Who doesn’t love a good road trip story? Though I thought this book had a bit of a slow start, it delivers on its promise, providing about 250 pages oWho doesn’t love a good road trip story? Though I thought this book had a bit of a slow start, it delivers on its promise, providing about 250 pages of road-tripping glory. There are time-passing car games, impulsive adventures, identity crises, heartbreak, scandal, and that breathtaking feeling that comes with reading about the most life-changing moments of someone’s life.
The first word that comes to mind when I think of Saving June is genuine. This book genuinely captures Harper Scott’s unique adolescence. The emotions and events described in Saving June are raw, powerful, and absolutely spot-on. Hannah Harrington receives my highest commendation for so perfectly capturing Harper’s voice and telling her story in a profoundly real world. These characters and their story leapt off the page for me so that I felt as if I was in the backseat of Jake’s car, listening in on their conversations during the ride to California. I believe this was due mostly the absolutely perfect dialogue. Every word that each character spoke (especially Harper) was realistic, accurate to the way people actually speak, and further developed each character. For a book dealing with such important themes, the dialogue has a large impact on the authenticity of the characters and their situation. Harrington’s dialogue elevated Saving June to the highest level.
Harrington tackles a heavy, yet delicate issue in Saving June – sharing the grieving process of a sibling who has been left behind. When dealing with an issue like this, it’s easy for the characters to become too maudlin or too angsty, therefore alienating the reader, but Harrington finds the perfect middle ground. It’s easy to sympathize with Harper throughout her journey and to understand why she makes the decisions she does. Harper’s thoughts and feelings are described clearly, even when she isn’t quite sure what she’s feeling. It’s always a relief to read about a character who’s honest with themselves, as that makes the character more accessible and relatable to the reader. In the beginning of Saving June, I wasn’t entirely sure I’d be able to relate to Harper. I knew I’d like her, but I was pleasantly to find that not only did I love her and want her for my own best friend, but I could relate to the way she acted and thought about a lot of issues, and there’s something beautiful about characters that can surprise you in that way.
Music plays a huge role in Saving June, but not in an overbearing way. For those with a passion for music, the hints and descriptions as to the songs being referenced are fun to decode. For those not as familiar with Jake’s favorite bands, the songs are described rather than just name-dropped so that you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything pivotal. And, just in case you do manage to feel a little left out, there are a few playlists at the end of the book that you can skip ahead to and play while you read, which will just bring you closer to the book and the characters.
Speaking of Jake and his music obsession, the romance in Saving June may not be the most prevalent aspect of the book, but boy does it pay off. The way Harrington deals with Jake and Harper’s relationship is ingenious and well worth the wait. In fact, the entire ending of the book pays off. Actually, scratch that. The entire book pays off and is worth reading and rereading....more
It's been a couple weeks since I've read this book, so my review might not be perfect and in depth.
The one thing that absolutely stands out about thisIt's been a couple weeks since I've read this book, so my review might not be perfect and in depth.
The one thing that absolutely stands out about this book is Logan. Oh my goodness. Hello, Logan! He is the definition of sexy. And he had this bad boy attitude, yet with a sensitive side that he tried to hide at all possible times, that built him up that much more. I thought that his relationship with Tate could be a little awkward at times. That's probably because I didn't overly love Tate, though. Discounting that slight hiccup, Logan made this story.
On a negative note, it seemed pretty far fetched for Tate to all of a sudden realize that he was gay. No, that doesn't sound right when I read it on the screen because that sort of stuff does happen. Let me rephrase: It wasn't far fetched that Tate realized he was gay so late in life, it was how quickly he acted on it after being so against it for like a week. I would have liked to see more of a building chemistry romance between Tate and Logan. Their actions and routines started to get repetitive within the story. Some editing and character building would have fixed that right up.
Another thing is that I thought there could have been more of a plot. Don't get me wrong, the sex was hot, but I really wanted to see more cute moments between Logan and Tate. Since Logan was such a strong character, I really wanted to see more of his vulnerability and more moments that made me want to grab my heart and swoon. There were moments like that! I just wanted a little bit more to the storyline.
Overall, I actually really enjoyed this book. I can't wait until the second book comes out this summer. It's definitely a hot and powerful read, and I dare you not to fall in love with these men!
Meet Ella. Her world has just been turned upside down when her parents decided to move their whole family interstate. Gone is downtown Melbourne, herMeet Ella. Her world has just been turned upside down when her parents decided to move their whole family interstate. Gone is downtown Melbourne, her dance studio, best friend and boyfriend, and hello Newcastle, where the town lives by the daily surf report, everyone knows everyone and her mother is apparently a local legend. Everyone seems to be adjusting; even her crazier-than-normal sister Creaky, yet Ella can’t help but long for her home town, where everything has its place and where she knows what is expected of her.
Nothing will replace the life in Melbourne, but as Ella starts to settle in and see the beauty of her surroundings, Newcastle may just come close. School brings new opportunities for Ella, new friends, new surroundings, new people who have no idea who Ella is. As she settles into the life in Newcastle, Ella finds what she was missing, a new dance studio, close friends and as Ella begins to accept her new life, her conflicted feelings of missing her old life but enjoying her new one start to play out. At the forefront of this is Jamie, her ex-but-still-kind-of-together boyfriend from Melbourne. Ella and Jamie never really broke it off, and when Ella starts to become close to talented surfer and fellow classmate Snowy, tensions between Ella and Jamie start to climb.
Unable to resist the lure of the surf, Ella becomes completely entrenched in the surfing culture of the town. Mornings are spent at the beach, afternoon’s training, and every second of free time is somehow related to surfing – documentaries, magazines and the all important surf report. All through this, Ella hears whispers of her mother’s former surfing ability, yet before the move, Ella and Creaky were un-aware that their mother even liked the beach, let alone spent enough time there to be considered a surfing legend.
As Ella struggles to find a balance between surfing and dancing, the question must be asked, and Ella needs to make the biggest decision that could very well change the course of her life forever.
Surf Ache is debut novel from Australian writer Gerry Bobsien, a resident of Newcastle. As a first novel, it is something fresh and new in the young adult genre. I’m yet to read a novel on surfing that I got to the end of, this being the first. However, I felt that there was room for much deeper character development and exploration, as with some of the characters their decisions and actions lacked believability for me. I felt that there was too much covered in the way of events, without a definite conclusion. That being said, this novel could be setting up to a possible sequel. I personally would have loved to see more of Creaky and Luke, as I felt this story arch was set up then forgotten towards the end of the novel, but that could be me and my love of wacky characters! Overall, an enjoyable and light read that kept me occupied and reading to the end....more
If you liked Unearthly, you’ll love Hallowed. At the end of Unearthly, Clara made he decision to save TuckeOriginally posted on http://www.yareads.com
If you liked Unearthly, you’ll love Hallowed. At the end of Unearthly, Clara made he decision to save Tucker instead of Christian, leaving her purpose unfulfilled. Now, despite the fact that Tucker and Christian are both alive and well, Clara can’t help feeling guilty, confused, and lost. On top of all that, a Black Wing is still stalking her and she’s having more visions, this time of someone’s funeral.
I didn’t know what to expect from Hallowed. After finishing Unearthly, I thought of so many different directions Cynthia Hand could take the series, but I had no idea which she would choose. And still, she manages to surprise. Like Clara, I believed the issue of her purpose was now a moot point. She didn’t fulfill it, but everything turned out okay in the end, so no harm, no foul, right? Except maybe her purpose isn’t finished after all. Poor Clara — her mom continues to keep everything from her, despite how desperate Clara is for answers. But as frustrating as that is, at least Hallowed proves just how important it is for some of these secrets to remain secret. And Clara’s mom does finally give into Clara’s request for information, revealing a lot of shocking truths and interesting angel lore. Hallowed deftly explores the legend of the Nephilim and Hand puts her own spin on it so that the second book in the series is just as eye-opening and engaging as the first.
In addition, each character is much further developed in Hallowed. Jeffrey is insufferable and annoying and awful, but there’s a surprising motivation behind his actions. Christian is willing to just be Clara’s friends, though he is undeniably drawn to her. And while Clara loves Tucker with her entire being, she can’t deny that she and Christian seem to be destined for each other. Personally, it’s hard for me to pick favorites. I love each boy for entirely different reasons. In the first book, there wasn’t really any reason for Clara to like Christian other than the facts that he’s hot and she kept dreaming about him. Her slow-blooming relationship with Tucker was much more natural, the product of an adorable friendship formed over a long summer. But in Hallowed, it’s easy to see just how much Clara and Christian get along. They get each other and they have this one huge thing in common: they’re both angels. So how can she possibly decide between these two great guys? I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes.
Hallowed is one of those rare sequels that is just as good as, if not better than, the first book in the series. These characters are smart and lovable, more than willing to seek out the answers to all the questions the reader is just as eager for answers to. They’re easy to respect, the kind of characters you want to be best friends with. Cynthia Hand’s beautiful world is captivating, from the beautiful descriptions of rural Wyoming to the fascinating explanations behind angels and their purposes. If you were at all wary or suspicious of another angel series, like I was, cast your fears aside. You won’t want to miss Hand’s masterpiece....more
At Evernight Academy nothing is as it seems. The description on the back of the book calls Evernight Academy gothic. I think that’s a little misleadinAt Evernight Academy nothing is as it seems. The description on the back of the book calls Evernight Academy gothic. I think that’s a little misleading and the writer of the blurb should have told potential readers the truth about Evernight Academy – that it’s not just a school, but is in fact a school for vampires. But Evernight is shaking things up this year and they’ve allowed human enrollments for the first time, too. The humans, of course, are entirely unaware that more than half the school’s population are actually undead Americans. There are strict rules about exposing yourself to a human, though, and vampires are forbidden from biting the human students. But honestly, how cruel is that? Dangling humans under vampire noses is like putting chow in front a dog and telling him that he’s not allowed to have it. How long would poor puppy be able to resist something like that? Not very long, I’d imagine. And it’s the same with the vampires. Put them in living quarters with humans and there are bound to be problems. Problems of the bloodsucking kind.
