Although it had murder, mystery, and blackmail; Dead to Me by Mary McCoy was a book that never felt suspenseful enough to me for several reasons. FirsAlthough it had murder, mystery, and blackmail; Dead to Me by Mary McCoy was a book that never felt suspenseful enough to me for several reasons. Firstly, I failed to connect with Alice and didn’t really care much about her sister, Annie. Secondly, I felt the plot was very sequential, and knew things were going to work out for Alice and Annie. Seriously, when was the last time you read a book where the protagonist died or was seriously injured? Finally, the bad guys were revealed much earlier than I anticipated, and so I was simply waiting to see whether the bad guys would be caught in the latter portion of the book. ...more
Recently, there seems to be an increasing number of YA books dealing with mental health – a trend that I’m not only enjoying, but one that I think isRecently, there seems to be an increasing number of YA books dealing with mental health – a trend that I’m not only enjoying, but one that I think is very important. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone can be added to this list.
Knowing someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and having researched the topic for a few undergraduate psychology courses, I was curious to see how Sam’s disorder would be portrayed. From reading Every Last Word, it’s clear that Stone did her research. For example, I really liked that she demonstrated the importance of both medication and therapy in the treatment of OCD.
I also liked Every Last Word in terms of its characters and plot. I found it very easy to empathize with Sam, and enjoyed seeing her slowly stand up for herself and surround herself with people that she could open up to. There’s a cute romance and a very unexpected plot twist as well....more
When I decided to read Lee Bross’ Tangled Webs, I thought I’d be getting a story with a badass heroine. Instead, I got a protagonist who was constantlWhen I decided to read Lee Bross’ Tangled Webs, I thought I’d be getting a story with a badass heroine. Instead, I got a protagonist who was constantly thinking about romance!
Right from the start, I had a bad feeling about Arista as a character. In chapter 1, for example, rather than being focused on her job, Arista daydreams about what it would be like to kiss her bodyguard and best friend, Nic – that is, until she meets a mysterious stranger who she instantly connects with. From here on, the story became one of insta-love with a bit of a love triangle thrown in. Unfortunately, the hardened street rat I was expecting never showed up!
In addition, although Tangled Webs’ setting was London in 1725, there was very little detail devoted to the setting. This story could have easily been set elsewhere or in another time period and still remained the same....more
Although I’d never checked it out, Cinda Williams Chima’s The Heir Chronicles was a fantasy series that I’d heard a lot about in the past. With the reAlthough I’d never checked it out, Cinda Williams Chima’s The Heir Chronicles was a fantasy series that I’d heard a lot about in the past. With the release of the newest book in the series, The Sorcerer Heir, however, I figured I’d give the first book, The Warrior Heir, a try.
Though I found The Warrior Heir to be an okay novel and thought the worldbuilding was pretty solid, the story just didn’t grip me. Not only was The Warrior Heir quite predictable, but its pacing was slow and the characters were sort of boring. Ultimately, I think my younger self would have enjoyed this book a lot more....more
Hillary Monahan's Mary: The Summoning was a book that I have mixed feelings about because although I liked some aspects of it, other parts could haveHillary Monahan's Mary: The Summoning was a book that I have mixed feelings about because although I liked some aspects of it, other parts could have been improved upon.
Here is my list of pros and cons about Mary: The Summoning:
Pros: - I liked that Monahan created a background for Mary. She wasn’t just some ghost, but a girl with a history, which made me want to know why she became so full of fury that she eventually became Bloody Mary. - Although Mary: The Summoning was full of horror scenes, they weren't too frightening. While some people might be disappointed by that, I was actually content about not having to worry about whether Mary was coming for me. If you’re a scaredy-cat but want to read a horror novel, I would suggest giving Mary: The Summoning a try. - I loved what happened to (view spoiler)[Jess (hide spoiler)] at the end. She totally deserved it!
