I wasn't really sure what I was in for when I started Mind Games. I'd only read the first in Kiersten...moreThis review also appears on The Midnight Garden.
I wasn't really sure what I was in for when I started Mind Games. I'd only read the first in Kiersten White's Paranormalcy series, and while it was cute with great world-building, it wasn't enough to get me invested in finishing the rest of the series. Evie just felt so young. (You know. Like how young sixteen year olds are, compared to a wizened spinster of 30...)
But, you guys? Fia is no Evie. Not even close.
"The moment he bends over to help the sorrow-eyed spaniel puppy, I know I won't be able to kill him.
This, of course, ruins my entire day."
Sophia (Fia) is a trained assassin. A spy. A thief. She is whatever Keane needs her to be; an indentured villain with perfect instincts she doesn't always understand, but always follows. And she will never, ever be able to escape.
Because if she tries, they'll hurt Annie, her sister who is blind to everything but the future. Her sister who is the reason they're trapped in the Keane Foundation anyway, whose abilities were the reason they were invited to the school after their parents' death. The reason they stayed even when Fia's instincts told her to run fast and far away from it.
So, she has to kill this boy. Adam. She has to do it or they'll hurt her sister. But she can't. She can't kill the boy who is sweet to a puppy, who looks at her like she's a real girl without blood on her hands. Like she's clean and sweet, and maybe he wants to touch her.
He wouldn't want to touch her if he knew.
She can't kill him. So she follows her perfect instincts to hide him instead. And...well, that's about all I can tell you without spoilers.
But I can tell you it's twisted and dark. It's sexy and violent--much more so than I would have previously expected from White. And it's sad. What impressed me the most about Mind Games was Fia's pain. Her absolute self-loathing and reluctance, even when she is vicious and ruthless. She hates herself, and part of her hates Annie too, but she'll do anything--anything--to protect her sister.
I think some might be turned off by the structure and style of this book, though I happened to really enjoy it. It's told from both Annie and Fia's point of views, shifting back and forth from past to present. Fia's narrative style is a bit stream-of-consciousness-ish, which can be hard to follow, but I found it a perfect representation of how unhinged she is.
And for me, Fia's borderline insanity is what makes the story live up to its title--well, that and the ending. Which was less a mind game and more a mind *expletive*.
Mind Games was a fascinating and frenetic read, and I can't wait to see what White has in store for its sequel.(less)
While I enjoyed the premise of PIVOT POINT very much--I loved the idea of a secret city housing a mentally advanced population with X-Men-esq...more2.5 stars
While I enjoyed the premise of PIVOT POINT very much--I loved the idea of a secret city housing a mentally advanced population with X-Men-esque abilities--I found it ultimately lacking in execution. The plot was buried for nearly 80% of the book, focusing instead on Addie's relationship with two different boys, and football conspiracies. I kept waiting for the actual story to start, but I suppose in the end that WAS the story--just not the one I was expecting given the summary, or frankly, would have ever chosen to read.(less)
I picked up Wraith thinking I was in for a creepy story about a girl driven to madness by the haunting presence of ghosts. And while that wa...more3.5 stars.
I picked up Wraith thinking I was in for a creepy story about a girl driven to madness by the haunting presence of ghosts. And while that was true in a sense, the overall story was much different than I expected.
And I kind of loved that.
Jane Watts is an outcast at her new school, all because she got into a very public fight with her best friend, Evan. Normally, that kind of public display would blow over in just a couple days, except in this case, Evan’s dead, and no one can see him but Jane. Her outburst in the hall earns her a permanent Freak label, as far as her classmates are concerned.
But Jane’s okay with that. Mostly. She has Evan, after all. The sweet, protective ghost who lives in her room, and seems to want nothing more than to be her friend. She’s even learned to control her reactions to him when he visits her in class. Despite being a complete pariah, Jane’s settling into her new anonymity at her school.
That is, until Connor shows up.
“He looked in my direction, but not at me--not exactly. His eyes were glued right behind me. To the seat I knew was technically empty, the seat of my best friend and current tormentor.”
