This second installment of the Study trilogy very much mirrors it's predecessor. In fact the whole experience of reading this book felt almost identical to my experience with Poison Study. The book is slow to start, a bit more so than the first book, and introduces quite a handful of new characters. Once I did get into the meat of the story though I got caught up pretty quickly and soared through large chunks of chapters at a time. Just like the first book, this was an overall enjoyable, adventurous read.
My problems with this book revolve around the great many times Yelena gets captured, beaten up, bullied, tortured, etc. I understand she has made herself an impressive following of enemies, however abduction isn't the only plot device there is to hammer this point home. You cannot base your entire story on and carry the plot solely on having your heroine abducted three to four times throughout the length of your book. It just gets annoying! Yelena is by no means a wimpy heroine! We know this girl can take care of herself! This stops being an exciting, "Oh no, Yelena!" moment the second time around. There are so many ways Snyder could have carried her plot. I guess she was just really feeling the whole "Yelena get's kidnapped by a disgruntled acquaintance" thing while writing Magic Study.
The other thing that really irked me was that Yelena seems to think she doesn't need anyone's help and can solve the world's problems all on her own. Even after being expressly told numerous times by Irys and her other magical superiors to ask them for help, she just surges on ahead alone constantly. This really isn't one of those things where you agree with the hero/heroine of the book and feel they are just being held back. No, Yelena is just being stupid half the time, continuously putting herself and others needlessly in danger. WTF Yelena? Help is literally a telepathic signal away and she just decides, "Nah! I got this!" By the end of the book, I was shaking my head and sighing. I have definitely lost some respect for Yelena because of this.
Something interesting I noticed throughout my read was that many of the magical elements of this story, including Poison Study, seem to appear in Snyder's new Healer series. The ability to heal a person by taking the damage onto your own body is the power of the heroine of the Healer series and also makes a substantial appearance in Magic Study. Snyder also used the same romantic development from Poison Study in Touch of Power. I just thought this was interesting as the comparisons are starting to pile up the more I read the Study series. Many authors use the same formulas in their books, but in this case, I was stuck by the more substantial resemblances. I guess what I'm trying to say here is I'm not sure how I feel about this yet, but it definitely hasn't deterred me from continuing to read Snyder's books.
Even though there were two major things that got under my skin, Snyder again wowed me with her masterful world building, rich characters and strong narrative. Yelena's ability to connect telepathically with horses was another delightful addition to the mix, and an appearance of our favorite assassin does not disappoint! I look forward to wrapping up this series with Fire Study.(less)
This action packed YA take on a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies made my year. This is the kind of book I am always looking for. A book that makes me completely lose track of the time as I turn each page with a pounding heart. Crazy-ass nuns with freaky persuasive tactics? Yes please! These nuns are bad-ass with their wine cellar leading up into a tiny fenced in clearing surrounding by zombies. They could get anyone to give them whatever they wanted with that thing, but they are content with playing god in their creepy stone sanctuary
I primarily read dystopian fiction because I love reading about distorted possible variations of society. I have a lot of fun exploring the vast possibilities of not only what the world could be like, but also what could make it that way. You could say I am a big proponent of "What if?" entertainment. This book gave me what I was looking for and more.
The most common complaint about this book seems to be that the characters are flat. Sure they could have been developed better, but here is why I think they way they are portrayed is realistic. These people are terrified on a daily basis. Without coping skills of steel, I doubt anyone would be able to have a healthy expression of their emotions. Sure the heroine is crazy as hell, but I doubt any of us would do much better in her situation. Mary has been through more than her fair share of bull and she still manages to survive. She has lost both her parents and her only family left, her brother Jed, leaves her to choose between living with the crazy nuns or living on the streets. With these circumstances, the girl is going to be a bit unstable. On top of all that she goes through a number of horrifying experiences throughout the length of the book that would drive anyone to their wit's end. So the characters may not live up to your standards of what a person should be like, get over it. I doubt you know how the human mind reacts to daily terror and a perpetually disturbing existence of survival.
That being said, I soared right through this book. It barely every touched a surface that wasn't my hand because I was glued to it from beginning to end. Anyone who enjoys thrilling narrative, survival tactics, and zombies galore will enjoy The Forest of Hands and Teeth I will definitely be picking up book two as soon as possible. (less)
Another greatly hyped YA dystopia series begins with seventeen year-old Cassia Reyes attending her Match Banquet. A Society tradition that will present her with her predetermined, future husband. When she is Matched with her childhood best-friend Xander, she couldn't be happier, but when she later discovers there could have been another Match, one that was fueled by love and passion, she begins to ask questions of The Society.
I had been looking forward to reading this one for awhile. The cover is beautiful and the idea behind it, being paired up with your perfect Match in every way in a dystopian society based on statistical perfection, was so incredibly appealing. However, the execution left a lot to be desired. One of the most difficult things about novel writing can be the world building. The author must precariously balance her character between the world he/she knows and the change that creates the drama and excitement that will fuel the story. Unfortunately, that is the problem here. Condie spends too much time leading readers through Cassia's familiar daily life, and takes too much time getting to the point. It has been said before, not much happens in this book, at least not until the very end. Some authors can pull it off if their world is absolutely enthralling and it just isn't in this case. The entire world feels numb, with numb characters and numb interactions. I get that The Society has created that sort of world for its inhabitants in order to offer them a better quality of life, however the writing reflects this so much, it makes the experience numb for the reader as well. I could not connect with any of the characters and that is the most important part of a story to me.
