My eye twitched after I finished Velvet. I rubbed it, it twitched again. Apparently, my eye didn't know what to make of Velvet any more than I did. WaMy eye twitched after I finished Velvet. I rubbed it, it twitched again. Apparently, my eye didn't know what to make of Velvet any more than I did. Was it bad or was it good? Did I enjoy it or did I hate it? Is it possible to say yes to all of those questions? Just a heads up that this review is going to be even more convoluted that usual and skip around a lot. I regret nothing.
At first glance, Velvet appears to be the same Paranormal Vampire Romance novel we've all read a hundred times. Girl moves into a new town. Girl meets Hot Guy who's never shown interest in any other girls in town. Girl almost dies, but Hot Guy saves her. Blah, blah, blah... romance. So if you are tired of this kind of set up, then prepare to be highly disappointed for the first 40% of the novel. That fact is, if Velvet had been published during the Twilight Era--let's be honest, it totally belongs there--it would have probably been a huge hit. But now, it has a lot working against it. Readers expect more from their PNR and the Twilight-esqe model is, frankly, played out.
But moving on to what you actually really care about: was this any good? That is such a complicated question so, I will give an equally complicated response. Velvet is like an Oreo Cookie. It's not the best cookie you can have, but it will satisfy your desire for one. The end pieces are pretty terrible by themselves and the icing in the middle is just way too much high fructose corn syrup in one go. The cookie works okay when it's together, but still kinda leaves this weird aftertaste in your mouth. It's like your body subconsciously knows that you fed it a sub par treat and denied it a chocolate chip cookie. But at the same time, you find yourself reaching for another Oreo and your body is strangely okay with this. And after you've finished the entire pack, you end up craving a real Cookie.
The first 40% is an absolute struggle. It features a ridiculous premise (Adrian's demon, vampire father wants to impregnate Caitlin to produce more vampire babies for reasons), awkward dialogue (though some parts are chuckle worthy) and scenes that is sure to make your eyes roll. In fact, most of it is so unreal, that I often wondered what went through the author and editor's head when green lighting this. I really hate to say that because it sounds like an insult, but it was so bad to the point of hilarity, which made me wonder if I was reading actually reading a satire. If that was the case, then bravo to both West and her editor because they nailed it.
Oh shit. That's totally what Velvet is, isn't it? West purposefully stuffed every overused cliché into Velvet to both poke fun at PNR and attempt to write a better one at the same time! AHHHH, the world just came full circle!
Or maybe I just read it as a satire to actually make it through the book? Also a possibility.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. I need to really tell you guys how ridiculous the first half is. Many would say Velvet is just like Twilight. That's true, but not true enough. Others would say Velvet is nothing like Twilight. I guess, in a way, that's true, too. But again, not true enough, in my opinion. Velvet has an explanation for how vampires came into existence and it's as confusing as all getup, but at least the attempt is there. Then the love interest, Adrian, is actually a decent guy. He respects boundaries and goes away when Caitlin tells him to hit the road. So, I'd say Velvet is like Twilight with manners, science and a ridiculous/frustrating/fascinating plot.
While I was reading Velvet, I found some parts so unbelievable, that I went to find out what inspired West to write it. What I discovered was something shocking... she was inspired by Twilight! She wanted to write a vampire novel with a slightly different spin and therefore, it is inevitable for this novel to be compared to its inspiration. Just like how we all love to compare Fifty Shades of Grey to Twilight. Oh damn, I just went there. Anyway, in many ways, she did improve on an existing Vampire Novel Template. She excelled where Stephenie Meyer didn't for me. And I can't believe I'm about talk about some things I liked about Twilight. WTF has this world come to?
Twilight's beginning, while super slow, allows a good amount of build up for Edward and Bella to meet. I'm not referring to the insta love, because that definitely happened, but they had several interactions woven into Bella's boring life of cooking her dad dinner before things got started. Obviously, it goes downhill from there because the insta love arrives and sets everything on fire.
On the other hand, Velvet doesn't have the same setup and it makes it harder for the reader to be thrust into the novel with no real introduction. As soon as the novel starts, suddenly, Caitlin is in trouble and Adrian is there saving her.
"I nearly killed you, to keep you alive."
It was completely jarring to me because I was still trying to figure out who, what, when, where, why and WTF. And from then on there was a barrage of not-so-carefully constructed scenarios that forced the couple to be in close proximity. At one point the end up in a closet together and then a bed all in the same night. Yup. Adrian literally goes from not caring about any girl at the school to picking Caitlin up for school the next day.
"You're here two days and he just offers to drive you home?"
But of course, all these "happenings" are not without a purpose. I mentioned before that Adrian saved Caitlin from his demon vampire dad who wants to impregnate her. So it's his job to stay with her at all times to protect her.
"What did you mean when you said you were my personal shadow?" He rubbed his eyes. "It means that you're in trouble." I frowned, waiting for him to elaborate. "For instance--that storm? Wasn't a storm." "The storm was not a storm." "It was a disturbance." I snorted. "In the force?"
As per the usual characterization of a PNR heroine, Caitlin brushes off the impending danger until she finds out what he wants. And if those quotes made you slow blink, feast your eyes on this gem:
"He wants to impregnate me? Like, with a baby that kind of impregnate?" "I understand you're upset--" "That does not even cover the middle finger of what I am feeling--" "--but please believe me that nothing is going to happen to you while I'm here--while we're all here, my family and I." "What about when you're not here?" I sputtered. "What about when I'm at home? Or when I'm asleep? What about my family?" "This is not--he won't rape you, or anything," he said, struggling for words and looking awkward as hell. "He'll make you want him. It's--what they do. It's a game."
Because of course making someone want you, even when they actually don't, isn't rape. It's totally consensual! Like I said, the for the first 40% of Velvet, the struggle is REAL.
But then something strange happened when I hit the cream filling. I started to enjoy Velvet. My friends, who had the misfortune of being there when I decided to tell them every painful detail about the beginning, are convinced I suffered from Bookholm Syndrome. They say Velvet took my brain hostage and I started falling for my captive. But I think the real reason is, once West ditched the clichés and let the romance develop, it wasn't half bad.
Unlike Twilight, Caitlin and Adrian's romance is very slow burn. For most of the novel, they aren't "together" and don't particularly want to be, but they do have an attraction. And I have to admit, it was nice seeing their banter and watching their obvious feelings growing. West never rushed it and therefore made me appreciate it more. The only thing I have to complain about with this was that the sexual tension got ridiculous. Once Caitlin and Adrian finally admit their feelings for one another, the spend the night as his place, in his bed, clothes off, cuddling. I just don't buy that.
Another thing Velvet did right was female friendships. Caitlin's best friend is considerate and kind as well as the other girls in the novel. They hang out outside of Adrian's presence, have sleepovers and talk about topics other than boys or Adrian. Basically, what I'm trying to say here is that Velvet completely passes the Bechdel test and that's something I never expected. Even some of my favorite YA novels fail at this.
All good things came to a swift end when the final conflict caught up with the plot. Unfortunately, I was let down. I went through the entire novel waiting to find out more information about why Adrian's dad sought out Caitlin in particular only to discover nothing. I was given virtually no new development! It just ends on the same note it began, but with more romance. It was so frustrating! It feels like it was a cheap attempt to get me to read the second book and goddamn it, I think it worked because yes I'll fucking read the sequel and I'm not happy about it. UGH! Where's a real cookie when you need it?!
I don't know if I'd seriously recommend Velvet to anyone. Well, that's a lie. I kinda do want some of my friends to read it because I'm super curious of what their face would look like while doing so. And now you all know what gift you're getting on Friendship Day. I'm an awesome friend.
