World After was amazing. It didn’t suffer from second book syndrome at all and was just as action packed as the first book. Despite the fact that she was returned to her family and the Resistance after Raffe thought she was dead, Penryn’s life was far from safe. Her mom was just as crazy as ever, her sister was some sort of weird monster, and Penryn practically came back from the dead. Penryn found herself on another quest to find her sister, but things were much different. Her sister wasn’t the innocent little girl she was in the first book and Penryn had to admit she was kind of scared and worried about her.
The only thing that drove me crazy during the novel was the lack of Raffe. I just wanted them back together because they made such a great team. But the anticipation was nice and I liked seeing Penryn come up with crazy solutions to her problem all on her own. She was resourceful and awesome. The sword seemed to align with her and it began to show her glimpses of Raffe’s perspective in the past, giving her a better idea of who he was and how he protected her. As much as I was screaming inside for Raffe to show up, I am glad that I got to see Penryn tackle some things on her own.
I am impressed by how amazing this series has been. It blew me out of the water and continues to surprise me. It’s dark, gritty, terrifying, but full of love, hope, and redemption at the same time. I absolutely love Penryn and Penryn with Raffe is even more amazing. I love her perspective and I hope that the two of them can somehow make things right with the world and still somehow end up together, even though it basically can’t happen. I have not been so excited for a book release in a really long time. As much as I wish I’d have read this series sooner, with the release of book 3 being just days away, I’m relieved I don’t have a long wait! ...more
I just... can't. I hate Kitty. From her stupid name to her idiocy. She's all "okay fine I'll trust you" and then she's all "nevermind I'm just gonna do mI just... can't. I hate Kitty. From her stupid name to her idiocy. She's all "okay fine I'll trust you" and then she's all "nevermind I'm just gonna do my own thing and ruin everything for everyone else in the process." just over and over and over. She ruined the series. She's a useless teenage girl who needs someone to just lock her in a room and keep her away from important things. Can this series just be redone from Knox's point of view? Ugh....more
OMG! Angelfall was awesome! I admit I’ve had this just sitting on my Kindle for months. I wanted to read it, but then I was afraid it would be some stupid angel paranormal romance and I think YA has enough of those. Angelfall was different and so much better than what I expected. It was a post apocalyptic story involving angels who destroyed the world. It was more urban fantasy and less paranormal romance, with a snarky and amazing heroine and a brooding wingless angel. The world was torn apart with people fighting to survive in the devastation brought upon them by angels for reasons mankind could only guess.
Penryn was amazing. She is definitely one of my favorite heroines now. She was strong, loyal, fierce, and determined. At the same time, she made some terrible decisions, had her weak moments, and was vulnerable. She was both a character you could root for and a character you could relate to. I loved her! I liked the way she handled the problem of the angel. She wasn’t immediately all swoony over him. Instead, she attempted to torture him for information and later form a shaky alliance with him. I liked that she tried to keep a good head on her shoulders, even when she might have preferred to have a distraction. Penryn’s character evened out the hopelessness of the world, too. So many post apocalyptic stories are bleak and set in the future far after the events that ended the world and I liked having such an entertaining character to prevent that attitude from coming about and I preferred that the apocalypse was so recent and no one really knew what happened.
I was so shocked at how great the book was. I have to admit, despite reading nearly all of the angel and human paranormal romance YA series, I think I might hate them. I’m not exactly awed by angels. I think that’s why I avoided reading this. It was so amazing to open the page and discover this torn apart world where angels are a factor in the apocalypse without the fire and brimstone and without society really understanding why. It was all just awesome and nothing like I expected. Penryn, like me, also really didn't like or trust angels, so I liked her point of view. I was eager to find out why the world ended up that way and intrigued that no one could explain why.
