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 enough...moreSo, 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 realized...moreI 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.(less)
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'r...moreI'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.(less)
If books and computers hooked up and had a baby, the result would be Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. This book is just a bibliophile and a technophi...moreIf books and computers hooked up and had a baby, the result would be Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. This book is just a bibliophile and a technophile's wet dream. It speaks to the geek in all of us (and there is one in ALL of us...I don't care how cool you think you are, embrace the geek side). Especially when you take both books and technology and add a little bit of sci-fi/fantasy into it. It's just got all the makings of a great book. And it was a great book...for the first 80% of it at least.
The Good: The descriptions. Now, I completely embrace my geekiness. I love books. I love technology. So, rambling on and on about libraries and Google was like heaven for me. I just loved the whole let's-see-who-kicks-more-ass-books-or-ereaders argument. Plus, the first 80% of the book really was pretty great and pretty interesting.
The bad: The last 20% of the book AKA THE END! Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore just seemed to lose me at the end. Not because I was confused at anything that was actively happening, but rather because I just stopped giving a crap by then. The book slowed down immensely towards the end, that the only reason I didn't give it up completely was because I had already invested 80% of my time in it. And I reached the very flat ending and thought "Okay, it's over. Yay!"
So, overall, I thought that Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore was just okay. Great premise, great beginning, okay middle, followed by an extremely boring ending. I would personally say skip it or at least, pick it up at your local library (even if you kinda want the glow-in-the-dark cover...cause that sounds pretty damn cool).(less)
Okay, so The 5th Wave is about aliens...I figure I should mention that considering that when this book popped up on my Amazon Vine newsletter, nowhere...moreOkay, so The 5th Wave is about aliens...I figure I should mention that considering that when this book popped up on my Amazon Vine newsletter, nowhere did it state that it was about aliens. If it had, I might have thought twice about selecting it. Not that there's anything wrong with aliens (The Faculty and Independence Day are two of my favorite movies ever!), it's just that when it comes to big badness, I felt like aliens wouldn't translate well onto a written page. Boy, was I WRONG! They translated big time! And they were translated wonderfully.
The Good: The aliens! I liked that they weren't all "let's blow up the White House just cause!." These aliens had an actual plan. They were manipulative, organized, intelligent, and due to all this, more than a little scary. I would've liked for them to show up a little more, but I get that they didn't because the book kind of had to be mysterious about them. More Good: The writing in The 5th Wave was fantastic. I'm usually put off my shifting narratives, but I wasn't in this novel. I was only thrown the first time because I didn't expect it to shift from Cassie's persepective into another character's perspective. But after that initial hurdle, it was smooth sailing.
I also loved the characters in The 5th Wave. They were all very strong in their own right and they didn't fall into the stereotypes. None of the characters were bland, either. All of the supporting characters were fleshed out and the main characters weren't too annoying. My favorites in The 5th Wave were definitely Ringer and Teacup. Ringer was everything a strong female character should be and even though she didn't make as much of an appearance here, she was still awesome those times she did appear. The same goes for Teacup. Only 7 years old and she was more badass than all of the characters in The 5th Wave put together.
The Just Okay: Cassie. She starts off strong and badass, but she definitely loses some of her spunk when she meets Evan. She starts to become very redundant with the whole "should I/shouldn't I trust him". At one point I thought, "I don't friggin' care whether you should trust him or not! Just pick one and stop moaning about it!". I think the times when she didn't annoy me, were the times when she was with Sammy or talking about rescuing Sammy. Now there is a brother-sister relationship done right. However, it's kind of hard keep looking strong and badass when you're compared to Ringer and Teacup...it's just not going to happen.
Another just okay thing was the whole reveal with Evan. I'm not sure if that was supposed to be an "Oh my God, I can't believe it!" moment or not. Because it was entirely predictable...so predictable, in fact, that I'm thinking that it wasn't supposed to be a huge twist, but rather just something you're waiting for the main character to catch up on.
