The whole idea is that gargoyles and demons are fighting each other for the future of humanity. I'll be honest, the whole gargoyle thing didn't exactly captivate me. I found the novella rather bland, and if it hadn't been for the glimpse of Layla and Roth, I would never have picked this up. Luckily, this series is all about those two crazy kids. As the title suggests, Layla has a problem with kissing. She can't. Well, she can, but then she sucks out the other person's soul. So. That sucks. Heh. Secretly she pines for Zayne, the son of the Warden (gargoyle) who took her in when she was seven. They've been friends for as long as she can remember, but lately her feelings have turned into something more. Unfortunately, Zayne's life is not really his own, and he's being pushed into an engagement with another female Warden. You know, one that won't suck out his soul...
So why is Layla a soul-sucker? Well, she's a hybrid. The daughter of a demon and a Warden. And technically, they should have killed her when they found her in the orphanage. But Zayne's dad thought she should be given a chance to deny her demon side. That doesn't mean that the other Wardens feel that way. Most of them teeter between quietly suspicious and openly hostile when they meet her. With her home life a confusing mess, Layla finds comfort in the normalcy of school, and in her after school job...tagging demons. See, along with the ability to steal souls, Layla can also see souls. Or the lack thereof, as the case may be. And once she touches a demon, it lights them up with an invisible neon sign that points them out to the Wardens. So, in her own way, she gets to use her strange abilities to be useful in the fight against evil. Because all demons are evil. Right? Hello, Roth! He's a demon who keeps popping into her life at the most unexpected times...and saving her life. Now, why would a demon do that?
As you can probably figure out, there's a lot of gray in the world that Layla doesn't know about. Even more important, a lot she doesn't know about her past, her heritage, and her powers.
This was a fun story, with a side of cute demon-boy on the side. I'm going back for more! If you're a fan of Armentrout's writing, then this one will make you happy! If you're not...find something else.
Warning: Spoilers for the previous books in this review.
When I originally read The Island, I never in a million years imagined that it would end up making a point. I thought it was just this weird little book, about a group of people who based their belief system on Star Wars fanfic. I mean, come on, how are you going to turn that into a poignant social commentary? Can I get an amen, folks?
Ok, Minkman. You got me. I get it now. In the original book, Leia starts questioning the society she grew up in, and ends up turning their world upside down. She finds out that their 'religion' is based off of the diary of a young boy, who was one of the survivors of germ warfare that wiped out the world as we know it. The parents of the original inhabitants of the island died before they could reunite with their children, so the backbone of the two societies were founded by the twelve and under crowd. Eventually, the children split into two groups: the ones who believed their parents would come for them one day, and the ones who thought they had been abandoned. Leia's side of the island followed the The Force, and revered The Book...which, in reality, was a wonky version of some Star Wars stories. To the inhabitants of the other side of the island, they were known as The Unbelievers. On the flip side, you learn about Walt's half of the island in the second book, The Waves. Leia knows this group only as The Fools...as in, foolish for waiting around for someone to save them. And, in essence, that's what Walt's town does. Their 'religion' is more traditional, in that they worship a goddess named Annabelle, who has promised to return for them one day. And that makes a hellava lot more sense than believing in the prophet Luke, and trying to find the Force within yourself! Or does it?
The Deep takes off in another direction, as Walt and Leia make the journey across the sea to the Old World. And, once again, what they find there surprises them. The inhabitants follow the New Testament, and seem to have a finally come up with a way for everyone to live in peace and harmony. But the price for no war doesn't come cheap, and it might be higher than either of them are willing to pay. Meanwhile, back on the island, the Unbelievers and the Fools are trying to find a way to rebuild their societies. Two of the characters from the other books, Alisa (Walt's best friend) and Saul (the unhinged leader of the juvenile Unbelievers), play a large role in the story. Alisa narrates the portions of the book set on the island, while Leia is our narrator for what's going on in the New World. There's a buttload of themes that we've got going on between the two points of view. Redemption and personal freedom were both heavily featured, however, the surprising 'lesson' was something I totally didn't see coming. The running theme of all three books is the blind devotion to their respective religious teachings. In the first book, I laughed, because...Fanfic! Bwahahahaha! How stupid do you have to be? The second book, had a more plausible belief system, but it was still weird that all these people thought some magical goddess was going to sail up in a ship...and take them all away to paradise someday. And in this one, Miknkman showed a twisted form of Christianity being abused by the people in power. Ha! Like THAT could ever happen! Sooooo. *cough* How laughable was it that Leia & Co. blindly followed a book that was written long ago? In a galaxy far far away... How stupid were they to believe in the undisputed truth to words that were written down by people no longer alive to explain their meaning? Riiiiight. And though Minkman calls into question blind faith, she does it without malice. Even while the characters are struggling with the realization that they've been duped, they still find solace in the belief that there is more out there than just what we can touch and see.
My suggestion is to read these books in order. Wallow in the ridiculous nature of Leia's society's foundations. Giggle when you read about Walt's belief in Annabelle. Because it makes it all the more impressive when the rug gets yanked out from under you in this book. Well played, Minkman. Well played.(less)
It's readable, I finished it, and it might be a keeper if you're part of the under 18 crowd. There. I was nice.
I didn't research the author or the book before I requested it from NetGalley, so I went into this with no preconceived notions. As I was reading this, I assumed two things: 1) This was probably the author's first book. 2) This was probably a self-published novel. So. Imagine my shock when I finished the book, and found out that neither of those things were true. Not only that, but her Halo series? It's the one that a couple of my friends have been trying to shove down my throat for over a year now. One of my pals even gave me her copy, and it's sitting on my bookshelf right now! I swear, I've been meaning to get to it, but it's a young adult romance about angels falling for humans or something... Not really my cuppa, if I'm totally honest. Also, those guys are really into the House of Night series, so I have a hard time taking recommendations from them seriously.
Anyhoo. Ghost House is about a girl named Chloe who (Surprise!) can see Ghosts, and goes to live in a (Surprise!) haunted House. And then she falls in love with a ghost. Not the Eeeevil one, mind you, the hot 'n sexy one. Why? Oh, you know, for all the usual reasons you fall for a ghost. He's got jewel-like eyes, nice hair, and he looks dashing riding around on his ghost-horse. In other words, Insta-Lurve. She sees him, and immediately knows he's speshul! More importantly, he stirs up feelings that she's never felt before...in her ENTIRE life. 'Cause 18 years is a long freakin' time to go without finding your True Love! *rolls eyes* Side note: The author is young. 'Nuff said. It all culminates in a bigish battle with the hot ghost's evil ex-girlfriend. Chloe must learn to embrace her powers...or risk losing everything!
I was underwhelmed. The plot, dialogue, romance, character development...all of it. Underwhelming. Not truly awful, just not impressive. I'm giving my friend her copy of Halo back tomorrow.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital arc, in exchange for an honest review.(less)
3.5 stars. This was another one of those that I grabbed as a freebie on Amazon. Sign up for email alerts, people!
Every thing about this felt like one of...more3.5 stars. This was another one of those that I grabbed as a freebie on Amazon. Sign up for email alerts, people!
Every thing about this felt like one of those b-list tv shows I loved when I was younger. There was a time...many moons ago...when not every single show on television had a paranormal/sci-fi twist. In fact, very few had that flavor. Unless you watched the stuff from some of the lower budget channels. Which, of course, I did. And since options were limited, you just sucked it up and took what you could get. That may sound bad, but the truth is, I loved those shows! And I'm having a brain fart, so I can't think of the names of any of them right now...
Anyway, this book reminded me of watching a fun (albeit low-budget) show. There's nothing spectacular here, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Kids develop powers from some kind of mysterious Lights in the Sky, a bad agency is after them, family secrets are revealed, and another shadow agency emerges to (possibly?) help them. Also, a sprinkle of romance is thrown in for good measure.
So, yeah. This probably won't rock your socks, but I enjoyed it!(less)
Contact was a fun young adult book. It didn't blow me out of the water, but it kept me interested enough to keep flipping the pages.
