Okay, in all seriousness, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of those amazing reads that make it so incredibly difficult to try to re...morePerfect. The end.
Okay, in all seriousness, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of those amazing reads that make it so incredibly difficult to try to review. On the surface, the book has some familiar elements that we've seen before: angels and devils, forbidden romance, star-crossed lovers, magic, and secrets...Sounds like a few different books out there, right? But, no, you have not read a book quite like this one. Laini Taylor wove the familiar into something so refreshing and unique, leaving me in awe.
I don't know what it says about me, but I knew that this was a Favorite -- with a capital 'F' -- once there was a mention of "inessential penises" (page 22 of the ARC). There were several other scenes that Taylor infused with the perfect brand of humor but, in addition to that, she was a master with her world building and words. Prague and "Elsewhere" came alive.
While Daughter of Smoke and Bone has a love story, an ancient battle, and many other things taking place, at its core it's a story about the discovery of Karou's identity. She's brave, quirky, and a bit of a badass, but she's also very vulnerable; she doesn't feel whole because her background is a mystery to her. Enter Akiva and the chain of events that revealed who she is. It definitely took me by surprise!
In my experience, side characters often feel so unnecessary in most of my reads because they're there and then gone without even skimming the surface of who they are. Here, even with the quickest glimpses of some of them, I felt that Taylor created layered personalities. Everyone from Zuzana to Brimstone and the rest of Karou's family, to Razgut, Chiro, and Thiago... A lot of time wasn't spent with all of them, but attachments and opinions were formed and I had a very clear and vivid picture of who they were.
And then there's the romance. I honestly get shivers just remembering it! I was quickly on board with the idea of Karou and Akiva, but then it got even better as secrets were revealed and it was just...almost too much. Unexpected. But brilliant and beautiful and so very swoon-worthy. Who knew "Hello" was such a sexy word?
This is a book whose ending I looked forward to with dread because I wanted more. Usually after I finish a book I immediately find a spot for it on my shelf. Not the case with Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It's been over a month since I first read it and I've been unable to move it from my bedside table. I've needed it close by for revisits and, though I've obviously read other books since then, Karou's story is one I have not been able to let go of. Taylor's words, her world, and characters have lingered and I'm aching to experience it all over again in the next two installments. This is not a book you want to miss!
As the summary says, Hannah gets wrapped up in feelings beyond friendship for Noah, her best friend's boyfriend. Now, I've read Emily Giffin novels, i...moreAs the summary says, Hannah gets wrapped up in feelings beyond friendship for Noah, her best friend's boyfriend. Now, I've read Emily Giffin novels, including Something Borrowed and Something Blue, so I'm familiar with cheating storylines. The thing I was curious about, though, was how Hannah would come across -- would I be sympathetic about her situation? Or would I side with Ava, her best friend? As it turned out, it was a little of both.
I enjoyed Hannah as a narrator. She's a little dramatic post-breakup with Sebastian, but I found that, and a lot of her internal monologue, amusing. What I liked best about her, though, was that she didn't try to make excuses for herself regarding the situation with Noah. Sure, she is understandably nervous and hesitant to come clean to Ava, but she doesn't place the blame on anyone else. Noah, questionable music taste aside (my eye twitched when I saw Paramore alongside The Beatles and Sting in his early recs to Hannah), was a decent guy. He was sweet and attentive and he did try to do the right thing in his situation with the girls. I liked that he and Hannah became friends first and that Barnholdt didn't overemphasize the cheating stuff.
The back and forth switch between the past and the present really made this a fast paced read. I was eager to see the progression between Noah and Hannah during their summer together, as well as the consequences of their actions in the present. I couldn't say which chapters I preferred because both had me glued to their pages.
This might have been a four star read if not for the ending. It wasn't bad or out of character, but I was left flipping through the last pages going, "Where's the rest?!" I don't know what I was expecting, but I felt that the conclusion was fairly abrupt. That said, Sometimes It Happens was an addictive and fun summer read and a great introduction to Lauren Barnholdt's works. I'm very excited to check out her other novels soon!
