Cover Impressions: I love the black silhouettes against the purple background and the wh...more This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes
Cover Impressions: I love the black silhouettes against the purple background and the white elements stand out beautifully. I hope they keep the same general feel with other books in the series, perhaps changing the color each time...
Review: During my childhood I was surrounded by the stories of my culture - of ghosts that walked the shores, fairies that would steal babies from their cribs and the Old Hag who was the cause of debilitating nightmares. In college, while studying folklore, I discovered research that had linked the experiences of The Old Hag (believing to be awake, a feeling of pressure on the chest, inability to move) to traditions from many different cultures. I have always found this particular phenomenon to be fascinating. Needless to say, upon discovering that The Nightmare Affair featured a take on this belief, I was intrigued.
Dusty Everhart is a Nightmare. She is compelled by the mysterious Will that governs all supernatural creatures, to break into people's homes and invade their dreams. This involves the awkward practice of balancing on their chest and has led to some embarassing situations. When she explores the dreams of the oh-so-hot Eli Booker, she uncovers clues to a murder she didn't know had happened yet and the pair are sent on the search for a killer.
Arnett has created a very interesting world that could be expanded in any number of ways as she continues on in this series. She seems to concentrate more on the lesser known supernatural characters (Nightmares and Sirens being chief among them) rather than the been there, done that Witches, Warlocks and Vampires (though those creatures certainly exist). That being said, I would have preferred a little more development particularly in the explanation of The Will. I feel like I never really understood the rules or how certain characters had found ways around them.
There were some interesting characters in The Nightmare Affair that could have used some fleshing out. Most of them came across as a little two dimensional. My favorite character was Selene, Dusty's best friend, who has the potential for greatness, but needs a little boost in the humor department if she is to cement the sidekick role. Both love interests were fairly bland and I didn't feel a whole lot of chemistry between any of them. There were a number of adult characters that didn't seem to serve much of a purpose and I feel like they could have been cut so that we could spend more time getting to know the more important people.
The plot was fun and well paced. While certain events/villains were fairly predictable, I did not figure out the whole story until it was revealed and resolved. I enjoyed how the ending set up this series for further mischief and mayhem to come in future novels.
The Nightmare Affair is a solid start to a new series and I look forward to more obscure folklore and, hopefully, further character development.
Age: 13 and up Gender: Both Sex: Kissing, PG-13 makeout sessions Violence: Murder, Removal of a hand/fingers, Swordplay, Inappropriate Language: Bitch, Jackass, Pissed Substance Use/Abuse: None (less)
Cover Impressions: I really do like this cover. It is simple, clean and effective.
The Gist: In this sequel to Hourglass we switch to Kaleb's point of view and learn more about his emphatic powers. Jack Landers is still on the lose and time rips are becoming more frequent, and real, than ever. Against this backdrop, The Hourglass is issued an ultimatum, find and deliver Jack, or face an alternate timeline that could destroy its members.
Review: This book was not easy to get into. I read Hourglass quite a long time ago and, despite re-reading my review and checking this site I still found it very difficult to remember exactly what had happened and what we had previously learned about Rips and Time Traveling. I was pretty confused for at least the first 50 pages or so.
I was also unimpressed with the we-hate-each-other-so-much-you-just-know-we-are-going-to-end-up-together romance that I have seen over and over again. And, of course, Kaleb becomes a one woman gal practically over night. Because, as we all know, bad boys are only bad boys until the right girl comes along!
I did eventually come to like Kaleb and I got sucked into the story once it got going. The ending was a little unsatisfying but, that is par for the course for middle book in a trilogy (this is a trilogy right? Someone correct me if I am wrong). I do feel kinda like. in the end, nothing was accomplished in this book that couldn't have been achieved in a short story or novella.
I am beginning to think that time travel books are just not for me. It seems like cheating to be able to benefit from the shock value of killing off characters only to cheapen it by changing time/bringing them back to life. There also tend to be long-winded explanations of how time travel works and complicated materials and/or circumstances required. Timpiece had both of these.
Overall, I was underwhelmed by Timepiece. There wasn't really anything wrong with the writing. The characters were enjoyable enough. The plot moved at a decent pace. I guess there just wasn't anything that stood out as GREAT and this (coupled with my Time Traveling issues) left me lukewarm at best
Age: 13 and up Gender: Female Sex: Mentioned but not described Violence: knifeplay, gunplay Inappropriate Language: None Substance Abuse: Underage drinking (less)
Cover Impressions: This cover is better than the predecessor but I am still not a fan. C...more This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes
Cover Impressions: This cover is better than the predecessor but I am still not a fan. Come on publishers! The authors write fantastic books and you put crappy covers on them (or crappy books and beautiful covers - GET IT TOGETHER!). The cover model seems a little to grown up and the back-on-to-the-camera-looking-over-my-shoulder pose has been done and done. At least she doesn't have a tattoo.
