my thoughts in a few sentences: Oh, gosh. *tries to breathe* Jess Rothenberg reins nothing in, leaving emotion st...moreRating: Special Shelf Source: Borrowed
my thoughts in a few sentences: Oh, gosh. *tries to breathe* Jess Rothenberg reins nothing in, leaving emotion strewn about in just about every place we stumble across through Brie's wrenching journey to peace and acceptance. Right within the first couple of chapters, my face was openly drenched for all to witness my sorrow and grief, mourning the loss of a young character's life—a character, incidentally, who I barely knew at the start yet I wept for this world Rothenberg exposes to us since it was now bereft of such a bright, happy girl with a deeply loving family, which includes a little brother who will be deprived of his older sister's presence in the years of his life to come. Literal heartbreak as a story concept isn't as corny as it initially sounds; a dagger breaks into our hearts every time Rothenberg pumps anguish into her words and into the discoveries she unveils.
If the Capulets and the Montagues had been mobsters or thugs, and these mobsters were the political superstars of Manhattan, we would've instead had t...moreIf the Capulets and the Montagues had been mobsters or thugs, and these mobsters were the political superstars of Manhattan, we would've instead had the Roses, a family to which Aria Rose belongs, and the Fosters, the family of her alleged long-time lover and present fiance, Thomas. The problem with that last bit is that Aria wakes up one day and remembers nothing. She has a giant hole in her memory spanning who knows how long and has been told that she underwent a procedure to save her from ODing on a special mystic drug. Only, when she meets Thomas, a seed of doubt is planted, because her feelings for him are nothing like she imagined they would be. Even more suspicious is that the families' feud--which had been underfoot for generations--has now ended... over her romance? Forgive Aria (and myself), if she's a little wary and suspicious.
And that was the biggest draw. The Romeo and Juliet undertones, the big mystery overlapping the plot related to Aria's lost memory and her real secret lover. The mystics and their desire to be treated as equal, and the magic that is associated with them. A near-apocalyptic New York in a city called Aeries floating over a futuristic Manhattan.
Where things got screwy was about halfway into the book. Initially, we are introduced to Aria's enigmatic rescuer after an attempted assault in the ghetto of her world. And he seems like everything I'd want in a love interest, striking, flawed, sexy, and, of course, mysterious. He even ACTS the part. And then when next we meet, his personality is totally different and he's abruptly at ease with Aria with no explanation. Of course, we've already pieced together his true identity and connection to Aria's life, but his character is so inconsistent. Add to that, the romance had to be one of the cheesiest I've read. Cleverly, Lawrence tries to escape the trap of instalove by eventually giving us their history. But this fails, because Aria and Hunter aren't a lovable pairing, where we bask in their chemistry and come alive reading their kisses. And, to top it off, it's Romeo and Juliet-themed, a romance (if you could call it that) I was never fond of. Ultimately, there was just no substance to it, and though the mystery of Aria's secret love began as intriguing, the romance fit in kind of randomly.
The one thing this book had going for it is the world-building, though I wish more of it had been explained. Still, it's magical and vibrant for the imagination. And the rift between the mystics and the higher-ups, the Foster supporters and Rose supporters, has a palpable effect, riddled with tension. If this aspect had been the main focus, and Aria wasn't so dense as to piecing together the truth, I might've enjoyed this book a lot more.
That being said, I had no real feelings toward Aria. I neither liked nor disliked her. I could only feel occasional irritation at her sappy comebacks with regards to the romance and her slow revelations about the loss of her memory. The only detail we really received about her personality is her compassion, and even that feels like just a move to make her likeable instead of feeling natural and innate.
MYSTIC CITY by Theo Lawrence didn't lose anymore stars because, in spite of all that I disliked about it, I still felt compelled to finish the book and mildly interested in the direction of the overarching plot of the series. However, I'm sorely disappointed with this book, and I don't think I'll be continuing the series.
my thoughts in a few sentences: Richelle Mead has a strong gift as a writer—she can make the most simple and basic of concepts into something dynamic and intriguing. She explores all the angstiness and vulnerability that tie into being a teenager, particularly when you’re a teenager heavily involved with the vampire community with so many expectations riding on your person. If you’re skeptical about whether or not this series can live up to Vampire Academy, then shame on you. THIS IS RICHELLE MEAD, PEOPLE. Sydney Sage is no Rose Hathaway, but is an equally complex, lovable character with so many facets and insecurities and dreams. Sydney is her own brand of specialness, and it’s just as fun reading a story from this analytical, brainy, soft-hearted character's point of view.
my thoughts in a few sentences: While at very few times in the novel I struggled wit...moreRating: Perfect Bed Partner Source: Strange Chemistry via NetGalley
my thoughts in a few sentences: While at very few times in the novel I struggled with the sporadic too-slow pacing—I’m a fast-paced plot kind of gal—I was deeply immersed in the enchanting and more-than-merely-the-pages fantasy that very much has a life of its own. Throw in two fabulous main characters—one of whom is the amusing, honest, and realistic narrator of the story—and I was hooked. Daring and dire adventures, wicked, frightening foes, and characters I became viciously protective of by the end, The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke rapidly found its way to the top half of my favorites of the year pile!
my thoughts in a few sentences: With all the expected trappings of a zombie survi...moreRating: Perfect Bed Partner Source: St. Martin's Griffin via NetGalley
my thoughts in a few sentences: With all the expected trappings of a zombie survival novel, Courtney Summers manages to take a concept so familiar to us and twist it so that it’s not the zombies we’re most fearful of but of fellow human beings capable of so much more atrociousness, viciousness than the walking undead who constantly fascinate us. This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers is more focused on the emotional upheaval caused by and before the zombie epidemic, and the extremes that come with all that packed-in turmoil. Summers invades the mind with horrific scenes and disturbing imagery, all the while maintaining this dark, eerie beauty in the words that make This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers a story to be experienced and absorbed rather than to be merely read and witnessed.
my thoughts in a few sentences: Although Under the Never Sky is not that outstandingly special story...moreRating: Perfect Bed Partner Source: Ebook Purchase
my thoughts in a few sentences: Although Under the Never Sky is not that outstandingly special story I would clutch to my chest and never want to pry myself away from, it is a spectacular story! The unsettling alliance made between enemies who seek beyond their differences and discover the truth of their soft hearts and strong wills, the action that can range from vengeful cannibals, assailing wolves, and escaping violent storms, and the circle of varying dynamic characters all make this incessant life-or-death run of a story so unbearable to put down.
Out of all the bros, including hot sexy older Michael—because whenever I think of him, I f...more**Really more like 4.5 stars**
Vlog Review Transcribed a Bit:
Out of all the bros, including hot sexy older Michael—because whenever I think of him, I for some reason, imagine my Dimitri Belikov—what’s that Dimitri, you want to marry me?—Gabriel is actually my favorite. Kememrerer, I hate to play this card, but, uh, I’m a really big fan, and I know this is crazy, but here’s my email, so have Gabe email me, maybe? *laughs nervously* Seriously.
Gabe is definitely the hand that flew off the handle. He’s a handle flyer offer. But, underneath that are all these churning emotions. He actually feels very DEEPLY and takes a lot of self-blame, doubt, and guilt onto himself. But that also means that he feels the good stuff too (he really FEELS IT *wink-wink*).
