In Portraits of Celina, Bayley and her family move into the old O’Malley estate on the countryside after her father dies, to try and make a fresh start. But a fresh start might be the last thing they’ll ever get. Bayley moves into a room who used to belong to Celina O’Malley, a girl who disappeared when she was sixteen years old. It’s now forty years later, but it seems like the past won’t be put to rest. Bayley looks exactly like Celina – at least so do people tell her – and she starts wearing Celina’s old clothes, and eventually even hearing Celina’s voice. What’s going on? What does Celina’s ghost want from Bayley, and what happened that made her disappear forty years ago?
I’m a sucker for these kind of stories – YA paranormal mystery with ghosts. And Portraits of Celina is a good one at that: the mystery, while not overly-complicated isn’t too easy either (I only figured it out past the halfway mark), the ghost is genuinely chilling at times, and the title is given a whole new meaning throughout the book – which I loved. The quarrels between Bayley and her siblings were awesome too. They sounded like a real family, and although they argued often, they did have each other’s back. This made Bayley seem like a more realistic character. Her emotions seemed real too, especially her pain over losing her Dad.
Then, on to the bad stuff. The romance was too cliché. Oliver and Bayley have literally nothing in common, and Bayley acts like a weirdo for most of the book, which is no surprise considering she’s being haunted by the ghost of her deceased cousin. Yet, Oliver isn’t in the least deterred by all this weird behavior, which doesn’t sound very plausible. Their dialogue seemed childish too, and honestly, I could’ve done without the romance. The story and characters are intriguing enough without.
I enjoyed this YA paranormal mystery, some of the scenes where chilling, but for the most part, it wasn’t too scary. Fans of ghost stories will probably like it too....more
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl is a fun paranormal read. It’s apparently based on a popular YouTube channel, but I’ve never seen it – although I might be tempted to check it out now – so my review is based on the book alone, and I have nothing to compare it with.
Sunshine and her mom moved halfway across the country to the small town of Ridgemont, Washington. They changed the sun for the clouds, and Sunshine’s mood seems to have plummeted along with the weather. They moved because her mom, Kat, got a new job at a local hospital. All seems to go well, right until they arrive at their new home. Sunshine tries to look on the bright side, but has trouble finding anything bright about her new home, which seems infested with a creepy, eerie feeling.
And the longer they spend in the house, the more Sunshine grows convinced it’s haunted. Her mom doesn’t believe it, being a practical person, so Sunshine starts to gather evidence. While the ghost grows more powerful, slamming doors, sobbing in the bathroom, and even playing games with Sunshine, her mom still won’t believe her. Up until something frightening happens, and afterward, Kat doesn’t even remember.
Sunshine realizes it’s up to her to solve the mystery of the ghost’s identity before her mom gets hurt.
I loved the relationship Sunshine and Kat have. Sunshine is adopted, but they still have a real bond, a real connection. They’re very much like a real mother and daughter. Sometimes they bicker, but they’re there for each other, and they’re best friends. You don’t often see that in YA, and it’s great when it happens. Unfortunately their bond deteriorates when Kat doesn’t believe her daughter, which drives a wedge between them. But even though, it was still interesting to see what this did to their relationship, and how it estranged them.
The second POV that pops in occassionally was confusing at first, and I could’ve done without. I wanted to read the story of Sunshine and Kat, and the second POV didn’t add to the tension, but instead diminished it.
Sunshine was a loveable character, quirky and fun. Unfortunately she doesn’t seem to have a lot of friends, not even at her new school, and I found it a little hard to believe that even after being there for longer than a month, she only ever mentioned one person from school, one friend.
The ghost part worked well, and the suspense is high from start till end. There’s some build up, but from the moment Sunshine first hears the ghost, the suspense just keeps on going. The writing was spot on, with Sunshine sounding like a teenager without jumping to clichés. Some of the descriptions were plain beautiful.
This is a promising start to a new series, with a few exciting twists to the usual ghost story. It left me pleasantly surprised, and I look forward to reading more about Sunshine and her adventures in the sequel. Can’t wait....more
Haunted (The Arnaud Legacy #1) tries to give an original twist to probably the most well-known ghost story plot in the world (protagonist moves into large home that turns out to be haunted) and up to some degree, it succeeds.
