**spoiler alert** (Side note - My first official review on Goodreads!)
I picked this up at a used bookstore, not thinking it would be any good, but it...more**spoiler alert** (Side note - My first official review on Goodreads!)
I picked this up at a used bookstore, not thinking it would be any good, but it was cheap and I needed something quick and easy to read.
Well, I was right on two out of three. It was definitely a quick read - if I had the time, I could have read the whole thing in one sitting. It was easy. It was also very good.
The book is told from the Semirah's point of view. She, as well as 49 others, win a contest to be part of the British Young Conservationists who are working in Ecuador. On the way there, their plane crashes, and Semirah, Miranda, and Arnie are the only three survivors on a deserted island. After some time though, they find out they're not as alone as they thought.
Dr. Franklin is a scientist involved in the works of transgenics. He's coming up with a way to create animals mixed with humans. Think about it - a human, who can change into a bird. He kidnaps Semi and Miranda and makes them his first human guinea pigs, turning Miranda into the previously mentioned bird, and Semi into a manta ray.
This book was surprisingly well-written and interesting. I honestly read until late at night, fell asleep reading it, and then continued it the next morning once I woke up. I'd highly recommend it. (less)
I’m always a bit hesitant when a former classmate posts on Facebook (or Twitter, or Instagram, or any other social media) about this AMAZING THING the...moreI’m always a bit hesitant when a former classmate posts on Facebook (or Twitter, or Instagram, or any other social media) about this AMAZING THING they’ve done and how it’s the GREATEST THING EVER, how EVERYONE should check it out. We have quite a few wannabe rappers in my graduating class. But I was actually pretty stoked when I saw that someone I went to school with, Kelsey Garmendia, had self-pubbed a novel. She’s one of the few people coming from my high school that, in my opinion, have actual talent. So I jumped on that shit.
I went into Burn Our Houses Down with a completely blank slate. I had read the synopsis of course, but had no idea what the “big bad” was. So naturally, since I have a problem with needing to know spoilers, I IMed Kelsey on Facebook and asked. I asked about vampires, all the while secretly hoping that it wasn’t, because I’m so done with vampires, and didn't want to have to put the book down already. I asked about aliens, all the while secretly hoping it was, because it takes place in our small town, which was known for alien sightings (DON’T LAUGH, I’M BEING SERIOUS. GOOGLE IT). She wouldn’t tell me, and I’m so glad she didn’t, because….
WHAT THE SHIT! WENDIGOS!? Yes! I’m all about old legends, especially ones coming from Native American tales. So, if you don’t know what a wendigo is, it’s basically a demon-creature that possesses humans and eats human flesh. Similar to a zombie (which I also asked Kelsey about), but the difference being zombies eat brains and are the undead. Windigos are typically humans that occasionally eat people. You know, no big deal. My only, ONLY comment on this book is that I wanted more of the mythology and lore about wendigos. But that’s just because I’m a junkie for that stuff.
Burn Our Houses Down was very fast-paced. In most novels out now, there’s usually a moment of relief, where the characters are able to breathe and reassess. Not this one! And I actually loved that about it. I was never bored. I sat on the edge of my couch, flipping pages on my screen as fast as I could go. And then when it was over, I needed more.
Garmendia’s writing is amazeballs (and I think I’ve only ever used that word once or twice here on BB, so that should tell you something). Not too flowerly and full of purple prose. Not too info-dump-y. Her characters are sarcastic, flawed, and three-dimensional. Her dual POVs from both of the main characters, Hayley and Xavier, worked. It’s rare that I think a woman writing from an early-20 year old’s man’s voice works, but she did it expertly. I l really liked Hayley and her snarky comments. And let me just take a minute to acknowledge how much I enjoyed 9 year old Aisley.
I’ll be giving this one 4.5 stars (what’s up with me and the half stars lately). More of the legend of wendigos, and this would be a 5 for me.
Charlie Blake is a 14-year old orphan who, after four years of hoping for a family to take him in, goes to live with a man named Jacob. Jacob is nice,...moreCharlie Blake is a 14-year old orphan who, after four years of hoping for a family to take him in, goes to live with a man named Jacob. Jacob is nice, caring, and opens up his home to Charlie. Charlie goes to school, and while he is bullied, he befriends a girl named Alex, and his life starts to take a turn for the better. Charlie soon realizes, after being forced by Jacob to participate in a robbery, that his new life may not be as great as it seems. During this robbery, Charlie meets a homeless boy named Richmond, and becomes friends with him.
