CATCHALL I loved Black City, so I was extremely eager to dive into Phoenix. I was nervous, though, too, because of so****FINAL RATING: 4.25 STARS****
CATCHALL I loved Black City, so I was extremely eager to dive into Phoenix. I was nervous, though, too, because of some things in the blurb. Despite my hesitation, however, once I picked it up I simply couldn't put it down. It was fresh and fast-paced, and a wholly satisfying sequel to the first book. Everything about it was gorgeous to the point where I really can't have many complaints, and the cast of characters was as sparkling as I expected.
THE HERO ASH Ash is just as sexy as I remember him in this book, and yet he somehow also becomes more layered. He is torn between wanting to do what is right between doing what he really wants to do at times, and it's a very realistic struggle to watch him go through. He can be really dense about some things, but he's also smart. There's a lot of love in his heart, and he's such a caring person even though he doesn't always know how to show it.
THE HEROINE NATALIE I have mixed feelings about Natalie, to be honest. Part of me really likes her, but the other part of me wants to smack her for being such an idiot. I get where her feelings are coming from, but she goes about acting on them in what I think is absolutely the wrong way. She has good intentions, but one plan in particular that she enacts is really stupid and just ticked me off. A lot.
THE PLOT Plot-wise, I may have preferred Black City a tiny bit more, but Phoenix still had an awesome plot. Also, the development was better, even if only marginally. This isn't a bad things, however, because Black City also boasted wonderful development. There wasn't necessarily marked improvement, but it didn't deteriorate either.
I like how the rebellion is more of a central focus in this one. It wasn't fully developed in book one, because it was more about uncovering evidence and that sort of thing. This book has more meat to it. It moves forward a to more, and there's way more going on. I also would argue that it becomes much more intense.
There's more at stake in this book, so everything has bigger strings attached to it. There's no simple answer because no matter what Natalie and Ash choose to do, someone loses. They cannot have everything even though they might like to, and they're forced to realize that they won't always be able to save everyone.
Overall, I think Phoenix had a more gripping plot than Black City did. We see more than enough of a particular villain, and there are new ones who show up. There's a death that I definitely did not expect, and though it made me gasp for breath, I do think it really contributed to the plot. It made things move forward, and provided more motive as well.
THE ROMANCE I love this romance, to be honest. It's hot and it's passionate, but it can also be very sweet and protective. There are numerous misunderstandings that drove me insane, but they did keep me riveted. Ash and Natalie's love story is a very unique one, and it only develops further here. There are other people in the picture, but the romance her can only ever be about the two of them for me. The development was fantastic, and there were some truly heartbreaking scenes.
THE WRITING Elizabeth is wonderfully talented, and there's real growth clear in the voices of her characters. They're still not quite distinct enough from each other for my tastes, but I'm definitely starting to understand more the differences between them. I like her descriptive sequences but she still struggles a bit in the characters' thoughts. There are times when Natalie and Ash are monologuing to themselves and I'm just kind of like "Yeah, no one thinks to themselves like that."
THE ENDING The ending absolutely murdered me. I realize this probably sounds like a very harsh choice of words, but I am actually completely serious. I died. It should be illegal to end a book this way. I literally flipped the pages back and forth over and over again as if that would make more text appear. It was a cruel, albeit clever, way to end the book. You have no choice but to want more.
WRAPUP Phoenix was a fabulous sequel with a killer plot, and I'm definitely dying to see book three. Elizabeth Richards might be a little bit evil, but I am still definitely a fan for life. I cannot wait to see how this all ends and what comes next. If you liked book one, you and Phoenix will get along just fine. If you haven't tried Black City but you don't mind another fun dystopian, give it a shot.
CATCHALL So, I was recently given the chance to read this book and I loved it! It's not usually the kind of thing I r****FINAL RATING: 4.10 STARS****
CATCHALL So, I was recently given the chance to read this book and I loved it! It's not usually the kind of thing I review, but I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to anyway. It was fresh and fun, and definitely a unique take on vampires that stayed true to its dystopian roots. It was incredibly interesting and I loved every bit of it. It was wonderful.
THE HEROINE KAYLA Kayla is a wonderful heroine. Even though she can't remember a lot of her past, she doesn't just sit around whining about it. Instead, she takes action. She works hard to get her memory back, but she also doesn't let its loss slow her down. She is who she is, with or without it. Also, she's totally butt-kicking without being absurdly powerful.
THE LOVE INTEREST AIDEN Aiden is sweet, if overprotective. He wants desperately to keep Kayla safe, but he doesn't always know what's best for her, and often too goes against her wishes. I like him, but he's going to have to change at least a little to impress. He needs to give Kayla room to breathe without smothering her, but at the same time his fierce dedication is incredibly admirable.
THE PLOT I gobbled this book up. It was very fast-paced. It's not the kind of book that's easy to set down. It's the kind of book that once you pick up, atomic bombs could drop and you wouldn't bat an eyelid.
The whole twist on vampires is excellent. Vampires are so often overused in YA these days, but Jessica does it in a way that manages to feel fresh and unique, which is no small task.
Despite the action, the book also manages to deal with a lot of more serious things. It's a dystopian, so the society is, of course, totally messed up. There are Highers as well as vampires, which are a unique human0like paranormal, but they are the most powerful and they control everyone else. It's a very interesting aspect, and I like the whole memory-loss factor.
The Gathering is also very interesting. I wasn't sure what is was at first, but it turned out to be something that I really wanted to know more about. It is similar to other features in other dystopians, but not exactly the same. Why do some people get chosen for the Gathering and others don't? That's only one question Kayla wants the answer to.
Oh, and she's supposed to save the whole society with only a watch. Try that one on for size!
THE ROMANCE The romance is really nice actually, and refreshing because it isn't instalovey at all. It's mentioned that Aiden and Kayla had a romance in the past, but Kayla remembers nothing of it and so thankfully this isn't used as a crutch. There's definitely chemistry between them, but also lies and a lot of distrust and that's not easy to get over. I am looking forward to more development here.
THE WRITING Jessica has really, really awesome writing. Like, really. It's so impressive. Her world-building is absolutely awesome, and the dystopian world she's created is practically at my fingertips. The description is so lush that I can really see everything unfolding before my eyes, and the setting just blooms off the pages. I don't know how else to describe it. And then, the dialogue is excellent. I love the banter between the characters, and the often salacious undertones.
THE ENDING Wow. Talk about a cliffhanger! It didn't leave me totally desperate, but it is pretty intense. It ends in such a way that I really wanted to know what happened next, but I didn't feel like it was contrived. The ending made sense, and I loved that it was clearly well-thought-out.
WRAPUP This book was extremely fun. It was definitely a quick read, but that didn't make it any less enjoyable. I spend through it and it left me breathless. I'll definitely be picking up the sequel, and since the main point of my writing this review is to convince you to pick up this book, I seriously suggest that you go do so right now! It's short enough to read in-between books, and fun.
(Just to make a random observation, I seem to give out a lot of 4.65 ratings.)
CATCHALL When I started reading False*****FINAL RATING: 4.65 STARS*****
(Just to make a random observation, I seem to give out a lot of 4.65 ratings.)
CATCHALL When I started reading False Memory, I'm not sure what I expected. Maybe something formulaic, even boring. Like every other sci-fi novel out there. But if that's what I expected, that isn't nearly what I got. And that is most definitely a good thing. For one thing, it is legit and genuine scientific science fiction. To be honest, I never though that kind of thing would appeal to me. But it does. It absolutely blew me away.
THE HEROINE MIRANDA It's a super rare thing to see male authors write female characters, and Dan did this exceptionally well. She has no memory of anything when she awakes, but she does discover within herself an unusual type of power. She is an incredibly relatable and most definitely human character, and despite the fact that I don't suffer (serious) memory loss it was easy to relate to Miranda. She doesn't really understand what's going on, and she definitely isn't happy about it. Yet she never really crosses the line to majorly annoying. She has her moments, but so does everybody.
