This is undoubtedly the worst YA novel I've read this year. I suffered through about 50% of the audiobook, i.e. 6 long, excruciating hours, waiting foThis is undoubtedly the worst YA novel I've read this year. I suffered through about 50% of the audiobook, i.e. 6 long, excruciating hours, waiting for it to start making sense, but it never did. Eventually I became too annoyed to continue.
Cremer rarely bothered to explain her world, but even when she did, the Keepers and Guardians made no sense to me. ‘Sink or swim’ is how I would describe her worldbuilding, at least in the first 40% or so - the story just goes on and you either get it or not. Not. I still don’t understand why these Guardians, werewolves, warriors, whatever you want to call them, would answer to a group of witches, allowing themselves to be controlled in such a horrible way. They can’t be dominant, Alpha, and submissive at the same time.
I love my shapeshifter books as long as they don’t break one simple rule: the author needs to explain clothes right away or I’m done. I don’t care what the explanation is: the clothes can magically appear, they can be hidden somewhere or people can just walk around naked, but I need to know. For the longest time in Nightshade, Calla kept changing forms in public without any mention of clothes. It was explained eventually, but by then I was too angry to even care.
You know how sometimes it seems, especially in books with a really strong plot (view spoiler)[think The Hunger Games(hide spoiler)], that the love triangle was thrown in afterwards, probably to satisfy the publisher’s demand? Well, in this case, I’m betting there was an editor somewhere along the line who said: “Wait just a second, Ms. Cremer. This book needs an actual plot! It can’t ALL be just Calla going from Ren to Shay and back.” And so she was forced to add this plot she probably deemed unnecessary and even damaging to her beautiful love triangle drama.
The love triangle was painful to endure. Calla is a terrible, selfish character with double standards, Shay is mostly just pathetic and Ren is blind to it all. Of course, if I had to choose, I’d choose Ren in a second because he has that sexy name going for him and he occasionally shows some backbone, which is more than I can say for either Calla or Shay.
As Lora pointed out in her comment, the ratings are all over the place. It’s quite possible that some of you will find this story interesting and enjoyable. Many of my friends did. But if you don’t like love triangles, stay far, far away from this series. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I'm very, very sorry, my dear GR friends. I had every intention of finishing this book, if only to be able to write a decent review. But I would ratheI'm very, very sorry, my dear GR friends. I had every intention of finishing this book, if only to be able to write a decent review. But I would rather eat it than listen to another minute of it. I think it just might be the worst book I've read (or tried to read) this year.
Now, I know there's been a lot of talk about plagiarism and stuff, but I don't care about any of that. I don't even see most of the similarities people keep pointing out. I was actually looking forward to this book! I thought the first three books were readable and even enjoyable at times. But CoFA is not readable, it's terrible!! Clary doesn't have a personality, Jace has developed a martyr complex, and Simon is the biggest coward in the whole wide world. The plot is nonexistent. They all just keep making seroiusly stupid choices and avoiding each other in the process.
A song kept playing in my head during this torture. It was Serve the Servants by Nirvana. Remember that one?! Teenage angst has paid of well. Now I'm bored and old. If you Google it, you will find thousands of discussions on the real meaning of those first lines, but Cassandra Clare is the only one who took them literally. Kurt Cobain's voice probably haunted her after she finished her trilogy and she suddenly decided she didn't want to be bored and old any more. She chose to milk the same cow a little while longer, so she wrote a fourth book in the trilogy (view spoiler)[I know it's ridiculous, believe me. But at least she stopped calling it a trilogy! (hide spoiler)], not caring at all that she would make a complete fool out of herself. We, on the other hand, have proved once again that we are her humble servants. She served us a pile of crap and we bought it. Literally.
What it comes down to is this: I can say anything I want about Cassandra Clare and City of Fallen Angels, but I paid good money for this audiobook so I guess the joke is on me. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Middle book syndrome, thy name is Insurgent, and you’ve never been this painful before. I realize this is not a popular opinion. For every negative reMiddle book syndrome, thy name is Insurgent, and you’ve never been this painful before. I realize this is not a popular opinion. For every negative review out there, Insurgent has fifteen positive ones, which I guess makes me the odd one out, not for the first time.
