BREATHE left me breathless. Sarah Crossan has created a world so profound and scary, I hope to never see something like this happen. But even scarier…...moreBREATHE left me breathless. Sarah Crossan has created a world so profound and scary, I hope to never see something like this happen. But even scarier…it could. They say that humanity is the largest and longest plague Earth has ever experienced, and there is no better illustration of that than Crossan’s new dystopian novel, BREATHE. In it, humanity has been nearly decimated of its own hand, by logging all the forests, causing oxygen levels to plummet. The lucky few chosen by lottery – or sheer importance to their field of study – won homes inside the glass-enclosed dome, where class systems have been put into place and families get taxed on the amount of air they use. Everything is run by the Ministry, and the Ministry watches everyone. I was blown away by BREATHE. It’s been awhile since I’ve enjoyed a dystopian novel as much as I enjoyed this one. Crossan’s use of oxygen as the controlling element is so unique, but even better, it’s frightening because with all the logging we do now, this isn’t an impossible scenario. Improbable, maybe. But impossible? No. I also enjoyed how relevant it all seemed. Because the government provides an essential commodity (in abundance), its citizens are absolutely indentured to them. I’ve always been a fan of the old adage “give a man a fish and he eats for one day; teach a man to fish and he eats for life.” The citizens in BREATHE ate for one day, at a time, because commodities were provided to them. And the lesson I took away from this was, the more one can take care of themselves, the less they have to depend on others for what they need. I never want to need from my government, but I especially never want to need air. The message overall felt particularly relevant to the political climate of today with the many social programs and the government’s desire to decide what is best for us. Crossan’s characters covered the gamut of what a dystopian should have: the rebels, the people who are complacent and/or believe that what’s going on is good for the people, and finally, those who work for the government, ruling with their iron fist. I liked all these characters equally, because each had something so important to contribute to the story. Bea, a level 3 sub, wants so badly to be a Premium, and is in love with a Premium. She believes in the cause of Breathe, the entity that created the dome and sustains their way of life. Except, she’s a reasonable girl, and what she thinks is the cause may not be afterall. Quinn, a Premium, is humble and honest. It’s refreshing to get a privileged character like Quinn who hasn’t let it go to his head. He’s oblivious to a lot of things around him, something I did find irritating at times, but I chalked that up to his being a teenage boy. They’re all kind of dense. ☺ Alina is the smartest of the bunch. She sees things for what they are, but at the same time, her experiences have jaded her. And she feels she may have lost herself. The three of them are such an unusual group, but I enjoyed their interaction with one another, as well as the other characters throughout the novel. I am not going to go into the other characters, especially the villains, because I want you to read it and make up your own mind about them. Are they truly evil, or are they surviving with what they’ve been given? I’ll leave that to you to decide. BREATHE is a keeper and I urge every fan of the dystopian genre to read it. You will especially love it if you’re a fan of Under the Never Sky and – dare I say it – The Hunger Games.(less)
Some things you should know about me before I go into my review of The Selection: 1) I despise shows like The Bachelor. Women scrambling and conniving...moreSome things you should know about me before I go into my review of The Selection: 1) I despise shows like The Bachelor. Women scrambling and conniving to win the charms (and arm) of one man, for whatever reason, is a huge turn off for me. 2) I don’t believe in love at first sight. I think love is a slow burn from a nice solid foundation of friendship. 3) I’m not a big romance reader. So why did The Selection appeal to me? I’ll be honest: the cover. WHO DOESN’T LOVE THAT COVER? I wanted to GO THERE. I wanted to wear that dress and I WANTED to be one of THOSE GIRLS. Pretty please?
I still do. I loved this book. I know it’s gotten some hate, but it struck something girly in me I didn’t even know existed. Yes, I’ve seen The Bad Review, and maybe you should read it, too, before digging into The Selection, to make sure it’s going to be the right read for you. But I dug it, I didn’t want it to end and I am ALL UP ON TEAM MAXON. That’s right, I chose my side early.
Ilea is our future United States, with forgotten histories, castes and a new political system - a royal house. Our poor financial system led us down this path and this is the result. I did find this use of our current financial strife here in the US both curious and a bit of brilliant genius (because let’s wake up people, it could happen) and I think the author used it to create a sort of financial dystopia, rather than something like the iron fist of, say, The Hunger Games. This isn’t that, so let’s not even compare the two.
America Singer is the protagonist in The Selection. She’s humble, witty, smart and someone you want to be friends with. She’s also a very gifted musician and - singer. Pun intended, I’m sure. Despite the sort-of-ridiculous-and-still-cute name, I liked her a lot. She’s everything you want in a romance heroine because of all these things. She’s not superficial in any way and she tells it like it is. My kinda girl.
I didn’t like Aspen. There’s just something about him that strikes me wrong. I feel as if his intentions are good, but they always say the road to Hell is paved in good intentions. He’s also too wishy-washy for me and wishy-washy equals weak in my book. Can you blame me for being Team Maxon?
Speaking of Prince Maxon... My oh my! If Cass didn’t nail the naive prince who has led a secluded and sheltered life, well, then I don’t know who has. He was perfect. PERFECT. I’ll bare my teeth at you if you tell me otherwise. Not only was he a gentleman, he was also smart and open-minded, both admirable and necessary qualities in royalty, in my own opinion.
The other girls in The Selection were also well-written. Some are nice, some are quiet, one in particular is a complete bitch. Cass nails the nuances and competitiveness of her very well and I found myself appalled by most of her actions, as if I were actually there (also a stark reminder of why I don’t like shows like The Bachelor).
It’s unfair to shove The Selection into one genre, because it fits several. I’ve read a few reviews that state it really isn’t a dystopian, but I have to disagree. It might not have a government such as the likes of Divergent or The Hunger Games, but government oppression doesn’t always need to. Sometimes all it takes is mass poverty and government apathy to create such a society. The plot gives you more of these details and you’ll understand more of the caste system when you read it. By the way, the plot is pretty simple. It is exactly what it says on the synpopsis. But sometimes simple is best! I loved it!
So I’ve gushed non-stop about this book, and why am I only giving it a 4? It lacked a little oomph to take it all the way to a 5 for me. But it was still a fantastic book and I enjoyed it so much. I can’t wait for the second in the series to come out and Kiera Cass can’t possibly write it fast enough for me.(less)
With a cover like this, who wouldn't have big expectations (I MEAN, LOOK AT IT!)? The cover for Lost Voices promises a sort of fairy tale, magic, and...moreWith a cover like this, who wouldn't have big expectations (I MEAN, LOOK AT IT!)? The cover for Lost Voices promises a sort of fairy tale, magic, and girlish innocent youth.
It doesn't deliver.
Lost Voices by Sarah Porter is the story of Luce, formerly a human who transforms into a mermaid with a beautiful, deadly singing voice. On the night of her transformation, she's found by the mermaid tribe Queen, Catarina, who brings her back to the other girls, where they teach her the whys and the ways of becoming a mermaid. Seemingly, most of the mermaids have lost their humanity - fitting since they are no longer human. The way to become a mermaid is rather simple: have something really awful done to you and accept that there is nothing left for you in your human world. Your body liquifies, and reforms as a mermaid. If you aren't near a coast, travel through sewage pipes and drain pipes until you reach a body of salt water. Because the way to become a mermaid is through negative experiences, the mermaids hate humans, regardless of having been human once themselves. They use their beautiful, deadly voices to lure and sink ships, for no other reason than entertainment and vengeance. The premise of Lost Voices is great. It is the stuff out of sadistic fairy tales. But the execution of Lost Voices fails miserably. The story meanders often, with no real thought to plot lines and story arcs, leaving the reader wondering exactly where it's going or when it will start getting interesting. None of the characters are all that vibrant - save the most hated character, Anais, who is so profoundly vapid and cruel, she becomes interesting by virtue of that alone. The story feels very two-dimensional and flat, exactly the opposite of the world it is trying to describe. And though Lost Voices is the first in a mermaid trilogy, the ending is both abrupt and trailing off, of a sort. It just...ends. When it ended, I found myself wondering where the author was trying to take me, and if she really wanted me to read the next book. I can confidently say I won't be.(less)
I had to let Divergent stew for a couple of days after I finished it, because it was that good. It is epic, it is fantastic, it is everything you coul...moreI had to let Divergent stew for a couple of days after I finished it, because it was that good. It is epic, it is fantastic, it is everything you could possibly want in a dystopian novel and then some. Divergent comes to us during a time of political unhappiness and it is speculative fiction at its finest. It is the story of a society under the complete control of a government who has divided itself into "factions": Abnegation, Erudite, Amity, Candor and Dauntless. It takes place in our future, although the year is undetermined. Chicago is gated, Lake Michigan is now a brown marsh, having lost much of its water and a large portion of the Windy City lays abandoned.
Divergent is narrated in the 1st-person, by Beatrice 'Tris' Prior, an Abnegation faction citizen. The narration is superb. Roth writes it so well, it felt like I was there, walking (okay, running) along side Tris and experiencing everything that came her way.
