From the blurb on the cover, you would expect this novel to be romantic and cheesy, dealing you extraordinary and unbelievable events on every page.
But this is so, so not what this book is about.
Yes, Hadley and Oliver do have a chance meeting. Yes, there are "twists of fate" and "quirks of timing" that are romantic and sweet. But no, this book is not the touchy-feely, chance-happening-with-a-beautiful-stranger book that will either sweep you off your feet or make you puke, because it is believable.
When Hadley and Oliver meet, there are no perfect one-liners or smoldering glances, because when you meet a stranger, especially a handsome stranger, it is bound to be a little awkward in real life. It is no different in The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Hadley knows that when she agrees to let Oliver help her with her bags that he is a complete stranger, yet her circumstances, as well his, make it possible for them to connect despite their disconnect.
While most of Hadley and Oliver's interactions are endearing, they are also seared with grief and heartache, both known and unknown, as well as the uncertainty that comes with getting to know a person and trying to decide when they actually qualify as a friend instead of a stranger.
The way that Smith infused this quirky love story with Hadley's past experiences with her father, her parent's failed marriage, and the anger/confusion/grief that comes along with these types of situations was poignant and emotional. I felt very connected to Hadley during these moments. The story was definitely richer with the addition of a complicated, messy divorce, as well as Oliver's own story. Without these serious elements, the story would have felt like just another teen romance; without substance and not worth your time.
After reading this story straight through, I pre-ordered the hardback version, which I plan on marking up with my favorite lines and quotes.
If you love contemporary stories, or books about travel, or stories that are as heartbreaking as they are heartfelt, or books that aren't cookie-cutter, or novels that are written by a clearly talented author, then please. Please. Buy this book. (less)
The Gathering Storm is a lush, rich and unique young adult paranormal with a memorable heroine!
Amidst Russia's debutante society, we follow Katerina through boarding school, royal parties, and a chilling paranormal plot. Katerina's voice is very unique; she is plucky and astute, immediately equating the galas she attends to meat markets, where royal girls like her are the prize pigs. It is difficult not to like her!
However, once Katerina becomes more involved in the world of necromancy, ghost demons, zombies, and even vampires, the plot almost loses itself in its own complexity. It was definitely difficult to follow the complicated plot along, especially when new players were continually being introduced.
Thankfully, The Gathering Storm was carried along nicely by Katerina's character, as well as other notables like George Alexandrovich, Prince Danilo, and even the evil Montenegran princesses. There were periods of time during this book where the plot was fairly slow, yet I was compelled to read on by the rich writing and Katerina's unique world.
Like all historical fiction, it will take some patience to get used to the world created, the names of every person mentioned, and the plot itself. However, in The Gathering Storm, the effort is definitely worth it!
This is a richly atmospheric start by a talented author that will appeal to fans of Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty series!(less)
I'm not sure what to think of this book. On one hand, I really loved where Revis went with (view spoiler)[Amy and Elder's relationship... I loved how A...moreI'm not sure what to think of this book. On one hand, I really loved where Revis went with (view spoiler)[Amy and Elder's relationship... I loved how Amy had to feel like it was her choice to love him, or even consider caring about him. I could have used a bit more development in that area, just because I like these characters, but that's just personal preference. (hide spoiler)] However, the mystery/thriller aspects to this book, as with Across the Universe, were wildly predictable. Credit must be given to Revis where it is due though, because even though I knew after just a few chapters that (view spoiler)[they must already be at the planet (hide spoiler)] and it becomes clear, again, that (view spoiler)[only two or three people could be behind Orion's clues and other capers (hide spoiler)], I still read quickly and feverishly toward the end of the novel, desperate to see whether or not (view spoiler)[they would finally get off the frexing ship (hide spoiler)]. And then the ending. Really? REALLY? If that wasn't (view spoiler)[the mother of all motherfreaking cliffhanger endings (hide spoiler)] I don't know what is.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
With the large amount of fantasy and paranormal YA books being published today, it's incredibly refresh...moreOriginally posted on the Redhead Heroines blog!
With the large amount of fantasy and paranormal YA books being published today, it's incredibly refreshing to read a debut as interesting and unexpected as Incarnate!
However, while Incarnate has story, characters, plots, and worlds that are breathtaking and unique, the method of delivery is very volatile. At some points in the story, Incarnate seemed to be a work from a novice writer: actions scenes were clunky, dialogue was stilted and inauthentic, descriptions were borderline ridiculous.
At other times, the writing seemed to disappear and the reader floated along with Ana and Sam throughout the story. Then, there were pivotal moments of lyricism that brought raw emotion to the table. This, coupled with the intriguing story and memorable characters, seemed to make a strong statement: Incarnate is a debut novel to be reckoned with.
Unfortunately, those lyrical, emotion-wrought moments did not appear enough in the story. Also, Incarnate was filled with many action scenes that were awkward, filled with clunky language and over-explanations, which worked to slow down the narrative flow.
Meadows surprised by including a difficult trope, soul mates, that did not turn overtly tacky throughout the story. However, there were several other plot twists and additions to the story that were not handled so expertly. In these moments, Incarnate read like a run-of-the-mill YA fantasy or paranormal romance, which to many readers may be comforting, but to others is simply annoying.
To the reader who is looking for a unique thrill-ride, Incarnate is a definite winner. Those searching for an other-worldly, slow-building, and steamy romance will also be satisfied with this debut. However, those readers looking for something lasting and deeply affecting will simply have to settle for being merely entertained by Meadow's debut.(less)
Amazing story. Loved the combination of different fantasy/paranormal elements. Tess was a good narrator, but her tone and word-choice definitely wavere...moreAmazing story. Loved the combination of different fantasy/paranormal elements. Tess was a good narrator, but her tone and word-choice definitely wavered throughout the novel. One minute she's saying "anon" and the next she could be a modern protagonist. The writing was plagued with heavy-handed characterization that may not bother many readers, but that was definitely noticeable and annoying to me. Carey was constantly asserting that Tess was a certain way without actually making me believe it. Despite these flaws, I blazed through this story! I loved the world of Wilde Island enough that I may just be able to forgive that terrible summation epilogue that was as enjoyable to read as I'm sure it was to write.(less)