But seriously, wow. If you’re ever struck by a sudden desire to read a book about nothing at all and don’t know what to choose, look no further – Veronica Roth will satisfy your curiosity. I was one of those people who neither loved nor hated Divergent: I thought it was fun but full of holes worldbuilding-wise, I thought the characters were interesting, but needed more work, and I thought the action scenes were reasonably well-written, but certainly not mind-blowing. None of those things apply to Insurgent. I only mention them to clarify that I didn’t expect much to begin with. But after the first few chapters of Insurgent, I realized that even those weak expectations wouldn’t be met. It is one of the emptiest books I’ve ever read: you go searching for plot and come up empty; you try finding some character development – empty. Good action scenes… well, some, but without an actual plot to keep me engaged, they felt empty nonetheless. I usually enjoy writing plot summaries, but this time, I spent 10 minutes staring at the blinking cursor, having absolutely no idea how to put this lack of anything meaningful into words. I just keep going back to Tris instead. And since I already mentioned character development, I’d like to know what on earth happened to her? I wrote this plenty of times in my reviews: if I don’t like the main character, I simply can’t like the book! (Unless, of course, the whole point of the book is that I dislike its protagonist, which most definitely isn’t the case here.) I might have enjoyed Insurgent at least a little bit if not for Tris’s constant whining. This entire book is one big pity-party, a series of unnecessary, meaningless sacrifices. People kept turning to her to analyze the situation, but she was the least logical among them. At least with the real Dauntless you know where you stand… they shoots first, ask questions later… if at all. Tris whines first, makes idiotic decisions, lies to the only person who actually cares about her, whines some more, shoots when she has no other way out, then whines because she was forced to shoot. Rinse and repeat. Her guilt over killing Will was fine up to a point, but when she became self-destructive over it, I started thinking that she should have done everyone a favor and let Will shoot her instead! That was the only other option: kill him or die, but instead of accepting this, she was determined to destroy herself (and Tobias) because of it.
The narrator, Emma Galvin, saved the book for me. She truly did an outstanding job. Sometimes a narrator just grates on me for no apparent reason, but the exact opposite happened with Emma: she is so good that I’d be perfectly happy listening to her read grocery lists all day long. She is what kept me going around the middle, when I would have given up otherwise.
There is no hope for me and this series. I wanted to be excited about the third book, but I doubt I’ll even read it. Everyone has their list of dealbreakers, those things they just can’t get over in books, and whining and self-pity are at the very top of mine. (You can read this lovely post about dealbreakers at The Readventurer.)
When book three comes out, I promise I will be excited with and for my friends. I swear I will. I just doubt I’ll read it myself.
Crystal Cove is the fourth book in Lisa Kleypas’ Friday Harbor series, the first paranormal series in her rather extensive bibliography. People more fCrystal Cove is the fourth book in Lisa Kleypas’ Friday Harbor series, the first paranormal series in her rather extensive bibliography. People more familiar with Kleypas’ work seem to dislike this series, but I enjoyed the first three books. They were just cute, feel-good, forgettable reads, perfect for rainy Sundays.
Justine is a hereditary witch, and a powerful one at that, but she doesn’t want to join her mother’s coven. Instead, she bought a small inn and she’s running it happily with her cousin Zoe. Justine is mostly happy with her life, but she misses the only thing she’s never had – love. Jason Black is a half-Japanese millionaire, an extremely driven and extremely successful businessman. But he needs the one thing money can’t buy –a soul. To get it, he needs to steal a powerful witch’s grimoire, and Justine seems like the perfect choice. Neither of them counts on falling in love, but once they do, another problem arises. Because of something called the witch’s bane, no witch has ever been able to keep the man she loves. They always die within months.
I found it odd that the issue of Jason’s soullessness was never properly addressed. It was an essential part of the story, and yet we never did find out how it came to be. Was he born without a soul or did something happen to him later? In fact, a great many things about Jason weren’t explained and I never understood him, despite the addition of his point of view.
