Four months since the day of the fires - the day that taught Clara that her purpose was much more confusing than it would seem. Now, torn between her...moreFour months since the day of the fires - the day that taught Clara that her purpose was much more confusing than it would seem. Now, torn between her love for her boyfriend Tucker and the baffling feelings she has for the angel-blood Christian -both a part of that day she trained for, the one that was supposed to fulfill her purpose - Clara doesn't know what to do.
Still working to figure out what it was she was supposed to have done that day, in the fires, Clara's life becomes even more complex. Now a part of the battle between White Wings and Black Wings (Samjeeza, specifically) Clara has to watch her back all the time.
All of this on top of a new dream . . .vision letting her know that someone close to her will die very soon.
It's hard to remember at times just what happened in Unearthly while you're reading Hallowed but enough little hints are given by the characters that while you still won't remember quite a few things, it's never enough to make things confusing. If you do have time and it's something you want to do, rereading Unearthly (or parts of it) might be a good idea.
Hallowed delves into the lives of the angel-bloods much more than Unearthly did. We don't get as much interaction between the other characters (like we did in the first book) because the ins and outs of what it means to be part angel are examined more this go-round.
It'd definitely necessary - both for the plot of this individual installment as well as the series as whole - for the characters and readers, alike to know more about the mythology around around angel-bloods. It does, however, take a little bit away from the character interactions and relationships that made the first novel so, so great.
The human characters are less prevalent in Hallowed and I did miss them - and their contributions. There were new characters that were added and the angel-blood characters from the first book had somewhat expanded roles and I hope that both are even more expanded in third book.
As with the first book, the originality (even with the number of angel themed books that have come out since Unearthly) does not fail to impress. Hand's world of angels and angel-bloods is complex and very well thought out and has new things for both the readers and the characters to discover. What's even better is that they're new things that don't seem to contradict any of the story thus far; new developments flow into the story lie and plot, even when they're startling or completely surprising - they fit.
This is a great series! Just like with the first book, once you get going in he book, you won't want to put it down! (less)
Just before her mother died, ten-year-old Shelby promised she would do three things: listen to her father, love as much as possible, and live without...moreJust before her mother died, ten-year-old Shelby promised she would do three things: listen to her father, love as much as possible, and live without restraint. It's been fairly easy to follow those three promises so far - she avoids having her father tell her not to actually do something so that she can still follow through on the third promise and even has a list of (sometimes crazy) things she hopes to accomplish in life.
But when her father tells her about the Princess Ball where daughters vow to live a 'pure' life (no drugs, no sex until marriage and no alcohol until age 21), Shelby finds herself torn between Promise One and Promise Three. Until, she finds a loophole. Just like the one that allows her to do crazy things as long as her dad tells her best friend Jonas or someone else not to do them, Shelby has found a way around the chastity vow for the ball.
If she loses her virginity before the ball, the vow will be void and therefore she can make it and not be lying to her father but still not break Promise Two or Promise Three to her mother.
When I heard that Jackson Pearce was writing a contemporary YA about a purity ball, I was in a bit of love . . . and I so wanted to stay in it. But, I didn't.
I actually had a hard time finishing Purity. Shelby's mother makes her promise to 'listen' to her father and somehow Shelby takes that as doing exactly what her father says - if he says don't do x she can't do x. I can understand listening to him but just because he wants her to do the purity ball doesn't mean she can't voice some disapproval. To me, 'listen to your father,' doesn't quite translate to 'blindly obey - while finding any loophole around doing what your father says.'
Shelby didn't talk to her father about her discomfort with the vows, or anything at all, really. I had a hard time connecting with a character who makes a promise to her mother to listen to her father and then, because she doesn't want to vow to remain a virgin until marriage (or tell her father so), plans to lose her virginity in seven weeks.
The ending (as it pertained to two characters) was one I could see coming from the very beginning. It wasn't a big to-do at the end so it wasn't particularly rewarding, it was just something predictable throughout the story.
I still love the idea of a contemporary YA about the purity balls - and what they really mean; whether girls are taking them seriously or just doing it to look good to outsiders, how their families feel about it, if it's like a Deb Ball but with the vows and really just a society thing . . . I love all of that, but I didn't quite find it in Purity.
Here are two reviews one and two by bloggers who liked Purity more than I did - you might get a different sense of the book from them (I think they were able to connect with it more than I did).