But, really, love, affection, acceptance, loyalty—he’s a very fierce FEELER. His emotions are erratic and dangerous and consuming but not so that he’s a psycho. He’s just really conflicted.
As much as I love the unrepentant douche bags with no redeeming qualities you love anyway and probably because they’re such jerks, I really FALL FOR the ones with one vulnerable centers. Because there’s a core of goodness in him. To me, bad boys are optimistic treasure hunts set in a fiery pit—you know you’re going to get something good once you face all the tools of your doom.
PROS: 1 How Brigid takes twists from the previous book and expands on them. Makes it so that you don’t know who to trust or who and what to ignore.
2) Gabriel’s character growth is so empowering. Because even though the world keeps bringing him down to subzero levels, he picks his ass up and gets ready for another fight. Blow after blow, even cracking under pressure and emotional burns, he comes back harder, sharper—he he, wicked laugh again—and angrier than before. He also has to come to terms with himself as a person when he’s not being compared side-by-side by his goody goody twin. He revels in his strengths but not his weaknesses, and, EVENTUALLY, he comes to attack them and use those flaws as a kind of strength in itself, controls those darker urges that comes with his gift. He learns to accept that he’s going to eff up and that’s ALL RIGHT.
3) The soft and growly sexy side of his leaps out when pretty, shy Layne slides into the picture. They are total opposites—brainy girl whose always managed to achieve invisibility and the less academic jock with a bit of a rep—and yet they complement each other so well. I guess it’s because at their core, they’re both guilt-ridden, insecure but not in the ways you would expect, and they both underestimate themselves. They understand what it’s like to have complicated family ties and really hard painful drama in their relationships with their families that they have this unspoken kinship about them.
Plus, it’s so hot when opposites attract. Let’s be real here.
Cons: 1) I wasn’t that impressed with the Turn of Events by the end. I felt like it was a bit anti-climactic and I was expecting as large of a twist as what I got in Storm. But, you can’t have everything.
Overall, I’m just glad that the author managed to steer clear of the Sucky Sophomore Syndrome, or as you may know it, the Second Book Curse.
In fact, I dug Spark a lot more than I liked Storm. WHICH IS, of course, ABSOLUTELY AWESOME.
“Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.”
Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?
Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?" Goodreads»»
Speed Review: Hunger captivates The Reader with it's moving, sad yet empowering tale of a seventeen-year-old teen, Lisabeth, struggling with life, loving herself included, while battling an unfortunate eating disorder. Her life takes a sudden, odd twist when she accepts the role of Famine of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. This unique story will keep The Reader engrossed in its pages from start to finish, wallowing in the well-written plot depicting the lengths of Lisa's quest for true inner strength. I, The Reader, recommend this novel to anyone looking for a humorous, powerful read with an phenomenal paranormal twist.
In-Depth for the Curious Reader: *warning: the following review may contain (few) spoilers* It was definitely easy for me to lose myself in the pages of Hunger, as I instantly fell for Lisa as a character. Lisa starts out as this sad, hollow girl with a pitiful well of self-esteem/self-confidence, then gradually begins to understand about life, people, and the meaning of hunger, until she evolves into this brave, empowered character willing to take the step needed to make THE change, the one that'll better her life.
Following her story, I easily fell into the black corners of her minds, where her dark thoughts lay, and immediately empathized with her. And in a strange way, I felt like I could relate to that strong dislike of herself and her appearance, because at one time or another I remember feeling that initial intense disgust for how I looked, though not as obsessively as Lisa. If a character can make me feel, feel anything, that's an automatic check plus as far the character department goes.
And I delighted in the rest of the characters, ranging from James, Lisa's yummy, beautiful inside-out, totally normal boyfriend, to the Pale Rider, the sad, ancient, arrogant and comical Death of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I think they all brought something to the table that the book couldn't do without. While the paranormal twist of the Four Horsemen was great, I don't think the book would've been as great without Lisa's friends, family as they were the necessary anchor to the real and solid world. And the great thing is, I could visualize this occurrence happening to someone else! There was that unshakable parallel between the paranormal and the regular world which left me fascinated and absorbed in the story.
The writing style was most definitely comprehensible and more so, it was completely engaging. There was never a dull moment, and I didn't skip over anything (words, paragraphs, pages due to boredom) not one single time! The ending was one of my favorite parts, and the way Kessler set up the transition from this novel to the next was impressive. I'm absolutely going to be picking up a copy of the sequel to this one-of-a-kind series, Rage...
Best Friend for Life (and many other life times): The Pale Rider, or Death (he's just so cool!)
Wish-He-Was-Mine: James and Death (I don't care that he's one of the creepy Horsemen and that sometimes you can see the imprint of a skeleton skull...He looks like a hugely attractive rockstar in the novel!)
Frenemy: War (even though she'd probably kill me in two seconds flat for claiming her a form of an enemy...)
Bonus Factor: Lisabeth's freakin' crazy cool black ensemble that oozes intimidation and that "I'm a badass, don't mess" attitude, as a perk for being Famine.
Loved These Quotes/Scenes:
"'He smiled, bemused. 'You were Lisabeth Lewis. Now you are Famine. She didn't like the past tense usage of her name, but she decided that correcting Death was a bad idea. 'So who were you before you were...you? His smile stretched wide. 'I have always been what I am.' 'You never had a name?' 'Oh, I've had hundreds of names. Thousands. People have a penchant for naming things. It gives them a sense of control, of understanding.' He spread his arms wide. 'But no matter what I am called, I am universal. I don't need a name.'" (53)
"'Hello, little girl,' the knight said, and even though a helmet concealed the speaker's face, Lisa could sense the knight--the woman--grinning hugely. 'I'm War.' The woman loomed like a metallic beast, gleming in silver armor from head to toe...Her tapered breastplate sported an image of a blood-red sword, its point aimed high as if to challenge God to a duel." (67)
"The mouse--no, not a mouse at all, War noted through the red fury of her vision, but the Horsemen of Famine--spread her hands, and shadows crawled up her arms as if in answer to her summons, flowing over her shoulders and down her torse and legs and feet, clothing her in a coant and pants and boots of darkness. Beneath a wide-rimmed black hat, her obsidian eyes crackled with power. And in her black-gloved hand, the Scales shone brightly." (151)
Extra [J. M. Kessler] Linkage: Website☆Her Blog☆Her Alter Ego's Blog☆Goodreads Author Page
Summary: "Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different.
That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a different kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control.
A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation, Rage is the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world."
Expected Publication: April of 2011 by Harcourt Graphia Pre-Order: Amazon
Other: Check out an old Fragment Friday ft. a snippet from Hunger (here), though I am warning you: it's kinda long...
First, I know it's not gracious to gloat - because it isn't - but I can't help but celebrate this:
"Brimming with entertaining, loyal characters, a gri...moreFirst, I know it's not gracious to gloat - because it isn't - but I can't help but celebrate this:
"Brimming with entertaining, loyal characters, a gripping, mysterious back story/plot, teens with superhuman abilities, and a satisfying ending that cleverly paves the way for a pine-worthy sequel." ~Paranormal Indulgence
I've been quoted! And for such a great series, too!
