I'm sitting here trying to think of what to write for this review and all I can think is how this book is the kind I spend hours searching for.
It's no...moreI'm sitting here trying to think of what to write for this review and all I can think is how this book is the kind I spend hours searching for.
It's not a pretty book, or a light book. It might make you laugh sometimes. It's not so heavy that it knocks you off your feet emotionally while you're reading it. Well, okay, it does, but only for a little while, because the book lets you get back up again.
I read on the author's blog that when she first wrote this story it was on index cards and notebooks and the backs of receipts and I think that maybe that's how this book should have been read--or not read, but discovered. Found.
If you're looking for a book that is well-written, that has characters full of anger, vitriol, and angst (and for good reason), that is romantic and surprising and refreshing, that never makes you wonder halfway through reading it, where is this going?, because at a certain point you just don't care about the "point" or the "plot" anymore, and that is so good from page 1 you want to make out with your Nook screen just to taste the words, then read this book. (less)
This was one of those books where you decide to give it five pages and then end up reading the entire thing in one sitting and then immediately buying...moreThis was one of those books where you decide to give it five pages and then end up reading the entire thing in one sitting and then immediately buying the sequels.
1. I didn't hate the characters, even when they were being annoying... (I'm looking at you Henry). 2. The kidnap scenes had potential to be racy* and then ended up being something else entirely. (Can I say "beautiful" and not sound pretentious?) 3. The story doesn't go where you think it's going to go, and that's usually frustrating to me (I guess I like being right) but this time, it wasn't. 4. Sirois introduced a bunch of characters and didn't make me lose my interest because he makes you care about all of them.
The only problem I have is the next "book" of episodes isn't out yet. So Sirois, you should probably write faster, mmmkay?
*(But okay, maybe there were some racy parts...)(less)
Perhaps the only appropriate word for This is Shyness, Leanne Hall's 24 hour dystopian/fantasy, is su...moreOriginally reviewed at the Redhead Heroines blog!
Perhaps the only appropriate word for This is Shyness, Leanne Hall's 24 hour dystopian/fantasy, is surreal.
What starts out as a straight-forward girl-meets-boy tale soon turns into a fantastic one-night romp through a city that felt as much of a character as Wildgirl and Wolfboy.
However, the two-part narrative form, where Wildgirl and Wolfboy take turns narrating one chapter each, feels familiar and comfortable, juxtaposing against the strange story and the characters that are never what you expect them to be.
Although the world is strange and the characters are weird and the whole novel feels like walking down a dark alleyway dressed as Edgar Allen Poe, i.e. fitting, but strange all the same, the moments of lyricism seem to vanish as quickly as they come.
In the face of total oddity and suspense, there seems to be a slight lack of depth to some elements of the story: world-building, questions about overarching world plots, etc. Granted, this might be expected of a book that takes place over one crazy night, but This is Shyness could have used a few more moments of enlightenment, in my opinion.
By the end of the story, even the most critical reader is bound to feel a certain sadness at leaving Wildgirl and Wolfboy. These characters are endearing and brave and complicated, without taking themselves too seriously.
Thankfully, a sequel has now been published, Queen of the Night, for readers who loved this crazy dark world as much as I did.(less)
A Little Wanting Song is an amazing young adult contemporary novel that manages to make seemingly unremarkable c...moreOriginally posted at Redhead Heroines!
A Little Wanting Song is an amazing young adult contemporary novel that manages to make seemingly unremarkable characters three dimensional. Cath Crowley creates characters that we both love and hate, makes them bend a little and break a little... with a whole lot of fun, mischief, and love along the way!
Throughout this book, both Charlie and Rose come to realize that people and places that they have known their whole lives are... different. Not what they thought. Unknown. And as their friendship grows and breaks and grows, as romance begins and ends, each girl realizes that not only did they not understand each other, but they did not understand themselves.
Like Graffiti Moon, this novel is largely a coming-of-age, character driven work. However, also like Graffiti Moon, it is fast-paced, entertaining, and very very un-boring!(less)
I have to admit, Personal Demons had me hooked in the beginning of the novel. The concept that Desrochers invent...moreOriginally posted at Redhead Heroines!
I have to admit, Personal Demons had me hooked in the beginning of the novel. The concept that Desrochers invented, with demons and angels regularly vying to "tag" different mortal souls for either heaven or hell before they die, is rather inventive. However, it was not long before Personal Demons gave way to seriously overused, redundant plot elements that made me beat myself senseless for even wasting my time finishing this book.
Yeah, parts of it were that bad.
The writing itself was nothing special, told from Luc and Frannie's points of view in an alternating first person narrative. However, as the plot thickened and grew more confusing, more contrived, and less entertaining, the writing itself also gave way to triteness and cliche (see my rant on cliches in YA lit) that nearly made me beg for death... or at least a satisfying ending, rather than the drawn-out conclusion that I suffered through.
