Penny Lane Bloom (yep she's named after the Beatles song) has sworn off boys. After being cheated on...moreReview published July 30, 2012 Emily's Reading Room
Penny Lane Bloom (yep she's named after the Beatles song) has sworn off boys. After being cheated on and humiliated by the boy that she thought was hers forever, Penny Lane has decided not to date. She gathers up a few friends who are also sick of the slim pickings at their high school and they form The Lonely Hearts Club. Rules include hanging out with the club exclusively on Saturday nights (only exceptions are for family and bad hair days) and immediate withdrawal of membership for dating a boy before graduation. As their club picks up steam, they also pick up problems including a budding relationship for the founding member.
Audio Review: This was my first title by Khristine Hvam (I'm saving Daughter of Smoke and Bone for a very special occasion). And I have to say that I was really impressed. This is a title that I'm not sure I would have made all the way through if it weren't for her. She has a great diversity of voices, channels a teenage energy, and breezes through some of the more cheesy dialogue. I can't wait to hear more of her titles!
Book Review: The Lonely Hearts Club was fun, and pretty cute. I enjoyed the Beatles connection through about the first half of the novel, and then admittedly got a little tired of it. More so because of the real airiness of Penny Lane's parents. If they had just been a little less enthusiastic about the Beatles and a little more involved in Penny's non-Beatles activities, it probably wouldn't have reached annoyance level.
Honestly, who hasn't sworn off boys at some point or another in their life? (Maybe you currently are?!) But, I can definitely get Penny's motivations for starting the club, and actively recruiting her friends. I thought Eulberg did a great job of not making the club all about hating males, but more about spending time with friends and enjoying being a teenager. The Lonely Hearts Club could have been formed at my high school, for sure.
Two areas that were a miss for me were the dialogue and the sheer number of characters. Some of the characters spoke with slang that was a little too old for the book (what to the evs), and it outdated even now, and the book was only published in 2009.
As the club grows, new characters are added to it. Some of the names are only mentioned once or twice, and are not meant to be remembered. (Literary cannon fodder, if you will) Every once in awhile there is a massive name bomb that goes off, and many new characters are introduced never to be heard of again.
Was it a fluffy feel-good read? Yes. But part of me wished that it had had a little more dimension and flavor. As it is, it probably wasn't substantive enough to stick to my brain for long.(less)
Audio Review: Joshua Swanson did a fantastic job narrating. I was pretty excited after I read the back of the audiobook and saw the numerous awards th...moreAudio Review: Joshua Swanson did a fantastic job narrating. I was pretty excited after I read the back of the audiobook and saw the numerous awards that Swanson has won for his work narrating audiobooks. He does a great job with Tucker's voice, adding a slight Minnesota accent. I really appreciate a diversity of voices in a narrator, and even Swanson's female voices were very good. All of that made for a very enjoyable listen.
Review: The Obisidian Blade is a remarkably solid time-travel story. I'm not sure that I appreciated the intricate details that Hautman added to the beginning of the story at first, but by about the second half of the novel I was astounded by the way it was put together. Time travel can be so very tricky since every piece of the plot has to hold together in order to make it believable.
However, I'm going to be up front that this book is probably not for every reader. It's a little heavier science fiction fare. But, honestly, I gobbled it up. Hautman introduces new civilizations with different languages and value systems. Some of them, like the Klaatu (for which the series is named), are a little abstract. But, I'm sure as the series continues, they will come into play in a more significant way. And, even though some of the concepts and civilizations are a little strange, they definitely add to the world, and are very believable.
Because Tucker's father is a pastor, there are references to religion. This is something that I'm very sensitive about. I think that there is a fine line to walk when it comes to religion in young adult literature. I think it can be very important to the story, but I appreciate it more when it's presented in a way that shows both the good and bad sides of religion. And this book is one of the best ways that I've seen religion portrayed in young adult fiction in some time. Tucker's father loses his religion. But, at the same time, other characters in the story find theirs. And it's just fascinating.
The Obsidian Blade is one of those books that really does get better upon reflection. If you are into science fiction, I highly recommend it. But, if you're looking for a steamy romance, it's probably best to move on, since there isn't any of that here. There are a few references to alcohol use (not underage), but no language issues or anything like that.(less)
Audio Review: Nick Podehl does a great job with the voice of Mickey. I was also impressed with the diversity of voices that appeared in the book. One...moreAudio Review: Nick Podehl does a great job with the voice of Mickey. I was also impressed with the diversity of voices that appeared in the book. One of my favorites was Buddy, whose slight lisp and eerily quiet voice made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. My only complaint was that I really didn't like the adult female voices. It can be tough to get a convincing female voice, and I felt like they were a little too breathy. But, Podehl did a great job keeping the suspense and tension going in the story, and I very much enjoyed the audio.
Book Review: I haven't read any of Harlan Coben's other novels, since his usual genre isn't my style. But, a YA mystery just seemed to be a nice break from my regular norm. And, I'm glad I picked it up.
