After a rocky start, this ended up being an enjoyably pretty, almost fairy tale-like story.
I did not enjoy the first half of this novel, however. I fAfter a rocky start, this ended up being an enjoyably pretty, almost fairy tale-like story.
I did not enjoy the first half of this novel, however. I feel like I keep complaining about the same problems in YA books over and over lately, so here are a few quotes that allow the book to speak for itself:
I simply found works of fiction too...fictitious. (MC)
"You have my full blessing. I lose interest in boys the minute I have sex with them. It's like magic! We do it, and poof! They become boring to me." She smiled placidly.
[After a boy says 5 sentences of introduction]: My throat tightened as I looked into Leo's sincere, light-filled eyes. He's brilliant, I realized. His was a brilliance that transcended grades or SAT scores. He was unlike any boy I had ever known. (MC)
I also disliked the society-type teen names (T.J. Illingworth, Macon, Lyndon), the brand name-dropping, the new cartoony friends that Miranda makes on the island, and I wasn't all too sure I cared one way or the next about Miranda herself. Who says snotty stuff like "I find fiction too fictitious," anyway? Someone who needs a good shaking, that's who. I kept going because I really do love the idea of stories that involve sea-people and I have yet to find a really good YA one; plus this was recommended to me by the lovely Lora.
I'm glad I kept reading, because the second half of the book is much better! The story finally got off the ground, and I ended up liking Leo quite a bit and the relationship between him and Miranda became sort of cute and dreamy. I liked the way the paranormal stuff was handled here--very lightly and mysteriously and ambiguously--but I do wish more of it had been introduced sooner. There is an underwater sequence that is pretty cool, too.
I'm not really sure if there will be a sequel or not, but I'd check it out if there was one. But I hope that it is better edited than the first half of this book was, however, most of which could have been chucked right out the window. Also...Selkie Island? (view spoiler)[If you say the word "selkie" to me, there had better be a seal showing up somewhere, somehow! (hide spoiler)]
This is such an odd, lovely little book. The usual magic and mystery at a boarding school, a most unfortunately named heroine,I like cat-smiles. <3
This is such an odd, lovely little book. The usual magic and mystery at a boarding school, a most unfortunately named heroine, a romance that creeps steadily up on you, and incredibly strange, touching bird/cat POVs! None of it should work, and yet it does. The pacing was a bit uneven, and at times I wished for a bit more from certain scenes, but overall, a really wonderful debut. You might like this if you enjoyed Blythewood.
Kim's review is the one that persuaded me to read this: http://www.themidnightgarden.net/2014... with her promises of wish-granting feral space cats, and being that she's the one who got me to the only two books that have made me cry this year, I was right to trust her with this one.
3.5 stars I'd love to hang out with Katla LeBlanc. She's just moved from LA to frozen Minnesota, where the fashion scene is non-existent and the weird3.5 stars I'd love to hang out with Katla LeBlanc. She's just moved from LA to frozen Minnesota, where the fashion scene is non-existent and the weirdly wonderful ladies of the Icelandic Stork Society insist that she is destined to be part of their mysterious clan. I absolutely love Kat's voice, which is smart and funny and made me laugh out loud several times. It's such a nice change when there's humor in YA paranormal novels and I think the author shows a lot of promise in possibly becoming another Rachel Hawkins or Lish McBride.
I really enjoyed learning about Icelandic customs and the author makes the frozen midwest sound absolutely beautiful. What I did find a little confusing, however, are the paranormal aspects of the book. The beginning induction scene is very cool, but there's not much that's done with Katla's gift after that in this particular book. After a strong start, the story goes off the path and focuses primarily on how she's fitting in at her new school, which involves drama with her onetime hook-up Wade, as well as the confusing signals she's getting from the attractive but standoffish Jack.
The basis of this gift Katla has is also just plain weird. This story is loosely based on Norse mythology and inspired by some elements of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, though the author really has created her own unique mythology. Kat has the responsibility of deciding who gets pregnant in her small town, and there are four possible candidates whose futures she touches in her dreams. It's such an intriguing but strange concept for a YA novel, and since that plot line doesn't really get tied up in this first book, I'm not really sure where the author is going with this idea.
I liked that Katla is a flawed but sympathetic protagonist, however. She's a good friend and has a great, though believably conflicted, relationship with both of her divorced parents. I also really liked Katla (I keep wanting to type Katsa here) and Jack together--they are adorably cute as a couple, which is a good thing since so much time is spent on them. I will say that it always makes me uneasy when there's such a "I'm meant to be with you forever" feel in teen relationships, but I'm willing to accept it here since it's part of the mythology of what's going on.
This is a pretty quick and entertaining read, despite the regrettably cartoony showdown at the end of the book that doesn't really seem to fit in with the rest of it. To make the series really great, however, the author will need to develop the paranormal parts more fully in the next installment Frost. I hope the brand name dropping is toned down a bit, too; I really hate this trend in YA, and while I was more okay with it here because of Katla's interest in fashion, after awhile it still grated on my nerves to read about her endless array of designer clothes and accessories. Some authors may need to rely on that to add texture and interest to their books, but this one doesn't.
Still, I like Katla quite a lot and I'm looking forward to seeing where the story will take her next....more
This is a great bonus story for fans of the Soul Screamers series. Unlike many of the discounted/freebie novellas that authors release, this one reallThis is a great bonus story for fans of the Soul Screamers series. Unlike many of the discounted/freebie novellas that authors release, this one really enhances the story arc and provides a different and more balanced perspective. It's fun to be inside Tod's head and I was surprised at how touching some of the scenes were. I've always liked this character, but this novella made me understand and enjoy him even more.