As I said, I'm a Jackson Pearce fan and do hate that I didn't like this one - I'm hoping for more contemporary YA from here, though.
thank you to LBYR and NetGalley for my egalley for review (less)
After spending her summer in Greece with James (aka Hermes), Kate is ready to spend her fall and winter with Henry – in the underworld. Only, Henry do...moreAfter spending her summer in Greece with James (aka Hermes), Kate is ready to spend her fall and winter with Henry – in the underworld. Only, Henry doesn’t seem particularly thrilled at Kate’s return. And it looks like Calliope isn’t quite done causing trouble for Kate.
Passing the tests and gaining immortality was not supposed to be the easy part of the equation. Kate (just barely) managed those, though. Now, she has to figure out a husband who seems all but indifferent to her and an attack from the only thing powerful enough to kill Henry and the other Gods, the King of the Titans.
The attack come in the middle of Kate’s coronation as Queen of the Underworld and soon she’s not only adjusting to life in the underworld, trying to figure out where she stands with Henry – does he even want her there? – but they’re all also in a fight for their lives. The only one they can actually lose.
I read this before reading The Goddess Hunt so it feels like you pick up without a lot of refresher on what happened in The Goddess Test. It’s always nice to have some reminder of where the story is starting (so you know what’s going on) – as things get going though, enough either is mentioned or the story helped me to remember that it worked.
With The Goddess Test I did wish for more Henry and I have to say that didn’t change with this book. If anything, for the first 75 percent or so, there was less Henry than there was in the first book. It is nice that issues (between/with the characters) from the first book in the series are brought up and expanded, resolved, explored in this second book. It’s nice to see the background of some of the things already mentioned – and see where those things go.
Some of the ‘action’ sequences seemed to resolve quickly, leaving me having to go back and reread what exactly happened. Things are really strongest when the characters and their relationships are involved. With gods and goddesses – and their millennia of history – are involved things can be dramatic and intriguing without being melodramatic or too much. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Kate grows into this world.
The ending of Goddess Interrupted will likely leave you itching for the third book in this series – I know it did me!
thank you to NetGalley & HarlequinTeen for the egalley for review(less)
Nikki Beckett disappeared for six months . . . only for her it was more like one hundred years. While her friends and family had no idea where she was...moreNikki Beckett disappeared for six months . . . only for her it was more like one hundred years. While her friends and family had no idea where she was, Nikki was in the Everneath with Cole. Cole is an Everliving survives by feeding off the emotions of humans. During the Feed, Nikki was the human he fed off of.
Now, instead of staying with Cole, Nikki has decided to Return to the surface, to humanity for six months. She hopes to make it up to everyone, her boyfriend Jack mostly but also her father, her brother, her friend Jules, for suddenly disappearing on them last spring. Before, that is, she disappears again . . . for good.
Something made all the more hard by Cole who has left Everneath and followed her not only to the surface, but to her hometown and high school.
Does redemption exist for anyone, let aloe Nikki - and will she be able to find it in time? As Nikki's sixth months draw to a close will she be able to accept that time is all she has or will she want to tempt her fate in a an attempt to stay with Jack longer? Or will she return to Everneath with Cole?
Everneath is a book that starts off with the reader not knowing the full story. You don't really know how/why Nikki disappeared, just that everyone seems not that pleased with her even though she is back. Half of the story is told in the present and half in flashbacks so we learn about Nikki's life before she went to Everneath and we slowly learn what led to her going to Everneath even as we see why she doesn't want to be there now.
I did go through the beginning (and even middle, actually) of the story feeling like I was missing something. There was such a little amount of discussion about either the how or why Nikki had disappeared - either from her father (especially) or younger brother or friends questioning her or Nikki offering some sort of (likely false) explanation. Same for her return. It just seemed that a teenage girl who had been gone for six months would inspire more questioning than what occurred. There seemed to be a general consensus that she had been off doing drugs and there a was a little of that used, but I still thought she slipped back into life too easily.
Maybe I'm just being picky. (Or not.)
The premise of the story (aside from my little grip above), all of the mythology used, the way things around that mythology played out, and the different characters were all incredibly original. The ending (or 100-150 pages) was fantastic. The way the different elements and the little things mentioned throughout the novel really come together is great.
As this is book number one in a series, I'm really excited to see where the second book takes the characters (especially after that ending).
I love that there are some books now that are putting new twists on some of the ancient myths - so much better when they're so incredibly original, well thought out, and resolve themselves well but leave you itching to see what happens next!
After bringing us humor, romance, a little violence and a lot of adventure (along with some some vampires) in her Drake Chronicles series and romance,...moreAfter bringing us humor, romance, a little violence and a lot of adventure (along with some some vampires) in her Drake Chronicles series and romance, humor and a very swoon-worthy boy in the spiritualist era stand-alone Haunting Violet Alyxandra Harvey is back, this time with the fae, in Stolen Away.
