Oh...so good..And it didn't seem like just a "sequel" where you're just rehashing the same scenarios/same interactions, etc...This one just added more...moreOh...so good..And it didn't seem like just a "sequel" where you're just rehashing the same scenarios/same interactions, etc...This one just added more to the story...It had a new plot with some new characters and it still kept you wondering about Daniel and Grace. And the ending? Arghh!!! Cliff hanger! That's all I got to say. READ. IT. NOW.(less)
If you haven't discovered Kiersten White's blog yet, you really should. It's the reason I picked up her book in the firs...moreAlso posted on Zombie Mommies.
If you haven't discovered Kiersten White's blog yet, you really should. It's the reason I picked up her book in the first place.
Supernaturally is the second in the Paranormalcy Trilogy. And having read Paranormalcy almost 2 years ago, my brain had a bit of amnesia. (I really should write up a summary note to my trilogies. Well, either that or just wait until all 3 are out.)
Which will happen in just 11 more days for this one! So if you have memory lapses like I do, now would be the perfect time to start this series (if you haven't already). The last book, Endlessly, arrives on July 24!
Now, back to my review: Supernaturally is fast-paced, funny, light entertainment. Evie's personality, sarcasm, and witty humor are the definite highlights of this series. And as with most trilogies, the "middle book" is always the toughest one for the main character, typically filled with some internal conflict or the like. In this one, Evie struggles with her decision to leave IPCA and take a chance at trying to live a so-called "normal life," all the while being attacked by various paranormals.
For me, Evie was a little harder to like in this one...maybe because of all her "internal conflicts" and communication problems she was having with Lend. And with my "adult glasses" on, I was getting frustrated with her and could see all the little problems that were happening because of her omissions. I also thought her relationship with her h.s. human friend could have been developed more--all of a sudden, Carlee and Evie are "friends" although I never really experienced or felt much of their friendship. And her relationship with Jack seemed a little awkward--like, why did she let him push her around so much? I think I expected a stronger, smarter girl. And for someone who was supposedly one of the top IPCA Agents, Evie doesn't seem to have a lot of "skills" or "energy level" in this one...(would an IPCA Agent not have the strength to run a lap? or remember to bring Tasey with her everywhere, just in case? I just didn't get it.) It seemed like Evie lost some of her "fight" in this one. Plus, I missed seeing more of Lend and Evie together.
But it's a cute story and I will definitely read the next one; like I said, it's light reading and I enjoy reading kiersten's writing...even if I did feel like something was missing in this one. Overall, a 3.5 Stars for me.
Would I recommend it? Yes! Perfect for that day when you don't want to think about anything serious and just want something FUN.(less)
Oh my gosh...I LOVED THIS. Usually, I don't even read anything other than paranormal reads but Kiersten White gave such good reviews I had to pick it...moreOh my gosh...I LOVED THIS. Usually, I don't even read anything other than paranormal reads but Kiersten White gave such good reviews I had to pick it up. And it was the best thing I ever did.
The story is so realistic. Anna and St. Clair seem so real; like it could actually happen and what a wonderful romantic setting like Paris! Anna is really funny (especially to hear her thoughts and reactions). Anna and St. Clair kept you guessing until the end. And their relationship wasn't just based on "good looks" or something superficial; you actually got the sense that they really liked each other.
I REALLY REALLY loved it. What a wonderful debut.
A word of caution: there are some "edgy" scenes (they both sleep in the same bed-but no making out or anything); and no "sex" scenes (although there is a reference to it); some drinking; and some bad language (in one scene).(less)
WARNING ALERT. WARNING ALERT. From this point forward, it's not going to be pretty...
Dystopia is probably one of the hardest worlds to build because its entire foundation is based on the assumption of what might be possible. The biggest impact dystopia has on the reader is: Could this really happen?
In Eve, sadly, the answer to that question was "no." As I uncovered more and more to Eve's world, the only words coming to mind were "this doesn't make sense." The logic behind Eve's world is weak, and I couldn't connect our humanity with that of hers.
When Eve is 5 years old, her mother is taken ill with the plague. Eve gets taken to a school for orphans where she is educated. Because most of the population has been wiped out by a deadly virus, the country becomes governed by a "King" (Reminds me of North Korea.) But while Eve has been educating herself on Scott Fitzgerald and Frida Kahlo, its graduates have been taken to serve as baby machines--a fate that also awaits Eve when she graduates.
Here's are my issues with the world building: 1) The timeline: I'm not exactly sure where Goodreads got the 2032 date.* I can't find it anywhere else. But according to my timeline, the year is closer to 2037. (If Eve was taken to the school when she was 5 along with the note from her mother dated 2025, then stayed there 12 years, the date should be closer to 2037.) The date itself isn't really that big of a deal but the timeline of events is. The cover says "16 years after a deadly virus..." So within 16 years, our entire democratic nation has completely crumbled? Sorry, I don't buy that. And who is this Politician/King that has enough military power and resources to control the entire United States...some multi-billionaire with an ego complex? The most I know about him is this:
"The King took over and then you had to make a choice. Follow him or be in the wild alone."
What made the wild so unappealing? Furthermore, what "wild" are we talking about here? Why couldn't you have set up your own community? What resources/power did the King have to force compliance? Let's say that 80% of the current US population (313 million) died off (and 80% is pretty high...I think the Black Plague only hit about 60% in Europe), that would leave us with 62 million people. That's still A LOT of people. So shouldn't there still be groups of resistance, groups of scientists, groups of professors, groups of historians, groups of religion...Would the majority of people really concede to anarchy? Maybe. But--there would have had to be extremeextreme factors to force compliance. Unless the King had something to bargain with, I find it very unbelievable that our entire society would submit. With a smaller population maybe, but if you think about all the logistics that would go into governing a huge land area like ours, it's highly improbable..
Repopulating the Earth:
Stories dealing with re-population
seem a bit eccentric and unrealistic. Personally, I'm not really worried about humans recouping its losses. Humans have experienced several plagues and even genocide that have decimated our numbers, but I don't recall any institutionalized baby factories. Sure it might take hundreds, even thousands of years, to recover our numbers but what's the hurry? Again, if Eve's virus decimated 80% of the world population of about 7 billion, that still leaves about 1.4 billion people (which is just a little less than the total world population of 1.7 billion in 1900.) I'm kind of missing the point here. Again--what's the big rush to repopulate the earth quickly? And would people really jump on the baby band wagon?Also, if you want to get people to "breed," then why not use psychological tactics instead (i.e., speeches on 'it's your duty,' or rewards for birthing more children, etc...)
