I would like to lock Lauren DeStefano in an attic so she does nothing other than turn out charming middle grade novels for the rest of her life. But II would like to lock Lauren DeStefano in an attic so she does nothing other than turn out charming middle grade novels for the rest of her life. But I suppose that would be unreasonable.
You'll love this book if the sad, tender pull between Liesl and Po tugged at your emotions, if you delighted in the dark humor and dire dangers of the Lemony Snicket series, or if you shivered ever so slightly at the delicious creepiness of The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. This book is so comfortably appropriate for children (though perhaps best read reassuringly curled up against a loved one, for both comfort and discussion of serious topics--parents might also consider reading it first before giving it to younger children), even as it doesn't shy away from intelligent use of language or touching on scary topics. The real world can be a sad, scary place, after all. The author's preface was also very moving--the idea of this young cousin of hers clutching a beloved book for security after a death in the family brought a tear to my eye.
Review to come. I loved this, and am so looking forward to book two. I hope the author writes many more middle grade books in the future--particularly ones that so deftly show her rather infamous sense of humor, as well as a glimpse of her heart....more
Remember how I was just saying I wanted a YA thriller that would actually, you know, thrill me? Here it is.
Those who liked certain elements of CharmRemember how I was just saying I wanted a YA thriller that would actually, you know, thrill me? Here it is.
Those who liked certain elements of Charm & Strange and Wild Awake might like this, and certainly you'll like it if you enjoy books like Dangerous Girls. Not a perfect book, but a really, really good one, so I'm bumping it up in star ratings in support. I had never heard of Nick Lake until now, but I'm definitely reading his other books! Review to come. ...more
There is a giveaway for 2 QOS tote bags + books as well.
Kim and I will also be doing a joint review discussion on the blog soon. I'm refraining from responding to further comments on this review space for the time being while I collect my thoughts, but I thank you guys so much for the discussion and passion for these books, and look forward to continuing later. See you back here in a bit, I'll post the link when it's up!
I stayed up all night reading this, and these are the only coherent things I can say at this point:
1. The women in this series are PHENOMENAL. Holy hell, I swear fealty to them until the end of my days.
2. The new characters are fantastic! There is such complexity and poignancy in each of their stories, and I loved every single one of them, as well as what Aelin's interactions with them showed about her character.
3. More descriptions of sleeping under a wyvern's wing, please. <3
4. I have issues with the way a couple of things are handled--most strongly and specifically, how poor Chaol is almost unrecognizable for most of this book. Even though I can accept misunderstandings, mistakes, differences of opinion, cross-purposes, and so on, it makes me so sad that his story arc seemed to be so diminished and dishonored.
5. But the thing I didn't think I could be talked into, I'm actually totally on board with. I get why people might be upset by (view spoiler)[Rowan and Aelin getting together, and maybe if there hadn't been so much previous back and forth with Dorian and Chaol, and if Chaol hadn't pretty much disavowed Aelin through most of this book, the new relationship would've been more palatable (hide spoiler)], but I'm pretty happy with the way the way the big change develops and is described in and of itself.
6. This book also made me cry. Like gasping sobs in the middle of the night that I had to stifle so I wouldn't wake my husband. I teared up at several points, but the graveyard scene was the one where I just lost it. (view spoiler)[Sam still hurts my heart, so I was unbearably moved that his presence is so deeply felt in this book. I didn't expect it. (hide spoiler)] *bawls all over again*
Also, the badass action scenes! Aelin! Her suit and weapons! The magic! MANON. And bathtub scenes, heeeey. More at some point when I'm not half-dead with lack of sleep.
I went into this with a certain amount of dread, but much to my surprise, this is the book that has the happiest ending out of all of them. This just means more torture is in store in future books, obviously, but for now...bliss.
** PLEASE. Use spoiler tags in the comments below if you want to talk about anything that could even remotely spoil the reading experience for someone else. Thank you!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I don't even care, I can't stop thinking about this book so I'm bumping my original 4.5 star rating to a 5. Plus it made me cry! I don't think anotherI don't even care, I can't stop thinking about this book so I'm bumping my original 4.5 star rating to a 5. Plus it made me cry! I don't think another 2014 book has done that this year.
I cannot believe these were written as prequels, they give readers such an enormous breadth of understanding for Celaena's character and history, as well as enormous sympathy for what she's been through, faults and all.
Strong 3.5 stars Cadie does something incredibly stupid--she goes on a road trip with two boys she's known for half a day (and a distant friend). I alStrong 3.5 stars Cadie does something incredibly stupid--she goes on a road trip with two boys she's known for half a day (and a distant friend). I also think it's almost too easy to guess the culprit.
And yet because the writing and characterization are strong, and because the thriller aspects are largely plausible, this one works. And works well. What makes this truly worth reading, however:
-- reaaaaaallly great chemistry. You'll wanna grab somebody and make out with them while you're reading this, except you'd have to put down the book. -- camping, bonfires, skinny-dipping, and all kinds of other things that are fun to read about. Oh, and secret late-night pie runs! -- very sex-positive, feminist thinking that's integrated (mostly) seamlessly into the story. Girls need to hear these positive reinforcement messages more often.