Back from a recent stint in juvie--or so the rumors say--Connor is everything Jane doesn’t need. A cocky bad boy who may or may not be a delinquent... and oh yeah, he can see Evan too. Connor warns Jane that Evan is there for a reason; he needs something from her before he can finally be at rest.
Jane is torn between wanting to keep her best friend, and the need to help him. Together, she and Connor try to uncover the secrets of Evan’s past, and in the process put themselves in Evan’s murderer’s crosshairs.
Wraith was less creepy than I envisioned after reading the summary, but I found I didn’t miss the shivers. (I’m kind of a wimp, I’ll be honest.) Though the story was somewhat straightforward and predictable, it was an interesting twist on the usual paranormal.
I loved the growth Jane demonstrated throughout the story; she begins as a defensive social outcast, completely dependent on her secret best friend, to someone determined and confident, and open to making new friends. Lawson really shines in her character development with both Jane and Connor.
And I especially loved that there was no love triangle set up between Jane, Connor, and Evan.
Wraith is a solidly entertaining paranormal, with humor, mystery, and heart.
This was Angel Lawson’s debut novel. Its sequel, Shadow Bound, was released in December, and is only $3.99 on Kindle and Nook. (less)
Perfect blend of the funny, creepy, and ridiculous. I loved every single character, even if I felt Douglas needed a high five. In the face. With a cha...morePerfect blend of the funny, creepy, and ridiculous. I loved every single character, even if I felt Douglas needed a high five. In the face. With a chair.
My official rating is closer to 3.5, but I felt it deserved more than just the three star showing for anyone giving my review a cursory glance.
The Nea...moreMy official rating is closer to 3.5, but I felt it deserved more than just the three star showing for anyone giving my review a cursory glance.
The Near Witch is beautifully crafted. From the very first paragraph I was stunned and awed by the poetic way in which Schwab wrote this story. There is a rhythm to her words, a cadence that makes you feel as though you're being read the story out loud by a practiced orator. It reads very much like a fairy tale; though the story is entirely unique, it felt familiar to me somehow, which I think was due to the tone and tempo of the storytelling.
Though for as pretty as it was, and as many times as I stopped to reread particularly gorgeous passages to myself, the story itself failed to engage me. The plot moved slowly without much excitement, and then when tension built it was so short-lived each moment meant to be exciting was merely anticlimactic.
That being said, it was an enjoyable read--just not a particularly engaging one, which was unfortunate as I was so pleased to find something that was different in nearly every respect from the other YA novels I've read.
Wow. This book was so cool. (I think I repeated that to myself about every chapter or so as I read.) It will be difficult to review without giving too...moreWow. This book was so cool. (I think I repeated that to myself about every chapter or so as I read.) It will be difficult to review without giving too much away, but suffice to say it is a fascinating, many layered story. It sucked me on every level, with each stage fascinating enough in and of itself I never expected another layer to be revealed--but each time the surface was pulled back, I fell deeper into the story. It is the kind of novel in which you feel completely immersed, from beginning to end.
Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.
This is not her story.
Unless you count the part where I killed her.
Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison's condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can't explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori -- the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that's impossible. Right?
Alison has special abilities that have been both blessing and curse for her entire life. (view spoiler)[She's a synesthetic, which means her senses are cross-wired; she can see and taste and feel sounds, letter and numbers have colors, colors have flavors, etc. (hide spoiler)] They were endlessly fascinated for me as a reader to experience through Alison's narration, and I'd have been happy enough if they were the sole focus of the novel. Alison's time in the mental institution, her self-discovery and eventual acceptance and embracing of her differences would have made a fantastic story in and of itself.
But Anderson took it a step further, gave it a paranormal / sci-fi twist that was at once surprising and expected; the set up was subtle enough not to be obvious, but kept the transition from feeling jarring and out of place. It was a transgressional twist, one that changed the whole tone of the novel and made me perceive everything that had happened before differently.
There were two things that kept me from giving this five stars was the pacing. First, the twist happened in the last 20% of the novel, and while it never felt rushed as I was reading it, I'd have liked there to have been more explanation and description. Second, (view spoiler)[the resolution and explanation for Tori's behavior fell flat for me. It was all so coincidental and never rang true to me (hide spoiler)].
