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 misleadin...moreAt 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.(less)
Hadley Sullivan is en route to her father’s second wedding, celebrating his marriage to Charlotte, a woman Hadley’...moreOriginally posted on www.yareads.com
Hadley Sullivan is en route to her father’s second wedding, celebrating his marriage to Charlotte, a woman Hadley’s never met before. The wedding is the last place Hadley wants to be and, almost as if the world understands this, she arrives to the airport just three minutes late, causing her to miss her flight. While she waits for the next plane to arrive, she meets Oliver, a British Yale student coincidentally occupying seat 18C, a mere seat over from Hadley’s 18A. Oliver is the perfect distraction — from the impending wedding and Hadley’s claustrophobia. He’s funny, charming, and sweet…and Hadley’s pretty sure she senses a romantic connection. But when their plane lands in London, Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other before she has a chance to say goodbye. All throughout the ceremony, Hadley can’t stop thinking about him. Then a shocking revelation forces her to actively seek him out, despite the limited information she has to go on.
With such an amazing synopsis, I thought I would instantly fall in love with The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. And I probably would have if the synopsis was accurate. Or rather, if it weren’t quite so misleading. This book isn’t about Hadley and Oliver’s relationship and it isn’t about the idea of love at first sight. It is about Hadley’s broken relationship with her father. It exams divorce, infidelity, and parent-child relationships. These are all interesting issues and Jennifer Smith does a fantastic and thorough job exploring them, but going into the book, I wasn’t prepared for such heavy issues. As such, I was left feeling disappointed and a little morose. Even the ending wasn’t enough to cheer me up, especially since Smith does such a good job of portraying the effects of a broken marriage on an entire family that anyone who has experienced divorce in any capacity will be unhappily reminded of their own experiences.
Hadley Sullivan isn’t the most intriguing protagonist, but she’s likable and relatable. She reacts to her parents’ divorce as many teenagers do, but she’s a little ahead of the curve in that she blames her dad rather than his new fiance, which impressed me. Hadley is most interesting when she’s talking to Oliver, as he brings her out of her sullenness. Oliver, by comparison, is lively, witty, fun, and a little mysterious. He’s a huge part of the reason I even finished this book. I actually found his story far more intriguing than Hadley’s and wished we could have learned a lot more about him. Sadly, he only appears for what feels like a brief part of the book.
My main problem with The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is that it provides a lot of back-story. The entire middle consists of tons of flashbacks, all the way to when Hadley was young and happy, up until the divorce. When not flashing back, we get to witness Hadley’s dad’s wedding, which — in my opinion — is a pretty dull affair. Charlotte is too perfect and all the conflict is resolved rather easily. Though Hadley grows as a person and character throughout the book, the growth (and her eventual forgiveness) seems kind of sudden and unwarranted.
I liked The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, but I didn’t love it. I think if I reread it knowing what it’s really about, I might like it better. Every scene involving Oliver was enjoyable and Hadley’s relationship with her dad is interesting enough. I’d just like to warn other readers that this is not the romantic, heart-pounding love-story it proclaims itself to be. (less)
Savanahh used to be best friends with the Clann kids, until fourth grade, when they all turned against her. She doesn’t know what made them suddenly h...moreSavanahh used to be best friends with the Clann kids, until fourth grade, when they all turned against her. She doesn’t know what made them suddenly hate her, but she moved on and made new friends, doing her best to ignore the bullying of the more vicious Clann kids. The only Clann member she can’t seem to ignore, though, is Tristan Coleman. But he hasn’t even acknowledged her existence since that fateful day in the fourth grade. That is, until Savannah gets mysteriously sick for the first time in her life and returns to school after five days decidedly…different.
Boys can no longer seem to control themselves around Savannah. One look from her and it’s almost as if they’re possessed, love-stricken to the extreme. Savannah can no longer trust that any boy has real feelings for her, which is infuriating as Tristan has finally deigned to talk to her for the first time in years. Is he under the same spell as every other guy or is something different about him?
Darnell puts a really unique and interesting twist on vampire and witch legends in Crave. For those looking for a new vampire series, you should definitely pick up the first book in The Clann series. It reminds me of Twilight, except infinitely better. Darnell tells the story through both Savannah’s and Tristan’s points of view, which is an excellent decision on her part as Savannah and Tristan keep so many secrets that it would impossible to understand each characters’ motivations without the viewpoint switch. It also makes you fall in love with Tristan long before Savannah even realizes how amazing he is.
Darnell puts a lot of effort into grounding Crave in reality. The beginning starts a little slow, but this is necessary as it lets us fully slip into Savannah’s life so that later on, we experience the shock and surprise of her family’s origins just as much as she does. The somewhat slow beginning also gives dimension to Tristan, as well as all of Savannah’s close friends. Unfortunately, her friends sort of fall out of the picture for the entire middle of the book, which seems odd to me. But Savannah does lead a busy life, what with juggling after-school activities, boyfriends, and new friends. Still, I wish we’d see glimpses of her old friends throughout.
There is a lot to this book. It’s long, jam-packed with intrigue and mystery. Darnell does a good job of evenly dispensing necessary information, like Savannah’s and Tristan’s back-story, the history behind Savannah’s relationship with her dad, what the Clann really is, and so much more. There are so many things that need to be explained and Darnell does so effortlessly, never bogging down the story or forcing the issues. And all the answers to the inevitable questions are innovative and fresh, making it impossible to stop reading.
While Darnell’s superior world-building and three-dimensional characters are commendable, the highlight of Crave is the romance between Savannah and Tristan. It’s just so perfectly done — almost every scene involving the two gives me butterflies. This is probably due to how real the two characters feel, like people you might bump into at your own school. And they have history, so their relationship doesn’t spring up out of thin air. It’s almost painful in how slowly it develops, but the anticipation is so, so worth it. This is a relationship that pays off until the very last page, but be prepared for a huge cliffhanger. But this is a cliff you’re going to want to hang off of, eagerly waiting for the second book in The Clann series.(less)
Josh and Emma are about to discover themselves–fifteen years in the future It’s 1996, and Josh...moreOriginally posted on www.yareads.com, Reviewed by Nikki.