Oh, how I loved Tempest! I received this during an insane week at work and, because my free time was so limited, I read the majority of it in one sitt...moreOh, how I loved Tempest! I received this during an insane week at work and, because my free time was so limited, I read the majority of it in one sitting the day before I had to send it off to the next person on the tour. Our time together was much too short, but this is one read I'll be glad to revisit.
Jackson was a great narrator. It was refreshing to have a male POV and he delivered the awesome with his charm, wit, and adoration for his girlfriend, Holly. Time traveling aside, he came across as a very normal guy and Julie Cross made him believable with his flaws and insecurities, too. I absolutely fell in love with him!
We all should know by now that I'm a sucker for a good romance and Tempest offered just that! Though Holly and Jackson were already in an established relationship (woot!), time traveling allowed a look into how they came together. Jackson's interactions with the younger 007 Holly were absolutely sweet, while the scenes with 009 Holly gave a feeling of familiarity and ease... Oh, and sexy times (woot again!)! Because of the shooting that kicks off the story, there was also a lot intensity as Jackson tried to deal with his guilt and worry. All of this made for a very happy me.
The most surprising aspect of this book was how full of heart it was. While it delivered on the action and excitement I anticipated, I was taken back by the multiple times I found myself getting weepy. Jackson goes through quite the emotional journey in regards to Holly, not knowing who to trust, and his family. His ability allows him to experience some eye-opening situations, bring closure to things he wishes he could have done differently, and mature.
As enjoyable as Tempest was, it definitely felt like an introduction to something much, much bigger -- in a good way. I can find it frustrating when details to the "big picture" are scarce and I can't get a feel for the direction the story is going, but Cross managed to fill this book with a thrilling adventure, while at the same time setting up and offering a glimpse of what's to come. Without giving away any details, at one point Jackson sees two very different futures and I can't wait to see how it all comes together to those points. It's going to be epic!
That ending? Let me go sob into my pillow. So perfect, so right, and yet absolutely heartbreaking. ARCs for books that I love always leave me feeling anxious for the next one, but the wait for this one already seems especially long... 2013?! Yikes. I will be waiting with a certain degree of misery to find out where the story goes next, but I have no doubt that Julie Cross will deliver with an equally amazing sequel.
As you might remember, Rae Carson’s The Girl of Fire and Thorns was a perfect fantasy read for me. I screamed, I squeed, I cried, I fangirled...I was pretty much the physical embodiment of exclamation points over it. Yes, it WAS that good and The Crown of Embers immediately became one of my most anticipated titles of 2012. Friends and I tried to track it down at BEA, I missed it at ALA by a day, and then, when I actually got the book in my hands on release day, work and real life got in the way so I didn’t get the chance to read it until recently, TWO WEEKS later. Agony, let me tell you! Anyway, enough personal anecdotes, The Crown of Embers was astonishing and, hello, yes, much gushing ahead!
First off, Rae Carson’s pacing was so energetic and intense. A LOT happens in The Crown of Embers, and it was easy to see that the stakes were much higher from the first chapter. From there on out, it was a complete adventure with Elisa, Hector, and everyone else and, HOLY CRAP, things got crazy! There were twists and turns, political drama, and so much danger. I was glued to the pages and only stepped away from the book when absolutely forced to. Needless to say, The Crown of Embers had my heart racing with every page turn.
Next is Elisa. MY QUEEN. I am so, so proud of her growth. She has so much weight on her shoulders, and it would be so easy for her to crumble under it, but instead she grows and matures. She demonstrated so much determination and courage, both in standing up for herself and her kingdom, and I continue to look forward to cheering her on. Trust me, Elisa is a character to admire.