The thing Matched does right is the bits of emotion that are apparent begin small and build as the story goes on facillitated by Dylan Thomas' Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. This poem really does represent the spirit of dystopian fiction and the characters who fight back. This was a great inclusion into the story and made for a much more meaningful connection between Cassia and her love interest Ky where there was very little before.Without this poem, and how it defines their relationship, I would have called them another couple doomed by insta-love.
Even though I spent the majority of the book bored out of my mind, there was enough hint of potential to make me interested to see what Condie does with the sequel Crossed. Maybe once Cassia is in a new, more frightening environment, the story will be more compelling. It is just sad that Condie could not pull off one of the most terrifying and intriguing parts of dystopian fiction. The most disturbing thing can be discovering the sinister side of what is supposed to be safe and innocent.
Recommendation: Fans of lighter dystopia and YA fiction may find this enjoyable, but those of us looking for something deeper will get bored easily. (less)
Finley Jayne, a young commoner girl, displays a serious case of the Jekyll and Hydes when she is attacked by the rakish son of her employer. Frightened by the violent darkness within her, Finley makes a run for it and is hit by a velocycle in Hyde Park. The operator just so happens to be His Grace the Duke of Greythorn, who has a habit of taking in peculiar strays. Finley soon finds herself in the midst of the grand scheming of the villainous Machinist and discovers the truth about her father and his shrouded past.
While I enjoyed my read of this book, there were a few things working against it that cost the book some serious points.
The first 30% of this book suffers from sluggish pacing. It really shouldn't take that long for me to get into a book, especially one with as much potential as this loosely based Jekyll and Hyde steampunk adventure. The idea is certainly appealing, but takes forever to get going. Once it finally does, the plot twists are so predictable and simplistic that I had the villain and his master plan figured out by the half-way point. Hinting is essential to peaking your reader's interest and keeping them engaged in your story's outcome, but such obvious foreshadowing dumbs the story down. To be perfectly honest it is downright condescending to your reader.
Now, I understand that steampunk is all about the crazy gadgets and technology mixed in with the delightful drama of Victorian era novels, and I love that. However, the first 30% of The Girl In The Steel Corset is over wrought with gadgets, tragic backgrounds, and special abilities. This portion of the novel was really just an info dump wrapped up in shiny gears and cogs that leaves the rest of the novel feeling rushed and empty. Most of the gadgets, back stories and abilities could have been woven throughout the bulk of the novel to make it feel more complete and leave a little mystery to the characters, rather than dumping it all in the reader's lap at the very beginning.
Even though these aspects meddled with my enjoyment, once I finally got to the meat of the story, I couldn't help but be caught up. The best things about this novel are its vibrant side characters and the admirable camaraderie they develop for one another. Although the plot of this novel didn't work for me overall, I definitely found I cared for the characters and looked forward to seeing what happens to them in the next book, which I hear is more satisfying than this one.
My favorite character was without question Jack Dandy. This sleekly charming crimelord stole my heart from the moment he stepped onto the page! Now, I'm not a fan of love triangles, but Jack made this one amusing rather than frustrating with his dark charisma perfectly setting off Griffin's more earnest gallantry. I really hope to see more of him in the next book.
One final thing. I couldn't decide whether the whole "mandroid" thing worked for or against this book. Sam, is referred to as a "mandroid" rather than a cyborg in a completely serious manner. This term sounds hilarious to me and the fact that it is said with absolute seriousness makes it even funnier. Nearly every person I related this to had the same thing to say, "Sounds like some kind of sex robot."
The Final Verdict The Girl in the Steel Corset is an attractive concept that gets messy in its execution, but still retains an endearing quality in its charming characters. The Steampunk Chronicles may very well be a series that suffers from the 'first book" syndrome. Giving the second book, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, a chance could be a good investment.
FTC Disclosure I purchased a copy of this book to read in preparation of my review for its sequel. I received no compensation for the views stated above. All opinions are my own. (less)
I'm not even sure if this is supposed to be a serious attempt at writing...
This book was free on the Barnes & Noble Nook market place and as a su...moreI'm not even sure if this is supposed to be a serious attempt at writing...
This book was free on the Barnes & Noble Nook market place and as a supporter of indie authors I thought I would give it a shot. It is obvious that this is a first attempt at writing. The only other review on Goodreads understates it could use some editing. In my opinion, this person's forte isn't writing. Writing takes time, skill, and creativity and is most certainly not for everyone. While reading Two Lives...One Diary I felt like I was reading the creative writing assignment of a middle school student. It is often confusing and the main character is constantly using phrases that don't make sense. There is a point in the story where a girl gets stabbed with a needle by a homeless guy she is giving food to... While this is strange in itself, the main character suggests she will die if he doesn't remove it and cut off the blood flow. Ok, from a needle? I get that she could get AIDS if the guy was infected and was using it for drugs, but come one, the girl is not going to die from loss of blood due to a needle.
