When I first found out Kagawa was journeying down the vampire path, I was nervous. I mean, vampires have been written about ov...moreActual rating: 3.5 stars
When I first found out Kagawa was journeying down the vampire path, I was nervous. I mean, vampires have been written about over and over in the YA world and I wasn't sure what could be added. I had imaginary conversations, pleading with her, "Julie, are you sure you wanna do this?" And in all her awesomeness she pretty much told me, "Steph, chill. I got this." Do you know what I love about Julie Kagawa? I love how she can take a completely overused paranormal creature like fairies or vampires and create a whole new spin on them. Just when I was starting to lose faith in the Children of the Night, The Immortal Rules comes along and makes me rethink everything I thought I knew about vampires.
The Immortal Rules tells the story of Allison Sekemoto living in a future where most of the human population was killed by a disease called Red Lung. But that's not the only problem. Vampires now rule their world and have caused the human race to become their pets, scavengers, and monsters themselves. And let's not forget about the Rabids that stalk the earth just waiting to take a bite or two out of a human. Allison hate vampires, but when faced with the choice of death or becoming that which she has always loathed, she chooses the latter. When she flees from New Covington, Allie runs into a group of humans. She decides to travel with them, hiding her true nature from them as they travel searching for Eden (and yes, there are Christian themes in the book), a human city not ruled by vampires. She's always thought being a human was hard, but she quickly learns that being a vampire isn't exactly a walk in the park either, especially when you're wanted.
The best thing I loved about The Immortal Rules were the vampires. These aren't the cute sparkly vamps that try their hardest, fighting their nature, by feasting off animals instead of humans. Oh, no. These bad boys are vicious killers, just like unlike 'em! It is made very clear early in the novel that vampires have to drink from humans in order to survive and that one day Allison would kill a human no matter how hard she tried not to. Hell to the yeah. Real vampires! They're back!
That's what I'm talking about!
I also really enjoyed the creativity in this novel. Do you know what happens when Underworld and The Forest of Hands and Teeth have a baby? The result, if you didn't guess, is The Immortal Rules. It was a really cool mix of both flesh-eating, zombie-like creatures and bloodsucking vamps, surrounding poor, defenseless humans. Kagawa wasn't afraid to kill her characters off and show Allison some tough lovin'! I really hate when authors attempt to give every lovable character in the book a "hall pass" from death. The impact of the scene and story usually suffer, but not here. People died, viciously. Such is the way of the circle of life.
My biggest and only issue with the book was the extremely slow first half. It just felt like it dragged on and on. I just wanted to bang my head against a wall. And because of that, I can't give this book 4 stars. However, where the beginning was boring (to me at least), the second half makes up for lost time. Because this is another thing I love about Kagawa: Her action scenes and endings are kick-ass. I was getting major Underworld vibes from Allison and it was awesome. Every time she cut someone's head off, I got ridiculously giddy. I'm not lying when I say the second half saved this book.
Characters: In the beginning I really disliked Allie. She and I weren't getting along very well because she had an attitude and personality that gave Oscar the Grouch a run for his money. I get why she was like that, but that didn't mean I had to like it. Thankfully, by the end of the novel, I did end up connecting with her. It was very subtle and snuck up on me. Of course, it didn't hurt that she was a badass, katana wielder either. "Useless," she was not! Kick some ass, she did. Lol. Okay, I'll spare you with my Yoda talk, but seriously the second half was a lot of fun.
Zeke, the love interest, was just okay for me. He was very sweet, caring, loyal, all those things you love to see in a person. While I did like him, I feel like I need to see more of him it the next book before I make up my mind.
Kanin (P.S. was that derived from "The land of Canaan?"), Allie's mentor was my favorite character. We didn't see a lot of him and that made me a bit disappointed, but things are looking up for more page time in the next novel.
So overall I did enjoy the novel and I'm looking forward to book two. It looks like Kagawa is planning on kicking it up a notch, so she can count me in. ;D
*A note on the cover: DISLIKE! Allison is of Japanese descent. Thus, the girl on the cover disappoints me for obvious reasons. -_-
Oh, geez this is awkward. I've just finished Destined and can't find a single thing to say about it because it's not very memo...more Actual rating: 1.5 stars
Oh, geez this is awkward. I've just finished Destined and can't find a single thing to say about it because it's not very memorable.
No wait. It's all coming back to me now. Mmmmmhmmmm. Let me get my glasses for this one.
Ah, that's better. And yes, there will be spoilers.
I'll be honest and admit that the Wings series has been of a guilty pleasure of mine. It's not the best written book I've ever read or the worst for that matter. But it had a level of entertainment that kept me around till the end. At least that's what I tell myself because as I dove into Destined I just couldn't help but think how incredibly boring it was. And that greatly disappointed me since I was just looking for a light, fluffy read. Instead I was left with a story cornier than a box of Kellogg's cereal.
So very, very corny.
So the plot is a simple one. We all knew based on the ending of Illusions that Yuki would eventually escape with Klea and go after Avalon. She also happens to have an entire army of trolls ready to bust the doors down. That leaves David, Laurel, Tamani and Chelsea to race to Avalon and warn everyone. Fantastic. It was a fine beginning with promise. Unfortunately, that promise died when we are introduced to the biggest cop out I've read in a long time. Jamison asks David to fight against the trolls using Excalibur. It was truly a Disney movie moment. I knew at that moment it could only go down hill from there.
"David, with the name of Kings," Jamison said formally,
"It's time to discover if you are the hero Laurel has always thought you to be. Will you join us in defending Avalon?"
It seemed that they were *thisclose* to breaking out in song and dance. Then David had his Sword in the Stone moment and was told nothing could hurt him while he wielded Excalibur. And I do mean nothing. If someone were to strike him with a sword, it would conveniently miss him. Or if someone were to shoot him with a gun, the bullets would just drop in front of him. Not even poisonous AIR could harm him.
David had no previous fighting experience, but all he had to do was swing the sword and trolls would just die on the spot. He went all deus ex machina throughout the entire book.
And that's when I lost all desire to finish the book.
Everything was was just too carefully placed and never felt organic to me. The Queen orders Jamison to stay out of the fight, but when she finds out he's disobeyed her she doesn't do anything. Jamison gets taken out during the battle early on and forced to rest, but when the gang goes up against Yuki, he appears out of nowhere ready to assist. Speaking of Yuki, she turned out to be the biggest disappointment of them all. She supposedly has the ability to kill other fairies or at least be really powerful. But she was pretty much useless.