This novella is a especially meaningful for fans as the series heads into If I Die, as I think Tod's going to be playing a pretty pivotal role in the story to come....more
I am amazed at these glowing reviews. I found this book far-fetched, melodramatic, and lacking in any sense of genuine emotion. None of the charactersI am amazed at these glowing reviews. I found this book far-fetched, melodramatic, and lacking in any sense of genuine emotion. None of the characters are fully developed and they serve mainly as plot devices for a poorly structured, ludicrous story....more
**spoiler alert** This review is for all three books, since I think most people will check Book 1 to see if they should begin a series.
This series has**spoiler alert** This review is for all three books, since I think most people will check Book 1 to see if they should begin a series.
This series has a really fascinating set-up, and I liked a number of the characters, including Valek and Janco and Ari. It took me a long time to get through the first book, however, and I probably would not have kept going if I hadn't purchased all three books as a Kindle bundle.
I found the language difficult to get used to, since it veered between a rather mannered, old-fashioned style (no doubt to make it seem as if it might have taken place in a different time/place) and very young, very modern teen-speak. I had a hard time remembering that Yelena was supposed to be 18 since some circumstances and things make her seem very adult (her job, her boyfriend, etc) while others made her seem like a 13-year-old (the language, many of her decisions, etc). As the books went on, the action and plotting became less believable and pretty scattered, and I felt less and less engaged by what was going on.
The biggest flaw, however, was the way the books were written. While there's decent sentence structure and such, there are often long, unbroken blocks of text where things are explained or described at great length. Most importantly, there is a weird emotional distance in the way the author writes and you never really feel attached to Yelena or empathize with what's going on. There is a lot of telling rather than showing, and many significant events (reuniting with a mother and father you haven't seen in 14 years, for example) aren't written with the kind of impact you would expect. Many things are just plain illogical, too--I mean, if you hadn't so much as kissed a boy or looked into his eyes longingly even once, would you really just reach around and undo his pants in a time/setting like this? Many of these set-ups just don't ring true.
Even things that start out sort of cute (Yelena talks to her horse) become ridiculous by the third book. What began as the projection of simple thoughts and images and communication spun into the horse providing her with an idea for bribing another character with honey, the horse taking revenge on someone on Yelena's behalf, etc. Waaay over the top.
I really wanted to like this series, but in the end, it just didn't do it for me. ...more
Interesting concept, some funny dialogue, a fun relationship with her best friend Beanie..but other than that, very little happens, there's no tensionInteresting concept, some funny dialogue, a fun relationship with her best friend Beanie..but other than that, very little happens, there's no tension, and it never feels like anything big is at stake. The book pretty much just ends--spoiler, they just switch back--and that's that. Pretty pointless. ...more
This is one of the more polished and well-written indie YAs I've read. The Mind Readers is a fast-paced, entertaining read with a likable heroine in CThis is one of the more polished and well-written indie YAs I've read. The Mind Readers is a fast-paced, entertaining read with a likable heroine in Cameron Winters, who knows the most intimate and frightening secrets of those around her. The book moves along at a brisk pace with a plot concerning a murder mystery, a training facility for kids with supernatural powers, and the investigative society who is out to stop them.
Some of the secondary characters could have been fleshed out a little more, as well as the subplot involving the younger children. It's also a little disconcerting that there are few mentions or thoughts of Cam's previous life once she leaves her hometown for the island, though she has good reason for leaving. But the book ultimately succeeds in being a very short, fun read by a promising author new to the YA genre. There is a terrific bang of an ending in which you know something very important that the main character doesn't, and for the price of $2.99 on Amazon, this e-book is a bargain. I'm looking forward to the next installment!...more
Intriguing start and concept, and a strong relationship with her brother...but things got confusing very fast. The drama just wasn't played out in a cIntriguing start and concept, and a strong relationship with her brother...but things got confusing very fast. The drama just wasn't played out in a compelling manner, and the relationship took me by surprise because it seemed so creepy at first! It did get better as it progressed, but mostly because it's hard to resist a guy who's so selfless. Caspia is fine and somewhat interesting, but...it's easy understand why she liked him, but it was harder to really define why he gave up so much for her. The writing is actually very strong, particularly in passages relating to her brother, but it's a little mannered at times in a way which is sort of strange.
Overall, a promising premise for a book that just wasn't plotted in a unique or interesting way. This is the author's indie debut and one of those times when an editor could have really helped tighten up the story and heighten the tension. It might be interesting to see what she comes up with in the future....more
Meh. This isn't a bad book by any means, but there's no new material covered in it. Boarding school, check. Mysterious boy, check. Girl adjusts to newMeh. This isn't a bad book by any means, but there's no new material covered in it. Boarding school, check. Mysterious boy, check. Girl adjusts to new powers, check. Rundown of kids with different psychic abilities, check. Etc, etc...so the relationships, the characters, the way everything gets done better be really pretty interesting. Unfortunately, aside from one lovely scene involving a moon and a first date, there's not much emotional depth or originality here--and the plotting/action isn't very interesting, either. After awhile, the overuse of brand name-dropping also got really old. What is it with this trend in YA lit? She's wealthy. We get it....more