There is a delicate balance between a story that is too simplistic and a story that leads to information overload. Too simpl...moreAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
There is a delicate balance between a story that is too simplistic and a story that leads to information overload. Too simplistic and the reader falls asleep; too complex and the reader is left in the dust wondering what just happened. Unfortunately, The Obsidian Blade falls into the latter category.
I should have known from the first chapter that I was heading into a bad mix of Star Trek vs The Twilight Zone. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy both. I'm just not sure they work well together...well, at least in this setting.
At the start, we are given a brief historical account of the Klaatu Disks (or time portals) invented by one discorporeal being in the postdigital age but made by Boggsian corporeals. Is your head spinning yet? It took me a few minutes to come to grips but I had to put that aside because then comes Tucker and his Reverend dad who finds themselves drawn to these time portals. And well...the adventure confusion begins.
From there, we discover that the Reverend has lost his faith and his wife is slowly heading into mental instability as a result of playing Sudoku. (Beware all you Sudoku fans!) The Reverend wants to cure his wife and disappears into the disks. But Tucker suspects this and eventually follows them.
In his journey, he meets such bizarre beings as futuristic autistic medical attendants (medicants) who use you in their product assembly line, futuristic priests who sacrifice pure girls to the disks, the last day of earth with a single mysterious woman who has secrets, a retelling of the crucifix of Jesus (who instead of dying and returning to earth, actually got delivered to the medicants: repaired and returned in 3 days), discovers that the Reverend got "cured" of his belief in God, references to the Digital plague, maggot disk eaters, and then being reintroduced to the Reverend as now Father September who will somehow return every one to a state of grace (from technology).
Wait a minute, I was under the impression I was going to read a time travel novel. Instead, the time traveling aspect is just a set up for introducing new bizarre circumstances. From what I can gather, the point of the story is about how we eventually become corrupt from technology...but why all the religious references? Is there a subtext I'm not understanding here. It's just all too complex and unrealistic; is there such a thing as unrealistic science fiction?
Sadly, I felt like I was reading a foreign language. I didn't feel anything for the characters and the story was just bizarre. Then a few days ago I was watching "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and ironically discovered that the main character is named Klaatu... coincidence? Why name the disks after one of the most popular sci-fi characters? I'm not sure, but I'm already too confused to think about it any further.
Sadly, a recommendation I can't make to anyone. If anyone has suggestions on a true time traveling novel, please let me know.(less)
...so I confess. I didn't even get half-way. Not even 40%. Yep, I stopped at 34%. Even did the math.
First, it's a little hard for me to take an author...more...so I confess. I didn't even get half-way. Not even 40%. Yep, I stopped at 34%. Even did the math.
First, it's a little hard for me to take an author seriously who is shirtless on the beach for his "goodreads" photo, but I digress...
After being bombarded page after page with a glamorized angel celebrity guide consisting of too many "Hollywood" spin-offs (Angel News Network or ANN, Angels Weekly, Angel Television or A!) and too many references to Designer Brands, I felt like I needed my own personal bodyguard just to make it to the next chapter.
While the concept of the story seemed interesting at first, the writing appeared amateurish and the dialogue filled with cliched teen talk: "OMG, Perf!, totally". It was too over the top for me to take the writing seriously. Plus, how can I take something serious when every reference was a spin-off of some "Hollywood" term (see above paragraph). Not only that but Maddy and Jackson were annoying and unlikable. In one scene, Jackson returns to apologize to Maddy and instead of hearing him out, she makes accusations which end with Jackson responding "...you're impossible!" (...as if they've known each other longer than 24 hours).
Sadly, one of the most disappointing author debuts...and I was so looking forward to an Angel story. But I have to say... I do love that cover!(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)
A very disappointing debut by author Jodi Meadows. The premise had so much promise: reincarnated souls, dragons, mystery, romance...and yet sometime a...moreA very disappointing debut by author Jodi Meadows. The premise had so much promise: reincarnated souls, dragons, mystery, romance...and yet sometime after the first few chapters, the story went....nowhere.
