When people ask about biggest fears, I'm always the odd one out when I don't name Losing a Loved One. And I don't count that as my biggest fear becaus...moreWhen people ask about biggest fears, I'm always the odd one out when I don't name Losing a Loved One. And I don't count that as my biggest fear because it's a Fear-That-Must-Not-Be-Named. I don't like to think about it (why put that out into the universe?) because it's awful. That made this story a tough read, but it's meaningful like all honest stories are. Conor's monster is more than just fear, his story is complex and his truth is laid bare.
Toward the end I kept expecting to turn to an image of the author pointing at me and laughing hard, maybe some beverage coming out of her nose. Becaus...moreToward the end I kept expecting to turn to an image of the author pointing at me and laughing hard, maybe some beverage coming out of her nose. Because I had just been duped into caring about a ZOMBIE—several zombies, even. I only found the rest of the book, though, no “Gotcha!” image. And dammit if I don’t still care.
Dearly, Departed takes place in the 22nd century after a series of disasters forced mass relocations of the world’s populations and survival of the fittest. When the smoke cleared, these tribes banded together to reestablish society. The forefathers of New Victoria decided to model life after the earlier Victorian era in looks, language, and behavior. They weren’t without a love of technology, though, and that was the Punks’ greatest complaint. The Punks are a tribe of people who felt that dependency on tech would be a fatal mistake. They farm, value ingenuity, and depend on more old fashioned steam technologies. The strife between the two groups is the stuff of both history lessons and current headlines.
It’s all very cool.
Nora is home in New London for the Christmas holiday when she’s kidnapped. She’s the type of girl more inclined to watch old war holos—a pastime the late Dr Dearly was happy to share—than to grace someone’s arm, smiling demurely. Still, she’d gladly trade boring for the new hell she endures when she’s taken by the undead. It turns out that behind the look-over-there! headlines of the current political unrest, the real story has been kept from the public. The dead can now rise up and infect anyone and everyone and the only thing between them and civilization is a secret branch of the military. It’s made up of the undead and they’re first line of defense in the war. Bram is a captain with this unit. He and the rest of Z Comp fared much better than other zombies, they’ve held onto their minds. And they need Nora for something that will keep disaster from striking and the disease from spreading.
Chapters are told from several POVs and Nora and Bram tell their stories from wildly different perspectives. He’s a Punk and she’s a New Vic princess. He gets his hands dirty and she’s expected to blush at the flash of an ankle. And, oh yeah, he’s dead. There’re a few chapters from sources that give insight into what’s really happening. But the most surprising in the best way are the chapters told from seemingly-milquetoast Pam’s perspective. She’s Nora’s best friend and very much the gentle creature that society wants her to be, but there’s steel under all that. Chick has some badass moments.
Sure, it had like five endings. And a few character things weren’t consistent / didn’t make sense. I still loved it. Dialogue flowed so smoothly, the author must have been telling the story out loud as she wrote it. It had my favorite quality: I was too busy enjoying the experience to let my mind wander or feel the need to flip a few pages to see if anything interesting would happen. Don’t know where the next book will go, but I look forward to reading that one too. (less)
Cat reaches into Mr. Fizer’s grab bag o’ science project subjects and emerges with… prehistoric hunters? This is not her fie...moreSuch a great little story.
Cat reaches into Mr. Fizer’s grab bag o’ science project subjects and emerges with… prehistoric hunters? This is not her field of study but she has the next seven months to bring something to fruition. She shares the class with former best friend Matt and had set her sights on finally, finally beating him for the top spot. When her project idea does come to her, it’s a little personal and may just be exactly what she needs. So, with very little time to prepare herself, Cat commits to living as a Hominin Woman, without modern conveniences or foods or practices, to study the effects of today’s lifestyle on the human race.
