Holy. Frickadoodles. (No, I don't say words like this regularly. They are reserved for speciaThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Holy. Frickadoodles. (No, I don't say words like this regularly. They are reserved for special situations such as these...) This was one of the creepiest books I've ever read. A worn out doll with bright green eyes, a seemingly innocent little girl, and an antisocial pink-haired teenager together weave an intricate story about a malicious ghost hungering for revenge.
The plot is fast-paced, with little details that ultimately help unravel the mystery scattered randomly throughout. As major revelations occurred, I would go back and try to find the clues that answer the questions. Sometimes this helped, but oftentimes, it appeared to complicate the plot further. The author also did a wonderful job with characterization. Pink-haired Alexis has just the right amount of sarcasm to seem like a strong girl without being overly annoying. Her younger sister Kasey was marvelous, too, as both her needy and resentful sides were portrayed realistically. It takes talent to craft a 12-year-old with the level of terrifying grace that Kasey possesses.
Bad Girls Don't Die is an addicting paranormal novel that will leave readers anxiously waiting for the sequel.
Tidbit of random: I swear, this song was running through my mind as I read the last few chapters...
Everything, everything is blurry to Alex. The events of the night before has become nothing bThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Everything, everything is blurry to Alex. The events of the night before has become nothing but a huge pounding headache and random flashes of disjointed memories. She remembers talking to Martin, then to Carter. Then there is Carter's room, and the entire scene blanks out...
As rumors of that night spreads thoughout the prestigious Themis Academy -- fueled and distorted by Carter himself -- Alex is determined to get her old life back as the quiet piano genius. She enlists the help of the Mockingbirds: a student-run organization that acts as the enforcer of unspoken rules in a school where the administrators turn a blind eye on student issues, afraid that publicity of the flaws in their system would damage the school's reputation. Remember, don't underestimate the Mockingbirds. They have their ways. So Carter dear, you'd better watch out.
Daisy Whitney's novel explores the consequences of date rape in a high school that appears pristine on the surface. I found the author's integration of concepts from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird to be fresh, new, and incredibly sneaky. Almost all of the Mockingbird's procedures and symbols are analogous to various elements of TKAM, like Boo's gifts to the Finch children or details of Tom Robinson's court trial.
Onto the musical aspect: mentions of Beethoven and Lizst and the like. These presented another facet of the novel that seemed to be irrelevant, but ultimately was not. Even Beethoven's famous Ninth Symphony can be symbolic to a story like this.
There was one part that made me laugh hysterically for a while. Then again, it might have just been due to the fact that I was reading at a time that should be reserved for sleep... Alex and Martin, an apparently cute science nerd (where can I find one of these, huh?), were discussing their ideas for the spring project. This assignment is similar to a senior paper, although these two aren't seniors, and it's not a paper. Anyways, Martin decides to do his project on barn owls, and when asked why, he replies: "I was driving this summer and I drove past this injured owl on the side of the road. I was about to call the Humane Society, but then he just died, so I took him home and I dissected him."
The Mockingbirds is a unique contemporary novel that turned out to be more than I expected. I did not realize there was going to be a sequel, which definitely piques my interest.
Tidbit of random: I wish my school was cool enough to have the Mockingbirds' system.
The creepy-looking cover of this novel proudly boasts the words: Romeo and Juliet meet the liThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
The creepy-looking cover of this novel proudly boasts the words: Romeo and Juliet meet the living dead in The Cellar.
Ughhh… (The above was an exclamation of annoyance, not an attempt to copy the moans of the undead.)
I shall preface this review by saying that yes, I am a huge zombie fan. Zombies are quite possibly the most genius fantastical creatures ever thought up by the human imagination. And despite my grumbling, I really did enjoy Romeo and Juliet. With this uncanny combination of interests, The Cellar must surely be the perfect book for me, right?
Imagine this. You have a dash of zombies are friends with hyenas and a pinch of oh look the lovey-dovey teenagers are off being idiotic again. Stir in the characters’ basically nonexistent personalities, and you’ve got an awkward mix of brown goo that looks and smells suspiciously like a paper copy of Twilight in liquefied form.
