Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Title: Crewel
Author: Gennifer Albin
Genre: Dystopian, Young-Adult
Series: Crewel World #1

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published on October 16, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Buy the book

Source: Publisher

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.


Adelice was always taught to keep a low profile, and keep her special ability hidden from the government. At the age of sixteen, all young ladies such as Adelice are required to take a test to see if they have what it takes to be a Spinster. Spinsters serves the city of Arras, they’re able to determine the fate of the people by manipulating the thread of time/life on a loom. Adelice was supposed to fail the test but slipped, exceeding people’s expectations of how girls initially do during testing. Adelice gets ushered off to be trained as a spinsters, living the ‘’glamorous life’’ that her parents tried so hard to keep her from.  It is during the training that she learns the process of weaving, the governments true intentions and that her ability is far more powerful than just a spinster.  

The beginning started out strong, Adelice didn’t let the government take her without a fight. Once she arrives at The Guild, Adelice and the other girls are to be trained and those that pass with move on to be a spinster while others work menial jobs for Arras.  I really like Adelice’s character at the beginning but as the story progressed, I liked her less and less. Towards the middle/end Adelice said she probably wouldn’t have fought so hard against The Guild if it wasn’t for her parents. Are you serious? Her parents tried to save their daughter from the corruption of the Spinster life, and she had the nerve to say that? If she really felt that way, she shouldn’t of did all the crap she did in the first place *sigh*. There was also the typical YA love triangle, kind of-. I didn’t like the fact they she kissed one dude one day then another guy the next day…another reason why I started liking her less.  

I never fully understood how the weaving works, or why the government was the way it was. The world had the same feel as other dystopian novels, government trying to control everything, girl trying to break free from the rules etc etc. Once I got to the end and certain things were revealed…I was like What did I just read? I was completely lost and dumbfounded by the last couple of chapters. The small revelation regarding the two guys in Adelice life was odd, I didn’t see why that tidbit was important or at least I didn’t care much for it. 

Crewel is the first book of a planned series, and I’m not sure If I’ll pick up the next book. It was a a so-so book, I really enjoyed the beginning of the book but everything started to go downhill towards the end. I like the weaving concept but everything else was the usual dystopian that I’ve read about (government and one dimensional villains and secondary characters).


FTC disclaimer:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux  provided me with a copy of Crewel, and in return I provide an honest review.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead

Title: Shadow Heir
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Dark Swan #4 (Final book)

Mass Market Paperback, 390 pages
Published December 27th 2011 by Zebra

Buy the Book

Source: Bought it for myself

Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham strives to keep the mortal realm safe from trespassing entities. But as the Thorn Land's prophecy-haunted queen, there's no refuge for her and her soon-to-be-born-children when a mysterious blight begins to devastate the Otherworld. . .

The spell-driven source of the blight isn't the only challenge to Eugenie's instincts. Fairy king Dorian is sacrificing everything to help, but Eugenie can't trust the synergy drawing them back together. The uneasy truce between her and her shape shifter ex-lover Kiyo is endangered by secrets he can't—or won't—reveal. And as a formidable force rises to also threaten the human world, Eugenie must use her own cursed fate as a weapon—and risk the ultimate sacrifice. . .


The Dark Swan series is one of my favorite series, and I was pretty sad when the author said Shadow Heir would be the final book. I’ve been putting off finishing the series for awhile because I didn’t want it to be the end end and was hesitant because so many readers were upset about how the book ended. After reading Shadow Heir, I’m one of those disappointed readers. I’ve invested time in this series, and really loved all the characters (minus the stupid fox and queen Maiwenn) and for the book to end as it did was a load of crap. 

There were multiple revelations in the last two to three chapters that had me going “WTF! Are you serious?!” It was shocking, and not the good kind. I think the way the author ended it, or why she chose the way for things to play out was because she was too busy putting the time to work in her YA/Spinoff series…and this series ended up suffering.  There wasn’t a lot of action in this book (I think Eugenie did one or two spells that it , no war or big fight) either like the previous books because Eugenie was pregnant with the twins and the book consisted mostly of her hiding till the baby came. When Eugenie did give birth, she was back in the otherworld dealing with a horrible blizzard and finding out the source of problem.   

Overall a well written book, and had the usual Mead writing style, but the storyline wasn’t exciting. The only two things that I enjoyed in the entire book was learning more about Eugenie’s minion Volusion and whenever King Dorian had page time. Volusion, man I love that guy! Readers got to see more of Volusion in this book, and learn more about his past/how he came the way that he was (heart-breaking story!). He totally rocked/Save the day when it came to the ‘’problem” Eugenie had to fix, or actually he fixed it LOL. As for Dorian, I think he’s everyone favorite character, everything he says was funny/charming. The book’s stupid shocking cliff-hanger ending really sucked…and all I can think is poor Dorian. Although Mrs. Mead said this was the last book in the series, I hope she gives this series another book. NO, this series deserves another book, a BETTER-REAL ENDING!
Shadow Heir was definitely not my favorite book. The majority of the book I would consider it an okay read, but it has one of the worst ending I have ever read.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Interview with Sharon Fisher + Giveaway

Please welcome Sharon Fisher to Short & Sweet Reviews. Sharon Fisher’s debut novel, Ghost Planet, a Science Fiction novel will be published next week on October 30, 2012.