Josh and Emma are about to discover themselves–fifteen years in the future It’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long–at least, up until last November, when everything changed. Things have been awkward ever since, but when Josh’s family gets a free AOL CD-ROM in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto Facebook . . . but Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. Josh and Emma are looking at themselves fifteen years in the future. Their spouses, careers, homes, and status updates–it’s all there. And every time they refresh their pages, their futures change. As they grapple with the ups and downs of what their lives hold, they’re forced to confront what they’re doing right–and wrong–in the present. In Josh and Emma’s world, the Internet is just taking off. Email and instant messenger is all the rage, and no one has even heard of Facebook. When Emma’s dad gets her a computer, Josh brings over a CD-ROM to install the Internet, and their lives are changed forever. When Emma boots up the CD, this thing called Facebook pops up. It seems to be some kind of Internet page dedicated to their lives in the future. Josh is married to the hottest girl in school, and Emma, well, Emma’s life changes every few minutes. She goes through several husbands, finds herself living in places she’d never dream of living, and finds things out about friends that she doesn’t really want to know. And then it becomes clear … the things they do in their daily lives now are affecting the lives that exist in the future on this Facebook page. Even the tiniest little thing completely alters their future. This novel is narrated through a dual perspective. Both Josh and Emma have a voice, which is cool. I really liked Josh, and I feel that teenagers will really relate to him. He’s that average kid that gets overlooked all the time; he’s the nice guy that finishes last; he’s pretty, well, normal. Emma, on the other hand, is less enjoyable to read. She’s selfish, incredibly shallow, and everything always has to be about her. As I read, there were several points in the story where I really wanted to slap some sense into her. Josh is so patient with her and he’s far too good to her. She doesn’t deserve his kindness, especially after the way she continually abuses their relationship. This story is written so well that it’s impossible to tell it was penned by two different people. I’ve always been a big fan of both Jay and Carolyn, so I was excited to see how well they worked together, and it gives me great pleasure to say that they’re an amazing team! This one is an easy read, folks. Pages: 356 Publication Date: 2011 Publisher: Razorbill Rating:: 4.5 Teaser quote: I have a computer in my car? Josh is going to freak out when he hears this.(less)
Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret Until now. Because the last secret she sha...moreOriginally posted on www.yareads.com, reviewed by Kiona.
Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed. Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse. But there’s strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself. Chelsea Knot is known as the school’s biggest gossip. Not only does she spread gossip like wildfire, but she does so vindictively to please her best friend, Kristen Courteau, their high school’s resident princess. During a New Year’s Eve party, Chelsea sees something she shouldn’t and quickly shares the news with Kristen and her boyfriend, Warren. But Warren and his basketball buddies react negatively to the gossip and, in sharing, Chelsea condemns another student to near-death. When Chelsea realizes the horrific effect her words have on people, she takes a vow of silence. Her old friends turn against her and finding new friends becomes nearly impossible when everyone hates or judges her. And now, Chelsea’s on the receiving end of Kristen’s bullying. This story is a lesson in learning just how hard doing the right thing can be. Oh. My. God. Breathtaking. I’d heard great things about Speechless for awhile and I enjoyed Hannah Harrington’s debut novel, Saving June, so I knew it was only a matter of time until I picked up her second book. But despite all the positive reviews, I still wasn’t prepared to fall as in love with Speechless as I did. Believe me when I say all of the hype is 100% justified. Even those of you who don’t particularly enjoy contemporaries will love Speechless for it’s message and it’s strong characters. I’m a dialogue-lover; a bad book can keep my attention until the very end if the dialogue is witty and realistic, so I was a little skeptical about picking up a book where the main character takes a vow of silence, but Harrington pulls this off flawlessly. I didn’t mind Chelsea’s speechlessness at all. In fact, I was riveted by her inner thoughts and self-reflection. Chelsea undergoes such a remarkable transformation; she learns so much about herself, the people around her, and the way our actions and words affect those around us. Every scene in Speechless is ridiculously emotionally potent. Harrington tackles tough, all-too-real topics. While in the middle of reading, I couldn’t help bringing Speechless into every day conversations. It breaks my heart that the events in this book actually take place in our world, though I know they do. But I commend Harrington for bringing attention to these topics and opening the floor for discussion. And I’m just so grateful to her for giving us Chelsea, a girl willing to stand up against what’s wrong and to make a change in her community. Chelsea is such an admirable character. I LOVE that she refuses to back down. My favorite moment of hers is when she confronts Lowell at the vending machine. I am so tired of passivity in books these days, and when Chelsea marched up to Lowell, I was rooting for her to punch him. Yeah, yeah, I know. Violence is never the answer. But some kids just really do need a good smack across the face. I definitely would’ve smacked him. But Chelsea displays remarkable control and maturity in her handling of the situation, and I was rooting for her the whole time. I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of a YA heroine before, and that’s saying a lot, given my loyalty to Katniss, Caelina, Lena, and a host of others. Chelsea sticks up for herself and others with a poise I certainly didn’t possess in high school. She’s just fantastic. In addition, stick any of my favorite characters in a new job at one of the cool town locals and you’ve already ensured my undying love. This has always been one of my favorite aspects of any Sarah Dessen novel: getting to know the new coworkers that become your family at job that becomes a second-home. And Chelsea’s job as a dishwasher/busser at Rosie’s is no different. Harrington gives us a phenomenal cast of characters with Asha, Sam, Andy, Dex, and Lou. Doesn’t seeing all their names together like that just bring a smile to your face? You know that’s going to be a fun group of people. And these are good people. Loyal friends, friends with convictions and opinions instead of cookie-cutter, formulaic characters. Every character in this book simply shines. The amount of strength portrayed in this book is reason enough to pick it up. I was so thrilled that Chelsea had to strength to visit Noah and to seek closure with Kristen when everything was said and done. These are the scenes I often yearn for in YA novels, but never see. I think this book is so, so important for teens and adults alike to read. Plus, despite being unable to talk, Chelsea still manages a ton of sass and the romance Speechless is super sweet. It literally gave me butterflies. Speechless is a home-run and I can’t wait to see what Harrington comes up with next. Fans of Sarah Dessen and Kody Keplinger will be especially taken with this knock-out of a novel. Pages: 288 Publication Date: August 2012 Publisher: Harlequin Teen Source: Edelweiss Rating : 5 Teaser Quote: “Listening to Eminem makes me feel like a badass. Or at least as though I have the potential for badassery. I mean, the way he sings, it’s like he’d probably punch out a puppy if it looked at him wrong. Obviously I’m not glorifying animal cruelty here, I’m just saying, I could use some of that attitude. It’s better than the attitude I have now of just letting everyone mess with me all the time.“(less)
For fans of Maria V. Snyder, especially her Study series, Touch of Power is a must read. Avry is one of the...moreOriginally posted on http://www.yareads.com
For fans of Maria V. Snyder, especially her Study series, Touch of Power is a must read. Avry is one of the last remaining Healers in the Territories — perhaps, even, the very last. Healers, once respected and revered, are now hunted as they are blamed for the inception of the plague that has left so many dead. But there are some who still need Healers, like Kerrick and his merry band of rogues. Kerrick needs Avry to heal Prince Ryne, who is being kept in a magically induced stasis to prevent the prince from dying from the plague. But there are many who will do anything to stop Avry from healing Ryne. Little do they know, Avry doesn’t even want to heal Ryne and she makes it absolutely clear that who she heals is completely her own decision. With such high stakes, it is imperative that Kerrick convince Avry that Ryne is worth saving, which proves difficult as Avry and Kerrick hate each other.
Snyder transports us to yet another new world in Touch of Power. Her descriptions are crisp and powerful so that her words really bring this world to life. This book covers a long period of time, which means Snyder has plenty of time to explore the Territories and the politics surrounding each aspiring ruler. Each persons’ motivations behind wanting to rule is fascinating. The would-be rulers all have flaws. Major flaws. This makes it easy to sympathize with Avry’s conflicting thoughts and emotions. She doesn’t know what the right thing to do is, but she feels pressure from so many forces to do something. I admire that she refuses to compromise her beliefs throughout the entire novel. A huge burden rests on her shoulders and she takes it very, very seriously, despite some chances at an easy way out.
