I didn’t like If I Stay very much as it wasn’t my kind of story. However, after seeing the movie, I was mildly curious about what happened next. Also,...moreI didn’t like If I Stay very much as it wasn’t my kind of story. However, after seeing the movie, I was mildly curious about what happened next. Also, all of my friends and other readers kept saying how much better Where She Went was, so I decided to read it. I should really go with my gut sometimes. I didn’t love Where She Went, though it was fairly interesting and it was nice to get Adam’s point of view. These books just aren’t my thing. I hated the characters in If I Stay, but the movie made me like them a lot more, so I figured it would be nice to get some closure. I saw from the synopsis that Adam and Mia broke up, so I guess I just wanted to know why.
There’s a lot of types of characters and storylines that just aren’t for me. Some of them include obvious tearjerkers, near death types of things, and whiny guy protagonists. So… why am I reading these? Adam is the kind of male character I can’t stand. A lot of girls just eat up a good musician pining after an ordinary girl and gobble up the verses he sings for her and writes for her. And if you’re that kind of girl.. this is TOTALLY for you. But, ugh. It was all so cliché.
I wanted… I wanted closure. I wanted to know why Mia and Adam broke up in the first place. I expected this sort of bomb to drop and them to break up in all of the flashbacks, but it was more like a gradual separation. And all of it was just so anticlimactic and then, next thing I know, they are suddenly on an adventure, meeting for the first time since their break up and deciding to begin anew. I get that pain and loss affect people and the fact that they broke up made sense, but I didn’t think there was enough of a bang with the break up or enough glue to put them back together if they just gradually grew apart.
If I didn’t like Mia in If I Stay, Where She Went didn’t help at all. I couldn’t grasp her character at all. She was a phantom. Adam was mopey about everything and Mia was on this other planet. Basically, everyone should just disregard my review because it’s my fault I keep reading about these people. I should have never picked up the first book. I should have never picked up this book. It’s not my thing. I don’t think it’s sappy or romantic or sweet. It’s a journey consisting of nothing but a handful of moments and flashbacks.
I feel like this kind of contemporary YA book is like candy to some people. Death, sappiness, heartfelt lyrics, whiny boy, ordinary girl… and there’s your sob story. Cue the excitement. It’s like what billionaire love stories are to adult romance. Nothing but addictive genre candy. There’s just nothing about books like these that set them apart. They are a dime a dozen. I really thought If I Stay would transcend the genre and after hearing the praise for Where She Went, I was sure the author would pull through in this one, but no. I’m sorry to my friends who love this kind of thing. I just can’t. I am SO happy I didn’t buy the book and I found it at the library. I would be a lot harsher about it if I paid 10 dollars. (less)
So.. sometimes I pick up random books based on the cover and the title. The synopsis was vague, so I thought it would be promising. As soon as I began...moreSo.. sometimes I pick up random books based on the cover and the title. The synopsis was vague, so I thought it would be promising. As soon as I began, I realized it was a book about zombies. Duh. The forest of HANDS and TEETH. I actually said “I’m an idiot!” out loud. It’s not that I don’t love zombies. I love a good zombie horror, but the synopsis and writing style was much too… slow for what I prefer in a zombie book. Also, I guess I expected a ton of mystery about this forest and the fact that it was a zombie book kind of ruined that surprise.
I’d love to praise the book because it was cool how it was slow and more character based. It was a lot like The Village if it was surrounded by zombies. The Sisterhood kept the villagers in the dark about mostly everything in order to keep them safe. Unfortunately, The Forest of Hands and Teeth was boring to read. Mary was curious. Of course. Of course the main character would be curious and not fit the mold. No surprise there. And she was in love with a guy who was with her best friend and the guy in love with her was a guy she wasn’t interested in. And none of of these people were getting married for love, because that wasn’t a thing. It was more out of duty to reproduce.
Mary’s mother told her stories about the ocean and it inspired her and made her an even more curious person. That’s all she could ever think about. What was the rest of the world like? Were oceans safe? Where was one? Did they exist? The main character had two thoughts. Ocean. Travis. Ocean. Travis. Ocean.
I probably wasn’t in the right mindset for the book, but I was so disappointed. I could have handled a slower book had the characters not been so aggravatingly lame. I didn’t like a single character and I didn’t feel invested in their story at all. It was like that one season of The Walking Dead where there was only like 5 zombies and a bunch of slow episodes with a bit of drama amongst the group. (And that made me stop watching the show and now I have an entire season left on my DVR..)
