When I first got this book, I wasn't too thrilled. I started reading it but the writing style distracted me. Maria V. Snyder uses shorter sentences th...moreWhen I first got this book, I wasn't too thrilled. I started reading it but the writing style distracted me. Maria V. Snyder uses shorter sentences than I'm used to. Not horribly short but I'm used to, say, J.K. Rowling's good sized sentences. HOWEVER! There is some allure to this book that I can't explain. I kept reading it and finished it within a day. When I finished, I thought to myself, "This series is well on its way to becoming a favorite of mine."
It's just simply amazing; this idea. It's THE most original magic book I've read, with absolutely AMAZING descriptions. It paints the picture without getting to graphic during some scenes and that was totally fine with me. When it comes to sensitive topics, I hate it when authors go into fine detail.
The only thing I have to say, even though it isn't quite negative, is her use of language. Not swearing, even though there are swear words, but some of the "oldness" of it is lost on a few keys quotes, when it sounds more modern than you'd expect. Perhaps this is Maria V. Snyder's style. Perhaps this is what is acceptable in her world. Whatever it is, it doesn't detract from the reading unless you're a dork like me who picks up on that stuff.
I definitely recommend this book to all who are looking for a good romance and who want a fresh, original idea. And, consequently, for anyone who would enjoy a good "spy" novel.(less)
Another FANTASTIC delivery from Sarah Dessen! She is, beyond a doubt, my favorite realistic fiction author. And this novel might just be my favorite o...moreAnother FANTASTIC delivery from Sarah Dessen! She is, beyond a doubt, my favorite realistic fiction author. And this novel might just be my favorite of all of them but it's so hard to choose between "This Lullaby", "The Truth About Forever" and now, "Along for the Ride". But I was laughing up a storm with this one! Not that the others aren't funny, 'cause they're hilarious. But the heartening feeling you get as you read through Auden's adventure...man.
I won't deny that I would've done a few things differently than Auden but she's come so close to what I'm like--except I'm far from as academically driven as she was. But there are a lot of things that struck a chord.
Another great novel by Sarah Dessen. I hope the mood strikes her again to write soon. 'Cause it's so hard to wait for one novel every two years. So hard. I stayed up much longer than my parents would ever condone. I felt like I connected with her better, since I read it in the middle of the night, with the house completely quiet, with this lovely tale spreading out in front of me. It was nearly impossible to put it down to go to bed before I collapsed.(less)
So after having read nine of her previous novels, I may bit a bit biased but I really love Sarah Dessen’s new book. If you haven’t read any Sarah Dessen books before (I pray for your deprived soul), then this review is mostly for you. But if you’re a long time running fan of Sarah Dessen, then all you have to know is that this book doesn’t disappoint. In fact, you should already know that cause you should have already bought and read it by now.
The one thing I really love (among many other things) is how Sarah Dessen uses everything in her books. She’ll mention something in the beginning and tie it back in at the end. It’s done in such a way that you remember what it was and now it’s significant.
Also, she connects her novels, which is so much cooler than I can say. For instance, in What Happened to Goodbye, I’m pretty sure we catch a glimpse of Owen and Annabel from Just Listen (but you kind of have to infer). We also have an appearance (actual speaking lines) from Heidi, who just starred in Along for the Ride. This continuous looping of her character’s lives is so cool and original. So I’m starting to look for the connections every time I pick up a Sarah Dessen book.
Every Sarah Dessen book has a theme—a specific topic that she tackles and introduces a romance to offset. This time around it’s Mclean and her identity issues. This is a theme that I think all teenagers can identify with no matter who you are. (I’ve been told that a major identity crisis should occur at least once during your teenage years—part of “the deal” apparently.) And really, I found a strong connection with this book. Mclean was easy to relate to and she’s got a similar relationship that I have with my parents.
Seeing Mclean’s life though was really akin to a wake up call. I’ve always wanted to start over the way she did. Being molded into Your Place, especially when you’re in high school and unable to break out of it…it’s stressful if you think about it too much. So I can really respect how Dessen put this story together.
Really, though, every girl has to agree that the best thing about picking up a Dessen novel is the dudes. Dave was a beast. I love how he was a child genius but it wasn’t flaunted around—just shown subtly through Dave’s various hobbies and his weird parents.
But anyways, this is how I want a guy to ask me out:
“So,” he said as we turned onto the main road, the muffler rattling, “I’ve been thinking.”
He nodded. “You really need to go out with me.”
I blinked. “I’m sorry?”
”You know. You, me. A restaurant or movie. Together.” He glanced over, shifting gears. “Maybe it’s a new concept for you? If so, I’ll be happy to walk you through it.”
”You want to take me to a movie?” I asked.
”Well, not really,” he said. “What I really want is for you to be my girlfriend. But I thought saying that might scare you off.”
I felt my heart jump in my chest. “Are you always so direct about this kind of thing?”
”No,” he said. We turned right, starting up the hill toward downtown, the tall buildings of the hospital and U bell tower visible at the top. “But I get the feeling you’re in a hurry, leaving and all, so I figured I should cut to the case.”
”I’m only going to be gone a week,” I said softly.
”True,” he said as the engine strained, still climbing. “But I’ve been wanting to do it for a while and didn’t want to wait any longer.”
”Really?” I asked. He nodded. “Like, since when?”
He thought for a second. “The day you hit me with that basketball.”
”That was attractive to you?”
”Not exactly,” he replied. “More like embarrassing and humiliating. But there was something about it as a moment…It was like a clean slate. No posturing or pretending. It was, you know, real.”
Excerpted from the hardcover edition, pgs. 323-324
Now personally, I preferred her original title of Cut and Run. The true title honestly sounds like a bad daytime soap opera, but someone obviously liked it. I think Cut and Run has more edge, has a simpler meaning to it. Ah well.
Overall, Sarah Dessen uses her signature flawless writing style, humor and perfect timing to introduce another great book about figuring out who you are.(less)
Ever had that feeling that a book gives you—where you know for sure that you’re totally in love with it, yet your head is so jumbled with its brilliance that even the day after you’ve finished reading it, you still can’t pinpoint the exact thing that made you love it? I feel like I can’t do it justice, even if I tried.
First, the main character. Completely awesome gal. Seriously. Worthy of a country girl. She must be from Kentucky. (Except this is a fantasy book, so she’ll have to settle from being from somewhere like Kentucky.) She’s a fighter and a kick-ass mother figure. She’s not only fiery and fierce, but kind and gentle. The way she worries over North is endearing and I can totally relate to her. She does have a few girly-girl moments, but please, don’t we all? This is a character I can get behind, a girl I can cheer for 100%. Always helps that she’s freaking hilarious.
“Syd, Syd, Syd,” he said, shaking his head.
"What?” I asked flatly. “Can we go up to our rooms yet?”
