EDIT: I am so disappointed to learn about the author, James Frey, and the controversy surrounding his work. I knew nothing about this man and I’m quit...moreEDIT: I am so disappointed to learn about the author, James Frey, and the controversy surrounding his work. I knew nothing about this man and I’m quite disgusted that I enjoyed this book so much.
I hate when I ignore a book for whatever reason, only to finally read it and really like it. When everybody was talking about this book last year, I didn’t pay much attention to it. I don’t know why because it certainly falls in my genre interests. However, I finally picked it up, and I’m very glad I did. I don’t read too many books from the male perspective, and I enjoyed John’s voice.
I enjoyed the lore of the story. I thought at first that these kids may have been bio-engineered, but they’re a special sect of the race known as The Garde, protectors of their kind. The Mogadorians (uber creepy!) sucked the life out of their own planet and then came for Lorien to take it over for the resources. They are ruthless, malicious bastards. And now, they are trying to kill the remaining Lorics on Earth, but that isn’t their only plan…
I was wondering about Henri for a while until it was explained that he is also from the planet. Henri is John’s Cêpan, or Keeper. His sole focus in life is to keep John safe and help him develop his Legacies so that he can fight off the Mogadorians and allow Lorien to be rebuilt by its people. I enjoyed John and Henri’s relationship immensely. There were some intense scenes between the two of them and I could feel the love and commitment emanating off the pages. <3
John mentions that Lorics are monogamous and fall in love for life. Sarah is John’s first love interest and he falls like a rock. I personally found the romance between them to be innocently beautiful, but this has not bee the consensus of all readers. Some have voiced the lack of emotion and substance. Personally, seeing Sarah though John’s eyes just sweet, but not disgustingly sweet. She was flawless in his eyes.
I must say, however, that Sam, Number Six and Bernie Kosar were the BEST part of this book. Sam was a great side character. I always enjoy the geeky sidekicks, and I was picturing Artie from Glee in this role. :) Number Six is just a bad ass! She is more knowledgeable about her true existence and is more in tune with her alien-side than John. Six is a survivor. Bernie Kosar stole the show from me, and he is quite special, indeed. I want a floppy-eared Beagle now!
My only complaint was the writing was dry and overly detailed in some areas. I needed a bit more personality and emotion, at times. However, the story was entertaining so it didn’t kill the experience for me. Many did not like how slow the book was, but I really enjoyed reading about John’s struggle to “blend in” in this new town and his attempt to form relationships with people, something he’s never had before.
“Did you know the world is supposed to end on December 21, 2010?”
Sam nods an grins. “Yeah, I’ve heard that. Earth’s supposed expiration date, the end of the Mayan calendar.”
“Expiration date?” I chime in. “Like, a ‘best if used before’ date that’s printed on milk cartons? Is Earth going to curdle?”
Sam runs into his room and comes out with a backpack. He sets it on the kitchen counter and goes to change his clothes. I peer inside of it. There is a crucifix, a few cloves of garlic, a wooden stake, a hammer, a blob of Silly Putty, and a pocket knife.
“You do realize these people aren’t vampires. right?” I say when Sam walks back in.
“Yeah, but you never know. They’re probably crazy, like you said.”
“And even if we were hunting vampires, what the hell is the Silly Putty for?”
So, for those that don’t know, I’m a HUGE Alice in Wonderland fan. It is one of the best fantasies I read as a child and it has a lot to do with why I love the genre so much today. I am not some Carroll purist who can’t enjoy a different view on the story. In fact, I find great delight in other’s ideas of Alice and her crazy imagination. I was beyond excited when Brooke at Brooke Reviews gave me a copy of this book. I had never heard of it!
I will admit that the writing isn’t fantastic. I don’t think it’s terrible but the author did not do the best job of grabbing us, emotionally. I wasn’t connected to the characters much, although a few of them stole the show. I know this book is geared toward the younger generations, and for them, I believe this book would be a great hit (albeit a tad long). The reason I loved it so much was because of the fantastic idea! I enjoyed the imagination behind this revamp so much that I really put aside the writing deficits and totally enjoyed the fantastical ride. For many, that is very difficult, but when you put Alice-esque literature in front of me, I am likely to enjoy it, regardless of its faults.
In this world, Princess Alyss, daughter of Queen Genevieve, has one of the strongest imaginations in the land. In this world, what you dream up comes to life before your very eyes. I found this extremely exciting, and was very interested to see what Alyss and Redd would dream up in their battles. It was explained, however, that you could not kill a creature with a will to live with imagination alone. That would make things way to simple.
