Slide features an intriguing idea though the results left me with mixed feelings. The concept is awesome, but the execution? Yeah, not so muc...more2.5 stars
Slide features an intriguing idea though the results left me with mixed feelings. The concept is awesome, but the execution? Yeah, not so much. The writing is serviceable, neither bad nor great and it didn't draw me into the story straightaway. Both the way it is written and the storyline reminds me of some of the books I read as a pre-teen/teen way back during the Pleistocene epoch, otherwise known as the 1990s, with authors like Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, Diane Hoh, Lois Duncan, Richie Tankersley Cusick, among others. It especially seems to fall right in between Pike and Stine. While the writing is more mature than Stine's, it's not quite as sophisticated as Pike's. The mystery is weak, and by the end, seems pointless as it's totally anti-climactic, over in a flash, like it was written just to finish the book up, and absurdly contrived. The whole ending is totally ludicrous and unbelievable. The clues leading up to it are obvious and not incorporated into the story well at all. These clues were so glaring they all but had a flashing sign pointing to them in cartoon-like fashion whenever they fell into the main character's path. Sylvia a.k.a. Vee wasn't written as a dummy, at first, but boy she was an absolute idiot about those clues and putting two and two together, or really much of anything until it slapped her in the face. While Vee is sympathetic, I can't say I felt much of anything for her, and even less for anyone else in book because of their lack of depth. No one is explained in any detail, either personality or looks, motivations, or whatever. Just a brief shallow summary if lucky. Speaking of.... What has happened in books today where there are no descriptions of how anybody looks, except "I have pink hair," "his blonde hair," or some other toss away adjective? I've seen it over and over again and all I'm left with is the visualization that these people have no faces, much like that episode of Doctor Who (The Idiot's Lantern). Frankly it's all rather creepy.
I feel like this could have been a great book if it was longer (the copy I read is only 250 pages of at least 1.5 spaced lines) and had much more depth. Add in a couple more suspects, motivations, etc., and maybe a little more information on Vee's "sliding" powers. Unfortunately it's only an "okay" read that's easy and moves at a rapid pace. I didn't hate the book by any means, it's just not one that'll stick in my head for more than a few days. On the plus side I love the cover composition and colors, so kudos to the artist(s). This works fine as a standalone, but is now part of a series, for some unfathomable reason. Frankly, I'm getting sick of every book that comes out, most usually in the YA genre, becoming a series. It's ridiculous how few standalone books there are anymore. Still, even with all my grumbling about the numerous series and everything else, I think I will check out Impostor, the second book in the Slide series, as it sounds interesting. Who knows, this might have just been the stepping stone to bigger and better things. Although if Vee is as stupid as she was in this one, I'm outta there.
Originally Reviewed: October 16, 2012 Received: Amazon Vine(less)
As I started reading Team Human, I couldn't help but feel this was written as a good-natured poke at Twilight and all the vampire ridiculata left in i...moreAs I started reading Team Human, I couldn't help but feel this was written as a good-natured poke at Twilight and all the vampire ridiculata left in its wake. However, the story leaves its parodying fairly early on and becomes a book in its own right, with characters who have flaws and an interesting world with its own set of rules. All the while written with wit, feeling, and reality.
Mel Duan is the protagonist of the book, who is full of character flaws. She is prejudiced against vampires, rude, thinks she always knows the right thing to do, and is a big buttinsky (I call her Meddling Mel). She's also caring, loyal, helpful, well-meaning, funny, and charming in her own way. Basically, Mel is a real human being. There are two main storylines in the book, the first one about her BFF, Cathy, and her relationship with an uptight vampire. The other dealing with a mystery involving another close friend and her parents. Both are incorporated into the story well, as are the smaller B-plots. Mel doesn't always come across in a very good light, which helps me fall into the world and believe it could be true. Nothing takes me out of a story more than an unrealistically perfect character. Not one of the characters in this book is like that, even Cathy, who does come close. I also love the fact that Mel would typically be the sidekick in any other story and Cathy the main character who falls in love with a vampire. Instead it's the other way around, so we see the over-the-top relationship from the outside, and also from Mel's rather small-minded point-of-view. It's a great idea that luckily works thanks to the talented authors.