As the title implies, whenever Mira touches anyone, she gets their whole life history downloaded into her mind. It's a fairly new phenomenon, she's pretty freaked out, and she's already attempted suicide twice when the book opens. Full Disclosure Time: I had just finished a story about a girl with powers who felt driven to kill herself before I started this one. I'm not sure if it impacted my enjoyment of this one, but I thought it deserved mentioning.
The main story revolves around Mira and her love interest Scooby-Dooing it around town trying to figure out why Mira has this power. When her mother falls into a fishy diabetic coma after a party, the plot only thickens. And as the two of them dig into her past, they find out that nothing is what it seems...
There's really not a whole lot to either complain or rave about with Contact. It was one of those books that I couldn't put down while I was reading it, but a few days later..I couldn't recall much about it.
I have to say, I wasn't all that convinced that it was realistic when it came to Mira's reaction to what happened to her mother, but I can't say much else without spoiling the story. Otherwise, this was a decent page-turner.
NetGalley provided a digital arc for review.(less)
Really interesting idea you have here, right? One girl. Two lives. Verrry cool. I think I would have rated it higher If I hadn't seen the ending coming from a mile away. Not that it's a bad ending! Far from it, but I just...knew it would happen. Exactly like it happened. So I'm thinking that maybe I've just read too many books? Is that possible? Nonsense! Sacrilege! Hear me out before you burn me at the stake, though. I mean, we've pretty much determined that I'm not smarter than the average bear, so it's not like I puzzled it out with my Sherlock-like deduction skills. The only possible explanation is that I've seen this plot in action before. So. The 'shocker' would work out well for any readers who are younger, haven't read a million books, or frequently have the wool pulled over their eyes while reading stuff. Otherwise, go into this knowing that you'll probably not get a GASP! moment out of it, and you'll be fine.
I also felt a little let down by the lack of explanation for Sabine's condition. I know that not everything has a nice and tidy answer, but I was hoping for something. Even an educated guess would have made me happy. Alas, no. The reason she lives two lives is because...she lives two lives.
The story revolves around Sabine, and whether or not she can (or should) pick one life to live. Which basically boils down to whether or not she should kill herself. The whole broken arm thing (see the blurb) leads her to believe that she can end it in one life, and still live happily ever after in the other. Ooooooh. Tricky. See, in both lives she has some reason to want to stay, but it's unbearably hard for her to keep switching back and forth. And for this reason alone, you kinda want her to be able kill herself in one life. Which was weird, 'cause I don't actually think suicide is a good idea. But at the same time, that whole switching back and forth thing sounded awful. Don't worry, though, the author doesn't seem to condone killing yourself either. Which is nice, considering this is a young adult title. Ok. So if she can make it so she only has one life, then the question naturally turns into which life she should choose. At first it seems pretty easy. Go with the life where your folks haven't stuffed you into a psyche ward, right? Ehhhh. Naturally, she meets and falls in love with Mr. Wonderful while she's stuck in the loony bin. And, of course, Mr. Wonderful is the only person who actually believes her about the whole Two-Life thing. But Mr. Wonderful has a SECRET! He repeatedly tells Sabine he doesn't want her to chose not to kill herself because of him, even though it's obvious they have feelings for each other. I'm pretty sure you'll figure out the SECRET if I give you any more information about the book, so I'm just going to shut up now... Anyhoo, he wants her to choose to keep both lives because it's a special opportunity.
I have to say, I was satisfied with the ending, even though I saw it coming. Also, this is a stand-alone novel, which made it quite a breath of fresh air for me. It was nice to be able to close a book and just be finished with it. All in all, not a bad way to pass the time.
Digital arc from NetGalley and the publisher.(less)
This isn't the first time I've read a retelling of Cinderella from the POV of the wicked stepsister, and I'm sure i...moreAlso reviewed for Addicted2Heroines
This isn't the first time I've read a retelling of Cinderella from the POV of the wicked stepsister, and I'm sure it won't be the last. I'm addicted to retellings, and if I don't get my fix I start shaking like a crack addict. The good thing about my kind of addiction is that you get to keep all of your teeth. Just somthin' to keep in mind, if you're weighing your options. Crack...living in a cardboard box beside a Waffle House dumpster. Retellings...too much time spent wandering around local Barnes and Noble. I mean, they both have their drawbacks, but...
So. The Stepsister's Tale was really good. It's nothing like I thought it would be, but I still enjoyed every minute of it. I thought it was going to explain, from Jane's point of view, why she ended up being mean to Ella. As in, maybe Ella was pulling some iffy shit, and Jane got sick of it. And it was sort of like that...but not really. Turns out, neither Jane nor her mother and sister, were ever cruel to Ella. She just made that shit up so people would feel sorry for her. I know she was just a kid, but I really wanted to pop her head off by the end of the book! But it's not exactly cut and dried when it comes to Ella, either. The main problem with her? Her idiotically doting father managed to thoroughly spoil her. Letting your kid know you love them more than anything in the world...won't spoil them. Letting them have, say, and do whatever they want...will ruin their life. And while it was obvious that he truly loved his daughter, it also became painfully obvious that he wasn't quite the man he said he was. When he dies, all of his shady secrets start to come to light, and Jane is left to pick up the pieces. His death turns into a tipping point for everyone involved, and it all culminates at the ball. However, much like the rest of this story, the events do not play out the way you might expect.
So, who was the real Fairy Godmother? How Charming was the Prince? Why was Ella covered in cinders? And finally, what got lost in translation when the story was retold? The answers to these question might surprise you...
I'm not say it blew my mind, but it's certainly worth reading if you're looking for a good twist on a classic fairlytale!
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital arc for review.(less)
There's a really good concept underneath it all, but the execution was horrible. When I read the blurb, I got all excited because I love Grim...more1.5 stars
There's a really good concept underneath it all, but the execution was horrible. When I read the blurb, I got all excited because I love Grim Reaper stuff. And the idea that a bunch of kids work for some sort of Reaper Agency sounded phenomenal! But. Once I started reading? No. Not unreadably awful, but awful nonetheless.
First, you have the main character who has...what? Some sort of obnoxious personality disorder? I like MCs with a lot of piss and vinegar running through their veins, but this kid was just socially retarded. She bites people. For no reason! She punches, kicks, harasses, and bullies everyone around her for no discernible reason. Even she doesn't know why she does it! (view spoiler)[Supposedly, the anger issues stem from her super-power as a Grim. Uhhhhh? So, you're an asshole because you have to power to reap souls? Sorry, that was just stupid. (hide spoiler)] And it wasn't just her angry outbursts that annoyed me. Oh no, there's more. Evidently, she's emotionally about 7 years old, as well. She might be 16, but she's still thinking about things like...I shit you not...cooties!
Another problem I had was that nothing in the world-building made much sense, even once it was explained. It was all just... La-la-la-la-la! We all live in a quirky town, with quirky street names, and quirky shops! Wheeee! Everyone is happy! And the mystery was lame. A bunch of kids (once again) decide to not do the smart thing, and try to solve it by themselves. HUGE MISTAKE. Huge! There's obviously no good reason not to inform the adults that something is terribly wrong, but let's do it anyway!
The ending? It just stopped. Like, things started to get mildly interesting, the it was... Read the next book in the Croak series for more exciting adventures with Lex! Yeah, no thanks.
Lackluster plot, weird romance, and cringe-worthy main character. I'm not going back for more.
Comic books and young adult novels. For me, it was like someone reached into my head, pulled out my two favorite genre...moreAlso posted at Addicted2Heroines
Comic books and young adult novels. For me, it was like someone reached into my head, pulled out my two favorite genres, and spun them into one book! Now, will this necessarily resonate with everyone? No. But if you do enjoy comic books (or even just the movies about them) you'll probably get a kick out of this. Kick...get it? Sidekick?! *snort* Although, you should probably also know that there are no super-powered heroes in this thing. Sidekick is all about Batman-style crime fighting. Skill and gadgets, baby! It's not a Batman rip-off, but it does seem to draw heavily on that sort of character. Dark Ryder is the female version of the Dark Knight, what with all the brooding and skulking in the shadows. And Bremy reminds me of a Dick Grayson sort of character who can't shut up to save her life. But the book itself is neither dark nor brooding. And while Ryder might belong in a Christopher Nolan film, Bremy firmly belongs next to Adam West. It's a pretty lighthearted look at crime fighting in tights. Because Bremy is a tad silly sometimes. Ok. Most of the time. In fact, she should have been dead about a hundred times before I closed the book. But that didn't stop me from enjoying the story, because from the beginning the author set the right tone. If you get past the first page without knowing that this is a tongue-in-cheek sort of tale, then you weren't reading it right. Suspend disbelief and go with the flow! Maybe I'm saying this wrong. The story isn't stupid. It's cute, fast-paced, fun, and humorous. It's a YA superhero story!