And then, of course, there’s the romance. I won’t say a lot about it, but excuse this outburst here and now: OHMYGODOHMYGOD, SUCH PERFECTION. No, really, Rae Carson knows how to build a relationship based on mutual respect and admiration and I was completely crazy over it. I held my breath during their scenes because their chemistry was so palpable and, gah, more of this in my reads, por favor.
Basically, The Crown of Embers is such a quality read and I wish I could put this series into the hands of everyone I know. If you haven’t read it yet, please do so that I can have more people to gush with. Filled with great writing, adventure, romance, and a fierce heroine, this is one fantasy series that I cannot recommend enough.(less)
3.5 I was really hooked to the story, as it had the right amount of mystery and suspense, and I enjoyed the emotion, but I do wish the ending hadn't b...more3.5 I was really hooked to the story, as it had the right amount of mystery and suspense, and I enjoyed the emotion, but I do wish the ending hadn't been so rushed. Review to come.(less)
Despite the huge pile of books I have waiting to be read, I've been in a reading funk for about a week now with nothing being what I was in the mood f...moreDespite the huge pile of books I have waiting to be read, I've been in a reading funk for about a week now with nothing being what I was in the mood for. Possess arrived in my mailbox, and it stood out from everything else I currently had, so I decided to give it a go. I ended up loving it!
Creepy and suspenseful would be two words to describe it. Prior to reading it myself, I had read a few reviews that warned that there were some spooky moments in the book. I obviously didn't take them too seriously since I decided to start reading this late at night... I soon found myself feeling paranoid in my own room, afraid that something/someone was lurking in the shadows. While no moments were terrifying, there was definitely enough to get some goosebumps on my arms. Needless to say, Gretchen McNeil created a haunting atmosphere (in San Francisco! AKA one of my favorite places ever!) that made me feel that I was right there along with the main character, Bridget Liu.
I really loved Bridget. She was the right amount of snarky, prickly, tough, vulnerable, and loyal. Her dynamic with her family was interesting; she's still grieving over her father's murder, trying to figure out how to deal with her mom dating, and watching over her younger brother, Sammy. Her scenes with her best friend, Hector, were a highlight for me and I wish we had gotten more of them. And then there's Matt. What a sweet little romance! Their relationship never took over the story, but there was enough to get attached to them together. I thought Bridget dealt with her abilities in a believable way: uncertain, nervous, and all sorts of freaked out. It was great to see her grow more confident, though, and that, too, felt natural for her character.
There was only one issue I had with Possess and it was how it glossed over one event that I don't even want to hint at for fear of spoiling it somehow. While it was meant to move the mystery along, I think it lost some of its impact when the characters -- as well as myself -- seemed to forget all about it. Still, I can't say that the book suffered too much because of this. As I said, I did forget about it and that's due to the fact that McNeil kept her story going at such an excellent pace.
From what I understand, a sequel to Possess is in the works, but here's an awesome bit of info: this could easily be a standalone. Yay! There's a very clear beginning, middle, and end, with enough resolution that I wasn't left wanting to yank my hair out. However, I'm left wanting more! There's still a lot left to explore and I eagerly look forward to it.
I was going to wait to review S.J. Kincaid’s Insignia because, hey, July is still months away, but I figured there’s no harm in gushing over its brill...moreI was going to wait to review S.J. Kincaid’s Insignia because, hey, July is still months away, but I figured there’s no harm in gushing over its brilliance a little in advance. Before I received my copy, I thought it sounded interesting and I liked that it gave me somewhat of an Ender’s Game vibe. Although I was a little worried that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations, I made it my first read of the year and the pressure was on! You guys... I loved this book!
There are so many sci-fi reads where the government and world building just doesn’t ring true to me, but the one here? Spot on: full of corporate greed, bribery, and corruption. It wasn’t difficult at all to make parallels to our economic situation today.
Secondly, Insignia includes so much technology and it was effing COOL. I was on board as soon Tom as first played in the VR parlor, but it only got better from there: plugging in to download data (homework!), the meal bars, programming and, of course, the simulations; the list really goes on and on with all of the awesome and I was always eager to find out what S.J. Kincaid would introduce next.
