To compare this story to a roller coaster ride would be inaccurate, since that implies a hill that must be climbed to reach the fast-paced parts. No,...moreTo compare this story to a roller coaster ride would be inaccurate, since that implies a hill that must be climbed to reach the fast-paced parts. No, instead I would probably compare The Maze Runner to one of those fancy sports cars. You know the ones. 0 to 60 miles an hour in a matter of seconds? Strap yourself in my friends, this is a wild ride!
Anyone who has been reading my reviews for a decent amount of time knows that I want to love the characters I read about. If I'm to be invested in a story, those characters have to speak to me and make me a part of their struggle. It seems to me that James Dashner knew this when he was writing. Thomas and the other Gladers were written so well, that they literally became a part of my life in a matter of pages. I loved how different they all were! From the opinionated and gruff Alby, all the way down to sweet and innocent Chuck. They made me feel like I was a part of their world, and I had no problem getting into the story.
The Maze actually becomes its own entity in this story, and it is almost as though the walls are breathing. Since the reader is unable to see those who are actually behind the boys being trapped, it is the Maze itself that becomes the enemy. There were portions of this story that had me cringing! What crawls and writhes within the walls is literally terrifying, and I was on the edge of my seat as I read.
To those out there who might know picky readers, The Maze Runner is sure to be a hit. The writing is beautiful and descriptive, the characters are easy to connect to, and the story line is fast-paced. I will admit that there is a bit of violence. I think that is to be expected in a dystopian novel such as this. However I don't think that it is anything most older readers would take issue with. It simply shows the lengths that the boys must go to in order to survive.
If you haven't yet read this, run to your library and pick it up! The Scorch Trials, the second book in the series, is nearing release and you won't want to fall behind.(less)
When I first started reading I'll admit that Zoe drove me a bit crazy. She is a teen who is lost in life. Turning to alcohol and promiscuity to make h...moreWhen I first started reading I'll admit that Zoe drove me a bit crazy. She is a teen who is lost in life. Turning to alcohol and promiscuity to make herself feel better, Zoe feels like everything in her life is a downhill battle. I liked very much that Laurens shows the true difficulty that comes along with living with a child with disabilities. It's clear that Zoe loves her little sister, but that doesn't make it any easier to adjust her life to pretty much being a full time mom. What did bother me though, more than anything, was the way Zoe could be so selfish sometimes. Again, I understood that she is a teen who is lost. Sometimes her decisions were just so hypocritical.
Matthias on the other hand is 100% angel, and one of the sweetest characters I've ever had a chance to meet in a book. He is so loving, and his affection for little Abria pours off the page. It's fairly impossible not to fall in love with this gorgeous angelic man. Zoe finds this out quickly, that's for sure. However what I also liked is that there is no insta-love here. Again, this is why Laurens is such a great writer.
At the core of everything is a story about growing up, and letting go. Heavenly is a bit heavy handed in the religion department, but then again it is about guardian angels. The message here is clear. Put your faith in God, and everything will work out for the best. If that is a message that you believe in, this book will be sure to delight you. If it's not,the story line still stands strongly on its own. The feelings between Matthias and Zoe alone are enough to draw you into the story.
The ending, oh the ending. It broke my heart. I have no idea what comes next, although I do know that the next book Penitence is already out. I'm thinking I may have to pick up a copy to see what happens to these two wonderful characters. If you are looking for a story about angels that is heartfelt, and you are okay with some religious undertones, this is a book for you.(less)
Bree Despain is a masterful writer! The Dark Divine is a book that plunks you down into a roller coaster car, tightens the harness and takes off witho...moreBree Despain is a masterful writer! The Dark Divine is a book that plunks you down into a roller coaster car, tightens the harness and takes off without even giving you a chance to think twice. From the very first page I was hooked and there was no going back!
We meet Grace Divine, her sister Charity Divine and her brother Jude Divine. How much do you love their names? I know I did. They are the children of (fittingly enough) a pastor and have the "perfect family" vibe going on.
Enter Daniel Kalbi. A spectre from their past, and Grace's long time crush. After vanishing, he comes back unexpectedly and Grace finds herself falling for him all over again. Except this time, he's a different person and there is something mysterious about him.
