I could not resist buying this book. A retelling of The Wizard of Oz that puts a totally new sp...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
I could not resist buying this book. A retelling of The Wizard of Oz that puts a totally new spin on the characters? Yeah, dude. Count me in.
Amy's spent her whole life stuck in a trailer with her alcoholic mom, stuck in a school where she gets teased all the time and where everyone is against her. She just wants to leave it all behind her. Little does she know that her yearnings would all by answered in the form of a tornado that sweeps through town, lifts her trailer up and dumps her in the middle of nowhere where she's faced with an odd, crumbling yellow brick road.
I love how Paige took the original story and warped it into something wicked. Dorothy who's now the power hungry monarch ruling Oz in her tiny cleavage-bearing dresses and high heels? A little disturbing. The Tin Man's got a crush on Dorothy and acts as her bodyguard, the Lion's been turned into a gruesome beast who sucks the soul out of hapless munchkins and the like. And the Scarecrow? He performs despicable experiments on flying monkeys and turns people into walking weapons. Literally.
Amy, the heroine, is incredibly real. She doesn't want to be the hero, doesn't want to be the one to kill Dorothy. But what choice does she have when the witches who saved her from Dorothy's clutches claim she's the only one who can? Her emotions are all over the place but really, mine would be too if I were in her place. She can be nasty sometimes, and kind of whiny and maybe a little stupid but that's what endeared her to me. She's genuine.
Going up against Dorothy and her magical red heels and clothes in that awful blue and white checker pattern? No thank you. Imagine that pattern on leather and try not to cringe and shudder in despair. (Has turning evil somehow screwed with Dorothy's fashion sense?) She's forced to train with the witches and earn her magic but she also has to deal with Nox; infuriating, handsome, standoffish Nox who teaches her combat skills and takes her to mountain tops to look at the stars. Nox who looks at her like he sees her and tells her he likes her hair. I couldn't exactly get a read on him and I'm pretty sure there's more to Nox than his combat skills and dedication to the cause.
Dorothy Must Die is an incredibly imaginative retelling of the original Oz but you don't have to be familiar with the original story to follow this. It's dark and dreary and gory but wholly entertaining. Oh and did I mention that this is Danielle Paige's debut book? So rad. If you're a fan of Oz, of retellings, or maybe just on the lookout for your next read why not pick this book up? (less)
Just when I've been about to turn my back on dystopians this book comes along and manages to re...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
Just when I've been about to turn my back on dystopians this book comes along and manages to rekindle my love for the genre. With wonderfully nuanced characters and crazy plot twists I found myself engrossed in a world where the rich (Patrons) have everything and the poor are burdened with debt.
Enter Knox, born to one of the wealthiest families he wants for nothing. He has money, looks and a Proxy to take all his punishments for him. He's all up for causing chaos because he knows he won't ever be blamed. But when Knox crashes a car and kills his passenger, his Proxy is set to die in his place. Syd, the Proxy, won't stand for it and runs. Caught in this tangle of lies and deception, Knox and Syd form an unlikely truce because to get out of this alive, they'll both need their wits about them.
Proxy is told in the alternating voices of Syd and Knox. Knox is your typical rich boy, spoiled, uncaring, entitled and always after his next conquest. Let me add that he's also an excellent hacker despite blundering about in school. He's the type of character I usually hate but London's characters aren't one-sided and being a spoiled brat isn't all Knox is. He's got issues with his father and the events that led to the death of his mother and his growth later on in the story is admirable. So while I did want to punch him in the face I as wanted to give him a hug and tell him that things'll get better.
Syd is Knox's Proxy. Every blunder and every mistake Knox commits, Syd is there to take punishment. Being a Proxy is a way for the poor to pay off their debt (school, medical bills, the like) and Syd was just the unlucky boy who got picked. Did I mention that he's also gay? I love how London didn't make such a fuss about Syd's being gay. It's not an Issue book, it's definitely a sci-fi/dystopian where the protagonist just so happens to be a boy who likes boys. Syd's also a special little butterfly - there's something in his blood that might just put an end to the social divide but he's going to need the help of the rebels to figure it all out.
London has created such a great book. It's got social issues, the divide between the poor and the rich is glaringly obvious; well crafted actions scenes and a bunch of cool tech that I wouldn't mind playing with. His characters are multidimensional, not flat paper dolls to be jerked around. The plot's all twisty and focuses on the unwitting friendship (sort of) between Syd and Knox. The ending was a surprise. I never expected the book to close on that note and I'll admit to feeling a little bereft after finishing the book. Do I recommend this book? Yes. YES. Pick up Guardian while you're at it.(less)
After saving her city, Audrey's all set to explore a relationship with Leon...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
Actual rating: 3.5/5
After saving her city, Audrey's all set to explore a relationship with Leon and, with the appearance of her new ability, she's all about lending a hand in the fight against Harrowers despite the naysayers (mainly her mom and Leon). But when a new threat in the form of a vicious Harrower named Susannah appears, determined to end the Kin, it's time for Audrey and her gang to once again step up to save the world. Sort of.
I just love the superhero theme going on in the books. It's way too much fun. Add to that the super cute romance between Audrey and Leon, a few bad guys who're out to rule the world and a crazy dude fixed on vengeance and getting himself killed and you've got yourself a winner.
Frenette has a cast of wonderful characters. Audrey is terribly pragmatic and while some girls swoon at the thought of a guy willing to risk his life for hers because it's oh so dramatic, Audrey is afraid. She's scared and terrified and while I don't really approve of the way she distanced herself from Leon, I understand why she did that. Leon's got a protective streak going on and Audrey isn't exactly an ideal body to guard. She's also got a whole lot of things to deal with; like her best friend's boy problems, the nasty nightmares that torment Gideon and the fact that she and Leon have never gone out on an actual date. Oh and let's not forget the murderous Harrower who's hell-bent on annihilating them. Superhero stuff.
This series is seriously addicting though what with all the twists and turns and action scenes that Frenette doles out. It never got boring. And while the book is light-hearted and humorous at times, don't let that fool you because there's some serious stuff going around here. The relationship with Audrey's mom and her dad? Ugh. So. Painful.
So anyway, I'd definitely recommend this series and I would like to see more Leon and Audrey kissy scenes in the next book. PLEASE. If you haven't picked up this incredibly fun series yet, well, what are you waiting for? (less)
Okay so I tried Sophie Jordan's Firelight series and I hated it with a vengeance so I was reluc...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
Okay so I tried Sophie Jordan's Firelight series and I hated it with a vengeance so I was reluctant to try Uninvited. I don't know what pushed me to buy this book but I'm glad I did. It's waaaaaaay better than the other series. On to the review then.
Davy's the perfect high school senior but the moment she's diagnosed as a carrier for "the kill gene" her life starts to spiral out of control. Her best friend turns betrays her, her boyfriend turns his back on her and Davy is shunned. She is uninvited by the prep school she attends but what's worse is the fear in her parents' eyes when they look at her. And when people start to turn on the so called carriers, what's Davy to do?
I can't help but compare this book to Firelight. I'm sorry but Uninvited has better characters. Davy isn't an annoying lovelorn twit but rather a smart, talented girl who's thrust into a problematic position. She's adapting and struggling with the loss of her friends and the change in her family. Sure there's a guy; a dangerous, cute guy but Davy knows he's dangerous but at least she's not diving into any kind of relationship eyes closed. She might be a little spoiled and a special little butterfly but she's real - just a normal girl who's caught in unfortunate (hah! unfortunate) circumstances.
Davy's ex-boyfriend and best friend were annoying. Seriously. I mean what douchery was that? It's kind of sick that they were capable of doing that to someone they love. Seriously. I mean they made me want to give up on being human. Just ugh. But fear for carriers has been ingrained in society and to them it's probably normal to shun people who have been diagnosed positive.
The thing with Uninvited is that it has action scenes and they were well written. They had a cinematic feel to them and I liked reading them so much. The only thing was well, the things were a little too easy for Davy in the end you know? And I'm kind of hoping that it's a set up for the next book. Please.
Anyway I'm just really glad this didn't turn out like Firelight and I'm really sorry but I can't get how much I dislike that book out of my head. Uninvited restored my faith in Sophie Jordan and I'm definitely going to grab the next book.(less)
Harper Price is perfect. She's homecoming queen, captain of cheer squad and...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
Actual Rating: 3.5/5
Harper Price is perfect. She's homecoming queen, captain of cheer squad and her boyfriend is the hottest guy on campus. Nothing can go wrong. That is until a run-in with a strange man who imbues her with Paladin powers and puts her in charge of her nemesis David Stark. The David Stark who mercilessly makes her life a living hell and the boy she might be falling for (gasp!).