”Rooms!” He laughed. “What makes you think I got more than one? I’m not a money bag, you know.”
I sucked in a sharp breath. “That is completely inappropriate! It’s—It’s not proper, but apparently you wouldn’t know that. You wouldn’t know a moral if it slapped you in the face.”
You see the perfect blend of smart ass and chaste mother figure? And she carries this same attitude all throughout the book. I love her consistency, her believability, and cleverness. Sydelle has joined the ranks of my favorite heroines.
As for Mr. North. He could really be a scuzball sometimes but he’s really very sweet and the jerk-factor only makes for a more believable character. And the wizard thing is sexy. ;)
Overall, I loved the romance (even though the love triangle was a little too weakly represented for the impact it had on Sydelle). It wasn’t done too quickly, which is always an important aspect to me. (I really hate it when romances advance too quickly. It makes it harder to believe.) Alexandra Bracken handled it perfectly, not stretching it out too far (almost—the suspense was killing me) and not launching into it too quickly.
But let’s talk about the writing: It was fantastic. Can’t put it any other way. Well, I could go on and on about how awesome it was, how it was so simple and elegant that it painted perfect little scenes in my head. It wasn’t hard to understand and it wasn’t so over saturated with fluffiness that it was distracting.
In combination with the characters, the romance and the writing, it made for an excellent plot. It was engaging and exciting. I was watching for the cliché parts that are pitfalls for authors but I didn’t find any. It wasn’t overly cliché (always a plus) and Alexandra Bracken didn’t spare her characters any of life’s heartaches.
It really sucks that there isn’t a sequel, though. :( I just know that I’m going out to buy this book first chance I get. I need a copy of this stash of awesomeness for my bookshelf.
In conclusion, Alexandra Bracken has not only become one my favorite authors, but her characters have become a favorite as well. If you like authors like Cinda Williams Chima, Maria V. Snyder, or Kristin Cashore, you’ll love to add Alexandra Bracken to your list.(less)
This was...amazing. I don't know if I would necessarily recommend this to someone who has yet to read Under the Never Sky, simply because the story is set up under the assumption the reader knows what is what and who is who, etc. However, if you've read Under the Never Sky and loved it, I have a strong conviction that you'll love this, too. Roar was a beloved character in Under the Never Sky for many readers, so given that this novella is set entirely in his point of view will appeal to the many fans Roar has accumulated.
I loved the insight. Veronica Rossi created a whole new voice. Roar was given a breadth that we readers didn't get to really see in Under the Never Sky. There was a whole swath of vulnerability and longing underneath all that wit and bravado. Though I would never have thought Roar underdeveloped before, I still loved the further depth that came from a story from his point of view. He seems much better fixed in my mind now.
With her brilliant writing style, Veronica Rossi captured, and gave depth to, the already-explored world of the Tides, making it come alive within the sixty pages. The world of the Tides had become faded in my mind in the time since I'd finished reading Under the Never Sky. This novella brought it back to life almost instantly. Veronica Rossi has created a world that I absolutely would love to live in.
Roar and Liv is a great sampler of Veronica Rossi's work. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed Under the Never Sky.(less)
While Saving June didn't stick with me, emotionally, like I thought it would, it was a heart-wrenching read. The main character, Harper, was immediately captivating and the writing flowed well. The romance was a bit sketch for me in retrospect, but something about Saving June's presentation came off as unconventional, and I loved it.
I was engrossed by the heartbreaking insight to the pair of sisters: the goddess ascending and the screw up. While it was riddled with cliches -- the typical "the last thing I said to her was horrible" line from the surviving sister -- Saving June wasn't bogged down by them. Something about the way Hannah Harrington presented their situation made it seem unique and intriguing.
The romance was intriguing, too, though as I think back on it, I'm not such a big fan. My heart didn't warm at the romance sparking between Harper and Jake. There were moments, but not enough to carry over to the days after I finished the book. I loved their banter, though, and their "easy" friendship that finally built up to a budding romance. They really seemed compatible for each other and not just forced into the romance by circumstances.
While Harper was a great main character, there were a few things that made me raise my eyebrows. (Getting wasted out of your mind because you were goaded is not an admirable choice.) I loved the friendship between Harper and her best friend, Laney, though. Most contemporaries I come across have a flimsy, cookie cutter best friend, where they seem almost obligatory. Laney wasn't a throw away character. She had her own issues that weaved into the main plot and really let me get to know her character.
Hannah Harrington's writing flowed well. It was clear, concise and easy to understand. There weren't horrendously long passages of abstract feelings -- everything tied directly into Harper's character and with every passing chapter, I learned more about her. The way Hannah Harrington wrote gave Harper a really personal cant.
The plot wasn't thriving with originality, but it was edgy. On the road-trip scale, it doesn't hold a candle to Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, but concentrated more on the personal development of Harper and her relationships between her companions.
While it didn't make me grab for a box of tissues, it captured my emotions. Saving June was a brilliant debut. I look forward to Hannah Harrington's following works.(less)
Holy freaking fudge. So I just gotta say it, like I have to say it for every other A and A+ book. THAT WAS SO GOOD! Closing a great book is like stepping onto solid land after being on a roller coaster. You take a deep breath, orient yourself, and the real world comes back into focus slowly. Ms. Garcia and Ms. Stohl would be great roller coaster engineers if they ever decided to steer in that direction. As for literary coasters, they're set for life. :)
Now, another thing I believe. Mystery is hard. Consider Arthur Conan Doyle. Now there's a guy who can write mystery. When you write a mystery, you have to consider every single detail. You have to imagine that your readers aren't just young adults and adults with nothing better to do, you have to make yourself believe you're handing this into the director of the CIA--someone who can pick apart anything you throw out there and predict the outcome miles ahead of the game. That's how awesome the mystery was. I was left going, "Ohhhh snap! That's brilliant!" Needless to say, I'm taking pointers from these lovely ladies. (Actually, I'm planning to get myself a paperback copy as soon as they come out. Ready the highlighters!)
Amateur hour is over, people. I swear these ladies must be fooling people. I think maybe they've published a dozen books apiece under different names 'cause they sure do know how to write. Writers and their work mature over time--I can't imagine what these ladies' work will be like, say, ten books down the line. Both "Beautiful Creatures" and "Beautiful Darkness" offer an inspiring journey full with believable characters that we can not only identify with, but root for. And really! The Southern drawl? Perfection! They do wonderfully with that without being cliche and noisy with it.
Alright, alright, so I had some major issues with Ethan throughout the book. But hey, guys are mostly idiots right? (Don't huff at me like that, boys, ya'll can do really stupid stuff.) But Ethan overall is pretty awesome. A true Southern gentleman--worthy of a country boy. (I'm from Kentucky and that is high praise, ladies and gents.) Still. There had to be a test in the relationship, right? So while I appreciated that, I STILL think Ethan would have done better playing the field a bit. (Ya'll who have read the book, you know what I mean. If you haven't read the book, GET WITH THE PROGRAM!)
