I read Wake by Amanda Hocking and really enjoyed it, so I wanted to see what else she had out there and ended up with My Blood Approves. Definitely no...moreI read Wake by Amanda Hocking and really enjoyed it, so I wanted to see what else she had out there and ended up with My Blood Approves. Definitely not the best choice I could've made. This book showcases exactly why Amanda Hocking made her fortune self-publishing first.
My Blood Approves wants to be Twilight so very bad, but it's nothing more than a cheap knock-off version. I wouldn't be surprised if this had started out as a Twilight fan fiction at some point before moving into more original fiction territory because the similarities are really noticeable, especially once the vampire family is introduced.
Hocking's writing wasn't terrible, but it's obviously a step down and possibly a few years (and an actual editor) removed from Wake. However, the plotting of My Blood Approves was horrendous. Absolutely nothing happens in this book besides Alice meeting Jack, becoming obsessed with Jack and his family, and her crying about Jack and Peter all the time. At least Twilight had some conflict in the last 200 pages to make the book interesting.
I thought Alice might be a likeable heroine, but she's even worse than Bella Swan and that's something you have to work mighty hard at achieving. She has absolutely no ambitions besides wanting to be part of Jack's family forever, has one friend who she secretly despises, doesn't care about her family aside from second thoughts about leavign Milo behind, and basically has no personality whatsoever. I hated her by the end of the book, especially once she started whining about not wanting to live if Jack's family left her behind. Get a grip, girl, you've known them for 20 minutes.
The only likeable character in the bunch in Milo, Alice's little brother that Jack outs in the most ridiculous way. Hocking was a little gross about LGBT issues in this book, so I hope that's something she learned a lot about since this was published. (less)
Through the Ever Night was a fabulously satisfying sequel with plenty of action, romance, and character development to satisfy and make some new die-h...moreThrough the Ever Night was a fabulously satisfying sequel with plenty of action, romance, and character development to satisfy and make some new die-hard fans of this series.
It's been a while since I read Under the Never Sky, so it took me a bit to remember which characters did what and the set-up of Rossi's world building. Under the Never Sky unfortunately blended a bit with Ally Condie's Crossed as I reading, since they both had the the wander-in-the-wilderness trope so popular in this genre these day, but I was able to enjoy Through the Ever Night without once think, "Wow, this is almost exactly like the other dystopian books I've read this year." Her writing style is simple and engaging, making Through the Ever Night a fast read that you don't want to put down.
Rossi's strength is her great cast of characters and how she develops them over the course of the book. The Under the Never Sky series wouldn't be much without Perry and Aria, as well as supporting characters like Roar, Cinder, and Marron. Aria and Perry's romance isn't my favorite part of the series, but I do enjoy their interactions and the romance enhances the overall plot, rather than dragging it down. Plus, Aria's a fierce independent heroine and I gotta give her points for that!
I'm looking forward to the next book in the series and hope Rossi only builds on all the aspects I enjoyed in Through the Ever Night. (less)
Spookygirl: Paranormal Investigator sounded promising, but didn't live up to my expectations. I'm usually a big fan of ghost talkers and this just did...moreSpookygirl: Paranormal Investigator sounded promising, but didn't live up to my expectations. I'm usually a big fan of ghost talkers and this just didn't do it for me, plotwise or characterwise. It seemed like the author had trouble deciding which haunting plot she wanted to make the main storyline and there was a lot of clunky exposition to deal with. I also don't think it was ever explained why Violet, who can see, talk to and sense ghosts, needed to use ghost hunting equipment to, you know, verify that ghosts were at a location or what sort of haunting it was. It seemed particularly redundant since Violet herself is essentially a piece of ghost detecting equipment. Baguchinsky's universe's rules about the ghosts and the afterlife were ill-defined and particularly convenient for all the characters too.
I also wasn't a big fan of Violet, who was incredibly judgmental about everyone, even her friends. For all these "outcast" characters who complain about the evil popular jocks stereotyping them, they sure do a lot of stereotyping and judging themselves. YA authors, if you're going to go with the typical douchebag jocks and cheerleaders as your character's main schoolyard antagonists, actually make them jerks and don't just say they are because they were a letter jacket. I mean, calling the popular people "the void" because they're all so stupid? Hur-dur, how original. Violet mentions she catches the jocks shoving Tim into lockers as evidence of their douchebaggery, but then she plots to and does successfully injure someone in gym class so she can go investigate some ghosts. Plus there was the d-bag move when she erased Emerson Bean's name on a list because it sounded nerdy and stuck-up because oh my god, she just hates gym soooooo much and her pain at having to exercise is more important than whatever dumb reason Emerson put his name on the list first OKAY. Hypocritical much, Violet?
I really did like that Spookygirl had absolutely zero romantic interests for Violet and that there was no love triangle in sight. That was completely refreshing for a paranormal YA novel. I loved every second of having a book actually focus on paranormal stuff instead of having it as the backdrop for a ridiculous romance. The haunting at the end of the book was sufficiently creepy and there was some great suspense build up there. I think Jill Baguchinksy has some potential to grow as an author, once some of the obvious first book errors and style issues get cleaned up and edited out.(less)
Although I burned through the first two books in the Shadow Falls series and moderately enjoyed them, all the flaws of the series I was content to ign...moreAlthough I burned through the first two books in the Shadow Falls series and moderately enjoyed them, all the flaws of the series I was content to ignored seemed to come out and hit me while I was reading Taken at Dusk this week.
Exposition is not C.C. Hunter's friend and it really shows it this book. I don't know how many times information was repeated over and over between scenes. Kylie couldn't have one thing happen to her without having it be re-explained to Holiday, Lucas or Derek two pages later. It's necessary for the characters, but annoying for the readers who already know what happen.
Like with the other two books, there's not a lot of plot or anything particularly suspenseful happening. When something does, it's lackluster and fizzles out almost immediately for more on Kylie's ridiculous relationship drama. If only the focus of Shadow Falls series wasn't the Lucas/Kylie/Derek love triangle because I was over the, "Omg, which one do I pic?!" drama in the first book already.
I was also really not a fan of Kylie this time around. I didn't mind her in the first part of the series - she's bland and relatively unoffensive except for her inability to not judge people who have had sex - but there were certain parts of this book that she was really self-righteous and obnoxious. Like the whole scene with confronting Ellie about having sex with Derek? What business was that of hers? Why should Ellie have to explain and apologize for having sex with Derek who isn't Kylie's boyfriend? What the hell. And don't even get me started with the way she's treated Sara the entire series.
Since I've already invested so much time in this series, I'll probably read the fourth book when it comes out in the fall.(less)