Every single time I review a YA-Fantasy novel, I start off with saying that I'm always holding my breath while reading and I'm always waiting for theEvery single time I review a YA-Fantasy novel, I start off with saying that I'm always holding my breath while reading and I'm always waiting for the other shoe to fall if I'm enjoying it. I also mention that I blame Twilight for the holding of my breath...which I do. But I also blame Twilight for making me lump this with that series without even reading it. Why? Because it made me put off Beautiful Creatures for so long (cause I think Twilight sort of sucks...my opinion...deal) and I hate that I did that...because it was sort of awesome.
The Good: I love southern books to begin with, but Beautiful Creatures not only had a southern setting, but it also had a gothic atmosphere. That made this book all sorts of win. It wasn't like this book just threw a castle into the plot and then said "Look! We're GOTHIC...and oh-so-cool". Every thing about Beautiful Creatures actively FELT gothic...from the somewhat stereotypical castle to the loneliness the main character feels due to the shunning, this was all deliciously gothic. Was it an accurate representation of southern people? That I don't know since the closest I've come to living in the South was the brief year I lived in Florida (and some people, I don't know why, don't consider Florida to be south-enough), but I bought it.
More Good: I loved the fact that Beautiful Creatures was, for the most part, written in the point of view of the male. A lot of the time, or at least in fiction, I find that the men are less "gushy" when it comes to romance and therefore, I don't have the urge to strangle myself when they're talking about their respective other. Unfair? Probably, but I can't help it. And while Lena is deliciously angsty and doesn't seem like the "oh my God, I LOVE YOU SOOOOOO MUCH!!!!" type, I think even she would have annoyed me if it was all written in her POV.
The Absolute BEST: I LOVE Ridley! I don't apologize for the fact that I am utterly drawn to somewhat evil yet completely compelling characters. I have been ever since I saw Hocus Pocus when I was like 6 and loved Sarah. Evil witches just fascinate me and I just want to HUG them, while wanting to keep my distance because I'm terrified of what they'll do to me. Ridley was just such an interesting character with the MOST awesome and intriguing power (the evil witches always have those) that I wanted more of her in the book. I'm praying (and hoping and wishing) that she shows up in the other installment of the series cause I'm not ready to say goodbye to her.
The Somewhat Annoying: The only thing that bothered me about Beautiful Creatures was the insta-love that seems to be the norm for YA Fantasy novels. Don't authors want to create a slow-burn of attraction followed by the madly-in-love-ness anymore? Because the cliché "the fell madly in love at first sight" thing is ALWAYS old and always so eye-rollingly pathetic.
Consensus (FINALLY!): Overall, I found Beautiful Creatures to be AMAZING! It was oh-so-interesting, it had an awesome atmosphere, and the romance didn't make me want to stab my eyeballs with a rusty nail. I'm hoping the next installment is just as good (and has more Ridley...cause she just rocks in so many ways). I call this one a win. ...more
I picked up Gone because it has been described by many like a young version of Stephen King's The Stand. The Stand is one of my favorite books ever, sI picked up Gone because it has been described by many like a young version of Stephen King's The Stand. The Stand is one of my favorite books ever, so I wanted to see how true that statement was. Having read the book, I definitely think that comparing it to The Stand is over-exaggerating Gone. It was good, but it was nowhere near the excellence that is The Stand. Still, it was very enjoyable.
Gone is basically about the world gone awry. Every person over the age of 14 suddenly just poofs. In a world where there are no adults, you have kids trying to run the FAYZ and a handful of them are either murderous psychos or evil kids hell-bent on gaining power and then you have the heroes who are trying to save the FAYZ. It's a pretty standard plot.
Gone is an extremely fast-paced thriller and due to this, it was a page-turner. Considering that this book was 500+ pages, that was really a must for me. The main character was likeable enough, but I didn't really care for much of the characters except for Edilio, Lana, and Patrick. I did love the idea of an alternate universe and looking into how kids would cope in a society with no order or rules. In fact, my favorite parts of Gone were when the kids reached a new hurdle and kept questioning how they would survive.