THE LOVE INTERESTS PETER Peter is very mysterious. When he's first introduced to the story, we really have no idea who he is. Who's side is he on? We don't know, and I love the mystery and suspense that invites for a little while. It's like the first time I watched the Audrey Hepburn movie Charade, the one where everyone is a double agent and there's really no one to trust. This entire book wasn't like that, but Peter definitely was, and I loved that mystery. It made me want to know more about him. NOAH Noah is Miranda's old boyfriend, the one she can't remember loving, and she goes through a lot of conflict over this. I love the fact that even Miranda is obviously different, he still supports her and is there for her. Instead of taking off, he stays with her. Plus he just sounds like gorgeous, so yeah. Oh! And this boy has a mouth on him. He's pretty impulsive and doesn't usually think before he speaks, but that's just as well because he provides some awesome comic relief moments.
THE FRIEND OLIVE Olive seems shy, but she's not. She's loyal to Miranda. There for her. And she's a totally seasoned warrior, maybe even more so than the others. She's very calm and collected. Cool-headed when the others aren't. The voice of reason, and clearly intelligent.
THE PLOT I can think of so many giant, absurdly huge adjectives that I had to memorize as part of SAT vocab last summer. However, I feel that since I told you I could use these words I feel it is unnecessary to actually use them. Plus I really can't spell most of them, so that is a problem.
I'm not even making it sound better than it actually is when I say that it's one of the most unique plot ideas I've seen in…well, ever. Because sure, there are books and movies about memory loss all the time, some even dystopian like this one. Think Total Recall. (Not to get on a tangent, but awesome movie. I'm totally going to read the book at some point in my life. Preferably soon.)
I mean, I loved this book. There was a ton of suspense. We're introduced into this incredible dystopian world; probably one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. The world-building is exquisite. Perfection. I fell completely in love with it instantly and never found my way back out. And I didn't want to.
And it just had some amazing action. The action sequences were really detailed, not just a ton of thrown-together adjectives. You can almost feel everything that's happening, as if you're actually taking part.
And there are, like the synopsis says, some pretty dark secrets just waiting to be uncovered. Some things, it is clear, have yet to be uncovered. So basically, some crazy awesome fun. And then some.
THE ROMANCE I'm not normally a fan of love triangles, just because they frustrate me to no end. They're great sometimes, but the other times…well, you know. But this love triangle happens to be executed fantastically. I actually found myself floundering between the two love interests. It took me a long time to decide who I liked better, because Miranda herself has very complicated feelings for both of them, and she isn't always sure what she wants. But instead of it seeming dragged out or unnecessary, it feels genuine. And that's important.
THE WRITING Dan's writing, like the fact that he writes a female character, is unique. And that works out in his case. Miranda's voice is charming but also truthful. She says what she sees, doesn't gloss it over with unnecessary adjectives or fluff. She sees things as they are and that's what we hear through her. And her feelings, about herself, the people around her, and her environment, are fully developed but still leave room for change. And they do change, as they should.
THE ENDING So if I didn't know better, I would say Dan is trying to kill me. Because there is some seriously cliffhanger action going on when this book ends. The ending left me on the edge of my seat, dying for the next book. I think I would consider illegal activities in order to get my hands on the next book. That's how much I want it after reading this masterpiece of an ending. Well thought out and beautifully executed.
WRAPUP I know there's been some serious controversy regrading this author and therefore his books, but I honestly suggest rethinking that. There was a point where I wasn't going to read this book either, but because of some things that were said and done I did change my mind, and I'm glad I did. I definitely love singing this book's praises, and I highly recommend it. Unique and fun and one of my all-time favorites, easily.
CATCHALL Into the Still Blue was an incredible, exemplary close to the Under the Never Sky series. It was lovely, h*****FINAL RATING: 4.70 STARS*****
CATCHALL Into the Still Blue was an incredible, exemplary close to the Under the Never Sky series. It was lovely, heartbreaking, and pretty much perfect. There’s not much to complain about. With a stellar cast of characters, a gorgeous setting, and a plot that bends and twists at will, it’s a beautiful story of love and loss, and new beginnings.
THE HEROINE ARIA I love Aria. She’s brave, but not foolish. She’s a badass young woman who knows how to fight, but she has her weaknesses too. She doesn’t like to let other people see them, but they’re there, and they make her more real. Aria is soft on some points, but very hard on others. She’s a balanced character who goes through a lot of growth in this novel.
THE HERO PEREGRINE Perry is a sexy, sexy man who also happens to be an excellent leader. He’s strong enough to support his people, but not without making his own mistakes. He doesn’t depend on Aria like she wants him to, and tries to take on everything himself. So, he’s not perfect, but who is? He’s independent and makes his own decisions.
THE SECONDARY CHARACTERS ROAR Roar is my favorite character, and he goes through a lot in this book. Liv is gone, and that tears away at him every day. It causes him to act rashly sometimes, and make mistakes he would otherwise know better than to do. Still, he’s someone Aria and Perry both need, and he learns to be himself again, maybe not perfect, but better. SOREN No character in this book makes a bigger arc than Soren does, I think. He’s kind of a wild card, but he proves himself to be loyal—at least for a great deal of the story. He’s never quite what’s expected, but he comes through when it counts. Still, this doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his moments when he wavers. BROOKE I adore Brooke. She’s a strong, independent woman who knows what she needs to do and she’s not afraid to do it. We see her continue her strong character arc continued from her own story.
THE PLOT This story is the most important one of the series, and it tells the story of finding the Still Blue and making a home there. But there’s no shortage of obstacles on the way. It’s difficult at times, and not everyone survives. It’s bittersweet and there a tears shed, but no story, no real story, is all happiness.
It’s a deliciously complex story that twists and turns, never letting the reader relax for too long. Just when you think everything’s about to fall into place, something unexpected happens that takes the book in a whole different direction.
The story stays true to its dystopian roots, not becoming too much of a romance or anything else. It’s a truly heartwrenching book that’s never what you expect it to be, and yet is always perfect. I cried, and I laughed, and when it was over I hugged the book to my chest and smiled because it was truly perfect.
THE ROMANCE The romance in this book was perfect. Not too overbearing, but still definitely there and a main part of the story. Aria and Perry, despite loving each other and being together for some time now, still have their share of obstacles to overcome, just like any real couple in love. It’s not all rainbows for them, but together they learn to overcome their differences so that they can really be together.
THE WRITING Veronica has some of the most beautiful writing I’ve ever read, and her world-building is peerless. I swear I can see the aether on the horizon. Aria and Perry both have unique voices, and even if the book had been without titles headers it’s always easy to understand whose eyes we are seeing the story through.
THE ENDING The ending of this book was perfect. It was the perfect balance of romantic and not. It’s sweet, without being at all cliché. I loved the note the novel closed on—it was the sweetest way it could have ended, and yet not so perfect that it’s unbelievable. There’s definitely still some obstacles to overcome, but the main ones are gone.
WRAPUP I couldn’t have asked for more from this book. It’s nearly flawless as is, and delivers the perfect ending to a much-loved series. I’ll definitely be picking up future books from Veronica—I don’t see how I couldn’t. As bittersweet as it is to see this series come to a close, it opens up the doors for future releases that are sure to be just as amazing.
CATCHALL I'm not sure where to begin. There's no doubt in my mind that I absolutely loved The Forsaken—but I also had****FINAL RATING: 3.75 STARS****
CATCHALL I'm not sure where to begin. There's no doubt in my mind that I absolutely loved The Forsaken—but I also had some issues with it too. To begin with, it is too similar to many dystopians that are out. A bit…formulaic, if you will. Definitely different and fun, but while it was special it lacks that bit of extra oomph I look for. I thought it was a lot of fun and I absolutely loved it. So don't get me wrong. It was a crazy-awesome book, but it could have been better.
THE HEROINE ALENNA Alenna is a sweet girl, if too naïve at first. She annoyed me for the first part of the book, but once she adjusts to living of the Wheel, and wanting to learn what happened to her parents and who she is, she really steps up to the plate and gets stronger. she makes mistakes, sure, but that's what makes her so human. She isn't perfect, even though at times she tries to be. She's an incredibly relatable heroine and really identifiable. I found myself wanting what she wanted and hoping what she hoped for. I rarely make that type of super strong connection to a character.