Hi Sharon! Welcome to Short & Sweet Reviews blog, thanks for being here today.

Thanks so much for having me! I love the way you’ve decorated the place – very mysterious and otherworldly.

Can you give readers the elevator pitch for Ghost Planet?

This never got used in an elevator, but came in handy for queries (and blog interviews J)…

Psychologist Elizabeth Cole is about to discover three facts that will change her forever: She died en route to her new job. She’s been reincarnated as an alien. She’s symbiotically bound to a man who believes she’s his enemy. 

Where did you get the inspiration/idea for Ghost Planet?

The title is what came to me first. It made me ask, “What would be the story behind a world called “ghost planet”?

Then I had the idea of a symbiotic bond between two people -- a man and woman who had not chosen each other, yet could not get away from each other. As a writer drawn to speculative worlds, romance, and science, that idea was fascinating to me.

Finally, I saw the film Sunshine. I loved the slow-building tension in that film, and the focus on the psychology of the characters’ motivations. Also the physicist hero, played by Irish actor Cillian Murphy, inspired GHOST PLANET’s hero, Dr. Grayson Murphy. 

Is Ghost planet a stand-alone or a start to a new series?

I didn’t write it with the intention of writing a series, and currently I’m working on something unrelated. But I do have ideas for a short story and a second novel based on the GHOST PLANET world.

What is your writing routine like?

This varies so much from day to day, it’s probable I don’t HAVE a true routine. There are a couple reasons for this – (1) I have a young child. (2) These days my writing is frequently interrupted by promotional activities, finding/reading reviews, and keeping up on social media. (In addition to being necessary activities, they also make really awesome distractions when you reach a stuck spot in your book.) So I may write very little one day and crank out 15 pages the next.
What type of research did you have to do to create the world and characters of Ghost Planet?

Most of my research focused on symbiosis – specifically, the work biologist Lynn Margulis did on symbiogenesis and Gaia theory. This research was critical to my world-building and character development. When I say “character,” I include the planet itself, because I feel it has a character-like presence in the story. 

Besides that there was therapy. J Seriously, seeing a therapist is great research, whether or not you’re writing about therapists.

Tell us three interesting things about yourself that can’t be found in your biography section.

Well of course I put all the interesting bits in my bio! Okay, I can do this.

1) I have little premonitions. I sometimes dream about things that happen the next day. They are always very mundane things. Nothing useful, like winning lottery numbers. For example, recently I dreamed I was walking down the street and saw a crocodile. I wasn’t at all scared of it. The next day I walked into a restaurant bathroom (a restaurant I was visiting for the first time), and there was an old freestanding tub with a big plastic crocodile in it.

2) I grew up in Oklahoma City, but was very close to a cousin who lived in a rural area in the southeastern part of the state. His dad once killed and cooked a rattlesnake and served it to me for dinner, telling me it was fish. It tasted all right but boy was it tough.

3) I should have been born Irish. I love Irish tea. Irish bread. Irish accents. Irish humor. Irish films. Irish pubs. Irish rock bands. IreLAND. And Cillian Murphy.

If you were shipwrecked on a desert island, what 3 books would you want with you?

JANE EYRE, the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy (it’s not cheating! they were meant to be one book, right?), and OUTLANDER.

Having said that, I might want one of the three to be a book I’ve never read. Or perhaps something that has to do with, oh, you know, surviving on a desert island.

Who are some of your favorite writers or books?

In addition to the above, Richard Adams (especially WATERSHIP DOWN), Anthony Trollope, Jane Austen, HP Lovecraft, Samuel Richardson, JK Rowling. As a child I read A WRINKLE IN TIME more than a dozen times. I absolutely love this little book called PLAINSONG (Kent Haruf), and this collection of stories by Irish writer Claire Keegan, WALK THE BLUE FIELDS. I’m currently really enjoying WOOL by Hugh Howey. This is a pretty stream-of-consciousness list -- there are many more.

What other projects can we look forward to reading from you in the future?

My second book for Tor, working title THE OPHELIA PROPHECY, post-apocalyptic bio-punk romance. A twisty tale with lots of color and texture, science, politics, and adventure.

Hopefully a short or two in the interim -- a story set in the earliest days of colonization on Ardagh 1 (the “ghost planet”), and this unrelated zombie romance thing I’ve had simmering.

I also have another RWA Golden Heart finalist manuscript (ECHO 8) that I’d like to polish up and submit in the near future. It’s a sci-fi/paranormal blend about an energy "vampire" from an alternate Earth, the FBI agent intent on destroying him, and the parapsychologist caught in between.