I’m a planner and a pessimist, so I thought Cat’s all in strategy was reckless. I soon respected her for it, though. When she finds out that rotten meat might feature prominently on her limited menu, she searches out studies to support and justify the use of fire to cook. Her project is supposed to be secret, but she brings in her parents (for safety reasons) and best friend Amanda (for sanity reasons). When they might want to cut corners—with car rides, phone calls, or much needed ibuprofen—Cat steadfastly sticks to her guns. She suffers artificial sweetener withdrawals, miles in inclement weather, frizzy hair and unwanted attention.
This was a pretty cool premise with likable characters. Cat didn’t set out to lose weight for any specific reason, but attempted a healthier lifestyle for the sake of science. Her waistline was not her motivation and it was hardly run of the mill YA fare. But the “great” about this book was its relationships. I don’t want to sing its praises by listing what this book is not, I just really appreciated the way these characters spoke to and interacted with each other. Matt wasn’t the typical Boy Character and he didn’t try to be. Amanda and Cat were intelligent and thoughtful; they had a solid through-thick-and-thin friendship. Jordan (“the coolest boyfriend ever invented”) was believable. Cat’s forays into new relationships were realistic and she keeps herself through it all.
This was an enjoyably fun *and* scientifically interesting read.(less)
Penryn was an average high school girl before the angels came. They showed up one day, all wrath and might, a...moreI drank the Kool-Aid and I’m glad for it.
Penryn was an average high school girl before the angels came. They showed up one day, all wrath and might, and destroyed the earth as she knew it. Electricity is spotty, and violence and fires have left behind a feeling of lawlessness. Penryn is responsible for her sister and their unstable mother, and she makes plans for them to escape. Her plan doesn’t really extend beyond running for the trees and hoping for the best, but staying in their apartment is out of the question. When her sister is taken and her mother runs off, Penryn is well and truly screwed.
Penryn has one option. On her way out of town, she comes across a beaten and dying angel. She uses some quick thinking and decides to get him out of there, hoping that she can force him to help her find her sister. They take off toward San Francisco and have to rely on each other, grudgingly, along the way.
Angelfall is a slump-busting read. It had it all. It’s a sci-fi, paranormal, post-apocalyptic (possibly, in the truest sense of the word) rescue mission into an urban fantasy horror story. Penryn and Raffe come across nightmares come to life in the woods and the new world they’re headed for is run by a gang of angels, complete with a violent hierarchy.
So the reviews were right. This book was some gritty goodness. It was action packed without discounting the emotional stakes, and Penryn was easy to relate to and get behind. The page count was a bit of a mystery on my nook and I didn’t know I’d hit the end until I actually bumped up against it. And damn if I didn’t want more. I’m counting down the days to the second book.(less)
I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but I saw the reviews and decided to go with it. When I did get to what it was about, I wasn’t so sure. But it wasn’t a hardship to keep reading and that apprehension went away.
Layken moves with her mother and brother Kel from Texas to Michigan after her father dies. When they pull into their new neighborhood, they meet Will and his little brother Caulder. It turns out that between the four of them, they have only one parent. Kel and Caulder are instantly best friends so the two households develop a kind of communal family. Will and Lake have a sweet connection, a boy next door/girl next door thing going on, even though they’ve just met. They get to know each other over a few short days and one very sweet night out, before it all comes to a standstill when she starts at her new school and they discover why they can’t be together. Off-limits, can’t acknowledge it, verboten.
It seems like it would be manipulative, that this story is all about wringing out The Feelings—all the hardships and an already emotionally charged situation after a sudden death in the family. And it might have been if I hadn’t liked the characters so much. Will and Lake try hard to create a middle ground because they’ve got their families who are a vested part of it all, but they’re not always so good at it. It’s very easy to read, has real and likable characters, and (crap, there goes my misanthrope veneer) a sweet and enjoyable story. I’d read more from this author.
