I sometimes wonder how many fantastic books I am missing out on because they are flying under my radar....moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
I sometimes wonder how many fantastic books I am missing out on because they are flying under my radar. I have to admit if Louise hadn’t brought Erebos back from ALA, and if we hadn’t been asked to be part of this fantastic blog tour, I would have never have heard of this book. It’s a sad but true fact. Needless to say, I am happy the stars aligned and I had the opportunity to read Erebos because I found it to be a fantastic story.
Nick is an average sixteen-year-old boy; he goes to school, plays sports and likes to hang out with his friends. When one of his best friends starts to act funny and begins distancing himself from everyone, Nick starts to worry. Slowly Nick sees that more and more students are acting strange and notices that they are passing around some sort of package. Nick is desperate to find out what is in the package and what is going on with everyone. When he finally gets the chance he finds out it is only a computer game. After taking the game on, Nick finds out the Erebos is unlike any other game he has ever played. It combines real life tasks along with in game tasks. Erebos consumes Nick’s life; it is so addicting that it is all he can think about. Unfortunately, Nick finds out the hard way that there is more to Erebos than he ever could have imagined.
I really enjoyed Erebos. It was fast paced and a great mix of mystery and fantasy. I found Nick to be a fantastic main character, one I could relate to. I understood his path from worried friend to gaming addict. He transformed throughout the book and his journey was well written. The supporting characters were equally well developed. I think that having a cast of well written characters really helped this book. Had it only been Nick’s story it would have been just okay. But adding people who were also affected by this game, showing a larger scale made it a richer story.
Sometimes when you take a book that was originally written in a foreign language the translation can be a bit sketchy and things do not always come across the way they should. However, that is not the case with Erebos; the translator did a fantastic job. I never once felt a hitch in the story due to the translation from German to English.
Erebos was an entertaining read. I think it will appeal not only to gamers but also to fans of mystery and fantasy novels. It is fast paced and well written. It kept me guessing until the very end. This is one book that you do not want to miss out on.
Dead Politician Society is the debut novel by Robin Spano. A murder mystery, DPS introduces us to Clare...moreREVIEWED by Louise for Between the Covers blog:
Dead Politician Society is the debut novel by Robin Spano. A murder mystery, DPS introduces us to Clare Vengel, a 22-year-old rookie police officer with the Toronto police. When a politician is murdered Clare is given her first undercover assignment: to investigate a group called The Society for Political Utopia which has claimed credit for the murder. As the group appears to be linked to the political science classes at the local university, Clare enrolls in the PoliSci class hoping to find information about the killer. As more politicians are murdered, Clare learns that more than one person has a reason to kill.
Generally speaking, I love murder mysteries. I’m a huge fan of the genre and it is one that I often fall back on when I burn myself out on the paranormal. Having said that, I went through this book with mixed feelings. BtCers, you know my view on character development and how integral I feel the characters are to any story. I can forgive a lot if I love the characters. I have to be honest. *sighs* I didn’t really like Clare. She’s 22-years-old, which as the mom of a girl minion that age I feel is still rather young. But Clare acts younger than minion 1 does, and behaves in some very irresponsible ways... such as getting drunk while on the job. Truth be told, I seriously wanted to ground her and cut off her allowance more than once. #TimeOutNeeded
I think if this book were told solely from Clare’s perspective I might have actually disliked it. Which isn’t fair, because in the end Clare is very realistic. (I can think of two or three of my daughter’s friends who I want to hang by their toes for being obnoxious.) However, DPS is told from multiple points of view, and each provides us with an insight into another character and another piece of the puzzle. I will say this for Spano... good or bad, each character made me feel something: frustration, amusement, a sincere desire to smack them upside the head for being a pompous ass. (My sincere apologies to Professor Easton.)
The transition between character POVs is well done and works to keep the story moving and interesting... which is saying something because I’m seriously NOT a fan of politics. Spano offered up enough twists and turns that the ending wasn’t predictable. Overall, Dead Politician Society was a fun and interesting read, and my irritation with Clare aside, I plan to read the next book in this series, Death Plays Poker.