Eloise is a normal seventeen-year-old, spending early days of fall with her friends, trying to escape the oppressive summer hear that won't seem to break. She is eating ice cream with her best friends Jo and Devin when a strange young man approaches her. It's his attire (easily something more out of A Knight's Tale era than today), calling her Lady Eloise while kneeling, and insisting she come with him to be safe that disconcerts Eloise. Of course, he is gorgeous, too, but that's not really of issue at the moment.
The three friends are able to get away from Lucas. But it's definitely not the only time they see him and he is definitely not their only problem. In fact, his warnings might have been right.
Eloise is stolen away by Lord Strahan and imprisoned in his Rath. She knew little to nothing about the fae beforehand but now she is their prisoner. Strahan is only meant to rule for seven years, as faery law dictates but he refuses to comply. He hopes to use Eloise to lure her, somewhat elusive and mysterious Aunt Antonia, his wife to him as she is the only thing threatening to end his reign. A continued reign that is wreaking havoc on both worlds.
Eloise knows, as everyone works to rescue her, that she is going to have to rescue her aunt - even if it means working with the fae.
Stolen Away is another absolute stunner of a book from Alyxandra Harvey. She has taken all of her strengths from her previous novels, the humor, the romance, the action and adventure and introduced them - and readers - to an entirely new world and characters. And the fae.
Harvey has a talent for writing best friend relationships that seem so absolutely real that you, as a reader, just almost need to be their friend, too. There's closeness, humor, background, history, jokes, sometimes fights, everything in those relationships that make them honest and realistic and amazing. She writes my favorite best friend relationships in books. (Besides the friend relationships in The Drake Chronicles and in Haunting Violet, the only other best friend relationships that good are in Jennifer Lynn Barnes' Raised by Wolves series - maybe it's something with the Devon/Devin name?)
I think I really, truly adore that Alyxandra Harvey's books have characters that are sneaky and backstabbing and manipulating . . . unless they're supposed to be.
This is a story that - when it's not making you just that little bit anxious as to the outcome and sometimes even then - makes you happy to read. There are lines that make me smile, the characters interactions are sweet or snarky - or both. The way they work together is brilliant and refreshing. It's a book that will make you smile.
The only, only thing I didn't love to pieces was that I thought Jo was 'in love' a little fast with her guy. I don't think it affected the plot any (in fact, I think it actually helped it) but I just wasn't seeing where her words came from, personally.
The faery lore used is really great. While I don't read a ton of fae themed/focused books, I do read quite a few and there were several things in Stolen Away that either I hadn't heard before (or had possibly forgotten) or they were things that were rarely, rarely used. Alyxandra Harvey really draws from outside of the commonly used faery mythology in Stolen Away.
After reading Stolen Away (and Bleeding Hearts just about a month ago), Alyxandra Harvey is in my top three favorite author - if not the very top! (less)
Marissa Meyer's debut Cinder is one of those books that will make you curse your need for sleep. Be prepared to stay up way past your bed time and/or...moreMarissa Meyer's debut Cinder is one of those books that will make you curse your need for sleep. Be prepared to stay up way past your bed time and/or hate the moment you have to put it down even for just a few hours.
On the busy streets of New Beijing, humans and androids alike rush around going about their lives - or helping others go about theirs. Cinder, is an amazing mechanic, filling her days working to earn money for her ungrateful stepmother - she's also a cyborg.
With cyborg's seen as second-class citizens and her step-mother blaming her for her step-father's illness years ago, Cinder's life is far from perfect . . .
With a plague ravaging the planet's populace and lunar people threatening from above, Cinder doesn't know just how important her chance meeting with the Prince one day may be. For her. For everyone.
I loved Cinder so much. Every time there's been any sort of fairy tale re-imagining announced, released or even speculated on, I hope it's going to be about Cinderella. Marissa Meyer came up with something better than I - or possibly anyone else - could have imagined with Cinder. It's a cyborg Cinderella with a kick-butt mechanic; The Jetsons meets Once Upon a Time meets Cinderella. Tell me that does not all sound awesome?
There's enough of the Cinderella tale we all know that it's fun to try to guess where certain things will go or what other parts will be included, but it's also most definitely different. No glass slippers here. And no Gus Gus either . .. but there is Iko, Cinder's android who's more than outdated and has what her step-mother calls a 'faulty' personality chip. She definitely makes up for the lack of Gus Gus and the other mice that were in the Cinderella movie.