Each faction has a responsibility to the society; Abnegation cares for the poor and faction-less, as well as runs the council, because they are supposedly incorruptible (I say supposedly because I have my doubts). To be a member of Abnegation, one has to be completely selfless and giving, something I think we struggle with in our lives and society today. Tris has struggled with Abnegation her entire life. When she watches her selfless family members, I think she feels unworthy of Abnegation, or maybe she feels she was meant for greater things, different things. That's probably reader perception.
I don't want to spoil anything for you, so I'll tell you that outside of the five factions (all of which are characterized by a single human trait), is a 6th...possibility. That possibility is Divergent. To find out what Divergent is and what it means, you'll have to read the book!
Divergent is similar to Matched and The Hunger Games in terms of certain story arcs. There is a choosing ceremony, where 16-year-old citizens get to choose which faction they will spend the rest of their lives in. There is plenty of violence and a questionable government that doesn't tolerate resistance (for heaven's sake, Chicago is fenced in!). Plot twists are executed flawlessly, keeping you turning the pages and I cannot wait to find out what happens in book two (oh yes, it's trilogy!). I am absolutely in love with this book and I want you to be, too! If you don't read this book, your life just won't be the same and I SO MEAN THAT. Pick up your copy of Divergent and let me know what you think!
PSA: Have you heard that the film rights were sold to Summit (you know, that little company that brought us Twilight)?(less)
If there was ever an epic conclusion to a dystopian series, you’re looking at it right here. I was a heap of a sobbing mess when it was over and I may never recover!
**This post may contain spoilers from the first two books**
Stay tuned for the blog tour post going live tomorrow!
Raine is in Freedom under the control of her father. Gunner is with the rebels. Vi, Zenn and Jag are also with the rebels and trying to devise a way to bring down Freedom – and the Association – while saving Raine, Cannon and the rest of the rebels and citizens who are not with the Association.
Abandon is fast-paced and quick in a don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it kind of way. We’re totally immersed in the story now, there’s no turning back. Traitors have been outed, more questions are asked of our favorite characters, especially Zenn, who struggles internally with what he thinks is right. Zenn and Jag are in the forefront now, leading a rebellion hell-bent on bringing down an entire government.
I actually struggled with this a little bit. Where are the freaking adults already? Kids are not able to do this by themselves.
Anyway, that question does get answered, but I was never fully satisfied with it.
Zenn’s internal struggles are very front and center in Abandon. This novel is more about what he is going to do than anything else. The Association wants him – bad. He has power, they need power. But he has this urge to do what he thinks is right. Only, what is that exactly? I loved his struggle, and I also loved that as an insider, he had tips:
Insider Tip #1: Always do what the boss says. This is how you gain trust.
Insider Tip #7: Suspect everyone. Trust no one. When things go wrong, assume someone has tipped off the enemy.
So as an insider, who is he really fighting for? Elana Johnson left me guessing which side he was playing for up until the end.
Vi and Jag are more interesting in Abandon. Vi has gained back what she lost, and she’s learning she has new powers, but at what cost to herself? Jag is resolving how to deal with this new side of her, and oh yeah, he also feels more betrayed by his best friend Zenn than ever. I think Jag has expectations of other people that are way too high often times. And frankly, he pissed me off a lot, but in a good way, because I know Johnson meant for him to piss me off. I forgive you, Jag.
The love triangle does get resolved, but it left me gnashing my teeth in frustration and sadness, mostly sadness, because the outcome was shocking and not what I would have thought would happen. Johnson, you are a brave woman.
Let’s talk the ending. This one thing happened and I sobbed hard. I mean, hard. I can’t believe it happened and I was a big ol’ mess at the end. The ending is the entire point to this whole trilogy: how far will someone go to fight for freedom, for the ability to choose their own meals, their own mates, their own ways to live? I know I would do anything for the ability to choose for myself.
Overall, I think Abandon is a fantastic conclusion to the series, and Elana Johnson leaves room for more books, with the way it wraps up. All the shiny tech was fascinating and I loved the determination of the characters to fight for choice. That’s my kinda book.(less)
The synopsis is what caught my eye about The Social Code by Sadie Hayes. It sounded promising and very much like a book version of The Social Network....moreThe synopsis is what caught my eye about The Social Code by Sadie Hayes. It sounded promising and very much like a book version of The Social Network. I’m a bit of a tech geek, so combine that with a YA novel and you’ve pretty much hooked me (plus, look at that cover!). But this book pretty much sucked ass. Let me tell you why.
In the beginning, the twins are going to college, she’s a genius, he’s a wannabe social climber. She hacks a system called Gibly (a smartphone app), and finds some…really questionable things about the app and the companies that back it and are buying it. All hell breaks loose, threats are thrown about, and she gets offered a prestigious spot in a Silicon Valley incubator, plus all the dramaz.
Unnecessary Characters and Plotlines.
The primary plot of this book is Amelia and Adam’s start up company, but there is a second plot, and I totally do not understand why it’s in the novel: Patty’s affair with her future brother-in-law. Patty had a hand in the beginning of the story, with the Gibly hacking scandal, but it was minor, and frankly, I wouldn’t have missed her if she never appeared in the rest of the novel. But yet, she did, over and over, and her family life, with her sister and her sister’s fiance, really confused me, because it seemed to have absolutely no bearing on what really mattered in The Social Code, which is the say, the story that centralizes around Amelia and Adam Dory. Patty’s story felt like it was put there to create conflict and reader interest and frankly, it was not done well. It was a distraction.
This Book Tells, Not Shows
She was wearing a simple purple silk slip dress and gold sandals with turquoise stones at the toe strap; her long brown hair fell in gentle curls down the front of her shoulders and her three-and-a-half carat princess-cut engagement ring sparkled obnoxiously atop the thin finger that could barely support its weight.
Do we need that level of detail? Part of the greatness in books is the idea that readers get to fill in some of the details themselves. I certainly didn’t care that her gold sandals had turquoise stones at the toe strap. Or that her purple silk dress was a slip dress. Or that her diamond ring was princess-cut!
The large room had tiled floors and seven pieces of gym equipment, plus a stretching area with a mirror and the Pilates junk his wife was obsessed with.
Look, all that needs to be said is, “he went down to his own, state-of-the-art, private gym in his home.” I can fill in the details myself. I’ve seen Cribs.
Her Characters Are Stupid
There is a certain point in the novel (33%) where Amelia, coder-extraordinaire, is discovered as the Gibly Hacker. She tells one of Gibly’s venture capitalists exactly what she did (which was to hack in to Gibly, discover the bad things they were doing to end-users), AND THEN OFFERS EVEN MORE DETAILS:
“Well, then I started thinking that maybe that was why the company had sold for so much. I mean, it’s illegal, but that kind of information would also be insanely valuable to everyone from advertisers to terrorists. So, I tracked Aleister’s accounts.”
Are you fawking stupid, Amelia? You don’t tell people your hacker secrets, you twat! No, seriously, who does that?!
Patty was blushing horribly at what was happening onscreen – two naked women were kissing in front of a casually smoking Henry Miller – when she felt Chad’s knee press against hers. He just moved in his chair, she thought. It’s not intentional. It doesn’t mean anything.
Patty, you are a dolt. You already made out with the guy. *facepalm*
Later on, Amelia is wondering if Roger Fenway, her mentor and start-up backer, knows about her “criminal” past:
She actually hadn’t thought about whether or not Roger knew.
No lie, folks, these are my actual notes from my iPad: “Fucking really? Silicon Valley giant and you don’t even wonder if he knew???”
The Plot Is Implausible. All the Things Are Not Right.
It is totally 100% possible for a university student to come up with a genius idea and run with it, turning it into a billions-of-dollars cash cow. After all, Mark Zuckerberg did it. And that’s why I was interested in this book, because stories like that fascinate me. But it’s like Sadie Hayes did absolutely little-to-no research for this storyline, because most of it is impossible, or highly, highly improbable.
Amelia and Dory have a past that included Amelia hacking into the SAT website (LOLOLOLOLOL) and changing the SAT score of her older foster brother. And then hacked into her foster father’s company’s system to increase his sales figures. And then hacked into the company’s bank account to move money from one account to another. Including the State Insurance Bureau. And now that the twins are back in the public eye with their invention and company, their old foster family wants them to start hacking again.
I laughed. Uproariously. Because this kind of thing doesn’t happen. Look, I know it’s fiction, but I’m reading realistic fiction here, so it needs to be, OH I DON’T KNOW, REALISTIC.
(And ALSO LOOK. I know all these things are possible, but a naive teenager is not going to do them.)
Sadie Hayes also clearly didn’t do any research into what coding or being a programmer means (which, you know, surprises me, because supposedly she works in Silicon Valley as an executive and this is actually her pen name…).
The sound of tapping computer keys and the sight of line after line of zeroes and ones and Courier typeface up and down the screen [...]“
No. Just, no. Being a programmer doesn’t mean you look at ones and zeroes. Ones and zeroes is computer and internet language. It’s the language computers use to talk to one another. Programmers do not stare at ones and zeroes all day, they stare at characters and symbols, like < and ” and %. LOL, “zeroes and ones.” WTF is this, The Matrix?
