**spoiler alert** 3.5 stars - I enjoyed it, but I was slightly unsatisfied when I finished reading it.
The Good: - Actual horror and gore in a vampire...more**spoiler alert** 3.5 stars - I enjoyed it, but I was slightly unsatisfied when I finished reading it.
The Good: - Actual horror and gore in a vampire book, not just sparkles! - Interesting, diverse characters. I generally liked everyone and thought they were well developed. Main character Tana is strong, intelligent, and funny, and I liked Gavriel's backstory, mannerisms, and craziness. I also appreciate that the author included a diverse cast of LGBT and racially/ethnically diverse characters. - Enjoyable premise, although some elements didn't feel original. The vampires as celebrities concept has been explored in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer graphic novels, True Blood/Sookie Stackhouse, etc. - Standalone novel/not a series. The author has no current plans for a sequel, and it wraps up everything enough that it wouldn't need one. This is a major plus for me, since I have series fatigue.
The Meh: - Romance between Gavriel and Tana seemed extremely underdeveloped to me. They shared a hot kiss or two, but I never felt like they were in love. I would have liked it more if their relationship had been more ambiguous (no love declarations at the end) and the reader was just left with the possibility of love developing. Honestly, I would've been fine with no romance. - Lucien's death was anticlimactic. Dude got stabbed by almost vampire Tana, but after living for so long, it seems like he should've been stronger (or at least smarter). I also feel there should have been bigger repercussions to him dying, but it happened at the end of the book, so I get why it was probably simplified. - Also underdeveloped - the idea of vampires getting stronger when killing other vampires (AKA in my mind as Highlandering each other). Obviously Gavriel powered up after killing the Spider, but since he was basically a vampire assassin, shouldn't he have been incredibly strong before the Casper Morales escape? I guess he was up against other vampire assassins, but I'm surprised this wasn't explored a little more. Why don't more vampires know about it? Wouldn't Lucien have gotten a little power boost from killing Elizabet? Is it just no one knows and you have to kill a ton of vamps to see a difference? I'm probably just overthinking a somewhat trivial plot point.(less)
Pictures, IMs, and YouTube videos interlink to tell the story of Glory Fleming, a teen piano prodigy who falls in love with her new neighbor Francisco...morePictures, IMs, and YouTube videos interlink to tell the story of Glory Fleming, a teen piano prodigy who falls in love with her new neighbor Francisco Mendoza.
Chopsticks has an interesting concept, story, and visual elements, but I was left a little cold. It was hard for me to connect with the characters, and I read a ton of graphic novels, so I don't think it was the visual aspect that threw me. Since the book is also released as an app, I'd be curious to see if it works better in that format. Probably yes, since typing in the YouTube links in the book is a hassle (is that the letter l or a number 1 in the URL?), while the pictures look more vibrant on a screen. There is an accompanying Tumblr page, which includes links to many of the YouTube videos and some larger images, so it's somewhat of a workaround for readers of the print version. However, as an example of transmedia storytelling, I was left a bit frustrated by the book version. I can't try out the paid app version (it's only on Apple products), but I think the interactivity and ease of switching across media seems like it would be a better experience.
I also knew going in that there was a twist ending, so I probably would have enjoyed it more if I went in totally uninformed.
3.5 stars. Not as good as Anna and the French Kiss, but it still had lots of good moments. I actually really liked Cricket as a love interest, but Lol...more3.5 stars. Not as good as Anna and the French Kiss, but it still had lots of good moments. I actually really liked Cricket as a love interest, but Lola annoyed me a bit. I also like how the author incorporates the setting of San Francisco (something I think she also did well with Paris in Anna). (less)
**spoiler alert** I loved this book! It's been getting a ton of pre-publication buzz, and it has a very healthy first print run. I haven't read Taylor...more**spoiler alert** I loved this book! It's been getting a ton of pre-publication buzz, and it has a very healthy first print run. I haven't read Taylor's YA short story collection yet, but now I plan on picking it up.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the first book in a trilogy, so sadly, you'll probably have to wait at least another year for the next volume. Fortunately, a few major plot points are revealed, including Karou's identity and Akiva's past.
I loved the writing and worldbuilding. The characters are richly drawn, the romance is lush and electric, and the details of Prague are beautifully described. Even though I initially groaned a little reading the description (angel and demon fall in love; it ends badly), Taylor didn't go the typical fallen angel route, instead introducing a mythology that is different from our concept of demons and angels. And even though it sounds very doom and gloomy (I did cry near the end), it has many moments of humor, such as a very funny line about an "unnecessary penis."
A recent WSJ article included it in its list of books trying to emulate the popularity of Harry Potter. It has good adult/YA crossover appeal, and probably could have been published as adult book, although I do think teens will enjoy it. It does have some sex and violence (nothing close to True Blood or Game of Thrones though), and my ARC copy recommended it for ages 15 and up.
My only criticism: Both the ARC and finalized book covers are okay, but both seem a little generic. Even if I don't really like the Twilight Saga books, I do think the covers are unique and iconic.
Spoiler/Random Thing I Was Left Wondering: Why don't the angels/demons just invade our Earth? War ended. Maybe this will be explained in a later book though.(less)
Sensual romance with likable characters (it even had a cute kid that didn't annoy me!) and interesting dressmaking details. Will definitely check out...moreSensual romance with likable characters (it even had a cute kid that didn't annoy me!) and interesting dressmaking details. Will definitely check out other books by this author! Got a little repetitive in places, but still a very enjoyable read.(less)
The thing I like best about Levithan's writing is his kinetic, almost freeform style, so the dictionary format of this book works really well. Definit...moreThe thing I like best about Levithan's writing is his kinetic, almost freeform style, so the dictionary format of this book works really well. Definitely captured the emotional highs and lows of love.(less)
Very quirky (one POV is from a pagoda) and very good. I learned so much about pizza delivery!
Vera is a wry and realistic character, and it was nice t...moreVery quirky (one POV is from a pagoda) and very good. I learned so much about pizza delivery!
Vera is a wry and realistic character, and it was nice to have a YA novel with a supportive, but flawed parental character. I did feel like the ending was a bit rushed and underdeveloped, but overall, I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book.(less)