“Deadly Little Lies” is one of those books that I love to hate. The MC, Camelia, drives me absolutely bonkers! It’s to the point where I wish I had a bottle of JD to help me through this! Camelia cannot make up her full-of-hot-air mind about what she wants from Ben. Ben was being a butt half the time and Adam was just a creeper. There were cliches all over the place and half the things that happened were just plain bizarre.
Camelia, honey, you piss me off. At first you want Ben to leave you alone but only sometimes. All while you pine for him every night. And then when you do see him, it’s “Don’t expect too much, dude, I’m not feeling you anymore.” Liar, liar, pants on fire! Your mindset is constantly twisting between wanting Ben back, distrusting Ben, and panting after Adam. You do know that Ben can be a total jerk, right? He is not perfect. The sooner you realize this the happier we will all be.
Camelia is also incredibly selfish. Her friends are going through some really rough times at home and yet their conversations are taken up with her problems. She seems so fake with her consoling them.
Another thing I don’t like is Ben. For god’s sake! I want to slap him the entire time. He guilt trips Camelia when she’s trying to move on. He’s being all aloof and doesn’t want her to move on. What a butt. Not exactly on my list of book boyfriends.
I don’t know how wise it was to make Camelia the main character. For one thing, she makes it a point to point out the obvious. Example: her parent’s cars are in the driveway. Yes, Camelia, that means they’re home. Very clever. We don’t need to be told the connection; we can make it for ourselves.
Alright. What appeals to me about this series is how freaking creepy it is. Even though some of the allure is lost with Camelia’s ineptitude. You can sense the something’s-not-right with this story and I like that. I like creepy books sometimes.
Talk about maxing out the creep factor. Ben? Yeah. Appearing outside your ex-girlfriend’s window does not score you any brownie points. If I saw a dude outside my window—the fact that my room is on a second floor aside and that would be creepy anyway—I’d be freaking out. But of course Camelia would have a balcony conveniently there for such uses.
The lines were incredibly lame. It felt like I was listening to a soap opera. All the irony just turns into a cliché. Oh and choking on your drink? Good grief. That’s become so well-used that I’m getting sick of it. If one more character chokes on their drink because they got some freaky news, I’m going to be throwing some books across the room.
To wrap up, I’d just like to say that despite all this I’m going to be reading the third and final book, “Deadly Little Games”. Everyone has that book they love to hate and this series happens to be mine.(less)
A truly fascinating read. "Magic Under Glass," opens with Nimira performing at a crummy stage, searching the crowd for the eyes of her gentleman. A fe...moreA truly fascinating read. "Magic Under Glass," opens with Nimira performing at a crummy stage, searching the crowd for the eyes of her gentleman. A few scenes later, that gentleman offers her a job, performing at his estate alongside an automaton. Mirmia abandons her crummy life to step into adventure.
I admire Nimira, but differently than how I admire other characters. She's grounded but with a dreamer's heart. She isn't floppy, isn't outrageously brilliant and doesn't step up when you want her to. But she has a fast tongue and a kind heart. There's a certain air about her that makes her identifiable. As I said, she isn't the stunningly brilliant heroine I prefer to read about (and that kind is found so little in modern day fiction). Nimira does gives us a substantial amount of girl empowerment. Her determination and kindness make her shine.
I can see why someone would dislike this book. If you take it at face value, you see someone you might consider wimpy and uninteresting--the worst kind. But there is something there, between the lines. Nimira possesses something, or perhaps it is simply the plot. The world had me confused: I'm used to medieval maps and a defined time period. This time period had to be after the 1600's, for they have pistols. But the world is foreign. It almost runs parallel to a colonial time period--set in England with it's outlying estates, foreign worlds just behind the horizon, and snotty upper class.
I read this book in less than nine hours. It's a short read--only 225 pages--but the idea was original and it is originality that begins a great adventure. Something about it pulled me along and I read it every spare moment I had, and before I knew it, I was done with it.(less)
I'd started this book once and had dropped it, whether it was due to boredom or time constraint or whatever, I had dropped it. I'm really sorry I did. Even though I have a sort of phobia of short books, Once Dead, Twice Shy was a testament to ingenuity and skill.
Kim Harrison's skill for titles aside, her main character, Madison, was awesome. Besides my short-book-phobia, I also have a phobia for weak, fluffy main characters. Madison didn't trip any wires. Her originality and spunkiness (though apparently she doesn't like that term) was refreshing. I do wish her character was given a bit more room to breathe, though, because the book was so short. Her character really could have stretched over 350 pages or more. She was funny, wimpy when called for, not a pushover but not a unbelievable ninja either. I'm thinking of stealing her skull earrings and purple shoes.
Romance alone is a sticky subject and being dead doesn't help matters much. So when Stupid Cupid comes along, I was holding my breath for Madison's sake (since she didn't actually have to breathe). The love interest turned out to be a cool dude. Thank God. At least he didn't dismiss her as a freak when she turned "invisible" and didn't mumble and bumble when he should've been defending her. So, to the love interest, kudos. I do wish the romance could have been expanded, though. I mean…c'mon. There were grounds for some hard core romancing in here…But Kim Harrison kept it real. Kudos to her, too.