Of course with any battle there are deaths. I feel the impact of a character death is at its greatest when I actually care about the character that's dying. Duh, right? Well, there are two characters who are killed that the reader is familiar with, but I never really felt any kind of sadness for them. Laurel and Tam cared deeply for them, but they weren't around enough in the previous books for me to grow an attachment to them. They were expendable characters.
Another reviewer noted that with everything that was going on, and there was a fair amount of action, it actually felt like nothing was happening. I've been pondering how that's possible and I believe it's because there didn't appear to be much anticipation or build up to any of the scenes. At least I didn't feel any. I just went through the motions of finishing the book to be able to say I completed the series. There was exactly one part where I felt a twinge of emotion and it's where Tamani thinks he sees Laurel die and goes off on his own to kill Klea or be killed by her. But before those feelings get a chance to develop, Laurel goes running after him. End scene. That left me so angry!
Then my biggest pet peeve about YA novels starts flying around left and right. The whole, "I can't live without you!" trope. I really hate when that's used because it gives off the appearance of teens ready to end their life over a boyfriend/girlfriend. They're in the midst of a battle for Avalon, saving other fae's lives, and they start wondering why they would bother if the other were to die. Ummm... because your friends and family are still in danger?!
Then we get to the ending where there is a deadly toxin seeping into the land and killing Tamani courtesy of Klea. It's up to Laurel to save not only Tamani, but all of Avalon. And she's all:
"She wasn't sure if it mattered if the toxin infected her. Was her life worth living without Tamani? Was the risk worth one last kiss? One final embrace?"
So, you're just going to forget about Avalon then?
"He had to be alive. She wasn't sure if she could live another moment if he wasn't with her. What did any of this matter if, in the end, she was too late to save Tamani?"
Whew, sorry about that. I started seeing red again.
The ending was your typical "... And they lived happily ever after" in true Disney fashion. In hindsight, there were casualties, but none that anyone cared about (I find it interesting that Tamani never went back to check on his niece after she lost her mother! O.o Laurel was more important, I guess.). The only thing that mattered is that Tamani got to be with his one true love forever and ever. The end. Lame.
So, I guess if you enjoyed the first three books, you'll probably enjoy this one to some extent. But for everyone else, I wouldn't go into this one expecting much. Overall it was a big ol' pile of MEH.
ARC was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss. Thank you!
I've been really eager to read A Million Suns for a while now. I'm a Sci-Fi geek and I'm not afraid to admit that. (Hear that,...moreActual rating: 3.5 stars
I've been really eager to read A Million Suns for a while now. I'm a Sci-Fi geek and I'm not afraid to admit that. (Hear that, Kennedy?! I'm owning that!) So I think, in a way, I am prone to getting swept away with this series. And just as with Across the Universe, I was immediately sucked into the story, walking around my house with my face glued to the book, sitting on the edge of my seat trying to figure out the mysteries surrounding Godspeed. Because if there is one thing Revis does right, it's anticipation.
I struggled with deciding what to rate this book. On one hand I really liked it much better than Across the Universe, but on the other hand the ending let me down a bit. I suppose I should back track a bit and actually talk about the things I loved first. Be warned: the second half of the review will have spoilers.
The best part of the book was the plot and pacing. Elder is trying to maintain peace, but the people are making that very difficult. After being enslaved to Phydus for years, some are depressed, rebellious and paranoid. A few citizens prey on those emotions and cause doubt of Elder's ability to lead the people. The result? Chaos and not the beautiful kind. This puts Amy in a very precarious situation because the people blame her for their downward spiral. But Amy and Elder have another issue to handle after Amy discovers Orion has left clues to the Godspeed's biggest secret. I really liked how it felt like the reader's job to help Amy and Elder solve the mystery because this book is very fast paced. The sense of urgency is definitely there throughout the entire novel, never letting the reader catch his/her breath!
I also really liked the character growth from Elder. In Across the Universe he was very unsure of himself and for a moment he is that way in the beginning of A Million Suns, but you get to see him grow a back bone along with a matching pair of gonads. This made me really happy because let's be honest, it was about freakin' time! We also get a chance to see Amy work her way through the personal issue on how she feels about Elder. She struggles with this at first because she isn't sure she is in love with him since they are the only two teenagers. She questions whether it is really love when you don't have any other choices. I would have liked to see more development from Amy besides whether she wanted to be with Elder or not.
And that leads us into the bad.*spoilers ahead*
What really ticked me off with this book was the ending. Everything was going perfectly well until the villain and the ship's secret were revealed. Orion has left Amy a series of video recordings of this huge secret he is sitting on and he tells her only she can make this choice and how it is such a huge decision...yada, yada, yada. That's great. Really. I can totally get down with that. What I can't get down with is the actual secret. (view spoiler)[We find out that Godspeed has actually been at the new planet since the "plague" popped up generations ago. But they haven't landed because planet scans reveal that whatever lives on the planet isn't friendly and they will probably have to go to war once they land. So the Elder system and Phydus were created to keep the people in check and prevent anyone from finding out the truth. So for all those years, Godspeed has just been orbiting around the new planet. All the while the food supply is quickly dwindling and the ship is falling apart. But what I don't understand is why they didn't communicate with Earth and GO HOME? Whose brilliant idea was it to stay on the ship that is falling apart FOREVER? (hide spoiler)] *smacks forehead*
Then we had a few plot inconsistencies. At one point in the novel people are rioting over the lack of food. They even go so far as to burn down the Food Distro building, but suddenly at the end we are fed this BS: (view spoiler)["The scientists agree that the internal functions of the ship could last for at least a generation, maybe indefinitely if the biosphere is maintained and energy conserved." Then a few pages later Elder tells Amy they have enough food for a few more generations. WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN? (hide spoiler)] You can't tell us one thing and then completely say, "Oops, my bad, guys. My bad." at the end of the book. You do not get to change your book canon just to take an easy way out when it comes to ending your story.
