I wasn't going to read this book. The blurb didn't leap out to me. But then I saw that Katie Sise was coming to Atlanta to sign with Sara Shepard and...moreI wasn't going to read this book. The blurb didn't leap out to me. But then I saw that Katie Sise was coming to Atlanta to sign with Sara Shepard and Sarah Strohmeyer, and I thought I'd maybe pick up a copy. But it wasn't until Harper Collins sent me a finished copy of the book that I finally decided to read it, and I've got to say I'm just thankful they sent it to me because this book is ADORABLE!
This is one of the most high concept contemporaries I've read, and I've got to say that I was totally intrigued by the idea. My favorite part of the story was definitely all the details about apps and how to build them. Katie Sise does a great job describing how Audrey, our MC, creates her app and all the computer programming bits without being overwhelming. It could have easily turned into a big explanation of how programming and hacking works - or seeming totally unrealistic without any details - but there's a great balance.
I also really liked Audrey. She's a fun MC, and I loved how smart she is. I'm always in favor of more smart girls in YA, kicking butt with their brains, and she definitely falls into that category. I also loved her group of friends and how quirky and nerdy they were. Their group sort of reminded me of the guys on The Big Bang Theory - there's even an Indian guy that sorta reminded me of Raj.
And while there's definitely the popular mean girls, I liked that one of Audrey's best friends is a popular girl, her cousin Lindsay. I found this more realistic, since not EVERY popular girl in high school is mean.
The writing itself is snappy and fun. There are a lot of what could be ridiculous situations, but I thought they were really funny and well-written, so I liked them.
And just like when I read How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True, I loved that this book focuses less on the romance and more on the MC's own conflict and story arc. In that way, it reads more like a traditional chicklit book rather than a contemporary romance.
All in all, this is the perfect summer contemporary. It has humor and a great concept and just the right amount of romance. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys cute contemps.(less)
Just about everything. Honestly, this book is insanely cute and funny and basically the perfect summer read. Everything was spot-on, from...moreWhat I Liked
Just about everything. Honestly, this book is insanely cute and funny and basically the perfect summer read. Everything was spot-on, from the quirky humor to the sweet romance.
My favorite part of the book was definitely "The Queen," Zoe's high-maintenance boss. She cracked me up, with her drama and claiming that she hasn't eaten sugar in 20 years (when she has it in her tea every morning). She has so many hilarious lines! She's kind of like Meryl Streep's character in The Devil Wears Prada, but a lot less ruthless and way more ridiculous.
I also liked our love interest, Ian. He was sassy and fun, the perfect match for this type of story. I loved how he teased Zoe for being a vegan and ignoring the "cannibal chickens" that he claims exist, and how he misquotes "Don't Mess with Texas" bumperstickers as "Don't Mess with Texans." After the Queen, he was my favorite character for sure.
After characters, I thought the next best part was the setting.
I mean, this is Disney World...but with a different name. Why has this not been done before?! It's so freaking cute! I just loved this premise - how much makeup everyone has to wear, the dances that the princes and princesses have to learn, the cutthroat competition for the best roles.
I had a friend in college who worked for Disney; she was one of the Princess Jasmines, and she went on and on and on about how much she loved working there. She also dated one of the Prince Charmings at one point, but said he was a jerk. So I couldn't help laughing a little when Zoe would describe the primadonna princes and princesses at Fairyland Kingdom.
And on a side note: the bits about "the Mouse" were SO funny! I'm assuming that Sarah Strohmeyer couldn't say "Disney World" because the name is copyrighted, so she just had to imply it. (And really, who doesn't know who "the Mouse" refers to, when speaking of theme parks?) I thought this little inclusion was really amusing.
What I Didn't Like
Not much to say here. I think the pacing was really fast at the beginning - Strohmeyer flew through a lot of the set-up. I didn't really have a problem with that; it just FELT fast, and I wasn't sure if it should have.
Also, it took me a little time to get used to all the fairytale language that she used when describing normal things. For example, the Queen is always called "the Queen" - not her name. Security guards are called "trolls." Etc. etc. This really helps immerse you into her worldbuilding, but there was a little bit of a learning curve I thought.
But really, not many cons to speak of.
Overall, this book is really cute, and I highly recommend it! I read it in one night, if that tells you anything. It was just what I was looking for - something fun, light, and hilarious. This is perfect for people looking for the perfect summer read!(less)
Continuing with my post-apocalyptic mood, I finally picked up the sequel to Veronica Rossi's Under the Never Sky! I was sent an ARC of this one back i...moreContinuing with my post-apocalyptic mood, I finally picked up the sequel to Veronica Rossi's Under the Never Sky! I was sent an ARC of this one back in December or January, but I just never got to it. I'm happy to say that I enjoyed this one much more than the first, and I'm definitely looking forward to the last book!