On top of that, I didn’t understand what brought them together in the first place. It makes sense that Justine was drawn to him, but the entire process of falling in love was somehow glazed over. Consequently, I was never really invested in their relationship, nor did I feel anxious about their happily ever after. In fact, when Jason did something he wasn’t supposed to and Justine forgave him, I was disappointed that he didn’t have to work for it at all.
With a half-Japanese character, Kleypas explored shibaru, Japanese rope bondage. Allow me to put this into context: Kleypas’ romances are usually of the hot-and-sweet variety (sweet being the key word here), and she writes characters that fit this type of story. Bondage of any kind simply doesn’t work, and Japanese bondage – more a form of art than anything else – was, to be entirely honest, slightly ridiculous.
The narrator, Tanya Eby, is a perfect choice for this type of book. Her voice has a very pleasant, calming quality. Above all, I enjoyed the Arkansas accent she used for Priscilla – it was well-done and endlessly amusing. Eby saved this book for me – given my lack of connection with Justine and Jason, I probably would have dropped it halfway through, but Eby’s entertaining narration kept me going.
I doubt I’ll even bother picking up Lightning Bay, the next book in this series. Instead, I’ll probably find some of Kleypas’s older contemporary books and hopefully find out why she has so many loyal fans.
It's very hard to write a helpful review of Graywalker. It simply didn’t leave any kind of impression on me – good or bad. The first half was far moreIt's very hard to write a helpful review of Graywalker. It simply didn’t leave any kind of impression on me – good or bad. The first half was far more interesting than the second. It had the tone of a hardboiled detective novel and it was quite refreshing, so I was more than a little disappointed when it all went straight to hell in the other half. Harper Blaine is a good, strong character, but some of her choices weren’t quite clear to me, and the love story (well, lust story, to be precise) was weird and unconvincing. And let me just say that I like my male characters tall, strong and dominant (don’t we all?), but Richardson gave us a love interest who is ordinary, not too handsome and very whiny at times. I meet guys like that every day. Why the hell would I want to read about them, too?!
The worldbuilding was unimaginative and colorless. I really wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone except avid urban fantasy readers (Ooooops, I’m alone on that island, and I’ve read it already, so no… I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone at all). There were some good moments, but all in all, it just wasn't good enough....more
Even though, at first glance, Gated looks very much like dystopian lit, it’s actually an too-likely-for-comfort contemporary read. It happens in preseEven though, at first glance, Gated looks very much like dystopian lit, it’s actually an too-likely-for-comfort contemporary read. It happens in present day United States, and the regular society functions normally. It’s only the small group Lila lives in, a cult if you will, that lives under a very different set of rules.
Mandradage Meadows (I think that’s how it’s spelled, I’m not sure because of the audio) is a gated community, lead by the charismatic Pioneer. There lives a group of people that knows the truth about the upcoming Armageddon and wants to prepare for it. They have a silos underground and they spend their time learning how to fight, to prevent others from entering their safe haven.
Pioneer leads the community with an iron fist. He’s the one who dreamed of the end, and he’s the one in contact with the Brethren, aliens who have chosen only the people in Mandradage Meadows to survive. Everyone lives by his rules and they gladly obey because they know the alternative is dying with the rest of the world, but when someone doesn’t, for whatever reson, they face a punishment so fierce, they’re never tempted to disobey again.
Parker took her sweet time creating the Pioneer, and it shows. He is perhaps one of the most fascinating characters I’ve come across in a very long time, and I’m not saying that lightly. The intricacies of one such personality, the hundred faces of lies and deceit, are so very hard to get right, and yet Parker’s Pioneer constantly gave me the chills. To me and Lila both, he seemed a bit delusional, but kind enough at the beginning, but as the story progressed, his true colors showed more and more, until we were both terrified of what he might do next.
For her part, Alicyn Packard narrates the story skillfully and beautifully, so much so that I’d definitely recommend you pick this one up on audio. It’s a pretty long one, over 10 hours, but she takes you through it effortlessly, and before you even realize you’re utterly creeped out.
