I can't remember the last time I read such a well-crafted YA novel. What a rich world Rachel Hartman has created. The book has its slow moments, but i...moreI can't remember the last time I read such a well-crafted YA novel. What a rich world Rachel Hartman has created. The book has its slow moments, but it hit all the right notes for me...political intrigue; crisp, witty writing; vibrantly drawn characters; and a level of originality and depth far too seldom seen in YA lately.
And I LOVE, LOVE Seraphina herself. She's a bold, plucky heroine with just enough vulnerability to tie my heart to her.
I am counting down the long months to a sequel.(less)
Cedar Fort acquired a real indie gem with Geek Girl. I first read Geek Girl back in March when it was self-published, and I burned through it in a mat...moreCedar Fort acquired a real indie gem with Geek Girl. I first read Geek Girl back in March when it was self-published, and I burned through it in a matter of hours. Talk about flow...Cindy C. Bennett's writing is addictive and all-consuming and emotionally gripping. And she ALWAYS makes me cry.
I initially gave Geek Girl four stars, but as I re-read it now that it's been published, I'm upping it to five. Out of everything I've read this year, this is one of those stories that has just stayed with me. I can't tell you how many times this year that I've stared at all the books on my iPad and opened Geek Girl back up to read some favorite passages again. These isn't anything too earth shattering here, but I've had a hard time saying goodbye to these characters. Cindy's characters always breathe. Her heroines are fierce yet symphatic. They speak of the attrocities of their lives with such raw honesty that you can't help but cheer for them to get their happy ending. And let me tell you, Cindy knows how to write the White Knight.
This book has only gotten better with time. I can't wait to see more from Cindy C. Bennett. Her book Heart on a Chain is another indie gem, and I'd love for it to see publication (hint, hint!).(less)
The humor in these books is unparalleled. Do not read in public unless you want to be laughing like a loon for all to see. Georgia is so endearingly o...moreThe humor in these books is unparalleled. Do not read in public unless you want to be laughing like a loon for all to see. Georgia is so endearingly oblivious to her self-centered, superficial, player ways. From her lines about her Vati to her tales of Angus the Scottish half-Labrador cat to her boy-crazy musings, I just can't put these books down.
Dave the Laugh is my favorite YA mate of all time, and one of my favorite Dave the Laugh scenes is in this book. (Oh, that clown nose!)
However, am I the only one who thinks these books would work better if Georgia were a bit older than 14? I don't know how they do things across the pond, but here in Hamburger-a-gogo Land, I doubt we'd really let a 14-year-old party at a club until 2:00 a.m., let alone even get into a club. Call me a Puritan, but if my future teenager was a snogging champion like Georgia at 14, I might have a bit of a nervy spaz.(less)
I have FINALLY found it. THE BEST MARCIA BOOK EVER. I thought it would be a three way tie between Shackles of Honor, Light of the Lover's Moon, and Cr...moreI have FINALLY found it. THE BEST MARCIA BOOK EVER. I thought it would be a three way tie between Shackles of Honor, Light of the Lover's Moon, and Crimson Frost, until I read The Highwayman of Tanglewood.
Now THIS is Marcia at her very, very, utmost best. I read it in one sitting and turned around and read it again the next day. The Queen of Clean really delivers in this one. Ladies, prepare to SWOON!(less)
Can I just say, I am a sucker for any kind of novella or excerpt that brings unique character perspectives or unseen action. When I read first-person...moreCan I just say, I am a sucker for any kind of novella or excerpt that brings unique character perspectives or unseen action. When I read first-person novels, I CRAVE hearing the thoughts of other characters (especially the love interest!). Naturally, when Julie Kagawa announced Summer's Crossing, a tale told from Puck's perspective, I was beyond excited. I downloaded the book at midnight but forced myself to go to bed so that I could slowly savor every word the next evening.
What thrill to again immerse myself in this world! Puck is a charming, endearing narrator, and hearing his perspective adds layers to his character. We can see his absolute devotion to Meghan, peek in on his sarcastic thoughts, behold his ingenious schemes, and witness his lethal skills. Although Puck may appear to be a merry prankster without care, Summer's Crossing shows the depths of his character--his loyalty to his friends, his love for Meghan, and his regret over his past actions.
And did I mention Puck has mad battle skills? Sometimes I forget that because Ash is the one with the sword, but Summer's Crossing puts Puck's fighting prowess on full display. He's cunning and shrewd playing his pranks, but behind that outer facade is a caring, devoted friend. I can't wait to see where Ash and Puck's adventures take them next!
Thank you, Julie, for this novella to mollify me until the release of The Iron Knight!(less)
I loved this book so much I read it in one sitting in the bathtub of all places. And trust me, I live in student housing in desperate need of...more4.5 stars
I loved this book so much I read it in one sitting in the bathtub of all places. And trust me, I live in student housing in desperate need of renovation so that is by no means a cozy bathtub, but I was so engrossed in this story that I kept reading long after the water got cold.