Oh, and remember that little flop at the end of Across the Universe? You know the one where Sir Isaac Newton's laws of motion are completely ignored? Yeah, that one. That little issue is cleared up in the very first chapter, but I noticed something that was a little off. (view spoiler)[Elder is told that the shippers lied to Eldest about the engine, that he didn't know the engine had stopped working. He thought they were still moving. But later when Amy is busy discovering Orion's clues we are told Eldest knew they were right next to the new planet and like the Eldest before him, he was keeping this from the people because he didn't think it was a good idea to land. Now, wait one damn minute. If Eldest knew they were right next to the planet and didn't want to land, then how is it he didn't know about the engine not moving the ship? (hide spoiler)]
And finally Amy, who suddenly became TSTL in the final chapters. (view spoiler)[So we all know Amy was almost raped in Across the Universe and that guy continues to stalk her until she and another character extracted vengeance on him. This made me very happy because Amy actually did something for once besides running around the ship. But then when the guy is found dead she hesitates before launching his body into space. I wouldn't have been able to push that button fast enough. But, okay. Fine, Amy. Then when the villain reveals himself and has a gun pointed at Amy saying he'd kill her, she later tells Elder she couldn't kill him even though there was a chance he could have killed them. Okay, maybe I can understand that. But here is where the sense falls apart. The villain had started to reanimate Orion and you know what Amy says she wants? To let Orion drown in his cryo liquid! Now I admit, Orion wasn't the best guy in Across the Universe, but his crimes do not stack up against the rapist or the villain in A Million Suns and yet Amy has the most anger and hostility towards him. The guy who revealed to her that they had arrived at the planet. This does not compute! She even goes as far to have a tantrum about it like a 4-year-old. (hide spoiler)] I'm sorry, but that makes no sense. /end rant
Yet, despite all of my complaints, I did really enjoy this book. It had an unputdownable quality to it that can't be ignored. Fans of Across the Universe will more than likely enjoy A Million Suns. I'd even go as far to say even more so than Across the Universe. I just really wish the ending concluded on the same level of awesomeness that it began. I'll definitely check out the last book because I NEED to know how it ends!
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Show of hands. How many of you were worried about Kagawa returning to the Nevernever with a spin-off of an already successfu...more Actual rating: 4.5 stars.
Show of hands. How many of you were worried about Kagawa returning to the Nevernever with a spin-off of an already successful series? *raises hand* I mean, let's think about this for a minute. The Iron Knight concluded and it seemed everything was "happy happy, joy joy," right? But then there were whisperings in the wind of a spin-off and I found myself saying, "What?! NOOO! NO, Julie! I forbid it! Ya hear?!" At the time the saying "Don't beat a dead horse" was running through my head and I was so nervous about this new endeavor. If I'm being honest here, spin-offs usually suck big time. But just like in the case of The Immortal Rules, Julie Kagawa has put me in my place saying, "I got this, YO." And boy, did she ever! The Lost Prince is everything I could want and more. With fresh new characters, cameo appearances and a new evil threatening the Nevernever, how could anyone resist?
Before I begin, I need to get something out of my system.
PUCK!! I LOVE YOU!
What? Don't judge me!
Remember the little boy from The Iron King? Meghan's little brother? Did you ever wonder what happened to him and his family once Meghan had gone off for good with her Ice Prince to rule in the Nevernever as a Queen of Faery? That's just what The Lost Prince does. And let me tell you, Ethan Chase is not what I expected. The years of being tormented by the fey and losing his sister to their world has made him a very bitter and angry person. Honestly, I don't blame the guy. He has to constantly look over his shoulder, attempt to pretend They don't exist so as not to draw attention to himself, push people away so they don't catch the eyes of The Good Neighbors. It's a lot of responsibilities for anyone, let alone a teen boy (and yes, he actually sounds like a teen boy). But this is what he has had to endure all his life hopping from school to school due to "bad behavior." Unfortunately for Ethan, the fey just can't seem to stay away from him and he ends up on a quest to save the Nevernever.
The plot was brilliantly done. The characters were brilliant. This book was >insert any positive adjective here<!!!! But what did I expect from one of my favorite authors? Exiled fey and half-breeds from the mortal world are disappearing thanks to a new breed of fey. Something even worse then the iron fey?! *gasp* I suspect I know exactly who the Forgotten are if I remember a certain scene from The Iron Knight correctly. But even as someone who has followed this series very closely, I have to admit, I have no idea what direction it could possibly go.
The one thing I was worried about most with this spin-off would be comparing the old characters to the new characters. I LOVED the trio in the original series. Meghan, Ash and Puck were the perfect blend of romantic tension, banter and comic relief. And they all do make cameo appearances (Did I mention how much I love Puck?), but this isn't their story. It's Ethan, Kenzie and Kierran's. I really think fans will really enjoy the new trio and it seems like Kagawa has us in for a world of hurt with them too. I mean, I bawled by eyes out so hard with The Iron Queen. Whenever I go back to read that last scene I fall to pieces. But it feels like that could come a lot sooner with The Call of the Forgotten. MY EMOTIONS! Kagawa, stop being so awesome all. the. time! Wait...
And you know what? Even if you haven't read The Iron Fey - which you'd better go do if you haven't *gives dagger eyes* - you could still follow along easily to this story. For those who have been waiting for a certain Cait Sith (no relation to the cat pictured above, of course) to guide you back through the Nevernever, this will merely feel like a continuation from the original series. And you noobs? There are a few rules you must familiarize yourself with: Never make a contract with Them. Show no fear when dealing with the Fair Folk. Don't draw attention to yourself. And as Grim would say, "Do try and keep up." Welcome to Faery.
ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you!
Want to win an ARC of The Lost Prince? Head on over to Cuddlebuggery Book Blog for a giveaway and other fantastical things.
This was good and different. Definitely NOT what I was expecting and easily one of the most depressing stories I've ever read. GLASS CASE OF EMOTIONS....more This was good and different. Definitely NOT what I was expecting and easily one of the most depressing stories I've ever read. GLASS CASE OF EMOTIONS.
Review to come.
Edit 5/27: That is an awesome cover! Look at the pretty!
