I’m going to attempt to control my fangirling long enough to give a coherent review of The Immortal Rul...moreREVIEWED by Louise for Between the Covers blog:
I’m going to attempt to control my fangirling long enough to give a coherent review of The Immortal Rules. It’s going to be hard, though; you have been warned.
Okay… first I need to correct a serious misconception: This isn't a vampire story, it's a human story. It's a story about humanity’s points of pride and fatal flaws. It's a story about what it is to be ‘human.’
Set in a post-apolcalyptic world that has been nearly destroyed by a plague which created zombie-like monsters, this dystopian novel is told in such a way as to feel both current and viable. And that was a big part of the thrill of reading The Immortal Rules for me; the tone of the narrative was very realistic, making this world ruled by vampires seem possible; as if this dark, terrifying alternate existence could actually become a reality.
And within this harsh and brutal world lives our heroine, 17-year-old Allison Sekemoto. Refusing to register with the vampires and provide regular blood donations for them… and to become the vampires’ property and food, Allison lives on the fringes of society with three other unregistereds. Working together, the group scavenges to find enough food and other essentials to survive. Sometimes things become so desperate that Allison decides to take the risk of going outside the vampire city and into the surrounding ruins to search for food. This is incredibly dangerous as the vampire city is the only place that is safe from rabids, the zombie-like vampires which attack anything living. It is on one of these trips that Allison’s life is forever changed and she is forced to make the choice between dying and becoming what she hates most.
Allison is a great heroine: selfish yet compassionate; young yet mature beyond her years due to the difficulties of life in this world. Strong character development allows you to understand the growth Allison undergoes throughout the novel. You will be drawn into this story immediately, cheering for Allison, and feeling her pain at the harshness of this world. She is truly the perfect blend of good and bad, and her struggle showcases the moral of this story.
In her best book to date, and her first vampire novel, Julie Kagawa uses her amazing gift with imagery and her wildly creative imagination to build a world unlike any other I’ve read about, crafting a truly fascinating tale that will keep you turning the pages. The Immortal Rules is a new spin on the vampire story that you simply must read. I know I can’t wait to read more.
Following the fourth World War, the United States no longer exists. Formed in its place is a new countr...moreREVIEWED by Louise for Between the Covers blog:
Following the fourth World War, the United States no longer exists. Formed in its place is a new country called Illea. The post-war world has undergone a radical change. Society is divided into castes, each having specific professions and status assigned to it. Gone is the democratic vote to elect a president; Illea is ruled from the throne by a King and Queen. The sons of the Royal couple remain in Illea to rule, their daughters are married off to the leaders of other countries so that this young nation can form political alliances. This is the setting of Kiera Cass’ debut novel, The Selection.
Enter Prince Maxon, son of the King and Queen of Illea... and a young man of an age to need a wife. The plot of this story is the quest to obtain a princess. How is that done? In Illea, the Princess is to be a ‘true daughter’ of the country; therefore a lottery-type drawing is held. One young woman is chosen from each of the 35 provinces to compete to win the heart of the Prince and become the Princess.
America Singer is a 16-year-old girl whose family are Fives, artists; America is a musician. She and her family struggle to make ends meet, especially during the winter months. They have enough to survive, but just barely, and there are rarely extras. Agreeing to submit the application because it will allow her to save money for her future, America never dreams she’ll be Selected. She has plans for her life which don’t include wearing a crown; she’s in love with a neighbor boy, Aspen. The only problem is that Aspen is a Six, a servant, and marrying him would be a step down... and America will have to fight to convince both Aspen and her mother to accept this change in her status.
But when she is Selected and goes away to Angeles to compete for the crown, she sees a world the likes of which she has never dreamed. Not just one of expensive gowns, jewels and limitless food, but a world in which she could make a difference... if she were the one at Prince Maxon’s side.
Maxon is all that a young royal should be... handsome, intelligent and caring. He’s also incredibly isolated by the lifestyle of the Royals and the threats to the Royal family. He finds a friend in America, an unlikely companion and counselor, and he quickly comes to care for the unique young woman who truly doesn’t want his crown.
The Selection was a fun, quick read. For all that the story is set in post-war, the writing is never dark and focuses mostly on what it’s like to be one of the young women competing for the crown. I liked both America and Maxon, though I felt their voices were a little more mature than the teenagers who have been running through my house for the last ten years. *laughs* I liked the secondary characters that we were given insight into, and was amused at the interplay of all the girls personalities. I enjoyed reading the brief exchanges that showed the true political machinations at work in this young country.
BtCers, you know I have a serious love affair with dystopian books. *owns it* But I have to say that while this book is billed as dystopian, it really never seemed to be one to me. There was no true world building. Aside from telling us that there was a fourth World War, we are never shown any of the repercussions. We don’t see much of the world, at all. The book is confined almost entirely to the Illean palace. I would have enjoyed ‘seeing’ more of this world, so that I could better appreciate the characters individual struggles. I also never really felt any true development of the love triangle between America, Maxon and Aspen... Aspen was almost a non-entity in the book, appearing really only at the end.
Overall, I enjoyed The Selection, and I am curious to learn more of this world... and to see what develops between America and Maxon.
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.
Okay... full disclosure. I have really wanted to read this book since it came out. The blurb drew me in and never let go. But life kept interfering, and I didn't manage to read it until now. And I am so glad I didn’t give up on it.
Cassia Reyes lives in a world where the Society makes all the decisions for her... What she will wear, what she will eat, what she will learn, what her job will be, where she will live and who she will marry. She has never questioned these rules, recognizing that the Society knows what is best for her, that they have learned from the mistakes of previous Societies. She has been happy and content with her life, secure in the knowledge that the Society’s methods ensure the citizens live a full, healthy and useful life. Until the events following her Matching ceremony.
Surprised yet pleased to find herself matched with her best friend, Xander, Cassia sees their pairing as further proof that the Society knows what is best. After all, she and Xander already know each other so well, and they may not have to move away from their families. Counting herself the fortunate to benefit from the Society’s planning, Cassia looks at the microcard she received at the ceremony and sees something that turns her perfectly ordered life upside down... a face other than Xander’s reflected as her match.