As for the world, it was genius. I'd almost started to lose faith in the hopes for a refreshing angel read, but this brought hope back. I love how there's this introduction of "timekeepers" and "seraphs". And it wasn't like Hush, Hush or Fallen where the whole book focuses on the fallen angel/guardian and the human girl. First of all, Madison's dead. Kind of puts a kink in the works anyway. As I read, it was easy to figure out how things worked. The amulets connected to their swords, etc. Very clever.
Blonde bubbleheads are the bane of my existence. Something Madison and I have in common. Amy was a very convincing small scale enemy. (Meaning she wasn't the holder of Madison's body.) I wanted to slap her throughout ever encounter and I applauded Madison's comebacks—though they were unfortunately mostly verbal, not physical. *sigh*
The writing was simple. Nothing really complex and worldly about it. So it fit the story and tone nicely. It seemed to be meant to be plain and productive. When the writing and the story fit together, it creates a beautiful experience.
Gosh darn it I just wish it was longer. If it were, say, 200 pages thicker, there would be an extra star in my rating. As it is, it only took me little over half a day to read it. All that awesome should not be contained in a measly 232 pages!
My short-book-phobia aside, it was a very enjoyable story. I cannot wait to pick up the sequel.(less)
When I first started reading, my mind couldn't keep focused. I liked how Anne Osterlund opened with a strange scenario: one of our main characters, Ae...moreWhen I first started reading, my mind couldn't keep focused. I liked how Anne Osterlund opened with a strange scenario: one of our main characters, Aerin, in the middle of space, forced to send out a distress call. There's already some deep emotion hinting behind Aerin's character. Something has happened to her and somehow she's presented in such a way that you just have to know what it is.
Then we have Dane. The rebel son of the General of the Alliance's army. Like Aerin, he receives a letter inviting him to Academy 7, the most prestigious school in the universe.
Perhaps I should have gathered from the summary that this was a science fiction novel, when I assumed that it was present day. So my mind had to scramble to readjust itself at the change of genre.
I really enjoyed the romance, even if it took fooorrreeeevvvveeeerrrr for the two of them to DO anything! Reading her second novel, I realize that this is her style: not focus in entirely on the romance, but weave it into the core of the story. Furthermore, I've come to love and look forward to Anne Osterlund's fabulous plots. Just like "Aurelia," the plot was steeped into the history of Aerin and Dane's parents. Anne Osterlund unravels the plot masterfully in both "Aurelia," and "Academy 7," for only having two published novels under her belt.
Anne Osterlund weaves magnificent plots and crafts brilliant characters. Seeing Dane and Aerin square off against each other, both neck in neck in their class rank, was thrilling. My favorite part. Anne Osterlund has managed to give us a plot grounded in real emotions and real reactions.
This is why I don’t read short books. Given, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes has noteworthy talent when it comes to writing, especially at the age she wrote this particular story. However, I’m the type of reader who likes good long, hardy books. It took me all of two collective hours to read this book and I didn’t really get a lot out of it. Risika’s character was well defined however and Aubrey was an effective creep. But there was also a lot of telling and not enough showing.
I will say this for Amelia Atwater-Rhodes: she does have a gift for dialogue. I’ve read her Shapeshifter novels (Hawksong, Snakecharm, etc.) and the one thing that really brings her writing to life is her dialogue. It sounds natural and it brings out just the right emotions, I think.
Due to the brevity of the depth, I had a hard time connecting with the main character. I had a picture of the character in my head and a basic concept of her, but other than that, I wasn’t really sucked in. (Pun intended.) I couldn’t really cheer for her during her triumphs or sympathize when she suffered a loss.
The fight scenes were awesome, though. I loved those, especially the big one at the end. Fantastically written. I absolutely loved it.
I like the reference to William Blake’s poem “Tiger”. It’s a haunting poem and it’s my favorite beside “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe. If you’ve never read “Tiger” by William Blake, the title of this book comes from the second line:
The Tiger William Blake (1757-1827)
Tiger, tiger, burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eyes Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder and what art Could twist the sinews of thy heart? And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand and what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? What dread grasp Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears, And water'd heaven with their tears, Did He smile His work to see? Did He who made the lamb make thee?
Tiger, tiger, burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
I’ve seen enough of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’ work to appreciate her brilliant imagination. I loved her Shapeshifter books (especially Hawksong) and if you’re looking for a brief stint into a well developed world and good characters and plot, definitely pick up one of her books.(less)
For a few years now, I've been purposefully avoiding vampire novels. (Thank you, Stephenie Meyer.) I can't say what drew me to pick up Glass Houses (again -- I owned it for a little while) only that I needed a spot filled on my reading queue. Glass Houses didn't quite meet my expectations with its superficiality, "bubble gum" type story, and while the characters were diverse and surprisingly well-rounded, I didn't connect with any of them, least of all the main character, Claire. Finally, the plot left me struggling for a sense of fluidity. Overall, while it wasn't a cringe-worthy read, it wasn't enough to reduce me to a fan-girly mess, either.
