Halo is not an action-heavy novel. It not a book that focuses entirely on plot but rather, focuses on the journey the characters go on. Although it slHalo is not an action-heavy novel. It not a book that focuses entirely on plot but rather, focuses on the journey the characters go on. Although it slow at times, it was nice seeing how Bethany tried to fit in. She was rather clueless at times and I wish she was stronger, but she did grow a bit as the novel progressed.
If you're into books that have a set and clear plot and are filled with action, you might find Halo a bit slow. In my opinion, Ms. Adornetto was not focusing just on the end product, but also on the journey. In a way, Halo reminded me of the film Children of Men in the way that both gave more attention to the journey the character experience, rather than just what happens at the end. Both have key occurrences that move the plot along, but the focus is on how characters reach the end, not just the end.
Despite featuring angels and their battles against dark forces, I did not find Halo very preachy. It was not over the top and was not trying to force religion down your throat, which was nice and allows you to just enjoy the book.
I thought Halo was very well-written and was very impressed to learn that the author is only seventeen years old! Halo is an interesting story and provided an intriguing take on angels and their differences (in both expectations and existence) from humans as well as the structure of Heaven . I definitely enjoyed Halo and am really glad I was able to snag a copy at BEA this year! It lived up to my expectations and I am eagerly awaiting the next novel in the trilogy, Hades! ...more
Clare's back! I definitely enjoyed reading the second installment of the Clarity series! The writing wReview originally posted here at The Book Vault!
Clare's back! I definitely enjoyed reading the second installment of the Clarity series! The writing was as good as the first book. Clare's voice was still pretty strong in this novel, and she's also matured from her experiences in Clarity. It did seem to me, however, that Clare's voice wasn't quite as strong, nor as spirited, as it was in the first novel. Maybe it's because she's matured a bit? But I don't know, it just seemed to lack some of the spunk and brightness she had in the first novel. It was almost as if she was a bit more subdued (her voice at least) in Perception, despite having a more personal mystery to solve.
Another similarity to the first novel was the mystery part of the novel. I don't mean the actual mystery itself--Clare's on a completely new adventure this time!--but like the first novel, the mystery at hand in Perception was a bit predicable. While it was slightly less predictable than the mystery in the first book, I guessed the perpetrator about half way through the novel. The writing is good, however, and doesn't drag, so despite being predicable still, it was an enjoyable read!
Thankfully, there's more character development for Gabriel so he's not just the cookie-cutter handsome, mysterious, good-looking hunk again! I enjoyed learning more about Gabriel, Justin and the other characters in Perception. The writing is well-balanced; it doesn't focus so much on back story that the plot drags but it doesn't constantly throw you into the fray without letting you glimpse at the characters' pasts. I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get to learn anything more about Clare's father but hopefully there will be more light shed on that subject if there's to be a third novel!
I don't want to give it away, but I for one think Clare made the right choice between the two love interests! The strong character she exhibited in the first book was obvious in Perception as well and I'm happy that this was on YA novel where the female lead truly knows and understands her leading men and chooses between them for their personalities and the way they treat her--not just because his eyes are sooo dreamy, and the kisses are simply world-shattering. Don't get me wrong, those are desirable qualities as well, but they shouldn't be the only factors when agreeing to be someone's girlfriend! I could really feel the chemistry between the two and the development of the romance between them was realistic and believable, which is a breath of fresh air amongst all the 'star-crossed lovers' that have been dominating YA fiction lately!
All in all, it was enjoyable and I certainly appreciated the more realistic romance! I hope to learn more about Clare's family, especially her father, and her past if there's to be another novel! ...more
Oblivion What would you do if you were surrounded by misery and decay on all sides? Try to make changesReview originally posted here at The Book Vault!
Oblivion What would you do if you were surrounded by misery and decay on all sides? Try to make changes and improvements to the world around you? Take advantage of the misfortune of others? Or would you be like Araby and seek solace in the arms of oblivion?