Contemporary is nota genreI usually read. It’s not because I think any less of the genre, but few seem to hold my attention as well as something...more Contemporary is not a genre I usually read. It’s not because I think any less of the genre, but few seem to hold my attention as well as something supernatural or science fiction related. What normally happens is that I’ll get distracted and find myself re-reading the same sentence or paragraph over and over again. That never happened with Wanderlove. Unfortunately, lately I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult for me to find time throughout my day to sit and read. And I felt myself getting angry for not having more time to finish this book. But, in a way I’m kind of happy I read it as slowly as I did because I savored every minute alone with Wanderlove. This book was so amazing, so deep, so beautiful and I’m very happy I stepped outside of my comfort box to read it.
Wanderlove tells the story of Bria Sandoval, an 18-year-old, newly graduated, high school student, as she travels to Central America. At first we aren’t told why she decided to take this trip, but what is clear is that she has given up her art and despite her friends backing out of the planned trip at the last minute, she decides to go alone. It isn’t until she begins journeying with backpackers Rowan and Starling that we are privy to Bria’s layers. It is then that we, and Bria herself, discover how truly broken she is. This book covers a myriad of topics such as emotional abusive relationships, letting go of the past, forgiving yourself, gaining self-confidence, but ultimately, self-discovery.
The Setting and the Plot: I’m not in any shape or form a travel savvy person. In fact, the closest I’ve ever come to leaving the country was a family vacation where we drove to Canada’s Niagara Falls in an RV. I’ve thought about traveling to different countries, but I often run into to same problem: How will I get there? Going anywhere would require either a plane ride or traveling on a boat. Considering my first experience with a plane involved watching a lightning storm over the Chesapeake Bay, I’m not exactly rushing to my airport. Yet, when I think of sailing on a boat I can’t help but to think of this:
*Gives reader a meaningful look* And we all know what happened after that scene…
I think it’s safe to say I’m no Global Vagabond. Regardless of my unrealistic travel fears, I love hearing travel stories. Kirsten Hubbard’s careful descriptions of Central America were vivid, easy to visualize and allowed me the ability to live vicariously through Bria. I could picture the Mayan culture, the jungle, the heat, the rides on the chicken buses, and the bluest waters. From the moment Bria stepped off her plane I could picture it all.
I really loved how the setting went hand in hand with the plot. When Bria first arrives in Central America, she is immediately disappointed in her tour group. Everything is planned out for her from the group’s activities to the food they eat. Once an opportunity to ditch them arises, at first she is apprehensive, but she wants to prove herself to all her doubters back at home that she can do this. Each new location she visits brings back flashbacks from her past describing her reasons for giving up her art and going on this trip. I didn’t realize how engrossed I was with the story until the climax hit and I felt my heart miss a beat. It was easily the best scene for me because it made me incredibly happy and then immensely sad shortly after. Those two extreme emotions back to back nearly did me in. I hope Hubbard is happy… secretly I think that was all a part of her plan. Well done!
The Characters: The true treat for the reader lies with the beautiful drawings found scattered throughout the story all drawn by Hubbard herself. It was interesting because not only does the reader see Bria’s character growth through her narration and actions, but also through her art. At first, they start off very delicate-like as Bria begins the journey. But, as the trip wears on, you can see the art changing, evolving into more complex drawings with more time spent on shadowing techniques and other details. Bria goes from uncertain to a confident renewed person by the end of the novel. You can’t help but to feel sorry for. Yet, at the end I felt proud of her. She’s the type of character you want young girls to read about and learn from.
Rowan, the love interest, too was a lost broken character. Throughout most of the novel he retains his philosophy of Wanderlove, which basically entailed running from your past. And Rowan definitely has a darker past he constantly tries to avoid. There was a certain sweetness to watching Rowan and Bria’s friendship blossom. Hubbard took her time developing it. There was nothing rushed about their relationship because as they fall for one another, they healed each other as well.
Starling was an interesting character. Though she leaves Rowen and Bria early on in the story, she maintains a certain presence too. I can’t really talk too much about her character without giving away spoilers, but she was a crafty one.
The ending: The ending was so very fitting. I love how things are tied up, yet remains open at the same time. One thing you are sure of is that Bria has emerged a new person ready to move forward with her life and finally shed herself of past issues. I was sad when it ended and I have a pretty good feeling I’ll be revisiting this book soon again.
Between the witty writing, beautiful illustrations, and deep messages, Wanderlove is not to be missed in 2012.
ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. No money or merchandise was exchanged for this review. Kirsten Hubbard is a GoodReads friend of mine, but you can count on these being my absolute, honest views of the book!
Thorne of Glass has a lot going for it. It's packed full of action, mystery, likable characters and fun dialogue. On the flip s...more Actual rating 3.5 stars
Thorne of Glass has a lot going for it. It's packed full of action, mystery, likable characters and fun dialogue. On the flip side, it also has a few tropes that I usually make me want to rip my hair out strand by strand: the love triangle, semi-insta love and predictable plot twists. That by no means makes this a bad book, because despite those annoyances, I was fully engrossed in Throne of Glass.
The Plot and Writing:
While the synopsis may come off feeling a little Hunger Game-esque, let me calm your fears now. It's not. Celaena is a young assassin who begins the book being dragged from her prison in Endovier, a salt mine prison for criminals. She's given a choice to become the king's champion (or lackey) for four years in exchange for her freedom at the end of her service. The catch is she must compete for the "honor" against other criminals. Sounds easy, right? Of course. Then people start dying, ahem, mysteriously!
With that small description the plot sounds like a winner, but I found it to be very predictable. I knew who the villain was and the foreshadowing was not subtle at all. At one point, Maas does try to steer the reader in another direction, but I knew it was just that, a distraction. But regardless, I couldn't deny that it was an exciting read. It's kinda like this: I knew how things probably would end, but I still ended up having fun along the way.
Even with it being a little over 400 pages long, it certainly doesn't read like that. The narration is set at a good pace and flows very nicely. The only thing I have to say about the writing style was that at times it felt a wee bit cheesy. There were a few lines like "Oh and she simply adored..." or "Oh how she loved candy!" that made me cock an eyebrow, but thankfully they were few and far between.