Phoebe Irving is sixteen years old when her parents decide to move from San Francisco all the way to rural England. She knows it must be because she did something bad, something she can’t remember. But she tries to adapt to her new surroundings as well as she can. They live in a smaller appartment next door a collossal mansion that is the family house of her stepfather. But soon enough, Phoebe discovers the mansion is haunted by an organ-playing ghost – and not just some ghost. Madame Arnaud, who used to drink blood of children to stay alive forever. And now this evil presence has set her eyes on Tabby, Phoebe’s kid sister. It’s up to Phoebe, and her new friend Miles, to save her.
The descriptions are atmospheric and haunting, and they set a good mood for the book. The book offers gothic horror, with some graphic descriptions of Madame Arnaud, but apart from that, the horror is more of the spine-chilling kind than the gorey type. It’s a solid read in the genre, and our heroine, Phoebe, is a strong and intriguing character. She doesn’t back down from a challenge, but instead faces it head on – a rare quality.
Unfortunately, while the plot had some original elements (which I will not spoil here), it was also fairly predictable. I knew how it would end by the time I hit the halfway mark. Still entertaining, just less intriguing. On top of that, the ending left some things unanswered, and I would’ve preferred everything to wrap up nicely. I don’t mind sequels, but you need to tie up loose ends.
All in all, it’s an enjoyable read, and the author holds a lot of promise – she writes descriptions well, and knows how to create a tense atmosphere....more
This was an interesting read. H.A.L.F: The Deep Beneath is the first book in a trilogy, and it sets the mood nicely. We’re introduced to H.A.LF. 9, who was created to be a weapon yet ended up being too powerful and impredictable. His makers kept him sedated, but now the sedation has worn off, and he’s more alive and deadly than ever before. As a hybrid, only half-human, H.A.L.F 9 makes an interesting character. The author does a great job portraying him, his choices, and why he chooses to be anything but what he was meant to be – a killer.
Erika Holt and her friends run into H.A.L.F 9 by accident during a night out in the desert. When things go dire, H.A.L.F 9 — Tex — shows up to save Erika and her friends. Erika feels a strange connection toward the hybrid, who struggles to escape from the Commander, who wants him back, no matter what it takes. Tex and Erika had an interesting bond, and I can’t wait to see how it develops in the second book.
The characters are strong, in particular Erika. She didn’t have a great childhood, what with an alcoholic mom, but she has a lot of strength. Tex is intriguing too, because you never quite know how he’ll react.
The book starts out with a bang, and it keeps on going right until the end, fast-paced all the way through. If you like scifi, give this book a shot. I for one, am curious about the sequel....more
Gifted is an intriguing novel about fifteen-year-old Frank Sampson, a forensic sorcerer who would like nothing more than to be left alone, but as one of the most promising pupils of the academy he graduated from, he’s often enrolled in work for the police force. This time around, he gets to help solve the murder of the Bishop of Oxford, who seems to be missing his head. Yet from the moment he arrives, Frank wonders if the body even belongs to the Bishop, and he gets a bad feeling about all of it. Especially about working alongside Marvo, his police colleague, who is about his age and has the keen ability to spot things others can’t. In a world where grown ups slowly go blind or completely lose the ability to see by the time they hit thirty, spotting things others can’t, is high in demand.
Frank is Gifted, which means he has the ability to perform magic. As a forensic sorcerer, he can do things like see it the head matches the body, how long the person has been dead, and all kind of things. Magic also doesn’t happen “just like that” – rituals and spells are needed. It’s all rather elaborate, and that’s what I like about it. It’s so completely unlike magic in other books. This magic needs incantations and spells and complex rituals – it’s not like the Harry Potter books where characters just wave a wand. Also, the book has a much darker undertone, with the mention of necromancers, of raising the dead, and of course, the murder waiting to be solved. “Who killed the Bishop and why” is the number one question throughout the book, but meanwhile we’re introduced to this amazing world of magic and witchcraft.
