First off, I think I like the UK cover (pictured) than the US cover. The UK cover portrays the idea of poison more coherently, and definitely emanates...moreFirst off, I think I like the UK cover (pictured) than the US cover. The UK cover portrays the idea of poison more coherently, and definitely emanates a darker idea of the novel. Plus, the colours are really cool. The blue/green, and then there is the gold...the contrast is nice. It is one of my favourite UK covers I have on my bookshelf right now.
The story that Maryrose Wood introduced me, was one with wonder and was of a complete different place and era entirely. The beginning is pretty slow, like, the first few chapters felt like a fricken' memoir to me! However, when Weed, with whom Jessamine becomes attached to, comes along; that's when the story becomes interesting and actually dared me to continue reading on.
There are few main characters, which is good for this kind of novel, given its short length. It allowed for focus on each character, and also explored each character's personality and mannerisms thoroughly. I liked the relationship between Jessamine and Weed. It was slow-moving, like a real relationship should be, which added more realism to their devotion to one another in the second half of the novel. Also, upon reading the novel, the family secrets uncovered are just DELICIOUS, HEARTBREAKING, SHOCKING . . ., and ultimately, left me upon reflection on my own family.
However, I was unable to LOVE any one character. I was, in honesty, detached. This may be told in first person, but since it is written in a form of "diary" narrative, I still felt like I was on the outside. Which is fine...but I just didn't have a side to root for when the time called for it. It left me pondering: when one has an aim, can the means by which that aim is sought over really justify all that has been done? It was thought-provoking, which I believe is a good thing. :)
I like the plant allusions throughout the novel. It was fresh and different. I had never read any flower or plant novel before, so this was a nice change from my normal reads. Also, that each plant held a different personality gave the novel a richer taste as a whole.
Lastly, the ending was a bit abrupt, and left me with lingering emotions. Gosh, it's really really good! In that, it makes me want to read the sequel, I hunger for the sequel! I wish it were out now, but dreams are often left unfulfilled when in the bout of a selfish person, so I shall wait it out.(less)
I am kind of speechless right now. STORM was good. Really good. My only comfort at this moment is knowing that we w...more4.5/5
Oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God.
I am kind of speechless right now. STORM was good. Really good. My only comfort at this moment is knowing that we won't have to wait a full year for the next book, just until September. DERP!
STORM starts off with a fight. Becca is heading to her car late one night after self-defence class when she comes across a few big guys beating up another guy. Having always done what she felt was right, Becca saves the guy's life. His name is Chris, one of the highly acknowledged Merrick brothers at school. What follows is a series of events where Becca gets caught up in a twisted state of affairs. The Merrick brothers are what is known as Elementals, people who have a higher connection to the elements. Which means they're dangerous, because they can control these elements and cause wide-spread chaos, such as earthquakes and tornadoes. Every single natural disaster has occurred by the hand of an Elemental, and that is why they are marked for death by the Guides. And when history tries to settle the score, things get messy.
In among all this, Becca has internal struggles in finding herself again and coming to terms with past traumas; in her growing feelings for Chris and the mysterious new boy at school, Hunter; and also in coming to terms with the reappearance of her father.
I am not a paranormal fan, but I love anything to do with the Elements (Avatar!).
+ That first chapter is full of win. + I freaking LOVE all the characters! For a paranormal YA, this book was highly complex and had some great character development going on. Especially with Becca. She is so well fleshed out and her emotions felt so very realistic. + Brotherrrrrrrrrrrr relationships! Yay!!! It will warm your heart and make you laugh and feel the complexities in the Merrick family and how they've had to live with only each other. + The roooooooomance! There is a bit of bad romance, but then we have the good romance too. See love triangle below. Triangles aside, there are some swoonworthy scenes and I kind of chuckled to myself whenever Becca wanted more than this guy thought she was ready for. Kind of reminded me of a puppy, overeager for playtime. Keep in mind that I was cheering on Chris most of the way through, so it kind of didn't feel as much like a love triangle when compared to some other books out there. I'm not sure if that makes sense. It all goes back to that dual perspective, I think. + The switching POVs! It gave us the opportunity to look at Becca's life as well as Chris's! I'm so so glad that Brigid made the switch to include Chris's POV - a very wise choice, I must say. + I called a couple of the twists, but some of them literally had me yelling at the book and slamming my forehead against it. Which explains the "Oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God." I wrote at the beginning of this "review", which might be ommitted in the final review. :P ~ The ending was satisfying enough. There's no cliffhanger, and I can see why, considering the next book will be focusing on a different Merrick brother and it will be HIS story. ~ Okay, so there IS a love triangle. I always supported Chris, even when he was being a complete jerk. MAYBE this just gets back to the point of the dual perspective, because where we don't really get insight into Hunter's mind, we find out so much about Chris that I just could not help rooting for him. ~ Pretty standard YA literacy writing level. Not a bad thing, since it made it easy to read. I think this style just works for this genre, compared to Historical Fiction where more sophistication is expected from me. It's a very easy style to slip back into easily though, and will have you turning those pages. ~ I think I should give proper warning that there are issues of rape and bullying in this book, so if you're extremely sensitive to that stuff, just yeah, be aware that it's there. I don't have much personal experience with that, but when I read those parts I just...it was hard to read and I was tearing up and I don't know I guess the feelings that this character felt was contagious.
