"What about our human rights,' demanded Carl, who'd gathered a small deputation of kids within minutes. 'There is a WAR ON,' said Crewman Devlin, shor"What about our human rights,' demanded Carl, who'd gathered a small deputation of kids within minutes. 'There is a WAR ON,' said Crewman Devlin, shortly. I wondered if this meant grown-ups actually listen to you when there wasn't a war on, because somehow I was sceptical." Teccc - my reading partner - is unquestionably right: The book loses some of its naughty snappiness and sarcasm as it proceeds and it gets more and more predictable after the small, nerdy gang of kids and their maniacally cheerful, robotic goldfish tutor flee the kiddie cadet academy on Mars in a stolen spaceship in order to find adult help or a way back home to earth. Also, the characters - both human and alien - reminded me often of those in "The True Meaning of Smekday".
Still, I enjoyed the story and its messages well enough. As "Smekday" does, it encourages the reader to have a look at the enemy's position/reasons/lack of other options/history, it stresses that there are always people who flourish because of war - career-wise, money-wise or morality-wise (meaning actions which are cautiously sanctioned or meticulously dissected angle by angle in a well-functioning society are overlooked or hastily permitted in war, because survival as a whole is at stake and long-term problems or ethical qualms suddenly play a secondary role to immediate results), and it certainly devises not to give up at any seemingly hopeless point of any endeavor.
The ending wrapped up everything pretty nicely while pointing out that in most disputes compromises have to be tolerated and that the notion to be able to return a society or a country to what it was "before"/in good old times/at a certain point is always unrealistic/undoable. Change happens. I can imagine reading the sequel at some point. Yes, definitely. Goldfish, bring it on!...more
I stopped reading around the 20% mark. Don't bother, Nomes, really . Sometimes I do wonder what publishers are thinking, when they decide to acquire a I stopped reading around the 20% mark. Don't bother, Nomes, really . Sometimes I do wonder what publishers are thinking, when they decide to acquire a manuscript that finally results in a book like 'Breakfast Served Anytime'.
- Four certified brainiac kids visiting a dinner and ordering breakfast, but only one of them has thought of bringing a wallet. - Brainy, I-am-not-so-young-anymore-that-you-would-catch-me-eating-fudgecicles heroine planning to not accept a perfectly good university scholarship, because she wants to experience New York preferably in form of a steep acting career alongside her ballet dancing BFF - without realising the financial strain her preference would place on her single father. - Childish wanna-become-actress choosing a mysterious course about the importance of the written word at the Kentucky gifted-kids resort instead of pursuing something that would add some substance to her daydreaming. - Genius girl hating a hat-wearing boy on first sight just because he had the nerve to grin and bow. - Ehhh ...
Letting the readers watch a character grow up in front of their eyes doesn't mean the character has to be a silly-beyond-her-peers, rhino-skinned, dense and altogether unlikable member of her species first. We readers also notice the fine differences. We are tuned to supple signs and tiny, realistic changes that mean so much. No need to hammer it home by blowing everything out of proportion....more
This was a retelling so awful that I deleted the file on my e-reader without checking whether I had managed to read 25% or 30% before combusting. OneThis was a retelling so awful that I deleted the file on my e-reader without checking whether I had managed to read 25% or 30% before combusting. One spontaneous, annoyed click and the free Kindle version was gone without a trace (The order still lurks in my Amazon account history and mocks my bad taste. This year will be better, I am sure.)...more
I see that look arrive on Holly's face. The look that says, now you're in trouble. I strap on my helmet. Talk about appropriate metaphor timing. BumpyI see that look arrive on Holly's face. The look that says, now you're in trouble. I strap on my helmet. Talk about appropriate metaphor timing. Bumpy ride ahead. Next up: Placating, apologising, cajoling, soothing, making it all better. I know the drill. I've been here - we've been here - so many times. Being able to understand the reasons why somebody is behaving in a certain way does not mean having to accept perpetually being used/abused by that person. That is basically the lesson beautiful and facile Sybilla has to learn during the term the class of her posh private school stays in an outdoorsy dormitory complex.