I highly recommend the series. I’m excited to start book two and I’ll be buying book three as soon as it’s available! You don't have to like post apocalyptic fiction to enjoy Angelfall. It appeals to fans of paranormal romance and urban fantasy as well. It's entertaining, action packed, and amazing. I recommend reading it if it sounds even remotely interesting because it's AWESOME!...more
Champion was a great conclusion to the Legend series. It was full of emotion, adventure, loss, choices, and action. June and Day grew as characters anChampion was a great conclusion to the Legend series. It was full of emotion, adventure, loss, choices, and action. June and Day grew as characters and had some heavy choices to make throughout the book.
In Champion, June and Day were separated, but their stories collided a few times and they ended up working together to fight the Colonies and discover a way for the Republic to move in a positive direction. Because the two of them came from different worlds, they viewed every situation differently and I liked the contrast. The ending was absolutely superb. I almost cried, which is typically a rare sight.
I highly recommend the Legend trilogy and I enjoyed Marie Lu’s writing and world building. If you’re a fan of the dystopian genre, these books are must reads. I don’t understand why the books aren’t more popular, actually. In many ways, these books were more complicated and moving than the more popular series, like The Hunger Games and Divergent.
However, there were aspects of the story I didn’t like. Had I read the trilogy back when dystopian YA fiction was sort of my go-to genre, I might not have any criticism. But I’m kind of over the whole teenage girl is somehow the key to saving an entire world that was evil and terrible for a number of years. I think that the Legend trilogy would have been better if it was not YA. If the author would have aged everything up and peppered in some more mature themes and spent more time on the government and the ins and outs of it, it would have been absolutely spectacular. But because it was YA, it really took away from the story and simplified the overall world. June and Day were far too young to have such crucial roles in society. How was June a soldier and later one of the most important people in the government? How was she working at such a young age? And if that was normal, how on earth could a society to employs children ever bounce back to the fair and just society that we would expect?Why was Day able to lead so well and be the voice of the people? What adult do you know would follow a teenager into anything? Had June and Day been 10 years older, the entire plot would have made far more sense to me and would have actually made the ending that much more compelling and touching. But these criticisms aren’t necessarily only geared towards Legend. Any YA dystopian seems to suffer the same problems.
Despite the things I disliked, there’s no argument that Legend excels in the YA dystopian category and is a must read for any fan of the genre. It is only as my reading tastes grow and change that I discover the genre isn’t necessarily the one for me any more. Very few of the books I used to loved have followed me as my tastes have changed. I definitely recommend reading this, though, and I can’t wait to dive into The Young Elites by Marie Lu!
The Talisman is exactly what I would expect a fantasy novel written by Stephen King to be like, which is a good thing. He modernized the fantasy genreThe Talisman is exactly what I would expect a fantasy novel written by Stephen King to be like, which is a good thing. He modernized the fantasy genre quite a bit, but in a different way than most authors do. Most people take the stuff of fantasy novels and place them in a modern world, like that of the urban fantasy genre. But King (and Straub) didn’t really do that. Instead, the fantasy world is somewhat of a parallel universe and Jack has the ability to shift back and forth into it. But like the fantasy novels of old, the main character was young, hopeful, and had a long journey ahead of him before he could relax. The stuff of nightmares plagued him, played on his psyche, and motivated him to keep moving. He encountered villains along the way, but he also encountered friends, even among the strange creatures of the Territories.
I loved the plot and I was engrossed in the story for the majority of the novel. I enjoyed watching Jack grow and also seeing how he coped with the obstacles put in his path. Perhaps my favorite part of the novel was meeting Wolf. I felt like I got a lot more information about the Territories from Wolf and how they related to the regular world. I liked his fierce loyalty. It seems as if many reviewers disliked Wolf’s character and simplemindedness, but that was one of the highlights of the story to me.
My only issue with the book is also not necessarily a bad thing, but I don’t understand why King’s novels are always so similar. I felt like there was a little bit of everything peppered into this story from his other novels that I’ve read, which was a shame considering I haven’t read very many. At the same time, those familiar characteristics or moments were great because I enjoy so many of the human aspects of his book, seeing how people grow, and discovering how their relationships with others is impacted.