Dudes! *shakes head and throws hands up in air* Unlike Cassia, who is content to believe what she is told, I had so many questions while reading this book. My inner rebel was WTSnot-ing every five minutes! Why did the Society destroy all but 100 each of the songs, paintings, poems and books? What kind of world is it that such commonplace things as someone having a scrape and seeing an unfamiliar face is shocking? What are the different pills for? Why can't they share food? Why are they allowed to learn only what they need to know for their specific trade? Why does no one know how to write? *pulls hair and waits for answers*
These questions and more are presented as Condie takes us through this first book of Cassia’s story. With each turn of the page we see Cassia transform. We see her interact with her family, that unit so solid and perfect at first glance, that proves to be truly strong but with much more depth than we were initially led to believe. We see Cassia’s relationship with Xander begin to change, the shift to a couple begin to develop. Condie paints a picture that is a little too platonic for me to fully believe, but she had my mind so entangled with all the questions she raised, the lack of raging teenage hormones between Cassia and Xander almost went unnoticed by me. We see Cassia begin to notice Ky Markham, her second match, and the relationship that grows almost unintentionally between them. (I will say that I felt there was more heat between Ky and Cassia than between her and Xander.)
Matched is the first of three books planned in this series, and ends with a cliffhanger that will have you wanting to call the author up at home... or maybe hit her up on twitter so she doesn’t get a restraining order against you... and ask her what’s happening next. Condie’s clear, concise style worked very well for this story, as there was so much information given. Maybe I am reading too much into it, but it was as if Condie channeled the Society and wrote the book in the clinical method which would have been appropriate to the world she created.
As I said, it took me forever to do it, but I am very glad I finally read Matched. I enjoyed the characters, am incredibly intrigued by the world Condie has made, and am bounce in my seat curious to know what happens next. I love reading books that make me think, love it when I am presented with an idea that challenges what I think. It is a special kind of high when a book takes me that far outside myself. #MyDrugOfChoice Matched is one of those books, for me.
REVIEWED by Christin for Between the Covers blog on 12/20/10:
Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
These are the words that haunt Cassia, that start to turn her world upside down. She has always been content with the Society, content to follow their plans and rules, grateful for the benefits and security the Society offers. But when she sees a second Match on her microcard, and her grandfather gives her powerful, forbidden words of long-lost poems, all of that begins to change.
Cassia is a sorter by nature (and perhaps by choice of the Society) - she is quick to recognize patterns and/or inconsistencies in data and draw conclusions. Once she gives herself permission to wonder, she starts to question the beliefs that she's held all her life. She begins to wonder what it would be like to have a choice.
Condie's writing style is clear and simple, and that definitely works with this story. The reader is quickly drawn into Cassia's world, learning, questioning, and growing along with her. Cassia's emotions definitely transferred from the page, making me want to rage, run, cry, and savor with her. In addition, I enjoyed learning about all of the characters, who all had their own unique traits and talents despite the Society's attempts to equalize everyone and everything.
And then there's the love triangle between Cassia, Xander, and Ky. I have to say that the development of these relationships seemed a little unbelievable, though I'm not sure whether that was because the descriptions were so very chaste or because of the context in which these relationships had to develop. Nevertheless, I'll be very curious to see how this plays out in the next books - for Cassia, it will definitely be a choice between more than just two people she loves.
The ending of Matched definitely left me wanting more. I will be impatiently waiting for Crossed, the sequel!
I usually stay away from period books. For some reason I have never been able to get into them. Because...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
I usually stay away from period books. For some reason I have never been able to get into them. Because of that, I was going to pass on Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood. However, I started to hear some amazing things about it, so I did a little research. Between the positive buzz and and the story being about witches, I decided to give it a try. I am very happy that I did because Born Wicked has easily become one of my favorite books.
Cate is the oldest of the three Cahill sisters, and has taken on the role of pseudo mother to her sisters. The Cahill sisters are an oddity around town. They are what society calls “blue stockings,” unusual or strange, unladylike women. Cate’s biggest worry is that the fact that they are witches will become public knowledge. If their secret is learned then the religious group, the Brotherhood, will send them away. Cate’s father decides that they need a governess to help bring them into society and teach them. The governess is a member of the Sisterhood, the female version of the Brotherhood. Cate is shocked to learn that not everyone is as they seem, and secrets are almost always exposed.
I absolutely loved this book, which was a fantastic surprise. Jessica Spotswood has written a superb debut novel. All of my worries over this being a period piece were for naught - I never once thought about it, the story just surpassed it.. This book was fantastically written. Jessica has created an alternate history that is so vivid and real that sometimes you forget that it didn’t actually happen. I love Jessica’s unique take on the Witch Trials, and the religious persecutors behind it. She created a fantastic villainous group, which almost seemed to step right out of U.S. History.
The characters are amazingly written, I felt like they came alive and right off the page. There were times that I forgot altogether that this was her debut novel. I found each character very well developed and never once did I feel like she waivered in their personalities. She captured the dynamic of the sisters’ relationship like she had lived it. Being the oldest of three brothers I can relate to the emotional dynamics of the sisters, and Jessica captured it spot on. The angst that she has created between the oldest and middle sisters was perfect. The tension was palpable through her writing.
Born Wicked was extremely hard to put down once I started. I had been in a bit of a reading funk when I started it, not being able to get into a story line, and Born Wicked pulled me out of it. This book was delightfully entertaining and engrossing. I am already anxiously awaiting book two in this series.
I have to say that I started Winterborne by Augusta Blythe expecting a totally different story than the...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
I have to say that I started Winterborne by Augusta Blythe expecting a totally different story than the one that I read. I expected a superhero story from the point of view of Mia, but what I got was a supernatural fey story from the point of view of Mia’s best friend, Loie. I actually think that I prefer what I read to my preconceived notion, and that rarely happens.
Loie has lived with her uncaring, semi verbally abusive grandmother since her parents died when she was younger. Loie’s parents died on the same day that her best friend Mia’s father went missing. Loie spends the majority of the time with Mia at her house, so much so that she has her own room and Mia’s mother treats her as a second child.
