Tightly plotted to slowly ratchet up the tension, The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab is a story set in an isolated town with secrets, where children grTightly plotted to slowly ratchet up the tension, The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab is a story set in an isolated town with secrets, where children grow up with each other and strangers are unwelcome, and where each night a child is strangely disappearing after being tucked into bed.
Schwab’s writing is lyrical and was my favourite aspect of the book. With her words, the town of Near and the surrounding moor come alive and you can picture the hills bathed in moonlight, the grass gently blowing, and the wind whispering its enchanting song.
Schwab’s characters also come to life with her writing in spite of the fact that most of them aren’t described much physically. Cute, little Wren; strong and independent Lexi with her fierce determination to find the children of Near and keep her sister safe; mysterious Cole; and the wise, old Thorne sisters were all just so vivid in my mind’s eye.
The only thing I didn’t like about The Near Witch was the romance. It wasn’t a huge focus of the book, but it seemed to come out of the blue and felt unbelievable to me.
I’ve never read the Gallagher Girls series and so Heist Society happens to be my first Ally Carter novel. A combination of mystery and action that hadI’ve never read the Gallagher Girls series and so Heist Society happens to be my first Ally Carter novel. A combination of mystery and action that had Kat traveling all over Europe, Heist Society was just so much fun to read, which is why I’m now eagerly waiting for Carter to finish writing Heist Society 2.
Each of the characters in Heist Society had their own distinct personality, and I loved the loyalty they displaced to each other – how many people would be willing to help a friend steal paintings from a museum? I think it would be awesome if Carter decided to write some short stories about any one of the secondary characters. In fact, reading about how Hale and Kat met would be pretty interesting, and I’m sure Angus and Hamish’s story would be hilarious.
It was also pretty interesting to read about the schemes the characters came up with since they had to steal not one, but five, paintings from one of the world’s most secure – albeit fictional – museums. Stealing may be completely wrong, but Carter made it sound like such a blast and just made me wish I could join Kat’s crew! No worries though, I’m still a good girl at heart. ...more
Girl Wonder by Alexa Martin is a fast-paced debut exploring themes like friendship, family, sex and drugs through the eyes of a girl trying to figureGirl Wonder by Alexa Martin is a fast-paced debut exploring themes like friendship, family, sex and drugs through the eyes of a girl trying to figure out who she is and her place in the world. With a father who is a famous author, a mother that is a professor and a genius younger brother, Charlotte feels like a misfit because she has dyscalculia. When her family moves and Charlotte is forced to go to public school because of her learning disability, Charlotte meets Amanda and is thrilled when the popular Amanda begins to take an interest in her. Unfortunately, the rise to popularity can often require a steep price to be paid.
While I may not have liked Charlotte as a character initially because of her shallowness (e.g. she chooses not to be friends with a girl she considers to be a nobody), Martin’s portrayal of Charlotte as a teen was very realistic. It can be incredibly hard to resist peer pressure and not make stupid decisions if you desperately want to fit in and aren’t self-confident. Though I found the ending to be underdeveloped, I liked that by the end of the story, Charlotte acknowledges that many of her problems stemmed from the fact that she preferred beauty over substance, and learns from her mistakes to become a stronger character. ...more
I know I normally write formal reviews but writing a review for Rebecca Lim's Mercy was proving to be a challenge because my thoughts about it were juI know I normally write formal reviews but writing a review for Rebecca Lim's Mercy was proving to be a challenge because my thoughts about it were just so scattered. So, I figured I'd just jot down what I thought were the pros and cons of the novel.
Pros: - The writing was engaging. - I love reading about angels and Mercy offers something new: an angel inhabiting people’s bodies. - When Mercy inhabits the body of Carmen, the people she is boarding with are still trying to deal with the kidnapping of their daughter from her bedroom two years ago. Everyone, including Mr. and Mrs. Daley, believe Lauren is dead. Her brother, Ryan, however believes she is still alive and is determined to find where Lauren has been hidden. The mystery of the kidnapping was interesting and I really had no idea who the kidnapper was.