3) Why educate? Now, let's suppose we DO want to repopulate the earth quickly. Then, why educate the baby makers? According to the King's perspective:
"The King believed the science was the key to repopulating the earth quickly, efficiently, without all the complications of families, marriage, and love. He thought if you were given an education, you would be occupied and content. He thought that if you feared me, you girls would breed willingly without them."
If I needed a baby factory, I wouldn't spend my time educating them on literature or the arts. I would have girls start breeding as soon as they began menstruating. Maybe use them for domestic labor until they were able to breed.
But aside from the technical aspects of the world building, I was also disappointed with:
1) The insta-love between Caleb and Eve: They went from 0 to 60 in about 2 seconds; she gets rescued, he teaches her to swim, they can't. live. without. each. other.
2) The helicopter hiding scene: Note to troops: when there's an abandoned helicopter in a middle of a field, you might want to check inside to see if maybe, just maybe that's where the fugitives are hiding...just a thought.
3) Eve's Radio Messages: I get it that maybe Eve didn't understand the danger she was in...but she CHOSE NOT to tell her host about sending out radio messages because "there was too much to tell." Was she so blinded by her love infatuation for Caleb, that she didn't consider the danger? Big mistake Eve.
4) Eve's almost rape scene: This scene came out. of. nowhere. Very uncharacteristic of the perpetrator--especially in light of his prior attitude towards Eve.
This book deals with a lot of holes and missing pieces. The logic is thin and the background research seemed nonexistent. The characters were flat and uninteresting. I had no interest in Eve; in fact, I was more interested in one of the minor characters: Arden (Eve's companion). Many times it seemed like scenes and circumstances were put together only for the purpose for pushing the story along--not because it was integral to the plot. Sadly, this one doesn't make the cut.
Insurgent took me on a roller coaster ride filled with terrifying dips, twisty corners, and an end that left me hanging on for more. Needless to say, I didn't want to get off.
For me, this trilogy has been a study of humanity: what persuades us to survive and how we view human nature. Insurgent is dystopia at its best. At the heart of this story is conflict and turmoil; more specifically, Tris's personal conflicts. As Tris tries to make sense of her decisions and choices from that last scene in Divergent, her sanity and worth are put into question.
In this war among factions is a sixteen-year-old girl who has shot one of her friends dead, watched both parents sacrifice their life for her, and is now expected to survive in world that is crumbling. And she deals with that grief in ways that made me want to scream and pull my hair out...but at the same time, I got it. Because don't we sometimes try to avoid pain with pain? Don't we sometimes just want it to all END? And sometimes don't we punish ourselves from guilt?
The hardest part for me was to watch Tris make decisions that I suspected would turn out badly. I couldn't believe some of the situations she put herself in as punishment or compensation for what happened.
I watched secrets and mistrust tear people apart. I watched betrayal and lies. But I also saw love and forgiveness heal. It was a journey that Tris HAD to take, and it made for a more realistic and deeper character.
I love love love Roth's writing. I fell right in with Tris's emotions. I was kept on my toes the entire time. I couldn't read fast enough. And the haunting surprise at the end?! Why oh why to have to wait another year!!
One of my favorite series. Ever. I hope it's yours too. Plus, Tobias is hot.
I had the theme song to Mission Impossible running through my head the entire read. And like the movie, sometimes you didn't know what was happening b...moreI had the theme song to Mission Impossible running through my head the entire read. And like the movie, sometimes you didn't know what was happening but it didn't matter (too much) because you were just enjoying the scenes unfold.
Marie Lu's debut novel brings you non-stop action from alternating point of views from the murder suspect (Day) to his pursuer (June). Lu seamlessly weaves the story from each perspective so it felt like I was watching the scene through each character's eyes. Day and June are both genius masterminds who surpass unbelievable odds, know all the right fighter moves, and can survive a 3 story high fall. Some of you might be rolling you're eyes right now, and I don't blame you. It is a bit over the top, but sometimes you're just in the mood for that super-genius impossible mission...which I just happened to be in.
One aspect I enjoyed about this cat-and-mouse-chase is that it makes you consider what you believe. June believes Day is the murderer, but when she meets him, she can't reconcile who he is with who she believes he is. Which lead to the question: Is it possible for people to overcome preconceived beliefs about others?
I appreciated that Lu's answer to that question wasn't so immediately resolved because answers like that one aren't so easy to figure out.
The book's main focus is definitely on the relationship at hand. If you're looking for a story more focused on dystopia, try The Hunger Games, Uglies, or Divergent. While I enjoyed the relationship entanglement, I was hoping for more background information. What tore up the United States? Who are the Republic? Who are the Colonies? (Is land the only reason for their dispute?) What does each side stand for/believe? How did Los Angeles turn to ruin? There are suggestions here and there but it would have made the story feel more alive if I knew what happened to society.
It's an entertaining read that will keep you turning the page and hungry for more!
If you've been to the Underworld, then you already know there's no easy way out. Most likely, it's the end of all happy endings. And if you survive, t...moreIf you've been to the Underworld, then you already know there's no easy way out. Most likely, it's the end of all happy endings. And if you survive, the journey back is a painful one. But somehow Nikki manages it.
Beneath the surface of the Greek Persephone myth, lies a story of pain and redemption. Told in alternating time periods between the past and the present, Ashton delivers a heartbreaking tale of Nikki's path to make things right.
In many ways, because of that, it was painful to read: Nikki's mistakes, her lack of self-worth, her emotions numb. I wanted to scream: "Snap out of it! Get a spine. Go fix it." Because most of the time, she behaved like...well, a zombie, actually.
But maybe that was the whole point: Take away the pain, we become numb. Like a drug addict, it takes time and courage to recover. And sometimes it takes someone else to give us the strength to pull out of it.
My emotions went a bit schizophrenic on this one: from annoyance to empathy, sadness to anger, confusion to understanding. The theme of pain and redemption was well played and the modern Greek mythology intriguing. But I never found out why Nikki was allowed to return to the surface, in the first place. And I don't particularly like (view spoiler)[sad endings (hide spoiler)]. And it didn't compel me to turn the pages like other stories I've read. But I'm curious to see where this story goes and if you like modern-day Greek, I think you'll like this one.
Find this review and more at Zombie Mommies.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
What happened to the gorgeous covers of the first 2?! Don't get me wrong; it's a "nice" cover but there is some awkwardness to the image. And why the...moreWhat happened to the gorgeous covers of the first 2?! Don't get me wrong; it's a "nice" cover but there is some awkwardness to the image. And why the hands when the first 2 didn't? And that darkish coral-colored dress? Okay, maybe it's a bit more vibrant than actual coral, but....still.