I wouldn’t necessarily call The Talisman the best fantasy or the most magical story ever written, even by King or Straub. But it was highly captivating and awesome. I enjoyed reading it. The daunting length didn’t really get to me because I was so engrossed in the book. I recommend reading it, especially if you’re into fantasy types of plots and not so much horror, but have always wanted to check out King and Straub. They are some of the best horror writers of our time, but horror isn’t really a genre for everyone. The Talisman allows readers to get why King is a such a compelling author without stepping into an uncomfortable genre. Although, as a fan of horror novels, I still highly recommend picking some of his normal books up!
At first, Prodigy seemed like it was suffering from second book syndrome. June and Day were separated and wrapped up in what the other one was thinkinAt first, Prodigy seemed like it was suffering from second book syndrome. June and Day were separated and wrapped up in what the other one was thinking, adding a lot of relationship drama to an already dramatic plot. I liked that June and Day weren’t all googly-eyed throughout Legend, so I was kind of disappointed by the direction of the plot.
However, my feelings quickly changed. The relationship drama had a crucial point since they both came from different worlds and their motivations and past experiences had a lot to do with not only their future together, but their loyalties. Would June stay loyal to a Republic that turned it’s back on her? Would Day be blinded by his hatred for the Republic? Could either of them trust the Patriots? Was the new Elector just as bad as the last?
Legend was a bit predictable, which was my only criticism, but Prodigy quickly remedied that situation. It wasn’t very predictable at all. I honestly didn’t know who to trust, if anyone. I loved getting different sides to the story and finding out how the world was actually set up. The idea that the Republic could be an isolated military regime in an otherwise democratic world was crazy, but not that far fetched. I liked that we got to see the Colonies and compare them to the Republic.
I really enjoyed Prodigy. The conflicts were amazing and I like the way the story pulled me everywhere and tested me. I had no idea where it was going or who to trust. I highly recommend the series and I’m glad that the second book was better than the first and that it surprised me. I was so worried it wouldn’t be as good when I first started.
Legend was great! I was sucked into the story immediately and I flew through the pages quickly. I really liked June and Day as characters and I likedLegend was great! I was sucked into the story immediately and I flew through the pages quickly. I really liked June and Day as characters and I liked getting their points of view back and forth throughout the novel because they both had similar thought processes, but completely different circumstances and surroundings.
Legend was a YA dystopian and there were elements of the story I’d seen before because I’ve read so many dystopian novels. But June wasn’t your typical girl about everything, which was what I was expecting. She was unlike what I’m used to seeing in YA dystopian novels. There were naïve aspects about her, but it made sense that she would lack understanding about the slums having been brought up in a rich family. She was extremely logical and tough, which made her stand out to me as a character. Day was also unlike other male leads in YA novels. He was cunning and resourceful, but genuinely caring and nice as well. He wasn’t the cold and distant type of logical, nor was he the sweet, but dense friendly kind of character, either. There should be more Day’s in YA fiction.
I understand now why so many people recommend this trilogy. It was well written and intriguing. I loved the setting, with the US split into the Republic and the Colonies and the inhabitants of the Republic not really believing that the United States was ever a thing. I’m eager to find out more about how the world is broken down and what the fractured US looks like as a whole, which I’m sure I’ll find out in the remaining books.
My only issue with the novel is that it was predictable to some degree. I don’t know if it was because I’ve read so many dystopian novels that I know the routine: things are not what they seem, people aren’t to be trusted, the government is lying to you, etc. After June figured out things weren’t how they seemed, the story wasn’t nearly as predictable and I was eager to find out what she would do with that information. And before she discovered her government was lying to her, I was eager to see how she would eventually put the pieces together. It’s not good for a novel to be predictable, but I also don’t think that the predictability hindered the book much. It was still captivating and I knew that it was a first book and would be doing a lot of building up to the major conflict.