The book moves along nicely without seeming hasty, it has lessons that aren't heavy-handed, it features love aspects but it isn't a love story, and most importantly, it has character evolution and believable characters, mainly Mel herself. In the end I was surprised that I had gotten so caught up in outcome of the story and actually cared what happened to these people. Kudos, I'll definitely be reading more from both Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier, and can only hope they conspire to write another book in the future.
Originally Reviewed: February 20, 2013 Received: Amazon Vine(less)
I remember adoring this book when I was, oh I don't know, ten or eleven (along with other Point books and Christopher Pike). The premise just so intri...moreI remember adoring this book when I was, oh I don't know, ten or eleven (along with other Point books and Christopher Pike). The premise just so intrigued me and I remember connecting with the main character.(less)
Anna Dressed in Blood is a good book but I wasn't blown away by it. I was interested in it because the synopsis reminded me of Supernatural (the telev...moreAnna Dressed in Blood is a good book but I wasn't blown away by it. I was interested in it because the synopsis reminded me of Supernatural (the television series), aside from the obvious differences, so along with the awesome cover art I was all for the book. It's unfortunate that I didn't enjoy it more. The characterizations are fine, just detailed enough to give an impression of who they are and why they act as they do, I just didn't feel much of a connection to any of them. The plot worked until the focus shifted away from Anna about two-thirds through, which is a shame, and some of the dialogue was a little iffy and forced, especially in the beginning. I can't quite say why else the book didn't totally work for me, other than there were a few moments that felt off somehow, but either I was really into the story or I wasn't. Sorry I can't be more specific. Although the author writes some mean scenes that have the perfect creepy atmosphere, so those stand out as a big pro. Now I see that this might be the start of yet another YA paranormal series, though it's perfectly fine as a standalone and as I'm not all that interested in reading more with these characters, I think I'll pass if there are any sequels. With all that said, take this review with a grain of salt, I think others, and definitely teens, would like this book more than I did.(less)
A carnival full of odd workers comes to Sunnydale, Buffy's friends are preoccupied dating a couple of these workers, and a pack of strange co...more3.5 stars
A carnival full of odd workers comes to Sunnydale, Buffy's friends are preoccupied dating a couple of these workers, and a pack of strange coyotes are running amok in the streets. Buffy suspects all of these events are related but has no proof. What's a slayer to do?
Set in the summer between the first and second seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Coyote Moon is a short and concise story that conveys the spirit of the show without too many noticeable inaccuracies. The major anachronism was Buffy staying in Sunnydale for the summer, which didn't happen during this time. Since this was written before any of the major angst occurred in the series, this has a lighter feel that carries through to the end. The author manages to get the characters and dialogue right via few lines and passages. The only misstep I caught was Giles' wrong definition of a blue moon -- I don't believe that's something he wouldn't have known. Otherwise everyone (Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles) rings true to their early incarnations, though more as a basic outline of their characters than anything too substantial. At first the plot reminded me slightly of the episode "The Pack," though this had to do with coyotes instead of hyenas, but once I got into it the story was completely different. The pace was brisk, and though the Big Bad's defeat was over in the blink of an eye, it was a solid read. I can easily see this fitting right in on screen and it's a good companion piece to read in between re-watching episodes.(less)
Just when I thought I didn't have any more patience for Young Adult fiction, along comes this book. A book so funny, so sweet, so true that it has mad...moreJust when I thought I didn't have any more patience for Young Adult fiction, along comes this book. A book so funny, so sweet, so true that it has made me give the genre another chance. The main character, Finbar Frame, is absolutely endearing in all his geekiness and attempts at being cool by becoming a vampire. The plot is simple and it's no surprise where the story goes or how it ends, but it is Finbar himself that makes the book a delight to read. Bloodthirsty is a very short and easy read that was most enjoyable.(less)
Book Review I had heard about this feud soon after it started, so when news that a book was coming out I had to read it. C'mon, zombies and unicorns, t...moreBook Review I had heard about this feud soon after it started, so when news that a book was coming out I had to read it. C'mon, zombies and unicorns, this is a combination I couldn't miss out on. After a lackluster and disappointing start, with many stories I didn't like at all, I was starting to think I'd have a hard time finishing the book, even with the different authors. It wasn't until The Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson on page 147 that the stories picked up and I ended up enjoying the rest, though my enjoyment deviated from okay to great. The "arguments" between editors Holly Black (Team Unicorn) and Justine Larbalestier (Team Zombie) were usually quite amusing, though they themselves don't contribute to the book. I, for one, would have liked to have read their takes on their chosen teams.