Loie and Mia are preparing for their seventeenth birthday when Mia will inherit the Winterborne superpower legacy. Loie is a faithful best friend and seems quite happy with her role of human sidekick. Insert Andreas, Mia’s new British next door neighbor, and the girls’ mutual crush, and things start to go wonky. There are leprechaun attacks, an army of toads and a fairy that wants to stop Mia’s powers from coming into play--along with the mystery of the death of Loie’s parents, the disappearance of Mia’s dad, and the question of who Andreas really is and what he wants--and it leads this story to a twist of an ending with a promise of sequels.
Winterborne is an indie published book. I know a few people who have had some duds and some grammatical nightmares when it comes to indie or self published books, but I have yet to pick one up that has not entertained me completely. Winterborne is no exception. It is a well developed story that is well written and extremely entertaining. Augusta has blended nicely a mix of paranormal mythology with her own mutant-like subculture. I think that this is aimed at the young adult market but would completely entertain any adult reader.
The blurb of On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane posted on NetGalley caught my attention and really made me wa...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
The blurb of On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane posted on NetGalley caught my attention and really made me want to read this book. It sounded unique and mysterious. I requested it with hopes that it would become one of my favorites. Unfortunately, I am really on the fence with this book, even after a few days to digest. I still feel that it was just a mediocre book.
Abbey cheated death 5 years ago in a horrible car accident that claimed her mother’s life. She holds herself responsible for the accident and her moms death, and it consumers her life. It doesn’t help that she is constantly surrounded by the dead: she and her father live in the funeral home that he owns and runs. Abbey learns the hard way that death never forgets a person that escapes him and finds herself being stalked by the reaper of souls.
I have to say, I found myself utterly confused, and frankly a little bored, by the first three-quarters of this book. I couldn’t figure out what was really going on. It jumped from point of views and then from locations in a very confusing manner. The paranormal aspect that I had expected just never showed. We got an excessive amount of background info, some random plot points to extend the story, and a lot of mountain climbing information that I could have lived without.
However, I really enjoyed the last quarter of the book. I felt like this was when the story actually started, like it was finally the book that I read the description for. There was a plot that was going somewhere and the characters were amounting to something. If this part of the book could have been extended it would have made it an entirely different book.
Overall, this book just wasn’t for me. I had to push myself to finish. What I had thought from the book blurb would be a really good book turned out to be just middle of the road for me. The thing to keep in mind about reviews is that they are just one person’s opinion. I am sure that this book will appeal to many people, but for me it just fell flat. To find out what others think of this book, I suggest checking out these reviews from Marla at Starting the Next Chapter, Krista at CubicleBlindness Reviews, and Jennifer at Fictitious Musings.
Rating: 3 stars
Disclaimer: This eGalley was provided to me free of charge by the publisher via NetGalley. No monetary compensation was received in exchange for this fair and honest review.
I love it when a book sucks me in and makes it impossible to stop reading, when I need to devour it all...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
I love it when a book sucks me in and makes it impossible to stop reading, when I need to devour it all at once. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout is exactly that type of book. It is fast paced and entertaining, and before you know it you are at the end and pining for the next book.
Katy has been uprooted and moved to West Virginia, and she isn’t happy with it. She has resigned herself to a life of backwater hillbillies and being stuck inside blogging. After some pushing from her mother, she makes friends with Dee, her next door neighbor. Dee is outgoing and a little strange, but that is nothing compared to her brooding and unpleasant, but very attractive, twin brother, Daemon. Daemon is totally against Katy and Dee being friends, and does everything in his power to convince them that they should not be. Katy remains headstrong and assumes that Daemon is just a pompous jerk, and continues her friendship with Dee. Katy soon learns that there is something strange going on with her neighbors, and before she knows what it is she is sucked in and her life is turned upside down.
I was unprepared for this book. I knew it was a paranormal romance/science fiction, but it was a pleasant surprise to find that Obsidian was different from the current books out in the genre. I enjoyed learning about Daemon and Dee, and the unique and strong mythos surrounding their backgrounds. It is always enjoyable to have a new and unique view in a overcrowded genre.
Obsidian is very well written. Jennifer developed the story, built up to a very successful climax, and had a ending that left me wanting more. The only complaint that I have is that the characters lack a little in the development area. They are great characters, they were just a tad flat at times - like there was a spark missing. It was never enough to make me stop enjoying the book, there were just times they felt off. Obsidian is a great start to a new series, and I will be looking forward to the next book.
X-men is one of my favorite comic series of all time. So, when I read that Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi wa...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
X-men is one of my favorite comic series of all time. So, when I read that Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi was a dystopian twist of the X-Men mixed with The Hunger Games, I was sold. In my mind it didn’t live up to these claims, but it was still a great start to a new series.
Juliette hasn’t touched another person in 264 days. The last time she did, she accidently killed a person. Locked up for her crimes, Juliette seeks companionship within her own mind. Then suddenly she finds herself with a cellmate. The cellmate is Adam, a boy from her past. Adam is a test, the Reestablishment wants to see if Juliette is crazy or if she can be used as weapon to further their agenda. Juliette has a decision to make: will she join the Reestablishment, or will she use her power for good?
I just want to get this out of the way to start: Shatter Me was not reminiscent of the Hunger Games at all. It was hardly a dystopian novel. It had dystopian elements, but the main focus was on Juliette and her touch, not on the society and what they have become. There were hints of a dystopian society, but not a lot of focus. I feel that as the series progresses we will get more dystopian, but for now this is defiantly a science fiction novel.
With my genre rant out of the way, let me say that I loved the how this book was written. I found Tahereh’s style of writing amazing. She writes flowing prose that brings the story to life. I loved that we had Juliette’s inner thoughts and then crossed over to she what she really said. It added an extra element to the story. I felt that we got to see Juliette’s inner workings.
I found this book to be very promising. The characters were well developed, and I felt that Tahereh really nailed the people in the book. The story left me wanting more. At the ending of this book I immediately wanted the next book and was completely bummed with the realization that I would have to wait. Overall, I was very impressed by this fantastic debut.