To me the - albeit beautiful and witty - narration of the minute steps Sybilla creeps forward on her way to opening-her-eyes-and-toughing-up-her-stance were a rather painful affair: During my first ten years of school I had my own, private Holly to deal with: A Holly as unhappy in her home situation and as ready to lash out with measured strikes as Wood’s antagonist, but one with a lot more universal pull and charisma. Although I had never been the kid who forgoes voicing her opinion and although my stomach hurt often enough in anticipation on my way to the school bus, because I did not know yet who she had singled out for everybody not-to-be-friends-with-or-even-talk-to-today (Probably me? My best pal?), I gladly accepted her invitations to come over to play – or later to talk boys (I had always been wise enough not to reveal my crushes to her), books and future, daydream and listen to music – again and again and against my better judgement, because she had an imagination that matched my own, the very best ideas for spending an afternoon and an almost magically magnetic personality. I often talked myself into a firm and unwavering opinion when spending time with one of my more permanent and truer friends, but caved in later, when she called or slid a new book to borrow across my table.
Holly grabbed the end of Lou's bookmark and pulled it out of the book. 'Oh, dear. You've lost your place.' The other voice in this double-POV-story belongs to Lou, a bookish girl trying to secretly recover from losing her boyfriend in a fatal bike accident while being stuck in a six-girls-hut with mean, bitchy, nosy, limelight-addicted, wannabe-queen-bee Holly. I liked Lou. A lot. I even liked Sybilla – who wouldn't? But I desperately wanted Lou to slap Sybilla into oblivion because she languidly allowed herself to be puppeteered, scolded, made-fun-of and used as a stepping-stone by her so-called best-friend. Yet Lou had to regrow into someone who cares for anything outside her pain first to be in the position to hand out help.
Thus I spent the majority of the book waiting. Waiting for Sybilla to wake up, waiting for Lou to heal, waiting for the house of cards to crash. A far-from-comfortable reading experience. ...more
I loved Kate's voice. Period. I even dreamed of her tonight. And I do understand why Melina Marchetta chose to blurb this story about growing up, growI loved Kate's voice. Period. I even dreamed of her tonight. And I do understand why Melina Marchetta chose to blurb this story about growing up, growing apart from and close again to your family, and about finding friendship growing in unexpected corners. There was a certain rawness to the feelings conveyed, a lot of truth and also a measurable quantity of warmth. Ah... And certainly there were seedlings of romance. Painful and exhilarating as it can be when you are fifteen and unsure of yourself....more
"Yucko"". That is the heroine's favorite word. And it fits, a bit. However, if I were to blurb the paranormal sleutheress boarding-school romance ""To"Yucko"". That is the heroine's favorite word. And it fits, a bit. However, if I were to blurb the paranormal sleutheress boarding-school romance ""Touch of Frost"" I would say ""Likable, but in the direct vicinity of 'meh'"".
I feel a little bit like venting, but I am in bed with a cold. So, please excuse me for amassing random thoughts here instead of a structured review:
- English is not my mother tongue. Therefore I am always happy to pick up additional tidbits that help me to understand and use it better. While reading ""Touch of Frost"", I learned that ""purple hoodie"" is actually a composite word. The same might be true for ""violet eyes"", a narrower term being ""my violet eyes"". The broader term can be found sixteen times within this series' starter volume. Both can be used in sentences of remarkable literary value, i.e.: ""So I just stared at him, my feelings for him so obvious in my violet eyes."" The only way Gwenny could be so unwaveringly sure of the expressability of her Frost-Familiy-Brand-Eyes in PANTONE 261C is extensive self-study via mirror... or it might be that the author still has no idea how a first-person-narration is successfully implemented. That might also explain the long, long and kind of repetitive analytical monologues the heroine has in her mind - preferably in the face of imminent danger.
- Connected to the point-of-view is a lot of meta-information that gets dumped on the reader, which is either the result of judging the readers as being too dense to spot the author's applaudable ability to stick to certain paranomal romance or sleuthing-story formula on the dot on his or her own or it is a tell-tale-sign of parodistic writing. I tend to go with the first possibility. Gwendolyn actually tells us ""Everything about Logan screamed bad boy, from the thick, silky, ink-black hair to his intense ice blue eyes to the black leather jacket that highlighted his broad shoulders."" A thousand things just feel ""off"" to the heroine, which certainly makes her investigate. But then she misses some important clues. And in case the reader has not just noticed that things are a tad too obvious here and the heroine has a plot-lengthening moment, she emphasises her own being behind: ""I felt a memory stirring in my subconscious. Something to do with illusions. Something that I'd seen or heard or read or thought about in the last few days. Something that was important."" Well, duh.