Charlie, Alex, and Richmond accidentally stumble across a man that Charlie has dreamed about, Derkein Odessa. But this Derkein is a little different - he's a 27 year old man trapped in the body of a 60 year old, and he keeps aging.
The foursome enter Arcadia, a world in the core of the earth, filled with angels, demons, gods, and magic, to try and stop Derkein's aging before he dies, and to find Derkein's father. While there, Charlie finds out that everything he has thought about himself and his deceased parents might not be the truth.
I loved this book. The world building of Arcadia was phenomenal. All the descriptions were so vivid, and I almost wanted to draw everything, because I felt like I was seeing it all play out right in front of me. The names were inventive (I might name my first child Derkein. If Mike will agree...) but at the same time not too unique where I stumbled over pronouncing them. The characters were all lovable and had me wishing I knew them all personally. If I had to choose a favorite, I don't think I could decide between Ash, Derkein, or Richmond. I loved that Alex wasn't a cookie cutter girl, like in so many fantasy novels. She wasn't a damsel in distress, wasn't too "princess-y", but wasn't tough to the point where she was a stone wall.
I also loved that the angels, demons, and gods weren't too biblical, and kept more along the lines of mythology. I've always loved reading about Greek and Roman mythology, so I was extremely happy to see it in the world of Arcadia.
My only complaint was the hierarchy of Arcadia had me a bit confused at times. I couldn't keep straight which level had which abilities. I had to write it down and refer back to it quite a bit. But that was so minor, it didn't detract from the plot itself.
Mike, my boyfriend, literally had to force me to put the book down at night because he wanted to sleep and I wanted to keep reading. As soon as I finished, I told him he had to read it, despite the fact that he doesn't read much. I can't wait until he does, so he can be a new fan of this trilogy like I am.
Ellen Hopkins hosted a contest a while back for photos of military families. I sent one in of Mike and I, just for the heck of it. I didn't think I'd...moreEllen Hopkins hosted a contest a while back for photos of military families. I sent one in of Mike and I, just for the heck of it. I didn't think I'd be one of the winners, but when she contacted me via email, I was so excited. I love Ellen Hopkins. I've read every one of her books, with the exception of Triangles. I'm a huge fan of her writing style.
Collateral is the story of Ashley, a 20-something year old woman who meets a Marine named Cole and falls in love with him. She is a bit apprehensive at first, but eventually falls head over heels in love with him. She sticks by his side through everything, including multiple deployments. Eventually though, she starts to re-evaluate her relationship with Cole when she realizes just how hard being a military wife/girlfriend can be.
Have you seen those memes that say "NAILED IT!" on them? There needs to be one of those for Collateral. It was so bizarre reading the words that I've been saying since Mike joined the military. I remember when he first left, and not hearing from him for weeks at a time. It was scary, it was upsetting, and it was so hard to explain the rollercoaster of emotions to people who hadn't personally dealt with it. I always said that unless you've lived the military lifestyle, you can't even begin to understand how hard it is. Ellen Hopkins proved me wrong with Collateral.
Ashley and Cole's story is filled with ups and downs, just like any real relationship. On top of the normal struggles of being young and in love, they're dealing with long-distance. On top of that, they're dealing with the military.
The characters in Collateral were all supremely realistic. I know women like Ashley's friends, who assume that because they're husband/boyfriend is gone, they can flirt with other men. I was furious at the way Derian treated Spencer, but I know it happens.
And Cole. Cole, Cole, Cole. My heart broke along with Ashley's by the end of the book. What an ass.
It was so great to read a book that recognized the struggle that those left behind by military members face. I can't compare what I've gone through to those overseas, and I'm not going to try. But I loved that for once there was a character in Ashley that I could identify with. Someone who I could say "YES! I know exactly how that feels!"
Ellen Hopkins created an amazing novel with Collateral. I think this has been one of my favorite books written by her to date.
I had never read Hourglass until I saw Timepiece on Netgalley. It was on my mountainous TBR, but I had just never remembered to get a copy. Once I got...moreI had never read Hourglass until I saw Timepiece on Netgalley. It was on my mountainous TBR, but I had just never remembered to get a copy. Once I got auto-approved for this, I requested it from my library, waited (im)patiently, and read it within a day. Then read Timepiece the very next day.