I can’t wait to continue the trilogy and find out what happens next. I enjoy many first books of dystopian trilogies and often dislike the rest, so I’m eager to see if the series gets better with each book and continues on an upward trend. ...more
I have had this on book on my shelf for ages and never really wanted to read it. I’m not a plant/flower person and don’t experience joy in tending anyI have had this on book on my shelf for ages and never really wanted to read it. I’m not a plant/flower person and don’t experience joy in tending any kind of garden and the book just sort of seemed like that sort of story. For the past few days, I’ve been unable to get into any book and have been bouncing between 5 or 6 books and feeling generally apathetic about any of them. Finally, I picked this up because I knew I’d see my friend again and really wanted to be able to hand it back to her.
Immediately, I was hooked. For the first time in over a week, I was able to slide right into a story and get comfortable. I don’t know if the first person narrative is what drew me in initially or if it was the general messed-up-ness of the main character. It was obvious that she was terrible, miserable, and altogether lost. I wanted to know more about her and why she ended up that way and what could have happened to land her back in the group home.
Victoria’s story was captivating. She was an orphan who lived in various homes, all of them terrible, up until her last home right before she was 10. After 10, I guess she was to be considered unadoptable and she’d end up back in the group home until she reached 18. The book began with her being 18 and leaving the home, but some chapters went back to when she was 10 at her very last home with Elizabeth, who taught her about flowers and what they mean.
In some ways, the book had a White Oleander feel to it. The main character had issues, was reserved and somewhat withdrawn, and was placed into group homes and homes that didn’t work out, just like the main character in White Oleander. The circumstances and overall message was different, but the tone was similar as well. Not knowing what happened with Elizabeth was a major factor in my interest of the story. I wanted to see Victoria adapt at 18, but I also burned with curiosity as to how everything went so wrong with her last home. Elizabeth seemed great, so I didn’t know what went wrong. It was interesting to watch the story unfold and watch Victoria excel as something after she became an adult. Her encounters with Grant were sweet, complicated, and interesting as well.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and highly recommend it, I do think it’s unrealistic, especially towards the end. I didn’t dislike Victoria, but I realize that a character like her in real life would not be someone with whom anyone would sympathize with. She was nasty and she often made no sense with her actions. Her actions after becoming a mother were insanely unrealistic as well, including the way the conflict was resolved at the end. The main reason this never bothered me was that I read a lot of unrealistic fiction anyway and don’t really expect characters to act accordingly with my world. Contemporary fiction is rarely my go-to genre. But also, I’m not a mother and I’m less inclined to be shocked and offended by less-than-motherly actions and decisions. I can see why so many reviewers were left feeling slightly miffed by the character’s actions, though.
Despite the unrealistic feel towards the end and slightly throughout the story, it was awesome. It was a great debut novel with a ton of redemption and love. I loved the idea of the flowers being a language and communicating a message and I loved how the author weaved that into a complicated story with extremely flawed characters. I’m giving it a full 5 stars because it took me right out of my reading slump that I was in for over a week....more
Let me start by saying that I loved Perfect Ruin, book one, so much. I absolutely loved every inch of that book and I was dying to get my hands on BurLet me start by saying that I loved Perfect Ruin, book one, so much. I absolutely loved every inch of that book and I was dying to get my hands on Burning Kingdoms. When it showed up unexpectedly on my doorstep shortly after release, I was ecstatic. However, Burning Kingdoms suffers from a horrible case of second book syndrome and bridge book syndrome. It was so disappointing, I wish that the ending of Perfect Ruin was just that they landed and we got to wonder what would happen next. I would have been more satisfied with that open ending.
Not much happened in Burning Kingdoms, though the conflict and motivations of the King below and the resources of Internment certainly provided some questions about the fate of the characters, nothing was actually decided in this book. Some character building occurred and the characters got to understand that grass isn’t always greener on the other side, as the world below had their own set of problems and conflicts.
As always, Lauren DeStefano wrote a beautiful novel. The writing is exquisite and is something to be savored. It is a shame that such poetic words failed to move the plot. In Perfect Ruin, the magic of the world, the horror of the conflict, and the wonderful writing absolutely captivated me, but the loss of world building and the slowness of the plot hindered the sequel. It lost every bit of magic and wonder that Perfect Ruin had.