I loved the new addition to the crew! Now if only I could pull off sounding like Liv and still be accepted by my friends. XD (Another reason I like both Ethan and Link's characters. Some cool dudes. God, can we get some more of those in the world?)
Overall, a fantastic sequel to a fantastic debut. I loved the continuation of the story and the new development with the characters. As always with debuts, I'm always looking for a rehashing of the previous book. But this was a great exploration into new territories. I loved it.(less)
Wow. The Hunger Games. The first thing that comes to mind is that the main character, Katniss, is the ideal heroine except when it comes to romance of...moreWow. The Hunger Games. The first thing that comes to mind is that the main character, Katniss, is the ideal heroine except when it comes to romance of course. She can fight and she actually has something more than hot air between her ears--both characteristics sadly lacking in many, many urban fantasy novels. The Hunger Games is brilliantly original. It makes me wonder how Suzanne Collins's mind works.
I highly recommend this book for any who enjoyed Graceling by Kristen Cashore. (Anyone notice the slight familiarity between the two main characters names? Katniss and Katsa, Peeta and Po?)
This is the first book of Ms. Marchetta's that I've read (she's also written "On Jellicoe Road," "Saving Francesca," and "Looking for Alibrandi") and let me just say that for this being her first fantasy novel, I was extremely impressed. I've never come across a style like hers before where there were many things I thought could be improved upon and yet I really enjoyed it.
It was raw. Raw in both the writing and the story. For example, there were many scenes that I thought could have used some more editing and others that were raw emotionally and it came off brilliantly. Reading Ms. Marchetta's style of writing and the content was inspiring in a way. She didn't hold back on anything and for that, I applaud her.
This was a very dark book. But that just made the light more satisfying and uplifting. I absolutely loved the ending. And the mystery! A mystery wrapped inside a mystery! The beginning was confusing and I was left going, "Ohhkay..." and with any other story I would have given up, but I've been wanting to read this for forever! So there there was no waaaay I was going to give up then! The brilliant part? While confusing at first, it all played out in the end. I loved how Ms. Marchetta just brought everything together and it made perfect sense. The revelations made throughout the story made me go, "Oh snap!"
I just wanted to say this: some of the lines could have gone over poorly because of the cliche-ness of it BUT here's the thing--I never thought it was cliche when I was reading it. The dialogue fit together so wonderfully. Finnikin is such a forceful character. He doesn't feel anything halfway. So everything he says is direct and is believable.
I loved the characters. They were strong, believable and fun to read about. Their pain and triumphs resonated perfectly. I thought it interesting how Ms. Marchetta would sometimes write scenes in Froi's point of view. I thought it was weird at first, but then I kinda got into it and I started to love it. But I really liked Finnikin's character. Like I said, very forceful. Full of emotions and a quick thinker. Most heroes start to blend together after a while--and very few YA fantasy books are written in the hero's point of view anymore--but Finnikin's character was so raw and honest that the impression his character made on me will last for a long time.
I cannot WAIT to get this book! By either Borders or BookDepository or Amazon, it's gonna happen either way. The only question is when. I prefer as soon as possible but the financial problems of a teenager can be rather alarming sometimes. (Translation: I'm pretty much broke. XD)
WARNING! There is a lot of sexual content (more suggestive rather than explicit) and a lot of dark events, so I'd say this is more for older teens (15 and up). But there isn't a lot of swearing.
"Once in Every Lifetime" by Jem goes great with this book. You can find it on the soundtrack to the movie Eragon.
Overall, an inspiring and fantastic read. I absolutely loved it. I can't wait to read some of Ms. Marchetta's other works. :) (And she's Australian!! AWESOME accent! You can view an "interview" with her here.)
I hope there's a sequel. There's plenty of material to work with, methinks.(less)
East is a retelling of the classic story, "East of the Sun and West of the Moon". In this version, it tells the story of Rose, who goes with a white b...moreEast is a retelling of the classic story, "East of the Sun and West of the Moon". In this version, it tells the story of Rose, who goes with a white bear to save her family from destitution. Kept captive in a castle built in the depths of a mountain, Rose realizes that this white bear has plenty of problems. He himself is a captive and Rose is the only way to free himself from the Troll Queen's grasp.
It really is a great romance, told from mostly Rose's point of view but alternating with the White Bear and Troll Queen's viewpoint as well. Edith Pattou turns a seemingly boring storyline into an adventure. Her writing style is incredible, drawing the reader into this world and doing it in such a way that you don't want to leave.(less)
When Legend first popped up on my radar, I was turned away by the amateur-style cover. I was intrigued, however, when the hype drove me to read a sample of it. I was impressed by how there was an immediate sense of character and that allowed the also-immediate conflict to take effect. Paired with Marie Lu's effortless writing style and propelled by a both heart-wrenching and thought-provoking plot, I never wanted the story to end.
Legend tells the story of two awesome main characters. June, with her Holmesian-like logic but warm heart; and Day, the guy we girls would all like to run into on the streets. I was pleased (and impressed) with how June, the government's prodigy, didn't come off as a cold-hearted anti-hero. She had a heart -- a big heart -- that wasn't impervious to breaks. The criminal Day reminded me a lot of Han from Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms series, only Day doesn't have silver cuffs branded to his wrists. Mentally, I connected them because they're passionate, flirty, and street smart, and they always take care of their families.
The world of Legend was magnificently displayed. Lu doesn't fall into the trap of having to explain how everything worlds. By letting the world affect (or not affect) her characters in certain ways, she lets the world build seamlessly. It's this showing and not telling that is so effective in creating the swaths of color into the world around the characters. Sometimes it has a fantasy-like feel to it, and sometimes it feels more sci-fi or dystopian, giving it a well-rounded atmosphere.
What I was most impressed with from Legend was the way Lu built the story. I understood what was at stake, I knew the risks, and I felt each obstacle resonate within the characters. It was a story that built stakes like kindling for a fire -- they pushed the characters; they didn't come at a conveniently inconvenient time. At every turn, I would mutter, "What are they going to do now?" or "How are they going to get out of that?" The plot was tightly compacted: nothing was wasted, but there are threads to be continued in other books.
So while there were predictable places, it was the moments that took me by surprise that defined my liking for Legend. With it's fantasy/sci-fi like world and lovable characters, Legend should be a book to get on your shelf. I'm glad it's on mine.(less)
This is one heckuva creepy book. It took me some several moments of contemplation to pinpoint just what, exactly, made it so hair-raising. I'll tell you, most books are so straight-forward about what they have to offer. They tell you something is creepy--it's direct and it sucks the fun out of picturing the scene for yourself. Brenna Yovanoff went about it a different way. She just gave you what it was--straight up, without flourishing it around unnecessarily. Then again, it's also what she doesn't say that gave me pause. Reading this book, I felt like I was constantly treading around broken glass--and I was so screwed if I happened to stray. So yeah, really creepy.
