For me this was just ok. It's a lot of confusing, searching for answers while running for your life busy. Of course, things work out - sort of. No reaFor me this was just ok. It's a lot of confusing, searching for answers while running for your life busy. Of course, things work out - sort of. No real surprises or major twists. I just wasn't feeling it. The plot line is rather basic and is similar to many YA formulas. Also, gray jello power pellets stood out as odd to me. The convenient introduction was just too...well, convenient for me to totally accept. Almost seemed silly. ...more
On a scale of one to five, The Sweetest Dark falls smack dab in the middle for me. I liked the historical aspects of the book, but wasn't as excited aOn a scale of one to five, The Sweetest Dark falls smack dab in the middle for me. I liked the historical aspects of the book, but wasn't as excited about the fantasy portion of the read. I have nothing against dragons, but the shifting in this book just didn't grab me. This one leans more towards the Disney-rated teen read. If you're hoping for something darker, this won't fulfill your hopes - but, it is a good book for younger readers interested in the genre. Those who like the dragon-fantasy realm will probably favor this one more than historical fiction fans.
The Sweetest Dark is different because it combines historical fiction, airships, dukes, boarding schools, orphans, alchemy, magic and dragons all rolled into a single plot line. Seems impossible, but Abe does just that. What is ordinary is the obvious love triangle, poor-orphan characterization and snobby elite. It's one half Jane Eyre with equal parts alchemist meets dragon....more
If the Secret Circle had an evil twin, it'd be Entangled. With all her witchy powers you would think that Charlene might have devoured her twin in theIf the Secret Circle had an evil twin, it'd be Entangled. With all her witchy powers you would think that Charlene might have devoured her twin in the womb, but fortunately Gray lives on only to be tormented by her jealous, heartless twin sister. However, good will prevail or at least take on another shape. Coupled with all the high school drama and enriched with supernatural trauma, Entangled is a spell-flinging one-up teen fiction filled with a set of crafty characters, which makes for a quick, fluid read that will keep you interested until the end. This is a series, but doesn't leave you hanging by your fingernails from a cliff. Instead, there is some closer, but with just enough enticement that will hopefully make you want to pick up the next book. However, there isn't a lot of depth and it includes a mother that is conveniently absent whenever something important needs to be handled. I understand the plotting, since this is becoming a very common theme in many teen/YA fiction books. It allows the teens to have more freedom without the dreaded parental unit interference, but I can't help wondering is this a too easy of an out?
If you like the show Secret Circle, you'll enjoy Entangled. It has a similar motif and premise with a similar punch. Much of what occurred was expected and fairly predictable, but did not diminish the overall entertainment value. You won't get a big twist or gasp moment - but you'll be rooting for team Gray and wondering what new trouble will come. I will definitely be reading the second in the series. A good set up in the end makes me want to see what happens next. This story is far from over and I can't wait to read on!...more
The Demon Lover is the equivalent of Harry Potter for adults. For those who grew up with a magical school, now there is a college with equal happeningThe Demon Lover is the equivalent of Harry Potter for adults. For those who grew up with a magical school, now there is a college with equal happenings plus the more adult passions that were missing from the younger audience pages. Fairwick is a supernatural campus that combines Gothic literature lore with contemporary romance making this paranormal fantasy believable and possible. There is just enough realism to ground it in the 'now,' but doesn't lack any of the otherworldly that provides a mythical escape and realm of possibilities. Let the imagination wander and flow with the mystic. The cast of Fairwick is made up of developed characters that bond the reader to the book and will encourage a commitment and desire to read the next novel in the chronicles, The Water Witch. There is a bit of over-kill on the use of "honeysuckle" both symbolically and it's assault on the senses, but in the end this didn't really bother me. Given that there is an incubus in the story line, you can expect racy scenes and seductive escapades. However, there is more to the plot, which separates this book from others in the strictly erotica category. ...more
From the very beginning this book cruises along and will draw you in to the wonderful world of teenage drama and angst. Lizzie has it almost too good,From the very beginning this book cruises along and will draw you in to the wonderful world of teenage drama and angst. Lizzie has it almost too good, or at least it appears she does. However, her awesome boyfriend isn't all that fabulous given the way he treats her, which borders on the mentally abusive. At the very least, his words and behaviors are unhealthy for Lizzie. BUT, given their history, it's hard for her to break away even though her gut is telling her it's time. Some might think Lizzie is a bit pathetic by this point, but lets face it, many, many young girls go through or find themselves putting up with more than they should in young relationships -- either from lack of comparison, experience, example or peer pressure. What I like is that what Lizzie is experiencing isn't all-in-out ugly, but a more subtle alarm sounding that things aren't right. This is undoubtedly difficult to deal with both internally and externally because others aren't usually very sympathetic. Unfortunately, Lizzie's epiphany tangles with bad timing, which makes things look worse than they would be, cluster-$^#*ing the whole dramatic scene! In Lizzie and Drew's effort to do the right thing and protect relationships, they make a mess. Bring in the back loader, they're going to need it to get out of this one! *beep, beep, beep!