There are some patriarchal tones and serious genocidal and fascist B.S. flowing throughout the book. I enjoy finding ugly issues like these in young reader books because it introduces these ideas to them, but not in a realistic way. It gives the reader a chance to think about the issue and question trusted adults. I think it’s a great way to slowly educate young people on the ugliness of our world.
“Lesson number 1b in Bibwit’s carefully planned curriculum: For most of universe’s inhabitants, life is not all gummy wads and tarty tarts; it is a struggle against hardship, unfairness, corruption, abuse, and adversity in all its guises, where even to survive – let alone survive with dignity – is heroic.”
Aside from Redd, who was pretty creepy and hella mean, I really enjoyed her evil creations much more. Instead of recreating a Chesire Cat character, the author turned him into The Cat, a massive half-man, half-cat creature that served as Redd’s henchmen. He had 9 lives, and it was pretty humorous to see him loose some from various people – mainly Redd herself! *snicker* However, being a cat, he was one sneaky creature…
I ended up loving the supporting characters much more than Alyss. I adored the Rook, which was some random chess piece fighter that would appear during drastic moments and save Alyss’ butt, and always had witty lines. Dodge, Alyss’ childhood friend/love interest was a great character when he was younger, but I was so disappointed in him as an adult. Bibwit Harte (definitely a play on ’White Rabbit’), master tutor of Wonderland, was a gentle, dear old soul. But oh, Hatter Madigan FTW! My goodness, I love this character something fierce. He is made of pure awesome. He’s not the loony tune in the traditional story. Instead, he’s a loyal, brave and fierce fighter with some snazzy weaponry! When he was searching the world for Alyss, he only trusted information from hatters, which I found incredibly cute.
“He trusted those who dealt in headwear more than he trusted anyone else.”
And one last tidbit, looks like they want to turn this one into a film! SO COOL!
My Favorite Quotes
"But I killed you,” Alyss said.
“Did you?” Red turned to The Cat. “Why wasn’t I informed?"
"You can't spend so much time in a place and not carry a bit of it inside you."(less)
Meet Gabriella Moretti, a 20-something that is unique in every way. She’s a brilliant scientist who received her Ph.D. at the tender age of 19! She isn’t very outgoing, doesn’t make friends easily and doesn’t date often. It just ends up being very odd and uncomfortable for both parties. So, she’s turned to her field of study as a steady companion, one she’s extremely interested in. What’s her science of choice, you ask? Well, Gabriella happens to be a supernatural specialist, investigating all things paranormal. Unfortunately, everything she’s examined has been a crap shot…until the day she receives a shipment of three ancient corpses, dating back to 100 B.C., who look as though they have just stepped off the catwalk, and have the uncanny ability to regenerate. Just another day at the office for Gabriella?
Think again. Gabriella is excited yet overwhelmed by this discovery and soon finds herself surrounded by more paranormal beings than she could ever dream of! Those beautiful corpses happen to be Angels, and they don’t stay in their boxes, all stiff and pretty. As the bodies come back to life, Gabriella’s life unfolds before her eyes and she discovers secrets about herself and her world that she’d never think possible.
I really enjoyed this book. Gabriella is intelligent, independent, passionate and has a dry, witty personality. She would rather throw herself into the fire than allow another to perish. She is extremely brave given her circumstances, and she has one hell of a cool job, in my opinion. The supporting cast were just as amazing and you will find yourself shedding some tears! I do not want to give anything away, but I have to profess my undying love for Andrew. What an amazing character. I didn’t want the story to end just so I could continue to be connected to him. He is otherworldly, in many ways. *swoon*
As the story expanded, I found myself more and more interested in the outcome! There was a certain mystery to the story, as pieces of the plot are introduced to Gabriella through dreams, which are actually memories of an important character. It keeps you guessing and wondering what is in store for her! There was plenty of supernatural throw downs, and unfortunately, some casualties. I was pleased with the lack of tedious details, as I can become quite bored with authors who take 2 pages to describe a doorknob. This didn’t take away from the novel, and you are sent straight into the current plotline while still receiving important background via dreams/memories.
Shadow of the Sun is a great novel from a debut author, especially an author with an intense background in environmental science. I find it quite awesome that someone can excel at two very different things. I didn’t enjoy the writing style as much, but the author sure knows how to deliver a story! I was contacted by Obsidian Mountain Publishing to review this book. It was my FIRST contact with a publisher and I was so very excited and honored. I know that the author co-owns the company, but that is beside the point. I was contacted. Woot!