Okay, now that I've got that off of my chest, onto the review...
Indeed a pine-worthy sequel, I've decided Settling is my favorite of the two books. Which is surprising because I've never really been a fan of sci-fi books, and yet I'm so drawn to this series, now even more so. I'm still confused as to why nobody has picked up on these books; they are amazing! Like, where is the buzz and hype when you need it? The series has great things going for it: kids with altered chromosomes and superhuman powers, psychopathic killers on the rampage, and ONE OF THE BEST TEEN GROUP OF FRIENDS I HAVE EVER 'MET'. I don't know if the caps did it for ya, but I'm serious. Clio and her friends are just packages of awesome that make you warm and laugh when you open them. This second book showed how the results of Solid strengthened their friendship and made them ten MILLION times more lovable.
And it's because of these characters that I could not get enough of this story! While the first book was an intro to the C9x project - the name for the chromosome that was altered within this collection of teens - and the abilities that came with this genetic mutation. Now, with Settling, the problems have escalated. I mean, one has to wonder how the general public would react to this group of mutated (that sounds worse than it is) teens gathered together by the military, like it's not unordinary, right? Hell, if it were me, I'd think the military was planning on putting together a teen assassin squad or superhuman soldiers! But, surprisingly, the military just want to help... or so it seems. And, unsurprisingly, Americans aren't too thrilled with the prospect of this project or the campus, with the kids all rounded up and together. (Can we say: HATERS much?)
This whole mess is stressful. I know, because I was reading it. But, imagine how Clio feels!? Poor girl is trying to keep it together, trying not to be worried for herself or her friends, all the while struggling with some interesting new... stuff. In the beginning, Clio and her friends were closer together, but this whole killer madness and all of the nonanswers provided by the government is stretching their nerves. I felt for them. I'd be bummed if nobody knew what was wrong with me, what this genetic alteration could effect in the future! Added to all that craziness, love is in the air! Triangle alert, though I won't say where or, more correctly, with whom. Though I'm a TAD frustrated as to the state of Bliss and Garrett's current lack of steamy romance! -_- Things better spice up between those two in Sound!
On the + side, Some new fun and intriguing people are added to the already fabulous mix of characters! Hullo, Xavier and Rae! Incoming. Two smokin' hotties, though (sadly) only one of the transfers is a boy, with unique powers to bring to the table, ones that can't quite be classified and leads everyone to believe that there's more to C9x then was imaginable... It just goes to show that there's more to C9x then meets the eye. Plus, there's Ford, the oh-so-delectable and please-come-here-and-kiss-me-cutie who's one of the military personnel on campus! Oh yeah, there was some ogling on my part... and Clio's.
Then, BAM! Everything went to hell, though not literally like in some books. Without warning, too. Well, maybe I knew what was going to happen, that everything was going to boil up to this one point and then there would be a dangerous explosion to shake things up. So what! I'm still not happy with how things turned out. Oh, it made sense. But, dammit, I can't help but feel hurt and upset and... and... needy. I'm hurt for my favorite set of friends and my lovely heroine, upset at the outcome of it all, and needy for the next freaking book! How can I possibly wait until the summer OF 2012 to find out more?!? No fair. Workinger, you play dirty.
If you're not really into thick reads, give Solid and Settling go. They are relatively short books packed with a lot of punch, I assure you. Plus if you're into paranormal/superhuman powers and sci-fi-ish action, this is your slice of cheesecake. Guaranteed winner, the first and second book. (But the second book more so, but shh! don't tell I said so.)
"Thar she blows!" As I entered the dining room, Garrett hailed me from the table we'd now permanently claimed. "Did you just call me a whale?" I responded with a calculated snarl once I'd reached him. "Why are girls so hyper-sensitive?" he groaned. "You take everything so seriously." "Why are boys so obtuse? They can't even tell when we're joking." I replaced the faux-offense with a wide grin. "Good to see you branching out, though," I went on. "Did you read the whole book?" I took his choking as a negative answer, and modified my question. "Movie?" "First four minutes," he admitted once his airway was clear. "That's all I could take." (11)(less)
Sounds pretty cool, no? Well, THE GODDESS TEST and I suffered a bit of a rocky road starting out. I locked onto the story instantly because I was fasc...moreSounds pretty cool, no? Well, THE GODDESS TEST and I suffered a bit of a rocky road starting out. I locked onto the story instantly because I was fascinated and intrigued by the prologue - I wanted to know what was going on. But, then, right in the beginning, Kate nearly gets runned off the road due to a mysterious... cow sighting...? Huh?. Why a cow, first of all? (Maybe this is why - skip down to Io) Then, crazy weird things start happening: like when jealous-ridden super-popular-cheerleader Ava proceeds to get herself killed while trying to pull off a stupid prank that would have harmed our main girl, who believes this accident to be her fault. Um, what? Afterward, when, mysteriously, Ava is brought back to life by some dark and hunky stranger named Henry, she and Kate's other friend James actually believe her when she tells them of Henry's ominous - and notso believable - deal. Meh. I wasn't so fond of, well, that entire section.
Besides, I wanted to get to the good stuff.
Still, unfortunately, my interest continued to dwindle, so much so that I nearly stopped reading it altogether and chalked it up to a highly promoted and increasingly hyped up novel that turned out to be less than I anticipated. Fine. And then came the part when Henry illuminated some very fine print on the deal Kate had already agreed to. You know, the whole you become my queen and rule by my side, dictating the Underworld, and stay with me forever and ever and ever spiel, and I was like Whoa. Don't ask me why, because I don't quite understand it entirely myself, but my interest was renewed by this.
Then looming over Miss Kate is the impending tests everyone is so scared she'll fail. While I was slightly disappointed that Kate didn't have to throw fire-lit spears through huge rings of cows (;P) fire and wrestle the menacing Cerberus and joust with Medusa, and any other ridiculous Greek mythology-influenced ideas I had envisioned for these tests, I kind of liked how it was all tied in toward the end. The tests, I mean, as well as their themes. But, because these tests seemed so inconsequential in the methods they were administered, I found it simultaneously tedious. There was no action - and when I thought of these tests everyone was so worked up about, that's what I expected, what I was hungering for.
The romance, however, was satisfactory, though not exactly suh-woon worthy. It progressed slowly - perhaps a little too slowly - and though it wasn't too eventful (which was extremely disappointing), it still managed to be sweet. Honestly, this Persephone chick Henry was so hung up on came off as a selfish bitch, pardon my swiss, and I hope some more light is shed on what actually happened so that I can view both sides of the story. Nonetheless, I wanted Henry to find happiness. While I was like Wow, you're already over this girl you've supposedly been pining for for Gods and Goddesses know how long, Henry? when Henry admitted feelings for Kate - because, it was a little unrealistic in my opinion - I still found their romance to be particularly heartwarming. Indeed, I re-read certain scenes over because of this.
And I'm a little mad that Henry chose to be so distant for most of this book. It's like, I barely got to know him at all. Sure, gorgeous and brooding are great traits in a character, but it doesn't make the character. As for the other characters, I didn't very much like Ava - at all really. James had the potential to grow on me, but he never got the chance. And as for the other characters, they didn't pique any real curiosity, sadly... I am hoping to get to know the Council a bit more, though.