Apart from the overall unpleasantness of this highly unremarkable read, I found the idea that not only was the main character, Frannie, able to somehow attract the interest of two incredibly gorgeous guys that are literally as old as the earth, but she also had the amazing ability to both possess a black belt in Judo and transform into a helpless shell of a person whenever either Gabe or Luc were in the room.
I wanted to like Luc, and I mostly succeeded, but I was completely baffled by his relationship with Frannie. Gabe on the other hand, I had no idea why Frannie liked him, apart from his (literally) angelic looks.
All in all, a very disappointing and thoroughly forgettable paranormal romance.(less)
Veronica Rossi's new paranormal dystopian series is surprising, well-crafted, and romantic as heck! I was pleasantly surprised by how much I grew to love the two protagonists of the novel, Aria and Perry, and the skill with which Rossi's 3rd person narrative told the story with emotion and tension.
The novel's opening, showing Aria and several others in Reverie, is probably the weakest point of the novel. It was difficult to understand the technology that Dwellers like Aria use on a daily basis, mainly the Smarteye devices, and the way that they function in everyday life. However, despite the fact that readers may feel confused by the lack of world-building at the beginning of the novel, the action picks right up, forcing them to turn pages despite their lack of information.
Perry and Aria are great protagonists, each with their own set of strengths and weaknesses. I felt that Rossi allowed each character to overcome their own separate prejudices against the other slowly, but surely. Their relationship is believable, as is each character's growth throughout the novel.
Each section of Under the Never Sky is told from either Perry or Aria's perspective. This is a great way for the reader to get to know each of these characters very well! I felt that Perry's world was very well-developed. He was a character I instantly loved... his personality and story managing to be both heart-warming and heart-breaking, even if his painful secret, that we learn towards the end of the novel, is a bit melodramatic and predictable.
Aria is another great protagonist: she is strong, even in her weakness and ignorance of the world outside of Reverie, and she shows herself capable of change. The romance between Perry and Aria can be compared to Romeo and Juliet, in that each comes from a separate background that is at odds with the other. This drives up the sexual tension to the max! If I had Perry and Aria dolls, I'd smush 'em together and make kissy noises.
Although the characterization and romance were both spectacular, Under the Never Sky also delivers as a thrilling dystopian and paranormal tale. The plot was fast-paced and varied, keeping the reader on their toes at all times! When you weren't worried about Perry getting caught up in an Aether storm, cannibalistic tribes bent on munching on Aria, or Dweller hovercrafts snatching people, you were wondering when they were going to shut up and make out already!
Overall, Under the Never Sky is not only one of my favorite new dystopian books, but one of my favorite reads of 2011. Pre-order your copy before it's released on January 3rd, 2012!(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)
In Perfect Chemistry, Brittney and Alex sucked me in, and it was no different of Kiara and Carlos in Rules of Attraction. The story itself was completely unique, as were the characters. Although, Carlos is most certainly related to Alex, in that he tends to act like a total JACKASS throughout a large part of the book.
But an entertaining jackass that you want to hug and smack in the face at the same time.
Kiara is a refreshing love interest, even more not Carlos' type than Brittney was for Alex. She is sporty, smart, and completely uninterested in flirting with Carlos. She would rather work on fixing up her car or climb a mountain (literally) than go shopping or put on makeup.
Carlos is also completely not Kiara's type. He is irresponsible, popular, and HOT. But this doesn't stop sparks from flying when they are forced to interact with each other.
I love how both Carlos and Kiara were able to help the other with their main issue or problem. This isn't to say that the issue is solved completely, but they are each given the support and help that is immediately needed at that time. You see both characters grow as they get to know each other.
This book is an incredibly exciting, fast-paced read, filled with all kinds of tension: tons of family tension and even more sexual tension. But not between the family members. Ew.
Elkeles did a great job at blending the serious aspects of each character's issues with the romance and lighthearted banter that makes you smile, laugh, and literally squeal uncontrollably at times.
If you're in the mood for an addicting, fun, and sometimes heart-breaking contemporary novel, than Simone Elkeles is your girl!!(less)
Graffiti Moon is quite simply, the most delicious book I've read in recent memory. It is poignant and at times h...moreAlso posted at Redhead Heroines!
Graffiti Moon is quite simply, the most delicious book I've read in recent memory. It is poignant and at times heart breaking. It is lyrical and quick and hilarious and romantic. It is not just about Lucy, Ed, Poet, Shadow, Leo, Jazz, Daisy, Dylan, Bert, and Al, even though they are important.
It is about the incredible ability of art to translate from that kind of high-art that you see in museums to the kind of high-art that sprays from Shadow's brain onto a brick wall. (Little bird, what are you thinking? You come from a can.)