If you lost the memory of the most tragic event of your life, would you want to remember or would you wa...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
If you lost the memory of the most tragic event of your life, would you want to remember or would you want to leave it forgotten? What if it haunted your life, consumed your every waking moment? For Mara Dyer remembering is all that she wants, because if she can remember the night that haunts her then maybe she can live a normal life again.
Mara Dyer was a typical girl: she liked hanging out with her friends, living her life and going to school. She was normal until she woke up in the hospital with no recollection of the accident she had been in, no memory of her friends deaths, and unable to recall the events leading up to accident. Mara wants to start over, so her family uproots itself and moves to Florida in hopes that it will help Mara get past everything.
But starting over isn’t always easy. Mara is haunted by the tragedy of her friends death, by strange accidents that happen around her, and her attraction to a boy who isn’t exactly what he seems. Mara hopes that her memories will help piece everything together and not just prove that she truly is crazy.
I actually had no expectations with The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. I had heard all the buzz about it, but never any solid info about the plot. I ended up devouring the book, I just couldn’t put it down. I loved the subtle paranormal aspect, as well as the mystery within the novel. Mara was a very well developed character. I felt that she was an actual person and really felt for her with her emotional struggles. I had a little problem with the secondary characters, mainly Mara’s family. They were a little flat and they gave in to Mara a little to easily when she wanted to move. The romance aspect was very well done. It was easy and not too over the top like some young adult novels.
This was a very well written debut. I think that the author, Michelle Hodkin, has a very promising career and after reading this first book I think that people will be picking up whatever she publishes next. I know I will.
I picked up The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann because of the cover tag line which said it was for fans of The...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
I picked up The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann because of the cover tag line which said it was for fans of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. Being a huge fan of both series, I had to see if it was able to fulfill that bold statement. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, as I could not put the book down. I was hooked, pulled into this dystopian magical world.
The story centers on Alex, a thirteen-year-old boy. He and his twin brother, Aaron, are citizens of Quill, a colorless, creative void of a town. At the age of thirteen children are sorted into their roles in the society. Alex is deemed an Unwanted, and Unwanteds are purged from society, sent to their deaths. Alex learns that for years the Unwanteds have been saved and taken to a magical creative land called Artime. Artime is led by Mr. Today, and he is training the Unwanteds in creative magical art defense so that if the people of Quill ever discover that the Unwanteds are still alive the Unwanteds can defend themselves. Alex misses his brother and is sure that them being twins means that Aaron must also be a Unwanted. Hellbent on bringing Aaron to Artime, Alex starts a chain of events that will likely change Artime and Quill forever.
I am happy to say that there are elements of both Harry Potter and the Hunger Games in this book. There is a magical world that Alex is part of, but had no idea existed, just like Harry and there is a sorting that puts children to there death that is semi reminiscent of the reaping in the Hunger Games, but that is where the similarities stop. The Unwanteds stands on its own with a unique storyline, and the author created an interesting new world, a magical world influenced by creative arts. Music can stun and paintings can kill in the land of Artime, and Lisa weaves a tale that brings these things visually to life.
The only problem I had with this book was the simplicity of it, and I can look past that because this book was aimed at the upper middle grade market. I will say that despite the simplicity of it, older youth and adults alike will enjoy this fantasy tale. Overall, I was totally smitten with this book, and I am looking forward to subsequent titles to come in this new series.
Reviewing a book that is basically on every blogger’s TBR pile can be a bit intimidating. Especially whe...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
Reviewing a book that is basically on every blogger’s TBR pile can be a bit intimidating. Especially when it’s a John Green book. I have read most of John’s books and to be truthful the main reason I pre-ordered The Fault in Our Stars (TFiOS) was that every pre-order would be a signed edition. I have to say that while I was not fully a Nerd Fighter (the pop culture name John Green fans are known by) before reading TFiOS, you can rest assured that after having read it, I am convinced of the awesomeness that is John Green.
Hazel has Stage IV thyroid cancer which she has been living with, and preparing to die from, since the age of 12. However, at the age of 14 the tumors had miraculously shrunk, extending her life. Now 16-years-old, Hazel considers herself a grenade: she sees her life as a ticking bomb which will eventually detonate and hurt the ones she loves. Hazel is distant and depressed, so her mother forces her to attend a cancer support group for teens. That is where Hazel meets Augustus. Gus is a handsome and confident cancer survivor who lost one of his legs to his battle with the disease. Hazel and Gus instantly connect, but Hazel struggles to let herself get close.
So, this novel is going to be a little harder to review than most. I do not want to give anything away for those of you have not read it yet. (By the way, what are you waiting for?!?) John is known for is amazing contemporary writing style and TFiOS is no exception. TFiOS takes the subject of cancer and shows the plethora of emotions inside a person living with it - emotions which range from funny, to sad, to angry. He takes a hard hitting subject and softens it a bit with a quirkiness that is amazing.
The characters in TFiOS were absolutely fantastically written. Hazel is nothing like your typical female protagonist: she is smart, witty and down to earth. She was a breath of fresh air. I have never connected or understood a female character better than Hazel; I wanted to know her in real life. The supporting characters were also amazing, and her mother was perfectly written. I felt like he nailed the mother of a child with stage IV cancer dead on: the doting mom who is kind of suffocating, but has these layers that you don’t fully see because she isn’t ready to show you.
The relationship aspect of this book was spot on for me, as well. I loved that Hazel wasn’t instantly madly in love with Gus. It was a slow process of growing feelings. I get annoyed when a person looks at a love interest and instantly has this undying love and longing. This felt real, I could see the inner cogs turn inside her head and watched her come to the realization that there was something more.
TFiOS is a fantastic book; it may even be a contender in my favorites of 2012. I laughed, I cried (oh yes, this book will tug on your heart strings more than once). It had some twists that I didn’t see coming right away. John defiantly strayed from what I originally envisioned from the first chapters, but most importantly it was balanced. The heaviness and the quirkiness were in check and made this book awesome. If you have yet to pick up this amazing book, go do it. Seriously what are you waiting for?!? You will not regret it.