THE LOVE INTEREST LIAM Liam is wonderful, if a bit stereotypical and too perfect. He's pretty much the Ideal Man, the best at absolutely everything and one of the village's best assets. Everyone loves him. Everyone also either wants to be with him or get with him. Well, not everyone, but it usually seems that way. You get the idea. I will admit that I find the idea of him very appealing, and though I think his character could have been explored more Lisa did a good job with his development. He has a background story, which is great, and clearly an interesting future ahead of him.
THE FRIENDS GADYA Ahhh. I liked Gayda at first, because she befriended Alenna and took her under her wing when she was alone. Then she made a one-eighty and turned out to be a two-faced bipolar freak who was a close friend to Alenna one moment and plotting her demise the next. I couldn't stand her. I wanted to like her, but I absolutely couldn't. She drove me crazy, and not in a good way. DAVID David is smart, clearly, and as one of the first characters we really meet in the novel we see him more and more often as time goes on. I certainly didn't expect him to be as important as he is, and his role is completely dynamic. I hope to see more of him in the future installments. A wonderfully fleshed-out character, but despite all we learn about him I imagine he still has his secrets. And I for one can't wait to learn them. VEIDMAN I actually liked Veidman, and I would've wanted to learn more about him. He was an extremely interesting character. A leader, but also just a boy. Strong but still vulnerable, and probably hiding some secrets that we may or may not learn. Dynamic. SINXEN Sinxen may have been among my favorite characters, because he has a spectacular character arc. When we meet him he's playful and flirty—by his final scene all hints of that are gone, replaced by someone new. Stronger. A warrior who isn't afraid to give his life. I loved him.
THE PLOT Like I said, rather formulaic. The plot was different, but also not. Does that makes any sense? If it doesn't, don't tell me.
I mean, there were totally some entirely unique aspects. But at the same time, a lot of things had a feel that was a but too familiar to be comfortable. Still, I liked it better than the dystopian Matched, and that one was arguably more unique.
The Forsaken had a plot that constantly bounced from place to place, action at every moment. Not too much info in this one, not too much background. Just enough to keep the story moving along smoothly, to keep everyone from getting confused.
Some things? Too coincidental. Yet somehow, these things worked. Sometimes they worked out too perfectly—but thy worked out. And I guess that's what matters.
Alenna's totalitarian government is different and also not. I never expected the revelation about the Minister, or about learning what really happened to the people who disappeared. and the unique elements like the feelers kept me on my toes, always guessing as to what would happen next. Constantly waiting, eagerly. Impatiently.
THE ROMANCE The romance was—well, unfortunately it kind of falls under the instalove category. It just didn't really ring realistically to me. Liam and Alenna definitely have chemistry…but chemistry isn't always enough. There wasn't enough development for me to be satisfied. I could have dealt with some feelings being existent, but the whole falling in love thing was totally lost on me because it just didn't work.
THE WRITINGi Lisa has lovely and beautiful writing. Alenna's voice could use some work—it definitely wobbles, but it also sounds the way I imagine it would. She doesn't always sound genuine or stay true to herself. Still, even so, her voice is pretty wonderfully developed and she sounds like a human girl who goes through fear and tragedy and loss and such while growing a backbone at the same time. And the description is perfect. There is nothing and no one in this book I can't picture.
THE ENDING The ending was bittersweet. There's some sadness, but mostly happiness and hope for the future. I love the note this book ends on. Actually, it's perfect. There's rising action to the climax and then falling action to meet the ending. Which, as aforementioned, is perfect. I like that there's not a major cliffhanger. It left me wanting to know what's next, but not too desperate. There was also something that was expected, and something that wasn't. The best combination, since, like, ever.
WRAPUP Unless you're sick of dystopians and never want to see another one ever again, I honestly and heartfeltly (Is that a word? I don't think so, but oh well.) recommend The Forsaken. It has a likable heroine and a sexy love interest, and the plot is tense and exciting. Though it's far from perfect and I'll be looking for more in the sequels, I think that this is such an exciting book that it's bound to be popular among both boys and girls. A brill debut by Lisa Stasse!
CATCHALL I'd honestly barely heard anything about The Ward when I first received it, but it didn't take me very long****FINAL RATING: 3.60 STARS****
CATCHALL I'd honestly barely heard anything about The Ward when I first received it, but it didn't take me very long to fall in love with the idea. And I definitely wasn't disappointed! The Ward certainly was not a perfect book, but it definitely had all the elements of a thriller that I adore. It brings new things to the table, and although at times it felt oddly cheesy or stereotypical, this didn't keep me from loving it immensely and rushing through it at breakneck speed.
THE HEROINE REN I still think Ren is a guy name, but whatever. I guess I can over look that. She's a really strong and she really has a presence. At the same time, she's also very vulnerable but she hates to show it. She doesn't let anyone stand in her way, and she'll do anything to protect her sister, even if it goes against something she believes in. She's fiercely loyal. She also doesn't give her trust away easily at times, and at others she might be too willing to trust. She's a very flawed character, but also very real.
THE LOVE INTEREST CALLUM Callum is a mysterious character from the beginning, and it's really difficult to know what side he's on. Does he want to help Ren? Is her only looking out for himself? For the longest time, it's difficult to say. Still, it's obvious that he cares about Ren. He really does go out of his way for her, and although he doesn't always make the best choices I think he does try to do what's right. He has a lot of appeal, and he's not the most conventional character but definitely a very interesting one. I absolutely adore him. DEREK Derek turned out to be way more complex than I first expected. As it turns out, even he is hiding something. One thing I never doubted, though, was how much he cared about Ren. He's really very sweet in his own way. He has definitely made a lot of bad choices, but I think he really tries to make up for him, he just doesn't entirely know how. He definitely still has a lot of issues to sort out but I do love him, so I'm hoping for the best for him.
THE PLOT The Ward is action-packed. Fast-paced. Honestly, it could really qualify as a thriller in a lot of ways.
Ren works for the hated government to get money she needs for her adopted sister's medicine. Then she runs into a mysterious young agent, saying he has some intel for her, and with the choice she makes because of that changes everything for her. Suddenly, the stakes are so much higher, and what Ren could lose becomes so much more precious. She doesn't know where to turn, who she can trust.
I loved the action-oriented plot. There was always something dangerous or thrilling or deliciously romantic going on, and I couldn't get enough of it. I literally could not put this book down because I needed to know what was going to happen next. So many times it took turns I didn't expect, and while I could often piece things together for myself I never got bored.
The world building was bait weak. I love Ren's world, but I wish it had been described better. A lot of the natural-type things that happened were just kind of put out there and never explained, which was just really frustrating. There were some things that I just could not accept at face value. The city itself isn't described in as much detail as I would have liked either.
Moreover, there are a ton of inconsistencies in this book. I really can't go into specifics without being spoilery, but believe me, there are. I remember that while I was reading it I took notes on them but eventually just gave up because there were so damn many. Hopefully at least some of them will be corrected in the final version.
There's a lot to love about this books, its fault being as they are. I loved this book. There was no way I could not love this book.
THE ROMANCE Callum. Derek. Callum. Derek. I am torn. I am so, so torn. I cannot remember being this torn up about a love triangle since like, well, ever. I usually don't have a difficult time choosing a team, but I just can't. I love them both so much, and choosing one of them just seems wrong. Can't she just end up with both of them? And lest you think I m joking, I am not. Anyway, there was no instalove, which was awesome. It's beautifully arranged triangle, and I loved the dynamic between all three of them. There's a large lack of trust, which makes the romance difficult, but there's also an undeniable connection that's difficult to break.
THE WRITING I always try to cut a bit of slack on debut novels, and this one is no exception. The writing is gorgeous, but Ren's voice is immature and difficult to relate to at times. The language also has a tendency to be way simplistic and actually hard to read because of that. The description always felt kind of off, and it just didn't seem to come across right. However, I also appreciate the personality in Ren's voice.
THE ENDING The ending was really, really good. It's also a really, really torturous cliffhanger. I was left breathless, needing to know what was going to happen next. But alas, no such luck in finding out until the next book. The pacing felt a bit off near the end and everything felt a bit oddly rushed, but other than that I think it was very skillfully pieced together. It's not entirely unexpected, but it also wasn't annoyingly predictable, so I'm happy.