Just a few pages into the novel and I could see why Araby threw herself into oblivion every chance she could! The author certainly did a good job creating a dreary, painful world! The world building is quite good for this novel and I think the author was trying to go for a steampunk setting but I don't think that was fully developed...one or two bits of technology in a world dominated by bodices and carriages isn't quite enough to sell it for me. Maybe an update on the demeanor of the citizens and possibly the infrastructure and running of the country and I would have accepted it as steampunk! Nonetheless, the world building is well done here and the depressing mood dominates the plague-ravaged country!
Masque of the Red Death is a re-imagining of sorts of Edgar Allan Poe's short story of the same name. While the dismal state the world is in is similar to Poe's story, an aspect that is markedly different is Prince Prospero. In Bethany Griffin's re-imagining, he is a manipulative, power-hungry psychopath whereas Poe's Prince Prospero seemed much more ignorant and preoccupied with frivolous things. Prospero's lack of conscience and remorse in Bethany's novel was frightening! Bethany does do a good job of capturing the same depressed feeling though!
Characters There was definitely some great world building, but I have a bone to pick with some of the characters! April was rather inconsistent, or maybe she's just a fantastic actress. Her secrets were a bit hard to believe at first since she was an airhead with a taste for booze and drugs. Elliot...well, he's a bit of a jerk, and as Araby found his personality abrasive at the beginning, I really don't understand why she jumped to help him every time he asked--no, that's too nice, ordered--her to do something for him. He asked her to risk her life for him multiple times and she complied from the get-go and I couldn't see any clear motivation for her to help a virtual stranger--and a rude stranger at that!
Plot There was a twist in the novel and I don't think I entirely buy it. Although you could argue that it wasn't entirely out of character, it certainly seemed highly unlikely, give the development of events in the novel leading up to that point! I'm sure this sounds rather vague so I apologize, but I don't want to give anything away and spoil the fun!
The ending felt weak compared to the rest of the novel. While I get that continuing the adventure could require quite a number of pages more, the ending felt rushed, as if the author had to hurry and find a spot to cut off the story until the sequel(s).
A minor point I felt like mentioning was the Debauchery Club; when I read the blurb I was expecting something wild and possibly even borderline obscene since it was the once place people could escape all the gloom around them. But instead, it seemed like a rather tame place that certainly didn't live up to its name!
Overall While I can say that I enjoyed this novel and will most likely read the sequel, I have this odd feeling that there's something off about it. I'm not saying it's a bad novel, but to me it doesn't seem entirely put-together. It seemed like the author put too much effort into developing the characters at points and the plot ended up dragging a bit and being put second. At other points the plot was being rushed along and became the only focus. I guess that's the 'off feeling' I'm getting; the plot and character development in the novel wasn't balanced.
Despite any misgivings I may have, I am sure many readers will enjoy Masque of the Red Death! The world-building is excellent, the love-triangle will appeal to many, and the slightly steampunk setting was pretty cool!...more
There's something definitely dramatic about Meg Cabot's writing! It's been a while since I've read anytReview originally posted here at The Book Vault
There's something definitely dramatic about Meg Cabot's writing! It's been a while since I've read anything by her, so it took a couple of chapters to accustomed to it again. I'm not the biggest fan of Meg Cabot's writing but I do prefer her style over those of some other authors. It may be dramatic, but it's relatively approachable and reads smoothly. I will say, however, that the vocabulary in this novel was really repetitive; the words "incident," "accident," "cemetery sexton," among others appeared over and over again.
The story is told predominantly in flashbacks, and I think this works for Abandon. As the story progresses, readers wonder what happened in Pierce's past and who is that John character? Readers are drawn in and kept interested by the flashbacks that present the readers with more insights to Pierce's past. Although I for one believe that the flashback style works for the novel, the actual story moved really rather slowly. It dragged at points, rehashing the past several times and nothing new happened for pages.