And then there’s the cast of characters. They were diverse and had different backgrounds which I LOVED. It’s a true testament to S.J. Kincaid’s writing that I feel that her characters are my friends. I feel like such a cheeseball saying that, but the level of comfort that I felt with them at the Pentagonal Spire is not something I often encounter in my reads. I love characters, sure, and I grow attached to them, but what I encountered here can only be compared to what I felt with the trio in Harry Potter: inside jokes, familiarity, and a sense of belonging. There were so many moments where I burst out laughing due to their antics (this book is FUNNY!) and even more moments where I began to dread the end of the book. Missing them was immediate, but I’m glad there’s still more to come.
While, yes, this is the first book in a series, another thing to admire about Insignia is that S.J. Kincaid offered a clear beginning, middle, and end to the book. I am dying to make my return to the Pentagonal Spire with these characters, but that’s because of my love for her story and characters, and not because she left me suffering with an evil cliffhanger. There’s still much to explore, but I’m glad that S.J. Kincaid was able to have a full story arc take place.
Come July I will be pushing this book into as many hands as I possibly can. It’s such a refreshing, humorous, and thrilling read that I really hope it blows up into something huge... I have a good feeling that it will!
First, special thanks to Brodie for talking this one up because, if not for her, the book would have probably gone unnoticed by me. Sad times! Second,...moreFirst, special thanks to Brodie for talking this one up because, if not for her, the book would have probably gone unnoticed by me. Sad times! Second, if the summary, my review, whatever, piques your interest for Hunting Lila...definitely get your hands on a copy! It's such a fun read.
I have to admit that I wasn't quite feeling Lila's character at the beginning of the book. She was nice enough, but she obsessed over Alex. A lot. Yes, he's hot and amazing and all that good stuff, but I found myself thinking, "Jeez, Lila, calm down!" But then I had to give her a break... For one, she's seventeen! I cringe when I remember how I behaved at her age. Second, she's been disconnected from Alex (and her brother) so it made sense that she was a bit consumed by her feelings for him. Plus, yeah, Alex? He is hot stuff so I couldn't really blame her. If you're anything like me, you'll find yourself wishing that he and Lila would just get on with it. Ha! Anyway, while she continued to admire him throughout the course of the book, the focus of the story shifted to much more important things and I think Lila did some growing up as they unraveled.
Let's talk about Lila's ability -- she's telekinetic. Awesome, right? Well, not so much for Lila. Even when it keeps her safe at the beginning of the book, she's terrified of what she can do. She's being mugged, but instead of being relieved for her safety, she's worried about what she almost did to one of her muggers. Crazy! Her fear sends her running to Southern California which is where the story really kicks off. Despite her best attempts to be "normal", her emotions sometimes get the best of her which, in turn, only leads to her ability doing things out of her control (shutting doors, spaghetti incidents, etc). I loved how, even toward the end of the book, I had only a small glimpse of what Lila could do. She still wasn't comfortable with her telekinesis and was only just beginning to accept it as part of who she was.
The book took on some exciting turns as the mystery behind the death of Lila's mother came to the forefront. There were also some awesome side characters that surfaced during this time -- some with their own special abilities. As the summary says, "nothing and no one is quite as they seem" and it is SO true. And, again, it's only the beginning of this storyline so I'm excited to see where Sarah Alderson takes it next.
I must be in the mood to get spooked because, along with Possess, this did just that!
Let me just start off by saying that I loved Cas! He was so charm...moreI must be in the mood to get spooked because, along with Possess, this did just that!
Let me just start off by saying that I loved Cas! He was so charming and funny and, despite the fact that he has an unconventional occupation with his ghost hunting, Kendare Blake did an excellent job having him come across as a real teenage boy with his language, reactions, and behavior. The supporting cast was awesome as well -- Carmel was especially surprising for me -- because they allowed Cas's layers to be peeled back and it was great to see him form attachments where he least expected them.