I hate to be so critical of an author and a series that has so much potential. I really do. I will probably still recommend Perfect Ruin and just pretend that it’s a standalone novel because it was really good and had a ton of elements I loved. But after reading the author’s other series since reading Perfect Ruin and then reading this disappointing book, I have to admit that I’m sensing a trend. The author writes beautifully and I see the parallels to our world, the points she’s trying to make, and the issues she’s trying to bring to light in the book that are important in the world. The potential is tremendous and I applaud her efforts. However, her books tend to unravel, drift, and take weird turns. The result is a story that isn’t quite hard hitting and doesn’t make much sense at all.
Perfect Ruin managed to maintain it’s world building as Internment sat away from anything we were familiar with, having just a few minor unrealistic plot devices, but the rest of her books have contained weird out of place events, items, or other aspects. Burning Kingdoms contained a world that I’m still trying to figure out where kings, speakeasies, silent movies, and mermaids all exist without any explanation. It probably would have made more sense for them to have landed in our 1920s, but then the author would have had to research history in order to weave the story in with the events and somehow explain the existence of the floating city. The more I try to reason a better way for Burning Kingdoms to have gone, the more I think Perfect Ruin should have just ended and remained isolated in a fantasy world. *sigh*
I’m still holding out hope that the next book will be more action packed and move the story along better. I would be a lot more optimistic and less critical of this sequel had I not read The Chemical Garden Trilogy and been able to notice the unfortunate similarities and the things that don’t make any sense. I don’t know that I’d recommend reading this one, but I don’t necessarily advise against it, either, because I did enjoy the writing quite a bit. If you have the capability of suspending belief and can live with the fact that the sequel only moves the plot a little bit, it’s a great read. ...more
I liked Max a lot. He was nonchalant, nice, and refreshing. I kind of hate stuffy billionaires and I have no idea why I keep picking up these terribleI liked Max a lot. He was nonchalant, nice, and refreshing. I kind of hate stuffy billionaires and I have no idea why I keep picking up these terrible books, but Max didn’t fit the stuffy billionaire mold quite like the other leading guys of this genre.
I like books like these to have a good storyline, but what I liked about Beautiful Bastard was that it was to the point. I think Beautiful Stranger had a great plot and I liked the chemistry between Max and Sara, but it started to get redundant. I don’t know.
I’m starting to think that I should just stop reading these types of books. Max was cool, his relationship was Sara was all taboo and the stuff of fantasies, what with the photos and the sex near/in public and I get that a lot of people have these fantasies. But to build an actual romance around it just gets dumb to me. There’s always unnecessary conflict and miscommunication and I’m not impressed when I know that they will fall in love, have a fight, and then get back together.
When it comes to this type of fiction, I read the first books and that’s it. Maybe my problem stems from the fact that this isn’t the first and it’s essentially the same type of story as all of the others, as the first book, with different characters and fetishes.
Don’t take my word for it. I have no business reading these kinds of books. I like steamy romance, but I just can’t do the unnecessary conflicts and the jumping into bed and falling in love kind of storylines without any substance. ...more
Bared to You is very much like 50 Shades in all of the ways that people will like (if you’re into that sort of thing) without so many of the things thBared to You is very much like 50 Shades in all of the ways that people will like (if you’re into that sort of thing) without so many of the things that make 50 Shades the worst book on the planet. Bared to You is another billionaire suit-and-tie romance with dark edges and a ton of sex, but without the lip biting idiocy of Anastasia Steele and terrible writing. For what it is, Bared to You wasn’t badly written at all. Yes, there are moments where the plot makes no sense, but I find that with ANY rich guy and plain girl romance these days and I don’t think people read these in order to have their brains exposed to rich storytelling. I think most people lean towards historical and paranormal romance for that.
I actually liked Eva for much of the book because she actually said no, had no problems walking away from Gideon multiple times, and wasn’t afraid to tell him that she wasn’t a tool to be used. At the beginning, Eva shocked me by being so adamant about not sleeping with someone she was so incredibly attracted to. I’m used to my heroines in these books turning into puddles that still somehow bite their lips.
