Otherworld Nights is an anthology that collects several short stories and novellas set in the Women of the Otherworld series. Most of them have been pOtherworld Nights is an anthology that collects several short stories and novellas set in the Women of the Otherworld series. Most of them have been previously published in other anthologies or have been released in limited edition hardcovers. It also includes a brand new novella set after the happenings of the last Women of the Otherworld book, Thirteen, featuring Savannah, Adam, Paige and Lucas.
When an author has written as many books as Mrs Amstrong has, a certain consistent style gets developed. Even though the books in the series have been published over a span of ten years, and the stories in Otherworld Nights come from different periods within that time-frame, their style and wording is incredibly consistent. Diving into this anthology was such a relaxing yet exciting experience; it's been a long time since I got to spend time with these characters, and they are real in a way.
As far as I can tell the stories are ordered chronologically - the oldest story first, the new novella last. Although it does make sense, the order bothered me a bit when we had two Elena/Clay stories back to back, and we were introduced to the same characters twice. That can easily be fixed by not reading the book back to back, but instead picking a story you feel like and going through them randomly. There is no consistency between them beyond being set in the Women of the Otherworld time-line, so they definitely don't need to be read in order.
Mrs Armstrong is quite an expert on the novella format. It's not my favourite form of fiction because it hardly allows for any complexity or side-plots, but I think these were very well done. All of them had enough twists to make them interesting, and they ended in ways that leaves the reader satisfied and with a smile on their face.
Otherworld Nights is a great book for Women of the Otherworld fans that haven't succeeded in tracking down all those obscure novellas that have been released throughout the years. The new Savannah novella was a welcome addition, though not my favourite (me and Savannah have a rocky relationship in general). If you're not familiar with the world, this might not be the best place to start, because there are heavy references to happenings in the series, and can also be quite spoiler-y if you haven't completed the series yet....more
Lost at Sea is Bryan Lee O'Malley's debut graphic novel - you might know him from his Scott Pilgrim books. Lost at Sea is more whimsical, lyrical in iLost at Sea is Bryan Lee O'Malley's debut graphic novel - you might know him from his Scott Pilgrim books. Lost at Sea is more whimsical, lyrical in its writing. Text floats throughout the panels, sometimes a page only has one image, and most of the text is internal. I loved the idea of this book, and it's incredibly quotable with amazing haunting images. The four-colour scheme adds to the ethereal quality of the book. My only gripe is that the ending was too abrupt. It was almost as if he ran out of pages to make his point, and squished them in the last two instead of making a proper final climax. For a debut, Lost at Sea is pretty amazing. ...more
We are introduced to America and the strict caste society she lives in in The Selection. She joins the contest in becoming Prince Maxon's wife, and maWe are introduced to America and the strict caste society she lives in in The Selection. She joins the contest in becoming Prince Maxon's wife, and makes it to the last six contestants. But now Aspen, her childhood flame, is a soldier in the palace, her love life is suddenly a lot more complicated.
Where The Selection was light-hearted fun, The Elite is a bit heavier reading. At the start of the first book Maxon and America are friends, until they grow into something more by the end of it. Now America is a huge mess, and the entirity of The Elite is marked by her confusion. One moment all she wants in life is to be a queen with Maxon - the other she wants to marry Aspen and go back to how things were, only now they might be a bit better with both their elevated statuses.
Many people don't enjoy The Elite because America tends to forget the other half of the love triangle constantly. When she's with Aspen, she forgets she has feelings for Maxon. When kissing Maxon, Aspen is the last thing on her mind. I feel quite ambivalent about this. Of course she wouldn't think of the other, because if she did, she would soon go crazy and pick neither of them. And since we are nearing The One in which she will have to make a choice...
Kiera Cass writes in an incredibly readable way, and fills her books with nice secondary characters you would love to be friends with, and enemies you love to hate. A few minor inconsistencies aside, The Elite continues in the same vain as The Selection. I find these books very addictive light reading, and I'm enjoying binge reading them. Bring it on, The One!...more
We Were Liars is one of those hyped books that I've somehow managed to completely miss. I've seen it around, of course, but I never read a review or eWe Were Liars is one of those hyped books that I've somehow managed to completely miss. I've seen it around, of course, but I never read a review or even checked out the blurb. A bookish friend recommended me to read it, and advised me not to look anything up about the book so I wouldn't get spoiled in any way.