FUN FACT (because I find it funny when people say that phrase):
* The Merrick brothers were meant to be vampires.
That is all.
AND HOW FREAKING AMAZING WOULD THIS BE AS A MOVIE? I'd say a TV show, but I find that it can easily be pulled along to the point of tedium. Phew!(less)
As most verse novels are, Unlocked read really quickly. While perhaps a lot of potential emotional impact could have been extended had it been writ...more4/5
As most verse novels are, Unlocked read really quickly. While perhaps a lot of potential emotional impact could have been extended had it been written in prose, Cleave made the right choice telling this story in verse, mainly because of the issues it presents.
High school brings much of the crap that junior high did: the cliques, the bullies, the rumours. Especially for losers, like the janitor's son, like Andy. Then, a rumour provides a rare opportuntiy for popularity: apparently, fellow outcast Blake has a gun in his locker. A friendship never properly defined is cast between the two of them, and what scares him most is this: what if Blake's got something planned with the gun?
I found Unlocked a great portrayal of the effects that bullying can have on those who are inflicted. The small length of the book is also a very appealing quality, but not only that. The little poems were nicely written. I enjoyed delving into the mind of this fourteen-year-old kid who doesn't know exactly where he fits in this world. The kids at school have even made up songs about his dad!
Cleave attempted to pack an enormous weight into such a small book, and while I didn't feel a strong emotional connection to the characters (a great limitation of the verse format) I did come away from it with a renewed understanding of how far bullying and rumours - NO MATTER HOW HARMLESS THE INTENTION MAY SEEM TO BE - can go. I recommend this book for young [male] teens and up.
+ Realistic, scary that this happens in real life + Although unusual, the switching of perspectives worked for me + Evoked emotional investment in me as...more+ Realistic, scary that this happens in real life + Although unusual, the switching of perspectives worked for me + Evoked emotional investment in me as to the unfolding of events. Yes...I got teary, and felt disgusted and angry and... + Short read, quite quick to get through. - At first it was a bit confusing, as to where the story was going - The ending kind of works, but I wanted something...more "resolutionary".
I really did not know what to expect when I received this one for review. For one, I'd never heard anything about it, as well as the fact that this fe...moreI really did not know what to expect when I received this one for review. For one, I'd never heard anything about it, as well as the fact that this featured werewolves. I am not a stickler for paranormal/fantasy, but I was pleasantly surprised with this one. It was engaging, vividly described, action-packed and dark but whimsical at the best of times. Wereworld is the beginning to a great new series, and what I find so amazing is that this novel is the work from the mastermind behind Bob the Builder™. All throughout I kept that fact at the fore of my mind, conscientiously aware that this was Jobling's first YA novel.
We begin Wereworld with Drew, the main character, as he lives out a typical day in the life within his safe farmland home. Someone attacks and Drew discovers a side of him he's never known before as he fights off the mysterious creature of the night. As circumstances would have it, his father walks in on Drew in his new form, holding the now-deceased body of his beloved mother. And so begins Drew's new life, as he is thrown out of his own home, out to venture in the wild Dyrewood.
Completed Review Published 29th January 2011 on the blog.(less)
Embrace is a compelling and extravagantly imaginative and fresh new take on the angel mythology in YA fiction. The characters were portr...moreShort Version:
Embrace is a compelling and extravagantly imaginative and fresh new take on the angel mythology in YA fiction. The characters were portrayed well in a way that made me actually care for their survival, with a compelling storyline to drive through the novel; Jessica Shirvington's writing had me racing to the end. For fans of the paranormal genre, of action, of hot guys: Embrace is definitely a must-read!
I am ashamed to say that Embrace was my first 'angel' book. However, I really enjoyed it; Embrace is probably the first paranormal YA title that I REALLY enjoyed, and one that I am definitely going to pursue on to the next titles in the series. That is not to say, that there aren't other paranormals that I've read in the past that I wouldn't have wanted to read the next titles; it's more like, with this one, I'm dying to read more.
