D a r k l i g h t Author: Lesley Livingston (Site Bio) Release Date: 12/22/09 (Hardcover) Publisher: Harper Teen Age Group: Young Adult (14+) Pages: 310 Sou...moreD a r k l i g h t Author: Lesley Livingston (Site Bio) Release Date: 12/22/09 (Hardcover) Publisher: Harper Teen Age Group: Young Adult (14+) Pages: 310 Source: Public Library (Local) Go Buy It: Amazon★Barnes&Noble ★BookDepository Rating: ☺☺☺☺☺ - Utterly, completely fantastical! Summary: Goodreads
Kelly [Winslow] stretched out her arm. Her fingertips crackled with eldritch energies as she wound up and threw a handful of unformed magick like a fastball at the surface of the stream. The water erupted in a boiling geyser, and when the roiling subsided, the nyxxie floated motionless, stunned by the blast, its seaweed-black hair spread wide...Kelley's breath came in gasps, her muscles ached...lacertations on her leg from the nyxx claws stung fiercely. But she knew she was grinning from ear to ear. Kelley hadn't felt this truly alive in months" (16).
I have to say that Darklight took me by pleasant surprise as this novel has more...just, more compared to the first novel in this wonderful series. Darklight's predecessor didn't captivate me as well as this one had. There was a greater, bigger intriguing mystery festering behind the plot, a brilliant, fascinating adventure, a possible, brewing love triangle, a stunning romance between the two main leads, and a whole heck of a lot more unanswered questions and hardships to be faced. New power...secret plots...boiling resentments...suspicious persons around every corner...I tell you, the novel was a delicious, enchanting read that I'm almost sad to put down!
I admire Kelley far more now than I had before...her growing Fae power dazzles me and her developing strength as a fellow teen who has to endure the burden of her heritage, her origins amazes me. She commands so well, and her stubbornness both amuses me and leaves me exasperated. Still, I must say that I love Sonny, Kelley's love, a great deal more. He's just such a beautiful person AND he's great in battle, in a fight. *grins* I just delight in that aspect of a guy, especially in this guy.
"Sonny pulled Lucky up short and swung around to face Fennrys. 'I'm not afraid to die. I just don't want to die surprised. And I swear to all the gods, if the last thought that goes through my mind is What the hell was that? I will hunt you down in the afterlife and punch you in the face throughout eternity" (178).
The side characters made for an excellent, well-thought-out array of individuals, including those newly introduced in this novel. There was not one that I deeply disliked. I adore Queen Mab, her likeness to Kelly, and enjoy her exquisitely dark, twisted nature that seems to continually provoke chaos for not only Faerie-kind but humankind as well. King Auberon reminds me of Kelley as well, which is also fun. He makes an interesting, dubious king, to me at least, but he's pretty neat all and all. Puck Goodfellow, or Bob, is an entertaining, whimsical, humorous boost to this novel. But, my favorite of the side roles bunch would be Tyffanwy, or Tyff, Kelley's stylish, sarcastic roommate who knows how to crack a hilarious joke or kick some serious butt...my kind of gal pal indeed.
"Tyff came stalking through the loading doors, carrying a lead pipe in one fist and trailing a hulking menace in her wake. 'I heard there's a party going on in here,' the Summer Fae sang out. 'I forgot snacks, but I brought my own ogre...' With Tyff and Harvicc's arrival the fight intensified" (282).
"Tyff's brow furrowed in concentration. 'Well there was four or five of those trashy goat bimbos in my direct line of sight when blank when all apocalypto with the light show...'" (294).
The two new Fae additions were the only other monarchs that hadn't been introduced in the last novel: Titannia, Queen of Summer, and Gwynn ap Nudd, King of the Court of Spring. An intriguing duo if you ask me, though I met them separately. They both make me suspicious, though neither one has done anything to indicate they mean any harm. In fact, more in Titannia's case at least, they seemed friendly which right away sets off alarms of suspicion in my mind.
The Janus Guard had less of a strong appearance in this novel; Darklight didn't really focus on them as much as the first one, apart from Fennrys Wolf, Kelley's current protector and possible...hm, attraction. I would say I liked him if that were the case, but I don't. He, too, set off numerous warning bells in my head. I don't trust him, not in the slightest. But, on the bright side, he is pretty handy in a fight which he coolly proves repeatedly throughout the novel. There most definitely is a lot of fascinating, fast-paced action scenes in this second installment of Livingston's current series and it made Darklight all the more thrilling.
As far as seeing a sparkling romance, love I was absolutely not disappointed, so much so that I encountered an immense amount of sadness by the time I got to the ending (which I will touch on briefly in a moment). There are truly no words to describe the way Sonny loves Kelley...and I just adore Kelley's fierce protectiveness of Sonny as well. There relationship is based on devotion and contains so much emotion, passion and tenderness, it's charming, touching even.
"'Sonny?' She looked up into his face, certain she was dreaming. 'Firecracker,' he whispered, his silver-gray eyes sparkling. His voice in the dimness was music. His arms around her were the feeling of coming home as he tightened his embrace. And his kiss... His kiss was joy" (244).
"Sonny ran his fingertips over Kelley's cheek and through her hair. She was so beautiful to him, and when he had seen her hovering the air, surrounded by the darklight glow of her wings, he had felt his heart swell in his chest" (245).
Darklight's closing left me flustered; a tangled mess of volatile emotions. I was frustrated, upset, confused, astonished all at once, while enjoying the sensation of excitement and anticipation for what's to come. I'm far beyond anxious to bring home the finale, Tempestuous, of this fantastical series.
Incarceron was definitely an intriguing, bizarre read filled with constant action, a dazzling adventure, and a strange, perplexing mystery behind it all. It's a fast-paced, intense novel that kept me on my toes from start to finish.