I am always looking to try new types of books. I, like everyone, have my favorite genres and authors, an...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
I am always looking to try new types of books. I, like everyone, have my favorite genres and authors, and there are a few genres that I just never really give a thought to. The mystery genre is one of them. So when the opportunity to review a new paranormal mystery novel called It Takes a Wish by Heather Blake came about, I couldn’t refuse. My desire to expand my reading tastes won out, and I was willing to try something that I wasn’t that versed in.
Darcy Merriweather has just found out that she and her sister come from a line of Wishcrafters, a type of witch that grant wishes to the pure of heart. Darcy and her sister move to Enchanted Village, a little town overflowing with Crafters, to learn their craft and to help their new found Aunt Ve run her wish shop. While struggling to get a handle on her powers - and keep them secret - Darcy finds herself tangled up in a murder investigation when her aunt’s boyfriend becomes the prime suspect.
As I said, I am a mystery novel novice. But I found myself totally engrossed in this book. Heather does a find job building a new world, giving you just enough information so that you are not lost, but not so much that you solve all of the plot twists. She has created a type of witch I have never read about - a Crafter. A Crafter has a specific skill that they are devoted to, such as wish granting. The author built a very nice background for the Crafters and gives little pieces of their history throughout the book.
The mystery aspect of this book was very well done, in my opinion. Heather created a nice set of twists and turns, and I honestly did not figure some of them out until I read them. There were a few moments when I was truly shocked with the results. If this book is any indication of what most mysteries are like then I am game for more.
Overall I was extremely pleased with It Takes a Witch and will be looking forward to the subsequent books in the Wishcrafter series.
It is rare that the middle book in a trilogy can be equally as captivating as the fist book, but A Milli...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
It is rare that the middle book in a trilogy can be equally as captivating as the fist book, but A Million Suns by Beth Revis is just as grand and riveting as its predecessor Across the Universe. This fast paced, full speed ahead novel was one of my most anticipated books of 2012 and it did not disappoint.
Three months have gone by since Amy awoke aboard the Godspeed. Three months since the lies and betrayals that kept this ship in order were revealed and chaos is reigning among the inhabitants. Elder has taken control of the ship, but with out the backing of the people it seems to be in title alone. Elder and Amy make a drastic discovery and race against time to put the pieces of the puzzle together and unlock the truth of life aboard Godspeed.
I am in love with this story. I find it to be edge of your seat entertaining and original. The characters are on a continual growth pattern from the first to the second book, and remain true to there perspective. The twists and turns fuel the story, making it an adventure. I enjoy that this is part of the continual story for the trilogy, but that there is also a “stand alone” plot for this individual book. I think that this “stand alone” plot is what makes it different from most middle books in trilogies. Instead of being bogged down with gap filler from the beginning and ending, it carries over the underlying story but can also stand on its on merit as a book.
Beth Revis is a fantastic young adult science fiction author, one that adults will love too. She weaves a tale of science, intrigue, betrayal, and a hint of romance. For such a relatively new author she writes like a seasoned veteran, and I for one will be looking forward to not only the final installment in this trilogy, but to her future works as well.
Between, the sequel to Crossroads (read my review HERE), returns us to the vivid world Mary Ting has cr...moreREVIEWED by Louise for Between the Covers blog:
Between, the sequel to Crossroads (read my review HERE), returns us to the vivid world Mary Ting has created. We find Claudia trying to live her life, trying to be a “normal” teen in a world that she has learned is anything but. (Side note to Claudia... Normal is soooo last year. Embrace your inner uniqueness, young padawan!)
Okay... I have to say this. *mumbles and says really quickly* There were parts of Crossroads that moved a little slow for me. The same cannot be said about Between. This book totally brings it with the intensity and action. The writing is much more fast pace, the dialogue snappier. The wonderful imagery from Crossroads is present once again, making the settings easily visualized. Ting is awesome at painting with words, in my opinion.
The characters also continue to grow, changing as the words flow across the page. *raises hands and makes sing song gestures, encouraging my lovely BtCers to join me in saying* Character development is vital, and is well done in this book. Ting puts Claudia in real life situations, and I think that is the key to her appeal: watching her struggle with these things makes her much more believable and relatable. Ting is also one of the best at writing YA morals books I have come across, and she does it again in Between... the story reflects the author’s morals, and her belief that right will triumph over wrong, and good over evil is reflected in her books.
Filled with endearing characters, a love triangle (and who doesn’t love a face off between hotties), a battle between good and evil and plot twists I never saw coming, the sequel to Crossroads will draw you in and have you turning the pages well into the night.