But aside from the 1 or 2 annoying references to CORAL, the Dark Divine has captured my heart. I need to ride up to the top of a skyscraper and confess my adoration...although no one would probably hear me from the top so I guess the internet will have to do:
I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEEEE THE DARK DIVINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Despain's trilogy comes to the PERFECT end with The Savage Grace. I certainly saw Despain's talent and storytelling grow with this series. I could picture the fight scenes in my mind, the pain of the characters, and even connect with the metaphor of the wolf. The conflicts and solutions were so seamlessly stitched together to an ending that wraps everything up in a nice bow (almost--(view spoiler)[ unfortunately, Talbot's still out there (hide spoiler)]. She kept me guessing with several of the characters: who's side are they really on...up until the very end. I could feel the conflict Grace felt from within and the scenes between her and Daniel...well...ahhhh...swoon.
The only things I was slightly annoyed about were: 1) the coral color--yes, I really really don't. like. it. and quite honestly can't imagine a teenager actually approving of it either. So yes, I am tiny bit worried about Grace Divine's choice of favorite color...coral-colored bed sheets? I've seen coral-colored bed sheets and they remind me of an 80-year-old woman's house. REALLY?!! CORAL??!!!!
2) Whoever proofread this may have been doing it at 2 in the morning: there were way too many missing words making it frustrating to read.
3) I had forgotten a lot of what happened in book 1 & 2 (especially all the werewolf lore) that made reading this one confusing at times trying to remember what an Urbat or Akh was, how the werewolf infection worked, and Talbot's relationship with Grace in Book 2. I think it would have been easier if I read each book right after the other.
Overall though, I'm just a sucker for paranormal romance or for wolves or butt-kicking chicks or childhood loves...But whatever the reason, The Savage Grace left me with that heart aching feeling you get after reading a story and wishing you could live in that world just a little longer. Those are my 5 STAR books.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
After waiting and waiting and WAITING for the US Debut of Graffiti Moon, I finally grabbed a copy and breezed right through it in one morning. I liter...moreAfter waiting and waiting and WAITING for the US Debut of Graffiti Moon, I finally grabbed a copy and breezed right through it in one morning. I literally could not put it down.
Told in alternating voices, Crowley paints a clear picture of Lucy and Ed's fears, insecurities, and pleasures. I loved their banter and their he-said/she-said. I laughed out loud a few times. The descriptions of the artwork really blew me away: I wanted to picture the art on the walls; I wanted to sit in a museum interpreting a piece's meaning; I wanted to get my hands on a piece of charcoal and try sketching. And even though there were some tough decisions and topics that came up, Crowley knew just how to touch on the seriousness of the topic without making it overly heavy.
With so many different characters, I was worried they would all sound somewhat the same or be so drastically different. To my surprise, each of the characters had a unique voice. Also Crowley was somehow able to show that boys do have that sensitive side to them without making them appear "weak."
I enjoyed the lingo, and it made me feel like I was right there in Australia. My only disappointment was the unnecessary frequent usage of the f*** word: someone needs to clean out that boy's mouth.
A very talented writer and and enjoyable read; one that will not disappoint.(less)
Last year, I attended an author panel featuring Lisa Yee. She was pretty funny and entertaining so curiously I decided to read Millicent Min--not exac...moreLast year, I attended an author panel featuring Lisa Yee. She was pretty funny and entertaining so curiously I decided to read Millicent Min--not exactly my first choice of read...I'm much more of a sci/fi-paranormal kind of a girl and the last time I read any middle grade "coming of age" book was Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and that was way back in 5th grade.
Millicent certainly surprised me. Her blind confidence, sarcasm, and wit make her a delight to read. There were a couple of times that her thought process had me laughing out loud.
While Millicent is a genius in extremes (an 11-year-old high school Junior), there were aspects I found myself connected to: the longing to be included yet the self-preservation of using your "identity" as a shield. Millicent's entire life has been focused on her intelligence and she uses it to protect herself from the friendships she so desperately wants until she meets Emily who knows nothing of her intelligence. As she tries to keep her identity a secret, she ends up discovering that your identity is part of you but is not the whole part.
I really connected with this story personally: having a brother who skipped a grade, another brother who aced the CA mathematics test, and a dad who thought it would be fun for the kids to memorize pi to 30 digits. So I've had first hand experience with how challenging it can be to have other people understand and connect with you.
I really enjoyed this and even though Yee made Millicent into an intellectual "Asian," it wasn't full of stereotypical cliches; Instead, she incorporated other characteristics which made you see past the stereotypical Asian family/type. An entertaining quick read that will appeal to readers who may feel unique or secluded from the "norm."(less)
With Angels being the next big thing following the vampire/werewolf craze, it's been hard to find one that works. Most of the angel lore I've read are...moreWith Angels being the next big thing following the vampire/werewolf craze, it's been hard to find one that works. Most of the angel lore I've read are so convoluted that my head is often spinning right after and some, are just plain ridiculous...
So I took a chance and Angelfall falls right into my Kindle. Amazing little device by the way. And I'm a bit hesitant because all my GR friends have raved about it and what if I don't like it?
Angelfall starts out so different from all the other Angel books-with the aftermath of earth destroyed by otherworldly beings. The Bay Area is torn apart by Angels. Civilians are left to their own devices for survival. In the middle is just another teen and her family trying to live long enough to get to another meal...until they happen upon an angel's brawl.
What makes Angelfall unique:
Indie Author: I admit; I was a bit (okay, really) skeptical about reading a self-published book. I don't have a lot any experience reading them (except for that time, a little boy tried to sell me his self-published picture book at a Book Festival); and I truly expected poor writing. But Ee delivered high quality material. And her reasons for becoming an indie author really clarified things for me and can be explained here: The Background of Angelfall.
The Angel Apocalypse: Angelfall makes you wonder what would really happen if the word was destroyed tomorrow. What causes humanity to change? What would you do to survive? While I loved that Angelfall started out this way, I did want to know more background to the destruction. There are a few clues here and there, and maybe Penryn doesn't really understand it all, but it would have been nice to know a little more. I still don't understand much about the Angel lore either; there's a scattering of information about them, but i don't feel like I have a clear construct of who they are, who Raffe is to them, and other definitions of nephilim, archangel, etc...
But at least there was NO insta-love: With fantasy-land being inundated with insta-love romance, Angelfall is an outlier. Penryn despises Angels but must save one in order to save her sister. I love the idea of two characters brought together under less than ideal circumstances who must determine how they feel about the other person. I did hope that there would be more hatred and anger from Penryn towards the Angel in the beginning. While there were several scenes that conveyed her disdain for him, I felt like it could have been more. And it's quite clear that Penryn is "attracted' to him even though she hates him. I think I would have liked it more if she didn't find him as attractive: would it have changed the story? Would she have eventually liked him? And the part where she decides to (view spoiler)[ kiss him at the club (hide spoiler)] still confuses me.