Grace is a really fantastic main character. I have heard others say that she doesn't actually contribute a lot to the story, but I disagree. Following her through the story is intriguing, and seeing how her upbringing affects her decisions is intense. There are so many times in the story that Grace is stuck in a moral quandary and still makes a great decision.
I still can't believe that it took me so long to get to The Lost Saint. I mean, I really loved Bree Despain's first book. Grace and Daniel stole the s...moreI still can't believe that it took me so long to get to The Lost Saint. I mean, I really loved Bree Despain's first book. Grace and Daniel stole the show for me, and all I wanted to know was what would come next. After doing a reread of the first book (and swooning all over again) I was ready to tackle and devour the second I knew I was in for a treat.
For those of you who haven't started this series yet, Grace had to make a huge sacrifice to save Daniel. In other words, she loves this boy to death. So you can imagine my utter annoyance when Daniel suddenly starts treating Grace like she has the plague. Let's be honest. I knew it was a plot device. I understood that it was necessary to allow a new guy to come into the story. That doesn't mean I liked it though. Daniel's behavior drove me crazy.
The good part about all of that is Grace is allowed to show her true colors once again. Despain allows the reader to see how strong a person Grace really is. Sure, she's a teenager. Yes, she makes mistakes. Still, it is that she stands up for herself that makes her so likable. I wasn't always happy with her decisions, but I was always glad that she made them herself. Even with Daniel being odd in the background, I liked Grace a lot in this book.
In terms of plot, The Lost Saint brings a lot of new information into play for these starcrossed lovers. I loved the in depth explanations that were given about the Urbats and their history. I also had no problem eating up Talbot's story as well. I wouldn't say that this plot moves as lightning fast as the first book did. However it is paced in a way that will keep you reading on. Each time I had a question, it would be answered a few pages later. It made for a very immersive read.
If you've already started The Dark Divine Series, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what is waiting for you between the pages of the The Lost Saint! More Grace, more Daniel, more dark twists and turns. This is the book that you've been waiting for.(less)
If you haven't read If I Stay yet, you are missing out. Find a copy. Seriously. I'll wait. Mia's story is equal parts heartfelt and heart wrenching. I...moreIf you haven't read If I Stay yet, you are missing out. Find a copy. Seriously. I'll wait. Mia's story is equal parts heartfelt and heart wrenching. I warn you, pick up a box of tissues before you start reading. This is one that is going to make you cry.
For Mia, life is fairly perfect. She's intelligent, talented, and has a loving family. In fact, her family is the type of perfect that we only see in movies. Joking over breakfast, supporting one another through anything, it's just all too sweet. Mia has one big decision weighing on her mind. Stay in Oregon to be near her family and boyfriend? Or move to New York City to attend Juilliard? It's all too much for her to think about. So she loses herself in taking a drive with her family.
Then, in an instant, everything changes. Mia is on the cusp of the afterlife. Caught somewhere between the living and the dead, Mia can see and hear everything around her but cannot communicate with those around her. The choice that faces her now is simple. Stay alive, but without her family? Or just let go? Through alternating flashbacks of her past life and present state, the reader learns about those closest to Mia. We are given a look into her life and what she stands to loose if she lets go. What Gayle Forman gives the reader is a story that will tug at your heart strings. I was constantly torn between wanting her to leave and be at peace, and stay for so many reasons. This is a book that will make you feel so many emotions that it's almost overwhelming.
If I Stay is one of the most touching stories that I've ever read. This is a book that will break your heart in a wonderful way. I know that no matter what I write here, there is no way to do Gayle Forman's gorgeous book the justice that it deserves. Instead I give this my highest recommendation, and simply demand that you get out there and find a copy. Oh, and also a box of tissues. (less)
This is a DNF. I gave it a good run! After 75 pages of nothing happening, despite so much unnecessarily descriptive writing? I gave up. So sad. I was...moreThis is a DNF. I gave it a good run! After 75 pages of nothing happening, despite so much unnecessarily descriptive writing? I gave up. So sad. I was so enamored by the premise of this book but it just fell short.(less)
What first attracted my attention about The Magic Warble was the mention of dwarfs, gnomes, and all other manner of fantasy creatures. Ever since I wa...moreWhat first attracted my attention about The Magic Warble was the mention of dwarfs, gnomes, and all other manner of fantasy creatures. Ever since I was a young reader these beings were the stuff of magic for me. I was anxious to see where Victoria Simcox would take us. What next drew me in was of course the cover. Hand drawn covers are few and far between now, so it was a breath of fresh air for me.