This book was so much fun. Harper is an adorable heroine, a little bit of an overachiever but totally likeable, smart and funny. She's also a prude - PDA is vile and she does not cuss. If she were a real person I don't think we'd get along very well. David is the anti-hero. He's moody, insufferable and wears really tight pants (he's a hipster and of course that disturbs Harper's delicate sensibilities). He's also nephew to the school principal and editor on the school paper.
I had a lot of fun reading this book despite the fact that the ending was sort of rushed and the bad guys felt really random. You know, like, toss a bad guy in just for kicks. The book also seemed to put a lot of focus into Harper's messed up love life. Ryan aka The Perfect Boyfriend on one hand and David the Archnemesis on the other. Normally I'd be irritated by this but not this time. Rebel Belle was just too much fun. And you just know that Hawkins is totally setting readers up for the next book with the way Rebel Belle ended. Oh what a fine mess our adorable heroine is in.
Let me just add that the secondary characters were boring too but eh, who needs them. David and Harper were my sole focus so I couldn't really care less. And nobody needs a bunch of cheerleaders with super powers please.
Anyway I'd definitely recommend this to readers looking for a light, fun urban fantasy. Also suitable for those who'd like to ease themselves into the genre, I think. (less)
After escaping New Hope, it's back to the good old days for Amy; surviving on her own with noth...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
After escaping New Hope, it's back to the good old days for Amy; surviving on her own with nothing more but the weapons on her back and her wits about her. That is until the tiny earpiece in her ear crackles with the voice of her former teammate warning about the dangers Baby is about to face. Baby is Amy's whole life and knowing that her only chance to save Baby is in Fort Black, Amy is willing to do whatever it takes to save her.
The second book starts with Amy wandering the wastelands alone going stir crazy. She has no one to talk to and it's driving her mad, until Kay sends her off to Fort Black in search of her brother Ken who just might be able to rescue Baby from the evil Dr Reynolds hands.
Lunetta does a fair enough job of describing to readers the setting in Fort Black. It's a prison filled to the brim by criminals and ruled over by men who think women should be claimed. If a girl isn't claimed it's a free-for-all for all the smarmy bastards who live there. The stink of desperation and starvation permeates the prison and it's not a fun place to be in.
So remember Rice from In the After? Yeah. Barely. Apparently there's a love triangle going in this book. Amy reaches Fort Black and the cute guy who's around her age with tattoos on his body instantly latches onto her and 'claims' her. Which is good for her because he's nephew of the prison Warden which means he has status and a modicum of protection in Fort Black.
I wasn't a fan of Amy in this book. I get that she's all macho and she can kick Florae butt and the thought of being 'claimed' by a man irks her to no end but come on! She's in a prison run by men whose morals are shaky at best, the least she can do is play along and pretend to be a claimed woman and not do stupid things that endanger herself and Jacks and put a kink in all her plans. Amy obviously doesn't know how to play it smart, all the drugs given to her in New Hope must have fried her brain. I know it chafes sister, but suck it up. I also hated how Amy could not resist diving headfirst into trouble without thinking things through. There's reckless and then there's Amy who is just plain stupid sometimes.
I won't elaborate but the ending was kind of rushed. Sure we kind of figured out the Floraes and what in the world they are and all but the ending was kind of...for lack of a better word YOLO. Yes, I went there. Amy does her rushing into things, people get killed, people get saved and voila. She also makes a choice between the two boys pining after her and I approve. There is hope yet for the human race.(less)
It happened so suddenly, on a day like any other, They came. Ravaging cities and towns; decimat...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
It happened so suddenly, on a day like any other, They came. Ravaging cities and towns; decimating the entire human population save for a few stragglers. Amy is one of them. She's been surviving and hiding from Them for years now, along with Baby, a toddler she rescued from certain death. But a series of events lead to her capture, or rescue rather, and takes her to New Hope. It's like a dream; food and safety for all but underneath that pristine exterior, New Hope's system is far from perfect. Run by a man who wants everyone brainwashed to his cause. And unless things change, Amy's future is at stake.
Now I like the first half better than the second. It's grittier, darker and more thrilling. Amy's got no one to depend on but herself and Baby and each time they venture out of their house for supplies is a risk. You see the aliens that attacked earth? They're very sensitive to sound and Amy had to learn to keep very quiet or die. The thrill was there, the fear of the unknown and it was dangerous. Oh was it dangerous. I liked every second of it.
Upon entering New Hope though, things start to change for Amy. After years of being on her own it's not the easiest to be stuck in a compound bound by a set of rules. There are a few surprises along the way and romance. The romance was not for me, but I understood why Amy developed feelings for the boy. Even if he is called Rice. If I remember correctly, it's short for Richard? But yeah. After being alone with Baby for so long I guess that seeing a cute boy her age kind of got her hormones working again.
Here's where we figure out what exactly is annihilating the human population outside of New Hope. The origin story for the aliens is frankly, something new and I've never really come across something like this before. It's a little disturbing though, not to mention horrifying but deliciously so.
I'm not giving this book a 3.5 mainly because of the second half. Don't get me wrong, it was interesting and all but there were so many things wrong with the rules set in place. So wrong in fact that it seemed unbelievable. Laughable. But nonetheless, oddly enjoyable.
For those who like their sci-fi fast-paced and bloody and gritty then try this. I'm sure it won't disappoint. Last thing though, I'm really not fond of the name Baby. It's just. I don't know. It doesn't sit well with me.(less)
Vicky would like to offer her apologies for having offended the more delicate sensibilities of t...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
Vicky would like to offer her apologies for having offended the more delicate sensibilities of the ton by posing nude for her art class, but she knows that she will do it again in a heartbeat if it meant she could continue her craft. Vicky wants more to life than just the splendid dresses and handsome suitors - she wants to leave her legacy by becoming a full-fledged artist, something that no one but Will, the police constable, can understand. It is a changing world in 1909 London, where women are fighting for their rights as equals, and it is the same world where Vicky must decide if her desires and ambitions can trump everything that she's ever known.
There's just something so deliciously wicked about Vicky, that I couldn't help but want to become her friend just after a few chapters. She's determined, ambitious, but also funny - albeit unintentionally - and just positively bursting with life; traits in a young lady that the 1909 London high society just cannot tolerate. Vicky is hellbent on being an artist, and if it means that having to marry charming but selfish Edmund Carrick-Humphrey will be the gateway to her freedom, then so be it. Her plans are, however, thwarted when she finds a muse in the most unlikely of places, and that her college application may or may not be further strengthened by making caricatures and painting murals for the suffragette movement. Vicky is the kind of friend that your parents may not approve of, but she's exactly the kind of friend you'd want to keep around because she makes everything an adventure. Trouble certainly follows Vicky around as she is often caught at the wrong place at the wrong time, but it's decidedly what makes the novel come alive and take a mind of its own. Vicky's burgeoning romance with the handsome police constable, Will, is just as equally delicious, what with her amusing thoughts and their innocent, yet highly flammable touches.
I also liked reading about the suffragette movement, as it undoubtedly caused a major wave of panic. Where women were initially perceived as frail, fragile things - yes, things, possessions, to be exact - London is seeing a change in the tide where women are rallying for the same rights as men! This is a movement perfect for Vicky who faces her problem with the same endearing and passionate If the men can do it, then so can I! cavalier attitude.
READ this if you love historical fiction with a passion. READ this if you are all for a protagonist who although is deeply in love with a charming young man, will still stick to her guns about her wants and dreams in life. READ this if you want to be entertained by a lovely, spirited young woman who heralds the change of times in London. READ this if you delicious stories about love, art, and the power of passion!
Which is, you know, practically me falling all over myself to urge you to pick this up and prepare to be swept away. A Mad, Wicked Folly offers a rollicking good time peppered with just the right amount of romance and ambition.
I cannot wait for more books from this splendid author.(less)
After having read a lot of books that have been hyped to the point of no return, I must admit I was torn between two feelings when I spotted a copy at our local bookstore. First, I was excited, and then I was terrified. "What if I end up not liking this book after I spent so many months coveting it?" I remember half-whispering to my co-blogger as I adoringly stroked the gorgeous cover at the bookstore.