I look forward to reading the next in the Timeless series, Soul Stalker! (less)
Jem and Spider have led hard lives. Jem’s mother died from a drug overdose when she was young and she has been in the foster care system ever since. She hasn’t done well in school, and has no ambition for the future. She is a loner and very negative. Can’t say I blame her, being that she looks into someone’s eyes and sees their death date. I’d become pretty anti-social too! It is quite a secret to harbor. Spider is pretty much the opposite in personality. He is a happy go lucky young man. There’s always a smile on his face and a pep in his step, in spite of his situation. He feels hopeless about his future, as well, and turns to easier ways to make a buck. He lives with his grandmother, who adores him.
These 2 characters are thrust into each other’s lives after an explosion occurs at the London Eye. Because of Jem’s ability to see people’s date of death, she knows something horrible is about to occur when a large group of people have the that day’s date hovering over them. She flips out and tells Spider that they must leave immediately. Of course, the explosion occurs and the police are now after these two, as they looked highly suspicious or maybe just important witnesses. Jem and Spider leave town and embark on an adventure to leave the past behind and start over, but their days are numbered…
I thought the concept of this book sounded very interesting, and the synopsis intrigued me. Once the London Eye explosion, major event happened, the story took an entirely different route than I expected. I think the time when Jem and Spider were on the run was the best part of the book, but honestly, I was never very engaged or interested in the characters’ fate. It all seemed very predictable to me, especially the ending (and I am not good at predicting). I will read the second book merely because I am interested to see where the story goes, but I hope the author does more with characterization in the next installment. (less)
Meet Mackie Doyle, a 16 yr old boy with a dark secret. He lives in Gentry, a town that harbors even darker secrets. Mackie isn’t all that meets the eye. He’s a Replacement, a changeling that is left in a crib when the human baby is stolen. He’s lived life as Mackie Doyle, but in reality, he has no clue who he really is. His family loves him unconditionally and is very protective of him. The relationship he has with his older sister, Emma, is enough to bring tears to my eyes. She has never once thought of him as other. He is her brother.
Mackie’s life is difficult. Despite being different from every one else, Mackie (hate this name) has to maneuver life around the things that make him very sick – iron and blood - and he can never attend church where his father preaches because the moment he steps on consecrated ground, well…it’s not pretty. So who the bloody hell is this kid? And, an even better question is, who the hell is stealing human babies, and why?
The book was eerie and bizarre. The story was oddly explained and a bit vague is some areas, which is why I didn’t give it a higher rating. One things really irks me, and maybe someone can explain it if I missed it: Why did Tate single out Mackie to confide in? I assume if she knew what he was, or just suspected it, she wouldn’t have wanted anything to do with him. But maybe I missed something there. Maybe she did think he was valuable because he was other. Just seemed odd. *shrugs* Because of this, I could have cared less if there was any romance in this story. In fact, romance really didn’t fit, IMO.
On the other hand, the underlying themes of this story are fantastic. Us against Them. Unconditional Love. Identity. Judgment. Belonging. Inaction during Tragedy. Ohhhh, don’t get me started on Inaction! As a human rights advocate, I feel very strongly about how much the world sits by and allows such tragic and horrific events to happen in other areas of the world, and sadly, even in their own backyards. In this story, the town sits by, every 7 years, and lets a child be replaced by the changelings. The replacers somehow grant the town with prosperity (another vague piece) and so the townspeople turn a blind eye to the deaths of their children. These replacements don’t live very long, being exposed to iron, blood and the like. However, Mackie has survived and he becomes a pivotal point of change for Gentry.
The story is ugly but it speaks volumes of truth. The moral of the story, for me, is not who you are now but who you can be become. Tomorrow is a new day, and while I believe this world doesn’t take the time to ever live in the present – No Day But Today! – we definitely have the option to change. “It’s never to late to be what you might have been.” – George Elliott
I recommend this book to people who are up for the challenge. It is dark, ugly and different, but in all its fantastical glory, it speaks loads of truth about humanity and how we deal with those who are different from ourselves. This was a hot release for me, so I was so stoked to get my hands on an ARC! A major thanks to Tori from Book Faery for passing the ARC along to me! I really should share it with someone else, but I really love the cover…
[I could not share any quotes from this book because I have an ARC and you are only supposed to quote from the finished product. Boo.](less)
My interest in the book: Hello! It’s a reimagination of Alice in Wonderland! If you don’t yet know, I’m a major lover of Alice and I usually enjoy a new spin on the tale.