There was something about this story that I couldn't take seriously. I felt like there was too much contrast between the styles of the writing and the story. The story held a dark edge, but the writing didn't reflect that. The writing was a bland, slightly sarcastic style of prose that ruined the dark suspense of the story, making it coming off more as a spoof or a parody to me. There just wasn't a lot of depth to make it seem legit.
The characters were well done, though. I liked how the three other members of the Glass House each had their own style but worked well as a cohesive unit of friends. The only issue I had was with Claire. Oh, Claire, darlin... When the action starts, just go take a powder, okay? If she wasn't screaming, then she was crying, and if she wasn't crying, she was fainting. Not necessarily in that order. And while she was supposed to be this incredibly super demon baby smart, I was just like, "Really?" I ended up shaking my head at half the stunts she pulled.
Not that those stunts didn't inspire some pretty awesome action scenes. (We'll ignore how stupid half the stuff Claire did happened to be.) The ending was like the climax to a movie with people running, windows smashing, guys flying through the air, propelled by a pissed off ghost, and other supernatural drama. Not to mention, Rachel Caine left it on one epic cliffhanger. I did have a problem with how several of the scenes seemed to be completely random, leaving me wondering why I just spent ten minutes of my life reading that chapter.
However, I have to give Rachel Caine props for her wicked humor. I love to laugh, and I love characters who can make me laugh. So a lot of the time, when Claire wasn't getting hammered by a pasty girl in heels, I was belly-laughing at Shane's quips or Eve's insightful life views. Even though the story lacked in a lot of other, critical places, it was entertaining.
After thinking back on Glass Houses, I think I shall continue with the series. At least if I get hooked, I have the pleasure of knowing there are fourteen other books (so far) to look forward to.(less)
Not too bad for a short book. I seem to have this misplaced misconception about short books: that somehow, because they lack a significant page count, they aren't as good.
Like I said, misplaced.
The Poison Dairies is a little dynamo. Small, but really packs a punch. The emotional journeys of the characters—especially Weed—were heart wrenching. It is always spine tingling to see the cruelties a person can render.
The main character, Jessamine, starts off interesting and likeable and woefully honest in her view of the world. Towards the end, however, I thought she was weak and pitiful and annoying. I became bitter towards her.
Weed, however, was awesome. He really seemed to me to be a fleshed out and very interesting character—his affiliation for plants is different than "earth magic" in, say, a Tamora Pierce-style world because Weed isn't seen doing any particular magic other than speaking with plants. He evolved as a character, starting off as a weak, seemingly witless fool. At the end, he's strong and pitiful from love.
The atmosphere was the most potent aspect. I gladly entered Jessamine's world in a little corner of Northumberland, filled with friendly flowers and poisonous plants.
Besides being a romance, it is also a heroic tale with deep character arcs and internal struggles. The ending had me glued—Weed's speech was sheer brilliance, if seriously misplaced. Like I said, Jessamine got pathetic towards the end.
I received the sequel The Poison Diaries: Nightshade from NetGalley and I'm really glad I picked up this series. Now I can't wait to start the next book. (less)
So. Two things. ONE: This is the most freaking hilarious book I have ever read. Gert is just...so open and honest and if you're sensitive to the more....moreSo. Two things. ONE: This is the most freaking hilarious book I have ever read. Gert is just...so open and honest and if you're sensitive to the more...eh...delicate issues of the female body, then you'd be blushing like crazy during a few parts of this book. Amber Kizer is both subtle and blatantly obvious with this book. And my second point ties in with the first. TWO: There is practically no plot structure to this whatsoever. It's written like a journal, not a real novel. And life usually doesn't have a nice and tidy, i's dotted, t's crossed plot. But it's just so funny and honest. There is no holding back with Amber Kizer.
I would have had a hard time reading this book a few years ago, when I was more mentally chaste than I am now--I know! Shocker, right? I mean, how could I possibly be more mentally chaste than I am now? It's a scary thought, I know. And many have remarked upon it and a few have taken it upon themselves to dirty my mind in anyway possible.
Tangent: sorry. (Something I picked up from this book, by the way. XD)
If you're currently down in the dumps--or if you ever get down in the dumps in future--think of this book and go grab it from the shelf. Just reading a few pages will have you laughing. Gert's rants and raves are eclectic. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if this were Amber Kizer's own teenage journal--even though she has a particular thing to say about the word "journal". ;) Point is: this book helped alleviate the stress I was feeling today. (A hypocritical teacher + failing a class = comfort foods, holla!) So even if you AREN'T feeling a little down in the mouth--got sick of saying "dumps"--this is still a wonderful book to read.