Although I cannot accept this as an actual book/novella, I will say the author came up with an interesting concept. The main character lives two different lives, one in the real world and one in the dream world. I think Array would be more successful at selling ideas for stories rather than writing them. (less)
Diana Bishop is a scholar of alchemy researching at Oxford. Inadvertently, she calls up an ancient, magical text from the stacks of the Bodelin Library; Ashmole 782. Once returned, it sets off a chain reaction that attracts the attention of every witch, daemon, and vampire nearby. The major players of each preternatural group have been seeking the book for centuries in hopes of understanding the origins of their species, and now they are seeking Diana. Can she elude them with the help of a sexy vampire scholar? And what will happen when what develops between them is expressly forbidden?
I know a lot of you loved this book, so it is with great sadness that I admit I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped. I think my main problem with it stems from the fact that it is so strongly advertised as a literary urban fantasy. I was expecting an intellectual take on witches and vampires and got a "twilight for adults" The scholarly portion of the book takes up the first third and then appears sporadically throughout, but the main focus of the book seems to be the relationship between Diana and Matthew. This would have been much more enjoyable and easier for me to swallow if it had been advertised to me this way to begin with. Don't hand me a sickeningly sweet vampire romance and tell me it is "Equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense..." It would be more accurate to say it is a tale of vampire-witch insta-love sprinkled with history and science. Matthew and Diana know each other for less than a month, but end up so in love with each other, they are willing to put their families in danger in order to be together. Plus their love becomes so overly sappy, I ended up struggling to finish the book.
Now, I am not totally hating on this book. From beginning to middle, I was actively engaged and had an enjoyable read. I loved reading about the Oxford atmosphere and yoga classes. I also was delighted by the premise of Matthew researching witch DNA and being able to identify the markers for different inherited powers. That part of the book was wonderful.
I had the opportunity to read this book as a buddy read, and one of the women I read this with, Nichole pointed out it was also much longer than it needed to be. I have to agree with her here. There were quite a few scenes and details that could have been shaved off the final product. This would have made the read feel more smooth and less tedious. I always become wary when I sigh in relief after finishing a book. I feel this wouldn't have been the case if it hadn't been so unnecessarily LONG1 This was honestly a case of too much fluff and not enough solid plot.
Recommendation: I would definitely recommend this to romance lovers. You will find much to love in a read of A Discovery of Witches. However, if you are more of an urban fantasy person, I think you will find it leaves a lot to be desired. (less)
Amy and her parents sign up to be cryogenically frozen so that they can travel to Centuri-Earth and help colonize a habitable planet. Staying frozen for 300 years while traveling through the stars on the ship Godspeed doesn't sound too bad, but when Amy is woken up 50 years early by a rebellious occupant of the ship her entire future is irrevocably altered. There is no way for her to be refrozen without risk of death or extensive damage so she must find a way to be content with living her life on the strange ship with a community of people who are disturbingly different. If that wasn't enough, Amy faces danger from the ship's leader, Eldest, who believes her drastic differences from the other occupants could lead to mutiny. Luckily, she seems to have made a friend in the ship's future leader Elder, a 16-year old boy who has begun to question Eldest and his methods. As a killer threatens the lives of the other frozen occupants of the ship, Amy must find a way to fit in and discover the ship's secrets before it is too late.
I think I will start out by saying, there were many impressive dsytopian elements to this book. Revis sets the disturbing tone of the book right off the bat letting the reader know, no matter what it may seem like on the surface, something is very wrong here. The American concept of manifest destiny will undoubtedly one day extend to the stars, giving humanity hope for the future. And that's just it, voyaging among the stars and heading to a new planet to colonize should reflect hope and wonder. However, Across the Universe manages to delve deeply into the possibility for flaws and the horrific consequences of desperation. Through this work, Revis asks her readers, "When does the need for order and safety override a human's basic rights?" When it comes to saving humanity, how far is too far? The implications this book presents to its readers are truly frightening and the part I enjoyed the most.
Across the Universe has some amazing moments and makes for a great discussion book, however lack of strong characterization and inconsistent pacing may leave more mature readers on the fence. Now, when I say lack of strong characterization, I men that I personally had a difficult time connecting with the two main characters Amy and Elder. While Amy fights for what she believes is right and doesn't let anyone walk all over her, she also has some very childlike qualities. Throughout the book, she calls her dad, daddy and uses "It's just not fair" reasoning quite a bit. She also seems to throw abrupt temper tantrums and her thought process can be aggravatingly immature. If you are familiar with my reviews, you will know that one of my biggest pet peeves is the "damsel in distress" syndrome. Unfortunately, this happens a lot here. Elder or his best friends Harley are constantly jumping in and saving her from brainless men, Eldest, and often times herself. For me, Amy stopped being likeable after she was unfrozen, which is most of the book.