This book is full of intrigue and suspense. The mystery of the plague gripped me from the very beginning and I was dying for answers up until the very last page. Then there’s the mystery of Kerrick — why does he so wholeheartedly believe Prince Ryne is the best hope for the future and what secret is Avry hiding that sets her so against healing Ryne? Even as questions are answered, more and more crop up, leaving you frantically flipping pages until you reach the last one, at which point you want to shake the book up and down, hoping for more pages to fall out. That’s how powerful this plot is. There’s just so much to it — you’ll get so caught up in the intrigue of this world that the characters’ problems start to feel like your own. You won’t want answers, you’ll need answers. Luckily, this book provides just enough that you won’t feel jilted at the end, though you will be dying for the sequel.
As far as protagonists go, Avry is supremely likable. She’s such a genuinely good person, stubborn, sassy, and uncompromising in her beliefs, though still willing to listen to reason. As a Healer, she puts others’ lives before her own, which is why she refuses to be coerced into healing anyone. When she heals, it’s her decision because it affects her life. I also love her stubborn streak. She isn’t afraid to stand up to literally anyone, which often gets her in trouble, but also works in her favor. Half the time. Maybe. She’s a heroine I respect immensely and probably my favorite of Snyder’s characters to date.
The supporting cast is absolutely amazing. Kerrick is a complicated, captivating character. His relationship with Avry is tumultuous and unpredictable. Every conversation between the two of them held my complete attention. Kerrick’s best friend, Belen, is instantly lovable and completely deserving of Avry’s nickname of “Poppa Bear.” He’ll defend his friends, or “cubs,” until his dying breath. Flea, Quain, and Vinn make up the rest of Kerrick’s group of rogues, and their charming and hysterical in their own ways. Each distinct personality brings something new to the table and makes you feel as if you’re becoming part of a family the entire time you’re reading. The light campfire conversations will bring an unconscious smile to your face.
Touch of Power is full of action, mysterious, intricate plots, and exciting new characters. It’s a wonderful addition to Snyder’s repertoire and, in my opinion, one of her best books so far. I can’t wait to see where this series goes. (less)
The rebel freedom fighters, the Varden, has just won their first confrontation with Galbatorix’s army, Eragon has defeated the Shade Durza with the he...moreThe rebel freedom fighters, the Varden, has just won their first confrontation with Galbatorix’s army, Eragon has defeated the Shade Durza with the help of Saphira and Arya earning him a new name – Eragon Shadeslayer. Murtagh has finally gained the trust of the Varden and Hrothgar, king of the Dwarves. Yet as everything seems to be looking positive for a while, the Varden are given a final blow. Ajihad, leader of the Varden, is betrayed by two of his closest advisors, and is killed on the very day the Varden are celebrating. A day of victory becomes a day of mourning. Along with this, Murtagh is kidnapped and clouded by a spell, making it impossible for Eragon to know if he is alive or dead. With the leadership of the Varden and their magicians in doubt, Eragon finds himself being wormed deeper into politics of the rebel army. Forced by the new leader to sear fealty to them and not the Varden, Eragon is beginning to gather more oaths then he is able to bear.
The Varden decided to move. Heading to near-by Surda to start their campaign against King Galbatorix, there is limited time for Eragon to learn what he needs to know, and the place he needs to learn it, is on the opposite side of the Empire. In the ancient city of the elves, Eragon receives instruction from a surprising teacher, being schooled in the finer points of magic, the ancient language and swordsmanship, yet even under the most careful tutorage, an old injury is holding Eragon back. As Eragon struggles with his new education, people in his past being to capture the attention of the Empire.
Roran, Eragon’s cousin, is faced with the tough decision that will define the rest of his life – to stay and Carvahall and fight a lost battle, or to move the whole town and to seek help in Surda, where members of Carvahall have only heard whisper’s of the legendary Varden. It is a decision that will cost Roran in more ways than one.
Eldest is the second instalment in Christopher Paolini’s the Inheritance Cycle, and starts right where Eragon left off. In Eldest we are now following three different points of view and three separate storylines, as Paolini introduces even further complications and obstacles in the path of all characters in the plot. We have Eragon and the elves, Roran and the people of Carvahall and Nasuada and the Varden. With three distinct and different series of events, it is easy to get lost in story, and Paolini’s handle on the multiple viewpoints rarely left me struggling for understanding.
Eragon’s character continues to develop, and in Eldest we glimpse many of Eragon’s future problems and being to get a grasp on the extreme and vast differences between the three cultures. Eragon’s attempt at trying to master these three cultures sometimes gets him into a spot of bother, and it is these moments of insecurity and failure that allowed me to connect with Eragon on a personal level – they are mistakes that I would have done in his place. The relationship between Eragon and Arya develops to a new level, and while I feel I know where this will end up, it seems that there will be some twists and turns to see it arrive in that place.
We are re-introduced to Roran, and he, along with the Carvahall villager’s, plays a much larger role in this novel than in Eragon. Roran, for me, lacked as a character. He seemed to be driven by one singular thought, and lacked reason or compassion for people around him. That being said, it was these characteristics that drove his plot and story, I just found his point of view difficult and trying to read from.
Eldest is filled with a lot more darkness and evil than seen in Eragon, slowing highlighting the true horror of Galbatorix’s reign on Alegaesia. Captivating from the shock beginning to the even more shocking ending, Eldest is the must read sequel for fans of Eragon. A truly compelling page-turner that had me reading from the first page, to the last.(less)
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 magi...moreSet 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.(less)
There’s nothing better than starting off your summer with a new Sarah Dessen novel. I had been eagerly anti...moreOriginally posted on http://www.yareads.com
There’s nothing better than starting off your summer with a new Sarah Dessen novel. I had been eagerly anticipating Dessen’s perfect blend of relatable girl plus troubled boy equals hesitant summer romance. I was surprised to find What Happened to Goodbye veered from Dessen’s norm, but in a good way.
When a heart-wrenching divorce tore her family apart, Mclean sided with her dad and decided to follow him wherever his consulting job took him. This meant a total of four moves in two years. At each new school, Mclean took the opportunity to reinvent herself, which included going be different nicknames: Eliza, Beth, and Lizbet. In the second semester of her senior year of high school, Mclean and her dad find themselves in Lakeview. Mclean is all ready to become “Liz Sweet” until she accidentally finds herself becoming, well, Mclean. And nothing is more terrifying to Mclean than being herself—whoever that is—and letting people get to know the real her, especially when there’s always the risk that she’ll have to uproot again at a moment’s notice. Letting people in and getting attached seems like a surefire way of getting hurt.
The thing about Mclean is she’s been so caught up in being someone else that she really doesn’t know who she is anymore. While I understand where she’s coming from, by the end of the book I still felt like I didn’t really know Mclean either. It’s clear she’s finally forming her true identity and re-learning a lot about herself, but I can’t help feeling like I didn’t get a really strong sense of her personality. This seemed odd to me in light of the fact that she’d cultivated such strong personalities in the past. She had joined the cheerleading team, student council, drama club. At one school, she was that girl everyone either knew or knew about. But from the way she acted in Lakeview, it was hard to believe she’d once made friends that easily or been that outgoing. Sure, she had no trouble approaching people or talking to strangers and she instantly connected with a small group of friends, but it seemed to me like they adopted Mclean out of pity because she was the new girl; she didn’t really have to try at all. And it’s not like people didn’t like Mclean. It’s just more like there was no reason not to like her. She’s perfectly nice, but that’s about it because that’s how she’s survived all the moves – only let people see the surface.