Overall, I thought The 5th Wave was a fantastic entry into the whole post-apocalyptic/dystopian YA genre. It was creepy, intriguing, with strong main characters AND supporting characters thrown in. Apparently, it's part of a series, but it doesn't seem that way in that The 5th Wave seems finished with a bit more intrigue thrown in as to what if. Nothing annoys me more than a series that waits until the second entry to get things rolling and leaves huge cliffhangers at the end. The 5th Wave doesn't do this. So, it gets 4 stars for awesomeness.(less)
So, I really loved Storm Front. I thought it was a great and intriguing urban fantasy and really couldn't wait to get to book 2 especially since many...moreSo, I really loved Storm Front. I thought it was a great and intriguing urban fantasy and really couldn't wait to get to book 2 especially since many people were saying that book 1 was the weakest of the series. Needless to say, that my expectations were kinda high when I picked up Fool Moon. And while Fool Moon was good...I didn't feel it was as great as Storm Front.
The Good: I loved the whole werewolf premise of Storm Front which I found strange because I'm weary when it comes to werewolves (my whole trepidation of werewolves, vampires, fantasy as a whole, really, can all be linked back to Twilight). But I loved learning about all the different types of werewolves and what makes one type worse than another. Another thing I loved in Fool Moon was the character of Tera and her little pups. I thought Tera was hilarious and thought the pups were cute. Oh, and let me not forget about the character of Susan. As someone who as a bit 'meh' about the character in Storm Front, I feel like she was way more developed in Fool Moon and actually served a purpose. Butcher gets points for actually fleshing out her character, but at the same time keeping her mysterious as to what her real angle is.
The Okay: I loved Murphy in Storm Front and thought she was a cool, awesome, and badass chick. I also loved her relationship with Dresden. However, in Fool Moon, their relationship didn't evolve. I'm not saying that I wanted them to jump in the sack or anything like that. But Storm Front had the whole thing with Harry keeping things from her, Murphy finding out, and then Murphy suspecting he was the culprit behind the crime. In Fool Moon, we have Harry keeping things from Murphy, her finding out, and then Murphy suspecting he was the culprit behind the crime. At this point, it's pretty much same old, same old. I found that more than a bit annoying.
Still Okay: The whodunit was INSANELY predictable...like you-know-this-person-is-a-murderer-the-minute-they-step-on-the-page predictable. Another thing is while I did enjoy the werewolves and I did enjoy how the confrontation with who did it came about, actually getting there wasn't as unputdownable as it should have been. While Storm Front, I kept clicking my Kindle at a furious pace, with Fool Moon, my mind drifted off a little.
So overall, I thought that Fool Moon was just an okay read. However, Harry Dresden is still an interesting hero and the little breadcrumbs that Butcher keeps dropping in regards to Harry's past are keeping things fresh. And while I didn't love it, I'm still completely looking forward to picking up Book 3 very soon.(less)
The Future of Us has a very unique premise. It was a premise that was filled with so much promise, that could have had the potential to be deep and me...moreThe Future of Us has a very unique premise. It was a premise that was filled with so much promise, that could have had the potential to be deep and meaningful. But, alas, it was not meant to be. Here's the thing: Emma and Josh have all of this power by knowing the future through Facebook (which hasn't been invented yet). They can do so many interesting things. Yet, they don't. They spend most of their time bitching and moaning about who they're going to marry, especially Emma.
Now what do I say about Emma? How about I start with the fact that she was a self-absorbed, self-obsessed, manipulative little twit? Does that work? Seriously, any kind of enjoyment I could've received from The Future Of Us was zapped due to that highly unlikeable character. She takes boy-crazy to the next, pathetic, level. She was vapid and shallow. We're told time and time again that any small thing can cause a huge ripple in everybody's future. But Emma doesn't care about EVERYBODY's future. Nope. She just cares about hers. "What? Me jumping up and down and swearing I'm not going to go to a particular school is going to wipe out half of your family? I don't care. I care about who I'm going to spend the rest of my life with!" That was Emma.
