I expected more from these two authors, but the characters were underdeveloped, the romance just didn't work, and I didn't understand the attraction bI expected more from these two authors, but the characters were underdeveloped, the romance just didn't work, and I didn't understand the attraction between Christian and CJ at all. CJ had no empathy whatsoever and he kept behaving like a selfish brat. I couldn't understand why a 40-year-old man would be attracted to him, especially a deeply religious, (view spoiler)[virgin (hide spoiler)], who is also his professor and advisor.
I thought about DNF-ing halfway through and only finished reading because I'm so stubborn. ["br"]>["br"]>...more
Love Lessons, the first book in this milder-than-usual series (at least for this author), proved that Heidi excels at characterization. This fact wasLove Lessons, the first book in this milder-than-usual series (at least for this author), proved that Heidi excels at characterization. This fact was pretty clear from her previous work as well, especially Dance With Me, which is one of my all-time favorites. But for some unidentifiable reason, Love Lessons didn’t quite reach me emotionally, not as much as I felt it should have.
When Fever Pitch came along, I waited a bit to read it, expecting more of the same, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. This book, you guys, I have no words to describe how it made me feel.
The story starts with Aaron in his final days of high school. Aaron is one of the popular crowd, but not necessarily by conscious choice. He is a quiet boy, terrified of his father and reluctant to disappoint his weak mother. He needs to choose a college, but trying to make everyone happy is slowly driving him crazy, which is how he ends up drunk in a laundry room at a party. There he finds Giles, the school geek one of the few openly gay boys. Giles has a habit of sleeping with the closeted boys, the straight boys, and pretty much everyone he aims to prove a point to, which usually ends up with him being bullied and beaten after the fact, when said boys realize that going on the defensive is the only way to hide their adventures. For Giles, Aaron is just another closeted gay boy looking for some fun before putting him in the hospital, but by the end of the night, they both end up making some major changes.
Despite their explosive beginning, Fever Pitch is a veryslow burn romance. It takes a lot for these two to finally come together, a lot of growing on both their parts, plenty of self-discovery for Aaron, more than a little courage and quite a few disasters along the way. Although they’re at the same college and both interested in music, they both have a hard time overcoming their fear and prejudice, which they have to do in order to finally admit their feelings.
Walter and Kelly from the first book are very present in this story, as a safety net of sorts for poor Aaron. It was nice seeing them happy and engaged, fully embracing their love for each other and Kelly’s love for all things Disney-related. But Cullinan introduces a whole army of new characters as well, and gives them all plenty of attention. Those secondary characters, including Giles’ parents, Aaron’s awful family, their college friends and especially Baz and Elijah, turned this book from something ordinary and nice into something quite extraordinary and just gorgeous.
It needs to be said that music plays a huge part in this book. It gives our boys common ground, something they’re both extremely talented at, but it also gives Aaron some much-needed self-confidence and a reason to finally stand up to his father. The final scene had me laughing and crying at the same time, playing Titanium over and over again and singing for all I was worth. If you decide to read this book, you’ll likely end up doing the same and trust me, it’ll be one of the best experiences you’ve had in ages.
Sometimes, a book you least expect to like takes you completely by surprise. Sometimes, even though you respect their opinion, you disagree with some Sometimes, a book you least expect to like takes you completely by surprise. Sometimes, even though you respect their opinion, you disagree with some of your most trusted friends. For me, this is one of those times.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer wasn’t at all what I expected. I was warned about the love interest, about the heroine, about the plot and about the romance itself. I was told that the story makes little sense, that the romance is forced and unbelievable, that the love interest is just another version of Edward Cullen and that the heroine is simply too unmemorable, and occasionally even too stupid to live.
I must say that I respectfully disagree.
The fact of the matter is that I found the plot to be compelling and absolutely addictive; well planned, well written and incredibly suspenseful. Mara is a completely unreliable narrator, a detached, slightly unhinged, completely broken girl who hallucinates more often than not. We can’t be sure what we’re seeing, not when we’re seeing it through her eyes, and like her, we must question everything, from her friends and family to her sanity.
In addition, it must be said that I actually like Edward Cullen, and strangely enough, I rather like Noah Shaw as well. His previous romantic entanglements made me uncomfortable at first (as they were meant to, I’m sure), but as I learned more about him and witnessed his devotion to Mara, I started genuinely liking the boy.
It was actually Mara, not Noah, who gave me pause more than once. She came perilously close to the very definition of anti-heroine on several occasions, in a way that truly put me on edge. However, despite my discomfort (or possibly because of it), I appreciated Hodkin’s excellent characterization, her insightfulness and her willingness to take her characters to pretty uncomfortable places, well beyond the limit of morally and socially acceptable behavior. Mara wasn’t the only one who questioned her sanity. I questioned it constantly and there were moments when I thought she really should be put away, for her own safety and the safety of others. This is Michelle Hodkin’s true strength – she makes us love and fear a single character, be understanding and understandably wary at the same time. Mara is not a heroine in the traditional sense, but it’s quite easy to care for her nevertheless.