As others have said, Ultraviolet gave me the same feelings that A Wrinkle in Time series did as a child. It is a fascinating story, and while the ending tied things up enough for it to feel complete, I do hope there are other books to come.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I give Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly 3 out of 5 stars.
Angel Burn started strong for me; I loved the concept of angels as malevolent parasites, infiltra...moreI give Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly 3 out of 5 stars.
Angel Burn started strong for me; I loved the concept of angels as malevolent parasites, infiltrating earth to feed from humans. It is an interesting and unique take on angel lore, and Weatherly's world building was very well done.
Willow was an interesting and complex character. Her psychic ability was not overdone or cliched, and presented in a unique light. Her true nature, while predictable, gave an interesting spin to the angel genre. I love that she was never relegated to the role of the cowering simpering female; she embodied strength and conviction throughout the story and was a very engaging character.
Likewise, Alex's character, a young--and presumably the only--Angel Killer (those with the sight and the training capable to kill angels) was just enough Bad Boy With a Dark and Painful Past to make him intriguing without being cliche.
However, the romantic aspect detracted from the storyline for me. Though I liked that their burgeoning connection, the tone of the novel shifted once they became a couple. The romantic dialogue felt flat and awkward, and nearly always pulled me out of the scene. I was never again fully invested in the story line, which was a shame as I do think from an objective standpoint it was quite good.
I am looking forward to the next book in the series, with the hope that I find the relationship between Alex and Willow less trite and more genuine. (less)
I'm really not sure how to review this properly, to be honest. I think this is the first YA novel I've ever read that is really and truly geared towar...moreI'm really not sure how to review this properly, to be honest. I think this is the first YA novel I've ever read that is really and truly geared toward actual young adults and not the growing adult audience in the genre. It was really the only time in the last year I've spent immersed in YA that I've not been able to identify with a main character, simply because I felt so much older and more mature than her.
Anyway, beyond Evie feeling a bit immature--exactly as immature as a sixteen year old should be--I thought Paranormalcy was very well done. Kiersten White built a believable world within a world (IPCA) and the creatures and lore she used were interesting and diverse. I liked Lend, their burgeoning attracting was cute (though didn't give me the tingles) and that it was built upon--it wasn't an immediate ~connection~ born of fairy dust and hand to hand electrocution.
However, Reth was really, really creepy. I understand there is a bit of Team Reth/Team Lend going on and I have to say I don't get it. We didn't know his motivation throughout most of the book, only that what he was doing was against Evie's will and this homie never plays that. We still don't really know his motivations, so he resides firmly in Creepville as far as I'm concerned. Maybe someone else can enlighten me on his appeal.
All in all, it was well-written and well-paced and a book I will have no qualms about recommending to younger family members without feeling a little dirty about it. (less)
The Gathering was pretty well-written, and an interesting departure from the vampire/werewolf/faerie/whatever trend du jour. Maya was a well-crafted m...moreThe Gathering was pretty well-written, and an interesting departure from the vampire/werewolf/faerie/whatever trend du jour. Maya was a well-crafted main character who showed strength and remained likable. There was no (obvious) love triangle dramarama, and it didn't end on a cliffhanger.
Exactly zero checks on the list of plot devices I'm tired of reading. For all of these things, I give it three stars.
For everything else? Meh. For all that the premise was interesting and the prologue was mysterious enough to draw me in, the story itself was very flat and boring. A full three quarters of the book was slow (very, very slooooow) build up to the revelation that was pretty apparent from about chapter two on to anyone with a fifth grade reading comprehension level.
There seemed to be little cohesion to the story. Typically prologues set the tone for the remainder of the story, giving the reader a goal to work toward--yet Serena's death, though mentioned every few pages, never really became an issue until almost halfway through the story, and even then the conclusion Maya came to felt weak and improbable. Perhaps that's because it was the wrong conclusion to draw, but the fact that there was no lead otherwise does not bode well.