Plenty of witty dialogue: I love love a book with witty dialogue! Dialogue can either make or break a story and Angelfall definitely makes it. One of my personal favorites:
"My friends call me Wrath," Says Raffe. "My enemies call me Please Have Mercy. What's your name, soldier boy?
A host of interesting characters: Outwardly, the angel Raffe has the cockiness of a warrior but inside is a mixture of hidden emotions. I loved his character the most. Penryn is determined and loyal but whose fears are always just at the surface. I loved that she was strong and knew how to throw a punch! I loved that she cared about her family albeit her creepy mother. The mother who makes you wonder how much is reality and how much is mental illness.
Overall: If it means anything, I survived 3 days on 5 hours of sleep just to read the next chapter and the next. It's a definite page turner, but I do have to say that the first 3/4 of the story didn't pull at my heartstrings as much as the last 1/4. However, Ee must have been doing something right during the build up because I cried. CRIED! And my heart broke at that one part (view spoiler)[ with his "new" wings (hide spoiler)]. And then everything about Raffe seemed to make sense. I really really liked this story, and I can't wait to read Ee's subsequent books! it's a definite read!
And for only $2.99 on Amazon, it's more than worth it! Unless you value your sleep, of course....
Find this review and more at Zombie Mommies.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Review: Sadly, I have no happy words on how to "start" this...
I went into Starters thinking it would be like a YA version of Grisham's The Firm but with a sci-fi twist to it. Maybe that was my first problem...
****Spoilers were included to make sense of the review.*********
The World: For a story that's supposed to take place in the future, it felt very bland and unimaginative. Most of the futuristic technology was similar to what we have today except for its name: text = zing, taser = zip taser, helicopter = heli, answering service = voiceZing, a large cookie = supertruffle, starters = young citizens, enders = old citizens. So why not just set the story in current time instead of trying to fake another world?
The Vaccine: Callie's parents are dead when "Spores" are sent to Los Angeles from an attacking nation. What the situation was, I'm not told except that it set the stage for those not vaccinated to die. Now I'm assuming these spores are some kind of biological warfare agent, maybe a virus or bacteria...But according to Price's FAQs, these spores are NOT viruses. So. Then...uh... what are they? If they are not viruses, then what kind of vaccine were the scientists creating? Price compares this vaccine to a flu vaccine that's given to the young, old, and infirm. But here's the thing I don't get: if the government knew that our immunity system could not defeat these "spores" (like a typical flu) then why would it even matter who they gave it to? Anyone non-vaccinated dies from exposure to the spore; it doesn't matter who they are. So looking at it in a purely LOGICAL sense, wouldn't you want to keep the middle-aged and younger generation alive to populate humanity and contribute to society? Why keep the OLDER generation-even if "modern medicine" could help them live to be two-hundred? AND if "modern medicine" could keep the old alive and well-functioning, then why would they need to rent a "younger body?"
Callie's Parents: Of course, Callie's parents didn't get the vaccine (since they are in the middle age group: 20-60). Also her dad did not want to use his "position" to acquire it. This made no sense to me at all: you're telling me that her dad would rather put his ethics before the welfare of his children? He KNOWS that if he and his wife are gone, Callie and her brother would be left on the streets (according to the rules of the government). Sorry, but I don't buy it: first, a parent would do anything to live and protect his/her children. second, you're telling me that the government did away with estate planning as well?
A poor choice of character: Callie She could've been such a great character. In the beginning, she's in a difficult situation and makes the choice to become a DONOR (a rented body for the Elders to use) to earn money to take care of her brother. But after she went to the Body Bank, I think her brain got switched because she acts so confusing. Through a malfunction to her brain chip she discovers (view spoiler)[that her renter wants to assassinate the Senator to prevent him from making a deal with Prime Destinations that will allow renters to permanently occupy donors. (hide spoiler)]
First, she doesn't want to be involved in killing anyone but then later on, she has a change of heart, and decides she can kill. What!!!??? And then there's the romance insta-love with the Senator's grandson Blake who she keeps thinking about. Which is somewhat understandable since she misses this fancy lifestyle but then later on she finds out he was actually a rented body occupied by the evil mastermind (Old Man) of Prime Destinations. And what do you think she thinks about that?
"I wasn't going to let the Old Man win. I wasn't going to let him strip away my sweet memories of the time with the boy I had thought was Blake.(But those memories weren't even about Blake, it was about the Old Man!!!!)
His touch transported me back to the times we'd spent together in his car. I'd missed all this so much.
It wasn't the Blake I knew. But it looked like him; it felt like him."(But again, it's NOT! Are you infatuated with his looks because obviously it WASN'T him in this body! Arghhhhh!!!!)
Then when she gets caught and sent to a prison/institution, she tries to prevent a girl from going to Prime Destinations WITHOUT telling her it's because they will do awful things.
"You're going to go with him [them], aren't you? I can't talk you out of it?(Of course you can't talk her out of it because you haven't said ANYTHING! Why would anyone believe you if you don't tell them the reason!!!!)
Oh, and then that poor girl DIES so Callie can escape. Now why would any girl that you've only known for a few days DIE for you?
Sci-Fi/Dystopia Fluff: What could have been an interesting premise (old people renting bodies from the young) was so poorly executed with weak details, unimaginative descriptions of sci/fi elements, and a senseless dystopic world. All this fluff didn't impact the plot of the story. It could have easily evolved the same way if Callie was orphaned by some other means, living on the streets without a war. It didn't add anything to the story. It was a confusing and left me irritated and frustrated.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I'm almost tempted to take my Enclave review from over a year ago, change a few points and call it done. I'm overdue in library fines...and it's basically identical to how I feel about Outpost (just add the romance part.)
What this means is that what I thought about Aguirre's writing in Enclave is pretty much the same here...and I'm not yet sure if that's a good thing or not.
On the one hand, I very much enjoyed the background and thought process that went into the world of Outpost. Deuce has found herself in Salvation (a town based on fundamentalist/religious doctrine) and must figure out her role in it. The world building in Outpost is one of Aguirre's strengths in this series. She really tries to have you imagine what the world might look like if it went apocalyptic: there was the gang and underground life of Gotham, evidenced in Enclave and now in Outpost, another scene of life in a separate and guarded town much further away. Could this happen in reality? I think so. So in that regard, what Deuce tries to make sense of is real: how she was raised in her former life and what she is being taught now.