That’s not to say Mclean isn’t likeable. She is and she’s certainly relatable, especially to anyone who’s experienced divorce. Dessen perfectly captures the agony of divorce and its affects on teenagers and families. Though the situation differs for everyone, certain aspects are universal and Mclean’s attitude throughout is completely understandable. I like that Mclean isn’t your typical moody, angsty teenager. She’s rational, opinionated, and thinks before she speaks, which means that all her words hold a certain weight, especially when it comes to talking with her mom. Listening to Mclean articulate her feelings so well was enlightening. And no one was more interested in hearing what she had to say than Dave.
Dave is adorable. He is the cutest, geekiest boy-genius ever, and he just so happens to be Mclean’s neighbor. Interestingly enough, Dave doesn’t play as huge of a role in the book as expected. What Happened to Goodbye focuses less on Mclean’s romantic relationship and more on her personal transformation and self-discovery. But her relationship with Dave and his friends does play a part in this transformation. At first, I didn’t really understand Dave’s attraction to Mclean. Beside the fact that she was the new, interesting girl, they didn’t really know each other well enough for either to develop a crush. Mclean says as much when Dave’s friend, Riley, says Dave likes Mclean. But as they begin to spend more time together, it becomes evident that the two just get each other. They just have compatible personalities and are capable of making the other happy. For a relationship that plays more of a minor role, this is more than enough. Just knowing Mclean and Dave are happy when they’re together already makes their relationship ten times more successful than many of the relationships Mclean’s seen before.
As she has in the past, Dessen interweaves elements from her past books, such as referencing characters and places she’s written about before. I love these references and knowing that somehow, on a larger scale, all of the characters are connected. What Happened to Goodbye is a really interesting commentary on the idea of identity and how important our identities are. And, as always, Dessen writes skillfully and knowledgably about subjects that open our eyes to new worlds; in this case, she covers restaurant life and basketball. It was exciting to learn so much about those who immerse themselves in the restaurant business and I’d always been curious about families who appeared to live and breathe for basketball games. Now, I can kind of understand the appeal. Sarah Dessen fans definitely won’t be disappointed by her newest summer read. (less)
If I had a cheerleading uniform and a pair of pom poms, I’d break them out right now so I could show David Levithan and Rachel Cohn just how much I lo...moreIf I had a cheerleading uniform and a pair of pom poms, I’d break them out right now so I could show David Levithan and Rachel Cohn just how much I love their work. I’d cheer, I’d jump, hell I might even attempt some of those crazy backward flip things. I’d definitely concoct a cheesy rhyme that I could shout at the top of my lungs that outlines my enthusiasm and appreciation. Yes, I’d go to THAT much effort.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (their first collaborative novel) was so supremely perfect that I didn’t think David and Rachel could do much better than that. I mean, how can you top perfection? You can’t, right? Wrong. Apparently perfection now holds a new name, and it sounds a little something like Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List.
Ely and Naomi have been friends forever. They live in the same apartment block and couldn’t be closer if they tried. They’ve got so much in common that they even like all the same boys. Yes folks, Ely is gay. So in order to protect their friendship against possible crush conflicts, Naomi and Ely devise a No Kiss List – a list of people that are off limits to both of them, under all circumstances. This works very well for them both, and life couldn’t be better.
Until Ely kisses Bruce The Second, Naomi’s supposedly straight boyfriend.
Because it’s the right thing to do, Ely tells Naomi and, not surprisingly, all hell breaks loose. For the first time in the history of The Ely and Naomi Show, the pair finds themselves experiencing some serious trouble in paradise. Things get nasty, they stop speaking and suddenly the No Kiss List no longer applies. All bets are off, every gay boy and straight girl for themselves.
Although the title suggests otherwise, this book is not entirely and exclusively about Naomi and Ely. Each chapter is told through a different character’s perspective, which adds a whole host of different tones and complexities to navigate. But it’s a good thing, and gives the novel depth. For example, through Naomi’s eyes, Bruce the Second is kind of boring and actually presents as a little two-dimensional. However, when Bruce the Second is actually given his own voice, readers step inside his head only to discover that he is adorable, smart, and kinda crazy about Ely. Cue violin music now, please. I found it very easy to forgive him for the terrible way things end between him and Naomi.
And then there’s Gabriel, who through Naomi’s eyes, is pretty much just a piece of eye candy, and through Ely’s eyes, is just the big-eared doorman. But when Gabriel finally gets his chance to narrate, readers learn that he’s deep, poetic and sensitive in a new aged kind of way. And man, does the boy have eclectic taste in music (which he is disappointed to learn, Naomi does not share). There’s also Bruce the First, Kelly, and the Robins.
Switching between characters so frequently means that you’ll never get bored reading this book because each character has a new agenda, a different purpose in the story. The one thing they do share in common, however, is Naomi and Ely, and everybody’s individual journeys are somehow linked to the Great Break Up of Ely and Naomi. Interestingly enough, I also think the constant switching between characters highlights just how limiting first person narration really can be. Naomi and Ely’s perceptions of the other characters are often unfair, or just plain incorrect.
There are some seriously touching AWWWWWW kind of moments in this story, but there are also a whole stack of humorous ones too. In fact, in several places I laughed so hard I had to put my book down, wipe the corner of my eye, and take a deep breath. Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List is pure quality entertainment, in the strongest, most emphatic sense of the word.
Cohn and Levithan write together brilliantly, and their enthusiasm for their work shines on every single page, through every single tiny, insignificant word. Their characters are so real, so alive, that I think I saw Ely at my local Starbucks last night. For the record, Bruce the Second wasn’t with him, but a very loud-mouthed, jaw dropingly gorgeous girl was. Defintely Naomi, for sure.(less)
Gwen Frost is back and she’s finally settling into a rhythm at Mythos. She’s training every morning before classes with Logan and two of his Spartan f...moreGwen Frost is back and she’s finally settling into a rhythm at Mythos. She’s training every morning before classes with Logan and two of his Spartan friends, and her free time is divided between gossiping with new BFF Daphne, visiting her grandma, and working at the library. Things seem all right, until her life is threatened once again. She knew a Reaper of Chaos would come for her eventually, but she didn’t realize she’d be in such danger on campus. Which is why Daphne is able to convince Gwen to join the school as they drive up to a luxury ski resort for the annual winter carnival. But instead of relaxing, Gwen finds herself in even more trouble than before.