But, I will say that I wasn't completely satisfied with the ending. I think it was resolved too quickly, and came off a little too happy endingish for my tastes. (Don't get me wrong, I love happy endings, but I do want a little incentive to keep reading the series. I mean, if everything is wrapped up tidily with a neat little bow, why would I want to continue onto a second book which could potentially ruin that picture of perfect happiness, I ask you?) And the only reason I'll most likely be sniffing at the sequel will be because of the romance (as it often tends to be my reasoning for pursuing a series not to my great liking or loving). I really liked Henry and Kate together, so I'm curious to see how things progress from here on. Overall, though, I was only mildly satisfied with THE GODDESS TEST.
He didn't smile, but his expression softened. "If you pass, you will be my wife. Is that something you are willing to accept now?" I nodded, trying not to look too nervous... "Because you care for me?" "Yes," I mumbled, embarrassed. "And if you hold that against me--" I didn't have time to finish. One second he stood across the room, and the next he crouched down beside me, kissing me so deeply that by the time he finally pulled away, I was almost gasping for air. "What--" I started, but he pressed his finger against my lips. (2337 | 3129)(less)
my thoughts in a few sentences: Remember when I said I was going to explore more middle grade wo...moreRating: Special Shelf Source: Publicist from Scholastic
my thoughts in a few sentences: Remember when I said I was going to explore more middle grade work? Well, I’m delighted to say that another favorite book of the year has turned out to be middle grade lit, and it’s stunningly poignant, wonderfully emotional, and entirely memorable. Maintaining any kind of objectivity is an impossible goal when you’re reading about a girl torn down by cruelty, beaten by loss, and was raised to care by a beautiful man who always saw the beauty in her—beauty that will be nothing less than a hardship for her to see over the course of her journey beyond the memory of Plain Kate and to a confident, stronger self. You will recognize her from the wrenching beginnings of some fairy tales, only you will leave her not to a conventional happily ever after, but to an ending far more true to that self she’s bound to discover.
The Devouring (Book 1/3) Author: Simon Holt (@ Goodreads) Release Date:9/1/08 Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers Age Group: Young Adult (14+) Source: Borrowed (School Library) Go Buy It! Amazon/Barnes&Noble/BookDepository Rating: ☺☺☺☺ - Super!
"When Reggie finds an old journal and reads about the Vours, supernatural creatures who feast on fear and attack on the eve of the winter solstice, she assumes they are just the musings of some lunatic author. But soon, they become a terrifying reality when she begins to suspect that her timid younger brother might be one of their victims.
Risking her life and her sanity, Reggie enters a living nightmare to save the people she loves. Can she devour her own fears before they devour her?
Bone-chilling, terrifying, thrilling...what are you waiting for?"
Plot & Ending: Two words. So spooky. I haven't read a spooky-type book in a long time. I don't have the stomach for them. But, The Devouring was tastefully done, including those creepy parts.
This story revolves around these creatures called the Vours, beings who steal your subconscious and take you over in mind and body. Pretty creepy, right? Yeah, that's not all. The person inside that was once there disappears into another realm called the Fearscape...*shivers*
I loved soo many things about this book. I loved how Holt created such a complexity behind the Vours, what the Vours actually are, their goals. My emotions were pulled and tugged, especially when Henry, the heroine's younger brother of eight years, becomes the target of these beings. Another great touch was the seemingly harmless, fictional journal of a mad woman who knew more about the Vours than most did.
More than that, there were so many scare factors. So many gruesome scenes, but it wasn't exaggerated or unbelievable. In fact, a lot of the scary scenes seemed so real I got goosebumps. There were points that I had to stop reading because it got so intense and I became too absorbed. This novel's definitely something you want to stay away from when you're in the dark.
The ending was nicely done. I didn't feel as though it was rushed. Instead, it tied up a few loose ends while keeping others open for a sequel. It is implied that there are more problems for the main characters to face in the nearby future, but the ending didn't disappoint. The Devouring is most definitely a novel I encourage you to pick up and read.
Characters: Regina...she is amazing. And I mean that. For a character who has yet to reach full maturity, a young adolescent, she has a surprising level of strength. Rather than succumb to her fears, she embraces them, faces them, takes them head on. A very admirable quality, if you ask me. Also the love and affection she possesses for her brother, that fierce protection she feels for him that pushes her passed what would be her breaking point and go beyond. I'm telling ya, she's an amazing heroine.
Aaron, Regina's best friend, is also a lovely addition to the cast in this book. I'm envious of his loyalty toward Regina. It's something I wish I felt for a friend, and vice versa. And because of said loyalty, he overcomes his own fears to look out for his best friend and his best friend's little brother. An amazing person, I'd say.
I liked Eben, Regina's employer though I was ultra suspicious of him. And Henry is also awesome. He seemed like my own brother and I was constantly fearful for him.
Another superb thing about the characters is the villains. I don't want to name them, but they're too cool for words. How they creep up on you. How you'd least expect that person to be playing for the bad team. Radical, man.
Seriously, The Devouring has a great selection of characters, ones that any reader can relate to.
Cover: What drew me in about this cover was the fact that the model didn't seem so perfect or ethereal. She seemed to possess this human frailty that lurks in the best of us. That vulnerability, that frightened look we are all capable of getting. She looked real. Therefore, relatable, in my opinion, at least. Plus it doesn't hurt that the swirling, I guess, mist is purple. (Purple's my favorite color.)(less)
♥ This Scene- "Yeah, sure!" The words were just spilling out of me. "If you've been trained for your life as a time traveler only half as thoroughly a...more♥ This Scene- "Yeah, sure!" The words were just spilling out of me. "If you've been trained for your life as a time traveler only half as thoroughly as Charlotte, then you've had no time to make any friends at all, and your opinion of what you call average girls comes from observations you made when you were standing about the school yard alone. Or are you telling me that the other kids at your school thought your hobbies, like Latin, dancing the gavotte, and driving horse-drawn carriages, were really cool?" Instead of being insulted, Gideon looked amused. "You left out playing the violin." He leaned back and crossed his arms. "The violin? Really?" My anger had gone away again as fast as it had come over me. Playing the violin! Honestly!
I don't know if I was supposed to love this book as I much as I do, but there it is. Ruby Red and I fell madly in love and are currently planning our honeymoon to 1890 (my favorite time period ever). With this book I've discovered my love of time travel. Sure, I liked the concept, I enjoyed it immensely in books like Timeless and Warped, but now I truly love it. And Ruby Red really makes you think about all that goes into it, makes you see how much thought and care go into the whole thing. It's not as easy as just flying back in time with nothing but the clothes on your back. Oh, no. If you intend to make a visit into the past, you have to be conscientious of clothing, speak, skills, etc.
And Gier couldn't have picked a better place to set her ideas loose--London, England! I find this so cool because I go crazy over how English people say things, like Mum instead of Mom, for example. (After reading this book, I proceeded to drive my mom crazy for a few minutes of her life by calling her Mum over and over and ov... Well, you get the idea.) The world-building and history that went into this whole story dazzled me. I hungered to know more about these families of time-travelers, their secret societies, prophecies, and so on. I couldn't get enough!
