I'm a total sucker for a good friendship, summer read. So, I was very excited to read Proof of Forever...especially when you add in that this book isI'm a total sucker for a good friendship, summer read. So, I was very excited to read Proof of Forever...especially when you add in that this book is being sort of compared to The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants (and I LOVE that book/series) just with a time-travel aspect to it. And then I opened the first page, and saw that the author had a Sarah Dessen quote in it and so my expectations kind of sky-rocketed after that because just like I love The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants, I tend to love Dessen's books. However, upon finishing Proof of Forever, I found myself slightly disappointed in it. It was okay, but nothing much more than that.
The Good: I absolutely loved Joy. She definitely seemed like the sweetest of the bunch and I found her to be such an enigmatic character. In fact, I probably would have liked Proof of Forever slightly more if it had focused mostly on her. I also really loved Zoe and I identified with her feeling of being slightly stuck and feeling as though you're not moving forward. The romance aspect with these two characters was also really sweet, for the most part. Proof of Forever was also really engaging and I didn't have any desire to put it down.
The Not-So-Good: I really couldn't stand Luce or Tali at all. They were such insufferable characters and so prone to the dramatics. Tali was completely self-involved and remained that way through 80 percent of this novel. Luce was entirely way too wishy-washy for my liking. She was up, she was down, she was all-around. Towards the end, I felt bad for her boyfriend, Andrew because this chick had no idea which way was up or what the hell she wanted, but had no problem stringing him along for the ride.
However, the biggest problem I had was that despite the fact that Proof of Forever was touted as a "friendship" book, it focused very little on the friendship between Tali, Luce, Zoe, and Joy. And I'm not all that into comparing two novels, but seeing as how this book does the comparison first, I'll get over it. One of the things that I really loved about The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants was that despite those four girls spending the summer apart and spending so much of the book not being together, I was also highly invested in their friendship and I always felt it. There was also a theme of self-discovery in Sisterhood that happened that summer with the girls through different circumstances. My main issue with Proof of Forever was that while it also had a theme of self-discovery, each of these girls discovered who they were by having a romantic encounter. In TSOTP, while two main characters discovered themselves through romance, only one of those was actually about the romance while the second was about a bigger issue. But with Proof of Forever, the author focused more on the romances that these girls were having as opposed to the connections they were supposed to be making towards each other. So much that when they actually did reconnect, it didn't really ring true to me. After 2 years of not speaking, I'm supposed to believe that these four girls are now going to be the best of friends because they went back in time for five days and didn't really spend all that much time together? Nope, sorry, not really buying it.
So, overall, I thought that the Proof of Forever was just okay. I really would have loved it if it had focused more on the friendship with a bit of romance thrown in as opposed to a romance novel with a bit of friendship within it. I still think it deserves a read and I liked it enough to check out the author's future novels....more
I wanted so much to love Alive. Once I started reading it, I thought "Yes! It's going to be a good one"...bWell, hello there, you HUGE disappointment!
I wanted so much to love Alive. Once I started reading it, I thought "Yes! It's going to be a good one"...but it wasn't...not at all. That has to do with the fact that I'm one of those readers that has to like the main character in order to enjoy the book. Yeah, I'm sure that makes me extremely one-note and more than a little boring, but it is what it is. And I, unfortunately, did not like Em in the slightest. By page 50 I had already rolled my eyes three times at her idiocy and then two more at her fucking annoying attitude.
Here's the thing: Em is a strong female protagonist...and I LOVE those. But Em was one of those people who was strong and then disliked people whom she deemed were not as strong as her and therefore inferior to her. She's constantly getting annoyed and aggravated at Bello for her useless crying. Uhh, hello! Take a look around at the situation you are in. I would be bawling my eyes out, sobbing incoherently if I was in that situation. If you don't like Bello's crying, turn away. I also found it extremely ironic how useless Em deemed crying, but didn't figure that what is actually more useless than crying is swooning over O'Malley and wondering why Bishop isn't looking at you the way he's looking at some other girl. Newsflash Em: you're more useless than Bello.