The first book in Estep’s series really didn’t hold my attention, but I was willing to give Kiss of Frost a chance to hit its stride. If possible, Kiss of Frost is even more repetitive and riddled with clichés. First, it begins by rehashing all the events of the first book. This is nothing new — a lot of authors use this device when writing series. But the rehashing continues throughout the entirety of the novel so that it seems like filler, a way for Estep to increase her page count. Second, the entire setting of Kiss of Frost seems like a ripoff of Richelle Mead’s Frostbite. A poorly executed ripoff, at that. And since I was so reminded of Frostbite, I couldn’t help thinking how much I’d rather be reading that book that Kiss of Frost. Third, the plot is absolutely predictable and unoriginal. The only unpredictable part is the romance between Gwen and Logan. If you think all the flirting, taunting, and sexual tension between the two will pay off in the second novel of the series, prepare for disappointment. Their relationship goes nowhere, once again.
I want to like the Mythos Academy series. I typically love series about boarding schools for vampires/warriors/magically gifted students. But Estep really doesn’t bring anything new to the genre with Mythos. The mythology surrounding the students of Mythos is convoluted and unbelievable. Too many ancient myths and histories are mixed to make sense. And the way everyone flings titles at each other in every conversation — “Hello, Valkyrie,” “What do you want, Spartan?” — is absurd. Actually, most of the dialogue is absurd, especially when it comes to the villains. In the first and second books, both villains speak almost singularly in unrealistic clichés. Their words make me visibly cringe while reading.
But I’d be able to overlook a lot of these things if Gwen was likable. But there isn’t anything terribly special about her character, except that she’s the lone Gypsy at a school of ancient warriors. None of her personality traits really set her apart from any other student at Mythos. Yes, she’s supposed to be the snarky, mysterious, tough-as-nails loner. Except she’s not really all that snarky, mysterious, or tough. She’s really only a loner because she doesn’t try to talk to anyone unless they speak to her first. She’s already decided she hates all the students at Mythos, yet she’s surprised when they don’t welcome her with open arms. But the worst part is, Gwen’s dumb. She never thinks things through and almost always makes the worst decisions. It takes her forever to realize things that are immediately obvious to the reader, like how to use her powers, who’s really trying to kill her, and what Logan really feels. The longer it takes Gwen to figure everything out, the more respect I lose for her.
As far as secondary characters, Estep doesn’t give us much. Daphne and Gwen are suddenly best friends forever, incapable of living without each other. But they don’t really spend much time together or have much in common. Any time they’re together, Daphne either has to run out to meet up with her boyfriend or they fill their time, in Estep’s words, by “gossiping.” Then there are the professors: Metis, the wise and kind mentor, and Nickamedes, the antagonizing and crotchety Librarian who seems to have it out for Gwen, except he really just wants to protect her. Last, there’s Logan, the bad boy who won’t let Gwen get too close lest she discover his big bad secret. She gets a peek at this secret in Kiss of Frost and, as expected, it doesn’t seem like a deal-breaker to me. All of these characters lack depth, which leaves Kiss of Frost feeling like kind of an empty read.
With all that said, the Mythos Academy series isn’t awful. There’s just plenty I dislike about it and nothing I really like. But for those who like supernatural boarding school series, Mythos might appeal to you. If anything, it’s a quick read, so if you’re interested, it couldn’t hurt to give the books a try. It won’t take long for you to decide if it’s a hit or a miss.(less)
Calla has always welcomed war. But now that the final battle is upon her, there’s more at stake than fighting. There’s saving Ren, even if it incurs Sh...moreCalla has always welcomed war. But now that the final battle is upon her, there’s more at stake than fighting. There’s saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay’s wrath. There’s keeping Ansel safe, even if he’s been branded a traitor. There’s proving herself as the pack’s alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers’ magic once and for all. And then there’s deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is. I first started the Nightshade series for our bookclub here at yareads. Funny enough, I didn’t think I was going to like them. I was wrong. I devoured all three books in less than a week. They were so full of action, adventure, love, betrayal, everything you could possibly ever want in a book. Bloodrose probably contained the most adventure out of all three of the books. I was on the edge of my seat throughout most of the ride. It was seriously so good. Yet again, I had a problem with the character of Shay. I know that a lot of you out there love Shay to death, but I just couldn’t get past the fact that he came across as mentally abusive. He would constantly put down Calla for submitting to others. When she finally started to do something she wanted to do, though, he would have none of it. He seemed to believe that he was the one in control, and, as a woman, Calla had to bow down to him. I’m sure that Andrea Cremer did not mean to come across this way in the books. However, this was something that really bothered me throughout the entire series. The ending of this book infuriated me. I think I probably saw red for the rest of the day. Andrea Cremer took the end of this series in a whole different direction than I thought she would. I’ve never actually had an ending of a series upset me as much as this one did. I really want to read Rift, Andrea Cremer’s newest book, but I’m a little afraid to pick up any more of her works after this. I would recommend this book simply because I love the series as a whole. I loved all of the characters and it was such a blast watching them grow throughout all the books. Again, I have to warn teachers and parents that this series does show some mental and physical abuse. While I think the books are alright for children to read, I think that that’s just something to keep in mind and maybe discuss with them. Overall, this is a great series, and I hope you all enjoy it! Pages: 406 Publication Date: January 3, 2012 Publisher: Philomel Rating: : 3
Teaser Quote: “ Ren’s scent was everywhere. The smoke of aged wood lingering beneath a chilled autumn sky, the smooth burn of well-worn leather, the seductive ribbon of sandalwood. I closed my eyes, letting his scent pour over me, filling me with memories.” (less)
Carey and her little sister Jenessa have lived in the woods for as long as they can remember...moreOriginally posted on www.yareads.com, reviewed by Nichole.
Carey and her little sister Jenessa have lived in the woods for as long as they can remember. For Jenessa, it’s been her whole life. They’ve survived off beans and other canned foods, had no running water or electricity, shared a cot in a trailer, and were constantly abused by their meth-addict mother when she was actually around. But their mom has now been missing for two months, and food supplies are running low. Carey doesn’t know how much longer she and her sister can survive without their mom.
One afternoon a man and a woman appear in the woods, claiming that Carey’s mother sent them a letter claiming that she could no longer take care of the girls. It comes out that Carey’s mother kidnapped her when she was four-years-old, and now the man (her father) has found her and is going to take both the girls back to live with him and his family. There, Carey finds new clothes, and unhappy step-sister, a new life, a new school, and old and new friends who will forever stick by her side.
For all my life, at least throughout my teenage years up till now, I have loved kidnapping cases, murder cases, missing persons..everything along those lines. There are times that my DVR will be filled with those types of shows. Trust me, it drives my mother nuts. So when I read the back of If You Find Me, I knew that it was a book specifically for me. I had not doubt that I was going to love this book.
I fell in love with If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch after the first paragraph. Normally it takes me a few chapters to fall in love with a book, but not with this one. The first paragraph was all it took. That paragraph prepared me for an amazing read to come, and I knew that I was not going to be disappointed. This time I was right.
The main character, Carey, was so strong, heartbreaking, dedicated and loyal that she actually became a real person in my eyes. I was drawn to her character immediately, and it was amazing to have the chance to watch her growth throughout the book. I also fell in love with the younger sister, Jenessa, as I think all of the characters in the book did as well. At times, it was hard to read about a six-year old girl who went through everything that she did, but she was such a little trooper. In all honesty, this book would not have been nearly as good without her.
