Are you looking to add a little hilarity to your life? Then run to the bookstore and pick up Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters because it...moreAre you looking to add a little hilarity to your life? Then run to the bookstore and pick up Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters because it will have you LOL-ing like there’s no tomorrow. I mean, I was sitting all alone, laughing uncontrollably at certain points. Kelsey Finkelstein’s sense of humor and the crazy things that happen to her will make you laugh like that.
Most of us remember what our freshman year of high school was like: overwhelming, exciting, and a time to start over and reinvent ourselves. That’s what Kelsey wants to do, but her big plan to make her mark at high school spirals out of control. Bad things ensue and Kelsey winds up hating her life on the soccer team, fighting with one of her besties, and being crazy over all the wrong boys.
The wonderful thing about Meredith Zeitlin’s writing is that it’s honest. Kelsey’s voice screams I AM A TEENAGE GIRL. *Note: big, bold letters were absolutely necessary* She’s funny and blunt and sarcastic. She gets overly frustrated with her mom, is boy-crazy, and completely oblivious to some way obvious things. But that’s the thing about teenagers – they act exactly like that. Every emotion is heightened and every experience is 1000x more emotional than it really is. Zeitlin gets that and writes that incredibly well.
The supporting characters all feel real too. Em, JoJo, Cass, Lexi, even the evil Julie Nelson all have personality. It’s quite easy to get caught up in the lives of these kids and find yourself spending a few hours flying through the book, unable to put it down. I know I did.
Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters is fun, fresh, and full of delightfully witty humor. It’s the perfect read for any day and something anyone who has gone to high school can relate to. Meredith Zeitlin took me by surprise and will surely be an author to look out for in the future!(less)
Embrace has everything a reader could want: a well-executed plot, fantastic characters, a steamy romance, and plenty of action to keep it all going. I...moreEmbrace has everything a reader could want: a well-executed plot, fantastic characters, a steamy romance, and plenty of action to keep it all going. I was instantly enthralled by it and I’m not one to enjoy books about angels. Embrace isn’t like other angel books though because despite having angels in it, the story remains focused on characters, while giving the reader insight about how the angel mythology works.
Violet can be a bit naïve, but she comes across as very sincere and real. She’s not terribly boy crazy or ditzy –though she does have her moments with both Linc and Phoenix; she’s very easy to relate to. Her journey from normal girl to angel is actually exactly how you’d expect it to be. Violet reacts in the right way….but you’ll have to read the book to see what I think the right way is.
Now about those boys: Linc is okay, I guess. That’s the thing with a possible love triangle though. Readers will always pick one that they see as the best. And for me, that wasn’t Linc. I liked him, but he got me quite angry here and there. Phoenix, on the other hand, is sexy and cocky, with just the right amount of sweet. He’s not innocent or all good, but I couldn’t help but be drawn to his darkness. Readers will certainly eat these two boys up!
Embrace takes readers on a wild ride of ups, downs, and startling realizations. It’s the first in a trilogy, so while this one starts the trio off very strong, there is so much more to look forward to. The fighting and action is intense, the smoldering, sexy scenes are as steamy as ever, and the plot will keep you hooked. Embrace will hold up as an easy and favorite read for me…and should for you too. (less)
Mermaids seem like quite the hit nowadays and I can’t help but love it! I never imagined myself as a huge mermaid fan, but The Vicious Deep pulled me...moreMermaids seem like quite the hit nowadays and I can’t help but love it! I never imagined myself as a huge mermaid fan, but The Vicious Deep pulled me under its depths (pun totally intended) and I was so taken by Tristan Hart.
Zoraida Córdova has somehow written a believable, fully formed, wonderfully flawed, and realistic male protagonist in Tristan Hart. He’s cocky and self-sure, flirty and devoted; He’s full of jokes and sarcastic comments, but he’s also a genuinely good guy. He cares for his friends, adores his best friend Layla, but is still a teen guy and can be somewhat of an asshat.
The mermaid, or ‘merdude,’ plotline is kind of awesome. It didn’t exactly remind me of any other story I’ve read before, but it still felt a bit familiar. It’s a story that’s easy to read and fun. It has a touch of wanderlust to it, while keeping the reader (and Tristan) grounded in normalcy. Because Tristan is normal…or he was. His new life as part merman takes some getting used to and it lends to some hilarious jokes.
The story unfolds a little too slowly for my liking though. There’s a great deal of world-building, which is done very well, but it takes a long time for something to happen. The story is made up of a lot of character interaction, with some funny jokes that will have readers loving the characters, but I felt like a good chunk of it could have been cut out and the characters still would have translated well.
Córdova is able to pull off a well formed story all the same. The ending wasn’t exactly my favorite, but it left me wanting to see what happens next. I grew attached to Tristan, Layla, Kurt, Thalia, Tristan’s parents, and all the other random characters Tristan met along the way. I was pleasantly surprised by the male POV and how well Cordova was able to channel a male teen character. The Vicious Deep was a long book, but certainly one that I enjoyed reading. (less)
Loss is unlike the other two Riders of the Apocalypse books and Jackie Morse Kessler’s new style and direction are both welcome and exciting. Billy Ba...moreLoss is unlike the other two Riders of the Apocalypse books and Jackie Morse Kessler’s new style and direction are both welcome and exciting. Billy Ballard’s life of being bullied is extremely relevant to anyone at any time. We all know that feeling, either personally or as a bystander. And boy does Billy Ballard suffer. He not just bullied on a regular basis, but he’s tortured. He’s made to feel like he is nothing, then he has to go home and hold the weight of his grandfather’s care on his shoulders.