The cover is so pretty and I still love the title, so I guess it’ll just be that cool book on my shelf that I wish was as pretty inside as it is outside. (less)
Speechless was amazing. It was sort of mixture of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. When Chelsea took her vow of sile...moreSpeechless was amazing. It was sort of mixture of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. When Chelsea took her vow of silence, it opened her up to entirely new interactions. Losing everything she was familiar with gave her the insight into her life that she needed. And by staying silent, she learned to listen to others. Both Speak and Before I Fall were amazing teen issue novels and Speechless is right up there with them. It was hard hitting. I think a good contemporary teen issue novel should make you think, make you reflect on your teen years if you are an adult, and make you question yourself and the people around you. Speechless does exactly that for me and I definitely recommend reading it.
When I first started the book, I had no idea what to expect, but I’m glad I wasn’t given too much information. The synopsis only tells us that she shared a secret that endangered someone and made her unpopular. I could not figure out what kind of secret it would be, but once it happened, I understood perfectly. I’m glad that, unlike Melinda in Speak, Chelsea’s silence was healthier and much needed after being the kind of person who told everyone everything. Chelsea needed to stay quiet because she told too much all of the time, but she spoke up when it truly mattered, while Melinda’s silence wasn’t the same in Speak.
I loved watching Chelsea grow and change and the story had bigger themes than just keeping secrets and listening to others. It was about acceptance, too. I loved Sam and Asha and thought they were amazing supporting characters. I wish I could go on about the major theme, but I preferred not really knowing what it was about, so I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.
I highly recommend Speechless. I love the cover and I love that the synopsis doesn’t give too much of the story away. I cannot praise the book enough and I had a really hard time putting it down. (less)
I loved the author’s YA novel set in the 1920’s that dealt with the occult, The Diviners, but it seems to be taking forever for the next installment t...moreI loved the author’s YA novel set in the 1920’s that dealt with the occult, The Diviners, but it seems to be taking forever for the next installment to come out. When I saw A Great and Terrible Beauty at the used bookstore, I knew I had to have it. I love the author’s writing and the unique characters she creates in her novels.
A Great and Terrible Beauty was interesting. Gemma was placed in a boarding school after her mother’s death in India. Strange things were happening to her and she was trying to make sense of it all. The boarding school was full of answers, strangely enough.
The Victorian era is one that is completely suffocating for women and I almost always hate reading books set in that time period. However, I enjoyed this novel quite a bit. I loved how the small group of girls Gemma befriended were different in many ways and all hoped for more than life could give them. I don’t know that I could have read a book where the girls all wanted to be married off and obedient. I think the time period worked quite well for the book, as the girls longed to be more without constraints, which is what made the realms and the story of Mary Dowd even more appealing and enticing. The power and magic of the realms was intriguing to girls who were unable to be themselves in real life.
There were a lot of twists and turns, making the novel enjoyable, mysterious, and quite unpredictable. I will definitely continue the trilogy and I recommend the first book to any fans of the supernatural, YA, and historical fiction. (less)
The Immortal Crown began much better than Gameboard of the Gods. It did a good job summarizing the events of the first book instead of just throwing m...moreThe Immortal Crown began much better than Gameboard of the Gods. It did a good job summarizing the events of the first book instead of just throwing me into the story. This time, Mae and Justin ended up working well as a team, despite their remaining tension. Justin was able to convince Mae of the truth, which made her much more open minded. I liked the direction of The Immortal Crown and the fact that both of the main characters were accepting of the new direction instead of fighting the existence of the gods working in the world.
The story took place mostly in Arcadia, where Justin and Mae were sent with senator Lucian. Arcadia was a different and backwards place, which created difficult situations, especially for Mae, since she was a woman. I liked the conflict and difficulty the situation created. I felt like some of the things that didn’t add up so much in the first book made more sense and the plot in The Immortal Crown was much more linear and focused.
Still, The Immortal Crown was a bit boring to read. Lots of things were happening, but I was tired of Arcadia and the situation there. For a book with a bunch of gods vying for attention and followers, showing their powers through the elect, it wasn’t really full of real action. And when it was, I thought too many things ended up being convenient for the characters, especially towards the end. I was quite sure I was not invested in continuing the series for most of the book.
With that being said, I really enjoyed the ending. Finally, some things were uncovered and added twists and turns to the plot. I sense the future installments will have far more god interaction than the early books. I still have issues with the world building, but I think the series, like Mead’s other series, will get better with time. (less)
Heartbeat was fantastic. I enjoyed the unique premise, the mix of strong emotions going through Emma, and the way her relationship with Caleb blossome...moreHeartbeat was fantastic. I enjoyed the unique premise, the mix of strong emotions going through Emma, and the way her relationship with Caleb blossomed through grief. I do want to warn people that the novel is extremely depressing throughout most of it. It’s a novel about dealing with grief and loss, along with the nasty rage and frustration that comes with it. It doesn’t try to be funny or quirky about it and the writing reflects Emma’s emotions quite well. It can be a real downer to read if you’re easily swept up by the emotions of a narrator. It was very good and worth the read, but I'd hate to see negative reviews of it due to not being in the right mindset for the book.