In Embrace, we are introduced to a location, somewhere on Earth. It is never actually specified, nor is there ever much scenery or ambiance described from scene to scene. However, many paranormal titles seem to skimp the details, and just get to the dialogue and action, which Jessica Shirvington executed with finesse in Embrace.
They exchanged blow after blow, all at lightning speed. If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed it. The blond was so fast, sending his fist into Phoenix's face with punishing force, throwing him across the width of the alley and into the brick wall. Amazingly, it barely slowed Phoenix, who was back up faster than I could track with my human sight. Phoenix didn't hesitate in his retaliation. He was a beautiful, lethal machine - lithe and fluid as he weaved and dodged the exile's blows. (p. 132)
In this world, we have Violet, the main character--who has worked hard at maintaining a normal life, after what her teacher did to her at her old school years ago. She has the best friend in the world, Steph--who we are introduced to in the first page--who loves to shop and talk about boys. And then there's Lincoln, the boy that 'Vi' has been crushing on for way too long, the boy who is 'just friends'. Her world is spun upside down when she discovers she's not as normal as everyone else at school; she's special, and it all started when her mother died with her birth...
First, the 'features' of the actual book. The quality of the paperback is superb; the pages are white as though they've been bleached, not to mention VERY flickable and smooth. You may find it strange that I have to mention these things. Well, I absolutely love it when a book has been made so well, and it compels me to pick it up even more. Of course, the cover is the first aspect.
The model used for the book cover is gorgeous, and really suits it once you've read it. The pose is so very Violet, and the colours used--purple, violet? The cover designer (Xou Creative) did a fantastic job, despite the fact that there wasn't enough of a paranormal element in it. I think it's strikingly beautiful in all its simplicity. The purple wings are simply divine...
Every chapter is marked with a quote, sometimes biblical ('There are things even angels desire to look to.' Peter 1:12), others from philosophers ('Our duty is to be useful, not according to our desires but according to our powers.' Henri Frederic Amiel). These reflected on the kind of thing that was going to be addressed in that given chapter, and gave it a little bit more colour, more sacrilegious.
The writing is brilliant; Shirvington let the words flow, which made it that much easier to read through. Embrace is written in first person, past, in Violet's perspective. As with most other paranormal titles, her voice is, for the most part, sarcastic and unwilling to succumb to others' desires, and in that, she is established as a strong-willed and very capable female protagonist. I actually quite liked Violet, despite her almost-nonsensical switching between the two angels who vie for her attention: love triangle. (Twilight, anyone?) Her barely-there father is about all the family we ever see in Embrace, and while there is some interaction between the two, I hope for more; I really like it when authors write familial interactions, because it's not as common as I believe it should be.
Finally, she spun to glare at me accusingly.
"'This is all your fault! He's been so worried about you he hasn't been able to function. He doesn't eat.' She wrinkled her nose at the dirty plates. 'Well . . . not to his normal standard. He hasn't slept in days. He blames himself for everything. That's why it was so easy for Onyx to overpower him. Even now . . .' She pushed aside a plate in the sink so she could fit a glass under the tap and it set off a domino effect - the whole pile of plates shifting and clunking. I heard a crack. She persisted anyway, blasting water into the glass and slamming it on the counter after barely a sip. 'He's asking for his rainbow,' she scoffed.
'What is it with all this rainbow crap?' I asked, turning to Griffin and blanking Magda. It was either that or giving her a one-fingered salute. (p. 234)(less)
+ Fresh unique concept, a new twist to the paranormal genre. A new dimension is unlocked when 17 year old Alex finds a mysterious bracelet from t...more3.5/5
+ Fresh unique concept, a new twist to the paranormal genre. A new dimension is unlocked when 17 year old Alex finds a mysterious bracelet from the Thames river. + Extending on that first point, I liked the exploration of this 'new dimension'. + Very tame romance so far, in terms of physical interactions go. Though, given the circumstances ... + NO LOVE TRIANGLE! And, for that matter, the protagonist isn't TOO much of a wimp. She shows some inner strength, though most of it is fuelled by her extremely strange new relationship. + The book ended at a pretty good place, with just the right amount of tension to lead onto the next instalment of the series. + I like that there's a glimpse of the older teen experience going on her: driving lessons, end of year exams, partying but still being underage for drinking. ~ Fans in the UK will love its relevance to their world. Ransom herself commented that she wrote this so that her daughter, who loves books such as, eh, Twilight, could read something that was set in places that she would be familiar with. - I actually had trouble believing the relationship. The emotions that were involved between the two of them, Callum and Alex, seemed almost laughable. A week in and they're both saying their "I Love You"s? Yes, there was that whole love at first sight thing. Call me a cynic, but I just can't call that love. At one point, Alex does toss around the insanity of her lust for a whatever Callum is (which is explored in the book, so read to find out). - Going with the above point, most of the characters felt juvenile. Alex comes off quite mature at the beginning, but then she just kept on making these unforgivable mistakes, and her lines of thought all just seemed too naive for someone who should've had SOME experience. Such as with guys. And don't even get me started with Rob. - The writing. About 3/5 of the way through I felt that a lot of the passages were just empty words, repeating itself over and over. To the point that I started skimming. Especially when Alex kept saying that she loved Callum, and I felt like going on a slapspree (Like for the How I Met Your Mother reference :P). The dialogue got cheesy after a while (just emphasising what I said). Descriptions, as well, didn't seem as polished as they could have.