The world building and setting is the main reason why I gave this book five stars. I loved all of it. Seriously. From the spells, the summoning of demons and how that works, to Frank’s work place, to how the whole magic society works, to how outsiders deal with the gifted, everything about it makes sense. The book reminded me a lot of Lockwood & Co, another favorite of mine, but whereas Lockwood & Co deals with ghosts, and practically turned the whole world ghost lore upside down, Gifted does the same but with magic.
The characters are a mixed bag. Frank is spotless – I mean, he has tons and tons of flaws stacked upon even more flaws, but this makes him perfect. So human. So broken. Then we’ve got Marvo, who is flawed too, and who makes a great sidekick for Frank. I wasn’t too fond of Frank’s apparent infatuation for Kazia, the Bishop’s niece. He saw her once and fell head over heels for her – but then again, Frank is fifteen, and falling randomly in love is common for people that age, so I didn’t mind that much.
If you want an original magic system, and an intriguing setting, I would highly recommend this book. One of the most unique fantasy books I’ve read in years....more
In The Portal & The Panther, Jon Parker is seventeen years old, and has lived a pretty normal life so far. That is, until one day he starts feeling ill at school, escapes to the boys’ bathroom, and transforms into a panther. His entire world is turned upside down when he realizes humanity isn’t the only group populating earth. Shapeshifters exist, and he’s far from the only person who can change into a panther or another animal. Apart from shapeshifters, there are also “intruders” who can control the elements with just a thought.
Layla, a fellow shapeshifter, helps him adjust to his new world, and his new powers. Along with her help, Jon must protect the world from aliens invading it from other worlds. Then a girl from his class, Kristin, who he’s always had a crush on, gets involved, and suddenly his mission turns a lot more dangerous and he risks hurting the girl he loves.
There’s a bit of a love triangle going on between Layla, Jon and Kristin, but I didn’t mind that much. Each character is likeable in their own way, particularly Jon. He’s flawed, suffers from a less-than-perfect childhood, and he’s easy to relate to. Layla is tough, but at the same time she had a vulnerable side too. And Kristin seems like your typical girl next door, but she has more courage than you’d give her credit for at first.
The story is engaging and well-written, and the characters shine on the pages. The world-building is impressive, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series....more
In The Shadow of Loss, Evelyn Gonzales meets up again with her sister Olive after having been institutionalized in a psychiatric institution after experiencing a terrible loss. When Evelyn is released, Olive decides to take care of her. She’s moved both of them into a new house, enrolls Evelyn into a new school, and basically sets up everything for a brand new start. But Evelyn still struggles, and slowly the truth behind what happened is revealed. Will Evelyn’s wounds ever heal? Can she trust people again?
Evelyn is an intriguing character. She went through so much turmoil, and yet, with the help of others, most of all her sister, she continues to stand strong. Olive is everyone’s dream sister. She barely has any flaws, but it seems more like she’s just good at hiding them, and making sure Evelyn doesn’t see so she doesn’t have anything else on her plate to deal with.
The story is realistic, as the genre suggests, and it shows the aftermath of traumatizing experiences, of how someone can suffer although appearing all right on the outside. As such it’s quite a thought-provoking story, and makes one wonder how often we ignored people who could use our emotional support, or how quick we’ll assume everything’s all right with someone, even though they just went through something terrible.
While the book has a minor romance storyline, the focus is mostly on Evelyn dealing with trauma and finding herself again, and on the relationship betwene Evelyn and Olive. A very enjoyable read, and certainly different from the majority of YA novels out there....more
The Jewel of Kamara is an intriguing book focusing on Tempani of Amarill, a young noblewoman of mixed race. She’s an engaging protagonist, especially since women have so little rights in this kingdom, and her mixed race doesn’t make things any easier for her. Her position makes her rather unique, and gives her an interesting perspective.
While I enjoyed most of the characters, Tempani was definitely my favorite. She’s a rare protagonist, the kind who holds the balance between strengths and weaknesses, and even though everything is set in a fantasy world, she comes across as quite realistic, and her struggles are believable.