Meyer's debut is one where it's hard to believe it is, in fact, the author's debut. The writing is great, the characters are great, the world she has imagined is truly spectacular, there's not much I don't like about Cinder.
We don't get a lot of background into the characters - which would have been nice since they are such great characters - but that fits with the plot and, I think, this being the first book in the series. There were a few plot points that may also be explained if this happens.
A few things were predictable, but being pretty sure I knew them didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story. (Even when I was right.)
I am now very much eagerly awaiting the release of the next book . . .
If you're looking for a great book to start of 2012 with, this is most assuredly it.
Vee knows something that she can't possibly explain to anyone why she knows.
Everyone else thinks Sylvia "Vee" Bell is narcoleptic, but she doesn't rea...moreVee knows something that she can't possibly explain to anyone why she knows.
Everyone else thinks Sylvia "Vee" Bell is narcoleptic, but she doesn't really fall asleep during her episodes. When it looks to everyone else like she's just asleep or unconscious, she's really 'sliding.' Vee slides into someone else's mind and experiences things through their eyes.
That's why she knows that her sister's friend didn't kill herself; she was murdered. Vee slid into the killer as they stood over the girl's sladhed body, bloody knife in hand.
It's a terrible secret to keep, but how can he possibly tell anyone? Even her best friend, Rollins, has been distant lately - ever since she started spending time with Zane, the new kid.
With things getting more dangerous by the day, Vee needs to find a way to reveal the killer . . . before they can kill again.
Slide is one of those books where you wish it was longer because you hate for it to end but you're almost thankful it's not because you can't put it down until it's over (and other things totally need to get done that day). It's a fantastic mystery that gets more and more suspenseful and complicated as it goes on.
The characters aren't left by the wayside in favor of the mystery, though. They are just as strong - if not more - than the mystery of who the killer is and what's happening (or going to possibly happen). We learn a lot about Vee during the book; she's a very complex and sympathetic character. Vee and Mattie's mother died several years prior to the start of the novel and I liked that their feeling about her, about missing her, and how they and their father were now living life were still reflective of their grief but not overwhelmed by it. I also loved that Mattie wasn't just a sister who was just there she really grew as a character, too.
There was a plot element/point that was figured out by me (and likely by other readers) quite a lot sooner than it was by Vee. I'm not sure if it was supposed to have been - at least not as soon as it was - or not, but it didn't detract from things much. It wasn't anything major nor did it ruin any part of the mystery.
At first I thought there might be a bit of a dichotomy with Vee's love of astronomy and her sliding, with one being so scientific and proven and the other being so, well, not scientific or proven. The way her love of the constellations, etc was introduced and used, however, makes it work. And makes their coexistence as part of Vee understandable - even rather great.
When Marcie's parents' marriage falls apart, her mother doesn't take it well. It's coming up on Labor Day and their summer escape to Marcie's maternal...moreWhen Marcie's parents' marriage falls apart, her mother doesn't take it well. It's coming up on Labor Day and their summer escape to Marcie's maternal grandmother's cabin in New Hampshire shows no sign of drawing to a close. With Marcie's group of friends - the 'Leftovers,' those who don't fit into any clique or particular social group - along with her emo-rocker boyfriend and her father left behind in Idaho, New Hampshire doesn't feel like home.
But when Marcie starts school in New Hampshire and leaves her Leftover status behind and a cute boy starts bringing her breakfast every day, she thinks the new state might not be quite so horrible. But is this new relationship love? Was her last? Will she ever know?
Love & Leftovers, is a great debut. Told in verse, it lets readers see just what we need to about Marcie and how she's coping with her move (that she does not at first realize is going to be a move) to New Hampshire and leaving her friends, boyfriend, and father behind. We see her mother who is dealing with her divorce very not like an adult, it would seem.
The different poems allows to see how Marcie feels about different situations as well as the most important things that happen to her - and without anything extraneous. I am sometimes wary of verse novels over prose but I think the form was perfect for this story. It allowed things to focus on Marcie and to some of the things (including pronunciation of her name/the accents) seem like they would have been harder, seemed more awkward to include in a book told in traditional prose.
While Love & Leftovers is marketed/reviewed as a love story, I didn't think that was the strongest part. I really loved Marcie figuring things out - what these new developments meant for and to her - and enjoyed her interactions with her friends and family, but the 'love story' wasn't that strong for me.
Love & Leftovers is a great verse (and IM and conversation) novel) that does a fantastic job getting the emotion across, I think you'll enjoy this quick, lyrical read.(less)