My dismal - and panicky- thoughts were quelled, however, when I was just a chapter in. As of late, I could pretty much predict the overall rating of the book based on the first few chapters alone, having had only a few who changed my ratings. In this case, I was all smiles as I settled in with this book, never mind the fact that I should have been hurriedly packing my luggage for my vacation.
In one fell swoop, The Winner's Curse won me over with its fantastic, well-paced plot, splendid multi-faceted characters, and seductive thralls of power, danger, and love.
As Kestrel's seventeenth birthday looms, she is given two choices: she either joins the military, or she must find herself wedded. Neither of the options are truly appealing to Kestrel, whose musical abilities are an eccentricity only overlooked because of her status as the general's daughter. When she is lured to purchase a slave who can sing, Kestrel seems to have gotten more than she has bargained for. Not only does Arin open up a heart that should only be open to the upper echelon of her glittering society, but he opens her eyes to the painful reality that her society has shrouded. Kestrel must decide which should rule over which: the mind, or the heart?
What I loved about this book was how it quickly captures the interest of readers - the spectacular cover, the alluring pull of the summary, and the best part being that it actually delivers! Early on, readers are practically fall all over themselves in sympathizing with Kestrel who, like the bird she is named after, is caught in an impressive, yet repressive gilded cage. Kestrel is great at strategy and at winning (like Prince Jaron of Jennifer Nielsen's The False Prince), but she doesn't quite do as well with hand-to-hand combat - which is quite refreshing. I'd say more about Arin, and the bigger, pivotal role he plays that doesn't just turn Kestrel's world upside down but also that of society's, but I'd really much rather that readers plunge into this without a thought as to what they're "supposed" to be expecting, as the element of surprise is really quite crucial here! I read this one with only the summary to guide me, and although the information fell just right of what is apt, it gave me no expectations as to what I'm about to discover - and THAT, my dear friends, is what makes this book very worthy of its 4.5 rating. I relished the thrill that this book took me to in the comfort of my own bed, and I hardly let it go, except to spam-message my co-blogger that "This book doesn't suck at all, and it's very, very fabulous!!!"
I loved this one so much (and I do not take that word lightly!), that I immediately plucked Marie Rutkoski's The Shadow Society from my unruly - and because of book-blogging, growing - To-Be-Read shelf and packed it with me for my travel.
The Winner's Curse is without a doubt, another of 2014's best books that I've read so far.
Can the next book please come faster now? Please? (less)
Lauren DeStefano books always have amazing covers. Remember the Chemical Garden trilogy and the...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
Lauren DeStefano books always have amazing covers. Remember the Chemical Garden trilogy and their gorgeous book jackets? Those were damn pretty. So I guess it's safe to say I bought this book based on the cover alone - it was totally worth it, friends.
Recently I've been plagued with this really nasty reading slump, I started a lot of books but I couldn't finish them, and Perfect Ruin along with this other book was able to pull me from my funk. And I swear, after reading a slew of books that were 3 rainbows at best I was dying, deprived. I needed something good. Something that would make me want to paint my nails (4 rainbows pls omg). A book that I could read late into the night non-stop. This book was just what I needed.
Morgan Stockhour lives on Internment - a floating island in the clouds where people are warned to stay away from the edge because the edge brings madness. Case in point: her brother. After he jumped, Morgan was determined to not follow in his footsteps although she has imagined what's there to see over the edge. When someone gets murdered and Morgan chances upon the supposed murderer - Judas - she can't help but investigate and the secrets she unveils reveals a darker side to her supposedly perfect society.
First off, what I really loved about Perfect Ruin was the world-building. DeStefano is not afraid of details and I love it. She has managed to build Internment to be equal parts interesting and foreboding. And as I read the book and learned all about Internment, which is fascinating by the way, I got this sense of something darker that lurks beneath it's seemingly pristine surface. I just love it when the world-building is done beautifully and I just want to say that DeStefano did a really, really, really good job with this one.
What I couldn't help but adore, also, was the writing. It's so lyrical and poetic but doesn't come off as holier-than-thou and it doesn't sound forced. Now, I don't usually mark my books with post-its and the likes but I couldn't help it with Perfect Ruin. My copy is seriously overflowing with yellow post-its.
Characters. DeStefano has seriously great characters and before I get into Morgan and Basil - cue swooning - I just want to get into the side characters for a bit. Perfect Ruin has seriously well developed side characters and I like how the author manages to seamlessly integrate them into the story. I mean they're not for show and I found Morgan's relationship with every one of them - no matter how strained - so darn real.
Morgan. She's a dreamer and her character starts off a little soft and naive. I mean I like headstrong, brash, uncouth characters and Morgan was a change of pace for me. It's hard not to feel for a character who's easy to relate to and just...real. I seriously adored her and Basil. He acts like this silent, giant pillar of support for Morgan. He's kind and good and protective and big and strong and....yeah. He's perfect. And, unlike other male YA characters who need girls to fall at their feet and act like a jerk to assert their dominance and alpha male status, Basil doesn't need all that. Perfection, right there.
Four rainbows! You guys don't know how good it feels to give another book four rainbows. I mean, awesome world-building, characters I couldn't help but adore and this plot that's all twisty and turny and how can I not like this book? You guys should really pick this one up.(less)
After a fire ravages Meg's home and kills her parents, she's forced to work...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
Actual rating: 2.5/5
After a fire ravages Meg's home and kills her parents, she's forced to work as a maid in Lord Rathford's home - she takes that opportunity because it's certainly better than being tossed out onto the streets. Meg takes her grandfather's pocket watch with her only to find out that the pocket watch is actually a key. A key that will unlock truths and lead Meg into the secret society of the Amusementists - brilliant men who invent dangerous and wondrous machines like a game, hidden from the prying eyes of society.
I like steampunk but I'm sad to say that I wasn't really happy with this book. The characters were boring and flat and the romance was totally nonexistent. I couldn't feel Meg's attraction to Will even from the get-go when she would always make it a point to run to him every time she needed help. Will, on the other hand, was slightly better but not really, he's got a better head on his shoulders and isn't as rash as Meg but ultimately he's as boring as she was.
The one thing I actually wasn't indifferent to were the inventions, or Amusements as they're so called, because they were undeniably elaborate and well-crafted. But it would have been interesting to know how the Amusementists managed to hide these inventions, which are all on the huge side, from wandering eyes. I mean large metal structures that rise out of the ground? A battle between a giant metal ship and a man-made Leviathan? How do you hide such huge hulking things from people? Surely someone would have noticed.
Aside from that, the book gets a little repetitive after a while. Meg and Will and their new found allies run off to different Amusements to collect things needed for their final goal - stopping this machine which has the power to destroy life as they know it. While the Amusements are intricate and detailed and interesting, the fact that they go to each and every one and do the same things over and over and over again kind of dragged and bored me to tears. I suppose the fact that a murderer was out to get them would have added some suspense but I found myself uncaring.
That ending wasn't very spectacular either and this book is actually quite forgettable. A book where I had to wonder how in the world this secret society manage to stay a secret at all. It wasn't bad, it's just boring and I don't know if I want to read the next book. I'll think about it.(less)
Of Beast and Beauty is one of those fairytale retellings that I actually li...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
Actual Rating: 3.5/5
Of Beast and Beauty is one of those fairytale retellings that I actually like, next to Unhinged by A.G. Howard.
Isra is a princess locked in a tower, blinded at birth by a fire and sees herself a freak, a monster; counting down the days till she becomes a willing sacrifice for the roses - can I just say that I totally love what Jay did with the roses? so cool - that provide her city with a dome of protection from the harsh outside world.
Gem is a beast, a Monstrous, with scales and claws supposedly tipped with poison. He needs the roses that Isra's people depend on and sneaks into the city in the dead of the night because his people are dying and desperately need the magic the roses give. But he gets caught and is forced to interact with Isra, a smooth skin, and the more they interact the more their view on each others change making them wonder if the things they were brought up to believe were true.
Stacey Jay's writing is beautiful, it's really lyrical but it didn't come off as pretentious and holier-than-thou. Her characters were wonderful and when they were sad, so was I. Happy? Frustrated? Angry? I was as well. In short, her characters were wonderfully crafted and I loved each and every one of them.
Of Beauty and Beast starts off a little slow but it picks up along the way and I couldn't help but wish Gem and Isra would just get on with the kissing. It's mainly romance but somehow it just still enough for me. I wanted more, more, more, more. Because Gem and Isra are the bomb and they deserve a happily ever after.
Since Isra is a princess in a trapped tower doesn't she resemble Rapunzel more? Kept in the dark and all that.