The world building was superb, and the plot was entertaining from start to end. Some of the topics touched upon, like oppression, and Tempani struggling to adapt to court life after practically being raised in a convent, were great additions to the story and made it all that much easier to relate with, and more enjoyable.
A well-written YA fantasy novel with original elements and an intriguing heroine....more
Back when I took Latin and Greek, I first heard the sotry of Odysseus, heard the mention of Homer, and I became enamored with the stories of tragic heroes, incredible journeys, the war on Troy, mythology and gods, and everything else these stories had to offer. Telemachus and Homer is a retelling of the ancient stories. Telemachus is Odysseus’ son, and when the latter comes home after twenty years, Telemachus must decide if he’ll keep on wasting his life, doing nothing more but wait around for his father to guide him, or if he’ll start to control his own life. Homer is a young woman – which is a clever twist – who proves an useful ally for Telemachus. Although blind, she has knowledge of all kinds of things, and the two of them must go on a quest to save Ithaca.
The premise is clever, and surprisingly, it works. The story and plot are engaging, and although some things are familiar (names, characters and settings) the story itself is original. Both main characters had their own strength and weakness. Homer feels undervalued, as does Telemachus. Both of them are searching for something more, a way to prove themselves to others, and to themselves.
While the plot and characters were great, some small details brought the book down from a five to a four star rating. The frequent use of adverbs, frequent use of the passive tense, and telling the reader how the characters feel instead of showing their emotions. These were minor details though, and I did enjoy the book, and would recommend it to other YA fantasy fans....more
Nanovision is an intriguing, engaging YA novel mixing science fiction and fantasy. The book starts out with sixteen-year-old Daniel Raye coming home from school at the final day of the year, ready for the summer holidays. Unfortunately nothing goes as planned. Some hit men are after his dad, and when they notice Daniel, they start beating him up too, and leave him for dead.
Daniel wakes up in the hospital, blind, and with no memory of what happened. He’s put in the witness protection program by the FBI and moves to California to live with an aunt he’s never met, Ethyl. She runs a bio-tech firm called NanoBytes, and does everything she can to cure Daniel’s blindness. She feels sorry for the boy and grows very fond of him. One of her experiments works, using DNA from animals and insects. The experiment works a little too well even, because Daniel gets x-ray vision. And when the mob is on his heels again, his new ability may save his life.
The book starts with a bang, and it keeps a fast pace until the end. The story is imaginative, the characters are engaging. I particularly liked Daniel, and Ethyl, and their relationship. The book managed to surprise me a few times with twists I didn’t see coming.
The only thing I’d have to mention is the editing. I didn’t notice any glaring errors, but we do get the usual pitfalls: showing instead of telling, not using ‘said’ but rather a plethora of other words, like ‘apologized’, ‘acknowledged’, ‘observed’, and so on. It was a little distracting, but still, I enjoyed the story, and the author obviously has a talent for storytelling....more
Milan is a young supermodel with a disability. She lives in the Upper East Side, she falls in love, and on the surface, her life seems perfect. But she struggles with inner turmoil, not in the least about her hearing disability. Broken is a novel that does it title justice and that presents an intriguing, engaging, fresh story of young love.
Milan isn’t your typical supermodel though. She’s witty, quirky, has a sense of humor and is overall, a nice person – none of the entitlement you sometimes see with models in movies. I also liked how Milan isn’t alone in her struggler, but is instead supported by a large group of friends.
An interesting, quirky YA novel, and a fast read, but enjoyable....more
Henge is hands down the most original YA novel I’ve read all year. It’s one of my favorite books I’ve read all year, if not the absolute favorite. While the writing wasn’t spectacular (the writing was all right but not amazing), the characters were fantastic and the world building blew me away. In terms of world building, this book ranks right up there with Harry Potter.
It’s actually similar in some ways (and totally differnet in others). Our protagonist, Morgan, is a fire user who has the ability to command fire at will. Her dad is opposed against magic because of what happened to her mother, but either way Morgan decides to participate in a contest to get selected in Arthur’s Round, a group of elite young magic user. One of them will be chosen as Maven – and it’s always been Morgan’s dream to become the Maven. Even more so, she once had a vision about it.