I love how the story progresses. Most times, when I can't get a handle on a book within the first few chapters, I reject it out of pure frustration. But there's something about this book...I slowly started to realize what was really going on as I continued to read the book. I knew that there was something dark about the town of Gentry, but what? I was left figuring it out as I read--and it was thrilling.
"The Replacement" is, in my mind, the literary equivalent of film Noir. Or, if you want to get technical, it's very much like Gothic fiction. It's very dark and progresses slowly, not continuing like you expect it to--it goes slow when you expect it to rush. There isn't a lot of humor and you start to expect a sad ending.
The antagonists freaked me out. Seriously, it's hard to write a creepy villain because it's difficult to keep it original--if you try too hard, it flops, but if you don't try at all, it still flops. I think that making a villain creepy is similar to how you make someone funny--you make them surprise you. If they don't follow the script, it switches your mind off and makes you more susceptible to buy in to whatever they're doing. Needless to say, I was getting really creeped out by the antagonists in this book.
I liked the romance. Going in, I wasn't sure what was going to happen. What was Mackie going to do? Who was he going to pursue? Alice was the typical queen bee but I thought it interesting how Mackie reacted to her. Tate was totally awesome, though she might come off as a creeper to some people.
Overall, I loved it. It was a refreshing change from the stock cut-out books that flood the shelves nowadays. This is a book full of originality and personality. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a break from the normalcy flood. A stunning debut.
Shew! I LOVE that cover. It's so appropriate for the book and just screams creepy. Love, love, love it.
WARNING! Lots of typical high-school language, so younger readers beware!(less)
I suspect that many authors who write series always face the problem of ending their series. It's this whole balancing act between reader's expectations and your own desires--and you cannot make it corny, no matter what. Because there is nothing that turns off a crowd faster than corniness. However, I must say that Suzanne Collins took the typical corny ending and turned it into a fitting, stunning closing. She is just that good.
"Mockingjay" was much, much darker than the rest of the series. You can sense the strain on Katniss's character as she struggles against the odds--she's slammed, over and over again and she falls continuously, but she always gets back up. She definitely made some wrong turns--practically everything that went wrong did, in fact, go wrong. You can see how much she's changed since the first Hunger Games book. In retrospect, she's an entirely different person at the end of Mockingjay.
I have to comment on Suzanne Collins' writing. Because she really is a fabulous story teller. I can only imagine the pressure she must have felt, knowing just how anticipated this book was. How to meet the rising standards and expectations? The twists and turns in "Mockingjay" blew my mind. You were expecting one thing and then boom! She sideswipes you with something completely different--it was a thrill ride. Better than any roller coaster.
I loved seeing the evolution of the characters. That's something that's crucial in a series--any series. If the characters remain the same, the books quickly lose their following. The dimensions of the characters were deepened and I loved reading that.
On the topic of the love triangle. Not having any particular preference, I was weighing each encounter throughout the book, trying to figure out what Katniss was going to do. I liked how it turned out, actually. It made sense to me and it fit well.
Overall, I loved "Mockingjay" and I truly enjoyed the entire series. For those of you who haven't managed to pick it up yet, I urge you to do so. Even if you don't particularly like dystopia novels. Give it a go.
I think the song "Citizen/Soldier" by 3 Doors Down goes PERFECTLY with this book.
So sure, it can be a kid's book, too. But as we all know, Harry Potter was published for children and look how many people love it. (Lifetime lover of the HP series, right here. Read HP1 when I was a wee little girlie at five-years-old. Just in case you were wondering...) So this book doesn't contain all the nitty-gritty, teenage dramatic rabble we get so much in YA fiction today. Instead....
It's a wonderfully refreshing journey. I very much enjoyed how it wasn't centered around a romance or a couple or the "normal" setup. It's set up at the beginning of World War I--1913--and it was rich in detail and atmosphere. For a while, I've felt the beginning signs of a history lover in me. I don't know of many books that are set in the World War time periods and are written specifically for young adults. I consider this a jewel for inspiring children--making them interested in their history.
It was a fascinating mix of future and past. And I do believe that is what Scott Westerfeld describes as the "steampunk" genre. I haven't been very impressed with the few steampunk novels I've read but this one was brilliant. This wasn't something that Mr. Westerfeld came up with on a whim. He put some real effort into this--doing his research and getting it right. I can't even begin to wonder how he came up with half the creatures in this book.
Some say "slow". Of the reviews I've read of "Leviathan," they say that it was slow--not a lot of action. As I read, I couldn't help but think, "Ooooh, they meant that kind of action." Like I said, this was written to be appropriate for middle grade kids while being interesting and complex enough for older teens. So, no. It won't have hot and heavy sex scenes. But there was plenty of action-action. Like the kind you see in war films. Getting chased by a huge metal spider-like thing while on the run for being the son of a murdered archduke? Getting caught in the middle of a storm strapped to the belly of a giant flying jellyfish? Getting stranded on a glacier in the mountains, waiting for your giant, hydrogen-making, living ship to re-inflate itself? And they say "no action"? Oy.
I loved the characters. Deryn was so flipping awesome! Maybe an overuse of the British slang but still, awesome all the same. A very strong heroine. :) And Alek wasn't too bad either. They were both so sharp and both had their own unique voice. (The chapters alternated between the two.) Sometimes I had a hard time keeping Alek's crew straight but it became clearer as I continued to read.
Thrilling plot. Talk about a cliffhanger! Grr! (But I can't say anymore--gotta keep to the Spoiler Free policy, after all.)
Shew! The illustrations? Okay, talk about talented. Personally, I LOVE young adult books that have illustrations in them. (The "Leven Thumps" series by Obert Skye is the only other series I know that is middle grade/young adult that has illustrations in it.) The illustrations provided the perfect visual aid I needed...it gave the extra spunk to the imagination.