Honestly, I had absolutely no idea what this novel was really about, besides what I had already read about it (summaries, descriptions, and so forth). But, I truly was not expecting such a fierce, consuming story line. As soon as I opened to the first chapter, I was instantly thrust into this huge, hazardous scene that I was completely unprepared for. It was so deliciously confusing and scary; I felt like I was apart of the mass chaos going on. There was a lot of pretense in this novel as well, coming from all directions; I never knew who to trust, what was real and what wasn't. Suspicion tagged along with me as I read.
As for the characters...I liked them, but I didn't love them, and here's why: I couldn't really relate to any of them, which is understandable since I've never been in situations remotely similar to those faced by the characters, HOWEVER I just couldn't get them all. Then, to add to that, I didn't feel as though I got to know any of them, really know them. Even as they switched third person POVs between Claudia, the daughter of the Warden of the prison Incarceron, and Finn, a significant prisoner living inside Incarceron, I didn't unearth anything pertaining to their personality, their inner core. And that's imperative to me.
Besides that, I delighted in Fisher's diverse collection of characters in the novel. There's Finn the Starseer, a boy with dreams of going Outside, who has peculiar visions and dreams, and is adamant about Escaping; Claudia, the stubborn, reckless daughter of the Warden, who is being forced into an arranged marriage as a way for her family to gain power; Gildas, the Escape-obsessed, healing Sapient accompanying Finn on his quest for freedom; Keiro, Finn's oath brother and an arrogant, narcissistic thief also tagging along with Finn; Attia, an erratic, dedicated girl who sticks by Finn's side as a servant; John, or the Warden of Incarceron, the cold, grave, power-hungry father of Claudia who's incredibly successful at creeping me out; Jared, Claudia's loyal, intelligent Sapient tutor who backs her up in all her unusual ploys; and the mystical, mysterious Sapphique, supposedly the only known man to ever escape Incarceron. They make an excellent cast for this special, unique novel.
My only real complaint with this novel is it's lack of comic relief. Incarceron is very...serious, for lack of a better word, than most books and I hardly, if ever, had a chance to laugh when reading it. Even in crucial, dangerous, life-and-death situations, I think it's important to have those few moments randomly yet strategically placed in a novel designed to make the reader relax and perhaps laugh a little. I didn't get that, at all. By the time I finished, I was so wound up and tense. And, in a way, I guess this goes back to not really knowing the characters and not loving them...Maybe if there'd been a little dose of humor, I would have favored the characters more. *shrugs*
But, Incarceron served as an entertaining, intense read that I didn't put down until I got to page four hundred and forty-two. I definitely recommend reading this fascinating, uncommon novel.
**spoiler alert** Dash &Lily's Book of Dares Authors: Rachel Cohn (Site★Facebook) David Levithan (Site★Facebook) Release Date: 10/26/10 (Hardcover) Pu...more**spoiler alert** Dash &Lily's Book of Dares Authors: Rachel Cohn (Site★Facebook) David Levithan (Site★Facebook) Release Date: 10/26/10 (Hardcover) Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers Age Group: Young Adult (13+) Source: Public Library (Local) Go Buy It: Amazon★Barnes&Noble ★BookDepository Rating: ☺☺☺☺ - Fun, deep, &heartfelt! (Summary) I have to say, beginning from page one, I cracked up alot, enjoyed myself.
The entire book is told between Dash and Lily's POV, so, for once, I truly lost myself in the first person narrative. The thing that really got me though, was that both these characters are deep and relatable people. I mostly resonated with Lily, but I sympathized with Dash also. It was a lovely, heartfelt combo.
Dash is not so much serious, more he's cynical and sarcastic and reserved, whereas Lily is quite the opposite. She's light and warm and optimistic. So, what makes these two mesh so well together? Well, while Dash may be one way, he still possesses a gleam of hope. And though Lily may be a very happy, caring girl she also has doubts, insecurities, and hurts. This provides them with a channel of similarity which they share. But, I wouldn't have grasped this had I not been inside their heads, had I not shared their every thought and feeling.
Cohn and Levithan did a fantastic job in bringing these two very different (yet similar) people together. The concept of the moleskine notebook filled with dares/challenges to pass back and forth between the two, for me, was fun, hilarious, and profound. I think I got to know Lily and Dash better when they began writing to each other, using the red moleskine as a medium. When they were without the journal, I had been immersed in their struggle. Dash explains it best: "When I got back to the apartment, I decided to write to Lily anyway. I fear you may have outmatched me, because now I find these words have nowhere to go. It's hard to answer a question you haven't been asked. It's hard to show that you tried unless you end up succeeding. I stopped. It wasn't the same without the notebook. It didn't feel like a conversation. It felt like I was talking to silence" (121). It had been nice to discover that while the book is downright entertaining and witty and side-splitting, there is some degree of seriousness, of depth.
I was pleased with the side characters, their roles in the storyline, their involvement in the red journal swapping between Lily and Dash. The correlation between Mark, Lily's protective cousin, and Grandpa, Lily's grandfather, is priceless. They are one defensive duo alright. I enjoyed Boomer, his weirdness, his insight, his ineptness. Langston, Lily's brother, and Benny, Langston's boyfriend, are a nice comical addition to the novel. I also liked Lily's strange family members, ESPECIALLY Mrs. Basil E. Oh, what a character she is!
A conversation between Mrs. Basil E. and Dash: "'I need to gauge your intentions,' she said, 'before I can allow you to dillydally with my niece.' 'I can assure you I have neither dillying nor dallying on my mind,' I replied. 'I simply want to meet her. In person. You see, we've been--' She raised her hand to cut me off. 'I know all about your epistolary flirtation. Which is all well and good--as long as it's well and good. Before I ask you some questions, perhaps you would like some tea?' 'That would depend on what kind of tea you were offering.' 'So diffident. Suppose it was Earl Grey.' I shook my head. 'Tastes like pencil shavings.' 'Lady Grey.' 'I don't drink beverages named after beheaded monarchs. It seems so tacky.' 'Chamomile?' 'Might as well sip butterfly wings.' 'Green tea?' 'You can't be serious.' The old woman nodded her approval. 'I wasn't.'
