The Chelseas and the Wynters are the last line of defense between humans and the paranormal creatures that roam the world seeking to overrun it. From...moreThe Chelseas and the Wynters are the last line of defense between humans and the paranormal creatures that roam the world seeking to overrun it. From the beginning of time, there have always been Wynters and Chelseas fighting against the evil forces in the world. But something is different in this generation. For the first time, a girl has been born to the Chelsea family. Amanda Chelsea. And this changes the game for everyone.
Amanda may be a Chelsea, but she's not allowed to be part of the legacy, the one that says the Wynters and the Chelseas fight against demons and half demons and rid the world of their presence. Jack, Amanda's brother, and the oldest of all of them, and Dustin and Trevor Wynter all are sworn to protect Amanda and keep her from fighting. So as the boys grow up learning about the different types of demons and how to kill them, Amanda is made to stay away from all of it.
Then to compound things, this generation of Wynters and Chelseas are given "gifts". Jack Chelsea can conjure anything from a gun to money. Amanda is an empath and with the volatile emotions of her brother, is left in pain more than protected by him. Dustin is telepathic and it's almost as hard on him as being an empath is to Amanda. For this reason, the two of them grow close. And Trevor, the youngest is precognitive and a bit of comic relief.
One night, Amanda breaks the rules and goes into the woods after the guys and ends up having to defend herself against a demon. She is forced to fight. When the guys catch up with her and find out, the tension and anger is palpable. The next day, their parents disappear.
The rest of the novel is in pursuit of finding their parents. It seems directly linked to that night. The guys still won't let Amanda hunt, yet she is right there beside them fighting, saving their butts one time but they never come right out and admit that she's fighting. So many secrets are kept.
Dustin and Amanda obviously have feelings for each other and it was a little tedious reading the back and forth. Amanda seemed to be a bit oblivious even to her own feelings to Dustin. Her brother wasn't happy about it as if it was any of his business. But they all make Amanda's personal life their business, whether it's appropriate or not.
Amanda for her part whines a bit about not being part of the legacy and how that's all she wants. But what she really wants is her parents' approval and love. Apparently they aren't real forthcoming with their feelings, but as an empath, she should have been able to feel what they felt about her.
The story line was incredible. Totally unsuspecting, it snuck up on me at the end and everything made sense. The last part of the novel was just numbing to read and realize what happened.
I truly enjoyed this novel. The writing was interesting and the characters were believable. I felt Dustin and Amanda were the most developed of the characters. Jack was always angry and Trevor was always wisecracking. Other than that, we didn't get to see into their minds very much. But I enjoyed getting to know Amanda and Dustin so well and I hope in the next book that their relationship actually develops. I'm definitely looking forward to reading The Sublimity.
This is a great book for anyone that loves YA paranormal. Heather (less)
This has been in the TBR for just a little while. But it's been on my wish list for a long time. I've read countless good reviews about it, but I was...moreThis has been in the TBR for just a little while. But it's been on my wish list for a long time. I've read countless good reviews about it, but I was a little afraid to read it. I'm not a Stephen King fan. Nothing personal Mr. King, but if your books give you nightmares, well, imagine what they do to me. But this wasn't that type of psychological thriller. Definitely a thriller and psychological, but there was more to it. Violet has this strange ability to hear, see, feel the echoes of the dead, that is the dead that were murdered be they animals or humans. She avoids cemeteries, hospitals and any one that carries a gun. Which makes having her uncle as Sherriff a little difficult. But she handles it. Her ability is kept secret, only her parents, her aunt and uncle and her best friend, Jay know about it. But it's kind of like the elephant in the room. It's there, but it isn't talked about. But Violet can also feel the echoes of the people that kill, whether they are murderers or soldiers or like her uncle, the Sheriff. She would also be able to identify the killer of the girls by his echoes or imprint from the girls.
And there is Jay. Jay and Violet have been best friends forever. But sometime over the summer, Jay stopped being a gawky teenage boy and got muscles and turned really cute. Or maybe Violet just noticed that he was. No, because all the girls at school are falling all over themselves to be with him. It isn't just Violet and she doesn't know what to do about it. She's in love with her best friend and she thinks he doesn't like her. He is very protective of her and despite his hints, Violet is a little dense about whether he likes her or not. That gets cleared up pretty easily at a party one night.