I think the characters have really improved in this sequel. Aria was a hard character to read in the first book, mostly because she was undergoing so many changes and had a serious attitude problem for the first half of the book. But now that she's found a home outside the Pods, I liked her character much better. Also, Perry's great. He's one of my favorite boy MC's in YA; I think Veronica Rossi does a great job with male POV. But really, Roar's my favorite character. There's just something amazing about him.
Okay, confession: I know that Aria and Perry are like the together-for-ever kind, but I'd love to see Aria and Roar together. I know, I know, it'll never happen. But I think it would be great. They have a great connection too, and I think there are actually more pages in this book where Aria is with Roar than she's with Perry. Anyway, I know nobody agrees with me, so I'll just sit over here and be a Roaria shipper...
In terms of plot, this story is fast-paced and always moving. I liked meeting Sable and Liv, and I feel like I really breezed through these pages. It's an easy book to read, with a great flow.
Also, there weren't any awkward scenes in this one...like random treehouse sex or smelling anyone's period...which really weirded me on in the first book. So that was greatly appreciated.
I still have a hard time classifying this book in a category. I thought the first one was dystopian, but this one reads more like post-apocalyptic. Who knows?! Let's just call it science fiction and be done with it.
I think fans of Under the Never Sky will definitely enjoy this sequel. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it more than the first book, and I'm still just as impressed as I was with the male relationships in Under the Never Sky. I feel like Rossi really excels at writing great relationships between boys or platonic relationships between a girl and a guy. And while I liked Aria better in this installment, I still liked Perry more, and I found his chapters and his POV especially engaging.
If you've been with me on Goodreads for a while, you may know that this book and I have had a rough time together.
I originally got a copy back in 2011...moreIf you've been with me on Goodreads for a while, you may know that this book and I have had a rough time together.
I originally got a copy back in 2011, when they were still selling the hardcover. I'd heard great things about it and it sounded great - a Southern gothic! But I let the book sit on my TBR shelf for quite some time and didn't actually pick it up until the beginning of 2012, when I soon realized that this book was going to be an investment in time. It clocks in at almost 600 pages, and I'm not known for liking long books.
I've put this book down and picked it back up countless times. It's not bad, it was just never the *right* time for me to read it. I was tempted away by the latest steampunk release or a fun contemporary. I had the first three books, all in hardcover, that I actually got rid of in a giveaway last year because I thought I'd never read them. But when I met Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl at the Decatur Book Festival last August, I was really impressed with them and thought they were just so nice that I HAD to buy new copies of the books to get signed.
So in September, I tried again.
Now, almost five months later, I've finally finished Beautiful Creatures. And as I was reading the last 150 pages, I couldn't figure out why it took me so long to read it. Yeah, it's long; yeah, it's really detailed. But it's good, y'all! And it's unlike just about any other YA I've read.
First, I'd like to say that I really loved Ethan. He's a great MC! It can be really hard for females to write a first person boy narrative. It often comes off as too girly OR like the author is trying too hard, throwing cuss words and sexual innuendos at us constantly. But I thought Kami and Margi did a great job with him; he reads not like a teenage boy but just as a person, and I think he's one of the most well-developed boy MCs in YA.
I also liked the setting. It's in the South, which is pretty unusual for YA. And while it flirts with being cliche (I've lived in the South my entire life and never once have I attended a Civil War reenactment or known anyone who takes part in them), I really felt like it was a huge, well-developed part of the story. Gatlin is a character in and of itself, and as a big fan of intricate settings, I really appreciated this.
The characters are also really explored, and not just the MCs. Beautiful Creatures is full of great minor characters like Ridley, Link, and Macon Ravenwood. But I think my favorite character was Amma, Ethan's live-in housemaid who basically acted as his surrogate mother the entire book. She was sassy and fun, and I loved the intricacies of her character. (I also can't wait to see her portrayed on the big screen by Viola Davis!)
I also really loved the literature references. I loved that Macon's dog is named Boo, after Boo Radley. I love all the quotes from classic authors like Shakespeare and T.S. Eliot, and I loved how the entire plot revolves around books and their power.
I also loved all the FOOD! This book is full of passages that will make your stomach growl. It gave me some serious cravings for good 'ole Southern food, I can assure you!
Yet while I really enjoyed a lot of this book, the pacing was still slow for me and I thought it was too long. I had a hard time getting into it at the beginning, and it'll be hard for me to motivate myself to read the second one, as it's just as long as the first.
I think this is less a criticism of the book and more of a taste issue - I just don't do well with long books anymore. I spent too many years reading Victorian novels and mythology textbooks, and I'm ready for the short stuff! :)(less)
*I apologize in advance for this review, as there is very little of me actually speaking intelligently. But Tahereh Mafi stole all of my articulation...more*I apologize in advance for this review, as there is very little of me actually speaking intelligently. But Tahereh Mafi stole all of my articulation skills. This book turned me into a babbling fangirl who lost her ability to "can."