I'm picky about thrillers, especially YA ones. But this one is entertaining and keeps you on your toes, even if you do guess what's going on. (view spoiler)[But I'll admit, I think things felt a little rushed from actual discovery to the end, with the big climax feeling somehow both a little over the top and not entirely satisfying. Plus, people getting chomped by gators are always gonna have me rolling my eyes a bit. I know, I know, it's Florida. Can't help it. (hide spoiler)]
Probably a bit more of a review closer to release. But I liked it. I liked it a lot.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
4.5 stars Tamlin is going to set your loins aflame. Phew! My cheeks are still flushed.
I'm also fairly confident this book is going to help change the4.5 stars Tamlin is going to set your loins aflame. Phew! My cheeks are still flushed.
I'm also fairly confident this book is going to help change the face of new adult fiction. How awesome to see gifted writers shaping non-contemporary stories that have the coming of age/youthful perspective and vibe of YA books and combine that with the freedom that writing for an older target audience affords them. If you liked the mood and romance of (the excellent) CRUEL BEAUTY but perhaps mourned the missed opportunities of such a seductive premise, ACOTAR more than satisfies. (view spoiler)[ BITE MY NECK SOME MORE, SIR. (hide spoiler)]
Plus stunning action and gorgeous imagery and interesting characters, including a fascinating anti-hero I'm looking forward to learning more about. Serious Darkling vibes, my friends.
Maybe more of a review closer to release. If I can calm my racing pulse before then. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
3.5 stars, which would have been 4 stars full of praise were it not for one crucial point.
I almost never read books involving Hollywood/star types, be3.5 stars, which would have been 4 stars full of praise were it not for one crucial point.
I almost never read books involving Hollywood/star types, because I worked in entertainment for a long time and most stories include cringe-worthy misconceptions or shallow portrayals of both the industry and the people involved. So how awesome it is to find a book that avoids the usual cliches and forges characters and relationships that feel like real ones--and it also takes the unusual position of the BFF to the famous person rather than the POV of the shiny star herself. Reagan and Dee's friendship feels incredibly close and mutually loving and supportive, and I loved how both of them were at their best with each other.
Beyond that, this book also humanizes celebrities in a way that's very rare--to the point that, combined with the many spot-on details about day to day life and career/image decisions, it made me wonder if the author had actually had some first hand knowledge of this type of relationship. Turns out, she's just done her homework, and is just very observant. The touring music star thing is really well done, and there's enough detail there that it feels grounded/real in a way that most books involving stars do not.
I'm surprised, however, that a story that is so clear-eyed about that the difficulties of a friend/celeb dynamic gave us a heroine with such an unfortunate lack of empathy for every single other teenage girl who is not her BFF. I'm not someone who's always especially sensitive to slut-shaming in the instances where it's called out in other books, but with this one I was pretty turned off by the behavior. It happened so often---really, it happened without fail whenever any other girl showed up--and was not balanced by positive peer to peer interaction (other than with Dee), so it became extremely difficult to look past it. And really, we shouldn't. We shouldn't be "othering" other girls to this extent, certainly not based on first glance and no other evidence. Sure, we've all had knee-jerk unkind thoughts, especially if we're feeling insecure or our backgrounds contribute to that. But if this ugliness colors every single interaction and a person/character never grows out of blaming/denigrating other girls, it's not excusable.
(And while I understand the portrayals of Dee's publicist, grooming, and management team for the most part, particularly filtered through a rebellious BFF's eyes, I do wish we'd also seen more positive interactions on that front.)
Obviously the Dee team is not the focus of the book, however, and Matt Finch also makes up for some of that--he's pretty darned cute, and I was on board with his romance with Reagan. I was even okay with the drama that pops up later, although you could see it coming from a mile away. I also loved the Dee/Jimmy back story and how that ended up. This is such a strong contemporary in so many exceptional ways, and had it not been for the character's inexplicable and disproportionate attitude towards other girls, I would have rated this higher without any other reservations. (I had zero problems with any other aspects of Reagan's character, including her history or other behaviors that might generally be considered "unlikeable." I get her.)
Still, this is an author to watch and Open Road Summer is a very strong debut. The writing is evocative and sets the right mood for each scene, and I found myself eager to return to it whenever I had to set it down. I just want to see more stories that empower girls without feeling the need to constantly disparage others....more
3.5 stars Cute! Wasn't a huge fan of the actual "going vintage" part, and there were things that were strangely glossed over. But I like Mallory and h3.5 stars Cute! Wasn't a huge fan of the actual "going vintage" part, and there were things that were strangely glossed over. But I like Mallory and her relationships with her family and friends, and I like Oliver, too. Bonus points for characters who behave as they should (well, except for Jeremy, of course.)
Would definitely try another book by this author. ...more