Definitely a favorite. I can't wait to head to Scott Westerfeld's appearance in Raleigh on the 22nd. I want to ask him so many questions! And I can't wait to read "Behemoth" (which released on October 5th, by the way.) On the 22nd, I will be the proud owner of a signed copy of "Leviathan" and "Behemoth" by Scott Westerfeld. Oo-rah!(less)
The Truth About Forever is a true in-depth look into the mind of Macy Queen, a girl who tries to be perfect. When she comes in contact with the wackie...moreThe Truth About Forever is a true in-depth look into the mind of Macy Queen, a girl who tries to be perfect. When she comes in contact with the wackiest, un-perfect-est people ever, she realizes that being perfect isn't as fun as it seems to be. Sarah Dessen uses her trademark style to introduce Macy to her new friends: wacky and self-confident Kristy, silent Monica, bighearted Delia, and quiet and understanding Wes. Any girl would go for a guy like Wes...believe me.(less)
I was a Non Blonde Cheerleader is the most hilarious book I've ever come in contact with. Kieran Scott takes the classic "new girl and popular hot guy...moreI was a Non Blonde Cheerleader is the most hilarious book I've ever come in contact with. Kieran Scott takes the classic "new girl and popular hot guy" situation and turns it into a hilarious read that will leave your sides aching. It also delves into the "rawer" side of being a teenager: biting romance, testing friendships, and of course, winning cheerleading competitions. (less)
Straight up: probably one of the best books I've read in a while. Robin LaFevers has constructed a story chockfull of political intrigue, breathtaking romance and exciting adventure. Coupled with her incredible writing ability, this is a book I will put time aside for to reread. It was that good.
The main character, Ismae, was fantastic. She started out with a rough life and was given a second chance. She didn't let the chance go to waste. I cheered for her from page one. She wasn't a perfect character. She made mistakes and misjudgments and let her mouth get away from her. She had a wicked sense of humor. She was flawed. She was awesome. Her emotions were raw; Robin LaFevers didn't sugarcoat anything.
The romance was awesome! I liked how Robin LaFevers held out just long enough to put me on the edge of my seat. It's one of those romances that you know they have to get together--they just have to!--but it takes a ridiculously long amount of time. It was satisfying though. So kudos to Ms. LaFevers.
The eerie setting was the perfect backdrop for the compelling plot. The story was brilliantly told and artfully crafted. It's so rare I see such depth to political intrigue. (MCs are generally on the outskirts or indirectly affected by political dealings, so it was nice to have a MC in the thick of it, actively changing the course of the fate of the world around her.)
Robin LaFevers has an enviable writing skill. She transitioned smoothly, almost seamlessly, between the stages of Ismae's character development. She created a story of a strong, scarred young woman called to the life of an assassin. I loved the uniqueness.
Grave Mercy was a thrilling, very satisfying read. I resolve myself to the life of nagging Robin on twitter until the sequel, Dark Triumph, comes out.(less)
My first experience with Jackson Pearce's work came many, many years ago with her novel, As You Wish. As a know-it-all fourteen-year-old, I wasn't that impressed and I never finished it. It was too short and too kiddy for the likes of me. Now, after having read Sisters Red, Sweetly, and now Fathomless, I'm intensely curious about that first book I picked up. I have had my mind blown -- yet again -- by Jackson Pearce's amazingly creative talent for capturing a breathtaking story within three hundred pages.
Like Sweetly, Fathomless kept me up way past my bedtime. I couldn't let go of Celia and Lo's story, or the world of ocean girls and power triplets. In retrospect, I'm amazed at how much atmosphere was packed in with the plot and character development. Almost as if those aspects were fused together, and not separate things. Short books don't generally appeal to me because they're like a single inch of a foot long idea: they don't reach their full potential. Jackson Pearce defies this idea. She establishes atmosphere, character and plot very compactly -- not "quickly," as if she rushes it, but "compactly." She doesn't waste words.
My sisters love this place.
It smells like sand and cigarettes and cotton candy, like sunscreen and salt. The scent builds up all summer, and now, at the height of tourist season, it's so thick that I think I could wave an empty bottle around and it would fill with liquid perfume.
She also doesn't fall back on the typical, well-worn templates that lazy writers use. Jackson Pearce got deep into the characters' minds and strung out every flaw and imperfection that made them human, or inhuman, as the case may be. I loved the psychological battles that raged between Celia and Lo, as well as Celia and her sisters. Celia and Lo each had their own motivations -- Lo fought with being human, Celia fought with her power; Celia was one of a triplet, but the odd one out -- and their internal battles inherently affected their relationship. Those aspects drew me in the most. They mimicked the same kind of undercurrents that run underneath everyday conversations and interactions. So even though Celia can read someone's past and Lo is a creature of the deep, the relationships they had with their family and friends bore the same complications and intricacies of real-life situations.
I liked how the romance both did and did not take center stage. The romance between Celia and Jude was sweet and well-developed without being the main purpose of the story. The romance, however, was practically the driving force of the plot. Had there been no Jude, the ending would've fallen apart. I liked this duality because it's not something I've seen often, and Jackson Pearce pulled it off extremely well by focusing attention on the ups and downs of the plot.
I loved how Jackson Pearce went in and owned this story. I was pulled in from page one and I couldn't stop thinking about the story until I finally finished it. I think this story would fit anyone's interests, whether you like contemporary fiction or paranormal romances, even if you don't like mermaid stories (because it's just enough of a mermaid story to appeal to those who loved The Little Mermaid and just unique enough to suit those who didn't.)(less)
Cover Operations Report On the twenty-fifth of April, Operative Robinson engaged in the review of a top secret document, the fifth installment in a report regarding the progress of Operative Morgan (currently in remission). The review that follows is accurate to the best of Operative Robinson's ability.
Report Summary PRO: Spies. And all that it entails. CON: Middle grade label. PRO: Spy boys. And all that that entails. ;) CON: No movie. For realz!? PRO: Much edgier writing style. CON: Not enough spy boys.
Huzzah for spy books! Ironic thing is, one of my friends got me onto this series by accident, and she hardly ever reads. The first book in the series, I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You was shoved underneath her bed and, like any true reader, I fished it out, asked about it, and the rest is history. I love spy books, but Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series is practically one of a kind. There's nothing to compare it to! Not like that's a problem, really. No other spy series could touch this one.
For (basically) the only one of its kind, I wish it was higher up there in terms of reader level. I'm glad that it doesn't have a bunch of hot and heavy scenes and doesn't have any swearing, but some (just some) of the themes come off as kiddie.
That was certainly true for the first book, at least. Now at the fifth in the series, Cammie is going through much tougher stuff and the writing style and plot got a lot edgier. The older, more mature themes and writing style set a darker backdrop to the plot, showing Cammie's older thought process. I felt on more of a level with her on this book, versus the first four. Still cheered the heck out for her.
Love them spy boys. And there should be more. That is all I shall say on the subject. ;)
I cannot believe this series is not a movie. It would be an awesome movie. Just saying.
The only legit problem I have with this series is that you almost have to read them back to back in order to keep track of who's who and what the heck is going on between books. I completely forgot how the fourth book ended and had to piece it together from the fifth. So I'm rereading the series this summer. Again, just saying. (less)
A cancer story but not a cancer story. A cancer story for those who want a My Sister's Keeper-esque story and something better for those who don't. Finally, I have discovered just why John Green has gathered such a widespread and loyal fan base full of scary nerds. I find myself intrigued by his ability to be so in-your-face about a topic where Death is shown in a very brutal form and I am wary because his lack of subtlety is unnerving, too.
