I really like the book cover, although I don't know how well it fits the story. It looks like three girls that don't like each other are really pissed...moreI really like the book cover, although I don't know how well it fits the story. It looks like three girls that don't like each other are really pissed off...which is definitely not a feature of the book. But, I guess since this is a YA novel you can't have a swooning female in the arms of a half-naked Fabio.
I read quite a bit of adult historical romance, and this book, to me, was basically one of those books without the steamy scenes. I don't say that as a criticism at all, I just feel like those scenes were left out in order to put a YA stamp on the book. I wish more books were written that way! Leaves more room for character development versus clothes removal.
The tension and chemistry between Alex and Gavin was brilliantly realized, they were both very dynamic characters! I loved Alex's best friends Ella and Vivi too.
Like with many romance novels, the mystery part of the book seemed more like a token plot so that the whole book won't be made up of the love story. It wasn't boring, but it wasn't fully realized either.
If you're a historical fiction or romance fan, this is definitely a book you'll enjoy! I hope Sarah MacLean writes more YA romance along these same lines (her adult romance series is fantastic too!). (less)
Dang. I was really looking forward to reading Warped when it came out, y'all. I started it almost immediately after it was released, couldn't get into...moreDang. I was really looking forward to reading Warped when it came out, y'all. I started it almost immediately after it was released, couldn't get into it, and set it aside. Then I saw a few good reviews that prompted me to pick it back up. Well, this time I at least did manage to finish it. Unfortunately, that's about all I can say.
It just wasn't believable. Okay, okay. I know. You're sitting there looking at your computer screen like "uh, brilliant observation Allison. The book about the Fates, unicorns and witches isn't believable." But that isn't what I mean. I mean that the characters acted totally ridiculous in the situations they found themselves in.
Tessa-of-the-16th-Century (I'll call her N(ot) Q(uite) Tessa) is a young lady. The local nobility pays off NQ Tessa's family so that they can use her for unicorn bait. See, they think this wild unicorn killed off one of them. (For the purposes of this scenario, we'll forget about the fact that they're completely wrong.)They need NQ Tessa because she is a virgin, which as we all know, is like a flashing "come and get it" sign to unicorns. So anyway, this maiden is sitting out in the middle of the forest trying to attract a killer unicorn...she is alone, but she knows plenty of big scary men are close by waiting to move in and kill it once it shows up. So then, all of a sudden....wait for it....
NQ Tessa: WTF? A DOG?!? You said you were out to get a killer unicorn! You didn't say anything about bringing dogs! I'm scared of dogs! Does that strike anyone else as ridiculous? The group of big hunters? Fine. Killer unicorns? No biggie. But bring out the trained dogs? Now you've done it.
Tessa, our modern day heroine, pulls a thread out of the unicorn tapestry, which makes 16th Century William appear in her bedroom. She decides to call for back-up.
Tessa: Girl, this guy just fell out of that creepy unicorn tapestry hanging in my room. He is wearing medieval clothes...this is really weird. I bet I sound a little crazy, but I promise I'm not.
Opal: hmm. Well, that does sound rather odd. But, of course I believe you. Be right over! uhh, hold it. I know you only have about 400 pages to tell your story so you don't have time for a lot of theatrics with the whole getting-people-to-believe-you thing, but really. I'm gonna need a little more than that.
So anyway, those are the two examples that stuck with me of situations I just couldn't roll with in the story. Obviously I didn't quote from the actual book, I just kinda paraphrased to get my point across. I wasn't at all trying to imply that the author's actual writing style was bad either.
It just seemed like the plot was a little too much...and the characters just didn't fit the story. Obviously this is just my opinion, because a lot of people loved the book! If I wasn't so hung up on the characters, I'm sure I would have gotten caught up in the plot and found it very entertaining. Unfortunately, this just wasn't the book for me.(less)
Before I say anything else, I just have to say that Elizabeth Hand is an absolutely phenomenal writer. Seriously, the breathtakingly gorgeous writing...moreBefore I say anything else, I just have to say that Elizabeth Hand is an absolutely phenomenal writer. Seriously, the breathtakingly gorgeous writing of this story blew me away. I can't wait to read more of her; I need to hit the library to pick up some of her adult titles.
Calling this book young adult is a little iffy to me, just because the characters are teenagers for a majority of the story doesn't mean it has to have a YA label. The themes and emotions the book focuses on are much more adult to me. But at the same time, I'm not one for labels and I read both YA and adult books constantly - I just don't want people to be misled.
A lot of people will probably want to avoid this book due to its taboo first-cousins-in-love plot. It makes the book feel so dark and gothic - to me it adds a deeper layer of allure to the plot. It all feels a little other-worldly to me, which is what I think kept the creep factor at bay for me.
So, I really enjoyed the story...but I think it really is just something you have to judge for yourself. It is probably beyond a lot of peoples' comfort levels, and that's fine. But if you can get past that enough to pick up the book, I definitely recommend it. The writing is stunning, and I enjoyed pushing myself out of my comfort zone. (less)
I wasn't sure what to expect from this one, I've seen a lot of mixed reviews. Some people loved it, some people really didn't. I'm in the "loved it" c...moreI wasn't sure what to expect from this one, I've seen a lot of mixed reviews. Some people loved it, some people really didn't. I'm in the "loved it" camp. Big time. Seriously, I'm going to be on the over-enthusiastic Kody Keplinger cheerleading squad.