And instead of dampening this bedazzled setting and extraordinary plot to go with, the characters helped build up my awe of this book. I loved Gwen! The seemingly ordinary, sort of wide-eyed, bona fide teenage heroine. There was a point in the novel where it was necessary for her to learn a special password, and throughout the entire second half of the book she could not remember it for the life of her, mixing up the words repeatedly. Oh, no. What was that stupid password? Qua thingummy thingsitis. (197) (Other variations: Quark edit bisquitis, Qua nesquick mosquitoes. Actual words: Qua redit nescitis.) I thought it was cool how she didn't want to accept her... special talents and wanted to revert to normalcy, yet she also found herself plagued by curiosity. The pull of wanting to stay away versus the allure of learning the ever-guarded mystery. A realistic struggle.
Her relationship with other characters endeared her to me further. She depends on and loves her best friend, doesn't refrain from telling her the big Daunting Secrets. (Notice how tons of heroines do that--leave out the Daunting Secrets with their best friends.) She isn't afraid to ask questions. And she somehow manages to break through others' resolves against her, and charm them. All by being authentically her. Even better, that doesn't exclude the audacious and judgmental Gideon (love that name!) de Villiers, who she's constantly engaging in a battle of wits and sarcasm. These two, from the moment they meet, have it out for each other. And I can't tell you what I love more than watching these two types of characters take the Big Fall. Though, I can guarantee it'll be awhile before they'll admit it (to my chagrin). Still, their slow progression in the falling in love aspect of their relationship is, simultaneously, another tasty element in this book.
Amazing adventure, winning characters, and beguiling secrets that pique the curiosity until stopping becomes impossible, Ruby Red is the kind of book I won't ever get tired of and will find myself wanting to re-read. It's been AWHILE since I've had the good fortune to find That Special Book I('ll) Repeatedly Go Back To. I want to be there when the bad guy gets taken down, when the secrets behind Gwenyth's birth are unveiled, and when Gwen and Gideon finally admit the depth of their feelings for each other. This book has a good grip on me and I'm holding on tight, more than willing to ride out the rest of the series and read the end of this fantastic quest for answers into the past to save the present and future! I can see why this is an international best-seller! Count me in for Sapphire Blue!
Graffiti Moon is like a dream that entraps your consciousness and urges you to leave reality, and all it's difficulties, behind. Crowley's soft whimsi...moreGraffiti Moon is like a dream that entraps your consciousness and urges you to leave reality, and all it's difficulties, behind. Crowley's soft whimsical flow of writing are luminous clouds in a bright blue sky, something beautiful that, when you stop to pay attention and really look, sweetly lulls the mind and heart. It's as if Crowley took the world we live in and put it behind another pair of lenses, granting us a heartachingly wonderful view of the same place only with infinitely more color and vibrancy, a precious place that we wish we didn't have to abandon for our own. For the first time, things cease to seem ordinary and the characters are little points of light that stand out even among all the charm already present in the fancifully written setting. They are weird and fascinating and dazzling, and they never give us a reason to want to escape them. They are open books themselves that constantly tug on our sympathy and ignite our smiles, leaving us with a burning need to see them all happy by the end.
Lucy wants Shadow. Once, Shadow had wanted her. She just didn't know it then... Lucy and Ed can be so opposite yet they share similarities that aren't easily observable, to us and between each other. Lucy is strong-willed, dreamy, optimistic, and even naive, and grabbing the events of the story and trying to focus in on them through her eyes is definitely a fun adventure. Lucy has this way of making us laugh even as we feel something profound, has the ability to cut through the BS and see into the other side. That's what gravitates to her interesting people like ourselves and Ed, the extreme loner-looking guy who has all his words shut in but all the pictures of his thoughts and memories dripping out of his fingertips. Not only is he very cute, but he appreciates art and most of its many faces, has a keen sense of loyalty and a hard strategy on how to show his feelings to others. Lucy and Ed couldn't be a better suited match. The problem? The fact that their first date dropped into a new level of hell and Lucy ended the night in a way that left Ed in pieces of doubt and chunks of disappointment. Their reconnection after these past couple of years is a syrupy progression, with sticky areas of discussion and a slow melting quality.
The other characters were just as thickly characterized, with so much going on inside, and Crowley writes little to let us know it but shows us so much about each person. It isn't a far stretch for us to fall in love with each face and attitude we hang with throughout the novel. The predictable plot was successfully carried out and never once fell and cracked to reveal a familiar dull story. Graffiti Moon is a clever interpretation of a place and storyline we may have seen before, and is also one that's more alluring and beautifully devastating and warm than any I've ever found and enjoyed. Crowley truly has to hatch another sweet, romantic idea told in an equally mesmerizing way as Graffiti Moon.
I was thoroughly disappointed with this book, as it happens. I was expecting this book to be more. Filled with emotion and depth. It isn't. THE BEAUTI...moreI was thoroughly disappointed with this book, as it happens. I was expecting this book to be more. Filled with emotion and depth. It isn't. THE BEAUTIFUL BETWEEN has a nice synopsis, and a potentially good story, were it not for the many, many, many things that bothered me about it. While it's still saddening, and holds a touch of sad emotion, there's nothing about it that screams authenticity or amazement.
First, the heroine fell flat to the ideal heroine. This story is supposed to be more of a character-driven tale, in which the heroine develops, but that isn't what entirely happened. Sure, Connelly learned a little about herself and others, but she doesn't strike me as this amazing heroine because she's... well... boring. I couldn't get into her - her habits, her flaws, her insecurities. The only thing that made me feel a twinge of sympathy is the loneliness and isolation she feels because of her caring, yet distant mother. The mystery of her father's pronounced death didn't make me all that curious to know what was going on. And I felt bored along the way, trying to hang on until things started to pick up.
Things did not pick up.
Even worse, there was no burning desire to get to know the other characters. Jeremy is weird, in my opinion. I don't find him attractive, more I find him to be odd. Not exactly the ideal popular prince of the school, though granted he is going through some major familial issues. Then there's Kate, Jeremy's younger sister, whose character was about the only one I adored. She's sweet, kind, and intuitive, even for one so young. And about the only time I got emotional in the novel pertained to my liking her. Other than that, the characters did nothing for me.
It was clear, after I reached the climax, that I wasn't going to be entirely fond of this book. While I had good expectations, perhaps even high ones, THE BEAUTIFUL BETWEEN isn't at all what I had expected or had intended to read.
**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.
Cute. There was something about the romance that I wasn't really digging. The male lead was both adorable and off-putting. I was more interested in th...moreCute. There was something about the romance that I wasn't really digging. The male lead was both adorable and off-putting. I was more interested in the main character's growth.
The eyes of London were watching Claire Jenkins. She didn't notice them, of course...
As soon as the story opens up, readers are thrust right into the...moreThe eyes of London were watching Claire Jenkins. She didn't notice them, of course...
As soon as the story opens up, readers are thrust right into the first found killing that parallels the early Jack the Ripper murders of the late 1800s, and Maureen Johnson does not pull her punches. It's graphic, it's gritty and chilling. Johnson immediately caught my attention with the gruesome murder, especially coming into the book with the knowledge that this has to do with the Ripper. And poor Rory Deveaux, straight from Louisiana, arrives just as it all begins, swept up into the current of "Rippermania" that soon overtakes London.
