PJV Quickie: This novel was not what I expected, but as usual Lauren Oliver delivered a well-written and character driven young...morePanic by Lauren Oliver
PJV Quickie: This novel was not what I expected, but as usual Lauren Oliver delivered a well-written and character driven young adult novel. Her characters were not the usual fare though — and this set PANIC a part from other's in the genre. Oliver, in her usual stylish flare, delivered a thrilling and emotional read that was nothing like I've ever encountered before.
Review: PANIC is a story about a backwater town that engages in a very dangerous game to entertain the bored teenagers. The game is a thrill seekers dream, composed of a series of daring stunts that are usually illegal, most of the time dangerous and sometimes deadly. There are many characters in Panic, but the main two are Heather and Dodge. Most of the characters from this small town are poor, with bad home lives and dying to break free from their current lives. Heather's mother is an addict, they live in a trailer park and her boyfriend, the only light and comfort in her life, just cheated on her. Heather, on a whim joins Panic.
Dodge has other thoughts in mind when he joins Panic. His goal is that of revenge. The goal is to take out the little brother of the boy that crippled his older sister. A brother for a sister. While Dodge's pursuits aren't that positive he finds himself with allies in Heather and her group. But, as their alliances grow deeper, the dynamic of the group changes, along with people's perceptions of right and wrong and what they will do to win the big prize.
A good read, one that I highly recommend. The uniqueness of the story made this book so refreshing and I had to sit down and finish it in one setting. Oliver's pacing was spectacular and I was completely engrossed as she went from one thrilling scene to the next. Heather and Dodge's lives were fascinating, while a bit disconcerting so I couldn't get enough. Their actions made me feel uncomfortable at times and rooting for them at other points. There is one thing that Oliver masters — writing emotional stories. She just has this way of capturing life and bringing out all the little idiosyncrasies of these characters that make them so real.
The head hopping did get confusing at times though, especially since it was in 3rd person. I enjoy sticking with a character, or reading 1st person POV if the head is jumping. The narrative and character switching did leave me with a less personal attachment to the characters then I would have liked.
Recommendations: If you are looking for a different type of contemporary young adult, check out Panic. I would recommend this for a mature audience though, because the characters are 18 years old and do discuss topics that are more suitable for older teens. Drugs, sexual interactions and violence are discussed but are not explicitly covered.
PJV Quickie: I want to start this review out by stating the fact that Kelley Armstrong is one of my favorite authors. Her writing is supreme in it's c...morePJV Quickie: I want to start this review out by stating the fact that Kelley Armstrong is one of my favorite authors. Her writing is supreme in it's craft, her characters are memorable and she crafts phenomenal worlds. But, unfortunately Armstrong's latest trek into the world of Young Adult was a let-down. I found myself trudging through SEA OF SHADOWS, bored with most of the content and not wowed as I usually am with Armstrong's writing. It pains me to write this.
Review: Sea of Shadows is not your typical high fantasy, even though it wanted to be. I usually like high fantasy, but unfortunately it's not as epic as most books in it's genre. The plot covers two sisters, Moira and Ashyn, twins. The girls are the Keeper and Seeker of the Forest of the Dead, which means they are entrusted with releasing the damned and they can talk to the spirits.
For the first time, Ashyn as the Seeker, must enter the Forest of the Dead and put to rest the souls of the exiled that were forced to enter the Forest and then subsequently died. They don't believe in execution in the empire, so they put them in a forest where they either starve, are killed by zombies or exposure. Makes sense. On the night Ashyn enters the forest, the party is ambushed and the town is decimated, something evil has set upon the world and now Ashyn and Moira are separated and desperately searching for each other and the rest of the towns people that were taken from their town. They must travel across a wasteland to the nearest town to hopefully find help and each other.
Armstrong created a very deep story-line, typical of high fantasy, the world, the legend of the Seeker and Keeper, all sounded like they had so much potential and rich world building. The characters of Ronen, Ashyn, Moira and Gavril all had the potential to be much more, especially as the book came to it's conclusion, but they weren't characters that I ever connected with. Problems also arose in the implementation. It seemed like the author had this great big world that she knew all about, but she forgot to tell the reader about it. There were large gaps in the logic behind some of the myths and no explanations for a lot of things. The characters spent most of the book journeying from their town to neighboring towns, always encountering problems at every turn.
It was very reminiscent of most fantasies, we're walking this way...then we are walking that way...but the problem was, that Armstrong forgot to tell us about some of the backstory as they meandered this way and that, flirting and pontificating about how their lives suck. The world wasn't explained, only in passing and the empire wasn't expounded on much, except as an afterthought. I'm sure this was done on purpose, Armstrong treated the reader as if they were already privy to the backstory to circumvent any heavy info-dumping, but it left me feeling like I was missing something. But, combine this slight confusion with the slow pacing, lackluster characters and it made for a rather boring read.