So I went into We Were Liars blank. And since I now completely agree with her, I won't give a summary of the plot. You will really want to find out for yourself what's going on, or the book is ruined. You can only speak in the most general terms about this book; there is a rich family, who spend their summers on an island close to Martha's Vineyard. Enter family drama and one teenage girl in the middle of everything.
Although I understand the author's decision, I didn't like the fragmented writing. While the premise is pretty intriguing, I kept putting the book down every few pages. The writing just didn't sit well with me, it didn't invite me to keep on reading, it seemed to spiral in on itself without pushing me in a forward direction. Even though the story is so short and so quick, the first thirty percent felt slow to me. Metaphors that were meant to convey lyricism and deep feeling felt odd and out of place, and especially the few that were repeated plenty of times throughout the story irked me. If I see "bleeding all over him" one more time, I'm going to cry. I'm a visual person, so I see the main character literally bleeding all over someone. And this is not appealing for me. Even though I understand that the author means crying, I keep picturing Carrie post-prom.
The twist was good. I never fully connected with the characters, but I didn't exactly see that one coming. The sense of foreboding is aroused by other characters clearly knowing more than the reader and the main character, but it never fully hit me, and there was no emotional impact, but rather a "oh. cool". I think my entire reading experience of We Were Liars is marked by my emotional disinterest. I quite enjoyed the story, and thought about it some time after I finished it, but it didn't evoke any particular feelings.
We Were Liars is a good book, short, and intense. It has blown away plenty of readers, and I think it will do so with many more....more
Atonement was one big pile of meh. The characters are bland, shallow, and boring. The plot moves with about the speed of a turtle pulling a truck. TheAtonement was one big pile of meh. The characters are bland, shallow, and boring. The plot moves with about the speed of a turtle pulling a truck. The writing is self-indulgent and convoluted. Somehow I actually quite liked the movie, but the novel counterpart was horrible. There's nothing in Atonement to keep me interested, to grab me or keep me reading. The last fifty pages were hell to get through. The worst about it is that the entire point, the crux, the climax of the book, happens in the last five pages. Where the movie made an impact, in the book the climax just fizzles and dies. ...more
The Cemetery Boys is my first experience with the writings of Heather Brewer, author of the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series. Although the story didnThe Cemetery Boys is my first experience with the writings of Heather Brewer, author of the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series. Although the story didn't hold any surprises for me, I'm interested enough to pick up her other books.
When Stephen's dad loses his job, they are forced to move back to his dad's home town, some weird small town called Spencer. Here he meets Cara, a cute girl, and her brother Devon. Devon and his friends love to hang out at the cemetery. After a while Stephen discovers that not everything in Spencer is what it seems.
Ms Brewer writes boys extremely well. I enjoyed the inner monologue and sarcastic remarks of Stephen. It was also refreshing to see a young-adult romance through the eyes of a boy, without that romance being a projection of what a female would like a boy to think about his crush. Stephen's thoughts are destinctly teen-boy, with him wondering what it would be like to kiss those kissable lips, instead of thinking how he must love and protect her for ever and ever. Yay for realism!
Having years of experience with detective and crime fiction (especially on television), I have a knack of guessing endings. I always expect the unexpected - the person least likely of being the killer usually is. Whether it's the kindly butler or the loving mother, I have a nose for finding the bad apple. Yet again this nose worked, and I knew what the final twist would be. It was still a good twist, it was just a shame that I found it out beforehand.
The Cemetery Boys is well-written, and has a lovely dark atmosphere. I enjoyed how some questions aren't fully answered, because answering would have diminished the magic of the story. I would recommend this for fans of Darren Shan, Madeleine Roux, and Charles Gilman. ...more
Unlovely is not a bad book, but it never came to life for me. We have a small-town setting with a rather backward mentality, and a prestigiDNF at 30%.
Unlovely is not a bad book, but it never came to life for me. We have a small-town setting with a rather backward mentality, and a prestigious ballet school on the cliffs close to it. The characters seem to be defined by their role rather than any personality of themselves. The village people think the ballet people are greedy arrogant bastards, and the ballet people don't even give the village people a glance. The stereotypes were tiring.