Elder is a bit better. He questions the ethics of the way the ship is run and wonders if there isn't a better way while still managing to come across as completely ignorant, which he is. It's not really the poor guy's fault, being raised with alternative history to make totalitarian forms of government appear vastly better than the other options. Everyone on the ship is monoethnic, they all have brown skin, brown hair, etc. Everyone looks fairly similar and there is a pretty high risk for incestuous relationships, but what do you expect from a population of people that have been completely isolated for 250 years? Differences are to be feared and only prove to cause trouble. Elder can't help but appear numb or apathetic at times due to his surroundings. He is actually one of the only free-thinking people on board. I saw a lot of good development with Elder and am interested to see how he will do in the next book.
The book also suffers from a mild case of predictability and may or may not have a mind-blowing ending depending on how perceptive you tend to be while reading. I had already figured out who was killing the frozen people by this person's second appearance. I did not see the last little plot twist coming, thank goodness, and was glad to have had a bit of a thrill from my reading experience. I just think this book does not live up to its hype and potential. However, taking in the fact that it is difficult to pull off a mind-blowing first-in-series book, I do give Revis props. Across the Universe is intriguing and an overall enjoyable read, I just wish the characters had been more developed.
To Be Continued? - Yes, I will definitely be giving book 2, A Million Suns, a shot. I can see a lot of the problems I had with this book being resolved. (less)
I'm just going to start this review by saying I enjoyed the book overall. The series was starting to lose it's momentum, but like any good author, Mead writes her series with an end in sight. I can't stand when a series goes on forever just to squeeze out some extra money, but I won't get into that here.
If you are a fan of the series, but haven't had a chance to pick this one up, you are probably aware of the infamous ending. I don't do spoilers in my reviews so I will just say this. I was very disappointed in Mead and Eugenie. Mead has every right to finish her series the way she wants to, but it did not endear me to Eugenie in any way. Also, I think Eugenie should cut her loses with Dorian. As soon as he finds out what she did at the end of this book, well, let's just say I don't see a relationship for them in the future. Being conscious of who Dorian is and what he desires most from life, I would think it would be obvious how he will take the news.
What I did enjoy about this book, was that we got to spend more time with the characters and see Eugenie have her babies. I felt the plot was well thought out and the writing was still as good as ever I was just bummed about how it all came together at the end. In no way was this a bad read for me. As a fan, I had expectations going in and unfortunately they were kind of slapped in the face during the last chapter.
This is still my favorite series of Mead's, and I hope she has some spin-off planned in the future to sate my curiosity about what happens next. Maybe a series about Jasmine? (less)
This book was a lot better than I expected. With a cover to match it's title, Ripe for Scandal offers the reader a range of emotions not typical to th...moreThis book was a lot better than I expected. With a cover to match it's title, Ripe for Scandal offers the reader a range of emotions not typical to the usual smutty historical romance fare as the main characters take on hardship after hardship in their already shaky marriage. I gave it three stars for diverting a bit from the formula of historical romance we are so used to. However, fans of this genre will still feel comfortable and familiar with the style and locales. (less)
It's unfortunate when the first thought that comes to your mind once you've finished a book is "Thank God it's over!"
The entire experience was painful. Hold Me If You Can is a paranormal romance so coated in sugary silliness I literally think I got a cavity. There wasn't a single moment in this book I could take seriously. The fierce warrior hero uses flower shaped throwing stars... Okay... and if that wasn't weird enough the villein's power that seems to be causing all the problems is called smut and it isn't the only thing smutty about this book. Don't get me wrong, I love trashy romances especially ones with paranormal themes, but this was just over the top. Towards the end I didn't have to read entire sentences as every other word was love. It was like my annoying Aunt Marge was pinching my cheeks and reciting, "You are such a lovey wovey lovekins!" Love was crammed into this book like nobody's squishy lovey business. Did I mention the heroine is a Sweet? No, not scrumptious dessert! Her mystical race is actually called Sweet and she actually owns a dessert shop named Scrumptious. The only cool part about this situation was that she made virility balls, a magical chocolate treat that gives men nearly perpetual erections. That was pretty cute.
Although I didn't enjoy this book very much, I did feel it had a decent message squeezed to death by all the suffocating love. Throughout the book, the heroine is encouraged by her friends and her hero to love herself, no matter how scary that may be. Self-acceptance is a powerful, wonderful message no matter what the packaging.
I really wouldn't recommend this to anyone, unless they had really off the wall tastes. I'm going to have to read something really mature and serious to cleanse my pallet after this. I may just have to resort to Stephen King, and I'm really not that big of a fan. (less)
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not your teenager's zombie fiction. Grant has put together an intricate and well thought out world for her characters who are just as gritty and strong as the world they live in. I was fascinated by the political and journalism aspects and have great expectations for this series , so much so, that I went out and bought Deadline last week after only reading a few chapters of Feed. I enjoyed how the zombies weren't exactly the main focus of the book, but always lingered in the dark corners waiting for their chance to make a move. Without giving away spoilers, I can say that less than 1/4 of the way through, you realize the zombies aren't the real villains of this novel, but a tool. This concept is what finally hooked me after the extensive info-dump the first part of the book turns out to be.