On the other hand, this would have made a much greater impression on me if there was more of a character focus. While the plot flowed smoothly (albeit slooowwwlly...), I didn't feel as connected to Deuce as I would have liked. And it really bothered me that I didn't; she's a strong fighter, loyal, and has a no-nonsense kind of attitude so why didn't I...like her? And then it hit me...she's a little too perfect. I'm not saying that she didn't make some really big mistakes in the story because she did, it's just that...as a character, she feels too flat, too good, too one-dimensional, too heroic. Sometimes I felt like Deuce's thought process was too mature:
"Whether there was any truth to it or not, I accepted that flaw in human nature. Topside or down below, they always needed someone to blame..."
"...it broke my heart into a thousand pieces. But it wasn't time to be angry; I couldn't focus on how his behavior made me feel. I had to recall that self-doubt sliced at him like hidden knives."
I'm not saying it isn't a good idea to go through this type of thought process because it is, but sometimes it felt like I was listening to a therapist talk--not a 16 year old girl. Granted I haven't lived Deuce's life but all this self-regulating-I-know-everything behavior just doesn't fit right.
Because the focus of the story presents society in an emerging new world, I understand why Aguirre's writing is so plot-driven. I do think there could have been more "show-not-tell" scenes that might have picked up the pacing of the story. Outpost seemed to go on and on without much happening (at least to me) until close to the end. (Then my heart started pounding. Finally!) I guess for an apocalyptic world, I tend to expect more edge-of-my-seat reading.
However, I do find the concept of the story fascinating and can make for some enlightening discussion material. And it's really because of that, that I give this 3.5/4 stars. I do think Aguirre has very nice descriptive writing. But what I am most happy about was the romance between Deuce and Fade! Sheesh, I'm such a sucker for romance. I do look forward to Horde(Book #3) but I might not be as fanatical about it as some other reads.(less)
First, let me just start off by saying, I'm not typically a fan of contemporary fiction, let alone chick-lits. I've tried an...moreAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
First, let me just start off by saying, I'm not typically a fan of contemporary fiction, let alone chick-lits. I've tried and died so many times that I'd just about given up on the entire genre. (Believe me. I've tried all the "popular" ones.) But then my favorite author Bree Despain gushed about Sara Zarr and then, someone else did and again someone else ...so of course, curiosity got the better of me.
And quite honestly, I only set out to read the first few chapters...
And even after several pages in, I still couldn't figure out how Zarr had lured me in: a teen mom story (which is not exactly my idea of a 'fun' read) involving a small town gal and another who has an "I-hate-the-world" attitude stamped on her forehead with a boyfriend exhibiting a lip ring and eyeliner? Definitely NOT your cast of typical characters.
But Zarr has this amazing ability to pull you into their stories. You're no longer reading it, you're actually hearing their voices. It's as if you're sitting across the table listening to Jill and Mandy's side of the story. All the stereotypes and all the things you thought you knew about the characters begin to crumble as you really look at them for who they are.
Even though it's a story about teen pregnancy, it's a message for all of us, because in life, aren't there times we each wish for a "do-over?"
I highly recommend this gem; while it's a bit predictable (which I guess isn't really a bad thing when what you hope for actually happens--right?), it will carry you through a journey of hope and inspiration that will leave you feeling that you too are worth it.(less)
I can't really say much seeing as I've only made it to page 6. It's true, I'm probably biased by other reviewers who only gave it a 3 star so I'm goin...moreI can't really say much seeing as I've only made it to page 6. It's true, I'm probably biased by other reviewers who only gave it a 3 star so I'm going to bench this one for now.
Maybe I'll return to it--but most likely I won't. Sorry.(less)
Suma's pyschological drama reminds me of the opening to the "Twilight Zone":
"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a di...moreSuma's pyschological drama reminds me of the opening to the "Twilight Zone":
"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone."
The whole of Imaginary Girls is based on questions answered and unanswered--wondering what's real and not. Suma keeps you wondering wondering wondering what's the mystery? what's happening? and keeps you reading up until the end...
...the end that I'm still wondering about.
The imagery, dialogue, and emotions are beautifully written, and the mystery of the night Chloe tried to swim the reservoir keeps you connected to the story. The loyalty of both sisters is both admirable and heart-breaking. Ruby's behavior is both empathetic and horrific. So nothing is purely one-sided.
But while the writing was beautiful, I found myself deeply disappointed. I wanted answers to the following questions:
(view spoiler)[ 1) How does Ruby know so much about the town of Olive beneath the reservoir? The reservoir doesn't seem to be an issue to the townspeople until that dreadful night so what is her connection? 2) Why does the town of Olive want to claim the life of Chloe so badly? What is their motivation for doing so? revenge against the people still living? 3) How did Ruby bring London back to life? (hide spoiler)]
I didn't like how the story was really about 2 stories: Ruby's mysterious influential power along with the mystery of the reservoir's power. For me, the focus on Ruby's power would have been enough of a creepy/psychological thriller: a girl who has power over her entire town. That was already creepy in and of itself so why did Suma add this reservoir element to it? The two phenomenon kept competing for my understanding and focus.
The story left me with too many questions without a solid answer. And while I commend Suma on her beautiful imagery and diction, I thought the plot itself was too void of interpretation leaving me frustrated and unsatisfied for a 2.5 stars.
(There are many many readers out there who have thoroughly enjoyed this book and if you like magical realism or the "Twilight Zone," I think you may enjoy this one more than I did.)
**Content Advisory** There are several teenage depictions of partying, drug usage, and sexual behavior--that I personally got tired of reading about page after page after page.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I'm not sure if Fracture was about Delaney's "paranormal" talent or a case study on dysfunctional relationships.
First, there's Delaney: a girl who wak...moreI'm not sure if Fracture was about Delaney's "paranormal" talent or a case study on dysfunctional relationships.
First, there's Delaney: a girl who wakes up from a coma and experiences weird pulling sensations and discovers she can sense impending death in people. Which would have been interesting if her ability was a little more climatic and exciting. What's so unique about sensing the dying if she's only drawn to those who are already sick (or would be sick)? Even I can tell you they wouldn't live. Why not have her sense those who might die in a car crash or get murdered? ...And then save them?
If it were me, I would be less concerned about her "sensations" and more about her obsessiveness over her schoolwork. She died, came back to life, and is worried about her chance at valedictorian?! (Okay, okay, maybe I can kind of understand that being a little Type A myself...but still...that's what you worry about after dying?!) Well, that and apparently her weight.
Then there's her rescuer, Decker (oh look, they both begin with "D"), who she likes but can't seem to say what she means to him and begins keeping secrets from him. And still keeps secrets from him even though he drops everything and to come to her (view spoiler)[rescue AGAIN! from the psycho killer (hide spoiler)]
Decker, who is a love sick puppy who keeps sticking around, keeps asking her to clue him in (but she doesn't), and so devoted that it's making me sick.