Bremy was a socialite who had a falling out with her father, and now she's living off the grid in some scummy neighborhood. When the story starts, she's being threatened by her friendly neighborhood slumlord. Her choices are to either come up with the rent, loose life and/or limb...or go to work at a place called the Pink Beaver. Not exactly a dream job, you know? My husband literally has nightmares about this sort of thing. It's hilarious. He'll wake up in a cold sweat mumbling something about keeping his Princesses 'Off the Pole'. Me: You have that dream again? Him: Yep. Me: You gotta stop watching those stupid documentaries before you go to bed. You're a great Dad! The girls will turn out just fine, I swear. Him: Men are scum. I don't want any of the filthy disgusting bastards to ever touch my babies. Me: Don't worry, Hon. I'm sure the girls will get treated with the same respect and kindness that you showed to all the women you ever dated! *smiles evilly in the dark* Him: *quietly sobs himself to sleep*
Hoping a career at the Beaver isn't in her future, Bremy decides to go ahead and drain her finances. While she's at the bank trying to scrape together her last bit of money, a crazy group of robbers rolls through the door. Circus themed robbers. And yes, they have a scary clown. Turns out, Bremy is quite a bit more brave than she originally thought. It doesn't really help her stop the bank robbers, though. It seems bravery doesn't necessarily translate into skill.... And through a series of unfortunate events, she accidentally gets in the way of Dark Ryder while she was trying to apprehend the bad guys. Of course, Bremy was just trying to help, but Ryder is less than enthused with her. However, she's nothing if not persistent, and eventually ends up convincing Dark Ryder to let her 'audition' to be her Sidekick. You get the feeling that Ryder is only letting her do this in order to keep her out of the way...
Along the way, Bremy finds a few friends that help her, and even a reporter to fall in love with. The side characters really add a lot the story, and Wallace did a good job making them funny and interesting. Bremy's father makes a good evil villain, and finding out what he did to make Bremy run was an intriguing side-story. Her twin's involvement in everything was another fun mystery, even though it wasn't really sorted out at the end.
Speaking of, the ending was a little anti-climactic, but even the main character mentions this, so I think it was meant to be that way. I don't see any other books in the works yet, but the ending begs for a sequel. It's wasn't perfect, but for a debut novel it was pretty damn good. And there better be a sequel!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital arc.(less)
I picked this out for the same lazy reason that I read the graphic version of Ender's Game. I did't really want to fool with the book, becaus...more3.5 stars
I picked this out for the same lazy reason that I read the graphic version of Ender's Game. I did't really want to fool with the book, because the reviews were sort of sketchy. But. I liked Riordan's other stuff. You know, the Percy Jackson series and then Roman spin-off, Heroes of Olympus. I think I made the right choice. Maybe.
This story kind of runs along the same vein as the other two series. Kids with no idea that they are descended from gods...need to save the world. The twist (if you can truly call it that) is that these guys are the decedents of pharaohs, and the Egyptian gods inhabited the bodies of their ancestors. So it was more of a symbiotic thing, and not a You're-A-Godling thing. It's the little things, right?
The plot? Percy Jackson with Egyptian gods and a sister. Ta-da! I'm not making fun of it, but that's pretty much it in a nutshell. I did enjoy reading this, and I thought that Orpheus Collar did an excellent job turning this into a pretty comprehensive graphic novel. At least, I'm assuming he did, since I've obviously never read the actual book. This would be great for a reluctant young reader...or even just a lazy older one.(less)
I should really read Ender's Game. The actual book, I mean. But. The reviews look iffy, and it's old sci-fi. So. Ta-Da! Problem solved...I read the grap...moreI should really read Ender's Game. The actual book, I mean. But. The reviews look iffy, and it's old sci-fi. So. Ta-Da! Problem solved...I read the graphic novel adaptation.
Alright, I (obviously) have no idea how well this thing follows the book, but it hit enough major points for me to follow along. Ender is a teeny-tiny little kid (like 6), and he's basically being groomed to save the world. From what I could gather, the government requested that his parents try one more time to get it right. Big Brother=Too Evil Big Sister=Too Nice Oh well, third time's a charm? Yep! Ender is juuuuust right.
The guy in charge of overseeing his 'development' gets these bouts of conscience, but he continually mind-fucks the poor kid anyway. It was weird. I mean, I understood it. I just thought it was odd that they were pinning the fate of the earth on such a small child. However, it made me feel that I'd made the right decision to skip the real thing and go for the comic book version.
Even with a somewhat unbelievable premise, I still really enjoyed this. And it was relatively thick, which made me feel like I was getting a more complete story. Whether that's true or not... No idea. I also thought it was much better than the majority of the crap novelizations I've read in the past. While I'm sure I missed a lot of the nuances and side stories, I still feel like I have a decent grasp of the overall story.
Recommended to all the Lazy Readers out there!(less)
Man, I loved this one! You know a book is good when the first thing you do after you finish is go check out the release date for the next book. Nooooooo! 2015?! *sobs quietly* So this may be labeled Young Adult, but I think it's one of those books that is more of a story about a young adult. Does that make sense? Also, the blurb? It really doesn't capture the the scope of what's inside that cover. In fact, I put off reading this for quite a while because it didn't sound very interesting. Well. That, and my eyeballs don't always work exactly right. Every time I looked at the title, my brain kept telling me that this was Book One of the Revenant Chronicles. So, yeah. I'm looking at a cover with a girl with flowers in her hair, and I'm thinking that it's some sort of Zombie Romance for teens. *cough, cough* It's not.
Lia's a feisty little princess who doesn't want to marry the son of a crusty old king. Best guess (since she's never actually met her fiance) is that he's only half as old and crusty as his father. Which would still make him pretty darn old...and crusty. She's had time to chew the situation over for a while, and decides that since her parents don't give a damn about what she wants, the only sensible thing to do is make a run for it. So with the help of her BFF/Lady-in-waiting, she goes on the lam...instead of showing up for her wedding. And that's pretty much the start of the adventure for everyone concerned.
As far as the two mysterious strangers from the blurb go, it isn't really the conventional love triangle. What I mean by that, is that Lia isn't torn between her love of two men. She only has the hots for one of the guys, but both of them are smitten with her. Smitten!. So sad that I never really get a chance to use that word in real life.
The majority of the story is told from Lia's perspective, even though she's not the narrator. Every now and then, though, the author throws in a chapter told from either the prince or the assassin's point of view. I don't think it always works well when you switch viewpoints, but I really enjoyed it this time around. Another thing I liked was that even though this is Fantasy and there's a bit of an Epic Journey to the book, it didn't feel like it. I guess what I mean is, I'm not a huge fan of some of those stories, because they tend to drag on and on and on. This one worked for me, mainly because the author didn't bother to describe every shrub, or feel the need to go into detail about how the sunshine smelled. And if you happen to be a reader who enjoys lots 'n lots of descriptive prose? Well, I'm not trying to belittle those books. I just don't like to read them. At all. "The water was blue." Period. I don't need two paragraphs describing the blue water.
Anyway. Even though the main storyline is character driven, there's an overall feeling that you're also reading a sweeping tale of kingdoms at war. You're just not sure what the underlying cause is...yet. There's also a bit of magic and prophecy, but they always seem to sit in the background. Sort of like they're just waiting to reveal themselves as major players in this story. And of course, there's romance, but it doesn't overwhelm the book or the characters. As an added bonus, there are even a few hints that perhaps this world is ours, set in some distant future. Oooooooh!