Amelia meets a gay person for the first time in her life. Ever. Because he might be the first gay person in the history of mankind.
“Flaming.” He grinned. She grinned back. She’d never met gay person, but she liked him.
Amelia then goes to Hawaii.
Amelia wondered what it was like to sing holiday carols when it was ninety degrees outside.
Hawaii doesn’t get into the 90s in the winter (or, really, hardly ever). I would know, because I used to live there. Was this book researched…at all?
The Book Is Horribly Written.
A ten-year-old could have written The Social Code. The writing style is simple at best, but there are a lot of syntax errors, and it is not fluid at all. It’s choppy, and inelegant.
By the following week, Lisa had emailed Amelia a thorough outline of her proposed thesis. Amelia read it on her laptop during class. It actually made the book sound kind of interesting, which led her to read the play. Well, most of it.
They drove without speaking. It was the middle of the day and traffic moved quickly. Patty stared out at the trees lining the side of the road. Sunlight moved through the branches and glanced out at her from among the leafy shadows.
No one was smiling anymore. The woman tilted her pretty head and swept her red hair over her shoulder. She glared at Amelia. She was gorgeous and terrifying.
All of these, plus many more, could have been rewritten to be fluid and easier to read, not the choppy bits they currently are. Not to mention, there is no actual timeline through the story, like, “the following week” or “on Monday afternoon.” It just goes from one scene to the next. My god, was there even an editor involved in this book?!
Abort. Abort. Abort. Do not read. Abort. Abort. Abort.
Filled with beautiful, hammering prose, Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi is The Book that is better than i...moreThis review is also posted at The Bawdy Book Blog.
Filled with beautiful, hammering prose, Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi is The Book that is better than its predecessor. It is everything that was Shatter Me, and infinitely more. Without a doubt, Mafi’s writing is (still) some of the best I have ever read.
Unravel Me takes flight two weeks after the conclusion of Shatter Me, and overlaps a portion of Mafi’s novella, Destroy Me. The first thing I noticed was a bit of regression in Juliette: ultimately, she stops striking through her own thoughts in Shatter Me, as she grows more confident, and less confused. In Unravel Me, the strike-throughs are back, albeit, not at as much a frenetic pace as the prior novel. It still shows a sort of backstepping in Juliette that is confirmed in the pages, as she gets to know her new surroundings at Omega Point, a place she is most unfamiliar. She didn’t want to be used by The Reestablishment and Warner. Is she being used by the others at Omega Point? And even if she is, does she serve a good purpose? This internal struggle – not the story or the scenes – reminds me of Mockingjay, when Katniss thinks she might be a pawn by District 13, but wrestles with herself to be okay with it, because she will serve a greater purpose. I’m very interested in seeing how this plays out for Juliette.
The Love Triangle
Look, I’m Team Warner, I’ve always been Team Warner and you ain’t neva gonna change my mind! I’ve always said Warner is redeemable, that he wants to be something other than what he is. His vulnerability gets its own expose in Destroy Me, probably wooing me even further, if that’s at all possible, and Mafi carries this over into Unravel Me, when she brings him together with Juliette – and of course the now famed #ChapterSixtyTwo. *wink* Adam Kent is something of an anomaly to me in Unravel Me. There are secrets about him that are exposed, and they took me by surprise. Most of the time, I can see a plot twist coming from a mile away, Tahereh Mafi managed to sneak up behind me and whack me upside the head with the very book I had in my hands. Now I’m left with even more questions than answers! Why do you do this to me?! *cries*
Kenji gets a real chance to shine in Unravel Me. He is a star in his own right, and he often makes demands of Juliette that most would think are unfair and heartless. But he cares for her a great deal. In fact, I wonder if the triangle is about to become a square, because sometimes I suspect he cares too much, and pines after Juliette himself, in his own, comical way. Kenji is many things in this story, but among them, the most important is an anchor. Forget his supersweet abilities, he is a foundation for people to rely on. Tahereh, do you think, maybe, possibly, we could get a spin-off about him if Juliette ends up with Warner or Adam? *wheedles* Oh, also maybe could you just make Juliette end up with Warner, pretty please?
The Supreme Commander finally shows up in Unravel Me (although he’s in Destroy Me as well), and this is something of a shock to citizens since part of his power is in his absence. We finally get to view Warner and his upbringing from his perspective, and boy, do that kick me right in the – feels. The Supreme Commander is a unique personality, and I’m interested in finding out what makes him tick. Things… things are revealed, that interesting dynamic between father and son, and my heart goes out to them.
One of the most interesting things though, are the titles about these books, and why I feel that Juliette and Warner are destined to be together. I think these titles reference Juliette’s effect on Warner, and they are the ultimate teaser to the ending of this series, because he makes references that harken back to the first title and well, frankly, the novella was all about him. I can’t wait to find out if they are destined to be together.
I don’t know how to be a verb, an adverb, any kind of modifier. I’m a noun through and through.
Flash Gold is my second foray into true Steampunk and it was a fun one. It's witty and campy and definitely packed with lots of action. I was disappoi...moreFlash Gold is my second foray into true Steampunk and it was a fun one. It's witty and campy and definitely packed with lots of action. I was disappointed that it was only 57 pages! I wanted more and I hope Ms. Buroker writes a follow-up.
Kali McAlister is a spunky, feisty young woman determined to leave her town for bigger and better things. The villagers at best view her as quirky; at worst, they think she's a witch, because she uses all kinds of mechanical devices as weapons and for protection. Along comes a tall, handsome stranger, some criminals and an airship and, well, I won't spoil it for you.
Lindsay Buroker is definitely a comedian on the side...I laughed often at the subtle (or sometimes not-so-subtle) humor. I'm also fascinated by the gadgets...she didn't toss in too many for the sake of having them, but had just enough to make you want to read more and find out what other gems could be lurking around. Steampunk in general is mind-tickling...it takes a brilliant mind to come up with these gadgets and a great story. Flash Gold mushes its way across the finish line in first place!(less)
I Am Forever picks up where What Kills Me leaves off: the Monarchy has just found out that Zee is unkillable. Oh she can be killed, but the entire vam...moreI Am Forever picks up where What Kills Me leaves off: the Monarchy has just found out that Zee is unkillable. Oh she can be killed, but the entire vampire race will die with her. Now the Monarchy must figure out what to do with her: imprison her or bring her into their folds. The answer is obvious and can accomplish two goals.
Zee is immediately renamed and presented to the entire vampire race with a “Do Not Kill” creed placed on her. The Monarchy lavishes her with jeweled outfits that Channing brings to life with sparkling words; I could practically see The Divine step out of the pages into my living room. Wynne Channing paints these details so incredibly well. Some authors struggle with world-building, but not her. Every speck of dust, every last encrusted jewel or dried blood from a tear that ran down a vampire’s cheek is in these pages, and unlike other story-tellers, it doesn’t feel like info-dumping in the least. The details are a part of the story and I love that about Channing’s writing.
I am convinced that Wynne Channing writes the best vampire stories and I Am Forever is no exception. We finally get close to the Empress in I Am Forever and Zee learns more about what it means to drown in a well of the vampire Gods’ blood. She has powers and is only now realizing them. She was super-snarky and fun in What Kills Me, and remains so in I Am Forever, but she becomes so much stronger in I Am Forever that she is finally worthy of Lucas. Of anyone! Through Zee, we learn the history of the vampire race, their weaknesses, their fears and their strengths, and more about the war between the rebels and the Monarchy. It’s politics at its best.
Lucas has a little less facetime in I Am Forever, although he is forever on Zee’s mind. He is as brooding and sexy as ever and if you haven’t read this series yet, you need to start, if for nothing else than this sexy swordsmith vampire with a conscious. He’s adorbs. Zee’s adorbs. Together, they’re adorbs! I was really in love with how obvious he was about his feelings, and she was just blind to it. So. Cute.
We are also intro’d to new characters: Brogan the transexual female maid, San the war page-turned-chaperone, the Transporter. I loved them all because they bring so much more to the story, and really round out everything, and I felt horrible when things happened to some of them.
PS: Channing’s characters are all still really funny even in the most serious of situations! I LOL’d so many times during I Am Forever that I am sure my fiance wondered what was wrong with me! For example:
“Did you see anyone’s dirty secrets?” San blurted. “What? No,” I said. “Because, my lady, I can explain. Fantasies are very healthy – ” I put my hand up. “Oh my God, San. You need to stop right now.” “Uther said it’s just a routine checkup. But they’re obviously not going to check my heartbeat or my cholesterol. What else is there to do?” “I don’t know. How routine is an examination of a god?” He said the last word so disparagingly. “I don’t appreciate your sarcasm,” I said. “Oh, because I was going to update my Facebook status as soon as I got home: Zee’s a vampire. Come see her teeth.” I’m really afraid to give away too many details of the plot, because I don’t want to spoil the story, but suffice it to say, Zee is special, the Monarchy knows she is special and has a lot of power and guess what people normally want to do with someone who has that? Zee has weaknesses and some are not above exploiting those. And unfortunately she might be a little naive, too.
