Having read a bit of Alyson Noel’s paranormal series The Immortals before, I started Radiance...moreThis 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...
The story follows three troubled teens -- Lily, Noah, and Simon -- through their tumultuous s...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
The story follows three troubled teens -- Lily, Noah, and Simon -- through their tumultuous sophomore years, as family and peer pressure, both good and bad, overwhelm the confused trio. Relationships change as the three seek to find out who they truly are.
When I saw the title of this book, the math nerd inside me couldn't resist, and I just had to read it. Although the author's application of the concept of the "absolute value" was very fitting to the plot at hand, I thought it could be developed and integrated more into the story. That said, the three main characters contained a lot of depth, and their struggles and voices seemed authentic. The different POV's provided enough insight into each character without being too direct. Overall, an angsty, but enjoyable book.
The creepy-looking cover of this novel proudly boasts the words: Romeo and Juliet meet the li...moreThis 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(less)
A shy girl living a seemingly normal life? Check. A hot and mysterious guy appearing out...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
A shy girl living a seemingly normal life? Check. A hot and mysterious guy appearing out of nowhere? Check. Instant, unexplainable, and inevitable attraction blossoming as the two gaze at each other fatefully through a pane of glass? Check.
Haden/Mr. Dangerous-and-Brooding: Stay away from me, lamb.* I’m dangerous. Theia/Ms. Radiant-Sunshine: But I don’t want to. I think I’m in love with you! Check.
Does this sound just a teensy bit familiar yet…? Ugh, the first two-thirds of the book was a complete rehash of Twilight, albeit a better-written one. A solid 2 stars -- not horrible, and yet not horribly original. I had to roll my eyes a few times here and there. A couple of facepalms appeared, too.
What bumped the rating up to 2.5 stars was the last third of Falling Under. Told in the perspective of Haden instead of Theia, this portion of the book, titled Up is Down, is infinitely more interesting plot-wise and such a joy to read after the coughTwilightcough review we got before. If only the entire book was like the last part. Alas, it was not to be.
Overall, this book is worth it if you’re willing to wade through some clichés and overdone plot lines first. Falling Under’s invigorating ending certainly left me in need of the sequel.
*Seriously? Haden has to refer to Theia as his lamb, too? Please… -.-
Animals are showing up dead in the woods with their throats ripped out and the rest of t...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Animals are showing up dead in the woods with their throats ripped out and the rest of their bodies untouched, and the residents of the little town of Mystic Falls are freaking out as they attribute the attacks to demonic activity. Through all this mayhem, there is Stefan, who's led a relatively simple life; until now, that is. The boy suddenly finds himself faced with an unexpected arranged marriage and an equally unexpected visitor -- alluring and orphaned Katherine Pierce. Needless to say, it is attraction at first sight, and when Stefan's brother Damon returns from the army and appears to be quite taken with the young Katherine as well, trouble begins to brew. Two brothers and a girl: there has to be a winner, and there has to be a loser.
Based off of the hit CW TV show Vampire Diaries, Origins describes Stefan, Damon, and Katherine’s mysterious back-story. There are countless differences between this book -- co-written by the two TV show producers instead of L.J. Smith -- and the original Vampire Diaries series. While both are enjoyable, I found Origins to be slightly superior plot-wise, and L.J. Smith’s original story to be better written and characterized.
One little quirk: we never really discover who the villain is because of the abrupt ending. A nice conclusion or revelation of some sort would have been cleaned the plot up nicely. Overall, the book was still appealing -- the latter half especially, as the story finally picks up pace.
Origins would be a great read for all die-hard fans of the Vampire Diaries series and TV show, as it presents an alternative view of the Vampire Diaries world and sheds light on the murkiness of Stefan and Damon’s past.
There is a horse-drawn carriage rolling through a scenic meadow. The sun is shining; there ar...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
There is a horse-drawn carriage rolling through a scenic meadow. The sun is shining; there are delightful fragrances in the air. The only catch is the you are the sweaty and straining horse, and the carriage you were pulling happened to be occupied by three rather large sombrero-wearing rainbow-colored elephants.
I admit, the sombreros and colors were unnecessary, but you have a vivid mental image now, yes...?
OK, so you're struggling to haul three elephants behind you. But you keep going, because there might just be something satisfying greeting you at the end of the path. maybe some water, a nice cool shade, or a huge pile of oats and other delectable munchies. Instead, what greets you is the edge of a cliff. Apparently, the scenic route has suddenly decided to stop existing. Poof. Gone, just like that.
Thus was my experience while flipping through the pages of Pegasus. Robin McKinley is undeniably one of the best fantasy world-builders I have ever had the honor to read; but the pacing -- it was horrendously slow. I could not read more than two chapters without feeling the urge to bang my head against something hard.* This had to be stomached in small doses, which is why it took me a staggering total of 15 days to read. I had to stop periodically and read other, more frivolous books before plunging back into the story of a princess and her pegasus. This book is truly a test of patience.
Pegasus does redeem itself and earn an extra star for its setting and background history, and the writing style fits nicely with the type of story it is describing. The novel would be a great source for artists trying to paint a fantasy scene. But for readers who are looking for a plot? Not so much...
The ending makes the sequel (exp. publication date: 2012) almost mandatory. There was a slight build-up, and then the book just ended. The expression on my face would probably have scared a few children if I were reading this in public.
Tidbit of random: I want to taste some fwhfwhfwha, too.
*We were working on a rather annoying Chem lab when my dear friend -- always oh so helpful -- offered to print out the picture at the very top of the review for me. Seriously, what have I done to deserve such amazing friends like this? Sarcasm is the spice of life.