But anyway, Of Beast and Beauty is one retelling you don't want to miss. Action, evil roses with a taste for blood and a love that could change the world? YES PLEASE. Go read it now.(less)
Cricket knows that this summer is going to rock. She's invited to stay with her best friend Jule...moreThis review can be originally found at The Twins Read.
Cricket knows that this summer is going to rock. She's invited to stay with her best friend Jules' family in their Nantucket house, where a. she can hang out with her bff all day long, b. she can finally get together with the gorgeous Jay Logan, and c. hel-lo, she can just have fun without worrying about the looming prospect of college. But this perfect dream turns to ashes when Nina, Jules' mother who Cricket positively adores, suddenly passes away. Her best friend starts pulling away from her, and her invitation to stay at the Clayton house in Nantucket is rescinded. Cricket thinks that this isn't something that anyone should go through alone, so she finds another way to stay on Nantucket - whether Jules welcomes her with open arms or not.
There are a lot of reasons why Nantucket Blue was such a pleasure for me to read, including but not limited to the pseudo-mini vacation Howland all invites us to as we join Cricket in her quest for the best summer ever in her high school life. I loved that I could very well imagine myself in beautiful Nantucket without leaving my favorite reading spot (and getting a much unwanted tan). Initially, Cricket and Jules' friendship is made of the strong stuff that could put any super glue to shame. But when the rug is pulled out of Jules' feet, Cricket can't help but stumble as well. Nina, Jules' mom, is everything that Cricket's mom is not. She's stylish, vivacious, a bit eccentric, and she doesn't care about what strangers might think of her. This death is basically the catalyst of what changes Cricket and Jules' friendship. And while Jules is drifting further and further apart from her and surrounding herself with her Nantucket friends - friends that Jules obviously does not have in common with Cricket - Jules' younger brother, Zack, is becoming more than just a friend to her.
Cricket is immensely likable, even if she does come off as thinking of herself too highly at times. No matter how many times it seems that the universe is conspiring against her to not make her stay at Nantucket, she finds a way to be there. Scrubbing toilets and changing sheets might not be the ideal scenario, but hey, she's on Nantucket! I also like how Cricket doesn't seem to let Jules' shabby treatment of her make her go back running home; in fact, it even makes her determined to make things good again between them. Cricket's flaws can only be perceived as endearing because no matter how much I look at it, she's just looking out for her best friend, and making sure she's alright - which makes Cricket just so real to me.
The ending had some loose ends, but I am very sure that I don't want to take off any rainbows for that reason because I immensely enjoyed reading this one. Although Nantucket Blue sometimes came across as having too many things going on at the same time, I still get a nice feeling whenever I see this one on bookshelves. I'd recommend Nantucket Blue to anyone who's looking for a beach read. People who are too busy for a vacation, or find themselves hampered by work or school work can also pick this up to be transported to a magical Nantucket.
Edit: AHHH!!! There's going to be a Nantucket Red, out May 2014. Heaps excited!(less)
Daughter of the elite of the elite, Anthem Fleet is tired of the same old routine. There's got to be more to X, the land her parents own but go to lengths to protect her from, than just school, ballet, and the prison she calls a home. When she goes to a rave with her best friend, she meets the mysterious and charming Gavin, who soon makes her detest her predictable life. When Gavin is abducted right before her very eyes, Anthem is more than panicked. She's angry, she's hurt, and she's got a bionic heart that makes her impossibly better in all aspects than regular human beings. Anthem wants Gavin back, and she's not going to back down until she saves him.
How many people with bionic hearts do you actually know? Yeah, that's what I thought - which is why I snagged a copy of Amelia Kahaney's The Brokenhearted just as soon as I spotted it on bookshelves here (after making an obnoxious gasp and a muffled squealing and dancing combo, of course). I had high expectations for this one, only to go through it with a mild interest.
Anthem is bored. She's been a good girl for far too long, doing ballet and only ballet that her deceased sister was good at, and trying to pretend that her family life is perfect, empty-eyed pill-popping mother and super busy land god father and all. This all changes when she meets Gavin, who makes her feel like somebody important, someone worth getting to know, someone not measured by her family's immense wealth, and most of all, someone not boring. But Gavin gets taken hostage, and on her way home, Anthem dies... Only to live again with a bionic heart that makes her some sort of enhanced human being. With the help of Ford (who is just adorable), Anthem begins to learn how to combat, and to be a vigilante. (Yes, a ballerina vigilante. Don't judge.)
My interest wasn't really piqued when she met Gavin. He sounds like a dream, sure, but he just didn't really do anything for me. It wasn't until the book was almost ending that made me sit up and pay attention, because - Okay. I can't say it because that would be giving the whole thing away, and you would probably stone me if you were actually interested in reading this book.
Was The Brokenhearted boring? At times, sure, but you can get by. If you're in the mood. While The Brokenhearted does have a story, albeit a bit half-baked, it just makes me wish that I could take Anthem a bit more seriously. Anthem's not afraid to get dirt under her nails, and she grows to know how to stand up for herself as time goes by. It's just that her making this decision to be a lovelorn vigilante that really threw me off. (less)
You know how this book promised riveting action scenes as stated on the flap of the book jacket...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
You know how this book promised riveting action scenes as stated on the flap of the book jacket? Yeah. That's probably what drew me in along with the promise of telekinesis and flying boulders and general chaos all around. I mean, bad guys that can throw people and objects around like a rag doll? Count me in yo.
Did I get what I was promised? Nope. Not at all. This was a total downer, my friends.
Let's start with the characters - Faith, the protagonist, is an airhead. She's bratty and I don't like her and I really wouldn't trust her to be able to save a life, much less the whole world. She falls instantly in love with this jerk named Wade. At least the book admits its love at first sight, quote "They were having a moment, both of them instantly attracted to each other." On page 21. I don't exactly hate love at first sight in books because sometimes its actually kind of cute, but this? Just no.
And aside from Wade there's also Dylan who I wanted to like but he just had to go and do the watching-people-sleep thing which is unbearably creepy. I get that he was watching over her but come on Dylan, stop being such a creeper.
What I also didn't like about Faith was how she treated Hawk, one of the guys at her new school. I mean he's a little forward but she's never actually talked with the guy and she's already pegged him as the crown prince of dorks. He's a geek and a great hacker for one but there's no need to call him a stalker just because he wanted to strike up conversation. (Why are you so full of yourself, Faith? You're nothing special. Not to me.) And you know how they became friends? I don't, but I'm betting it involved him buying her clothes.
Obviously I'm not a fan of the relationships in this book, they're all so messed up I can't even. If I could, I'd slap Faith because I don't get why she's so special. I can't wrap my head around why people fawn over her.
I also don't understand why it took so long for Faith's powers to manifest and until they did, it was a boring trek through Faith's everyday life of hanging with her friend, boys and clothes and Dylan and Wade plus a not on her table with the words YOU MOVED ME which I still don't understand and won't even try to.
Now let's move on to that thing where I was promised "riveting action scenes". It wasn't until the second half of the book where all the action started happening and it was very, very boring. Come on guys, tossing around cars with the power of your mind should be fun. And the world building? Poor. The education system is a strange, if everyone's using tablets to study why even bother going to school? It isn't like as if the teachers there actually administer tests or anything.
I guess my favorite parts in the book were when Faith got hurt and things weren't going her way. Like that part when she and Dylan were training and he tossed things at her face and she got hit. That was a definite highlight of this book. I hope she gets hurt more often.
With its poor world building, slow pace and unlikable characters, you can bet that I won't even bother with the second book. You guys are better off looking for your fix of dystopian books elsewhere.(less)
False Sight is the sequel to False Memory. I'll try to keep this spoiler fr...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
Actual rating: 3.5/5
False Sight is the sequel to False Memory. I'll try to keep this spoiler free.
Despite their play at being normal, Miranda knows that that's just not possible. Especially when one of her team turns rogue and she loses someone close to her heart. As they chase this rogue, Miranda and her team realize that the trouble they're in is even more far-reaching than they thought. Think inter-dimensional disaster.
False Sight is an interesting sequel to False Memory. There's never a dull moment in False Sight and Miranda is thrown into one mess after the other all for the sake of saving the world she loves.
There's no such thing as normal when you're a clone and Miranda's trying to move past that so she can work on her relationship with Peter. Not exactly easy when her teammate goes rogue against her will and she might too. Talk about highly dangerous.