WRAPUP I loved The Ward, despite its faults. It's the first in a duology, and you can bet I'll be picking up the next book eagerly. I can't wait! Something this action-packed and fantastic is sure to have an even more amazing second book. As to would I recommend this? Yes, yes, yes!! You're going to have to deal with some annoying inconsistencies, but if you can put up with them I really suggest you give this a shot.
CATCHALL Dualed was one of my most anticipated debuts of 2013, so when I saw that it was getting mixed reviews I go*****FINAL RATING: 4.55 STARS*****
CATCHALL Dualed was one of my most anticipated debuts of 2013, so when I saw that it was getting mixed reviews I got a little bit nervous but was still mostly sure that I would love. And I wasn't wrong! Dualed is a fast-paced dystopian read that kept me up long into the night because I couldn't put it down. I read it all in one sitting telling myself I'd only read one more chapter and then finish the rest later until it got to the point where I figured I should just finish. I would definitely stay up to all hours of insanity to read this again. It was that good.
THE HEROINE WEST West is a tad underdeveloped, and at times it was hard to get a good grip on her character. In the end, though, I still loved her. She has strongly conflicting values. It's difficult to get past the idea that murder, in this case, in this society, is acceptable to her, but that's the way she was raised. Even so, I loved that West wasn't completely okay with the idea of killing her Alt. In some way, she knows that it is like killing herself. Her conflict brings out her humanity. I didn't always understand why she made the choices she did but it was clear that she thought things through, and that was admirable too.
THE LOVE INTEREST CHORD Like West, Chord is a slight bit underdeveloped. However, this didn't keep me from falling head over heels for him. He's fiercely protective of West, and he doesn't want her to do anything stupid. At the same time, I love love love that he lets her make her own decisions. He helps her in any way he can, too, and he isn't afraid to risk his own life for her. He's loyal, always, to the end. His love in unconditional. He's sweet and he's sexy and he has one of the hottest names in existence. So, I'm not ashamed to admit my deep and abiding love for him.
THE PLOT The best thing about Dualed was its suspense, easily. I love a good fast-paced action novel. Dualed promised to deliver in this department from the beginning and did not disappoint. It was a major page turner that left me breathless with every plot twist and aching to read faster so that I could figure out what happened next. It's almost a thriller. West is on the run, and her Alt is hunting her. But while West doesn't want to be hunted, she is reluctant to be the hunter.
From the very beginning, we're launched right into the action. West's brother Luc is with her, and they're all set up to hunt down Chord's Alt. That assignment doesn't go smoothly, and West, traumatized by the experience, is drawn into a new world: that of the Strikers.
The Strikers are a team of people, usually made of those who have already killed their Alts. But West is something of a special case, and her skills are impressive enough that she is recruited. I admired the way she came to her decision. She actually thought about it, and didn't do anything impulsive. She weighed her options and decided what would be best for her survival.
However, this wasn't quite the story I was expecting. I though there would be more of West with her Alt, and that they would meet or something, more so than they did to kill each other. However, just because I was expecting a slightly different story doesn't mean I didn't love what the story was. If anything, I loved it more.
Dualed easily captured my attention and my heart. With a spectacular, original plot, this dystopian found its way to my favorites list.
THE ROMANCE Romance, yay! There actually wasn't as much romance in this book as I would have like, me being the romance-obsessed girl that I am. However, I loved what there was, and I hope that there's more romance in the next book! At the beginning, West pushes Chord away to protect him. But eventually, she softens up. Their feelings for one another are so evident and so gorgeous and the scenes between them charged with so much emotion that I became fully invested in making sure that they ended up together by the end of this book. When West finally starts to let Chord in, I swear my heart did a thousand somersaults. The romance in this book was just lovely, and yet intense as well. In a word, perfect. It just needed more!
THE WRITING Elsie's writing is fun and girlish, and I mean that in a good way. West has a very young voice, but her naïvety made her more real to me, so I liked that. It's a unique voice in YA, one that's extremely vulnerable but working hard to be strong. I also love the world-building, and the whole city of Kersh came across strongly to me, and I could believe that it was real. It think it could be amped up a little in the next book, with more complex word choice and such, but for this book I think everything worked perfectly.
THE ENDING Dualed definitely did not end the way I expected it to. There actually isn't much of a cliffhanger, which I was really excited about. It's nice to see that the book could simply come to an end. However, I was still left dying for more! I didn't need a cliffhanger to hold my attention for the next book. I loved the way everything worked out, and that it was intense up until the very last moment. I was holding my breath and praying by the time this book ended, but that's what made it so fabulous.
WRAPUP While I can see that Dualed isn't for everyone, I can already tell that it's going to be hugely popular. It's one of the most suspenseful novels I've read in quite some time, and though the characters could use some work everything else is just about perfect. I loved the concept, loved the execution, and loved the general awesomeness of the book. I would absolutely recommend it to dystopian lovers and those who love to be kept on their toes. I'll definitely be picking up the sequel, Divided, and keeping tabs on Elsie's future work.
CATCHALL Insignia was one of those books where I was forced to tell myself, Just two more chapters. Just two more c*****FINAL RATING: 4.60 STARS*****
CATCHALL Insignia was one of those books where I was forced to tell myself, Just two more chapters. Just two more chapters. And then, of course, I ended up finishing the book. Honestly, when I picked this one up, I wasn't entirely sure that I would enjoy it. I thought it might be a fun read, but nothing like what I got. This thriller was fast-paced and insane and held my interest throughout the entirety of the novel. I loved the characters, I adored the setting and the originality, and the dystopian yet realistic sci-fi U.S. it was set in was positively amazing.
THE HERO TOM Where do I begin? When Tom is introduced into the story, he's just your average teenage guy. Maybe a little cleverer than most at games, but pretty much ordinary. Yet just one event and he's catapulted into a completely different world. He literally becomes a computer, yet retains a lot of who he is. Suddenly he's more than who he's always been. He has attention, the thing he's been craving the most. Yet even though he sometimes get a big head, he also somehow remains down-to-earth. Recognizable. I like him a lot for that. And he's smart. He's not just street-smart, though there is that.
THE ENEMY MEDUSA I didn't expect to get introduced so much to Medusa, and yet we are. She's portrayed as someone who maybe hasn't chosen her fate, and yet she's been totally cast into it nonetheless. She's also a lot like Tom, in more ways than it originally seems. She's definitely a complex character, and learning some things about her shocked me although maybe they shouldn't have. She's not all she seems to be, and although she's the enemy, she's not all evil. In fact, there are some things she would do/does for Tom that stretch even beyond friendship. (I also apologize for the sucky header.)
THE FRIENDS VIK Vik was an awesome character. He's a great friend to Tom, and he's also totally normal. He's a bit crazy, but in a fun way. I like that when Tom goes through his, er, phase, he just has nothing to do with him and doesn't even bother. Maybe that seems kind of cold and cruel, but honestly, I totally understood it. He could see that something was wrong, but without knowing what to do to fix it, he just let it go. Also, as it turns out, he has a loyal streak that goes even beyond concern for himself when it comes to protecting his friends. YURI Nevermind that "Yuri" always makes me think of Dr. Zhivago, I like him. For certain reasons, it takes a long time to get a read on his personality for a really long time, but once we do I definitely liked him. He's certainly not simpleminded at all, and it'll be interesting to see where his character will go. WYATT Wyatt is a girl, just so I make myself clear. Basically, she's a programming genius. She's one of the first people Tom meets, and she becomes an unlikely friend. She puts on a cold front, but it's fairly clear that inside she's actually lonely. I like her in some ways. I actually really had a difficult time relating to her, but that didn't make me not like her. Still, I hope we get to learn more about her soon. BEAMER He's not in this book much, so there's not much to say. However, I like what he represents and what he's used as. It goes to show that not everything is perfect in their perfect world. I think we might see him again, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he becomes.
THE PLOT I adore thrillers. I love the action, the intensity, the anticipation, the everything. I love never knowing what's going to happen next. I even love the side plots that drag out the agony. I love everything about thrillers.
Insignia did not disappoint at all. It was incredibly fast-paced, and yet not so fast-paced that I couldn't keep up. It gives us a little background info at the beginning, but from that moment on we're propelled right into the midst of the action along with Tom and never let go. I literally couldn't bring myself to put this book down. I was always wanting to know what was going to happen next and the thought that I might not be able to was terrible. This is starting to sound incredibly cliché, but whatever. If the cliché fits, use it. Or whatever.