I'm not going to review each story individually, but list them with my (very) basic impression of the story. The book has varying degrees of gore, cursing, sexual innuendo and references, bestiality (you read that right, but it's more referred to than shown, thank goodness), suicide, and other violent acts.
Stories (in order of appearance): *The Highest Justice by Garth Nix (Marked as a unicorn story, this is actually both unicorn and zombie. A decent story.) *Love Will Tear Us Apart by Alaya Dawn Johnson (Zombie. Did not care for this at all) *Purity Test by Naomi Novik (Unicorn. Didn't hate this story, but wasn't fond of it either) *Bougainvillea by Carrie Ryan (Zombie. Didn't like.) *A Thousand Flowers by Margo Lanagan (Unicorn. Also wasn't fond of.) *The Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson (Zombie. Rather twisted, but so am I, so I enjoyed it.) *The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn by Diana Peterfreund (Unicorn. My favorite story in the anthology.) *Inoculata by Scott Westerfield (Zombie. Pretty good.) *Princess Prettypants by Meg Cabot (Unicorn. Very tongue-in-cheek, I liked this story a lot.) *Cold Hands by Cassandra Clare (Zombie. Interesting world created here. Definitely passed my likability test.) *The Third Virgin by Kathleen Duey (Unicorn. An okay story.) *Prom Night by Libba Bray (Zombie. Second favorite of the book and very close to a tie with Peterfreund's tale.)
The unicorn stories went in many different directions, with all sorts of unicorns, while most of the zombie stories stayed where you would expect them and had typical zombies, though there were a few surprises still in store. I went into this as Team Zombie, and while my favorite was a unicorn story, I still firmly remain with the shamblers. Overall, I ended up enjoying the majority of the book, so if you're interested in zombies, unicorns, or especially both, pick this up for an interesting assortment of stories. 3.5 stars for the print version
Audio Review This unabridged CD set includes ten discs, which average a little over one story each, though generally there is one whole story bookended by the end of one preceding it and the start of another afterward that will continue onto the next disc. They have very short chapters, generally less than a minute and I could tell when each chapter ended and the next began, which didn't make for totally smooth listening but it also wasn't too bad either. I would have rather have had longer chapters that had a clearer starting and stopping point to make it easier to find my place again. Most of the readers, both male and female, sound fairly young, which makes sense since this is a YA anthology, but the majority also sounded as if they were reading to school children, which makes for annoying listening. I found most of the voices grating and unfortunately none of them are named for me to be more specific. However, the one male was fine and the woman who did Diana Peterfreund was good and I believe she also narrated one or two others in the book. The use of sound effects break up stories, a groan that also says "brains" for zombies and trumpets and a horse whinny for unicorns. Immediately after is the intro from the editors with their ongoing debate that became increasingly irritating as I read on; this may have to do with how they performed those discussions. As written word, these exchanges are far more entertaining. For the most part, I really didn't enjoy listening to this and much prefer reading it in print. 2 stars for audio(less)
Normally I wouldn't write a review if I didn't read at least half of the book in question, but I'm obligated by Amazon Vine to give my honest opinion...moreNormally I wouldn't write a review if I didn't read at least half of the book in question, but I'm obligated by Amazon Vine to give my honest opinion about a product. I yielded at 170 pages and refuse to force myself to read something I am not enjoying in the least.