Morgan wins second prize after a boy named Merlin, but because she has no official magic license, she isn’t allowed to participate in Arthur’s Round. However, for some reason she’s allowed in anyway and despite her Dad’s protests, she goes. Along with other magic users – fire, water and wind, and a healer, Guinevere who she becomes friends with, Morgan trains to become the most powerful magician she can be in order to become the next Maven. But the past has a way of catching up with her, and although powerful, the boy who beat her at the contest, Merlin, is very powerful as well. Is he a friend or a foe? When her life becomes endangered, Morgan will have to figure out who she can trust.
I’ve been in love with the Camelot legend for decades (well, a decade at least) so to see it in a contemporary, original context makes my heart race. And all the familiar characters drop by yet they’re totally original at the same time. Morgan is an easy to like protagonist. She’s been shaped by her past, always watching her back, always weary. At the same time she’s independent, intuitive, strong and this definitely isn’t a girl who needs a boy to make her feel special. She’s quite capable of holding her own.
I’m dying to read the sequel to this book. It’s a rare gem, and I would recommend it to everyone who likes the Arthurian legend, Camelot, and just YA fantasy in general....more
Cross Roads brings a whole new meaning to the word fast-paced. This book left me breathless. Shawna is anything but your typical teenager, and this makes her instantly an intriguing, engaging character. She’s an orphan, forced to raise herself on the streets of New York. Luckily she has a best friend who has her back. While different, Shawna’s life is quite uneventful, until one night changes all of it. She becomes the target of Doma, a demonic race that appears human. Shawna barely escapes, but in order to stay alive she has to ally herself with the Acolytes, a secret organizations with as main purpose to fight Doma.
Shawna starts training to become a member of this group, which means moving to a small town and leaving behind her previous life. But her training is cut short when the Doma find out about her whereabouts.
I’m a huge fan of Decker. He had a great personality – always lingering slightly on the edge, dark and mysterious. I loved Mr. Gibbs too, Decker’s personal assistant.
The world-building is appropriate, with just enough background information to make it realistic and intriguing. The characters are three-dimensional, and it’s especially easy to connect with Shawna. The writing is good, and overall, the story just flows from the very first page, keeping the reader engaged....more
In School of Deaths, thirteen-year-old Suzie has been having some trouble as of late: she lost a lot of wait, and starts to look like a skeleton. When it turns out this transformation is due to her becoming a Grim Reaper, she’s less than pleased. She will go to the College of Deaths for a year, where she will learn everything there is to know about being a Death, and bringing souls to the Hereafter. She has one year to prepare for a test that’ll decide her destiny, a test almost everyone fails. On top of that, she happens to be the only girl in an all-male college, in fact the only female Death in centuries, making her a target for just about everyone.
This series is off to a promising start. Suzie is an entertaining, realistic character, who grows a lot as the book progresses, and finds her inner strength. She got a rough deal, but she manages to stay strong, no matter what. The world-building is vivid and original, and kind of reminded me of a darker version of Harry Potter. The plot is unique though, setting it apart from other books, and providing a solid start for a brand new series.
Recommended to everyone who likes young adult fantasy. I’m looking forward to the sequel....more
In The Age of Amy: Channel ’63, 16-year-old Amy’s world is turned upside down when a new theme park attractoin allows visitors to talk to people living in the eighties, in 1963 to be exact. Amy loves the new invention, and sees it as an excellent way to escape the troubles of her own time. Except then she falls in love with a teenage boy from the sixties. But thanks to the restriction on what they can talk about (anything that may predict the future gets bleeped out), Amy has trouble telling her crush all her feelings. Luckily, she acquires a magic clicker than can get by the restrictions, but that also gives her hte power to change history…And with president Kennedy about to be assassinated, Amy comes up with a plot to save the president, even though it might have disastrous consequences for her new friend.
In a book that screams originality and creativity, author Bruce Edwards brings us the newest installment in “The Age of Amy” series, and my favorite so far. Amy is really starting to grow as a character – intelligent, witty and resourceful, she grows more interesting with each book. Her world grows increasingly complex too, yet it still holds that whimsical, playful touch.
