Touch of Power was my first taste of Snyder's work and it was a rich and delightful one. Avry's tug-of-war between the need to help and the knowing thTouch of Power was my first taste of Snyder's work and it was a rich and delightful one. Avry's tug-of-war between the need to help and the knowing that if she does, she'll be executed for doing so, instantly pulls us in and leaps onto us, one part of us begging her to save the little girl screaming for relief warring with the part that urges her to stay hidden for fear of the horrors that are sure to follow. An overcast of the dark and the bleak blankets the opening chapter, giving us the keen sense that Avry's world isn't a joyful one. Avry's kind, the healer kind, are proclaimed war criminals, treated like abominations to be killed or handed over for money for reasons fortified by indistinct proof, in a world ravaged by disease and plagued by war and dreadful politics. It's deeply evident that Avry is tired of running, so when the inevitable happens, along with the fear moves a swift feeling of relief at no longer having to hide in abiding anxiety.
Rapidly and suddenly Avry finds herself in the company of five men eager for her to heal their close friend, a prince of a relatively distant land who has caught the horrible plague that has swept all the Fifteen Realms. He is meant for great things and only Avry can save him, but at a price so final Avry must decide what and who is worth actually saving. And the five men who desire her help are five characters that stole into my heart and warmed it, melted it, and, at points, cut scars into it, who not only move Avry into admirable action but moved me in ways I always hope for when I pick up the next novel. I found Avry and Belen's deep and swift friendship a sweet reprieve from their rough travels, her attachment to the other men in the group warming me while reading as events unfolded in the cold of their world. And her syrupy slow romance with a certain resistant, stone-faced character ignited feelings that overlapped from wishful to happiness that could barely be contained!
A few people have asked me how closely Touch of Power resembles Maria's Poison Study series, if at all, and whether or not it's better or worse. Keep in mind that I read Touch of Power first, but I instantly went in search of this highly acclaimed series and fell just as deeply in love. The two stories are matching in similar threads found in the plot, the characters, and even the romance, yet Touch of Power is completely, freshly it's own. I think fans of Poison Study will be pleased with the tenacious, lovable heroine, charmed by the amazing brood of men who traverse with Avry, defending her to the best of their abilities, persevering alongside her, and the enthralling, magical fantasy that paints the book's pages. Touch of Power is presented with a vividness that can't be ignored, a story that has thoroughly earned a place on my hard-to-reach Special Shelf.
After incessant whining and pleading, my mom finally gave in to the inevitable and gave me money to buy the Shatter Me ebook. I don't know how to putAfter incessant whining and pleading, my mom finally gave in to the inevitable and gave me money to buy the Shatter Me ebook. I don't know how to put this to you, my lovely readers, in elegant terms but I've been holding in the yearning for this book since I first heard about it and have since then had to swallow my envy as more and more bloggers praised its glory. Now, finally, it's my turn, and I have to say, Shatter Me was as purely amazing as I anticipated it to be. My expectations were more than just met. Mafi's beautiful words were FedExed to my soul and my soul did a little tap-dance of extreme joy once I ripped open the package and unearthed the gift inside.
Shatter Me is the perfect blend of dystopian and paranormal, with superhero undertones. We're immediately deposited into Juliet's dark and dismal environment, surrounded by the four dank, bleak walls that make up her prison. Juliette has been forced into a dreadful isolation that has lasted almost an entire year. I don't know about you, but it would be impossible to grab a firm hold on my sanity. As I explored her character with Adam, the devastatingly gorgeous cellmate thrust into her prison alongside her, I wanted to jump up and bear hug this girl. Envelop her and murmur soothing words, rocking her like I would a child who's endured one too many cuts and bruises. Only the pain stitched into Juliette's heart is anything but skin-deep and that's why I fell for her.