- In addition there is the ""let's-have-a-paranormal-heroine-but-how-on-earth-can-we-make-use-of-her-powers"" dilemma. In ""Touch of Frost"" it is not as bad as in, for example, Clarity. But if the heroine would play her cards, or rather abilities, right, there would be no need for her to admit repeatedly that she is no Veronica Mars. Gwen, whose gift is ""touch magic"" - having visions when touching people or people's objects -, breaks into a room to find clues about a murder, but actually tries to avoid touching most things in there. She takes out a book with a sticky note tacked to a rather relevant looking paragraph, but a day later she has still not tried her power on it. Gwen's reluctance is feebly explained away by her fear of reliving horrible moments or learning secrets without the consent of people she respects, but in the light of solving the case - and the fact, that Gwen earns money by locating lost and sometimes embarrassing stuff - that sounds far-fetched.
- The heroine's ""I-avoid-touching-people"" strategy certainly works beautifully with the ""Save-the-heroine's-virginity-for-the-last-installment-or-forever"" rule most paranormal young adult romance sticks to. Gwenny is even of the unkissed sort and ohhh does she want to make out with the bad, but life-saving boy, but then she would compromise him by learning all his and his family's dirty secrets and probably his hot and dirty thoughts on top. Therefore she takes down her open arms in time, makes a double morron out of herself verbally, has the love interest's half-melted ice-eyes turn to popsicles and does not get a third chance in the end, because by then we have - just in time - switched to the moody-broody ""I-cannot-have-you-know-my-dark-secret-and-my-utterly-ugly-side-yet-although-I-crave-you"" part of the required plot development. Who would have guessed, huh?
That would be all for now. Before you say it, I have to bring it on the table myself: I cannot successfully explain what made me read a paranormal boarding school romance again after so many disappointments. Must have been the high average rating plus the enthusiasm of several of my friends - or my indestructable hope that Enid Blython and J. K. Rowlings cannot be the only ones who were able to pull off addictive stories set in boarding school environments....more
3.5 stars. I do not really know exactly why I enjoy stories that picture girls masquerading as men so much – I do not mean stories that focus on girls3.5 stars. I do not really know exactly why I enjoy stories that picture girls masquerading as men so much – I do not mean stories that focus on girls feeling wrong in their own female skins, but plots that show girls cross-dressing because their gender would be an unacceptable obstactle to doing what they want or what they have to do (like spy work, having a career or evading a certain unwelcome fate). For instance, I loved Alle halten mich für einen Jungen, in which 12-years-old Simone just doesn’t dare to contradict the teacher introcuding her to her new classmates, Star-Crossed, in which the heroine applies for a job as a ship’s surgeon after her master dies and leaves her jobless, Freedom Beyond the Sea, which shows a jewish girl fleeing the Spanish Inquisition as a hand on Christopher Columbus’ ship, the historical romance The Spy and the manga series W Juliet, Volume 1... plus I have to admit I almost became addicted to the Korean drama The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince when I watched it two years ago: I felt compelled to watch episode after episode although night had already set in and I had plans for the day after.
In Babe in Boyland a lot of the possible, awkward situations that might occur when a girl pretends to be a boy in an boys-only-boarding-school were covered and I liked the conveyed message that we all have different sides to us that we broadcast in the company of different people and that the conviction of really knowing someone is mostly founded by what our own interaction with the person in question triggers. Plus, The heroine and her two best friends were rather cute and the love interest was hot and nice.
Still, Babe in Boyland was not perfect as a girl-in-boys’-clothes-book. It reminded me a lot of the Japanese drama version of the popular manga series Hana-Kimi, Volume 1, which I enjoyed considerably more inspite of all the unnecessary twists and turns and silly side-plots a manga-based TV-series is inherently prone to. In both stories the supposed new boy falls for her roommate. And in both plots this leads to interesting dilemmas. But the scenes in the drama were more vivid, more romantic, more awkward. They pushed the dangerous whoa-she-almost-blew-the-cover angst at me with a firmer shove and made me wonder if the „real“ boy, who tended to react grumpy or moody, but sometimes a little tender, was having difficulties at keeping himself from being attracted to someone he thought to be a guy.