First off I cannot feel sympathy for the protagonist, Ellie, which is essential in a book like this. She's a shallow character who wasn't brought to life in the pages I read. It's hard to relate to a girl who has everything she could possibly want, saving her daddy's love, and while that can be possible in other books, it wasn't the case with this one. The concept sounded interesting and is what drew me to the book, but as I read, it just felt like a very, very poor imitation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the television series) with minor differences. The truth is that a better writer could have overcome all these issues and made them his or her own. Quite possibly, even this book may have ended up being a good if many more rewrites and editing had been undertaken. Unfortunately the writing is weak, most especially the dialogue, and nothing inspired me to read on or to care what happens. Most of what I read was a question and answer session between Ellie and her Guardian, Will, which was very irritating to read. I urge all authors not to do this. Perhaps ANGELFIRE is too young for most adults and better suited for teens, but that's up to the reader in question.(less)
The start of VESPERS immediately caught my attention with the transcript of an interview with Emily Webb, the protagonist, and an agent of the mysteri...moreThe start of VESPERS immediately caught my attention with the transcript of an interview with Emily Webb, the protagonist, and an agent of the mysterious Vesper Company. This led to the first chapter where no time is wasted getting straight to the story. Emily is every introverted, insecure, don't-make-a-scene-or-stand-out girl out there, which made her very relatable to me; as a teen, I was just like her. Her transformations into Nighttime Emily, as she called herself, were well-done but I felt the author could have stretched a little further than the "wild child" persona he gave Emily during those times. I got a bit bored when she was in that stage and liked when she went back to Daytime Emily, her normal self, much better. At first, I was a little disappointed in where the story actually went, mainly what Emily ended up being (and that's all I'm saying, no spoilers here), but I accepted and enjoyed it anyway. The middle of the book lagged and I was afraid it would end up an average read, with too much wild behavior and not as much development as I would have liked. However, toward the end the story picked up and kept me riveted; it's always a good thing for an author to end his or her book on a high note. This isn't a YA book with romance as its central focus, but it does have its place in the story and doesn't overwhelm the main plot. The book as a whole could have been deeper than it was, but it's still a good start to the Deviants series and opened up numerous possibilities, with many unanswered questions for future endeavors. The use of six or so transcripts interspersed throughout the book was a nice element and I quite enjoyed them; the entire book could have easily been written this way. This would probably appeal more to teenagers but some adults would enjoy it as well. I did. THE VESPERS is a breeze to read, briskly-paced, and has a few snicker-worthy moments; maybe it's not perfect, but it's far from bad and I had a good time reading it. 3.5 stars
Note: There is some graphic violence, only one scene really, but it's there.(less)
For a book classified as young adult horror, THE DEVOURING defies the usual so-called teen horror and actually does feel horrific. I wouldn't say it's...moreFor a book classified as young adult horror, THE DEVOURING defies the usual so-called teen horror and actually does feel horrific. I wouldn't say it's in the same league as some of the best adult horror books out there, but it holds its own and the author does a terrific job creating a tense and creepy atmosphere. I've never been one who has ever scared easily, but if I had read this at a younger age I just might have become a little paranoid. The narrative is swift, engaging and simply told (I simply 'devoured' it. Oh har har har. Okay I'll shut-up now. ;P). Reggie is relatable and strong, while Vour Henry if effectively disturbing, and Eben is enigmatic. The other characters are fine for their purpose, although I do wonder at the twins, and I have a feeling they might feature more in the sequel, which I look forward to reading. A warning for the queasy: disturbing and violent imagery is used quite a bit, so some people might want to pass on this book.(less)
An interesting book, but rather chaotic, which may be what the author had in mind. Sometimes I had no clue what was going on, and that wasn't helped b...moreAn interesting book, but rather chaotic, which may be what the author had in mind. Sometimes I had no clue what was going on, and that wasn't helped by some boring and/or confusing explanations. I'll probably pick up the next book that I see features new main characters. That might help my enjoyment of the story, as Kaye was touch and go for me. Overall, a bit flawed, but generally entertaining.(less)