By the end, I was so caught up in what was happening that I didn't want to put it down. And when it it was over, I felt like I hadn't even scratched the surface of what the author is planning for this series.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me a digital arc in exchange for an honest review.(less)
So 2 stars, huh? Yeah, it was pretty bad. But. Hear me out, 'cause I think this is going to be an author to watch. I was p...moreAlso posted at Addicted2Heroines
So 2 stars, huh? Yeah, it was pretty bad. But. Hear me out, 'cause I think this is going to be an author to watch. I was probably a hundred pages into this thing before it started to go sideways. Up to that point, I actually thought this was going to be at least a 4 star book. The descriptions of Cat, her life, and the world she lived in were all really interesting. Catherine is a 14 year old girl who lives a life of privilege because her father is a government official. The country is at war with it's neighbors, so any child over 13 is subject to Collection (basically a draft), but Catherine is exempt due to her family's status. They don't live on rations, she has nice clothes, etc. But her dad is a dickhole, and she's got an arranged marriage to another dickhole hanging over her head. So she chops off her hair, pulls on some pants, and stows away on an airship that's headed out of the country. As luck would have it, the crew of the ship are good people. In fact, they smuggle extra rations and supplies to the poor people in her country. And once they discover Cat onboard, they sort of adopt her into their family. There's also a nice steampunk vibe to the world, by the way. So far, so good.
Then some wonky things started cropping up that made me scratch my head. First, Cat discovers a horrible secret about her government when she travels outside of the country. The crew already knew what the government had been up to, but for obvious reasons they couldn't do much about it. Naturally, being 14 and full of righteous indignation, she tells the adults that they need to do something about it. But here's the kicker: All of these adults just basically say, "Yep! You're right! Let's overthrow the government!". Huh? I mean, I'm fairly confident that the conversation wouldn't go down that way. But let's pretend it did. So now that we've decided on starting a rebellion, we'll need months to plan out what to do. We need to find some allies, gather supplies, do some reconnaissance, right? Nah. How does the day after tomorrow sound to you? Butbutbutbut... Yeah, I'm pretty sure we've got some high explosives sittin' around here somewhere, and Jethro will scrounge up some blueprints to the building. Butbutbutbut... Wheeee! Here we go!
No. Just, no, to that entire plotline.
The love story was equally frustrating, because for the first half of the book our heroine is 14. She's a kid for Christ's sake! And even once she turned 15...well, she was barely 15. Then there's the hero. To say the very least, Fox was not all that and a bag of bread crumbs. He was (I believe) 17 or 18, but he came across like an incredibly petulant child. The vast majority of the time his moods were swinging back and forth between sulky and blatantly obnoxious. If something needed to be said or done at an inappropriate time...Fox was your man. Unsurprisingly, those two fell in love. Also, unsurprisingly, the declarations of their Everlasting Lurve were a source of severe annoyance to me. How? How can you know that you will never love another, Cat?! You. Are. A. Child. But the moment I truly gave up was when Cat started bragging in a very 'neener neener' sort of way to the bad guy. She did the classic Villain Monologue! She gave away the entire plan...while basically trapped in his lair! Muahahahaha! Let me tell you EXACTLY how we plan to bring you down! 'Cause NOW you know how incredibly intelligent we are! Oh. Wait. Is that a gun in your hand? By the end of the book, there had been so many WTF?! That would NEVER Happen moments, that I was supremely pissed off. 1 star rating, here we come! And then... I looked at the author's bio on Goodreads. Ok, here's the part where I tell you that this is an author to seriously watch for in the upcoming years. Saxton wrote this when she was 16, found a publisher when she was 17, and is now 19. Ooooooooh. So that's why it was so frustratingly childish. Duh. She was a kid when she wrote this! I can hear teenagers out there stomping their feet and screaming, "Nu-uh! I am not a child!" Yes. Yes, the fuck you are. Go take a time-out, and we'll revisit this conversation in about 15 years. Now, I don't know why someone in the publishing house didn't bother to point out that there were a lot of unrealistic plot holes, or that the interactions between Cat and the other characters would not play out that way in real-life. It was a silly waste, because the kid created an interesting world, and the writing was pretty damn decent for the first good bit of the book. I also applaud the route she took at the end of the book, but it was somewhat ruined by a weird epilogue that didn't need to be there. Let's face it, you only know what you know. And Life Experience is something you absolutely have to experience to have. So no matter how mature, intelligent, or talented you are at 16, you still aren't going to be able to grasp the details of life that can only be learned through...well, getting older. I really can't in good conscience give this more than 2 stars, because knowing why it sounds juvenile doesn't actually make the book itself better. However. Given enough time, I think this author has the potential to blow our socks off.
This was a weird one. At times, I would really be into it, flipping the pages all excited-like...and then all of a sudden POOF! All of my previous interest was just gone. At first I couldn't really figure it out, but after a while, I noticed my zone-outs seemed to be correlating with the two main characters getting all sappy with each other. Seperately, they're both very cool. Together, they're the perfect recipe for Boringsauce. I"ve been trying to put my finger on why I felt that way for days now, but I'm still not 100% sure. Something just felt off. My best guess is that the romance felt too young and silly for me. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, because it's a young adult title. And I'm a crusty old chick. So that probably means that the target audience will enjoy the angsty teen bits. 'Cause they're, you know, angsty teens.
The premise of the story isn't supah new, but I thought it was cool anyway. The basic idea is that there's a world that mirrors ours, except that it's Eeeevil. Well, sort of. It's been taken over by demons, and the warlocks on this side of the fence want to go back and reclaim their throne. But for now, it's all brimstoney and crumbling. It was never really explained, but I'm just assuming the general idea is that once the warlocks take control of it again, it won't smell like sulfur or be all flamey. Otherwise, I can't imagine why they'd want to go back.
Paige is like that kid who can See Dead People. She pushed a little boy out of the way of an oncoming bus, got smooshed, and died for a few minutes before being revived. When she woke up, Ta-da!, she had the world's most ostracizing superpower. She can't always tell the difference between the living and the dead, so she ends up looking like a mental patient when she strikes up a conversation with (what everyone else assumes is) a wall. So. Yeah. Not popular with her peers.
Logan is... Ok. I can't say much of anything about him without giving away spoilers. But I liked him. He's not an ass, and he had a really good backstory. Unfortunately for you, you don't find out what it is till the end of the book. Sorry.
Even though I wasn't blown away by it, I'm still interested enough to want to read the next book, so I think this will probably do well with the YA audience.
Digital arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.(less)
At first, I was a tad disappointed that there wasn't much magic in this one. I mean, it's supposed to be a retellin...moreAlso reviewed for Addicted2Heroines
At first, I was a tad disappointed that there wasn't much magic in this one. I mean, it's supposed to be a retelling of Tam Lin, right? Maaaagic! But Tam Lin's fairies are replaced with practitioners of voodoo, and the magic hoodoo stuff doesn't come into play (much) until the end. So, not a story steeped in magic. Well, unless you count the fact that Violet has some sort of affinity with bees. And let's face it, unless you can order them to ATTACK!, how freaking useful is that? What she can do is call the bees, and they sorta sit on her and give her a feeling of calm. And I think once or twice they hovered around an area that she needed to go or something. GPS? Useful. Bees? Not quite so much.
Ok. Strip all the expectations I originally had away, and this turns into a pretty decent book about a young southern girl during the Civil War. She doesn't meet Thomas (the Union soldier) until mid-way through the story, and in the meantime you get a feel for what her life is like on a small southern farm. Her mother is long dead, and she lives with her father and their two slaves, Lainey and her husband Michael. Violet and Lainey grew up together like sisters, and both she and Michael are treated like family. Now that Lainey has a child, Violet can feel a gap widening between them. And the possibility that the War may free Lainey is also a source of unspoken tension. While Violet doesn't think of Lainey as her slave, she's still afraid to talk to her about her feelings and fears. On one hand she wants Lainey to be free, but on the other she doesn't want to lose her friend. I think Nickerson did a good job with Violet's character. She didn't truly understand why slavery was wrong, because not only was she raised in an era that had condoned it, but her personal experience slavery was relatively benign. Of course, benign to her because she wasn't a slave. It was interesting to see her grow, and have her feelings on all sorts of things (including slavery) change over the course of the book. She was a good person, and when confronted with the truth of things, she was willing to bend her opinions. As far as a story about a girl goes, this was a fine way to pass the time.