And the side plots weren't boring at all. From the very first instant, I loved every storyline. Yeeeaaah, I did think there were a few excessive and random ones, but honestly, they were still entertaining, even if I think they could have been cut out. Sometimes it was hard to keep track. However, this did not make hit any less fun.
But seriously. It was intense. And God, this review really is sounding cliché. But again, whatever. It's all true.
I loved the plot. The level of originality is incredible. And the thing is, it's not even really far-fetched. It's almost realistic in a way. The sic-fi is an essential part of the story without being the whole story, and I like that, too.
THE ROMANCE There's not much romance in this book. At all. But this is generally speaking my favorite section to write, and so I really don't want to skip it. I mean, and there is romance. It's certainly not a large part of the story at all, but it is there, and I'll be interested to see where the development goes. It's light so far, but also has potential.
THE WRITING I LOVE S.J.'s writing. It's gorgeous, and it's perfectly used for the story that she wants to tell. It's science-fictiony and fun. I also just made up an adjective, which makes me happy. ANYWAY, I'm obviously having problems focusing right now. It's third person, and I love the way it's told. There's no way it would have been the same in first person. Some of the insights we get are awesome, and yet also we can get a strong read on Tom's thoughts, which is great. Oh, and I do love the dialogue. It's really fun, and while a tad simplistic, it's also really realistic and really captures what feel like genuine conversations. And the world building—spectacular. No more really needs to be said.
THE ENDING Oh, the ending. I really loved it because it wasn't some sort of cruel cliffhanger! Of course it left me wanting more and soon, but not totally desperate. The main conflict and story was resolved, and yet the ending is also very open for more, which it's clear there will be. Completely awesome, totally amazing. Well done, and moreover, realistic. There's even some serious heartbreak and emotional play going on, which is something kind of unique, at least I thought so.
WRAPUP I absolutely loved this book! I highly recommend it! If you're reluctant to read sci-fi, this might not be for you, but if you love your action and your dystopians worlds I'd recommend it anyway. Insignia is something new in YA, and I'm excited to see more of it. A well-rounded and marvelous book.
Biggest disappointment I've had in a long time, so much so that I scanned more than read the last 20%. Absolutely worse than book one and the destroyeBiggest disappointment I've had in a long time, so much so that I scanned more than read the last 20%. Absolutely worse than book one and the destroyer of my hopes. Review to come.
Ohmygod, I'm going all fangirl, but I just love that title! It has the word "dance" in it, after all, and it sounds so hopelessly intriguing!
I am Team Elliott all the way, and can't wait to see more of him and his gorgeousness in this book :)...more
CATCHALL I loved Poison Princess. I really, really did. It started off slow and was difficult to get into, but once I****FINAL RATING: 3.75 STARS****
CATCHALL I loved Poison Princess. I really, really did. It started off slow and was difficult to get into, but once I really connected I became totally immersed and tumbled head over heels into love. It was definitely one of those unputdownable books! I was always wanting know what happened next, and I burned through the words of this one. Fast. It was just fantastic. It wasn't perfect, but it was truly enjoyable and sexy.
THE HEROINE EVIE Evie was very, very hard for me to connect to. For a long time she's very shallow and wants her life to remain exactly as it is. Because of this, she ignores many obvious signs. I guess I don't blame her for wanting to stick to the familiar, but her life isn't very fulfilling. She's popular and has the perfect friends and boyfriend. She gets all the best parties. I just couldn't relate to her values, and I got really frustrated with her. She was very dense too. Eventually, though, I started to warm up to her as she began to embrace who she was and owned it.
THE LOVE INTEREST JACKSON Jackson is, like, all lit up with sex appeal. I honestly don't know how else to put it. He is just like ridiculously hot. He is sometimes something of a jerk, but for some reason, it works on him. Normally I don't tolerate that kind of behavior, but on Jack, it just…I don't know, it works. But at the same time, even though he's not always thinking correctly, it's clear that he really, truly cares about Evie. He wouldn't do some of the things he does if he didn't. He's a muscular bad boy, but it isn't overdone and overly clichéd. And while he does have a soft side, it's not stereotyped at all.
THE MADMAN ARTHUR Arthur narrates a few of the chapters, and it's clear from the beginning that he's not all right in the head. He's clearly a psychopath, but he has this twisted way of looking at things and his obvious insanity was fascinating. The way he saw things provided a different look on everything that Evie said, and he also was a brief look into the other side of things and the opposer.
THE OTHERS SELENA Selena is actually a really interesting character. She clearly likes Jackson, and doesn't care too much for Evie. Yet, she still helps both of them out. She could just be doing it for Jackson, but I actually suspect somehow that maybe she might be doing it for Evie too. Honestly, I'm not sure. But while I'm not sure I liked her, I didn't dislike her. She's still very mysterious, and I'm looking forward to learning more about her. MATTHEW Ah, Matthew. Matthew was a very interesting character. He's not completely normal, but he doesn't seem insane. He can see the future, and that's slowly started to mess with him. He'll do anything for Evie, which is clear from the beginning. He almost seems like a little boy and a man at the same time. FINN Finn is fascinating. We don't meet him for a long time, but I really like him. He has this awesome sense of humor and he's somewhat of a rascal. He has a playful personality and made me laugh more than once. The way he sees things is humorous, and even ridiculous. I'm really looking forward to learning more about him.
THE PLOT Plot. The most crucial, important part of any story, of course. Without a good, solid plot, a novel in nothing.
Poison Princess' plot is definitely unique. It's based on Arcana, a set of tarot cards. A group of teenagers have been assigned to cards, and that is part of who they are. They can't escape it. Evie is one of these teens. She tries to deny her abilities, deny who she is, but she can't. Ultimately, fate catches up with her. That's when she hits the road, knowing that something's up. Jack is there, and though she isn't sure why, she's grateful.
Evie doesn't want any part of this. For one thing, she's sure it will scare Jack off, and she needs him. But she can't seem to run from what's destined to happen.
I really, really liked the original story. The Arcana is, as far as I know, a previously untouched subject in YA, but it was done so well here. I was seriously impressed. I like the way there's an entire history that goes along with it, and that we don't learn everything at once. Some things I could eventually conclude for myself, but some things I was surprised to learn. It was pretty much the ideal balance.
Like I said before, it did start out pretty slowly, and it actually took me a while to really get into it. For the longest time, it was so hard to keep reading. It was good, but it didn't grab me. It spent too much time on Evie's life before the apocalypse, when they way she lived was shallow and unremarkable. Still, once it started to get interesting, it got really interesting, and I started to really love it.
THE ROMANCE The romance was a bit unique. There's certainly a love triangle of sorts, although it doesn't involve two guys. Evie and Jack have some seriously sparkling chemistry, but Jack wants to take things too fast and Evie doesn't like that. I really liked that, the fact that she didn't get carried away. Her heart was hot but her head was cool. When they meet Selena, things get complicated. Selena clearly has a thing for Jack, and it seems that Jack might like her too. So that's when things start to get really messy. Strangely, it didn't bother me that much.
THE WRITING I love, love, love Kresley's writing style. Even though I couldn't connect to Evie's voice for a while, the writing itself is just beyond gorgeous. It's both young and worldly, the voice of a girl who's seen too much and yet doesn't know enough. And the characterization is incredible. All of the secondary characters are very fleshed out, with promises of more backstory to come. And I love the dialogue and banter between the characters. It's realistic, and can be both fun and serious without being melodramatic.
THE ENDING The ending…wow. I must say, I honestly did not see that coming at all. I really didn't. It completely shocked me. It ended in this totally unexpected and dramatic way that just kind of put everything into perspective. Then it got even more unexpected and dramatic, and I just loved it. Okay, I know that really doesn't make too much sense, but I'm trying to avoid spoilers. Oh, also, it's like this huge, ginormous, totally cruel cliffhanger.
WRAPUP So, yes, I loved Poison Princess. It's a unique and fun dystopian that kept me on my toes. While it's not for everyone, I'd definitely recommend it. It's not your average post-apocalyptic novel, so I genuinely think that many, many people will love it just for that. I myself will most definitely be continuing this series. In fact, I'm highly anticipating the next installment of The Arcana Chronicles! It was a wild and sexy ride, a bit slow at first but escalating, and I gobbled it up. Kresley has herself a proud new fan!
