Half-Blood is easily one of my favorite books of the year. I picked it up and had the hardest time putting it back down. Jennifer L. Armentrout nails...moreHalf-Blood is easily one of my favorite books of the year. I picked it up and had the hardest time putting it back down. Jennifer L. Armentrout nails Alex’s snappy, refreshing, and attitude-infused voice, making this main character one that I adored. There’s nothing about Alex that I didn’t like. She’s fun, witty, has a number of issues with authority, but she’s also this teenage girl who loves her friend(s), misses her mother, and has a growing attraction to someone she shouldn’t.
And we all can’t help but be intrigued by forbidden love, right?
Well Aiden is certainly forbidden. But he’s also deliciously magnetic. He’s not a bad boy, by any stretch, which is fantastic. Aiden’s genuinely a good guy. A little standoffish, sure, but sexy and tough, and intellectual. As a reader, intelligent guys are a huge draw. Caleb, Alex’s best friend is also a good addition to the book. He helps round Alex out and softens her edges.
Then there’s the entire mythological aspect. It’s freaking awesome. Armentrout approaches this half-blood/pure-blood scenario from a new angle and doesn’t focus strictly on the politics or the hierarchy of it. Instead, the story slips in this unseen side door and slaps the reader with a slew of complications: 1. Dead mom. 2. Alex’s life is definitely not what she expected it to be. 3. Seth.
Keep in mind that Half-Blood is by no means a love triangle. Alex is the focus and the tinges of romance are delectable, but do not drive the story. If anything, the romantic mishaps and ooh-la-la feelings add layers to an already well-developed and thought out story. Half-Blood will knock you off your feet with how easily it draws you in and refuses to let you go. Thank goodness Pure, book 2 in the Covenant series, will be out this coming April.(less)
Words cannot adequately describe the monumental beauty and perfection that is The Daughter of Smoke & Bone. The first chapter, the first page, hoo...moreWords cannot adequately describe the monumental beauty and perfection that is The Daughter of Smoke & Bone. The first chapter, the first page, hooks the reader and gives us a character to care about, and to root for. Karou has this magnetic personality that I was instantly drawn to. She’s funny and witty and has this edge to her; but she’s also has this utterly vulnerable side that shows just how broken and empty she is.
The setting of Prague and Marakesh come alive with vivid clarity. Laini Taylor places the reader on the twisting cobblestone streets alongside Karou and guarantees that we live her every experience with her. In doing so, Laini Taylor demonstrates this flawless prose that captures the best and the worst of every character and every scene.
Not only is Karou intriguing, but so is Brimstone’s world of hidden knowledge and secrets long kept. The chimaera are cloaked in mystery and since Karou knows little about them, the reader remains in the dark as well. Then there are the black handprints and Akiva. Both are tied to the chimaera, but, at first, it’s unclear how. The tension between Karou and Akiva crackles with energy and the two characters alternating chapters keeps the story moving without pause.
Karou’s fight for the truth – and for her life many times – is fast-paced and complex. Nothing is ever what it seems. The omg-worthy twist towards the end does pull the reader out of the story a bit, but if you stick with it, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most perfectly told stories and one of the most intricately detailed plotlines in young adult literature.
The Daughter of Smoke & Bone is so much more than just a tale of angels and demons. It’s about secrets and wishes and love and hope. Taylor is an extremely talented storyteller who knows how to hook her readers and never let go. Believe me when I say that this is a must-read. (less)
Family is one of the most disturbing and terrifying, yet oddly captivating, books that I have ever read. As someone who only knows the barest...more3.5 stars
Family is one of the most disturbing and terrifying, yet oddly captivating, books that I have ever read. As someone who only knows the barest facts about the Manson family murders, Micol Ostow’s take on 17 year old Mel’s descent into cult life is haunting and creepy. We get to see her slowly, but surely lose herself to this notion of family; which is ludicrous and all kinds of messed up, but for someone who has come from so little and so much pain, it makes sense to Mel.
I couldn’t see the appeal or allure that Henry (the Charles Manson-esque figure) has. It’s difficult to understand why so many people would follow him willingly and look at him like a Jesus Christ figure. Mel, Sherry, Leila, Junior, and all the people we don’t hear from view Henry as a savior and a preacher.