Ok. I live in South Carolina, which in in the Heart of Dixie and gateway to the Bible Belt. I'm not technically southern, because I spent the majority of my life in Florida. And while that state may be geographically southern, it ain't part of the South. Or so I've been told. On numerous occasions. Still, I've lived here (read: True South) long enough to find myself sort of wanting to defend these guys somewhat. See, there was this one line in the book that got under my skin and crawled around. It was an innocent enough statement made by Thomas to Violet, in order to calm her fears. This isn't a quote, but it went something like this: Don't worry the Union soldiers won't burn down (civilian) houses. And if they do they will make sure no one is inside... First, get real, dude. This was a war. Shit like that happened all the time. Besides, every southerner I know has a grandma. And that grandma has a friggin list. And on that list is every family home burned, every woman raped, and every item stolen from them...by those Damn Yankees. Nobody holds a grudge like the Rebels. Seriously. Second, it seems to be a prevailing theme in some of these books that Union soldiers were the Good Guys, fighting on God's side for nothing other than the freedom of the oppressed. Again. Get real. While freeing slaves might have been the battle cry, it wasn't the only objective. Now, I don't think anyone in their right mind thinks that it didn't need to happen. Slavery is an ugly blight on our history, and we're still feeling the repercussions of it today. But there were lots of factors involved, slavery was just the official reason. Kind of like 9/11 was the battle cry for invading Iraq. Oil and grudges didn't have anything to do with that one...
On the whole, though, I thought Nickerson wrote an interesting story. It might be a little slower than I wanted it to be, and it was definitely lighter on the retelling part than I was hoping, but it was still well-written. The characters stand out as the high point, with very few being truly good or evil. The stepmother and stepsister are both examples of how people can straddle that line, since they each turned out to be wildly different than I originally believed.
The reviews for this book run the gamut between Totally-Lurved to DNF'd-the-Sucker. If you're thinking of buying this one, you might want to paw through some of the other reviews and make sure this lines up with your taste. (less)
Cute, bouncy, and waaaay more fun than I originally thought it would be!
First off, let's just get the iffy parts of the story out of the way. The villa...moreCute, bouncy, and waaaay more fun than I originally thought it would be!
First off, let's just get the iffy parts of the story out of the way. The villain and his dangerous plot to take over the world? Eh. It was ok. And I'll admit that it wouldn't be a big stretch of the imagination to think that someone could use supah-cool cell phones as a medium to suck in teens and adults. But. I just wasn't feeling it for some reason. Saving the world seemed sort of secondary to some of the other stuff that was going on, but it didn't stop me from enjoying the book. So, don't go in this thinking you're getting a paranormal thriller, and you should be ok.
Alrighty, here's what I liked:
There was a good Parent/Child relationship. Sure, Dad was MIA, but Jillian's mom was an actual presence in her life. None of that weird absentee parenting shit that crops up over and over again in this genre. In YA literature, I expect that the main characters will eventually find a way to get around their guardians. Otherwise, you wouldn't have a story, 'cause they'd be safely tucked away in their rooms. Still, I do expect to find the occasional parental figure who isn't stupidly taking a business trip or vacation, and leaving their teen home alone. Or blindly believing their kid when they say...well, whatever they say. How dumb do you have to be!? As a parent, you have to assume that if your kid's mouth is moving, you have a 50% chance that a lie is pouring out of their cherubic lips. It doesn't mean they are bad, or that you have done a bad job raising them. All it means, is that they are following an inborn instinct we all have. I mean, my husband still lies to his parents. They live several hours away in another state, so they like it when he calls them to let them know we got back to our house safely after a visit. Nice, no? But my husband waits till we've been home for an hour before he picks up the phone. Why? So they won't know he was speeding. Liar! Me? I'm not Super-Mom. I love those little guys, but occasionally I have to sleep. And that's when they STRIKE. Like Demon-Ninjas. But believe it or not, I know where the hell my kids are at any given time, on any given day. Where are you going? Who are you with? Check in with me every *insert time limit here*, or I will find you. And you don't want me to have to find you... And then I discretely follow up to make sure they aren't lying.... Do my kids get away with mischief and mayhem every time I take my eyeballs off of them? Yes. I would be disappointed if they didn't at least try. But I guarantee you that I would not be blissfully unaware while they disappeared for days at a time into an alternate universe. Get real! Who are these adults in books that fall for that, "I'm spending the weekend at Suzy's house!", crap? As The Mom, the whole fascination with idiot grown-ups pisses me off. So. I appreciated the relationship Jillian had with her mother. Not the perfect mother, but she was there.
Another thing I appreciated was the lack of body dysmorphia as a plot device. As in, Jillian was satisfied with the way she looked. She didn't have goddess-like looks, but she was attractive. And she knew it. She also had self-confidence, and demanded to be treated with respect by potential dates. Here's the kicker: She was (and had been) pining over her male BFF, but instead of trying to make herself available to only him, she was aware that he might not return her feelings. So she dated other guys that she liked. What?! Don't you mean she dated other guys in order to get his attention? No. She dated guys that she thought were hot...and might have a chance of liking. Gasp! *FAINTS* It's true. Evidently, you don't have to waste away while you are waiting on Mr. Right to decide to notice you. Who would have thought such a groundbreaking idea was possible?!
There were also other fairly well-rounded characters in the book that added a good bit of diversity to the What's-Hot-What's-Not discussion. Jillian't best friend is described as an Amazon due to her towering height. Again, she's also considered beautiful. She doesn't hunch her shoulders or wear flats just because she's taller than most of the guys. She believes she's attractive, and that self-confidence makes it true. Sorta like real life. Speaking of height, the author didn't just make this about the girls. One of the hot guys that Jillian goes on a date with is really short. It plays into the story, but not in the normal Ha-Ha-You're-On-A Date-The-Keebler-Elf kind of way. Yes, he's shorter than Jillian, and it's brought up that he has a better than average view of her boobs, but he isn't a social pariah just because he's not 6 feet tall.
The tone of the story isn't dark and serious, and the dialogue is snappy and cute. It's not perfect by an stretch of the imagination, but I really enjoyed it. If you're looking for something that won't make your eyes roll out of your head, due to the idiotic ideas that usually permeate this genre, then you may want to give this one a shot.
I received a digital arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.(less)
If you're looking for a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, I'm afraid this isn't going to impress you much. The story itself revolves around the fa...more3.5 stars
If you're looking for a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, I'm afraid this isn't going to impress you much. The story itself revolves around the fairy who 'cursed' the princess. But it's also not like the new Disney reimagining of Maleficent, so it doesn't have that Why Did The Good Girl Go Bad? flavor to it. And I think you probably need to know that going into the book in order to keep you expectations in line.
Ok, so what is this story about? A section of a young (13ish years old) fairy's life is being retold by an anonymous narrator. And, yes, part of her story includes why a princess ends up sleeping for 100 years. But she's not an evil fairy, and while Sleeping Beauty's story is very important to the plot, it only pertains to the ending. What the book addresses is why all of these fairies bothered to come to a random princess' christening to begin with. And I have to admit, the author did a really good job keeping me interested in the reason for all of the gifts being bestowed on a royal baby.
Another cool thing about the book is the way the author wove together the tale of Puck, Mab, Banshee, elves, and the different fey courts. It was definitely worth reading just to see the way their stories were retold.
As a side note, somewhere in the middle of the book, I began to fear that I was about to have to endure another Immortally Old Dude and Waaay too Young Girl romance. I'm happy to report that Yolen found (what I thought was) a refreshing way to remove the creep-factor from the plot.
It was a cute story about a group of kids who get telepathic abilities from a flu shot. It's a solid 3 star read, and I think it will do very well with...moreIt was a cute story about a group of kids who get telepathic abilities from a flu shot. It's a solid 3 star read, and I think it will do very well with the younger readers. However, I doubt that this will crossover well into the adult market, or even into the older YA audiences. It's got a teeny bopper flavor to the story that kept me from fully caring what happened to the characters, but I'm not the target audience, so I'm not trying to be insulting. The closest I can come to describing the story is by comparing Mlynowski to Ally Carter. I thought Carter's books were cute, but too young for my taste. I think it's more for the 12-15 year old crowd?