CATCHALL I loved, loved, loved, Luminosity. It has a strong heroine and a well-developed love triangle. There's also****FINAL RATING: 4.20 STARS****
CATCHALL I loved, loved, loved, Luminosity. It has a strong heroine and a well-developed love triangle. There's also a surprisingly healthy dose of mystery and a heap of the paranormal, even maybe a little bit of magic. It's also a fabulous dystopian. It's a little bit of everything adding up to a whole lot of love. I mean, I really, really loved this one. It wasn't perfect, and it had some flaws and things that bothered me, but overall it was fantastic.
THE HEROINE BEATRICE Bea is our strong, questioning heroine. And the thing is, in Bea's world, you don't question everything. The Keeper is always right. Whatever she says goes, and you must live by it. Bea doesn't like that. She doesn't always speak up, which I had a problem with. I understand why she did it, but still. Sometimes things were just completely unacceptable. I see where she tries to justify it, to fit into the world she's used to, but it just doesn't work. However, I liked Bea's protectiveness of her friends and how she's willing to sacrifice. I thought that some secrets weren't worth keeping, but I also understand why she withheld them.
THE LOVE INTEREST GABRIEL I really liked Gabe. He's strong and courageous, and he wants to keep Bea safe at all costs. At the same time, he also is kind of frustrating. He gets really annoyed at Bea when she keeps things from him to try and protect him. And okay, I totally understand the frustration, and I don't agree with Bea's decision either. But people make their own choices and sometimes they just need your support. He really just wasn't very supportive and he was totally rude and I am not okay with that. Still, he could definitely be sweet too. ECHO I loved Echo. Like, loved. Though we don't see much of him outside of Bea's dreams, we still get to know him intimately. He isn't all about destruction, but he's a survivor, and he'll do what he needs to survive. I admire that survival instant. I think, in the end, that it's impossible to run from what you were made to be. And Echo is what he was made to be. He wants to change some things, to save some things, but some things you simply cannot fight. I like that he accepts that and doesn't stubbornly try to change something that can't be.
THE PLOT So, wow. I mean, the best part about this plot, hands down, is its originality. Seriously. I have never before read anything like this. Seers? Sure. Dystopians? Sure. But never the two together, and it's absolutely fascinating.
One thing I want to get out of the way: this plot was pretty predictable in some areas. Yes, some things definitely surprised me. Like, a lot. But at the same time some things just felt very, very predictable. There was one thing in particular that was treated like some big reveal and I was just like, "I guessed that at the beginning of the book." And in case you guys don't know, I am not very observant. I never notice these things.
But other than that, I really don't have many complaints. It moved along very smoothly. It didn't feel choppy, and things didn't feel rushed or skipped. Some things felt unnecessary, but hopefully they are explained and come back to make connections in future installments.
Also, I found the whole Seers versus Dreamcatchers thing really fascinating. The Seers protect the people, but they also themselves are locked up. What kind of life is that, really? Also, some of the things they do are horrific. The Dreamcatchers kill people, true, and some of them probably are just evil. But some of them are just trying to survive. Sometimes you have no choice. The whole dynamic of this rising war is just really interesting as a whole.
I mean, overall, there wasn't too much action. There was enough to keep me interested and reading, but there were also a lot of moments for information to be tossed at us. I did like the dream segments especially for some reason, and really any moment with Dreamcatchers. Those were the awesome ones. Plus, the Dreamcatchers have awesome names.
THE ROMANCE Gabe is Bea's best friend, and recently she's begun to develop feelings for him. She's not sure how he feels about it at first, but it soon becomes clear that he feels something for her too. Even so, Bea pushes him away to protect him. I like their romance, but it doesn't seem very passionate. Echo comes to Bea in her dreams, where she can still feel him and talk to him, like it's real life. In a way, it is. And she thinks she might be falling in love with him. And Echo is safe, because he knows all her secrets. and honestly, it's actually a rare good love triangle. I don't know who Bea's going to end up with yet. I prefer Echo, but not overly strongly.
THE WRITING The writing in this book is good, but it's a tad simplistic. I mean, barely. Like, it's hardly noticeable, but obviously it is noticeable, so I had to mention it. Though to be honest most people probably won't notice. Even with its slight simplicity, it's still really good. It uses first person, Bea's voice, and I like that. The world-building is lovely, creating a dystopian world inside a "bubble," to use the books's wording. We delve firsthand into her dreams, where Stephanie creates yet a second gorgeous world, where Bea is outside the bubble and everything is different. And they're just built so clearly, and I also like that Bea's voice is relatable.
THE ENDING Um, this was like, fabulosity. I really liked it. I was pretty sure the whole time where this book was going to end, so it was sort of disappointing in that way to discover I was right just because there's no fun in that. However, I wasn't sure exactly how, so I still got the chance to see how everything turned out. I mostly predicted that part too, actually, but there were still some unexpected happenings this time, so that was nice. Yeah, it was predictable, but somehow still great.
WRAPUP Yes, I loved Luminosity. I really, truly did. It was a very unique concept, and dystopians are almost always a treat. A love triangle did exist but it's pretty much the ideal one, and the ending was just about right. So, yeah, I'll definitely be continuing this series. Also, I completely recommend it! Dystopians are popular these days, but I promise you that this one truly is unique and different. I honestly think that most people will love it.
CATCHALL I absolutely adored this book. It is seriously one of my favorite reads of 2012. It is without a doubt com*****FINAL RATING: 4.80 STARS*****
CATCHALL I absolutely adored this book. It is seriously one of my favorite reads of 2012. It is without a doubt completely unlike anything I've ever read. Not your formulaic dystopian, Breathe has some serious action balanced by some killer romance! The characters were incredibly likable and the plot and the writing made me absolutely fall in love. Everything about it was original and fresh, and I loved some of the brilliant ideas involved. One of my favorite ever books for sure, Breathe has found a place in my heart.
THE HEROINES ALINE Aline is a really hard and sometimes insensitive character, but she never backs down from what she believes in. She lets her guard down one and that's enough to scare her into becoming someone she's not. Bold and brave, Aline seems like she's not afraid of anything, but inside she can be conflicted. She's one of the most human characters I've ever read about and while in the beginning it was a struggle to identify with her, I quickly found myself pulled into her character. BEA Bea is as amazing a heroine as Aline, but in a completely different way. She's quiet but brilliant. She's spent her whole life following the rules, doing what she's told—until she meets Aline and begins to question everything she was taught. Instead of shrinking back, she finally learns to stand up for herself and she does what's right. Bea is an extremely relatable character, and definitely has a bit of every girl in her.
THE HERO QUINN Despite his name, which you will never convince me is not a girl name, Quinn is actually a pretty awesome character. He's adorably dense and constantly misses what's right in front of him. Sure, that's a tad cliché, but whatever! Quinn, unlike Aline and Bea, is from the privileged class. Yet when he meets Aline and she begins to show him that there could be another world, better one, even he starts to question everything he knows. Instead of simply ignoring her and going back to his privileged life, where he can have anything, he too decides what's right and he's not afraid to risk himself for it.
THE PLOT Breathe had an awesome and original plot. I seriously could not put this book down, because it was so intense that I constantly needed to know what was going to happen next.
Love, lies, betrayal—oh, and death. That's another thing I loved. Sarah wasn't afraid to kill off characters, even characters who were important to our heroines and hero! And that's always a really good thing to see, if you ask me. It shows her confidence in her book and her plot.
In a world where there's only limited air and a totalitarian government controls everything, how do you find a way to rebel? How do you leave the only home you've ever known and leave for a place where you risk running out of air? How do you stay strong when you feel like you might be dying? When those you love are dying around you? These are the kinds of difficult questions that Sarah asks, and the ones she begins to answer so beautifully.
The plot is anything but predictable, which is great, since I've been reading way too many predictable books lately. Every twist, every turn was unexpected, and I could never tell which direction the story was going to take until it was already there. I became completely engrossed in this book, and loved everything about it.