Overall, this is still one of my favorite vampire series (I’m seriously starting to think it might be my favorite!), because it totally tickles every paranormal bookworm bone in my body and I loved it. It’s technically a YA, but adults will get full enjoyment out of it too. It’s full of wisdom, jokes, romance and tons tons TONS of bloody action scenes that had me fist-pumping in the air!
Move over, everybody, Wynne Channing has a new fangirl – again. It’s nearly impossible to follow-up “awesome” with “amazing”, but she does it with a superb sequel.(less)
Folks, this right here is how you re-tell great literature.
My favorite classic that I ever read was the Great Gatsby. Admittedly the last time I read...moreFolks, this right here is how you re-tell great literature.
My favorite classic that I ever read was the Great Gatsby. Admittedly the last time I read it was in high school, which was a long time ago, and the specific details escape me now, but the general tone of the novel stuck with me. Sara Benincasa did a fabulous job drawing great parallels between the classic novel and her re-telling of Great Gatsby.
Naomi has been sent to the Hamptons to “summer” once more with her mother, who is on the cusp of breaking into mega-fame as a famous baker. She hates summering in the Hamptons and she doesn’t particularly care for her mother, who is mostly just a social-climber more concerned with Naomi making the right kind of friends than good grades. Naomi prefers her down-to-earth life with her basketball coach father in Chicago (and I don’t blame her).
But this summer proves to be different: she becomes closer with Delilah Fairweather, daughter to a congressman and socialite, Delilah’s boyfriend Teddy Barrington and Teddy’s friend Jeff His-last-name-escapes-me. The four of them sort of become the odd double-daters: Delilah and Teddy fight in restaurants, while Naomi watches uncomfortably and Jeff pokes fun at the situations.
Enter Jacinda Trimalchio (nice nod to one of Fitzgerald’s original title ideas!), fashion blogger extraordinaire. Jacinda is mysterious, wealthy and without her parents, a sure-to-be-hit in that town. She’s also very interested in getting to know Delilah Fairweather, and while she seemed very nice throughout the entire novel, it was obvious she had an obsessive quality.
There is so much in this story that depicts the darker side of being wealthy and rich: people want to know you, they want to get close to you, you date individuals based on their pedigrees and not because you particularly like them. GREAT showed rich talking down to the poor, even when they were being nice. I don’t mean this to sound preachy at all, but the protagonist’s point of view called out often how she noticed these things. And if I remember correctly, these themes were in Gatsby as well.
The characters are all vibrant, not flat, and when I think of them, I think of someone I would see on an outrageous TV show or movie, somewhere I would say to myself, “this can’t be real life.” But things like “Hinge at the waist!” mockery does happen. Ultimately, the darker side prevails, which you can guess if you’ve read Gatsby. It was fascinating to see the parallels, and the LGBT twist as well.
GREAT is fab. Even when I loathed the characters, I still really liked them, because Benincasa writes them so well. And I think I’d drown myself in a lazy river pool if I had a mother like Naomi’s. Between the parties, Naomi’s self-reflections as she gets sucked further into the rich-kid world while acquiescing to her mother, the drama between Delilah, Teddy and Jacinda, I just couldn’t put it down. I did want to know what happened “after”, but I guess that’s sometimes just left to the readers’ imaginations.
I don’t think that I can give The Fault In Our Stars the praise it most certainly deserves. S...moreThis review was originally posted at The Bawdy Book Blog.
I don’t think that I can give The Fault In Our Stars the praise it most certainly deserves. So let me tell you a little story:
I’m driving down I-95 on my way to South Carolina last weekend to see my family for my cousin’s wedding. I decided I’d finish The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, because I had started it the weekend before and 7 hours in the car was the perfect time for some interrupted audiobook listening (without my boyfriend mocking me, I might add).
John Green’s writing nearly caused 1) an accident, because I was getting so wrapped up in the story, that I was spacing out and not really paying attention to the road (did I mention it rained my entire drive down?), and 2) me to pull over because The Fault In Our Stars caused me such excruciatingly painful (and awesome!) feels, that I didn’t think I could keep driving.
I had to turn it off and listen to Ke$ha for a little while. True story.
This was my first John Green novel. It won’t be my last. I Loved it with a capital “L”. Yep, capital “L” Love. The exquisite and emotional story tugged at me in ways very few novels have. I can probably tick them off on one hand, honestly. Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters are like two star-crossed lovers in my mind. Fated, but their infinity together is unfairly small. Bound together by cancer, they bond, not just with each other, but with the idea that they will not live forever, so they MUST LIVE NOW. And live they do.
John Green doesn’t keep The Fault In Our Stars all sobs and heartbreak. He somehow knows what it’s like, that to have cancer, you must have a sense of humor about life and all the things in it. So many scenes, or small quotes from the characters themselves had me laughing out loud. I quickly fell in love with all of them. The story told from a teenaged girl’s point-of-view is brilliant brilliant BRILLIANT with a capital B. I’ve only been on one side of cancer; now I can say I’ve been on the other, through Hazel and Gus.
So, spoiler alert, we’re talking about kids with cancer. (view spoiler)[There is no happily-ever-after in this story. (hide spoiler)]There is only before and after. I appreciated the realistic concept, rather than a, “Surprise! You’re cured!” approach I think some authors would take. Green is not afraid to make his readers feel, or think. And that’s what The Fault In Our Stars does: it makes you think, about life, death, mortality, the Before and the After, and what you are making of your life now.
Basically what I’m saying is, this book deserves the highest praise and I bow down its greatness and John Green.
My Favorite Quote:
“I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”
This audiobook is narrated by Kate Rudd, who performs beautifully. I will certainly look for more novels narrated by her. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
**spoiler alert** I can't think of a single reason to like this book and I'm surprised I finished it. The characters were flat and vapid; I found myse...more**spoiler alert** I can't think of a single reason to like this book and I'm surprised I finished it. The characters were flat and vapid; I found myself loathing every single one of them. The most interesting character, Dana, was so incredibly unstable, she was annoying and whiny. The new girl, whose name we don't learn until the very end of the book, felt so inconsequential that I actually don't remember her name now. I like strong characters, or at least characters who grow through a novel, but the new girl just complained a lot that people at Manderley didn't like her. Grow some backbone! The other interesting character, besides Dana, was Becca, whom the new girl replaced because she had gone missing. But she was only interesting because of her circumstance and the horrifying way she conducted herself around others (we do get to find out why later). There is a love triangle in this, so if you hate them, don't read it. Personally, I don't mind them at all, but in New Girl, I felt that it was weak, and when there was conflict, it was put there to keep things interesting. The plot point for Rebecca would have been alright, except that it dragged out and if you've ever read the book that New Girl is retelling, incidentally titled Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, then you can kind of guess how New Girl is going to end. Ergo, no surprises here, folks. Bummer. No author can really avoid pop-culture references in their books, and I love them when they are done right because it helps the reader identify with the book. But the one big one in New Girl that really stood out to me was "Paint me like one of your French girls" from the movie, Titanic. The line should be "I want you to draw me like one of your French girls." Yes, it's a nit-picky detail, but part of a book's value is in the details, right? In Titanic, Jack was too poor to have any paints, therefore he used charcoal and paper. So this really bothered me. I also had a really big problem with the filler in this story: teens were drinking and carrying on all the time on school property. I mean, ALL. THE. TIME. There was tons of language about sex, blow jobs and getting drunk. I felt like it glorified this lifestyle. Hey, I'm no prude, but come on now. If you are going to include something like this in your story, at least trump it with a message for the kids reading your book. That didn't happen here. I get it, this isn't the bible and for god's sake, it's just a book, right? But what was the take-away from all that? I couldn't figure it out. I think if the author had spent time fleshing out the characters and staying true to her genre (this is a young adult, after all), it could have gone a lot differently. I really liked the synopsis, which is why I asked to review the book. But overall, I didn't like it and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone (I did, however, love the quote below).