What irked me is how the ballerinas are described - sure, as a ballarina, you're probably not obese. But the constant glorifying of their "willowy" and "tiny" figures, and their small bony hands holding great strength, grated on my nerves. Maybe in the super-high international ballets you're still required to be near-anorexic, but in many professional ballets the women are of a normal, healthy figure.
I didn't read far enough for something particularly thrilling to happen, so I can't say anything about the plot....more
Cat Campbell wants nothing more than to be a witch and go to the local school for witchcraft. But although the gene runs in her family, Cat doesn't shCat Campbell wants nothing more than to be a witch and go to the local school for witchcraft. But although the gene runs in her family, Cat doesn't show a spark of magic for years. Then she accidentally finds her mom's old wand, and turns a spider into a rainbow of colours. Now she only has to convince her mother to let her be a witch.
I could so relate to Cat. When I was young, I wanted to be a witch too and go to Hogwarts! Now, in Cat's case, magic actually exists, and she's faced with the girls that go to the magic school every day. They ride around on broomsticks and have pretty purple uniforms, and she'd give just about anything to be one of them.
The Courage of Cat Campbell is a very sweet story about carving out your own path, even if that goes against the wishes of your parents. Now I'm personally ambiguous about the message the book gives - I do think you shouldn't follow the path your parents make up for you just because they decided on it, but on the other hand there is such a thing as impossible dreams (like deciding to become a princess). In The Courage of Cat Campbell Cat's dream is a very obtainable one, so I didn't mind her setting her sights on magic, even though her mom is strongly opposed to it.
Though this is a sequel, you don't need to have read The Power of Poppy Pendle to enjoy this one. Almost the entire Poppy story is recapped in Cat Campbell, so you will know exactly what has happened before. On the other hand, you will also get spoiled about the resolution of the Poppy Pendle story.
I loved the setting of the book in Potts Bottom. The otherworldly objects have clever names, without being over the top. The whole story is well though-out, and there is an adorable friendship between Cat and the boy that's practically her cousin. I recommend this book for all those peoples out there that want to follow their dreams (preferably magic ones), despite what other people think....more
The first book in the Darkest London series left me feeling angry and frustrated. One of my biggest pet peeves, lack of communication, filled the pageThe first book in the Darkest London series left me feeling angry and frustrated. One of my biggest pet peeves, lack of communication, filled the pages of Firelight. Moonglow, however, restored my faith in Ms Callihan as a writer and left me with warm and fuzzy feelings.
Daisy is a widow, and glad to be so. Her husband was a terrible man, and she's excited to start a new life without him. On her first outing into society, she witnesses the gruesome murder of a man. This leads her to find out about a world she never thought existed, and into the protection of Ian, werewolf gentleman.
Daisy was exactly my kind of heroine. She says what she thinks, she keeps her head cool and her pride in check. Where Firelight lacked communication between the hero and heroine, Moonglow is the exact opposite. Every time I thought they were going to keep secrets from each other, they didn't. They came clean every single time, saying what was on their mind. This made it much easier to root for their relationship, because they fit together so well.
Ian is an asshole in the first book, and in the first part of Moonglow we see some residuals of that. Throughout the book he becomes more likeable though, and more of a well-rounded character. He is a bit of a tortured soul, with him being an immortal werewolf and all, which I'm sure will appeal to many readers.
The Darkest London world gets bigger in Moonglow, with more creatures being introduced (and even a hint of steampunk). I loved that we're getting more details about the supernatural community and the tensions between them, and I'm hoping we'll get more of that in the third book.
The paranormal and historical blend seamlessly in Moonglow, and introduce a sensible and wonderful couple in Daisy and Ian....more
Find Me is a young-adult thriller about a girl from a messed up family that tries to find out who killed one of her childhood friends. Although I quitFind Me is a young-adult thriller about a girl from a messed up family that tries to find out who killed one of her childhood friends. Although I quite liked this idea of a more gritty kind of thriller featuring a female main character that hacks for a living, the execution wasn't great. The book was quite decent, but I feel like I've read this story before. The hacking part is incredibly bland and is only mentioned in the background, and the romance, though believable, felt very icky to me. The explanation of the killer didn't sit right with me either, and I felt like this wasn't the way humans act and evolve.
Find Me was an easy read, but not very memorable. It reminded me of a less poignant and heart-breaking Mind Games....more