While it is short and easy, Amber Kizer poses questions that I'm sure every female teenager has thought about at one point or another. NOTE: BOYS! Stay the heck away from this book. Go play a video game or something--not to be sexist--but this book is NOT to be read by boys. Course...what self-respecting boy would be caught dead reading a book titled, "One Butt Cheek At A Time"? Ooy. [insert rapidly deleted, definitely obscene statement here:]
Ladies, ever been caught in class and your monthly friend pays a visit--and you have NO backup to speak of? That's covered. Ever had a gay best friend that starts spending more time with his wanna-be boyfriend than you? Gert's feeling ya. Ever been suddenly horrifically embarrassed by your eyebrows and gone through the pains of plucking? Ooo, Gert's definitely feeling ya.
So if you want to laugh--and please, who doesn't?--grab this book from your library. It was so fun. Oh, you're still not convinced? Let me demonstrate, shall I? If you don't laugh, then you can go back to your intense drama reading. By all means.
Mr. Fritz tells Sarah to check her mirror, and we all fasten our seat belts. Giggle sucks. Is she driving or playing car croquet? Holy-Mother-of-Brake-Pads, it's not like we're learning to drive a stick. It's a freakin' automatic. There's no need to drive with both feet--at the same time. The right foot, Princess, use only the right one. // I wonder if anyone has ever sued the school district for whiplash brought on by other student drivers. I may break ground. Be a legal precedent. (p. 156, paperback)
The "//" shows a paragraph break. That's just a small sample of Gert's magnetic attitude.
Read it. Love it. Covet it. But don't get crazy.
Note: I recommend this for middle grade and high school students due to the sexual content--No sex scenes, but references to the body. Shall I provide visual aid? XD
Overall grade: A (I left off the plus only because there's practically no plot and me being me, it bugged me just a smidge)(less)
I freaking loved reading this book. The main character, Bianca, was fantastically written! This book wouldn't have been half as enjoyable if it were told from the point of view of anyone with less nerve. Her interactions with Wesley, her family and friends really gave her a gold star in my book. The other characters were very well written and the story was told with a unique, character-driven style. Absolutely loved it.
Eight pages in and I was in love. I knew right away that I would really like Bianca's character, so I just listened to her story and it kept me engaged with the other characters. Her cynicism may come off as annoying to some people, but for me it really clicked. I found myself laughing out loud at her narrative, decorated though it was with some colorful language.
Her story was great. I really liked Wesley, though I didn't get such an engaging, in depth interest in him. I loved the dynamic between Wesley and Bianca. Their drama was nicely balanced with Bianca's issues with friends and family. It was a fascinating idea brilliantly executed.
In retrospect, Wesley and Bianca's relationship is pretty cliché, but I wasn't ever annoyed by it, nor did I ever want to put the book down. Bianca kept everything alive and interesting by shutting down all the cliché pitfalls. I started this book around noon and finished it right after dinner. I wanted to find out what happened with these characters—I wanted to hear their story.
In some ways, Kody Keplinger's presentation of Bianca's story reminded me of Sarah Dessen. The topic was wonderfully handled and I never felt like I was being preached to. This is a book I'll be rereading for a while.(less)
Scarlett was WAY too snotty for my taste. For real? This girl is so determined to fit in with the "cool" group--nothing cool about them, just a bunch...moreScarlett was WAY too snotty for my taste. For real? This girl is so determined to fit in with the "cool" group--nothing cool about them, just a bunch of fussy brats in high heels--that she drops her two best friends, who adore her just the way she is, in a heartbeat. Stupid, stupid, stupid times a million. As I read, I just couldn't believe it. She knew FULL WELL that she was betraying her two best friends and yet, what was she doing? She was going along with it anyway. From that point on, I lost all sympathy. From that point on, I figured that she deserved everything that came her way.
I have no patience for bratty characters. Almost always--I swear--girls like Scarlett just get it easy. They think their life is so terrible--oh my god, I weigh 101, I'm so fat!--and when there is "character development" is seems stilted and fake. Also, this girl takes way more crap than she should--the epitome of my pet peeves. Maybe British teenage girls are softer than American girls, but if some snotty chick like Plum--Lord knows I couldn't take a girl seriously if she had a name like Plum--if a girl like that took a swing at me, I'd flatten her bony self. I. Would. Drop. Her. Maybe American teenagers, or at least teens around my area, are just violent but I wouldn't let some girl push me around. Forget just pushing her. She'd go down and down hard.
Scarlett was constantly contradicting herself. One minute it's: This is about getting to the bottom of his death. The next: This really had nothing to do with his death at all. Make up your flipping mind! Also, she was getting possessive of a guy she didn't know the first thing about but she was totally in love with--talk about shallow--and she had no right to be.
Good points: It was a book full of humor, even if I tolerated Scarlett as far as I could throw her. I did enjoy the humor but it did deepen my dislike for Scarlett. However, I did enjoy the ending within itself--taking away all the things I hated about Scarlett. Her last move had real class. Gotta give her props for boldness.
I loved the insight into British culture. Reading about all the phrases--thrown in so casually that you KNOW the author is British--was fascinating. I knew what almost all the phrases and words meant from reading the Harry Potter books but still, I have this inbred fascination with foreign cultures and accents.