But a non-perfect book is by no means a book that is not good or not recommendable. So if you like light and short chicklitty romances that involve a little cross-dressing, cute boys, friendship, Shakespearean drama and a teenaged heroine, who shows some character development, I show you you both my thumbs turned upwards. Babe in Boyland provided my with some much-needed fun hours and a wonderful respite from wading through an endless historical fantasy that entirely revolves around sex and dark obsessions. ...more
***3.5 stars altogether***. After the first nothing-is-actually-happening chapter I was almost ready to throw the towel, but resolved to go on reading***3.5 stars altogether***. After the first nothing-is-actually-happening chapter I was almost ready to throw the towel, but resolved to go on reading, because Anna had delighted me and Lola had entertained me to a satisfying degree.
After the 30% mark it got definitely more interesting and offered a lot more pull. Suddenly problems popped up on paradise and the sibling-stuff hinted at at earlier points of the plot got more prominent and held identification potential. Also I cannot really complain about a lack of heartthrob. Josh didn't particularly wow me as a person, but the chemistry was unmistakably there.
That said, I'd like to mention two thoughts concerning the trip to Barcelona:
1) I know, that this is a rich kids story about Americans thriving in a posh boarding school with hotel-style breakfast. But somehow I resent a little that a romantic weekend of fictional American teenagers can only be prefect when it is located in an expensive hotel and shows the lovers not having to think about trivial things like taxi fares or entrance fees, room service or spontaneously acquired umbrellas. For instance the entrance fee to the Sagrada Familia including the elevator to the top, where you can see the mentioned dove-decorated Christmas tree, costs an arm and a leg. And still Isla and Josh seem to have enough pocket money to plan their next trip - to costly Switzerland, right the weekend after the next - without the bread-earners in their families noticing their expenses.
2) There is that scene in which the narrator explains about European students and their living at home instead of moving out into dormitories, in order to save money. This is given as the reason for a young Spanish couple having sex in a shrubbery of a public park densely populated with tourists. Well, I cannot speak for Spain. Maybe it's different because a lot of families are catholic, but in my experience in my country, students who stay at home do not really have to fear having a reduced/monitored sex-life. On the contrary: I have never heard of anybody having to resort to backseat-sex or other things we see in US movies. To illustrate my point: Not long ago two of my colleagues each reported at lunch that their teenaged offspring had announced their first boyfriend/girlfriend would soon stay over on a regular basis. And what did those parents do? Buy larger mattresses for their son's/daughter's room, of course.
I close my non-review with a question: What the hell happened to Josh's damaged tendons? In the beginning Perkins made it seem as if there was a disability looming ahead that would cripple the love interest's career options and thus his shot at having a fulfilling, artistic existence in a life-changing way, but apart from some ouchy moments at cuddly-times that initial scare turned out to be a dead alley that wasn't meant to be walked. Did anybody else feel cheated/mislead on purpose? Or did you put it down as a forgotten thread that the editors overlooked when cleaning up?
Pre-reading assessment: Ahh, Isla. The petite redhead? I am looking forward impatiently....more
4,5 stars!! I am quite overwelmed by how much I liked Ballad, since after reading Lament I expected a sequel that would also barely make it into the "4,5 stars!! I am quite overwelmed by how much I liked Ballad, since after reading Lament I expected a sequel that would also barely make it into the "It-was-enjoyable-but-didn't-touch-me" category. In most cases sequels even take a slight - or not so slight - drop for me. Surprisingly Ballad turned out to be what I wished Lament had been: A beautiful but eerie story in which humans meet dangerous, but alluring and likable faeries. Both worlds are shaken up. Both main characters change because of the encounter. James was the character I liked best in Lament, anyway. And his story told in turns with faerie muse Nuala tucked at my heart strings in a way Deidre's narration would not and could not. (Oh, how I wished for a miracle in the end! A sure sign of success of the author's efforts to engage the reader.) I was so very afraid of Nuala hurting James in the beginning, but after a few chapters she started to grow on me, which is how it should be in my opinion. Ballad, which was featuring Deidre, too, in the form of unsent text messages, confirmed my slight dislike of "the cloverhand" and opened my eyes to why Lament and I could not and did not really click. A short comment on the cover: It fits "like a fist on an eye" as we would say in German.