The romance aspect of the novel did not disappoint, thankfully. I'm very particular about how a romance evolves, and watching Dash and Lily get to know each other, dig down deep enough to find the core of each other, truly understand each other, had been incredibly rewarding. Their relationship gradually developed, then flourished by the end.
Ah, the end. The ending was just downright beautiful. A sensational, warm kiss impacted me unlike many other physical scenes I've read. //SPOILERISH//And then those last few paragraphs...Lily awakening Dash as someone who "was going to do her best to cherish this new person, whose name she finally knew" (260). Marvelous, just marvelous.
If you have a single funny, romantic bone in your body pick up Dash & Lily's Book of Dares.
What a crazy, thrilling installment in The Devouring series this turned out to be! I'm still shaking. Where to begin...
Soulstice has everything I loved from the first book, The Devouring, but magnified at least five times. So, it's darker, edgier, and much much scarier. But the creepy parts aren't unnecessary, without purpose, but serve the plot well, and effectively kept me at the edge of my seat!
See, this second book takes place six months after the events of The Devouring and Reggie still hasn't fully recovered from the aftermath of saving her brother, Henry, from these demonic, fear-inciting beings called the Vours. These Vours have a goal: to cross dimensions and possess humans so that they may lead their lives, perhaps torturing other humans as a side benefit. They crave our tastes, smells, and sounds. And, in my opinion, they ultimately envy and despise us humans. Though they may look and even act like the person they've taken over, they are entirely different; heartless and evil entities. So, it was none too pleasant for Reggie to witness what these things were capable of and how quickly they can take away loved ones, or turn them against you, firsthand. Being that these entities can only do their evil-possessing-bodies routine on a day known as Sorry Night, aka the Winter Solstice, Reggie thought that it had been over.
But, boy was she so very wrong!
Reggie's now a threat to the Vours, one they wish to eliminate before they execute their big plan, especially to prevent her from interfering with it. Reasons why I'm really falling for this series is a combination of elements, a mixture of different aspects of this book in particular. First thing, I love Reggie! While she may frustrate me at times, and I sorta wish she had a different name, she's a marvelous heroine. She's bad-ass to the bone, I think. I mean, this girl's done some pretty outrageous things that span the series, but nothing beats the fact that she's courageous enough to meet these Vours head-on. Not only does she deal with a bunch of drama at home - her dad being kind of distant since her mother left them - but also she's constantly having to protect her family and watch out for her younger brother, ex-Vour victim Henry. Though, she does have people to turn to, like her best friend, Aaron, and her former employer, Eben, she still has to carry a very dark and heavy burden, having to make adultlike decisions and tough calls. It cannot be fun for her! And at the end of all of this, she'll never be the same. And I think that's what provokes the most sympathy from me and feeling toward her.
I loved that this paranormal phenomenon - crossing dimensions and dark, fear-provoking entities - is science-based. It was pretty unexpected, the discoveries that help answer some questions. In book one, I learned as much as Reggie did about the Vours, which wasn't much. It was nice to have some things explained, and discover Reggie's significance in the big picture. She's feared, yet she's needed. Should she fall into the wrong hands... it's basically game over for everyone, adding a concentrated tension on the characters and the sense of 'racing against time'.
As far as love and romance, I'm wounded. Was it creepy or weird for me to think that just maybe the heroine would fall for one of these dreaded demonlike monsters? But, can you blame me for drawing this conclusion. Not only was it sort of implied, but look at all the other paranormal books out there! Half the time, our heroines are out there falling in love with 'soulless' vampires and faeries and what have you, so, I thought, why couldn't Reggie maybe fall for one of these soulless monsters too? My logic wasn't too far gone, right? But, alas, it was not so. In book one, I was kind of rooting for the whole 'friends become more than friends' love between Aaron and Reggie, but I don't think that's going to be happening either. Quinn is still a possibility even after everything, but... I fear that there may never be romance for my young heroine...
And because of that, I'm not sure if I can fully love and enjoy the series and all the ensuing books. What can I say other than I'm a hopeless romantic at heart?
I think the ending was the freakiest part of the book! (Highlight to read) Why is it that parents never believe their children when they should, despite how bad it looks? And why do they always believe sending them for psychiatric help is bound to solve all problems? Damn it all! I was left in dire suspense!
Needless to say, I definitely am going to be on the lookout for Fearscape, the third book in the series, but just as soon as I get through my already hefty reading pile first!
Even though this is so wrong...
"'Wait. You didn't tell him, did you?' 'After what he's been through -- this would distract him from the big picture.' 'So you put him on a need-to-know basis. I like this side of you, Halloway. It's so... devious.' 'He would kill you if he knew you were still alive.' 'I think you just want me for yourself.' Quinn stepped closer to Reggie, and she could smell his sweet breath... Her heart pounded in her chest then, and it was pounding now. The gash beneath his eye had started to heal, but there would always be a scar, as well as the black crisscrosses down his cheek. Yet somehow, he wasn't hideous. He'd lost his conventional looks undoubtedly, but they'd been replaced with something striking and dark. His exterior matched his true self now, the Vour self, and Reggie realized she found that refreshing. It was honest. There was no pretense between them, no walls, no masks. It was both a relief and a terror... 'You went through hell and lived,' Quinn said softly. 'That leaves marks.' He lifted her forearm and lightly touched her skin. 'Marks deeper than these.'