I liked Gideon, too. Sure, he was all polished and perfect, but as soon as Eva walked out on him, he wasn’t afraid to be sensitive and emotional and beg her for another chance and apologize for fucking up. I’m used to the billionaires being gigantic assholes nearly all of the novel, so that was a nice change of pace.
Honestly, despite the fast paced, jumping-into-bed, lust = love kind of plot, Bared to You was kind of refreshing at first. But then the constant issues started. Jealousy, sexual abuse, miscommunication, unnecessary drama, other women, etc.. it was so much in a very short amount of time. Towards the end, I started to feel like they needed to just get over themselves. Eva once impressed me by walking away, but then that became her thing and then Gideon kept getting all upset about how he fucked up again and they both just got on my nerves.
I think if you read these books often and like them, Bared to You is one of the better ones. But as good as it was, it wasn’t good enough to redeem the genre.
First Grave on the Right was exactly what I wanted and expected. It was a lighthearted and fun paranormal novel and I totally enjoyed reading it. My fFirst Grave on the Right was exactly what I wanted and expected. It was a lighthearted and fun paranormal novel and I totally enjoyed reading it. My favorite thing about adult paranormal romance and urban fantasy is how fun it can be while also being serious. It’s what kept me going in the Sookie Stackhouse series and this series is a close fit to the same sort of style and tone.
Charley had her hands full. She could see the dead and usher them to the other side and she used that to help her as a private investigator. She worked closely with her uncle, who was a cop, to solve cases since she could speak to the dead person. She had a great attitude, quirky friends, and no ability to realize that situations could be dangerous. Like Sookie, she ended up getting hurt because of her abilities.
I think most negative reviews are from people who don’t typically enjoy the paranormal romance/urban fantasy genre. If you know what to expect, this book totally delivers. But if you were looking for better fleshed out complications in the plot and less girl talk, you won’t find it here. And if you are looking for the hot and steamy serious paranormal romances like that of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, this probably isn’t the book for you either, though it gets a bit steamy at times. It’s full of corny jokes, quirky people, and heroines who make light of their actual dangerous situations.
This kind of book is one that would pair well with a night in and some popcorn. It’s fun, entertaining, and awesome to read. I definitely recommend reading it and I’ll continue the series. If you like the Sookie Stackhouse novels, the Paranormalcy trilogy or anything paranormal from Jennifer L. Armentrout, you’ll probably enjoy First Grave on the Right. It's good old fashioned PNR. ...more
I think I would have given Salem Falls 5 stars if I hadn’t read it right after The Pact. I did, so all I have done is compare them and come to the conI think I would have given Salem Falls 5 stars if I hadn’t read it right after The Pact. I did, so all I have done is compare them and come to the conclusion that Jodi Picoult novels leave me feeling vaguely frustrated and empty for some reason. I don’t know if it’s the way the story is told or what. She’s a great author and her books are thought provoking and captivating, but I hate certain aspects of them, I guess.
Salem Falls is told from multiple points of view and takes place after Jack was released from jail. Some sections go back to the past before he was convicted so that we get an overall picture of what happened. Jack and Addie immediately fall into a relationship, despite the fact that he never told her what happened. And before he could really say anything, people in town found out about his prior conviction and started harassing him. And one of particularly bad night, he ended up where he was in the first place, accused of sexual assault.
I didn’t like Jack. I understood he was innocent (at least of the first accusation). I understood he was a teacher at an all girl’s school and things happened that he couldn’t get out of. But he was an idiot. He didn’t successfully distance himself like any male teacher should have known to do. And when he realized his student had a crush, he should have taken better measures to distance himself before something bad happened. It was frustrating. And then to have him end up in the wrong place at the wrong time in Salem Falls just made me want the jury to convict him so he’d never wind up in trouble again. If people in town are actively harassing you about a sexual assault conviction, you should probably not get drunk and wander around aimlessly. I just wanted to punch him for being so stupid. Even his interactions with Gillian, where she was actively coming on to him in public, he should have told someone in the diner about so that if she did it again, someone would think to notice. A man who spend 8 months in jail should have known the power in having people on your side. I thought he might have been guilty, but then I thought there was no way. I didn’t know. I mean, what are the odds that another teenager girl would lie about it? This can’t be a real thing that happens to one person all of the time. I mean, is he somehow godlike in the looks department? Seriously.