**This review was updated to reflect my notes on 1/8.**(less)
I am 100%, fully, irrevocably invested in the Covenant series now. What began, for me, as a questionable beginning, seemingly too similar to another s...moreI am 100%, fully, irrevocably invested in the Covenant series now. What began, for me, as a questionable beginning, seemingly too similar to another series I’ve read and enjoyed, has become a favored set of books, books I would throw down with a fireman over, should my apartment catch ablaze and I need to save my worldly possessions (provided they weren’t ebooks and already on my iPad which would already be in my purse as I deftly jumped out my window to safety. Don’t worry, I’m on the ground floor.). Sorry, I got caught up. Jennifer Armentrout has created a world and a love story matched in very few other young adult books. Some would liken it to Rose and Dimitri of Vampire Academy (I do go on and on about that series, don’t I?), because it was epic and spanned across six novels. Armentrout also has the ability to make her reader (or at least ME) bounce back and forth in the love triangle. Am I Team Aiden or am I Team Seth? I thought I knew in the first book, and then I thought I was sure I knew who I liked in the second. Now I just don’t know. Damn that’s some good writing. Deity picks up shortly after Pure leaves off: Alex is back at the Covenant after returning from New York with Seth, trying to get over the trauma of having killed a Pure, and letting Aiden “cover it up.” She’s nearing the day of her Awakening, her bond with Seth is growing stronger, and she feels more conflicted than ever about him, but still maintains her love for Aiden. Compound that with the fact that someone on the Council wants her dead and she’s got herself a little quandary. She is desperately seeking to know who is trying to kill her, doesn’t know who to trust and is struggling between who she loves and whom to which she’s Fated. By the way, she ain’t a fan of Fate. All the characters take on so much more dimension in Deity, more than I thought possible, and this is something I give credit to any author, but I especially give credit to Armentrout for making me like a main character I was ambivalent to in the beginning. Alex has done a lot of growing in these three books, so I can’t imagine what is in store for her next. I also knew there was more to Seth than met the eye, that he was keeping secrets, but the depth of those secrets, and the reasoning behind them (if I’ve even really learned them yet) was somewhat of a surprise. He has a cruel streak in him, but he’s not irredeemable. There is something good in him, if Alex can only draw it out. The small short at the end of Pure from Seth’s POV truly encapsulates his good nature, even if it’s inconsistent and he often hides it. Aiden is without a doubt the rock of these books, never changing, always constant and dependable. In fact, if you look up “dependable” in the dictionary, I bet you’ll find Aiden’s picture next to it. It’s hard for me to like to good boys sometimes, but I do like Aiden, and my fondness for him grew exponentially throughout Deity, although I can’t go into details. Let’s just say he’s the reason for my little Team Love Triangle crisis I have going on in my head. I’m sure you can guess by now that I thought Deity was an excellent follow-up to Half-Blood and Pure. But I wanted to throw… no, wait, I wanted to slug the book (except I can’t, because it’s digital) at someone or something when I reached the ending. Dammit, I was so mad! Unlike other fangirls, because I was very “meh” at the beginning of the series, I did no real research into how many books were in it. I very incorrectly assumed it was a trilogy and thought Alex would be getting her HEA at the end of Deity. I assumed wrong, and Deity ends on a ridiculously awful awesome cliffhanger that left me gnashing my teeth on my knuckles, whimpering because I can’t believe an author would do something so terrible to me like leave me with an ending like that. Oh wait, Karen Moning did it with Dreamfever. Excuse me while I go rock myself in a corner now.(less)
Let me start off by saying that the plot for The Advice Girl is FANTASTIC. It's rife with intrigue, suspense, violence and romance and it kept me turn...moreLet me start off by saying that the plot for The Advice Girl is FANTASTIC. It's rife with intrigue, suspense, violence and romance and it kept me turning the pages. I didn't realize it was a novella, and I was disappointed in that, but only because I wanted more, more, more! Shaw's characters are very realistic, and I can identify with them on complex levels. Shaw's prologue and intro immediately hooked me and I loved the first person narrative initially. In fact, I usually love first person narratives, because they draw me in quickly in a way that I feel like I'm there. But, ultimately, that's where my expectations were dashed, and why I had to give The Advice Girl a 3-star rating. The execution of the narrative was not as well-done as it could have been. There were frequent narrative jumps between first- and third-person, as well as perspective, and those jumps made it harder for the story to read well. I think if Shaw went with either one or the other (preferably third-person, so she could flesh out the jumps in perspective), The Advice Girl would read much smoother. There were also a few grammatical issues, but I attribute that more to the editor and since it was only a very few, they were easily overlooked. But the bottom line is, it was very much an enjoyable read. I do recommend that you pick it up if you enjoy paranormal romance and fantasy. (less)
Let me get one thing out of the way: I am in love with Under the Never Sky. Veronica Rossi has woven a tale so intricate and amazing, it is impossible...moreLet me get one thing out of the way: I am in love with Under the Never Sky. Veronica Rossi has woven a tale so intricate and amazing, it is impossible to put down. Rossi's characters in Under the Never Sky are nothing short of stupendous. They are rich and so full of life that you forget they are simply words in a book. Aria in particular is a fabulous main character and I really loved her. She is strong without being over-bearing. She is also incredibly interesting; I often found myself wanting to be in her head MORE. Her growth throughout the book was beautiful and done perfectly. I couldn't find one flaw, but better yet, because it was so well-done, I didn't want to look for flaws. Move over Four, I'M IN LOVE WITH PEREGRINE!! Perry was such a perfect counter-balance to Aria. He had grit, wisdom and he was a fighter. I heart everything about him. EVERYTHING. All of her secondary characters were believable. I even enjoyed the Croven and their sinister bells. Veronica Rossi goes into incredible detail throughout the story, from the differences between the Dwellers and the Outsiders, right down to the different abilities of people, like the Auds and Scires. At one point, she describes the scent of Dwellers to the Outsiders as "decaying" and I was so intrigued. She later answers that question, by way of other incidents, and that just made me love it even more. I was also absolutely fascinated with the landscape, the Realms and the Aether sky. I imagined the Aether looking something like a sinister Aurora Borealis. I don't know if that's what Rossi intended, but that's the miracle of a great book: you get to pick the details for yourself. The world she created was so striking and awe-inspiring that I want to step into the pages, even now. I want to revisit it and see the characters again. This young-adult, science-fiction, dystopian has everything for everybody: blossoming romance, interesting gadgets (I want a Smarteye!), and a beautiful, dangerous landscape in an unknown future. I couldn't have asked for better. The only thing I want now is the next book. Full of passion and adventure, it's a story I will Never forget.(less)
I didn’t expect to like Reaper after I began reading it. What I thought would be cute and fluffy, despite some of the deeper connotations in the synop...moreI didn’t expect to like Reaper after I began reading it. What I thought would be cute and fluffy, despite some of the deeper connotations in the synopsis I clearly missed, turned out to be profound and soul-searching…something not as often found in young adult novels of the paranormal variety. Quincy is your (less-than) average American teen: popular, blonde, on the dance squad and school and all the boys want her. She gets good grades, she and her friends play games and do a bit of backstabbing, and all in all, it’s basically farcical high school life. I say “farcical” because some readers might take issue with details of Quincy’s life, like getting a brand new sports car for her birthday, or being able to throw down $100 of her dad’s money when she goes shopping because she feels like it. And at first, I was like, What?! This isn’t how real people live (okay maybe some of them). But then I realized (way late in the book) these basic details illustrate how far Quincy will have to go before becoming a Reaper, which is the main plot driver in this story. And that’s what I enjoyed the most about it. It took me about 50% of the book before I decided I liked it. I was very ho-hum in the beginning, thinking that this was reading like young adult chick-lit, which I’m not opposed to, but just wasn’t expecting or wanting to read at the time. There were occasional appearances of a paranormal entity in the beginning and at the time, I felt like it was just a convenient way to call this a paranormal young adult story and cash in on that cow. But as the story progressed, the timing of his appearances became relevant and it all tied together nicely for me. There was a larger message to be had and when it struck me, I finally just got it. Quincy struggles with who she thinks she needs to be and who she really is, and I think this is a very relevant struggle for anyone…not just the demographic L.S. Murphy is writing for. She has to struggle with this to make it to her destiny, the path that was laid out for her the day she was born. I loved and loathed all the characters at one point or another, except for Ben Moorland. Ben’s my dreamboat, I never loathed him. Each character had something very important to give to the story, a specific driver to push Quincy closer to her destiny. I really can’t say more than that, because I might give too much away, and that’s something I don’t want to do. There was one major plot point in the story that I wasn’t too fond of, and that’s Jordan’s relationship with Robert. Jordan is Quincy’s best friend and Robert is just a dickhead. You like my description? It’s pretty apt. He felt abusive and arrogant, and it didn’t make sense to me why Jordan, someone who seemed very strong and independent (to her detriment at times) would give in to a boy like that and let him strong arm her. There is a love triangle in this, but I wasn’t completely enamored with it. Logan felt largely inconsequential to me, and put there to be a plot device. I don’t know….I just wasn’t feeling it. I didn’t hate him though, and I liked how it all wrapped up… Normally, in stories like this, parents are conveniently left out of the plot for a large portion (like the pesky human beings they are!), but in Reaper, Murphy explains away absences with job conflicts, school, and family duties, not leaving it to the reader to take their absence for granted. And it’s not like they weren’t there…they had facetime in the story, more than other YA books, for sure. Kudos for that, it’s actually nice to see for a change. Reaper also broke my heart. I very nearly cried at the ending, and then again in the very last chapter (stupid feelings!). It stuck with me through the following days as the author’s messages rang clear and true: Patience is a virtue, and the strong forgive. At least, that’s what I took away from it. Stick with Reaper through the uncertain beginning, because Quincy is redeemable, and she’s worth getting to know.(less)
That’s how This Love made me feel: Slightly scandalous, arousing and so in-my-face, I coul...moreThis review is also posted at The Bawdy Book Blog.
That’s how This Love made me feel: Slightly scandalous, arousing and so in-my-face, I couldn’t turn away!
Nazarea Andrews has a jackpot of a book in this new adult novel with two adorbs characters, Avery and Atticus, both of whom have had troubled relationships in their pasts and maybe have a hard time trusting others now because of it. They felt relatable to me. Like, I totally got them, I got why they felt they way they did all the time. I understood them, I walked in their shoes. It’s tough to make readers feel that connected, but Andrews does it very well.