However, my main gripe with this novel is that I invested 500+ pages in this and none of my questions were answered. I don't care that this book has no closure, but it seems like this book was written with the clear intention of a sequel and if I don't want to read the sequel, I'm basically screwed because I'm going to have no idea what happened. Also, the romance between Sam/Astrid was highly improbable. I don't care what circumstances you're in. No 14-year-old is going to fall in love with someone they've only known well for a week. A lot of the characters also seemed to fall into their stereotypes. You have the hero: Sam, the pretty, brainy girl: Astrid, the little brother: Petey, the sidekick you can't really trust: Quinn, the power-hungry villain: Caine, and the beautiful bad girl: Diane. These characters were anything but original. The book was also way too long. It should've been at least 100 pages shorter, especially the author wasn't going to solve anything.
Anyway, while I did like Gone quite a bit, I felt that its flaws were too much to overlook. Plus, I'm still pissed at the whole 500 pages and no resolution thing. Maybe I'll pick up the next one in a while, but not anytime soon. So, while Gone is recommended, I definitely suggest you don't read it unless you want to devote yourself to reading the other 5 of this planned series....more
I picked up The Girl Who Chased the Moon because of Sarah Addison Allen's first book Garden Spells. I thought Garden Spells was truly amazing and it mI picked up The Girl Who Chased the Moon because of Sarah Addison Allen's first book Garden Spells. I thought Garden Spells was truly amazing and it made its way to my "favorite books ever" list. So, I set extremely high standards for The Girl Who Chased the Moon. While the book didn't live up to these expectations, I thought that it was a pretty great book.
The Girl Who Chased the Moon is an enchanting novel. Magical realism is something that Allen seems to do really well. Her books are deeper than chick-lit, yet retain the perfect summer read feeling. The Girl Who Chased the Moon was filled with quirky, loveable characters that are in a whimsical little town.
Every thing in this book is infused with touches of magic, yet it wasn't really a fantasy or supernatural read. The magic was a bit understated and it wasn't that focal to the plot. It was mostly in the background (except for really one part where it was out in the open). These characters weren't magical, they just happened to live in a town where strange, yet wonderful things happen.
The reason why I'm giving The Girl Who Chased the Moon four stars instead of five is because while I liked the characters quite a bit, I didn't love them as much as I loved the characters in Garden Spells. Since the book was so short, I didn't really get attached to the characters. I did want them to get happy endings, but I didn't really care how they got there. Also, the subplot with Win and Emily, while it was sweet, seemed to have happened to quickly that I didn't really see how we got from Point A to Point B.
Anyway, regardless of these minor flaws, I thought that The Girl Who Chased the Moon was a great. It was a very comfortable and quick read. It not only made me crave cake (seriously, I have a terrible sweet tooth and this just made it worse), but had me craving for the familiarity of a tight-knit town. This book is recommended, yet I recommend Garden Spells way more....more
Matilda was (and still is) one of my favorite childhood movies. I remember going to watch it in theaters when it came out and watched it endlessly wheMatilda was (and still is) one of my favorite childhood movies. I remember going to watch it in theaters when it came out and watched it endlessly when it came out in VHS. So, when I found this book at my thrift store for a dollar, I absolutely had to pick it up.
Matilda was just an amusing, captivating read. At once, you have a heroine you can root for and just love to pieces because she's so unique. As I was reading, I kept picturing the parts happening in the book as they were in the movie. (For example, the part where one of Matilda's classmates are singing the 'difficulty' poem and Trunchbull yells "Why are all these women married?!" That's seriously my favorite part of the movie and this part of the book had me in stitches, too.) The book was not only cute, but it was pretty funny. Some parts had me chuckling a little, but most parts had me laughing out loud.
Even though I enjoyed this book immensely, I still have to say that I love the movie a little bit more. I think it's mostly a nostalgia thing. I just loved all the actors who portrayed the characters in the movie. I also loved movie"Miss Honey" more than book"Miss Honey" and I sympathized more with movie"Matilda" than with book"Matilda".
All of that being said, Matilda is still a keeper on my shelf. I think this is one book that I'm going to find myself re-reading for comfort (just as I rewatch the movie) and on those rainy days when you just want to read something familiar. I definitely can't wait until my sister's a little bit older so that she can read Matilda. I definitely recommend this book to children and adults (especially if those adults have kids...). It's really an enjoyable read for all ages....more
I have this intense love of books about people who have died (or are about to die) and are narrating their story through the afterlife (or some sort oI have this intense love of books about people who have died (or are about to die) and are narrating their story through the afterlife (or some sort of limbo). Morbid? Maybe. Fascinating? Abso-friggin-lutely! The ones most well-known are The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, and If I Stay by Gayle Forman (the last two particularly in YA circles). While I think that In a Heartbeat wasn't as amazing as these three reads, it was still pretty damn good.