I had mixed feelings about Shatter Me when I read it last year - I thought Tahereh Mafi's writing style was both interesting and sort of annoying. I liked Juliette and Adam okay, but I thought Warner was fascinating. Then I read the "Destroy Me" novella and totally fell in love with Warner's character - he's just so complicated and tortured and amazing. So I was really looking forward to Unravel Me, probably more than any other dystopian series I've read.
And I've got to say: I was absolutely, totally, 100% enamored with this book from the first chapter.
As I've said before, I tend to have a hard time describing my feelings for a book I loved, so I'm afraid I'm going to have to resort to "Sherlock" GIFs to help me along here...
When I started the book
When the tension keeps building and BUILDING
When WARNER COMES BACK
OMG CHAPTER SIXTY-TWO
Sometimes, sequels just sort of dive over a cliff, and you wonder how it's the same author, how the story could have possibly tanked that badly. What happened to the plot, the characters you loved? What is this absurd sophomore slump your favorite author has fallen into?
Then, on rare occasions, a sequel goes above and beyond anything you might have expected. It takes the worldbuilding and the characters and the plot that was introduced in book one, throws them all on a spaceship, rockets through the atmosphere, and sends them to the moon. It's just that good.
Unravel Me was the latter.
Where the style was sometimes awkward in Shatter Me, it's matured and developed to a great literary sort of voice. Where the characters had too much angst, now they react with such intensity, you can practically feel their emotions. And where Juliette and Adam's romance fell kind of flat, you have Warner stepping in and becoming ZOMG THE BEST CHARACTER IN THE ENTIRE SERIES.
There are a few book boys in YA that hit my best-ever list. Some of these include Will Herondale from Cassie Clare's The Infernal Devices, Cassel Sharpe from Holly Black's Curse Workers series, and Luca from Lisa T. Bergren's River of Time series. But there is a chance that Warner could surpass them all. Why? Because Tahereh Mafi did what I have been WAITING for an author to do for like, ever.
Which is make our heroine fall in love with the villain.
And yet, Warner really isn't a villain. I love that his character is so ambiguous. I love that he's seriously messed up. And I love that Juliette can't hate him. Honestly, I could go on and on and ON about how much I love him, but really, all you need to know is
I've decided that the last book should be titled Ruin Me because that's what this one did. Seriously. This book goes down with Days of Blood & Starlight as the most intense YA books I've ever read, with some of the most heartbreaking scenes, with some of the best, most well-developed characters that I WANT TO HUG SO BAD I COULD DIE!
Also, did I mention Chapter Sixty-two? I did? Because it's the bestttttttt.
Bottom line: this book is SO good! I think everyone who read Shatter Me and didn't like all the strikethroughs and purple prose will like this one better - a lot of that's been cut out. Also, yes, there's a love triangle. But lawd, it's good. This book basically rips your heart out and throws it onto the ground, then stomps on it really hard.
This was a book that I originally wasn't that excited...moreSimilar Books: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris, Altered by Jennifer Rush, Stung by Bethany Wiggins
This was a book that I originally wasn't that excited to read - I'm not usually into soft sci-fi (where there's no space or aliens, just something techy happening on Earth), but then I saw that this author lived in Georgia and was going to be at Decatur Book Festival. Plus, she's a 2012 debut and will be featured on Penguin's Breathless Reads Tour. And while this wasn't my favorite read, I thought it was still interesting.
What I liked most about the book was how different it was than other YA. Sure, the issue of immortality isn't something new, but the way that Khoury explores it is. I really liked the issues raised in this book - creating life, morality in science, playing God, etc. In that way, it reminded me of the TV show "Fringe" in that the scientists have to decide what they're willing to sacrifice for their craft and how far is too far.
I also really liked the setting. I don't think I've ever read another YA book set in the Amazon before. So cool! And Khoury does a great job of grounding us in that setting, with all of her vivid descriptions. I don't know if she's ever been there or not, but if she hasn't, she did a crazy amount of research, and it shows.
As for the characters, I never felt truly connected with them. The supporting characters are fairly one-dimensional, besides maybe Aunt Harriet (who was probably my favorite character overall). Pia was annoying at the beginning, but she has a good character arc. You've just got to push through the first half, where she constantly refers to herself as "perfect." (But hey, at least we don't have another YA MC who doesn't see herself as beautiful or talented. lol)
I've read some negative comments about the love interest Eio, based on one comment that he makes at the beginning of book about how Pia needs a man to show her through the jungle. Honestly, I wasn't offended at all. I thought it fit with his character; he's grown up in a culture which has kept its ancient practices and mindsets - he's going to have some ancient ideas, including ones on gender roles. If he had been this super progressive thinker, I wouldn't have believed him as a character. Besides, he goes through development, as well, so it's not like he's this chauvinist the whole book or something.