I think the thing I loved about Avery was that she is this strong girl/woman, on the brink of the rest of her life, and she is uncompromising. She knows what she wants, and she goes after those things, but at the same time, I think it’s hard for her to admit that she might be wrong, she might jump to conclusions and she’s definitely afraid of admitting to being afraid. But she has these ambitions and this drive to be great and no one is getting in the way of that. Not. Even. A. Hot. As. Fuck. Guy.
And boy is Atticus HAWT. He’s the professor you daydream about, the one you want to rip the clothes from, the one you think about seducing behind the closed door of his office while you sweep student papers from his desk. He strikes me as the kind of guy who’s always been a dreamer, but teaches to get himself by so he can do the things he desires, like chase pirates and research legends. And it’s not that he doesn’t like teaching, or even needs to do it, but I think it’s also something to keep him fulfilled.
I cannot express how much I really just loved This Love and Atticus + Avery. These two are so explosive together, that I spent the first half of the novel twisting my fingers and curling my toes, waiting for them to get a move on already, because I needed that…that explosion of the two of them together. I wanted to see them work, because they felt so damn good together. The potential scandal of it all, you know, professor/student relationships, that also tickled my fancy, because it’s like they are doomed from the beginning anyway, and that made me want to see them make it even more.
The plot is really simple and I liked that. I’m not going to rehash it, because you can get it from the synopsis, but I will tell you that Nazarea Andrews does a fabulous job on selling her characters and making them all feel real. This is a New Adult, and I think that genre sometimes don’t feel real, like people in real life don’t really talk like that or do those things, but in This Love, it’s all very genuine and I had no problems getting lost in the story and rooting for the characters she made me love.
I loved This Love 100%, I read it in one night. And Nazarea Andrews is now on my auto-buy list.
**I received this book in exchange of an honest review.(less)
Per Wikipedia: Paradise is a religious term for a place in which existence is positive, harmonious and timeless. It is conceptually a counter-image of the supposed miseries of human civilization, and in paradise there is only peace, prosperity, and happiness. Paradise is a place of contentment, but it is not necessarily a land of luxury and idleness. Paradise is often described as a “higher place”, the holiest place, in contrast to Hell.
Paradise by Jon Fore can only be described as a thought-provoking novel, because while we certainly concentrate on how a true apocalypse can happen (I’m talking, the lights have gone out and say goodbye to 99% of human civilization), we don’t often think too hard about what can come after. But what does come after something of that magnitude? Jon Fore’s novel explores that, and more, by creating a cataclysmic event that gives the world a second chance.
In Paradise, the world as we know it ends abruptly and violently, the seas boiling, humans burning and everything is lights-out. A small percentage of humans survive, including one little girl, Hope, who exists in what can only be described as a time-capsule of sorts, feeding her sustenance and knowledge while the centuries churn by and humanity picks up the pieces. She goes in at seven-years-old with the world in tact; she emerges a young woman to something very different.
Paradise is a very unusual novel, and at times, I wasn’t sure if I was enjoying it, while at other times, I simply couldn’t put it down. Fore has managed to create the kind of “after” that explores what would happen in the event of a “lights-out” situation, but he’s taken it three steps further: humanity isn’t existing just by its leftovers; it’s like it has received a second chance, a do over if you will, and we’ve gone back to the beginning, we’re reinventing the wheel. At times, this premise made for a slow read, with some info-dumping, which was frustrating while reading it. But having finished the book, I now appreciate how he got us from Point A to Point B, because the information was necessary throughout the novel and brought me to love Hope that much more.
I only finished this book a day ago, but I found myself thinking of Hope, and her life for the majority of the day after, and above all, I thought mostly of her purpose. Throughout most of Paradise, I wondered why Hope was special, and what her purpose was. I often thought about the impossibilities of her situation (existing in a glass coffin, for example, after the lights go out) and how Fore would address those (or would he ever???). Honestly, it was a factor that also frustrated me throughout most of the novel but….the ending was so perfect, it answered most of my questions. The rest, I assume, have to do with general religious or holy ideals (don’t worry, there is nothing religious or preachy about Paradise), and I can accept some higher power in the story had a hand in things.
I wish that Fore had explored more of Paradise City, it was such a fascinating portion of the book. A lot went in to the description of the tribe life, but this reader wanted more of life after-tribe, because that was such an integral part of Hope and her “more.” I wish I could go into more, because it was my favorite part of the book, hands-down, but I’d be giving away the farm if I told you any more about it. Overall, I really enjoyed Paradise and the underlying themes (everything you are searching for is there if you look hard enough) that accompanied it. And above all, I loved Hope’s purpose.(less)
I'm probably your typical Urban Fantasy fic reader, so it's no surprise I liked this book. What IS surprising is that I ever found out about it.
Yes,...moreI'm probably your typical Urban Fantasy fic reader, so it's no surprise I liked this book. What IS surprising is that I ever found out about it.
Yes, I live most of my life with my head up my own ass, but I like to think being on Goodreads and Nookboards is rectifying that for me.
I found this on a Freebie Friday deal in July for the Nook on B&N's website. I picked it up, because I have this ebook hoarding disorder that hasn't been diagnosed yet, and let it sit on my Nook. After I finished reading - well shoot, I don't remember, THAT is how much this book (and series) has consumed my "book life" - I decided to give Darkfever a whirl.
I was immediately consumed. What? Mac's sister was brutally murdered by something otherwordly?! Check me in! I devoured it in about a day. Karen Moning is excellent at what she does: fleshing out characters, making you care about them, building worlds you wouldn't mind parking your petunia in for a little while (or....FOREVER!). She writes plot twists and turns with what seems to be a flourish of her hand, leaving me confounded and perturbed and....jonesing for more. I could not get enough of the Fever world, so once I finished, I immediately bought 2, 3 & 4. And I was oh so mad when I found out I was going to have to wait until January (Oh. Em. Gee. that's five whole months!) to read the last one!
If you haven't taken a turn on the Fever train yet, I suggest you hop aboard. It's a wild ride!(less)
Then Came You is the story of 4 women, brought together by the circumstance of infertility. Each chapter is told from their various POVs, something I'...moreThen Came You is the story of 4 women, brought together by the circumstance of infertility. Each chapter is told from their various POVs, something I'm actually not too fond of. I am a reader who loves the 1st-person, but only when it's done correctly. Multiple 1st-person POVs make it difficult to keep up with whose head you're in and that's a little pet peeve of mine. I think it would have been better executed in the 3rd-person. But I digress.
The plot is genuinely unique. Not many others have the balls (ovaries?) to write a fictional piece on such as sensitive a subject as infertility, especially when her core demographic are women in their 20's through 40's. I enjoyed the progression of a child through all of their lives, and how neatly it comes together. But then, therein lies the problem, too.
It's too neat, nothing (short of one incident) surprises me. Affluent woman-child in her 20's who hates her new stepmother? Check. Hard-up-for-cash mother (also in her 20's)? Check. College student trying to earn money? Check. 40-something who wants a baby? Check. Check check and check. Then Came You is told well; Weiner is good at what she does: investing you in her characters. But the story felt dry and formulaic. It simply was not the page-turner I thought it would be. I want a book that's going to grab me and make me want to stay up at night, just so I can devour the story. Then Came You was thoughtful, it was unique, it was (a little) heart-wrenching. But it was not riveting and I wish it had been. (less)
I anxiously awaited Shadowborn, chewing my fingernails, gnawing on my knuckles, and generally clawing at my iPad in faerie angst (wait…is there such a...moreI anxiously awaited Shadowborn, chewing my fingernails, gnawing on my knuckles, and generally clawing at my iPad in faerie angst (wait…is there such a thing? Well, I just made it up if not). Would it be as good as the first? Would Lila resolve the feelings in her heart for Liam and Nix? Would she rise to the occasion? WOULD THE WORLD COME TO AN END??? These are the questions I asked myself.
Oh Oh Oh, Lila. You frustrating woman fae creature, you. You had me up, down, this way and that, not knowing how you felt from one minute to the next. Did you want Liam? Or was it Nix? Were you up to the job of leading your people and joining the courts? Or were you going to run again?
I ask myself a lot of questions.
Jocelyn Adams took Glass Man and delivered with a series follow-up every bit as enjoyable as its predecessor. The reasons I loved Glass Man: it’s lusty, dangerous and exciting. Lila found herself in Glass Man, while running from the very entity hunting her who wanted to possess her for his own.
In Shadowborn, she is the reluctant leader, still wishing she could be something else, but pride forces her to do what she has promised: reunite the fae courts. I really enjoyed Shadowborn; it was an excellent second in a series. The plot was quick and intricate, but not so complicated that you needed a map to follow it. I loved all the characters, both new and old, but especially the elves. Yes, elves! (I love elves). The elves felt authentic, and very like the elves of (dare I say it??) LOTR, in that they were knowledgeable of Lila’s situation but full of elfish riddles to solve her problems. They were appropriately frustrating. Parthalan, aka Glass Man, has become something….else. I sympathized with him on so many levels; I wanted to know more of his mind. The Lila/Liam/Nix triangle continued to tug in two directions, both men determined to have their prize, although at times, it seemed as if one of them had a less than benevolent agenda. I really liked Nix sometimes…he was witty and fun to read. But I also loved Liam; he felt steadfast and true. Sure, he’s the Unseelie King, but isn’t that just a label? If you’ve read it, whom did you like more?