What do you get when you combine mythology, several swoon-worthy guys, and a sibling rivalry of cataclysmic...moreReviewed by Christin for Between the Covers
What do you get when you combine mythology, several swoon-worthy guys, and a sibling rivalry of cataclysmic proportions? The intriguing debut novel that is Wildefire.
Ashline's been coping with her sister Eve's disappearance for long enough now. Things were under control, but then not only does her boyfriend cheat on her, but also Eve chooses an unfortunate time to reappear. Events quickly spin out of control...and as a result, Ash retreats to Blackwood, a boarding school in the California Redwoods. She's hoping to put her past, and Eve, behind her, but unfortunately life has other plans. One night, an attempted kidnapping brings six unlikely students together, and everything changes. This is no ordinary group of students: This is a group of gods and goddesses who have an important part to play in the future of the world. And whether Ash likes it or not, Eve plays a part in this as well. And then there's Colt, the nearly-perfect park ranger who might just return Ash's feelings...and who might get caught in the cross-currents of the storm. Can Ash piece together all of this new information, master her powers, and make the right choices to save herself...and those she loves?
One of the best words to describe Wildefire is intense. The action is present from the very beginning, and it doesn't relent throughout the book. Eve might be over-the-top at times, but there is certainly never a dull moment when she's around. In fact, given the constant plot twists, there isn't really a dull moment at all. And don't let the mention of gods and goddesses fool you - Knight combines mythological gods and goddesses from several different countries and brings them together in an original way. I enjoyed getting to know a variety of characters in addition to Ash. All of them are extremely well developed, and I felt that I was at Blackwood right along with them. However, even though I appreciated Ash's snark and her eventual ability to make a tough decision, I really loved watching Raja's development. And the guys in this book...it's impossible to pick a favorite. However, even with all of this, there was one scene in particular that made me love this book - Ash and Ade listening to Serena sing hymns in the school chapel. As an organist, I couldn't stop smiling the entire time I was reading this scene.
There was a fair amount of world-building in this book, and some of these moments were confusing. I found myself having to read certain passages more than once just to make sure that I had all of the events straight. Most of the book was so excellently written that these moments of confusion were somewhat jarring. The ending definitely loose threads to be tied in the next book, and I will be curious to see how that is accomplished. (Not to mention that it's a cliffhanger that borders on cruel and unusual punishment.)
Karsten Knight spins a fascinating tale in Wildefire, complete with mythology, action, and a little (okay, a lot of) romance. I will be eagerly awaiting his next book!(less)
I was very excited to be back in the world of Solid and continue the journey with the characters that Worki...moreReviewed by Christin for Between the Covers
I was very excited to be back in the world of Solid and continue the journey with the characters that Workinger created. Her writing style makes for a fast, enjoyable read and one that is hard to put down.
Settling begins a couple of weeks after Solid ended. The teens who had been involved in genetic experiments had, despite earlier problems, decided to stay at the camp for the summer and even to attend school there in the fall. Instead of simply wasting their summer, Clio and her friends decide to create internships relating to their interests and abilities, which leads them to meet new people and discover new secrets. But once again, all is not well at the camp. As Clio and her friends try to unravel the mystery and the stakes increase, tensions run high, relationships are threatened, and more self-awareness becomes imperative. Will these friends be able to stop whatever is causing these problems, stay friends, and save their new home once again?
Once again, the characters really made this novel. It's always refreshing to read about a group of friends rather than a main character who only has one or two friends. The snark, wit, and group dimensions from the first book were back in this one, and it kept the novel moving right along. In addition, some new characters are introduced. Among these people are Lieutenant Graham, or Ford, to whom Clio starts growing closer; and Xavier and Rae, who seem to break the established molds even for this group of people. There were other dimensions to this story as well, however, especially with Clio. Despite her progress in the first book, Clio still had a lot to learn about herself. At some point the story lost the group aspect and became focused on Clio. However, the book never lost its momentum, and with the added element of the mystery, it kept me turning pages until the very end.
I have to admit that I was frustrated with Clio sometimes; even though I could understand why she did what she did (and part of me wants to see the outcomes of those cans of worms), she was still much more selfish than in the first book. Also, a few events could have used a bit more preparation - while they weren't completely unprepared, I was still a little taken aback when they happened. That being said, the surprises certainly kept things interesting as well as offering possibilities to explore in the next novel.