All jokes aside, I don't really know what to make of Velvet and I suspect its target audience is smaller than it would have been 5 years ago. If you are in the mood for cliché-filled vampire romance, double-stuffed with occasionally overly sweet, witty banter, smashed in between two, over baked, sad excuses for cookies, then this might be a good choice on a rainy day. Just remember, "C" doesn't just stand for Cookie, it stands for Crap, too. BAM!
For you visual folks, here's a book talk video on Velvet. (Yes, I drew fangs on my picture. I had one job in photoshop.)
I've been following The Bloggess on Twitter for quite some time. I have a bit of a girl crush. Her snark and sarcasm is a thing of beauty and I had beI've been following The Bloggess on Twitter for quite some time. I have a bit of a girl crush. Her snark and sarcasm is a thing of beauty and I had been meaning to check her book out. This is probably the funniest book I have ever read/listened to. Jenny Lawson, AKA The Bloggess, has compiled some of the strangest life experiences together and wrote a book. Nothing could be more true and awesome.
“...and whenever I had menstral cramps, I could just pretend that Voldemort was close.”
Thank you, Meg, so much for this audiobook. You know me well....more
This is the book I wish received more attention than The Fault in Our Stars. Unlike the aforementioned novel, it doesn't glamorize a terminal illnessThis is the book I wish received more attention than The Fault in Our Stars. Unlike the aforementioned novel, it doesn't glamorize a terminal illness and try in any way to make light of the situation. In case that offends anyone, keep in mind that I did enjoy TFIOS, but I just think Me, Earl and the Dying Girl had a more powerful message.
This isn't going to be a book for everyone. The protagonist is an anti-hero who will anger the reader and make you wish he were a real person just so you could slap some sense into him. He is flawed in every possible way, but he was so realistic, that I couldn't help but to kinda like him. Maybe. In a strange turn of events, Greg finds himself hanging out with Rachel, a girl in his class that was recently diagnosed with cancer. And he hates it. In the beginning he feels a sense of obligation to spend time with her because she's dying. He gets that she's dying, but he doesn't understand how to handle it, and as a result, says some pretty offensive stuff to her and is just a general jerk. But he keeps trying to do better, visits her in the hospital and tries very hard to make her laugh until her last day.
“There was just something about her dying that I had understood but not really understood, if you know what I mean. I mean, you can know someone is dying on an intellectual level, but emotionally it hasn't really hit you, and then when it does, that's when you feel like shit.”
Greg showed a lot of growth in the end from going from a character who didn't seem like he gave a shit to one who became obsessed with helping a friend, who didn't realize how much her dying was affecting him.
“And the point of Rachel the Film should really have been to express how awful and shitty that loss was, that she would have become a person with a long awesome life if she had been allowed to continue living, and that this was just a stupid meaningless loss, a motherfucking loss, a loss loss loss fucking loss, there was no fucking meaning to it, there was nothing that could come out of it...”
What I loved the most was how Me, Earl and the Dying Girl showed a teen who didn't know how to deal with losing a friend, something I'm sure many teens don't understand. Death sucks. Seeing it happens just multiplies that times 1,000. There are no heroes in a story like that. I appreciate that Andrews showed that side.
Also, bonus points for completely getting Earl's character and family right! POC that actually sound and act like POC!...more
There are few books that I feel ever get the "teenage speak" right. There are even fewer that feature all those little awkwardActual rating: 2.5 stars
There are few books that I feel ever get the "teenage speak" right. There are even fewer that feature all those little awkward moments we've all dealt with in high school. Because let's face it, sometimes being a teen is awesome, but other times, it completely sucks. Really, really hard. The Symptoms of My Insanity takes a few of those moments and presents them in such a relatable way where I could sit back and go, "Oh, it's my teenage self all over again when I was socially awkward!" Then I realized, "Wait. I'm still socially awkward."
Izzy has a lot going on her plate in Symptoms: her mother's cancer seems to be coming back, a popular guy in school is suddenly showing interest in her, her best friend is acting strangely and she has to prepare her art portfolio. It's a lot. And thank goodness for Raf's humor, because without it this would be one sad novel. The thing with Izzy is that she gets so wrapped up in everything that's going on, she tends to glaze over or ignore the finer details. It's her biggest flaw in the story and ends up almost costing her a friendship. At times this frustrated me because I really thought Blake's arc was very obvious and I really needed her to wake up. She was dangerously tip-toing into "shakable heroine" territory.
But despite her flaws, I don't really blame her for it. She's a very relatable girl that reminds me of myself. Particularly, her experience shopping for a bra had my name all over it. Shopping for a bra is just one of those things that can make even the most confident woman, young or old, feel insecure. From dressing room lighting to the oversized mirrors that seem to emphasize everything, it can be a... humbling experience. But when you're in high school, still going through puberty, perhaps even faster, and you're more well-endowed than the others, it's even more stressful. Those little awkward moments were captured very well in Symptoms and I couldn't help but feel for Izzy.
Then the novel wore on and I was still really enjoying it even with the predictability here and there. But then something happened to really make me rage a little and bring down from rating from 4 stars to 2.5. If you are curious as to what it is click the spoiler, but be warned: It does spoil the plot twist (but honestly, the plot twist seemed very obvious from the beginning, so whatevs) and the ending of the book. I don't usually add this level of spoiler-age to my reviews, but I really need to get this off my chest. So feel free to skip it.
(view spoiler)[Okay, so a little pretense: Remember when I mentioned the awkward bra shopping moments? Well, Izzy is a DD (She considers this huge, along with Victoria's Secret, I guess. Fun fact: the average bust size for women these days is a between an E-F. An F, PEOPLE! GAH!) and is picked on by the boys in her school because of this. Now--a bit of sharing here--I was the same size as Izzy and I remember going through the same utter bullshit that was portrayed in the book. Boys learn early to shame a woman's body and yet demand it all the same for their personal enjoyment. To this extent, I do think this was realistic of Symptoms.
It wasn't much of a surprise what Blake's plans were for Izzy, and I really think Raf did capture some of the stupidity of high school life. Blake tries to get closer and closer to Izzy during the novel for the sole purpose of fulfilling a dare. Izzy is so caught up with the fact that he is actually interested in her, that she ignores her instincts to stop his physical advances. Izzy, having being inexperienced when it comes to boys as a lot of teen girls her age may be, only briefly questions if his attempts are normal and finally, he proves successful when he gets her alone, pulls her sweater over her face, holds her down as he fondles her and takes a picture of her breast. Then he let's her up and tries to apologize for the "awkward moment", saying how he didn't hear her telling him to get off her or feel her struggling and pushing against him. Riiiiight.
You know where this is going. The photo goes viral and Blake tries to non-apologize about the incident, saying he's sorry it got out, his friends sent it around, he's such and asshole (well, he got *one* of those right). Then the douche has the nerve to try and fix it by suggesting spreading a rumor about, you guessed it... some other girl. Because turning himself in couldn't possibly be an acceptable alternative, but throwing another girl under the bus is.
Then, school threatens to cancel their dance if the perpetrator, AKA the victim, doesn't turn herself in. Alright, I can understand the school not knowing that a boy could be on the other end of that photo, but they didn't even consider any other possibilities. Because logically, of course, a girl would take a photo of her boob and send it to everyone in her school and neighboring ones. Of course she acted alone. And no, she couldn't POSSIBLY be the VICTIM of sexual harassment and bullying!
But believe it or not, I was willing to forgive that. Because maybe Raf was trying to portray a very real issue that plagues our society to open up discussion. That's what was going through my mind at the time, but that hope quickly died when Izzy decided to turn herself in so that the rest of the school wouldn't be punished. *deep breathes* But maybe then, once Izzy explained what happened, the adults would see what happened was NOT her fault and instead go after the boys. Nope, because all the girls in the school decided to turn themselves in at the same time to protect her identity. Which, for the record, I think was a great show of girl empowerment. But in the end, I think they undermined that when they told Izzy that coming forward wasn't worth it.