(So this book involves slam poetry. The performance pieces in the book are actually pretty great, it surprised me that I liked them. Not so much the performance bit because I’ll be honest—I totally thought of the beatniks from Hairspray. But some of those words were amazing reads.)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I couldn’t remember where everyone was at the end of the VA series, so I re-read Last Sacrifice before picking this up. When I did, I had fond memorie...moreI couldn’t remember where everyone was at the end of the VA series, so I re-read Last Sacrifice before picking this up. When I did, I had fond memories of Rose but decided it was clear that her story was over. I was worried, then, that the same Moroi/Dhampir story would be retold with new names assigned to the same roles. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
Sydney’s still atoning for her errors after the conclusion of Last Sacrifice. The Alchemists (read: her father) say “jump” and she jumps. Her new, no-questions-asked assignment has her going undercover to help hide an important Moroi in the desert of Palm Springs. On the plus side, she’ll get to experience high school, something her training prevented her from doing the first time around. Unfortunately, she’ll have to cozy up to Moroi and Dhampirs to do it. Though not at all accurate, she’s trying to live down the “vamp lover” moniker that some of her harsher Alchemist coworkers have given her. Unfortunately, her sneaky and sleazy supervisor on this job is one of the worst.
I’m looking forward to continuing this series from Sydney’s POV. The mix of personable and observant with socially awkward should be contradictory, but it’s fun. I hope it continues to be played up. I’m also glad that Adrian has a chance to be livelier this time around. He and Eddie were bit players in Rose’s story. Along with Sydney, they’re the misfit toys trying to prove themselves without a network of people to fall back on. I hope it works out for them.
I really enjoyed this. I like Richelle Mead’s characters; they have personality and backbone and don’t live in a bubble. I always like the quick pacing and ease of reading, too. I’m excited for this new series.(less)
I’ve been liking this run of paranormal stories that lean more action/adventure. It’s fun and interesting and keeps me hooked.
Emerson is back in her h...moreI’ve been liking this run of paranormal stories that lean more action/adventure. It’s fun and interesting and keeps me hooked.
Emerson is back in her hometown after having been at boarding school for most of her high school career. She’s living with her brother and his wife and has been arguing with Thomas about finishing out her senior year. She would rather do it remotely since her last school experience with the kids in her town involved her final mental break. After her parents died years ago, Em started seeing ghosts. She can only tell that they’re ghosts by their outdated clothing and sometimes she mistakes real for hallucinatory. Now she’s back in town, off her zombie meds, and seeing ghosts on the regular. Thomas wants to help and he’s hired another in a long line of (life coaches? advisors? witch doctors?) people to help his little sister. Michael is from the Hourglass and not only believes Em, but can see what she sees. He’s also being vague about what’s really going on.
So, where’s the action/adventure? Well, after Emerson gets Michael to spill (which also has her briefly considering that he might be the crazy one), it gets a little X-Men. Michael is familiar with what Em can do because he’s been living it for a few years. He’s been at the Hourglass learning and teaming up with others to do Good Things—I think, we don’t really get the details. But now the Hourglass is in disarray and Michael has a unique plan for bringing it back and righting a wrong. He needs Em to do this and running for their lives ensues.
What Emerson and Michael can do is pretty cool. I liked Emerson and I liked Michael but was disappointed in their insta-connection. When we meet some other lost sheep from the Hourglass, there’s a third person that becomes a part of their tableau. I really liked Kaleb, but was still put off that I had to care about this eleventh hour player. Thankfully it worked because he’s the much more interesting character. Word on the Goodreads street is that the next book is from his POV. That and reading more about the Hourglass has me looking forward to the next book.(less)
Don’t you hate it when you die and it completely messes with your senior year?
That’s the kind of day Alona had. She was skipping class and managed to...moreDon’t you hate it when you die and it completely messes with your senior year?
