more dangerous place than she could have ever imagined. And the secrets her father has kept from her have the power to change her world forever.

It's not long before she learns what he's been keeping from her. It seems that Mo, Meggie's father, has a special gift--the unique power to draw items and even characters from the pages of a book simply by reading aloud. However, he cannot control this gift. He cannot choose who or what comes or even goes. This makes his power dangerous, far more dangerous than it's worth, and that is the reason Meggie's father never read to her. It was far too risky.

Despite this, Mo has been hunted by Capricorn and Basta, two of the thugs he drew out of a book called Inkheart when Meggie was a child along with a third character named Dustfinger. Mo has also tried to evade Dustfinger, but with much less luck and it is he whom Meggie sees standing outside her window when the book begins. Now Capricorn is closer than ever before and he'll stop at nothing to capture Mo and get his hands on the the last copy of Inkheart, which Mo has, until now, kept safely hidden.

This book was absolutely wonderful. I cannot get over how much I deeply enjoyed it. Throughout its pages, books are celebrated and the three main characters (Meggie, Mo, and Meggie's Aunt Elinor) have a deep love for them that I can entirely identify with. Each chapter even begins with a quote from a book that fits what occurs in the chapter (and ended up causing me to add quite a few books to my "to be read" list).

The storytelling and the plot are extremely well-written and the book itself is rich with fantasy and beauty. Experiencing Mo's gift, Dustfinger's despair, and Capricorn's evil alongside the characters was captivating and the vivid way in which Cornelia Funke describes her characters and their emotions can't help but draw you in.

I would highly suggest this to anyone, young or old. It's a fantastic story . . . one that should be read widely and often. I can already tell that this series could easily be one of the gateway sort for those who aren't really fans of reading just yet. Much like J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, this one will draw you in and show the reader exactly why reading is so absolutely imperative--that stories have a power all their own.

Rating: ~ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ~

[Click here to see my review of book 2: Inkspell and book 3: Inkdeath]

"Is there anything in the world better than words on the page? Magic signs, the voices of the dead, building blocks to make wonderful worlds better than this one, comforters, companions in loneliness. Keepers of secrets, speakers of truth . . . all those glorious words."

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce (Fairytale Retellings, #2)

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
She turned forward and sped up, faster than the others, driven by the yellow eyes that overpowered the sharp aches in her chest, her legs begging for rest. There was light ahead, shapes that weren't trees. THeir house, their house was close- the candy trail had worked. She couldn't feel her feet anymore, her lungs were bursting, eyes watering, cheeks scratched, but there was the house. 
They burst from the woods onto their cool lawn. Get inside, get inside. Ansel flung the back door open and they stumbled in, slamming the door shut. Their father and mother ran down the stairs, saw their children sweaty and panting and quivering, and asked in panicky, perfect unison:
"Where's your sister?"

[Click here to see my review of book 1: Sisters Red]

The sequel to Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, Sweetly is the story of Gretchen and Ansel, a brother and sister duo who leave their home in Washington to find a new one where they no longer live under the shadow of the sister they lost, Gretchen's twin. Still feeling the ache of her disappearance and the deaths of their parents, they are driven out by their surviving stepmother and drive straight to North Carolina. Gretchen hopes to escape the fear of vanishing the way her sister did by going to live on the beach, far way from the trees and forests that have surrounded her since she was a child, a constant reminder of what she lost and how she lost her to the witch in the woods.

Before they can make it to the beach, though, their car breaks down and they are forced to seek help in the small town of Live Oak. They take refuge in the home of Sofia Kelly, a chocolatier living just outside town. The two and Sofia hit it off immediately, but most people in Live Oak hate Sofia just as much as they hate strangers, if not more. Most are either convinced she's an angel or a devil in disguise. Immediately, Gretchen and Ansel stand beside Sofia's claim of innocence in the part of the girls who have gone missing from the town, both knowing first-hand what it's like to be blamed for the disappearance of another.

But when Gretchen meets Samuel, she begins to question Sofia's side of the story, as well as the secrets that seem to surround her. As she learns more about the town's past and the witch who took her sister, Gretchen learns that the witch is back . . . and this time, it's after her.

I didn't think it was possible for Pearce to make a book that was just as good as the first in the Fairytale Retellings series, but she has definitely managed to pull that off without a hitch. Sweetly is filled with just as many memorable characters and strong bonds as the first book and a plot that keeps you guessing until the end. As I've mentioned before, I am a major sucker for loyalty and relationships where every person would be willing to lay down their life for the next at a moment's notice and this book had both of those; not to mention, incredible fight scenes. All that, and the more intense scenes still had me biting my nails and actually yelling during one particularly frightening bit. (I may or may not have woken my brother with that yell.)

This series is looking like it will turn out to be an all-time favorite of mine and I can't wait to see where it goes next, as well as where it will culminate in the end. It's going to be an epic collection and you absolutely won't want to miss it. I suggest you get started reading it right away. In the meantime, I'll be scouring the internet for book three.

[Click here to see my review of book 3: Fathomless]

Rating: ~★★★★★~

"Poor Sophia," Ansel says, shaking his head. I can hear it in his voice- he wants to save Sophia. That's how Ansel works. Someone is in pain, and he wants to save her- he ran back into the woods after our sister, he became my rock. He didn't give up on our father, even when Dad became someone Ansel barely knew- it wasn't long after Mom's death that he started drinking, and once he remarried it got worse. He couldn't escape the guilt- over my sister, over my mother . . . Guilt ate him through the mouth of a bottle.