"I just don't think you admitting to being Boobgirl would make anything better. Why should you do that? Don't do it. I'm sure they won't cancel the dance, and if they do, oh well. It's not your fault. It's Blake's fault. And you shouldn't feel guilty. Right? Jenna, you agree, right? Will you please help me convince Izzy not to go to Preston tomorrow? It's just so not worth it!"
That display of girl power felt more like the bandaid over the gunshot wound when no one thought turning in that group of boys was any good. Not after one girl was tricked into having sex and later mocked for. Or after another girl was asked to perform oral sex in the school's bathroom, yet when she refused, a rumor was spread by the boys anyway as payback. And god knows what else they did to other girls. They treated those girls as conquests, something that stood in the way of their goal of making the football team.
"So, it turns out he just had some bet going, some game he was playing with his friends, like sleeping with girls, getting them to do stuff--like this list--checkin girls off list like they're things that you need to pick up at the store."
Yes, I completely see how "no good" would come of exposing those little shits. >_> Please believe me when I say I loved the idea of the entire female student body sticking up for another instead of calling her a slut. And yes, they were trying to convince her not to turn herself in for the sake of her reputation and because they knew SHE wasn't at fault. But they completely missed the point. Coming forward is about making sure those responsible deal with the repercussions of their actions. It ensures that the victim does not deal with self-inflicted blame while culprits are not brought to justice. And most importantly, it brings awareness to a community in the hopes that those responsible are disciplined and helps protect future girls from falling prey to things like this.
Which begs the question: Where was all this girl power before the incident took place. It seemed everyone knew what that group was capable of, but no one thought to warn Izzy. They kept hinting at it over the course of the novel, but it was conveniently left out just so the reader could have a weird "ah-ha!" moment during the plot twist that was just about as subtle as a rocket launcher going off in a library.
The only resolution in the end is Izzy feeling sorry for Blake and how lonely he looks because of his decisions and the people he chose to surround himself with - there is a problem. That group of boys dealt with no consequences for their actions (Blake does feel guilty, but he didn't have nearly enough to ever come forward. He was protecting his future football career, of course.) and sat in a corner high-fiving each other's dicks over their conquests.
I would have been okay if the story ended without the boys getting caught IF it hadn't been for the mentality that there was no point in Izzy coming forward. I am still fuming over the more recent rape cases in the news, where very little justice was handed out, where people were more concerned about the criminal's future, how victims were constantly made to feel responsible for the crime and slut-shamed by adults who should have been trying to protect them, where a girl committed suicide years after she was raped and yet the police are STILL dragging their asses on convicting the boys despite digital evidence. So when I see the girls in this book claiming "it's not worth it" speaking up, it sends me into a rage of epic proportions. (hide spoiler)]
Other than my biggest issue hidden in the spoiler, there was also slut shaming from Izzy's mom and friend. BUT Izzy does correct her mother on that in the end. This didn't exactly thrill me since I do believe her mother's inability to accept her daughter's changing body directly impacted Izzy's self-esteem. The good thing is, by the end, Izzy does show a good amount of growth, grows a backbone and learns to be proud of herself.
Another thing that I wasn't sold on was her best friend Jenna. Jenna knew Izzy had a lot to deal with as far as her art portfolio and her mother's illness, but still proceeded to demand Izzy's time to further her own ventures. The really sucky part is that Jenna started distancing herself from Izzy after she agreed to help her. I get that friends grow apart and that Raf was trying to show that correlation, but for me it felt way too sudden and wasn't very gradual to be believable.
Overall, Symptoms of My Insanity is an entertaining read. Raf tackles a lot of different challenges teen girls face with a comical edge. Unfortunately, the last 3rd of the novel did not measure up to my expectations and caused me extreme disappointment.
ARC was provided by the publisher for an honest review. No monies or gifts were exchanged.
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Okay, let's start this review off with some straight-up trufax. On my own, it's possible I may not have chosen this book to reActual rating: 3.5 stars
Okay, let's start this review off with some straight-up trufax. On my own, it's possible I may not have chosen this book to read. That's not because the blurb didn't sound interesting, it's just that out of all the other YA sub-genres, Paranormal Romance is the one I have a very inconsistent streak with. Which is unfortunate because when it's done right, I fall in love with the story. My start with The Collector reminds me of what happened with Obsidian. I kept seeing it all over other's twitter avatars and hearing about it on a few blogs I follow (you know the drill), but somehow that simply wasn't enough for me to actually say, "Hell yeah. Sign me up." But that was a mistake because The Collector had me LOL'ing from beginning to end.
The thing about this book is that you are not going to like Dante at first. He's an anti-hero who will partly grind your nerves so bad you'll see red. He's the most conceited, selfish, slightly womanizer-ish, sarcastic little prick. And he knows this. Hell, he'd probably respond by saying:
But the thing about Dante is, that deep down he has a good heart. Throughout the story, we see his good growing stronger and stronger through his interactions with Charlie. When he first meets her, he's pretty mean to her. I mean, she's the sweetest girl and he's preying on her like a vulture. I just wanted to toss him out a window, for real. But thankfully, Dante has tons of character growth and becomes somewhat of a standup guy by the end.
That's not to say this is a perfect book. While the writing style and characters were all right up my alley, the second half did seem noticeably weaker than the first. I really think this may have been due to the Big Guy vs. Boss Man mythology. The Collector isn't preachy at all, if you're worried. But I did have a hard time believing that Dante's BFF, Max, didn't know how his Boss got kicked out of heaven. Another thing: there are only 6 Collectors for the entire earth? They must have been putting in some serious overtime.
Still, I really was enjoying myself so whatevs. I'll allow it.
The best part is Dante's voice. HILARIOUS. Scott created a very entertaining character who was really distinctive. When I first read the blurb, I thought it was a little ambitious:
Dante Walker is flippin' awesome, and he knows it.
All that sentence did is make me turn my head to the side and emit an, "O RLY?" But the thing is, that blurb really shows the tone of Dante and the novel (unlike other blurbs that mislead people).
So here are 3 very good reasons why Dante Walker is flippin' awesome:
1. What up, gangsta?
I'm trying to think of the best way to describe this guy. The one thing that sticks out in my mind every time is that he's like a mini gangsta. Which, I guess, makes sense considering he does work for Hell and he calls his "employer" Boss Man. And seriously, all I needed was for him to start rapping.
But unlike Jamie Kennedy from Malibu's Most Wanted, Dante is cool. Know why? Well, that brings us to the second reason.
2. Check my swag, yo.
And I'm not talking about that fake wannabe stuff. Sure Dante's a bit full of himself, but he backs that shit up. Because he possesses one thing I think it was incredibly smart of Scott to include. It allowed me to like just a small piece of him until his redeemable qualities showed up.
"Girl, I got swag for days."
And then Dante says things like "fo' shizzle" and I start thinking that he's secretly one of Snoop Dogg's love children.
Park it like it's hot, Snoop!
3. His relationship with Charlie and the gang
Charlie and Dante are the most unlikely PNR couple I've ever encountered so far. I really didn't expect sparks to fly between the two because their first interaction began with Dante turning his nose up. He considers her undesirable, "unpretty", a waste of his time and good charm, etc. Charlie's beauty is something he doesn't understand at first and tries convince her a change is in order. Fortunately, Charlie's lovely qualities have an effect on him and he not only starts to develop a conscience, but feelings for her. He sees how much her friends love her, how despite her background she made something better out of it. It causes him to really look at his own life's actions.
I'll never understand the friendships Charlie has. Friendships where it doesn't take cash or hookups, or saying the right things to stay in the circle. No, Charlie's friendships are different. She tries to protect her people, and they in turn protect her. They accept each other's imperfections and support one another. My friends weren't like her friends, which makes me wonder if I ever had any at all.
I loved seeing his character develop.