Do you have any advice to aspiring writers?

Anyone seen Galaxy Quest? “Never give up. Never surrender.” Giving up is the only thing you can do that will ensure it never happens. You have to hold onto that dream for dear life, no matter what.

Finish this statement: You’ll enjoy Ghost Planet if you like…

Mystery, science, romance, sex, and adventure all rolled up together in a tight and twisty plot.

**Lighting Questions**

Facebook or Twitter?
I didn’t think I had a choice! Facebook.  

Favorite junk food?
Those fried, electric-orange, processed cheese food thingies. I will leave out brand names since I at least try to get the all-natural ones.

Coke or Pepsi?
I don’t really drink soda, but on a sunny beach south of the border nothing tastes better than a classic Coke with REAL sugar.

Favorite Paranormal Creature?
Fairies. Not the cartoony ones. The mess-with-us-and-we’ll-make-you-sorry Celtic variety.

E-reader or physical book?
E-reader. New convert. I really miss books, but it feels like magic that I can have this whole library riding around in my purse. Even if I forget my reader, it’s right there on my phone.

Favorite season?
September. I know, not a season. But it’s the most glorious four weeks in Seattle, sort of a summer/fall hybrid.  

Star Wars or Alien?
Aw hell. Star Wars. (Sorry, Ripley)

Thanks for being here Sharon! 
Thank YOU, it’s been great fun!


SHARON LYNN FISHER is the author of GHOST PLANET, coming from Tor Books on Oct. 30. The book -- a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist -- is a sci-fi/romance blend that offers a "fresh and fascinating take on the human-alien problem" (says author Linnea Sinclair). She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is hard at work on her next novel and battles writerly angst with baked goods, Irish tea, and champagne. You can visit her online at

 Tor Books has generously offered 3 copies of Ghost Planet for Short & Sweet Reviews readers! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter below.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Shadow Society
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Genre: Young-Adult, Paranormal
Series: N/A

Hardcover, 416 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux 
Buy the book

Source: Publisher

Darcy Jones doesn’t remember anything before the day she was abandoned as a child outside a Chicago firehouse. She has never really belonged anywhere—but she couldn’t have guessed that she comes from an alternate world where the Great Chicago Fire didn’t happen and deadly creatures called Shades terrorize the human population.

Memories begin to haunt Darcy when a new boy arrives at her high school, and he makes her feel both desire and desired in a way she hadn’t thought possible. But Conn’s interest in her is confusing. It doesn’t line up with the way he first looked at her.

As if she were his enemy.

When Conn betrays Darcy, she realizes that she can’t rely on anything—not herself, not the laws of nature, and certainly not him. Darcy decides to infiltrate the Shadow Society and uncover the Shades’ latest terrorist plot. What she finds out will change her world forever . . .

The Shadow Society opened with the YA formula; our main heroine meets a mysterious boy. The mysterious boy super gorgeous, and there’s immediate chemistry/connections between the two. Then it turns out he’s harboring secrets and he’s actually kind of your enemy and you can’t be together. Yup, that’s all within the first couple of chapters.  It’s never great to start a book off on a cliché, makes people don’t want to read the books if it’s starting to sound like every book you’ve already read. 

Darcy, our main heroine been going through life feeling like she doesn’t belong, and she doesn’t…why? Because she’s not even human, Darcy is a Shade. Shades are able to travel in the shadow or jump from people’s shadow to shadow. Having been abandon at the age of five, Darcy been placed in different foster care for most of her 16 years. One day things start to feel different, when the mystifying Conn shows up at Darcy’s school. Darcy and Conn start getting to know each other, and Darcy begins to really like Conn….until he cuffs her and says she’s under arrest! It turns out there’s alternate Chicago, and that’s where Conn from. Darcy begins to learn the truth about herself, The Shadow Society, her family, and this different world that has existed parallel to the world she only known.

This was an okay book, but there wasn’t anything really special or a ‘wow’ factor that blew me away. I like that the author created a new paranormal being featuring shades, it’s original and I never seen it in any other book I read. The entire book moved at a constant pace, there weren’t any action scenes that I can remember and although there was suppose to be a big climax near the end it was solve fairly quickly and easily that required a speech from our main character (talk about anticlimactic). I don’t even know what to really say about Darcy character. She was meh-, I didn’t like her or hate her…she never did anything to really stand out and that should tell you something when she’s the main character. Conn, was like the typical guy character found in most’s clear that he likes Darcy when he knows he’s not suppose to but yet he does whatever possible to try not to like her. We all know how these stories end. 

Overall, it’s a good book, very well-written but not for me. The story never truly held my attention, and had bland characters I didn’t care for. The only interesting scenes in the entire book were the flash back scenes with Darcy as a child and her parents. There were a lot of people who enjoyed this, so I’d still give it a try…you might like it. 

 FTC disclaimer:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux /Macmillian provided me with a copy of The Shadow Society, and in return I provide an honest review.