Anna is raised as a "nosoul": a soul that is not considered viable since she hasn't lived over and over again. The souls that do reincarnate have lived among each other for thousands of years. When Anna meets Sam (technically a thousand plus years old...um...Twilight?), Sam sees something unique in her as they both try to solve the mystery behind Anna's birth.
Well, this so-called mystery was so overshadowed by the awkward romance between Sam and Anna that I didn't even know what the story was about anymore. About 85% of the time, I was trying to understand the relationship between Sam and Anna: in one scene Anna challenges him; the next she wants a kiss. The dialogue was so rough and choppy that at times, I had to reread the page just to understand what they were even talking about which pretty much consisted of either: music, danger, or pondering their relationship. Which, I never really did find out why Sam was so (view spoiler)[hesitant to get involved with Anna (hide spoiler)]. Was it their age difference? Society's view of him? Apparently that was one detail that wasn't important to the story...The only thing I kept thinking about through all the romance was that maybe Stephanie Perkins should offer writing lessons to Meadows.
My main disappointment was that the theme of reincarnation was so poorly explored and confusing. The souls of Incarnate's world are asexual in nature which seems so at odds with what I understand the soul to be. A soul can be a man in one life, a woman the next, then a son, then a mother. Does that mean gender is purely physical and not part of who you are? That's hard for me to understand. I keep thinking about circumstances in today's world where there are individuals who adamantly feel like they are in the "wrong" physical body.
Also, what about their society? How does being reincarnated affect the way people treat each other? We only get glimpses of how Sam and his friends know information about each other but we don't get to see how life would be different when you've known everyone for thousands of years.
Also, who this all powerful Janan God and how or why does he have control over the souls? Another mystery not clearly addressed. And where do the "new" souls come from if Janan is the "God?"
Oh, and the big reveal at the end? The clue to Anna's very existence? My mouth hung open: are you kidding me? THAT's. IT?! That's what I read 370 pages to find out? (view spoiler)[ that Janan inhabits the temple and when he's poisoned, the souls can't reincarnate--and thus 'newsouls' are born (hide spoiler)]. It almost seemed like all the stuff in-between was purposefully drawn out because the climax was too simple non-existent.
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.
I really had high hopes for this one. There had been so much hype that maybe my expectations were a little high.
First off, let me just say, I admire A...moreI really had high hopes for this one. There had been so much hype that maybe my expectations were a little high.
First off, let me just say, I admire ANYONE who can get their book published. It's an amazing accomplishment.
So with that being said: I don't think the story is horrible; I just didn't find it that interesting or unique. The writing seemed bland and I had a difficult time connecting with Cassia. I found her quite boring and uninteresting: When you take away all the "fluff" what really sets her apart from the other girls? Yes, she's apparently smart (can sort), she cares about her family, but she could be anyone. What about her makes me want to know more? Nothing. And Xander and Ky exemplify the typical relationship triangle: best friend vs unknown rebel.
I didn't think the similarities with "The Giver" were too overwhelming; I thought it sounded more like a watered down version of "The Hunger Games" or maybe it's just that I've heard this kind of plot before: control the population/someone learns about it/someone tries to do something about it. Which isn't bad (I mean the same plot happens in Across the Universe) but I guess maybe it's the delivery of it. Matched just seems bland and a little predictable.
However, I did appreciate some of the questions that came up: 1. What are you willing to do to keep those you love safe? 2. The questions of "What if".
What can I say? A little awed that she wrote this or a little disappointed that it didn't come out as well as I expected?(less)
Unfortunately, I've already returned the book and lost my notes so this review may not be as thorough as I would like. However, I guess it says someth...moreUnfortunately, I've already returned the book and lost my notes so this review may not be as thorough as I would like. However, I guess it says something if I can't even remember the character's names...
Unlike it's predecessor Prized was such a disappointment. Everything I had loved about Birthmarked was lost and gone amuck in Prized.