There are some somewhat 'mature' subjects that are discussed, but I would feel comfortable letting my girls read this in a few years, especially since there isn't anything graphically portrayed. It seems like the author tried to deal with every imaginable problem that a young teen could be facing. Body image, popularity, parental abandonment issues, adultery (among parents), social anxiety, unrequited love, cheating, self-sabotaging behavior, etc.. And since there is a large group of kids to work with, every social group is pretty much represented. It's pretty cliche, but for someone younger (who hasn't been reading for decades), this could be a very good book.
I'd recommend this one for girls who are about to enter high school, or maybe who just started high school. The book has too much female flavor for me to think that a lot of boys are going to like this one, and it's too simple for me to recommend it to adults who like YA.
I received a digital arc from NetGalley in return for an honest review.(less)
I received a digital arc from NetGalley and the publisher.
It's being called the When Harry Met Sally for young adults, so right off the bat, I wanted...moreI received a digital arc from NetGalley and the publisher.
It's being called the When Harry Met Sally for young adults, so right off the bat, I wanted it. I mean, is there anyone out there who didn't love that movie?! But this book isn't some rip-off retelling of the movie, so don't worry. No, it's just a really good book about two kids who meet in seventh grade, and how they form an unlikely friendship over the years.
Anybody who has ever had a really close friendship with someone of the opposite sex, knows that there are some awkward questions that you're forced to answer about the nature of your relationship. Over and over and over again. No matter how platonic it is. But what if the two of you over time start to feel less than platonic? Aren't the best romantic relationships build on strong friendships? Of course they are. Lust rocks, but real love is the shit that The Long Haul is made out of. But finding a BFF that makes your knees go wobbly isn't always easy. Or maybe recognizing that person for what they are is the hard part? And that's the gist of Better off Friends.
The story follows Macallan and Levi from their first encounter in middle school, to their last year of high school. The grow close, grow up, grow apart, and grow back together again. The cycles of their relationship are funny, sad, and heartwarming. By the end of it, I wanted to go back to high school and relive all of those bittersweet memories, too. No, not really! You couldn't pay me enough to go through all that angsty shit again! Sorry, kids. These are most definitely NOT the best years of your life. So. Don't kill yourself, or anything stupid like that. It gets better.
At any rate, this is the perfect kind of book to curl up on the couch with. It's sweet, cute, and it leaves you with a smile on your face.
I received a digital arc of this book from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Alrighty. I want to mention upfront that Scintillate is getting...moreI received a digital arc of this book from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Alrighty. I want to mention upfront that Scintillate is getting 4 stars from me solely for the mystery of what's going on with Cora and her new ability to see auras. The romance in this one is probably going to turn quite a few readers off to the book. Cora and Finn have an overly dramatic insta-love thing going on, and it bugged me. Also, Finn sounded less like an Irish teenager, and more like an older dude from one of those Highland Romance novels. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the teenage boys in Ireland all talk like old men, but I don't think so.
However, the aura thing was pretty cool. Cora gets sick, runs a super high fever, and ends up in the hospital. When she wakes up, she finds that she can see colors around everyone, including herself. At first, she thinks that she has brain damage or something, but after a little research, realizes that she's seeing people's emotions and energy. Her father seems to refuse to believe her, but Cora can tell that something is off about his reactions to her questioning. After some poking around, she discovers that her mother's disappearance years ago may have had something to do with the same thing Cora is experiencing now.
The whole 'changing the way we see humanity' mystery, kept me totally glued to the pages. And even when she gets some answers at the end, you can tell that it's only the tip of the iceberg. I'm hoping that the next book will tone down the star-crossed lovers theme, and focus on the mystery. If it does, I think this will be quite an interesting trilogy to follow. If not? Well, I have a limit to the amount of goofy teen-drama I can swallow. Untangle your lips and back away, cause there's more important things in life. Really. Like finding out who's trying to kill you for instance... (less)
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital copy of this book.
Not too shabby for a debut novel. Especially by an author who was diagnosed with...moreThanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital copy of this book.
Not too shabby for a debut novel. Especially by an author who was diagnosed with learning disabilities as a child. In Anderson's case, reading and writing were very difficult for her. So. I'm always especially impressed by people who overcome difficulties, and then turn around and spit in the face of the problem. Spunky, no?
Anyway, as far as the plot goes, there's nothing super-duper new here. But. It's readable, and it's a reasonably entertaining book. Although, I personally think some of the story could have used some tightening up by an editor, and possibly a different cover. Why a different cover? Well, while the cover looks very cool, at no time in the book does anyone jump out of a building. In fact, the 'secret clone factory' is underground. Moving on...
Xan was actually a fairly realistically written character. He wasn't some awesomely perfect kid, but he also wasn't a total turd, either. His friend, Miles, was an asshole and a bully, and I thought it was interesting that Xan never really got why the other kids hated him so much. I mean, he knows Miles is a jerk, but he never really admits that the kid has done some serious damage to other people's psyches. While it was an annoying blind spot for a main character to have, it was also a fairly realistic one.
As far as Xan's parents go, I'm not sure what to think about them. On one hand, I like that they aren't portrayed as absentee parents, but on the other... Exactly how dumb do you have to be to buy a baby out of the back of a friggin' van in some dark alley?! P.S. If you've done this, I think it would be wise to immediately start checking your child for signs of top secret genetic enhancements. 'Cause your kid might want to know if they're part of a government science project when they get older. Just sayin'.
Lacey was a pretty cool character, but I was a little weirded out by her 'piercing stare' after a while. Sure, she was an off the charts genius, but her real super-power was her ability to stab you with her eyes. Evidently, she can use these stabby-eyes to keep all the men in her life in line. I want that super-power! Oh, who am I kidding... I've got an awesome set of crazy-eyes already! How else do you explain my husband's willingness to fold clothes and wash dishes? As an added bonus, I've been gifted with an amazing Fishwife Screech that allows me to augment my she-devil glare. All I need is a cape.
The plot goes something like this: Someone tries to kill Xan, and then pin attempted murder and arson on him. Since all of his 'friends' have deserted him, he turns to the resident genius (Lacey) for help. She, in turn, reaches out to her two crazy pals for help. That part of the story peters out pretty fast for some reason... Xan and Lacey make some discoveries about Xan's genetic origins. How, you ask? Lacey is supah-rich, and has an entire lab full of genetic testing equipment in her old nursery. Sure. Ok. Next up is Beta. He's the clone who has been sent to dispose of Xan. Of course, due to Lacey's hyper-intelligence, they manage to capture him and hold him prisoner in her storage room while they dig around for answers. FYI, Beta's POV is the most interesting, because you actually get a chance to see him grow and change. Somehow, an odd love triangle sorta/kinda happens at this point. Only I couldn't really figure out if Lacey and Beta actually liked each other, or were just good friends. In fact, I couldn't figure out what was up with Xan and Lacey, either. She seemed weirded out by kissing him, and the ending was confusing... Anyway. These three need to find a way to fool a multi-billion dollar corporation into thinking that Xan is dead, Lacey is clueless, and Beta is a different clone. Easy-peasey!
Hopefully, the next book will explain some of the loose plot threads, and things will make more sense. For the most part, though, this was a fun and easy read.(less)
Unite has a very cool premise, and it made me a bit sad that I didn't like it more. I'd like to see...moreThis review can also be seen at Addicted2Heroines
Unite has a very cool premise, and it made me a bit sad that I didn't like it more. I'd like to see how it all turns out in the end, but I don't think I'll be continuing this series.
So, somewhere out there there's another planet (like ours) that is going to be destroyed within the next few decades. Something along the lines of colliding with another planet ...or maybe asteroids? Years ago, they contacted the leaders of our planet and worked out a deal that would benefit both sides. They would give us their awesome technology, and we would let them move to Earth. Hopefully, it's a teeny-tiny planet, because I'm pretty sure we're overpopulated as it is. Of course, the government was afraid that the general population was going to freak out when they found out about this, so they came up with a plan. They've taken babies from the other planet, and placed them into foster homes here. The idea is that people won't be quite so afraid of these aliens after they announce that they are coming, when they realize that little Suzie from next-door is also an alien. They will already know and like these kids, which will take some of the fear-factor out of it. Right? So far, so good.