The Virus I was thoroughly impressed with the intelligent tone and Grant's obvious extensive research. The Kellis-Amberlee virus isn't just some all purpose explanation for why the zombies are around. Grant describes the virus so intricately, if it didn't reanimate the dead, it would sound like something that could be present in the near future. The origin of the virus is described for the reader in great detail making the creation and spread believable by playing on the rash actions of today's extremist groups. The virus is so well developed in fact, that it really is its own character. Dark and sinister, it lays dormant in all living creatures just waiting to come in contact with an active strain of itself. Once it does, it amplifies rapidly inside its host, slowly enough for the host to get near others while still appearing normal, and quickly enough for the one person to have the potential to create a hazard zone the size of a large city. No one is safe, and eventually, everyone will succumb to the virus, even if they die a natural death.
The Pacing & Narrative It was kind of slow to start, but everything that contributed to the slowness was vital information. The narrative can come across a bit dry in spots between the action, however I believe this is due to the author staying true to the voice of her narrator. Georgia is such a 'let's get right down to business' sort of person that this style makes complete sense. One of the best aspects of this book is that nothing feels irrelevant. Not once did I say to myself, "Now that was definitely filler." Literally every scrap of information either helps you understand the world and the characters better or it sets up impending plot twists.
Georgia & Shaun This sibling duo is one of the best I've ever read. They offset each other perfectly with Shaun's mischievous, devil may care attitude balancing Georgia's more dry, goal oriented personality. Or does she balance him?? I truly believe they need each other to function properly. Shaun adds much needed comic relief to the story and often punches up a dry section of dialogue nicely.
I read a lot of reviews for this book before and during my read and noticed almost everyone makes a comment about an implied "relationship" between the two. While I did notice these implications, I didn't' find them as obvious or damning as others did. I felt the implications were fairly light rather than the "in-your-face" vibe I got from some of the reviews. I agree that it does appear there is something going on there, but I don't think everyone who reads this book will notice unless it is pointed out to them. There is never any confirmation of a romantic relationship between the two and readers going into the book expecting one will be greatly disappointed. The occurrences are so light and few that they could easily mean something completely different. The only reason I feel these claims are warranted is because of a statement made by Georgia at the end of the book. I won't get into this further in order to avoid spoilers.
The Twists My God the twists! There are quite a few with two really major ones that will completely throw you for a loop. I obviously can't go into them, however I will say they make this book one of the most shocking and fluid reads I've ever had. My warning to you all is under no circumstances should you read descriptions, summaries, reviews, or the backs of the other two books in the series. These WILL give away major plot points and HUGE spoilers for the first book.
The End A reviewer friend of mine here on Goodreads gave me the same warning that I just gave you all. Unfortunately I did not see it in time to save myself from my own curiosity. Curiosity really did kill the cat, or in this case, the ending for Feed for me. I was so mad at myself and now that I know how it all ends, I'm sad because I know this book would have been even better had I not seen it coming. Let me tell you, you do not want this epic ending spoiled for you so please stay away from the other books or anything about them until you finish this one!
Even with the spoiler, the end still hit me hard and I literally bawled. I had myself a good, soaking wet, snotty, hiccup inducing cry. Not just because of the shock of this plot twist, but because of the way the author handles it. The portrayal is perfect and heart-wrenching and felt so right in its context. Grant stays so true to her characters and I am just blown-away with the entire book.
The Final Verdict Feed truly lives up to the massive hype and deserves every nice thing that is said about it. I really couldn't find much fault anywhere. The writing is fluid and intelligent, the characters are well developed and maintained, and Grant's dedication to making this book absolutely brilliant shines through on every page. Personally, reading this book made me want to be a better writer, blogger, and media consumer.
Zombie skeptics and newbies will find this a nice transition book as it is more focused on the drama and the characters than the actual zombies and gore. Zombie veterans and developing fans will find it a fresh take on their favorite rotting fiends. Everyone will learn a thing or two about virology, politics, and just what it takes to bring us the news. I can not think of a better way to begin a series. (less)
John and David end up working as reluctant paranormal investigators after a crazy, homicidal trip to Las Vegas. Apparently these freaky fiends never got the memo on shit staying in Vegas.
What can I say to you about JDATE? Yes, my brother and I found out that the abbreviation for the title spells out the name of the illustrious Jewish dating site. Coincidence? I think not. This book is one hilariously zany, hellish ride from cover to cover. I spouted off lines constantly to friends and family, who had no idea what I was talking about, before I realized, you really just had to be there. This was the most I've laughed at a book in probably EVER.
John Dies at the End seamlessly combines horror and humor with just the right amount of mind-fuckery to keep masochistic readers like myself interested. The monsters are often remembered by their biggest lines and catch phrases, i..e. the monster made of meat, "So, we MEAT again!" Yes, a bit cheesy, but the timing and follow up were flawless making this a crack up instead of a fail.
The character were my favorite part of this book. David is the reliable narrator, the kind of guy you can trust and relate to. You want good things to happen for Dave. Now...John is, well, a bit off his rocker, but you love him for it. With absolutely some of the best lines in the book John very seldom makes sense, but I think if he did, we would all be doomed anyway. The character that surprised me the most was Amy. She really isn't an important character until near the end, and her development completely surprises you. I loved this about her and felt the way the author takes her from one end of the spectrum to the other perfectly reflects the way people's preconceptions can completely distort the image of who that person really is. Well done.