Gaia, whose confidence and defiance, defined Birthmarked is now lost. As she escapes her past life to the unknown wild lands beyond, Gaia finds herself stranded in Sylum where women rule and hold all political power. As Gaia becomes more trapped in their society, she must decide what she must do to survive.
Sylum: Women are the minority here and yet they hold all the power. A "matriarch" rules and men do not have political vote. And yes, it's quite obvious where the story will go with this which is interesting in the sense that the roles/society are reversed...although, I never really felt very much sympathy for the men.
Gaia: Like I said, in the 1st book, Gaia was very stubborn and headstrong, and such an admirable character. In this one, it was like she was on a strong dose of PMS. Her emotions were all over the place. She must have been drugged because her behavior was so erratic: I like him; no, I don't like him; I have to keep secrets; no, I don't keep secrets; etc...
Leon: I think Leon was drugged too. His relationship with Gaia was so up and down and up and down that I din't even want Gaia and Leon to be with each other. "I like you; no, I hate you; but I really like you; I don't think I like you." And here's a glimpse into Gaia's psychology: (view spoiler)[ I just kissed boy #1 and got him into trouble. (5 minutes later) but now I'm going to make out with boy #2 because I have no idea what I'm doing... (hide spoiler)] Ugh...
Basically, the whole story was full of a little too much estrogen. Imagine yourself PMSing all the time: behavior that doesn't make sense, emotions all over the board...it was kind of like that. And just like the relief you get after that "week" is all over? It was kind of like that too.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe I thought the story would center on the adventures of a female "James Bond." Inst...moreAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe I thought the story would center on the adventures of a female "James Bond." Instead, all I got was a bad taste in my mouth. It's not that Graceling was so poorly written: I actually found the writing style and world building nicely done. It's just that...I think I was lied to.
First, Cashore refers to Graceling as growing "from her daydreams about a girl who possesses extrodinary powers--and who forms a friendship with a boy with whom she is insurmountably incompatible." So imagine my surprise when Grace meets Po (the insurmountably incompatible guy) and I end up waiting...and waiting...for the big "reveal" only to find out their incompatibility is due to her being a fighter and him being aware of his surroundings. Now how exactly is that insurmountably incompatible? See...incompatible would be an angel hater saving an angel (like Angelfall). Or a demon falling in love with an angel (like Daughter of Smoke and Bone).
Second, there's the problem of Katsa. Obviously, this girl is carrying around some childhood baggage because she's got some major anger management issues. In one scene she "swung at (Po's) jaw with the side of her hand" bruising his jaw because she didn't like what he was saying about King Randa's hold over her. Whhhaat?! In another, she refuses to understand Po's reason for keeping his Grace a secret. Is she really that clueless? Of course, she eventually comes to her senses and end up in his arms.
Which comes to my second point: a lover or a husband? While Katsa has her own view on what these two definitions mean: freedom or imprisonment, what it really boils down to is commitment. There's just something that doesn't feel right with Katsa and Po's relationship. Basically, she wants to be with Po but without being tied to him and all it requires..."For once she became his wife, she would be his wife forever. Her freedom would not be her own." and "How will you feel if I'm forever leaving? If one day I give myself to you and the next I take myself away--with no promises to return?" It just seems to me that if you are in a relationship (married or not), there should be a certain level of commitment: loyalty, sacrifice...If the tables were turned and Katsa were a man, he most certainly would be considered a player.
My biggest disappoint is that the messages of feminism are poorly characterized in Katsa. Does Katsa have to behave like a stereotypical man (or feminist) in order to further the feminist movement? If a man hit a woman or didn't commit to a relationship, would we honor him for using his manhood? So why should it be okay for Katsa to behave this way? That's not what feminism is about: it's about embracing womanhood and striving for equity between the sexes.
Of course, there were also some minor character/plot development issues like: Katsa finding out that her grace is not actually in killing but in survival (which doesn't really make sense because how then is she able to inflict accurate pain on someone else when she's not being threatened?); or how Princess Bitterblue has the clarity of an adult when she's really only ten; or why the urgency to protect Bitterblue from her father (why she was so important to the King; if she died, then what? what's the consequence?); or why King Leck decided now (and not before) to spread his power across the kingdoms.