It is about that feeling that you get sometimes (I got a good feeling... I got a bad feeling... as many of the characters in Graffiti Moon say) that is more about the people you're with than the time of night or the excellence of the party you're at. It's more about how your feelings are echoed by those around you in a recited haiku or a bicycle helmet with lightning on it or a brick wall that traps birds in mid-air.
But if this review doesn't quite do it for you, (don't be embarrassed if it doesn't, I'm not doing a very good job at it), then you'll be happy to hear that Graffiti Moon is also incredibly entertaining. It takes place during one long crazy night after Year 12 and involves some illegal activity, a few parties, an even more cases of mistaken identity. Let the hilarity ensue!(less)
Across the Universe is one of those rare books that I know I will read again and savor every word. Beth Revis be...moreOriginally posted at Redhead Heroines!
Across the Universe is one of those rare books that I know I will read again and savor every word. Beth Revis begins this book with serious, heart-pounding action, eases us into the life of Elder and others on the Godspeed, then races us to the ending with a murder-mystery, dystopian drama, science fiction, and romance.
Yes, apparently, Across the Universe has it all!
However, I must say that I saw right through the murder mystery from the beginning. I hate when I already know who the murderer is, and who that mysterious missing person is, without the author surprising me in some way.
Besides that small qualm, I highly recommend this book! Across the Universe is unlike any book I have ever read. I loved the social commentary brought about by the contained society of the Godspeed. I loved the way that history, ancestry, and the human condition were discussed. I loved how Revis portrayed love and sexual relations.
I felt like the point-of-views from both Amy and Elder were very real. Their inner dialogue didn't ignore often tabooed topics. Their voices were different for each character, but both distinctly Revis.
I don't know what else to say about this book, besides this: you will not be disappointed by Across the Universe!
I'm anxiously awaiting the sequel in this set trilogy, A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2), set for publication in 2012!(less)
I love these books. I love the writing, I love the way that an otherwise ordinary story...moreOriginally Posted at Redhead Heroines!
Sam. Grace. Cole. Isabel.
I love these books. I love the writing, I love the way that an otherwise ordinary story is made extraordinary with words and lyrics and poems committed to memory.
But most of all, I love the characters.
Maggie Stiefvater has done an incredible job with The Wolves of Mercy Falls. Each book adds complexity on complexity, as the characters are fleshed out and kissed and lost, but found again.
When Forever begins, each character still has their own set of problems that make their lives particularly difficult. By the end of Forever, these problems are addressed and resolved, but not SOLVED. There is no neat solution to the overall problems... Cole's guilt and tortured past, Grace's relationship with her parents, Sam's love/hate relationship with Beck, Isabel's explosive family life.
Nor is the problem at the heart of these novels, the mystery of the werewolf... disease? toxin? affliction? explained away and wrapped in a box with a shiny red bow. Rather, the issue escalates into a conflict where death, for every main character, is not only probable, but almost imminent.
While this book serves as a perfect conclusion to the series, in that it doesn't feel like a set conclusion, yet leaves very little lingering questions, it also stands out as a seriously enjoyable read on its own. Not only are we able to escape back into the heads of Grace, Sam, Cole, and Isabel, but we are also shown more romance, conflict, and complications than any of the previous books.
Forever is essentially a paranormal coming-of-age story with equal parts romance, thrill, and mystery. It is lyrical and poignant, but very, very readable. It is funny, yet brutal, honest, yet idealistic.
For those readers that are tired of overused clichés and characters that fall flat on the page, read this book. Well, read Shiver and Linger first... then read this one.(less)
I'm officially a Maggie Stiefvater fan-girl. I absolutely love her lyrical writing and the ability she has to create emotion on every page.
The characters in this series continue to amaze me! Not only are Grace, Sam and Isabelle explored further, but we also meet the tortured and seriously-hot Cole. Cole is my new favorite! I loved his interesting story and his struggle to abandon his painful past in favor of a future without human emotion. I loved his relationship with Isabelle, as well. What a couple, huh?!
Linger just might have been better than Shiver. Probably because of the addition of Cole and the constant shift in POV from Grace, Sam, Isabelle and Cole. Some people don't like this, but I loved getting into the heads of characters that I have grown to love so much.
Although there have been some complaints about Linger being more slow-moving than Shiver, I didn't mind the pace at all. I found myself savoring each paragraph as I heard each character's story. Stiefvater is so amazing at making every sentence lyrical and interesting.
The only complaint that I have about this series in general is the use of the wolves howling. It seemed like too many chapters were ended with "And then the wolves began to howl." Yes, it's a poignant and appropriate ending, but I started to get sick of it after awhile.
A great sequel to one of my favorite paranormal series ever! Can't wait to read their conclusion in Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3) out July 12th, 2011!(less)
You need to read this book. Even if you've already read it, read it again. If you first read a copy from the lib...moreOriginally posted at Redhead Heroines!