The novel didn't come alive until the last third of the book and then it really did get good, but realistically it was too little too late, the only reason I stuck around until the end was because of the fact that this was Kelley Armstrong.
Honestly though, this didn't seem like an Armstrong book. Her characters, which are the usual draw of Armstrong's writing, were not the usual, in my estimation. Moira and Ashyn were just carbon copies of the typical young adult characters you find in the genre, the head-strong, impulsive ass kicker and the quiet, self-effacing, insecure youth. Then they were paired with two other typical YA male leads, the rakish bad-boy and the stoic, insulting tough-guy. I know for a fact that Armstrong can do a lot better then this, her characters usually have so much depth, it's a shame...this book had potential and I'll probably read on, even though I get the feeling that she might even introduce a love-triangle with Moira. How man YA tropes can we fit in here?
Again, it pains me to write this review, being a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong.
Recommendations: For fans of the author, read it anyway. Recommended for fans of young adult fantasy. There is violence and talk of mature themes, but there is nothing to be worried about.(less)
Quickie Audio Review Feral Sins by Suzanne Wright:
Feral Sins is the first book in the Phoenix Pack series by Suzanne Wright. I haven’t had a pleasant...moreQuickie Audio Review Feral Sins by Suzanne Wright:
Feral Sins is the first book in the Phoenix Pack series by Suzanne Wright. I haven’t had a pleasant surprise with a Paranormal Romance series in a long time…but that is what I got with FERAL SINS. I just love werewolves. And werewolves in love make my day even better. In this series you have crazy werewolves working through issues and not willing to accept their mates. So, while you do have this fated mate story-line, they have to work for that relationship.
Great writing, excellent plot and kick-ass characters, while a typical PNR story arc, it isn’t typically written. The first book reminded me more of a Urban Fantasy with a romance subplot then the usual PNR dribble.
This is one hairy, sexy, paranormal romance series. Yum. These werewolves are scrumptious. Taryn was kick-ass and Trey was sexy as hell. And they came together hot, hot, hot! You can’t get any better.
Narration: Narration was done by Jill Redfield, who did a great job. I will definitely look for other Redfield’s audiobooks.
PJV Quickie: While only 74 pages, including the preview of MORTAL ENCHANTMENT, the novella, THE SHADOW PRINCE packed one hell of a punch. You wouldn’t...morePJV Quickie: While only 74 pages, including the preview of MORTAL ENCHANTMENT, the novella, THE SHADOW PRINCE packed one hell of a punch. You wouldn’t believe that so much story could be told in that little amount of pages, but I could not put my iPad down! THE SHADOW PRINCE had me hooked from page one.
REVIEW: In the prequel to MORTAL ENCHANTMENT, O’Neale (shout out to Book Blogger turned author – hoorah!) introduces us to hottie, fire elemental, Rowan. Heir to the Fire Court throne, Rowan is pretty much a loner. His morals keep him away from his mother’s court because of her vicious and violent tendencies and his disagreement with the way the court is run, especially in how the Hounds, half-breed, shape-shifting, elementals, are treated. When Rowan is summoned to his mother’s court, because of her supposed abdication of the thrown, Rowan is at first suspicious, but then he begins thinking about all the changes he can make once he is in charge. When his mother gives him a task to complete before his coronation – kill the Air King’s daughter – Rowan knows he must push aside his morals for the greater good. His reign could end the slavery of hundreds, all he has to do is sacrifice one life…one innocent life.
If you’ve ever tried to come up with a crazy fantasy world, you’ll know how hard it is, then try to pack all that exposition within 74 pages and make sense…even harder. Then make it read well, without having a forced telling feel, where the author just recites facts, is even harder. THE SHADOW PRINCE is an amazing story, written well, with a unique story and intense plot. O’Neale is one hell of a storyteller. I was instantly drawn into this world of elemental courts and odd shape-shifters that were nothing more then slaves. She kept the world-building simple, choosing to leave aspects up to my imagination instead of describing everything. You are transported to the mythical Avalon with only a few short descriptions, yet it plays out in front of you. Rowan is faced with huge choices, moral dilemmas and life-changing decisions and it all plays out as real and logical. All of it setting the stage for what I can only believe will be a great first in series.