If You Find Me is so genuine, so….raw…it just feels so real. The writing was consistently amazing throughout the whole book. It never had downer moments or boring chunks. It was just perfection all the way through. I will say that this book left me emotionally exhausted when I finished it. I don’t think that I have ever read a book where I have cried so much. I was just a giant mess from the beginning to the end.
I loved watching the relationships in this story. There was Carey and her little sister Jenessa, who she raised from birth. Then there was the timid relationship between Carey and her father. It was heart wrenching to read about them together. Carey’s mom had told her such awful things about her dad, and she was afraid of him. I loved watching that fear slowly dissolve. Some of the best relationships in this book were between Carey and her step-sister, Delaney, and those of her and her newfound friends. Carey’s being forced into situations that she never thought she would have the chance to experience, and it warmed my heart to read about them.
A bit of warning, this book strongly discusses the topics of drugs and rape. If you can’t handle those topics, then do not read this book. Personally, I thought that those topics made the book stronger. Both Carey and Jenessa had to go through so much during their young lives, and the honesty and realistic quality of the book were well received on my end.
My few complaints with the book are very simple ones. First, the book needed to be longer. It’s only 256 pages, but it needed to be a lot longer, in my opinion. There was so much that wasn’t captured in this book that I was hoping to see. Secondly, I was hoping for some scenes that never happened. I wanted to see the girls in therapy, I wanted to see more of their time in school, and I wanted the mother to come back in the picture for a brief period later in the book. These things didn’t happen, so I feel that Carey’s story is very unfinished. I believe that If You Find Me is a standalone, but I would love to see more books from Emily Murdoch in the future, even if they just cover Jenessa or Delaney’s story. Finally, I really didn’t like how much of her childhood Carey actually remembered. I barely remember anything from when I was four. And, yes, it make sense that Carey remembered a thing here or there. But it was really weird to have someone mention something and her be like “Oh, yes! I remember that!” and then remember a bunch of scenes about it.
Guys….this book was so amazing. I cried, my heart broke, and then I cried some more. I was an emotional basket case from the very beginning. I want to recommend this book to each and every one of you. This is what great writing is. All of you need to go out and read Carey’s story.
If you’re looking for something similar to If You Find Me, I would suggest Nora Roberts Quinn Brothers of Chesapeake Bay series. It’s an adult series, but it is amazing, and I have read it way too many times to count.
Publication Date: March 26th, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: : ★★★★★
Teaser Quote: “Beans ain’t free, but they’re on the cheap, and here in the Obed Wild and Scenic River National Park, dubbed ‘The Hundred Acre Wood,’ I must know close to one hundred ways to fix beans. From the dried, soaked-in-water variety to beans in the can-baked beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans….
It don’t sound important. It’s just beans, after all, the cause of square farts, as my sister used to say with a giggle on the end. But when you’re livin in the woods like Jenessa and me, with no runnin’ water or electricity, with Mama gone to town for long stretches of time, leavin’ you in charge of feedin’ a younger sister – nine years younger – with a stomach rumblin’ like a California earthquake , inventin’ new and interestin’ ways to fix beans becomes very important indeed.
That’s what I’m thinkin’ as I fell the scratchy cookin’ pot full of water from the chipped porcelain jug and turn on the dancin’ blue flame of the Bunsen burner: how I can make the beans taste new tonight, along with wishin’ we had butter for the last of the bread, which we don’t, because butter don’t keep well without refrigeration.” (less)
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 m...moreThis 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.(less)
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 stay...moreAfter 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!”(less)
Amelia Hayes has just gotten a job at the supermarket and it doesn’t take long before she gets a crush on her charming (and much older than her) staff...moreAmelia Hayes has just gotten a job at the supermarket and it doesn’t take long before she gets a crush on her charming (and much older than her) staff trainer, Chris Harvey. While Amelia is trying to find her identity and place in life, Chris is struggling to find the meaning in his life. The story switches perspective between the two as we watch their friendship grow and as Chris changes his view of Amelia from a protégé/little sister type to someone he could consider as a potential girlfriend.
Amelia is in the 10th grade and to her, boys are the brainless creatures who push her around on the school bus and who are otherwise only after one thing. Chris is in his final year at university and battling the girlfriend drought while he still licks his wounds over his previous relationship one year prior. For her the supermarket job is a way of gaining independence, for him though, it’s a dead end.
Amelia is unlike any girl Chris knows and is always amazed at how her mind works, she makes him question his own thoughts and the way he thinks. They exchange letters of things that they hate, while Amelia thinks her mum has been screwed over by feminism, Chris hates the injustice of people getting everything in life while he struggles at the bottom.
It’s not hard to relate to either of these characters, not because it’s written in the first person or because they’re similar to you in age, but because at some point, you were them. It’s what makes this story feel so incredibly real because you were (or still are) Amelia, you were friends with an Amelia, you were Chris or you were in love with a Chris, these characters are so real they might as well be people you already know who just happen to be in a book.
It goes without saying that this is a well written book. The story is engaging and the dual narration adds depth to the storyline and has so many subtle details that come together to create this image of what being a young adult is really like, not what people think it’s like. Also, it’s the kind of book that makes you feel just a bit smarter for having read it, it really gets you thinking. It contrasts the different lifestyles of families, friends and social classes as well as making you consider the issue of feminism, without making you feel like you’re reading a textbook.
This isn’t your typical love story; it’s honest, bittersweet and insightful with the characters lending you their lives to let you look into your own.(less)
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. The...moreAuckland, 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.(less)
Loie's parents died years ago in a freak accident, leaving Loie to the care of an emotionally abusive grandmother....moreOriginally posted on www.yareads.com
Loie's parents died years ago in a freak accident, leaving Loie to the care of an emotionally abusive grandmother. Naturally, Loie turns to the best friend she considers family: Mia Winterborne. Loie spends just as much time at Mia's house as her own, where she even has her own room and a stand-in mother figure. Loie and Mia are as close as sisters and Loie's content to trail around in Mia's shadow, even when it comes to Andreas, the first boy to capture both their hearts. But Andreas inadvertently drives a wedge between the girls just when they need each other most.
Winterborne plunges you into this unique new universe from the very first page as the Loie and Mia discuss Mia's impending supernatural powers. But after the first chapter, the beginning feels rather slow. The lazy summer seems to last too long as it drags on through numerous chapters. But while not much seems to be happening plot-wise, we definitely see a lot of characterization and Augusta Blythe provides tons of grounding details that really make this world feel real.
As soon as the action picks up, Winterborne really hits its stride. This world is dark, terrifying, and completely fresh. The bad guys in this story are actual bad guys; claws, fangs, and murderous desires hide behind handsome exteriors. Blythe's villains are creepy enough to make your skin crawl. And as if helping to protect her best friend from otherworldly kidnappers isn't enough, Loie also has to deal with a grandmother she oscillates between hating and sympathizing with, solving the mystery of her parents' deaths, and falling in love with a boy she knows she can't have.
