I don't think I was quite expecting what I found between the pages of The Ghost Bride. Perhaps it's because I glazed over the synopsis, rather than re...moreI don't think I was quite expecting what I found between the pages of The Ghost Bride. Perhaps it's because I glazed over the synopsis, rather than reading it carefully, but I wasn't ready for the more fantasy driven part of this book. I was expecting a story about a girl who was fated to be sold off as a ghost bride. A story rich with history. I was given both of these things, but also so much I didn't see coming. Li Lan's story is based around her Chinese culture, but with a paranormal twist stemming from mythology.
I'm not entirely sure when this book is meant to take place, but Li Lan reads as a more modern woman than I was anticipating. She's opinionated and intelligent. Her views on women and society are at odds with the others around her. I was charmed by her fresh, no-nonsense take on the world around her. What really threw me for a loop though is how young she really seems. I've seen this book labeled as adult fiction, but Li Lan's personality really feels like it has more of a young adult feel. Especially once the paranormal aspect comes into play.
However the biggest issue I had with The Ghost Bride was the writing style. Lots of telling, instead of showing. For example, describing an article of clothing. Rather than have the reader infer what it is through the writing, Li Lan will just directly explain what it is for, how it's worn and how she knows. If the protagonist I'm following is of the culture the book is based in, I somewhat assume they know about traditional clothing. I felt like I was being lead of a guided tour, instead of swept up in a mysterious story. That's not to say that the story itself isn't ultimately interesting. The folklore, mystery, and unexpected twists definitely created a need to keep reading. If you can see past the writing style, the story underneath is actually very well done.
My very jumbled feelings are why I ultimately decided on a three star rating for this book. There were aspects of The Ghost Bride that I really enjoyed, and others that took away from the journey. If you are a reader who often reads historical fiction, this might be something you enjoy. Especially since it has the added bonus of a bit of mythology to keep things fresh. (less)
What first drew me to Kelly Keaton's Embers in a Dark Frost was that it seemed to walk the line between YA and Adult fiction. I've recently discovere...more
What first drew me to Kelly Keaton's Embers in a Dark Frost was that it seemed to walk the line between YA and Adult fiction. I've recently discovered that this is New Adult. YA at heart, with older characters and even some sex. I have to say, I rather liked this! I quickly settled in for the read.
Keaton sweeps the reader away into a land rich with myth and magic. There are elements of Celtic legend here, wrapped up in a world on the brink of being lost. I loved that Deira's life wasn't perfect. Caught between two different worlds, she just never seemed to fit in. That is, until Balen.
Ah, Balen. I will swoon here and now. Rough on the exterior but with so much heart, he's s character that is hard not to fall for. The relationship between Balen and Deira was wonderful. Each of them had so much depth, and I appreciated that they didn't automatically fall for one another with no reason. Balen proves himself. Oh yes he does.
Perhaps my favorite part about Embers in a Dark Frost was that Deira isn't a strong heroine or a wilting flower. She's both. That doesn't happen often in books like this. There is no hard, fast distinction between the two halves of Deira. She is both strong and weak, and it makes her decisions all the more believable. I felt for her.
Despite a few minor issues, I fell in love with this book. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys getting lost in a rich and magical world. I will be eagerly waiting for more. (less)
Blue Asylum is a story about standing up for yourself, and being punished for it. Iris Dunleavy is a woman who simply wants to speak her mind. The wif...moreBlue Asylum is a story about standing up for yourself, and being punished for it. Iris Dunleavy is a woman who simply wants to speak her mind. The wife of a plantation owner, she finds herself aghast at the treatment of the slaves. In a mad attempt to do something to help, poor Iris finds herself in a "modern" asylum. What Kathy Hepinstall has created here is a heart wrenching story about a misunderstood woman, who just wants to be heard.
The characters in this story are colorful, vivid and very enjoyable to follow. Iris especially is one witty and wonderful woman. Her views on the world are strong and well thought out. As her story unfolded, I began to wonder precisely why she was in the asylum at all. Hepinstall paces the story beautifully though, and bread crumbs are laid out to show the past that is haunting Iris' existence. However it isn't only Iris who shines off the page. Each inhabitant of the asylum has their own quirks, their own personality, and I found myself intrigued by them. It makes for a very immersing read.
Blue Asylum is all about healing, misunderstandings, and, underneath everything else, blind hope. It is easy to see how women were mistreated during this time period. Still, the more I read the more I felt myself feeling just like Iris. There are moments when the line between sanity and madness really does blur. What I can definitely say is that this is a piece of historical fiction that is well done. It drew me in, and before I knew it I was turning the last page.