And then you have his interactions with the other characters. Scott really brought everyone to life with her wit and charm. I kept bookmarking my favorite quotes until I realized I was damn near highlighted every other page. She spread her awesome out evenly and it resulted in hilarious dialogue, a lot of the times between Charlie's best friend, Annabelle, and Dante.
"In this trunk," she says with a serious face, "is God's gift to women." "Chocolate?" "No." "Midol?" "What? No." "Tampons?" "Stop guessing," she says.
Reading The Collector was like listening to a great rock CD. There are songs I love more than others. There are songs where I find myself singing along. There are ones that make me laugh and the ones that pull at my feels. And let's not forget the slightly annoying ones with the lead singer screaming into the mic. ;) But every last one of them is memorable. I think The Collector will appeal to a lot of readers, especially those with an awesome sense of humor. Even the reluctant ones like myself.
ARC was provided by the author. No favors or monies were exchanged for review, but wouldn't that be awesome?
That's it. Kasie West is now one of my new favorite authors. After being completely swept off my feet by Pivot Point, West has once Actual rating: 4.5
That's it. Kasie West is now one of my new favorite authors. After being completely swept off my feet by Pivot Point, West has once again warmed my heart with so many cute moments. She continuously manages to create down to earth, relatable characters and all-around fun books.
The Distance Between Us follows Caymen Meyers, a girl who has certain opinions about rich people thanks to her mother's clear disdain. Her mom has raised her to think very negatively about the Haves verses the Have Nots due to her own troubled past with a rich ex-boyfriend. So naturally, when rich boy Xander Spence walks into their doll shop and "beckons" her, she's pretty much already had her mind made up. But in a strange turn of events they begin spending more time together on these "career days." What happens next can only be described as one of the most ADORBS books you can ever read!
While the novel is more romance centered, West never spares her characters room to grow and develop. The time Caymen spends with Xander shows her that her mother's bias is just that, bias based on her own experiences. In fact, Xander himself is the one to acknowledge that both he and Caymen aren't that different regardless of income level. Thus, these "career days" are born which helps reveal what they each want to do with their lives despite parental expectations placed on them. And through this, an unlikely friendship blossoms and later turns to first love.
I absolutely loved this story to bits. There was't a moment I was bored or not entertained thanks to the AWESOME sarcasm from Caymen. It's not the kind everyone will enjoy, but it was just right for me, leaving me laughing out loud at almost every page. And when I wasn't laughing, I was sighing at the perfect dialogue between Xander an Caymen.
“Caymen?” “Yes?” “You look terrified. Does this scare you?” “More than anything.” “Why?” “Because I didn’t bring my mints.” “And now the real answer . . .” “Because I’m afraid that once you catch me, the game’s over.”
Kasie West writes the type of romance I love to read. It's not cheesy or over the top. It's not unbelievable or unrealistic. It doesn't make you roll your eyes or make your head collide with a wall from frustration. It's the kind that makes you all giddy inside. The kind that gets your feels all "a meltin'" and the type that makes you twirl around in your living room like your a Disney Princess.
And that's the best kind of feeling ever!
Final verdict: I'd highly recommend this totally adorable book. If you're in a reading slump and you need a book to bring a smile to your face, this is your book. If you are looking to be entertained, look no further. If you are just looking for a cute read that will wrap your heart up in a blanket made of feels, read this book and twirl, my friends. Weeeeeee!
I growl with frustration at my reflection in the mirror. Damn my hair – it’s
I laughed so hard! Brilliant!
Okay, that opening paragraph was hilarious:
I growl with frustration at my reflection in the mirror. Damn my hair – it’s fifty shades of fucked up. The situation I’m in is fifty shades of fucked up. I’m supposed to be studying for my finals; my roommate, Kathleen, should be the one fussing with her hair in front of the mirror right now. Instead, I’m trying to brush my hair into submission. Why is my hair so kinky? I need to stop sleeping with it wet, because it always ends up out of control. As I brush my long, brown hair, the girl in the mirror with blue eyes too big for her head stares back at me. Wait...I don’t have blue eyes! Then I realize I haven’t been looking into the mirror. I’ve been staring at a poster of Kristen Stewart for five minutes. My own hair is actually fine.
The Shadow Reader had everything I love in a fae book. Seriously, I have a special place in my heart for fae characters. Ahem, Ash and Puck. *Wink, wiThe Shadow Reader had everything I love in a fae book. Seriously, I have a special place in my heart for fae characters. Ahem, Ash and Puck. *Wink, wink* It had action, hot Fae guys, adventure, romance, hot Fae guys, court intrigue, witty dialogue, and epically cool fight scenes. Oh, and did I mention the HOT FAE GUYS?!
Excuse me while I fangirl.
McKenzie Lewis is a special human. She can see the Fae and read their shadows. This ability makes her a very important ally in the war raging between the Court and Rebels because she can tell where the Fae are teleporting to. Just think of her as one hell of a blood hound and you get the picture. For years she has helped the Court track down and kill Rebels, until one day she is kidnapped by a rebel leader named Aren, who henceforth in this review shall be known as: "Le Hottie." While in captivity, she discovers the war she once considered black and white, just gained a whole lot more colors in between. As a result, she starts second guessing her alliance with the Court and her awkward relationship with the King's sword-master, Kyol, "Le Steamy".
First off, this is a really awesome debut novel for Sandy Williams. The Shadow Reader grabbed me from page one and held me in a choke hold that would make "Stone Cold" Steve Austin proud. And considering the last two books I've read had me in a "two-star" reviewing slump, I was extremely grateful for a fun read. That's not to say this book is without its flaws. Oh, no. Lol. But, there is just something about it that makes me a lot more forgiving. The Shadow Reader is like a toddler just finishing up a cherry Popsicle on a hot summer day. She's a little messy with sticky fingers, but she's just so darn cute you want to hug her anyway. And that's exactly how I felt about this book. Even though McKenzie did irritate me at times and the romance was toeing the "insta-love" line, I couldn't help but really enjoy reading this book.
Two words: Action packed. I don't even think this book had "down time." It was just back to back revelations, fight scenes, sexual tension. You know, all those things to keep you on the edge of your seat. This was a solid plot with pretty good world building. I easily got a feel for the Fae's world, but the only thing I would have liked to see was a freakin' map! McKenzie's ability to track the Fae's shadows is reliant upon her knowing where the locations actually are. I would have liked to have been able to see where these places were myself on a map. There is a lot of traveling done in the book between "fissuring" (think: teleporting) in and out of the human world or between the providences of the Fae world. So, yeah, it would have been nice to be able to flip to the map and see exactly where they were.
McKenzie's goal in the first half is to escape Le Hottie (Aren) and his Rebels and return to Le Steamy (Kyol) and the Court. She firmly believes they are evil and remains loyal to the Court. But, she never expects to fall for her captor and grow sympathetic to the Rebels cause. When she finally does return to her sword-master, she finds that her loyalties no longer lie with the Court.
Le Hottie (Aren), McKenzie, and Le Steamy (Kyol) were smart, sassy and classy respectively. I usually don't like love triangles, but this is one of those rare occasions where an author tells me to, "Shut it, Stephanie and read the damned book. You will like it!" And lil' old skeptical me goes:
Hmm...We'll see about that Ms. Williams. Well, here I am eating my words because I loved this love triangle. If I were McKenzie, who would I chose? Le Hottie or Le Steamy? Jeez, I don't know! They were both awesome guys! Aren's the cocky son of a biscuit eater that has you wanting to smack that ridiculous grin off his face and kiss him at the same time. While on the other hand, Kyol is the mysterious silent type that will keep you up all night trying to puzzle out the secrets hidden in his eyes. (AHHHH! Hot Fae guys! I.CAN'T.EVEN!)