Then I have to go on to describe the unique out-the-box feel of this novella. The novella has both an adult flavoring, but a YA backbone. Much like you find in great authors like Cynthia Hand and Leigh Barduga. Maybe it is the fantasy aspect, but it was reminiscent of sexy Paranormal Romance series starts, like the Immortals After Dark. Rowan was just that much of an Alpha, even though he was only 16 when the story begins. You don’t find many YAs penned from the male POV, so that also had something to do with it. If you are a fan of great world-building, sexy male heroes and young adult fantasy and paranormal stories, you’ll get a kick out of Stacey O’Neale’s THE SHADOW PRINCE.
Recommendations: Recommended for a PG-13 crowd, because of mild violence and some mature themes.(less)
Your Testing Post Rose Hathaway's life will never be the same. The recent attack on St. Vladimir's Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. Many are...moreYour Testing Post Rose Hathaway's life will never be the same. The recent attack on St. Vladimir's Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. Many are dead. And, for the few victims carried off by Strigoi, their fates are even worse. A rare tattoo now adorns Rose's neck, a mark that says she's killed far too many Strigoi to count. But only one victim matters ... Dimitri Belikov. Rose must now choose one of two very different paths: honoring her life's vow to protect Lissa—her best friend and the last surviving Dragomir princess—or, dropping out of the Academy to strike out on her own and hunt down the man she loves. She'll have to go to the ends of the earth to find Dimitri and keep the promise he begged her to make. But the question is, when the time comes, will he want to be saved? Now, with everything at stake—and worlds away from St. Vladimir's and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend—can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love?
Header 1 Yes that is what it is. Header 2 Are you disinterested yet? Header 3 If you are really upset, sometimes a quick trip to Russia can fix that. Header 4 But, don't choke on the balsalmic glazed pork medallion.(less)
PJV Quickie: Lauren Kate is a talented author, her writing is solid, full of unique descriptions that set the scen...moreTeardrop (Teardrop #1)by Lauren Kate
PJV Quickie: Lauren Kate is a talented author, her writing is solid, full of unique descriptions that set the scene and enhance the plot. Her latest novel TEARDROP was very similar to her other series, FALLEN in the style and feeling, but Lauren Kate did a much better job with TEARDROP in the crafting and implementation. I enjoyed reading TEARDROP even though I had some serious issues with it at some points, but I do look forward to the next in the series.
Review: A unique concept drives this series. Eureka is from a small town in Louisiana, where she has been instructed by her mother never to cry. After her mother’s death, Eureka has to bottle up all of her grief and face the world with a stony, almost emotionless persona. This gets her into a lot of trouble with her family, her father and new stepmom and their children. They think she is not adjusted.
The novels are written in the third person point of view, but they carry Eureka’s frame of mind, her detachment, but the underlying emotion that is bottling up. It made for a very different type of novel that kept you at arms length from the characters, which I wasn’t used to. I’m used to jumping in and loving all over these great characters. It wasn’t this way for Eureka though. Then we are introduced to her best friend Brooks, whom has a mad crush on her – but again is at that arms-length position, from both Eureka and me as a reader. I wanted to root for him, but just when you sort of like him something happens.
Finally there is Ander. Whom we get a glimpse of at the beginning of the novel, so we know he is off-the-charts weird factor. And their introduction is again bizarre. I understand he was HOT, but this guy, yeah the believability of this guy and the love factor was a bit creeptastic.
But, the thing about Lauren Kate’s writing, all this creepy, off-the-charts weird stuff that is happening she wraps it up in the angsty, well-written, descriptive novel and makes it work. It was enjoyable to read, even though I wanted to throttle the characters at times and question the plot as it veered this way and that. Some of what Kate introduced was ridiculously stereotypical, the mean girl, jealous would-be boyfriend stealer, the silly outgoing friend, the doting would-be boyfriend best-friend and the creepy stalker paranormal hottie love interest, but yes it did make the book enjoyable to read. The underlying story was unique, yet the implementation played on the usual Young Adult tropes, so yes the book was good, but it didn’t blow me away.
Finally, being a resident of Southern Louisiana, I do have to say that I noticed some setting faux-pas. It happens a lot though with authors that write about the region. They might visit a lot, but you don’t get it until you’ve lived it and New Iberia is one interesting place, very unique, with their own sayings and doings.
Overall a competent novel, a series that I expect to keep up with. It is not one of the greatest things I’ve read, but there was nothing glaringly wrong with it. I feel I’m always harder on novels that are in the middle for me, because there is nothing to rave about, but there is something to talk smack about.
Recommendations: This is recommended for young adult readers that enjoy a good paranormal love-triangle in their mix. This is your typical young adult novel, so if you are into that sort of thing, you’ll love this one. Fans of authors like Kami Garcia and Melissa Marr should really enjoy. There is a bit of violence and some romantic interludes, so this is recommend for a 13+ audience.(less)