And another thing, this girl was a HORRIBLE leader! She's constantly doing the wrong thing. And she's always saying "Bishop acts, but I think, therefore I'm a better leader". Yeah, you think...but your thoughts are horrible and get you into more trouble had you not thought, so again..useless. Horrible thoughts, followed by horrible actions, compounded by feelings of superiority and absolutely no sense of compassion means that someone else should have led a loooong time ago. Maybe things would have turned out differently had that happened. I would've much rather had Spingate at the helm. She was calm, cool, collected, and most of the time, extremely logical. She also wasn't an asshole like Em, so she would've been an ideal leader.
Alive also kind of failed as an action-packed novel. Don't get me wrong, it does have some (very little) action packed moments, but for 90 percent of the novel, these people are going upwards, and then downwards, and then in a flat, straight line meandering to absolutely nowhere. If constant running isn't action-packed, then you can bet that walking is even less so.
The writing: eh, meh. It was disjointed and choppy most of the time. It was also incredibly inconsistent. Case in point: the Big Bad tells Em that telling her anymore information would likely be the end of that Big Bad and while the BB is explaining that, she starts giving her more information that would therefore be the end of this BB. And that, of course, makes perfect sense in a novel that makes no type of sense whatsoever...because who cares at that point anyway?
Overall, I didn't like Alive and a lot of that has to do with Em. Horrible main character. I probably would've liked it more had we had another character front and center. I say skip it....more
I'm sort of ambivalent towards Tabula Rasa. On the one hand, it had a fantastic premise and an extremely engrossing beginning. On the other hand, theI'm sort of ambivalent towards Tabula Rasa. On the one hand, it had a fantastic premise and an extremely engrossing beginning. On the other hand, the rest of the novel never seemed to live up to the potential that that fantastic beginning had...
The Good: Again, the beginning of Tabula Rasa was so great. The atmosphere, the characters in the science lab, weird experiments, all components to a little formula that I like to call "total win!" I would have absolutely loved it if the author would have explored this a little more. Have the readers get to know the other patients, the other nurses, get us to care (or loathe) them a little bit more...And THEN come in all guns a-blazin'.
The Okay: The middle of Tabula Rasa was so. freaking. slow. And after reading the middle, I can say that I could have skipped it and not have missed anything in the novel. The last third of the book did have some intriguing parts, but Tabula Rasa never fully recovered from its coma-inducing middle and never got back to the awesomeness it was in the first part of the book.
The So Not Okay: Ugh! Tabula Rasa has insta-love. And it's insta-annoying because of that. I don't buy insta-love. I find it to be a cheap way out. Instead of actually developing a relationship, a blossoming romance, we get the easy way out with characters falling in love after knowing each other for three days. I know what you're thinking, "But they have bad guys after them! There's not enough time for the romance to fully bloom!" Yeah, you know what that means? That means there's no time for romance! "What?! A Young Adult novel with no ROMANCE?! That's not normal..." Whatever.
More Not Okay: The bad guy in Tabula Rasa was incredibly cartoon like. I'm expected to believe that this woman was somewhat normal at first and then turned into a flipping homicidal maniac just because? There's no motive as to her villainy. She just is. Also, what was up with her soliloquy towards the end of the novel. I'm all for exposition, but when the villain starts to explain herself BEFORE fulfilling what she has been trying to actively do for MONTHS, I tend to call it lazy. I get that our heroine needed answers, but there should have been another way for her to get them that wouldn't have left me rolling my eyes extremely hard.
Overall, I found Tabula Rasa to be just okay. It was somewhat of a page-turner. It had an intriguing premise, an amazing beginning, a lackluster middle, an okay end, and characters to root for that didn't completely suck....more
So, I knew basically nothing about Into the After when I started reading it. Just read the synopsis in the inside flap, decided it sounded good enoughSo, I knew basically nothing about Into the After when I started reading it. Just read the synopsis in the inside flap, decided it sounded good enough to check out of the library, and that was that. I read no reviews (and that's rare for me), just looked at the GR rating and thought "Why not?"...Therefore, I had no idea that Into the After was kinda about...aliens. I'm not that big of a science fiction fan, I don't find aliens to be extremely scary (I mean, if aliens are the way we go down when the apocalypse comes, I'm sure I'd be terrified...and very dead), so had I known beforehand that Into the After was about aliens, I probably wouldn't have read it. And that would have been a mistake because I found Into the After to be pretty damned fantastic.