So why you may ask, did I give it a 4 out of 5 if I loved it so much? Here's the thing. Regardless of the wonderfully screwball humor and creepy horror elements, Wong, who is actually the main character of the book, jumps his reader around so much that it seems there is no plot at all until the end of the book when it all comes together. After the trip to Vegas, my pace of reading slowed down quite a bit as David and the crew settle back into their normal lives, only to be shoved back out of it a chapter or so later. That wouldn't be so bad if the chapters weren't so long at this point in the book. Little details that absolutely made the book 50 pages ago, just slow the entire thing down and make a great read a bit tedious.
However, once it picks back up, the book doesn't let go until the last chapter, which plays a bit like the end of the last LOTR movie Return of the King. You keep thinking "Wow that was great!" and stand up when the screen blacks out only to sit back down again when a new scene opens up to let you know more about where the characters are going from here. A bit frustrating, but worthwhile to say you experienced the whole book.
So, does John Die at the End? I guess you'll have to read and find out!
Recommendation: I would suggest reading this book if you are into campy, bizarre humor. If you are a horror fan, please give this a try while attempting to not take yourself too seriously because trust me, this book doesn't. You will get your fair share of gore and gross out moments, usually accompanied by a one-liner. (less)
Fifty Shades of Grey huh? Well James has certainly delved into the ethical grey area that's for sure. I know this trilogy has amassed a legion of fans in a fairly short amount of time, however I feel the majority of those fans don't realize their romance/smut fix is actually a re-vamped Twilight fanfic. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term, a fanfic is a story written by a fan of a particular movie, television show, video game, book/series of books, etc. These stories are supposed to be written entirely for fun and the enjoyment of fellow fans of said fan base and usually come with a disclaimer that the characters, settings, etc. belong to the original author or creator and that the fan writer is in no way making any profit off of their fanfiction. Popular fanfiction archiving sites like FanFiction.Net require these disclaimers and even have a list of authors/creators who have specifically asked that their works not be reproduced and archived on fanfiction websites. Obviously, people are going to do what they want and write what they want about whatever they want. I myself have enjoyed reading fanfiction for favorite anime and book series. There is nothing wrong with exploring the depths of a world you love, as long as you realize it is not your world in any way shape or form. You do not own the world, the characters, or any of the plot lines therein.
This is where my issue with Fifty Shades of Grey comes in. Originally published as the Twilight fanfic online Master of the Universe, this story was James' attempt at taking Bella, Edward, and their fellow cast of characters, and setting them up in a real-world situation. Trading claws and fangs for whips and chains if you will. This is what we call an AU or Alternate Universe fic in the world of fanfiction. Yes, the characters find themselves in different situations than the original Twilight story, however not by much. There were several instances during the reading of Fifty Shades that I snorted with derision and shook my head because the parallels were so blatantly obvious. If this were being portrayed for what it is, a fanfiction of another author's work, I probably would have enjoyed it. However the case is, James is selling this as her own work. After her fanfic became popular, James decided to change everyone's names, slap a new title on it, and sell it as her OWN work. Some other reviewers who are aware of its regurgitation status are claiming that James has taken out all the Twilight references and made this book undoubtedly her own. This is absolute delusion as the characters, locales, and many of the plot and back story details mirror the original Twilight story almost exactly with only a minor tweak here and there.
The main character Anastasia is clumsy, plain, and works at a ... hardware store... Dear god, i wonder who that could be? It also doesn't help how wimpy and pathetic she is. She is constantly telling Christen no and standing up for herself, only to cave not five minutes later. There is a constant theme here of, "Oh gosh! I can't believe he likes me! How can someone soooooo gorgeous want me?" It gets extremely irritating as I like a strong, heroine who can stand on her own two feet without swooning every time her man comes through a door. There is nothing wrong with drooling over a sexy man, but when you start acting like a brainless husk, well, you've lost my respect. Ana is not the only character who has retained her Twilight character trait roots. She can tell her friend Jose wants more, but she just doesn't see him that way even though he is super muscular and sexy. Mexican Jacob, nice save.
Oh and our copper haired hero is none other than... Christen? He was adopted by a loving family and even at his young age, he is rich and successful and acts like a much older man. He warns Ana to stay away because he is dangerous, but doesn't do a very good job of actually keeping his distance. Stalker much? Oh and he is just OMG gorgeous of course! Literally he is just... the epitome of a beautiful man. No seriously, he's fucking hot, ok? If you're not convinced, James will keep reminding you that he is the hottest man ever without really explaining why. I was surprised he didn't sparkle at some point.
This book read more like a draft than a final product. I quickly got sick of hearing Ana's internal dialogue. Apparently she is not intelligent enough to come up with something better than "Holy Crap" "Holy Shit" "Holy Cow" or "Holy Fuck" She says these phrases constantly throughout the entire span of the book. It was so bad, it felt like she used at least one of these every couple of paragraphs. Also the number of reflections beginning with "I can't believe..." is just over the top. This baffles me because James spends so much time telling her reader how literary Ana is. Ana loves classic novels, especially Jane Austen, and is a graduate with a degree in literature. So why does she come across as a vapid teenager with a very limited vocabulary? Oh yes, that's because she started out as Bella, had her name changed, and underwent little to no character change.