I found In a Heartbeat to be an eye-opener of sorts. The grief that the families of organ donors suffer is something that's always been in the forefront of my mind when I read articles about this subject or see documentaries on TV. However, I never really thought about the families of those patients who receive the organs. I guess I'd always assumed that they'd just be happy because of what's happened. So, I was kind of shocked when I read that Amelia was feeling guilty about receiving the heart. I guess it hit me hardest with this quote, "But the fact remained that someone else had to die for me to live. Someone else had to grieve for me to be happy. And every night at dinner, when my family prayed for a new heart for me, we were praying for that to happen." I never thought about it that way, so that definitely struck a chord with me.
However, maybe due to it's length, I never really felt like I connected to any of the characters. I felt like maybe Eagan and especially Amelia should've been a bit more fleshed out. We never really got a sense as to who Amelia was and how her life was before the operation. I think this book should've been just a tad bit longer, hence why I took away one star.
Anyway, I thought In a Heartbeat was a great read. It was compelling and emotional read, which had me tear up more than once. I'm definitely looking forward to more from Loretta Ellsworth as it seems like the YA genre has another fantastic author in its midst....more
Due to the ratings here on Goodreads and on Amazon, Her Fearful Symmetry seems to be one of those books were most people either love it or hate it. NoDue to the ratings here on Goodreads and on Amazon, Her Fearful Symmetry seems to be one of those books were most people either love it or hate it. Now, I didn't LOVE it, but I didn't fiercely HATE it either. In fact, I really, really liked Her Fearful Symmetry and was kind of surprised by that considering that I never made it through The Time Traveler's Wife (although to be honest, I don't think I gave it a fair chance. I put it down after about 10 pages in the middle of a reading slump. I will be giving it another try, though). However, I think that worked out in my favor considering many people were comparing this book to TTTW. I, on the other hand, had a clean slate, so to speak.
First things first: I think the atmosphere had a lot to do with why I enjoyed Her Fearful Symmetry. I love the whole gothic, spookiness that the book had going for it. So, it seemed fitting for the weather outside to match. I read this book in the middle of a snowstorm (I was safely inside, though, so no worries) and I think it added a bit more to the story (considering that the best time to read anything even remotely spooky is on those cold, snowy days). I think if I would've read this in the summer, I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much.
Now that I got that little weird tidbit out of the way, I'll go to the next thing. What I noticed almost immediately was the beautiful writing. Again, I couldn't make it through TTTW and I didn't really notice the writing then, just the thrumming in my head and my inner voice yelling "It's a romance...You WON'T enjoy it!" However, in Her Fearful Symmetry, I was captivated by the prose from the first sentence. It was raw, emotional, yet it did all of this with a quiet intensity.
I am going to admit that I was a little annoyed by some of the actions of the characters. I spent most of the book agitated with Julia. She was just so bossy and controlling. I then spent the remainder of the book agitated with Valentina and wanting to tell her to grow a friggin' backbone and stand up to Julia. The twins' relationship was so stifling and exhausting (seriously, if this is how every twin relationship is, I feel sorry for the both of them). However, their relationship was also the most interesting part of the book for me.
Another confession is that I sort of loved Elspeth (which is weird considering how everything ended up playing out). I just felt so sorry for her, being alone and stuck in the flat with nothing to do. I was also very endeared by her, like one would be with a puppy who has done something it wasn't supposed to. You want to scold it while simultaneously petting it. I think, despite my inital annoyance with the twins of hell, that I really liked every single one of the characters found them all necessary. I liked Martin and Robert and Edie, just all of them.
So, I definitely recommend Her Fearful Symmetry. It was a beautifully written (I seriously didn't think the writing would affect me that much) ghost story with twists and turns. It was just an all-around great read.
Oh Lordy, I tried so hard to like Going Bovine. Why? Because I absolutely loved and adored the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray. It's one of my favorOh Lordy, I tried so hard to like Going Bovine. Why? Because I absolutely loved and adored the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray. It's one of my favorite young-adult series (along with Harry Potter). So, I took a chance and decided to buy my first Libba Bray book (the Gemma Doyle books were library reads for me even though I have gotten the first two from PBS) on the week it came out. 16 bucks for a new hardcover. But I didn't mind because, again, it's Libba Bray and I loved her previous books. So, 16 bucks and my past experiences with Libba Bray are the ONLY reason I finished Going Bovine.