Coupled with the fresh idea of reincarnation, Remembrance strengths the depth of the novel by introducing the question of fate, destiny, loyalty and inevitability -- not to mention love. It got me thinking, "Can we avoid the inevitable?" Perhaps, changing or preventing history doesn't always guarantee a less complicated outcome -- just different. Remembrance proves with every action there is a reaction, and that each choice we make sets something in motion. Sometimes for the better, but never without a cost or sacrifice.
So what are the drawbacks? The characters are fairly cliche and typical. Natural, awkward, pure beauty has two gorgeous boys fighting over her. Then, we've got the beautiful, popular, best-friend who is kind of a bitch coupled with the jock and brooding bad boy love interest. You get the picture. Perhaps, my ho-hum, less-than-impressed opinion about the character craftsmanship comes from reading a string of teen/YA novels in a row. I've had my fill of these cardboard, Twilight inspired, type-casted characters (Yep, I dared to go there). Where it may have been original or slightly quirky in the past -- it no longer is (go ahead and hate me for saying it lol). I'm honestly praying this cycle breaks soon!...more
The survival guide intros before each chapter are a clever set up and although Untraceable isn't humorous, it definitely has ironic and comedic reliefThe survival guide intros before each chapter are a clever set up and although Untraceable isn't humorous, it definitely has ironic and comedic relief throughout, which works well to lighten the heavy subject matter. Parts of the story are graphic in nature, but I note this as a positive for the book. At times, I wanted to turn away, but you can't do that with a novel like you can with a movie. This proves the author was doing a lot of the right things when it comes to depiction, slowing down scenes and zooming in to the point of discomfort. However, it never crossed the line and just when you think you can't 'look' the author kindly provides relief. This method creates a perfect tension that enhances the quality of the adventure. I am fairly sensitive to books that deal with animal cruelty or mistreatment, which made reading certain sections difficult for me, but this had nothing to do with the author's craft or choices. My only gripe, and this is with the overall trend I see in YA novels, is when the heroine continually frets about circumstances being all her fault. So much so, that instead of showing vulnerability and feeling, it comes across as whining. Sure, she thinks it's her fault, but mix up the phrasing instead of just coming right out and saying repeatedly, this is all my fault! After a while I felt as much sympathy towards our misfortunate heroine as I would toward a skinny chick that grumbles about looking fat. Yeah, yeah, yeah...we'll pat you on the back while you simper. In this case, so much is obviously not within Grace's control, but she seems eager to take the blame, which in my humble opinion weakens her credibility and individuality instead of showing the softer side of her character. There is a lot of death in the book and I wasn't super excited about a particular character kicking the bucket. But, I didn't write the book so.......more
I started this book on a chilly Pacific Northwest afternoon and read until 3 am. I didn't anticipate getting hooked, but the pacing created an irresi I started this book on a chilly Pacific Northwest afternoon and read until 3 am. I didn't anticipate getting hooked, but the pacing created an irresistible page-turner that had me reading until my eyes ached. Who needs sleep? Sleep is over-rated! Darkhouse is seductively entertaining and I'm convinced that it has some secret ingredient (like the sauce on a Big Mac or the coffee beans at Starbucks) that makes it immediately addictive. Red Fox is coming out soon and I simply can't wait (okay, maybe I'm begging a little) for the author to send me an advanced copy. What makes it so good? Perry is a reliable character: flawed, insecure, impulsive, but despite her own roadblocks she has a determination that the audience can clearly see even if she does not (yet). It is her self-awareness that makes the character appealing, trustworthy and honest. Her vulnerability provides sympathy without demanding pity. Dex is similar and it is not surprising that the Clown Lady insinuates Perry and Dex are cut from the same cloth. Their contradictions show strength of character and reveals a great deal about the individuals. For example, Dex admits he lies and by doing so disproves he's a liar because he confesses to the deceit. A true liar would never willingly reveal this deprecating detail.