Juliette is brilliantly presented to us through dreamlike, imaginative prose, and each whisper of her past makes us hunger to know the truth about her situation. The pain in the atmosphere is mesmerizing, luring us deeper into the story. Her strength is as perplexing as it is amazing and staggering. Her wariness of people is shattering, yet the kindness that shone from her has to be the most overwhelmingly magnificent part of her. Her willingness to forgive everyone who has ever clawed at her feelings and never cared, to reach out and act on her desire to help others, her compassion, is deeply moving. Adam, her cellmate and more, couldn't have been a more fitting romantic lead. A boy who's beauty reaches beyond the skin and who sees Juliette for everything she is and loves her intensely for it. A boy who shares a past with her no one would ever guess at first glance. I simply adored Adam, and couldn't get enough of the sweet heat of their blooming romantic relationship.
Mafi didn't blow my mind with just her rich characters but instead takes it a level further. She portrays the horrors of Juliette's deteriorating world with a vividness that incites, at minimum, a twinge of fear. Disgust for anyone who would deliberately spit in the face of the poverty, the deaths, circulating by living in extravagance coats the tongue and sears your insides until an unprecedented anger rises up. Juliette spits back at the wicked leader of her sector, Warner, who has no regard for the welfare of others and is terribly drunk on power, greedy for more. I couldn't even love Warner's character for being so evil, I just wanted Karma to bitch slap him and knock him on his butt.
There's so much power in the world-building, as Juliette's world slams into our feelings and causes them to tumble and overlap from dizzying pain to gaping horror. Brimming with promising characters and engrossing storytelling, people haven't been fibbing when they've said that Shatter Me is a striking debut, one that Mafi has giftwrapped and left to us to discover the breathstealing surprise inside.
I adore contemporary romance novels almost as much as I love paranormal ones, so I've been tingling with anticipation for this novel for quite a whileI adore contemporary romance novels almost as much as I love paranormal ones, so I've been tingling with anticipation for this novel for quite a while! Hadley Sullivan is dreading her upcoming flight to England, where she'll be forced to watch her father get remarried to the woman who caused her father to leave his family behind, a woman, incidentally, she's never even met. Although ready to brave jet lag and sitting with strangers (never mind that she's claustrophobic), Hadley misses her flight entirely by a miniscule four minutes. Simultaneously tormented and soothed, she rearranges her flight and braces for the worst forty-eight hours of her life to begin. But those mere four minutes are responsible for so much more than a missed flight and will impact Hadley's life in ways she could never have predicted.
Hadley, hurt and bitter and resentful, is a pretty, pleasantly ordinary girl riddled with turmoil, yet she throws her chin up and takes the mature route, avoiding hysterics and annoying outbursts. Her pain is tangible, her distress and suffering becomes ours as we retrieve glimpses of her sweet, shattering past with a father who left her behind to be with another woman in, not a town or state away, an entirely separate continent. It's simple to hate him and blame him for the damage done to his and Hadley's relationship. But what I loved about this book is that it proves our feelings, which propel our actions, are so very complex, and while what her father did may not have been right, his situation spawns sympathy, and, eventually, forgiveness.
Oliver, a gorgeous, charming British boy with his own secret past, is not just that helpful stranger from the waiting area - turns out assistance is vital when trying to deflect the terrible disapproval of nosy old ladies - but also Hadley's flight companion for the next several hours. The flowering romance - which is not just limited to Hadley and Oliver necessarily, mind you - in this book conjures the warm and fuzzies and makes you want to curl up in bed, hugging this book and your pillow, fantasizing about meeting your true love in the seat next to you on your long, airborne journey to anywhere. I basked in their witty, insightful conversations, a trembling sigh escaped when a puzzled, intense look was shared, as if to say, I've found something amazing here, haven't I? Healing words of kindness and understanding, melting embraces, and the helping hand of fate combine to stitch a lasting bond between two characters, who, over the course of a single flight, in a matter of hours, not only fall in love with each other but make you fall in love with them too.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is so much more than what it claims to be. It's not a story that focuses solely on romantic love, love at first sight, but one that realistically and genuinely illustrates the means of forgiveness, family issues, and the abiding love between family members. This book resonated with me especially because Hadley and I share similar pasts and old wounds, and our feelings blended together until I couldn't separate which were hers and which were mine, causing me to leak an ocean of tears, particularly toward the end.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight caters to the belief that the magic of true love/instantaneous love may not be confined to only the storybooks, that some things, like family bonds, can weather anything. A novel with the potential to soften even the biggest cynic's guarded, resistant heart, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is a wise, wonderful, heart-stopping debut that decisively places Jennifer squarely as an auto-buy author.