Overall, this was a desperately painful read but I was determined to finish...why? maybe I thought there was some redeeming grace at the end. But sadly, the entire time, I just begged it to be over.(less)
2.5 Stars I realize I'm probably a minority here...
So...I'm just a teeny tiny bit embarrassed. A couple weeks ago I raved about The Body Finder Series...more2.5 Stars I realize I'm probably a minority here...
So...I'm just a teeny tiny bit embarrassed. A couple weeks ago I raved about The Body Finder Series in "My Favorite Reads" Giveaway. And don't get me wrong...I still love love love The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead. But somehow this one took a turn around the wrong bend...
The Love Triangle: The thing I had loved about the first two books was the complete absence of ANY love triangle. It was a nice change to all the love-triangle frenzy. I loved watching Jay and Violet's relationship unfold. So you can imagine my disappointment when the only scenes in The Last Echo of Jay and Violet were short, simple dialogues and lots of kisses...(not that I mind the kisses but after awhile you forget what made them special). The entire book is focused on RAFE. RAFE. RAFE. Rafe, who reminds me so much of "Edward": dark, moody, mysterious. And surprise, surprise. He seems to only have a connection with Violet. Even down to the "electric sparks" between them...
Finally, a slow grin spread over his face. "Well, that was awkward." Violet flexed her fingers, still awed by the strange sensation rippling through her. "Do you mind explaining what the hell that is?" she asked. "You feel it too...don't you?"
Oh, please. And what is it about girls who can't just ADMIT or SEE that the boy likes her?
"They were just friends, she and Rafe, and she was worried for him. Friends could touch each other. Friends could hold hands."
Whatever you say Violet...But then she'll see Jay and it's all about "I need you Jay. You complete me..." I think I'm going to gag.
Which brings me to point #2-Violet: I missed the old Violet. Even though she had a few insecurities in #1 and #2, it really became full blown in this one. She's constantly worried about her relationship with the rest of the TEAM. And she can't seem to make up her mind about Jay or Rafe. Even in the end, she's still torn between the two! She doesn't seem to connect with her friends as much as she did in the first two...but then again, she's NEVER around them in this one. And I miss all of Chelsea's funny dialogue.
So what about the plot? Every few chapters, we read about the murderer and his thoughts. Derting really made him creepy and disturbing. While it was creative, I felt like he was a bit too sicko for me. (view spoiler)[He wants a girlfriend/wife to love him so he kidnaps them and dresses them up... (hide spoiler)]. And I'm not quite sure if I buy into the psychology of it...but then again, people do the weirdest things for the weirdest reasons.
Also the side plot of James Nua seemed out of place and unnecessary. James Nua is a killer who Violet happens to see in the police station and he's now out to get her because he thinks she knows something...
So Should you read it? I'm not sure I like the direction of where this series is going. I had LIKED the simple small town life scenarios of the first two...but now is the introduction of a whole slew of new characters and new assignments. It's like Veronica Mars evolving into CSI. And something's gone missing. Other reviewers really enjoyed this one, so I'm sure I'm in the minority but I think this is the end of the line for me. :(
PS. The title is confusing and Derting even says that herself. So there will be #4: Dead Silence.
Check out this review and more on 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"]>(less)
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.
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 had been waiting for over a year for our library to order this book so it was with much anticipation to finally be able to delve into this mystery.
W...moreI had been waiting for over a year for our library to order this book so it was with much anticipation to finally be able to delve into this mystery.
Which lasted about 61 pages. I. just. can't. go. on....
First off, I'm not a big fan of the 3rd person POV--especially with YA; and unless the author is a very talented writer, the 3rd person perspective ends up making it sound like a narration from a screenplay.
Miller is case-in-point. There were about 5 pages covering 2 short chapters where there was nothing but a long description and retelling of Haven Moore's life. (I almost forgot I was reading a novel; it sounded so much like an bibliography.) What happened to the "Show, not Tell"?
