February 18, 2012

The Scorpio Races will leave readers wanting more!

I  originally won an ARC of this novel but did not have time to fit it into my schedule. That was a mistake - I should have read this the moment it hit my mailbox. After seeing the cover, I bought a finished copy because, I mean, the cover is gorgeous!

But be warned - this novel is not for the faint of heart. There is gore - there is action - there is more gore - there is awesomeness awaiting you.

I loved this novel so much that when I finished it, I told my husband he needed to make sure he read it so we could discuss it. I mean, he does have a bit of Irish in him, so I knew he would enjoy the kelpies in the novel.  You can read his reaction at the conclusion of this review. 

Summary (from Goodreads):

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

My Thoughts:

Wow! While that single word will not due for a review, it is the word that pops into my head when someone mentions this novel. Stiefvater really comes full circle as a writer with this novel. I’ve read her Wolves of Mercy Falls series, and this one trumps those, no contest.

Readers are told the story from two points of view: Puck and Sean. Puck is a first-time contestant, needing the prize money to help keep her family together. Sean is the contestant to beat, having won several years in a row. He has a way with the horses, a way that no one seems to understand, except Puck. She understands Sean on a level that even he does not understand himself.

While readers experience the events leading up to the races, and of course the races themselves, through Puck and Sean’s points of view, there are many characters that readers will connect with as well. Many of them seem to have minor roles in the novel, but by novel’s end, the full weight of their importance will become clear – even if just for a moment. Grouped with the “characters” are the horses themselves, especially Corr. The horses are what seals this story for me – even their murderous nature kept me turning the page, hungering for more.

In particular, readers will find themselves captivated by the relationship between Sean and Corr. This is what kept me turning the page – I was rooting for these two until the bitter end of the novel. Readers will find that it is difficult not to root for these two. But that is as far as I can go without ruining important plot points in the story.

I only have one true complaint about the novel – I never fully understood why the horses come ashore, hungry for flesh (human or otherwise). I know that the horses are kelpies, exploring a Celtic tradition in storytelling, but that is it. I possibly missed something between all the excitement of preparing for the races themselves and the gore that occurs during the races, but I really do not think that was covered. As an adult, I can live with that, but I’m not 100% sure teens will. Oh who am I kidding – who cares why they come ashore? It is still a great read.

Why should you read this novel? Because it is pure awesome on the page! If that is not convincing enough, I gave it to my husband and told him he must read this novel. He did it in just three hours, unable to tear himself from the page. When he finished, he said, “Wow! That was a great book. You were right.” Yes dear, I know. 

February 12, 2012

In My Mailbox (21)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme sponsored by The Story Siren.  This is a great way for bloggers to network and share what books they are reviewing, borrowing, and/or buying.

Hope everyone is staying warm on this chilly Sunday morning! I am quite excited about the books I've added to my mound of reads. Finding new reads and getting my hands on reads I've been waiting for makes me soooo happy!

Purchased from B&N:

The Hunger Games: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion - I have already read this, loved this, and am now even more ready for the movie. There are no spoilers, just a lot of interesting "behind the scenes" notes and great pictures. I'm still not sold on Hutcherson as Peeta, but Collins says he is the right fit, so I will trust her author instinct.

The Rivals (Daisy Whitney) - I've been waiting for this to come out ever since reading The Mockingbirds. I will say that I do NOT like this cover. It is not working for me at all, and now it does not match the first book, which is a peeve of mine.

Tempest (Julie Cross) - I love the cover, even though I've read that it does not fit the novel. On that note, very few covers actually do, but I think I am going to enjoy the storyline.

Born Wicked (Jessica Spotswood) - I saw this as I was heading to the register. The cover attracted me first, and I am a sucker for a witchy read, especially a series. I immediately checked out the feedback on Goodreads and was satisfied enough to add it to my pile.

Checked out from the library:

Enter Three Witches (Cooney) - This year I am teaching senior English, including Macbeth. I love finding YA novels dealing with Shakespeare from different points of view. It allows me a fresh look at the play, and a bit of insight as I teach it.

The Future of Us audio (Asher & Mackler) - Love both of these authors and am excited to find this as an audio. I've been doing Audible, which is fine, but I prefer having CDs to play in my car as I drive all over town.

Subway Girl (Converse) - The cover attracted me to this novel. It reminded me a bit of Love & Leftovers, so I hope I enjoy it as much as I enjoyed that novel.

Well, that's it for this week's IMM. Have you read any of the above? Any books you think I should add to my list of reads?

Happy Reading!

February 5, 2012

In My Mailbox (20)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme sponsored by The Story Siren.  This is a great way for bloggers to network and share what books they are reviewing, borrowing, and/or buying.

Happy Sunday all - I cannot wait to see what great reading finds you have discovered this week. For me, I have two new reads and a finished copy of one of my favorite reads from last year.

From B&N:

Partials ARC (Dan Wells) - one of my husband's employees received this and wanted to pass it along to me. She said it was one of the best books she has read since The Hunger Games. That is a tall order, so I am excited to read and review it.

The Fault in Our Stars (John Green) - of course this is going to be an amazing read, it's Green after all! But I have heard people say this novel brought them to tears, and this is from people I did not realize could cry. I am definitely going to keep a box of tissues handy when I tackle this one. 

Ditched: A Love Story (Robin Mellom) - I read and reviewed this novel last year. It is one of my favorite reads of 2011. I am a huge John Hughes fan, so this novel speaks to me. It is the pick for February's SHS YA Teacher Readers book club, so I am excited to re-read this and see what the other teachers think.

That's it for my mailbox this week. Have you read any of these novels? Thoughts? Any suggestions you have for me?

Happy Reading!