I admit, I grew up on a farm driving tractors ever since I was a little kid (so young that I look at my kids and think Were my parents really crazy enough to let me operate machinery when I was that age???) so I LOVED all of DJ's description of the farm. This setting was pitch perfect for me. Catherine Murdock knows about agriculture and farm living and Midwestern charm. That part about having to send a favorite cow, Joe Namath, away in her old age? I have lived this, so I felt a connection to this story and its characters that I haven't felt in a long time.
Besides that setting, I was captivated by DJ's authentic voice. As she struggles to be seen by her family and find her own balance between her work on the farm and pretty much everything else that takes a back seat to that, I felt equal parts admiration and sympathy for this hard-working girl who needs a bit of appreciation.
Of course I love a little romance in my YA books, and Dairy Queen has just a dash of romance that develops perfectly in that slow, realistic kind of way.
I've had this book sitting on my shelf unread for two years, so thanks to Colette who read it and told me I was going to love it because she knew me back during the farm girl days. She was right.
Everything that is wrong in Catching Jordan is right in Dairy Queen. THIS is what Catching Jordan should have been.(less)
I liked Tiger's Curse, but I LOVED Tiger's Quest. I initially gave this book four stars, but I'm upping it to five because I cannot stop thinking abou...moreI liked Tiger's Curse, but I LOVED Tiger's Quest. I initially gave this book four stars, but I'm upping it to five because I cannot stop thinking about it. As soon as I turned the last page, I preordered Tiger's Voyage because I am in desperate need of a resolution for that cliffhanger!
Colleen Houck is a storyteller. The writing is not perfect, but I am willing to overlook the flaws because the characters are so compelling, the romance so sizzling, and the quest so epic. Reading this book evoked so many emotions--from swooning to laughter to heartbreak--that I can forgive the book if it's heavy on descriptions or the dialogue's awkward at times. Reading this book makes you FEEL so much, which attests to the strength of Colleen's storytelling.
I felt smothered with details when I read Tiger's Curse, but maybe I'm just used to the writing now because I could not put Tiger's Quest down. Every writer has her strength, and Colleen knows how to write chemistry between her characters. Aaaah, the romance. These books ooze with swoony moments--little fleeting touches, captivating gazes, and delicious kisses that all leave you breathless. (I think I'm starting to sound like I'm 13.) Let's just say Colleen knows how to write a compelling, clean romance between endearing characters.
Yes, there's a love triangle, but Colleen lets it develop so naturally, so believably that I now find myself rooting for both brothers. I can't remember the last time I loved both sides of a YA love triangle this much. The triangle is actually integral to the plot and serves a purpose instead of an author just throwing in another male character to up the amount of kissing scenes and sell Team Whoever t-shirts.
At the end of Tiger's Curse, I didn't know how Colleen was going to make me cheer for Kishan (I mean, I liked him, but it was obvious Kelsey should be with Ren) but Colleen managed to make Kishan so charming and endearing that I now want both brothers to get their happy ending. (And yes, Cait, I had to read the baby part several times because it was just tugging at my heart.) The dynamic between these brothers is riveting, and I'm eagerly anticipating their interactions in Tiger's Voyage. Kishan, I don't know how this can end well for you--you just know there's heartbreak in store--but you made Tiger's Quest entrancing.
Colleen has woven magic, romance, and adventure into this captivating tale of betrayal, redemption, and love. I am so invested in these characters at this point. And after that amazing sneak peek at Tiger's Voyage, November has never felt so far away.(less)
...because whoever that was, that was NOT our Kishan.
Kishan, what happened to you? Where did all that charisma and bad-boy charm...moreI want Kishan back...
...because whoever that was, that was NOT our Kishan.
Kishan, what happened to you? Where did all that charisma and bad-boy charm go? You had us swooning and clamoring for more in Tiger's Quest and then *poof* you went all boring on us. That sizzle and electric connection and chemistry vanished, leaving love triangle drama in its wake.
Can I just say, this is my LEAST favorite way to solve a love triangle dilemma. I think even killing off one of the vertices of your love triangle (which I also dislike) is better than morphing a beloved character into something so unrecognizable that you can barely remember why you wanted the girl to end up with him anyway. Kishan oozed with charm and temptation and allure in Tiger's Quest. He was Damon to Ren's Stefan. WHAT HAPPENED? When did our New York Triple Fudge Chunk become so vanilla?
In Tiger's Voyage the author reduces Kishan to the doormat, Guy #2 stereotype who's so bland that OF COURSE Kelsey will choose Ren. And you know, I never really thought Kelsey would end up with Kishan anyway (I've been predicting Kishan's death for two books now--hello! fifth sacrifice!) but I didn't want THIS to be the way Kelsey decided. Of course Kishan's going to die, but I wanted him to die AS KISHAN IN ALL HIS GLORY...not as this husk of his former amazing, alluring, charismatic self.