THANK GOD THE AMERICAN HAD REAL CLASS! Taylor was so freaking awesome. She was tough and smart--contrasting magnificently with Scarlett. Taylor is definitely my favorite character.
I really appreciated the mystery. When I read the summary, I figured it to be some type of maudlin supernatural romance. So I was surprised that it was just plain misunderstanding fueling the whole thing. But it worked. Lauren Henderson has a very eclectic writing style, which also kept me reading.
Somehow, I will continue. I have the sequel--Kisses and Lies--in my possession at present and this book doesn't irk me enough to where I won't continue on. So the review for the sequel will be coming soon.
If I hadn't liked the ending so much, this book would have gotten a C+ at best, that's how much I disliked Scarlett's character. Still. The humor and the conclusion got to me, so I bumped it up.
I didn't like the cover at first, but it really started to grow on me. Studying it from a graphic designer's POV, I appreciated their techniques, though they should have done the author's name a little differently--just differently placement. I love the fonts and colors.
A pretty good book. Definitely something that you can immerse yourself in. However, I did have problems with a few things, like the fact that things moved waaay too quickly romance-wise for my taste. Perhaps due to the less than 300 page length in combination with the style created a lack of depth. The world was well developed and the characters painted well, but it lacked building.
I enjoyed the feisty main character. Perhaps just a smidgen too forced, but it was Ari’s tough attitude is what first drew me into the story. There was something in her character that I just couldn’t connect with; the useless resistance she sometimes went through? She just didn’t seem sharp-witted, but she did have some good comebacks.
Whoa there, central! The romance was put on the fast lane in this one. One moment they’re strangers, the next they’re making out in a restaurant. When I got to that scene, I couldn’t help but think, Good. Grief. The connection between the characters wasn’t very convincing. I mean, come on.
As I said, Ari seemed a bit underdeveloped. I didn’t see a motivation. What was the whole deal with Athena? Oy. It just seemed a bit too cliché a pattern for me. Things went wrong when you expected them to go wrong. Something comes back to slap the MC in the face. It just…didn’t work out overall. There was something that didn’t add up.
Athena wasn’t really all that original, either. Her lines were too cliché. I really expected more out of her character.
Still, a very original storyline. I love myths—especially Greek mythology—so I really enjoyed the mythological twist at play here.
So the main points for me were the butt-kicking MC and the plot originality, but it lacked development, unoriginal dialogue, and a too-fast romance.(less)
I could barely get into this book. I barely got through the first two chapters. The main character, Charlotte, drove me completely bonkers. Her constant whining made me want to throw the book across the room. Her low self esteem, cookie-cutter responses and her GORGOUES SISTER (aren't they always?) just annoyed me.
The story didn't hold much appeal either. The beginning was confusing—are ghosts real or not? Are they "energy" or are they real spirits? Confusion doesn't bode well for any story.
The writing wasn't much better. Nothing particularly appealing about it; didn't draw me into the story.
The writing coupled with the type of story made it come off as little kiddish. Charlotte's "holier-than-thou, I'm-so-misunderstood" attitude is something I expect in a middle grade novel, not YA.
Now, there might've been something more interesting farther in, but the first couple of chapters turned me off so much that I just wasn't willing to wait it out.(less)
What started as an enticing story with a bold, refreshing character, turned into a run-of-the-mill fight for patience. The main character, Charlotte, held a lot of potential in the opening chapters, but that devolved through the progression of the book. The writing, however, was the ultimate downfall. A great idea, poorly executed.
Charlotte in the opening chapters was interesting, or at least had the potential to be interesting. As the story progressed, though, I thought her childish and annoying and not exactly the brightest bulb in the pack. What had been hilarious and clever wit in the beginning became dull. The sub-characters, like Harlin and Claire, were underdeveloped, so did little to help.
I liked her relationship with her boyfriend, Harlin, mostly for its unique niche amongst other young adult paranormal romances. The main character started her story with a boyfriend already instead of finding love along the way. It provided a bold backdrop for the story's theme.
The theme was good. It was a unique idea, just not executed very well. The fear and horror of being obliterated from the lives of the people you care about most came through loud and clear. Also, the subtle idea of the Forgotten being like angels walking among us was a nice touch. I liked it.
The writing was what killed me the most. There was way too much telling and not enough showing, which is probably why the book is as short as it is. I had a vague sense of the world she lived in, like I was looking at an abstract painting. Information was provided only when it was necessary. Everything was too superficial, not personal enough.
Overall, it fell flat for me. I've had it on my shelf forever, but now I'm letting it go.(less)
I LOVE this series! I know a lot of you dear readers love this series, too, and I can totally see why. Patricia Briggs brought together the perfect mi...moreI LOVE this series! I know a lot of you dear readers love this series, too, and I can totally see why. Patricia Briggs brought together the perfect mix of attitude, originality and a fantastic writing style into this series--as I'm sure she does for all her other novels. As soon as I become the proud owner of the Mercy Thompson books, I will gladly start on Patricia Briggs' other works.