This book was marketed as a 'modern retelling of Persephone' of sorts but it hardly felt like that to me. I'm a big fan of mythology and spent plenty of time as a kid reading about them and I studied Latin (and to a lesser extent, Greek) in high school so I had an opportunity to re-visit and study the famous Greek and Roman mythology then. So when I heard about Abandon, I was excited! I love mythology from all cultures and I haven't read very many modern re-tellings of Persephone, but unfortunately, I was rather disappointed in this aspect. While Abandon has a few elements from the myth of Persephone (an underworld of sorts and a death deity) I would hardly call it a modern retelling of Persephone. Maybe it'll become more of a retelling in the later books in the trilogy, but book one, Abandon, definitely did not feel like a retelling.
The romance in the novel didn't seem very strong either; there was some mild chemistry between Pierce and John but John seemed really distant, a jerk at times, and inconsistent so it was hard to gauge the actual romantic interest between the two. But of course when the two finally kiss, the whole world is blocked out except for the kiss, everything else is forgotten, and he's so dark and mysterious but romantic, etc. etc. etc. which seemed cliche to me. I was hoping Meg Cabot was going to whip up a much stronger and steamy romance between the two leads, but alas, it was not so.
This last point might sound a bit nit-picky, but I for one was not very impressed by the name of Pierce's love interest, who also happens to be the aforementioned death deity: John. It sounds a bit, well, underwhelming and hardly impressive. With Meg Cabot's signature dramatic style of writing, I would have thought she would've picked a name that was a tad more impressive. Or at least one that matched the leading character (who's name was much more unique): Pierce.
I definitely have mixed feelings about this book; overall, I enjoyed it at points. However, none of the characters seemed very strong to me and not as memorable as those from Meg Cabot's other novels. Characters like Samantha from Meg Cabot's All-American Girl and Mia from The Princess Diaries definitely had a louder, more vibrant personality and Pierce seemed almost tame compared to Samantha and Mia. I'm not a fan of Pierce, though there are two more books left in this trilogy that could change my opinion! I found her a rather weak character who was careless, uncaring and not exactly the brightest bulb in the bunch. I'm hoping the trilogy gets better, though I'd have to say overall, I was disappointed with Abandon. I guess when you're already a best-selling author who is loved by so many fans, expectations are higher and unfortunately, I don't feel that Meg Cabot quite lived up to that expectation this time....more
Tell Me a Secret definitely tugs plenty of heartstrings with Rand's honest and heartfelt account. She has to deal with her dysfunctional family whileTell Me a Secret definitely tugs plenty of heartstrings with Rand's honest and heartfelt account. She has to deal with her dysfunctional family while watching her social life fall apart because of the pregnancy. Readers will feel for Rand's loneliness as she gets little support from her family and friends and instead finds comfort in the hands of virtual strangers. Readers will see just how far an impact a single pregnancy can have as Rand struggles to find the courage to uncover the secrets to her beloved sister's death while facing her own uncertain future.
Tell Me a Secret is a well written novel that smoothly transitions between Rand's memories (I particularly like how Rand and Kamran met--very unique!), her quest to uncover the truth behind her sister's death and her own journey. Everything is tied in wonderfully and the key characters are well developed. Holly Cupala carefully displays all the different sides of Rand, Kamran, Rand's parents, Delaney, and the other main characters, so they never seem 2-D. With vivid details and realistic characters, Tell Me a Secret will take readers on an emotional journey.
This book was very different from what I expected; when I first read the plot I thought it was going toReview originally posted here at The Book Vault
This book was very different from what I expected; when I first read the plot I thought it was going to be a considerably thicker novel (First Day on Earth is just 150 pages) that focused not only on Mal's journey towards self-discovery, but also on theories about extraterrestrial life and specifically Mal's interactions with them. However, the novel focuses mainly on Mal's self-discovery.
Mal is what most people would consider a loner; he doesn't have many friends and is 'the quiet kid in the corner' at school. Ever since his Dad left him, his Mom's been a wreck and a drunk, leaving Mal to take care of himself and her. Years ago, he went missing for three days and the police found him in the middle of the desert. Everyone thinks he had a seizure or some sort of medical issue that caused him to wander into the desert, but Mal thinks he was abducted by aliens.