I didn’t like Jack and Addie’s relationship. It felt physical to me. It happened really fast. And I don’t feel like they shared enough information and talked enough to have fallen in love so quickly. It became clear once Jack was accused of yet another sexual assault and Addie questioned his innocence that they obviously didn’t know each other very well. The synopsis made it seem like they had a real connection and relationship and I never really got that from them.
Despite my feelings of Jack or Addie, I enjoyed the novel. I liked that Jordan McAfee had a role in the story because I liked him in The Pact, too. His relationship with his son was great, too. I enjoyed his private investigator and getting more of their story. It was clear that the teenage girls in the story had their own problems and Gillian was a trouble maker. I liked unraveling that particular mystery. They dabbled in the occult, claiming to be Wiccans, but no one besides the occult store owner really knew about it. The trial and gathering of evidence was interesting to read about and I never knew what the jury would decide. For much of the story, I even wondered if Jack was guilty. I liked not knowing and being pushed and pulled in multiple directions.
While I enjoyed the mystery, the trial, and not really knowing what happened, it bothers me often that Picoult doesn’t give readers the truth, especially not right away. It would be easier to root for the defense or the prosecution if I knew who was right. But then again, I know that she writes her books that way for a reason. Almost every courtroom drama has a right and wrong side. Real life, however, is different. We don’t know. We throw our eggs into the basket that makes the most sense for us, but we could be wrong. I like the challenge, but it was frustrating and unfulfilling sometimes. However, Salem Falls was much more satisfying than The Pact to me because we eventually got to the bottom of the mystery.
I enjoyed Salem Falls and will certainly read more of Picoult in the future. However, it’s clear that it’s NOT a good idea to read them back to back, so I’m taking a bit of a break. I’m shocked that it took me so long to finally read her books. I always assumed she was some chick lit author who wrote light romances with suspense or mystery added in. She writes great fiction that is thought provoking, complicating, and moving. ...more
I’ve only read one other Jodi Picoult novel and I enjoyed it, finding it much better written than the light chick-lit I was expecting. So I brought hoI’ve only read one other Jodi Picoult novel and I enjoyed it, finding it much better written than the light chick-lit I was expecting. So I brought home a stack of her books from the used bookstore that sounded promising and started with The Pact.
The Pact was a good story, but not the story I wanted or expected. I know that sounds strange. I feel conflicted, frustrated, and empty after reading it because, while it gave me a story full of secrets and drama, it left so many doors unopened. Chris and Emily had been together since childhood and when she was found shot in the head, Chris blamed it on a suicide pact. Later, he was tried for murder. The story was told in the present with bits and pieces from before the murder/suicide, along with bits from the past when Chris and Emily were kids.
I felt like I got a decent glimpse of the parents as they forged their friendships and had Chris and Emily. I felt like I got a pretty good account of what was happening with Chris in the present. But aside from those two storylines, I felt like the rest of the story was full of holes and blind spots and I wasn’t given enough information. The book was written in third person and featured nearly all of the characters, but I never got inside everyone’s heads and the storyline called for a more introspective narrative.
The relationships and friendships in the story were crazy and twisted. Chris and Emily were a strange couple because they had hardly any memories apart from each other. Chris went from viewing her as a sister type to seeing her as a woman and fell madly in love. For Emily, things were a bit different, but I know she felt connected to Chris on a deep level. While everyone else saw a mature and perfect couple, I felt like they were terrible and thrown together by circumstance. It’s not like they could part and ever get away from each other. They’d disappoint so many people. And that fact had to be part of Emily’s problem. It almost felt like they were one giant family up until Emily died.