Some of the darkness in the book really took me by surprise! It's not that it was extremely graphic or detailed, but I'm so used to a lot of YA tip-toeing around any violence. Though the summary obviously told me that Anna killed, it was shocking to see her in action. I definitely had an "Oh crap!" moment during Cas's first visit to her house. Similarly, her story was haunting. What happened to her was awful and absolutely damaging.
As you might know by now, I love a good romantic storyline in most of my reads, but I have to say that I wasn't quite feeling this one. I enjoyed Anna and Cas's bond, and I loved them individually, but together? Ehhh. Sure, there were some sweet moments, but I felt that turning their relationship into a romantic one was unnecessary. Maybe it was because I had seen Anna's violent moments, but I found the development between them to be rather "yikes!" worthy. It seemed to come up quickly and I didn't quite understand it... Perhaps I'll enjoy it more in the next book.
So, yes, there will be a sequel, but I thought Anna Dressed in Blood wrapped up well enough on its own while still leaving me wanting more. Definitely give this book a try -- I think it will be a pleasant surprise for everyone who reads it. You might want to keep the lights on though!
Anna Dressed in Blood was fantastically spooky so I was very eager to get my read on with Kendare Blake’s sequel, Girl of Nightmares. It’s hard to say which book I liked more, but I can definitely say that Girl of Nightmares was just as creepy and fun as the first book.
First up: Cas, I missed you! Kendare Blake continued to write his character with such an authentic teenage boy voice. He’s snarky, dramatic, and he curses -- A LOT. I’ve been in one of those weird reading funks again, but it was so easy to get caught up in Cas’s adventures because his character is so charismatic.
Along with Cas, Carmel and Thomas were great to see again. This trio continued to have several hilarious moments that had me laughing late into the night, but I also came to appreciate the depth of their friendship. They don’t deal with easy stuff and I really liked that Kendare Blake explored how difficult and straining that can be.
The main mystery of Girl of Nightmares was finding out where Anna went after the events in Anna Dressed in Blood. There is plenty of creepy between the two books, but I found Girl of Nightmares to be somewhat more unsettling because Cas deals with a lot of his fears internally. There are still several moments of “in your face” creepiness, though, so worry not if that’s what you’re looking forward to.
Finally, there’s the ending. Could Kendare Blake write a more brilliant conclusion? Maybe, but it’s hard to imagine because what she has already is so perfect. I’m going to miss these characters, but I am so in love with how their story wrapped. I’ll eagerly look forward to reading what Kendare Blake writes next. (less)
After having loved Jennifer L. Armentrout's Half-Blood, I had been very much looking forward to whatever she came out with next. Obsidian was an excel...moreAfter having loved Jennifer L. Armentrout's Half-Blood, I had been very much looking forward to whatever she came out with next. Obsidian was an excellent second book to follow up with, in my opinion. If I had to choose one word to describe it, it would be "fun." Armentrout succeeded in making this a highly enjoyable read with the right amount of chemistry between her two leads, laugh out loud humor, and rising suspense and mystery.
Following the death of her father, Katy and her mother move out to a small town in West Virginia. She was sure that boredom would ensue, but then things got interesting once she met Daemon, her next door neighbor. Daemon is... an interesting piece of work, but I admired Katy for holding up against him. With every nasty word that came out of his mouth, Katy shot it right back in his face and it was hilarious seeing them get under each other's skin. There was one particular scene where I gave Katy a mental high five for really managing to one-up him. Anyway, yes, I have a soft spot for those love/hate relationships and this one definitely delivered with the growing chemistry between the two.
While I immediately took a liking to Katy, Daemon took some time to get used to. I was a little taken back by how mean he could be! Not that I would excuse his actions, and there were definitely moments when I wanted to kick him in the face, but I loved that it was all (mostly) due to his absolute need to protect his sister, Dee. Despite how hot and cold he could be, his devotion to his sister never wavered and that, my friends, gave him major points in my book.