Meet Bianca – the newest enrollment at Evernight Academy. She’s shy, smart and a bit of a loner. But she gets housed with Patrice, who is more poised and beautiful than anyone Bianca has ever met. She’s so full of confidence that just being in the same room as Patrice makes Bianca feel more than a little uncomfortable. Can an outsider like Bianca and an It Girl like Patrice be friends? Who knows….
Perhaps Lucas knows. Lucas is also a new arrival at Evernight and is instantly drawn to Bianca. And lucky for Bianca because the moment she sees Lucas she knows she’s in love. Life would totally suck if her first true love didn’t return her affections, don’t you think? But there is more to Lucas than meets the eye. He seems well informed about Evernight and its history, and he really, really doesn’t like Patrice and her friends. In fact, he dislikes them so much that he does everything in his power to isolate Bianca and himself away from their prying eyes. Then one night during a hot and heavy make out session, Bianca does something so unbelievably weird and wrong that it changes everything between her and Lucas. This event works as a sort of catalyst for the downward spiral of everything in Bianca’s life, and suddenly Bianca’s world becomes a regular Jerry Springer episode.
I don’t want to give anything crucial away, but I will say this…
- Someone flees Evernight, fearing for their life.
- Someone breaks the Evernight code and bites a human.
- Someone unexpectedly becomes a vampire.
- Someone has an evil, ulterior motive which shakes the foundations of Evernight through history.
- Love is made, trust is lost, hearts are broken and unexpected friendships are formed. I decided to read Evernight because a lot of people had told me it had a similar Bella and Edward kind of love story happening. I can safely say, with complete and total conviction, that this is not true. For me, Bella and Edward were so real and so alive that I had to remind myself repeatedly that they were fictional and that their connection was fabricated. Not real in any way. Lucas and Bianca’s connection isn’t so intense. Not even half as much, in fact. I felt like Claudia Gray was telling us they had a connection, rather than showing us they did. And just because she was telling me that Lucas loved Bianca and Bianca loved Lucas doesn’t for one second mean that I’m going to believe that. I just wasn’t feeling it with these guys.
Will I read the second novel? Yes, simply because I want to know what happens. Will I loose sleep if I don’t get my hands on it right away? No, I wont.
Evernight is a solid read, but nothing to write home about....more
Ever since the draug—mysterious creatures that prey on vampires—took over Morganville, the lives of student Claire Danvers and her friends have been tEver since the draug—mysterious creatures that prey on vampires—took over Morganville, the lives of student Claire Danvers and her friends have been thrown into turmoil. Most of the town’s residents have evacuated, but Claire, Shane, Eve and Michael have chosen to stay and fight. Using the city’s water system to spread, the draug have rapidly multiplied. Things in Morganville look grim, especially since vampire Amelie—the town founder—has been infected by the master draug’s bite. Now, if Claire and her friends don’t figure out how to cure Amelie and defeat the draug, it looks like Morganville will become little more than a ghost town… When Black Dawn opens, Morganville is, yet again, in a whole bunch of trouble. The most dangerous vampires known in existence – the draug – has finally made their way into the city limits, crippling the town and spreading fear to all. They got to Amelie – something Claire thought would never happen. Without Amelie, the humans and vampires of Morganville have no hope of ever making it out. The town is despairing, trying to figure out what in the heck they’re going to do. Like always, our trusty friends Claire, Shane, Eve, and Michael are right in the middle of everything. But there’s so much else going on. As if the draug isn’t enough, Michael and Eve are in a really bad place. At the end of the last installment, Michael took a big old chunk out of Eve, and now she’s not sure she can trust him. The beast that lives inside of Michael finally bared its fangs and put a huge wedge between our favorite vampire/human couple. Will they be able to get through this, or was everyone else right? Is it just too dangerous and unrealistic to think Eve and Michael could ever have a lasting relationship? Claire and Shane are … well, Claire and Shane. As messed up as Shane is, it becomes abundantly clear to everyone that he can’t function without his girl. Claire makes him a better man, makes him want to be a better man. For that, he realizes they have to make it through this stuff with the draug. He decides they have to be defeated, no matter what. Shane wants his happily ever after. Everyone knows I’ve been a big advocate of this series right from the very beginning but Black Dawn solidified a concern I’ve been having for a while now. Rachel Caine, I ask, whhhhhyyyyyyyyyyy did you, after all this time, decide to start including perspectives of characters OTHER than Claire? Moreover, why are those other perspectives written in first person, while Claire’s is in third? If the series had started out that way, I’d have less of an issue with it. But the series is nearly over, and including the new perspectives interrupts the flow of the narrative. To me it feels like the story has shifted from an action driven plot line, to a more character driven plot line. It doesn’t feel like the same Morganville anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I still completely enjoyed reading Black Dawn, but now it feels like a different story – not the Morganville we all fell in love with. Publication date: May 2012 Pages: 367 Publisher: New American Library, a division of Penguin Publishing Group Rating: : Teaser Quote: Claire and I were married in the church by Father Joe, and Eve and Michael were our maid of honor and best man....more
Second Verse by Jennifer Walkup is a difficult book for me to review because I didn’t like tOriginally posted on www.yareads.com, reviewed by Nichole.
Second Verse by Jennifer Walkup is a difficult book for me to review because I didn’t like the story, but it was well written. It honestly came down to the plot and the characters for me. I didn’t connect with anyone, and I didn’t overly enjoy the story itself. However, this book should be a big hit for younger teenagers, and it definitely gives off Halloween vibes, which is perfect for October! The major problem that I had with this book was the two main characters, Lange and Vaughn. I didn’t care for either of them. I found Lange to be really boring, and I found Vaughn to be a little bit sleazy. I feel awful saying that, but I just didn’t like them. I also didn’t care for any of the supporting characters, and they actually really distracted me from the main storyline. Lange and Vaughn had too many friends who made constant appearances. I didn’t enjoy the drama between Vaughn/Kelly/Stace/and Lange. I know that they were in high school and drama comes with that scene, but I didn’t want to read about it. It also wasn’t a drama that I got invested in, so I just didn’t care. I would have preferred that the supporting characters had less show time and that it would have been more focused on Lange and Vaughn. The storyline itself was cool. Younger teenagers are really going to enjoy the spookiness and mystery that Second Verse has. And I will say that the ending of Second Verse is VERY shocking! I was left in the dark for pretty much all of it. I didn’t guess what was going to happen, and I think readers are really going to enjoy that. I’m going to be completely honest, I ended up skimming a large part of this book because I just wasn’t invested. I was really bored throughout most of it, and I just didn’t like any of the characters. However, the writing is really good. I could tell that even though I didn’t much care for the story itself. Again, I think that younger teenagers are really going to enjoy this book. I also think that it’s a great book to read around Halloween for a spooky vibe. It wasn’t for me, but I think it will be for someone else!
Pages: 288 Publication Date: October 1st, 2013 Publisher: Luminis Books Rating: N/A due to DNF...more
Set in the same world as her previous series, The Study Series, Maria V. Snyder tantalizes readers with another complex, masterful story set in a magiSet in the same world as her previous series, The Study Series, Maria V. Snyder tantalizes readers with another complex, masterful story set in a magical world so convincing that she’ll have you believing that it’s actually real. Being a huge fan of The Study Series, I opened Storm Glass with huge expectations. It didn’t take too long for me to realise that Maria V. Snyder was not going to disappoint me, either.
Opal Cowan is good with glass. Really good. There is only one other person in all of Sitia that can equal her talent, and that’s her father. She has been living in The Keep for the last few years trying to learn the art of magic, but magic, it seems, is not one of Opal’s stronger points. She did successfully help Liaison Yelana trap a whole bunch of evil souls once, but since then Opal hasn’t had a whole lot of luck learning how to use magic. The other students at The Keep call her a One-Trick-Wonder. Consequently, Opal is a bit of a loner.
But Opal underestimates her abilities and lacks the self-confidence required to identify and nurture her talents. You see, Opal isn’t just good with glass – she’s incredible. She has created a communications system for the Master Magicians out of ‘magical’ tiny glass creatures. Master Cowan believes in Opal, even if she doesn’t believe in herself, and when the Stormdancers orbs start shattering, killing Stormdancers in the process, Master Cowan orders Opal to accompany her on a mission to their caves to investigate the reason the orbs are shattering.
The recipe for the Stormdancers’s glass orbs is a big secret, and the glassmakers in their tribe are the only ones that know it. But Opal is smart and figures it out quickly. Then the glassmakers that know the recipe start dying – or rather, they’re murdered – and Opal finds her life in danger. Ulrick – a fellow glassmaker and good friend – appoints himself as Opal’s bodyguard. But Ulrick has a vested interest, you see. He’s hopelessly in love with Opal and would do anything to keep her safe. Opal feels a little spark with Ulrick, but there’s no raging fire, if you know what I mean.
Then there is Kade, a Stormdancer. When it comes to Kade, Opals insides explode like fireworks. But Kade isn’t interested in Opal – he’s too caught up in mourning the death of his twin to notice anything else. Would it be wrong of Opal to enter into a relationship with Ulrick – someone she only has luke-warm feelings for – when she feels so strongly for someone else?
The true scope of Opal’s power is astonishing, but she seems to be the only one who can’t see it. So when she’s kidnapped and forced to realise her power for herself in order to save her own life and the life of the one she loves, the outcome will leave readers gaping in amazement.
Storm Glass is a lesson in confidence and demonstrates that in order to reach one’s full potential, you must believe in yourself first and foremost. In this suspenseful page-turner Maria V. Snyder explores the depths of human relationships and evidences that love, honesty and compassion are far more powerful than magic ever could be. Opal is a bit of a door-mat and at several points throughout the novel, I found myself wishing that Opal would just grow a pair already. I’m happy to report that she does.
