I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with silly. The problem is when silly becomes almost self-parody in a way.
Love, Fortunes, and Other DI don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with silly. The problem is when silly becomes almost self-parody in a way.
Love, Fortunes, and Other Disasters is a book about a town that has been basically governed by love charms in its romantic relationships, and about the students who have tasked themselves to end this entire thing. The story is actually fairly low-key and sometimes a little sad, as one might expect.
The problems with this book, though, are fairly significant. The story attempts to have a weight of sorts with the charms and the impact it has one the people, but the stakes never feel too high. And I don't want to spoil the ending, but I can say that the ending is entirely ridiculous in a way that almost negates the limited good will that the book had created to start out.
It's not easy to toe the line between seriousness and whimsy, but this book either doesn't try at all or utterly misses the mark as it swings wildly between the tones. I can't even figure out the audience for this one on a whole, as the appeal is so strange and limited.
Early raves and reports on this one made me pick this up from Netgalley the moment it was offered. What I thought I was getting was another YA paranorEarly raves and reports on this one made me pick this up from Netgalley the moment it was offered. What I thought I was getting was another YA paranormal piece, but what I got what a really fun mix of genres that is best described as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Gilmore Girls having a weird kid that turns out to be Superbad.
Our heroine is Maggie, a teenage demon hunter in training. A little foul-mouthed, but who would be surprised given that her mother is a sailor in comparison. Maggie's got some work to do, but part of the problem she's running into in her training is that vampires are really into virgin blood, and given that Maggie is still a virgin, well... she needs to take care of that. And, of course, balance out her training and a situation that she's inadvertently gotten herself into along the way.
I used the cultural comparisons for a reason. It's Gilmore-esque because it's a really great, perhaps a little unhealthy mother-daughter relationship. You can tell they care about each other, though, and see themselves as more of a team than anything else. Given the fact that there's literal vampire hunting and demons and such, the Buffy comparison is apt, but so too is the quickfire dialogue and the use of these supernatural ideas to be a parallel to growing up. I don't know if I've read a paranormal piece that's done it better, to be honest. And then, of course, the fact that this is, in many ways, a bizarro sex comedy in all its forms. Drunken debauchery, awkwardness, the whole nine yards.
Really, it's just a lot of fun. Plenty of openings for this to be a series, and the heroes are fun with the villains appropriately nasty and villainous. It's a quick paced read, very few flaws, and probably closer to a 4.5 when it's all said and done. Check this one out....more
I'm not going to lie - I didn't expect to love this book the way I did.
This story is ridiculously simple. Genesis wakes up in a dark basement, and sheI'm not going to lie - I didn't expect to love this book the way I did.
This story is ridiculously simple. Genesis wakes up in a dark basement, and she quickly learns she has a suicide bomb strapped to her body. She quickly deduces it's related to her boyfriend who has become aligned with a radical Islamic sect. She also has a bluetooth earpiece in her ear, and the voice in her ear is giving her a lot of directions. She knows her time is limited, and she doesn't really know what to do.
It's a really, really action-packed book, unlike anything I've ever read. The pacing is almost breakneck, the way the plot is revealed absolutely incredible. It really kind of brings home the type of strange tactics we've only really read about when it comes to terrorism. It's just a wild thrill ride, action-movie-style, and that's all that matters.
One can quibble with some of the unrealistic parts of the book or the simplified characterizations, but I don't think this is necessarily meant to be a broad treatise on international politics for a teen audience. It's more of a "based on current events" roller coaster that keeps you on the edge of your seat, guessing the whole way through.
Definitely recommended, but only for the strong of heart. This one's truly intense, but absolutely worth it....more
Closer to a 1.5. I've not despised a book quite the way I despised this one in a while.
Abby is possibly an Olympic-caliber swimmer, the top swimmer atCloser to a 1.5. I've not despised a book quite the way I despised this one in a while.
Abby is possibly an Olympic-caliber swimmer, the top swimmer at her school and held to a high standard by her father. She starts having fainting spells and shortness of breath in the pool, and quickly learns she has a rare genetic heart condition that is putting her entire swimming life in jeopardy.
The big question in the book is whether she'll try to keep swimming or not. Take a wild guess as to where things go from here - the story very quickly becomes a tale of a girl risking her life in cavalier and stupid ways, egged on by people she shouldn't be and with friends who give her advice but do stupid things themselves. Everyone has a single dimension to them, no one is likable (and not in the ironic/anti-hero sense), and I just ended up hating everyone and everything involved in this.
I get having dreams, I get having to make hard decisions. Teens need books that deal with that sort of issue, but they don't need ones that do it like this, with completely stupid reckless behavior that's basically encouraged without much of a reasoning behind it. If Abby was at all someone to root for, maybe the tone might work differently. Maybe if her friends weren't engaging in their own questionable activities, they might have some credibility. The only people who seemed to have any real positive claims were Abby's mother and the coach, and they're (of course) kneecapped as characters for the sake of the plot. Just terrible.
Skip this one. There's not much to redeem it, and, especially for adult readers of YA, it will only serve to irritate you. ...more
With a title like Death by Toilet Paper and a cover like this one, I really didn't expect this book to be so sad. Still, a middle grade story about aWith a title like Death by Toilet Paper and a cover like this one, I really didn't expect this book to be so sad. Still, a middle grade story about a family just trying to get by as they face eviction, sick grandparents, and unemployment is one that's both necessary and useful, and Donna Gephardt does it really well here. You can't help but root for everyone involved, especially the kid who feels like he has to solve his family's problems (and what kid in crisis hasn't felt the same way?), and the end result is a pretty good one and ends on an optimistic note.