The atmosphere in Into the After was what really wowed me. Again, aliens in literature don't tend to scare me. However, while reading about how isolated Amy and Baby were and how conscious they were to not make noise, to not attract attention, I realized that it was starting to get to me. Case in point, when I went into the kitchen, I noticed the deathly silence...and therefore, started to realize that my boots were really loud in said silence, and then my dog barked and I jumped like three feet into the air. So, Into the After got to me. It was creepy.
What really makes or breaks a story for me are the characters. Into the After has a fantastic heroine in Amy. She's strong and logical, yet flawed. Here's the thing about Amy: she's a hero, sure but...she's not a martyr. I liked the fact that at the end of the day, it was going to be her and Baby against the world, and if anyone got in the way of that...well, they just shouldn't that's all. There was not one character in this book that rubbed me the wrong way...except the ones that I'm not supposed to like (and boy, did I loathe them). I also wanted to know more about all of the characters and their pasts...even the ones that I loathed. They were all so intriguing. Of course, no one is as intriguing as THEM.
It's sort of inevitable that a YA dystopian about aliens is going to get compared to another YA dystopian about aliens. And while I feel that Into the After beats The Fifth Wave in almost every conceivable way, the thing that The Fifth Wave does have going for it is the aliens. In the Fifth Wave, the aliens are smart, cunning, and therefore, stuff of nightmares. While the aliens in Into the After are more bloodthirsty, they're all not that smart. In fact, while reading this book, I said "oh, they're stupid" in a mild disappointing voice. Now, if this were a real alien apocalypse, I'd be praising the heavens, yelling "YES! They're STUPID!". But it's not, so I'm not. However, the alien timeline in Into the After is less predictable (i.e. I did not see THAT coming, but in a good way) than the alien subplots in The 5th Wave (i.e. the minute said character is introduced you just KNOW he's a kinda, sorta bad guy).
Now, the one thing that makes Into the After the KING of sci-fi dystopian novels (of two I've read so far) is the romance. Do you want to know why? Because it's barely a blip on the radar here! There's romance, of course (apparently there has to be), but it's really not at all the main point or not even one of the main points in Into the After. That made it more realistic for me. Nothing takes me out of a novel more than "The world ended! We're being terrorized by [insert catastrophic end of the world event here]! What are we gonna---oooh, who's that boy with the dreamy eyes? I LOVE him! [insert eternal angst and eyeroll by yours truly here]". So, Into the After scored many points with me by putting the romance on the backburner and focusing mostly on the relationship between Amy and Baby.
Because that right there is what's going to tug at the heartstrings. That's what made Into the After such a fantastic book. The relationship between Amy and Baby was what kept me interested. Sure the aliens were creepy, all of the characters were interesting, but Amy and Baby was what set this book apart from most of the other dystopian novels. I love a book that focuses less on the romance and more on the friendships and family relationships. That warms my heart more than an angsty bad boy and the formally badass heroine that turns into mush when encountering said bad boy.
So, I found Into the After to be a really great book (a bit more better than The 5th Wave). It's a massive page-turner that I read in one sitting (not counting my terrifying, silent infused foray into the kitchen). This book also doesn't feel like it's just a gateway into the sequel (which is one of my pet peeves in YA series). There's more to be known, but the conclusion in this book was satisfactory, at least to me. Highly recommened and probably my favorite read for this month (tied with Perfect Ruin)!
I have to admit when I first started Perfect Ruin, I was a little skeptical. Mostly because while I was intrigued when I first started it, I realizedI have to admit when I first started Perfect Ruin, I was a little skeptical. Mostly because while I was intrigued when I first started it, I realized after I hit page 50 that it wasn't hooking me the way I'm used to with other YA novels. In fact, I actually looked at Perfect Ruin and thought "Ugh, still have like 300 pages left." I don't know when exactly that feeling changed, but while I was heading towards the end, I started to realize that I didn't want this book to end...Every time I turned another page and was just that much closer to a conclusion, my heart started to beat a little faster with anticipation and with dread because it was all going to be over soon.