Speed Review: Easily one of my favorite books, this riveting 2010 debut is swamped with a thrilling, mind-blowing storyline that spans the entire life...moreSpeed Review: Easily one of my favorite books, this riveting 2010 debut is swamped with a thrilling, mind-blowing storyline that spans the entire life of Lenah Beaudonte, a once cruel and vicious five-hundred-year-old vampire 'queen' turned human, fabulous characters, stimulating love and romance, dire and frantic circumstances nearly ending with a kick-ass vampire fight! This book is all about intent, and the rewards of having purely good, unselfish intentions. About the meaning and appreciation of human life, forging powerful and significant friendships, as well as the varying degrees of love. Head off into the unknown with Lenah, as she works to adjust to living and experiencing life from a human's perspective, and as she fends off the imminent danger of her ever loyal vampire coven anxious to reunite with their queen.
In-Depth Review for the Curious Reader: *Note: The following review is not a strictly spoiler-free review. You've been warned.* Gosh, there are so many things to say about this book that I'm so excited to get started on this aspect of my review! This is an amazing story all around! Plot, characters, setting, ending, romance, everything!
I don't think there's really anything I don't like about this book! Lenah was a magnificent heroine, surpassing many of the ones I've been stuck reading over the years. Never before have I completely, utterly fallen in love with the heroine/narrator of the story! Lenah is a well of emotions, of longings too long repressed so that when she finally gets her shot at the human life she's only dreamed of you can't help but love her. Watching her live as a human, was like watching a blind man marveling at suddenly having his vision back. Lenah seemed to absorb every moment, take nothing for granted, savor each and every experience she encountered. Beginning with listening to the opera she once had the pleasure of listening to life flow from 21st century speakers, to standing in the midst of storm, delighting in the way she felt each and every drop, all the way down to holding hands with her newfound bestfriend or receiving a true human-to-human kiss. Imagine experiencing every first you've ever had and magnify that tenfold.
And I couldn't blame her for her fascination! There was no odd twist on the vampires in Maizel's work; they were the walking dead, no way to get around that. They had no human feelings or conscience, no working nerve endings to bring sensations from touching objects or people. All vampires are dead, that simple. And to make matters worse for them, they were constantly agonized, never satisfied with their life. They deal with this constant pain, which caused them to lash out and that's why they feed so unmercifully. Going back in time with Lenah as she had consistent flashbacks of her time as a vampire, I was horrified by the things she'd done but could find no resentment toward her. I understood and accepted, and grew to love her more, when, after seeing how her life was back then, I realized why she was so overwhelming enamored and charmed by all these human experiences which we ordinary people find so small and insignificant. In a way, Lenah made an impression on me. Through her eyes, I really grasped that life can be so exquisitely full and rich, we just to be receptive to all of it, willing to seek out our pleasures in the most minuscule things to find happiness. And what a wonderful concept to stumble upon. Books and the characters in them really do teach you things!
The other characters were extraordinary! I loved each and every single one of them, including the bitches. Though I couldn't help but resent Rhode, the vampire responsible for turning Lenah into a vampire and eventually back into a human, because of his selfishness which robbed Lenah of the human life she could have so long ago, robbed her of her human parents and family, I also couldn't help but love him for his devotion to her, the only person he's ever really loved in all his time. Tony, Lenah's new best friend, was a joy to be around and get to know! He was amazing as a person and just perfect for Lenah at that time as far as her acclimating to the 21st century. He's a wonderful person through and through. I connected with him and loved him... Justin was another favorite of mine. I'm so happy that Lenah found love and romance with Justin, the real thing and all. At first I was genuinely worried that it would be a passing thing, or that it was going to be a superficial kind of love. But I was so happy for them! (Which is why I'm worried about a future love triangle! Grr...)
The constant threat of Lenah's vampire coven discovering her whereabouts and messing everything up was tense but thrilling too! That edge of danger added a heck of a lot to the plot itself. And later when The Reader actually meets them... They are just too cool! Though they're cruel and malicious, they have such awesome abilities and imposing, intimidating personalities!
And then after all that wonderful angst, comes a cliffhanger of an ending that has me willing to sell my soul to get to the second book! Though, I'm somewhat mollified and thinking a little bit more rationally (relinquishing the idea of selling my soul and all) because of the sneak peek to the next book at the very back of the book. But what a rollercoaster this first book was! And I can't seem to get enough. I need more, which is why I am begging for the release of the sequel!
Loved these Scenes/Quotes:
"I started to speak to him in his native tongue, 'Why would you want to sit with me?' He pressed his lips together, and his eyebrows screwed up. He ran a hand through his spiky black hair. 'I don't speak Japanese,' He said in English. 'But My parents do.' 'Strange,' I said. 'A Japanese boy who only speaks English?'"
"Lenah?" "Yeah?" I replied. "Will you go to winter prom with me?" "Of course," I whispered, sure I would fall asleep in moments. "Justin?" "Mm-Hmm?" he said, moments from sleep himself. "What's a prom?"
"Justin: "...Everyone you love is dead. That must be lonely." Lenah: "It is. But it's not something that defines me. I don't let it."
There's like a ton more but I don't have the actual book anymore. Plus, I can't exactly copy +paste the entire book, now can I? :)
WARNING: If you haven't read Once a Witch, the first book in the series, then you probably shouldn't read this review.
Maybe I'm still not off the high...moreWARNING: If you haven't read Once a Witch, the first book in the series, then you probably shouldn't read this review.
Maybe I'm still not off the high caused by the recent Harry Potter movie, but I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't get my magical family square-off like I'd expected. Perhaps it's possible that I misinterpreted...? But then: ...both families square off in a thrilling display of magic... I was preparing for this huge battle, practically jumping up and down in my seat, but it didn't really happen the way I imagined.