Trying to solve the identity of the enigmatic killer behind the ensuing murders that send everyone into a panic, is what sets off the edginess that will grip readers. And even when a face can be put to the murderer, readers will still be left in the dark as to the person's true identity and how it pertains to the overall story. Any suspicions conjured will be swiftly dispelled over the course of the book. And although the book starts out light enough, the atmosphere quickly grows darker and darker with each turn of the pages, much like when the shadows creep closer as the sun sets - sort of without warning. And Rory herself soon becomes a source of fascination for the wanted killer, and a magnet for danger as a result.
Rory is one of the best kinds of heroines out there - a Serious Supergirl with an HoG (or Heart of Gold). She's funny, determined, and she hates sports and loves warm Cheez Whiz! You can party with this girl, have serious conversations with her, and she takes what seems boring and turns it into something interesting. She babbles incessantly and shares comedic anecdotes on her weird family members back home. And despite how fabulous she is for being brave and sticking up for herself when people try to shoot her down, she's a real teen girl. With genuine feelings and insecurities and crushes on cute boys. I can relate even as I sit there in awe of her stupendous courage.
And besides writing an awesome heroine, Johnson manages to incorporate fun side characters and NO instaluv! Jazza is Rory's first true friend in London, and an endearing one at that. She's quiet, serious, and very loyal, with a hidden rebellious streak that makes her a little unpredictable. She's exactly what Rory needs in a strange place with strange words and customs. But that's not the end of her list of new friends. There's Boo, who shows up later in the story, a colorful person that adds a little excitement in Rory's life. And then there's also Jerome, both friend and uncertain love interest, who has an odd obsession with the Ripper murders staining various places in London. My only problem with the sort-of romance between he and Rory is the uncertainty there, it's hard to tell who Rory's going to end up with. And the romance aspect of a book is extremely important to me, and for it not to be very clearly defined knocks down my interest a bit.
Despite the lack of romance, which wasn't an overpowering issue for me, the pacing is what bothered me. With such a thrilling story being told, the right pacing needs to be set. For me that means no slow-mos. In the beginning it started out kind of slow, but that was fine, because it's basically expected when you just open the book. But once the murders began cropping up, the mystery is being unraveled, and the meetings with Callum and Stephen - two dudes you so want to do, just saying - become frequent, I needed a boost in the pacing. I can't say that this is a fast-paced story, which would've suited the plot line much better.
Overall, though, if you're looking for a deeply disturbing murder-mystery accompanied by incredible characters to delve into, The Name of the Star is what you want to pick up, a gimme-now read, if you will. I'm so happy that this will be turning into a series and I am so freaking stoked for more!
I decided to deflect her attitude by giving a long, Southern answer. I come from people who know how to draw things out. Annoy a Southerner, and we will drain away the moments of your life with our slow, detailed replies until you are nothing but a husk of your former self and that much closer to death. (24) "The school was having a dance--" I said. "I know," he cut in. "You told me to tell you everything," I snapped. "So are you going to listen or are you going to tell me what you already know." (238) "...If you don't show me, I will stand here and stare at you. I will follow you. I will do everything you don't want me to do. I am giving giving you no choice." The corner of Callum's mouth twitched slightly. "No choice?" he said. "You have no idea how reckless I can be." (263) "Let me put this another way," I said. "I'm coming. I'm not asking permission. I can't live like this. I can't live not knowing how this ends." As soon as I said those word, I knew I had hit on the reason for my sudden burst of pure courage. I couldn't go on this way... I was either going to stop this, or I was going to die trying. (309)
Rating: Eye-Catcher Source: Won from publisher via Goodreads
A ridiculously pointless story
You guys, Drain You by M. Beth Bloom is four hundred pages of...moreRating: Eye-Catcher Source: Won from publisher via Goodreads
A ridiculously pointless story
You guys, Drain You by M. Beth Bloom is four hundred pages of wasted time. And you know how sometimes when you’re doing pointless, wasteful things you’re pretty entertained but you also know that you could be doing something way more useful, interesting, and fulfilling with your time? That’s exactly what reading Drain You by M. Beth Bloom felt like. At points, there are moments of laugh-out-loud hilarity, but mostly it’s a silly, structure-less story with a rather disturbing main character, bland love interest, and an even terribly stranger slew of secondary characters who are supposed to act as friends and family. At times it was easy to get confused by the overly expressive writing style that talked about too many things at once.
At the root of it all, Drain You by M. Beth Bloom is a dated paranormal book with awful Twilight qualities. It’s a useless, meaningless story that gave me a few laughs, sure, but bored me to skimming for most of it. I had to take several breaks from the story and then talk myself into jumping back in to the ridiculousness of the whole thing.
Some people might enjoy it
Let’s get something straight—I’m an avid paranormal romance reader. Vampires, witches, faeries, you name it, I’m excited. I’m also REALLY into Twilight—ask anyone that knows me. So of course I was thrilled to see Drain You by M. Beth Bloom pitched as a cross between a popular 90s show and Twilight, and yet it seemed to have taken characteristics of both and created a horribly unusual mess with them. The story is a pale, ludicrous imitation of either reference. Drain You by M. Beth Bloom is one of those novels that can force you into being tired of the vampire trend, that reminds you why you despise instalove (James is DEFINITELY not Edward Cullen material). It seems as if the story was written in the moment as a way to pass the time. There’s no structure to the story, everything is as lax and disjointed as the main character, Quinn, who disturbed me and annoyed me more than anything else.
But, if you’re into the kind of a story that has pops of humor and has no sense of order to the plot, then this might be more your style. Drain You by M. Beth Bloom basically chronicles Quinn hanging out with herself, odd people who eventually become her friends, and the romance—if you can actually call it that—between her and this mysterious (creepy) vampire who strolls into her life at random moments.
Some may like Quinn, enjoy her humor and appreciate her oddness. I, however, was frustrated with her as well as the rest of the senseless story.
It was a VERY impressively difficult struggle to get through this book. What’s more intriguing about this, however, is how and why I actually managed to completely read it. I will cop to skimming several pages at a time, but not enough where I missed out on something major—which, to me, demonstrates how unnecessary a lot of the story is. But, yes, I finished this book and it’s still a bit of a shock to me, because normally reads like this are quickly and happily DNFed.
And yet, I can’t explain what propelled me to continue. Maybe it was because of the humor or maybe simply because I didn’t want to stop after getting so far into it. Or maybe it did hold some level of interest for me. Ultimately, though, the ending is as disappointing and pointless as the rest of it. I unrepentantly declare Drain You by M. Beth Bloom a giant waste of my time.
Review: Do you like deserts? I don’t—they’re everything hot, dry, and stickily wrong with the world. And they breed little nasties like scorpions (a t...moreReview: Do you like deserts? I don’t—they’re everything hot, dry, and stickily wrong with the world. And they breed little nasties like scorpions (a total ewww factor!). Yet, Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorn books make the desert strangely and fascinatingly appealing. THE MIND BOGGLES. This series of books incorporates evocative fantasy, compelling intrigue, and character growth that is wholly phenomenal in portraying common internal struggles with identity and self-confidence. The Fire and Thorn books demonstrate the power of faith in a wholly non-preachy, non-zealously religious manner and the good ol’ fashion theme of what it means and takes to become a hero. Elisa may just be my personal hero for all time.