I usually enjoy modern day versions of fairy tales. I love to see something classic and everlasting be...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
I usually enjoy modern day versions of fairy tales. I love to see something classic and everlasting be retold or imagined in new and inventive ways. Unfortunately, Dreaming of Beauty by Kristen White fell flat and disappointed me.
Chloe is 15 and has the seemingly perfect life. She is a good daughter who hardly gets into any trouble, has a great group of friends, and has the perfect prince charming in her boyfriend, Evan. All of that is thought to be true until Logan, the new boy in school, enters Chloe’s life. And then everything she thought she knew is shattered. Chloe starts to get agonizing headaches, sees red spots in her vision, and hears piercing sounds whenever she is around Logan. Her emotions are getting out of check and she can’t decide if she wants her perfect boyfriend, Evan, or the dark, mysterious semi-stalker, Logan. All she can hope is that she can find her happily ever after.
I really wanted to like this book, I truly did. But I found myself just wishing it would end. Despite that, there were things that I did like about Dreaming of Beauty. I like the idea behind this story. Kristen White takes the well known tale of Sleeping Beauty and attempts to give it an alternate ending, allowing her to weave her tale and have it make sense in her timeline. Although she did not execute it smoothly, the idea behind the story was very intriguing and ultimately it is what kept me reading, even when I wanted to abandon the story.
However, there were more things that I disliked about the book. To start with, the pacing was problematic; the book never felt like it found its footing. The story felt rushed, and under worked. I never lost myself in the story because I continually had to stop and think just to figure out what was going on. Also, the book was split into three parts, and while normally I do not mind this, with Dream of Beauty each part felt like it was a brand new story and we were starting all over again. Everything felt off, and the main part of the story felt convoluted and rushed, with only a dream sequence to make the story come together.
My next major disappointment were the characters; they never developed and were one dimensional. I like to feel for the characters when I read a book; I want to be able to visualize them, and feel like they could be alive and breathing. With Chloe and her two love interests, I never felt for them. I got glimpses of their development, but I think with the pacing and organization of the book, it never happened. Throughout the whole book they never felt like anything other than people written on the page.
Ultimately, Dreaming of Beauty did not work for me. I had to force myself to finish. But I am a firm believer that even though I did not enjoy this book, that does not mean that someone else may not love it. That’s the joy of reading.
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi was one of the 2012 debuts that I was really excited...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi was one of the 2012 debuts that I was really excited for, and when I was given the chance to read it from NetGalley, I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately for me, it sort of fell flat and I had to force myself to push through and finish the book, but by the end I could see some promise in the rest of the series.
Aria is a Dweller, she was born and raised in the Pods. A child of the Realms, an artificial world, she agrees to disconnect from the Realms with her friends in hopes that she may gain information about her mother. Unfortunately, there is a accident and the results leave Aria kicked out of the Pods and flung head first into the outside world known as the Death Shop. Aria encounters Perry, a savage from the outside who has reason to blame his recent misfortunes on Aria, and he agrees to aid her in finding out about her mother if she helps him with his nephew. Aria and Perry work together and eventually find that things are not as either of them initially imagined.
As I said, I had a really hard time with this book. I just could not get into the story. I was so excited by the premise, but by chapter five I could not fathom what was going on and the story seemed to drag and drag. I would read a few pages and find myself wanting to abandon the book altogether. The first three quarters of the book were torture for me. There was no set up; we jumped right into a world with characters that were flat and annoying. The narrators kept switching back and forth between chapters, but it felt forced and unidentifiable. I just wanted a set up, to know why was the world the way it was, but nothing was ever revealed, instead we were given just passing talk and hints. Then suddenly there was a flicker, like a switch had been flipped in the writer’s mind, and the story from the book blurb started to take form.
The last quarter or so of this book was like someone entirely different had written it, and it was good. The characters were alive and vivid, there was progress in the story and it was getting interesting. The story felt like it was finally amounting to something that I would enjoy reading more about. The switch between Aria and Perry was natural, like we were seeing two sides of the same story. This was what I had been eagerly awaiting. I felt that the author had finally found her stride, and it made me glad that I stuck with the story. If it hadn’t been for the last part of the book I would have given this book a one or two star rating, but because of the dramatic turnaround and the way it redeemed itself, I gave it a higher rating. And if time allows I will be picking up the next book to see if the story continues to progress as well as the ending implied.
I read Anathema by Megg Jensen a few months ago, and upon finishing I couldn’t wait to get to Oubliette,...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
I read Anathema by Megg Jensen a few months ago, and upon finishing I couldn’t wait to get to Oubliette, the second book in the trilogy. Megg had created such a fascinating world in Anathema that I couldn’t wait to read more about it. I bought Oubliette right away, but had to find the time to fit it into my TBR pile. I am sorry I waited so long to get to it because it was just as fantastic as Anathema... and maybe a little more so.
Reychel had put all her faith in the council, believing that she was free. Unfortunately she was wrong. Reychel winds up in the Southern Kingdom alone, pushed threw a portal. She is being used as a pawn and is not sure who she can trust. Everyone is telling her that her gift of prophecy is amazing, but she finds it uncontrollable. She longs to be able to control it, but the only person who could help her is a dead madman who left journals that may be able to guide her. Reychel is rushed to learn to control her gift so that she can live up to being the savior to her people in a war that is brewing amongst them.
It is a rare occurrence that the middle book in a trilogy be just as good as the first. It is even more unusual for it to be even better. Oubliette is one of those rare occurrences. Megg has taken this amazing world she created and given it more depth by taking us to a different region and introducing some brand new characters. I find Megg’s characters fascinating because they are so well developed. Each character is identifiable and feels like a unique, real person. She writes them with an air of mystery and aura of uncertainty about their loyalty, and I cannot seem to get them out of my mind.
I loved that fact that this was a middle book yet it still was building a world that could pull me in from beginning to end. The world is still the same but the location has changed, giving a better grasp on the society and basic fundamentals which were introduced in book one. Oubliette ended with such a cliffhanger that I can not wait to pick up and start the final book in this amazing trilogy.