That’s the kind of day Alona had. She was skipping class and managed to step off the curb at exactly the wrong time. In the following days she wakes up dead along the road where she died. She’s watched her friends’ and family’s reactions, and was able to make it to her own memorial. But no one hears or sees her and she can’t figure out this whole business of being dead. Is this it? All alone? No white light? What’s the deal with that? She died in her prime as *the* Alona Dare, Queen B of homecoming, cheerleading, life—but are the things she did to get and stay there holding her back from the great ever after?
Will might know. He can see ghosts and it doesn’t take Alona long to figure that out. When she starts hounding him for details of the afterlife, she realizes why he keeps that to himself. Will sees and hears them all, but can never do enough for them. He’s the one person who can pass on a message, or find out important information, or whatever else they think they need to accomplish unfinished business. They’re persistent. Alona takes control, as she was wont to do in life, and tells them to back off. She claims Will for herself and for some reason, the ghosts listen to her. Now in order to have a body guard against the spiritual plain, Will has to help Alona.
It doesn’t get more Odd Couple than the polished and cutting Prom Queen and the anti-social and disturbed class washout. I was prepared to be slightly amused for a bit and ready for a turn to ‘too cheesy’. I got a little more than that. Sure Alona was terrible to others, it was her way. I spent most of the book disliking her and rooting for some comeuppance. But she had stuff going on and was the way she was for a reason, she just didn’t feel the need to gloss over that. She was upfront about who she was. At one point she calls out Will after one of his attacks on her character and gets him to see that he was the hypocrite in that situation. And in others, because at least she didn’t lie to spare someone’s feelings when she could be honest.
And there was a mystery in there too. I liked that. Fun story, different from the norm. I’m looking forward to more Alona and Will.(less)
Amnesia as a premise can be cheesetastic. Or, at least, I always expect it to be. It just seems so slapstick or daytime soap. I thought this book hand...moreAmnesia as a premise can be cheesetastic. Or, at least, I always expect it to be. It just seems so slapstick or daytime soap. I thought this book handled it pretty well.
Zoey loses one night. Her home life had fallen apart and her stress level was high. She’s with a boy she shouldn’t be with and is keeping too many secrets from her friends. When she’s in a car accident after leaving a party, she loses memory of the whole night. The neuroses created by her parents’ instructions (presentation matters, be in control, don’t embarrass me) keep her from admitting it. Even more confusing than the events of the night are the effects of it on the people in her life—no one is behaving normally.
Characters weren’t always consistent and it felt like things were missing from the story. Zoey had all kinds of guilt and caused all kinds of anxiety with flawed reasoning as a martyr, which was annoying, but I still felt for her. I liked the story, it held my interest. I wanted things to work out for these characters.(less)
I really enjoyed this book, but it turns out I didn’t like it as much as I thought while reading.
Meg’s story isn’t revealed right away so I didn’t rea...moreI really enjoyed this book, but it turns out I didn’t like it as much as I thought while reading.
Meg’s story isn’t revealed right away so I didn’t really get her, but I did like her immediately. I liked her combative Devil’s advocate doesn’t-know-when-to-shut-up attitude. Her narration was fun to read. She didn’t want to be weak, she desperately needed to get out of town to avoid her parent’s lot in life, and she was unapologetic about her nature. People around her either accepted her stanch need for independence or didn’t stick around for long—her blue hair was the first step in that culling process.
It just didn’t ring true that Meg and Johnafter confront their demons and magically overcome them. Because it is magic when one minute both are grappling with their separate issues and the next they’ve put said issues behind them. No mention of any kind of epiphany or the thought process required for that kind of thing. Of course, I realized this after I’d already enjoyed the quick read. Echols wrote an enjoyable protagonist into a story that held my interest.(less)
In short, this was like any summer teen movie. It reads a little young, the laughs are cheap and the ending can be spotted a mile away. But the laughs are there. Some books are the words on the page, some are just a feeling, and some, like this one, are better viewed as a movie in my mind. And who among us can’t laugh at bathroom humor? It had a sweet ending and it was actually the fact that the ending was over too soon that most annoyed me about the book.