The romance wasn't over-the-top and lovey-dovey. In truth, it was a lot of hair pulling and annoying the crap out of each other. But it worked! I was hooked and Armentrout knows how to write those steamy scenes really well... I think there's a good setup happening between Katy and Daemon for the next book and I'm dying to see how it plays out.
As for the alien stuff, I liked how straight forward it was. Armentrout didn't bog down their backstories with unnecessary details that would have gone over my head and/or bored me and they were just, overall, very cool. There were definitely some good action scenes and it was awesome seeing what her aliens could do.
The book did include some familiar elements, such as the missing parental figures, and there was a certain degree of predictability with the romance and scifi stuff, but I still found myself completely engaged with Obsidian. As proven with Half-Blood, and now this, Armentrout does an excellent job of keeping the energy moving in her novels and I know I'll love any future books from her. When can I get my hands on them?!
Despite this being a fairytale retelling, Marissa Meyer succeeded in making Cinder a refreshing read. There were some familiar elements included throu...moreDespite this being a fairytale retelling, Marissa Meyer succeeded in making Cinder a refreshing read. There were some familiar elements included throughout, such as the ball, but Meyer kept her story moving forward with sci-fi technology, a plague-ridden New Beijing (and world), an evil Lunar queen, and some political intrigue. I was hooked from the first page and this is a series I will eagerly look forward to with each installment.
We’re all familiar with the original fairytale so it should be to no one’s surprise that our main character, Cinder, lives and works under the control of her stepmother. The difference here, however, is that Cinder is a cyborg, which only adds to the many reasons Adri dislikes her. Instead of being super depressed and mopey, though, Cinder is very much an individual with her own hopes and aspirations. Even as things fall apart around her -- and they really do -- she keeps herself collected and motivated. I can easily appreciate the kickass ways from other YA heroines, but what I loved about Cinder is that her fierceness was a lot more subtle.
The side characters were great, too, and elicited strong reactions from me. Iko, Cinder’s android friend, was hilarious and I loved each of her scenes. Cinder’s relationship with Peony, her younger stepsister, was one that definitely tugged at my heart strings. Adri, the stepmother, was a character I disliked for mistreating Cinder, but her reasons felt very real to me. In a weird, twisted way, I could maybe understand where she was coming from. As for the Lunar queen, Levana...YIKES. Creepy, creepy and I can’t wait to uncover more details about her and the Lunar people.
Then, of course, there’s the love interest in the form of one Prince Kai. The book is light on the kissing and other romance-ish stuff, but that didn’t stop me from growing attached to the scenes between him and Cinder. I loved the development between the two, how sweet it was, and how their friendship only continued to grow based on mutual respect. I also -- surprisingly -- enjoyed the shift to Kai’s POV. I’m usually one to scrunch my nose when these changes happen in other books, but the third person narration, as well as the further insight into his character, definitely helped in this case. Kai carries a lot of responsibility on his shoulders and it was tough having to see him deal with very difficult situations. Above everything, though, he’s a good leader and, even when I found myself screaming “Nooooo!!!!” at him, I had to admire his actions and how dedicated he was to his people. Welcome to the fictional boyfriend list, Kai.
The upcoming books in the Lunar Chronicles will introduce other fairytale characters: Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Rapunzel. They, along with Cinder, will come together to fight against Levana. Sounds cool, right? Meyer wove a unique, creative story here and I’m looking forward to seeing how she continues to spin these familiar stories and characters into something new and exciting. This is definitely a new favorite series for me and I urge you to pick up Cinder when it is released on January 3rd!
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers is WIN ALL AROUND. Right after starting it, my immediate thought was, “This is the book I’ve been waiting for.”
A premise...moreGrave Mercy by Robin LaFevers is WIN ALL AROUND. Right after starting it, my immediate thought was, “This is the book I’ve been waiting for.”