Cons: - I thought there was a lot of telling rather than showing in Mary: The Summoning. For example, before we even really get to know Shauna and her friends, we’re told about their personalities and group dynamics. - Shauna and her friends weren't very memorable. - I would have liked to know more about Mary’s background. Three letters addressed from Mary to her sister just weren’t enough since they only painted a brief picture of her life. - I wasn't too pleased that by the time story ended, Jess’ motives for wanting to summon Mary remained unclear. I had thought that Mary: The Summoning was a standalone, but Goodreads confirms otherwise. Honestly, I'm extremely surprised that one book wasn't sufficient for the overall story arc.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Although I haven’t read any of Cassandra Clare’s novels, the fact that Jaclyn Dolamore’s Dark Metropolis was compared to her books meant that I had prAlthough I haven’t read any of Cassandra Clare’s novels, the fact that Jaclyn Dolamore’s Dark Metropolis was compared to her books meant that I had pretty high expectations for it. For a multitude of reasons however, I ended up being disappointed by Dark Metropolis. Firstly, while reading the book, it was hard for me to get into a rhythm because it kept switching perspectives between different characters, all of whom I found rather dull. On top of that, Dark Metropolis then featured two bland romances, – one heterosexual, one homosexual, – both of which were insta-loves. Finally, I found the worldbuilding to be pretty vague as many things were either explained only briefly or alluded to. ...more
After unexpectedly falling in love with Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s These Broken Stars last year, I had high hopes for its companion novel, ThisAfter unexpectedly falling in love with Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s These Broken Stars last year, I had high hopes for its companion novel, This Shattered World. Fortunately, This Shattered World lived up to my expectations. In fact, I actually liked it even more than These Broken Stars!
A huge reason why would be because of the characterization of Jubilee and Flynn as individuals. While it took me some time to like Tarver in These Broken Stars, I liked both Jubilee and Flynn right from the start because Jubilee was this tough soldier with a surprising amount of vulnerability whereas Flynn was a charming rebel who wanted to create change through peaceful means (unlike his fellow rebels).
Though they’re on opposite sides of a war, Jubilee and Flynn learn to trust each other over time, and become allies. There was so much chemistry between them, and I loved the romance because it was slow and believable (although the attraction was there from the beginning). Authors, this is how you write a romance!
In terms of the plot, we get to see LaRoux Industries’ effects on another planet, which eventually causes Lilac and Tarver to be dragged into the conflict on Avon. So, we get to see what they’re up to as well :)
I can’t wait to travel to Corinth in the next book and see Roderick LaRoux get what he deserves! ...more
The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes was kind of an interesting read in that I really enjoyed the parts that I liked and hated the parts that I didn’tThe Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes was kind of an interesting read in that I really enjoyed the parts that I liked and hated the parts that I didn’t. I figured a pros and cons list therefore would probably serve best as a review for this book.
Pros: - My favourite thing about The Naturals was the mystery. My suspicions about who the serial killer was turned out to be completely off base, and I was very surprised by who it turned out to be! - I’m not sure what this says about me, but I also loved being in the head of the serial killer. - I really liked that Barnes kept the characters’ abilities seemingly natural. It’s not hard to imagine an ordinary person just being intuitively great at detecting whether someone is lying, for example, by reading body language and facial expressions. As a result, The Naturals never ventured into the paranormal realm. - I thought the secondary characters were pretty interesting. I did like the girls more than the guys though.
Cons: - Unlike the secondary characters, I never connected with Cassie because she sounded so monotonous throughout the entire novel. - The premise is very far-fetched. For example, I find it hard to believe that an FBI agent would come to a twelve-year-old with questions about serial killers. Also, there's no explanation provided for how the FBI finds these so-called Naturals. - Not only was there a dull love triangle, but it also turned out to be completely pointless because (view spoiler)[Cassie didn’t choose anybody (hide spoiler)]! - The ending was a bit too open for me. I think The Naturals is a standalone, but the way it ended seems like the author has left the possibility open for a sequel. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
With its promise of thieves and assassins and the author mentioning on Goodreads that one of her inspirations is Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness qWith its promise of thieves and assassins and the author mentioning on Goodreads that one of her inspirations is Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartet, Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne was a novel that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. Sadly, the writing was simplistic and the characters left little impression.
To me, it felt like there was a lot of telling rather than showing going on in Midnight Thief. As well, more description would definitely have helped to make the setting and characters more vivid. That being said, Midnight Thief was a breezy read, and I can easily see it appeal to older MG readers.
Like the setting, the characters were also pretty flat. The story is narrated through both Kyra and Tristam’s points of view, but I never found the switches in narration to be seamless. In fact, Tristam’s narration was very unexpected and abrupt at the beginning because for the first five chapters, everything was told from Kyra’s perspective. However, I liked Tristam better than Kyra, who joins the Assassins Guild yet objects to killing (uh, so why join the Assassins Guild at all?!), but only by a slight margin because both characters were similar in that they didn’t think too much about the possible consequences of their actions. Since I couldn’t have cared less about the fate of the characters, I also ended up not caring if they would get together or not. ...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
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
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
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
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
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