I loved the way Emma narrated. While her situation was unlike anything I could even pretend to relate to, I felt like maybe I understood her. I was a teenager when my mom and stepdad were having a baby and I remember the rage I felt about being replaced or swept to the side and Emma felt that way about her stepfather. I understand the way that anger, jealousy, misunderstanding, and stubbornness affects teenagers because I was one and I thought the author did a wonderful job with conveying Emma’s emotions.
I knew Emma’s view was probably warped by her own tunnel vision and perspective, but her view wasn’t farfetched. She wasn’t overreacting so much as forgetting about other perspectives, which I thought was pretty believable. I was captivated by her pain and rage. When she crossed paths with Caleb, they both shared understanding of loss and grief and anger and immediately connected. I loved watching them grow with each other and find solace with each other.
When you go through something that is hard for people to really understand, being understood becomes so important. Finding Caleb was exactly what Emma needed in order to finally put things in perspective. It’s like your brain just relaxes once you find someone who understands you and I think that’s what was so beautiful about the story. It was a kind of down and depressing narration, but it was hauntingly honest and beautiful.
“He looks at me like I am beautiful, and when he does, I am.”(less)
I have no idea how the series has gotten better and better with each book after 7 books, but it has. I w...moreWow. Magic Breaks was absolutely incredible!
I have no idea how the series has gotten better and better with each book after 7 books, but it has. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and thought the events were unpredictable. I loved that Magic Breaks began with a short summary of the previous events. While I just got finished reading 1 through 6, I know when I go to read book 8, I’ll appreciate any and all summaries to catch me up. The author didn’t do it through the first few chapters in that annoying way that some series do where the main character talks about the powers she has and the friends and relationships she’s made. When we read series, we know the major points, it’s the finer details we forget! Instead, the author gave us a quick summary through the eyes of Barabas recapping the last book quite simply. I applaud the author for the efficient way she chose to handle that and I hope the next book includes a good summary like that.
Magic Rises had quite the plot and adventure, so things were pretty crazy and shaky at the beginning of Magic Breaks. Roland would come for her (and Atlanta) eventually and I knew all signs were pointing to it happening in this installment. The first half the of the book, Curran was basically absent taking care of Pack business, while Kate was left to hold down the fort. Which meant we all knew something epic would happen and Kate would be left to deal with everything.
It seems the general consensus is the first half of the book wasn’t that great. However, I did enjoy the events and I think Kate grows as a person each time she’s left without Curran. She struggled with decisions and ended up making decent ones at every turn. While there were scenes that didn’t move the plot forward all that much, I think having the set group of people around Kate during a lot of her battles changed perspectives. We know Kate, but the rat alpha made some pretty good points when he said he felt left out of important decisions and felt alienated. I think having him along gave us some different views and showed us how, while we know Kate and can’t understand why people have a problem with her, perhaps they have legitimate concerns.
I enjoyed the scenes with Kate and Ghastek because, while Kate hated the Masters of the Dead, her and Ghastek always had a good relationship. Based on the events of Magic Breaks, I would not be surprised if Ghastek lends her his help (on a permanent basis). He seemed like he still had some moral fiber.
It was obvious to me in Magic Breaks that Kate and Curran were the real deal. It seems like some readers were so upset about the events in the last book, but I understood Curran and I felt like he did explain the situation well enough to be forgiven. And going through that situation strengthened their relationship, as Kate didn’t once walk around doubting their relationship. She only speculated about his safety instead of where his heart was.
The epic showdown I’ve been waiting for since the beginning was awesome. It was unlike anything I expected. I was extremely worried that Kate would meet Roland and defeat him on some technicality, which wouldn’t have been fair. We already know she’s not as powerful as him and I thought there was really no way for her to have defeated him. Her fights with Erra and Hugh had plenty of close calls, even when Hugh was holding back his magic, so any close fight with Roland would be unbelievable. Obviously, I want Kate to win, but I was worried the author backed herself into a corner she wouldn’t get out of without some sort of hidden magical ability suddenly appearing. Instead, the showdown went in a completely different direction and now I’m more intrigued than ever. The last half of the book was AMAZING.
And the ending? Wow.
I love this series. I never expected it to become a fast favorite, especially when I thought the first book was simply intriguing. It has gotten so much better with each book. I love so many aspects of the story and it’s damn good storytelling. I can’t get enough and I cannot wait for the next book. It’s a definite must read series. Seven books sounds daunting, but they are worth the read!