At the end I was still left with some pressing questions, which I'll admit irked me a bit. Overall though Blue Asylum was a very enjoyable and quick read. Fans of Historical Fiction will find a lot to love between these pages. The vivid characters themselves are enough to draw the reader in, and keep them there until the end. If there is more out there from Kathy Hepinstall, I'd love to read it! This may be my new favorite genre.(less)
I feel the need to have a slight fan girl moment. I've always been a big fan of the science fiction genre. The sad part is that it's tough to find you...moreI feel the need to have a slight fan girl moment. I've always been a big fan of the science fiction genre. The sad part is that it's tough to find younger aged science fiction that is appropriate but doesn't speak down to its fans. This, my friends, is great young adult science fiction. It is young adult science fiction that is engaging, unique, and so well written! I had only just picked up The Comet's Curse to skim the first page, and I found myself completely enthralled. A little over an hour later I set the book down and finally had a chance to breathe. Let me tell you, Dom Testa has my heart now.
Now that I have that out of my system, let's talk about the book. The Comet's Curse shows us a world that is suffering in the aftermath of a deadly virus. What's different about this story is that no human engineered this virus, nor was it a result of animals. No, it is a simple comet that has brought about the end of mankind. As the story opens, scientists are scurrying to find a way to preserve what is left of the population (the teenagers) before they too meet an untimely end. If that isn't a great way to start a book that will keep your interest, I don't know what is. Unless of course you add in the fact that the plan is to send these teens into space. Now do I have your attention?
What I loved most about this book, truly, was the characters. Each one of them was so real and deep. Dom Testa allows his characters minds of their own and, love them or hate them, the characters in this book act and think like real teens would. Triana (Tree) was without a doubt my favorite. Without any adult interaction, it falls to Tree to be the sound of reason during the mission. I just couldn't fathom having that much responsibility, no matter how smart she really was. I loved her resilience, her honesty, and most of all the way she sometimes just felt lost. I don't know how you could be millions of miles away from your planet and not feel that way. It's real, and it's wonderful.
As I was falling in love with the characters, I was also introduced to life aboard the ship. The descriptions are vivid, and there were points where I felt like I was actually there. When things took a turn for the creepy, I was pulled right on in. Personally I just adored being able to close my eyes and envision the setting. There is also a lot of room for the reader to think really heavily about what they would do in the situation that these characters are in. Sure, there is a certain amount of improbability to some of the story, but I think to enjoy science fiction you have to let go of reality and just get lost.
I'm rambling I know. I could go on for days about the cute romance that doesn't at all overshadow the story line. Or about the awesome technology that is created. I could even tell you about Roc, the coolest computer ever. However I'll leave that to you to find out when you pick up a copy of The Comet's Curse. Suffice it to say that this is a series that I know I'm going to love! Lucky for me I already have the next book in the series handy, because I'll be diving back in as soon as I can.(less)
I just had to re-read Divergent after I realized that I never reviewed it the first time. What can I say? When a book takes your breath away as easily...moreI just had to re-read Divergent after I realized that I never reviewed it the first time. What can I say? When a book takes your breath away as easily as this one does, it's hard to write a coherent review. Now that I've taken another shot at it, well it's not going to be much easier but I'll try to make sense! Let the fan girl reviewing commence!
Veronica Roth has built an entirely new dystopian society. One that relies on factions to keep things at peace. Unfortunately for everyone involved, that peace is only a superficial sham. What follows is a story that made me burn through these 400+ pages in a matter of hours. Divergent isn't something that you should start to read before bed time. It's the type of book that you'll want to finish once you start, whether you currently have the time or not. The writing is gorgeous, the society is perfectly built. Let's face it. There isn't a single thing that I didn't love about this book.
Which brings me to the characters. Seriously, the best part of this story. Tris and Four normal people. Realistic in their flaws and strengths. They are strong characters who are so easy to get behind. Tris isn't a shrinking violet. She isn't someone who sits around and waits for other people to take care of her. No, Tris can take care of anything that comes her way, even when she's terrified while doing it. She may selfish and temperamental at times, but that just shows the reality of who she is. Pardon my French, but Tris is bad-ass!
Then there is Four. Tris' equal and opposite all rolled into one. Strong willed, and yet with a heart. I loved how he didn't treat Tris as a weak-willed girl. He treated her as someone who was worth his time. Oh, and the best part? No love triangle! Do you know how refreshing that is? It's just Tris and Four, two people who are stubborn, strong-willed and care for one another despite all odds. This was a huge part of why I loved Divergent so much.