The Gist: Shift picks up a few months after the events of Shade. Aura has helped Logan make the impossible transition from Shade back to Ghost and must deal with the fallout as her attention seeking ex-boyfriend demands to steal the spotlight once more. Aura's attention, on the other hand, is back on the oh-so-endearing and not-so-eternally-patient Zachery. With help from both, Aura begins to unravel the mysteries surrounding her birth and the special abilities that she and Zack possess.
Review: Jeri Smith-Ready continues to surprise me. A good half of this book is spent on angst-ridden teenage relationships, a considerable part of the plot involves a complicated love triangle and finding answers to the BIG QUESTION seems secondary to the day to day issues brought on by teenage hormones. I SHOULD hate this book, but I don't. I FREAKING LOVED EVERY MINUTE! I think perhaps it is the author's ability to create characters and situations that are so desperately real that my gut wrenches with sympathy, longing, anger or betrayal. I wanted to hug the characters, or shake them, or slap them (whichever was appropriate for the situation).
In the second half of the novel, the action picks up considerably and we start to get some answers to why the Shift may have happened and what makes Zachery and Aura particularly special. After reading this book I am ridiculously happy that the final book is being released in a few days and I won't have to wait long for the rest of my answers (and to see Aura and Zachery finally have sex - seriously, I have never in my life rooted more for two teenage characters to get it on - Jeri, what have you done to me??!!)*
As I mentioned in my review of Shade, this is really a book for the older end of the YA spectrum. I am sure lots of readers can handle the mature elements (and I am sure that I read way more risque stuff when I was a kid) but, as a teacher bent on avoiding parental anger and keeping her job, I wouldn't give it to any student under the age of 16.
Favorite Quote: "Her energy drink took effect right away, and I wondered if it had disappeared from the mainstream market because it had been made from the pituitary glands of deposed dictators and executed serial killers."
Age: 16 and up Gender: Female Sex: Discussed but not described, some naked shenanigans. Violence: Gunplay Inappropriate Language: Bitch, Fuck Substance Abuse: Underage Drinking
Cover Impressions: To be honest, the cover did not entice me at all. The semi-headless girl in the spangly top smacks of paranormal romance (a genre I...more
Cover Impressions: To be honest, the cover did not entice me at all. The semi-headless girl in the spangly top smacks of paranormal romance (a genre I usually avoid) and makes it look generic. The color combination feels off, though I can't quite put my finger on why...
The Gist: Aura and most of her friends were born after the Shift that allowed the dead to interact with the living. She has spent her entire life trying to avoid and ignore them. That is, until her boyfriend joins their ranks. Now she walks a tightrope trying to keep him from turning into a dark and twisted shade while fighting her growing feelings for the very cute, and very alive, Zachery.
Review: I fought off this book for a long time. I would read a review or see it pop up on a friend's shelf on Goodreads, check out the blurb/cover and promptly shut it down again. Over and over. I don't do paranormal romance very well. I do big plots with lots of action and adventure and this - isn't that. Finally, I could fight it no longer. I had to see what the fuss was about. Let this be a lesson to you (and me) when a book keeps popping up, read it. Don't dismiss it because of the genre, or the supposed love triangle or your expectations of Just Another Ghost Story. Because this book isn't.
Aura (Just a note - I do hate the name) presents such a realistic portrayal of a teenager that I cannot help but love her. She has temptations, she has urges, she doesn't always do the right thing and she lives with the consequences. I had expected a lot of guilt and whining after Logan's death, but there wasn't. She didn't exactly move on, but she didn't present the reader with diatribes about how this was all her fault and she was a horrible person. Speaking of Logan's death: that was some powerful shit. Even though I knew it was coming, even though I knew I couldn't stop it, it hurt to watch. He was just a sweet kid who thought he was invincible and I wanted to yell at him, tell him what was coming and to not do anything stupid (P.S I yell at tv and movies all the time). It was like watching a horror movie where an innocent girl calmly gets ready for a bath while the audience cringes because we know there is a serial killer hiding in the shower. It was that level of sick-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach suspense for me. That was the point where Smith-Ready had me hooked.
This is not an action filled plot, but it kept me reading just the same. The scenes with Zachery are sweet and exciting and Oh So tempting. They brought me back to those heart thumping first kisses as a teen and the thrill of young love (or at least lust). There are hints of a bigger plot at play, and I do wish this had been explored a little further and that a few more details had come to light. It is very clear that this is part of a series (trilogy?) and we are forced to wait for our answers. Instead of action and adventure we get moments of Oh Noes! and pain that is piercing and palpable. I can't wait to move on to the next one!