The writing is engaging, the characters are complex and fun, and overall, the story is very enjoyable. Recommended to anyone who enjoys YA....more
Journal of a South African Zombie Apocalypse tells the story of one family who tries to survive in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. It’s set in South Africa – I’ve never been there, so I enjoyed the setting, background, and the stories about the countries’ history. The main character is sixteen-year-old Kon, who lives with his brother and father. They leave their Pretoria home to travel to a new home, to safety, away from the zombies. They meet several other travellers along the way, among them Kat and Dirk, two fellow survivors also trying to reach Robben Island, a reputed safe haven.
Instead of going totally over the top with gore and blood, the book focuses on a handful of characters, on their emotions, their development, how they chance throughout the book, and grow. It focuses on the human side of the zombie apocalypse instead of trying to be spectacular.
That’s not to stay it’s not quite spectacular in its own right. The book is quite amazing, a solid mix of character development and plot. The writing is solid too, and overall, a very enjoyable experience, recommended to fans of The Walking Dead and other zombie series....more
Vanished from Dust is an interesting, suspenseful YA paranormal mystery novel with a few surprising twists. I was eager to read it from the moment I read the synopsis, and needless to say, I wasn’t dissapointed.
Eric, our protagonist, sees things that can’t be real. The other people in town think he’s insane though, and they try to stay as far away from him as possible. All, except Kyle, the new kid in town, who wants to befriend Eric, and who convinces his new friend they must get to the bottom of this mystery and find out the truth about Dust, about the hundreds of town people who disappeared in mysterious circumstances over sixty years ago, and about how it’s connected to the phantoms Eric sees now.
Their search for the truth has them trapped in a disturbed, deserted version of Dust, where nothing is what it seems, and danger lurks around every corner. This version of Dust is slightly reminiscent of Silent Hill, and brought back all the memories I had from playing that game. The author manages to paint a vivid, scary setting and describes it in such detail the reader can easily imagine what’s happening.
I had goose bumps several times while reading, not because I was afraid, but because I did feel a thrill. The book starts out a little slow, which isn’t a bad thing though, it gives the reader time to connect with the characters. But once the first few chapters are done, the pace picks up significantly and races on until the end. A great book, recommended to mystery fans and young adults....more
This book was pretty amazing. I LOVE Robin Hood. It’s always been one of my favorite stories, and I loved this fresh take on it, with Scarlet posing as a boy in Robin Hood’s gang of thieves, and slowly falling for Robin. Robin was amazing too. This is one of the best romances I’ve read in a while. Great story!...more
Story is eye-opening and thought-provoking. It’s not a book I’d normally pick up, but it’s an intriguing read all the same, and inspired by true events. At times, the realism was almost too much. The book was harsh, the torture sickening. The writing and characterization could’ve been a bit better though. It took a while to get into it though....more
Project Firebird is that one of a kind novel that mixes it all: a reluctant, unexpected hero, a group of friends, a bad guy who isn’t predictable at all, and the impending apocalypse, of course.
Leo Lloyd-Jones isn’t exactly what you’d call a ‘good kid’. He steals cars (although he refuses to call it stealing) to get into illegal street races with his friends, playing tag with cars. But when he stumbles upon a boy and girl who look suspiciously like his brother Brandon and his girlfriend in the middle of the night, and they’re in trouble, Leo goes out of his way to help him – only to find out they’re not Brandon and his girlfriend at all. But while his parents hope that he’ll get some sort of punishment when they call the police to tell them he’s been stealing cars again, the couple actually steps in to help, and before he very well realizes it, Leo is branded as some kind of hero.
He gets a letter inviting him to a two-week trip, and offering him the chance to get a Firebird medal. But once he arrives there,he finds himself surrounded by kids who all did something important. Like Paige, who practically raised her little sister Skye when her Mom couldn’t take care of her. Or like Rhys, who went to the Northpole with his Dad, and was forced to come back alone, to survive all on his own. The list goes on and on, and Leo feels a little like an outsider, but thankfully Rhys helps him fit in.