While Miranda is an interesting narrator and Peter seems like a stable guy I just found it harder to connect with the characters this time around. I'm not sure if it's because I'd forgotten parts of False Memory or something else entirely. It's hard to keep track of things that happen in books when I read so much in a week, unless it's truly something worth remembering. And you know, I did have to wait a whole year for this book. So.
One thing that threw me for a loop was the introduction of a plot twist that was so....out of this world. Something bigger and larger than what I initially imagined that I got a little bit confused. It took some time for me to adjust, because it was a surprise, but once I did I had to admit that it was all kinds of interesting. Those flesh-eating monsters were nothing to scoff at.
And that ending! That ending makes me so ready for the next book. I'm definitely interested to find out in which direction the next book will take me. (less)
When Iolanthe Seabourne calls down lightning to fix the precious elixir she...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
Actual rating: 3.5/5
When Iolanthe Seabourne calls down lightning to fix the precious elixir she created, she obviously doesn't know that her life's going to get oh so very complicated. It's a big mess that involves a Prince, a prophecy, a conspiracy and an all boy's school - because everyone wants a piece of Iolanthe's powers. It pretty much sucks that she was predicted to be the greatest elemental mage of her generation then.
Fair warning to those who're interested in this book, it starts of really slow and kind of strange and weird but be patient because it picks up soon enough. It doesn't hurt that Thomas' has really great characters.
I just loved how Iolanthe readily admitted that she was afraid and that she'd prefer peace and stability to adventure. She'd rather run from the Prince than help him in his venture but it was also great to see her step up to the task when she realizes that there's a whole lot at stake. She's brave that way. One little thing about Iolanthe is that, for me, she was a bit too perfect. Blending in perfectly in an all boys school so seamlessly with nothing more but a lowering of her voice and the binding of her chest? Right. What? Titus was the same, he's like the ultimate spymaster with his plans and his back-up plans and all his bolt holes hidden wherever. It's like they could do no wrong and sure, they fail but it's pretty much obvious that the win's in their corner.
The world building was also quite confusing. The magical system and the setting were poorly done. It was confusing, to say the least. And I wasn't overly fond of the glossary at the latter part of the book. I don't want to have to have to keep flipping towards the glossary every time there's something that needs explaining. I mean, things like that could have been incorporated into the book right? Right.
Overall, The Burning Sky is an okay read if you're okay with shabby world-building. The characters do make up for it a bit and maybe the slight romance. Will I get the next book? Definitely. I mean it's not that bad, give it a go. (less)
Going to a house party in an island moored far away from the mainland might sound a bit too much...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
Going to a house party in an island moored far away from the mainland might sound a bit too much for Meg, but she doesn't think being gone for the weekend away from the parents would hurt. Especially when T.J.'s going to be at that party. But when a weekend of no rules and no limits turns into a living nightmare with the partygoers turning up dead one by one, the remaining teens end up wary and distrustful of each other. This is one weekend that anyone can seem to do without.
Well, I'd probably warn people that this wasn't really for people who are unaccustomed to pretty grisly deaths in books. While I didn't much blink an eye because Rick Yancey's The Monstrumologist series pretty much made everything pale in comparison when it comes to gore, people who are thinking just along the lines of la-la-stabbity-stab-stab might end up surprised.
Meg was probably the most sane of the bunch, but then that would probably be biased since we're whisked to the story via her perspective. What she thought was supposed to be a fun party was shot when she realized that basically almost everyone in the house were jerks. I don't know about you guys, but a house party with no chaperones in a pretty secluded island already sounds like the perfect horror flick set-up for me, so I'm not exactly what possessed seemingly smart Meg to say yes to this party.
And because these teens have probably never watched The Ring, they watch a DVD only to end up with the warning: Vengeance is mine, only to find that a bit later, surprise surprise, there's already something happening in the house.
I actually finished Ten in one sitting, so it wasn't pretty bad. While I am in no way a fan of "Whodunnit" thrillers because I always end up wrong and probably because I am already casting suspicious looks at everyone from the get-go which makes it more annoying for me, Ten is a pretty easy read for newbies who are into thrillers. Enthusiasts of the genre might find this one a bit predictable, but Ten would be interesting for people who don't read thrillers more often. Provided that you're not that squeamish, of course.(less)
I found myself unable to resist this book mainly because of the cover. I me...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
Actual rating: 2.5/5
I found myself unable to resist this book mainly because of the cover. I mean, that photo right? I've always been a sucker for books that use underwater shots for cover photos. Too pretty.
My review will probably be on the short side, like the book which is 246 pages long. So short! In Of Triton, the story now shifts focus to the Syrena world. The struggles between both Houses - Triton and Poseidon and the power hungry Syrena who want to control them. I wasn't that big of a fan of the world building, but it's entertaining all the same.
In the second book we also meet Nalia, Emma's mother, and from the get-go I didn't like her. Frankly, her reasons for hiding on land for the longest time were the worst. What kind of a pathetic excuse is that? Emma herself was actually very childish, I mean yeah I get that your mom's relationship with your father was iffy in light of the fact that she's pretty much in love with Grom but seriously, I'm pretty sure Emma's got bigger problems than her mother's love life.
Emma and Galen are actually pretty boring and their romance didn't see to progress into anything deeper. I think I liked Galen better in the first book. Actually, I think I liked Emma better in the first book too. I was pretty sure they were going to end up together no matter what and the tension about mating and Syrena laws and stuff were unnecessary plot devices.
There was also that little thing about Paca and Grom being mated and the slew of problems that surface because of that stupid mating. I don't know guys, the Syrena seem pretty dumb to me to fall for that Paca's fake powers. I'm totally not buying the whole they've-forgotten-what-the-gifts-of-the-generals-look-like spiel.
And that ending? It was totally anticlimatic. It was wrapped up neatly enough that I wonder what the third book could possibly be about. Will I be reading the next book? Maybe.(less)
Ben's town is folding up. The mine's bust and everyone is forced to go somewhere else to build n...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
Ben's town is folding up. The mine's bust and everyone is forced to go somewhere else to build new homes, join new communities, get new jobs. Ben's case is different. He gets a college scholarship and although guilty about it, Ben is looking forward to the future. Lala is a Romani. Being a Gypsy means that she doesn't put down roots; anywhere the family caravan goes, she comes with. Maybe that life sounds okay to her sister, but it hardly appeals to Lala, especially when she's forced to marry someone she doesn't love. When Ben and Lala meet, there is passion that burns just as enticing as the annual Burning Man event in Nevada. But just like almost everything that burns, there's the residual smoke and ash to account for.
Ben is not perfect. He's just an ordinary guy who gets an amazing college scholarship that would definitely give him a far better future than most people in his home town. While readers may catch a glimpse at how guilty Ben is over his good fortune, we can't really deprive him of a pat on the back for doing well. Ben is a romantic, and so when he meets Lala, he's very confident that she needs him, just as much as he needs her. He's so into Lala that he's this close to casting aside his future just to be with her. Lala, on the other hand, envies his freedom. Being a Romani means that strict rules are applied to the womenfolk. She's tired of everybody dictating what she can or can't do, and she knows that the arranged marriage will be the first step to a new enslavement. I liked that Lala was unafraid of being on her own, and even when she's given a chance to not be so alone, she's fearless about wanting to find herself first, and I don't think a lot of people will choose that. While her ambition may have been impractical to people of her descent, Lala is very pragmatic when it comes to her newly found freedom.
If like me you were looking for just an unconventional romance, Burning is not really something I'd tout as such. More than the romance, Burning is all about growing up and making important choices, which I think is relevant to today's teens. But while I do somehow get the gist of what Arnold is driving towards, Burning is just too much of everything. I understand that when it comes to this intense attraction, all sense and rationality just has the tendency to fly away. But I think it's not unseemly for me to say that Ben and Lala fell in love too fast, too passionate. Oftentimes, there are paragraphs devoted to convince the reader of their overwhelming attraction to each other that it got kind of boring and cloying.
I must admit that I was disappointed by the ending of the book, and the unexpected intensity of the romance. Burning isn't some cute, fluffy romance that you can coo over. It's not for people who want to escape to a world where hot guys with six-pack abs live happily ever after with girls who have rocking bodies and sleek hair. Sadly, I approached Burning the same way I did with any other contemporary romance, and I think that that was the reason why I didn't appreciate it so much. Ben and Lala are flawed characters, but I think that was the reason why I wasn't into the book. They reminded me too much of real life, of growing up, of the importance of finding one's self in a sea of people.