There's nothing I love more than a strong female character who speaks her mind and gives an entire male cast of characters a run for their hard-earned, cash money. Throne of Glass is being marketed as the teen girl version of Game of Thrones. Now, I've never read the books or seen the TV show, but I've heard enough about the depiction and treatment of woman in that series to say it's probably not for me. However, this is where Throne of Glass excels. Not only does it present a strong female MC, but a another secondary character, Nehemia, who also happens to be a person of color. Oh, yes, you read that right. No, ridiculous, over stereotyped, token character here! Because you know, if there is one thing that irritates me the most, it's misrepresentation in YA novels. But that didn't happen here. Nehemia is strong, incredibly smart and underestimated (of course) by everyone at court because of her nationality. Their mistake! I pity the fool who finds their self on the other end of her staff. It won't be pretty. Beautiful chaos. I'm hoping we get to see a lot more of her in the series. ;D
As for Celaena, well, she and I had this love/hate relationship going on. I find it really interesting and smart for Maas to create a character who is almost the opposite from what her society expects of her. They expect a proper lady, who never swears, has proper manners, reads poetry, quiet, ect. But Celaena is none of those things. Early on it's established that she dislikes the social expectations and makes it a point to use profanity and to embarrass the man folk with her readings of "Sunset's Passions". Seriously, she was owning these guys left and right.
"By the Wyrd! Do you actually read this rubbish? What happened to Symbols and Power and Eyllwe Customs and Culture?" She finished her drink, the ginger tea easing her stomach. "You may borrow it when I'm done. If you read it, your literary experience will be complete. And," she added with a coy smile, "it will give you some creative ideas of things to do with your lady friends."
I mean, can we all say, "In YO face."
"Here's a lesson for you, Weapons Master," she said, stalking past him. "Give me real men to fight. Then maybe I'll bother trying."
And her witty lines only get better and better from there. But of course, with all the pwning going on, she had her faults with being arrogant. Very, very arrogant. And that is where the hate comes into play. She was just too good and from the very beginning I knew Celaena would triumph because she is depicted as slightly Mary-Sueish. She's a well known assassin that can seemingly not be defeated and all man-folk fawn over her left and right. And that bothered me because it felt like there was so much more to her.
The Triangle of Love:
I was warned that this book contained a love triangle and this alone is enough to make me cringe. There are very few love triangles that I love and unfortunately this isn't one of them. When Celaena arrives at Rifthold she is drawn to both the Captain of the Guard, Chaol Westfall, and the Crowned Prince, Dorian Havillard. Oddly, it's not because the characters aren't likable enough together and it's not even the fact of one of the love interests treating her wrongly. The problem I had was Dorian and Celaena's attraction. Most of the time it felt forced, awkward and contrived. I couldn't understand where they had the time to get to know each other long enough for her to stop hating him BEFORE she started liking him. There was even a scene where Dorian promises Celaena that he won't kill one of his new pups that he deemed untrainable. And she goes, "You'd do that for me?" I swear I could FEEL her eyelashes batting at him at that very moment. I think that was supposed to make me like Dorian, but all I could do was roll my eyes.
Contrastingly, Chaol's seemed like a much more developed and realistic relationship, if you even want to call it that. But their feelings felt more organic. Side note: I don't know if this is even considered a love triangle yet. It reminds me of the whole Jacob vs. Edward. We all knew Bella would pick Edward in the end. Was Jake ever a real contender? I think not. But from what I hear from readers of the original story on Fiction Press, Celaena had quite a few suiters. It'll be interesting to see how Throne of Glass deviates from its roots. So, I suppose we will just have to wait for future installments to find out.
All in all, though it was not what I was expecting, I still enjoyed Throne of Glass. I really believe it will appeal to many young girls and I'm happy to see great examples of strong female characters in a YA novel. It feels like the sequel can only get better from here based on that ending (no cliffhanger, thank goodness!) and I, like many others, eagerly await book two.
ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you!
Let me go ahead and get this out of the way. I loved this book. Why in the w...moreWhy?
WHY DIDN'T I READ THIS BOOK SOONER?!
It was so AWESOME!
Let me go ahead and get this out of the way. I loved this book. Why in the world did I procrastinate with reading it? I've had Cinder sitting on my Kindle for a few months now and I continued to put it off over and over again. What a HUGE mistake! I even had the nerve to go into my local bookstore twice, pick Cinder up, and put it right back down. But all that doesn't really matter now because I've remedied the problem and absolutely fallen in love with this wonderful story.
When I first heard of Cinder before it's release, it was gaining quite a bit of buzz known for the retelling of Cinderella. Marissa Meyer, my hat's off to you because a cyborg Cinderella in New Beijing, China? Badass. But then shortly before I read it, another blogger informed me that not only is it a Cinderella retelling, but also had Sailor Moon elements. OMG... someone had answered my prayers! I don't think you can understand my excitement for that.
Sailor Moon was my all-time favorite TV show and manga as a child. Reading Cinder reminded me of a simpler time before responsibilities, when the biggest thing I had to worry about was setting up the VCR (yes, a throwback!) every day because at 4pm, right before Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon would come on. If I were to miss one episode, I would cry my little eyes out because I just had to know what happened next to Serena! I have seen every episode including the fifth season that didn't air in America. I've even seen the live action series in all Japanese. And for those that watch subtitled Japanese shows, you know that there comes a time in your marathon watching where you stop reading the subtitles and start thinking Japanese in your sleep. Yes, I am super fangirling and not ashamed one bit! So I think it goes without saying that the reasons for me loving Cinder so much, aside from being blasted by a rainbow of awesome with its creative premise, is that it has a lot to do with sentimental memories. I tell you this so you can understand one big thing:
I wasn't sure about Cinder at first. As soon as the book started I noticed on every obvious downfall: Predictability. Seriously, the plot twist ran up to me and sucker punched me in the face at only 10% in. This concerned me, but it quickly became a non-issue as I continued to read. Why? Because the story was interesting. It was engaging. It was just plain old fun! And I haven't had this much fun reading a book in a while.
The plot was brilliantly done. Cinder is a mechanic, under appreciated by her mother and one of her step-sisters. The other step-sister adores her. As a cyborg she doesn't have the same rights as a normal person and her step-mother goes out of her way to remind Cinder this whenever she can. One day Prince Kai (*swoon*) requests her services to fix his android. And in true fairy tale fashion he begins to fall for her not knowing she is a cyborg. But this isn't just a love story. Oh no! The world has been suffering from a deadly disease that kills in a matter of days and it starts to become painfully obvious that Earth's only hope for a cure depends on an alliance with the evil Lunar Queen. And as you may have guessed it, she has plans for Earth. Dun, dun, duuuunnnnnn!