Unlike most sophomore novels that seem to not be as strong as the first, Settling actually surpasses Solid. Though the mystery is solved and a temporary conclusion reached, there are still some unanswered questions. I will be looking forward to the next novel, Sound, to see what else is in store for Clio and her friends!(less)
Two words: evil angels. Maybe five words would be better: not your typical angel story. L.A. Weatherly has brought a fresh idea to the...moreReally 4.5 stars
Two words: evil angels. Maybe five words would be better: not your typical angel story. L.A. Weatherly has brought a fresh idea to the YA paranormal genre and written a story that's nearly impossible to put down.
Willow is used to being weird and a semi-outcast. Forced to take care of her mentally-unstable mother at an early age before moving in with her aunt was enough to make her more than your average teenager; add psychic abilities to that, and you've got Willow. Even with her abilities, though, she doesn't buy into the Church of Angels hype that is running rampant throughout the country. Then Beth, an acquaintance from school, asks Willow for a reading. Beth has met an angel, an angel that will help her - or so she thinks - and she wants to devote her life to serving them. And then there's Alex. Alex has devoted nearly his entire life to killing angels, because he knows them for what they truly are. But when his assignment is to kill Willow, he finds that he can't - at least, not without knowing more. This curiosity unwittingly leads Alex and Willow on a journey that spans not only the country but earth and heaven itself.
As someone who loves angel stories, I was definitely excited to read this book. I have to admit, however, that it took me a while to adjust to angels as the villains. Yet once I did, the book was completely engrossing. From the unraveling of cult conspiracies to the developing romance, each page left me eager to know what happened next. I enjoyed following the individual storylines and watching as they converged into one. Alex and Willow both had issues in their past, and it was interesting to not only see these through flashbacks but also to watch how these incidents shaped their futures. I especially loved the descriptions in this book - everything about Willow and Alex's cross-country trip was so vividly described that I felt as though I was riding in the car with them.
Then there was the chemistry between them. Even if it was a bit much sometimes, I appreciated that Alex and Willow actually got to know each other first rather than being instantly in love from the tenth page, as happens in some books, and their romance was definitely very sweet. And around this, Weatherly weaves a story rich in detail, action, and excitement.
Angel Burn is a brilliant beginning to Weatherly's Angel trilogy. I am eagerly anticipating the second book, Angel Fire!(less)
As some of you may know, I have a slight twitter addiction...okay, I'll admit it, I'm a twitaholic. So even...moreReviewed by Christin for Between the Covers
As some of you may know, I have a slight twitter addiction...okay, I'll admit it, I'm a twitaholic. So even though I rarely read chick lit, a book told predominantly in tweet form sounded too cute to pass up.
Abby Donovan just can't seem to make it past Chapter 5 in her novel. Her first novel was a smashing success, but in its aftermath, she can't quite find her voice again. When her publicist creates a Twitter account for her, Abby is skeptical. Can this really help her connect with her readers? And what's the point? She finally tries it one night, and immediately a @Mark_Baynard begins talking to her. Mark is a college professor on sabbatical to write the #GreatAmericanNovel. As they begin tweeting and DMing, even going so far as to go on virtual dates, Abby finds herself falling for Mark. But how much can she really know about someone she met on Twitter? And how much is she willing to risk for him?
Goodnight Tweetheart is a lighthearted, enjoyable read. Switching effortlessly between tweets/DMs and prose, the writing is full of humor, pop culture references, and every once in a while something that makes you think. I loved watching the transition between Abby and Mark's flirty, snappy conversation to ones that had more personal detail. Their virtual dates were sweeter than a lot of real first date stories I've read - in fact, there are many adorable things about their relationship. Even though certain conventional context clues were missing because of the tweet format, the characters still translate beautifully.
Writing in 140 characters for so much of a book has to be difficult, but both the prose and the tweets are well-crafted. Beyond that, the story is so engaging that I had to keep reading, even when I needed to be sleeping instead, because I had to know how the story ended. The last third of this book definitely plays on some emotions.
