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You are here: Home » Publisher: Puffin

AURELIA by Anne Osterlund Book Review
Series: Aurelia, #1
Publication Date: April 17th 2008 by Puffin
Rating: – Acceptable |

Book Summary: Princess Aurelia is next in line to rule the kingdom of Tyralt, but she would rather be one of the common folk, free to learn and roam and . . . not marry the next tyrannical prince that comes courting. Naturally, the king wants Aurelia to marry for political power. Aurelia wants to marry for love. And someone in the kingdom wants her . . . dead. Assigned to investigate and protect Aurelia is Robert, the son of the king’s former royal spy and one of Aurelia’s oldest friends. As Aurelia and Robert slowly uncover clues as to who is threatening her, their friendship turns to romance. With everything possible on the line, her life, her kingdom, her heart, Aurelia is forced to take matters into her own hands, no matter the cost.

Aurelia by Anne Osterlund Book Review Overview:

  • Reads like historical fiction, but is set in a fictional kingdom of Tyralt
  • The romance was a little disappointing; I wished for just a little extra oomph
  • Mystery that keeps you guessing until the end

In AURELIA by Anne Osterlund, Robert Vantague travels back to the kingdom of Tyralt to uncover an assassination plot against Princess Aurelia. The son of the king’s former royal spy, Robert is also Aurelia’s childhood friend. Can Robert keep Aurelia safe and uncover the culprit before it’s too late?

AURELIA by Anne Osterlund reads like a historical fiction novel. However, the setting is in a fictional kingdom where Aurelia is the heir to the throne. Anne Osterlund crafts Tyralt, a beautiful kingdom that Aurelia is set to rule one day. I loved the world-building, as well as the conflicts that Anne Osterlund has set up in AURELIA with the neighboring kingdoms. Though not based on real historical facts, AURELIA by Anne Osterlund managed to quench my craving for a historical read.

I loved the premise of the romance in AURELIA by Anne Osterlund, but I wished there was just a little more juiciness to the romance. Osterlund keeps the romance strictly PG in AURELIA, which made me a bit disappointed. I love romances in which the suitor is deemed unworthy of the heroine due to differences in classes because the fun emerges in how the heroine and the suitor overcome this problem. There is certainly chemistry between Aurelia and Robert, but what the romance lacked was passion. I’m not asking for Undying Devotion, but a cuter line here or there in AURELIA by Anne Osterlund would have made me a happier reader.

Aurelia and Robert’s love of horses become a pretty important element in AURELIA by Anne Osterlund. I was fascinated by the Geordian desert horses in the story. Their strength, beauty, and ability to race reminded me of the water horses in Maggie Stiefvater’s THE SCORPIO RACES.

As for the actual plot, AURELIA by Anne Osterlund will keep you guessing until the very end. Despite my attempts to guess the culprit of the assassination plot, Anne Osterlund managed to keep me on my toes. I did not see the ending of AURELIA by Anne Osterlund coming, though the clues were there all along. When the culprit was revealed, I immediately thought to myself, Why didn’t I figure that out myself? But I realized that it was because Osterlund made me doubt myself and like the characters, I fell for the carefully laid facade that the character had put up. AURELIA by Anne Osterlund is a well-written mystery.

Fans of historical fiction, fairy tales, and princesses will love AURELIA by Anne Osterlund. If you love forbidden romances, I would also recommend you to pick up this book.

Other Book Reviews:
Refracted Light Reviews
The Review Diaries

About the Author

Anne Osterlund grew up in the sunshine of Eastern Oregon and graduated from Whitworth College. She lives in a cute little yellow house with her new feline friend, Charlotte, and her own library of young adult books. She also teaches sixth grade and enjoys immersing her students in language, literature, and imagination. Anne has written three novels, Aurelia, Academy 7, and Exile, all published by Penguin Books, and is polishing a fourth.

Find the Author

Website | Blog | GoodReads

Comments 8 comments

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Three Stars - , , , , , , , | Words 1095 words

You are here: Home » Publisher: Puffin

THE COVEN by Cate Tiernan Book Review
Series: Sweep, #2
Publication Date: January 29th 2001 by Puffin
Rating: |

Book Summary: Cal, now Morgan’s boyfriend, helps her accept the truth: Wicca is in Morgan’s blood. As Morgan learns more about Wicca, she realizes that she needs to find out more about her parentage. The answers are there, but she doesn’t know how to find them.