Speed Review: Easily one of my favorite books, this riveting 2010 debut is swamped with a thrilling, mind-blowing storyline that spans the entire lifeSpeed 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? :)
BLEEDING VIOLET blew me away to smithereens, I kid you not. Is it so awfully wrong for me to love a book that's set in a crazy place, has more than koBLEEDING VIOLET blew me away to smithereens, I kid you not. Is it so awfully wrong for me to love a book that's set in a crazy place, has more than kooky scenes, and a lunatic heroine with a penchant for making a bloody mess out of anyone that makes her lose it? But, goodness, this book is so refreshingly different. Twisted and beyond bizarre, yes. But consuming and unique, as well. It was unlike anything I'd ever encountered before, ever. In a badly good way. Yet I want more, more, more. The town of Portero has got it's hooks in me. And so does the lovely female protag.
What better heroine is there besides a psychotic, I ask you? To say that Hanna is a bit of an oddball is an oversimplification. But I can't remember loving a heroine more! No, really, I cannot. It's just something about her personality... Thrilling that at any moment she could lose it, curious in the odd (or sometimes downright insane) things that she says... Above all it's her nonchalance and lack of reaction toward the far-fetched and irrational that justifies my fixation with her. Her obsession with the color purple, as it's my favorite color, doesn't hurt either! Just like the book, I'd never before read about another character like her. Plus, it's nice to see a young woman of color be in the starring role. I don't know about you, but it's rare when I get a book that isn't about someone of other races or skin colors. Seriously. It's rare.
And unlike others who have moved into Portero, this racially-mixed, ghost-seeing mad woman blends right in. Everybody, in some shape or form, is a freak - "Rosalee's words came back to me: Even if you were Hannibal Lecter himself, around here you're nothing special" (45). I mean what kind of school is it when students wear all black and earplugs? A town where the Mayor is this frightening, powerful, supernatural woman who makes the entire town tremble with fear? Where paranormal creatures waltz in and out and nobody really panics? Yet, it takes loads more than window-hopping lures, manic, ghost serial-killers, gross, man-eating hardheads, among other things, to drive Hanna out of this freakish town! I actually thought it was pretty sweet, in a certifiably weird way, that the only thing that would make her leave is rejection from the mother she never knew. I thought it was kind of cute how Hanna went out of her way to try to gain her mother's approval and affection. Or maybe I'm just weird.
But even more adorable and totally lovable is Wyatt. A guy is ten times hotter when he falls for a girl despite the fact that she's nuts. Wyatt is this wicked cool Mortmaine who combats otherwordly foes that pose a threat to ordinary citizens, using the most unlikely weapon. Which I cannot reveal, because that would give away waaaay too much and dampen the cool factor. But the romance area really won me over. I liked the fact that these two dated. That Wyatt took Hanna's nutty impulses in stride. That he only liked her more when he realized she wasn't prone to a major freak-attack when she saw some of the things crawling out of hidden places across town, didn't mind that he himself was almost-merciless killer as long as it served to protect others. He understood her and grew to care for her a lot. So much so that he would not know what to do with himself should something seriously wrong ever happen to her.
The ending, like the rest of the book, was super super strange but logical at the same time. And satisfying, really hit the spot. It seems this book is bound up in contradictions. I enjoyed it for what it is - a disturbing story told by an equally disturbing protagonist with erratic tendencies coupled with crazy good, addicting romance with a gorgeous guy. The book's fast-paced, intriguing. I liked being continually baffled by Hanna, delighted in her sass. I'm reluctant to let her, and this story, go. By far one of my favorite heroines. Absolutely the strangest novel I've ever had the pleasure of reading!