Also, I've read some criticism about the animal cruelty in the book. I guess I'm not sure why Khoury is being criticized for it when she's obviously showing it in a NEGATIVE manner. She's not telling people to go kill kittens; she uses the death animals as a representation of Pia's desensitization to the scientific world she grows up in. And I thought this was well done. But I guess if you get really offended by the portrayal of mistreatment of animals in general, then this book isn't for you - even if you agree with the message.
Really, I think I didn't enjoy this book more because I just wasn't into the premise. And I didn't find it like "Lost" at all, which is one of my all-time favorite shows. I wasn't engaged in the story, but I think that had more to do with the fact that I didn't connect with the plot or characters. Khoury's writing is solid, and I really did love her setting.
I also appreciated that this is a clean read, aside from a few minor curse words. (view spoiler)[ And there is NO kissing. Like, literally. None. I was sort of shocked. But I didn't feel cheated - I liked it. I found it sort of refreshing that she pulled off a romance that includes no kissing. (hide spoiler)] And I think it had a positive message overall, so I'm definitely an advocate for this book, even if it wasn't my thing.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Although Balthazar is a companion novel that comes after the Evernight series, this was my first Claudia Gray book. And even though I wish I'd read Evernight first since I now know some plot spoilers, I still really enjoyed it!
In all honesty, Balthazar is like a retelling of Twilight, squished into one book, but with a different ending. Let's whip out a comparison list of what both books share...
1. Vampire boy in love with human girl 2. Human girl has vampires chasing after her 3. Vampire boy is brooding and gorgeous 4. Vampire boy also has a hero complex 5. Human girl doesn't seem to care that falling for said vampire boy is a bad idea 6. Human girl is faced with the decision to become a vampire or not 7. Vampire boy "watches over" human girl at her house
Really, it also has a Twilight feel to it, even though the characters are a lot different. I was actually sort of surprised that Claudia Gray could get away with a plot that was so similar. But I think what makes Balthazar different was the way Gray handled the same subject matter and how our heroine, Skye responds to the conflict.
Skye is a strong female character with a good head on her shoulders. Although she's completely smitten with Balthazar, she never goes crazy or veers into Bella Swan Syndrome, which was much appreciated by this reader.
I also really liked Balthazar, even if he was brooding. He wasn't as much of a stalker as Edward Cullen (notice I say "as much," because he does sorta follow Skye around, though she's aware of it). But I liked that the book was actually more about him than Skye. We get to see a lot of scenes from his past that were interesting, and his Puritan heritage was unique. And it was sort of precious that he was a bit of prude at heart because of how he was raised.
Claudia Gray's writing really sucked me in, and I think that's what sold me on the book as a whole. The story was good and the characters were all right, but there was just something real and appealing about Gray's writing that pretty much has me going to read anything she writes (which is good, since I have 3 more sitting on my shelf to be read!).
I'll definitely be reading the Evernight series after finishing this one! Also, I'd like to thank Claudia Gray for pulling me out of my reading slump. Hats off to you, ma'am! :)(less)
I'm going through a rather odd time in my reading life right now, in which I've decided that I basically refuse to read any books I don't know I'll enjoy. I mean, sure, I'll take a chance sometimes; but that blurb is going to have to totally rock my world for me to pick up a book by an author I don't know.
Because of this, I've recently been drawn to a lot of books by authors I know I like or books published by my favorite imprints (hello, anything published by Harper Collins!) or, in the case of Evernight, both.
I got to meet Claudia Gray in the winter of this year, and she was basically made of awesome. In preparation for the signing, I read an ARC of Balthazar which I really enjoyed (my review which can be read here), so I was really excited to read the finished copy of Evernight that Harper sent me.
First, let me say one thing: I'm not a huge vampire fan. They're just sort of meh for me. Yeah, I enjoyed Twilight (that book is like crack!), and I'm dying to read Vampire Academy (because of all the hype), so basically vampires don't float my boat. But Claudia Gray somehow manages to make them compelling when she's writing in a genre and in a way that is so full of tropes and cliches at this point that I can't believe I can get past page 50.
There are a LOT of things about this book that have become cliche in YA since Evernight's publication:
1. Vampires 2. Insta-love 3. Vampire insta-love 4. Forbidden vampire insta-love 5. Forbidden vampire insta-love in which only one of the characters is super special
And yet, there's something really fresh about Evernight that stands out among the others, I think. I can't really put my finger on it; maybe it's just that I enjoy Claudia Gray's writing style.
I also loved, loved, LOVED that Bianca is an unreliable narrator. I don't want to spoil anything, but the turning point in which she's finally honest to the reader - umm...wow! That's something really difficult to find in YA, and I can honestly only think of a few: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin, Liar by Justine Larbalestier, and this one. This was very cool!
I'm also 100% in love with Balthazar. No, seriously. Every time I saw his name on the page, I would get all giggly and be like...