I've yet to read Destefano's Chemical Garden series (yes, I know, shame on me), so I didn't realize what a wonderful writer she is. Usually in a YA novel, I'm so into what's happening with the plot and the characters, that I rarely notice the writing (unless it's atrociously bad, of course) in my anxiety to keep reading until it's conclusion (even though my heart breaks once the conclusion is there). But with Perfect Ruin, I found myself stopping a couple of times to re-read certain passages and then to write them down in my quote journal. The epigraphs were the most impressive for me. They were so beautifully written and really quite deep. I found myself ruminating over them more than what was written in the actual chapters that preceded them.
I found the world created by Destefano in Perfect Ruin really intriguing. A world where you're pretty much allowed to do whatever profession you choose while being up in the clouds sounds marvelous to me...Of course, when the other shoe dropped I wasn't so keen to build my own rocket and shoot up to Internment myself, but still...the world building in this book kind of rocked.
Another thing that rocked in Perfect Ruin were the characters. In fact, I don't think there was a single character that I disliked in this book and that's incredibly rare for me. I liked Morgan. She wasn't like Katniss strong (I mean fulled to the brim with fire Hunger Games Katniss, not even vaguely smoking Mockingjay Katniss), the way I usually love my heroines to be, but still she took action when she had to. I LOVED Pen (I will always like the supporting characters in the book more than the actual protagonist...nothing personal at this point) and her studious, bookwormy, quirky fashion ways. Again, I really liked all of the characters. Shocking.
Another shocker: the romance didn't make me want to fling myself of the highest tower the way it usually does in any book that isn't written by Sarah Dessen (or fanfiction). Basil and Morgan's relationship was quite sweet and I really loved the relationship between Pen and Thomas (again I love supporting characters). Oooh, I also really liked Pen and Morgan's friendship. One thing that I'm sort of bracing myself for, though, is the inevitable love triangle. There were some shades of it in Perfect Ruin (not much though) and I'm hoping it all stops when the second book rolls around. Let's not fall into the cliche, mmmkay?
So, overall I found Perfect Ruin to be just that...Perfect. And the fact that I have to wait a year for the second book to come out is ruining me so really the title works in many ways. Anyway, I really can't think of any flaws. I'm sure I'll come up with a few if I really try, though, so I'm going to cease trying. I'm just gonna highly recommend this one....more
I'm of two minds when it comes to the Dresden Files. On the one hand, the books are good...on the other hand, the books are just good...meaning they'rI'm of two minds when it comes to the Dresden Files. On the one hand, the books are good...on the other hand, the books are just good...meaning they're not great. So far, I feel like the Dresden Files just isn't hooking me in the way that I'd like. I mean, I really liked Storm Front, but now I'm thinking I liked it cause it was new and shiny, but the novelty is starting to wear off just a teeny bit.
Starting with the good: I liked the creepy, steroid-ness of the ghosts, especially at the beginning since it was completely creepy. I loved learning more about the vampires because they're vicious and that's just the way I like my vampires. And after, the first half, Grave Peril started to get really action-packed. Oooh, and I liked Michael, too. In fact, him and Bob are the only characters I wasn't annoyed at, at one point or another, in this book.
The Not-So Good: Let me just get this out of the way: Nothing pisses me off more than a character that isn't properly introduced so that I'm left scrambling, wondering who the hell they are. Again, while Michael was one of the better things about Grave Peril, it seemed that Butcher just dumped him onto my lap. So much, that I had to double check on Amazon and make sure that the book I was reading was indeed the third installment. There's nothing more that I hate than starting a book already lost.
Another not good thing: For me, Grave Peril took a while to get going. I just didn't have any particular desire to pick it up once I put it down. I wonder if it's cause Harry's starting to get a teeny bit stagnant. I don't know, but I was hoping that this book would be a quick page-turner and it wasn't...at least not until half-way in.
So, overall, I liked Grave Peril, but I didn't love it. I liked it more than Full Moon, but not as much as I liked Storm Front. But people do say that these books get better as they go on, so I have high hopes for Summer Knight. While I'm not loving the Dresden Files, I am enjoying them, so I'm still going to continue....more