What's even worse is that she's basing these huge life decisions over little snippets of status updates. One particular snippet that annoyed me was when future Emma updates that they're going to her future husband's favorite restaurant and that she hopes the babysitter isn't late. Well, of course, this just causes Emma to go through all kinds of agony because she clearly isn't happy in this future either. "How come we're not going to MY favorite restaurant? This means that this husband isn't amazing either and I'm still going to be miserable." I wanted to yell, "Seriously? Dial down your drama, cause it's not cute."
Josh wasn't that much better, but he was much more mellow and way less neurotic than Emma that I didn't want to throw the book against the wall in the chapters that he narrated. As for the supporting characters, I found Emma's bff to be a complete hypocrite while Josh's bff was more honest than all 3 of them despite the fact that he was written in a way to seem like a jerk. He was the only truly likeable character in The Future of Us.
As for the writing of The Future of Us, it wasn't anything I was wowed by. Mainly because there were two subplots in here that seem like they're going to go somewhere, but they don't. They just fizzle out and don't bother getting resolved. Although that isn't that surprising when you consider that the resolutions in this book were ridiculous and didn't make any type of sense that I'm sure the authors were just like "Screw it!".
So, The Future of Us was a huge disappointment. The authors took a premise that was shining with huge potential and basically crapped all over it. I'm just thanking my lucky stars that I didn't buy it when I saw it at Target and decided to take it out of the library. At least I didn't waste any money. I say, skip it.(less)
Life's too short to read a book you're not 100% enjoying. That's basically my philosophy. I just have too many books to waste my time on one that I fe...moreLife's too short to read a book you're not 100% enjoying. That's basically my philosophy. I just have too many books to waste my time on one that I feel is not going to be up to snuff. Unfortunately, this has happened with The Vyne. I usually try to forge ahead if, and only if, a book is a First Reads win (or a library thing win), but then there comes a point where you have to put a book down if you start thinking of what chores you need to be doing (and considering I'm very much anti-chores, the book just stopped for me at that point. Time of Death: 8:50 PM) as opposed to thinking about the book you're actually reading.
The Vyne was dragging on for me. I tried to persevere I did, but after 120 pages, I just couldn't take the boredom anymore. Nothing of interest was happening. And I was already annoyed at the main character, Ash. He seemed bratty and kind of like a bitch. Not very manly at all. I don't mind sensitive men, I tend to like them. But Ash started reminding me of Bella from Twilight with that whole naive, only want the boy (or in his case, girl), that's all I care about 'tude. Dude, that's so not attractive, in a chick or a guy. Oh, and also, Ash seemed to love Scar from the minute he saw her and care for her right then and there. Now, call me a complete cynic, but I don't believe in love at first sight (unless, you know, it's your actual kid you're loving immediately). That tingly feeling you get the minute you see an attractive person is called lust. Don't sugarcoat it or try to make it into something that it's not.
But my main problem with The Vyne, besides the coma-inducing boredom that was going on, was that it started reminding me a little too much of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (if you exclude Ash's Bella like behavior, I mean). There even is a Sorcerer's Stone in this book only it's called a Chrysalis. I'm sorry, but if you have something that can turn metal into gold and can prolong your life, it's not a Chrysalis. It's called the Sorcerer's Stone (or the Philosopher's Stone) and it was created by Nicholas Flamel, not by this Yen person or whoever it was that they made create it (I didn't get that far). I'm well aware that Flamel's stone wasn't a figment of J.K. Rowling's imagination, but still...that plot has already been superbly done by her, so come up with something new unless you want comparisons to take place.