Some of the scenes were pieced together so jaggedly that I was left confused. There's a scene in the past followed by another scene in the past but linked by the word "Now" which makes me think of the present. (e.g., p.24) I was also puzzled by which time period this story takes place in. For a story that supposedly takes place in the "present day," I felt very backwards; the insistence that Haven's visions are due to demon possession seemed very forced and ridiculous; mind you, I've never been to the "bible belt" states, but the way the townspeople acted seemed unrealistic.
None of the characters seem interesting enough to me. The "soul mate" theme is a little tiresome. The gay best friend, the domineering grandma matriarch, and the hot love interest are too cliche. I'm also puzzled by Haven's mother who initially acts subservient and yet a few pages later suddenly stands up to grandma and then persuades Haven to pursue the truth.
I can't say much about the rest of the plot nor Haven's future love interest. It's a VERY thick story and if it was shorter, and if I didn't already have a stack of "To-Reads" I might, just might have forced myself to finish.(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)
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)
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)
First, the angel concept was pretty unique and interesting: an angel who is compelled to help another person and is forgotte...moreOh. Boy. Where do I begin?
First, the angel concept was pretty unique and interesting: an angel who is compelled to help another person and is forgotten by that person as if she was just a whisper of thought to the other person's psyche. Pretty interesting premise, but, well, that's pretty much where it ended for me.
The idea that she will (view spoiler)[ use up her energy and combust at the end made no sense to me at all. Why would she be put on this earth to show love for other people and then disappear at the end? (hide spoiler)] I couldn't wrap my head around that conclusion.
Don't even get me started on the characters:
I couldn't connect with any of them at all.
First there's the angel Charlotte who is constantly bossed by her supposedly BFF and who's infatuation with Harlin overwhelms the whole story.
Then there's the BFF, Sarah, who is so completely selfish and treats Charlotte as a maid. Why does Charlotte continually put up with this behavior? What's the benefit to her; that she has a person to "hang out" with because I would not want Sarah as a Best Friend.
Next comes Harlin, the hot boyfriend: who is either 1) making out or having sex with Charlotte 2) talking about making out with Charlotte or 3) upset with Charlotte for keeping secrets (that often times don't allow for #1 or 2). Apparently, they really just need each other for sex because I don't really see why they are together otherwise. And the whole whiny complaint from Charlotte about why she can't tell Harlin she's an angel was just pathetic. Charlotte: He's your BOYFRIEND and you need to be HONEST with him.
And I can't forget to mention Monroe, the clinic doctor friend, turned Seer/guide for the "Forgotten" (aka Angels): who kept so many secrets because...why? When Charlotte comes to him with questions, he talks so cryptically or was tongue-tied and I didn't understand the reason he had to keep secrets about HER from HER. Arghh!!!!
Which naturally leads to the other annoying thread in the story: SECRETS. I'm so tired of reading about SECRETS and people keeping SECRETS and lying about their SECRETS. I just wish authors could figure out a way to tell a story without falling back on the whole: "I'm a mysterious powerful person who must keep it a secret from the world...." Really?! I don't mind SECRETS but just find another reason.
Overall, a quick read (thankfully) and...only because half the time, Charlotte and Harlin were making out...
This book should have been named: A Secret so wrong or a Kiss so obsessed.
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)
As a story, I wasn't that impressed. The plot line was pretty simplistic and fairly predictable. Only a third of the way thr...moreAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
As a story, I wasn't that impressed. The plot line was pretty simplistic and fairly predictable. Only a third of the way through and I already had a lingering suspicion of who the culprit might be. There were also a few unrealistic moments. For instance, when the target is finally revealed, I kept wondering why they didn't just google "Ortolan & video game," a hundred pages ago instead of just "Ortolan." Which by the way is evidenced when Nick says, "We should have done more research...Then we would have found him a lot earlier." Yes, my thoughts exactly. I also didn't feel that much for any of the characters: an eyeroll every once in a while and an exasperated sigh. The pacing was also somewhat slow for a thriller and quite honestly, I felt like it was consuming up too many hours of my time. And when a book makes you wonder if "it is ever going to end?"...well, that's not a good sign.