Is the plot at least slightly interesting? Well...
First, Boy meets Girl. Both fall in love. But wait, Boy is dangerous, and everyone tells Girl to be careful. Hey, Girl doesn’t care, because love overcomes all obstacles. Yay. And then tons of people die.
Hopefully further elaboration is not needed.
Although The Cellar does not suit my tastes, YA PNR lovers will adore the abundance of true love floating around in this novel. Those particular scenes actually succeeded in making me snort out loud. Twice. I sounded like an irritated bull, and I think I felt rather like one, too.
Book Source: ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley...more
Seventeen-year-old Lena lives in a world where love, or amor deliria nervosa, is nothing butThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Seventeen-year-old Lena lives in a world where love, or amor deliria nervosa, is nothing but a disease deemed to be fatal by the government. The only way for society to flourish as it should is through complete eradication of love, and that is where the cure comes in. All inhabitants of the United States of America living within the heavily militarized border are required to have the procedure on their 18th birthday. This cure takes away all the intense feelings of love won and love lost, of fixation and obsession, and of euphoria and despair. Lena, of course, simply cannot wait for her procedure. She has always been different, set apart by her infamous and long-deceased parents who just so happened to be branded with the most shameful labels society has to offer: one is a sympathizer; the other took her own life. Lena just wants all this pain and worry to disappear, but then Alex comes into her life -- Alex, who bears the scar of the procedure on his skin. This means he is completely safe to interact with, right? Right…?
In my opinion, Lauren Oliver’s second novel, Delirium, was not in the same caliber as her debut, Before I Fall. Although Oliver’s fluid writing style is still there, peppered with beautiful similes that make her books such a joy to read, the setting and plot of Delirium just doesn’t have the originality of her first book. Thirty pages in, my mind was flashing warning signals, and the existing similarities between Delirium and Scott Westerfield’s Uglies series began popping up. For some reason, I felt like Lena was, for a lack of a better word, somewhat of a bimbo. She is passive and hesitant, and her doubt about herself and the world around her can be quite annoying sometimes. I understand that most books are centered on characters that aren’t special in the conventional sense but end up maturing and discovering the rebel within themselves as the book progresses. It felt like Oliver was aiming for this growth, but Lena fell short. She does indeed become more confident by the end, but the transformation process was lacking.
The other thing about Delirium is the speed of its plot development. The first half of the book was a chore to get through -- almost nothing occurred. Total stasis, almost perpetual boredom. The addictive quality of a novel is a big factor for the reader’s enjoyment, and the crawling pace of this book was the biggest turn-off for me.
With all that being said, Delirium does have its lovely parts. Each chapter is preceded by a short passage taken from various pieces of literature that exists in the Delirium world. They give insight into the novel and are all gorgeously crafted by Oliver. The ending was quite an intense ride as well. It definitely leaves the reader wanting of the second installment of the Delirium trilogy. Overall, an applaudable addition to the YA dystopian genre.
Tidbit of random: Ash over at Smash Attack Reads! casted Diego Boneta as Alex. Having watched Diego as Alex (oh the irony…) on the TV show Pretty Little Liars, I totally agree. He’s a decent actor and is incredibly cute.
But it’s a good kind of tired. Like after you run a marathon. Or after yoThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
I feel really tired.
But it’s a good kind of tired. Like after you run a marathon. Or after you finally finish taking all your finals. You’re exhausted but content and your heart is just a teensy bit heavy.
Saving June details Harper’s life after her older sister June commits suicide. Unable to bear it all anymore -- the hurt, her mother’s tears, the unfamiliar pats on the back by random strangers -- Harper escapes to California with her best friend Laney, her sister’s apparent acquaintance Jake, and June’s urn. California was June’s dream, and fulfilling it for her seems like the only way Harper can come to terms with what happened. But a place is just a place. Mostly. And the journey there is only a road trip. Sort of.