The story is told in third person POV but we are aware of Violet's thoughts and feelings. She sometimes answers people in her head and the quotes are italicized. I felt like I really knew Violet but I didn't understand why she was so insecure. She had this unique ability, did that make her feel worthless? I just didn't understand why it took so long for her to find certain things out. Now, being left alone, that was pure stupid. It was like watching the movies and saying, "Don't go in the basement." I think everyone that's read the book saw that one coming, but not everything after that.
Her parents definitely cared about her and her safety. They also worried about how using her ability would affect her emotionally. They were protective of her, something not often seen in YA novels. And Jay, we should all have a Jay when we are in high school. There would be a lot less therapists in the world with more Jays in the world. Talk about protective. He was a life saver.
Violet's friends stay true to their descriptions and lend great supporting roles. Violet's friend Chelsea is quick with the comebacks and snarky while their friend Claire reminds me of a wide eyed doe. Jules rounds out the crew, the female athlete. They are loyal to her assuring her about Jay when he chooses Lissie, the it girl, over Violet. Taking her shopping for Homecoming. Taking her to a party to get her mind off Jay. And for witty banter at the lunch table, daily. They're good for Violet, but none of their friendships can come close to what she and Jay have.
I couldn't find one thing wrong with this book except that the sequel isn't sitting in my hands right now. I liked the way the chapters started not right after the last one ended, but a little later in time or it was the serial killer's chapter. And I'm really glad the kidnapped girls didn't have chapters. The writing was simple and believable. I imagine a serial killer thinking the way the author wrote his mind working. And of course, having been a teenager, I totally found them believable. I was even able to resist skipping ahead to make sure my favorite characters survived because you really don't know. I'll leave it there. It's a great novel. It has suspense, romance, more psychological tension in it than any other novel I've read recently that I can think of for YA, but because of the content and the sexual tension it would be for at least the fourteen and up age group. Maybe even fifteen. There is a party with excessive drinking, violence, drugs and a guy forces his attentions on a character, but it's stopped before anything bad happens.
None of this is probably new to anyone as this has been on the market for a while and the sequel is coming out soon. But if you need a refresher on it, here it is. I loved it and I bet you did, too! (less)
I received this novel from Earthshaker books to review. I am not being paid to review it and my review is an honest review of the book. That being sai...moreI received this novel from Earthshaker books to review. I am not being paid to review it and my review is an honest review of the book. That being said, I thought this was a great story! I don't know how realistic it was but it was easy to read broken down into small chapters and the story really was captivating. I'm a lover of history, prehistoric history included and though I'd never really heard of anything in this story except the Mastodon, who's bones Zan-Gah found, it was a very primitive world.
The story begins with Zan's brother having been missing for a year already and Zan feels guilty because he wandered off when the two had a fight. Before that they had been inseparable. But Zan can't worry about that at this point because the next day, for the first time, the five clans are getting together to hunt down a lioness who killed a child. She has to be taken down before more children are killed. It is an uneasy alliance between the clans who fight usually, but they've called a truce. Out of sheer luck, Zan kills the lioness when she looks for a weak spot in the circle that is closing in around her and sees him, a young boy. She heads for him and he holds his spear steady. She dives right into it and kills herself. He is named Zan-Gah, Gah being the rock where he killed her. This is not a big part of the story.
The majority of the story is his search for his missing brother. They are twins and he has dreams every night that his missing brother, Dael is still alive. He fights with his parents over it but in the end, he goes after him. He discovers many things about the world her lives in and his enemies. He creates a new weapon purely by accident. He is captured by the same people that captured his brother for a time. But his brother isn't with them any longer. He suffers in the desert and almost dies. But he continues his search for his brother because he loves him and believes he is not dead even when he believes he, himself is dying.
The landscape is harsh, the people are harsh. Food is scarce, water is scarcer and you can feel the dryness of the desert, the heat on your back, the ache on your sore bare feet as you walk with Zan-Gah in search of his twin. You can feel the joy when he finds water and food and feel his desolation when he is so thirsty that his mouth is like chalk. You can also see the mind of a great leader forming, planning, and beginning to take over what one day will be his nation.