Should we talk about the mom now? The mom, who seems more worried that her child isn't fixed than the fact that she's alive. The mom, who has her own skeletons in the closet.
But nothing compares to Delaney's relationship with Troy, the mysterious stranger. Troy, who has (view spoiler)[ a similar ability (hide spoiler)] and happens to know just a little too much about Delaney. Yet she's perfectly fine hanging out with him. Troy, who almost (view spoiler)[KILLED HER--to end her "suffering" while comatose (hide spoiler)]. And Troy, who turns (view spoiler)[crazy, as in chase-you-down-in-a-car-in-a-sing-song-voice, crazy after Delaney finds out he almost murdered her (hide spoiler)]. And yep, you guessed it! She's fine with looking for him afterwards and trying talk sense into him. Look, you can't talk sense to a psycho.
Now I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she's acting like this because her brain is damaged: some psycho boy tries to (view spoiler)[kill you (hide spoiler)], bruises your arm, and you're okay with that?
All in all, four case studies, but that's not even counting the one with the boy she doesn't like but still kissed. Unfortunately, I was looking for a paranormal story, not a dysfunctional one.
Review is also posted at Zombie Mommies["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Ditched is one night at prom filled with quirky characters, some hilarious lines...and a hangover.
While the first few chapters were entertaining: funn...moreDitched is one night at prom filled with quirky characters, some hilarious lines...and a hangover.
While the first few chapters were entertaining: funny one liners and an interesting premise, sometime after that, my attention drifted elsewhere. The flashbacks of the night told to two 7-eleven strangers got tiresome. The partying and high school behavior wore me down: a drunk teen taking vodka-jello shots at his parent's house (and his parents have NO clue!), dog swapping pranks, discussing the male anatomy, smoking marijuana...It was a little too much drama...And I guess I was expecting Ian to play a bigger part in the story than off stage.
Most of all, Justina-which by the way is such an awkward name for a character-did not deliver. At first, I was cheering her on with Ian. But then her behavior just spirals out of control. From the moment Ian picks her up for the pre-party, it was a domino effect just waiting to happen: her jealous side seems to have affected her ability to think straight. She draws some pretty big erroneous conclusions about Ian when they are supposed to be BEST friends. Aren't you supposed to know your BFF pretty well? Or maybe love/heartache blinds you in a way that you can't see clearly? Or maybe she was just insecure? Or maybe it's like what Gilda, the 7-eleven worker, tells her "Couldn't you have waited until you had some questions answered?"
Yes Justina, couldn't you have just waited? Then I wouldn't have this hangover.
I guess third time's the charm because they finally did something right with the cover! In this one, Alona is stuck in the b...moreAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
I guess third time's the charm because they finally did something right with the cover! In this one, Alona is stuck in the body of Will's friend Lily. As they try to make sense of this situation, things get complicated when another ghost wants a turn in Alona/Lily/Ally's body.
This series has definitely found its place on my "books I need to own" shelf. As soon as I read the first page, I was hooked. Kade has this way of writing that is not only catchy and witty but natural-as if each character him/herself is telling me his/her side of the story. And how does she come up with all those lines?!
I really grew to love Will and Alona. They have both matured and become more selfless and caring. You can really feel their longing for this relationship to work out. And when this other ghost complicates things, I couldn't help but hope for that happy ending.
In the end, I was very happy. I was actually surprised by how well everything in the story seemed to work out. I still shed a tear or two when I said good-bye to Alona and Will. I had some pretty good times with those two. I can't wait for Kade's next series: The Rules!(less)
Kids, please don't hitchhike aboard a stranger's bus...
I actually had to look up the criteria for a Newberry Medal after reading this. Even as an "ho...moreKids, please don't hitchhike aboard a stranger's bus...
I actually had to look up the criteria for a Newberry Medal after reading this. Even as an "honor" medal, I couldn't believe that it deserved the title of "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children." But I guess that's not really up to me, it's up to 15 people to decide.
But...if it were up to me, this book would probably get a medal for "best concoction of invented and real words...without saying much." I fully admit that it's unique prose caught my eye in the beginning but after a while the story was so full of word fluff that when digging around for the story, I realized there wasn't very much there.
Word Fluff: I appreciate beautiful prose but it just got to be too much. Much of the prose sounded like this: "...next to the pushing-pulling waves." "...broody Samson was a dark and shadowy seven..." "...my palms burned like fire from all of the hurt just under the skin." "Girls only get quiet, polite savvies--sugar and spice and everything humdrum savvies." ...etc. etc. etc. Now, don't get me wrong. I fully enjoy adjective-saturated imagery...but when the focus is more on the word usage than on the plot, I begin to wonder what was the point of the story in the first place?
Plot: In case you're wondering, the plot basically goes like this: (view spoiler)[1) Leading off from the summary...Mib's parents are at the hospital. 2) Since her parents aren't there, the town's preacher family hosts Mibs 13th birthday party which is a disaster so Mibs hides aboard the Bible Supply Bus. 3) Along with 2 of the preacher's kids and 2 of Mib's siblings, the kids stow away on the bus, heading toward Salina (where the hospital is located). Eventually we learn that an alert has gone out that kids are missing. (Btw Grandpa Bomba is at home with the other Beaumont sibling.) 4) Mibs discovers that her special magical power is hearing the thoughts of people through ink on their skin. 5) The kids and bus driver and another "hitchhiker" travel through different cities until they finally arrive at the hospital. 6) Mibs tells her dad that even though he's "human," he still has a magical power which is that he never gives up. 7) Family returns home. (hide spoiler)] The End.
Obviously, the message here is one we've heard over and over again. Mibs, who is somewhat of a social outcast, is initially disappointed in her ability (i.e., Savvy) but ends up appreciating it, and through her adventure she develops friendships with other kids. Unfortunately, there is nothing awe-inspiring of this message. And for an honor book, I expected to be blown away.