Book Review Overview:

  • Full of secrets and surprises that you don’t want to miss
  • The high school drama in THE COVEN seemed a lot less cliche in the second installment
  • Recommended book to those who love witches, magic, Wicca

I first started reading the Sweep series when my friend in real life, Kelly, pushed the first book to me. I never really got around to reading the rest of the series up until recently.

I finally revived an urge to continue reading the Sweep series after watching the Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock movie, Practical Magic. The idea of modern witches who had histories dating way back when, appealed to me. Luckily, despite the fact that my Sweep series is incomplete, I had the second book in the series.

THE COVEN picks up where the first book left off. At first I was wary about THE COVEN by Cate Tiernan, but I quickly warmed up to it. I was put off by how the romance was already developed by the time I read THE COVEN by Cate Tiernan but I had to remind myself that there was development in the first book. THE COVEN by Cate Tiernan makes up for the rocky beginning by escalating the suspense quickly after the first chapter.

THE COVEN by Cate Tiernan is full of surprises that will make your jaw drop. Family secrets are unraveled and one thing after another just keeps piling on top of Morgan in THE COVEN by Cate Tiernan. At under 200 pages, I read THE COVEN pretty quickly as I wanted to find out what would happen next.

In my review of the first book, Book of Shadows, I complained about the unnecessary and seemingly cliché high school drama. Unlike the first book, I think the drama and backstabbing becomes a lot more believeable in THE COVEN by Cate Tiernan. I understand where the characters are coming from. Their hate and jealousy urge me to cheer for Morgan, especially because nothing seems to be working out for her at the moment.

The most interesting part of the story for me is the backstory on the covens. I like that the history of witches dates back centuries ago, and how different covens have different specialties. I love learning about the various covens just as much as Morgan loved to learn about her past.

Warning! THE COVEN by Cate Tiernan ends on a cliffhanger. If you own the old paperbacks like I do, I strongly suggest that you have the third book in hand before you start this one. I would definitely recommend the bindup version of the Sweep series since keeping track of the little paperbacks can be a pain.

I recommend THE COVEN by Cate Tiernan and the Sweep series to those who love magic, witches, sorcery, and the like. I love Tiernan’s take on Wicca and the various covens.

Other Book Reviews:
Gina’s Library

About the Author

Cate Tiernan was born and raised in New Orleans. She currently lives in Durham, North Carolina with her daughters, husband, and stepsons. Her house is surrounded by land and woods and it feels like they’re in the country. They have dogs and cats and lots of stuff going on all the time. It’s a good life.

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads

Comments 4 comments

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Three Stars - , , , , , , | Words 978 words

You are here: Home » Publisher: Puffin

XVI by Julia Karr
Publication Date: January 6th 2011 by Puffin/Speak

Summary: Nina Oberon’s life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she’ll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a “sex-teen” is Nina’s worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina’s mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother’s killer.

Review Overview:

  • Definitely gave me a lot to think about; reminded me a bit of A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • Good dystopian story but I think this one will be over-shadowed by the many other novels out there
  • Cheesy romance and the ending fell flat

I enjoyed the concept of the XVI tattoo immensely. I couldn’t help but think to myself: What would happen if girls were required to get a tattoo on their sixteenth birthday making it okay for them to have sex? I felt like it definitely made girls a much easier target for men. The tattooed XVIIIs on the other hand, the newly tattooed ‘adult’ males, reminded me of the rowdy bunch of teens in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Very prone to violence and sexual assault.

As much as I loved the dystopian concept of XVI, I also could not help feeling a bit disconnected from the characters. If I was keeping my facts straight, the novel is set in the 22nd century and so many things have changed. It took me a long time to get into the slang they used and even figure out exactly what they were talking about. It was interesting to see how Karr thought our culture would evolve, but I couldn’t fully immerse myself into the world she created.

I wanted to like the relationship between Nina/Sal, but I just didn’t feel the chemistry between them. It wasn’t necessarily disappointing since I wasn’t reading for romance, but it would have added a bigger conflict on my part as a reader if I did feel the sexual tension between them.

Well Nina’s birthday was inevitable so there was no surprise when it finally came around. Overall, I thought that the ending fell flat. I thought to myself, That’s it? There were definitely a lot of things that were left unresolved which leaves some opening for a sequel. Julia Karr’s website indicates that she is working on Truth, the sequel, but I am not sure if that is in the works to be published yet.

If you enjoy reading dystopia, this is definitely for you. If you’re new to the genre, this is not what I’d pick to introduce you to dystopia.

Comments 5 comments

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Three Stars - , , , , , | Words 642 words

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