Mostly, Emily annoyed me. I never understood why she wanted to kill herself. There were things that happened to her that had something to do with her not liking her life, but I feel like she either came from a family that communicated enough for her to have told someone at one point or she would have acted less well adjusted and her family would have noticed. I just never bought that no one except Chris knew about it or weren’t surprised. I can’t believe that the nurse wouldn’t have asked more questions after her reaction at the clinic, either, to uncover Emily’s state of mind. Emily’s character frustrated me so much and I don’t know if I have a legitimate complaint about her character or if I just hate that she died and never got any help or closure or anything.
I feel torn because the novel rings true in many ways. We don’t know the motivations of people around us. People change in an instant. We don’t know the truth. We pick sides without really knowing the whole story. These are all things that happened in the novel. And I enjoy it when books don’t necessarily wrap up stories in one nice and neat bow, so I’m not sure why I’m vaguely frustrated by the story.
I think my frustrations are the same frustrations I have with young, terrible love. The adult in me wants to scream at Emily and slap Chris for not saying anything or doing anything and for not thinking about the consequences of his actions. It makes no sense! But I think The Pact is a love story in the same way that Romeo and Juliet is.. which is to say, it's not, really. It's a cautionary tale about the issues with young people, serious issues, and glorified view of suicide. It's immature. I wanted the author to fix the problems or at least shine some light on the issues at the end and I think that's why I was frustrated. She didn't do those things. But here I am writing my review a week later and still struggling and thinking about the issues, which means that it must have been pretty thought provoking and moving.
I definitely recommend reading it. It was thought provoking, descriptive, and engrossing. I plan to read more of her books, as I enjoy her writing style....more
Nicholas Sparks is not my go to author typically. While I’ve enjoyed a few of his books, I’m typically mildly disappointed by the writing and overallNicholas Sparks is not my go to author typically. While I’ve enjoyed a few of his books, I’m typically mildly disappointed by the writing and overall execution of the story. Most of the time, I prefer the movie to the book. So I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed Safe Haven, even after seeing parts of the movie and totally spoiling the biggest twist for myself.
Safe Haven was great! It was pretty well written. It didn’t take long to get into the groove of the characters and understand who they were and what their motivations were. I liked Katie a lot and admired her for being so independent and brave. I thought Alex was a relaxed, laid back, and all around wonderful guy. He did a lot of things with his kids and his love of his setting made me appreciate the town of Southport. Watching Katie and Alex reluctantly fall for each other was sweet.
The romantic story in Safe Haven was captivating and wonderful, but it was not all there was to the story. In Safe Haven, Nicholas Sparks attempted something I’ve rarely seen from his novels. He created somewhat of a suspense situation by giving us the point of view of the person from Katie’s past. What he did with the character was awesome. Not only was on the edge of my seat towards the end of the novel, but his point of view was incredibly captivating. I loved the short and choppy thought processes he had as he struggled to merge the person he thought he was and who he thought Katie was with the person his anger created of both himself and Katie.
Nicholas Sparks often writes inspirational and spiritual romances. His frequent references to God and Christian principles can add a lot to his stories, but aren’t the things I necessarily look for and I find that his books can be a little strangely preachy as a result. So I was totally floored by the way he created a type of bad guy/villain who took Christian principles and Bible verses and twisted them in his screwed up mind to justify the way he acted and felt about certain behaviors. It was certainly not something I was expecting, but I really enjoyed the perspective. I thought it was refreshing and unique for Sparks to have a character who claimed to be a man of God and yet didn’t quite understand that his actions were the opposite of what any religious person would consider godly. I guess I just thought he’d always stick to the good stuff and I’m shocked and a bit impressed that he decided to take a different route.
There was a twist at the end that I enjoyed. I knew it was coming because I saw the end of the movie. I missed the beginning of the movie, so I was eager to see how the book would handle the situation and how it would do the twist. Some readers disliked the twist, but I enjoyed it and the letter at the end of the book and the movie made me tear up a little. The twist isn’t anything I believe could really happen, but I appreciate the whole full circle aspect of it and I thought it really brought the story together quite well. I recommend reading Safe Haven, even if you’re like me and don’t typically pick Nicholas Sparks books up to read. He has a few really good ones and this is one of them!