So, The Vyne was sort of a dud. Or at least it was 120 pages in. Again, I could've overlooked the flaws (what I mean by that was that I would've at least finished it, not necessarily given it a good rating) if it just wasn't soooo boring. Sigh. I'm hoping my next First Reads win (which I'm dying for it to arrive) will be way better than this one.(less)
Huh. I really have no idea why I didn't love The City of Ember. I'm just perplexed. I really should have loved it. There were no flaws that I could th...moreHuh. I really have no idea why I didn't love The City of Ember. I'm just perplexed. I really should have loved it. There were no flaws that I could think of. The heroes weren't annoying at all. The villians weren't too dastardly that I hated their scenes with every fiber of my being. The City of Ember was pretty suspenseful. I just. don't. know. I'm a bit disheartened.
The writing in The City of Ember wasn't amazing, but that sort of thing doesn't bother me unless it's like really, really bad or it's average yet the book won a Pulitzer. That doesn't apply here. I guess my main problem was that I couldn't bring myself to care. Oh, Ember is losing power quickly? Wow, sucks to be the citizens of that city. I wasn't attached to the characters or the plot. I mean, don't get me wrong is was mildly interesting and I did speed through the book, but again, I just didn't care. I had no feelings while reading this. Maybe The City of Ember was too juvenile for me. However, I have enjoyed countless Young-Adult novels so maybe I'm just grasping at straws.
So, I didn't hate The City of Ember, but I didn't love it either. I was just "meh" about it. It did keep me turning the pages, but it was sort of like a reflex with no conscious thought. Although, to be perfectly fair, this book did follow To Kill a Mockinbird for me and any book following that one is just bound to fail. Anyway, I am interested in reading The People of Sparks, the second installment of The City of Ember (it's right there on my shelf) and I'm hoping that that one gets more of a response from me.
P.S. Completely useless review, you say? I know, but I just. don't. know.(less)
The Hunger Games was one of those books that I bought upon release, was over-hyped by everyone, and therefore went on the back-burner until my own exp...moreThe Hunger Games was one of those books that I bought upon release, was over-hyped by everyone, and therefore went on the back-burner until my own expectations of the book would be brought down. That was three years ago and I finally (FINALLY!) decided to dust off my hardcover...And I am KICKING myself for waiting so long to read it because it was AMAZING!
Okay, so the premise of The Hunger Games was awesome...and very creepy. You basically have 24 teens fighting each other to death for the chance to be the winner of The Hunger Games which includes a crapload or riches and such. Yeah it's vicious and I'm sure those who haven't read it can't comprehend why someone would do it. Well, it's mandatory in that they absolutely HAVE to do it or face...huh, the book never actually mentions what would happen if someone puts their foot down and decides not to go. Anyway, due to the premise, The Hunger Games was action-packed! I really didn't think that I would like an action book as much as I did. I just kept gasping, "Who's going to die now?! How are they going to die?!" See. Creepy premise that makes everyone else react creepily. However, said premise was made better by the awesomeness that was the main character.
Katniss was a kick-ass female character! I've read a plethora of Young-Adult novels where the heroines were pathetic, ooey-gooey type of chicks (Ahem, Twilight), so I'm always weary to pick up a non-realistic YA novel fronted by a female. But, Katniss was just made of awesome. She was so bad-ass and was just as smart, strong, and ruthless as any of the men in The Hunger Games were. In fact, most of the girls in this book were like that, even the blatantly evil ones (especially the blatantly evil ones). They all want to win and will do anything to achieve that.
Now the romance didn't make me want to stab my eyes due to the cheesiness of it all and that's the highest rating I can give it. For a romance to make me go "awww" and squee, it has to be the best romance known to man. This wasn't (and let's face it, this was a main reason why I loved it so much) and the romance wasn't all in your face (which I also liked). It was secondary to The Hunger Games. Although, let's face it, if someone was getting all cuddly during the games, I would think it was just so stupid considering that everyone should be concentrating on, you know, getting out ALIVE. But the way The Hunger Games went actually made a lot of sense.
So, The Hunger Games was just full of win. It was an amazing novel that's making me regret putting it off for so long because I could've enjoyed this book when the rest of the world (mostly) was enjoying. Oh well. At least all of the books are out, so there isn't much of a wait to read them.(less)