But when the kids get their medals, a horrible secret is revealed. A deep space comet is on its way to earth, and when it collided, it could very well destroy everything. The kids have been brought there for a reason – they must hide in an underground shelter and wait out the impending apocalypse. They must survive, no matter what it takes. They can’t contact their families though, can’t even say goodbye, and only get the vague promise that their famlies will be taken to underground shelters all over the world.
Leo struggles to come to terms with what’s happening, but he’s not the only one struggling. As he becomes friends with the other kids in the Nest, he learns more about himself than he thought possible. He learns what he’s capable of, and that turns out to be more than he ever expected.
The book features tons of secondary characters, but manages to give each of them a distinct personality. There’s Paige, always worrying about her sister, but who also has a heart of gold. Then there’s Summer, who wanted to win the Olympics and who wants nothing more than to escape, and so on. Leo shines as a main character, flawed but with his heart in the right place, and brave in the face of danger.
The ending was..shocking. I hadn’t expected it at all. Not giving out any spoilers though, but well, you’ll probably be surprised too.
Solid writing, and although the book is quite long (over 400 pages on my eReader), it doesn’t feel long. The pacing is fast, and the reader gets thrown into the action right away. An exceptional read, very enjoyable. ...more
The story is inspired by the Snow Queen, one of my all-time favorite fairytales. I liked the first book, “Spork” a lot, because it had tons of original elements and although paranormal, it gave a refreshing twist to the concept. The sequel was a bit more predictable, but the Nordic folk stories were very intriguing, like the frost giants. Katla’s new skills are a little over the top though, and with the whole new range of skills, it just seems like too much....more
This is a great mystery novel for young adults. The most interesting part was Drear House itself. It’s a labyrinth with secret tunnels and hideouts. The pace is quite fast, and the main character Thomas is the kind of protagonist kids can easily relate to. An intriguing, quick read....more
This isn’t exactly a retelling. None of the characters from the old fairytale keep their personalities – not even the story stays the same. I would’ve been able to live with all that, had it not been for how these new characters were completely and utterly immature, especially Izzie. Dialogue was cringe worthy, and overall, I had to force myself to continue reading....more
Deviation is a rare gem, the kind of book that you only find a few times a year, tops. Even though it’s indie-published, it has all the qualities of a mainstream novel: excellent writing, quality editing, and an enjoyabe, intriguing, fast-paced story.
The story starts out by introducing us to Cleo, a Sophisticate. She’s part of the Program, their “property” as they so eloquently call her in their email to her when she tries to hack into one of their programs to try and find out the identity of her real parents. Sophisticates are genetic alternations. They’re faster, stronger and smarter than ordinary human beings, but in exchange for these abilities, their lives belong to the government. They have no freedom and are raced in government-controlled facilities and trained to become either a Vanguard – who stand out because of their intelligence – and the Mandates, who are strong, and capable, and who work in the military and help destroy terrorists.
Cleo’s life has always been pretty straightforward: she’ll be a Vanguard. Not much choice in that. But then, she gets so upset at the email proclaiming her to be the government’s property that she somehow makes just about everything in her room explode: her computer, TV, you name it, it’s gone. Although her best friend Cassie tries to rationalize what’s going on, Cleo knows better: there’s something wrong with her. And when the Dean ships her off to St. Ignatius, an academy for the Mandates, her entire future has been erased and changed in the blink of an eye.
She now has to train for the military branch of the Program. Luckily she becomes fast friend with Sterling, an extremely fast runner, and Arabella, who has a new hairstyle just about any day. They’re two outcasts at the academy, but boy, are their fun to be around. They have an excellent sense of humor and are adorable secondary characters with their bickering back and forth.
Unfortuately Cleo also makes her share of enemies, in particular Quinnie, who seems to want to target Cleo at every move. And then there’s Ozzy, one of the most attractive guys Cleo has ever met, but at the same time he’s also annoying and even stalkerish, and Cleo has no idea why he goes out of his way to talk to her, except that her new friends warn her not to trust him.
I don’t want to give any more away, but trust me on this one: Deviation is awesome. The plot is amazing, and I absolutely loved it. Cleo and her friends are kick-ass awesome characters, in particular Ozzy (swoon). All secondary characters have their own personality traits and together they form an intriguing bunch. I definitely wouldn’t mind befriending them!