This is one for the underdogs of the world. You can be great, too, if you just believe in yourself first....more
As Michael and Eve make preparations for their wedding, certain undead members of the Morganville community begin making all kinds of noise objectingAs Michael and Eve make preparations for their wedding, certain undead members of the Morganville community begin making all kinds of noise objecting to the idea. Everyone seems to have an opinion on why Michael and Eve shouldn’t get married – except the couple themselves. Even Shane and Claire express concern. Michael is a vampire; Eve is human. A lifelong predatory union such as that is bound to end in tragedy, right? At least, that’s what the history books show. Eve wonders … could her relationship with Michael go down in history as the first human/vampire relationship to really make it?
In Bite Club we saw Shane and Claire face all kinds of adversity. Shane let Claire down – repeatedly – and both of them still have wounds to heal from that experience, but Last Breath opens showing Shane and Claire more in love, stronger than they’ve ever been before. It’s obvious they’re meant to be together, through thick and thin, the good and the bad, the ugly and the beautiful – but what about in death? Last Breath sees Shane and Claire face the ultimate challenge – the biggest one they’re likely to encounter ever.
Meanwhile, outside the Glass House, Morganville is in a state of disarray. Vampires are going missing and something has spooked Amelie out of her mind. She’s packing up the vampires and planning a mass exodus out of Morganville. It looks like the humans will finally have their town back.
Or will they?
If I know Amelia – and I think by now I do – leaving the humans to their own devices is not something she’s particularly known for. She says they’re leaving and allowing the humans to reclaim the town, but is that really what’s going on? Would she really leave a bunch of humans behind untouched, uncontrolled? Not very likely.
And Claire and Shane know it. Complacency, happiness, contentment – these are things that Shane and Claire will never get to experience. Not while they’re living in Morganville, anyway. In an epic battle – more epic than anything Morganville has ever seen – the Glass House gang will join the vampires, again, in the fight for their very lives.
Last Breath threw many curve balls that I never saw coming. Predictable is not a word I would choose to describe this series. Just when you think Caine can’t possibly develop this world any further, she does. Just when you think these characters have grown as much as they possibly can, Caine manages to mould them into even more dynamic, even greater characters. I never get tired of reading these books. With Last Breath Caine delivers one of the most thrilling cliffhangers to date, and as always, I’m now anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next chapter in this awesome series....more
Touch of Frost is the first book in Jennifer Estep’s brand new Mythos Academy series. Touch of Frost followOriginally posted on http://www.yareads.com
Touch of Frost is the first book in Jennifer Estep’s brand new Mythos Academy series. Touch of Frost follows Gwen Frost, a teenage girl transfered to Mythos Academy after the death of her mother. Gwen comes from a long line of Gypsies, which means she’s gifted with supernatural powers. While her grandma is psychic, Gwen possesses the gift of psychometry, meaning when she touches objects, she sees visions, thoughts, and emotions related to those objects. At Mythos, Gwen uses her powers to find lost items for her rich classmates…at a hefty price. But when Jasmine Ashton is murdered in the Library of Antiquities, Gwen thinks she might be able to put her powers to better use.
At first, I was really excited to read this book. Supernatural boarding school, check. Independent, witty heroine who’s different from everyone else, check. Insanely hot, flirty boy who knows how to wield a sword, check. But the very first chapter irked me. In fact, the very first line made me cringe. “‘I know your secret.’” Really? Do girls really walk up to one another and just an announce this? Not to mention, the secret in question isn’t much of a secret at all. Estep tries to lead with suspense, but for me, this technique completely backfired so that I almost immediately wanted to put the book down.
But it was the first chapter of a new series, so I forgave it and moved on. Unfortunately, Touch of Frost doesn’t really improve. Estep’s writing style just really grates on my nerves. She beats certain phrases to death, such as “magic mumbo jumbo” and “warrior whiz kids.” Every single meal is described in agonizing detail and I’m not sure why. Epithets like Valkyrie, Spartan, and Gypsy-girl are thrown around probably over a hundred times. Never mind that the characters all have their own names. Apparently it’s a rule at Mythos that students disregard names and identify each other by whichever race of ancient warriors they descend from. This lends a forced quality to all of the dialogue and even Gwen’s inner thoughts.
Writing style aside, I wasn’t really held by the plot. Gwen is working in the library one night when she hears some sort of commotion. She’s knocked out and awakens to find Jasmine Ashton, resident mean girl of Mythos, bleeding to death. Gwen is shocked by the murder and shocked that the murderer left her relatively untouched. Even more surprising is the student body’s reaction. No one really seems to care, not even Jasmine’s best friends. Sure, Jasmine was well-hated, but she’s dead. Why is Gwen the only one who seems affected by this? She’s told that the students are used to and prepared for death. They grow up in an environment where they’re training to defend their lives and the lives of others. They’ve experienced death and the threat of death all their lives. It’s even pointed out that the professors turn a blind eye to students partying and drinking because, well, they could die tomorrow so why not let them live now? But if all this is true, then why is Jasmine the only dead student? No one ever mentions other friends or family members that died. No one even mentions other attacks. If the Reapers of Chaos are really such threats, then where are they and why aren’t they being more…threatening?
The ending, while not entirely predictable, is ridiculous. The villain seems to be reciting lines from a cringe-worthy horror film. And the villain’s reasoning behind her actions is completely unbelievable. Her actions are rash, crazy, and unjustified. Maybe that’s the point (after all, bad guys are usually crazy), but the villain’s actions are the catalyst for everything that occurs in Touch of Frost and by the time she reveals everything, my only reaction is, “Huh. Overreact, much?” Not only is it a letdown, but I also have a really hard time stomaching the explanation for why she does the things she does.
The characters in Touch of Frost aren’t super original or well-developed. Each one just reminds me of a poor imitation of a character I’ve read about somewhere else. Touch of Frost itself seems like it’s trying too hard to be Vampire Academy. The book really didn’t hook me. The only thing I’m mildly curious about is the burgeoning relationship between Logan and Gwen. I don’t understand why they like each other as they don’t spend any time getting to know each other, but my interest is still piqued. Since Touch of Frost is the first book in a new series and Jennifer Estep’s first attempt at writing for YA, I’m willing to give the series another chance with the sequel, Kiss of Frost. ...more
Molly Dix’s mother, Laurel recently died. On her deathbed, Laurel confesses to Molly that herOriginally featured on www.yareads.com, reviewed by Jocie
Molly Dix’s mother, Laurel recently died. On her deathbed, Laurel confesses to Molly that her father is world famous movie star, Brick Berlin. Thus, Molly moves to Hollywood, and starts a new life there. Navigating past a vindictive half-sister, the tabloids and a new school, Molly tries to fit her old life into her new one.
I was not impressed by this book. The plot was lacking, and really quite slow. I was bored for the first one hundred pages, and kept hoping something would happen. Nothing really did happen at all in this novel.
The writing was just average. There were some funny moments, but they were quite far and sparse. However I do think, the authors’ did a good job at including pop culture references and appreciate the almost satirical nature in which they plotted the novel. It was a clever move.
Furthermore, the characters in this novel were vapid, infuriating, and not very memorable. They were just there. Brooke annoyed me to no ends with the depth of her shallowness, and Molly just didn’t really do anything. I had a lot of trouble empathising with the characters, and couldn’t relate at all, pretty much.