While I applaud Ben and Lala for the decisions that they have come to, the romantic in me had been temporarily defeated by the unexpected dose of realism after I finished this one. The romance was a tad too over-the-top but the outcome made it all the more believable, and I imagine that this is would resonate with a lot of teenagers. (less)
Nerissa Marin is heir to the undersea kingdom known as Waterfell but she can't claim her birthr...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
Nerissa Marin is heir to the undersea kingdom known as Waterfell but she can't claim her birthright while she's hiding away in the human world. Not that she wants to. Her father told her to stay away and that's exactly what she plans to do despite the urging of her bad-tempered best friend to fight for her throne. But everything changes when the one who caused her family's devastation comes up to Nerissa and demands a battle to the death. Now Nerissa has to make a choice, give up the throne or abandon her people to the clutches of a power-hungry tyrant.
I have to admit that I thought this would be about mermaids. Sea creatures? An undersea kingdom? Mermaids. Sadly I was wrong, the sea creatures in Waterfell are more of the Loch Ness kind rather than the half human half fish kind.
I like Nerissa. I like how she's totally capable of admitting all her flaws and strives to do better. She's scared, which is totally acceptable, seeing as how her life's been turned around and there's this evil witch of a sea monster vying for her throne. A throne which she would willingly give up if things were up to her. But they aren't and Nerissa's got people depending on her so she stands and she fights and in the end she grows a pretty sizable backbone and faces down her problems head on. You go girl! I can also see that she's a brat, but come on, she's a teenager, she's selfish and prideful but it comes with the territory. She's a princess, her father's been pretty lenient with her - so she says - so she's used to thinking of only herself. But kudos to her for manning up.
Now let me take a moment to talk about the romance. The reason why I'm having a hard time rating this book is because of the romance. Insta-love with the surfer boy who dons a smarmy grin on his face and a devil-may-care attitude and walks with a swagger that's irresistible to teenage girls. Nerissa may be a sea monster but she's still a teenager and subject to rampaging hormones. I didn't like Lo. He was so incredibly...lame and douchey. I don't understand what Nerissa saw in him and from the get-go I felt like there was something really shady about him. I mean if the romance didn't play such a big part in this story I wouldn't have been so irritated, but it did. It really did.
Taking a break from the sucky romance, I actually liked the sea monsters Howard introduced - the Aquarathi. I mean she's a legit sea monster, how can I not like that? Like a serpent. And I was actually surprised by their back story and how they came to exist in the oceans. Pretty cool. And the plot, while entertaining, was kind of predictable but it does have a whole lot of potential.
If you're checking this out thinking that this is gonna be some story about mermaids, think again. You'll find sea creatures with sharp teeth and killer flippers that are oddly endearing and a not-so-endearing romance with a shady surfer boy and a main character who's pretty real and flawed and human.(less)
I found it very hard not to be intrigued by this book when it came popping up on GoodReads. For...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
I found it very hard not to be intrigued by this book when it came popping up on GoodReads. For one, the title alone was enough to convince me that I absolutely needed this. Then out of the blue (Was that a pun? Why yes, I believe it was!) I remembered this The Killers song that had a line that had these words on it. I know that the title is obviously a saying, but there's nothing like humming Spaceman every time I see the title. Second, just look at that totally gorgeous Gothic-looking cover, and the teeny tiny humans on the cliff. They look like they're dancing, despite the grim and dangerous theme of their surroundings. The girl obviously looks like she's having fun flirting with danger, and I love the whimsical detail it poses. Third, the summary. Goodness knows how obsessed I am when it comes to horror and very unconventional romances. I have been disappointed time and time again by awesome-sounding books, but thankfully, that was not the case with this one.
Just like the evil River West, Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea is a total charmer.
With their bohemian-living parents away, Violet rents out one of the rooms in her grandmother's sprawling yet fading estate to be able to feed herself and her brother Luke. And who else rents it but the mysterious River West who seems to make Violet's heart race and whose grin almost makes her forget about the strange happenings around town. But when the gruesome and macabre goings-on start to hit closer to home, Violet starts to realize that her grandmother's warnings about the devil may not have been utter poppycock at all.
Violet would be the perfect embodiment of those shabby-chic girls you spot in magazines. She goes around wearing her grandmother's clothes with a devil-may-care attitude (I swear I am not making these puns on purpose. They just come rather naturally.) in her opulent yet faded grandmother's property, and she doesn't seem to give a rat's butt about what people think or say about her. Personality-wise, she reminded me a lot of Petunia from the webcomic Todd Allison and the Petunia Flower. While she's mostly smart with her dealings with River West, you just can't really fault her when she goes weak in the knees because, dear reader, you will too! I couldn't muster any love for Warner of Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me, nor any for Darkling of Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone, but I could understand why Violet fell under the spell of River West, despite him possibly being more psycho than Darkling. People, this guy is a real nut job, but a nut job I will confess to being enraptured with. Seriously. You want a really bad boy? Meet River West. I seriously didn't think I had it in me to be fascinated by a bad boy, but he's just so darn charming! River will remind you of a very mischievous cat playing with a mouse; it's not really intentional if the mouse ends up dead.
What I love about Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is that it does away with your whole black-and-white version rendition of good and evil. Instead, readers are subjected to a murky gray that will undoubtedly be good material for some self-reflection.
Also, Tucholke's writing will not clue you in that this novel is her first. She is good at pacing, and is adept in creating curious - and sometimes horrific - events that effectively counter the idyllic scenarios readers witness.
Was the novel a bit insta-love-y, however? A little, but if you've given proper thought, it doesn't appear to be that way. Well, not on purpose anyway, and that is good enough for me.
If you like creepy books and are curious about a devil who doesn't know which side he's on, I cannot recommend this book enough. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea balances perfectly well the romance as well as the Gothic horror, making it equally appealing to horror-lovers and romance aficionados alike!
Now, being a new Tucholke fan, I'll just have to languish a little bit every day like the others as I wait for the second book, Between the Spark and the Burn, which comes out in August 2014... (less)
After the events of the first book, Cole and Ali are ready to conquer the world, one zombie at a time. That is until Cole looks into Ali's eyes and sees something he's not particularly happy about. Strange things are happening to Alice, and Cole's determination to drive a wedge between them isn't helping. The introduction of new hunters to their group only adds fuel to the fire - it doesn't really help that one of them is Cole's ex.
Really, should I be surprised that another of Cole's exes pops out in the second book? Why can't they, for once, just focus on killing zombies? And how is possible that each and every single one of the hunters are inhumanly beautiful, ripped and hot? What. And why does it always have to be Cole who's the target of every female's fantasy? He's kind of a jerk albeit an incredibly hot one but still.
I wasn't a super fan of Cole in the second book, I mean up and running the moment another guy comes into the picture instead of staying put and fighting for Ali? Ha. No thanks, Ali definitely doesn't need a guy like you Cole. Go home. But alas, the heart wants what the heart wants and all my hopes and dreams of Ali making Cole suffer were for naught.
Well of course, our dear Alice pines for Cole, and while I was irked about all the whining, she at least didn't act all wimpy and hide herself in some deep, dark cave drawing circles on the cold dirt floor and crying day in, day out. She's a fighter and she knows she's got some issues to deal with other than her broken heart. So she mans up and plows through those issues like the zombie slayer that she is.
Things get a little more interesting for Ali in the second book, strange things are happening to the zombies and who is that weird zombie-like version of herself flitting around? And why does she crave human flesh? Then there's Anima acting up again and they want Alice because they think she's got the ability to cure diseases in her blood.
So aside from dealing with her agony over Cole, Alice has to deal with her reflections coming to life, the dark urge to take a bite out of her friends and her impending death. Boy, does Alice have things easy. The zombies she has to fight are kind of a given so...yeah.
Overall an entertaining read despite my urges to chuck the book at the nearest wall because Cole is a douche. But yes, I'm definitely buying the next book despite its steep price. And if you're into zombies and are not a fan of retellings you might want to check this out because despite the title, it's not exactly a retelling of Alice in Wonderland. (less)
Caymen thinks that all rich people get bored easily, which is why she's trying to keep her distance from Xander. But as Xander tries to prove against Caymen's judgment that he's different from the others, Caymen finds out the truth that someone has desperately kept hidden.
I'll admit that what sold me on this one was Caymen's fascination with rich people. Much to both my chagrin and enjoyment, I do browse through the Rich Kids of Instagram Tumblr, just to see glimpses of spoiled kids in all their glorified excess. What people back in the day constitutes as bragging is now today's ticket to fame, which I guess, also says a lot about today's culture.