The paranormal elements and spook factor are unique and provide just enough to let the imagination create the setting without coming across as silly, immature or easy to dismissed. The creepiness I experienced was real and I loved the lighthouse scenes. The splattering mentions of pop culture references were excellent and worked to create a mental map of the characters perception and thinking. I knew where they were coming from, what images came to mind during their experiences, and how they related to the world unfolding in front of them.
Frankly, I'm surprised by the lower ratings received here at Goodreads because this contemporary humorous spook fest might read fast-paced and easy, which it does, but the voice is not absent of substance. The language doesn't try too hard to convince intelligence and by doing so, is smartly composed to do what a story should, entertain. Don't get me wrong, there is meaning here, but the fact that the story isn't trying so hard to show (or prove it) makes it that much more clever. Darkhouse is an example of a confident and assured author's 'voice.' The writer connects with the characters, deeply understanding and channeling them onto the page. By the end I was convinced Perry was writing this story. I have no doubt that Perry and Dex are real--and they live through author Karina Halle. ...more
Clarity is a paranormal Nancy Drew accompanied by a cast of Scooby Doo-like meddling kids. This just might be the book that gets teensARC Amazon Vine
Clarity is a paranormal Nancy Drew accompanied by a cast of Scooby Doo-like meddling kids. This just might be the book that gets teens on the younger side reading more. Clean and easy, the narrative sails along carried by a plucky main character and set against a New England backdrop. Although the synopsis promises lust and revenge, the context is fairly PJ. However, just because its a teen read don't think you'll have it all figured out early. Several twists and new information about the case is presented along the way and will have a reader changing their mind about who the killer really is. Also, Harrington masterfully ties up this mystery and doesn't leave the reader hanging, but a few things are left open, which leads to the belief this is just the beginning. The reader will be satisfied, and wanting more, namely when it comes to Gabriel and Justin. Clarity is perfectly executed with a delightful set up to a sequel. I have a feeling there is more in store for Miss Clarity Fern. Absolutely loved the cozy Cape Cod mystery and can't wait for the next book by this debut author. ...more
In the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess I was originally drawn to this book for two reasons: it is set in Michigan, the place where I born anIn the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess I was originally drawn to this book for two reasons: it is set in Michigan, the place where I born and grew up and it's horror. Little did I know, I'd discover another connection, that to Seattle, where I now reside. If this wasn't enough to give me a shiver, the story of Asylum Lake certainly was! Beware, you might not want to read right before turning off the lights and going to bed. Too scary? Not for me! This is exactly the kind of mysterious paranormal horror I love to read. The characters attract tragedy and death. At first, they seem like a very unfortunate lineage, but as this mysterious thriller unfolds you will be enlightened to the purpose behind the events. For those from the 'mitt' you will like the authentic setting and subtle humor. I had to chuckle at the Up North House. Any true Michigander goes up north for vacation because south would lead to Chicago. I can not think of a better setting for this tale to take place than on a secluded lake in northern Michigan, whether it is on a hot, muggy summer night or a cool, breezy fall day, viewing an abandoned state asylum would be enough to scare even the toughest Mid-Westerner.