I really, really enjoyed the self-discovery Lila had to make in Shadowborn. Not only does she have to figure out how to make peace with her Darkness and her Light (how do you make peace with two conflicting parts of you, and make it harmonious?) but she’s also tasked with uniting the Seelie and Unseelie courts. Except, she never wanted to lead a group of people, and she needs to resolve leading a group of people who might think she doesn’t care about them. Looking inside yourself and addressing your faults takes GUTS.
The problem with picking up a new series (if you want to call this a “problem”) is you have to wait for the next book. Sometimes it’s only a few months; others (like the series I’m reading now), it’s two years. You can forget a lot in the span of releases that leaves you feeling a bit lost. First world problems. I think my only problem with Shadowborn is that it was hard for me to remember specific details of Glass Man, so that when something referenced Glass Man, I sometimes had to stop and think really hard about what had happened and dig out the details. I’m not a reader that remembers everything from a book. I remember the basic gist, characters and overall plot. While other readers hate recaps in second, third and tenth novels, I actually like them. It’s kind of like an “oh yeah” moment for me: “d’oh, that’s right, I remember that!” I feel like I kind of need them in my series books to remember everything that happened because so much happens in a series…well, and my memory. Maybe I’m just getting old!
That aside, I really loved Shadowborn…and I cannot wait for Rise of the Magi. But unfortunately, I have to, because it releases June 2013! In the meantime, if you haven’t picked up this series yet, you’re missing out and I just feel bad for you. Don’t make me a sad banana, go read it.(less)
24, Terminator and Pinocchio walk into a bar, meet a pretty young lady, then take her back to...moreThis review was originally posted at The Bawdy Book Blog.
24, Terminator and Pinocchio walk into a bar, meet a pretty young lady, then take her back to their hotel room for some hot, raucous book-making and out pops MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza.
MILA 2.0 is action-packed and thrilling, with a grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-throw-you-around plot that doesn’t give you up to another book. I don’t think those words even do it justice! Let’s just say this is one of those books that was made for my DVR, and I can’t wait to watch the show.
Mila thinks she is just an ordinary girl that was uprooted by her grieving mother from Philadelphia to Clearwater, Minnesota (donchuknow!), with no memory of the blazing fire that took her father’s life. All she knows is the lingering scent on his flannel shirt she refuses to stop wearing, that her mother continues to remain distant, and she isn’t allowed to do anything even remotely dangerous. Like take a horse for a nice afternoon trot. Oh yeah, and she has weird dreams sometimes, too.
Driza spends a lot of time building up MILA 2.0 with the personalities of the characters: Mila is a bit of a wallflower, grieving and just wanting to blend in to her new home. She’s made friends with the cooler kids, but some of them are less accepting of her, while others only like her because she’s someone new in a small town, I suspect (I shall call this the Bella Swan Syndrome! Don’t worry, the books are not even remotely alike, so you are safe, Twihaters). Her mother, Nicole, is distant but always the concerned parent, at least for the first half of the story, scolding Mila for going faster than a walk on the horse, or any number of other things that might get her daughter hurt. She often left me scratching my head, because I wanted to know WHY this was so important. Hunter is the prerequisite “New Boy” in Clearwater, moving into town right after Mila does. He seems to really like her, and he does seem genuine, but I am suspicious of him for a number of reasons (view spoiler)[like his parents being out of town all the time or being able to drop everything to fly cross-country for her OR the fact that he moved there right after she does and she’s sort of “wanted.” Not to mention, I think he might be affiliated with the guys who try to nab her from her hotel room while she’s on the run. (hide spoiler)].
I enjoyed the parent-child dynamic between Mila and Nicole. It was obvious that there was something “off” (like, I dunno, someone isn’t a real human, perhaps?) but it was also very apparent that Nicole cared very deeply for Mila, as if Mila were her own.
I did not like Kaylee, but I suppose she served her purpose. In fact, I didn’t like her in a good way, she was one of those Mean Girls from high school. Will we get to see more of her, since it’s pretty much her fault that Mila’s and Nicole’s cover gets blown? Oh the intrigue!
Lucas is someone I want to know more about. I get the feeling that Driza is creating a love-triangle somewhere along the way here, maybe in the second book, and I think it could really work with this story, and the dynamic between Hunter, Mila and Lucas. Lucas is also imperfect, physically, and I really enjoyed that he wasn’t a dreamy guy, there to save the day. He felt real.
“I just want to be a real boy!” Well, Pinnochio, Mila just wants to be a real girl. When Mila finds out she isn’t human, but a very sophisticated Android engineered in a secret lab by the government, she focuses solely on the fact that she isn’t a real person. She can’t believe she doesn’t have a heart, or veins, or organs, but still feels emotions like any real person would. Her skin feels like my skin, her eyes look like my eyes. In fact, my only quibble with this book is with her engineering. Nicole asks her if she is sure she wants to cut her hair, because it doesn’t actually grow. Say what?! You mean to tell me that she has fake skin that feels, smells and looks real, eyes that look real, fingernails, and everything else, but they couldn’t engineer hair to grow? Yeah right. Anyway, I digress. Maybe the only thing extraordinary about her (I mean, other than that she’s a sophisticated robot) is her exceptional beauty. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…. She realizes that she feels things and this is what matters. This is what makes us human. Perhaps she’s far more human than some of the human characters in the novel.
Driza did a fabulous job narrating the internal voices and commands that drive Mila throughout the story. Often Mila sees threats and has to use her Android functions, and I think this could have been hard to do in a first-person novel, but MILA 2.0 reads effortlessly.
This is a science-fiction novel, but a lot of the action is saved for the latter half of the novel. MILA 2.0 is filled with fight scenes, sophisticated government ops, and even a car-chase through D.C. (my stomping grounds, ya’ll!). The build-up from “Am I a human or a robot?” to “I am going to kick the ass of every person in this room because I feel things” is OMGEPIC and I can’t wait for the next book.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
**This review may contain spoilers from the first two books, but probably not many.**
Finally, after two years since the beginning of the MATCHED trilogy, we finally get to the conclusion of an epic dystopian series. Except…it turns out not so epic, for me.
Cassia, Ky and Xander have reached the resistance, and have been dispersed to various assignments, aiding in the Rising’s goal of seizing control from the Society. The love triangle continues in this third book, but it becomes obvious who Cassia will choose (and let’s just say, it’s not who I had hoped for). The Rising is prepping to take over the Society, albeit in a pretty nasty way.
I really liked MATCHED. I thought the world was intriguing, and I was hoping that Condie would explore it more in CROSSED. When that didn’t happen, I figured it was just Second-Book Syndrome and we’d finally get an epic conclusion and world-exploration in REACHED. I truly looked forward to this novel, and while I liked it, I feel a little let down at the same time. Condie’s writing is fluid and poetic, and it’s nice to read. But I don’t want nice to read. I want exciting to read and I don’t feel like I got that in REACHED. The poetic nature of the book took over the story, so much so, that the action felt overshadowed to me… what little there was of it anyway. There were also a lot of questions about the world that I thought were left unanswered, like, who exactly is the Society? Who the hell runs the Society?? Who is the Rising? Why aren’t people allowed to communicate with one another after the Rising takes over? This is never explicitly stated, but it’s hinted strongly that they aren’t allowed. And… Who the f*** is the Enemy?! This one bothered me the most, because The Enemy is mentioned in all three books, but you never find out who they are and I think Condie just expects her readers to accept that an enemy exists and they needed to be dealt with. Yeah….no. Not this reader.
I also feel like Cassia’s character never really grows from MATCHED to REACHED. Yes, she has to make tough decisions, and I respect her for them, but in the end, I think she’s the same person she was in the beginning, just a little more worldly about her surroundings. I disliked Ky a lot less in REACHED than I did in CROSSED and believe me, that’s a good thing. I think being in his head less helped his cause a lot, but he also seemed less whiny and more accepting of their situation… and he really seemed to fill out while having something worth fighting for. (I know in my CROSSED review I said I liked Ky, but after I thought about it some, & met with my book club, I realized, I didn’t really like him all that much and kind of actually wanted to stab him in the gut, he was such a crybaby. But anyway…). In the end, I was really proud of Ky.
Xander was the most interesting character of this book. Finally, we get the story from his point of view, and he had so much going on in that head of his, that I found him fascinating. It’s clear that when Xander loves, he loves with his whole being, but he also feels a sense of purpose in his life that his love doesn’t necessarily distract him from. He is multi-dimensional, and multi-faceted.