HOWEVER, I really did like the writing style. And while I wasn't impressed by the plot, I was impressed by the way the characters became totally consumed by the game. I'm not a gamer myself so I can't fully understand the draw...but I've always wondered what keeps them hooked. As the story switches back and forth from the gaming world and the real one, I began to get a better feel for what keeps them going. There's the secrecy of the game and its rewards. Once Nick gets his hands on Erebos, he becomes completely consumed by it: just one more level...just one more reward... My favorite parts were when Nick must accomplish a task in "real life" in order to obtain a reward in the game: Nick acts nearly psychotic and desperate.
AND I did appreciate the fact that the story is more multicultural than most high school settings. Erebos takes place in London, and I expected a completely homogeneous group of people, so I was pleasantly surprised to read references to descriptions and names from different races. It made London feel so real!
But towards the end, I just wanted the story to be over. The romance with Nick and Emily was too forced...like the author just had to make it work. The pacing was too slow for me, and I expected more plot twists, more suspense. Also, I'm a bit surprised that Nick's parents never mention a word to him about Erebos. It is an interesting read but not as entertaining as I would have liked. I would have to recommend this as a "Maybe" read.(less)
Meyer definitely changes things up with this sci-fi spin of the traditional Cinderella story. While there were elements of the original story (the "ev...moreMeyer definitely changes things up with this sci-fi spin of the traditional Cinderella story. While there were elements of the original story (the "evil" stepmother, the mean stepsister, servitude, a royal ball, a prince), thankfully, there were also some new ideas: a loving stepsister, a plague, a Cyborg foot instead of a glass slipper ;). So really, Meyer deserves a round of applause for making Cinder less than traditional.
Unfortunately, while the concept was intriguing, the execution needed a little help:
Cinder: As a cyborg, Cinder is part human/part machine and according to society, is seemingly less than "human." But while there were scenes and details that depicted discrimination towards Cyborgs (mostly only to her), I just plain couldn't relate. For me, I never felt like Cinder was less human...which stems greatly from the fact that in our present society, we don't look at humans who have mechanical parts (metal arms/legs, plastic heart valves, electronic pace makers) as less than human; in fact, we graciously praise those scientist for making it possible for these humans to live. Now, if Cinder's society is an extension of the human condition, then--based on what we know today--why would I consider Cyborgs inhuman? What made her society view them as such?
Since Cinder's character as a cyborg was such a key part to the story, this depiction of her made it extremely hard for me to understand WHY certain characters treated her as such. For me, Meyer, needed to expand on what I already feel today and change it so I can relate to her character's behavior.
New Beijing: Again, Kudos to Meyer for adding a little multiculturalism. However, the setting of New Beijing needs something more than a booth of buns and Asian-type references and names. What makes Beijing, NEW Beijing? And why Beijing? (In my mind, I kept envisioning Hong Kong--with it's bright lights of skyscrapers and electronics.) So, again Why Beijing? Who are the people living there? Why is there an emperor? Describe to me the smells, the food...give me a little background so I know where I am!
Lunar: As the story progresses, we are introduced to a competing society to earth: the people of Lunar who (you guessed it) live on. the. moon. While the introduction of another colony is intriguing, there wasn't much background to their existence except that they were an advanced human race that lives on the moon and can manipulate bio-electric energy to make you do what they want. And maybe I'm being a little picky here but...how do they live on the moon? Do they live in space stations? Is there gravity/air? The reason I ask is because in a later scene when pictures are taken of them, they appear to be STANDING STILL (not floating) on the moon without any helmets. ???!!!??? Also, why is Lunar and Earth at war with each other??!
I think the main interest of this story is it's adaptation to the traditional tale. Otherwise, the story line is predictable within the first few chapters, the introduction of lies that induce conflict is getting tiresome to see in story after story, and the lack of empathy for the mc makes this book lacking.