This story’s only true flaw, in my opinion, is that it doesn’t offer any sort of explanation for Mara’s apparent hallucinations. I’ve developed a very thick skin when it comes to cliffhangers, but at least some answers would have been most welcome. As is, I was left with hundreds of questions, very few answers, and a deep sense of dread that will likely stay with me for days to come.
Christy Romano narrated the book beautifully and added so much to the experience. Her pacing is a bit faster than normal, but it suits this story perfectly, and her voice only amplifies the overwhelming tension of the story. Mara’s emotions, as well as her strange detachment throughout the story, were clearly reflected in Romano’s voice. In addition, she did a fairly good job with Noah’s accent – she didn’t sound native, not quite, but even in that she was more than good enough.
After the crushing cliffhanger we were left with, I have no choice but to continue the story right away. Please excuse me while I go hide in the darkest, quietest corner of my house with Freya (my phone) and headphones for company.
The wonderful cover of this book, combined with the well-written blurb, does an excellent job of luring us in by promising a book both hilarious and fThe wonderful cover of this book, combined with the well-written blurb, does an excellent job of luring us in by promising a book both hilarious and filled with adventure and romance. However, Anomaly doesn’t quite live up to the promise. There is, admittedly, a decent amount of adventure, but romance is far from satisfactory, and the promised humor strangely absent.
Josie is having the worst day of her life, and who cares that it’s her 17th birthday? Certainly not her slimy boyfriend who decides to dump her on that very day, and neither does her overbearing, depressed mother or her absent father. But even with all that on her plate, Josie doesn’t get a reprieve. Instead, strange things start happening around her and instead of ending with a birthday party, her day ends with murder.
Anomaly follows the usual YA paranormal route, without a single detour to make it at least somewhat more memorable. Josie learns that she’s very powerful and that a group of people is trying to kill her because of it, a hot boy is there to protect her but he (naturally) can’t be in a relationship with her because she’s apparently too important to be kissed senseless, there’s a loyal best friend, a traitor in their midst, absent parents and just about everything else one would expect from a book such as this. Sometimes these combinations of tropes and stock characters end up working splendidly, but unfortunately, this is not one of those times.
Anomaly might be better suited for younger readers and those who haven’t read much paranormal YA. It’s cute and fairly well written, but not for people who have read many similar stories in the past. However, other series have started this way and ended up being original and entertaining. There is hope yet if Tonya Kuper decides to take things in an unexpected direction.
Usually when a duology becomes a trilogy or a trilogy becomes a more lengthy series overnight, I grumble and complain and become instantly resentful oUsually when a duology becomes a trilogy or a trilogy becomes a more lengthy series overnight, I grumble and complain and become instantly resentful of both the author and the publisher. But when I discovered that this duology somehow grew to become a trilogy, I felt nothing but satisfaction and joy. More books from Mira Grant are always good news to me. In fact, if Parasitology suddenly became a 180 books long medical thriller/soap opera hybrid, I’d still be a happy camper. That’s how much I admire this author and trust in her ability to always, always deliver.
Like Parasite, Symbiont is mostly told from Sal Mitchell’s perspective, with diary entries, chapters and correspondence from other characters in between. Sal’s voice is nothing like what we usually get from Mira Grant. She is a frightened girl, hesitant, unsure, often whiny, and a follower by her own admission. For the most part, Sal doesn’t even try to be brave (which can admittedly be a tad exhausting at times), but in Symbiont, we witness her growing at least somewhat stronger and more confident. She will never be the most traditional heroine, but then again, she’s not the most traditional human being, so I suppose that’s all right.
My experience with medical thrillers is virtually nonexistent which makes it impossible for me to compare Symbiont with others of its kind, but the amount of research behind this book is obvious and quite impressive. One could never accuse Grant of doing things halfway. The science in her science fiction is always so believable and infinitely scary. I kept imagining my brain being slowly eaten by a parasite and let me tell you, it was not a pleasant thought at all.
The pacing could have been better, especially in the first half. I felt that some events included were absolutely inconsequential and that the story would have functioned a lot better without them. But the second half of the book has no such issues –it was, in fact, so tense that I sometimes forgot to breathe.
In addition to her excellent worldbuilding, Grant’s characterization is, as always, superb. This stands true for more than just Sal – each and every one of her characters is built to perfection. Through Dr. Cale and Dr. Banks, we are offered insight into the minds of two mad scientists with brilliant minds and sociopathic tendencies. Dr. Cale was especially interesting in that regard because she actually tried to adhere to basic ethical and behavioral standards, but it was always a conscious effort, not something that came naturally. I’ve also noticed that Grant always includes a slightly unhinged, homicidal girl (Foxy in Blackout and Tansy in Parasite and Symbiont) as the perfect source of comic relief. This may be a template character for Grant, but it is always endlessly entertaining to me.