Mal finds solace in helping small animals he finds (often taking them to the nearby shelter for help) and goes to a support group for abductees. There, he meets Hooper, whom he gets to know better. Hooper tells Mal he isn't from around here--he's actually from another planet. It seems to make sense, afterall, Hooper does have some weird habits and did seem kind of odd ever since Mal met him!
Not your typical YA novel, but I rather liked it. It's different and the style works nicely as well. It's short, to the point with nothing drawn-out. Explores a teen's life as he wanders on the path towards self-discovery; a path that we all know is by no means a flat, carefree walk in the park! Sure, he's got some of that teen-angst going, but Mal genuinely does want to figure out who he is. Everyone's felt lost at some point, and with life-changing events, it can be easy to lose your sense of self-purpose and direction. I feel that the author does a good job conveying this feeling of loss and the desire to find oneself throughout the novel, despite how short it was. Characters were also reasonably well-developed for the brevity of this novel, and I must say, I really enjoyed Hooper's character. He was quite a hoot; nice comic relief for the more depressing moments Mal had!...more
There were definitely points in Crusade where I couldn't put it down! I was hooked and had to see what happened next! I really liked how the focus shiThere were definitely points in Crusade where I couldn't put it down! I was hooked and had to see what happened next! I really liked how the focus shifted between the different characters in the book so that not only does the story continue, but you get to learn about each character's personality, their past, and their thought patterns. The switching viewpoints were well done; it was never too confusing, but was really helpful in getting a peek into each character's mind.
Crusade takes its time setting the back story and setting up before the plot starts moving along. I didn't really mind that since the whole environment was set up well; you really get a sense of defeat and fear that many people feel, now that their countries have called a truce between humans and the Cursed Ones. I really liked how the authors set up the currents state of affairs (there was good attention to detail); it seems like an accurate prediction to how many would respond if Cursed Ones really did exist and chose to expose themselves. The whole society responding to the Cursed Ones--how society adjusts and views them--really reminded me of Shade by Jerri Smith-Ready. In Shade, Jerri also did an excellent job of showing how society had to deal with a huge change: the fact that people born before the Shift can see and interact with ghosts.
The only criticism I have for this book concerns the ending. I don't quite see it and I don't quite agree with it entirely. It sets up nicely for a sequel, but the character doesn't quite fit the role as the others envision her to, but there will probably be a sequel, so that remains to be seen. I don't want to spoil anything so that's all I'll say. Can't wait to read more in this series!
Although the premise of the story sounded like a lot of fun when I first got this book, I will admit I was a little hesitant. The paranormal genre hasAlthough the premise of the story sounded like a lot of fun when I first got this book, I will admit I was a little hesitant. The paranormal genre has really taken off in YA and there's been everything from vampires and werewolves to witches, faeries, demons, and yes, zombies. But in that mix there's also been a lot of forbidden love and a generous helping of the mushy stuff with little focus on adventure and action. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good romance and I can be a sucker for happy endings, especially if the couple face the storm of forbidden love together! But lately, there have been plenty of books that have very similar story arcs, little to no plot and a heavy emphasis on just the budding romance and sadly, nothing else in the book. I wouldn't mind seeing a little more action (of the adventure kind, before you all get any ideas!) in those novels; what could possibly bring a couple closer together except for stopping world domination together??
I guess I needed a little break from all the paranormal books with forbidden romance, and thankfully, one of the publicists at Scholastic handed me a copy of Undead! Undead is absolutely jam packed with action! After a zombie Apocalypse breaks out, Bobby, Alice, Smitty and Pete have to fight for their lives and find a way out of this mess!