Cons: - The synopsis tells too much, and everything important that I’ve gleaned comes from it. For example, it mentions that Mercy is an angel but this was never explicitly stated in the novel. - I didn’t connect emotionally to the character of Mercy. - Although the synopsis hints at a love triangle, there was hardly any romance in the book. - The most frustrating aspect about Mercy was that there were still so many questions left unanswered by the end of the book. For example: Who is Luc (I’m assuming it’s short for Lucifer) and why does he only appear to Mercy in her dreams? Who are the Eight that are trying to kill Mercy? Why does Mercy have to inhabit people’s bodies and is she the only angel doing so? ...more
The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe is a book that imagines would happen if a relatively isolated community were to suffer an outbreak of a new and unknownThe Way We Fall by Megan Crewe is a book that imagines would happen if a relatively isolated community were to suffer an outbreak of a new and unknown virus. How would the government react? How would members of the community deal with the situation? What’s nice about the novel is that because the story is set on an island, quarantining people actually becomes a plausible solution. When that happens of course, emotions get heightened and the best and worst in people are brought out.
Although Crewe escalates the situation gradually to increase tension, I never felt a sense of urgency to turn the pages as quickly as possible. Part of this was because of the slow pacing and part of it was because the book was narrated in the form of diary entries to Leo, Kaelyn’s ex-best friend who we learn a little about but only appears right before the abrupt ending. The entries were written obviously after things already happened so it felt a little like I was reading about Kaelyn’s past. This sort of made it hard to completely connect with the characters, and made me feel as if I was watching the action from a distance. ...more
Bridget Zinn’s Poison had a much younger tone than I was expecting it to have. That said, I was still entertained by the lovable characters, charmingBridget Zinn’s Poison had a much younger tone than I was expecting it to have. That said, I was still entertained by the lovable characters, charming world and Zinn’s easy writhing style. All in all, I’d recommend Poison to MG readers looking for a light fantasy with unexpected twists and to YA readers who want a story that’ll leave them with a smile. ...more
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill starts off simply with a prisoner magnetized by a drain, but quickly becomes an engrossing, fast-paced read withAll Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill starts off simply with a prisoner magnetized by a drain, but quickly becomes an engrossing, fast-paced read with plenty of action. That said, I probably won’t remember much about the novel in a few months because I didn’t really connect with the characters in a meaningful way. As well, because Terrill did her best to avoid time paradoxes, it was hard for me to see how the characters grew from their past selves into their present selves, making it seem as if the two storylines were a bit disconnected. ...more
The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston is a breezy read if you’re not thinking too hard about how farfetched the plot is. Unfortunately, I foundThe Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston is a breezy read if you’re not thinking too hard about how farfetched the plot is. Unfortunately, I found that the book started to lose steam one Meg discovered why she was in the Witness Protection Program.
Meg herself was someone I had a few problems with. Although I liked how much she cared about her younger sibling, I thought she complained a bit too much about her situation and didn’t treat her parents very nicely. I also thought Meg wasn’t exactly the brightest character; and when coupled with the plot’s predictability, I was left disappointed by the mystery in The Rules for Disappearing.
The romance was another thing I had an issue with. Sure, Ethan was sweet, but I found it unbelievable that he would risk his safety for someone he had only known for a few days!
Even though I ended up thinking The Rules for Disappearing was an okay read, the ending suggested that there will be a sequel. If there is, I’ll probably pass. ...more
Alienated by Melissa Landers began quite promisingly. However, my interest slowly waned over the course of the novel because the plot became kind of rAlienated by Melissa Landers began quite promisingly. However, my interest slowly waned over the course of the novel because the plot became kind of repetitive with Aelyx and Cara going to school and seeing Humans Against L’eihr Occupation protesters on the way, being snubbed by their classmates at school, and then coming home.