This book is out there, no doubt about it. A book that, if you have the spine for it, should definitely be read. Still, fair warning: this book is bloody (borderline gory at points), there's sex (mostly implicit), and there's a lot of profanity. Being that the heroine has a few loose screws doesn't always cook up the most comfortable situations, for some who can't stomach her suicidal inclinations. Add all of that up and I would not recommend this book for the faint-hearted and/or conservative reader. However, if you're into murder-mystery and lunatics, you might want to check out Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser.
"Don't make fun of me, Wyatt. I remember thinking that night in the dark park that you were a robot. I remember wanting to cut you open with the machete to see the gears with my own eyes." He gave me such a look. I sighed. "Maybe I shouldn't have said that out loud." He laughed hard. "Jesus Christ. You are insane! You really are." "Yes, but it's okay," I assured him, taking my emergency stash of pills from my purse to show him... Wyatt was still chuckling and shaking his head. "So many things about you make sense now." (237)...more
Kristen Simmons gifts us a tale full of heart and insight; the emotion in Article 5 is so incredibly palpable! Simmons gradually and skillfully inviteKristen Simmons gifts us a tale full of heart and insight; the emotion in Article 5 is so incredibly palpable! Simmons gradually and skillfully invites us into her characters' minds and feelings so that they feel beautifully human, spinning this connection that is overwhelming and genuine. The world of Article 5 instantly becomes our own, inciting fear in us for what may happen down the road to our own country. Is it possible that the United States could morph into such a terrible place as the one described in the book? There are so many well-written ties to history, a play at what might have been had the events of our ancestors' time unfolded differently. A harsh alternative universe is portrayed in this story, in which women must be subservient men, children born of wedlock need to be rehabilitated, and young men are ripped and pulled apart to create a new terrifying, heartless soldier. As we enter this redesigned U.S., we evidently see how rapidly reforms and fresh statutes are created, punishing the most miniscule error and no one is left unscathed. Article 5 brings back the horrors of old and exposes us to them so that they no longer seem like flat, inaccessible stories found in a heartless textbook.
Immediately the action kicks up, taking us first into the bleak reality of Ember's life, where teenage couples can't even hold hands without seeming reckless, then shoving us into the jarring arrest of her rebellious, though sweet mother. Reading as Ember is brutally torn away from the other half of what makes up her family sparks throat-clogging sympathy in us, leaving us devastated for a relatively newly introduced character. Matters only continue to worsen as the boy she once loved is forced to take part in the arrest. The sense of crushing betrayal engulfs us as Ember is shockingly turned against by the one other person she had always believed she could trust.
What stands out about Ember is her driving desperation. The frantic need to escape her consequent prison, to free her mother from wherever the cruel 'Moral Militia' has taken this woman so crucial to her life. Although she makes almost impulsive decisions to reach her goals, getting back to her mother is priority. As she progresses through the story, however, it becomes clear that she realizes her mother isn't the only important one, that her poorly thought-out methods can cause inifinitely more damaging effects, and it was a painful, though necessary internal journey to witness. As if that alone isn't enough for her to deal with, she must now also face the inescapable feelings constantly fighting to surface whenever she is near Chase, the boy she loved and lost. Not knowing what Chase's motives are was a tough thing to endure, but as we receive vital flashbacks into Ember's memory of him, he proves, between his actions of then and now, that he can be trusted. And rekindling their heartachingly lovely relationship isn't a distant possibility any longer, especially when faced with this changed Chase who goes to extraordinary measures to protect her, who wants her to return to him but is endearingly unsure of how to make that happen.