I don't want to do a synopsis because I feel like anything I write will be very spoiler-y. So I'm going to skip that part and just write my opinions on the book, hopefully without telling anything about what's going on.
Hourglass, the first in the series, was written totally in Emerson's point of view. With Timepiece, the point of view switched to Kaleb. I had mixed emotions on this. On one hand, I was super excited, because I fell in love with Kaleb in Hourglass, but on the other hand, it left me a bit disconnected. I felt emotionally pulled in with Emerson, and opened Timepiece expecting to continue reading from Emerson right where we left off at the end of the first. I got confused for a bit until it finally connected with me that it wasn't Emerson talking. Once I understood that, it made things a bit easier. From that point on, I liked Timepiece a lot more.
In Timepiece, Kaleb really grew as a character. He went from a womanizing guy to a man who fell in love with Lily, Emerson's best friend. In such a short amount of time, he became someone that made me love him even more. I really loved his relationship with Lily and how he didn't get her easily. She actually made him work for it, which he had never had in the past.
The time travel in this series is still my favorite by far. There's a ton of rules to it, which is hard to keep track of, but the intricacies and twists and turns make it so much more fun. It continuously grows and morphs into something new, so it makes each page have an unexpected twist.
Timepiece was a great book, and I loved everything about it. It's going to be a book I buy an actual physical copy of once it comes out.
I was on the fence about reading this, to tell the truth. I am kind of "over" the whole vampire thing, because once Twilight came out, vampires were e...more I was on the fence about reading this, to tell the truth. I am kind of "over" the whole vampire thing, because once Twilight came out, vampires were everywhere. There were tons of vampire books, TV shows, movies, etc. It just got to a point where whenever another vampire book came out, I'd automatically pass by it in a bookstore. But I kept seeing reviews from bloggers that were all saying how fantastic this was, so I decided to check it out. It did not disappoint.
Allison Sekemoto lives in a world very different from our own. Vampires do not hide from humans. On the contrary, they keep humans as "pets." Sort of like their own personal blood banks. Every human is required to register with the vampires, and they "donate" blood. For humans who choose to hide out and not register, life is hard. They have to search for food and go beyond the city to find it. This wouldn't be a problem normally, but all is not normal in Allison's world, and rabids prowl the land beyond the walls of the city.
A rabid is exactly what causes Allison to become one of the creatures she hates the most. When she and her friends are attacked, she is rescued by a vampire, Kanin. He gives her the choice - let him turn her into a vampire, or die as a result of the rabid attack. Allison realizes she would rather become a vampire than die, so Kanin turns her.
Kanin starts to train Allison to help her learn how to be a successful vampire. He teaches her how to fight, how to burrow into the ground to sleep, and most importantly, how to feed. He encourages her to leave her old life behind, forget her friends back home, but she can't do that. She decides to go back and see her friend, Stick, thinking that everything will be okay.
Stick is not the person Allison thinks he is, however, and he tells the vampires who run the city where Allison and Kanin are hiding out. This leads to the vampires coming to the old hospital where Allison and Kanin are staying, and causes Allison to go off on her own.
The Immortal Rules was the first book I've ever read of Julie Kagawa's. I've had the Iron Fey series on my to-read-list for what seems like forever, but for one reason or another, have never read them. I think it's because I normally don't read fairy/faery/faerie books. I'm a definite fan of her writing after reading this book. It took me a little while to get into the story, but once I did, I had to be dragged away from my Nook to do things like eat dinner, go to sleep, go to work. You know, the not-so-important stuff, when you're reading a novel like this.
Probably my favorite part of this book, as crazy as it sounds, was the parts with the rabids in it. I mean, come on! They were like...part zombie, part vampire monsters! I can't remember ever reading a book with anything like the rabids. Whenever they came near Allison, my heart was pounding and I was rooting for her and her traveling companions to escape. Especially towards the end, in the last 50 pages or so, I was biting my nails, sitting up in bed, keeping my fingers crossed for them to make it to Eden.
I also loved that The Immortal Rules had a dystopian feel to it as well. It's no secret that my favorite genre is dystopian, but to be completely honest, I have been getting kind of bored with all the dystopians coming out lately. The Immortal Rules put a completely new spin on it.