If you are addicted to twitter, or are just looking for a sweet romance with a twist, then this book is for you. Goodnight Tweetheart may have been my first book by Teresa Medeiros, but it certainly won't be my last!(less)
As someone who once thought about being a music therapist but is now a church musician, thi...moreReviewed by Christin for Between the Covers
Really 4.5 stars
As someone who once thought about being a music therapist but is now a church musician, this book immediately appealed to me. Just like all of Picoult's books, Sing You Home focuses on contemporary issues and offers a variety of perspectives.
Zoe wants a child more than anything. After years of miscarriages infertility treatments, she is finally pregnant and has carried the baby long enough to have a baby shower. Even she miscarries the baby once more, she is desperate to try again...which is one time too many for her husband, Max. Max moves out and in with his brother and sister-in-law, Reid and Liddy, and soon finds himself caught up with the Eternal Glory Church. Zoe throws herself into her work, and one day crosses paths with Vanessa, a school counselor who could use Zoe's talents for a suicidal teenager. Zoe soon finds herself becoming more than just friends with Vanessa. When they decide that they want a baby together, Zoe plans to use the frozen embryos still at the fertility clinic. But she must ask Max, and the new Max, the one dedicated to Eternal Glory Church, objects for various reasons. Soon Zoe, Vanessa, and Max are embroiled in a custody battle, but one with serious social and moral overtones, and one that might cost one woman everything...
What I love about Jodi Picoult's books is that they have such compelling narratives but are also well-researched and are never as straightforward as they first seem. This book alternates among Zoe, Max, and Vanessa's point of view, each allowing us to know more about both the main and secondary characters. In addition, past and present are mixed seamlessly to give the story more depth. Regardless of beliefs, this book shows the struggles that homosexual couples have to go through to obtain similar rights to heterosexual couples. Yet the book is well-balanced in all respects: it makes a case for and against same-sex couples raising children, it shows the benefits of having a church family while calling into question the dangers of religious fanaticism, it explores the struggles not only of Zoe and Vanessa but also of Max, making the reader feel for each character. And, of course, the importance of music and its ability to heal is pervasive throughout the book.
Picoult's writing is clear and direct yet still beautiful, making the reader think and question the issues that she discusses. The ending was absolutely perfect (and I rarely say that about endings), so much so that I didn't want to close the cover when it was over. This book is an emotional read, but one that is so engaging that hundreds of pages have passed without even realizing it.
Sing You Home is yet another excellently-written book from Jodi Picoult, and I will look forward to reading my next book from her!(less)
Egyptian legend, a Mayan prophecy, the Russian mafia, and an American professor couldn't possibly have anyt...moreReviewed by Christin for Between the Covers
Egyptian legend, a Mayan prophecy, the Russian mafia, and an American professor couldn't possibly have anything in common, right? Wrong. In 12.21.12, Killian McRae blends together a world of peoples and stories into a truly compelling narrative.
What happens when an archeologist comes close to discovering proof of his theory, proof that the ancient Egyptian gods would rather keep hidden? This is the story of Sheppard Smyth, an Egyptologist devastated by the loss of his wife. Jarred from his routine existence by a phone call from an old friend, Shep rushes to Mexico to investigate a recently-excavated sculpture of Cleopatra. There he meets Victoria Kent, and intern on the project who studied with the renown expert Anathea Hermapolous. When an unexpected theft occurs, project manager and Russian mobster Dmitri Kronastia rushes to the scene. Little does Shep know that, through the stories of these two people, he may come to know the truth of Cleopatra's death. What he does know, however, is that something is not right with Victoria Kent - behind her exterior beauty lurk dark secrets. As the days rush toward 12.21.12, the rumored end of the world as it is known, will Shep be able to piece the puzzle together? And even if he can, will the knowledge save him?
Wow. It's been a long time since I read something that wasn't YA, and this venture back into adult fiction was definitely well worth it. This book was a fast-paced, gripping novel that kept me eager to know what happened next. Though Shep is arguably the hero of the book, it is Victoria that is the most interesting. Her secrets are revealed over the course of the book, presenting one puzzle to solve after another. Dmitri is just as complex, bringing his own shady past to the mix of things. In this novel, McRae often switches points of view, allowing the reader to know more about each character. In addition, there were several flashbacks, each of which were well placed, sometimes revealing new information, sometimes clarifying suspicions that had already been raised. The writing flows very naturally, with great descriptions and a refreshing tone.