Of course, we have our heroine McKenzie. I won't deny that there were times when she really irritated me because I thought she just couldn't see the bigger picture of the war and how the Court treated her all those years. The Court specifically didn't want her learning the language of the Fae and she not once thought that was strange. And one of the first things Aren does once she is kidnapped is have her taught the language. This should have been a gigantic red flag to McKenzie, but she remains loyal to the Court until it nearly very dearly costs her. But, she's supposed to be a stubborn heroine. I get that. I just wish she was a little more observant. However, she is a strong-willed heroine because she never does give up trying to escape her captives. I have to give her props for that. Even when she knows her attempts are in vain, she continues again and again. I have to admit, though, I did wish she didn't need quite so many rescuing from our hot Fae guys. In fact, why does she even have a sword on the cover? I kept waiting for her to kick someone's ass in the book, but it never happened. (view spoiler)[Okay, so maybe she did kill someone, but that was an accident on her part. (hide spoiler)] No matter. That wasn't enough to stop me from enjoying the book at all.
Ah, here is where the gushing review dies a painful death. Oh, insta-love, how I hate thee!! You manage to ruin it for me every time! When will you leave the awesome stories and their characters alone?! *Evil fist shake*
Darn you insta-love. You've gotten Tink fired up again. I'll be beating the pixie dust out of my sofa pillows for days now. Thanks.
First of all, I want to say I loved Aren and McKenzie together. They had great chemistry, but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why they liked each other. Apart from the little zings of electricity shooting from each other, I don't understand why they were in love. It's your typical, "Oh he's hot, but he's the bad guy and I'm not supposed to notice that. Oh my damn, I can't look away!" As for Aren, I didn't even realized he really liked her until he kissed her and by then I'm like, "Wait, you actually like her? You were for real?" Then, by the end he's telling her he loves her. -_- Case and point, I found there attraction rushed and underdeveloped.
McKenzie and Kyol's relationship was a bit more believable because they had been working together for ten years compared to her brief few weeks acquaintance with Aren. The King had forbid Kyol and McKenzie from being together and despite their intense feelings for one another, Kyol tries his best to keep their relationship strictly business. McKenzie waits for him for ten years. Ten years. But when she returns from captivity he realizes this has been a mistake. By that time, he has kept so much from her (and Aren has laid a claim on her heart) that it damages their relationship. I really applaud McKenzie for standing up for herself and telling Kyol that she shouldn't have waited for him and that she was moving on. But, something tells me that his hold on her heart has not yet loosened its grip...
Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Shadow Reader and can see this appealing to fans of Richelle Mead. This book falls somewhere in the 3.5-4 star category for me, but what they hell, I'm rounding up to 4 for the special unputdownable quality (view spoiler)[and the hot Fae guys! (hide spoiler)].
More reviews and more 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"]>...more
My kids and I really enjoyed reading this book. We've been in a slump recently reading Little White Rabbit over and over again, but I finally convince My kids and I really enjoyed reading this book. We've been in a slump recently reading Little White Rabbit over and over again, but I finally convinced my 3 year old to try one of her other library books out. She LOVED it.
Mister Buds has his routine down pack and one day it is all interrupted with a new addition to the family: Zorro. My daughter loved the reactions the two dogs had to each other. It was very comical. When Zorro climbed on the couch, hugged his toys close, and yelled at Mister Buds,
we both fell out laughing so hard. Soon, however, he discovers that having Zorro around is not as bad as he originally thought. It's definitely a book that needs a permanent residence on her shelf.
Sometimes you read books Don't forget to check out the epic interview story with Kendare Blake over at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog!
Actual rating: 2.5 stars
Sometimes you read books that are visibly bad. So bad, in fact, that they make you want to throw yourself head first out a window, but you keep on reading and reading. You might even feel yourself losing your will to live about halfway through. But somehow, by the end of the book, you end up liking it anyway because it entertained you. The badness was just that entertaining. Then, there are other books that are really good books, but just do nothing for you. Anna Dressed in Blood was the latter for me. There was nothing wrong with this book. It's just that ghost books and I don't get along. I typically stay away from only two paranormal creatures: ghosts and zombies. I probably would have never picked this book up on my own, but I figured I'd give Anna Dressed in Blood a shot for two reasons: 1) It came highly recommended to me from several reviewers and 2) The last time I read a zombie book (The Forest of Hands and Teeth) I really enjoyed it. So I was hoping to have a similar experience. Unfortunately, I didn't.
The three biggest issues I had with the book:
For the most part I did like him, but in the beginning I found him to be a bit conceited. When he first arrives in Thunder Bay, Ontario he walks around the school like he's way too cool to be there. To his credit, I guess he really is. I mean, he kills ghosts for a living. But the way those girls just fawned over him, like he was some Grecian god, was just a little over the top.
I make my way to her table, seeing eyes growing wider as I do. Ten or so other girls probably just developed instantaneous crushes on me, because they see that Carmel likes me.
Then there was the issue with him being the only one able to kill ghosts. He kept repeating, "I'm the only one who can do this" and I kept asking, "Oh, yeah? Why? Why, Cas? What makes you so speshul?" Yes, I realize he comes from a long line of ghost busters hunters, but why his family? What makes his bloodline different from anyone else? I needed background info and I never got it.
Anna Dressed in Blood. I was told to read this book with the lights on. Usually, I scare very easily. I wasn't scared one bit while reading. At first, when Cas "runs into" Anna, I was thinking, "Uh, oh. It's about to go down." And for a minute it did. (view spoiler)[Anna tore dipshit Mike in half. (hide spoiler)] I was shocked and even more shocked that I liked it. I was starting to think that everyone who recommended me this book was on to something. Anna. Oh, Anna. Why couldn't you remain scary?
This is what I wanted from you:
I wanted you to run around angry, strike some fear in people's hearts, make me afraid of the dark for a few nights, tear some shit up.
But this is what I got instead:
For some odd reason you didn't have the urge to hurt Cas, which is never explained. Again, why is this kid so speshul?
This is honestly where the book started to lose me. Killer vindictive girl running around killing people? I can handle that. Cas going all "goo-goo eyes" over a dead girl? Yeah, um...it didn't work for me. But who am I to judge? If Cas likes it when Anna makes her eyes go black, her veins crawl up her arms, her deep, neck wound opening up to create her flowing blood dress, calling her "My Anna", then that is totally his business. I just didn't see where that relationship was supposed to be headed. (view spoiler)[Then they made out on the front porch of her possessed house and all I could think was, "Ewwww..." (hide spoiler)] It was different, I'll give Blake that, but it just didn't work for me.
Other things that bothered me:
I did not understand the mythology behind Cas' knife and the villain. It went straight over my head. I felt maybe that part could have been explained better. However, I suppose it's entirely possible that my little, simple brain could not grasp the complex explanation given. Maybe.
Cas' mother being so accepting of her son's profession. If your husband is killed while ghost hunting, wouldn't you try everything you could to have him not go down the same road?
Thomas' grandfather says he wanted Cas originally to kill Anna because she was acting different. I thought that was going to be significant to the plot, but we never found out why her behavior had initially changed.
I took issue how the kids in the story had so little empathy for their friends who were killed. When (view spoiler)[Mike (hide spoiler)] dies, Will makes up a some half-assed story about him walking home alone (bold is mine):
“We tell the cops that we drove around for a while. Then...got mad about Carmel and Cas and got out of the truck. None of us could stop him. He said he was going to walk home, and since it wasn’t that far away, we didn’t think anything of it. When he didn’t show at school today, we figured that he was hung over.”
But then when the police question Cas and Carmel a few days later (I've taken his name out due to spoilers)...
“You are aware that...lived at least ten miles from the area you’re talking about,” Officer Roebuck said. “No, I didn’t know,” I reply. “We tried to stop him,” Carmel pipes up.
Now, I'm not sure if that inconsistency was on purpose, but Will is supposed to be this guy's best friend. He wouldn't notice that the story he made up was off? Most of the time in the book it felt like the kids were too busy about getting blamed for a crime that they never took time to care that someone was murdered.