I especially enjoyed that the book was split into the four parts. It really helped with connecting to what Allison was feeling at each particular point in the story. I actually could feel that she was a monster during that part, and same with each of the other divisions. I'm hoping that Julie Kagawa will continue those splits into the rest of the series.
All in all, The Immortal Rules was a fantastic vampire story. Everything about it was just perfect. Perfect characters, perfect writing, perfect story. This will be a book that I need to buy an actual copy of, not just an e-book, to put up on my shelf of favorites with Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and the Gone series. Thank you, Julie Kagawa, for making me a fan of vampires again.(less)
Yes. That's really all I can say. Just, yes. This book was everything I was hoping it would be and more. I can't even remember the last time I had suc...moreYes. That's really all I can say. Just, yes. This book was everything I was hoping it would be and more. I can't even remember the last time I had such high hopes for a book and it didn't let me down. Something Like Normal is probably the best contemporary novel I've read in quite a long time.
Travis, a member of the United States Marine Corps, comes home from a deployment in Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder after the death of his best friend. He quickly realizes that everything has changed. He doesn't want to be around his group of friends from high-school, the girlfriend that he left behind has dumped him for his younger brother, and his parents don't have the marriage they had before he left. Most importantly, he's grown up, and can't wait to get back to the Marine life he has.
While at a bar one night, he bumps into Harper, a girl he spread rumors about in middle-school. From that point on, his life changes even more, as he slowly falls in love with her.
I don't even know how to begin a review like this. So rarely has a book had this sort of effect on me. My husband was watching one of the Resident Evil movies, and normally, my response would be "yay, zombies!" when he asked me to watch it, but I just shook my head and kept reading. I started and finished in less time than it took him to get to the end of the movie. When I had finally flipped the last page, he turned to me and said "are you really crying???" I was, so hard.
The characters in this book were exactly what every contemporary character should be. They had strengths and weaknesses, could be serious and humourous, and were just all-around realistic. Despite the fact that Travis was the main character in the book, he was probably one of the biggest jerks with the way he treated his brother. I was so happy that he made mistakes, and the whole novel didn't consist of him being the perfect person.
The supporting characters were well-fleshed out as well. Moss and Kevlar were two of the best backround characters I've read about since...I couldn't even tell you when. Even Paige, with her amazingly unlikeable personality, was believable.
And then, of course, Charlie. As someone who's lost a best friend (though, admittedly, not in the same fashion as Travis did), Trish Doller NAILED the emotions. The letter that Travis wrote on the last few pages is where I completely lost it and started bawling. I could practically feel the heartbreak Travis was going through.
I feel like if I continue this review, it will turn into a whole separate novel, so I'm going to end this here, although there are so many more aspects I can rave for hours about.
I'm not into werewolves. I picked this up for the cover and the cover alone. Something about it just called to me. "Danie, check me out of the library...moreI'm not into werewolves. I picked this up for the cover and the cover alone. Something about it just called to me. "Danie, check me out of the library. Do it. Now."
So I did, because when a book talks to you, you listen.
Lupine Syndrome is spreading throughout the country. Those who fall victim turn into werewolves. Mac's best friend Amy was found torn apart in an alley, presumably by the white wolf that has been terrorizing the small town of Hemlock. Because of this, the Trackers come to help enforce their own brand of punishment on all werewolves by rounding them all up and putting them in "rehabilitation camps," which is more along the lines of torture camps. Along with her two friends Kyle and Jason (who was Amy's boyfriend), Mac decides to try and figure out who the white wolf is on her own.
This book never slowed down for me. It kept me hooked from the prologue until the very last word. The werewolves weren't the "nice" kind (I'm looking at you Jacob Black). Even the people that Mac knew that she found out along the way were werewolves, they were bloodthirsty as well.
I was a big fan of the whole murder-mystery thing as well. Some of you might know that if I'm not reading YA, I'm reading mysteries, so I think that made me like this book even more. And as far as who the white wolf was, I would have never, ever seen that coming.
Since it's YA, there was of course a love triangle, it seems like that's everywhere nowadays. BUT the love triangle wasn't a typical one. It wasn't really Mac having feelings towards two guys. It was more one guy liking Mac, and Mac being in a relationship with someone else. And it didn't overpower the actual story.
I can't wait to read the sequel, Thornhill. Definitely going to go check it out from the library. I need to know what happens next.(less)