I loved the gorgeous world-building, too. I honestly could feel like I was actually there, and Sarah did an awesome job of making sure everything fit together and no detail was left unsaid. The world was described beautifully and there were enough visual details that you can really picture the Pod and the other places where our heroes travel to. It wasn't just a background for the plot, but played an essential role itself in the story.
THE ROMANCE Seriously, Breathe contained one of the best romances I've ever read about. When I first began, I was sure that there was going to be an irritating love triangle. I could not be happier to have been wrong! I absolutely adored the romance in this book, and the way it's a major part of the story but also doesn't monopolize the plot. It's cute and sweet and realistic. While I think it was a tad underdeveloped in the novel, I also believe that it should be given the benefit of the doubt. The underdevelopment isn't even really a major issue for me, but I did feel like I should mention it. If you read the book (which you should!) I think you'll agree with me.
THE WRITING Sarah has lovely, gorgeous, beautiful writing. I seriously love it. It's descriptive and lush without being overbearing or desperate. The voices of the individual characters really come through and their feelings are practically tangible. It's so easy to picture her world and really become Aline, Bea, and Quinn. I really don't have any complaints here—I loved it. Some of the best writing I've come across in a long time, and I could not be happier to say that.
THE ENDING Breathe ended on a cliffhanger—of course, right?—that left me desperate for more! And yet at the same time, it didn't feel like a cheap trick. Despite being desperate for the next book, I still felt entirely satisfied with this one. The ending was sweet but there were sad moments too, but overall there was the feeling of needing to move on from the past and get ready for the future, a sentiment that in a way embraces the entire ideals of these novels.
WRAPUP I'll definitely be reading the rest of this series, and I think i just might be a Sarah Crossan fan for life! Not only was the plot spectacular and original, but the characters were extremely likable and the writing was without a doubt incredible. I'm eagerly waiting on the next book—and trust me, after reading this, you'll be desperate to know what happens next too. Again, this is one of my all-time favorites, and I can only hope you enjoy it as much as I did! I highly recommend it.
CATCHALL I've read almost all of Jane Austen's books. In fact, the only one I haven't read, ironically enough, is Persu***FINAL RATING: 4.60 STARS***
CATCHALL I've read almost all of Jane Austen's books. In fact, the only one I haven't read, ironically enough, is Persuasion. I'll have to read it soon, I think, to help me further appreciate this book. Still, I am of the firm belief that this book was still awesome nonetheless. I literally couldn't put it down. All I wanted to do was read this book. I was far from perfect, but it was still unbelievable awesome.
THE HEROINE ELLIOT NORTH Unfortunately, Elliot didn't work as a name for me. I know that she was named to parallel Anna Elliot without having the have the exact same name, but it still didn't work for me. I really didn't like the name on her and I was completely disappointed by the name. Anywas, the stupid name aside, I really liked her. Sure, she was unusually dense, and kind of ignorant on some matters, but it also clear that she was really intelligent and had some awesome ideas. She was the girl who could save her people, and moreover, she wanted to. She worked hard at being a good person and while she had faults—many of them—she was a truly admirable character.
THE LOVE INTEREST MALAKAI WENTFORTH Oh, jeez, Kai is hot. So very, very hot. So what if he kind of acts like a jerk for one-half to two-thirds of the novel? Actually, I know I shouldn't find it hot, but it is actually really hot and I can't deny it. I absolutely fell in love with him. despite the strong and unaffected front he put on, he has a sweet heart and a wonderful personality. I couldn't get enough of him. I loved reading about him and looked forward to the scenes that he was in eagerly. I absolutely loved him. I already said that, didn't I? But this is just to let you know how much I meant it!
THE SISTER TATIANA NORTH What a freaking brat! I realize that that was the point, but still. Anyway, she came around in the end, and there was definitely something to admire in her actions.
THE FATHER ZACHARIAH NORTH I know what it's like to not get along at all with your father, and I really sympathized with Elliot on this front. When he antagonized her, I really understood what she was going through and it helped me identify with her. It brought me closer to Elliot, even though I absolutely hated Zachariah. He was a complete jerk!
THE FLEET FELICIA INNVOVATION I loved Felicia! She had life in her. Life and loss and love. (I love alliteration, don't you?) Anyway, Felicia was awesome! I liked how real she was. I really felt a connection to her, too. She helps mentor Elliot and takes her under her wing when her father won't. Under her, Elliot grows as a person. Felicia is so nourishing and sweet in her own way, and I really liked her. ANDROMEDA PHOENIX I liked Andromeda. Her story is so heartbreaking, and even though she has a tough shell, it's easy to see that she isn't always so tough underneath, and we've all felt that way at one point or another. Vulnerable. I really liked her and while she definitely wasn't the easiest character to understand, she was one of the most interesting. DONOVAN PHOENIX I liked Donovan, too. He's broken and fragile for much of the book, but slowly he grows stronger. He learns to love again and, moreover, to really live again. I absolutely loved him, and would be very satisfied if we were to get a novella from his POV. (Hint-hint.)
THE PLOT The plot was amazing.
Again, I feel like I will probably appreciate it more once I have read Persuasion, but still.
Some things bothered me because they were far too coincidental, which was really irritating. I don't like it at all when things fit together too nicely. It's annoying and nothing like life.
Also, the flashbacks or whatever you'd like to call them weren't in order, which drove me insane. I know they were trying to make a point relevant to the chapter, but it was just freaking irritating. I could never figure out what was going on and it drove my crazy, as I've said. Too much to keep track of.
Above all, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a love story. Not everyone will agree with me on that front, but that's the way I choose to see it.
Sure, there was a ton of stuff going on all around them that affected both Elliot's past and present choices, but to me, it was always a love story and there was nothing that could change that.
THE ROMANCE Ah, the romance. Elliot and Kai were literally made for each other. Sure, they struggle through that, and for a long time Kai stubbornly refuses to acknowledge that. Still, he comes around (of course!). The romance is so sweet and a tad underdeveloped, but there's so much chemistry that is doesn't really matter so much. They fit together perfectly and when they're together, it was like nothing could ever come between them. Sounds horribly cheesy but it's true. I loved the romance so much. I felt what Elliot was feeling, and I really felt like I was a part of it.
THE WRITING I love Diana's writing! It's so beautiful. Sometimes it can get a little confusing, though. Several sentences I had to go over two or three times before I could understand them, but that was fine. Honestly, it was really amazing despite its problems. I could picture everything so beautifully, and the world-building is incredible and expertly executed.
THE ENDING The ending was perfect. It satisfied my romantic-to-a-fault heart absolutely. It was a but too pretty and clean, but whatever! I loved it, and I wouldn't have chosen a different ending if I could. Elliot and Kai belong together, and this ending was perfect. It even made me cry, it was so beautiful. Happy tears are the way a book should end.
WRAPUP I loved this book a ridiculous amount of much, and I absolutely can't wait until I can read more of Diana's books! In fact, I'll be doing so soon and eagerly. I can't wait to dive into more of her worlds, as she's done such an incredible job with this one.
CATCHALL I was surprised by how much I loved Black City. I suspected I would like it from the beginning, but I had no****FINAL RATING: 4.35 STARS****
CATCHALL I was surprised by how much I loved Black City. I suspected I would like it from the beginning, but I had no idea how much. It definitely wasn't a perfect book, but I found it easy to forgive its flaws since it was so spectacular. I really liked the romance, and the post-apocalyptic world that it takes place in completely and utterly fascinated me. It's one of the most fun things I've read in a long time and honestly it was entirely enjoyable. No, it wasn't perfect. But I was able to excuse that because it was amazing nonetheless.
THE HEROINE NATALIE At first, Natalie is typical of her class. She wants nothing to do with the Darklings or the lower class, called the Workboots. She's essentially and heiress and she's tied strongly to politics by her mother, a very powerful woman, and her late father. She is disgusted by them, even, and she doesn't understand them at all. As the story goes on, however, she becomes sympathetic to their plight and realizes that she cannot possibly support something so wrong. That was a strong and important character arc, and I really like that Elizabeth had Natalie go through that rather than being sympathetic from the beginning.