And I'm not sure if it's a good thing or not that I read his book first so I know what happens to him.
At the signing, Claudia Gray said that Lucas was Bianca's man, but Balthazar was hers (as in Claudia's). I think I might have to fight her for him, but we'll see. :)
All in all, this is an enjoyable book. Not earth-shattering or groundbreaking, but it's definitely worth a read, especially if you're into vampires, unreliable narrators, or a sexy secondary character who will steal your heart.(less)
For this review, I will be utilizing the gloriously expressive face of Tom Hiddleston.
To Splintered, I would basically just like to say one thing:
When...moreFor this review, I will be utilizing the gloriously expressive face of Tom Hiddleston.
To Splintered, I would basically just like to say one thing:
When I saw the blurb for this book, I was a little unsure. I love Alice in Wonderland (both the book and the Disney movie...along with like, every adaptation there's ever been). But the bit about Alyssa maybe being crazy sounded weird, and I'd also heard some negative things about Alice in Zombieland, so I was sort of wary of any YA take on this classic.
Y'all, I'm here to tell you: don't be afraid to read this book! It is wonderful in every way.
Basically, this book made me feel lots of feels. The good kind.
This is one of those times where I can't find anything to criticize. I liked the heroine, I liked the love interests (yes, TWO!), I liked the pacing and the plot, and I liked the writing style.
But probably my favorite part of the book was the worldbuilding. Howard takes the original Alice mythology and not only expands on it but also changes it in a lot of ways. This is NOT the Wonderland from Lewis Carroll's children's book; it's darker, more terrifying. But it's still magical and gorgeous, and I kind of wanted to live there despite the scary bits.
Howard's writing is very visual, conjuring up these great images that really help you share her vision for Wonderland. Everything is described beautifully, and I can't help wishing this could be a movie or TV show or something. I feel like it would be gorgeous.
Also, this is sort of a small thing, but I loved that the clothes are described so thoroughly. Personally, I'm into fashion. And I love it when our heroine is too. And there are LOTS of cool clothes in this book. Everybody dresses sort of punk/alternative, so that was really fun.
Now, I MUST gush about the romance.
Hats off to you, Ms. Howard, for writing not one but two very hot boys. One of which is super creepy but so totally awesome in a scare-the-pants-off-you sort of way. Why is he so awesome? Because he's FREAKING MORPHEUS!
Now, most of you probably think this when you see the name "Morpheus":
The cool people, however, think of this:
But in A.G. Howard's book, Morpheus is one very delicious netherling with black wings, a Cockney accent, and a fetish for well-made hats. I loved him. He's the sort of bad boy you love to read about (but totally never want to meet in real life).
Then there's Jeb, the best-friend-turned-lover type but who's not really the boy next door. He's got lots of issues, but he's not brooding or mean. It was nice reading about a guy who has angst but isn't a douche. Yeah, he was protective, but I didn't think in the cliche, annoying sort of way you find a lot in YA. He was adorable, and while I sometimes wished he could have taken a more active role in the plot (he often plays sidekick to Alyssa - but, hey, this is HER story, not his), I really enjoyed reading the scenes he was in.
Splintered is probably one of the coolest, most imaginative YA books I've ever read. It's a mixture of a lot of my favorite things, and I found it a lot different than other fantasy titles out there. It side-stepped a lot of the cliches, I thought, and the premise is just so incredibly interesting that it was impossible for me to not fall head-over-heels for it.
This was my first 2013 debut I read, and it was awesome.
I will most CERTAINLY be reading future books by A.G. Howard!(less)
I've been confused about this book since I heard about it pre-publication. Is it fantasy? Is it dystopian? Is it plain 'ole science fiction? The cover...moreI've been confused about this book since I heard about it pre-publication. Is it fantasy? Is it dystopian? Is it plain 'ole science fiction? The cover makes you think epic fantasy, but the blurb made me think maybe steampunk. Come to find out, it's dystopian.
...at least I think it is.
Besides having a slightly misleading cover and blurb, I found the beginning of this book also really confusing. I didn't feel grounded in the world until maybe halfway through, mostly because I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be envisioning our world but post-apocalyptic or a completely different one. I mean, they fight with swords and wear cloaks, but they also have electricity and tracking devices. The MCs' names are Logan and Rachel. WHAT THE HECK IS THIS GENRE?! I'm saying it's dystopian because I can't really think of another way to describe it that fits.
The story itself was a lot different than what I was expecting. I was ready for high action and this epic quest to find Rachel's dad. But the first third of the book takes place inside Baalboden, where basically all that happens is character development - we get to see Rachel and Logan interact, and learn their history. I wasn't actively engaged in the story until Rachel watches someone (who I won't mention because of spoilers) die and then the Claiming ceremony.