I'm still interested in continuing this series, really. It's just that a lot of the book seemed unpolished. I wish I could've connected with at least one of the characters, but I don't feel like I know any of them that well, as Ransom seemed to skimp on those details, and instead focused on setting descriptions and 'roundabout', nauseating conversations between Alex and Callum.
I feel mean. I'll come back and nicefy this review a bit. And now I feel like a Taylor Swift or something. And now I feel offensive. Okay. :| Please don't unfriend me!!!(less)
EDIT: If any Aussie resident wants to read this book I'm more than willing to get rid of this book. PM!
I'm giving up on posting a review on my blog. I...moreEDIT: If any Aussie resident wants to read this book I'm more than willing to get rid of this book. PM!
I'm giving up on posting a review on my blog. It's been months (actually like 14/15) and I just don't know how I could go about it. I'm also giving up on this series. It's just not for me and I can't bring myself to continue...
3/5 Recc. Ages: 15+ [moderate-severe swearing, violence and sexual scenes/references]
Michelle Hodkin manages to work a beautifully crafted writing style into the capturing of a blood-curdling, spine-tingling mystery in her sexy and delectable YA debut novel. THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER hits the ground running for the planned mystery-supernatural series; this book presents enough questions to keep you guessing, several "WHAT?!" moments to get you screaming in befuddlement, and many many high school moments that gets to the heart of teen drama.
To be honest, I'm still sketchy with some of the things that happened in this book (like the ending, and Joseph & the swamp). It's not by any means an easy book to read, but it is one that really captivated me. Another of those "Just one more chapter . . ." books. The ending does have a cliffhanger-type thing, that strongly suggests that there will be a second book (that and the fact it's written "end of volume one").
I'm not even going to attempt writing a synopsis for this book--the official one is pretty good.
BLEHEHEHEHEHHHH it's Christmas-time, I'm not in a very writing-y mood at the moment. I'll continue this one later. I've got heaps of time--I'm planning to post this on the blog in January, and it'll be with an Aussie-only giveaway.
ARGH!!!!!! This is so frustrating! I'm changing my mind about ANOTHER book. I just don't know...
Edit: CRAP. I'm slipping... because I DIDN'T like the romance. I hated the guy. He's kind of a creep. And the thing of it is I can't remember much more than the romance aspect of it! That is NOT GOOD! *sigh* So I don't know what I should do. I want to try a reread of this, but I'm not sure if I'd have the time. It's really nagging at me that I can't remember anything about this book other than the romance.(less)
Got past the first few chapters, but lost interest and haven't been bothered to get back to it. I'm not interested enough to get back to it, and so I'...moreGot past the first few chapters, but lost interest and haven't been bothered to get back to it. I'm not interested enough to get back to it, and so I'm probably going to sell it. I'm so saddened that I had to pay $30 for such a dull book, and this was my first Cathy Kelly book. I'm disheartened from picking up another of her books. I couldn't connect with anyone in the novel up to when I put it down, and there were no redeeming qualities that made me want to keep reading.
It was just flat. :\ Maybe if I were in a similar situation, I may be able to relate more to it and be more emotionally involved with the novel.
This is the only book I have not been able to finish so far, ever.(less)
Won this as part of GR's First Reads feature. Sounds pretty interesting. Hope I enjoy it! I seem to win a lot of books from SCRIBE, not that I'm compl...moreWon this as part of GR's First Reads feature. Sounds pretty interesting. Hope I enjoy it! I seem to win a lot of books from SCRIBE, not that I'm complaining. Lots of fun!(less)