Ostow solidifies this fact with her episodic verse, having Henry’s name, His references, be the only things that stand out with capitalization. It’s to ensure that he reader knows, without a doubt, that Henry is running the show. He has essentially brainwashed these people, forced their lives to revolve around him, and has put them into a drug-induced stupor at times, to benefit His own wants and needs.
Mel’s life has become the Henry show and she’s willing to do whatever He wants, whenever He wants. It’s incredibly sad. Mel’s life before Henry was miserable, but her life after Henry isn’t really a step up at all. At times, I wanted to hug her, but then other times I wanted to slap some sense into her; yell at her so she could see what’s going on, that she has been indoctrinated into a desolate cult that’s only purpose is to serve this Henry. What she’s experiencing isn’t love and even though a part of Mel knows that, she doesn’t care. Her desire to be wanted and accepted – even if it’s false – overrides the voice in the back of her mind that’s telling her not to trust her situation.
Family is incredibly disturbing with its back and forth from the slow, despondent fall into cult life, to its hints of the danger that’s to come. Ostow has taken a story that many have at least the vaguest idea of and expanded upon it, dropped the reader into an endlessly forlorn situation and done so splendidly. Episodic verse works in this situation, making each day more painful and fractured. Knowing that things are going to end in a bloodbath makes Mel’s life that much more affecting and I was glued to the page. (less)
The Ganzfield series is an addicting, fast-paced, sexy, and hilarious YA series that I can’t get enough of. Accused is the fourth book in the series a...moreThe Ganzfield series is an addicting, fast-paced, sexy, and hilarious YA series that I can’t get enough of. Accused is the fourth book in the series and it’s just as entertaining as the last three. This one focuses a lot more on relationships and less on a big bad guy – though there’s still a bad guy, it’s not so much a he, as it is a them (and a she).
As the title alludes, Accused starts with Maddie in the midst of some legal drama. As the story progresses, there are the occasional minder gatherings, fire-starting sparks, and good ol’ Trevor being as romantic as ever. Accused is much more character-driven than the previous installments, but this allows for a great deal of character growth.
Maddie and Trevor grow individually, and as a couple. Their relationship strengthens even more – didn’t think that was even possible – as they go through hell together. The secondary characters aren’t around as much as they usually are, but we get to see a very pregnant Rachel and get glimpses of the next generation of G-positives through her very talented, yet-to-be-born baby. Seth is around a bit more and I loved it. His big brother relationship with Maddie is cute and protective, and his dry humor lightens the mood.
Accused is another wonderful installment in a perfectly executed series. Kate Kaynak has delivered yet another fresh tale with endearing and entertaining characters, a storyline that continues to thicken, and a romance that has found a way to sizzle without fail. Accused has whet my appetite for even more G-positive adventures and I’m wicked excited to see exactly where Maddie will go next and what will happen in her future.(less)
In the age of Facebook and smartphones, it’s almost difficult to remember a time when every American household didn’t have at least one computer. But...moreIn the age of Facebook and smartphones, it’s almost difficult to remember a time when every American household didn’t have at least one computer. But that’s exactly the life that Emma and Josh live. 1996 was the year of Toy Story, but for these two used to be best friends, now awkward moment neighbors, 96’ is the year they discover their future selves; all thanks to AOL and the appearance of a website with profiles that very much resemble themselves and people they know.
As far as the premise goes, The Future of Us had me sold. Back that with talented authors Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, and I was more than eager for this book. I’m happy to say that the book had all the aspects I had looked forward to, but it didn’t blow me away.
Emma can be quite whiny and annoying at times, complaining that she has to change what she believes is a horrible, unhappy future, and all based on her future self’s random postings. In 200 characters or so, Emma decides that her future sucks, but since she’s still in 1996, she can change that. And does so more than willingly.
Josh, on the other hand, is much more wary of changing the future on purpose. He’s laid-back and more level-headed than Emma. He also has that pining away for a girl who doesn’t want him thing down pat. Readers will like him and feel for him. I know I did.
The Future of Us is a fast read, with short chapters that alternate between Emma’s and Josh’s POV. At times, it tries too hard to be 90’s and it never manages to actually do that. Still, it’s fun to see Emma’s utter confusion about what Harry Potter is and why it’s one of her favorite books, as well as her future self’s excitement over a night of Netflix and Glee. If you’re looking for a quick read that will entertain you, The Future of Us is sure to do just that.(less)