Prophecy is a tricky thing, I have learned, full of edges and secret meanings and mischief. Prophecy can feel like the betrayal of a dear friend, the disappointment of a lifetime, the hope of a nation. (198)
Last year, war brewed and overflowed, drenching all the land with death, violence, and despair, and was ended at the hands of a once lost, hopeless girl whom the desert brutally fashioned into a proud, confident, shrewd warrior queen. But, the effects of war haven’t diminished, and Elisa must suffer the games played by the plotting noblemen at court while surviving the decisions she makes to reinforce her power. In Girl of Fire and Thorns, her transformation from shy, malleable, studious princess into a woman slowly realizing her own strength is one of the most fist-pump-worthy moments I’ve read. Carson takes it a step further in Crown of Embers by Rae Carson—Elisa has grown even more, though she is split between that of a clever woman and a timid ruler, fiercely trying to rectify the latter in order to ultimately be recognized as an improvement from the ruler before her. Being surrounded by the palace and overruled by the generals and counts with favor in her meetings, her confidence is shaken. She doesn’t slip into the role of an obedient, submissive queen—she has been reformed with steel, pride, and dignity, but she no longer believes her own power to be enough, a lacking in herself she believes can only be fixed by some outside force to back her. Crown of Embers by Rae Carson is, essentially, her discovery of the confidence to be a true queen and shouldering all that the effort entails.
“This could be it, Elisa,” Ximena says, and her black eyes spark with something fierce. “What you need to rule. To finally grasp the destiny I know God has prepared for you.” (198)
That is the thread woven beneath it all, but as she quests to realize this—literally and metaphorically—there’s so much else happening. Traitors are forged into newly forgiven allies, old withstanding, comforting presences are removed for proper growth, and love is realized anew in a friend, confidant, and loyal guardian who is every bit what I hoped he would be for Elisa. And evil dark-magic-bearing sorcerers plus cunning ploys for revenge spin together to tie in the rest of the plot, filtering a sense of urgency that surpasses the dire circumstances of the previous book.
While Elisa’s growth never fails to stun me blind and conjure admiration in my heart, I’m trembling with unhindered excitement for the rematch sure to go down between the two enemy nations whose feud runs too deep to be permanently squashed because of the events of the first book. I’ll be thrilled to witness Elisa’s next move, for the character left on the final page is no longer just a girl struggling to balance the crown teetering on her head but a woman ready and willing to wage destruction on her oppositions with ferocity and aggressive determination all wrapped underneath an outwardly formidable construction. Elisa won’t be messing around in the next book, and the next steps she takes are sure to be friggin' glorious.
Most Likely to Be Enjoyed By: As a huge fan of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I can safely write to fans of this series that it is absolutely impossible to be disappointed in Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. If you fell in love with Elisa’s profound character growth, the vividly presented fantasy world, and Carson’s amazing plot structuring abilities, then you will love Crown of Embers by Rae Carson with an intensity that provokes an anticipation for the third book that completely exceeds what you felt in wait for this second book. Lovers of traditional high fantasy, which is essentially a story of epic scope riddled with your age-old themes of self-growth and good vs. evil as well as some fantastical elements, you will revel in Carson’s innovative world, manipulation of themes that give a layered texture to a well-structured plot, and Elisa’s becoming of a hero.
Content Warning: There is some detailed violence, in which the main character witnesses several vicious variations of death that can be explored thoroughly enough to warn away a middle grade audience. Implications of having and preludes to sex are included, however they are written with weight and romance rather than handled tastelessly and/or superficially.
EVE AND ADAM had such a promising beginning, because the premise is definitely interesting and unique. Curiosity isn't too far behind on...more2.5 - 3 rating
EVE AND ADAM had such a promising beginning, because the premise is definitely interesting and unique. Curiosity isn't too far behind once you read a summary like the one this book has. Still, before entering into the book, I had to battle back a little bit of impromptu wariness. I suddenly had a surge of instinctual fear that this wasn't going to be the read for me. And, for a while there, EVE AND ADAM proved me wrong. For close to fifty percent of the book, I found myself entertained and quickly breezed through it, because that first half of the story sort of follows what you expect from the summary while working in a few unknowns.
The second half, unfortunately, is what threw me. I had been enjoying the dual narration, as both Evening and Solo are smart, witty characters with a hint of spark between them. Then, surprisingly, the romance that wanted to head the pages failed to charm me. It felt a little too fast and remained without substance. And though I liked them separately as characters, together they lacked that necessary swoon factor. There was just nothing viscerally and overtly attractive and/or sexy about the pairing. Solo is a decent narrator, but no way did he make my knees tremble. Disappointing.
There's also this whole weirdness with Adam. The title would have you believe that Adam has a more substantial role in the story. He's seen after a quarter into the book, but he's not officially a character until a bit passed the halfway point. The plot deflated to lackluster after that point, so I almost want to blame him. Because the story was doing well all on it's own without his... intrusion. After that things became fumbled and not very pleasant, like unwanted groping. Following that, that's when all that flare of uniqueness from the beginning completely fades, and we get a fast-paced predictable ending that isn't actually a cliffhanger but that's what it feels like. As if someone forgot to add a few more pages to really bring the story full circle, ultimately leaving us with an unsatisfactory conclusion, I'm sad to say.(less)
For someone who's been thrust into the abnormal and near-incomprehensible in a surprisingly swift mat...more A Book with Characters I Wish Were Flesh-n-Blood
For someone who's been thrust into the abnormal and near-incomprehensible in a surprisingly swift matter of months, Clara Gardner is a fighter; she doesn't go unappealingly batshit crazy when things stop making sense. She's real and she makes mistakes which piss us off at times, but we can't help but feel as if she's an embedded part of ourselves, which we can relate to with ease. Tucker is the guy we all want to notice us, the tough guy with a dazzling heart of gold and a romantic streak that only surfaces with the right girl. Wendy is the best friend we need and Angela is the sibling we love to hate. Toss in Clara's family, and we've got a winning cast in this series.
What Did She Say About Angels?
I'm deep in the camp that believes if you've read one angel book you've read them all. But Hand waves away that notion and proves us all wrong, removing what we thought we knew about angels and implanting a whole different set of rules. Ones that send us flares of red-herrings, boggle our minds, and generally set out to confuse, fascinate, and intrigue.
The Sads and Other Stuff
This installment's going-ons are tragic and bewildering and heartbreaking. There's SO MUCH EMOTION. It's as if Hand holds a gun and she plants bullet after bullet into our bodies and still somehow crazily expects us to stand up again. Despite the fact that our hearts are peppered with quarter-sized holes. Taking out our complementary Harry Potter cauldrons, throw in Clara and Tucker's Trouble in Paradise montage, the dying of a character that makes our hearts bleed, Clara's inner turmoil, fallen angels running amok for revenge and secret crushes, AND SO. MUCH. MORE. and we've successfully cooked up a batch of Hallowed. I even cried.