Don't get me wrong! The sequel was still great. One of my not-so-secret wishes was fulfilled: more romance for Tamsin and Gabriel! Every time they got all gooey or sexy on me, I sported this ridiculously wide smile. I adore them together. And I'm glad that, despite the present (or should I say past... hehe) circumstances, MacCullough didn't totally cut Gabriel out of the book, only giving him moments in the very beginning and the very end. An added plus was the time-traveling. Tamsin going back to the late-1800s--one of my favorite time periods, by the way--brought out a familiar, yet refreshing feeling. Familiar because I've been taken to this time period by several different books, but each time it's unique and in Always a Witch it's no different. I was a little fearful that MacCullough would be lengthy and dull in her descriptions, but, gratefully, I was spared any boring, several-pages-long descriptions that I would've presumably skipped over. It was anything but boring being in Old New York, and in the Knights' residence no less. These wicked, bloodthirsty witches that everyone is so scared of and horrified by.
I admire Tamsin. She has a healthy sense of what's right and wrong, but even she is forced to make decisions, is put into situations where she's capable of making mistakes. And she does. I'm not just saying that. Her judgement can be impaired; she's flawed. But not in a Too Stupid to Live kind of way. She's feels... authentic, genuine. Like a real teen, a real person, and not in a totally annoying way. And Gabriel complements her well. If she tries to pull the whole I'm Super Powerful Because of All My Cool Powers And Therefore I Will Be In Less Danger So You Should Stay Behind to Stay Safe routine, he's all like Don't Even Think About It, You Don't Get to Make Decisions for Me And I'm A Guy, What Did You Expect? Their banter, Gabriel's innuendos always give this book that wonderfully addictive comical flair that breaks the tension and tugs a much-needed laugh out of me.
With the addition of characters like La Spider, Liam, and Jessica Knight and the Greene family ancestors, I enjoyed the range of emotions that each of them invoked. La Spider really permeated that spine-chilling, creepy atmosphere throughout the book. And Liam was no better. A mask of lazy good-humor and charm hiding the inner-cruelty and murderous tendencies that come with being apart of the aforementioned bloodthirsty family. Sympathy coursed through me for Jessica, and I started to feel protective of her, to wish happiness unto her. I don't know how such a sweetheart ended up in that greedy, devious family, but... I'm glad for her...and that's all I'm going to say. The Greene family ancestors lacked the depth and dimension that their descendants possess in the future, but, their personalities and Talents were completely intriguing. I was just disappointed not to be able to get to know them a bit better.
And all of the events encompassing both books lead up to the heartbreaking decision that's been plaguing Tamsin's conscience, her grandmother's warning/prophecy echoing constantly throughout the book as an insistent and mysterious reminder. MacCullough did an excellent job wrapping up Tamsin's story, making sure to come full-circle and tie up the loose ends. Really making sure that the reader understands everything and anything that has caused questions up until the ending. And the ending itself was a satisfying closing that makes me sad to see this series go. I'm definitely going to be missing the Greenes, Tamsin and Gabriel. I hope to catch a glimpse of them in MacCullough's future books, unexpected cameos that would undoubtedly make me super happy! ---------------------------------------------------
"Mmm," I say, licking icing from the corner of my mouth. "It's so good. Even if it probably is poisonous. Go on, I dare you." Gabriel narrows his eyes at me, then takes the remainder of the cake from my fingers and eats it in one gulp. "Some of it," my mother answers, inspecting a fork. "And stop hanging on that door," she admonishes absently. "It'll break again and I'm tired of having Chester fix the refrigerator. The last time he fixed it, sang 'I'm a Little Teapot' every time I opened it, it drove me insane." Gabriel inhales on a laugh, then begins choking on cake crumbs, alarmed, my mother whirls around. "Which one did you eat?" she cries. "The chocolate flower one," I say. "Will he live?" I help myself to another cake, this one covered in sugar violets. "Is this one okay?" I ask, and then pop it into my mouth. My mother closes her eyes briefly. "Yes." "Yes I'll live or yes the second cake that she just ate is okay? It's kind of important that you be specific here," Gabriel says.
"You're not smarter than me," I blaze, looking up at him. And sure enough, he's laughing at me. "How dare you! How dare you laugh at me!" "Wow, you're even starting to talk like you're from the 1800s. Are you going to stamp your foot now and toss your head at me?" And he starts laughing even harder. "No," I mutter, but I'm trying not to smile now. "Jerk." "And may I say you look pretty damn hot in the maid's uniform. How come you never dress up like that for me?" I roll my eyes. "I take it you've forgiven me." "You take it wrong," Gabriel says lightly, and then closes the distance between us again. "But you can try to persuade me to." I lean back in his arms, tilt my face up to him again, and flutter my eyelashes in exaggerated manner. "I thought you said we weren't going to kiss and make up."
Speed Review: Awash with vigorous action and vivid fight scenes, poignant, bitter sweet love and painful romance, as well as severe truths and brutal...moreSpeed Review: Awash with vigorous action and vivid fight scenes, poignant, bitter sweet love and painful romance, as well as severe truths and brutal paranormal elements, Angelfire is definitely worth the ride! Though not as mind-boggling as I had anticipated, The Reader is left aching for two whose love spans several lifetimes, with a pounding heart because of the creepy and menacing Reapers lurking in the shadows, and in a state of confusion as to the colossal mysteries, secrets, and hard truths yet to be revealed in this darkly thrilling, pulse-racing 2011 debut!
In-Depth Review for the Curious Reader: *Note: The following review is not a strictly spoiler-free review. You've been warned.* Being that there was so much hype and raving about this book, I had initially anticipated this nearly flawless, amazing book and I guess I was a little disappointed that it wasn't. This would be an instance where hype can be a very bad thing, as this tainted my reading experience slightly. However, Angelfire had so many great things going for it that I can't wait to talk about!