Man, I cannot stop myself from pausing every once in a while, picking up Saving June again, and re-reading some of the standout passages. I’ll probably be willing to shout the title of this book from the rooftops, and it’s coming out in paperback. Seriously? Saving June deserves a hardcover edition and a few weeks in a comfy spot on the NYT Best Sellers List.
Why all the enthusiasm? Our protagonist Harper has backbone and doesn’t take crap from anyone. Puke on her, and she’ll puke on you. Jake is a sweetheart with a music obsession and a spiny exterior. Laney is fun and flirty and fiery and I’m running out of adjectives that start with “f” to describe her. This is what all fictional characters should strive to become. They should have a life and a heart and a soul and a personality. Physical attraction isn’t a bad trait, either.
Really, this book was about healing and maturity and dealing with death. I feel like reading it has made me a different person (that’s what all great novels should do, in my opinion). But it also made me chuckle and sigh. And this weight on my chest just won’t disappear.
I recommend Saving June to anyone looking for truly beautiful YA contemporary fiction. I was actually going to host a giveaway for my ARC but changed my mind after finishing the book. I love it too much; I’m not giving it away.
Having read a bit of Alyson Noel’s paranormal series The Immortals before, I started RadianceThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Having read a bit of Alyson Noel’s paranormal series The Immortals before, I started Radiance with expectations. The beautiful pastel blue cover and the rolling field of blue flowers were undoubtedly attracting factors. However, Radiance proved to be less gorgeous than its cover -- far less. After the first few pages, it became just another one of those mediocre what-life-is-like-after-you-die YA stories. For me, this type of plot is either a hit or a miss. Radiance was a miss.
A round of applause goes to the protagonist, Riley Bloom, for securing a spot on my characters-I-would-like-to-maim list. Seriously, has there ever been a more annoying 12-year-old girl in the history of YA lit? Since the story is in first person, the reader gets treated to 24/7 updates on Riley’s feelings as she complains and worries and complains and worries some more. The puppy love set up in here was also totally unnecessary. If the romance doesn’t aid the plot or spice it up for the reader, why bother putting it there? The entire book read like a novella, with barely any build-up of tension and a climax that was not climatic at all.
There was one line in Radiance that really got me, and not exactly in a positive way, either. So Riley, who just so happens to be complaining about the lack of fashion sense of a particular guy, remarks: “Just close your eyes and ask -- What would Joe Jonas wear?
OK, mentioning the Jonas Brothers (who I just so happen to dislike immensely) is called failure. Failure failure failure… Alyson Noel also mentions good ol’ Robert Pattinson, to which I responded with headKindle -- banging my head frustratingly on my Kindle to relieve stress.
I always prefer to end reviews on a positive note, so here it is: Radiance used the word “discombobulated” twice. I think this is the first time I’ve seen that delightful word in a published book!
Will I be picking up the sequel Shimmer? No. But I do feel that this book was geared toward younger teens. Maybe kids below the age of 13 would gobble this stuff up like pie...
It's a good thing I’d already downloaded Shadowfever before I started DThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
It's a good thing I’d already downloaded Shadowfever before I started Dreamfever, since I’m pretty sure I would have chucked my precious Kindle across the room and then proceeded to repeatedly bang my head against a hard surface otherwise. I was totally expecting the “big revelation” since book 3, though. BOOYA.
Admission: I’m addicted to Barrons. If the guy doesn’t show up every once in a while, I use the “search” option to try to find the next page he appears in... That is the extent of my addiction.
I am a sucker for HEA, and I have to admit, Ms. Moning is going to have to do a lot of plot twisting to get Shadowfever to end like that. The reviews for book 5 I’ve glanced over all seem pretty optimistic, though. So. Here. I. Go...