1. I thought Carmel and Cas were going to end up together. I was happy to see Blake didn't go for that very easy trope.
2. Anna's story was very sad and made it easy to be sympathetic towards her.
3. Never saw the villain coming. He was confusing, but unpredictable.
All in all, I would still recommend this book to other people because the biggest reason why I didn't love it was because I just don't like ghosts. *shrug*
More reviews and more 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"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This is my favorite book of 2011! This review may contain extreme amounts of gushing!
The above was my immediate reaction after finis This is my favorite book of 2011! This review may contain extreme amounts of gushing!
The above was my immediate reaction after finishing this book. There simply were no words to describe how much I loved it, how it horrified me, shocked me, tore at my heart again and again. Brilliant.
2011 turned out to be a great year for Angel books for me. I know that might seem strange when you think of the more popular horrible ones **cough* Hush, Hush*cough*Halo*cough*Fallen*cough**. But there is indeed hope for this paranormal genre. I thought this genre couldn't get any better than Unearthly, Angel, or Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Then, I read Angelfall. Are the literary gods playing a joke on me? How ironic for me to find my favorite book of 2011 in the last week of the year.
I'm going to do this review a little differently. I'm not going to go in some extreme in-depth talk about how awesome this book is because there are a few other reviews that do that and I don't think I could do the book any justice even if I tried. Instead, I'm going to give you ten reasons why you should go purchase this book RIGHT NOW.
1.Angelfall kicks off right from the start with plenty of action and never settles down. Expect little to no sleep until you've finished.
2. Penryn is my pick for strongest heroine of 2011. In fact, I created a new shelf just for her: "Ass-kickin' heroine." Between how she sticks up for herself and her awesomely cool, Kung Fu Panda-type skills, she's a fuckin' boss. Bet on it.
3. Witty Dialogue. There are so many quotes I could paste into my review, but I can't because I'd end up just pasting the entire book. But I will paste my absolute favorite:
“My friends call me Wrath,” says Raffe. “My enemies call me Please Have Mercy. What’s your name, soldier boy?”
Yeah, he's a badass 'G.' Susan, how do you come up with this stuff? I was thoroughly entertained!
4. The post-apocalyptic world. It's shocking, horrifying, and any other adjective you can possibly use to describe the emotion you feel while reading this book. It's a world I could never live in. I'd pretty much put my head between my legs and kiss my ass goodbye.
5. Susan did her research. Angel books run the risk of not being true to their mythological "rules." I think you know what I'm talking about here. Halo: Only eight angels fell from Heaven? Let's get real. The Mortal Instruments: Nephilim are the good guys? You've got to be kidding me. The Succubus series: Angels hanging out with Demons playing cards? Really? Really, dude? Susan created a realistic world of angels while somehow managing to not sound preachy and staying true to their original mythical cannon.
6. Because I said so.
7. The plot twists will leave you twisted. You will never see the climax or the ending coming. It blows you away.
8.Angelfall is like a weird mix between Planet of the Apes, Resident Evil and Frankenstein. Yes, it is possible for a book to be that awesome. This is that book.
9. Did I mention the dialogue? I did? Oh, well...it was so amazeballs that it deserves another separate reason. Annnddddd...I quote:
I never kid about my warrior demigod status. "Oh. My. God." I lower my voice, having forgotten to whisper. "You are nothing but a bird with an attitude. Okay, so you have a few muscles, I'll grant you that. But you know, a bird is nothing but a barely evolved lizard. That's what you are.
“You're like a little girl demanding answers to questions during a covert operation. Why is the sky blue, daddy? Can I ask that man with the machine gun where the bathroom is? If you don't stay quiet, I'm going to have to dump you.”
“Leaking sacks of mutated maggots?" He raises his perfectly arched eyebrow as though I'd just failed my verbal insult exam.”
“Oh, please. Your giant head is getting too big for this forest. Pretty soon, you're going to get stuck trying to walk between two tress. And then, I'll have to rescue you." I give him a weary look. "Again.”
“Those pigeons couldn't take us out if they send their entire chirping flock.”
10. Let us not forget the most important reason of all: NO INSTA-LOVE FOUND HERE! I like my romance slow burning and taking a backseat to the plot and action. Angelfall did just that. I likey. I likey a lot.
It is only $.99! You have no reason NOT to buy this book! Go do it now!
And I know I say reviews are not for authors but for readers. However, Susan, if you happen to read this review I just have two things to say to you:
If Snakes on a Plane (view spoiler)[I'm tired of these MOTHERFUCKING snakes on this MOTHERFUCKING plane!! (hide spoiler)] and Mother Goose's Nursery R If Snakes on a Plane (view spoiler)[I'm tired of these MOTHERFUCKING snakes on this MOTHERFUCKING plane!! (hide spoiler)] and Mother Goose's Nursery Rhymes had a baby it would be this audio book. It was pure genius to have Samuel L. Jackson narrate. I mean, who's inner Samuel L. Jackson doesn't come out when they are sleep deprived, right?
When I'm sleepy, I'm the nastiest person you would ever have the misfortune of meeting. But somehow fate would have it that I'd be cursed blessed with the world's worst sleepers. Where are all those people that told me all babies did was sleep and eat? After having two little monsters lovelies of my own, I no longer believe such babies exist. -_-
Last night at the ripe hour of 3 am, my 13 month old (who we have affectionately dubbed "Destructo" for his uncanny ability to destroy anything he gets his hands on) felt it was the perfect time to play with mommy and daddy. After one extreme acrobatic nursing session, our night went a little something like this:
*Destructo plays in between mama and dada on the bed*
Me: I can't function. The Mister: I told you not to put him to bed early. Now he won't go back to sleep. Me: IT WAS BEDTIME! The Mister: Shhh! You'll wake the Diva. Me: No I won't. She's done for the nig---
*In walks the Diva*
Me: Damn, damn, damn! The Mister: I told you so. Me: Shut up. Go put her back in bed.
*Destructo's toe lands in my eye and he appropriately laughs*
The Mister: She's back in bed. Me: Good. Now handle your son. The Mister: He doesn't want me. He wants to go play.
**Suddenly, the voice of Samuel L. Jackson fills my mind.**
You know where you can go? The fuck to sleep!
Me: Amen! The Mister: What? Me: Nothing.
*We head downstairs. He plays. I curse my life in the corner silently.*
About 2 hours later we finally got Destructo back to sleep. Around here sleep is more precious than gold. So if you ever happen to visit during bedtime, we have a strict OCD like ritual you must adhere to. We turn the portable fans on for white noise. If this makes you cold, tuff ninnies! Don't use the microwave. Cold food wont kill ya. Put your damn phone on vibrate. And for the love of all things cheesy, don't flush the fucking toilet! Goodnight.
Hmm...Where do I even start with this book? I guess I should start by saying The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and I have this awkward love/hate relationshi Hmm...Where do I even start with this book? I guess I should start by saying The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and I have this awkward love/hate relationship. If this book were a person, it'd be the boyfriend I sometimes had fun with, but never wanted to take with me in public because I knew he would do something stupid and embarrass the hell outta me. For majority of the first half of the book, I wanted to stomp it into the ground with my pair of patent leather pumps. However, somewhere along the lines, I started to enjoy myself a bit. I'd hear a strange sounds coming from my mouth only to realize, "Oh my, that was a chuckle." In many ways, I can really see why so many people would really like this book, but I can also see why others would want to gorge their eyes out with a high school cafeteria spork.
Mara Dyer wakes up in a hospital bed one day with no recollection of how she got there or what happened to her friends who were killed in the accident that she managed to survive. Hoping for a new beginning, her family packs up and moves to Florida. As the memories Mara thought were lost start to slowly make a reappearance and dead bodies seem to pop up like daisies, she notices something is not quite right with her. She, then, struggles to keep hold of reality while trying to figure out the mystery of what really happened to her in her old hometown.