Poor Loie doesn't realize she's entitled to just as much happiness as Mia. My main issue with Loie is her self-deprecation. She thinks she's not as pretty or special as Mia and that therefore she doesn't deserve as much as Mia. Even though Loie's situation is nowhere near perfect, she still puts Mia before herself. And at times, Mia doesn't seem to consider Loie's feelings or appreciate the sacrifices Loie makes for her. The ending redeems both characters in my eyes. They both undergo extraordinary changes and grow into better characters. Loie finds her own inner strength and Mia learns a little humility. In my opinion, there's nothing more gratifying than an ending where the main characters truly grow and change for the better. Add to that all the realistic world-building and paranormal twists, and this series has definitely caught my interest.
I will say that the twist at the ending is a bit predictable and for some reason, Andreas doesn't really intrigue me as a love interest so far. He's definitely a likable character and his developing friendship with Loie is rather heart-warming. But his relationship with Mia seems off to me; I don't really understand why either girl is in love with him, other than the fact that he's hot and British. These qualities can definitely inspire a crush, but love? I'm not so sure. I'm interested in seeing how these relationships develop in the future, though. And the ending leaves off on a major cliffhanger, so I can't wait to start in on the sequel. (less)
Kate is immortal and ready to step up to her new role as Queen of the Underworld. But her coronation is interrupte...moreOriginally posted on www.yareads.com
Kate is immortal and ready to step up to her new role as Queen of the Underworld. But her coronation is interrupted by a powerful foe, one of the only beings strong enough to actually harm the immortals. While Henry and his siblings fight back and try to re-imprison their greatest enemy, Kate is busy fighting for her husband’s love. And when Persephone reenters Henry’s life, Kate feels like her marriage is doomed to fail. Not that that matters, of course, when the end of the world is imminent.
I could not stop reading Goddess Interrupted. As you guys know, I love retold myths. I’m not enough of an expert on myths to know when authors are butchering them. I know the basics and I’m really not bothered by authors adding their own elements or spins. So with that being said, I really like the direction Aimee Carter has taken with the Goddess Test series. I love the modernized views of the Greek gods and I like that, since Kate is also an outsider, we’re following along right in her shoes.
Kate is a gem of a protagonist. I can see how people might think she’s too mopey or whiny throughout the book, but while she’s definitely upset, I think her strength shines through every page. She’s moved into the Underworld, a place filled with gods who have existed for thousands of years, and she’s still not afraid to be herself. She speaks her mind, advocates for her own rights, and risks her life to save those she cares about. Is risking her life always the smartest option? Maybe not, but Ingrid can be pretty persuasive.
Henry’s behavior in Goddess Interrupted is ridiculously frustrating, but I can kind of see where he’s coming from. And really, his distance only made me flip pages faster as I yearned for him to open himself up to Kate. I’ve been noticing a lot of outrage in recent reviews over Kate’s blame of Persephone for Henry’s behavior. And while it’s true that it’s not Persephone’s fault that Henry is still pining for her, it’s just a realistic fact that as girls, we often blame the other girl, instead of the guy we’re hopelessly in love with. Is this fair? No. But is it realistic? Unfortunately, yes.
The action is fast-paced and exciting. The gods’ predicament seems to be lose-lose, and I’m curious to see how this plays out into the next book. Carter’s writing is a delight to read — succinct, clean, descriptive. Goddess Interrupted is definitely a page-turner, one full of suspense, heartbreak, confusion, frustration, and yes, romance. The ending will leave you completely shell-shocked. I’m not looking forward to the wait for the third in the series, but the first two are worth re-reading, so I suppose I’ll suck it up. (less)
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 neve...moreVintage: 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!(less)
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 Cit...moreRumors 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.(less)
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 rig...moreMurtagh 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.(less)
Shut Out is Kody Keplinger’s second novel, a sort of modern-day retelling of the play Lysistrata. Lissa is...moreOriginally posted on http://www.yareads.com
Shut Out is Kody Keplinger’s second novel, a sort of modern-day retelling of the play Lysistrata. Lissa is dating star quarterback Randy, but she feels like he focuses way too much time and energy on the rivalry between the soccer and football teams. Not only is this pointless rivalry annoying, but it’s dangerous. If it doesn’t end soon, someone will end up seriously hurt. So Lissa has the brilliant idea to gather all the girlfriends of soccer and football players and convince them to go on a sex strike until the boys agree to end the rivalry.
So, pretty intriguing, right? Keplinger made waves with her debut novel The DUFF. While I liked The DUFF — particularly the realistic portrayal of teenagers — I didn’t love it. But I feel like Keplinger has really hit her stride with Shut Out. In my eyes, Lissa is a much more likable protagonist than Bianca was. She’s kind, sweet, and firm, if a little dense and naive at times. Anyone with eyes can see Randy’s a jerk, but Lissa’s so caught up in her first real relationship that she overlooks a lot of his negative qualities — something we’re probably all guilty of at one time or another. What’s nice about Lissa is that she’s not the most outgoing, the most popular, the funniest girl in school, but she does have an idea and she uses that idea to bring a group of girls together. She’s easy to relate to, believes in herself, and makes a lot of mistakes that teach her a lot about herself throughout Shut Out.
While Lissa’s not exactly the most unique main character, there are three things about this book that really stand out to me and make this one of my favorite reads of the year: the plot, the sex talk, and Cash Sterling. First of all, even though Keplinger borrows the idea of a sex strike from Lysistrata, I’ve never read the play and so the plot of Shut Out was a fresh concept for me. But even if it hadn’t been, I would’ve been riveted. And I should clarify, obviously all these girls aren’t having sex with their boyfriends. The strike includes no kissing for those couples not going as far, and no hooking up for those couples that are. And the whole idea of the strike inspires very open dialogue about sex and what hooking up means and the double-standards imposed on girls who sleep around as opposed to boys. The girls are at first hesitant to broach this taboo topic, but once they do they start asking all the questions that we all keep to ourselves, questions we’re too scared or embarrassed or nervous to ask. Keplinger takes a huge leap in addressing these topics and Shut Out won’t be for everyone, but for those with questions, Keplinger points out something we should all keep in mind — you’re not alone. She handles the situation with maturity and accuracy, perfectly capturing the mindset of curious teenage girls.
And to top it all off, there’s Cash Sterling. He’s dreaming, charming, and so, so sweet. He’s high school royalty, the nice guy who flirts with everyone and dates no one. As in, off-limits. Don’t even get your hopes up because he’s not looking for a relationship. Except how can you not get your hopes up when he’s so cute and chivalrous and just all-around amazing? He’s a perfect example of why I fall in love with book characters and I guarantee you’ll understand upon reading Shut Out. Keplinger is clearly an author to watch out for. She delivers interesting situations, realistic characters, and snappy dialogue once again, and she’s sure to do the same in the future. (less)
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 woma...moreDee 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!(less)
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 foot...moreEragon 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.(less)
Jordan Woods is Captain and starting Quarterback of her high school’s football team. Football is and always...moreOriginally posted on http://www.yareads.com
Jordan Woods is Captain and starting Quarterback of her high school’s football team. Football is and always has been her entire life. She has dreams of playing football for the University of Alabama, the best college team in the entire country. All she has to do is keep playing like she’s been playing and they’ll give her a full ride, for sure. Enter transfer student and Chace Crawford look-a-like Tyler Green. From the very first moment he steps onto her field, Jordan knows he’s a distraction. Even worse? He may just be gunning for her position.