I was really quite disappointed by this book. It was quite average, and I had a hard time liking anybody at all. I got painted a very insipid picture of what Hollywood is like, and if the way the Hollywood-ians act in this book is any indication of what to expect there, I’m not planning a trip anytime soon....more
A deliciously spooky middle-grade debut that’s Coraline meets Hansel and Gretel
Lorelei is bowled over by Splendid Academy–Principal Trapp encourages the students to run in the hallways, the classrooms are stocked with candy dishes, and the cafeteria serves lavish meals featuring all Lorelei’s favorite foods. But the more time she spends at school, the more suspicious she becomes. Why are her classmates growing so chubby? And why do the teachers seem so sinister? It’s up to Lorelei and her new friend Andrew to figure out what secret this supposedly splendid school is hiding. What they discover chills their bones–and might even pick them clean! Mix one part magic, one part mystery, and just a dash of Grimm, and you’ve got the recipe for a cozy-creepy read that kids will gobble up like candy. Lorelei’s life has been turned upside down after her mother died in a tragic (and secret) accident. Now Lorelei’s father is remarrying a wicked witch (figuratively) of a woman, and Lorelei feels like nothing could get much worse. Boy, was she wrong. Before Lorelei knows it, her school burns down to a crisp and a new school, Splendid Academy, is built overnight. Splendid Academy is like every kids dream. At Splendid Academy you can eat whatever you want, do whatever you want. It’s acceptable to run in the hallways and miss class. Heck, you even get candy dishes to munch on during class! Deep inside, Lorelei knows that it’s strange that her school burnt down and this new school was built overnight, but why pass up something that seems so perfect? With the help of her new pal Andrew, Lorelei soon finds out that Splendid Academy isn’t so splendid after all. As it turns outs, the new faculty is full of witches! And they’re trying to fatten all the kids up for a big feast! Lorelei and Andrew must race to save the day. If not, they might just be a midnight snack for one very hungry witch. While I do not read middle grade books very often, I find a sweet sort of comfort in relaxing down with one. As soon I saw the cover for The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy (my cover is different than the finished copy), I knew that I just had to read this book. Just by looking at the cover, I felt that it would have a similar feel to the Lemony Snicket books. The books ended up being completely different, but I found myself tearing through the pages, as they were addicting and relaxing all at the same time. Although I did enjoy The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the main character, Lorelei. I found her to be very whiney. However, I did keep reminding myself that this is a middle grade novel. Children at Lorelei’s age are supposed to be whiney. On the other hand, I loved the character of Andrew. I had a serious soft spot in my heart for him. Heavy children are picked on relentlessly and that really came across nicely in this book. I thought that it was an excellent thing to show reality in a paranormal book. The ending of this book was pretty predictable, but I found that that didn’t bother me. As I said before, there’s something very relaxing about reading middle grade books. I may have known what was going to happen next, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to read it for myself. I had a huge problem with the characters of Lorelei’s father and stepmother. I’m often very judgmental about parenting and what was going on really disturbed me. I know it’s just a book. I do, but I just wanted to reach into the book and smack Lorelei’s father. I felt that it was very unclassy of him to expect his children to respect, appreciate and acknowledge the new woman in his life as their mother. I know it’s just a personal issue, but I had a really hard time reading the book when those characters made appearances. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. I think that it would appeal more to younger teenagers, but adults who occasionaly read middle grade book should be pleased with the outcome of this book. I know that I will be keeping my eye out for more books by Nikki Loftin. Pages: 304 Publication Date: August 21, 2012 Publisher: Razorbill Rating: : 3
Teaser Quote: “When my mom was alive, she read me stories every night. ”Use your imagination, Lorelei,” she’d say, “and your whole life can be a fairy tale.” I wanted that to be true. But I should have paid more attention to the fairy tales. Because not all of the children in them come out alive. And sometimes there are witches hiding in the woods.”...more
Galen, the prince of Syrena, is sent to dry land to find a girl he’s heard can communicateOriginally featured on www.yareads.com, reviewed by Nichole
Galen, the prince of Syrena, is sent to dry land to find a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen-literally, “ouch!”- both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma’s gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom… Told from both Emma and Galen’s points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance. On a trip to Florida with her best friend Chloe, Emma meets the most gorgeous guy she has ever seen. Unfortunately, she meets him by tripping over her flip-flop and running smack into his chest. Shortly after meeting this gorgeous guy, Galen, and his sister Rayna, Emma experiences the most tramatic event of her life. Her best friend Chloe is brutally killed by a shark, and worse, there is nothing Emma can do about it. Now, heading back home to Jersey, Emma must learn to move on without her best friend and create a whole new life for herself. After trying to save both Emma and Chloe, and witnessing Emma speak to the shark underwater, Galen knows that Emma is one of his kind. Emma is definitely a Syrena. After reaching this discovery, Galen moves himself, his sister, his best friend and his “mentor” to Jersey, where he quickly enrolls himself in Emma’s high school. Now, Galen must prove to Emma what she really is and make her understand the destiny that awaits her. In a story of love, hurt, struggle and mystery, Galen and Emma must find out the truth about her history…and their future together. From the moment I started reading Of Poseidon, I wsa captivated by the unique and mysterious tale that stood infront of me. I found my heart pounding with suspense during the opening chapters, not knowing what was about to happen. All I knew that I was addicted to what lay in front of me, and I did not want to let it go. The characters in this book were something special. From page one, Galen radiated such a masculine aura of strength and loyalty, that my heart fluttered with infatuation. I knew that he was the perfect mate for Emma, and I found myself wanting to shake her during the times that she failed to recognize this. Emma was a spirited, independent and intelligent woman. She was able to make hard decisions when her heart was telling her to do the complete opposite. Her main goal in life was to go to college and make something of herself, and she was not willing to let a boy stand in the way of that. I found it refreshing to finally have a female character not completely swoon over a man and throw away all of her dreams. Emma knew exactly what she wanted and she was going to fight for it. All of the characters throughout this story showed their own unique personalities, and I found myself loving each individual person. One thing that I did not like about this book was that there was really no action whatsoever. Besides the first few chapters, there were basically no fight scenes, and the suspense was kept to a minimal. Some books are able to pull this off. However, Of Poseidon is definitely a book that calls for some action, and it failed to deliver. The ending sets up the second book for a very interesting storyline. If Anna Banks does it right, the second could be full of all of the action and adventure that the first book ignored. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I found it to be a refreshing read, and I could just sort of sit back and enjoy it. I really loved Galen. In fact, I believe I have a new book crush. I think that he really made this book worthwhile, and I am really looking forward to hearing the rest of his story. I would definitely recommend this book to people of all ages, as I believe that it is a light and beautiful read. Fans should enjoy the romance that sparks between Emma and Galen, as it leaves the reading craving to hear more about their fantastic story. Pages: 324 Publication Date: May 22, 2012 Publisher: Feiwel & Friends Rating: : 3
Teaser Quote: “Emma, we don’t have to kiss. She already knows I want to sleep with you.” He cringes as soon as he says it. He doesn’t have to look up to know the sizzling sound in the kitchen is from Rachel spitting her pineapple juice into the hot skillet. “What I mean is, I already told her I want to sleep with you. I mean, I told her I wanted to sleep with you because she already thinks I do. Want to, I mean–” If a Syrena could drown, this is what it would feel like.”...more
This is not a book about teen pregnancy. This is not a book that advocates or condemns teen pregnancy. This is a book about Jessica Darling. Jess is mThis is not a book about teen pregnancy. This is not a book that advocates or condemns teen pregnancy. This is a book about Jessica Darling. Jess is many things – a runner, a daughter, an academic, a sister, and a friend – but pregnant is certainly not one of them. No sir. In order to be pregnant one would have to engage in sexual intercourse first, and that would require actually snaking the attention of her high school crush – Paul Parlipiano. But even though they run on the same track team Paul doesn’t even know she exists. So pregnancy, my dear friends, is so far from the reason Jess’s period is MIA it’s not even funny.
The real explanation is far more boring, far less scandalous, far more Jessica. Jess, you see, is a runner. She’s on the track team and she trains a lot. She has trouble sleeping and she’s really skinny. Even after her grueling training sessions, when she can’t sleep in the middle of the night, Jess gets up and goes running, hoping that she’ll tire herself out so she can sleep. She runs and runs and runs and runs. Jess knows this is the reason she hasn’t got her period, and although she knows its bad to go for so long without menstruating, her running seems to be a bigger priority.
Then one night, while out running, Jess injures her ankle. She manages to drag herself home limping and crying and moaning in pain. Exit excessive running here. In fact, exit all running here. At least now her dad can’t bug her about her track meets anymore, not being able to actually participate and all. But what about the middle of the night? How is she going to get to sleep now?
Enter Marcus Flutie. He’s the resident bad boy, the one everyone loves to hate. Turns out that he and Jess have far more in common than she originally thought – not that she was thinking of him, no sir, someone like Jessica Darling would never be thinking of someone like Marcus Flutie – and talking to Marcus in the middle of the night seems to be the only way Jess can get herself to sleep. Jess learns many things about Marcus, but the most important of all is that Marcus is so not the person she thought he was. Jess realises that she’s falling for him, but brushes it aside because she knows that Marcus doesn’t date girls like her. Besides, he’s got a floozy girlfriend anyway. She sees them groping in the hallways all the time. Gross. But Jess is beautifully naïve and often doesn’t see what’s right in front of her. Will Marcus lead good, wholesome Jess down a path of disobedience and destruction, like everyone thinks he will? And honestly, how can she stand him anyway? No one gets it… no one at all.
Jessica’s voice is raw and fresh. Megan McCafferty captures what so many teens are thinking but do not say. Jessica Darling is so real that she could be me, or you, or the girl sitting next to you on the bus. I bought every single word that came out of her mouth. Her way of looking at things brings light and humour to even the saddest and darkest of situations, and makes for one hell of an entertaining read. You’ll laugh, you might cry, but you’ll certainly feel every pang, every stomach churn that good ol’ Jess goes through. As her name suggests, she’s every bit the teenage darling.
One of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I positively cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of the next book in the series, Second Helpings.
P.S I think I’ve come down with a case of Flutie Fever. Watch out, I hear it’s very contagious....more
After her dad died, Milo took over his hobby of tagging and tracking deer. She wasn’t really supposed to continue his endeavors but it helps her stayAfter her dad died, Milo took over his hobby of tagging and tracking deer. She wasn’t really supposed to continue his endeavors but it helps her stay ‘close’ to him, if that makes sense. One afternoon, she finds the fawn she’s been looking for. She aims her tranquilizer gun, takes the shot, but then something very strange happens. Instead of the deer simply falling, as it should have, a flash of golden light radiated through the trees. It was a few moments before the initial shock wore off, but when it did, Milo was astounded by what she saw. Instead of the baby deer, laying on the ground in its place was a boy. She tranquilized a boy! But where did the deer go, and where the freaking heck did this boy come from? Understandably, Milo panics. As the boy comes to, it becomes apparent that he doesn’t remember anything about whom he is, or where he came from, which does absolutely nothing to ease Milo’s fear and guilt over shooting the kid. She does what anyone would do in such a situation – she takes him home and patches him up. Then, strange things start happening. The power goes out in the entire area, the TV somehow works without the use of a generator, and the boy – who Milo decided to call Nick – starts having very weird and creepy moments. Nick knows something isn’t right. He can’t remember a single thing about who he is but he can remember all kinds of crazy scientific details. He can fix things without knowing how, and recall all the details in all his textbooks, even though he has no memory of ever learning it. Milo begins to realize that whoever Nick is, she needs to keep his identity – his new identity a secret. Then the Department of Defense shows up and all hell breaks loose. Chaos ensues, drama erupts, motorbike chases are had, and in the moments of life and death, declarations are made. All the ingredients of a good old action packed paranormal romance. So WHO is exactly is Nick? Well I’m not going to tell you that, but I will say that my first suspicions were incorrect. My second hunch was also a miss, but I got it on the third, and let me tell you, I was pretty excited by the whole thing. It’s been a while since I’ve read anything involving THESE kinds of creatures. Milo is one of those characters that is easy to read. Being inside her head is simple because she’s a pretty ordinary girl. She makes irrational choices occasionally and fusses a lot of over Nick – but I think that can be pretty typical of girls her age. She doubts herself sometimes, which is also typical of girls her age, and I wanted to smack her once or twice, but that makes her all the more believable. Nick acts in the interest of self-preservation a lot, which I loved! While it’s clear there’s definitely an emotional connection between himself and Milo, and he also acts to make sure Milo is safe, he gets himself out of the sticky situations and makes sure HE is safe too. So many YA heroes and heroines these days are completely self sacrificing of their own safety and needs in order to ‘protect’ the one they love. There aren’t too many REAL sixteen-year-olds that I know that wouldn’t try and save themselves first in the face of danger. Here was a great start to what I’m expecting to be a compelling series. Ella James, bring on installment number two! Pages: 176 Publisher: Independent release Publication date: February 15, 2012 Rating:: 4 Teaser Quote: Jerky like a wind-up doll, I leaned over his body and splayed my palm across his cheek. It was creamy—not pale or flushed—and to me it looked unnaturally perfect. He didn‟t have a single blemish. Not even a freckle. I wiggled my fingers, tap-tapping on his cheek below his eye. “Hey… c‟mon. Talk to me!”...more
I just finished reading Jay Asher’s debut novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, and although my brain is buzzing, I can’t seem to find myI am speechless. Numb.