I wanted to read Dearly Departed desperately. I longed for it. A genre defying novel, it mixes steampunk...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
I wanted to read Dearly Departed desperately. I longed for it. A genre defying novel, it mixes steampunk, dystopian, zombies and romance all into one fairly large novel. I pre-ordered Dearly and as soon as Amazon delivered it I had to start it. I just wish that I had loved it as much as I wanted to.
Dearly Departed is told in three main point of views (with one surprise narrator thrown in): Nora the daughter of Victor Dearly, Bram a zombie warrior, and Pamela, Nora’s lower class best friend. Set in New Victory, the bulk of the story revolves around a war with what is believed to be the Punks, but turns out to be the Grays, an evil group of zombies. Nora is drawn into the heart of the conflict, and from there the story takes place. I know that this is a vague description, but anymore and it would be filled with spoilers.
It took me almost 300 pages before I actually started to enjoy this book, and if it wasn’t for the fact that I wanted to read this book so badly I would have given up on it in the first hundred pages. My main problem was the switching of the narrative. I usually love hearing multiple points of view, but for some reason this time it was tedious and over used. I found that sometimes I had to remind myself who was telling the story at that point, because the characters where flat and sounded the same. The only things that I absolutely loved was the risk this author took by having a zombie romance, and by defying what we know about the living dead.
Sometimes a book just doesn’t live up to the hype that you built in your head, and that’s okay. I enjoyed the ending and ultimately where the book led us, and although I may not rush out and buy the next book in the series, I will eventually read it. I hate when I don’t love a book, but overall it just wasn’t what I had hoped it would be and felt flat overall as a story.
The subject of time travel can be a tricky topic to write about. There are many logistics...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
The subject of time travel can be a tricky topic to write about. There are many logistics and parameters that can really bog down the story if not handled correctly. Julie Cross does an excellent job of dealing with the scientific aspect of time travel, while still keeping a very entertaining story in her new novel, Tempest.
The year is 2009 and Jackson is an ordinary teenager. That is until he falls asleep in class one day and discovers he can jump through time. He finds time travel is nothing like it is in the movies. He can go back but nothing that he does has any effect on the future. Jackson trusts his secret to his best friend Adam, a science geek, who is bound and determined that there is a scientific explanation for Jackson’s extraordinary powers. When Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, are attacked in her dorm room, Holly is wounded. Jackson freaks out and somehow travels back in time to the year 2007. Jackson is desperate to return to his year and save Holly. Unfortunately for Jackson there is more going on than he can even imagine.
So being an absolute Geek, I was more than a little interested in Tempest when I read the synopsis. I love movies and television shows that deal with time travel and time line variations. Julie Cross takes a subject that can get heavy on the science and turns it into a very well developed story while keeping the fundamentals of the scientific aspect light and interesting. I was completely engrossed in the story from the get go and loved Julie's writing style. The characters were a tiny bit flat at first, as if they could be any teenagers in any part of the world and oh, by the way one of them can kind of time travel. As the story progressed and we got deeper into the sub plots they truly seemed to grow, developing as every page was turned. I love when you can read a book and literally see the character growth happening with every word read.
The time travel aspect is truly unique, and by the end of the book you can not tell who is the enemy and who the good guys are. There is a fine line for both parties, and each of them kind of fall into a gray area, setting up for what I believe could be a truly amazing series. I can see why this was optioned as a movie even before its release into the wild; this series could be epic depending on where the author takes us. I for one will be highly anticipating the next installment.
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.
For the past few months I have been envious of people as they received their copies of Cin...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
For the past few months I have been envious of people as they received their copies of Cinder, book one of the Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer for review. So when the chance to request it from NetGalley came up, I just had to jump at it. I am a sucker for a fairytale retelling, and Cinder takes the story of Cinderella and mixes it with a futuristic sci-fi, dystopian-ish society, making it absolute must read for me.
Cinder is a cyborg who lives in New Beijing working as one of the areas most gifted mechanics. She lives under the guardianship of her step-mother, who loathes Cinder and blames her for the death of her husband. Cinder tries to keep her head down and just live her meager life. After a chance encounter with the Prince of New Beijing, Cinder’s life is turned upside down, the Prince is smitten, and Cinder’s sister is stricken with a plague that terrorizes the city. Cinder must do what she can to help her sister and discover secrets she never new existed.
I absolutely loved Cinder. Marissa took a well known story and created an amazingly fantastic new twist, making this it an all together new story. The world that the author created is extremely vivid and well conceived. Gone is the old fairytale kingdom; New Beijing is gritty, almost wild. Technology is advanced and plays a important part of the culture. I could picture New Beijing almost like it was a place I had been to before, which made the reading experience even more engaging. The characters in Cinder were very well written. I love when characters are so well written that I feel as if they are people in my life; living breathing people, so vivid that I can anticipate their thoughts or actions.
The greatest part of this novel are the twists and liberties that Marissa took with the original Cinderella story. All the important elements are still there; you have Cinderella, the wicked stepmother and stepsisters, the prince and castle, the ball, the wicked witch, and most importantly the glass slipper... All are there, just in a fresh new look with an enormous amount of added story that takes this well known tale to an amazing new place.
Cinder was one of my most anticipated books of 2012, and it greatly exceeded my expectations. From the first chapter I was hooked and could not put it down. Marissa Meyer has a bright future ahead of her and I certainly look forward to the 2013 release of the next book in the Lunar Chronicles, currently titled Scarlet.
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.
I buy indie books on my kindle all the time. I scour the message boards for free or very low priced book...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
I buy indie books on my kindle all the time. I scour the message boards for free or very low priced books every day, but I have yet to find one that has entertained me as much as Anathema by Megg Jensen. (And it was a steal for only $0.99.) The first in The Cloud Trilogy, this book is extremely well written and developed.
Anathema centers around a slave girl named Reychel. Reychel was born into slavery and is forbidden from viewing the outside world unless alone with her master. She is treated better than any other slave and given special treatment by her master, which lends to the core mystery and plot of this story. There is more to Reychel than meets the eye and it leads us to the climax of the story, and presumably the rest of the series.