I might be a little biased when it comes to the characters of this book because there's little I'd enjoy more than sarcasm and dry humor. Luckily, Caymen's more than ready to indulge readers with that, even if it's possibly more of a defense mechanism thing. Caymen might come off as cruel at times, but really, it's only her practical side talking. It's not that she wants to hurt people's feelings either, it's just that sometimes she doesn't know how to deal with them. Caymen doesn't know how to deal with Xander either. He's rich, and gorgeous (of course), and is about as unexpected as a polar bear in Hawaii. Normally, I say "Ick!" when people share drinks (unless of course, they're immediate family members) but Xander has had me wanting to share his drink with me. (Gosh Michelle, you are so disturbing, trust me I know.) Xander is very sweet, which of course, almost always catches Caymen off-guard.
I can't really go on to detail as to what events transpired in the novel, as that would give it away, but I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, this book is totally adorable, but on the other, the events were just too okay-where-did-that-come-from-OH-THERE-REALLY-LIKE-WHAT. The events leading to the end might be a little off, but I wouldn't discourage people who like snarky, adorable romance.
As far as contemporary romances go, this one was one of the enjoyable ones I've read. The Distance Between Us is often light and entertaining, which is perfect for when you've just finished a pretty heavy book. Fans of contemporary might want to pick this up, if they don't have it in their book shelves already.(less)
When kids start developing powers, they're categorized into colors that coincide with their power level - red, orange, yellow, green and blue - and then shipped off into concentration camps. "Rehabilitation" camps as they're so touted. Ruby is one such kid and she's shipped off to camp at the age of 10 thanks to an incident which she had no control over. Ruby knows her powers, knows how dangerous she is and she's hidden it well. And when those powers are about to be uncovered she has no choice but to run. Run from the people after her and run towards a possible sanctuary for kids like her.
This book was a massive disappointment for me. I wasn't overly fond of any of the characters and I spent a lot of time contemplating how unbearably boring Ruby was. There, I said it. That's not to say I didn't get why Ruby was afraid of her powers, I mean if you had the ability to dive into someone's head and erase memories and command them to do stuff it'd be pretty nerve-wracking. (Although truthfully, I found that aspect rather intriguing. Bossing people around? Yes please.) And what Ruby had gone through was traumatizing but I just couldn't bring myself to sympathize with her. I like strong, kick-butt, take-charge female characters. Ruby does not fit the bill with her fear of her own powers and constant blubbering about how she's a monster and everyone should just leave her alone. I was actually hoping they'd toss her to the curb because her constant whining was getting on my nerves.
Liam is Ruby's love interest and truthfully, he wasn't all that interesting. The romance was too fast and a little bit sloppy. For a moment, there was a love triangle going on there with another boy. I'm not going to reveal his name because that'd be spoilery but can I just say that he's pretty much a psycho and a control-freak and he reminds me too much of Warner from the Shatter Me series. That's not a good thing, mind you. And I wouldn't be surprised if he pops out in the next book for fun.
Thing is, I could've done with minimal romance and more story because this book is actually really...confusing. The first half, actually no, around three-fourths of the book was one long trip to find the elusive Slip Kid - this mysterious rebel leader who was the answer to all their problems - and is very, very repetitive. They run, get chased by bad guys, escape, run again...you get the drill. And after a few encounters like that I was starting to wonder what they were actually planning to do because from my viewpoint they were pretty directionless.
There are actually a lot of things I don't get with this book. The virus - where'd it come from, who created it, how does it spread, is it contagious, how do you contract it and why children? Another thing I'd like to ponder on are parents giving up their children - I mean each and every single parent giving up their child? Really now. Also, can someone elaborate more on their powers because while they cropped up now and again I've never actually seen them in use, save for a few instances. I also could not believe that the government cowered in fear of the children and killed off the more powerful ones, I would at least expected someone to make use of them. And the mention of rebel factions just made things more confusing.
And can I just add that ending pissed me off? I shaved off half a rainbow because of that cliched and undeniably predictable ending. Will I be picking up the next book? I honestly don't know. I'm a glutton for punishment and constantly put myself through excruciating pain - I've read a whole lot of books I really shouldn't have - and there's a possibility that I just might.(less)
Jeff is on the run. From what, he's not exactly sure. All he knows is that they are coming. He d...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
Jeff is on the run. From what, he's not exactly sure. All he knows is that they are coming. He doesn't know what they want from him, because he has nothing they could possibly want. That is, until he finds out that he is the only one of seventeen boys to be 100% replicated from the DNA of notorious serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer. Jeff's not the only one cloned from a serial killer; almost every serial killer has at least one living, breathing representative, and Jeff must track them down before everything turns into the biggest living nightmare the world has ever witnessed.
I've read a lot about Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and almost all the serial killers documented from the United States. Most of them are violent because of the environment they grew up in, triggering all these synapses for brutal killing. And some, only a handful of them are, because it's in their genes. Project Cain once again brings up the old debate between nature versus nurture, wherein a fictional - at least I hope it is - US company, in conjunction with the military, use clones of serial killers to be their guinea pigs. Some families are instructed to raise the clone in a good environment, and some get paid to re-enact the clone's "original" home life. The novel is rife with conspiracy theories that I did enjoy, and short biodata of the serial killers, which did refresh some of my memory.
But other than that, Project Cain did not really carve out a niche for itself just like I hoped. There was no internal conflict drama from the main character, which I badly wanted, and there was little to non-existent action. (Actually there are some action stuff going on, but it'll hardly keep anyone buzzed.) And could you really fault me for thinking this one was going to be good? Look at that cover! It looks more than well-versed in butt-kicking than staying in hotel rooms (which was like, what, 85% of the novel?) I get that Jeff's supposed to be hiding from the other kids, and that DIST, the company that "created" them is after them as well. (Yes, them. This other guy gets roped into helping Jeff.) But guess what? DIST doesn't seem to actually give a fig about Jeff. Those replicas of serial killers seem be to way more interested in killing people than recruiting Jeff to be part of them. And the secret weapon that's supposedly very dangerous? Heck yeah it's dangerous, but it wasn't as exciting as the blurb made it seem.
Jeff was hardly interesting, and the way he was written made it seem like he was this very young boy instead of being around sixteen or seventeen. He was fighting his inner demons for a bit, sure, but it was more like he was fighting his own delusions. And because he's technically 100% Jeffrey Dahmer (Yes, even the egg carries Jeffrey Dahmer.) he sees Dahmer's victims all over the place. Which is weird. But despite being a clone of Dahmer, Jeff is normal, for lack of a better term, to the point of being of coming across as sheltered. Well, DIST did pick this Jeff to be raised in a good environment, so the Dahmer characteristics obviously did not show up.
If books with serial killers are your thing, I'd really rather recommend Barry Lyga's I Hunt Killers. Project Cain may have a very tempting blurb, but it hardly delivered, what with its lackluster characters and weak storyline.(less)
Before his high school graduation, Danny's mother succumbed to cancer. Stuck with only his dog a...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
Before his high school graduation, Danny's mother succumbed to cancer. Stuck with only his dog and ex-girlfriend's mother for company, Danny doesn't think twice about high-tailing it to Japan when a letter from Tokyo arrives for him. Because there are some things that don't exactly fit the picture right...
Danny lost his mother to cancer, and his dad earlier to a car accident in Kyoto, so he's basically an orphan. Being rich and gorgeous, and having everything he could possibly ever ask for, are just some petty things to fill in the void of what really matters. I could understand his snap decision to jet off to Tokyo because his mom always loved it there, the property he's inherited, as well as needing some time to himself without anyone reminding him of the way things were before. Not that Danny's a stranger to Tokyo either, but it's a good place to lose himself for a while. And while the fact that there are Japanese who are very well versed in witty English banter did kind of shock me for a bit on top of it being entirely too coincidental (I mean, I know that there obviously are fluent English speakers, but I do wish that I had even just one very coincidentally fluent English-speaking local Japanese stranger to intervene on my behalf all these times I've been to Japan when I've always had to use Google Translate or hand signs to communicate.) What I also appreciate is that Danny's Japan is a different Japan from what I'm accustomed to. Danny's Japan has that lived-in approach to it, something that's off-limits to even a frequent visitor like me. But, this Japan is not as flavorful as one hopes the book will be, so if you're intrigued by this because it might shed some light on modern-day Japan, it actually doesn't.