I totally recommend Zan-Gah to anyone, especially teachers, teaching about the hardships faced in prehistoric times. There is violence in the book, as there would be during that time period. I'd say fourth grade and up. It's definitely an easy read at 148 pages so maybe some reluctant readers would enjoy it. I hesitate to allow my ten year old to read it because it's a signed copy, but if he keeps it at home, maybe. For all you librarians out there, I'd keep this one in mind. Elementary school teachers should also keep this one in mind as well.
There is a follow up novel that I'm reading next call Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country. I'll be reading it next. (less)
At the beginning of this novel, I felt like I'd missed the first chapter or so. It took me awhile to catch up with things and figure out what was goin...moreAt the beginning of this novel, I felt like I'd missed the first chapter or so. It took me awhile to catch up with things and figure out what was going on. Even so, I was about halfway into the novel before I felt like I was really into the novel and knew what was going on, who the characters were and where things were headed. But, once I got there, it was fun. There was Gina, obsessed with her looks who had no reflection. Then she's separated from her boyfriend who has some kind of superpowers for vampires. She's held prisoner and her best friend treats her like she's got a disease, no one is talking to her. But, Gina isn't going to take it lying down. She's the kind who takes charge now and falls apart later. So, she does makeovers. When Marcy goes missing, she gets out to rescue her. And she wants to find out why the evil vamp holding them captive is building an army of high school vampires. Does she even care about them?
When Gina hides out in the head vamps office and hears a conversation she shouldn't, she finds out more of what's going on. She hopes she can round up the troops to help save Bobby and take their own fates into their hands, but mayhem ensues and retreat is required. When they are attacked the next night, more mayhem ensues and Gina and Bobby are made an offer they can't refuse!
It's not a hardcore vampire book. Other than the confusion in the beginning, it was a fun book. I'm looking forward to reading Revamped. I like the snarky way Gina talks and thinks and her comebacks. She isn't at all upset about being a vampire other than the fact that she can't see her reflection. She's a take charge kind of girl and even though she's not sure if she's making the right decision, she stands behind it so that everyone else believes in her. And she's got a boyfriend that has her back. And really knows how to talk to win a girl's heart.
I can't remember any bad language. Only one scene where Gina and Bobby are in their underwear. But that's all it says. I think this would be fine for thirteen and up. (less)
WOW! This was such a great book! I haven't read any of Holly Black's other books. They are waiting patiently in my TBR stack. They'll be moving to the...moreWOW! This was such a great book! I haven't read any of Holly Black's other books. They are waiting patiently in my TBR stack. They'll be moving to the top. But the ideas in this book are totally original and mind blowing.
The first page of the book, first paragraph hooks you. "I wake up barefoot, standing on cold slate tiles. Looking dizzily down. I suck in a breath of icy air. Above me are stars. Below me, the bronze statue of Colonel Wallingford makes me realize I'm seeing the quad from the peak of Smythe Hall, my dorm." Now, if a boy sleep walking climbing to the peak of a roof in the cold, obviously barefoot doesn't get your attention, I don't know what will. It sure gets the school's attention and he's suspended. They don't want the liability. They think he was trying to kill himself, though he is the one that called for help.
That's how we meet Cassel Sharpe on the roof of his dorm trying to figure out how to get down without calling for help. He comes from a family of workers, though he himself is not a worker. Workers are people with talents that vary from being able to give people luck to killing them with a simple touch of their fingers. That's why everyone wears gloves. Cassel is trying to fit in, yet he doesn't know how to be normal, so he does what he sees other people do. Except he had to run the con. He's a bookie. But that seems to make him more popular than not.
Cassel's family is and odd assortment of characters. His oldest brother Phillip is married and has a son. He thinks Phillip is a body worker, a touch of a bare finger can break something and knows he works for one of the biggest crime families on the East coast. Eventually most of the workers do end up working for the crime families because no one else wants them. Cassel's father is dead. If it was mentioned how, I don't remember. His mother is in jail for working a millionaire, making him believe he loved her and giving her thousands of dollars. She got caught but her case is up for appeal. His middle brother Barron is a memory worker and is going to Law school at Princeton. And his Granddad lives in Carney. He was a deathworker. One touch from him and you're dead. But, there are repercussions from curse work. Something called blowback, sort of like instant karma, and Granddad's fingers are almost all dead, blackened and rotted. But his gloves hide it.