If you read one dystopian this year, then pick this one. I can throw superlatives at you until tomorrow morning but that still won’t explain how awesome this book is. I’m officially hooked. Next book in the series? Yes, please! ...more
To The Stars is an intriguing mix of dystopian and science-fiction with some engaging, entertaining characters to boot. We start off with a scene from Zara’s perspective, the female protagonist, while she watches the moment Earth heard about the impending apocalypse, back in 2012. Only sixty years left, and then the earth will perish.
Now it’s almost sixty years later, and Zara finds herself on a planet that barely resembles Earth from half a century ago. When Earth needed a savior the most, a man stepped up to save them. He invented the Astrum Portas, ark ships that would supposedly save humanity.
The chapters switch between Zara’s perspective, and Noah’s perspective, Noah being the son of humanity’s savior. They come from totally different worlds, although ultimately they’re still stuck on the same world: the one that could perish any minute. As Noah and Zara grow closer together, and they discover secrets they could’ve never imagined, they realize they’ll have to fight to survive, and to bring a better future to human kind.
I liked Zara’s perspective the most of the two of them, because it was easiest to relate to her. She lives in a small one-bedroom house with her Mom, her grandmother having passed away recently, so she basically sleeps in the living room. As son of the High Chancellor, Noah is priviledged, but his Father demands a lot from him, too much even. He wants to craft Noah into a mirror image of himself. He struggles a lot with the responsibility and burdens he has to take on. Both characters are flawed in a good way, they certainly come across as realistic.
This book takes place right before the apocalyspe happens, so there’s a rush to it right from the start, that nagging feeling that soon enough, the proverbial bomb (in this case, armageddon) will explode. The clock is thicking right from the start, and until the very end. Highly suspenseful, and an engaging read. ...more
Original plot, but predictable every now and then. Maddie is a likeable protagonist, and the setting was unique and entertaining and historically correct, as far as I can say. The ending is a bit abrupt though, and slightly dissapointing....more
Steampunk is either hit or miss with me, and this one was definitely hit. Lena is a great character with an interestin personality. The world-building is solid and the writing is great. This is one of those books that’ll leave you thinking even after you finish reading....more
When I read the synopsis for Creed, I thought the book would be reminiscent of Silent Hill – a creepy town, mist crawling through the streets, and something wicked lingering deep inside the abandoned town. Unfortunately, Purity Springs, the town in question, is not tormented by anything supernatural as I hoped at first, but instead by regular, albeit slightly crazy, people. The town is overrun by a cult, led by charismatic leader Elijah Hawkins.
The book starts out promising with Dee, her boyfriend Luke, and his brother Mike on their way to a concert, traveling through the middle of nowhere when their car breaks down. They walk to the nearest village to get some gas and maybe some help, but the town is seemingly abandoned. With night setting in, they find cover in one of the abandoned homes – which is an exact replica of every house in the street, even inside. In a drawer, they find a strange book that puts them all on edge, but it isn’t until morning that they they find out what messed up situation they ended up in.
Connecting with the characters proved almost impossible. Even Dee, our main character, seems to have a chaotic personality that jumps from one conclusion to the next. The plot is so over the top it’s ridiculous. Dee is incapable of acting on her own, of fighting off any evil without being saved by someone else. She has no backbone, and is all too willing to comply even to things that sound insane. She goes on and on about why Luke is amazing, but we never get any reason why Dee would be amazing, or even interesting.
The ending is implausible as well, and leaves too many open questions. It almost sounds like the author wanted to make room for a sequel – I hope that’s not the case though. The material is already paper-thin, and I doubt that’ll get any better if the plot is stretched even thinner.
This book has great potential, but overall, fails to deliver. ...more
The moment I read the synopsis for Slide, I knew I had to read this book. Everyone belives Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep: when she passes out, she slides into someone else’s mind and experiences the world thorugh their eyes. That’s how she’s certain that her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself, but was murdered. Now it’s up to Vee to unmask the killer before he strikes again. There were quite a few twists and surprises, and the book definitely has a high creepy factor. ...more