Hazel was an awesome main character. Very set in her own niche. I would never mistake her for any other of the hordes of characters out there. Her resignation to forever be a cancer victim coupled with a streak of rebellion to be outside the stereotype made her narration a roller coaster ride of humor and tragedy.
Augustus Waters. Ah, what a boy. He's accumulated a fan base all his own, and I can see why. He was practically the ultimate guy. The starving artist but not. Funny, charismatic, and just a bit too all-knowing to make a person uncomfortable. Almost too profound to be real. But of course, John Green can't have an Edward Cullen in one of his novels. Augustus wasn't perfect. Thank God.
The summary doesn't do the story enough justice, making it sound like Every Other Book out there populating the young adult shelves. I would never categorize this book in such a prosaic way. I knew going in--keeping in mind the hordes of Nerdfighters out there, ready to fight me to the death should I dare disgrace the cult--that I wouldn't be able to read it without getting emotionally invested. Jeez. I got a little teary-eyed at the end. There, I admit it.
I loved John Green's style. Very open and honest, but cutting it short just enough so as not to scare off all the readers. Oh, and of course I forget the most important thing! The humor--duh.If there is one thing I shall carry on into my Alzheimer's days, it is that John Green can make a person laugh.(less)
If you haven't picked up an Ally Carter book yet, consider your life incomplete until you do so. If you don't want to read about a smart thief and a gorgeous best friend (also a thief), then check out the Gallagher Girls: they're spies. (You can't say you don't like thieves or spies, because everyone likes at least one or the other.)
If you need MORE reasons to make Ally Carter your new favorite author:
Thieves. Yes, I realized I already mentioned this, but you've got to admit that it takes a lot of talent to successfully write a book about teenage thieves without making it into a middle grade novel. This new installment in the Heist Society series was a lot edgier than the first book. Kat is dealing with a lot of crap: with her family, with her identity, and with Hale. I totally lent my heart out to Kat through the entire book. (And yelled at her a lot when she wouldn't confront Hale with…certain topics.)
Humor. I don't know about you, but I'm a sucker for funny books. Even if it has the WORST main character ever, if she's funny (she can't be all that bad) then I'll usually read the entire book without too much trouble. Kat, besides being a completely AWESOME main character, is funny. So is everyone else. Especially Hale when he's mad. ;)
Characters. Did I mention Kat's a world-famous thief? Just think about it: being an infamous con artist makes her smart. And not just smart, but clever. (Yes, there IS a difference, just like robbing a casino and robbing AT a casino.) So Kat is awesome, and Hale is sexy, and Simon is adorable, and Gabrielle is…apparently cursed, and Nick is…well, he's sexy, too. Don't forget the Scottish twins and legendary uncles. So yeah. In summation, you've got a great set of characters.
Plot. Wow. And I thought Patricia Briggs was the only author who could surprise readers with such class. Ally Carter drives her characters seemingly into a corner with no escape whatsoever (even for the world-famous thieves) and then slams you with a plot twist that is so awesome that it's beyond incredible.
I could go on and on. Ally Carter has presented a great addition to Heist Society and I can't wait to see what she adds to this series.(less)
I don't think it was the thrill of reading it on my new Kindle that had me loving this book so much. The characters, the originality, the plot, everything, worked. It was a great read; I enjoyed it from beginning to end. There are a few things I would have preferred to be different, but it didn't detract from the sheer awesomeness of this book.
I liked the main character, Elisa. Though some of the things she did annoyed me like nothing else, she had such a streak of reality to her. She grew through her experiences and came to be a different person by the end of the book.
I loved the setting and plot, and how closely intertwined they were. I was totally blown away! Some parts were predictable, so I was settling in for a predictable ending and then BOOM. Halfway to the end and everything totally hits the fan. I almost cried.
But I liked the romance, I liked the story, and the characters. The only problem I had with it was how short it was. In retrospect, I could easily imagine the amount of time passing throughout the story. As I read however, it seemed to pass too quickly—to fast to get any depth. I felt as if the author should have taken her time, and let the story expand.
She had great descriptions, though. So great, I used the nifty note-making feature on my Kindle to mark a few passages, this one included:
The tumultuous snarl of sand is so huge and steady, so pure, that it is almost like quiet.
Elegant in its simplicity.
I cannot wait to see where this series goes. I want to read the next book now! (And I'm totally buying this in hardcover.)(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)
This has to be my favorite out of all the Cassaforte Chronicles. Which is saying something, peeps, ‘cause I absolutely fell in love with V. Briceland’s writing in The Glass Maker’s Daughter. This was just an enjoyable story that set me on my wit’s end when the suspense nearly did me in. And made my ribs hurt with laughter when Petro and Emilia went at each other. Petro’s character was real and it was fun to see the adventure through his eyes.
I like stories where you see the characters through other people’s eyes. We saw Petro when he was a kid in The Glass Maker’s Daughter, as Risa’s annoying but fun-loving little brother. Now we’re reading about his own adventures and learning the tune of his reactions. I love stuff like that.
Everything seemed to come together. I think what made this such an incredible read was the combination of elements that work. Also, the emotions are more raw in this book. Like the edginess between Petro and Adrio—I was constantly getting so angry at Adrio for all the stupid things he’d come up with, calling Petro a snob and all that. But it was so cool how Petro still went after Adrio anyway. So you’ve got those two best friends and then you’ve got Emilia. That whole deal didn’t turn out as I expected it at all—but it was such a lovely ending! V. Briceland was flawless: he somehow didn’t give me the ending I wanted, yet it still satisfied completely.
From the very first page, I could picture it. I didn’t catch on to the significance of this until after I was halfway through the book: when I’d started reading, I’d unconsciously started to film it in my head. I know we all do this (mostly) but there was something about it that flowed. I could pull it all together as I read and it made it all the more exciting when the action began and all of a sudden I was tied to the book. In essence, this reaction is the product of very impressive writing. I cannot believe that he isn’t as popular as authors like Tamora Pierce, Maria V. Snyder, and Cinda Williams Chima.
I’m so attached to this world and the characters. It’s a world I love stepping into. I’d love to spend a day with these characters. (I started to list my favorite characters…but it was one of those times when I kept backspacing to add more and more…) Above all, I really think Petro is my favorite character. There was so much emotional depth in The Nascenza Conspiracy and the outcome from so much inner turmoil really made Petro shine.
Of course, I can’t let you click out thinking that it’s only emotional stuff going down. Oh no! What else could come of swapping identities and a far-off Midsummer High Rites than a breathless adventure? And never forget the surreptitiously left clues that all click together in the end—the brilliant kind of click that makes you go, “Oh snap!” and slap yourself on the forehead for not putting it together earlier.