Cassel and his Granddad , after Cassel is suspended, go to his family home and clean it out. It sounds like the worst case of Hoarders from t.v. Apparently nothing has ever been thrown away. It takes days to clean everything out. In the meantime, Cassel is still sleep walking and seeing a white cat in all his dreams. The same one that is living in the barn behind his house. Cassel starts to mistrust his brothers but doesn't know which one is using him and begins to doubt himself and his memories. He still dreams and thinks the white cat has something to do with his sleep walking. He is haunted by the grin he had on his face when he killed Lila. Then he visits Barron's apartment and sees all the reminders of his memories, the blowback from memory work is losing your own memories. Cassel gets charms against losing his memory, just in case and puts them someplace they aren't easily discovered. When he begins to unravel the truth he finds out the horror of what's been really going on. He also finds he actually has friends he can count on when he needs them. He has to work with them to pull the biggest con yet. But the final pages tell the real truth about the con.
The story is told in first person from Cassel's point of view. He's so likable and tragic. I just wanted to hold him, as a mom, and tell him everything would be okay, that all was forgiven. His mom, though she really seems to love him, doesn't seem to be that type. She gives him a gift he'd rather not have. It's heartbreaking when he finds out. She belongs in jail in my opinion.
Phillip and Barron are thoroughly unlikable. They are detestable. You don't know much about them, except Phillip is working his own wife. Enough said. I don't know how or why, but Cassel overhears his Granddad and Phillip talking about it. Granddad is the only one that seems to have Cassel's best interest at heart, but he's only partly in on things so he can only help so far. And Cassel is so confused, he doesn't know who to trust.
It is a great read, maybe a little slow in the beginning, but once it speeds up, you won't be able to put it down. The world Holly Black created of Curse Workers is so creative, the idea that everyone has to wear gloves and there's legislation being put to vote that everyone has to be tested to see if they are a worker, but the government won't use the information. Even we know that isn't true. I can't wait for the next book in the series.
I listened to the audio book of this novel narrated by Daniel Sharman. I am not sure why each book was narrated by different people but I though each...moreI listened to the audio book of this novel narrated by Daniel Sharman. I am not sure why each book was narrated by different people but I though each book was fascinating on audio. This one though, it was utterly soul crushing. Yes, there were some uplifting parts, but this narrator new just the right inflection, his accent for Will's voice was spine tingling and God did he make me cry. I had to cover my face with the sheet so my family wouldn't see me. I didn't want to have to stop and explain. I live with a bunch of guys. (Husband and sons). I'm not sure I've cried so much through a book and had I been reading it, I don't think I'd have been able to see through my tears. And it just kept going. Crush me, bring me back up, then crush me again. I mean I thought I was happy and then, dear God, here came the waterworks again. This was an excellent novel despite the ups and downs emotional. There was a good bit of humor, inevitable loss, political machinations, a showdown once and for all with Mortmain and ...other stuff.
As a rating on this series I have to say this far surpasses at least the first two books I've read in The Mortal Instruments. I'm going to read the next one and stop there. Again I'll say this is one of the most romantic series of books I've read. And I love romance, but wow. The characters are so well developed, you just fall in love with them. And when one of them dies, you feel the loss. And those boys, Jem and Will, their love for each other, THAT, you don't see in YA ever. That was beautiful. True, deep friendship. I have to buy the books, now. So when the apocalypse comes, I can at least read these novels! Needless to say, I could not clean anything with all the crying going on. I just laid in bed and sniveled. (less)
First note that this was an audio book that I checked out from my library using their Overdrive Media. I actually used it on my computer instead of do...moreFirst note that this was an audio book that I checked out from my library using their Overdrive Media. I actually used it on my computer instead of downloading it to my iPod because I took a little spill on the ice yesterday and am resting today. The narrator of this novel was Joshua Swanson and I'd say he was perfect for the role. He didn't change his voice too much for the female characters but there was no confusion as to who was speaking. He was supposed to sound like a young teenage boy and that's exactly what he sounded like. His feelings came through at the right time and even though the subject matter was uncomfortable to me, he was believable as he retold the story of what happened.