I loved all the characters in Cinder, especially the heroine. Cinder was independent, feisty, and relatable. She didn't always make the right decision, but this is a heroine that learns from her mistakes. And Tuxedo Mask Prince Kai? I loved him.
Ah, the memories!
The romance was so sweet. At first Cinder is wary of the Prince's advances because she is cyborg and doesn't want him to find out, but she can't help but develop feelings for him along the way. Basically what I'm saying here is that there's no insta-love. And you know how much I hate insta-love!
Oh, and that ending! Marissa Meyer, how could you do that to my little heart? I need to know what happens now! You took two of my favorite stories and twisted them into this big ball of badass awesomeness and now I'm expected to wait until next year for book two?! And just look at the character line-up for the next books in the series: Scarlet, Cress and Winter. Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White?! I am so there. Just so we are clear, I'm not above stalking.
I will have the next book and I will have it soon...
An ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you!
Sometime after this review was written Kat Kennedy and I traveled down the River Styx to interview Brodi Ashton. Check out the interview here!
Right af...more Sometime after this review was written Kat Kennedy and I traveled down the River Styx to interview Brodi Ashton. Check out the interview here!
Right after I finished Everneath I gave it 4 stars right off the bat. It was an easy read with a great story and fantastical characters. Why didn't I give it five stars? I had to to think on that. So, I spent an entire week trying to figure out what it was about Everneath that I disliked. Conclusion:
It's true, folks. I don't have any negative things to say about Everneath. I LOVED it.
Everneath tells the story of Nikki Beckett, who having since vanished 6 months ago to the Everneath, returns to her family and friends seeking a way to permanently say goodbye before she returns to the Underworld for good. However, “bad boy”, Cole, the immortal who first took her to the Everneath, wants to make her his immortal queen and forget about those she left behind. With a period of only six months, Nikki struggles to fight her addiction to Cole, right her wrongs, and somehow find a loop hole that will keep her with her loved ones.
There are a few aspects in Everneath that make it stand out above the usual follies in the paranormal romance genre. For all of those novels that have done it wrong over and over, Everneath does it right.
What I LOVED and can't get enough of (baby):
Are you tired of the usual teen angst? The main character and the love interest seeming to have some whack, ass-grabbed excuse for why they can't be together? Well, so am I. Each character in this book felt like they were extremely well-developed with real issues. Nikki is looking for redemption for something she knows is her fault. She's not looking for anyone to save her. She's not pouting in the corner having a FML moment. She's doing something about it. It was her decision to go with Cole to the Everneath and allow him to feed off of her. She could have blamed it on Jack's actions, but she took full responsibility.
Cole is a very complex character. He tries very hard to convince Nikki to leave her home and become an immortal, Everliving, like him and rule as queen. But, Nikki doesn't want that. While reading, the reader is left to wonder if he is genuine when he says he cares about her or is her just playing her. Somehow Ashton manages to make us somewhat sympathetic to Cole, but she still reminds the reader that he is the bad boy. How many times do we see the heroine being instantly swept away by the bad boy's good looks? Or how about getting lost in his glorious deep eyes, that also happen to be the exact shade of the darkest pits in hell? Or my personal favorite: stalk me! I love it when you creep! *barf* Kill me now. Nikki doesn't back down from her guns. Cole follows her and she tells his ass to take a hike. Cole stakes out at her window and she tells that fool to get lost. However, there always still remains intrigue surrounding Cole. I expect to see a lot more from him in the next book.
Jack is the sweetest love interest I've read about in a while. He never gives up on Nikki when she disappears for 6 months. He was supportive and kind throughout the entire novel. Ladies, and I'm not saying this mildly, if you love Tucker Avery (view spoiler)[if you don't know who that is, you are DEAD to me! (view spoiler)[just kidding...sorta (hide spoiler)](hide spoiler)], then I'm sure you will love Jack too. Jack suspects something is amiss with Nikki and despite her not being as forthcoming about it, he steadily is always there patiently waiting until she is ready to talk.
I mean, how can you say no to a book with characters that awesome?!
The Triangle of Love:
Ashton plays this pretty slick. As I've already mentioned, Nikki avoids Cole's advances, but I know where this is headed. I'm just way too smart to be fooled!
But, you know what? I think this will be one of those cases where I'll like it. In fact, I'm going to make a rather bold statement here and say this love triangle resembles Cynthia Hand's Unearthly. Yes, I said it. You see Hand and Ashton are doing something very interesting with their romances. They both have strong female leads that clearly have a preference in the department of who they want to end up with. They struggle to ward off advances from the other male love interest, but because of factors out of their control (this is called a plot people!) they must tolerate him. He isn't around just to make the "good guy" look extra nice with his boy next door, award winning smile. He has a purpose besides trying to steal away the girl. Not only that, but the heroine knows this and tries everything in her power to not get involved with the "bad boy" because, duh!, he is BAD. And that is why it works for me. It makes me so happy someone has stopped trying to sell me the arrogant "bad boy" as a viable love interest when he has zero redeeming features! Thank you, Ashton. Gold star!
One of the best messages this novel has is the consequences of co-dependent relationships. They reason why Nikki left to go to the Everneath was a direct result of an event involving her boy friend, Jack (coupled with a few other things). Similarly, Jack loses it completely when Nikki disappears. The reason why it works in this story is because both characters acknowledged those actions were not healthy and both regretted it. Their knee-jerk reaction and violent depression is not romanticized in any way. I really wish more authors portrayed this message more often in their novels because it's important to show that losing your boy friend/girl friend can suck, but it is not the end of the world.
That's right, this book has one! Nikki is on a mission: redemption. That is what she attempts to gain in this novel. When she disappeared into the Everneath 6 months ago, she left a lot of relationships strained and now she is looking to fix them. She doesn't stray from that path and suddenly start fantasizing about the "bad boy" randomly. This is what makes this book such a winner because too often I see the plot being left in the bloody dust because an author thought it would be "totally romantic" to have the heroine frolic through the gardens with one of her boy toys. I'm happy to say that did not happen here. You ever heard of the saying "no romance without finance"? Well, I'm introducing a new saying: No romance without plot progress. While this is a paranormal romance through and through, the plot is always in the front.