Article 5 would especially appeal to fans of Delirium and Shatter Me, not only through their shared threads of dystopian world-building but through the remarkable actions of the characters and their urgency in escaping these crooked worlds they find themselves in. I will have my ear firmly glued to the ground, on the lookout for any news of the sequel, which is deeply desired despite the wonderful non-cliffhanger ending. There is such heartbreaking beauty in the Simmons' words, her world, but most exceptionally the lovable characters she masterfully established in this fast-paced, gripping novel!
♥ 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♥ 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!
So, after leaving off in IF I STAY, the predecessor of WHERE SHE WENT, I wondered about what was going to happen next. And this book answered all of mSo, after leaving off in IF I STAY, the predecessor of WHERE SHE WENT, I wondered about what was going to happen next. And this book answered all of my questions.While things didn't turn out as I'd hoped they would by the end of IF I STAY, the story is still beautiful in its own right. Reading in Adam's POV of the events that took place during IF I STAY, some of the flashes of the past with Mia and her family, all the way unto now during WHERE SHE WENT, I really saw how Adam was effected by everything. And I felt for him; I was heartbroken for him. Forman masterfully created another fantastic and heartfelt story about loss and moving on, skillfully fabricated these amazing, memorable characters that stuck with me long after I'd finished reading...
I loved Adam in IF I STAY. He's adorable, with this underlying sweetness, this intense love for the shy and awkward Mia, and an obvious passion for music. What's not to love? So, to see how the aftershocks of IF I STAY left him was so upsetting to me. This wonderful guy basically went through hell in a span of three years, since Mia cut herself off from him. To top it off, he was left floundering, for answers, for reasons, for an explanation as to why Mia just decided to leave him. (I remember hating Mia for this, until things are later explained.) And after reading WHERE SHE WENT, I got to see how much Adam genuinely loved Mia's family, and how much they loved him - including him in everything they did, always wanting him around. To see that their deaths left him shattered... was extremely painful.
Not to mention that his life has since then turned to sh**, and his personality has altered to match. No longer is Adam that nice, sweet teenager from Oregon, but a miserable adult and celebrity living in L.A. So, one can see why I would be desperate for Mia to return to him, through this chance encounter in New York that I'd heard about. It was great, seeing that their connection hadn't faded, their physical and emotional reactions to one another hadn't withered, and that, despite everything that happened up until that point, they are still familiar to each other, syncing into this old, familiar rhythm.
Seeing a changed Mia was a little shocking as well. She grew up with a little bit of confidence, and I was happy that her career as cellist skyrocketed. And, after everything on her side was explained, I felt for her. I stopped blaming her for everything that went wrong with Adam's life, while, simultaneously, so did Adam.
Adam's growth, and release of his hold on the past, the bitterness, and the resentment, all lead up to one magnificent ending. One that I was hoping for this pair all along. I'm sad to see these books come to a close, but overall, I was incredibly happy with WHERE SHE WENT, a wonderful, fitting sequel to the emotional IF I STAY.
"Mia looks down at my outstretched hand, opens her mouth to say something, the just sighs. Her face hardens into a mask as she reaches out her own hand to take mine. The tremor in my hand has become so normal, so nonstop, that it's generally imperceptible to me. But as soon as my fingers close around Mia's, the thing I notice is that it stops and suddenly it goes quiet, like when the squall of feedback is suddenly cut when someone switches off the amp. And I could linger here forever. Except this is a handshake, nothing more. And in a few seconds my hand is at my side and it's like I've transferred a little of my crazy to Mia because it looks like her own hand is trembling" (56-57 | 264)....more
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 tReview: 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.