In less words: Initially, I rated this book higher because I hadn’t worked through all of my feelings on STORMDANCER. It was basi...more3.5/Sud-Kissed rating
In less words: Initially, I rated this book higher because I hadn’t worked through all of my feelings on STORMDANCER. It was basically my reaction to that blast of an ending. But, after surveying my feelings a bit more, I realized the rating hadn’t been accurate. While I enjoyed certain parts of the book and could appreciate the parts that didn’t interest me necessarily but still held obvious creativity and cleverness, the fact is I didn’t LOVE this book. I liked it for what I did find to be an awesome story, with a ton of colorful jumps and heartstrings-cutting emotions, but overall it still felt like a story, rather than something alive and vibrant, something cut and stitched into the heart for memory’s sake. I wanted to develop a stronger bond with every element of the story and was denied, which is where my disappointment springs from. Can I say STORMDANCER is as wild as I’d anticipated? Absolutely! But, unfortunately, there’re fundamental pieces missing that I couldn’t get passed. Even so, I can’t wait for a sequel!
In full: Kitsune Yukiko has an ability that could change the world she lives in and loathes. Abandoned by her mother, betrayed by her father, and lost without the parts of herself that died during her childhood, Yukiko is cold, frank, and stubborn. She doesn’t content herself with the explanations she’s received from her power-hungry government; she knows the truth. The skies are blood-red because they’re dying like everything else, torn open by the poisonous industrialization spread by the Lotus Guild. The red lotus is used to help them unravel secrets while it helps her father bury his, and strips the natural beauty of the Shima Imperium as it diminishes what’s left of the people she loves, turning them into a stark, hollow, frightening contrast of what used to be. Beauty and truth must now be excavated from the toxic manmade layers it’s buried beneath, and fate will push Yukiko to find her own honor and valor, and teach her the power and meaning of sacrifice for something even more worthwhile.
Yukiko isn’t the only one startled by adventures to come. I didn’t know what to expect with Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff—does anyone ever really know when we’re talking about such a hyped up novel? It’s described as Asian steampunk fantasy, and while that couldn’t be more accurate, nothing else that has been mentioned could’ve given me a clue as to where this book would take off. With Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff, many things take off at once; so much is set in motion very quickly. And, at first, that was a good thing. Honestly, is there any way to read objectively as a young girl battles against hulking, terrifying demons of myth, clambering through impossible roots and countless branches as the illusion of beauty is smoked out by the burning stench of rot and blood permeating the scene, and slowly fades as a blood-stained beast rises from what’s left of the slain creatures previously giving chase? That’s literally just the prologue. The problem, however, was that I was absolutely absorbed in this adrenaline-packed opening, and felt shoved into all this political animosity, verbose description, and ongoing back story while still hungering for more of what I’d started out with.
Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff does that a lot—it’s one of those novels that offers you a spoonful of delicious action and tension and adrenaline, but then flips back to the less stirring things. I don’t know if everything I learned was absolutely necessary to understand, appreciate, and enjoy the book, but I do know that when this would happen, I was yanked out of my focus and the story’s momentum began to wean—much like my motivation to read on. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff, for me, isn’t the kind of book you can read in one sitting and stay absorbed, addicted. Because the moments in which you are fully engaged are sporadic it’s difficult to not only stay immersed but to maintain interest into continuing a little bit more hour after hour. It took me a few days to get through this one, because the pacing was controlled by the different directions of the plot and the build-up of it’s points. I needed something a bit more consistent—rather than a zigzagging roller-coaster, I would’ve much preferred a steady incline heading to the action so that I didn’t feel teased and frustrated.
It also didn’t help that all the different Japanese suffixes, titles, objects, etc. aren’t very simple to keep straight so that it’s easy to understand. For this, it may help to read the glossary in the back of the book first, although I do believe they may give away spoilers, so you might be stuck there. This is all introduced in a way that flows as if I already knew what most of these Japanese words meant—and I watch as much Japanese subbed anime as the next person—instead of actually in need of being taught, reading with mounting frustration and confusion, which forced me to go back and reread certain pieces in order to get a clear picture of the whole. Throw in Jay’s wordy—though brilliantly, meaningfully written—descriptions, and it was a simple thing to get lost and thrown off.
However, though Jay may have introduced his world too quickly for proper intake, he simultaneously shows us what he sees, and has this gift of creating an atmospheric setting in each place. Nothing is as straightforward as we would normally perceive them to be. I constantly felt like I was watching an old Asian historical fiction movie, surrounded by all this cruelty, filth, slyness, and poison with old-world charm and new-world technology in the backdrop. Even so, his storytelling still suffered—although his words are brilliant, they are still many for the impatient reader eager to consume and don’t have an effortless finish to them. It’s not easy to fall in with a scene, especially if what’s happening doesn’t grab you and is merely a set-up for the next one.
Having said that, it’s also not so easy to fall in with the characters either. At least, that’s the case when we’re talking about separately rather than collectively. I didn’t connect well with and appreciate Yukiko until Buruu enters the picture. And my feelings are much the same about the other characters—it took two, sometimes three characters to beat a path I could use to feel something for just a single character. All together, I cared for them. But, there was no filled-to-bursting with love or hate feelings for any of the characters. As if I was seeing them through plated glass, encountering an intriguing sight but unable to approach and appreciate the nature of it. The in-depth look into each character, as well as the equally painstakingly detailed characterization, should’ve been enough to satisfy me. It wasn’t. You’ll notice in my reviews that it doesn’t take much for me to love a character, but in order to feel so much for one, I have to feel them—their presence, their emotions, their thoughts. The characters in Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff came across as well-written players in a story rather than real, genuine people, with charms and quirks and a smidgen of relatability.
With such a convoluted plot, unfelt characters, and faulty pacing, you might be wondering about any good points, right? Don’t worry, there are several. There are solid reasons why this book is so well-loved; the talk isn’t rubbish at all. As I said, each word Jay incorporates has meaning. There were times where, when I wasn’t frustrated by all of them, I was simply awe-struck. You can feel Jay trying to reach you with something that’s important to him, which touched off my appreciation for what he has to tell us. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff shows us the power of raising our heads and our voices after keeping them lowered and hidden for so long to keep no one’s prosperity in tact but those who grant nothing but misfortune onto the whole. The relationship between Yukiko and Buruu? What springs from the mistrust, anger, and resentment is the stitching of a bond so down-to-the-marrow close it’s a living blanket which keeps the two warm and inseparable. Which brings me to the action, the fight scenes, the moments where that bond between Yukiko and Burru blend them into a single-minded being in the thickness of battle. The meaning and representation of Stormdancer is wrapped up in what these two do as one.
The ending of the book brought me right back to my state at the beginning—riveted, excited, and prepped for more. My only wish is that all of what led up to it wasn’t so inconsistent and difficult to wade through. I wish I hadn’t had to work to keep my interest at a reasonable level so that I could go onto the parts of the book I’d been anticipating. However, in spite of my struggles, I’m looking forward to the results of the aftermath at the end—what will happen to the nation now? Will there be only more feuding? And will the friendship between Yukiko and Kin fly into the direction I’m hoping for?
Reading the sequel to answer these questions, and to explore more of Jay’s brilliance, will definitely be worth the wait for it and time spent throughout.