P.S.: I am sorry, Jessi, for stowing Ballad away on my keepers shelf after having set up your hope. Borrowing is certainly possible ;-)....more
I feel so bad about giving up, because "Dust City" is really easy to read and I would leaf through the remaining hundred pages in a blink. But I am toI feel so bad about giving up, because "Dust City" is really easy to read and I would leaf through the remaining hundred pages in a blink. But I am too lazy to invest the time, because I know it will not chance my opinion - or my life, or even my day. It's too late for that after two thirds.
As we all had the same difficulties with the visuals: I imagined the evolved-towards-human-standards-intelligence animalia dystopian-fairytale-retelling-setting to be a nightmare-turned world of the Calico Critters, little jeans overalls with pre-fabricated tail-holes and all - although no LRRH-eating wolf family seems to be part of the available selection....more
I am abandoning 'Shadow Hills', a long-time shelf-squatter, after reading exactly 16% and feeling an umcomfortable amount of ennui and an intolerableI am abandoning 'Shadow Hills', a long-time shelf-squatter, after reading exactly 16% and feeling an umcomfortable amount of ennui and an intolerable degree of familiarity:
A high school senior, who had a kind of fall-out with her parents or other next-of-kins, who are consequently relieved to get rid of her, enrolls in an old-campus-style, posh and remote boarding-school, which had come to her notice by some kind of mysterious destiny / inexplicable coincidence, and hopes it will give her answers / help her forget some traumatic events / clear away those foreboding signs of paranormal happenings / allow her to reinvent herself as somebody new with a fresh slate among normal and nice kids, wo will all become her new best friends and lovers.
The boarding-school's description doesn't offer much insight into lessons and other unimportant parts of teenage day-to-day life, but boasts filthy rich, bitchy roommates or - in this case - nextdoor neighbors, forbidden, chilling rooms or areas, mysterious, I-am-paranormal-screaming locals / long-time inmates / customs, dreams or other disturbing occurrences with a dangerous bytaste - and a BOY, or to be precise, an insanely attractive, mostly cold or rough-acting, forbidden boy with a distinct something-is-wrong-in-paradise sheen on him.
It doesn't really help if there are additional boys or intricate descriptions of hip clothing thrown in the mix. Or descendants of first settlers. Or electric currents passed from skin to skin. Or eyes that change color.
I simply cannot stand one more example. And that this one is already four years old and past its time of cheer and prime doesn't count as an excuse for that utter lack of originality. Bye, bye, Shadow Hills. Fade away among your equals. I don't care. ...more
An unexpected, work-related reading assigment turned up, which I will use as an excuse to abandon this book after 72 pages, although I wanted to let iAn unexpected, work-related reading assigment turned up, which I will use as an excuse to abandon this book after 72 pages, although I wanted to let it simmer on my bedside table for a while.
Is it so bad, you ask? Oh, it's not bad. - I just don't care for bordom-school (oops) boarding-school stories at the moment - especially not for those including blue-blooded royal-bitch-room-mates - the moody, goth-like, thrift-store addicted, I-am-different-from-everybody-else-where-is-my-great-destiny-invite-me-to-a-french-castle heroine, who in my mind looks like Emily the Strange, grates on my nerves - the evil or not so evil sisterhood searching for "The Dark One" promised in their prophecy switched on all the cliché-screamers inside of my head and alerted my suspicion-mode - I wanted a cute ephemeral ghost and got a solid Medici-time guy visited during time-travelling dreams.
Go ahead: buy and read it, but read the description first and forget about the cover. It has been switched at birth.
Nic, don't you buy the book. I'll mail it next week....more
Meh-meh. I really think that a bEarding-school story would have been far more orginal than this "followed-all-baking-instructions-for-paranomal-young-Meh-meh. I really think that a bEarding-school story would have been far more orginal than this "followed-all-baking-instructions-for-paranomal-young-adult" boarding-school girly-girl, let's-kiss-the-presumably-hot-and-bad-but-taken warlock, "three-mean-girls-shall-you-be" witchy-washy is.
Please pat me on my back! Finishing this with only skipping half a page now and then took almost all my witch-power for today....more