I don't want to say too much and give away any of the intrigue, but I will say this - I am usually fairly good at predicting endings, and this book thwarted my expectations more than once and left me stunned. There are also some great one-liners...and who could forget a little touch of romance?
12.21.12 truly has it all - it is an around-the-world, cross-genre, excellently-written page turner that had me hooked from the first page to the last. I cannot wait to see what McRae writes next!(less)
It's fairly rare that I actually end up reading contemporary YA books, but this one, set just outside of Lo...moreReviewed by Christin for Between the Covers
It's fairly rare that I actually end up reading contemporary YA books, but this one, set just outside of London and involving a theatre student, seemed too good to pass up. While the book wasn't exactly what I was expecting, it was still a good read, though at times seemingly more of a psychological portrait than a story.
Jude has never been one to stand out - Jude the Obscure, she calls herself. Always the brunt of her classmates' jokes, stuck in a dreary small-town existence, motherless, Jude's one escape is drama. She dreams of going to the Lab in London. There's only one problem - she can't bring herself to mail the application. Enter Stella, stage right. Stella is everything Jude wishes to be: confident, respected, able to stand out and shine. But Stella is also wild and reckless, dragging Jude into schemes that she'd never dream of. Jude feeds on Stella's strength, pushing her limits, unconsciously changing herself. Then Stella disappears for a few days, and Jude has to answer some tough questions. Is Stella really who Jude wants to be? What's so wrong with being herself? And most importantly - who is Jude?
Wonderland was, in a way, more edgy than a lot of books I've read recently. Perhaps that's because it is contemporary, or because so much of it is inner monologue. Either way, the book draws you in from the very beginning, and it goes fairly quickly from there. Jude is a very relatable character - who hasn't felt overshadowed at some point, longed to be someone else, had their nerves get the better of them? Jude and Ed were always so sweet together, which was a refreshing change from the usual intensity of teenage relationships in YA books. Jude's relationship with her father was so sad; it was easy to see how much her mother had been part of her life, and how her mother's death affected her so much. And then there was Stella. Stella with her crazy yet entertaining antics. Stella, whom at times I wanted to slap and at times I wanted to applaud. She kept me turning the pages to see what happened next.
At its heart, this is a coming-of-age story, a teenage girl trying to find her way. Sometimes, Wonderland seemed a bit disjointed, but I think that's the nature of the narrating voice, because this book does come full circle, from prologue to conclusion. I had my suspicious throughout the book, and it was nice to see that I had been right. The story until the ending is perfectly fine, but the ending truly does give it that much more impact.
Wonderland was Nadin's US YA debut, and I think it's safe to say it won't be her last novel. I'll look forward to reading more from her in the future!(less)
Once again, I'm a sucker for angel books - especially when the angels aren't exactly what t...moreReviewed by Christin for Between the Covers
Really 3.5 stars
Once again, I'm a sucker for angel books - especially when the angels aren't exactly what they seem. This novel, written in a refined style and incorporating some previously-untapped angel lore, makes for a quick, enjoyable read.
Ellie's always been a little different - never one of the popular girls, more content with her friend Ruth - not to mention she spends her summers in various parts of the world, working with her parents for different agricultural projects. At night, she dreams of flying around her town, dreams that she always seems to remember in the morning. And then she meets Michael - or meets him again. As it turns out, she'd met him one summer, but for some strange reason cannot recall anything about him. Yet she is oddly drawn to him. And as she spends more time she spends with him, she comes to realize that her dreams of flight are not dreams at all, but reality. And Michael is just like her. And if they are angels, what does that mean for their future? Are they the good angels - or the bad, the fallen?
It's true that certain elements of this book have been seen (and perhaps overused) in other books - love at first sight, the intensity of the first kiss, the dreams, the single best friend. But once you get past that, the book becomes quickly engaging, so much so that I read it in a day or two. What made this book interesting, however, was the incorporation of biblical angel lore - not only the stories of the Nephilim from Genesis, but also the stories from the Book of Enoch. I loved the history and connections between angels and vampires that existed in this book; they definitely gave a new spin to both fantastical creatures. And I would be lying if I said that the romance between Ellie and Michael wasn't fun to read.