On the surface, the plot seemed a little lackluster. And, after an hour or two, I really wasn't sure where the story was going to go, or even if I cared. But, there were some very unexpected additions to the plot that made it much deeper than I thought at first sight. As Mickey delves deeper into the disappearance of Ashley, he learns a lot more about his parents, specifically his father, and the type of work that he did before he died. Add another layer of dealing with a mother that just can't handle her grief, and you have a very compelling plot. I was pleasantly surprised by how FUN this book was to listen to, even with all the dark themes. Interspersed with the doom and gloom, there are some really funny moments. A lot of the interaction between Ema and Mickey is sweet and endearing.
While I found the plot to have many dimensions, I was disappointed by the lack of characters with dimension. Mickey was an all around nice guy, but he was very reactive and just allowed the plot to kind of pull him along. I liked Ema a lot, but I found Spoon to be a very annoying placeholder. He was a nerd, socially awkward, but conveniently had access to the things that Mickey needed to continue sleuthing. Sometimes his dialogue and actions were so predictable that I could say his words before he did. So, anytime he came around, there was a lot of eye rolling. So, as a reader that is really into character development, I'm just not sure that this is a book that's going to stick with me.
Will I continue with the rest of the series? I'm not sure. The last half of the book had a very compelling story that I'd like to see through to the end, but Mickey definitely needs to step up his game to keep me around.
Sexuality: Mild. A couple scenes take place at a strip club, but it isn't described. Drugs/Alcohol: Mild. Mickey's mother is a drug addict. Profanity: Mild Violence: Mild. Punches thrown and the like.(less)
Michael Grant’s novels are action-packed, and filled with a large number of characters. BZRK follows that same pattern with an opening scene that depi...moreMichael Grant’s novels are action-packed, and filled with a large number of characters. BZRK follows that same pattern with an opening scene that depicts a rather gruesome plane crash, and following several characters from both sides of the conflict. Those who control the nanobots and biots, or “twitchers” as they are known, see their role as playing with an extremely complex video game. A lot of the language and terminology that they use will be familiar to avid video game players, and consequently will appeal to that audience.
One of the most impressive aspects of BZRK is the great detail in which the human body, particularly the brain, is described. On the nano level, fingerprints look like furrowed fields, beads of sweat look like enormous water balloons, and hair resembles vast forests. It is certain that readers will not look at the human body the same way after finishing BZRK. The attention to detail and research of this novel is impressive and refreshing.
What BZRK had in world-building and plot development, was sorely lacking in character development. The cast of characters was extensive, and while some made an impression (particularly Bugman and the Armstrong Twins), the characters that were supposed to matter the most, didn’t. Sadie McLure and Noah were particularly disappointing, especially since they were the primary characters.
BZRK contains extremely heavy language, including several uses of the “f” word. In addition to swearing, descriptions of violence and death were graphic. Many of the characters engage in, and discuss, casual sexual encounters. For these reasons, this book may not be suitable for some younger readers.(less)
The narrator aside, this was not my favorite book. I enjoyed a lot of the plot and backstory, which is why I liked it well enough to publish a review....moreThe narrator aside, this was not my favorite book. I enjoyed a lot of the plot and backstory, which is why I liked it well enough to publish a review. However, as you know, I am all about the characters, and I did not like Tamsin.
Tamsin immediately put me off by being at odds with her perfect older sister. Well, let me rephrase that. It's not so much that she is different from her family, but how she acts about it. Namely, a victim. Even when people try to reach out to her, she is rude and unapproachable. So, Tamsin, pick one. Either you want to be part of your family, or you don't.
One particularly confusing thing relating to Tamsin is that she smokes and drinks. I'm not sure where she's getting her cigarettes and beer from, seeing as how she is 17, under the legal age for both smoking and drinking. But, as it was, I didn't see the point in having Tamsin smoke and drink, and that further put me off.
As I mentioned before, the story was definitely there, and with some different characters in place, I think I would have liked it quite well. I was disappointed in the lack of chemistry, to say the least.(less)
There isn't much I can say about the premise of this title that won't give away a lot of the plot in the first 4 books. Cammie wakes up in the middle...moreThere isn't much I can say about the premise of this title that won't give away a lot of the plot in the first 4 books. Cammie wakes up in the middle of the Swiss Alps with no memory of the past summer. After running to uncover the plot and the people behind the mysterious Circle of Cavan, a terrorist organization bent on killing Cammie, she has to recover her tracks to find out what she discovered last summer.
The Gallagher Girls series is one of my absolute favorites. Cammie and her friends are smart, resourceful, and so very girl. Even though this book deals with some of the biggest issues of any of Ally Carter's previous works, there are still plenty of laugh out loud moments. But, this is definitely the darkest of the Gallagher Girl books. Cammie has to come to grips with some very tough problems, including how to get back in her friends' good graces after she leaves them behind to figure out the clues her father found before his disappearance.
Fans of the series will be pleased with the appearances of some of their favorite characters. Including, but certainly not limited to: Zach, Aunt Abby, Agent Townsend, and of course, Cammie's loyal friends.
As with all of Carter's novels, I am pleased to report that the ending is very satisfying. Though I can hardly wait to get my hands on the final book in this series, its conclusion will be bittersweet.(less)