Another interesting aspect, and I'm certain this is the case with many small towns, is our fascination with old crime stories. I appreciate how influential cases are sited by the author (whether they are real or not) and work to draw a connection from past to present. This grounds the paranormal making it believable, which in my opinion is a key element to escalating the horror level. Getting a reader to imagine that an event truly could or did happen is essential. Old crimes and cases don't die in places like Bedlam Falls. One thing you can count on is people will certainly remember what happened but might forget the details. By making use of this human tendency, Evans creates a creepy mystery. Circumstances similar to the one surrounding the characters of Asylum Lake become legends in towns like Bedlam. Stories permanently attach to the land, they seep in and hibernate until the next thaw. Brady brings the thaw, but why and how? Well, I'm not going to give that away! I can't wait to read the next book and learn more about what happened to Lionel and Dr. Clovis! ...more
I must wave my white flag in defeat! I admit I surrendered half way through Perdido Street Station. I got roughly 300 pages into the 600 page novel. II must wave my white flag in defeat! I admit I surrendered half way through Perdido Street Station. I got roughly 300 pages into the 600 page novel. I don't want my 2 stars to necessarily discourage readers from picking up this book. First, let me explain. Based on the Goodreads rating system, 2 stars means 'it's ok,' and for me it was. Did I like it, or find it enjoyable? Honestly, no really. In this case, I think it is, 'It's me, not you,' thing.
Do I think the author is brilliant? Absolutely! There is no arguing this point, the man is a genius. His writing is poetic, descriptive, original while at the same time staying authentic to the roots of science fiction fantasy. It is an epic novel and will be discussed by literary circles for decades. Unfortunately, like many great award winning works it's simply not an entertaining, enjoyable read. Is it intellectual? Perhaps, too much so. My brain was in a virtual mind melt of information, technology, names, maps, structures, creatures, races and machines. Not to mention I'm not all that familiar with science fantasy steampunk features so I had to learn those too. This is not a book you can set down and come back to. The length is grueling, so the reader will at some point need to take a break. I found it easier to read only when I had large blocks of time. So, if you find yourself serving a prison sentence, or grounded for the summer, I recommend taking this along. Like other epic novels, it sometimes takes pages of re-reading to get back into the scene.
I can't even begin to imagine what it took to create, edit and proof this book -- which was flawlessly done! It's incredible and frankly makes my head ache just thinking about it. So to the hardcore science fantasy intellectuals, I say you'll likely love it. For those new to the steampunk scene, you may want to wait on this one until you are more familiar with the genre....more
An intelligent and cheeky parasol wielding spinster (26 years old) bucks the conventions of Victorian era in this creative steampunk tale abo3.5 Stars
An intelligent and cheeky parasol wielding spinster (26 years old) bucks the conventions of Victorian era in this creative steampunk tale about London's integration of supernaturals. The tension between lead characters develops through opposition of gender and natural powers. Like in species of nature, one is the great equalizer of the other. This is achieved through witty humor and playful, but intelligent banter. I loved the relationship between characters and was drawn to their individual personalities, embracing each fully. The setting and incorporation of sci-fi/fantasy including all the steampunk gadgets was just enough to allow me to picture, but not overwhelming in detail. Sometimes, authors in this particular genre have a tendency to get carried away with technical jargon and description -- for me, Carriger gave me enough to create my own mental setting without banging me over the head with cogs and steam. Interestingly, this story flows on two separate levels and I can understand why it would be added to the Read This Next book or nominated for book club discussions. On the surface, it flows as an easy read with humor, sexual tension, exciting characters and adventure. Below and woven within the details, action and banter twist together with sub-themes and present deeper questions relating to extermination, natural scientific balance of poisons and antidotes, world power, governmental control and regulation, gender roles and sexuality. For more discussion about sub-themes or if you'd like to comment, please jump over to the ...more