Billy’s Gramps having Alzheimer’s adds another layer to the story and especially to Billy. Billy feels inadequate as a human being because of his bullying. When Death comes to him, telling him to take his place as Pestilence, Billy feels like he cannot do it. Yet, day in and day out, he cares for a man he loves who barely even recognizes him. Billy’s strong, but doesn’t realize it.
I said Loss was very different from the previous two books in this quartet. And it is. Very much so. Not only is Billy Ballard the center point of the book and the new Pestilence, but the old Pestilence still reigns; He’s just a little crazy and hanging out in his own mind.
The division between Billy and what becomes known as The White is startlingly clear. We journey, along with Billy, through the hell that King White (Pestilence) has suffered through and even unleashed on the world. For the first time, we get to see how being a Rider is a huge responsibility, but also a looming burden. What comes out of this is stuff made of human nature’s greatest fears and faults. Billy Ballard is a boy staring down the barrel of the gun and he may not be brave enough or strong enough to fight back. Discovering if he is a thrilling experience.
Loss is unlike either of the previous two Riders books, but it’s also exactly like them. Jackie Morse Kessler has developed a way to dig into some deep emotions and pull them out. Loss is by far the best of the quartet thus far and I doubt I’ll forget Billy Ballard or King White anytime soon. (less)
A Temptation of Angels was so very different from what I imagined it to be, but Michelle Zink is a fantastic storyteller and truly knows how...more3.5 stars
A Temptation of Angels was so very different from what I imagined it to be, but Michelle Zink is a fantastic storyteller and truly knows how to capture a reader. The story starts off very quickly and with a lot of punch. Sixteen year old Helen gets instantly thrown into a world that she was oblivious to; her parents are dead, she’s all alone, and she discovers she is one of a few people who help protect humankind.
Yeah, it’s a little bit overwhelming.
Helen finds herself some companions in brothers Griffin and Darius though. They are complete opposites, but each offers her some great advice…and maybe a little something more. Their history, mingled with Helen’s, is a tragedy all in itself, but they’re part of a bigger picture. The Dictata is complicated and full of mystery and it’s a story all in itself figuring it out. The crimes against the Dictata, and the murders of its members, hit Helen, Griffin, and Darius very close to home.
Enter in the bad guy…Raum…he’s supposed to be evil, but I couldn’t hate him. In fact, I find his side of everything to be understandable; not right, but I get him. He’s kind of an enigma in the grand scheme of things. The almost love triangle that forms is very strong (at least to me) from his side.
My one qualm with the book is that it comes off as too simple. The Dictata sounds complicated, as is The Legion (bad guys), but the focus is more on Helen. She’s important, don’t get me wrong, but I would have liked more about the bigger picture and less about her and her love life. Griffin is nice enough, but his instant love for Helen threw me a bit.
A Temptation of Angels is an easy read with a historical setting that is a bit vague, but still very much old world London. The setting, the language, and the descriptions are something that I normally shy away from, but I really enjoyed it. Michelle Zink has once again produced a story that is worth reading, but more than that, it is engrossing. It’s not to be missed.(less)
Five books into a series, a reader tends to develop some expectations about writing and characters and storyline. I’m happy to say that Kate Kaynak ha...moreFive books into a series, a reader tends to develop some expectations about writing and characters and storyline. I’m happy to say that Kate Kaynak has no clue how to disappoint. Operative has just as much action, just as much depth, and the fantastic storytelling that I’ve come to expect from the Ganzfield series.
The last book left off on a bit of a cliffhanger. It ended with a bang and I wasn’t sure what to expect after. Well, Operative was not what I expected at all, but it was so much better than I imagined. Sure, Maddie and Trevor can be somewhat cheesy, but they are totally THAT couple. They’re ridiculously in love, so they’re allowed to be a little cheesy sometimes.
Aside from the cheesy, Kaynak throws in tons of action in an entirely new setting. Some of the Ganzfield group heading off on a military trip to Germany sounds kind of strange (and it is), but it makes total sense in the grand scheme of things. The purple monkey spy they discover, which also sounds very strange (it soooo is), is just one of the great new twists that are thrown in. Even if I told you to expect the unexpected, you’ll still be surprised by Operative.
The characters we’ve all grown to love are still present, but the new characters add another layer to the complicated world that Maddie is still growing into. She’s a leader now and she’s falling into that role fairly well. Obviously everything can’t be sunshine and rainbows because sunshine and rainbows, while pretty, are BORING. And as readers, we do not like boring; and it seems that Kate Kaynak does not like boring either.
Operative is another chapter in a twisting, turning, deliciously addicting series. Each book in the Ganzfield series has resparked my love for the story and while I know it’s coming to a close, I’m dying for the next book and to find out where things go from here…especially with the sneak peek chapter of Soulmate because that is INSANE!(less)