Less patient readers might find Gated pretty slow. There is no action to speak of, and the focus always remains on the psychological profiles of these characters: Pioneer and those who blindly follow him. The last part does pick up considerably, and the reader is faced with several surprises that are pretty hard to predict, but I’ve talked to several readers who gave up on Lila’s story much before that.
If you do decide to pick it up, keep in mind that it’s a quiet story, more a psychological thriller than anything else, and try to adjust your expectations accordingly. If you’re looking for high octane action, you most certainly won’t find it here, but I enjoyed the slow build-up and the development of these characters.
Sometimes it’s nice to start a book knowing exactly what to expect: good parts, bad parts and all. The Naturals is a pretty simple, straightforward boSometimes it’s nice to start a book knowing exactly what to expect: good parts, bad parts and all. The Naturals is a pretty simple, straightforward book. A single review should tell you pretty much everything you need to know about it, and you should be able to judge right away whether it’s something you’ll enjoy.
It is part murder mystery and part teen love triangle drama, so I think it’s safe to say there’s something in it for everyone. Personally, I can’t stand love triangles at the best of times and I thought this one was particularly badly executed, but I’m certain that the readers who usually enjoy them will feel differently and get very invested in the romance, one way or the other.
For me, the serial killer part was part was what saved this book, a least in part. Nothing could quite make up for the torturous and rather pointless love triangle, but I was completely captivated by the mystery and I failed to guess the identity of the killer until the very end. I don’t usually appreciate chapters from the killer’s point of view, although they are inherent to the murder mystery genre, but in this case, I felt they were done remarkably well.
It’s extremely hard to determine whether The Naturals is a paranormal book or not, and yet, I am inclined to think not. The talents these kids have seem to be precisely that – extraordinary talents, but all within range of realistic human capacity, or just beyond. Instead of being bothered by this uncertainty, I found it refreshing and rather intriguing, especially Leah’s lie detecting abilities.
The narrator, Amber Faith, has one of those soft, indistinct voices that are pleasant enough, I suppose, but don’t really stand out in any way. She struggled a bit with voice characterization, especially for male characters, but overall, she falls somewhere around the middle: nothing about her narration rubbed me the wrong way, but I wouldn’t rush to buy a book narrated by her.
All in all, I don’t regret spending 8 hours listening to this book and I’ll likely even pick up the sequel once it becomes available, but while The Naturals was an entertaining read, spectacular it was not.
Robyn Carr’s Thunder Point series is a favorite of mine. All these books are perfect rainy day comfort reads that make me want to curl up with a blankRobyn Carr’s Thunder Point series is a favorite of mine. All these books are perfect rainy day comfort reads that make me want to curl up with a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate and shut the world out. Her Thunder Point is a very small town with a tight-knit community. Everyone is up in everyone else’s business, but not one of them with bad intentions.
Consequently, I see all the characters as my dear friends. There is a couple at the center of each book, but the community is never neglected. We get to see those we’re already very familiar with, as well as those we have yet to get to know.
That said, it makes me incredibly sad to write a less-than-stellar review for this latest Thunder Point novel. Scott and Peyton’s story isn’t up to Carr’s usual standard, and as hard as I tried, I failed to get invested like I should have. Above all else I was bored and severely annoyed by their lack of communication.
Although present, the community I love so much took a back seat in this book, which would have been fine if Scott and Peyton were a strong enough couple to carry the full novel. Neither their romance nor their problems were big enough to keep me interested throughout, though, and I wished others were given a more important role.
Once again, Therese Plummer completely saved the day. She is the type of narrator who could easily read a phone book and make it sound interesting. Her confidence and voice characterization are practically unmatched. I doubt I would have finished this book if not for her. As it was, she made the whole experience more pleasant.
I will go back to this series, of course. I'm not quite ready to give up after one weak link. I just hope The Homecoming proves to be a diffrent kind of read, one closer to those first four I liked so much.