First, I have to start with the romance! Will and Ellie...geez, can we say blistering, heart-stopping romance or what? Yet, at the same time my heart was breaking for these two. Reliving Ellie's past alongside her, it was depressing and heart-sickening to see all that had occurred over several centuries between these two, seeing how each and every time Ellie was savagely murdered and the pain and agony clearly etched into Will's expression... So, so sad! Honestly, I was more than a little surprised that Will did nothing about his feelings for her, considering how short her time is on Earth each time she's reincarnated. I thought that maybe Will would want to take advantage of the time he had with her. I don't know *shakes head*, it just seemed reasonable to me. But, alas, that is not the case. And it was kind of...fun, reading as Will struggled with his feelings for the current Ellie and how hard he was trying to fight his growing attraction to her. Something I don't see too often in these angsty YA paranormals is teasing, like Will's very stern and serious and watching Ellie poke fun at that was hilarious! The fact that they could be amused by each other and their personalities really won me over.
I didn't much care for the other characters on the good guys team, though I'm not sure if it's the way the book is or that I'm just not that receptive to them. But, there weren't many characters that stood out to me, besides the main two, which disappointed me some. I did, however, like Ellie's mom surprisingly. Finally! There's a real YA mom actually partaking in her daughter's life! Moulton really nailed that aspect of Ellie's home life. It's about darn time there's some parental involvement!
Loved the bad guys though! They were seriously cool. And I'm not just talking about the hulking, shadowy reapers lurking around but the higher up bad guys. And the head honcho, Bastian, had me secretly rooting for the bad guys. Don't know why. He just sort of has that effect on me, I guess. But, I almost want to see the bad guys win in this rather than the other way around. So cool, I tell you!
The plot was pretty well developed and intriguing. It just didn't, you know, captivate me. I didn't go gaga over it or anything. See, Ellie's a Preliator, a warrior destined to face-off with the reapers and the only known being capable of wielding angelfire. So, foes like Bastian and so on, are after her destruction above anything else. It was most engaging when reading about Ellie developing her fighting skills all over again, Will kicking some ass, as well as uncovering the secrets behind much of the villains' plan.
For me, the book got ten times better toward the end and I became much more satisfied by the time I finished it. The ending leaves the promise of something huge erupting and with a title like Wing's of the Wicked for the sequel, I'm sure the stakes are going to be higher and that things are not only going to get tons more dangerous, but the romance is going to get hotter. So, I'm anxious (though not overly so) to find out what's going to happen next and what kind of struggles are heading Ellie's way!
"I stared out the classroom window and longed for freedom, wanting to be anywhere in the world other than gaping up at my economics teacher like the rest of my classmates."
This is my first true dive into YA historical romance, and I won't be looking back. I'm purposely going to seek out more! The...more*MAY NOT BE SPOILER-FREE*
This is my first true dive into YA historical romance, and I won't be looking back. I'm purposely going to seek out more! There was so much to love in this novel. THE VESPERTINE is an excellent blend of romance and the supernatural, set in a time period where women were obligated to give in to duty, rather than succumb to the heart...
Let me start off with Amelia, the heroine. She's a beatuiful character through and through. I enjoyed her personality, her thirst for life and her wildness. Her humor, her wit. Following the story through Amelia's eyes wasn't a hardship for me. I don't think there was a point where I can say that I disliked her. She was interesting, and stood out from the other girls like a strong tree amongst delicate flowers. (Yes, I pulled a simile. *laughs out loud*)
The other characters translated into an entertaining cast, the girls in Amelia's circle were more wicked and less concerned about being proper than most girls of the time period. I have to say, I feel a kinship with Zora, Amelia's best friend/cousin (?). She's a gentle mix of "half-good and half-wicked" (121), a companionable friend, one to have fun with and enjoy youth with but also one to cling to during difficult times. She's sweet yet demanding. Thoughtful of others yet selfish. A human being really, and I think that was the best part about her. She's a realistic character, a girl readers can possibly see amongst his/her own group of friends. Nathaniel was the perfect male specimen as far as additions to the cast - so was Thomas, though! - as he complemented Amelia so well, loving her intensely, and tossing aside the rules to be affectionate with her. Gorgeous he was, with a rough edge to him that thrilled me!
As far as the plot goes, it was mysterious and a bit on the spine-chilling side, emersed in an eerie air. I loved it! With Amelia having a strange, intense gift of foretelling the future, it brought on a lot of unfortunate or sinister events. It kept me going, reading the story with fascination. Saundra delivered the supernatural element in the book in unexpected doses, carrying her take on seeing the future with exquisite uniqueness.
Saundra's writing style really did me in. She reels you in with delicious detail and incomparable descriptive writing, effectively captivating you as far in as the first page. Her descriptions, her use of magnificent diction, kept me deeply invested in her story, adding a sophisticated air to her novel! And the ending left me happy and satisfied, not very frustrated or angry, yet I'm clutching the edge of my seat, forcing myself to stop shaking with anticipation! I'm dying for SPRINGSWEET, coming in 2012, the companion novel to THE VESPERTINE, which I think is going to be about Zora, but I can't be sure!
"'And you are Miss van den Broek,' he said, and kissed my hand. The warmth of his mouth bloomed across my hand, and his nails skimmed the inside of my wrist. Such great sensation for so little a touch; I had to struggle to answer him. 'I am.'" (39)
"My dance card dangled from my wrist; he brushed the ribbon aside to kiss me there. Then he drew me to the floor, and the crowd dissolved. They could have danced in London, for as distant as they seemed. Nathaniel took one hand and rested his other on my waist, branding me deliciously.