Let's move on to Danny. Danny doesn't really talk to me. As a reader, I'm inside his head but there's absolutely nothing about him that evokes any kind of feeling from me. I'm not saying that Danny's pain isn't real, or that he's a total fake just because his angst wasn't as, err, angsty, as I expected it, but I didn't really feel anything, save for annoyance because dude. That. Freaking. Surprise. Twist. (But more on that later.) I'm not saying that a book has to make me hurt inside and cry and bawling, "What happens to my life now?!" for me to actually press people to read it because LIFE. (Which I do, and have done. Twice. The hurting and crying and bawling part. Which I don't usually do. And the person I usually press to read stuff I cry over is my co-blogger, who I'd like to think reads the stuff anyway because she loves me, and because she takes delight in something that has tormented me.) I thought that the reason I could not fully absorb Danny's character was because he always held himself away, even from the readers. And at that, his time to "get over" his Mom's death just felt a bit too quick for me, too... formulated. Hold up before you say that maybe Danny's not done moving on yet, or that Danny's still grieving in his own way and readers shouldn't get a blow-by-blow account of how he feels like scum every time he opens his eyes and realizes that he's alive and his mom isn't and that we all grieve differently. It just didn't really work for me.
On to a good thing that I did however, feel the need to thank the heavens for, would be because there was no convoluted love triangle to speak of. I did initially think that "Oh no, his heart's broken and here comes this Japanese girl who heals him." No, there was none of that, so that was one cliche dodged.
I have talked about Danny, but I haven't quite gotten to the other people in the novel yet. There's Holland, the ex-girlfriend Danny's still pretty much into and who's still pretty much still in love with him. I'd like to say she's nothing spectacular, except for being the most gorgeous girl in Danny's eyes, and she has to do with the surprise twist, which by now I'm guessing, you can tell that I don't like. Kana, the housekeeper's daughter who helps Danny piece together his mother's life in Japan, was okay. She kept Danny company, and was amusing to watch, most especially when she was not 'fessing up to her Harajuku-inspired fashion choices.
Now to the hard part. When You Were Here was, in all honesty, a chore for me to finish. Like I said, Danny was holding himself back from even himself, and he does things in a way that could probably be attributed to his emotions, but even then, Danny's just sort of there and we're all just watching him from the sidelines. The surprise twist absolutely threw me off, and not in a good way either. I wasn't a big fan of it, and I know that in real life, sometimes spit hits the ceiling fan real good, but c'mon. Just... no. It wasn't just something that you could and should hide from anyone, least of all the party involved, and it was just all kinds of wrong. While it did make Danny "grow", it was hardly the right time to deal with that. Two lefts don't make a right, after all. They just kind of put you back where you came from. While Danny did deal with it in a way that he's kind of supposed to, I kind of doubt that it was the kind of thing that would have been really helpful.
If you plan on reading When You Were Here because Japan is involved, I'm not really sure that this is the book for you. While it does feature Japan heavily, it's not exactly the same Japan I'd want people who've never been to, imagine. If you plan on reading this one because of the nature of the circumstance, I get it, but likewise, I'm not exactly sure that this will resonate with you either. (less)
Antigoddess is not your typical gods-and-humans story and among all the books that I've read th...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
Antigoddess is not your typical gods-and-humans story and among all the books that I've read that take from Greek mythology, this is easily my favorite.
The gods are dying slow, horrible deaths. The pantheon has divided themselves once again and are waging war on the both sides. Caught in the middle is Cassandra, reincarnation of the Greek prophetess that Apollo oh so loved. She just doesn't know it yet. So when her dreams and visions start getting bloodier and there's a strange sense of foreboding thrumming through her veins Cassandra knows that something bad is about to happen. The dying gods believe that she is the key to their survival and they will do anything, kill anyone to get to her.
I've been a fan of Kendare Blake books ever since she broke my heart and scared me to death with Anna Dressed in Blood and Girl of Nightmares. So there was no second-guessing about whether or not I should give Antigoddess a go.
The author does well in portraying the Greek gods and goddesses. They're selfish and destructive and stubborn to a fault. The fact that they have all these powerful abilities that they use to further their cause - which usually involves a whole lot of death and destruction - makes them near impossible to contend with.
I wasn't exactly fond of the characters except maybe Aidan and Hermes. Cassandra is, I'm not sure how to describe it, but she's distant at best. I felt like I didn't really get to connect with her and enjoy her as a character but somehow I was totally okay with that.
Athena on the hand I did like. She's everything you'd expect from the goddess of wisdom and warfare - strong, capable and ruthless. But as the story progressed, like Hera and her cronies, Athena is afraid to die and she's not going to take her death simpering like a damsel in distress. But I got to this point in the story where, after a certain incident involving Cassandra, I got pissed at her. I mean, there she goes again doing whatever she wants, what she thinks is right and damn all the consequences. I kind of wished everyone would just leave Cassandra alone but where's the fun in that right?
I loved the mood of the story, and paired with Blake's vivid explanations of the gods' slow deaths, made fore a pretty creepy read. Desperate gods and a reincarnated prophetess on the brink of war? Bring it on. Although I have to say that the ending was pretty painful and if I didn't love my copy of Antigoddess so much I would have tossed it against the wall while simultaneously bawling my tiny eyes out. I am definitely looking forward to the next book. (less)
When Eve is offered a huge sum of money to impersonate the wayward, and most importantly, missing, cousin of two rich teens, she can hardly turn them down, especially when her job at Starbucks is hardly making ends meet. She can probably ignore her conscience, but she can't ignore Liza's ghost who seems intent on helping her to unveil the truth about Liza's death and Aurora's disappearance.
A highly enjoyable thriller, Ghost Flower makes use of a strong female protagonist in Eve who is clever as she is observant. In fact, it is her quick-thinking that threw me into a loop and had me clamoring for more. Eve's grandmother was endearing, if you find snarky old people amusing (which I do, just not my own please).
There were some times I ended up lost, but Jaffe is such an entertaining storyteller that I just went with the flow. The only thing I found quite strange in Ghost Flower was the romantic nature of the ending, which was not only unsatisfying but abrupt as well. Having said that, the three-and-a-half stars I'm giving this novel obviously does not include the final few pages.
I'm keeping this review short on purpose as it is a thriller, and I do not want to unintentionally spoil people. Ghost Flower is recommended for people who want their thrillers with a tiny dash of paranormal activity and mystery. (less)
It's not right really, for a dragon shifter to fall in love with a hunter. But I suppose there'...moreThis review can originally be found at The Twins Read.
It's not right really, for a dragon shifter to fall in love with a hunter. But I suppose there's nothing more tempting than something forbidden.
Jacinda is a fire-breathing dragon, rare for her kind. This automatically makes her mate to her tribe's leader's son and, seeing as how she's a precious commodity, has a lot of restrictions placed upon her. She basically feels trapped and when she's caught doing something she shouldn't have her mother makes it a point to uproot her from her life among the tribe and situates them among humans. It's not exactly easy for Jacinda but what can she do, right?
I don't know about you guys but it's kind of far fetched that fire-breathing dragons are few and far-between. And what's even harder to believe is that they're actually hunted to almost extinction. Say what?
Also, what are the chances that when Jacinda's family move to a new town, they move into a town occupied by hunters? And the boy who hunted her down some time ago is, get this, studying in the same school she is? Yeeeeeeah. It was annoying but I found strength to let it go. That is until they meet each other and proceed to fall in love. Cue the sappy romantic interludes which aren't very sappy and border on annoying.
What pains me the most about this book are the characters. I ended up hating all of them and I don't know how I was able to finish the book. Jacinda's a lovesick dragon in love with Will. Her sister's a grade A little hussy and her mother? She's got that whole "mother knows best" domineering attitude and makes it a point to actually FORCE her daughter to let go of her dragon. She's basically asking her daughter to kill a part of herself. Mother did it so why can't she?
The story isn't any better. Jacinda has to hide from the hunters while simultaneously date one, hide from her sworn mate, defy her mother's wishes and get into a whole lot of trouble which could have been avoided if dragons weren't portrayed as living their pathetic lives out in the middle of nowhere cowering in fear of the hunters.
It totally destroys the image I have of dragons in my head and I rather like that image thank you very much. I actually have all three books right now but I'm making it a point to stuff them in the back of a cabinet because I don't think I'm capable of finishing the series. If you're looking for a book with dragons this one isn't for you, you're better of looking elsewhere like say... Seraphina perhaps. (less)