THE HERO ASH Ash. How many ways can I describe Ash? He is…amazing. I mean, I adore him. I completely love him. He isn't perfect, but then, neither is anyone, so that was fine with me. He's incredibly sexy. He's also half-Darkling, which isn't something that's easy in this dystopian society. He can be harsh and cold, but he also has a soft heart buried beneath his exterior and he's not as invulnerable as he pretends to be often. He has tender feelings and Elizabeth really made sure that the reader understands that he is as much a human as anyone. I kind of adore Ash. I actually have plans to elope with him. No lie.
THE PLOT Ooh, the plot. It was marvelous. Seriously.
It starts off with intrigue. Natalie catches Ash doing something he isn't supposed to, and Ash, despite his better judgement, lets her go. Perhaps this is unrealistic, but it also needed to happen, and I understand the important of that. It introduces Ash as a troubled boy who does what he needs to survive and shows that Natalie, at this point, is still who society expects her to be.
As it goes on, Ash and Natalie can't help but be drawn to each other. I'll cover the romance in a bit, so I won't mention it here. They can't seem to stay apart. Though society won't let them be together, they don't care. They'll sacrifice anything to be together. Even though sometimes this puts them in danger, it also drives the story forward.
Darklings, and the half-human-half-Darklings called twinbloods, are essentially a unique take on the overused vampires. But Elizabeth has changed it enough that it's something different. I rarely thought of the Darklings as vampires, because that isn't how they were presented. Many of the same characteristics are present, but it didn't really affect the way I thought of them. They drink blood and can be uncontrollable, and there are civilized ones too.
There's also a disease going around, as well as a tainted drug, that adds mystery to the story. Who is doing this and why? What's happening and what is the larger plan? I must say, I was honestly shocked when I found out the answers to some of these things. I never would have in a million years guessed the outcome, but it also wasn't ridiculously out of the blue.
Moreover, it was intensely emotional. There were pages near the end that had me choking out sobs, and still others that brought tears to my eyes too. There was awesome comic relief that was always in the perfect places or at least close. I loved how connected I felt to this book and how invested I became.
I seriously enjoyed this book. Really. Loved it.
THE ROMANCE Okay, so the romance. Honestly, that was probably my main problem with this book. I love Natalie and Ash together. They definitely have chemistry, and eventually I do think I see that they really love each other. But at the beginning, the romance definitely went into instalove territory. It was kind of ridiculous and had no real base. Even though I loved them together, I can't handle instalove. What I liked was that Elizabeth redeemed this. By the end of the novel, I was convinced that Ash and Natalie really had fallen in love. However, as a note to all authors in general: I realize this is YA. But even so, if your characters are having sex, then it should be obvious. It shouldn't be explicit, but I should always be able to tell whether or not they're actually sleeping together.
THE WRITING I really like Elizabeth's writing. Black City is told in dual first-person POV, and it alternates between Ash and Natalie. They each have distinct voices. Natalie's voice starts out naïve, and I love that you can see her growing maturity through her voice. Ash's words are harsh but when we're inside his head we can see that often he doesn't mean half the things he says, and that his heart is softer than he lest most people see. Also, her world-building is incredible. Some of the best I've ever seen. Moreover, her description absolutely comes alive. It is gorgeously vivid.
THE ENDING The ending was lovely and gorgeous, and yes, a little bit sad. Not everything works out ideally. There is definitely a lot of happiness. Things are going to be different now. But at the same time, the revolution really hasn't started yet. However, it is definitely something to look forward to. The ending is simultaneously beautiful and tragic, and I really loved the whole miracle aspect especially. It was dramatic and maybe a bit too convenient, but honestly, I just didn't care. I'm not saying every won't, but I just enjoyed it so much that it didn't bother me. And not everything was happy, so there was sadness.
WRAPUP I truly enjoyed Black City. I loved it. It was definitely a unique concept. Though it clearly drew ideas from other sources, they were transformed into something other so that the author could call it her own. And she did that fabulously. I'm actually desperate to have Phoenix like as soon as is humanly possible. Like, I physically need it. Oh, and I'd absolutely recommend this. To pretty much everyone! Yes, it has flaws, and if yoiu're not the type to overlook them then maybe this isn't for you. But I genuinely believe that most people will enjoy this for the gorgeous world and everything about it.
CATCHALL Transparent was a fun dystopian read, and while there were some new and different concepts it didn't really fe***FINAL RATING: 3.45 STARS***
CATCHALL Transparent was a fun dystopian read, and while there were some new and different concepts it didn't really feel like it brought all that many new things to the table of the dystopian. The heroine is invisible, yes, but other than that, I was hard-pressed to find things about it that were truly unique. Now, don't get me wrong, I loved this book. But on a purely objective standpoint, I have to say that it did not blow me away the way I would have wanted it to.
THE HEROINE FIONA Fiona is a sassy heroine with insecurities. She's terrified of her father and wants to live a normal life, and she wants to protect her friends more than anything. I related to her a lot and really sympathized with her on a deeper level. She's friendly and warm, and she tries to push people away at first but eventually finds herself drawn in. She's protective and loyal, but she has a fierce side too. She has fears but she doesn't let them hold her back.
THE LOVE INTERESTS BRADY Brady isn't really that remarkable, but he's certainly notable. He's massive and strong, and he wishes he weren't. He's sweet and protective, but honestly boring as hell. It's not that I don't like him, I just don't really have strong feelings for him either. He has, like, zero passion. He just kind of exists in this lethargic and utterly unentertaining way. SETH Seth got my blood racing, which is embarrassing but true. His attitude is sexy, and even though he's kind of a jerk at first that's hot too. (No, I don't know what's wrong with me.) It was obvious from early on that he cared about Fiona but was they type of guy to tease the girl he likes rather than just admit how he feels. He's not perfect, but he's passionate, and he's willing to make sacrifices. He makes mistakes, like anyone, but he always wants to set them right. He is also probably at least fifty percent of why I loved this book so much, but we won't mention that.
THE FRIEND BEA I really, really like Bea. She pushes her way into Fiona's heart even before she wants to make any friends, and she's fierce and brave. She's a tad stereotypical, but I loved her anyway. She isn't afraid to say what she thinks and she's a large part of helping Fiona to really open up.
THE PLOT Transparent doesn't have the most original plot, which is it's biggest flaw. Yes, it's enjoyable. but in too many ways it just felt like something I had read before.
It blends several different aspects, which I did like. Many people have paranormal powers, and Fiona's is that she's invisible, which is unusual. Her father is the leader of a mafia-like crime organization, which isn't too unusual to read about. There's something of a love triangle although not really.
I liked the tension and the suspense, and the not knowing when who was going to show up next. It was exciting. Thrilling. I was kept on the edge of my seat.
It was unfortunately also too predictable, however. Though I looked forward to more minor plot points, I essentially knew where the story was going to go. I could often predict things before they happened and some things was seriously just way too obvious.
But, you know, sometimes love has no rational explanation. I know I'm cheating, but really, I did love this book. It certainly had its flaws, and I'm not going to excuse them. But this book also brought me a fun afternoon and a relatable heroine. So I am absolutely not ashamed of loving it.
THE ROMANCE I love the romance here. I love the way it develops, that it isn't instalove, and that the characters to me really seemed to have a bond. They're alike and they're not, and they get along and tease each other but mostly seem to care about each other. It's also partially that he can really see Fiona, and see past what everyone else sees and understand her true feelings even when other don't. It's literally impossible not to love that.
THE WRITING Natalie's writing isn't always the most intellectual, but I like it. This isn't to say that it's stupid. It just lacks a lot of descriptors, and veers a bit towards dull. Still, I think it actually improves over the course of the novel which was really nice to see. There's a lot of life in Fiona's words and I really felt like her emotions got across clearly, which is a definite strength.
THE ENDING The ending was cute, yet moving. It's messy and imperfect, but so is life. It isn't an easy choice for Fiona to make, even though it seems like it should be, because everything changes in the moment when you actually have to choose. In the end, though I loved the way everything turned out. There'a sense that life goes on, and that there's always more to the story, but it was a satisfying place for the novel to end.
WRAPUP Though Transparent wasn't perfect, nor was it the most original read, something in me still adored it. I loved the characters, and I loved their connections and chemistry. The romance was sweet and yet hot. I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for something to read, honestly. I myself will definitely be looking into whatever Natalie is putting out next.