From page one I fell in love with Kristina, our main character. Very much the underdog in this story, I see a lot of younger readers identifying with her. She is a bit quiet, smart, but doesn't seem to have many friends. Lucky for Kristina she has an amazing teacher that she looks up to, as well as a tried and true pal in her friend Raymond, who also happens to be a rat! Kristina is feisty, but still believable as a twelve year old girl. There are moments of bravery, and moments of weakness, just like any human character. However she still shines through as a hero, and that's what is important.
Now comes the part where I was a little bit torn. Besides Kristina, all the other characters seemed to be a little bit flat to me. Almost as if Kristina was the only character who really mattered when, in actuality, many of them are very important to the story. I admit that I am an older reader who is very motivated by character development, so this was a big deal to me. However, after I took a step back, I saw that perhaps a younger reader wouldn't really see what I saw. Kristina is, after all, the hero. If she takes the spotlight then I suppose that's what the hero is supposed to do. It slightly hampered my own reading of the book but then again I'm not the target audience.
The other element that really made it difficult for me to fall in love with The Magic Warble was the writing. It is very simplistic, which would likely be fantastic for young readers but was difficult for me. There were multiple times in a paragraph that a sentence would start with the same word, which created a very repetitive read. Also, the dialogue between the characters felt very one dimensional to me, and devoid of any emotion. You know the inner voice that we readers have? The one that dictates how we would read the book out loud? It was rather monotone, and that saddened me. I would have loved to see feisty Kristina come alive on the page as she fought to save the day.
In terms of setting, however, the world of Bernovem is rich, vivid, and really the key factor in my rating for this book. When I read a fantasy book I want to be whisked away into another place. I love to see somewhere new and exciting bleed off the pages and into my imagination. I truly believe that Simcox accomplished this beautifully. Bernovem is populated with all types of fantasy creatures, and readers will love learning about the land as they follow Kristina on her adventures. The black and white illustrations that pepper the book really help bring it all to life.
Overall, what I'm trying to say in this very rambling review is that I did enjoy The Magic Warble as a whole. I read a lot of middle grade fiction, and I can honestly say that this would make a happy home in any child's library. The crossover appeal may not be there entirely, but I would say that a book like this would be perfect for a family to read together. Just enough adventure, the right amount of bravery, and a little bit of love. That is the recipe for The Magic Warble, and I thank Victoria Simcox for giving me the opportunity to find that out.(less)
Looking for an out of the box read? I'll happily start this review by saying that this book will satisfy that need. Phoebe Kitanidis has done it yet a...moreLooking for an out of the box read? I'll happily start this review by saying that this book will satisfy that need. Phoebe Kitanidis has done it yet again, writing a book that will keep you reading well into the wee hours of the morning. My attention was caught instantly by the fact that these two teens wake up in such an odd situation. I kept wondering how they could have completely forgotten everything. As I read on I realized that things were just a little too perfect in the town of Summer Falls. Ghosts, mystery...heatnaps? Oh yes. That's what you'll find inside Glimmer and so much more!
This story is told in alternating points of view, which actually works really well in the overall flow of things. Both Elyse and Marshall are vivid characters with just enough difference in their voices to make them easier to discern. Which is important, because a lot of times they will have the same thoughts. It's eerie, and slightly sweet. Still, what I loved was watching their struggle. As Elyse and Marshall discover who they once were, they realize how much they dislike those people. The reader gets to follow along as they figure out how to fight back and become better.
In case you're worried that Glimmer is all ghosts and no romance, let me assure you that there is a romance here. It just so happens to be a beautifully broken one. Here we have two people fighting to figure out where they came from, while working together to figure out where to go next. Elyse and Marshall have a lot of tough moments in the story (and some creepy ones as well), but Kitanidis balances it out with a bit of sweetness too. These two have their fair share of adorable moments together, and it makes everything even more worthwhile.
I'd love to say more, but I don't want to give anything away! The ghosts in this book are especially fantastic and different, but if I say more you won't have that part to uncover. So instead I'll just say that this is a read that is well worth your time! If you are looking for something outside the box. If you need a paranormal that strays away from the usual zombies, vampires and werewolves, pick up a copy of Glimmer. Just be prepared to read all night.(less)