I'll start with the good first since there are a few things I did like and I have so much more "bad" to rant about later in the review.The cover is beautiful! It has to be one of my favorite covers of the year and I get shivers just looking at it. Not only that, but the book's premise really appealed to me and is easily the biggest reason why I continued to turn page after page. It was a surprisingly quick and easy read and the writing style wasn't bad either. I really appreciated that both of Mara's parents were around, even though they seemed to dissapear at the most convenient of times. And like I said earlier some of the dialog I did enjoy and found funny. Most of the best moments for this book is between Mara and Noah, the love interest.
...okaaayyy so that's all I got for the good. Man, that's a bit pathetic. It's barely a paragraph.
This book had a lot of potential and for the longest time, I couldn't exactly put my finger on what bothered me about the book. If it weren't for the following issues, this could have been a 4 star read for me, possibly more.
The books biggest issues are the actual characters and all the sterotypes that come along with them. They were completely extra. The gay black guy, the extra bitchy popular girl who hates the MC for some vain, insignificant reason accompanied by tweedle dumb (her trusty side kick or fashion accessory. I can't decide which.), the bad boy who truly isn't bad (he has feelings, he's deep and likes to "fix" people), and the obnoxious, perfect, older brother.
1. Jamie. Jamie is Mara's new best friend in Florida. He also happens to be a bisexual, Jewish, Black male with dreadlocks and a tongue ring. Oh, and he's adopted. Yes, I know. He is quite a little token cocktail, isn't he? Hodkin, you want to put a PoC or a bisexual or a Jewish person in your story? Be my guest. But, why, oh why, did he have to be all THREE AT ONCE? And if he wasn't "Black enough" let's give him dreads. And, oh noz, he isn't "gay enough" either, we must add a tongue ring! And what the hell, let's urbanize him while we are at it. Funny thing is he knows he's the token character:
“But none of this matters, because you’re not going to listen to your token black Jewish bi friend, are you?”
That is the part where Hodkin almost owed me a new Kindle. I literally had to stop reading or I was going to lose it. His characterization was poor, poor, poor. It felt like he was trying entirely too hard to be both gay and Black, neither of which I found convincing. About halfway through the book we don't see him again and I couldn't even be mad at that because I was too busy celebrating the fact I no longer had to endure his weird hip-hop lingo anymore. I realize this may have been Hodkin's attempt to add diversity to her story, but guess what?
2. Daniel. Or as I liked to call him: The kiss-ass perfectionist. He was just too over the top to be believable. He is perfect in every way: Perfect student, perfect son, perfect brother. I can totally see why Mara was annoyed by this. Every time Mara wants to go somewhere, Daniel has to first talk with their mother about it. AND IT ALWAYS WORKS. I have an issue when one sibling seems to hold that much power in a hosehold. There is a scene in the book where he is looking at the mail and says
“What lucky institution of higher education accepted me today?” he asked, eyes on the envelopes. “Ah, Harvard. That’s nice. And Stanford!”
Wow, so not only is he a kiss ass, but he's conceded too! If I ever saw Daniel out in public with his mom, it would go something like this: I would to tap him on the shoulder and go, "Hey, buddy. You dropped something." "Huh? What? Where?" he'd say. And I would respond, "Your lips. I see them over there dangling off your momma's right ass cheek. Go and get 'em, will ya? It's distracting."
3. Noah Noah is the bad boy love interest of the story that has had sex with the entire female population of the school. >insert eye roll here< His character is also over the top with bad boy stereotypes. He gets away with everything because everyone loves him. He is loaded with cash money. He's ridiculously good looking with a *le gasp* English accent. He's incredibly arrogant, rude and tactless. Oh, and most importantly, he only has eyes for Mara. Of course. Once he enters the picture, Mara completely forgets about everything. *cough*the plot*cough* I suppose it really isn't her fault. After all, Noah possesses a "panty-dropping smile." Hide your daughters!
Later in the story, a small piece of me actually started to like him, but unlike Mara, I couldn't excuse his original jackassness. Nope, couldn't do it.
4. Mara (What is your real name anyway?) I didn't entirely dislike her, but I felt she made some really crappy decisions. This story could have really taken off and gone to an interesting place if she didn't become so obsessed with Noah. There were times where I thought she would use that crazy brain of hers, but then she would turn right around and ignore the problem. There was one scene when Jamie tells her (view spoiler)[ that Noah caught him with his hand up Noah's little sister's skirt and Noah runs off and has sex with Jamie's older sister as revenge. (hide spoiler)] When she actually talks to Noah about it, he admits it and what does she do? She just changes the subject and they never talk about it again. Then, there are times when Mara's logical skills seem to fail her all together.
What could I say? Noah, despite you being an asshole, or maybe because of it, I’d like to rip off your clothes and have your babies. Don’t tell.
Oh, yeah, Mara. That makes total sense. Or how about when you and Noah are in his room about to kiss, but you decide you don't want to kiss him (view spoiler)[because the last time you did, he almost died. (I'm still not clear if this was one of her hallucinations or not.) (hide spoiler)] Yet, you think having sex instead would be safer?
Because of situations like this, I just could not connect with Mara at all. I suppose I was supposed to feel sorry for her when her teacher threw chalk at her and made fun of her in front of the entire class. Sorry, Mara.
Then the teacher gave her an 'F' for showing her up on her oral exam. She told you to sit your ass down, Mara. That means do not pass go. Do not collect your $200. It means STFO. And you wondered why you got a failing grade. Then you went off, (view spoiler)[killed her (hide spoiler)], and had a psychotic break down and lost two hours of your life. Was I supposed to care then too?
5. The Plot I think The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer ran into the same issue Incarnate did. It got so wrapped up in the romance; it completely discarded the premise of the book. When something exciting actually started happening it completely came out of left field and hit Mara in the head. I was really disappointed that we really didn't find out more about Mara's abilities. The explanation given by the end of the book was easy to guess and I was expecting more answers. And I read somewhere that this book is supposed to scare you. Lies. All lies
6. The Ending Damn that cliffhanger. I actually finished reading the book and I'm rewarded with the worst cliffhanger possible. I started screaming at my poor Kindle Touch (which is awesome, by the way. Thanks for asking. :D). WTF, dude!
Okay, I have to stop naming things that irked me or I'll start sharp shooting a star off this review. I'll read the next book, but along with Incarnate's sequel, it's going right on my "You're on probation" shelf.
Oh, and riddle me this: How is this book considered paranormal? You go the entire book with alomst nothing supernatural until the very end and suddenly it's paranormal? That's just lazy.
Okay, I'm really done this time.
More reviews and more 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"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Well, that was something I don't read everyday. I don't think I've ever read a book that had the ability to make me laugh out loud on one page and criWell, that was something I don't read everyday. I don't think I've ever read a book that had the ability to make me laugh out loud on one page and cringe on the next. When I first picked up Sh*t My Dad Says, I had no idea it originated from Halpern's twitter page. Hindsight being 20/20 and all, I can see why the twitter page, which compromised of random quotes from Halpern's dad, would be a hit. It's just the right amount of comic relief you may need while wasting precious hours of your life scrolling through twitter. It's sort of like following Yoda, Darth Vader, Snape or my personal favorite, Lord Voldemort, on twitter.
His tweets are mildly offensive, but admit it. You lol'ed, didn't you? So, in that context the quotes found in Sh*t My Dad Says are funny. But what happens when you put it all in one place? The short answer is simple: It's not very funny. Okay, wait. Some of the quotes are funny and in the beginning I did laugh quite a bit, but as I got further and further into the book, the novelty wore off. What was once humorous as an occasional tweet, turned into just a very vulgar book.