Overall, a good, quick read that deserves more attention. ...more
Just like that, here's the second book from The Eighth Day. In it, we get some further expansion of the universe, introduce some time travel elements,Just like that, here's the second book from The Eighth Day. In it, we get some further expansion of the universe, introduce some time travel elements, get a bit disturbing, and overall leave things in a pretty strange spot.
The first book was solid and moved pretty quick at the top, but this book seems to take the opposite tack, using a good deal of time to get things rolling. It creates a different dynamic, especially with the expectations going in.
Overall, though, a pretty decent sequel even if I didn't like it quite as much as the first. Still interested in seeing where this is going to end up, though....more
I feel like I've been saying this a lot lately, but this might be my new favorite YA fantasy. I've found books set in the feywild to be really difficuI feel like I've been saying this a lot lately, but this might be my new favorite YA fantasy. I've found books set in the feywild to be really difficult for teen reads, and this one not only masterfully works the fey angle with the romance angle, but makes an incredibly compelling story that I really couldn't put down.
In the story, Feyre has unknowingly violated the treaty between humans and faeries when she hunts down a faerie that she thought was a wolf. She is quickly retrieved by one of the faeries and brought to his feywild kingdom as a prisoner of sorts, stuck in the fey for the rest of her life. The story starts out as a tale about her survival, but quickly becomes one of romance and political intrigue as the mysteries of the kingdom are slowly revealed.
I don't want to give a ton away on this because part of what makes this book work is the slow burn reveals. Sometimes books try to juggle too many ideas at once, and Sarah Maas definitely puts a lot of balls in the air on this book and they never come close to falling on the ground. The romance angle is solid, the stakes are high and the danger real, and the end result is a book that ends up being both engaging and satisfying, one that stands on its own as well as leaves the door open for a new book.
I absolutely loved this in ways I never expected. A great read, highly recommended across the board....more
If you've been waiting for a book about illegal organ smuggling rings and the autoimmune deficient teens that get caught up in the business, there's fIf you've been waiting for a book about illegal organ smuggling rings and the autoimmune deficient teens that get caught up in the business, there's finally a book for you. This is a story about a girl's family and their involvement in organ harvesting, the political dynamics behind black market organ sales, and the type of problems large organized crime rings can bring about along the way. Add a sick girl into the mix and you've successfully raised the stakes enough for a fairly different book.
In a sense, this is like the sort of crime books people like April Henry have been successful with. On the other hand, this is a strange plot to run with, both from the sort of "sick lit" standpoint as well as the whole organ smuggling thing. While sick kids isn't new to YA, getting caught up in organ crimes is, and the book has a really hard time deciding which story it is. If it picked one and went with it, I'd probably be more on board, but with the mix of the two, none of it really seems to work enough.
I'm sure this will find a very specific audience that likes this sort of thing. If it was a book for adults with mostly adult protagonists, it might even be a little more plausible. As a book for kids, though, it just didn't work for me at all....more
I feel like I constantly believe, regardless of evidence, that there's not enough young adult fantasy out there. It's probably due to the glut of paraI feel like I constantly believe, regardless of evidence, that there's not enough young adult fantasy out there. It's probably due to the glut of paranormal romance and science fiction dystopias, but I'm always happy when I trip up on a well-done standard fantasy, and Snow Like Ashes fits the bill.
The setup is that the various kingdoms in this world are separated, at least in part, by kingdoms. The Winter Kingdom has been devastated by war, and the only saving grace to repair their kingdom and get their enslaved people back is to unite a locket that would regain the magic. Fortunately, they're able to get one half of the locket back. Unfortunately, there are only eight free Winter members left, so it becomes not only a fight for survival, but a political battle to solve to unite the kingdom before it's eradicated.
One review I saw compared it to Game of Thrones meets Graceling, which is apt. The story is perhaps a little more dense than it needs to be, and there are a lot of dream sequences that, while story-appropriate, still feel superfluous and overdone. This is highly nitpicky, though, as the story itself is really strong and one that I absolutely devoured. I'm already excited for the sequel, and I'm hoping that the rest will be as strong and as complete as this is.
If you like fantasy, or like YA, or hopefully like both? Grab this one right away. Definitely one of the better pure fantasies for this age group I've read recently....more
This one is a little strange, but bear with me, I guess.
I feel like it's at least trying to be a sort of Cinderella story of sorts, takes place in theThis one is a little strange, but bear with me, I guess.
I feel like it's at least trying to be a sort of Cinderella story of sorts, takes place in the future, the girl is a cage fighter, she gets caught up in a conspiracy, and so on. It's hard not to relate this to Cinder, in a sense, except this is much more gritty and tries to be a little more realistic.
Why, then, do I struggle with it? I don't know. It's just a weird book that feels like it doesn't go anywhere for a while, then ends up in a place that feels predictable. I read it a few days ago, and getting around to the review now it's left basically nothing in my brain in terms of what to remember from it. Just kind of weird.
I don't know what to say about it. It's not a bad book, it's just not a memorable one....more