Popular girl Alice (a.k.a. Malice, as dubbed by Smitty), Pete the geek, Smitty the loner and rebel, and Bobby, the new girl, make up quite a motley crew for this adventure! They all have their own unique voices and there is plenty of comic relief, even during this crazy trip where they're trying to avoid getting chomped by zombies! Alice may be a mascara-obsessed beauty queen, but I found her hilarious in Undead! She somehow finds it possible to keep up at least part of her beauty routine despite this massive infestation of the undead and she is one snippy, crazy girl! Smitty was also hilarious with his snide comments and wit! I think I found this novel so enjoyable not only because of the non-stop action but also because of the polar opposite characters that are forced to work together!
To me there was more action than anything else in this novel, but it was still a fun adventure overall since the action was balanced with a decent plot and an amusing cast of characters!
The Deadly Sister is an great summer mystery! Although confusing at times, readers will enjoy finding clues along with Abby and guessing how they fitThe Deadly Sister is an great summer mystery! Although confusing at times, readers will enjoy finding clues along with Abby and guessing how they fit into the crime. The twists will keep readers turning the pages until more of Maya, Abby and Jefferson's backgrounds are revealed and the killer discovered! Cleverly worded at some points, this novel allows readers to interpret them how they will, and make their own guesses for who's guilty and who's not.
I feel that the ending could have been a bit more shocking if it had been revealed through actions and more clues (that could be interpreted in many ways) being unearthed, rather than it just be stated in a near monologue. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading The Deadly Sister! It was a little slow for me at first, but once the pace picked up, I could hardly put it down! I'm definitely glad I kept reading! ...more
I don't want to give anything away, but fans of science fiction and those interested in UFO's, alien encounters, alien abductions and other things ofI don't want to give anything away, but fans of science fiction and those interested in UFO's, alien encounters, alien abductions and other things of the like--this book is for you! The plot sounds like one of those alien theories; aliens live among us and many unexplained events in our history were actually their doing. I am not a big believer of those theories, however, I still enjoyed reading I am Number Four. The plot isn't original, but I think I enjoyed the book because it was a story the author spins based on those theories, instead of just descriptions of an alien theory.
I am Number Four's plot may be about extraordinary beings, but I found a lot of the plot rather ordinary. It seemed like formula stuff; John joins a new school, gets picked on by the star jock (who's ex girlfriend was a cheerleader), but manages to get the jock to stop bullying him and manages to get the girl. It wasn't really special and some of the characters seemed flat. I was rather disappointed that readers don't really get to know Sarah that well; John just comes along, falls for her, and neither John nor the readers get to know Sarah better, which might be the reason the chemistry didn't feel very strong between the two of them.
The author did manage to build up a bit of emotion though. You feel for the Loriens who lost their planet, despite how hard they fought, and it tugs a heartstring or two when you realize those who were old enough to remember Lorien (the Nine's guardians) have lost everything they've known and must survive on a foreign planet.
Overall, I think I enjoyed I am Number Four, mostly because (as I mentioned above) it's a story based on UFO theories instead of just being a UFO theory printed in some pamphlet next to a grainy photo. Not the most well written book and some of the supporting characters were lackluster, but I would still like to know what happens next when the sequel comes out!
I'm thinking of seeing the movie when it comes out; it stars Alex Pettyfer, who was in 2 other movies based on books I loved (Alex Rider & Beastly--which I am really really excited for!).
The Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters is divided into three parts--one for each sister. You get to hear each girl's full confession before moving onThe Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters is divided into three parts--one for each sister. You get to hear each girl's full confession before moving onto the next. This format really worked for this book and I really enjoyed how it was written! The stories weren't too long or too short and you definitely get a sense of what each sister is like in their respective letters! The Sullivan family may have been big and the sisters may have had their own views and beliefs, but they still care deeply for each other, a fact which is evident in all of their stories.
The overall plot is unique and provides for a fun story. Almighty's response to the apology was true to her style, but I had thought the ending would be a bit longer. Nevertheless, a very fun, well-written and enjoyable novel with dynamic characters--I definitely recommend checking Natalie Standiford's new novel when it hits bookstores in September!