I've been looking for a series to fill the hole that The Hunger Games series left behind. Something with a driven plot and a kick-ass heroine. This book? Completely filled that void. I finished reading Divergent with my mouth wide open. All I know now is that I need to get my hands on the next book in the series as soon as possible. This is book addiction at its finest, and I'm more than willing to give in to it. (less)
Narrator Review: Starting out, I wasn't sure I liked Heather Lind's different voices. However the more I listened, the more I got involved in the stor...moreNarrator Review: Starting out, I wasn't sure I liked Heather Lind's different voices. However the more I listened, the more I got involved in the story, I started to realize that they were spot on! She has just enough difference in each character's voice to make them easy to distinguish. Best of all, she makes Saba sound like I thought she would. Tough. I loved it.
The pacing is perfect. Her speech is rich and well pronounced. It's honestly hard not to feel like the audio book of this is far superior to the print copy. I didn't just read this book, I got to live it.
Audio Book Rating: 5/5 - A must listen!
Book Review: Blood Red Road was a book that greatly surprised me. I wasn't expecting to fall in love but, without warning, I was sucked in to Saba's world. All that hype that you saw when this book first came out? Completely and utterly spot on. I absolutely adored this story.
Saba is a tough character to love. She's stubborn, fierce as all get out, and witty too. In other words, a recipe for my perfect female character. However her stubborn attitude more often than not causes her to make very rash decisions. I'll fully admit that there were multiple times I wanted to reach in and just slap her for a moment. I understood why Moira Young created her this way though. Saba is used to having to take care of herself. She's used to being a lone wolf.
That is, of course, until she meets Jack. Ah, Jack. Witty, lovable, and sometimes completely lost Jack. He was definitely my favorite character. The perfect opposite to everything that Saba was. Their relationship was rocky, it was real, it was amazing! All work and no play makes Saba a dull girl. Good thing Jack was around! Seriously though, every single character that travels alongside these two shines off the page. They are so well-crafted, that it is hard not to find yourself rooting for them as you read.
What else can I say to make you pick up this book? Refreshingly, Blood Red Road is unlike a lot of other dystopian novels out there. Instead of focusing solely on a society, with a bit of characterization thrown in, Young's book is all about the characters. You'll find yourself beside them as they fight to survive, tackle problems thrown in their path, and wrestle with the age old question of who they really are. It seems odd that this would work so well, but it honestly does. I was able to get so lost in Saba's world, that I honestly didn't want to come back out.
At the end of the day, if you are a reader of dystopian fiction this is a book that you're going to need to pick up. The twists and turns in the plot will delight you. The fierce, dogged pace of the story will make you feel like you're on the brink of exhaustion. Then you'll meet the characters and realize that there is no turning back. Moira Young did a fabulous job with this book. I'm just going to come right out and say I want more. Soon. (less)
Amelia is a spirit, lost in the mortal world. Destined to relive the night of her death over and over. Not exactly the most pleasant existence. That i...moreAmelia is a spirit, lost in the mortal world. Destined to relive the night of her death over and over. Not exactly the most pleasant existence. That is, until the night that she happens to rescue Joshua.
I know that there are plenty of paranormal romance stories out there, but I'd be lying if I said that this one doesn't stand out. Amelia's character is so perfect. She's sweet and lost, but downright fierce when she needs to be. I loved watching her wake up from the fog and become more aware of herself as the story progressed. Amelia's story has the perfect balance between being utterly heartbreaking, and yet full of hope at the same time. It will tug at your heartstrings, that's for sure!
Then there is Joshua. Wonderful and persistent Joshua. Want a guy who manages to be adorable without even trying? Here's your man. Dead set on being a part of Amelia's afterlife, apparently whether she wants it or not, he holds his own. The banter between these two and the stolen moments of closeness were too sweet for words. There were times when it was just so honest. Sure, they may be from two different planes of existence, but that doesn't stop them from being a perfect match for one another. Be warned, swoon worthy moments ensue.
Lest you think that Hereafter is just a book filled with romance though, let me sate your need for action! As Amelia remembers more about her past, the book really picks up pace. Ghosts who are "unclaimed" are apparently a no-no in Tara Hudson's ghostly afterlife. This allows her to weave a wonderful romance that pits two very different worlds against one another. Amelia's life becomes a tug of war between the living, and the dead. I cannot say enough how much this added to the overall story! Love is great, but love that is fated to fail? Even more delicious.
Let's be honest, I could go on about Hereafter for hours. However I'll wrap it up with the fact that while this may not be a new concept, Tara Hudson takes a story that has been done before and still manages to put her own gorgeous twist on it. Amelia and Joshua will make your heart soar, and then have you rooting for their continued existence together. Couple that with some all out action, and you have a book that is well worth your time. (less)