While a few things in this book were either unbelievable, predictable, or just a little too convenient, the story still remains strong. The book ends on a cliffhanger - and I'm definitely looking forward to reading the sequel to see what other historical/biblical information is included and reinterpreted.
Heather Terrell has an enjoyable writing style, and Fallen Angel was a good young adult debut for her. I'm looking forward to reading some of her other books as well (The Chrysalis and Brigid of Kildare), as well as the next installment of Fallen Angel - Eternity.(less)
We've all lived through, or heard stories or seen pictures of, the destruction left in the wake of natural...moreReviewed by Christin for Between the Covers
We've all lived through, or heard stories or seen pictures of, the destruction left in the wake of natural disasters. But what it disease and disaster struck a crippling blow, forcing society to evolve and change forever? Such is the premise of Enclave.
Deuce has finally achieved her goal of being a Huntress, and she wears her scars proudly. She knows that she has proven herself worthy. But when she is partnered with the village outcast, things begin to go wrong. When she sees a strange boy in the tunnels, she can't help but abandon her mission and enlist Fade's help in taking him to the safety village. And that's just the beginning. Suddenly, Deuce finds herself as the object of ire for Silk, sent out on highly dangerous missions, and questioning everything she's ever accepted, all while growing closer to Fade. And when he chooses to make the ultimate sacrifice for her, how will she respond? More importantly, how will they both survive?
Enclave is engaging from the very beginning; it was a quick read that kept me turning page after page to see what would happen next. Though this book may have some elements in common with other dystopian books, the story definitely has its own merit. From learning and uncovering the world of Razorland, to seeing how Deuce and Fade adapted to their ever-changing situation, Enclave proved to be original and interesting. I loved watching Deuce come to her own conclusions and sort out her feelings for Fade. And the second half of the book definitely held a few surprises.
I will say that I wished the actual setting had been a bit more clear, though the details were probably limited by the first-person narrative. Also, I wasn't completely thrilled when the possibility of a love triangle was introduced, only because it seems that every book has to have one, but even that seemed fairly resolved eventually. The ending of the book seems fairly conclusive, but I think there are plans for a sequel - if so, I will definitely be reading it!
Enclave may be a dystopian book, but it also has a healthy dose of action with just a touch of romance. This was a great debut novel from Ann Aguirre, and I can't wait to see what she writes next!(less)
How many stories have we all read or seen about the Holocaust and life in the concentration camps? At the s...moreReviewed by Christin for Between the Covers
How many stories have we all read or seen about the Holocaust and life in the concentration camps? At the same time, similar atrocities were taking place in Eastern Europe under Stalin. Between Shades of Gray tells that story.
Taken in the middle of the night from the only home she's known, Lina, along with her mother and younger brother, are forced into a crowded train car, not knowing where they are going or what they have done wrong. When the train reaches a station, Lina learns how they have been marked - thieves and prostitutes. Worthless to the Soviet government. By no small feat, Lina manages to find her father at the station, and he tells her to draw, that he will find her by her art. And so Lina begins to document everything, using handkerchiefs and pieces of wood, passing secret messages through strangers. But at time stretches on, and conditions go from impossibly bad to worse, can hope survive? Can the bonds of love and friendship survive despite the coldness of the Soviets and the arctic north, or will all be lost, frozen forever?
In her afterword, Ruta Sepetys talks of how this book is really a tale of love, and in many ways, I have to agree. This is not to say that Between Shades of Gray makes light of any of the horrors actually suffered; far from it. But woven throughout the awful details are threads of friendship, family, and unbreakable bonds formed with strangers because of - or perhaps despite - their situation. Even still, it was heartbreaking to read of their suffering: cattle car transits that lasted for months instead of weeks, an imprisonment that lasted for decades instead of years, bartering every last possession for hope of news or morsel of food, trying to survive the endless months of dark and frigid temperatures in shacks. The contrast of the present circumstances triggering memories of the past was especially effective.
I only wish we could have known what happened to the people who fell behind and how exactly the small group survived year after year in the North Pole. But the not-knowing is part of the story - these people and countless others were merely nameless bodies to all of the soldiers. All, that is, but the one who showed kindness...
Between Shades of Gray is not an easy read, but it is a gripping and compelling one. Sepetys has effortlessly woven fact and fiction, creating a story that could have so easily been real. I will look forward to seeing what she writes next.(less)