Sunday, April 13, 2014

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Title: Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy #1)
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Publication Date: April 1st, 2014
Publisher: Strange Chemistry

Rating: 5 out of 5

Goodreads Blurb:

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse.
Cécile has only one thing on her mind: escape. But the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time…
But the more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing. And she just might be the one the trolls were looking for...

A talented singer/farm girl, Cécile, is kidnapped and sold to the legendary Trolls of Trollus, who were thought to no longer exist. The King forces her to marry the Troll prince, Tristan, and hope that their bonding will get rid of an ancient curse that prevents them from ever escaping their cage under the Forsaken Mountain. When things don't go according to plan (no surprise- they rarely do), Cécile is allowed to live as princess (more accurately, prisoner) and provides the trolls of Trollus with hope for a better life.

Instead of giving up and allowing the cave to suck the life out of her, Cécile resists the trolls "way of life" and fights to escape at every chance she gets. But the longer she's there the more she sees that trolls aren't the heartless, thoughtless creatures legend made them out to be. She uncovers a whole world filled with prejudices and a thirst for power that is not so different from her own. And after a while, she makes it her quest to free the trolls from the curse that traps them under the mountain. 

But Cécile soon finds out that very few of the trolls are willing to side with her. As she navigates through the treacherous slopes of Trollus, she finds but a handful of trolls/people she can trust- one of them the prince, Tristan. 

As the story progresses, we discover that Tristan is not an evil, heartless snake like his father (I mean that figuratively, he's still a troll) but believes that humans and half trolls should not be treated with such contempt and disrespect. To further build on this surprising turn of events (not really, it was after all in the official summary), HE is the one leading the rebellion of mistreated half-bloods, trolls, and humans to overthrow his father, the King.  

Both Cécile and Tristan began to trust each other and as they face countless obstacles, they fall in love. But, humans are still hated and although Cécile is the princess, some want both her and Tristan dead. After numerous attacks on their life (they are bonded, so if one dies, so will the other), Tristan wants Cécile to escape back to her world and be safe, but the stubborn heroine won't give up and both of them fight against the rising tensions within the different classes of Trollus. 

But when Tristan's half brother attacks Cécile, everything falls apart and nothing in Trollus will ever be the same. 

In my opinion, the beginning of this book could have been done better- what happens at the beginning of this book is not a very good representation of what happens throughout the rest of the book. 

This unique and compelling book is truly one of a kind and I can truthfully say that is definitely on my 2014 Top Ten List. So if you enjoy an undeniably interesting plot, prophecies, or ancient civilizations, this is the books for you. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

John Dreamer by Elise Celine

Title: John Dreamer
Author: Elise Celine 
Publication Date: February 12th 2014
Publisher: AuthorBuzz

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

*ARC provided by Netgalley*

Goodreads Blurb:
Andy wasn’t usually sure about much, but she was absolutely certain this was the weirdest day of her life as she stood stranded in the middle of a great white room with six strangers. Well, they were mostly strangers. She could have sworn she’d seen the guy with the green eyes before, and maybe that was why he kept staring at her. 
When a man calling himself the Guardian appeared and said they had come to make their deepest dreams come true, they embark on an adventure none of them ever imagined, and the consequences of their actions would change them forever.
"John Dreamer" is the first in a series of books set in the confines of the Great White Room. 

In John Dreamer, Andy is transported to the Great White Room and meets with six other, interesting people who share the same birthday. As they struggle to make sense of their situation, they are thrown into different scenarios that push them out of their comfort zone and force them to overcome their faults. 

The first who is allowed to leave this Place of Dreams is Marcus. When the seven subjects are captured by soldiers, Marcus uses his karate skill and frees himself from his captors. He "saves" the day, and in the process discovers that he is brave. After Marcus disappears, the others realize that the key to being free of this Room is to discover and overcome whatever prevents them from truly living their life.  

Similarly, Olivia learns self-acceptance, Linda learns to overcome her shyness, Roy learns gratitude, and the Matty finally feels appreciated and known. And they all move on to be great people who truly change the world.

The two others, John Dreamer and Andy fall in love at first sight but the constantly moving plot prevents anything real communication between them. But at the end, these two are the ones left in the Place of Dreams and find out that they met as children and finally confess their deepest secrets. Andy confesses that she has been unable to connect to anyone after her mother's death and John reveals just how heartbroken he was over his dad's desertion. 

This book can be a little overwhelming at times and starts off with a bang but has a great moral, interesting plot, and engaging characters. And Ms. Celine really draws the readers in by making the characters understandable and realistic. The supernatural theme is overshadowed by her ability to convey important, human truths such as our ability to change and accept. 

A bit like the Wizard of Oz, this book is about self-discovery, accepting change, and learning to be a better person.