The subject matter. I didn't know what Split was about, didn't even read the information, just decided I needed another book to listen to and checked it out. It was about spousal and child abuse. And I mean really bad abuse. The story starts with Jace at an apartment building looking for his last name on one of the buzzers. His brother is supposed to live there. He's got a letter from his mother that his brother sent to her with that address less than a month ago. But the name on the apartment says Marshall. That isn't their last name. He buzzes it anyway, says FedEx and is let in. The woman that answers the door slams the door in his face. Why wouldn't she. His lip is split. His face is swollen from the last beating he took from his dad. But he got a few punches in this last time. That's why he had to leave. His dad kicked him out because he finally hit back.
His brother had escaped many years ago. He'd taken the abuse for his mother. The one time they'd tried to leave had been horrible. What their father had done had been horrific and you don't find out until almost the end of the story how horrific it was. My jaw hung open listening. I take back all the things I said about not being able to become emotionally involved in an audio book. I was riveted. Glued. Appalled. And terrified. I knew what was coming and just kept shaking my head saying no, not possible. A man could not do that to his wife. But I was there could see it happen. It just took the right book to open me up emotionally. Or maybe I just had to have the right subject matter. But this one, you have to read or listen to. I will want to own a copy of the novel.
Abuse is hard to listen to or read about. Hearing Jace talk about it and he and his brother don't really discuss it much, is hard. Jace narrates the story and befriends his brother's girlfriend, Miriam. She is a teacher at the school he attends and also lives in the apartment next door. Christian is only grudgingly letting Jace stay with him, despite the fact that Jace is paying rent and helps clean and follows his rules. Jace has not learned how to control his anger and he's a hothead, though he let's it bubble on the inside. But like a teakettle it has to boil over and it does eventually and it has before. And he's lied to his brother. He's done what Christian considers unforgivable, but then Jace feels that Christian has done some unforgivable things, too. As brothers, they are as dysfunctional as they were as a family. Christian is closed off to us as much as he is to Jace. Jace lets us in and we think we know him until he makes the big reveal. Then we feel a little betrayed. But the most enigmatic person is the girlfriend, Miriam. She goes from resenting Jace, considering him an "at risk" teen to allowing him to live with her even after Christian kicks him out. She's part mother, psychologist, rescuer, listener, friend and refuge.
Jace's one goal, throughout the story, is to get his mom to leave his dad, a prominent judge in Chicago. She promises as he's pulling away that she will. They email secretly and she says she'll come by Thanksgiving. Christian reveals he's been sending her money every month, but Jace never knew. Never had any idea they were in contact until she handed him the envelope of money with Christian's address on it. Jace practices for weeks making a turkey and all the fixings in preparation for her coming. But Christian doesn't get his hopes up. When they get an email two days before Thanksgiving saying she's fine, they know she's not coming. Because to make it to Albuquerque by Thanksgiving she would have had to already left. This sets off a chain of events that ends with Christian and Jace not speaking to each other and Jace living with Miriam. Of course it's a long way from two days before Thanksgiving to there, but I don't want to reveal anything.
This audio book was slow at times, but then the pace picked up and then it becomes so tension filled and as I said before horrific (it's the only word I can use to describe what happens) that I found myself sitting up cringing and holding my hands, wanting to talk to someone about what was going on. If this novel can help one teen escape an abusive home or relationship or show a mother what happens to her children if she stays in an abusive marriage or relationship, Swati Avasthi will have done the world a favor. But even if that doesn't happen, it will give those of us, not in that situation a little more compassion and empathy for someone stuck in that situation, to understand why it's so hard to leave. How the patterns are made and even though it isn't right, it becomes their version of normal. One great piece of advice I got from a therapist once was just because it's normal doesn't mean it's right. So true, but we have to learn what is wrong for ourselves, no one can teach us. The characters in this book, all in their own way, learn that.
I recommend this book for any age YA reader 12 and up. The abuse scenes are graphic but there are only a few and their is dating abuse as well as child abuse and spousal abuse. (All the abuse is physical) It's probably something all teens should be aware of. No, not probably. Every teen should know about dating abuse. And anyone stuck in an abusive relationship might gain some hope from this novel. It isn't HEA, but there is hope.