Beautiful Creatures Authors: Kami Garcia (Blog★Twitter) Margaret Stohl (Blog★Twitter) Release Date: 9/14/10 (Paperback) 12/1/09 (Hardcover) Publisher: LitBeautiful Creatures Authors: Kami Garcia (Blog★Twitter) Margaret Stohl (Blog★Twitter) Release Date: 9/14/10 (Paperback) 12/1/09 (Hardcover) Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers Age Group: Young Adult (14+) Source: Public Library (Local) Go Buy It: Amazon★Barnes&Noble ★BookDepository Rating: ☺☺☺☺☺- Intense, fascinating! Beautiful Creatures is a unique and exceptional novel that will fascinate readers from start to finish. This novel expertly maneuvers an addictive plot with an extraordinary take on magic: its capabilities and its practitioners. BC weaves a captivating tale of two young, star-crossed lovers; a world of choice: Light or Dark; a seemingly normal town turned unexpectedly mystical, mysterious, and quite dangerous. Summary☆Beautiful Creatures' Website When I first picked up Beautiful Creatures I was slightly intimidated by it. It has a whopping five hundred somethin' pages, a rather large book if you ask me..so it took me awhile to actually sit down and read it. I've never really liked books told in the first person POV, yet I found that with Ethan being the one to tell the story, the book seemed a lot more...well, more. It made the novel extraordinarily different, unlike any other paranormal book I've ever read. I didn't know what to expect. BC went from slow and mysterious to intriguing to blow-your-mind awesome. A combination bound to charm me into gulping it down between two sittings.
At first, it moved a little slow, but in the process I learned a lot...about the characters, the history of the town and so forth. Riding out a slow beginning was well worth it. Stohl and Garcia really took me to the town of Gaitlin, SC. I felt like I was there, from the fried chicken, mash potatoes and gravy, string beans, biscuits, and pulled pork to my picking apart the words of the thick, Southern-accented people of Gaitlin until they resembled something of an intelligible sentence.
Add to the blend an intriguing mystery, one where a dark, vision-lending locket with strange initials carved inside it point to never-heard-of Wate and Duchannes ancestors of the two main characters, Ethan and Lena...explosive, unexplainable supernatural powers...bizarre, unusual family members...a seemingly normal town with an abnormal history. Throw in a dreadful curse on one of the biggest, all-powerful magical families with a lineage that traces back to way before the Civil War, and you've got an addictive, engaging, one-of-a-kind novel on your hands.
Usually, for me, characters are paramount to any other aspect of a book. It was the same with this book. Beautiful Creatures offered up a kaleidoscope of characters, starting from the very eccentric, like the tangled Ravenwood/Duchannes family, heading to the gossiping, superficial townspeople of Gaitlin, and everyone in between. Then of course, there is also Ethan and Lena who don't fit into the above categories at all. While Ethan was born and raised in Gaitlin, you'd never know it by his personality. He's so wonderfully different. Not only is he a handsome guy, he's also a determined, sweet, a little optimistic, protective one, who wants to break away from the confining, suffocating borders of the town. Lena, on the other hand, is a shining beacon of individuality, so much so that it shone like a neon sign in an all black or white town.."...a beautiful girl in a long gray dress, under a white track jacket with the word Munich sewn on it, and beat-up black Converse peeking out underneath. A girl who wore a long silver chain around her neck, with tons of stuff dangling from it--a plastic ring from a bubblegum machine, a safety pin, and a bunch of other junk...she tucked her dark curls behind her ear, black nail polish catching the fluorescent light. Her hands were covered with black ink, like she had written on them...She had the greenest eyes I'd ever seen, so green they could've been considered some new color altogether." (32) Come on, does she not sound cool or what? Only someone really cool would have the courage to look that way...
But the absolute finest part of the novel was the ending. But, I don't just mean the last few pages or anything. More like the last couple of chapters. It was intense as heck! My fingers were clutching the book so hard, my eyes were racing across the pages trying to absorb all the words on each one. The blood...the people...the darkness...the traitors...the chanting...all the death and sorrow. It could've been a freaking movie! I swear, had anything popped out at me in the last moments of my reading BC, I would've screamed, the blood-curdling, ear-popping, shrilly kind. But maybe that's just me.
If I could do over the last several hours I used up reading this novel, I'd do it all again, except I'd read it all in one shot instead of two separate times.
After devouring this first course in the delectable Caster Chronicles, I'm ready to gobble down the ensuing epic sequel, Beautiful Darkness! I can't wait to get my hands on it!