I just finished reading Jay Asher’s debut novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, and although my brain is buzzing, I can’t seem to find my words. So I’m going to ramble of a bunch of statistics, which hopefully, will highlight the gravity of the issue Asher deals with in his novel.
Did you know:
Approximately 8 in every 100 000 people aged between 15 and 24 in the United States commit suicide every year.
Among 15-19 year old Australians, suicide accounted for a total of 85 registered deaths in 2004, at a rate of 6.2 per 100,000 people (7.5 for males, 4.8 for females). Suicide accounted for 15.2% of total male deaths and 17.1% of total female deaths registered in this age group (source: Suicides, Australia, 1994 to 2004. ABS, 2006).
Teen suicide is often attributed to drug and alcohol abuse, poor family situations, extreme trouble at school, mental illness. Sometimes, pinpointing a reason why someone kills themselves is impossible and friends and family of the deceased live out the rest of their days wondering why, what – if anything – they could have done to help.
In Thirteen Reasons Why, readers are given a detailed blow-by-blow account of Hanna Baker’s journey towards death. Before she dies, she records her story on a set of audio tapes. She devises a plan to make sure that everyone featured on the tapes receives them, and listens to every single word she says.
When Clay receives the tapes, he doesn’t know what they are at first. But after listening for only a couple of moments, the realisation that he is in possession of Hanna Bakers last words, and that he is somehow part of her downward spiral is a sobering thought indeed. Clay listens, not just because he wants to learn about his role, but because it was Hanna’s last dying wish that everyone that receives the tapes, listens to them in full.
Clay always had a thing for Hanna Baker, but they’d only made out once, so what could he possibly have done to contribute to her decision to kill herself? As Clay is listening, often with tears streaming down his face, he realises that his failure was unavoidable. Sure, he could have tried harder to get through to Hanna in her time of need, but she pushed him away – and how can you help someone that doesn’t want to be helped?
Some of the events that unfold in Hanna’s tale are really quite horrific, and I found myself questioning the very essence of human nature over and over. How could these kids do these kinds of things to each other? Can’t they see that their actions, their words, all come with consequences? Or maybe they do know, but just don’t care? Reading Thirteen Reasons Why made me realise that I’m either a very naïve person, or I’ve lead a very sheltered life (quite possibly a combination of both). Teenagers can be the cruellest creatures on Earth.
Foresight is not a characteristic commonly employed by the characters in this novel. From the those that contributed to her demise, right through to Hanna actually committing suicide, no one looked past the now. Would Bryce have done the things he did if he knew it would lead to Hanna ultimately deciding that she couldn’t live with herself anymore? Maybe Clay would have stayed in the room longer, maybe Justin wouldn’t have started that rumor. Maybe. But maybe not, too.
Hanna herself was guilty of lacking foresight. She couldn’t see past her immediate problems, couldn’t see that her life wasn’t necessarily always going to be at the whim of the idiots she went to school with. But I argue that she couldn’t see these things because she didn’t try. She didn’t want to see a life beyond what she knew. The question then stands, then, if the combination of events Hanna blames as the source of her desire to die, hadn’t happened, would she have found other reasons to justify her death? Was it set in her brain, programmed from birth? It’s a difficult question to answer and one that often gets asked in the wake of a successful suicide attempt.
Teen Suicide is not an issue to be taken lightly, so I was happy to see Jay Asher dealing with Hanna’s death in a responsible, accurate manner. Thirteen Reasons Why is written in simple, straight-forward language. As this is Asher’s debut novel, it’s hard to tell whether such a technique was intentional or is just the product of his natural writing style. But it works, very well. Hanna’s story is profound enough that it does not need the help of colourful language to get the message across. Asher captures the essence of the teenage mind brilliantly, providing a captivating, raw tale with lessons about humankind for all....more
Auckland, New Zealand. A city with a population of 1.3 million. 25th December. Already, 50 000 people have just vanished into a mystery white fog. TheAuckland, New Zealand. A city with a population of 1.3 million. 25th December. Already, 50 000 people have just vanished into a mystery white fog. They were never seen again. Their town was surrounded by white fog which defied gravity and wind, with whispers of ‘snowmen’ coming from the very few survivors. No one who goes in, comes out. No electrical transmissions can find their way through the storm, and nothing New Zealand authorities do can seem to stop the fog.
Imagine that you’re the only one who knew this was about to happen. Imagine that you’re the only one who has a chance of stopping it from happening again. Imagine that you had discovered a way to receive messages from the future and no one would believe you. Imagine that the fate of the civilization of the world could rest on how quick you can crack the code. Everything is stacked against you, you’re a teenager still in school, not old enough to be considered seriously, you have a mother that is only interested in the next episode of her favorite soap opera on TV and every minute that goes past is another death that could have been prevented.
This is Tane and Rebecca’s reality. Months earlier, Tane and Rebecca discovered a way to read messages that were transmitted through time. Messages coded and hidden in gamma ray bursts that are recorded by high-tech NASA space equipment, only you invented and discovered the program to read these messages. The messages that are decoded spell out a bleak future for live on earth. Receiving instructions from their future selves, Tane and Rebecca face a race against the clock to try and get the New Zealand and International military and bio-medical forces to listen to them. Every instruction that they have followed from these coded messages has been correct. From winning the lottery as a test, to breaking into NASA’s top-secret internet files, each step brings you closer to either saving humanity, or watching it descend further into chaos and destruction. Whispers of the Chimera Project that must be stopped, cryptic instructions for a device to send information to the future and juggling sudden millionaire status are just some of the issues that Tane and Rebecca have to deal with on a daily basis.
And this is only the beginning.
The Tomorrow Code is Brian Falkner’s first young adult novel, with three children’s novels being published prior to this. The style of writing and the way in with Falkner deals with some difficult concepts is remarkable. When talking about science, quantum foam and biology, it is easy to get lost in the technical terms, yet Falkner allows the reader to sympathise with either of the two main characters. Rebecca is the brains, the science and math whiz who more often than not is the one talking and explaining the technical jargon while Tane is the creative soul and often, like me, doesn’t have a clue what Rebecca is saying, yet somehow works it out in more simple and creative terms. Rather than subtracting from the plot, this actually adds to the sense of urgency and mystery of the novel. In all, I liked this novel, it captured my interest from the beginning and it was an easy read that I didn’t have to struggle through. The characters were interesting, plot well developed and style captivating from the first page to the end....more
Magdalena Ella Holoway Tiddle no longer exists. Her name has been swiped from the system and to the rest of the world she is dead and buried. She canMagdalena Ella Holoway Tiddle no longer exists. Her name has been swiped from the system and to the rest of the world she is dead and buried. She can no longer go back to the place she used to call home. Instead, fleeing for her life and grieving after the loss of Alex, she heads deep into the Wilds where she encounters a group of Invalids who take her in. Now, fighting along side the resistance, Lena strives to prove her strength both to herself and to her new found family.
When I read Delirium, by Lauren Oliver, I thought, “meh.” It was a good book, but I thought it lacked the spunk and creativity that I knew it could deliver. The characters and storyline were appealing. When it came down to it, though, there was basically no action whatsoever. When I received the chance to read Pandemonium, the sequel to Delirium, I was interested to see how Oliver would recover and make up for the missing action in Delirium. I started out skeptical, thinking that it would be the same situation. I could not have been more wrong.
Pandemonium is one of the best books I have read in a long time. When it came down to it, I read most of the book in a day and a half. I would sit and read and read, and God have mercy on the poor soul who tried to tear me away from it. All of the characters were brilliant and had their own unique personalities. With so many new characters introduced, I was worried that Oliver would have trouble creating so many different persona’s. Each character was so uniquely defined, though, that even when a voice was not accounted for, I automatically knew who was speaking.
The storyline of Pandemonium was so well done that, in my mind, I became Lena. I encountered her struggles and breakthroughs. I felt the pain and suffering that would wash through her and the moments of joy that would embrace her. I witnessed the world through her eyes and felt the disgust for the zombie-like people around her. It was almost like an out-of-body experience just to follow along with her. It is very rare that one feels these emotions while reading a book. The last time I had an experience anything like this was when I was read The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. Enough said.
Although I thought this book was brilliant, the last few chapters seemed unrealistic. Stunts were pulled that seemed impossible. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll leave you readers to make your own opinions. The twists, though, were remarkable. Usually I can guess plot twists pretty quickly. However, this time I only guessed one of I don’t know how many. That made this read that much more enjoyable. Who wants to read a book where they can guess every single thing that is going to happen? In this book, I would make a prediction and then be thrown twenty steps back when I got it wrong. I was always on my toes, waiting to see what would happen next.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I would absolutely recommend this book for anyone to read. This is not a book you can read by itself. It is necessary to read Delirium before starting Pandemonium. Let me tell you, though, it is well worth the read. I cannot wait to read more from Lauren Oliver, as I am now a loyal fan. ...more
The Life of a Teenage Body Snatcher is a black comedy set in England in 1828 and is the 12th book written by Doug MacLeod. We meet sixteen-year-old prThe Life of a Teenage Body Snatcher is a black comedy set in England in 1828 and is the 12th book written by Doug MacLeod. We meet sixteen-year-old protagonist, Thomas Timewell, on the evening of his grandfather’s funeral. Thomas' Grandfather's dying wish was for his body to be donated to science to help in the advancement of the medical and scientific fields. Like in many cases, those wishes were ignored and he was buried anyway. So, as you do, Thomas takes matters into his own hands and digs up the grave to take the body where it rightfully belongs, as per his Grandfather's wishes.