So sad, but so perfect. I love how things are tied up nicely, yet you know there is more to come. I'm really excited to read the next book, but I don't feel like Ashton left me to walk the plank with Everneath's ending. Thank you for that. There are only so many cliffhangers I can take before my poor little heart gives out. It will be very interesting to see where she takes this story.
So, if you are tired of the usual run of the mill paranormal romances, you should head right on over to your book store and pick up Everneath. You're in for a treat!
ARC received through NetGalley. As always, these are my honest opinions and I was not paid for my review!
More reviews like this at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I was really hoping to love this book since it is the first print ARC I received directly from a publisher. Unfortunately, it's just not for me....more *sigh*
I was really hoping to love this book since it is the first print ARC I received directly from a publisher. Unfortunately, it's just not for me. At page 10 I knew we weren't going to get along and I was right. Damn, sometimes I hate being right. The writing style is way to choppy and hard to keep up with. I felt like I was concentrating entirely too hard while reading. That is a problem. So, I put the book down thinking Above and I just needed our individual space. Whenever I walked past my book shelf I'd feel guilty because Above was steadily calling me saying, "Read me. Read me." I had zero urge to pick it back up. :(
So, I know I say it takes a lot for me to not finish a book and I do believe this is the first one of 2012 for me. Considering I only made it to page 25 before I threw in the towel, I won't even give it a star rating.
Hopefully, someone else will love it, but for now Above and I must go our separate ways.(less)
Okay, I'm really excited for this book, but another sword on the cover? I mean, McKenzie didn't wield a sword in book one. Is she actually going to us...more Okay, I'm really excited for this book, but another sword on the cover? I mean, McKenzie didn't wield a sword in book one. Is she actually going to use one this time around?! (less)
It really says something about a Dystopian novel where when you finish it, you still have no idea how their society even got that way in the first pla...more It really says something about a Dystopian novel where when you finish it, you still have no idea how their society even got that way in the first place. And that kinda confuses me because I thought building a world of discord was the point of the genre. Throwing two characters in a screwed up world without any further explanation besides, "Hey, there was a war!" doesn't work for me. Because it makes it incredibly hard to the reader to picture it in their mind. I'm no expert, but my favorite dystopians are the ones that tie it in some way to our possible future. When I can sit back and say, "Wow. I can actually see this happening to us. This unnerves me," that is a winner. Article 5 was not a winner.
*mild spoilers ahead. Don't worry, I don't think it ruins anything since it was obvious from the beginning anyway.
I'm not sure I could ever consider Article 5 a dystopian novel. I think it is more accurate to call it a Dystopian Romance novel since most of the plot and major twists largely depends on Ember and Chase's relationship. It's like, yeah, STUFF is happening, but none of that matters because Ember is going to make an idiotic decision based on a spat with Chase. And the biggest plot reveal is very obvious to the reader from the very beginning. But the whole point, from what I gather, is the not the actual reveal, but the way Ember reacts to it and therefore how Chase reacts to Ember's reaction. Does that sounds like a subtle mind fuck? Yeah, well, that's pretty much the gist of Article 5. Have something messed up happen to the characters, watch Ember do something stupid, and watch Chase be forced to save her. And I felt like Simmons was trying to prove to me how bad her society was throughout the whole novel that way. It's like trying to make up for the lack of world building by saying, "Look! My heroine was almost raped! See how evil their world is?!" And I'm like, no, that shortcut just doesn't work for me. What about you GaGa?
I had a feeling Article 5 and I were in for a tough relationship with the introduction of the main character, Ember. She is one of the most infuriating heroines I've had the misfortune of reading, throwing any and everyone under the bus in order to get what she wants. And to top it all off, she possess little to no common sense. Just think of Bella in a dystopian world and you have Ember. -_- Yeah, I'm not even sorry I burned that image in your mind.
When Ember is taken away to the reform school, she blackmails someone who tried looking out for her in an earlier scenario, knowing that it would put that person's ass on the line. I can see what Simmons was trying to accomplish with showing how their society had put people in impossible situations that cause them it to be a "It's nothing personal. I don't have a choice," kinda thing. But, of course, since I didn't have a good grasp on the society in the first place, I couldn't readily associate it that way. In fact, neither could Ember. It was like she didn't even know this was a dystopian novel. She blames the love interest, Chase, for all her misfortune and I'm sitting here, scratching my head wondering, "WTF, dude! You have a corrupt government. Why are you blaming the one person trying to help you??" I'm really struggling to understand her line of thinking. Did she think the Moral Statutes were fair or normal? Did she think the government controlling all forms of travel and media was A-OK? Did not the disappearance of her classmates indicate an oppressive government? And even after she discovered her classmates had been killed by the government, why did she think her mother, a direct violator of the Moral Statutes, would be let go? Her decision-making scared me and I hope when the zombie apocalypse hits, someone like her is nowhere near me, because I swear I'm tripping her.
And then you have the love interest, Chase, who puts himself at great personal risk over and over again just to keep Ember (the little ingrate) safe. I felt sorry for this kid because Ember blames him for her mother being taken away just because he was there when she was arrested. As if he personally told the army, "Hey I know of an Article 5 violator who we can go arrest. Let's go get 'em!" The fact that it was painfully obvious that he was just following orders made me dislike Ember even more.
I think a person's overall enjoyment of Article 5 hinges on the romance. Personally, it did nothing for me. Most of the romance takes place over a series of flashbacks over the course of the novel, so I never felt connected to it, especially after the way Ember treats Chase. Ember struggles against her feelings for Chase, saying she can never forgive him for taking her mom or monologuing several times over about how much he has changed since being drafted into the FBR (I can't remember what that stands for nor do I care anymore, but it's their militia). Her inability to accept him can be summed up at worst, to exist solely to further the plot and at best, frustrating. I just wanted to scream at her! "HE SAVED YOUR LIFE!! HE MUST CARE ABOUT YOU!!! SHAKE HER! SOMEONE SHAKE HER!!" GaGa, get in here!