I once called this love triangle one of the best in YA, but I fully take it back. It has descended into absolute drama and chaos in this book, with Kelsey being the definition of fickle and toying with both boys' emotions with her indecisiveness. And then there's Ren getting his Edward on, becoming all possessive and jealous in a way that I think is supposed to be hot but just isn't.
And it's sad it had to be this way because this book has one of the most unique premises in YA. It's bursting with potential--that setting! the mythology!--but unnecessary details coupled with the love triangle drama are dragging this series down.
I've said it before, but this series needs an editor to toss about 150 pages from every book, especially Curse and Destiny. This book is H.E.A.V.Y. with descriptions, from pages describing how to scuba dive to detailed explanations of every morsel to touch Kelsey's lips. I'm cursing the golden fruit right now for how it's opened the way for Colleen to write even more description about every. single. meal. these people eat. These books are topping out at around 550 pages, and these are OVERSIZED hardbacks. Really, 400 pages should be the max or this series is really going to get bloated.
And poor Nilima? Could she please have a job to do besides getting Kelsey lemon water and picking out pretty dresses for her?
This series has immense potential, but the love triangle drama needs to be resolved stat. And Kishan, I'm hoping you get to be more than Kelsey's second choice. Could you please find your true character from wherever Colleen buried it?(less)
This series is what every other angel book wishes it could grow up to be.
Hallowed is "middle book" at its very best.
Out of all the paranormal creature...moreThis series is what every other angel book wishes it could grow up to be.
Hallowed is "middle book" at its very best.
Out of all the paranormal creatures in YA, angels get by far the worst treatment. Three of the worst YA series all feature angels, and until Unearthly, I thought perhaps it was impossible to write a decent angel book. But Unearthly was not decent--IT WAS AMAZING. That delicious, slow-build romance between Clara and Tucker. A strong, likeable heroine with a realistic voice. A vivid, gorgeous setting. Intriguing mythology that makes sense. Tucker. (Did I mention Tucker?) Ever since I closed the pages of Unearthly, I've been clamoring for a sequel.
In Cynthia Hand's follow-up novel, she DELIVERS. She makes me feel things about characters that I never thought I could. She takes this in the direction hinted at throughout Unearthly, but she makes it work (in ways this Team Tucker girl didn't think were possible) and adds some complexity with other unexpected twists. My heart was aching--ACHING--when I finished this book.
Cynthia Hand, how did you make me like Christian? I'm as TEAM TUCKER as they come, and yet you drew me in to see Christian's goodness and charm and caring with such a sly hand. I'm no advocate of love triangles, but this one is as good as they come.
And the writing? As addictive and snappy and heart-breaking as ever. I love that Cynthia can poke fun at her own book and genre with funny little lines about stalker girlfriends and love triangles and jealous boyfriends. Her writing makes these characters feel REAL, so real that she can make me feel absolute joy and then devastation because of the struggles and choices these characters face. And trust me...you will feel a gamut of emotions reading this.
Cynthia Hand has shown that Unearthly was no fluke. This woman can WRITE. This series shines with stellar characterization, fascinating mythology, compelling choices, and Tucker (it needed to be said). I cannot wait to see what she has in store next for these beloved characters.
4/5 of this book is love triangle drama. Laurel is one of the most annoying, whiny, selfish heroines in all of YA.
Can I just say, I've read three medi...more4/5 of this book is love triangle drama. Laurel is one of the most annoying, whiny, selfish heroines in all of YA.
Can I just say, I've read three mediocre books now waiting for a certain moment between two characters, and all I got was a couple of paragraphs. Talk about a letdown.
This series should not have been dragged out to four books. I've been sticking around for Tamani, but after Illusions, I'm done. (Okay, almost done. I'll probably skim #4 for all things Tamani, but that's it.)(less)
I knew I was going to love this from the moment I read the blurb. Cricket is an inventor (and so...moreEven. Better. Than. Anna.
And that's saying something.
I knew I was going to love this from the moment I read the blurb. Cricket is an inventor (and so is the hubby--25 patent applications, thank you very much). It takes place in San Francisco (which is our city). And Stephanie Perkins wrote it (and we all know her words are magic. MAGIC! Everything she writes is oozing with amazingness.)
Lola surpasses all expectations. When you read these words, you FEEL everything. Lola's embarrassment, her sadness, her longing...and the sparks every time Cricket touches her. How does Stephanie Perkins weave these spells? I can't remember the last time I felt quite like this reading a book...this heart all a-flutter feeling where you're holding your breathe waiting for them to touch. Oh, wait--I can. It was when I read Anna and the French Kiss.
Lola is a story of finding yourself, and finding the one you love. And Stephanie Perkins writes chemistry like no other. Sigh.
I can't wait to see what Stephanie has in store for Isla, and she uses the events in Lola to set the scene perfectly for Isla to ensure all our favorite characters will be back.
Go read this book. And then read it again because that's what I'm going to do right now. (I swear, this book must be laced with some kind of addictive substance...or else Stephanie Perkins' pacing and characters and writing are PERFECT.)(less)