Again, I do applaud Meyer's sci-fi adaption and the bionic parts that make up Cinder, and the writing is decent (considering that it's in 3rd person--which I don't favor) so overall, I would give this 3.5 STARS. Interesting and somewhat enjoyable to read (if you can ignore the predictability)...I think I will read the next installment to see if there's improvement to the character/plot but it was still somewhat of a disappointment to me.(less)
The first time I read this, I thought "Awwww, what a cute story about a fox and a chicken who become friends...How sw...moreA Case of the Stockholm Syndrome:
The first time I read this, I thought "Awwww, what a cute story about a fox and a chicken who become friends...How sweet." Then I read it again. After the third time, I realized something just didn't seem right. Wait a minute here...This isn't a story about a fox befriending a chicken, this is a story about a hostage who befriends her captor!
So without any words, this is a story about a fox who kidnaps a chicken, is chased by the chicken's friends...and somewhere along the chase, the chicken begins to play chess, wear sunglasses, and relax with the fox. I can only assume chicken had a psychological melt-down and empathized with the "misunderstood" kidnapper fox.
For a wordless picture book that clearly describes the Stockholm Syndrome, this author is pure genius. For a wordless picture book for children, you may want to think ahead on how you'll be telling the story.
To be perfectly honest, it is a different book from Revis but the initial chapters did remind me a...moreWhy do I feel like I'm reading Across the Universe?
To be perfectly honest, it is a different book from Revis but the initial chapters did remind me a lot of Across the Universe: there's a ship in the middle of space with problems and racing to colonize a new earth.
Other than that, the story takes a much different turn. Waverly and the entire ship of girls are kidnapped by their sister ship in order to populate their race. With the adults mostly dead and unconscious on the original attacked ship, the entire group of boys left behind must decide how to rescue the girls and survive among themselves. Meanwhile Waverly must decide what it will take to escape.
In a story like this one where the perspectives switch from the two main characters: Waverly and Kieran, a 1st person POV would have added more depth to the story and helped me internalize the character's emotions and behavior. With 3rd person, I felt so disconnected from the characters...but I also wonder if it's because the characters just had too many negative traits that I never knew which character I was routing for; I actually liked some of the minor characters more as they didn't seem to have so many internal conflicts.
Initially, I thought Waverly was a pretty strong character but in the very last chapter, I have no idea what to think of her. Also, the numerous lies and secrets were just too much for me to handle. By the end, I felt like they all needed to attend group therapy.
The plot was interesting (kidnapped girls, engine failure, mutiny) but again it was really my lack of connecting with any one character that makes this story lacking.
Also, the plot takes a real odd twist toward the end with the introduction of (view spoiler)[ God's voice/words to Kieran (hide spoiler)]. The problem to me was not that (view spoiler)[ God is speaking to him, although I do wonder if it is indeed God or Kieran's imagination (hide spoiler)], it is the fact that it comes OUT OF NOWHERE; I never felt like Kieran was a spiritual person and then all of a sudden this happens. It would seem more plausible if Kieran showed signs of spirituality prior to that.
And lastly, I have absolutely no idea what the title means or refers to.
2.5 STARS for me.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
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)
I have to say, Kade surprised me with this one. In the beginning, I almost put the book down, and walked away...it seemed so cliche...moreA 3.5 Starred Book:
I have to say, Kade surprised me with this one. In the beginning, I almost put the book down, and walked away...it seemed so cliche and stereotypical: we've got the "mean popular girl" and the "outcasted 'goth'." And I thought, "Oh great, Here we go again."
However, as each chapter unfolded, it was like peeling back each layer of an onion. The characters began to show the deeper side of their personalities; their histories and insecurities became more evident and you begin to see beyond the "labels."
While the plot was pretty predictable and straight forward, and the character development was to be expected, I still really enjoyed it. (It's like one of those CW shows that are still pretty cheesy but you keep watching because the dialogue or characters are entertaining...)
Overall,...not so deep, and plot twisty, but entertaining.