Repetitive, unimaginative writing makes Fifty Shades of Grey a complete slog until we begin to hit the sex scenes. I admit, the concept of the Dom/Sub contract leading into their relationship was intriguing and is what ultimately kept me reading. However, as you get further into the book, you realize the promised BDSM element is a sham. Christen is constantly indulging in what he calls "vanilla sex" even though he insists it is just not for him. James is trying to get across to her readers that Ana is just so gosh darn special that even control freak Christen Grey can't help himself when he's around her. However, she continues to portray Christen as dark, unmoving, and unreachable. And the control freak thing? James continues to remind her readers how much of a control freak he is by having Ana reiterate it over and over and over again in her internal dialogue, emails, and conversations. We get it! He's a Dom! We are not children who need repetition to grasp a simple concept. As the novel goes on, the sex becomes less and less sexy until near the end, it became blase and anatomical at which point I was dying to finish the damn thing so I could get back to quality romance novels.
Overall, it felt like I was reading a fanfiction, probably because I was, but you would think the author and the subsequent publisher who picked it up, would have done some better cover up here. There is just no excuse for the poor quality of writing, shoddy narrative, and uncanny resemblances to another author's work. And what the hell is with charging $29.99 for a paperback copy? How can the publishing company justify that when it is so poorly written? At least do a good edit and take out every Twilight reference. The sad thing is, I probably could have liked this had she been original. The fact that this series has gained so much success riding on the coattails of Stephanie Meyer's empire makes me ill. Seeing a cover on my favorite book website has never made me so furious before.
Angry fangirls, I'm sorry I couldn't like this book. You have every right to like any book you want. On that note, I also have the right to not like any book that doesn't do it for me. If you enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey, I'm happy for you and respect your opinion. Unfortunately I couldn't get past the completely unethical use of another author's material and the inexcusable poor quality for the sake of a cheap thrill. You want to take a shot at me? That's fine, but my opinion on plagiarism and sub par writing is not going to change.
Flat and underdeveloped narrative Choppy sentences Poorly edited Immature style Not Harlequin huh? Well these people sure gasp more than a flustered regency debutante who has found herself in a shamefully compromising position. And what the hell is wrong with Harlequin anyway? Snobs... (less)
I'm terribly conflicted in my feelings for this book. You see, I was so excited to begin reading. I received this book in a Secret Santa exchange and immediately fell in love with its gorgeous appearance.The hardback version of Miss Peregrine's is stunningly beautiful with its superb dust jacket artwork, inclusion of vintage photographs and letters in each chapter, and smooth, luxurious pages. The publisher succeeded in making the packaging alone worthy of today's high prices. However in the growing cover lust market it seems more focus is being put on making an outwardly beautiful book with less emphasis on the quality of its content. The old adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover," could not be truer here and ultimately leads to an experience that is downright disappointing.
Theintriguing premise along with the deliciously macabre vintage photos makes for perpetually limitless peculiar plot possibilities. Yes, I'm a fan of alliteration. With this seemingly bottomless well of literary wealth, how the hell did Riggs completely miss the mark? Let me explain.
I'm the sort of reader who loves a deeply visceral and emotionally engaging read. The superficial appearance of Miss Peregrine's along with all the sparkling reviews led me to believe my experience would be like this:
When in actuality, It ended up being more like this...
Scary monsters huh? Cool...
So what happened? The storytelling is at first pleasantly creepy and the inclusion of the strange and disturbing photos made it that much better. I anticipated being drawn in deeper and waited patiently for the core plot to be revealed. To my surprise, and dismay, the actual action/conflict doesn't begin until the last 100 pages! This subsequently led to the author shoving me down a hill and leaving me with brief glimpses of depth as I tumbled toward the end. The first half of the book sets you up and slowly reels you in with cleverly deceptive photographs that never quite pay off and are often awkwardly placed. This ends up slowing the story down considerably rather than enhancing it. The farther I got into the story, the more I cringed each time Riggs planted another photo op. If that wasn't frustrating enough, certain plot twists happen way too late in the story cutting off any actual character development.
Speaking of characters, I enjoyed Jacob's snarky wit and general dry attitude up until he turns into one of the freaking Hardy Boys (with much less sleuthing ability) halfway though. Jacob takes the express route from charmingly cynical to dauntingly featherbrained. I won't go into depth on the shallow secondary characters and their even shallower relationships with Jacob, but yeah... Very unconvincing to say the least.
The sporadic and often random spurts of gore miss unsettling and go straight to just plain awkward. I don't mind gruesome details, but if you are going to do graphic then be consistent! The majority of the book is spent picnicking, making out with an eighty year old teen, and arguing the pros and cons of terrorizing a sweet little village in a time loop. So when out of the blue disemboweled sheep (and people) appear, the general impression comes off as an afterthought.
Finally, I have to say...WHERE THE F*** ARE ALL THE CHILDREN? We are tantalized with creepy photographs of the peculiar children from beginning to end and are introduced to barely any of them! This wouldn't have been such a big deal if I had just gotten even a whiff of the disturbing clown faced twins! There are two separate instances where Jacob finds a picture of them and they are just so damn creepy you would think Riggs wouldn't pass up the chance to use them to his advantage. But no! Not even an honorable mention is made throughout the entire book. Some of the more off-the-wall peculiars are a real treat and helped keep me interested, but this fact alone was not enough to save Miss Peregrine's for me.