One of the big parts of the story is gender roles, and some people might be pissed about me mentioning this, but it sorta reminded me of Islamic culture in places in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan - women aren't allowed to walk around by themselves, and they're supposed to dress modestly or else they're "asking for it." Women aren't respected and are used for basically just having kids. Add burqas and prayers six times a day, and this could be a society living under the Taliban. I'm just saying.
But in this society is Rachel, who has been taught how to take care of herself and be independent by her father Jared. Rachel was an okay character for me. She bordered on what I fondly classify some kickbutt characters as "I-kick-butt-so-I-don't-need-a-real-personality." And I say "bordered" because she had moments where I felt like she was more than just her survival skills, but most of the time, I thought her entire personality and character revolved around her being able to hunt and wield big weapons.
Logan, on the other hand, was more interesting. He has a tumultuous past, he likes to invent things, and he's really smart. I liked how he could assess a situation and come up with possible, and the most probable, scenarios.
I know a lot of people criticized him because of a few comments he makes (like when he tells Rachel that she's lucky he's not wringing her neck when they have an argument and then when he makes a comment that one of the guards would probably rape her if they saw her walking around in tight pants). But as for the latter, he says the guard won't hesitate "to take what he thinks she's freely offering" - Logan isn't saying that he thinks she's offering it, he's saying the guard will think she's offering it. That's really different! As for the former, I'm not gonna lie - I wanted to wring her neck after what she pulled. He's speaking in hyperbole, people. You've done it. I've done it. It's how we talk. Give the kid a break, it wasn't a real threat.
Anyway, I liked Logan a lot and I felt like he had much more personality than Rachel. And while she had a clear motivation, he was more complicated and interesting, and I would have preferred reading the entire book from his POV.
With less action than I thought there would be, I thought Redwine did a good job with the romance. There are a lot of sweet moments between Rachel and Logan, and I think my favorite scene was post-Rachel-freaking-out-over-someone's-death and the Claiming ceremony. Both revolved around how these two interacted, and I enjoyed watching them together.
I was a little torn on my feelings for this book, but I think I liked it enough to read the second one. This isn't my favorite genre and I was frustrated by Rachel a lot of the time for acting so childish, but I have the hope there's potential for book 2, Deception. (Also, these covers are GORGEOUS and deserve to be on my shelf.)
I think people who enjoy dystopians and can forgive a character for having less personality if she can kick someone's butt will like this book more than I did. Still, the writing is solid, and C.J. seems like a really cool person, so I'm saying it's a good debut.(less)
I put off reading this book for quite a while because (1) I thought I was over contemps and (2) I had high expectations for this book's greatness and was afraid I'd be disappointed. I now have no idea why I was so worried - this book was everything I was hoping it'd be and SO. MUCH. MORE.
If I had to sum up my feelings for this book, I'd say I'm like...
There are basically 3 elements that will make me go crazy and fangirl over a book. I like to call them the "3 F's," and this book has them all. It's funny, fluffy, and foreign.
First and foremost, this book is hilarious. I loved Julia as a narrator. People go around talking about this nebulous concept of "voice" and how it's so important for an author to have. Sometimes, it's hard to tell if an author has a good one or not, whether it's distinctive. But I'm just gonna say this: Lauren Morrill has a great voice! And it's absolutely perfect for this genre.
Something that kept me from loving Anna & the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins was the fact that I didn't much care for Anna. I didn't connect with her or her voice. But there's just so much to love about Julia. She's quirky and nerdy and basically 100% adorable.
And can I just say that this book is FULL of awkward.
But in a totally wonderful way. Julia literally football tackles someone in the middle of the Tate Museum. I had to re-read that passage to double-check that I hadn't made that up. Julia just gets herself into so many incredibly awkward, hilarious circumstances that you can't help but root for her.
Now. Let's talk about one of the best parts of the book. Jason Erm...I mean, the romance.
The cuteness, it killed me. Julia and Jason are just SO FREAKIN' CUTE TOGETHER! I loved their banter and how perfectly imperfect Jason is. Also, he's a ginger, which was totally unexpected and basically made me love him. I mean, how many redhead heroes are there in YA? Not many. And the fact that he's SO immature could have been off-putting, but I couldn't stop laughing at his antics. He reminded me of the funny guys in high school that you always liked but never dated because you were too busy crushing on the football star or the one in a band.
Thank you, Lauren Morrill, for helping score a point for the funny guy!
I also really liked that the romance felt very real and honest. Jason doesn't always say the right thing, and Julia has to lose a lot of her naivety about relationships before she can be happy. And while I was afraid going into the book that the romance would feel rushed because the book takes place over only 1 week, it never did. There's no dropping of the l-word, which was great, and really, Julia and Jason were just great together.
2012 has really been a year of contemps for me, and this is definitely one of my favorites. It might very well be my favorite book of the year period, tied with Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard.
This is an adorable book about love, grief, and acceptance that's wrapped up in small, sweet package. Smith's story is both touching and entertaining, and I devoured it in one evening.