Jensen does a fantastic job with Anathema. She builds a very vivid world and sets up the series by leaving bits of mystery and intrigue scattered throughout the story. There were times that I felt that I could walk her world and know where everything is. The characters in this book grow and change as you read, making you feel almost like you know them personally. Jensen’s thorough development of them takes them from flat, one dimensional characters to complex people who you can envision meeting and perhaps even becoming friends with.
I can not express how much I enjoyed this book. It concluded with a fantastic ending which left me wanting more. I absolutely could not put it down, I wanted to live and breathe this world. I am looking forward to the next to installment in the trilogy, and I hope that I do not have long to wait. Megg Jensen has earned her a spot on my authors to watch list.
Russ Knight is an outsider, someone we all can identify with. But he used to be one of the golden boys,...moreREVIEWED by Karen for Between the Covers blog:
Russ Knight is an outsider, someone we all can identify with. But he used to be one of the golden boys, a basketball player with the perfect, pretty girlfriend and the charmed life. Unfortunately for Russ, the prom changed his life forever. Prom... the night his girlfriend, Cindi, was charged with the attempted murder of her baby. Oh, and by the way, Russ isn’t the father, since he’s a virgin. Apparently, there are a lot of potential candidates for daddy. Cindi swears that the baby isn’t hers, that it’s a faerie changeling, and that her real baby has been taken by the Korrigan queen to be used as a sacrifice to gain power. So, it’s off to the mental hospital for her while she’s awaiting trial for attempted murder.
Then Russ meets Puck, a goth-type girl with blue hair and lots of piercings, and he likes her, despite the fact that she’s so not his type. With her help, he discovers that Cindi was telling the truth about the changeling, and that only the child’s biological father can save the baby – except they still don’t know who the father is. So Puck, Russ, and his best friend, Marcos, investigate to discover who the father is in order to save Cindi’s baby.
The characters were extremely likeable, their interaction memorable with a few plot twists. The scenes that took place in the vampire bar were a nice touch. I enjoyed watching how Russ came to terms with his role and responsibility amidst all the turmoil. We watch him grow and discover what kind of man he will be. The story was a fresh take on faery, and a great YA read.
Every so often a novel is published that is hyped so much you think it could never possibly live up to t...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
Every so often a novel is published that is hyped so much you think it could never possibly live up to the lofty expectations. This is not one of those times and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is not one of those books. It not only meets every expectation set, it surpasses them in leaps and bounds.
Spanning decades, The Night Circus weaves a tale of magic and romance that captivates readers from the very first page. It begins with a contest, an unknown wager struck by two rival magicians which pits their two young apprentices, Celia and Marco, against each other in a competition that will span the apprentices lifetimes. Celia and Marco weave together The Le Cirque des Rêves, the stunning stage that encompasses the heart of the story and the amazing secondary characters who bring the story to life.
It’s hard to put into words why I loved this novel. The characters were superbly written, the story delicately woven, and the scenes painted for you in vivid, colorful words. I literally could not put this book down. I would take it with me to work in hopes that I would have a spare moment to slip back into this world. I was thoroughly engaged, trying to figure out what the strange competition actually entailed or to see what dazzling bit of magic they would come up with next.
Magic, romance, forbidden love, mystery, foretelling, and strange circumstances all add up to one incredibly well put together debut. I suggest that everyone put this on there TBR pile. Then get to it as soon as possible, because it will not disappoint.
Quirky and cute. That is what I was left thinking when I finished Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephani...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
Quirky and cute. That is what I was left thinking when I finished Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. Every so often you need a pallet cleansing book, and by that I mean a thoughtless, feel good, light book to help balance out all the heavy, emotional books out there. Lola is just that type of book.
Lola is quirky, she dresses quirky she has two quirky gay dads and a quirky rock and roll boyfriend… have I emphasized quirky enough? She starts off secure in her identity, confident of whom she is and what she wants, but as the story unfolds there are cracks in her resolve. Her next door neighbor Cricket Bell returns and we find out Lola may not know exactly who or what she wants.
If you have read Anna and the French Kiss, than you already know what to expect with Lola. In fact Anna and St. Clair are supporting characters in this companion novel. Stephanie follows a very specific flow with her love stories, but it’s the charm of her characters that make the stories so entertaining. Lola is a bit deeper than Anna, and her obstacles are a bit heavier, but it makes this story even more engaging and for the better.
There are going to be plenty of people describing Lola as “chick-lit”, and while it is heavy on the romantic angst, it’s over all a gender defying, feel good story. I never stop myself from picking up a book just because the cover and the premise may gear toward girls, and Lola is a great book that guys will enjoy if they give it a chance.
I love the Iron Fey series. I love the uniqueness of the world, but I also love how familiar everything...moreREVIEWED by Chris for Between the Covers blog:
I love the Iron Fey series. I love the uniqueness of the world, but I also love how familiar everything feels at the same time. In this final installment Julie Kagawa switches from original narrator Meghan Chase to Ash, Prince of the Winter Court.
The Iron Knight picks up shortly after Summer’s Crossing (the e-reader exclusive novella) and within a few months of The Iron Queen. Ash and Puck have teamed up and are on a quest so Ash will be able to reunite with Megan. There are a few twists and turns that many will see coming, but enough surprises along the way to keep people entertained.
I feel that I was one of the few that were happy with the ending of The Iron Queen and the completeness it gave the series, but I am extremely happy that Julie decided to give us this book, and let us see our brooding prince up close and personal. I feel that this book gave us a piece of the puzzle that had been missing and we didn’t even know it. It gave us a look at Ash and Puck, and a better insight into why these former friends became enemies to the death, and the reason for their self-loathing.
Julie truly is a talented writer, and has a feel for what her fans want. This final book will leave fans feeling complete with a very appropriate happily ever after.