But there were too many things that just didn't make sense after that. First, why was the FBI in charge of these kids? Shouldn't an operation like this be run by Homeland Security? Or better yet, why wasn't there a new task force created to deal with this?
Another thing I didn't get was why Avery couldn't lie to her parents. Because it's not like she couldn't lie at all. In fact, she lied every day to everyone else! In the book it's explained away by saying that she had it drilled into her at a young age that she must always be totally honest with them. WTF?! Um, I've drilled it into my kids' heads to be totally honest with me, too! And guess what? They lie! They lie all the freakin' time! Me: Did you break my *insert expensive electronic device here*? Them: NOOO! I never even touched it! You told me not to, and I respect you...Mommy. Me: Then why is there chocolate on it...and chocolate on your face? Them: Uh... Me: And why was it found in YOUR room? Them: Uh... Me: Fess up! Them: Uh... Me: Fess up, and I won't kill you. Them: I swear it was an accident! Me: You better be glad I opted for the extra insurance... And you know what? If I'm honest with myself, I'd think it was weird if my kids didn't pull shit like that. So, no. I couldn't buy that Avery never ever lied to her parents, and it annoyed me. Or maybe I'm just jealous.
Probably the most ridiculous thing though, was when they told Avery that they decided to pull the plug on Project Integrate because of budget cuts. There are several things wrong with that line of reasoning.. First, you'd have to assume that these aliens only contacted the United States. And let's face it, that's a stupid assumption. If they contacted all of the world's leaders, then our budget wouldn't play into it as much. Second, there's no way our greedy politicians would stop a project that promised them superior technology. EVER. Even if they had to take from schools and research hospitals to do it, you know they would. I mean, they do it now, and for reasons far less important! Besides, there would have be a slush fund somewhere out there that wasn't being used for anything at the moment.
There were other little petty things that I didn't like, but these were the things I found the most distracting. To me, this felt like a great concept that was poorly executed. It wasn't horrible to read, but I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend this one.
I got this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. (less)
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital arc of this book.
This was a witchy YA that kept me flipping the pages till the end of the book,...moreThank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital arc of this book.
This was a witchy YA that kept me flipping the pages till the end of the book, so it definitely deserves all 4 stars.
Penelope was a child when a demon broke into her home, killed her parents, and drained her magic. She should be dead, but for some reason...well, she's not. Wouldn't be much of a story if she was, right? She also shouldn't be able to borrow her family's magic to cover up the fact that she doesn't have any of her own. In her world, a witch without magic is called a Static, and those guys end up banished. Yep. The other witches just toss them out of their society. Nice, no? Her Grandparents and sister are the only ones who know her secret, and they've all worked hard to keep it safe. So far, it's worked. But Penelope isn't satisfied with just passing for a witch. She's found a ritual that will restore her magical essence, if she can only find the demon who took it. There's a hitch, though. There's always a hitch... The only way for her to find her demon (and a more detailed version of the ritual), is to become an Enforcer. See, only Enforcers have access to the library with all of that info in it that she needs. Of course, to become an Enforcer she's going to have to show off her magical abilities. Oops. That might be difficult. Never fear, our girl has it covered. She can pull from her sister, because their tests will be held at the same time. Except that there's a problem. After all her hard work over the years, some random witch pulled a muscle (or something) and now her Penelope's test date is getting moved to a different time slot. Time for plan B.
In the meantime, a chance encounter with a demon has left Penelope with a stalker. Sort of. At least, that's what Penelope thinks when Carter first starts popping up around every corner. He's annoying, cocky, and apparently obsessed with her. Or at the very least waaay too interested in her magical abilities. Why is she so freaked? Well, he was there when she managed to explode a demon in an alleyway. And since she has no idea how she managed to pull that one off without having any magic, she certainly doesn't want him poking his nose into it. Besides, he makes her sick to her stomach. Literally. A little nausea isn't enough to stop this guy, though. Nope. He's determined to figure Penelope out, because he needs her. No, not like that! God. You guys have such dirty minds.... He claims that his magic is more powerful and stable if she's around. If that wasn't interesting enough, it seems as though she can pull magic from him in the same way she can pull it from her family. Which would explain the alleyway full of exploded demon goo...
To make matters worse, the more Penelope digs into finding a way to restore her powers, the more it looks like she's onto something bigger than just finding her own magic. And it looks like her Grandma is hiding a pretty important piece of the puzzle. In fact, trusting Carter with her secret might be the only way to find out what she needs to know. But Carter has some pretty big secrets of his own, and once she finds out what he's hiding.... Well, let's just say she's a teeny bit upset.
I really enjoyed Salt! The pacing is good, the plot is interesting, and there were a couple of things I didn't see coming. So all in all, I'd have no problem recommending this one for fans of YA urban fantasy.
Ask yourself this question: Do I really want to read a book about pretentious teenagers who act like pretentious 40 year olds? If your answer is Yes, th...moreAsk yourself this question: Do I really want to read a book about pretentious teenagers who act like pretentious 40 year olds? If your answer is Yes, then this is the book for you!
Shockingly, there's not much in the way of a plot. Unless you count the numerous references to music, art, books, and clothing. It opens with Celia getting into a car with a girl, and then heading to her new high school. There were quite a few things I found confusing, because nothing these kids in this group do is remotely realistic.
1. They ride to school in what appears to be a funeral procession. For some reason, they feel the need to arrive at school at the same time. So, one car picks up Celia, then drives to the next person's house, where they get into their car and follow the original car to the next house...and so on. Evidently it helps them cultivate an air of mystery about the group.
2. They have named their clique The Rosary. Do I need to say anything more about that? Probably not...but I will. These high school kids refer to themselves as The Rosary. What?! And apparently everyone else at the high school is so awed by their mysterious persona, that they somehow avoid the ass-beating that would await anyone else in high school stupid enough to do this.
3. They all go to this weird club on Friday nights. Hey, kids at a club! At least that's normal, right? Bzzzzt! Wrong! Not a normal club. Nope. You have to have discriminating taste to gain entrance to this place. In other words, if you listen to (God Forbid!) music on the radio, you just wouldn't understand how awesome this place is. Everyone and everything inside is amazing, eclectic, strange, and interesting!
4. The Leopard. It's what Celia calls the boy she meets at the club. Yeah, he's got a name, but referring to the boy of your dreams mentally as The Leopard is soooo cool and sophisticated. WTF?!
5. Insta-lurve between Celia and (gag) The Leopard. They stared at each other each Friday night for weeks, so I guess they really know each other, right? Then they met two more times (in real life!) before she realized that she was desperately and hopelessly in love with him. Hey, at least they took it slow...
6. The Rosary doesn't drink, studies come before anything else, and they all must have a job. Where the hell did these kids come from?! Were they part of some kind of a secret Stepford cloning project?
Unfortunately, the paranormal stuff had nothing to do with why Celia's friends were so freaking creepy and weird artsy-fartsy. In fact, it didn't have much to do with anything at all. It was boring. The whole book was filled with nonsense about how you can only be unique if you act a certain way, do certain things, listen to certain music. Mainstream friends, books, music, and clothes just don't cut it. Guess what? Now you're a unique asshole!
In the end, I found Celia to be a wannabe loser who couldn't think for herself, and The Rosary to be a group of dysfunctional dorks who thought they were better than everyone else. The paranormal mystery could have been interesting, but it moved too slowly to salvage this book for me. (less)
Honestly, the first few chapters of this were pretty meh. Or at least they were to me. It definitely slides toward...moreAlso reviewed for Addicted2Heroines
Honestly, the first few chapters of this were pretty meh. Or at least they were to me. It definitely slides toward adventure on the action-adventure scale. By that I mean the plot doesn't move at a break-neck pace. It's more of a story about the journey Anya takes, and the pacing reflects that. I'm not saying The Queen's Choice was boring by any means, and once I got a feel for what was happening I really enjoyed it.