The magic of this book lies in the premise - that the entire story takes place within the span of 24 hours, starting at the JFK airport and ending in London after Hadley has flown across the Atlantic beside a cute English boy named Oliver. Interspersed throughout the narrative are Hadley's memories that give us more insight into her past and character motivation.
Hadley's headed to England because her father is getting remarried, and she's not too thrilled. We are shown the tense relationship they've had since he and Hadley's mother separated, and we watch Hadley grieve for her family and resent her father for leaving them. Enter Oliver and his charming way of making her forget about her problems and just have fun, even if she's terrified of flying.
Really, the best part of the novel for me were the scenes on the airplane of Hadley and Oliver's banter. It's snappy and cute. Oliver is really very charming, and it doesn't hurt that he's from the UK. I really liked the humor he brought to the story, which balanced out Hadley's angst very well.
The romance was also very sweet. It's not earth-shattering and epic, like so many YA books try to make it. It's simple, light, and fun, just like this book. It asks the question, "Is it possible to fall for someone after having known them for only 24 hours?" I really loved how Smith dealt with this, never dropping the l-word between them. The ending is also left pretty open. It all felt very real and honest, which I loved.
But beneath the humor and romance, there is a solidity that keeps the fluff afloat, and that's Hadley's relationship with her father. It's the main conflict of the story, and it keeps the plot moving forward. His wedding is something that looms over the first three-fourths of the book. What will happen when they see each other? I loved this more serious substance.
My only issue with the book was that I didn't like that her dad never really says he's sorry. I felt like the author made excuses for his behavior, that it wasn't really his fault because he fell in love with this new woman. I felt his character arc only propitiated the modern notion of trading in one family for a new one once you're bored - what leads to so many divorces. I understood that Hadley needed to forgive him, but I thought the dad shouldn't have been let off the hook so easily. He cheated on his wife and left his family for another woman - that's not okay, no matter how you spin it.
Other than that one issue, however, I really enjoyed the book! It's a fairly clean read, and it's really very cute - definitely a feel-good book to curl up with this winter. I look forward to reading more from this author!(less)
Honestly, I put off reading this book because I was afraid that I wouldn't enjoy it. I liked the first one quite a lot, but I worried that this one would fall into the sophomore slump. But I shouldn't have been concerned - this is Meg Cabot, people, and she always delivers!
I actually liked Underworld even more than Abandoned! There's a deepening of the story and the characters, the ideal of what should happen in every sequel. We get to know Pierce and John SO much more, and you're drawn deeper into the story. While the first book had a bit of superficiality in that I never felt all that connected to the characters, I now feel like I know them so much better.
We learn a lot more about John in particular. In the first book, he's more of a figurehead than an actual character, almost an archetype of the lord of the underworld. He's big and brooding, violent but sometimes sweet. We don't know anything about him really, but Underworld gives us a lot more info about him, including his backstory. I found myself really intrigued by his character and his umm..."friends" that we're introduced to in this book. I actually felt bad for him.
I still loved the setting in this book, as well. Isla Huesos is just so creepy and perfectly atmospheric for this story. You can practically feel the humidity dripping off the pages. But then you've got the added setting of the Underworld in this one, which was great, too! I loved the descriptions of John's castle and the shores of the Underworld, where the souls have to get on the boats.
Really, my only criticism was that I'd sorta forgotten what happened in the first book, and the second one doesn't really give us much summary of what happened in Abandoned. You know how most books will give you a little recap commentary? This one doesn't. And I was lost for a while before my memories kicked in. That was kind of annoying.
Also, the book takes place over like a 48-hour period, and books that have such a short time frame get on my nerves. I don't like it when I'm settled so deeply into the time so that it takes me the same amount of time to read it as the time the book covers. That's just not my style.
But overall, this is a really interesting book! The writing is still great, and the characters were interesting. I'm really looking forward to the final book now!(less)
I'm a huge fan of books (and movies/TV shows) that deal with people trying to "make it" in the entertainment industry. This interest has led to me watching movies like "Fame," eating up every last bit. I also really liked Elizabeth Eulberg's previous novel, Prom & Prejudice, so I was excited to see her writing about one of my favorite topics!
This is a short little book that I read in one sitting. It's told from four different perspectives, and it's super fast-paced. The four main characters couldn't be any more different. You've got Carter, the former child star who is now a regular on a daytime soap and trying to decide if he's actually still interested in acting. Then there's Sophie, who is determined to graduate high school with a recording contract, and she'll do whatever it takes to reach her dreams - including using her friends and boyfriend to get ahead. Emme is the soft-spoken songwriter that grows a lot during the book, and Ethan must deal with a lot of inner-demons before he can ever become successful.