A premise like this one requires an amazing main character and Robin LaFevers absolutely delivered with Ismae. The reader would have to be evil to not sympathize with what she had to endure under her father’s roof and, then, the life she barely escaped with her foul husband. I wanted good things for her and, thankfully, she is taken to a convent to serve Death Himself. There, Ismae is trained in combat, poisons, and seduction to become an assassin. Awesome, right? I attended schools with nuns for most of my education and I WISH things had been this cool. But, anyway, through it all, Ismae retains her goodness and she goes on quite the character arc in Grave Mercy. Both smart and kickass, Ismae is a top quality main character.
Robin LaFevers offers so much detail in her writing. Set in 15th century Brittany, she easily transported me into the time period and I am in awe of all the research she must have had to do. I must admit that I only have so much patience for political and court drama, but Robin LaFevers managed to keep me hooked through all of the twists and turns she spun in Grave Mercy.
Duval is the love interest in the book and words cannot describe how much I loved his relationship with Ismae. Can you say: SWOON CITY? There was plenty of bickering and distrust in the beginning, but then came the mutual respect and friendship and I was...a goner. Look up “slow burn” in the dictionary and I’m sure you’d find “Ismae and Duval” right next to it! These two had killer chemistry and I ate it all up.
A strong heroine, a developed romance, some action and magic, court intrigue, political drama...Grave Mercy has it all! If that wasn’t enough, I really became attached to some of the side characters and I cannot wait to find out more about them in the next installments. Robin LaFevers has an exciting series in her hands and I eagerly look forward to Dark Triumph and Dark Hope.
This book was terrifying. I decided to start reading it before I had to head off to work and it was nearly impossible to pry myself away from it when...moreThis book was terrifying. I decided to start reading it before I had to head off to work and it was nearly impossible to pry myself away from it when it was time to go. I needed to know how Abby's story ended.
Though I did feel some sympathy for her, I must say that I was more than a little put off by Abby at the beginning. It was frustrating to see her so down about every little thing. Yes, at her age everything seems to be the end of the world, but nothing seemed to be that horrible to me. Was it really surprising to her that her parents would be disappointed by her bad grades? Some of the pressure from them was unnecessary, sure, but really now. It was easier to empathize with her growing distance from her best friend, Faith, as well as her transition into high school. It became obvious that she wasn't one for change and, as most of us know, high school can really shake things up a bit.
I can understand that Abby found a semblance of normalcy and stability with Luke but, for someone who apparently knew all about the dangers of internet predators, I thought she fell into his trap a bit quickly. I'm probably way too harsh on her because I obviously knew what she was getting herself into, but I really can't wrap my head around how she was okay with some of his behavior, knowing that he was significantly older than her. How could she not put the pieces together?! Littman very much surprised me by not holding back in this novel. Some of Luke and Abby's interactions were explicit and, as much as they made me want to throw up, they also made this reading experience very real.
I started using the internet when I was a little younger than Abby and this book made me SO grateful that I never got myself into a situation like hers. I can't even imagine getting to that point and I really hope this book opens the eyes for some readers about their online activities and the people they interact with. This is a definite must-read.
I went into Just One Day expecting to be swooning over the romance between the two characters, Allyson and Willem, but instead Gayle Forman had me gripped to Allyson’s journey of self-discovery. As much as I love a good romantic storyline, this focus made for a very gratifying read in a different way.
Allyson was an easy character to relate to -- especially when I found her completely frustrating. While I could be sympathetic to her situation, there were points when I was internally screaming, “GET IT TOGETHER, GIRL.” And yet... I knew exactly what she was going through because Gayle Forman made the pressures and the disappointments that she faced very real. Allyson didn’t immediately bounce back from what she was dealing with, but she certainly grew and gradually allowed herself to be open to change. It was in those moments that I found myself really loving her because, no, things weren’t going to be smooth sailing just because, but she was willing to try. Gayle Forman has such a good grasp on the ups and downs of growing up and had Allyson navigating through in a realistic way.