My Synopsis: Meet Gregor, an eleven year-old boy who lives in the heart of NYC with his toddler-aged sister, Margaret – aka Boots - his 7 year-old sister, Lizze, his mother and his grandmother. Gregor’s father disappeared a few years ago, and the family has been doing their best to move on since.
One day, Gregor and Boots are in the laundry room and *poof* Boots disappears through a grate in the wall. Frantic over her safety, Gregor follows her thought the grate, only to fall, continue falling, and fall some more, until he finally hits the bottom. There, he’s greeted by gnawers and crawlers, known as rats and roaches to us Overlanders.
But they are life-size. And they talk.
It seems as though the humans of Underland live beside such creatures, albeit uncomfortably. Besides gnawers and crawlers, you can also find flyers (bats) and spinners (spiders) in the Underland. Some are friends, some are foes, and Gregor gradually learns that your “species” doesn’t designate which side you are on.
Gregor is thrust into this world and wants no part of the conflict between humans and the beasties. His main priority is getting his sister home safely. Unfortunately, the Underworld gods have a different plan for Gregor. You see, the humans inform him of a strange prophecy they believe he will fulfill. A prophecy that foretells Underland's questionable future…
My Favorite Characters: Gregor is so easy to connect with, being a normal pre-adolescent boy. He is very protective of his family and yearns for the return of his father. Boots is a precious toddler who begged to be hugged and snuggled with. I adored her innocent perspective on life, and it reminds me how much society really does shape who we become. Luxa is the young heir to the throne of Regalia, the Underland city. She rubs you the wrong way in the beginning – and Gregor too – but her prideful, antagonistic behavior morphs as the story unfolds. Tik and Temp are two crawlers who call Boots “Princess” and are very protective of her. I adored these characters, especially the way they spoke. Way creative. Ares and Aurora are two fliers who are integral to the story, and Ripred is a gnawer whose courage is as big as his attitude.
Worldbuilding: As stated, most of the story takes place in Underland, a vast web of sewers and caves, filled with wonders and horrors at every turn. Gregor travels a great distance during his journey and we are introduced to the homes of many species. The society of the Underland humans is a breath of fresh air, as they are not held to the strict cut-throat ways of Overland, but they must always be on alert, for they too are not safe from harm.
Lasting Impressions: Hands down, the narrator for this book, Paul Boehmer, is GENIUS at what he does, and he completely made the story come alive for me. If he narrates the rest of the series, I will squee like a 12 year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. His narration as Boots was amazing, and he made that two year old bigger than life. She was the most standout character, and it was because of him. I am quite glad that I decided to do the audiobook of this one, as I cannot imagine enjoying it even a tenth as much via hardcopy. Spectacular!(less)
I have not read The Immortals series by the author, which is about Riley’s older sister, Ever, so I walked into this series with a clean slate. It took me some time to warm up to Riley, and I’m not sure I ever did. She is a young protagonist (age 12) and therefore, her maturity level shines bright. I read a ton of YA and some Middle Grade books, so I’m very used to young protagonist. However, Riley’s whiney, tween-like behavior was a lot to take in. Reading the story from her POV became an uphill battle on many occasion. I think Riley as the narrator is what really did me in and I couldn’t really enjoy the story as much as I may have otherwise. It was also a short, quick read and since I’ve not read The Immortals series, I did not have time to get to know Riley.
That being said, the story had some merit. I find Riley’s new otherworldly job as a Soul Catcher very interesting. To me, she is a therapists of sorts, as she provides much needed counseling to these spirits that are stuck in Limbo. Riley’s first case was quite difficult. However, she shows courage and perseverance (and possibly stubbornness) throughout her trials and tribulations.
I adored Buttercup, Riley’s yellow lab. I was happy that Riley had a companion in the Here & Now. There is a scene where he learns to use one of his newly attained abilities as a spirit, and I smile through it all. It was an adorable moment. There was also a very interesting scene with a dead mother who was literally stuck in her own personal hell, full of grief and despair. Riley was sucked into the world through her eyes and it was quite eerie and heartbreaking.