As he digs, we meet Plentitude – a body snatcher. An uneasy alliance is made between the two as Plentitude shows Thomas the tricks of the body snatching trade and delivers the body to the desired destination. From there Plentitude convinces Thomas to continue fulfilling the final wishes of the recently deceased.
Body snatching is not a simple game though – there’s competition. Disgruntled former partners of Plentitude’s want the bodies (and the payment that comes with their sale) for themselves. That, plus a gypsy with a taste for throwing meat cleavers, a teacher who ritually tortures his best friend and a mother in a constant opium daze, Thomas’s life gets really bizarre, really fast. Not to mention the lovely Victoria, who he can’t keep from offending every time their paths cross.
As some of you may know, I spend most of my day studying fashion and trends, but I’m picking up on a book trend here - more stories being set during the Georgian and Victorian eras (18th and 19th century) - and I have to say I’m really liking it. Think Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, and Emily Bronte, but teen friendly. Now don’t get me wrong, these authors and many others of that period were very talented and have written some of the best loved classic literature of all time. I’ve read a fair few books from the period either for study or by choice but try as I might I just don’t know what they’re saying. Since times and social customs have changed you need to read between the lines, and understand the contextual history to know why it’s so scandalous for a girl to leave the house without a hat and gloves. This, plus the language itself means the message of those books are unfortunately lost on me, it just feels like a chore to read. I don’t doubt they’re still valuable and the themes and issues they express are important and still relevant today (and should still be read and studied)….but they’re just not fun for me.
What I’m trying to get at here, is that books such as The Life of a Teenage Body Snatcher and others that are coming out recently, are quite faithful to the period and allow you to enjoy a story set in the age of gentlemen in top hats and ladies in corsets without getting lost in the writing of classic literature.
There was a great plot here, quite different to things I’ve read lately - very dark and gruesome at times but also with a sense of sarcasm and humor that kept it light. I loved the surprise ending, as well as the reference to Sweeney Todd, and to the issues of women who had to pose as males to be taken seriously as authors and the extend of opium use of the time.
The characters were a delight and I loved the witty interaction between them. Particularly between Thomas and his adopted younger brother John, who at fourteen has moved out into his deceased grandfather’s mansion and considers himself an important adult, high power business man. I also liked that body snatchers (or resurrectionists) never revealed their names; each one had a unique name chosen by them.
The Life of a Teenage Body Snatcher is a great period novel that was witty and engaging, that gives a dark insight to an unusual occupation....more
Vintage: A Ghost Story is an intense thriller that looks at the dark side of gay urban fantasy, where the dead can never rest and trapped spirits neveVintage: A Ghost Story is an intense thriller that looks at the dark side of gay urban fantasy, where the dead can never rest and trapped spirits never find peace.
Although this novel is narrated in first person, the narrator has no name. Actually, that might not be entirely true, but if he does have a name, readers never find out what it is. The first time I read Vintage through, I felt that by not giving him a name, the author robbed the narrator of authority. Because he was nameless (and also gay), I felt like the author was trying to tell me that his identity didn’t matter, that being gay meant that he wasn’t worthy of a title like a name. I found myself getting all ticked off about the kinds of impressions that would leave on potential queer teens. However, I was so intrigued by this concept of a nameless narrator that as soon as I finished reading Vintage, I went back to the beginning and started again. I very quickly changed my mind over how I felt about this character. I realised that by not giving him a name, the author was actually empowering the character and inviting you, the reader, to assume his identity and really place yourself in the story. This, then, made the story more powerful and a whole lot more engaging than the first time I read it. This gave me the opportunity to step into his shoes, to not be myself for a few hours and really immerse myself in his world. I now saw that this gave the narrator loads of authority, unlike my previous assumptions.
I also enjoyed the fact that, while not necessarily ‘out’, and although the narrator had certainly encountered adversity because of his sexuality in the past, he seemed more than comfortable as a queer teen. He was not struggling to comes to terms with his sexuality, which was very refreshing. I thought that Vintage highlighted a really clear distinction between comfortably keeping one’s sexuality to himself, and fearfully doing so. Coming out should be the choice of the individual, and just because you’re comfortable with your sexuality doesn’t automatically mean that you have to come out. I really enjoyed this aspect of this novel.
Vintage is a quirky queer teen read that I’m almost certain would be enjoyed by readers both gay and straight. There’s something about a good old ghost story that has a real universal appeal. Watch out for the supernatural sexual encounter!...more
Rumors is the second installment in The Luxe novels and is every bit as scandalous, juicy, and naughty as the first.
Society in Manhattan, New York CitRumors is the second installment in The Luxe novels and is every bit as scandalous, juicy, and naughty as the first.
Society in Manhattan, New York City is in mourning for they have just lost their darling girl, Elizabeth Holland. Lizzie’s body never was recovered from the Hudson River and no one seems capable of understanding how a girl drowns in a river without a body turning up. The gossip columns start printing murmurs about her death being a hoax and suddenly the whole city is questioning her whereabouts. Only a very few select people truly know what happened to Lizzie on that ill-fated day, however, and not one of them is breathing a word.
But Lizzie has been corresponding with Diana, her sister, to assure her that she is not dead but that she must keep this news a secret. In her letter, Lizzie gives Diana and Henry her blessing, wishing them well, and warns Diana to keep a keen eye out for Penelope. Unable to keep this glorious news to herself for long, Diana eventually shares her secret with Henry, who responds most excitedly. You see, Henry and Diana are unable to announce their relationship to anyone, as society deems it highly inappropriate for a man in Henry’s position to be cavorting with his supposed dead fiancés sister. But now that Henry knows Lizzie is actually alive, chasing a true love of her own, he wants nothing more than to announce his love for Diana to all of society. But doing so will mean that Elizabeth’s cover will be blown, and Diana isn’t having any of that…
What will become of their forbidden romance, and will Diana and Henry betray family confidences in the hope of finding happiness in each other? You’ll be surprised, my friends, very surprised indeed.
Meanwhile, Penelope catches wind of Henry and Diana’s secret affair and decides that she must put a stop to it before another Holland girl manages to snatch Henry from her greedy fingers. Penelope is more devious than any Gossip Girl character ever created and proves to readers that she is without a doubt, New York’s most evil creature alive. Blair Waldorf could learn a thing or two from this hellspawn. But it’s not Penelope’s devilish plan that floored me – it’s the fact that Henry agreed to go along with it, that he is so blinded by Penelope’s conniving ways that he can’t seem to see through her flawed plan to find an alternative solution. Those rooting for Henry’s happiness will be deeply disturbed by the events which unfold in this instalment. Is there a resolution for Henry, or is he doomed to live his life according to the wishes of others, forever?
If The Luxe was completely unputdownable (as I suggested it was), then Rumors is entirely infuriating – and it’s so, so good. Where The Luxe was a little slow on the uptake, Rumors gets straight into the action, right form the get go. All the passions, the feelings of love and hate that I experienced in the first installment increased threefold during this read. I yelled, I groaned loudly, and I harrumphed constantly as I read.
Godbersen’s words flow effortlessly across the page, allowing a clear and complete picture of each individual scene to play out in my mind. Rumors is an emotive, gripping read that left me with absolutely no fingernails at all.
This is pure teen chick lit in all its glory and I can see this series quickly becoming every teenage girl’s best friend. I can’t wait to get my hands on the third novel....more
Murtagh is defeated – for now. But not after revealing the information the rocks Eragon to his core and changes everything he knew and thought was rigMurtagh is defeated – for now. But not after revealing the information the rocks Eragon to his core and changes everything he knew and thought was right in his life. Struggling with the true identify of his mother and rejecting that of his father, Eragon is trying to find where he truly belongs. After having his entire being affected by the Ageti Blodhren ceremony of the elves, Eragon is starting to feel the binds of the oaths that he has made – oaths to each race and the individual people of Alagaesia.
First, is the oath to his cousin Roran. Roran’s betrothed is being held hostage by the Ra’zac – servants of Galbatorix, they spread fear in their opponents making them a deadly enemy in battle. And for this battle, it is impossible for Eragon and Saphira to be together. For it is in the caves of the Ra’za, caves too small for Saphira to fit through. Eragon and Roran are on their own. And when further complications arise, Eragon is making the first of his decisions that will affect the entire Empire.
Then there is the oath to Elva, the blessed-yet-cursed child that Eragon has promised to help. Yet when it comes to the ancient language, nothing is a simple as it seems. The more Eragon learns, the more he beings to realise how hard it is to remove the cures he placed on Elva. One wrong pronunciation and it could become a lot worse.
Then there is the problem of his un-finished education and the promise to return to Ellesmera to complete this. Yet can Eragon really afford the time to travel across the Empire when the Varden need him now more than ever?
For it is Ellesmera that holds the key to the next stage of the battle against Galbatorix. For Ellesmera holds the only elf with the knowledge on how to forge a Rider’s sword. A sword Eragon is in need of after Za’roc was taken from him by Murtagh on the plains. For only a Rider’s sword can face another of its kind and only a Rider’s sword can withstand the pressure of magic. Yet this seemingly simple process is complicated further by more oaths and promises, some that Eragon himself doesn’t yet know the cost of.
As Eragon, Saphira, Arya and the Varden hurdle closer to the battle that will decide the fate of the world, each side begins to face the costs of what has be promised.
In Brisingr, I feel Paolini has outdone himself. This is by far the best of the series. The characters all come leaps and bounds, with the multiple viewpoints woven simultaneously into a smooth plot that gives you an understanding of each and every race that make up Alagaesia. One of the biggest things I noticed in Brisingr was the development of the characters and the relationship between these characters. You could see just how much each character was standing for and just how much they would lose if they failed.
Personally, I’m a sucker for romance in any for, and the continuing developments between Eragon and Arya had me happy in this novel. There still isn’t a relationship between these two, yet the strength and development of the friendship that Paolini developed between Eragon and Arya was so believable and strong, that it had me smiling at many stages in this novel. Not to mention the ending that had me tear up at one stage, due to the pure and raw emotion in the scene.