The ending was anticlimactic to say the least. While I was happy there was no cliff diving as in most YA novels, there was an obvious element of foreboding where it was left. However, none of the questions posed in the first half of the book were answered--in fact, the main conflict only became more and more convoluted. We learned--sort of--what Maya is, but not how or why or what she's capable of. There were subtle hints to anomalies with the rest of the kids--but too subtle to really be considered leads.
All in all, it was a pretty boring read. Though the prologue intrigued me, the meandering and slow moving progress of the remainder of the book failed to draw me. I think nearly half of the book could have been cut and allowed for a more conclusive ending--and story in general. Hopefully the next book is more concise and better-paced, though I can't I'm invested enough to be looking forward to it. (less)
Disappointing overall. I can't decide if City of Fallen Angels was worse than the previous three books, or if my tastes have changed since devouring t...moreDisappointing overall. I can't decide if City of Fallen Angels was worse than the previous three books, or if my tastes have changed since devouring the series when I first discovered YA.
I feel as though the next three books will be a retelling of the first three. There were some interesting elements, but in general the writing felt amateurish, there were plot holes I could drive a truck through, and Jace. My lovely, lovely Jace was as surly and mopey as ever. I don't need Clary and Jace tied together with a bow, but I do need to feel as though there's been some progress in their relationship--or that they have one at all. As much as Simon's storyline is interesting, he is a secondary character. No one is reading solely for him. The draw is Jace, and by association, Clary.
Additionally, I am tired of the cliffhangers. They probably shouldn't even be called cliffhangers anymore, as they're just expected when you're reading anything by Clare... but enough now. You have your readers invested (for the most part), there's no need to end it was a sheer drop off to ensure they return for the next installment. I paid for the book, I should be given a complete story. It's one thing to have an over-arching plot that is not resolved until the last book, it's another to leave a book incomplete with questions answered via piece meal after shelling out upwards of $80 for the series.
Clare's bff Ms. Black should talk to her about how to write complete books within a series. (less)
I was given this book free of charge through NetGalley.
Admittedly, I may not be the best judge of Mercy, simply because it took me so long to finish i...moreI was given this book free of charge through NetGalley.
Admittedly, I may not be the best judge of Mercy, simply because it took me so long to finish it. Whether that was the fault of the story or the fact that due to the format I had to read on my computer, I can't say, but nothing about the first half of the story grabbed me enough to make me want to find out what happened next.
The plot seemed jumbled and drawn out, and I never really cared for any of the characters. I didn't feel we got to know anyone. We don't ever really know who or what Mercy is, only that she's kind of ruthless and unfeeling until she magically develops a conscious halfway through the book. Ryan is just... singleminded and driven, which is understandable, but why does he believe Mercy and accept what she is without question? Nothing about his character really hooked me, and I don't understand his feelings for her--feelings that magically presented themselves in the last few pages.
Mercy--I'm still not sure I understand exactly what she is--is an interesting character with a past and a future that would have been compelling had it not been so hard to figure out. Building mystique is good, but when the reader is given absolutely no lead toward the answer it doesn't inspire intrigue, only confusion.
I'm giving this three stars--and the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully when I'm able to get it on my Kindle it will be an easier read and maybe make more sense.
I was given this galley free of charge from NetGalley.
This has so much potential to be a truly unique, gripping paranormal love story. I haven't read...moreI was given this galley free of charge from NetGalley.
This has so much potential to be a truly unique, gripping paranormal love story. I haven't read many ghost-centric stories in this genre, though I'm sure they exist, and was excited to see a new spin on the young adult romance.
I was disappointed. Though the premise had potential, the execution was lacking. The writing was rambling and repetitive, and though I know it was in the voice of an eighteen year old girl, didn't feel smart. I never felt connected to Amelia. Perhaps it was because we knew so little about her; her story and personality emerged so slowly at times I wondered if the author had a plan or was just going to throw different elements into the mix at will until something cohesive developed. Unfortunately... in my opinion, that never happened. Amelia could do calculus with little effort, but had trouble stringing the simplest logic together about her own state when the answer was so clear it was as though she was missing it deliberately.