”Hello?” I tried again. “Look, I’m all like, barefoot and lying in yuck, and that’s a serious infection risk, so could you maybe come and get me and take me somewhere clean? Or better, give me back my shoes and let me go? I promise not to murder you even a little.”
While Parasitolgy didn’t necessarily capture my heart like Newsflesh before it, its quality is unquestionable. I have no doubt that we’ll be getting a spectacular finale next year. I for one can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Can you imagine a wonderful, light science-fiction novel set in Scotland, with delightful Scottish accents, spaceships (possibly) landing in the moor,Can you imagine a wonderful, light science-fiction novel set in Scotland, with delightful Scottish accents, spaceships (possibly) landing in the moor, and unruly Scottish boys with very wild imaginations? Well guess what, as lovely as it sounds, you don’t have to imagine it, Ken MacLeod already did it for us.
The charm of this lovely science fiction work is twofold. A part of it is certainly the setting, especially for those of us who are mostly used to reading American fiction. Scotland is very much alive in this book, brought to life by someone who knows (and apparently loves) its every rock. Ryan’s best friend Calum, as well as many other characters, speaks with this lovely Scottish accent that was transferred beautifully in writing. Another huge part of this book’s charm stems from MacLeod’s wry sense of humor, the laugh-out-loud variety, and a lot of it.
Set in a very near, very believable future, Descent is part super-light sci-fi, part coming of age story, part political thriller and part conspiracy theory. It follows Ryan through various stages of his life, all at least somewhat affected by the strange event in his youth. It doesn’t follow the usual narrative line and it never really becomes a cohesive whole. It’s quite an unusual read, but all the more charming for it.
Read this if you want something different, outside of any one genre, but speculative and wildly interesting nevertheless. It is the perfect break from conventional stories with overused plotlines and stock characters. Nothing about this story is conventional, and yet everything is perfect just the way it is.
4.5 stars For a while after I finished The Body Electric, I struggled to gather my thoughts and figure out how to appropriately express my feelings. My4.5 stars For a while after I finished The Body Electric, I struggled to gather my thoughts and figure out how to appropriately express my feelings. My experience with this book felt, for those few shocked minutes, far too important to be put into my unskilled English sentences. But I had to try, I had to do what I can to help this book get the attention it absolutely deserves.
I always enjoyed Revis’ work, but I never experienced it this intensely. The Body Electric brings something new to the table, both in worldbuilding and characterization. It is certainly a big step forward for Beth Revis herself and for Young Adult Science Fiction in general. Truth be told, this book doesn’t read like YA at all. Revis held nothing back, she didn’t try to make things more simple or accessible to a younger audience. This book is an explosion of creativity and emotions with no barriers whatsoever, and as such, it deserves all the praise it can get.
The issues Revis explores aren’t new to the science fiction genre. In fact, she herself mentions that she owes a great literary debt to Phillip K. Dick and his Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. She even named Ella’s father, the groundbreaking scientist, Phillip K. Shepherd, which is a nod to the famous author inside the story itself. But even though it’s been dissected so many times before, the question of what truly makes us human has never been answered with any level of certainty. Therefore, it is still just as important as it was 50 years ago or more.
The author’s note informs us that the worldbuilding was inspired by Revis’ traveling, but it would have been obvious anyway. The images of Malta are too vivid, from the colors, certain traditions and smells, to the people and their ways. But Malta isn’t at the center of this story. Revis created a whole new city on a bridge between the two main Maltese islands, a city built to become the home of a new government. New Venice has everything technology has to offer 250 years from now, but it also celebrates what was lost – the old Venice, swallowed by water a long time ago. New Venice was built after a horrible war, when large nations became united in their attempt to achieve peace and a new government was formed. Ella doesn’t remember the war, she was born in New Venice a year after it ended. She is the daughter of two brilliant scientists, but lately her life has been a series of disasters. Her father died in an attack on his lab, her mother is terminally ill, and Ella herself sometimes sees and hears strange things, things that make her doubt her own mind.
The romance is central to the plot, but it stays in the background most of the time. I loved how it was done, it was important, but never all-consuming and overwhelming. Faced with an obviously unreliable narrator and a boy who claims to know her very well, I became obsessed with uncovering the truth about them and about Ella’s life since her father died. Revis has achieved something that doesn’t happen often anymore – she created a story that swallowed me completely and made me forget about everything else in the world.
The book loses a bit of its strength in the second half as things become far more complicated and difficult to comprehend. Nevertheless, it is an amazing story altogether, an experience I’m unlikely to forget. Read this if you liked Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? or Bernard Beckett’s Genesis. Or even if you didn’t, just read it. You need this book in your life.