Once again, I would recommend Brisingr to any lover of epic adventure fantasy novels, and with one instalment left to go, I will be looking forward to the release date for the last novel in the Inheritance Cycle as much as the next reader....more
I had to read These Broken Stars for this months Secret Readers. Check out my review below:
These Broken Stars starts out really good. The characters are all on this ship in space and it just has a very sci-fi type of feel to it. As it progressed, though, the story started to tank and get really weird. I thought that the shipwreck was very rushed. While I loved it while they were in space, I didn’t feel like I had a lot of time to really connect with the characters before they were crashing to the ground.
The best way to explain this book is to connect it to the final Harry Potter book. Do you remember those couple hundred pages where Hermione, Ron, and Harry were in the woods doing absolutely nothing? That’s pretty much what it felt like while reading this book. Lilac and Tarver pretty much did the same thing over and over. Hike, eat, sleep, whine. That’s really all they did for about 200 pages. I was trying to push through it. I think that I read like 150 pages, and then I read most of the next 100 pages but with a little skimming. The last 100 pages I didn’t even read. I literally just skimmed the rest of the way to see what happened. It was really painful.
What I hated about this book was that it was so freaking repetitive. I’m not talking about what I said in the paragraph above. No. Literally, there would be paragraphs like every other page that just happened. They weren’t worded the same, but it was like 2 pages before Lilac would be whining about something, and then 2 pages later it would be the same damn thing. That happened a million times with several different things. I ended up skimming a lot because of those paragraphs. I already read it. Why should I have to read the same thing again? No, thank you.
Tarver and Lilac’s relationship was very…..awkward. I felt that for most of the book they disliked each other with some mild flirting thrown in. And then all of a sudden, BAM!, they were professing their love for each other and having sex in caves. It felt very rushed. I would have liked to see more chemistry between the two of them. I wasn’t very invested in their relationship.
The last 150 pages of this book are straight up weird. There are a lot of twists and turns. Some weird shit happens. I didn’t care for it. I don’t know how to really explain it without giving away any spoilers, so I’ll just end it there.
I will say that the writing was really good, and I DID like the characters individually. That alone made it very hard for me not to finish the book….but I just didn’t get it. Not only that, but I didn’t really understand why this was a sci fi book. Yes, it’s in space. Yes, there’s technology and what not. But most of this book is NOT sci fi. Most of it is straight up boring Harry Potter wood scene contemporary. It just wasn’t for me.
It’s hard for me to recommend this book. If you’re a big contemporary lover, then maybe you will enjoy this one? There’s not much else I can say, though....more
Dee is not a normal girl. She can do things with her mind that no one else can. Unbeknownst to her, she’s caught the attention of a very powerful womaDee is not a normal girl. She can do things with her mind that no one else can. Unbeknownst to her, she’s caught the attention of a very powerful woman, and her life takes a weird, weird turn.
The fey are following Dee. Only Dee doesn’t know they’re fey, not at first. But then she meets Luke at a recital and she knows that something isn’t quite right about him. What she does know, however, is that she is drawn to him beyond belief. Dee has never had a boyfriend before, never even been interested in a boy before, but there is something really special about Luke that draws her in. And she can’t walk away from him, regardless what the consequences might be.
But Luke can touch iron. In fact, Luke gives her an iron key for protection against the fey. So if he can touch the one thing that they can’t, what does that make him? She knows he isn’t a normal human, but now she’s not so sure he’s fey either. So, what is he, then?
You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. All I’m going to say folks, is be afraid. Be very afraid.
Against her better judgement, however, Dee is unable to feel the fear she should in his presence. And so starts a love affair destined for doom even before it gets off the ground.
Nevertheless, Luke does everything in his power to keep the fey away from Dee, but the fey are smarter than they look and suddenly Dee finds herself in the worst situation imaginable. Conniving and vindictive, the fey blindside Dee and come at her from behind – if they can’t have her, they’ll take the two things she loves the most, instead.
Lament is one helluva tense read. From the moment Dee starts hurling at the recital in the first chapter, right through to the very last full stop, I had to remind myself to breathe. Once the action pops it just doesn’t stop.
Dee is an inspiring character who never forgets what being a decent person is all about. Even when the going gets tougher than one could ever imagine, Dee never forgets who she is and what matters most. Reading Dee’s journey was more like watching a movie and Stiefvater masterfully navigates the English language, bringing her characters to life with colour and a three-dimensional aspect that is so often missing from young adult novels.
Lament is the first novel in an ongoing series, and is also Stiefvater’s debut novel. We here at yaReads think its a pretty sensational effort, too. We can’t wait to see what else she’s got coming. Whatever it is, we know its going to be big!...more
Eragon is a simple country boy. Born and raised in the small village of Caravahall, Eragon believes that his destiny is simple - to follow in the footEragon is a simple country boy. Born and raised in the small village of Caravahall, Eragon believes that his destiny is simple - to follow in the footsteps of his father, farming the land for a living, marrying a simple country girl and seeing no more of the Empire than as far as the next town. Yet there is something different about Eragon. He doesn’t look like his father, and he is the only villager game enough to go hunting in the mountainous forest known as the Spine. Creepy and menacing, everything in the spine belongs to the King. When Eragon sets off to go hunting one night, his whole life is about to change.
Thousands of miles away, three elves from Ellesmera are desperately trying to outrun a Shade and his Urgal companion. An almost impossible feat when that Shade is Durza, filled to the brim with demonic spirits. Arya, leader of the elves, is carrying a stone more precious than her own life. In a last attempt to not let this stone fall into the hands of Durza, and in turn the King, Arya sends the stone by magic to Caravahall. But not everything goes as planned. The stone does not go to Caravhall where it was meant to, but lands in the Spine, in the exact position where Eragon is hunting.
Bringing the stone back with him to his father’s small homestead, Eragon soon discovers that the stone, in fact, is an egg. A dragon’s egg. An egg that isn’t meant to exist. And when more of his world starts falling apart – the death of his supposed father, the town being invaded by the King’s soldiers, and the betrayal by the local butcher – Eragon works out what they are looking for. Him. With the company of Caravahall’s mysterious storyteller who knows more about dragon’s than anyone else, Eragon sets out on a mission to find the only people who can help him – the last remnants of the freedom fighters, known only to members of the Empire as the Varden.
Along the way Eragon must learn how to protect himself and his dragon if they want any chance of survival. Eragon becomes proficient with the sword, refines his archery skills and is schooled in the Ancient Language – the basis of all magic. With each step, Eragon is carving out his own destiny and creating a legend. A legend that the King will stop at nothing to destroy.
Eragon is the first book in the Inheritance Cycle by author Christopher Paolini, and while at first glance has many similarities to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings – the same three races, development of a language and an epic quest to defeat a dark overlord – the depth of the characters and the style interactions between the three races creates a fresh, new world that creates an epic fantasy for a younger generation. To me, I loved Eragon. It captured me from the fast-paced and intense prologue to the climatic ending that has you right in the thick of the action. Paolini’s style captivates the imagination, including just the right about of description to leave the settings and action up to the reader’s interpretation.
I love books that keep you reading, that are easy to read and aren’t a chore. Eragon defiantly fell into this category for me. Anything that I can fall into the world of the book and feel that it is reality for a short space of time, to me is a success on the part of the author.
Fast-paced and action-packed, Eragon does not disappoint....more
In Blood Moon, we return to Lucy’s, Solange’s, and Nicholas’s points of view. While I love allOriginally posted on www.yareads.com, reviewed by Kiona.
In Blood Moon, we return to Lucy’s, Solange’s, and Nicholas’s points of view. While I love all the Drakes and their various love interests, it’s definitely fun to return to the original characters we fell in love with. However, the events of this book are anything but fun. In a surprising but necessary turn of events, Blood Moon is dark, dark, dark; Harvey proves that her characters are more than just love-sick teenagers and Buffy-esque heroines. Lest we forget, they are vampires. And royalty. And there’s a lot of baggage that comes with that.
Though I’m a huge fan of the romance in this series, Blood Moon provides a nice reprieve from the steady stream of happily-ever-afters. Because the relationships have already been established in earlier books, we don’t focus on them as much. I mean, yes, Lucy and Nicholas still think about each other constantly, but the constant near-death experiences kind of take precedence. And if you thought the Drakes & Co. were in trouble before, that’s nothing compared to what goes down in Blood Moon.
At times, this book can be very frustrating. Well, not the book so much as Solange. She’s always been different, a vampire in a class all her own, and she’s beginning to embrace that, which doesn’t bode well for her family, friends, and possibly the world. I simultaneously sympathize with and hate her. Either way, I appreciate Harvey’s ability to keep us guessing. This book is more of a mystery than any of the others in the series (which is really saying something) and if your love for the characters doesn’t have you devouring the book, the suspense and the mystery surely will.
I would have liked to see more of Lucy at Helios-Ra. She’s only been there a little while, but she already spends more time sneaking off campus than not. A lot of my favorite scenes, though, involve her interacting with her new classmates and going on hunts. I love that she’s getting to know Kieran outside his relationship with Solange and of course I get a thrill out of any mention of Hunter and Quinn (still my favorite couple — I’d love to return to their POVs!). Speaking of Kieran, Harvey further develops a ton of interesting characters–though Kieran sticks out the most–like Jenna, Constantine, and Isabeau. At this point, all these characters really feel like they’re my family and friends.
My only problem with this book is the ending, only because I’m not really sure what’s happening. This might be due to a lack of close reading on my part, but there seems to be something more going on that I’m not quite grasping. Or perhaps it is supposed to end on one giant mystery, leaving a host of unanswered questions, in which case not cool. Of course, it does leave me hysterically begging for the next book nownownow. Every time I get a new Drake book, it sates my hunger for a day before I need the next one even more desperately. If you’re not invested in this series yet, go out and buy it immediately. And then beat yourself up for not having read it sooner....more
The Girl in the Steel Corset was my first steampunk novel and it certainly didn’t disappoint. In fact, it blew me away. Unfortunately, I didn’t have tThe Girl in the Steel Corset was my first steampunk novel and it certainly didn’t disappoint. In fact, it blew me away. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to read it all in one sitting, but by the time I got to the middle of the book, I absolutely could not put it down.