The latter portion of Alienated also received a lower rating because it became more focused on the romance. I really liked Aelyx and Cara’s relationship early in the novel when they were slowly getting to know each other since neither person made a good first impression on the other. As soon as they hooked up though, the pacing of the romance changed dramatically. For example, after not being ready to give up her virginity to her boyfriend (who she breaks up with later), Cara is all too willing to do so after just one makeout session with Aelyx! (view spoiler)[Nor was I entirely thrilled that she chooses to give up everything and leave Earth so that she can stay with Aelyx and then forgives him so easily after he betrays her. I wanted her to have a reaction more like Karou's from Laini Taylor's Days of Blood and Starlight and make Aelyx work for her forgiveness. (hide spoiler)]
Although smart and stubborn, I felt that Cara was a bit naïve as well. Just because the L’eihrs provided a drug that cures cancer, she only briefly wonders what the L’eihrs might eventually want from humans. Cara also never became really curious about Aelyx’s suspicious looking nightly activities or followed him to see what he was up to, despite reports of crop failure around all the areas where the L’eihr exchange students were living.
I liked Aelyx a bit more because I was able to relate to him better. While Cara perceives him as robotic in the beginning, his own POV shows that he isn’t very happy about being sent to Earth as an exchange student. (I’d be too if I was a more advanced species!) Slowly though, his interactions with humans causes him to not only become more proficient at expressing emotions, but also forces him to change his mindset.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Before I started blogging, a book I read and enjoyed was Stacey Kade’s The Ghost and the Goth. Although I still have to read the next two books in TheBefore I started blogging, a book I read and enjoyed was Stacey Kade’s The Ghost and the Goth. Although I still have to read the next two books in The Ghost and the Goth trilogy, I thought I’d give Kades’s latest novel, The Rules, a go. Though not as entertaining as The Ghost and the Goth, The Rules was still a nice read nonetheless.
One of the reasons I liked The Rules was because it really wasn’t a sci-fi novel. Other than the notion of aliens existing and a mention here and there of human-alien hybrids being created, there isn’t much science-y talk in The Rules. In fact, I’m still not fully clear about what GTX’s goals are or what Project Paper Doll is. The Rules, instead, is more of a contemporary novel with some paranormal elements (since one of the main characters happens to be a hybrid teen). So, although there’s a lot of high school drama, I’d pick that over a very sci-fi-ish novel.
The other reason I liked The Rules was because of the characters. Despite not being as memorable as Will and Alona, Ariane and Zane are still likeable. A seemingly stereotypical jock at the beginning, Zane manages to learn to stand up for himself and others by the end of the book. Meanwhile, Ariane has no problems defending herself or others even though she should be blending in.
Through Ariane’s and Zane’s alternating perspectives, you understand both characters more fully and see them come together with a mutual plan to thwart Rachel’s attempt at controlling them. While the romance wasn’t swoon-worthy by any means, it did feel believable. Since the two hadn’t gotten together for long, I also liked that there was no declaration of love....more
Here are five reasons to read Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner's These Broken Stars:
1) The plot: Although I didn’t understand the scientific reasoningHere are five reasons to read Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner's These Broken Stars:
1) The plot: Although I didn’t understand the scientific reasoning behind the major plot twist at the end, I thought the book was very original. I’ve never been a sci-fi fan and previously hadn’t really enjoyed the few books that I read that fell within the genre, but I was entertained by These Broken Stars.
2) The writing: Not only was Kaufman and Spooner’s writing descriptive, but they also added an element of suspense. Each chapter, for example, begins with part of a record of Tarver’s interrogation, and you can’t help but wonder what it is that Tarver and Lilac discovered while being stuck on this abandoned planet.
3) The dual POVs: As long as the voices of the characters remain distinct, I love reading about a situation from multiple perspectives. That’s definitely applicable to These Broken Stars as well.
4) The protagonists: Most people might find Tarver easier to like than Lilac, but I had the opposite reaction. I felt sorry for Lilac having to push people away and appearing like a snob. I also realized there was a lot more to her than meets the eye when she hot-wires their escape pod. I was just waiting for her to show her strength and capability to Tarver, who seemed to have this “I know best” mentality that disappears as the novel progresses.
5) The slow building romance: Though both Tarver and Lilac are attracted to each other at the beginning of the book, the way Lilac is forced to treat Tarver causes him embarrassment. As a result, both Tarver and Lilac believe that the other person thinks the worst of them even as they start to develop respect for each other. It all makes for some nice sexual tension. ...more