There are a lot of themes going on in this novel, but the one that at one point wanted to make me beat myself in the head was The Pilot. Pilot pilot pilot pilot pilot pilot pilot. God damn, it was all they talked about, like an obsession really. At one point, I was ready to scream, “STFU about The Pilot already!” For all their searching for The Pilot, I think the answer to this burning question is, we are our own pilots, carving the way for ourselves. Or maybe that’s just how I interpreted it.
The other themes throughout REACHED drew heavily on poetry and while Condie’s prose was beautiful, I often felt lost in the story, just trying to muck my way through it, and hoping to understand something in the end. Most of it I didn’t.
Overall, I did enjoy the book. It was a good ending to MATCHED and CROSSED, but out of the three, I think the first book was the best, because that’s where we learned the most of the world. But I think that MATCHED series fans will still love REACHED and I do recommend you read it. Just make sure you devote the time necessary to puzzling out the writing. (less)
Purely Relative is probably a great follow-up novella to the first in the series, P.U.R.E. by Claire Gillian. Unfortunately, I went in a little blind...morePurely Relative is probably a great follow-up novella to the first in the series, P.U.R.E. by Claire Gillian. Unfortunately, I went in a little blind to the backstory, because I didn’t read the first one, and therefore, didn’t know the characters. This isn’t really a bad thing though, because Purely Relative read just fine as a standalone novella (although I still recommend you read the first one – it sounds like there was action and hijinks).
Gayle is a likable protagonist: she’s funny and witty, and definitely self-deprecating in her sense of humor. She definitely looks at the funny side of things, and as her author, Claire Gillian tells her story with a lot of banter and funny. She’s the kind of character that someone like me (sometimes offensive, often inappropriate) can totally relate to, because she’s the same way.
She’s also a total nympho, which leads to laughs, often.
Jon is more reserved, but he plays the typical male role well, and Gillian writes him rather well, if cliche, as the bumbling boyfriend who doesn’t talk, is over-protective and would beat up any man who looked at his woman wrong. Oh, and who also likes to have a lot of sex, often.
These two had so much sex, I’m surprised they were still able to walk by the end! As Amanda said in her review of Tammy Faulkner’s novel, The Magic of “I Do,” some authors write steam and some write sex. I think Purely Relative was more on the sex side than the steam side and I personally prefer steam to sex, although I’m not opposed to sex at all. But I want it to leave me breathless at the end of the scene, much like the characters, and I didn’t personally feel that in Purely Relative. But their sexual hijinks (and references to hijinks past) made me laugh!
I did not feel like the book read right for their ages. They are supposedly in their 20s, but I was reading them as if they were in their early 30s. The tonality of their characters just didn’t fit with 20-somethings for me. That sometimes threw me off, but overall, it wasn’t a large issue, just a minor complaint. Although if their tone didn’t convey their age, their sex-drive certainly did!
I enjoyed the dynamic with Jon’s family, it reminded me very much of my own: loud, obnoxious, over-bearing, and very, very Italian. I guess that’s just how we roll.
The novella ends on a very good note, and this is one for the HEA fans. I think romance junkies should pick up the first and this one as well, because it’s a cute contemporary read.
It is extremely rare that I find a book I would happily read again. I used to be a serial re-reader, until I had the bibliophile “problem” of too many...moreIt is extremely rare that I find a book I would happily read again. I used to be a serial re-reader, until I had the bibliophile “problem” of too many books and not enough hours in the day to read them all. It was Steph @ Cuddlebuggery who insisted that I read The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. ”It’s epic!” she exclaimed (and she may have held her dagger to my throat, too… we don’t discuss that). I realized two things: Steph’s dagger is plastic and The Winner’s Curse is one of the best books I’ve ever read.
Now, I could get into all the details, like how the writing is like poetry, or how Marie Rutkoski builds us a world that is as beautiful as it is dangerous, with lavish jewels and aristocrats, and dark alleys and murder. Or I could tell you that the protagonist, Kestrel, was a character I liked from the start, because she was deeply thoughtful and saw a world different from that of her peers. Or I could say that Arin, despite his character flaws and inability to make a freaking MOVE already, was the perfect hero in this story because he understood, like Kestrel, that the world isn’t black and white.
I could do and say all those things, but I’m just going to leave you with this instead:
The Unquiet will haunt you…long after you’ve turned the last page and long after you think the story...moreThis review is also posted at The Bawdy Book Blog
The Unquiet will haunt you…long after you’ve turned the last page and long after you think the story is over.
I spook easily, but for some inexplicable reason, I absolutely LOVE ghost stories. Especially the kind that wind their way through your subconscious until you don’t know what’s reality and what’s not anymore. Jeannine Garsee has fabricated the wonderful yet uneasy tale of Rinn Jacobs, a bipolar teenager who moves into the old house of someone who committed suicide and attends a new school where legend has it a girl died. Things happen to people who enter the abandoned pool room, and dead rats are often found in the long tunnel. But no one can explain why…
Let me touch on the bipolar for a minute: a lot of authors and script writers really sensationalize and overplay personality disorders like bipolar for the sake of drama. Garsee doesn’t and it’s so incredibly refreshing. Having lived with two people who are bipolar in the past, I can honestly say she hit the nail on the head. When Rinn had manic episodes, it was perfectly written. The same goes for the downs; nothing was out of step. The roller coaster ride of someone with bipolar disorder, even on meds, was vividly played out page after page, leaving me nearly breathless, because it felt so incredibly real. I don’t think I would have had the same reaction if I didn’t have the personal experience myself. I know I wouldn’t appreciate the authenticity as much.
The story is exceptional. It took me about a third of the way through the book to REALLY get into it, but once I did…I was off and running. It’s as if all these events from the past and the future collided with such ferocity and all the while, I was wondering what the HELL was going on! I wanted to know….I HAD to know what was in the pool room, and why people got hurt, or worse in that school.
Rinn is a great character. Even aside from the BP I mentioned before, she’s realistic and well-grounded. She knows she’s crazy, takes her happy pills and tries to find her happy place. She, like any other person in her situation, has a bit of misguided guilt regarding the circumstances leading to her present situation, but like I said, anyone would probably feel that way. The secondary characters were sometimes hit or miss for me. Lacy was a Super Bitch; I seriously loathed her. I asked myself why Rinn would hang around someone like that and the answer I found was: she’s bipolar, she has low self-esteem and she’s not going to look a gift-horse in the mouth…even if that gift-horse has really foul breath. The other young female characters were not nearly as vivid as Rinn, nor as bitchy as Lacy, so I was generally indifferent to them. Nate was wonderful! I liked him so much because he was so sweet and exactly what Rinn needed in her life.
By the way, I LOVED the relationship between Rinn and her stepfather, Frank. Okay, so I didn’t love it all. Obviously things were tense….after. But there was love there and it reminded me so much of my relationship with my own stepfather, someone who raised me from elementary school until he passed away in my early 20’s. I love to see extended families like this have a real love for each other, regardless whether they are truly blood-related or not. My stepfather treated me like I was his own, and to read a story where a stepdad loves his stepdaughter like mine loved me….well, that just makes me smile. And cry a little. :)
The creepy factor is a slow build but so incredibly worth it. Every moment, every creek and shadow, every tense word getting to that climax was so intense. I had to keep flipping, flipping, flipping the pages, just to find out what happened next. All in all, The Unquiet lives up to its name, leaving an unquiet buzzing in your mind you just can’t quite dispel.(less)
Sophie Jordan is just a badass author, I’m now convinced of it. She first wooed me with her Firelight Series, bringing me into a paranormal romance wo...moreSophie Jordan is just a badass author, I’m now convinced of it. She first wooed me with her Firelight Series, bringing me into a paranormal romance world with dragons/humans. Now she’s done it again with the first book in her new series, Uninvited.
Uninvited is touted in its synopsis as The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report (remember that Tom Cruise movie?), and I’d say that’s an apt description. But if I had to really nail it down, I’d also say Jordan pulled from our own world history a bit, too, applying the way Nazis treated the Jews in World War II as an example for this story. It’s subtle, but it is there. In Uninvited, people are tested for HTS – Homicidal Tendency Syndrome, otherwise known as the “kill gene.”
When I first picked up South of Salem by Janni Nell from NetGalley, I didn't realize it was book 2 in a series, so I had decided not to read it. I hat...moreWhen I first picked up South of Salem by Janni Nell from NetGalley, I didn't realize it was book 2 in a series, so I had decided not to read it. I hate coming into the middle of a story arc and trying to catch up on the backstory by gleaning hints from the second. It's a lot of work when I could just read the first, right? Then I read a review that mentioned South of Salem is a great stand-alone. So I bit the bullet and picked it back up. I am so glad I did! South of Salem is a great paranormal story and you do not need to read the first to understand the second. It had great paranormal elements that were intriguing and fun, and overall, South of Salem is witty and snarky. It's a very light read, yet Janni Nell does an excellent job investing you in her story. I also love the sexual tension between Allegra and Casper (can I take him home?), teasing the reader just enough to pick up the third book (should there be one), without being overly explicit. The relationship development is so well done that they're are completely believable, even down to Allegra's sister married to their stepbrother. I just loved it and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys paranormal fiction with a snarky twist. (less)