I was captivated immediately by the character of Finley, Kady Cross’s new version of Jekyll and Hyde. Finley’s dual personalities are riveting and I like that everyone immediately understands that Finley is two different people in one body. The characters of Steel Corset aren’t blind and oblivious. They are incredibly smart, talented, stubborn, and unique. It’s impossible to really dislike any character due to the fact that they all have so many layers to their personalities – layers that Cross peels back and explores in full.
The ensemble cast is one of the biggest highlights of the first novel in The Steampunk Chronicles. Cross seamlessly weaves from one character’s viewpoint to another. Though the majority of the novel is told from Finley’s and Griff’s points of view, we also spend time in the minds of Sam, Emily, and even The Machinist. Telling a story from multiple points of view increases the suspense and allows us to connect to each character more fully, which is very important when dealing with such a large cast.
In addition to phenomenal character development, this book is packed with action. There are multiple plot lines and conflicts existing at once, thus there’s never a dull moment. But at no point does it seem like there’s too much going on or like Cross has bitten off more than she can chew. The entire plot seems well-thought out and leaves the reader feeling as if Steel Corset is only the beginning of what’s sure to be a thrilling ride.
If forced, I could only cite a few faults. The first would be that I really can’t decide who I like better: Griff or Jack Dandy? Sam or Jasper? Finley and Emily certainly have their hands full with those boys. I would also say that the mystery of The Machinist’s identity is a little predictable, but not in a bad way. Sometimes it feels good, as a reader, to solve mysteries on your own. Plus, all the events surrounding The Machinist, including the end of the book, are anything but predictable.
As an added bonus, the story’s set in 1897 England, which means awesome outfits as well as a fun mixture of futuristic inventions and long-forgotten customs (and, oh yeah, masquerade balls, anyone?). Basically, there’s nothing not to love about Steel Corset. Luckily, this is just the beginning....more
Seraphina Ames has walked the streets for over 600 years. At a young age she was turned into an Incarnate, a person who can stay young and live foreveSeraphina Ames has walked the streets for over 600 years. At a young age she was turned into an Incarnate, a person who can stay young and live forever due to alchemy, at the hands of her master, Cyrus. For years, Seraphina has watched Cyrus corrupt the lives of innocent individuals, creating an Incarnate family for them to cherish forever. The catch? In order to become an Incarnate one has to switch bodies every so many years, instantly turning their previous host into ashes. Seraphina bears the heartache and guilt of many innocent lives, all of whom would have survived if not for her selfishness of wanting to stay alive. After years of the heart-wrenching guilt, Seraphina has decided that she wants freedom from Cryus. It is her one true wish to never kill another human being. In order to do this she must escape from Cryus, making herself and his precious alchemy recipe disappear forever. Seraphina Ames is ready to die.
While trying to escape from Cyrus and the rest of the Incarnates, Seraphina witnesses the death of a young girl, Kailey Morgan. In an attempt to save Kailey’s life, Seraphina accidentally inhabits her body, turning her previous body into ashes. Accepting her fate, Seraphina makes an effort to portray herself as the real Kailey, taking over her life completely to comfort her friends and family. Seraphina soon finds out, though, that this is not as easy as it sounds. She is faced with personal struggles and heartache, all the while trying to fit into a family that was never hers to begin with.
One thing I enjoyed about The Alchemy of Forever was how bold and unique the characters were. Everyone seemed to have their own individual personality, creating a realistic atmosphere. While reading the novel, I felt as if the characters were right in front of my face. I could picture them in my mind as if everything were really happening. When Seraphina was nervous or scared, I was jumping with nerves right along with her. When Cyrus was angry, I could see his face get red with fury and feel the tension rolling off of his shoulders. And when Nicole spat with envy at Seraphina, I witnessed the jealousy and hatred burning in her eyes. It was an intense experience witnessing the realistic qualities of the story, which made for an overall pleasant read.
My main problem with The Alchemy of Forever is how fast it moves. Chapters speed by every two or three pages, changing scenes almost immediately. While I did enjoy the overall plot, I found that it was rather frustrating having to move throughout the story so quickly. It was nice to have so many stopping places throughout the novel, but I felt that it took away from the story itself. Another thing I disliked was how quick Seraphina was to act like an actual teenager. As a woman who has survived for over 600 years, there should have been adult qualities already imbedded in her mind. Instead, she was quick to act like an actual sixteen-year-old girl. One might argue that she was simply pretending so no suspicion of her true identity would surface. However, her child-like qualities seemed to appear even when she was alone. I wish that Williams would have made it a little more difficult for Seraphina to adapt into a sixteen-year-old body, as it would have appeared more realistic.
While I appreciated the read of The Alchemy of Forever, I probably wouldn’t read it again. If you want to be able to put a book down at night, this would make a great read. If one wanted to be sucked into the pages for hour after hour, though, this wouldn’t be the book for them. The Alchemy of Forever was a cute, light read. Overall, though, it is a book that one would tend to forget about....more
When I first started Red, I was curiously hooked. It was such a weird concept to a book. NorOriginally posted on www.yareads.com, reviewed by Nichole.
When I first started Red, I was curiously hooked. It was such a weird concept to a book. Normally that's not something that I would want to read about, but I mean, seriously, I was just so oddly fascinated. For those of you who haven't heard about this book before, Red is about a town that is mostly populated by red heads and they pretty much rule the town. If you're not a red head, then you're pretty much an outcast from the rest of society. Felicity is the main character in Red, and she has a deep dark secret that nobody else knows about. She's not a really a red head. She's been dying her hair since she was a toddler, and if her secret gets out she will no longer be the beloved, popular girl that she is today. Things get even more tricky when a brunette finds out Felicity's secret and starts to blackmail her.
Red is a light, quirky book that's just a feel good type of read. It definitely has a cheesy middle grade quality to it, but I was often able to overlook that vibe. The characters were very sweet and cute, but also very dramatic and annoying at times. As for the plot...yes...it was cheesy. It's definitely not going to be a book for everyone. But it was oddly adorable.
Now for a couple negative notes. I didn't like the characters very well, especially the main character, Felicity. They were a bit too dramatic for my taste. I enjoyed that it wasn't the typical boy meets girl and falls in love contemporary feel, but I do wish that there would have been a bit more seriousness to it and less......cheese. I feel like I'm saying that word a lot. I also had a really hard time reading about Felicity's mom and boyfriend. I found their scenes to be very offensive, and I skimmed through them.
There were a lot of aspects of Red that just didn't make sense. I don't think that the younger crowd will pick up on the flaws, but I think that they will bother the older crowd a lot. At first, it didn't bother me at all. As the story progressed, though, I found that those flaws were becoming super annoying. There are just some things that could never happen. I like my contemporary to be more on the realistic side. This one was more on the imaginary world side.
A little over halfway through Red, I started to find it way too cheesy, predictable, and uncomfortable. Some of the scenes were a little too hard for me to get through. I don't like feeling so embarrassed for the main character that I have to skip a scene altogether. I ended u skimming a large portion of the book, because I pretty much knew everything that was going to happen. I got to the point where I just wanted to get to the end and see that my predictions were correct.
Overall, I think that Red is a great book for younger readers. It's light and cute. It reminds me of some teeny bopper show that could be on TV. Is it for the older crowd? Mehhhh. I don't think so. The writing is really good, but I feel that it might be a little TOO young for the older YA crowd.
Leesie is a Mormon. She’s wholesome, pure and innocent and devoted to the teachings of her church. Dating boys outside her church is frowned upon andLeesie is a Mormon. She’s wholesome, pure and innocent and devoted to the teachings of her church. Dating boys outside her church is frowned upon and the guidelines about dating in general are very strict in the Mormon world:
- Thou shalt not be alone with a boy who is not your brother or your father. - No parking - No necking - No tongue kissing - No groping - And obviously, no sex unless you’re married.
And these are just some of the acts that are off limits. But Leesie doesn’t mind, not really, because she’s never really met anyone that made her want to do any of those things anyway. And then Michael moves to town…
Meet Michael – he’s not wholesome, not pure, and certainly not a Mormon. When Michael arrives in town, he’s a bit of a mess. You see, the poor kid just watched his parents die in a diving accident and is being haunted by their faces in his dreams.
At first, Leesie just tells herself that she’s hanging out with Michael because he needs help. He’s broken and she wants to fix him. Michael likes Leesie, though – a lot – and he wants more than friendship with her. It isn’t too long before Leesie realizes that she feels exactly the same way. But what about her church? And what about her dreams to head off to Brigham Young University at the end of the school year? Is it even possible for a Mormon like herself to have a proper relationship with someone who doesn’t believe in the things that she does?
The Mormon guidelines pose some serious challenges for Leesie and Michael. Michael isn’t a virgin when he comes to town and he wants nothing more than to make sweet, sweet love to Leesie. But he can’t even use his tongue when he kisses her, how on earth is he going to get her out of her clothes? He says he loves her, but does he love her enough to respect her religion and their teachings? Leesie doesn’t understand why Michael can’t separate love and sex. For her, they’re two separate entities, but for Michael, they’re one and the same.
Taken By Storm implements the technique of dual narration and readers are able to navigate the story through both Leesie and Michael’s perspective. This technique validates both characters’ arguments and places the reader in a position which allows them to weigh up both sides equally before passing judgment over one character or the other. Michael’s grief over his parents’ death is gut wrenching, but does that justify the way he pushes Leesie? And Leesie’s religious beliefs explain why she resists so much but is it fair of her to preach at Michael, and is it fair for her to deny him the way she is? When two people who come from such opposing ways of life find each other, is it better to just walk away? These are all very good questions and Taken By Storm does a stellar job of addressing the issue fairly and objectively.
This is one of those heart-wrenching tales which demonstrates that, sadly, sometimes love just isn’t enough....more