We moved, somehow elemental. I felt like fire, the skies poured rain that rattled on the roof, the earth wavered to teach us the steps of this dance, and like air we floated across the floor together. We were all four points on the map, turning and turning like a compass." (111)
An all around fun read, I don't think I've laughed quite this much in a long, long time. Populazzi has a side-splitting humor at many points throughou...moreAn all around fun read, I don't think I've laughed quite this much in a long, long time. Populazzi has a side-splitting humor at many points throughout so much so that I think the comedy will be the aspect that stays with me the most, making me smile every time I pass by this book. Cara, Claudia, and others in the book nearly had me choking because I couldn't seem to stop cracking up.
Cara and Claudia--these best friends made this book for me! I can't even totally consider Cara as the star of the show because Claudia was such an active and prominent part of the story. The things these two would say, think, or do... really just reminded me of my own experiences these past few years in high school. The stupid or girly things I push my friends to do with me, the overanalyzing me and my girlfriends do when it comes to boys, poring over the most natural encounters for signs of what the opposite sex involved is thinking. Allen must have a very clear, sharp image of what it was like in high school because she nailed it right on the head with her accuracy. And even though these two girls felt like me and my friends, interchangeable, they were still completely unique. I favor Claudia of the two to be honest, just because of her dramatic (and terribly hilarious), unconscious integration of Shakespearean works into her everyday life. But, don't get me wrong, Cara appealed to me, too. She was my former self--shy, nervous, and incredibly book-smart, afraid to step out of her shell, longing to belong. And because I recognized an intimate piece of myself in her, I relished her transformation by the end of the book.
And their tongue-in-cheek descriptions and classifications of the different "tiers" in the social hierarchy that make up high school was downright hysterical! Watching Cara navigate the tricky halls of high school while trying to accommodate Claudia's Populazzi plan had its funny and awkward moments that roused a number of different reactions ranging from head-desk to embarrassed giggles to bright blushing to goofy smiles. The kind of expressions that take over during my own high school experiences. And Cara taking on boys is a sight to behold, let me tell you. It helped me recall all the stupid things I did to get myself noticed and liked by guys.
Lucky for Cara, though, she managed to find one that was right for her all along. Of course, this book would not be complete without romance. Although Cara interacted with a few boys on this level, there really was only one boy that actually mattered. When it came to these two, Archer and Cara, I can't tell you how many times I wanted to put their heads through the wall. I forgot anxiety-ridden these romantic comedyish novels can be. It was no picnic for someone like me, who gets way TOO EMOTIONALLY INVESTED.
I was forced to skip over certain scenes, mostly because I couldn't take Cara's changing toward the end before the good started cropping up. I felt like I was in Claudia's shoes and I was the one being betrayed, so I couldn't even read it. Oh, and this book actually made me cry! Yup, I know, crazy. But, those tears were a mixture of frustration and hurt on Cara's behalf. I HATED HER PARENTS. Not the I Hate You While I Love You hate that only teenagers or married couples are acquainted with. No, this was pure rage and fury and raw loathing. Her parents, particularly her stepfather, were probably the most ill-suited, selfish, insecure, cowardly, and self-absorbed parents I'd ever had the displeasure of "encountering." I'd hate to be Cara in that respect.
I didn't expect Populazzi to play on my emotions so well or Elise Allen to so skillfully pull them out of me and direct them toward the characters in the story. From the authenticity of the high school experience to the flawed, lovable, TEENAGE characters (hated parents swept aside) to the adorable romance that ended up coming together at the end, concluding the book perfectly, I love to say it: Populazzi was a funderful, hilarious read that I couldn't put down and was so caught up in that when all the funny parts came up I turned heads (I imagine bursting out in random fits of giggles didn't go over so well with people--who, incidentally, MUST've been nonreaders, otherwise they wouldn't've looked so appalled). A perfect summer read and an overall fantastic debut! ---------------------------------------------------
"Come on, kids, this is the good stuff. This is Junior English. This is T.S. Eliot. Let's dive into this! What is Eliot doing with his images? Anyone: shout it out!" I almost giggled when I realized I could now say this twice in one hour. "Um..." I began, "he's making them stand erect?" "Yes!" roared Mr. Woodward, and this time Archer didn't hide his smirk. "You've almost redeemed yourself for being late..." "Cara," I said. "Cara," he repeated. "So each time, Cara, when his images are at the peak of their 'erection,' if you will, what does Eliot do to them?" There was only one answer, and I wished I could say it without blushing. Still, I didn't hesitate. "He lets the images go flaccid."
I fell asleep counting not sheep but possible opening lines. Claudia must have done the same--I woke up to an email from her with a huge list of options. "Really, Claude? 'Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much?" I had her on speakerphone as I drove to school... "It worked for Juliet," Claudia said. "Romeo fell head over heels for her." "You are aware that they both die at the end, yes?" "Did you seriously just ask me that question?" "Did I seriously ask it, or did I seriously think you didn't know they died at the end?" "Fine. Forget Romeo and Juliet. Forget the centuries-old benchmark of true romance. How did you want to start?" I took a breath, then offered up the best of my bunch. "Hey! Do you play Scrabble! 'Cause I had the best triple-word score last night!" Claudia's silence was deafening. I couldn't blame her. Maybe I'd go with the good pilgrim thing after all.
When Archer and I went to the mall that day, I didn't even mention the weekend. I said neither the words "week" nor "end." I simply channeled all my concentration into the words "invite me," then shot them toward Archer in a continuous beam of psychic energy. "Cara?" he finally asked. Success! "Yes?" I batted my eyes. No, really, I did. "Are you okay? You're holding your head and your face is all scrunched up. Do you have a headache or something?" "Oh. No. I just... precalc. Hard problem. I'm having tangent issues." So much for psychic energy.
I LOVED THIS NOVEL. It's been a long time since I've had to search for words to describe my feelings when I like a book, but it's definitely hard this...moreI LOVED THIS NOVEL. It's been a long time since I've had to search for words to describe my feelings when I like a book, but it's definitely hard this time around...