The story starts with Anya coming home to Chrior after spending an extended period of time traveling in the human territories. Even though Anya is bonded (engaged) to a wonderful guy, she loves to leave the faerie kingdom and explore the human world. Mr. Wonderful has never left the kingdom of Chrior, and can't understand why she feels the need to wander. He seems pretty boring, but at least he doesn't try to stop her from going. Anya is fae royalty, but she's never actually considered that she might have any real responsibility coming her way. After all, her cousin Illumina is the next in line for the throne. So when she receives a summons from the Queen (aka her aunt), she doesn't think much of it. And then the Faerie Queen drops a bomb on her. She's demoting Illumina ('cause there's a good possibility that she's a bit unhinged), and naming Anya as her successor. No more trips to the human territories for Anya! Yep, from here on out, it's Duty, Duty, Duty. Yikes! This news makes Mr. Wonderful happy, but it doesn't do much for Anya's spirits. Wait, there's more! The Queen has been told by the giant Redwood (it's a mythical tree spirit or something...just go with it.) that her life is going to end soon. Ouch. Now years ago, her half-human son Zabriel got tired of...well, let's just say things in the faerie realm weren't all sunshine and unicorns for him. Anyway, he left Chrior and went into hiding in the human world. But now the Queen is dying...and she wants to see her son one last time. The Queen's decision to send 14 year old Illumina out into the Territories on a search for the long-lost prince shocks Anya into action. Illumina has never been to the human world before, and she's afraid the young girl might get hurt. She's not the most likable or even the most stable faerie, but she's still Anya's baby cousin. Besides, Anya's pretty sure that even if Illumina does somehow manage to find Prince Zabriel, she might not be able to convince him to return. Why not, you ask? Well, sometimes Illumina can come across as a bit creepy and unnerving. Oh yeah. She also hates humans with a white-hot passion, thinks Zabriel is an abomination, and has a penchant for verbal diarrhea. Soooo. Maybe not the best choice to bring him home? And even though Anya doesn't want to admit it, deep down she would love for Zabriel to come back and take the burden of the throne off of her shoulders. So she convinces her fiancee to give her a 3 month head start before he tries to contact her (through their magical engagement bond), and then heads out after her young cousin. Consequences be damned! And here's when things get interesting. As soon as Anya crosses the Bloody Road (it's a kind of magical barrier that only allows magical beings to cross), she's attacked by Hunters. I can't give you the specifics, because it might be a bit spoilery, but she ends up really hurt. Fortunately, a human family finds her and nurses her back to health. Anya forms a tentative friendship with the oldest daughter, Shea. It turns out that the family has some secrets, and not the good kind...like where you're hiding the Christmas presents. Shea's father did something a few years back that put them all on the government's shit-list. And in an effort to stay off the radar, the entire family is stuck living out in the middle of nowhere. You have to admit, that would suck pretty hard for a teenage girl. So when Anya is strong enough to leave, Shea packs up her stuff and hits the road with her.
Everything I've mentioned here happens early on in the book, 'cause I really don't want to give too much away. But here's a short list of some of the cool stuff in the rest of the book: Freaky ghost/boogeymen things that run around eating kids, big-time conspiracies everywhere, a pirate with a massive secret, and a huge I-Didn't-See-It-Coming betrayal at the end. Speaking of the end, it had one of the best cliffhanger endings I've read in a while. Now I get that not everyone loves cliffhangers. But I'm of the opinion that if you're going to do it, you need to do it right. And this book did it right. Remember Moning's Fever series? Seriously has anyone out there not read KMM's Fever series? Barrons... Hang on. Just give me a minute. Ok. I'm back. Remember the endings to those books? I would be reading frantically, thinking I had about 10 more pages left, and then BAM!!! the book was over. What?! Noooooo! If you've read those books, you know what I mean. I see some of you are nodding your heads right now! Well, Kluver managed to do a pretty good job re-creating that feeling for me at the end of The Queen's Choice. And while the rest of the book was good, it was really the ending that bumped it up to 4 stars for me. I honestly haven't been that impressed by a cliffhanger in a long time. If you're in the market for YA fantasy, check this one out!
I received a digital arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review...in case you were wondering.(less)
There's a lot to love about Defy. Tough girl who has to pretend to be a boy, hot prince who has to pretend to be ob...moreAlso reviewed for Addicted2Heroines
There's a lot to love about Defy. Tough girl who has to pretend to be a boy, hot prince who has to pretend to be obnoxious, evil sorcerers, misunderstood magic, and a kingdom in peril. It's not what I would consider action-packed, but the story clips along at a good pace. I was initially a little worried by the hint of a love triangle in the blurb, but it turned out to be fairly obvious who she was actually interested in. Yeah, and then there's the other guy. It's not you, it's me. I love you, but I'm not In Love with you. I think of you like a brother...minus all the genetic similarities.
I loved the backstory that led Alexa to have to disguise herself as a boy. It was made more plausible by the fact that she had already been trained to fight by her father. The reason her father trained her was also something that made sense. Since she already knew her way around a sword, it eliminated the moments in the story when I would normally roll my eyes at the heroine's ability to step into the role of a bad-ass...without any prior experience. The magical elements didn't come into play until later, and this helped establish why she was able to not only blend in, but become part of an elite force protecting the prince.
The author did a great job with Damian's character, as well. I really didn't like him at all. And then suddenly I did. Hello, Mr. Darcy! And at the end of the book, I really couldn't have loved him more. I'm trying really hard not to give spoilers, so let's just say that he is one of those guys who understands that beauty is only skin deep.
And speaking of the end? Dear God! I can't believe that the author actually went the route that she did! I'm not talking about a cliffhanger here people, I'm talking about... Nope. Sorry, that would be a spoiler. I will say it was something I haven't seen happen very often in YA.
In the interest of total disclosure, I will say that there were a few times I thought Alexa acted a bit out of character for someone who was supposedly so tough. I don't know why, but it rubbed me the wrong way. Still, I'm willing to chalk it up to other people finally knowing her secret, and maybe coming to terms with being able to act like a girl for the first time in years. Even with that minor annoyance, I'd recommend this one for someone looking for a young adult fantasy novel. (less)
There's lots of comparisons to the X-men in the reviews that others have written on this, and it's easy to see why. You have (basically) a school for children with mutations, only it's run by a shadow agency in the government instead of Professor X. These kids are trained to go out on missions to uncover crimes committed by other 'evil' mutants...er, Variants. So. Yeah, I can see the X-man angle.
Tessa's mutation allows her to absorb anyone's genetic code and turn herself into an exact replica of them. Hello, my name's Mystique, and I'll be your server this evening. Would you like to order an appetizer first? Tessa's variation makes her the perfect agent to take on the latest assignment. Someone is killing girls in a small town, and it looks like another Variant might be the culprit. His last victim is in a coma, and the doctors have said there's no way she's going to pull through. The plan is simple. Tessa absorbs her DNA while she is still alive, and when she dies, the agency will replace her with Tessa. Family and friends will believe that their prayers have been answered, and Tessa will be in place as the perfect undercover agent.
Tessa is a believable teen who struggles with the morality of pretending to be a dead girl. She feels horrible that this wonderful family is eventually going to be crushed when they find out that their daughter never really made a miraculous recovery. Yet, she understands that in order to catch the girl's killer, she has to continue with the charade. It's deep stuff, man...
I'm gonna be honest, I didn't care much for the romance in this. For some reason, it just never interested me. The short version is that she's in love with another Variant in the agency. Looking back on it, I think I fell for a few mutants when I was younger, too. He's not much older than her, but he's a full agent, and they really aren't supposed to be fraternizing. Oh. And he also has a girlfriend. A really really mean girlfriend. There's a lot of longing glances from her, and a lot of mixed messages from him. So, not my favorite part of the story.
This is one of those books that (even though it was good) didn't leave a lasting impression on me. I have a feeling that it will do well with the audience it is intended for, but it's not going to be one of those crossovers that grabs the attention of adult readers as well. Maybe I'm wrong? I'll definitely recommend it to the kids in the neighborhood, though.
Thanks to NetGally for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review. (less)