The Final Verdict: A promising premise is poorly executed. If only an actual writer had written this... (less)
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live your favorite video game? Have you ever longed to explore worlds you have dedicated endless hours of button mashing, leveling up, and questing to? Maybe your not a gamer but you would still love to adventure through Middle Earth with noble rangers, stout and sturdy dwarves, and powerful wizards? Or soar through a galaxy far, far away in your X-Wing? If you have ever had a dream like this, if you have ever been called a nerd, if you have ever screamed over a cliffhanger, waited in line at a midnight release, or debated over whether Han actually shot first... Well, then this book is for you.
This book is a bit light on the dystopia. Sure the world is in trouble, but the focus of the story is life inside the OASIS. A virtual reality based MMO where as long as you've got the dough, you can literally be whoever/whatever you want to be and go wherever you want to go. Are you a Twi'lek goddess trapped inside of a 300 lb man's body? No problem! In the OASIS you can embrace your groovy, tentacle headed, bikini clad side.
This is usually the part of the review where I go into the quality of the plot and characters, but honestly it's not necessary. I loved all the characters involved, and believed in the author's portrayal of the rag-tag group of gamers that make up the High-Five. I also had a ton of fun trying to figure out the riddles and following Wade through all the gates in his search for Halliday's Easter Egg. All I can say is, I hope Cline keeps writing books, because I will keep reading them. If you know me, you know I am pretty picky on what books I buy in hardcover. Books are so expensive these days and I am hesitant to pay $20 for a book that I may not like. I can honestly say that it was completely worth it in this case. Ready Player One sits proudly on my shelf shinning like the epic lightsabre of a book it is.
Can you tell I love Star Wars? Don't worry, this book isn't as Star Wars oriented as this review.
Allison Sekemoto has spent her life surviving day to day in the Fringe of New Covington, a sprawling vampire city. When she is ravaged by rabids, Kagawa's version of zombies, she is given a choice between death and becoming what she hates most.
This first book in the Blood of Eden series was a likeable read that fell a bit short of my expectations. The idea of mixing dsytopia with vampires caught my interest right away, but while The Immortal Rules is set in the future, it's dystopian aspects mirror another popular series a bit too closely. The beginning of this book is very similar to The Morgainville Vampires series by Rachel Caine. Vampires have contracted with humans to provide them with protection, food, and work in their cities in exchange for keeping the vamps supplied with blood. The exact same statement can be made for Caine's YA vampire series, except the vampires' power extends to the boundaries of the city of Morganville. There is also another key element to Kagawa's vampire lore that is also exactly the same in Caine's series, but it is a spoiler for both so I won't discuss it here. The likenesses between The Immortal Rules and The Morganville Vampires series will be painfully obvious to fans of the latter. This could have ruined the book for me, but thankfully the core structure of the dystopian element isn't the focus of the novel. The story Kagawa tells once Allison leaves the city is one worth reading.
Once Allison gets past New Covington, the story becomes more unique and enjoyable. She spends some time surviving in the outside world alone for a time, but it isn't long before Allison meets up with a wayward group looking for the legendary Eden, a sanctuary for humans devoid of vampires and the threats they bring. This was by far my favorite part of the book. Allison is constantly covering up her vampire nature as she tries to maintain her tenuous alliance with the people and their formidable "man of God" leader. I definitely bonded with these characters and experienced some heart-wrenching moments throughout their journey.
Allison is a breath of fresh air in the YA heroine category. She isn't your average sweet, but misunderstood, pretty princess. Allison begins her journey by becoming what she most hates and proceeds on a progressive and satisfying character arc. This girl is tough and often times stoic in her need to disguise her nature. The best part about her is there is not once an instance of whiny, pathetic damsel in distress syndrome! She is hardly perfect, but she soldiers on and doesn't rely on others to save the day. I'm looking forward to future books staring this badass, lone wolf heroine.
My only complaint about Allison? There is a scene at the beginning of the book that was so cliche I cringed. Allison's vampire sire asks her to pick a weapon from an abandoned museum and what does she pick without fail? Of course! the Asian girl picks a katana as her weapon of choice even though she has no identification with or knowledge of her Japanese heritage. Given, a katana is a generally perfect weapon of choice for any situation, I thought this was just way too obvious and was left shaking my head.
Finally, the book's version of zombies suffer from an unfortunate title. Rabids and rabidism remind me too much of Raving Rabbids.
I couldn't help but imagine a bunch of these crazy cute little guys every time the "rabids" appeared in the book, regardless of their vicious and frightening natures. This is obviously hardly the author's fault, it was just something that messed with my overall enjoyment.
The Final Verdict
The Immortal Rules is a decent start to a new and exciting dystopian series. While the painful similarities to The Morgainville Vampires series are unfortunate and a bit off-putting, the characters, running plot, and lethal heroine will keep readers coming back for more. This could be the start of something beautiful if Kagawa keeps up the excellent character writing and puts a more unique spin on her dystopian world.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for stating any of the above views. All opinions are my own. (less)