I expect Gayle Forman will peel back the layers of Willem’s character in Just One Year, but I must say that I wasn’t too into him in this one. He’s mysterious for sure, but he’s simply too unpredictable for my tastes. I don’t know that I can really get behind the urgency between him and Allyson either, but I’ll wait and see what Gayle Forman has up her sleeve before I completely make up my mind.
While I may not have had an adventure abroad like Allyson (anyone want to sponsor me?), Just One Day is a book I found much to identify with. Oh, and that ending? NEXT BOOK NOW, PLEASE. (less)
On first glance of the summary, I expected Larkstorm to be like the normal dystopian fare that is so popular nowadays. I was looking forward to seeing...moreOn first glance of the summary, I expected Larkstorm to be like the normal dystopian fare that is so popular nowadays. I was looking forward to seeing how Dawn Rae Miller would make her storyline fresh and unique, but I was still pleasantly surprised by the different approach she took with her book. Many dystopian elements are present in the story, but magic, the factions that broke apart because of it, and an unbreakable friendship are very much the central focus here.
After the Long Winter, the State has fought against the Sensitives, aka those with special powers. But not all is as it seems! I really liked the way Miller depicted the two groups at the forefront. On the surface they were initially given the usual "good" and "evil" characterizations, but as Miller peeled back the layers of her story, it was revealed that all of their motivations and actions weren't so clear cut. Lark was a very relatable main character and I appreciated the internal conflict that Miller had her go through in regards to Beck, her family, and her other friends. I was just as equally unsure of who to place my trust in and that made for an engaging read!
Although it was made clear that Beck and Lark have a strong connection, and that they would go to many lengths to protect each other, I do wish there had been a deeper development between the two. The circumstances of their situation made sense of the distance they had to keep, but I felt that Beck was mostly on the outside and that I didn't get to know his character as much as I would have liked. Still, in the moments the two did share, I did enjoy their chemistry. I found myself mentally willing them to break the rules just a little more for my sake and, while it didn't quite happen in this installment, I hold hope that Miller will push them a further in the next one.
Larkstorm will be released on December 6 and it will be available on e-book via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and, I'm sure, other retailers. I will update this post when I have the links. If you're looking for a different direction in your dystopian reads, definitely give this a go!
Susan Dennard’s Something Strange and Deadly pulled me in with its idea of zombies in a Victorian setting, but it kept me hooked due to its consistent fast pace, the intriguing mystery that carried throughout the course of the novel, and its energetic leading lady, Eleanor Fitt.
As soon as I began the story, Susan Dennard enveloped me in the atmosphere of her world. How could it not, with the Dead making an appearance at the train depot where Eleanor is waiting for her brother, Elijah? They were a different type of zombie than the ones I have grown used to -- with a necromancer raising and controlling them in this case -- but this only added to the layers of the mystery. Who is the necromancer? For what purpose are they raising the dead? And, most importantly, how are Eleanor and her brother connected to it all? Susan Dennard effortlessly kept the momentum going throughout the entire book; I never felt that the story stalled because everything that happened tied directly into the main mystery and I eagerly wanted to uncover all the details.
My favorite part of the book? ELEANOR!! Okay, I loved the entire cast, especially the Spirit-Hunters, I loved the curveballs Susan Dennard threw in regarding a few other characters, and, of course, I loved the development between Eleanor and her love interest, but Eleanor was the highlight for me. She’s determined, feisty, clever and self-reliant and it’s always great to have such a strong lead to root for. After a certain event that happened towards the end of the book, I’ll be cheering her on even MORE in the upcoming installments because she tackles difficult situations head on, without letting them overwhelm or define her. Eleanor Fitt is definitely a character to admire.
If you’re looking for an exciting adventure and an amazing heroine, Something Strange and Deadly is definitely a book to pick up. There are so many possibilities for what’s ahead in A Darkness Strange and Lovely and I can’t wait to find out what Susan Dennard has up her sleeve. (less)