Joshua was cute and sweet, but we never really learned much about him other than that he has--coincidentally--a powerful Seer in his very close knit family, which made his acceptance of the existence of ghosts very easy. Such a helpful coincidence. There was no development of their relationship--no explanation of why a seemingly normal eighteen year old boy would want to touch and kiss a ghost. You know, someone who's dead? I mean, I get that he's thankful she saved him, but that's taking gratitude a little too far if there's no other explanation for their 'connection' other than--of course!--the electric sparks when they touch.
(I'm thinking I seriously missed out as a teenager according to all these young adult authors. No boy ever electrocuted me.)
I could have maybe forgiven those issues since they seem to be the tenets of the recent young adult lit, but added to that a meandering and stilted plot, horribly flat and trite dialogue, and the gag worthy last few lines of the epilogue (dude, Amelia. You just kicked some major underworld ass--and now you're simpering and practically begging your boyfriend to figure out a way to make you live again? An understandable desire and man is that brick of foreshadowing probably really heavy to carry around, but maybe you could, I don't know, take a stand and try to figure it out yourself instead of waiting for the big strong man to do it for you?) I could only manage to give this two stars. (less)
**spoiler alert** The first third of Nightshade captured my attention like little else has recently. I found the characters authentic and compelling,...more**spoiler alert** The first third of Nightshade captured my attention like little else has recently. I found the characters authentic and compelling, and the world Andrea Cremer built was unique and intriguing. Even the love triangle element (which I suppose has become a requirement of YA literature) was tolerable, simply because I found both love interests equally as attractive and possible. This was not a Team Jacob / Team Edward situation where the main character's ultimate choice is so obvious you can only eye roll at the contrived angst as she tries to 'decide'.
Nightshade is well-written and well-paced, which most YA is sorely lacking lately. The paranormal elements were believable and, in what little YA experience I have, unique. It was a compelling and fairly quick read, and I'm definitely looking forward to the second book in the series.
Why only three stars?
That has more to do with personal preference than anything else. While Calla didn't actually make a choice in Nightshade, it's pretty obvious who she will end up with. And, I have a hard time understanding why.
First of all, I never understood their immediate connection. Maybe that's just me, though.
As much as I liked Shay in the beginning, I don't feel that his character was every fully fleshed out. In my opinion, he was extremely selfish and frivolous with Calla's safety. Yes, of course I wanted her to be free to make her own choices, to discover who she was and why, but I didn't like the way he pushed her. Time and again she became legitimately frightened and told him what he'd suggested could mean death for her if she was caught--and yet, without seeming to take that matter to heart or even take steps to protect her, he pushed.
He didn't understand what she was or the pack mentality she had. Whether the way in which they were governed was right or wrong, Calla was still a wolf, and he didn't seem to respect that most basic part of her. It was all a joke to him, a riddle to solve, a cage to let her out of. And why did he want her out? So he could have her. End of story. There was no over-arching quest to free the Guardians at large. No, it was all about Calla.
He came off immature, selfish and frivolous to me.
Ren, on the other hand, had depth. He was a leader, respected and understood Calla's position as the alpha of her own pack. It was obvious he had deep feelings for her, and wanted their union to be one of mutual love, respect and trust. And while the point could be made that if she'd chosen him, she would have chosen a life without choice, I believe that if she'd trusted him enough--as he'd given her every opportunity to do--and let him in on her discoveries, he would have been on her side.
Two other minor things that bugged me:
1) The way Calla got her panties damp every time someone touched her. I get it, you're seventeen, you're hormonal and have never been allowed a little touch. Girl, I feel for you. But jesus. Simmer down.
2) It was so obvious to me from the moment Calla's mom turned white when Calla mentioned she'd been hanging out with Shay that he was to be the sacrifice at the union. But, it didn't feel like it was supposed to be obvious with the way the characters took a thousand more pages to figure it out.
And I'm rambling now.
I liked the book. I'll read the next. But I can't shake the feeling of disappointment. Had Shay's character been developed a little more, I probably would have been more than okay with Calla's choice.(less)