When I was around page 50, I was getting a little anxious to get the story going. Sure, Cameron was semi-funny and he had a sarcastic personality (I love sarcastic people), but I wanted a little bit more plot. I got it around page 175. That's when I started enjoying it more. But then the book would lag. It would be 10 pages of bizarre (I like bizarre most of the time) then 50 pages of coma-inducing boredom. This was pretty much the pattern until I got to page 300. And then I decided I was going to skim towards the end. Now, I'm not a skimmer. At all. If I'm not enjoying a book, I'll put it down. If I'm not enjoying a book, but still want to know how it ends, then I'll take a look at the last page to see how it ends and then put it down. But I don't skim. However, I skimmed Going Bovine because it was a Libba Bray book and I kept hoping beyond hope that it would get better. It didn't.
The ending. I'm not going to spoil it for anyone, but I do have to say that it was very, very predictable. By page 200, I knew exactly how Going Bovine was going to end. Add that to the fact that Cameron's humor was wearing very thin, you then have me very annoyed. But again, I can take a predictable plot (I am a notorious mystery reader, after all), but I cannot take a boring one. I don't recover well from boring not only because it is in fact, boring, but because reading a boring book tends to screw up what I plan on reading next. If I'm reading a boring book that I want to end very badly, and lined up is a book that's probably going to take a while to get into, that book goes by the wayside. Instead, I pick up either a fluffy read or a series read (in this case it's Sacred by Dennis Lehane which is replacing Her Fearful Symmetry as my next read).
The very few reasons why Going Bovine is getting two stars as opposed to the dreaded one is because it had some funny parts (before Cameron started to wear thin) and because it was written really well. It did bring up some philosophical points, so I could sort of see where Libba Bray wanted to go, but wished she could've chosen a way that was actually interesting. Oh yeah, I also liked the pink-haired, punk-rock angel, Dulcie. My favorite character by far.
So, I don't think I recommend Going Bovine by Libba Bray. I'm sorry, but I felt like it was just one bloated (my God is this a long book. And it felt like every single one of its 480 pages), boring book. I just couldn't take it. Libba Bray's newest book is going to be a library read for me....more
I absolutely loved and adored John Connolly's fairy-tale for adults fantasy novel The Book of Lost Things. Due to my sheer love of that book, I expectI absolutely loved and adored John Connolly's fairy-tale for adults fantasy novel The Book of Lost Things. Due to my sheer love of that book, I expected to love The Gates as well. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I spent the majority of the book in like with it. Meaning, I thought it was okay, but nothing to write home about.
The main thing I did actually like about The Gates were the silly demons, especially Nurd. I adored Nurd. While he wasn't exactly cute and cuddly (He is a demon after all), he did have that "kicked puppy" attitude that made you want to hug and cuddle him. I thought his friendship with Samuel was the greatest thing in this book. It was so aww-worthy. It was certainly much better than the half-assed attempt to make Samuel have Harry Potter rip-off friends. I also did the philosophical and religious discussions that came up every once in a while. They were very intriguing and I loved that Samuel asked those kind of questions even if they really aren't the norm for eleven-year-old boys. And that is the extent of my likeness with The Gates.
I guess my main problem with The Gates was that it took a while for me to get into it and even when I was into it, I didn't have a strong desire to pick it back up once I had to put it down. Sure, while I was reading The Gates, I was semi-enjoying it. But once I had to put it down, I tried to rationalize my way out of picking it back up. Maybe it was the endless footnotes (even though these were the most interesting parts of the book) or the sort of patronizing way Connolly speaks to the readers when it comes to the meanings of "difficult" words. Or maybe it was the fact that this is clearly a young adult novel, but is categorized as "Adult Fiction" and therefore has the price of an "Adult Fiction" book when it really should have the price of a young-adult book (which are much cheaper especially if you're comparing Hardcover prices). But either way, I just couldn't love this book.
So, I thought The Gates was just okay. I did chuckle out loud through some parts, but it wasn't that guffawing, laughing out loud kind of book for me. I thought it was pretty cute and I'm sure the younger set will love it, but (and I am so shocked about what I'm going to write considering my love for Young-Adult books. Seriously, check out my bookshelf...) I thought that The Gates was just a tad bit too juvenile for me. From the description of the book, I expected a dark, creepy, adult tale that was mildly funny. But I didn't get any of that except the mildly funny. Oh well. I'll still read whatever Fantasy book that John Connolly publishes in the hopes that it'll be half as good as The Book of Lost Things. ...more