I think it was a ballsy book to write, I can already see the Judy Blume-hating parents and librarians descending on her like a big juicy porterhouse. Lots of sexy hijinks - in a YA book. Not quite as rare as it used to be, but most YA authors don't tackle the "no strings attached - no feelings involved" side of things. Miz Keplinger has done it, and done it well. I love the way the relationship(s) were handled. I mean...come on. There is even a love letter. It doesn't get any better than that (hello? Captain Wentworth!).
I wasn't so crazy about how Bianca's relationships with her parents was handled. It seems like their problems were just plastered in there so she'd have something to run away from. It wasn't really tackled that well, in my opinion. Keplinger was such a great writer in every other regard, I think she could have done it better. But - I can kinda understand why she didn't focus on it much since it wasn't meant to be the big issue in the book.
I love having a heroine that isn't gorgeous or sure of herself. She might be a little chubby, and she might have a big attitude...but it is still easy to fall for Bianca. Sometimes authors overwrite characters like this and make them annoying or hard to relate to, but Bianca was written very well. I also loved her friends and how loyal they were. Even if Bianca felt like the DUFF...they never ever treated her like one. Yay for good BFFs.
So, seriously. Pick this book up and get ready to fall in love with Bianca and get a nice hefty dose of teenage angst. I can't wait to see what Kody Keplinger does next!(less)
This is a very intense and passionate novel. Which makes sense, as it is a retelling of the opera Carmen. Even though it might spoil some of the plotl...moreThis is a very intense and passionate novel. Which makes sense, as it is a retelling of the opera Carmen. Even though it might spoil some of the plotline in the book, I think it is a good idea to read up on a general outline of the opera before reading - to help you appreciate the spirit of the retelling.
A lot of books and movies attempt to explain the intensity and drive of serious dancers. Our MC, Soledad, is a very determined and talented dancer. She ends up taking a part dancing for a competing marching band. I loved that twist - because dancers aren't the only intensely focused group out there. Marching band is hardcore...which Soledad finds out very quickly.
Anyways, the point I'm making is that the very nature of the activities the characters are involved in adds just another level of passion and focus to the story. As if the characters don't bring all those things to the table as it is.
I'm not even going to breathe a hint of a spoiler here, the boys are introduced in the summary - and that is all you need to know. Meet them, decide for yourself what you think about them, and dive headfirst into this novel. It is sexy, it is intense, and will be one that sticks with you for a long time. (less)
The three books of the series are The Poison Throne, The Crowded Shadows and The Rebel Prince. I'm reviewing them together partly because it would be...moreThe three books of the series are The Poison Throne, The Crowded Shadows and The Rebel Prince. I'm reviewing them together partly because it would be hard to write individual reviews without a ton of spoilers...but also because I was insanely addicted to the series and read all three books in a row, and in a ridiculously short amount of time. Oh - and fair warning - there will be gushing to follow.
Here, friends. Here is a series to get lost in. This world, these people...they don't let you keep them on the pages of the book for long. I got so completely caught up in the adventures of Wynter, Razi and Christopher; when I would set the books down for something it would take me a disorienting moment to remember that I wasn't actually with them and part of the story. That, my friends, is the biggest gift a book can give you.
The politics, characters and different tribes and nations of people are all so layered and complex. I'm already looking forward to rereading the series sometime in the future because I know there is enough to the story that I will be picking up all kinds of things that I missed the first time.
I could never critique these books by saying "I didn't like what this character did in this situation" or "I wish she had written this part different" because...of course there are things I wish the characters hadn't done, or things that I wish had happened differently. Reading these books means watching a world unfold. (I did warn you there'd be gushing.) But, fair warning, there is a lot of intensity, and a lot of things that are hard to read (like human sacrifice).
In a lot of ways, reading is a never-ending search for books like these...the ones that give you a complete escape. If you like that feeling (and you know the one I'm talking about), then this really is a trilogy you shouldn't miss.(less)
I picked up this book after seeing it reviewed at The Book Smugglers. The historical fantasy/romance mix has always been one I enjoy - and this novel...moreI picked up this book after seeing it reviewed at The Book Smugglers. The historical fantasy/romance mix has always been one I enjoy - and this novel was certainly no exception. In fact, it might be my new favorite historical fantasy novel. The mixture of great characterization, world-building an plot make it practically perfect in every way.
I was intrigued from the beginning - the prologue threw me a little, but once the main storyline started with Emily in Lost Pine, I was hooked. She was a great character to get to know - not perfect and not fully formed. She had a lot of growth throughout the novel, and that is something I always enjoy reading. Actually, all the characters had layers, especially Dreadnought (unfortunate name that somehow fits him anyway). Although he gives you plenty of reasons to hate him at the beginning of the story, I could never quite pull it off. And as things progress, his background and personality come out and make him very complicated and real...I loved him by the end. He is not your typical hero.
The world that unfolds throughout the novel is an intriguing one, I loved every aspect of it. Same goes with the plot - there was a lot of action and a lot of intensity. The few breaks from the action give the characters a chance to interact - there was never any point where I was bored with the story.
Another thing I love is that things more or less wrap up at the end of the book. It is the beginning of the series, so a new conflict is referred to at the end...but the main plot of this story is wrapped up. If you aren't intrigued enough with the book to continue with the next one, you'll get a fulfilling ending. I, however, can't imagine reading this and not wanting to continue the series! I fell in love with the characters and their world, and am now anxiously awaiting the sequel, The Hidden Goddess. (less)