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)
The thing I love about Jeffers is that he can deliver a deep message with such simple imagery and words. Like Robot said, this one delivers a punch to...moreThe thing I love about Jeffers is that he can deliver a deep message with such simple imagery and words. Like Robot said, this one delivers a punch to the heart...but it also gives hope. The girl's heart breaks so she locks it up. And while she doesn't feel pain anymore, it comes with a price: emptiness. Eventually it is but a child that teaches her to hope again.
I love the symbolism here. While it may not be a typical "bedtime" story, it's still worth sharing. And it is sad. Because what's more heartbreaking than losing a loved one. And we will all lose someone at some point. C.S. Lewis once said, "We read to know we are not alone." With this, I know I'm not alone.
If you like the metaphorical story of this book, you may also enjoy A Monster Calls.
Josh and Emma are 2 neighborhood friends in 1996 who discover a future life on Facebook.
For anyone having...moreFast-paced. Entertaining. Short and simple.
Josh and Emma are 2 neighborhood friends in 1996 who discover a future life on Facebook.
For anyone having lived in the 90s, this story is a bit nostalgic: lyrics to popular songs, references to AOL, and the fact that people had to "look up" stuff at the library. Asher and Mackler do a pretty good job but I wish they could have made some clothing or movie references. Also, one of the wealthy characters has a cell phone which (even though she was filthy rich), I still found to be a bit unbelievable; for me personally, I don't think I even knew anyone with a cell phone until almost the turn of the century.
The chapters switch between Josh and Emma's point of view and the chapters are short and concise, making me move quickly through each chapter. It was a definite page turner for me.
I thought some of the jabs at FB posts were pretty funny: the things we post to the "world" and our constant obsession with social networking. I'm guilty to both. ;) But it wasn't just a story about Facebook, there were a lot of subtle underlying themes of fear and love and the awkwardness of youth that were woven very nicely into the story.
The story was sweet and such a fun fast read. I agree with another reviewer that this would make such a cute movie!!!!
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)
I don't know how he does it...After The Lightning Thief series (which if you haven't read it, what are you waiting for!), I thought Riordan wouldn't b...moreI don't know how he does it...After The Lightning Thief series (which if you haven't read it, what are you waiting for!), I thought Riordan wouldn't be able to produce another one just as entertaining...But I WAS WRONG! Thankfully...
The Son of Neptune is the second in his new series: The Heroes of Olympus. The first book, The Lost Hero, follows the adventures of 3 demigods: Jason, Piper, and Leo while The Son of Neptune begins at the "Roman" camp starring Percy, Hazel, and Frank.
Riordan's trademark humor and sarcasm is evident throughout the story, and I found myself laughing right at the start:
"Her Bargain Mart vest, her flowery dress, even her tusks were decorated with 50% OFF stickers. Her name badge read: Hello! My name is DIE, DEMIGOD SCUM!"
The chapters switch POVs seamlessly among the 3 characters. Each has it's own mystery, strength, and weakness. And Frank's Asian grandmother was so ON THE MARK...I loved it!
There were only a few "buggy" things I noticed this time around: 1) The characters all seem to have the same "voice." I'm not sure if that really makes much sense, but while each of the characters have different backgrounds, they seemed to speak the same, have the same humor. It's not enough for a reader to notice unless there are being overly Type A...like me.
2) Definitely try to read the books without waiting MONTHS in between. It made for a frustrating read as I was trying to pull my amnesia back into remission. There are A LOT of tiny references to both Book 1 and The Lightening Thief series--not enough to take away from the story, but it would have been nice if my memory served me better.
Overall: I highly recommend any of Riordan's books. The only bummer about finding an author you enjoy is that you're not the only one; Riordan's last book signing was INSANE and a bit of a disappointment. I literally was given less than 10 seconds to say hello and have him sign my book. Oh, wait, I didn't even get a chance to say hello because he was busy talking to the kid in front of me. I got a "head nod" and then herded out of line. Apparently, I haven't gotten over that. But still, go read the book. It funny fun.
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)