It's great to see a girl with attitude while still remaining believable. You can connect with Mercy's character on SOME level or another. I absolutely love her ability to shift, to fight, and to generally cause trouble. And she's hilarious! She's also humble and even while she remains independent, she knows when to ask for help and when she needs to stand on her own two feet.
Patricia Briggs keeps it clean. So sure, there are a few things that really should be read by an older teenager's eyes only, but not for language. It's not what you'd expect when you walk into a house of werewolves. I know I'd expect swearing through the roof! But considering most of the wolves are not even of this century, they believe it improper to swear in front of ladies. Kudos to them! Also, there's usually only one or two scenes that are appropriate for older teens, leaving the rest of the book totally acceptable to all ages. I love that! I love authors who keep it clean.
Patricia Briggs has an excellent style for mystery. I usually don't go for just-mystery books, but P.B. creates the perfect blend: romance, mystery, action and adventure, a tinge of horror and plenty of suspense. She's got all her bases covered. I think this is also what makes Mercy's life seem so believable. It's not ALL about the romance! It's not ALL about the action! Absolute brilliance.
If you've followed Mercy's tale thus far, this book won't disappoint. I was still holding my breath at the end where Mercy's neck-deep in trouble. I was still going, "Ohcrap, ohcrap, ohcrap!" when Mercy went under in trouble. I cannot wait to buy this series! I've got the sequel "Silver Borne" requested at the library.
You know, I love the relevancy of the titles. Most authors just toss out titles because they sound good. Well, Patricia Briggs does it both ways. She makes it sound good AND relevant! Once you read the book, you'll understand what "Bone Crossed" means. I LOVE that! I also adore the covers! They changed up the fonts from books 1-3 from 4-5 but hey, it still looks awesome. Like, holy fudge awesome. ^_^
Samuel reached out and ruffled my hair. "He was checking up on you."
"Well," I said. "At least he didn't ask me if I was okay. I think I'd have had to something to him if he had."
"Hey, Mercy," said Samuel with false solicitude, "are you okay?"
I punched him, connecting only because he hadn't expected it. "I am now," I told him, as he dropped to the ground and rolled--as if I'd really had some force behind my fist, which I hadn't. (page 104, mass market paperback edition)
* * *
Vampire with shotgun--it seems a little like Jaws with a chain saw, too much of a good thing. (page 181, mass market paperback edition)(less)
I should have given The Singer of All Songs a chance when I first got it from Half Price Books several years ago; I could've avoided the year of literary deprivation. I had read the first page and tossed it aside because the fancy writing style put me off. But I picked it up out of boredom several nights ago and was instantly captured. I read thirty pages that first night before forcing myself to close it and go to bed. Writing that I had once labeled "fancy" with a negative slant had transformed into smooth and easy prose, enriched with details that portrayed a great story of a heroic cast of characters on a dangerous quest. Once I started, I could hardly get myself to stop, and by the time it ended, I was instantly ready for more.
Kate Constable's epic writing style brought forth everything that makes a story great: world, characters, plot, atmosphere. Once I gave the writing a chance, it was incredibly easy to let myself be transported into the story where singing is the vessel for magic, where a young girl is just trying to find her purpose in a world fracturing from the inside. The characters were amazing and diverse, but worked well as a cohesive unit; the plot was exciting, with constant action; and the world, the atmosphere, was intoxicating.
It was hard to pinpoint my favorite part of Singer of All Songs, because there were so many awesome aspects of the book. Overall, though, I think Calwyn was my favorite character. I really liked her narrative, even though she could stand for a bit more of a confrontational edge -- while her tenderness was endearing, sometimes getting up in someone's face is the thing that works in that moment. But I forgave her for it. I really liked reading about her transformation from timid beekeeper in the ice world of Antaris to confident traveling chanter on the scent of an evil sorcerer. I kept behind her and her friends 100%.
And the way Kate Constable presented the plot made it possible for me to sink into the story 100%. While it was a short book, it seemed to encompass much more time than it should. While I finished it in a few days, the characters had been going for so much longer than that, and the passage of time was presented well. It was easy for me to keep up with the story -- I understood the shift of the stakes and the characters' understanding of them. I liked how their journey was far from swift and easy: they were constantly being detoured by raging storms, getting kidnapped by pirates, exploring unmarked territory. There was always something happening, always something to capture my interest and attention.
The plot also gave a great understanding of the world. The setup was very Tamora Pierce-esque, but fueled by a core that was entirely Kate Constable's. Singing being the vessel for magic? It gave the world a very unique atmosphere, one that was completely effortless to slip into. There was this constant curiosity about how something worked, about how some small thing about the world would affect the characters. I loved that about this book, its richness of detail.
The Singer of All Songs surprised me with its exciting plot and cheerworthy characters. And now that I've been captured by the world, I cannot wait to continue with the series.(less)
I may not be a lover of vampires, but there are more than several reasons why this book didn't exactly call to me.
The writing was so-so. It seemed very half-hearted and there were many mistakes that should have been caught by an editor. There was nothing in the style that drew me in and kept me riveted.