In Virals, New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs first venture in to the young adult market,...moreREVIEWED by Louise for Between the Covers blog:
In Virals, New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs first venture in to the young adult market, we meet 14-year-old Victoria “Tory” Brennan. Tory is insanely bright, which isn’t shocking given that her aunt is Temperance Brennan, the brilliant forensic anthropologist from Reichs’ adult crime novel series. Being exceptionally inelligent isn’t easy, especially on a teenager, but Tory is written as very well adjusted. The story starts after Tory’s mother is killed by a drunk driver and Tory is forced to go live with her father, who she doesn’t know.
Tory’s father, despite being a research scientist on a remote island in South Carolina, is very much a stereotypical YA parent... absent, distant and disinterested. In his case, he simply doesn’t know how to be a parent, having had a teenager he was unaware he’d fathered land on his doorstep. But, the fact that he looks at what would have to be a grieving young woman trying to remain stoic, and decides she’s capable of handling most things on her own is disappointing. Most of the adult characters in this book were lacking, and I had to remind myself they were being “viewed” through the eyes of a 14-year-old. In that context, they come across as more real and human.
The story unfolds when Tory and her three friends spend their free time exploring the island where their parents work. They discover a secret lab performing unapproved experiments on wolf dogs, and an old set of dog tags. As intelligent kids with a knack for science and too much time on their hands, they begin investigating these two seemingly unrelated things and stumble upon a 40-year-old murder. They also learn more about the unauthorized experiments than they ever wanted to know... and their lives are forever altered.
Virals is an unusual blend... a mystery and, while I’ve seen some classify it as paranormal, to me it seemed more science fiction along the lines of Michael Crichton’s novels. Reichs utilizes her vast skills to keep the book moving and the writing fast paced, and her scientific knowledge to make the science fiction aspect more feasible.
I enjoyed the mystery in this book, and was thrilled with the lack of the requisite love triangle, but did feel that some parts of the story were over-simplified. Recognizing that Tory and her friends are all geniuses, the idea of kids breaking into a heavily secured lab was a stretch for me. At the same time, the teenagers are all written with a maturity far beyond what I see in most teens of my acquaintance. Despite these “reality checks,” Virals was a fun, entertaining read, and I am interested in the next installment in this series, Seizure, due out October 18, 2011.
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)
The last book of a trilogy is always bittersweet, because as much as I want to know what ha...moreReviewed by Christin for Between the Covers
Really 4.5 stars
The last book of a trilogy is always bittersweet, because as much as I want to know what happens and how things end, I also don't want the world to be over. To me, Forever was the best book of the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, combining beautiful writing, unrelenting action and suspense, and a few tender moments as well.
Grace and Sam have been fighting to be together for so long, and this book is no different. But this time, Sam is the one who has to wait for Grace as she struggles with her constant shifting. Moreover, some people blame him for the disappearance of Grace, Olivia, and Beck. Isabel and Cole are trying to figure out not only themselves but their relationship, or lack thereof. And on top of everything, Tom Culpepper has decided that the wolves should be eliminated once and for all. As the four try and figure out a solution, secrets will be revealed, emotions will be tested, and some lives will be changed...forever.
I had mixed feelings before beginning this book, because while I thought Shiver and Linger were good, I never seemed to love them as much as other people did. Forever helped to change that. The writing seemed to flow better than before, the pacing was more consistent, and even the relationships were more convincing. I enjoyed having four different points of view (Grace, Sam, Isabel, and Cole), and I finally felt that I could understand all of them fairly well. In addition, I loved the Rilke poetry that was quoted as well as the few flashback scenes that were included. There were certainly events that I was not expecting, but I don't want to say too much and give anything away.
Even though I wished for a few more details from the ending, I think it was completely appropriate for this book. I'm sad to see the conclusion of this trilogy, but I know that there will be more great things from Maggie in the future.
If you haven't read the Wolves of Mercy Falls and you enjoy paranormal romance/fantasy books, you should definitely pick them up. Each book only gets better, and the world is definitely one that can be enjoyed.(less)
Who could resist an attractive Scottish guy whose purpose in life is to spend time with you? Not me, that's...moreReviewed by Christin for Between the Covers
Who could resist an attractive Scottish guy whose purpose in life is to spend time with you? Not me, that's for sure. I was sold on reading Between from that fact alone. I was even more excited when I saw that Aiden is Cyndi Tefft's version of Diana Gabaldon's Jamie from Outlander. I haven't read Outlander, though I want to, and that combined with this book's paranormal twist made for a promising story.
Welcome to the afterlife: A beautiful meadow, and an even more beautiful Scottish male to guide you to heaven. At least, that's what Lindsey finds. She knows, and Aiden tells her, that she should go on to heaven, but every time she feels the call, she resists it. She can't help but feel drawn to Aiden, and she wants to stay with him in the in-between. In that limbo (for lack of a better word), they can relive memories, conjure things at will, and simply enjoy their time. In all of his 300 years, Aiden has never found someone willing to linger with him, and he begins to hope that Lindsey might be the one whose love could redeem him. And she very well could be...because she does love him. But as we all know, limbo can't last forever...
Though I loved Tefft's writing style, I have to admit that I had mixed feelings about this book. There were some scenes that I loved, especially some of the memories and places that Lindsey and Aiden visited. It was a different experience learning about the characters more through their memories than through their thoughts and conversations, but it worked quite well. Many of the memories were quite captivating, and I felt that I had been transported along with them to Scotland, Seattle, and even France. As Lindsey and Aiden's relationship progressed, there were some very tender and touching moments that I enjoyed reading.
However, I was slightly taken aback by the immediate intensity of Lindsey's feelings for Aiden, and I wished that I could have known one or both of the characters better before these feelings were the driving force of events. Standing in contrast to this was the strong religious undertone that pervaded the book. The juxtaposition seemed odd for a while, but both things eventually found a balance. Also, while I loved Aiden's use of Scottish dialect, this too seemed to take some time to become consistent. Finally, I will say that although this book is young adult, some scenes are more mature than comparable scenes in other books.
Between is certainly not your typical romance novel, and even with the Scottish lead and the paranormal twist, there are still a few surprises along the way. There is supposed to be a sequel, and I will be curious to see what else is in store for Lindsey and Aiden.(less)