Emme is really the main protagonist of the story, and she propels the plot. She was a good MC, though I thought maybe her character development was a little too extreme. She and Ethan are best friends, but it's clear at the beginning that Ethan is more talented. However, as the story progresses, Emme begins to overshadow him. I didn't like that her talent made him less talented, and she ended up becoming the better songwriter. Also, he was a little too dependent on her, like his world revolved around her - a little too much girl power for me.
But other than that, I really liked this book! Sophie is ruthless, and I loved to hate her. And her friendship with Emme was really interesting. I liked watching Emme make excuses for Sophie until she just couldn't take it anymore. I think this sort of frenemy relationship is one that a lot of girls deal with at some point in their lives (if not always), so I think that's a really relatable topic.
Then you've got the music aspect, which was wonderful. Honestly, that's what I loved the most. I liked when Emme and Ethan would talk about songwriting, when Sophie would dream about getting a Grammy. This book reminded me A LOT of the movie "Fame," with the overwhelming pressure these kids have to face. I kept wondering if it was all worth it for them, and the different characters come to different conclusions, which I loved.
This is my favorite Elizabeth Eulberg book so far, and I can't wait to read more by her!(less)
In a word, this book is brilly! I'm not sure why, but I was really hesitant to read this one, afraid it wouldn't be as good as Across the Universe. Oh...moreIn a word, this book is brilly! I'm not sure why, but I was really hesitant to read this one, afraid it wouldn't be as good as Across the Universe. Oh, how silly I was! This book was even better than the first - it exceeded my expectations tenfold.
We were left at the end of Across the Universe reeling after discovering the truth about Amy's unplugging. How would she respond? How would Elder now lead Godspeed? And will they ever make it to Centauri-Earth? A Million Suns picks up three months later, with everyone on the ship now off the Phydus drug but also a lot more disgruntled with the current leadership.
The politics of the Godspeed really come to the forefront in this book. And what I loved was that Beth Revis doesn't shy away from allowing her characters to make tough choices. There's a lot of discussion about what makes a good leader and what must be sacrificed for the greater good. Elder really comes into his own in this book, which I loved. He was a little wimpy in the first book (understandably), but we see him mature a lot in the sequel.
His romance with Amy also blossoms in A Million Suns. I've got to say that the romance between these two is one of my favorites in YA right now. Revis has really caught the truth in the less-is-more theory: Amy and Elder aren't all over each other all the time, thereby making their romantic moments that much sweeter because there are so few. Plus, I love how Amy really isn't sure about Elder. Does she love him? Does he even really love her? How can she love someone when he's the only option? It was great! And Elder is precious, as per usual. You can't help but love him and his puppy dog-ness.
I also loved Amy's uneasiness about the ship. I've got to say that there is something incredibly creepy about what Beth Revis has created in these books - being stuck on a ship for the rest of your life, confined within a county-sized area FOREVER. *shudder* I can't even begin to explain to you how terrifying that is to me. I've always had a bit of a restless spirit, and I can't imagine living my life that way. So I really can relate to Amy's feeling of being stifled. Forget the real sun and real rain - I wouldn't want to see the same exact people day after day, and walk the same streets day after day until I died. I would genuinely go crazy.
And the writing. *sigh* There is something so simplistic and beautiful about Beth Revis' writing style. I adore it. It's not frilly like Maggie Stiefvater's, but it's also not Spartan like Veronica Rossi's. It's very dramatic and reads like true thoughts. I love how she utilizes line breaks and run-on sentences and even words scrunched together into one word to reflect consciousness. It all makes the English nerd inside me do a little happy dance.
But what really made me love this book was the mystery and suspense. Although I enjoyed Across the Universe, I figured out who the murderer was like 50 pages into the book. So the mystery just wasn't there for me in that one, which was disappointing. Plus, I thought Amy and Elder were really stupid for not figuring it out. But in A Million Suns, I couldn't figure out who was causing all the trouble. And the trail that Orion leaves for Amy to follow, along with the huge surprise that's dropped about halfway through the book, seriously had me flipping through the pages rapid-fire.
Let's talk about that big surprise. And for those of you who don't like spoilers, know right now, major spoilers ahead. (view spoiler)[THEY'RE ALREADY AT CENTAURI-EARTH?! I flipped when I read this. I mean, really, WTF Beth Revis?! And how could you leave us that way at the end?! I'm dying here! I've got to say that once they introduced the new planet, though, I figured that there were probably some kind of dangerous inhabitants. I just hope that we'll have something Star Trek-esque, and there will be Vulcans or something. :) (hide spoiler)]
Honestly, this is one of the best sophomore books I've ever read. The action was nonstop, the suspense kept me glued to the pages, and the romance was sweet and slow-developing. But now I have to wait forever for the next one. I can't wait to find out what happens to Amy and Elder next!
But on a more negative note, the cover. Really? Elder is wearing jeans??? It just doesn't capture the same feeling as the first one, which is one of my all-time favorite covers EVER. I was really disappointed with this cover. But that's okay, because the contents make up for it. :)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)