You need to read this book. Even if you've already read it, read it again. If you first read a copy from the library, like I did, spend $10 to order it from Amazon, like I did.
I felt an immediate, intense connection to Andi. We are thrown into her hard life as she struggles to succeed in school, compensate for her mother's mental illness, and battle the demons of her brother's death two years ago. Andi takes an anti-anxiety, anti-depression medication called Qwell, which she manipulates depending on her mood. If you know anyone that suffers from depression, or personally suffer from it yourself, Andi's life will certainly ring true.
Music and history reign supreme in Revolution. In the novel, you are only in Andi's head until one-third of the way into the book. That's where we meet Alexandrine, AKA Alex, living in Revolutionary France, acting as companion to the doomed Prince Louis-Charles. Alex's story was extremely riveting and her voice true. I found Alex's journal entries as compelling as Andi's voice in modern-day Paris and New York. Donnelly weaves these two narratives together with seriously impressive skill.
The music aspect comes into the novel right off the bat. Andi plays guitar, sings and writes her own songs. I loved reading about the way that music helped Andi along in the most difficult times of her life. Also, it was interesting to read about the subject of her school project, which is why she was forced to Paris with her father in the first place, Amade Malherbeau.
Just when you think you understand the type of book you've gotten yourself into, Donnelly completely throws a curve-ball and merges Andi and Alex's worlds into one in an amazing, unforgettable way.
I know that this review is all over the place, but that's only because Revolution has so much to offer: Music, history, loss, grief, triumph, mystery and yes, romance. Don't even get me started on the romance in this book. It's definitely one of my favorite love stories in all the young adult fiction that I have ever read. Truly.
Please read this book. You will never, ever forget it!(less)
I absolutely LOVED Shiver. I loved the split narrative between characters. I loved Grace and I loved Sam. I esp...moreWow.
Why didn't I read this book sooner?
I absolutely LOVED Shiver. I loved the split narrative between characters. I loved Grace and I loved Sam. I especially loved Isabel.
Stievater created characters that lived and breathed in the room with me while I read. When Sam ruminated on the poetry of German poet Rilke, I ruminated with him. I watched while Grace watched the wolves behind her house and I felt like her wolf was my wolf, too.
The paranormal and romantic sides of Shiver were perfectly balanced and well paced. I always felt that pull to keep reading, even in moments when the conflict wasn't especially strong.
I know this review isn't very balanced. So I'll try to sum things up:
Shiver is a welcome addition to YA lit's Paranormal Romance genre with its lyrical narration, deep characterization and new element of mysticism in the popular werewolf meme.
The only other thing I have to say about Shiver is a bit of a warning: this book is not the light-and-airy YA read that is full of rainbows and dancing puppies. It's not dark either. It's neither. It's different.
I'm reading the sequel in this "Wolves of Mercy Falls" series, called Linger. I'll let you know what I think. ;)
Overall Grade: A Would I read it again? YES. Most definitely. Would I recommend it to others? Yes!(less)
Perfect Chemistry has everything that I love about contemporary novels: Well-developed characters, an exciting p...moreOriginally posted at Redhead Heroines!
Perfect Chemistry has everything that I love about contemporary novels: Well-developed characters, an exciting plot, tension between the two protagonists, and a dual first-person narrative that is done very well.
In Perfect Chemistry, we meet our first main character: Brittney. Brittney represents for many readers that polished, pretty, popular girl in high school that was at once hated and adored. She is beautiful, affluent, and is girlfriend to the captain of the football team. However, when she is paired with dangerously-sexy Alex Fuentes in Chemistry class, her perfect reputation is definitely on the line.
Perfect Chemistry had very high-stakes for a contemporary novel. Alex is in a gang, forced into the situation when he was young, and often engages in less-than-savory activities, like collecting debts for gang leaders. This makes Brittney's interactions with Alex much more tense, because he is obviously dangerous.
It was very clear from Elkeles' writing that she did a lot of research into common slang terms used by Mexican Americans and gang members. During Alex's portion of the narrative, I felt the authenticity of his interactions with his friends and fellow gang members through the prose.
The clash of cultures in Perfect Chemistry was extremely interesting. Elkeles effectively deconstructs Brittney's affluent family, complete with her disabled sister Shelley and critical mother, as well as Alex's poor family, with his two younger brothers, single mother, and the dynamics of gang-life.
However, while the novel was compulsively readable, the romance palpable, and the characters endearing, I found the perfect ending to be contrived and more than a little cheesy. That, however, is my one major complaint about the novel! The rest of the book was amazing; The plot was fast moving and exciting... I ended up reading most of the novel in one sitting. Elkeles made it easy to get to know her characters, and to eventually love them! Even when they were being infuriating, stupid, and annoying!(less)