Are you kidding me? What kind of ending is that? /seeths silently in a cornerThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Are you kidding me? What kind of ending is that? /seeths silently in a corner/ This series just keeps getting more and more addicting, if that's even possible. Amazing characters and over-arching plot-line. Unputdownable in a stay-up-late-and-read-until-you-can-barely-keep-your-eyes-open sort of way. I'm very glad that the entire series had already finished publication before I started book 1. Waiting for the next book of anything is possibly the most agonizing feeling ever (I learned that the hard way through The Hunger Games trilogy). Going to have to read Dreamfever really soon.
We are introduced to the quaint town of Near and its inhabitants -- both human and witchThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
We are introduced to the quaint town of Near and its inhabitants -- both human and witch -- through a graceful, lilting writing style accompanied by the soft blow of the Near moor wind through our hair (or if your hair quantity is similar to Voldemort’s: across your scalp). Life is the definition of stasis, for there are no strangers in the town of Near. But then Lexi glimpses a boy who blurs on the edges and fades like the wind, and the children of the town start disappearing out of their beds each night. Now, the hunt is on for the mysterious stranger, for the missing children, and for peace at last in the town of Near.
The Near Witch is a gorgeous novel with a slightly rustic feel that reminds me of the magic that is Hale’s Princess Academy. What a breath of fresh air, so completely different from the love + paranormal creature formula most authors are using these days. And really, why would someone pay to read a glamorized regurgitation of the same ol’ star-crossed love story?
My special thanks to Ms. Schwab for giving our heroine Lexi a brain bigger and wiser than her heart (not that her heart is lacking any essential ingredients, mind you). Headstrong and willing to take the initiative, Lexi is the one moving the story forward instead of being dragged by it from behind. Our mystery boy, too, is more than just a pair of dark, pretty eyes; he is the tangled result of grief and regret and unchangeable history. What a helpless -- but hopeful -- pair they make.
The only thing keeping the novel from being a 5-star is the plot’s overall simplicity. Most will find that not to be problematic; I’m simply very picky about the books I shelve as incomprehensibly awesome. But hey, a 4.5 rating is as close to that as you can get.
Ms. Schwab has penned a shining gem of a debut, and I am waiting with bated breath for her next novel, The Archived.
Book Source: ARC from Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley...more
This novel is the winner of my created-just-for-the-occasion 2011 WTF award. This WTF has a pThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
This novel is the winner of my created-just-for-the-occasion 2011 WTF award. This WTF has a positive connotation, and I like how it shaped -- more like attacked and mauled -- the ending. I can even say that I saw the WTF coming due to obscure foreshadowing, but the surprise was still WTF-worthy. Thus was the extent of the WTF-ness of Ultraviolet.
WTF (saying it again just for good measure).
Ultraviolet must take responsibility for the more pronounced eye bags currently adorning my face. I was not able to succumb to dreamland while there were still portions of this book I hadn’t read. Who needs coffee? Just grab Ultraviolet and watch your sleepiness evaporate. Gift a copy to your worst enemy and watch them show up to school/work the next day yawning and drowsy and possibly unable to function.
Alison, our wonderfully psychotic-seeming protagonist, manages to experience indignation at the way others are treating her. She fights the system whole-heartedly as a result. This earns Alison a hearty clap on the back and makes her deserving of the lovely beau that comes along later. You can pretty much guess who said beau is the moment they meet, although the semi-discovery is part of book’s charm. The pair’s relationship is almost entirely angst-free, too -- a nice change of scenery from other infamous angst-centric couples.
Curiously, I felt like most of the novel had no plot. No, that would be inaccurate. Most of the novel simply had very little plot advancement -- like a snail gliding across a hard-to-maneuver surface, while the WTF ending is a mad sprint to the finish line. Even more curious is the fact that I experienced no boredom at all, even during the slow parts. The entertaining side-characters and the little story progression that occurred were satisfying and addictive enough for yours truly.
Vastly different from most YA in plot and notably, WTF level, Ultraviolet is a great mystery sci-fi novel. Especially for those who can taste the chocolate of a lover’s voice. Or hear the melody sung by the choir of twinkling stars in the night sky.
Like a certain someone we know.
Book Source: ARC from Lerner Publishing Group via NetGalley...more