The first lines pretty much sum up this story: A real, live naked girl. Not my usual fare and probably not the type of thing I’d seek out again, but this was an amusing quick read.(less)
Meet Alex, a redheaded stepchild of Greek mythology.
Alex’s pure-blood mother pulled her out of school and created a new life for them three years ago....moreMeet Alex, a redheaded stepchild of Greek mythology.
Alex’s pure-blood mother pulled her out of school and created a new life for them three years ago. It seemed important that they not be tracked down, but Alex never got a straight answer as to why. When she’s found and taken back to the only home she’s ever really known, it’s not the worst that could happen. At the Covenant, half-bloods like Alex are at the whims of pure-bloods and are trained to protect them. It’s that or a lifetime of servitude thanks to a debilitating elixir. In order to make up for lost time and prove that she’s more useful as a Guard than a servant, Alex will spend her summer training with one of the best. Aiden puts his Sentinel duties on hold to help her prove herself to the not-likely-to-forgive dean.
So. Greek god + mortal = demigod. Demigod + demigod = pure-blood. Pure + pure = pure, and pure + mortal = half. This one’s important: pure + half = unforgivable offense. Oh, and pure + aether addiction = strigoi daimon. …I think.
It did smack of VA, but I knew that going in. There’s a familiar hierarchy and that segregated society, but there’s also recognition of the gods and a wacky old Oracle. Alex is overly confident but pretty kickass. I liked Aiden and hope friend Caleb and arch nemesis Lea are more developed in the coming books; most of the secondary characters were unmemorable. These distant descendants of the gods are working with their own mythology, so it should start shaping up into a more original story. I’m interested enough to see where it will go.
(A Ren & Stimpy reference? Good on ya, book.)(less)
Ah, Spike. It’s kind of hard to miss even if all the reviews didn’t mention it. The girl isn’t exactly Harmony, but I started this book thinking “Stop...moreAh, Spike. It’s kind of hard to miss even if all the reviews didn’t mention it. The girl isn’t exactly Harmony, but I started this book thinking “Stop being cute.” A lot.
Cat tarts herself up to lure and kill vampires. She’s atoning for being half-undead herself by killing creatures like the one that attacked her mother, her father. Doing this, she gets in Spike’s Bones’s way one night and he gives her the option of working with him as bait or be removed permanently. He’d been working on taking down bigger game, mercenary like. Cat lacks the skill to be of any real help and so he puts her through the wringer. Think escort/assassin boot camp.
I think I’d liken this to a chick lit UF. Cat is supposed to be the innocent in tramp’s clothing. When Bones calls her on that dichotomy, she sputters and blushes and gets all indignant. Bones starts out not-terrible and ends up pretty upstanding and likable. Replace all the killing and dismemberment with, I don’t know, small business ownership and Cat and Bones follow the Chick Lit Plot. Cat’s mom would have gotten along beautifully with Carrie’s mother, the leading man lives in a cave, and getting together is a little interspecies, but yeah—pretty same-y. But turns out two things I’ve enjoyed off and on in the past smashed together make for an entertaining read. It’s cute, I’ll be checking out the rest of the series.(less)
This was a fun read. Not my usual, but nice. (I just discovered that steampunk was a thing. I know, where have I been?) Alexia's a not at all conventi...moreThis was a fun read. Not my usual, but nice. (I just discovered that steampunk was a thing. I know, where have I been?) Alexia's a not at all conventional lady of her time; she's a likeable character. It's 19th-century London and there're vampires and werewolves and politics, oh my. Also, it’s funny, so, thumbs up.(less)
I couldn't get past the tone. It was like YA with training wheels. Even when it put on its Adult Content pants (or, took them off *rimshot!*), it felt...moreI couldn't get past the tone. It was like YA with training wheels. Even when it put on its Adult Content pants (or, took them off *rimshot!*), it felt a little See Jane run. I didn't get the appeal.(less)