The plot needed serious work. I can understand a little lull now and again and maybe some loose strings but there wasn't any depth. There wasn't a lot of mystery; I didn't feel compelled to figure it out for myself.
The characters: No depth whatsoever. In fact, the most fleshed out character was KiKi (aka: Maybelle Crusher). The main character, Daphne, was portrayed as weak and dramatic, constantly delivering choppy, unrealistic lines. You would think, given the fact she'd been slaying vampires since she was twelve, that she would have a backbone. It felt more like I was watching a soap opera--you know that stuff like this never happens. There wasn't any sense of realism--more like a dream.
There were promising components. There were many ideas that I thought were interesting and original--if only they had panned out. It had great potential at being a really good book if the MC was tougher and more realistic, the love interest not so Ken-like, and stronger supporting characters and atmosphere. I liked the humor even if there were only spurts of it. Kiki was hilarious.
If I were to choose one word to describe this book, it would be "cute". Most of the parts were stock--things you see in late night TV shows that carry no substance. For all the ideas the author had, the book should have been longer to allow the ideas to pan out. It really petered out towards the end.
Overall, not the most enjoyable book for me.
WARNING! Lots of swearing in this book, especially in the beginning and middle--not so much at the end. (less)
A Heart-Wrenching, Incredible Story Lemme just say this right off: I've never had such a visceral response to a book ending before. Yes, it's true. It's no exaggeration when I tell you that I was slack-jawed the last few pages of the book. Lisa McMann's deliberate, to-the-point writing style gave the pages an intimidating aura. Having instant sympathy for the main character only made it worse. I was on the edge of my seat all two hundred some odd pages. I want this book.
"I Am Ethan De Wilde. I am." The main character, Ethan, was not a victim, but a survivor, and his voice resonated. I was surprised to like his character as much as I did, but something just sucked me in. He wasn't perfect--Lisa McMann did not pussyfoot around anything--but he wasn't so aloof that I couldn't relate to him and sympathize with him. He was as tough as nails, but threatening to shatter at any second. He was an volatile character, but I loved his voice and his story. My heart broke for him over and over again.
The Family Picture...of four I liked the family, and I can't decide if it was because they were just original enough to be cool or cliche enough to be familiar territory. Regardless, Gracie--Ethan's six-year-old sister--stole my heart from the beginning. I love how she and Ethan interacted--it made me want a little sibling. (I'm sure that's the worst thing to say ever.)
I also liked how none of the other family members were perfect. Out of all of them, I was expecting the dad to be the most 2D, and he was by comparison to the others, but only just. Blake, the younger brother, in my viewpoint, altered between You're Cool and STFU. I forgave him his attitude because someone had encroached on his territory, so he was pretty cool. Not as cool as Gracie.
The Girl Next Girl: Upgraded I was expecting the whole Cami situation to blow the book into the water, but I liked the way Lisa McMann handled it. I actually liked Cami, and I rooted for her and Ethan. It made the ending all the more tragic.
An Ending Worthy of a Pint of B&Js As I said, visceral. It felt like I'd been punched in the gut. I literally GASPED. I am in equal parts awe, envy and suspicious in Lisa McMann's ability to do that. I've decided I will approach her next book with cautiously restrained enthusiasm. (less)
When I finished A Midsummer's Nightmare, the very second I closed the cover, I thought to myself that no matter what she did, I would love anything that Kody Keplinger came up with. If she decided to write about a penguin colony in Antarctica that was suffering from a salt water allergy, I'd read it and fall in love with it. (Maybe penguins was a poor example, who wouldn't want to read about penguins?) What grabbed me about A Midsummer's Nightmare wasn't just the promise of what Kody Keplinger brought to the table -- it was the deliverance of that promise. Just reading the excerpt on the back cover got me pumped for this book: from the edgy main character to the premise, I wanted that book on my shelf. Kody Keplinger, from start to finish, does not disappoint.
The gem that sparkled for me in A Midsummer's Nightmare was the main character, Whitley. She was badass, but she wasn't surrounded by a diamond-hardened shell. She was endearing to me because she showed growth through the story. She learned. It was a breath of fresh air to see a character develop naturally, like a Polaroid, slowing moving out of the shadows, showing bits at a time and at an uneven pace that eventually reveals a stunning, full image. What struck me was that there was a blatant lack of the obligatory best friend. Whitley's personal journey was to work through the bitterness she felt about her peers and to accept that friends weren't so bad after all. Her ability to roll with the punches, but also to recover afterward, was what made her memorable in my eyes.
Kody Keplinger doesn't fool around. When she tells a story, she tells a story. The awkward step sibling romance? Not something I figured most authors would've tackled enthusiastically. But Kody Keplinger doesn't just focus on this seemingly impossible and inevitably awkward romance. She presents a wonderfully balanced plot, moving back and forth to address issues like bitter parental separation, compulsions to drink and party hard, and the rough adjustment to accept someone as family. I was impressed by the depth that Kody Keplinger tackled these issues.
Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird) has a writing device she calls the one-inch picture frame. Meaning that when she was overwhelmed with her writing, she'd think of her story through a one-inch frame and write only what was in that frame. The plot of A Midsummer's Nightmare reminds me of that technique. Whitley's story was very contained, focusing almost entirely on her, but supported by a small cast of characters. Instead of writing off these characters and pushing all the spotlight on Whitley, each sub character was intricately defined, allowing for each character to leave their own impression on the main character and the reader.
Despite the awesome main character and great, humorous writing style (even accounting for the horrendous amount of vulgar language), the romance lost me a bit. I really liked the forbidden nature of Whitley and Nathan's romance and how it fueled the passion between them, but Nathan came off a bit flat to me. He had a lot of predictable moments, and to me it was because he was almost the only character that wasn't fleshed out enough. It could've been because the romance wasn't meant to take center stage -- Whitley had more on her plate than just dealing with the Nathan Situation. Despite the few moments I couldn't get into Nathan's character, I cheered for the romance from the start.
Kody Keplinger was an immediate success with The DUFF and I think she continues to bring everything to the table, even on her third book. I can't wait to see what she'll have for us next.(less)
A very promising debut. There are pros and cons with both writing style and plot but there’s something in the characters that makes me anticipate the next book’s release.
I love the archetypical hero’s story. It’s what makes me love stories like Harry Potter and Eragon. Griffin is an earth-angel who is realizing the heart of his situation: human versus angel. While he struggles to figure out the balance, he’s haunted by a jaded past. His struggles and obstacles were the perfect challenge for him and created a very enjoyable story.
I rooted for Griffin 100%. What really grabbed me about him was his humor because I’m a sucker for funny guys, but also his sensitivity (girls love a guy in touch with his emotions) and his loyalty. Griffin’s passion for saving people didn’t come off as cliché as I had started to fear it would.
As I read, I started to dread the romance. I was afraid that it would turn out to amount to several pages worth of description about what drew them to each other. But besides the initial, Wow, he/she’s pretty cute there wasn’t much to drag down their relationship. I actually began to cheer for Katie because she’s wasn’t a complete girl about some things.
“Fire, you’re fast! I almost didn’t beat you,” Griffin gasped. “Notice I said almost.”
”Well, I let you win. Frail male ego, you know.”
Excerpted from the ARC edition, page 84
I mean, I wanted to smack her about some things but otherwise, I liked her attitude.
The one thing that bothered me was Nash. The kid was way too much the archetypical bully. Griffin’s reactions were good (Go Griffin!) but the whole thing with Nash just didn’t fly well with me. I could see it coming a mile away and he didn’t put a lot of originality into the story. And the final confrontation between Nash and Griffin just annoyed me because Griffin was such an idiot about it.
In terms of writing: it was rough but I liked the way it was set up—half journal entries, half narrative. The plot was straightforward and I think the story could have been greatly lengthened if more detail and depth had been added.
However, I loved Griffin’s story. I blew through this story so fast; I was sorry to finish so quickly. Now I can’t wait for the sequel! I can see a lot of potential in Darby Karchut’s style. I can see that with time and practice, she will flourish into a household YA name.
This ARC was received in exchange for an honest review.(less)
What drew me to The Goddess Test was the cool idea and incessant coverage in the blogosphere. I love Greek myths, especially when they're retold in a fresh, new fashion. But I didn't think anything about The Goddess Test was fresh, or new. Every aspect, from the main character to the cheesy high school experience, left me unimpressed. It was a promising seed of an idea, but it I felt it could have been presented a lot better.
The summary itself doesn't seem to promise much. It's chockfull of unsurprising elements. Of course the Lord of the Underworld is "dark" and "tortured." When I think of a fresh, new take on Greek mythology, I have more in mind of a Hades (if he's a teenager in the modern world) that likes to go around wearing a Black Sabbath tee and ratty biker boots. Not a long, black trench coat. And, of course, Henry is unbelievably, undeniably gorgeous. Not the kind of depth and originality I was hoping for.
Modernizing the myth of Persephone is a rich concept, whereas Carter's story seemed to barely scratch the surface. It was clouded with things that had already been done before, from the bitterly worn out high school hierarchy (where the head cheerleader is blond and of course dates the quarterback and/or captain of the football team) to the prose itself. The prose was entirely telling, no showing, making it lackluster for me. From page to page, I was left unsurprised. It was so easy to see how the plot was going to progress from page one, so by the time I got to page sixty, I was ready to cry with frustration and boredom.
The frustration came mostly from the main character, Kate. I can empathize with her plight (though I'm not watching my mother slowly die, it's a member of my family) but I cannot sympathize with her. I expected more anger out of her; some other emotion than just perpetual flakiness around anyone other than her mother. She just came off childish after a while, and I quickly tired of her.
I thought The Goddess Test was going to be amazing, but it was simply one of those books that did not live up to my expectations. I was hoping for a story with an edgy charm, but it was blunted by superficial characters and melodramatic action.(less)