As noted below, there are elements within this book that may raise the age level. In the past, I have seen a few of my grade 8 (14-15 year old) students reading it. They really enjoyed it, and they are smart kids, not likely to follow in Logan's footsteps, but I would not personally place it into the hands of anyone under the age of 16.
Age: 16 and up Gender: Females Sex: Spoken about, not described. Masturbation. Violence: None Inappropriate Language: Retarded, Ho Bag, Fucker Substance Abuse: Underage Drinking, Use of Cocaine(less)
Cover Impressions: The cover is cute but nothing special. It falls into the cliche of pretty g...more This review can also be found on Reading Between Classes
Cover Impressions: The cover is cute but nothing special. It falls into the cliche of pretty girl in a pretty dress. If you read my reviews, you know that I prefer the cover to accurately reflect the character and this model is NOT the size 10 that Jessica claims to be. In the book we watch Jessica grow to accept her curves and curly hair as signs of beauty, strength and having "a presence in the world" yet, the cover features the typical slim young girl - such a shame.
The Gist: Jessica's has always known she was adopted from Romania but when the dark and mysterious Lucius waltzes into town claiming not only to be her betrothed but also, a vampire, she is forced to examine just how strange her heritage might be. As Jessica grows to accept the dark past of her parents and the strange new urges of her body, she realizes that if she does not become the princess her family needs, she may lose the future that she never knew she wanted.
Review: I found this book on the Bargain Shelf at my local book store and thought that it might be a good fit for some of the girly girls in my classes. Because I picked up this book knowing that it was not to my taste, I was fairly forgiving while reading it. Jessica's Guide falls into the category of "fluff", it was a quick, fairly entertaining read that did not require much brainpower. It is not a particularly unique story (we have all read these "oh surprise I'm actually a princess" stories before and it makes use of several cliches in its 300+ pages.
Jessica is presented as an overweight Math nerd with self-esteem issues. Naturally, with encouragement from Lucius, she transforms into the confident and poised Princess that she was meant to be (actually she puts on a pretty dress and stops straightening her hair). I was NOT happy that, as she began her "transformation" her math skills suffered. What the heck Fantaskey? Can't she be pretty AND smart? Of course, her competition was slim, blonde and (say it with me now) A CHEERLEADER! And she was named, wait for it ....... Faith Crosse. Seriously? In a book about Vampires you combine the words Faith AND Cross?
There was some attempt at a love triangle (though poor Jake didn't really stand a chance) that pitted the sweet, honest farm boy against the dark and dangerous vampire. Just once, I would like to see a heroine actually choose the nice guy, come on girls, the nice guy will bring you soup and tissues when you are sick. The bad boy will take one look at your puffy eyes and snotty nose and run in the opposite direction. The nice guy will not understand when you sob uncontrollably, clutching The Fault In Our Stars to your chest unwilling to read another page for fear of more heartbreak, but he will hold your hand and try to make you feel better by cracking lame jokes. The bad boy will not even be there to see your pain because he doesn't think a chick who reads is sexy. The nice guy will be there when your best friend moves away, when your Dad gets sick or your childhood puppy passes away. The bad boy will be off finding some other pretty young thing who he can seduce with his recipe of aloofness, brooding and danger.
Of course, Lucius is the typical literary bad boy who can be rescued from the brink of self destruction by his "true love", a woman who is not willing to give up on him, no matter what heinous acts he commits. Again, ladies, put this particular brand of bad boy in the same category as unicorns, dragons and hairdressers that think 1inch = 1inch - they don't exist! The writing itself was mediocre, but the sections featuring Lucius' letters were cringe-worthy. His use of local colloquialisms were laughable and the constant reminders that his uncle hits him left me annoyed rather than appalled. The plot was quick, if predictable, and I know this will appeal to those students who enjoy the the Pretty Little Liars series. This is one of those YA novels that doesn't quite translate to an adult audience but would probably be a very enjoyable (and perhaps forgettable) read for many teenagers.
Age: 13 and up Gender: Girls Sex: Mentioned by several characters but not actually written about Violence: Blood drinking, a beating, a staking, reference to child abuse Inappropriate Language: None Substance Abuse: None(less)
Slow, Boring. Too much talk about logistics (who was taking care if the kids, who was minding the shop, where the cats were). Skimmed the last 100 pag...moreSlow, Boring. Too much talk about logistics (who was taking care if the kids, who was minding the shop, where the cats were). Skimmed the last 100 pages and that still took too long.(less)