Unfortunately, I got the gut feeling that the series has come full circle. Which makes me want to cry. As I’ve said, I’ve gotten so attached to these characters and I love their stories so much. I feel like breaking down and begging V. Briceland in a hysterical email whether or not he’s going to write a fourth installment. I’d be happy if he was writing another series…(maybe)…but I’d do an ecstatic happy dance if he was planning on writing a fourth book.
If you like the writings of Tamora Pierce, Maria V. Snyder and Cinda Williams Chima, you’ll love adding V. Briceland to your collection.(less)
A cute and well put-together story. I’ve had some tear-filled, hair-pulling, breakdown-worthy experiences trying to write short stories but Maureen Johnson has this thing down pat. Jubilee’s character (yes, her name is Jubilee...) is a perfect pair of eyes to look through. I usually don’t feel very connected with characters personally (but I can still love them half to death) but Jubilee had pointed out some things that I thought only I had noticed. (Isn’t it wonderful when that happens?) Maureen Johnson’s descriptions are incredible, too, in very creative ways.
Will leave you breathless for laughter. My aunt heard me laughing in my room and when I came out she kinda gave me an amused/funny look and said, “Must’ve gotten a good one.” Jubilee has such a hilarious way of putting things while keeping them real and Maureen Johnson came up with some creative events. (I put that delicately, cause I’m really thinking, “How the heck did she come up with that?”)
A great cast of characters. So there may not be enough to qualify for a full cast (but what do I know?) but the characters are sparkling with their own fire. Jubilee didn’t come off as whiny to me (shocker there) or as pathetic (major bonus) and I really enjoyed the Boy. (I was thinking maybe revealing which boy would be a bit of a giveaway because Maureen Johnson DOES leave it up to speculation, methinks, early on.) So even while, essentially, it’s just Jubilee and the Boy, the Boy’s mother and younger sister as well as Jubilee’s parents are present and well-developed for just sub-characters.
So as I’ve already pointed out (multiple times), I really liked Jubilee’s character. She was funny but completely honest. I loved her observations early in the story and most of her reactions reminded me of what I would have done. So, since I’m in a good mood, lemme say again: Jubilee’s character was awesome.
That aside, the descriptions were refreshingly brilliant. The one I especially like is this paragraph:
Mass Market Paperback edition, page 83 -- Debbie had to get up and slice me a thick piece of cake before she could answer. And I do mean thick. Harry Potter volume seven thick. I could have knocked out a burglar with this piece of cake. Once I tasted it, though, it seemed just the right size. Debbie didn’t fool around when it came to the butter and sugar.
There are many descriptions like this and I love it. Not just because it mentions Harry Potter. I’d love to be able to knock someone out with a slice of cake, too.
A story just right for the holidays. I think this would hold me better than a cup of hot chocolate. I know this will be a holiday re-read.
A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle by John Green
This is the kind of story that gives me a glimmer of hope. I mean, so here’s proof! Proof that not all guys are sex-driven neanderthals who will only commit their simple thoughts to cheerleaders and smoking hot girls. Tobin (love that name) is an awesome dude. I want a Tobin for Christmas, Santa.
So hilarious. Even more so than Maureen Johnson’s “The Jubliee Express”. *GASP* I know! That goes against the very nature of life! John Green had me clutching my sides and simultaneously hoping my aunt didn’t kick me out for constantly laughing the roof off. Now that I’ve only got Lauren Myracle’s story left, I’m slightly apprehensive. I’ve never read anything of Lauren Myracle’s unlike in the case of Maureen Johnson and John Green. I’ve never even heard of Lauren Myracle until now. So. We shall see.
As in the case of Mauren Johnson’s “The Jubilee Express,” there was plenty of surreal adventure. I mean...come on. The whole plot was driven by Tobin and JP’s hardwired need to see the cheerleaders at the Waffle House. And since this plot is in the hands of John Green, you know that it will get crazy.
This is a fantastic holiday read. Well, forget that. Year round! But it especially carries the warmth of Christmas.
Favorite Quotes: (I actually put the first one up on my personal Facebook. XD) Mass Market Paperback edition
p. 149 “And Brittany didn’t get that you, like, aren’t really a girl.”
“If by that you mean that I dislike celebrity magazines, prefer food to anorexia, refuse to watch TV shows about models and hate the color pink, then yes. I am proud to be not really a girl.”
p. 186 She slowed and we caught up with her. “Honestly, Duke?” JP said, putting his arm around her. “I hope this doesn’t hurt your feelings, but if I ever had a sex dream about you, I would have to locate my subconscious, remove it from my body, and beat it to death with a stick.”
I also love the first and entire paragraph on page 192 (just in case you have this book and happen to have the Mass Market Paperback edition--though the pages might be the same).
The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle
It took a little extra effort to get into this character. It barely helped that knew this chick was supposed to be selfish and a total spaz and that she would change during the story but wow...that was a real test in patience. If this had been a full-fledged book, I would have never made it through. That chick really ticked me off. It was presented well, because I'm under the impression I was supposed to be ticked off by her and then be impressed when she changed. Her change was convincing enough and by the end of the story, I was glad I'd stuck around to read it. So keep that in mind. She'll make you wanna quit, but keep with her. She'll surprise you. ;)
Now that I've reached the end, I love the world. Together, these three authors created a convincing and enjoyable world full of gossip and dramatic happenings. Like Stuart (in Maureen Johnson's story, "The Jubilee Express") is brought up briefly in the other two stories. Also, Jeb (who was also introduced in "The Jubliee Express") makes the star appearance in this tale. All these characters intertwined with each story and I thought it was fascinating! It's incredible how they affect each other and what seems to be a big deal to one is insignificant to the other.
I thought this a charming story. Angie was a total spaz and a selfish one to boot, but it was sweet and romantic, though not my favorite. I didn't find Angie as humorous or clever or interesting as the others, though she did seem real enough. There wasn't as much adventure as the others, but it carried its own grace. I especially liked the continued reference to "It's a Wonderful Life" and the angel involvement. I thought that was a nice touch. Most definitely.
Overall, it is a book I will read every holiday season. It was a fun and fantastic read. The bringing together of these three authors was brilliant and really made the sparks fly. I highly recommend it. (less)
Dragonswood is distinguishable to me for being (basically) the first book for me to buy on pure impulse rather than a desire nurtured and built up over several months to read it. My attraction was instantaneous and my instincts won out. Dragonswood had me captivated in the first few pages on Amazon's Quick Look. Elegantly written from the point of view of a tortured soul, I was drawn into the world with dragonlords, stolen treasure, and witch hunters.
Janet Lee Carey's writing style was simple, but elegant. It held the charms of an archaic style, but wasn't riddled with overwhelmingly abstract thoughts about life, and there was just enough detail for me to appreciate the level of research the author did, and also how much she cared about her world.