Don't let the 224 page count fool you--This is Not a Drill is a roller coaster ride! The overall pacingReview originally posted here @ The Book Vault!
Don't let the 224 page count fool you--This is Not a Drill is a roller coaster ride! The overall pacing is brisk and the characters are well fleshed out. As the story progresses, you get to know Emery and Jake better and their reasons for working with the first-graders, where the friction between them originated, and peeks into their own childhood and upbringing. Additionally, I'm glad Brian Stutts' character is also developed, instead of leaving him as a flat, gun-totting villain--a.k.a. essentially just a plot device. I think this character building really helped sell the story for me; it made the situation more realistic and helped me understand why each character acted the way he/she did and where they were coming from. While I enjoyed learning more about the characters, I'm really glad the author kept the story's momentum going and did not sacrifice good pacing for too much backstory. The pacing was a tad slow at points, but was quite good overall. I'm sure we've all read books where the author does a fantastic job at world building and initially sets an excellent pace, but unfortunately the pace begins to slow when the story goes on winding tangents or is weighed down by overly-long back stories that include details that do nothing to enhance the characters.
Overall, I think author Beck McDowell does a good job creating an tense atmosphere and making the story realistic. If it had been too over-the-top, I don't think it would as an intense of a read for me. There's been a lot of violence in the news lately and several school shootings have rocked the nation in recent history. An armed individual entering a school is not doubt one of the worst fears a parent could have--I just hope that such violence and events like this become just stories in fiction in the very near future.
Overall: 4 out of 5 Plot: 4 stars Characters: 4 stars Writing: 4.25 stars Cover: 3 stars
I like that Nastasya has matured since the last book and continued to do so in Darkness Falls--she slowlOriginal review posted here at The Book Vault!
I like that Nastasya has matured since the last book and continued to do so in Darkness Falls--she slowly begins to face her fears and her problems instead of just running away as she's done in her past 400 years. Her voice has also matured and has mostly lost the childish-ness she exhibited in the first book, another sign of her growth. Of course she maintained a touch of snark and cynicism, plus plenty of sarcasm, but she's less whiny, which is good! I really liked how she not only began to face her problems but also tried to fix them, and also how she's learning to empathize with others!
There was more action in this novel than in Immortal Beloved, which was fun! Although it was great to get to know more about the characters and to watch Nasty grow, the action definitely upped the excitement for the novel! I would even say that if there had been more action, the novel would have been even more enjoyable! It was good to see Nasty putting the lessons she learned in a classroom into effect!
More about River's past is also revealed in Darkness Falls and that was quite a story! Nasty's definitely not the only one who's dealing with demons from her past, that's for sure! We also learn more about Incy, which reveals a lot about his motivations. He's definitely more of a complex character than he appears to be in the first novel, which was great. There is definitely more character development in this novel and I liked learning more about the characters' pasts; it explains a great deal about their personality and decisions.
Overall, I'd say Darkness Falls is a stronger read than Immortal Beloved mostly because the writing has improved a bit. I feel the writing also reflects Nasty's attitude and demeanor, and since she's matured considerably from the first novel, the voice in Darkness Falls is less whiny and much more enjoyable! The actual plot (described in the blurb) took a couple of chapters to actually start up, but I felt the pacing was pretty good once it did.
I enjoyed Darkness Falls, and I do believe this is a trilogy, so I am already looking forward to the third book!...more
I definitely enjoyed reading Shade! It was really interesting to see not only how Aura's relationships with Logan and Zachary progress, but also how tI definitely enjoyed reading Shade! It was really interesting to see not only how Aura's relationships with Logan and Zachary progress, but also how the world is responding to the notion that those born after the Shift can see ghosts. Jeri Smith-Ready not only develops the characters in her novel, but also paints a detailed image of what society has become now that interactions with ghosts are possible. It was well-balanced and a well-rounded story that kept me hooked! Although it has the "first book" feel to it (as in, first book of a series where everything is set up) I very much enjoyed Shade. ...more