All in all, I think this book is a great paranormal starter for younger kids!(less)
A human in a werewolf’s world, Bryn is a very unlikely heroine. However, that is exactly why she is so amazing! While she has been taught how to fight by the Alpha, Callum, she doesn’t need a set of canine teeth and claws to win her battles. Bryn is one witty, sarcastic and intelligent young lady and she uses her brains to bring home the win! Throughout the story, Bryn discovers just how unique she is and the reader begins to realize that Bryn is fantastic just the way she is. Bryn is sarcastic, independent and doesn’t like to be told what to do, even by Callum. And if you know anything about pack life, disobeying the Alpha leads to a severe can of whoop ass…
The supporting characters, Bryn’s friends, allies and superiors, were all fantastic! I love them all. Bryn’s BFF, Devon was quirky, humorous, gorgeous and completely loyal to Bryn. His penchant for talking in Shakespeare-like speak had me in stitches. Who ever heard of a werewolf drama geek? Love this guy! Lake, one of only 2 female purebred weres in Bryn’s pack, is also Bryn’s close companion. She is fierce, loyal, passionate and funny as hell. She also has an affinity for guns and delivers one of my favorite lines in the book (see below). Callum - Alpha, Bryn’s savior and resident bad-ass - was also very likeable. He is very strict with Bryn but you can just feel the compassion and love he has for her. When the shit hits the fan about halfway through the story, Bryn discovers things about him that tears her world apart. However, I personally never lost faith in Callum. :) Ali, the other human female in the pack, is Bryn’s adoptive mother and has been raising her since she came to the pack at age 4. Ali is very protective of Bryn and makes a drastic move to protect her when the the storyline explodes into chaos. The fights between these 2 are very realistic, and the love they feel for each other is something to be cherished. Oh, and I can’t forget the twins! I don’t think I’ve ever read anything as cute as baby Katie in wolf form!
And then there’s Chase. The connection between Bryn and Chase was, literally, electric. I felt like I was transported into their intense, emotional bond and I almost felt embarrassed for prying on what was a very personal union. The scenes where Jennifer describes these two becoming one, feeling each other’s emotions, reading each other’s thoughts, entering each other’s dreams and seeing through each other’s eyes, was nothing short of brilliance, in my opinion. Their relationship transcends this world, seriously.
I’ve read two of Jennifer’s previous books, Tattoo and Fate, which are cute, fun YA books about 4 girls who get temporary tattoos and are suddenly part of this magical, mythological world. However, Raised by Wolves is light years apart from those novels, in terms of maturity and writing skill. Jennifer has really grown as a writer and it really shows in this novel. It is eloquent, fierce, humorous and touching as hell.
This book, in essence, is excellent. You have an unlikely heroine with a seemingly impossible goal who takes dramatic action to obtain it. She is faced with dreadful opposition yet she still emerges from the fight an improbable winner. It definitely surprised me with the storyline, and I was hooked when certain events began to unravel.
PICK THIS ONE UP! It is completely worth it.
"Luckily for me, I didn't know precisely what it was that I'd done to merit a visit from our pack's leader. There were any number of possibilities, none of which I wanted to openly admit on the off chance that there was something I'd done that he hadn't found out yet."
"Casey was in the bed with Ali. And that was where I drew the line. Because eww."
"You have no right to tell me-" "You do not want to finish that sentence, missy. You want to sit down, close your mouth, and eat." "How am I supposed to eat with my mouth closed?"
"Not going to walk me to the door?" I asked, pretending to be shocked at his lack of gallantry. "Of course I am. many would think that a bonny lass such as yerself wouldst be able to stay out of trouble for a distance of fifteen feet, but I know better." "Did you just use the words yerself and wouldst in the same sentence? You can't be a pirate and a courtier at the same time, Dev. It just isn't done."
"Ali wrinkled her forehead and cocked her head to the side. Clearly, she hadn't prepared herself for me to be pleasant. After a moment, her eyes narrowed. "What exactly did you and Lake did yesterday?" she asked, like we might have held up a gas station and gone on a crime spree across the country, all in the span of just a few hours. "We went to Mexico, had some tequila, eloped with a pair of drug smugglers, and took part-time jobs as exotic dancers. You know, same old, same old." Ali snorted. "I'm torn on stripper names. It's either going to be Lady Love or Wolfsbane Lane. Thoughts?" Ali threw a onesie at me. "Brat."
"Lake breathed out a happy sigh as she approached the row filled with guns. "Matilda was my first, but ladies, you know how to make a girl want to stray."(less)