I liked the setup and unique premise of this book, at first. Jordan is very serious about football. She plays well, better than most guys, and she’s respected. She’s just one of the guys and instead of her teammates constantly berating and ostracizing her, as you might expect, they accept and defend her. Jordan’s teammates are her friends and Sam Henry, in particular, is her best friend. He eats dinner with her family several times a week and often sleeps over, even sharing a bed with Jordan like they have since they were little. Jordan’s so focused on football and friends from the team that she doesn’t really have much time to think about boys or even consider having girl friends. But Ty changes everything. She finds herself falling for them and while she feels like she can confide in her guy friends, it soon becomes clear that she needs a little female insight.
Basically, I liked this book up until Ty showed up. Ty sucks. And I have a hard time believing that someone as smart and independent as Jordan can just fall for Ty so easily. One look at his Chace Crawford-esque good looks and Jordan’s a limp noodle. But his looks and football skills are really all he has going for him. He’s controlling, rude, and he and Jordan have virtually nothing in common. He freaks out about every aspect of Jordan’s life that he can’t control, even when they’ve only been dating for five days. Then he blames his neurosis on the fact that his parents died in a car crash, which evokes our sympathy, but doesn’t excuse his behavior. At least, I wouldn’t excuse his behavior. Jordan’s just so happy to be dating a male model that she overlooks all his flaws.
But sometimes people are blind to warning signs right in front of their faces, so I can forgive Jordan for that. What I can’t forgive her for is how annoying she becomes throughout the book. She starts off as this fun, strong character who won’t take crap from anyone. By the end of the book, she’s a sobbing mess. Literally, each chapter has her breaking down and crying about something. It’s exhausting. And it quickly becomes apparent that she’s not just blind to the fact that Ty isn’t right for her, but she’s blind to everything: Henry’s true feelings, her future at the University of Alabama, the motivation behind her father’s actions. She’s just completely oblivious and this becomes increasingly frustrating as the story progresses.
Despite my major problems with Jordan, there were a lot of aspects of Catching Jordan that I liked. For instance, Sam Henry. He’s adorable and lovable and the kind of guy I want for my best friend/secret crush. I also liked the way Kenneally worked in Jordan’s poetry. While she’s not the greatest poet, that’s kind of the point, and it’s nice that other, hidden layer of Jordan. It was also nice to see Jordan grow into her friendships with Carrie and Marie (though the similarity between the two names is awfully confusing), demonstrating that not all cheerleaders are stereotypes.
Basically, there were things I loved and things I hated about Catching Jordan. It’s a light, quick read so if you’re interested, don’t hesitate to pick it up. This book will definitely appeal to sports lovers. I’ve never been interested in football, but I found myself intrigued by all the descriptions and thorough explanations of the game, so much so that I think I’ll actually understand and care about the next game I watch. And while Jordan may not be the most likable or relatable main character, there are a ton of interesting secondary characters to keep your attention. (less)
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 foreve...moreSeraphina 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.(less)
Jenna Fox doesn’t know who she is. After a horrible accident, she wakes up only to find that she can’t remember anything at all. She’s lucky, though,...moreJenna Fox doesn’t know who she is. After a horrible accident, she wakes up only to find that she can’t remember anything at all. She’s lucky, though, because she’s got two committed parents that documented every part of her life on film and now all she has to do is watch her history on the television and piece all the memories back together. As Jenna watches the tapes, though, she feels like something is … wrong.
And Jenna is right.
You see, she’s not really Jenna anymore. Not in the sense that you and I understand the concept of a human being, anyway. Her parents – incredibly smart scientists – couldn’t stand the thought of losing their precious daughter after Jenna’s car accident, and when they were told that there was no chance she was going to make it, they took it upon themselves to see that Jenna survived – at all costs. Now, only ten-percent of her body is human and her memories are actually data uploads that her parents scanned from her brain before they made the transformation. But ten-percent isn’t enough. It is considered illegal for any one person to possess more than ten percent. So for Jenna, that means she is ninety percent illegal.
Imagine learning these things about yourself. How would you cope with knowledge like that? Personally, I don’t think I would cope. I’d crumble into a thousand tiny pieces. So all things considered, Jenna handles things well enough. As best as can be expected from anyone her age, in her position. But what about the fact that she is illegal? That means she can’t tell anyone about her body. Suddenly, with no one to talk to, Jenna feels more alone than she ever thought possible.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox is a slow moving novel. I found it irritating that it took so long to learn what was wrong with Jenna. By the time the revelation occurred, I was so frustrated that I almost didn’t care anymore. Jenna herself also irked the bananas out of me. She whined a lot, and I know that she has a whole lot to be whiny about, but there was something about the way she whined that annoyed me. As far as protagonists go, she certainly isn’t one of my favourites. But I do think that the story holds some interesting discussion points that people today should be thinking about. With the way we’re progressing with science and technology, society may find itself dealing with those very issues sooner than you think.
All in all, The Adoration of Jenna Fox is a great concept that just lacked a little in its execution.(less)
As if being on the run from demons isn’t bad enough. When Mae and Jaime walk into Nick and Alan’s life, Nick reckons that things couldn’t get any suck...moreAs if being on the run from demons isn’t bad enough. When Mae and Jaime walk into Nick and Alan’s life, Nick reckons that things couldn’t get any suckier. Jamie has been marked, and his sister (Mae) is desperate for Nick and Alan’s help removing it. But then Alan gets marked and Nick’s priority is solely and absolutely focussed on getting that devilish thing the hell off his brother. And so starts their journey – all FOUR of them.
Yep, that’s right – Mae and Jamie are along for the ride. Alan insists he’ll help them – probably because he’s jonesing for Mae, Nick reckons, but whatever. Any reason is a bad reason. Alan should be focussing on getting his own mark removed, not removing someone else’s.
Then the unthinkable happens. Nick – although he refuses to acknowledge it initially – totally starts falling for Mae. A kid like Nick could probably use the loving of a good girl like Mae. Might break his rock hard exterior somewhat. Teach him a thing or two on the treatment of human beings. Problem is, though, that Nick can’t possibly like the same girl as Alan. Brothers just don’t do that to each other, right? And what about Mae? Nick is pretty sure she likes Alan, but then, he kind of thinks she likes him to. Typical. Damn girls.
And freaking hell, girls only complicate things. Girls shouldn’t be his priority right now. Alan should be. Alan IS. Really. He’s got to get that freaking mark off of Alan if it’s the last thing he ever does. His life is meaningless without Alan. And while Alan is marked, his days are pretty much numbered.
Just when you think its all over, that they’re all going to die, the story takes an unimaginable turn…
This one is a little slow on the uptake kids, but I guarantee that once the action starts you’re not going to want to put it down. If you’re not into the dark and agro characters normally, you might have a few issues processing your feelings towards Nick at the beginning, but I assure you, you’ll fall in love with him soon enough. Reading The Demon’s Lexicon taught me that I need to take my time with the narrative a little more. I’m always in such a hurry to get to the action, the hot spots of the novel. This is one of those foundation laying kind of stories. Every word is important. When you turn the last page, you’ll realise just how important.
Like a good fantasy novel? Love The Demon’s Lexicon.(less)
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 and...moreLeesie 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.(less)