Instead, all I could think about was: 1) Why would a group of teenagers along with a 7-year-old go hide in the back of school bus with a stranger driver. Did they not consider that their parents would be frightened to death by their disappearance? Furthermore, couldn't one of the townsfolk or even her Grandpa drive them to Salina to be with her dad? (Oh, but then we wouldn't have a story now would we?) And couldn't Mibs have told her Grandpa or left a note before they drove off? 2) Then when the bus driver, Lester, finally discovers them, does he insist on calling their parents? Is he the responsible adult he should be? Oh no, he lets them stay on the bus while he continues making his deliveries. 3) When the bus happens upon a broken down car with a lady (Lill) waiting by the side of the road, Lill decides to join them on the bus...because that's just what you should do when your car breaks down...climb aboard a bus of full of kids with a strange man. (Btw kids, it's really okay to hitchhike because it's a pink Bible Bus.) 4) But Lill is more of a responsible adult because she makes them call their parents...but isn't clever enough to know that the kids trick her by not really calling their parents. (And would any parent that had missing kids tell Lill to just wait until the next day to bring them home?) 5) And when the kids were finally found, when would a police officer ever say this: "I know how easy it is to make wrong choices and end up in difficult situations, but things don't always turn out badly. There will be consequences, of course, but no one got hurt, and no hurt was meant. So, as far as I know, no one's pressing any charges against those folks out there. [Lester] and [Lill] may have made some ill-advised decisions, but they did do a good job of looking after you and keeping you all safe." 6) So I guess the real message here would be: "Kids, if you make really bad choices, but nothing bad comes out of it, it's okay then."
I still can't believe this is what is considered a contribution to children's literature. If you are interested in a Newberry Medal read, there are much better choices out there: try Holes or A Wrinkle in Time or The Giver.
Should you read? Sorry but I have to say, "Skip it."
For this review and more check out: Little Zombies: Book Reviews for Sleepless Children.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
"I'm gonna sit here in my place...But I got my dog head on. The dog gonna tell me what to do. The dog gonna he...moreWhen the first few lines read like this:
"I'm gonna sit here in my place...But I got my dog head on. The dog gonna tell me what to do. The dog gonna help me."
I knew I was in trouble. Granted I admire Crockett's creativity in writing with slang and speech to convey the character's feeling, but it took too much effort out of me. Maybe it would be better as an audiobook?
Jerome is your typical teenage boy "misfit" that finds himself on the rehabilitation side of Heaven. And by typical, I really mean, st...moreRated 2.5 Stars.
Jerome is your typical teenage boy "misfit" that finds himself on the rehabilitation side of Heaven. And by typical, I really mean, stereotypical: lives on the wrong side of the tracks with his drunk dad, has no future, can't stop thinking about "milk cartons" or short skirts, and acts without consequences--like letting his cousin shoot an apple off his head. Which is how he found himself in Heaven's rehabilitation program in the first place. His last saving grace is to be Heidi's guardian angel. So since her birth, he's pretty much made her believe she hears voices in her head, singing FreeBird.
When Jerome finds himself in the Rehabilitation Program, he learns about the "Guardian Angel's Handbook: Soul Rehab Edition" (which he promptly loses), the 9 levels of Hell (Level I: Everlasting Standardized Testing, Level II: Ballroom Dancing with the Elderly, etc...), Morning Therapy Group Sessions, and of course, swearing sensors.
While I admire the creative parody behind the story, I found it tiring after awhile. And even with the "swearing sensors" in place, Jerome has a pretty active mouth. The barrage of slang (chevy, motherflasker, apple hole, well...you get the point) was distracting and overwhelming...after reading it for the HUNDREDTH TIME.
The plot was also a bit unbelievable: Heidi wears a black-and-white spandex outfit and dances with her best friend, Megan, in front of the entire school in the Talentpalooza. According to BFF Megan, "We have to do this, Heidi, if only to take high school back from the people who rule it....We must defeat them." Now either I'm missing something or Megan's lost a few screws because when was dancing with another girl in front of the entire school EVER going to be a winner? I just can't believe that a teenager would ever think so. So of course, Heidi's upset and ends up taking a walk near a frozen pond.
You can imagine what happens. She falls through the ice, and Jerome inadvertently saves her...by detaching her soul from her body, and they now have 48 hours to make things right. I have to say, this is where the story went south for me. With so much emphasis on the comedic aspect of heaven, it became too much.
I was surprised by Heidi's lack of despair or panic when she finds herself "dead." I also thought the entire side plot for saving her dog Jiminy was a bit ridiculous. She pretty much occupied his body in order to save it while Jiminy's spirit went off to chase squirrels. But then again, I've never had a dog...
In the end, I did like how Jerome changed and became more confident and responsible. The story is a bit predictable and somewhat confusing towards the end (what was the celestial squirrel nut for?) and I thought the reincarnation was a bit out of left field. And being a romantic, I don't always like stories where the (view spoiler)[boy and girl don't end up together. (hide spoiler)] I admire the creativity behind DI but after that, it didn't really do much for me.
So should you read it? Maybe...if you've got a lazy afternoon with nothing to do.
I really really wanted to like this one: Mind Games, Visions, Sleepwalking, A Boarding School, A Mystery, A Dark and Handsom...moreAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
I really really wanted to like this one: Mind Games, Visions, Sleepwalking, A Boarding School, A Mystery, A Dark and Handsome Mysterious Boy? All the perfect ingredients for a great story...
...that fell flat like a homemade souffle.
The main problem with Harbinger were too many lose ends. With thrillers, I am completely prepared for unanswered questions that compel me to turn the page, eager to find the answer. But with this one, when i finally got to the end, all the lose ends just became a jumbled mess.
*****I am sorry but this is going to contain major spoilers.*****
In the beginning, Faye gets dropped off (against her will) at Holbrook, which is basically a school for wayward kids. The world has been destroyed and people live in "cooperatives" (which is never really explained; plus, what happens in the story could've just taken place without that). Faye has visions of drowning which began when she was a child but her episodes are getting worse. Then at Holbrook, she begins to hear drums and mysterious thingshappen.
The Holbrook Director, Dr. Mordoch plays mind games with the group in order to ensure cooperation: solitary confinement, privileges taken away, etc...Plus, there are pepper-spraying, taser-loving caretakers. Faye meets a host of characters who bond together like "Survivor Island" against Dr. Mordoch. There's even a ghost. The friends find themselves supposedly sleepwalking and in the morning, their hands are red and there are drawings on the floor.
So of course, I have to know what happens...and in the end, the only things I can gather are: 1) A long time ago, there were a group of people who had power over the earth and had a special meteorite seer stone. (Yes, a meteorite, and I have no idea where they got their power from.) 2) They saw that the earth was going to go to waste in the future so the members transferred their spirit to some relics that were buried. (So they could save the world in the future.) 3) When Faye touched the ocean when she was a child, one of the spirits transferred into her body causing her the visions. (I have no idea how the spirit attached itself to the ocean and what happened to the original Faye.) 4) Dr. Mordoch was being haunted by one of the original tribal spirits. Rita (the ghost/tribal spirit) leaves clues for Faye in the form of a prophecy on Tarot cards. 5) Faye begins to realize her visions as images of the past. 6) Faye, who originally wanted to 'save' the world, now wants to destroy/cleanse it. 7) Her group of friends had been sleepwalking and digging for the relics and become possessed with the spirits of the past and now have powers. They try to prevent Faye from destroying the earth. She ends up changing her mind because of Kel (eye roll). 8) Everyone sings (SINGS!!!) and the pollution from the sea and sky begin to dissipate.