I think it was the setting that distinguished Dragonswood from all the other fantasy books I've read. I really enjoyed how it was set in history -- there were references to Arthur Pendragon and Merlin and Ireland. It was also rife with detail about how life was back in the 1100's. Dragonswood was so set in its own originality that it was hard looking up to electricity and oreos and clean water and indoor plumbing.
I loved how the entire story was character-driven, centered entirely on Tess. And Tess was a good main character. I loved her for her inability to be perfect: Janet Lee Carey brought out aspects of things that you have to deal with in life that, I think, would really hit home to a reader. Injustice, betrayal, uncertainty, determination. All these things major themes in Dragonswood and apparent in Tess's experiences.
My favorite part though? The legit romance. It's the kind that makes you want to believe in (and yearn for!) a happily ever after. While romances are generally very straight forward (sometimes even in love triangles), I was tiring of the in-your-face method of mainstream YA novels. The romance in Dragonswood was subtle, and built up slowly over the entire book. That was what made it awesome.
Dragonswood was an amazing novel. The writing, the world, the characters, the romance: everything perfectly combined to make one stunning read.(less)
I think, whenever this series is mentioned, the proclamation is immediately followed by a dreamy sigh. I mean, really, who wouldn't sigh over any of the Fuentes brothers? It's such a shame to see their stories come to an end, but Chain Reaction was a great capper to the series: a steamy hot, but complicated romance, Luis and Nikki's relationship fell perfectly in the steps of the previous Fuentes boys, and although I think the writing still needs work, the power of the story shines through brilliantly. Chain Reaction was a great novel, and an excellent finish to the Perfect Chemistry series.
Everything about Chain Reaction (and really, the Perfect Chemistry series in its totality) was excellent. Except. I thought the writing style really needed work. There was way too much showing, and not enough telling, in every place except for the make out scenes. And while this is what makes the make out scenes so blush-worthy, I think if the same detail and sense of atmosphere had been put into the rest of the story, then it would have flowed better. As it was, I didn't get any kind of adrenaline rush when guns were going off and car tires were burning against pavement. However, it was rather easy to push the writing style aside and just focus on the story, because while the writing may be a little shoddy, the story had a powerful, passionate core.
There were a lot of great things about the story itself, but I think my favorite would have to be the characters. I like how Luis was portrayed as the more academically inclined brother in the first two books, even though his involvement in both prequels was pretty limited. I like how I could still see the academic in him (he did his homework, he studied before he went out with friends) and yet, there's this whole other side of him and a whole raft of struggles that he has to deal with. Same with Nikki: she had to deal with things that fifteen-year-old girls just shouldn't have to, but I liked the way it shaped her character. With both her and Luis, their motivations were clear. I understood where they were coming from, so it made the story much easier to follow, and to enjoy, even if their choices were obvious a mile away.
Despite the predictability of the plot, Simone Elkeles does not half-ass the drama. Normally, I steer away from unnecessary because it's just that: unnecessary. But this is drama that I can get into because I like and respect the characters. So even when everything hits the fan, I can understand why and not get pissy over it. Of course, a little dash of humor goes a long way. And Luis, like his brothers, has a wicked mouth.
Chain Reaction was a great addition to the Perfect Chemistry series, and ended the series well. I am so psyched to read Simone Elkeles' next series.(less)
The greatest book to read if you're looking to write a book. While most books along these "helping" lines are stiff and mostly remind you of your most...moreThe greatest book to read if you're looking to write a book. While most books along these "helping" lines are stiff and mostly remind you of your most boring college professor, this book gets up close and personal, skipping around the soft edges and going straight for the hard core. You will not be able to hide from your own fears while reading this book. It offers sound advice from my most favored author.(less)
Patricia Briggs has long since been one of my all-time favorite authors, and after having read more than half of her published novels, I've come to know what to expect with her work: pure awesomeness. With a perfect blend of writing talent, engrossing plot, cheer-worthy characters all bundled together with humor, Cry Wolf is a perfect follow up to the short story Alpha and Omega and a brilliant opening to the series.
Unlike the Mercy Thompson series, Cry Wolf is told in third person, and alternates between several points of view, but chiefly, between Anna and Charles. Normally, a constant switch off between characters would open opportunities for a turn off, but Patricia Briggs handles it well, giving each character their own voice and avoiding the pitfall of having them misunderstand each other a bit too easily.
Cry Wolf comes with a whole host of lovable characters -- I couldn't begin to name a favorite. If you're a veteran of the Mercy Thompson novels, you'll probably enjoy the greater insight into Bran's character, as the "home" setting is in Aspen Creek, where Bran lives. Really, Patricia Briggs' finest brush stroke lay in the building of Anna's character. I think, if Patricia Briggs wasn't as good as she is, Anna's character would've been butchered. Without given the proper motivation, I feel readers tend not to be as sympathetic to characters who have suffered from some kind of trauma. Anna really had it rough, but there are moments of incredible strength and character development (and sometimes, setbacks) as she tries to break through the walls she had to put up while under constant torment. Patricia Briggs balanced her character well, so that her being an Omega (and therefore, dead set against violence) is believable, but so is her fight to find her place.
My favorite thing about Cry Wolf is the romance. I think I might like the Alpha and Omega series better than Mercy Thompson, just because of Anna and Charles. Unlike the Mercy Thompson series, where romance slowly blooms over several books (and sometimes impeded by the dual affections of two very dominant werewolves), it's obvious from the get go that Anna and Charles are meant for each other, even though they have a lot of issues to sort out. Their development as a couple was endearing to read and, even on reading it a second time, I still cheered for them.
While my favorite thing might be the romance, I can't deny the brilliance that Patricia Briggs brings to the table in terms of plot. I'd guess that most novels with a premise such as this one would focus mostly on the romance. Well, not so in Cry Wolf. Patricia Briggs is all about putting her characters through hell. So the building of tension towards the end, and then finally hitting the climax -- it left me breathless with the thrill of it. Absolutely brilliant!
And never forget the writing! Oh, it's amazing on its own. I've always admired Patricia Briggs for giving information in a way that weaves in backstory, raw info and action without butchering it with telling and not showing. Add the way she crafts a character's voice and behold my favorite author.
Finally, the humor. It's scary that a book edged in so much darkness and intense plot could be so comedic. It wasn't rib-cracking throughout the entire book, obviously. There's always a time and a place for humor, but Patricia Briggs nailed it. No matter which of her books you pick up, you're bound to get a laugh one way or another. Whether it's because she's captured you with her writing or because you're so in love with her characters that you can't help but giggle at some humiliation or another: Patricia Briggs knows where to make a reader laugh.
Cry Wolf was a fantastic opening to the Alpha and Omega series. Despite this being my second time reading it, I enjoyed it just as much (if not more!) than the first time. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on the second installment, Hunting Ground.(less)