Allow me to start with the basics: I was hooked into the story instantaneously. I was sucked into Michele's dream world so completely, that I was stunned and captivated by the mystery behind her dreams, the boy that has been reflected back to her since she was a small child, and the subtle hints and clues that led me to suspect this novel was heading toward the time-travel theme (not that the summary doesn't give that away already). I loved catching a glimpse of Michele's relationship with her mother, learning a little of the mother's background and personality. And most importantly, I liked Michele. Though, her character is a little inconsistent throughout the book, she's so likable. She's shy, she's talented, and she's an overall nice girl. Not too selfish, either, I might add.
I didn't mind not liking or caring too much for the other characters (though I do want to see a romance develop between two of Michele's friends, but other than that, I'm good). I was more fascinated by the intriguing plot, what it all meant, and Michele's involvement in the keeping and changing of time... Monir kept me engaged in the story, with her telling of the Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties, down to the beginnings of World War I. And I especially liked seeing the connection between Michele and the members of her family (particularly of the female persuasion), and how similar they are. Surrounding that, there's these big questions that pop up, like what are the specifics and rules on the time-traveling? How does it relate to her father's mysterious disappearance, and the ensuing clues that lead to a shocking discovery? And, how does this all relate to Michele herself? Even with these questions racing through my mind, I couldn't stop reading, and I wasn't annoyed that I didn't have all the answers. It just made me more excited to read on, more desperate for the sequel!
But, what really has me going for that sequel, would be the heart-tingling romance between Philip and Michele! I've never witnessed anything more special, more all-consumingly, touchingly romantic. Their love is beautiful, something I yearned for while reading. They have this connection that spoke of a love that spanned time, literally. And because of my love for this particular romance, I was dragged through some heart-crushing moments. Be ready for it, if you plan to read this. Hold on the Kleenex, and keep it in the closet, you won't need it, but it's still upsetting nonetheless.
Which leads me to that Whoa! of a finale. I honestly did not see that closing coming. Seriously, not kidding. Totally blindsided me. And now I'm left floundering, unable to breathe with all these questions clogging my throat! I want to know what the heck's going on! How the heck that ending was even possible, considering... everything? I'm not ticked off... surprisingly, but I'm ridiculously... bewildered. I want to know how this is all going to pan out! Luckily for me, and for others who enjoyed this book as much as me, there's a sequel, with an unofficial release date however, called THE TIMEKEEPER. Now, that, my friends, sounds absolutely promising ;)
"Sitting beneath the fountain and its statue, Angel of Waters, Philip took Michele into his arms and kissed for what could have been minutes or hours--Michele had lost all sense of time. 'What do you think it all means?' she asked suddenly. 'You know--the fact that we both recognized each other before we met, and you can see me when no one else can besides Clara?' 'That we belong with each other?' Philip suggested, pulling her close again" (152 | 304).
And that isn't even the best part... just one of my favorites.
VIXEN is an impeccably told story, riddled with rebellion and risky romance, glamorous danger, and authentic characters! I'm so glad I had a related E...moreVIXEN is an impeccably told story, riddled with rebellion and risky romance, glamorous danger, and authentic characters! I'm so glad I had a related English assignment, otherwise I wouldn't have picked it up until much later in the year. I was totally engrossed in the story, and I connected with most of the characters. The book had just enough drama, just enough jeopardy to keep me entertained and interested. Larkin did an incredible job whisking me away to the epic Roaring Twenties, an alluring time of glitz and unprecedented wealth!
Told in three third person POVs, VIXEN describes the life of three very dissimilar girls - Gloria Carmody, Clara Knowles, and Lorraine Dyer. Between them, my favorite is Clara. She waltzes into the Carmody estate, an innocent facade about her, gets trash-talked by her aunt and walks away, for the most part, unscathed. Clara has an amazing willpower, one that gets her through the emotional wreckage that was the previous year, and allows her to acclimate well to this sudden change in her life. I loved how no one saw her as anything more than a common, saintlike, country bumpkin from the east, because it shows just how clever she is. I delighted in the fact that she had everybody completely fooled! She's intelligent, most especially streetsmart, and she's intuitive - some of my favorite qualities. So, when love happens once Marcus, aka Mistah Playah, shows up, I couldn't have been more thrilled!
Gloria, while likable, I didn't enjoy nearly as much. I found myself easily annoyed by her know-it-all type personality, and I rolled my eyes more than once when I saw how spoilt she could be. On the other hand, she could be immensely charming, and I noticed myself admiring her at certain points. I think it's that audacious, daring side of her that makes me like her. But, what really had me submersed in her story was the reckless and captivating romance with a very sexy jazz musician by the name of Jerome. The minute Gloria laid eyes on him, I fell flat on my face over a cliff in luff.
And Lorraine, though I couldn't completely sympathize with her, I did pity her somewhat. I mean, having a gorgeous, have-it-all best friend, a lack of self-esteem, being spurned and overlooked by the boy you've been crushing on for the longest, and bested by someone you underestimated cannot be easy. The fact that she made so many ridiculous and embarrassing attempts to get attention, made her not only appear pathetic, but all the more pitiable.Though, after putting this book down, and seeing her potential to do harm, to play the bad guy, I think she'd make a rather deadly enemy.
Reading about this trio of girls was a fast-paced, intense, and unpredictable journey, that has me wondering what Larkin is cooking up for the sequel. And because this was such a spectacular start to the series, I am more than ready to take on INGENUE.
"I don't want another teacher!" She went to him. If she didn't say it now, she never would. "I want you. That is what I want. That is what I came over here to tell you." Jerome's eyes blazed as Gloria touched his shoulder. He stroked her hair gently, tilted her face up to his. "You can't know that yet. You can't know what that means." "Then show me," she said, pulling closer. "Show me." (291) *melts*
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