But wait, I never learned more about the bones that Faye finds comfort in or why there were creepy Dr.-Who-Like-Weeping-Angel statues at the Academy or how the friends sleepwalked in the first place.
And although the cover says "psychological thriller," I never felt it as psychological as it was more weird fantasy. And my idea of a psychological thriller does not include spiritual possession. It does remind me a little like a Dr. Who episode (surprise, surprise. since Etienne is a fan) but where Steve Moffat's creepy paranormal scenarios are wrapped up nicely, Etienne leaves you with a disjointed and confusing story. I do have to say some of Faye's lines are a bit humorous but the entire premise was so poorly formed and left me quite angry at the end.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this: a THIRTEEN YEAR OLD caught by her dad in the backseat of a car?! I almost threw up....moreAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this: a THIRTEEN YEAR OLD caught by her dad in the backseat of a car?! I almost threw up. How in the world does a thirteen year old end up in a situation like that? And why would you even write a story about it? But I needed to find out why. Plus, it's Sara Zarr.
It's the summer after her sophomore year and Deanna is searching for a way out: out of her town, her past, her home. A way to start over. But how can you become a "new you" when everyone sees only the "old?" Especially if that "old" screams "slut."
No other story has made me feel as if I took a dive right into the past. Which by the way, I wasn't exactly sure I wanted to resurrect all that teenager confusion, misunderstanding, insecurity, and want...but at the same time, I was pretty impressed that Zarr knew exactly how to bring me right back to that 15-year-old me.
This story probably won't resonate with everyone, and I'm not really taking about the teenage "sex part." The parts that made me connect with Deanna were more about her insecurities as a teenager and the mistakes that she made and the hope that her parents still value her. As a teenager, this was exactly how I felt.
If it wasn't for Zarr's ability to take your hand and show you the light at the end of the tunnel, I probably would have abandoned this a long time ago. It's full of difficult topics and emotional rip-aparts. Characters who do unlikable things. And as a mom, I couldn't help but hope that I don't become that kind of parent...But even then, Zarr showed me our best intentions are sometimes small steps that can lead to something great.
The only thing I did hope for more was a clearer ending...but I guess that's what life is about: you're never really sure what's to come, but you hope for the best.
Plagued with guilt over her twin brother's death, Araby tries to escape her subconscious at the Debauchery night club. Outsi...moreAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
Plagued with guilt over her twin brother's death, Araby tries to escape her subconscious at the Debauchery night club. Outside the entire world is broken. The "weeping sickness" is only kept at bay through porcelain masks (I can't help but imagine "Darth Vader" type coverings), worn only by the wealthy and prestigious. Araby's father is the inventor of these masks and as Araby's world begins to crumble by those that seek power, she must decide who or what she's capable of fighting for.
Based on the short story by Edgar Allen Poe of the same title, Griffin took an idea and grew it into a fascinating and complex story. This is one of the very few, if only, steampunk stories I've ever really held onto. Carriages that run on steam; new inventions with a feel of the 19th century. The world is spot on for gothic dystopia: dark, dreary, foggy...so Edgar Allen-painted with so much imagery and feeling that I could clearly picture the devastation and turmoil.
Also, try saying debauchery without getting the chills.
But what really struck me were the characters. Talk about complex. To explain, let me refer to a post I came across by Laurie Halse Anderson in which she discusses characters who have dimension and depth. Masque of the Red Death is a perfect example of those characters. Araby, Will, and Elliott all behave both admirably and despicably. Which if done poorly can make a reader go crazy but here Griffin balances their character traits so that you realize no one is absolutely good or absolutely evil. Mind you, there were some parts that made me go "huh?" but for the most part, it kept me on my toes. At times I couldn't help but wonder if given the choice, what I would decide.
My only discontent or puzzlement I have with the story is that the "Red Death" is not introduced into the plot until much later. I was a bit confused because I thought the masks were to prevent the "Red Death." I'm not so much bothered that it stopped me from enjoying the story but I think it would be an interesting idea to discuss.
If you are in the mood for a dark and captivating story, check this one out. I definitely think it's one to put on your to-reads shelf.(less)
Oh! How I wanted to LOVE this. I was certainly impressed by Krokos' Q & A on the fabulous blog: the midnight garden. And quite honestly, it was th...moreOh! How I wanted to LOVE this. I was certainly impressed by Krokos' Q & A on the fabulous blog: the midnight garden. And quite honestly, it was this Q & A post that compelled me to check out his book in the first place. (He also makes some pretty insightful comments on author-reviewer relationships.)
So you see...I was so ready to love this.
It really pains me to say I don't. Right off the bat, I knew I was heading into rocky territory. The first few scenes didn't fit very well with what I expected of an amnesiac: a girl finds herself without any memory and she calmly tells a mall cop "Hello. I lost my memory. I was wondering if you could help." If I was in her shoes, I think I would probably appear frantic, confused, and more anxious about what was happening to me. Haven't you ever walked somewhere, like to the pantry to get something but then when you get there, you've forgotten why you were there in the first place? Well, sadly that happens to me ALOT. And I always feel out of sorts afterwards trying to remember. So it made me think: what if you lost ALL your memories? Wouldn't you feel a little more...unrestrained? Wouldn't you be scared? And in Miranda's case, wouldn't you expect her to manifest those fear waves immediately?
Then later on, I felt that some parts of the story seemed off: when Miranda meets Peter, it feels weird that there is so much drama and mystery of how he knows her. Why was he acting as if it was some kind of game to him? And if you just met a stranger, would you eat his mango chicken? uh. gross. And for someone who is supposedly a top notch weapon, why does Miranda make so many mistakes--like forgetting to grab the gun when she fights Grace? I also completely missed the point of Miranda feeling like kissing these 2 boys all the time; she kisses one and then she immediately wants to kiss the other. If I had a better sense of her, I think I would have understood her motivations better. But the part that bothered me the most was that the Roses were created to cause destruction--just because. Very little light is shed on the creator's motivation for making them--aside from them being "mad scientists." I think that's an easy explanation but not a compelling one; I wished there was more background to the story to make it believable.
I do think the concept for the story is interesting: teenagers used as weapons, with amnesia as a side effect, and I admire Krokos's challenge for writing a female perspective. It seems like it's received good reviews so you might like it. But for me, I found the story to be choppy and flat in places. I would have appreciated more character development in such a plot-driven story. Unfortunately, I lost interest in the characters and plot by by the last 1/3 of the book, skimming and skipping to the end. (less)