Article 5'ssaving grace was the last 15%. It's the only reason that while I want to give it only 1 star, I'll bump it to two. Ember does grow, but does that erase the frustration and anger I went through for her to get there? Absolutely not. Why? Because I almost didn't finish the novel. I had to push myself to see what happened at the end long after I had lost interest in Ember and Chase's well-beings. The ending finally has Ember thinking, "Hey, I live in a really wrong society, maybe I should start using my brain?" By that time, even though I'm happy she's finally come to this revelation, I'm like,
Article 5 had the perfect premise, especially with the way things are going in the US. But instead, reading it was like watching someone devour the last honey bun at the vending machine - the one you were there for - and they end up throwing half of it away before finishing. Wasted potential.(less)
I have to admit, Preloved truly surprised me. After finally getting a hold of Fury, I wasn't entirely sure how Preloved and I would get along because...more I have to admit, Preloved truly surprised me. After finally getting a hold of Fury, I wasn't entirely sure how Preloved and I would get along because Paranormal Romances with ghosts usually make me want to roll my eyes. However, in Preloved's case it worked really well for me. In fact, there is something really special about Shirley Marr's sophomore novel because while the blurb sounds strictly PNR, it gives off a very strong contemporary feel at the same time. I actually found myself enjoying Preloved more than Fury at times. You have your relatable characters, familiar setting, and a pinch of abnormal. What more could you ask for?
The 80's was an interesting time in history. It taught us all to "kick off our Sunday shoes," that anyone can become a "dirty dancer," how we shouldn't fear the "Thriller," how it felt to feel "Like a Virgin, touched for the very first time," and that you aren't truly a boss until you can pull this number off in leg warmers:
I'm still working on it.
Confession: I internally groaned when I saw this book had a heavy focus on the 80's. I mean, it's the 80's! Mullets, leg-warmers, bad perms, leotards! Need I say more? Thankfully, it didn't happen like that. Logan is a ghost from the 80's who happens to show up after Amy, a very lonely girl, acquires an old locket. Except the locket wasn't meant for her, but instead her beautiful, hipster, best-friend Rebecca, who Logan just happens to love. She initially sets out to help him connect with Rebecca, who bares a shocking resemblance to Logan's old girlfriend, but it turns out to be much more than she bargained for.
If I were to describe Preloved in two words it would be sugary sweet. I love self-discovery novels. They have a way of reminding me of times when I was naive, innocent, and unsure of myself. Amy is the kind of protagonist that is entirely relatable because she's a broken, teen girl searching for her identity in the world. I could easily connect and sympathize with her and not once did I grow impatient with her character. She's the kind of main character that continues to grow on you as the novel progress until you realize it's time to let her go, but your aren't quite ready yet. The supporting cast fell a little short for me mainly because I just didn't care for Rebecca and Nancy wasn't around long enough for me to properly form an opinion. However, I did like both Logan and Amy's mom, both important plot points on Amy's every shifting graph.
The romance wasn't something I was expecting to enjoy since it does contain a love triangle. But this one was unique since it was, but it wasn't. While most of the novel Logan expresses interest only in Rebecca, she never felt like a real contender in the race for his heart. I didn't feel the same "Oh, who are they gonna pick?" urge that I normally feel for say, a novel like Unearthy. But the relationship between Logan and Amy is one I couldn't help but cheer for. The way he affectionately called her Ms. Matey and blushed in his ghostly form really was the icing on the cake.
So if you are on the market for a lighter Paranormal Romance that is fun, relaxing, and sugary sweet Preloved may be just what you're looking for. And don't worry, I promise there is none of this going on:
I spent an entire year mentally preparing myself for The Fault in Our Stars. I read some terrible books, awesome books and your classic "meh" books. A...more I spent an entire year mentally preparing myself for The Fault in Our Stars. I read some terrible books, awesome books and your classic "meh" books. And whenever I'd go to decide which book I wanted to read next, I'd glance at The Fault in Our Stars' spine and simply turn my head away. To be completely honest, I don't think I have ever truly went out of my way to avoid a book like this and it's unlike me to do so. I usually tackle things head on, showing no fear, but with this book I had to approach things differently due to its subject matter. But then Jenn from The Bawdy Book Blog threw this in as a review suggestion, because obviously I needed some John Green edumacation. And I'm so happy someone finally pushed me to read this book because it did not disappoint. Well, not exactly...
It's easy to see why John Green has the following he does. There is just something magical in the way he strings his sentences together that I can't help but admire it. It's simple, deep and humorous all at the same time. And the biggest thing I worried about when diving into this book was the sadness. You go into the book knowing the characters are terminal and I didn't know how I would fare connecting with a character, loving a character, to ultimately have them suffer and die. I'm a really easy crier and I don't like seeing people (fictional or real) suffer. But somehow John Green manages to take a cancer book and fill it with the sweetest memories.
For a good portion of The Fault in Our Stars, I found myself chuckling at Hazel and Augustus' dry humor. The first half was generally light-hearted despite the grim situation the characters were in. Even when things got more serious, the humor was subtly there as a convenient ice-breaker of sorts. If I could describe it, I'd liken it to a grandparent making a joke about their impending death. It's awkward and uncomfortable, but oddly reassuring that it's possible to joke about something so morbid. Life goes on.
The plot was simply "ok" for me, never wowing me or keeping me on the edge of my seat. It, at times, seemed to just float by with occasional things happening. There weren't many plot twists or "ah ha!" moments because you could tell from the beginning how it would end. You knew from the subject matter that it would be sad, and yet... I did not really cry. I did shed The Lonely Tear, but it wasn't for the characters. It was because of the situation they were in. It was because cancer sucks. Don't get me wrong, this is a beautifully written book, but the problem I ran into was the questionable authenticity of the protagonists. They never felt like teenagers. I get that they were intelligent and spent a lot more time contemplating life than your average teen, but they never felt real to me. Now, I'm not exactly a stranger to John Green himself. I religiously watch his history webshow on Youtube and I'm often amazed at this guy. But it was like he sat down and created mini-Despicable-Me-minon-like John Greens for this novel. They are all witty, super intelligent and too pretentious for their own good.
Further, it was almost like Green relied on the severity of the ending and the character's intelligence to jar emotion from the reader. Clearly, this worked since two weeks after finishing, I cried while making pancakes just from thinking about Augustus' letter to Hazel. But again, this was not for the characters. It wasn't remotely similar or as powerful of an emotion that I'd felt after I read A Walk to Remember where I cried in my 8th grade English class under my desk. I'm talking about complete and utter sorrow for Landon and everyone else. DON'T JUDGE ME. :P
Anyway, while I remain conflicted on how I feel about the characters, it doesn't negate the fact that this is a fabulous, smart read that I'd recommend to others.