My biggest issue with Sh*t My Dad Says is that most of the quotes were directed towards Halpern when he was a child. This did not sit right with me at all. Cursing at and shaming children is wrong on so many levels and I failed to see the humor in that. It totally killed the entertainment factor when his dad is directing the F-bomb at his young son left and right. And I was sitting here waiting for an adult to correct this guy, but it didn't seem like it was anyone's issue but mine. It was very shocking because if my dad had said half of the things Halpern's did to me, I would cry a river. I'm not saying his dad didn't love him or care about him, but wow. I just don't understand how someone could show so little respect and talk down to a child like that.
So as far as I'm concerned, these quotes would have been better off remaining on twitter and not in a book. Sh*t My Dad Says is the perfect example of the age-old rule: If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Oh, Cynthia Hand, how could you do this to me? I feel like this book should come with at least a warning. Hallowed is out! I can't wait to re-read it!
Oh, Cynthia Hand, how could you do this to me? I feel like this book should come with at least a warning. Something along the lines of:
WARNING: This book may cause readers massive amounts of fangirling/fanboying. Do not be alarmed if you encounter symptoms of swooning, emotional instability, and immediate depression after reading.
Yeah...cause that's exactly what happened to me. Many of you may remember that I expressed in my Unearthly review how I was initially reluctant to read this series. Angel PRN books seem to be the worst of the worst in YA literature. So you can imagine my happiness when I come across this gem of a series. If there were ever a reason needed as to why I voted for Cynthia Hand's Unearthly as Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction, it would be Hallowed. If you were thinking that Hand couldn't do it again, you were wrong!
First off let get this off my chest because it's seriously bothering me:
"This beautifully woven tale will appeal to fans of Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Aprilynne Pike."
Excuse me while I hurl. Are you kidding me? Stop it. Please. Do not lump this series in with those sorry books. Hallowed, for starters, has a plot. The characters have real depth. The love interests aren't trying to kill Clara. What it should have said was: "For fans of real YA PNR literature." *Breathes* Okay. /end mini rant.
I think it goes without say that I loved this book. I stayed up past 4am to finish this it. Once again, I could not have predicted the outcome! There are so many plot twists and mysteries revealed and it's not what you would expect at all. And I have a sinking feeling that Hallowed is sure to upset quite a few fans...
If you think I'm going to sit here and feed you spoilers, sorry kids, not gonna happen. However, I can tell you some of the things I LOVED about Hallowed:
The character development Fans will be happy to know that we do indeed find out more about Christian, Clara's mom, Angela, Jeffery's purpose and last, but certainly not least, Tucker Avery. *Cues the swooning*
Clara's mother definitely sees more development. And at first I found myself really irritated with her for keeping secrets, but by the end of the book, I couldn't bring myself to be angry at her any longer. We were left with so many unanswered questions at the end of Unearthly, mostly thanks to Clara's mom, but rest assured, many are answered. And of course, with more answers we get even more questions.
The love triangle I'm sure you saw that coming, as did I, but here's the thing: I liked it. I usually hate love triangles because I find them a bit played out and predictable. But it worked so well in Hallowed. This probably has something to do with the fact that Hand wrote these characters so well. Their relationships are very believable and heartbreakingly realistic. We see a whole other side to Christian and Tucker. It's rather easy to love them both because they both care deeply for Clara and respect her. There are no semi-abusive love interests here. How about that? ;)
The prose, the pacing, and the plot I never thought I could come to love the use of present tense prose, but I felt it was so perfect. We are really able to connect with Clara on another level because of that, especially everything that she goes through in this book. And she goes through a lot. The simple sentences and Clara's ramblings really helped me feel everything Clara felt. The pacing was a bit slower in this book than the last, but again, it works so perfectly. Hand gives us the opportunity to let it really sink in. The pacing just goes hand in hand with the plot, which too is very subtle. At first you become eager to get to the end, but you will come to dread it. So beautifully written.
The dialog Cynthia Hand, you are so slick and I love you for it. Those Twilight burns you put in there? Oh, yeah, I think you know how brilliantly awesome that was.
Before I moved here, I never got the whole love-triangle thing. You know, in movies or romance novels or whatnot, where there’s one chick that all the guys are drooling over, even though you can’t see anything particularly special about her. But oh, no, they both must have her. And she’s like, oh dear, however will I choose? William is so sensitive, he understands me, he swept me off my feet, oh misery, blubber, blubber, but how can I go on living without Rafe and his devil-may-care ways and his dark and only-a-little-abusive love? Upchuck.
Yup, that's pure win right there.
The ending It was so heartbreaking. Clara just didn't get a break in this book and I felt for her so much. I just wanted to hug her. And at the end I felt like I needed a hug. Hand, you had me crying at 4am! I can't believe you went there in this book!! I mean, seriously, I was having a fit over here:
Disbelief: "NOOOOO!! She did not just do that! NOOOO!"
Depression: "How will I survive until 2013? I'm doomed. Doomed, I tell ya."
Cynthia Hand tore my heart out and made me eat it...
Puck is my favorite character in The Iron Fey series. So you could just imagine my delight when I first heard about this novella. Honestly, I could barely contain my happiness.
In this novella Prince "Ice-boy" Ash and Robin "Puck" Goodfellow embark on a new adventure. But first, they have to find a certain cat, Grimalkin. Unfortunately, the exiled Muse Queen comes to call in a favor from Prince Ash. She asks for them to sneak into the Summer Court and steal back her "Violin," which was apparently stolen from her by none other than the Summer Queen herself. In the midst of all this, Puck finds himself with the dilemma of betrayal. This little mini-quest comes complete with action and comic relief and will be sure to have you wanting more!
I can't wait for their complete adventure in the next installment The Iron Knight!
About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a stalker and a creeper. Second, there was part of him — and I didn't know how potent
About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a stalker and a creeper. Second, there was part of him — and I didn't know how potent that part might be — that suffered from Manic Depression. And third, I was strangely and unashamedly entertained by it all.
I know what you are probably doing. Right now, you may have your head cocked to the side with your eyes squinted, wondering if you read that last part correctly. I will repeat: I was entertained. First, let me clear the air. I was not entertained by the story or the writing. Shit Heavens, no. For the same reasons why some found Midnight Sun disturbing, I found it unintentionally comical. I can't tell you how many times I snickered or LOL'ed. Well, that's a lie, I probably could, but it'd be an awful long review.
However, I will touch on a few standout parts that really tickled my pickle. OMG, did I really just type that? Project Hindsight is melting brain cells.
Manic Depressed, murderous vamp with feelings:
Like I mentioned earlier, Edward definitely suffers from manic depression. He first starts off as an extremely condescending vamp, but as soon as he lays his eyes on Bella and gets a whiff of her sweet-smelling blood, he quickly becomes a murderous hunter. Now, this I can understand to a degree because vamps, ya know, drink blood and all. BUT, as he is thinking of various ways to murder everyone in his biology class and eat Bella, he starts whining. He literally has a "woe is me, fuck my life!" moment.
Why did she have to come here? Why did she have to exist? Why did she have to ruin the little peace I had in this non-life of mine? Why had this aggravating human ever been born? She would ruin me.
It's all about him, isn't it? He isn't the one who's *thisclose* to being eaten, but here he is singing the, "Why cruel world?!" song. And his bitch fest continues...
Who was this creature? Why me, why now? Why did I have to lose everything just because she happened to choose this unlikely town to appear in?
*sigh* Are you done?
Why had she come here!
Sometimes people move, Edward. It happens! Man the hell up!
I didn't want to be the monster! I didn't want to kill this room full of harmless children! I didn't want to lose everything I'd gained in a lifetime of sacrifice and denial!
I wouldn't. She couldn't make me.
You tell that little human, Eddie. *Pats back* Feel better now?
Then, the next page over he gets back to work plotting Bella's murder. You know who Edward reminds me of best in the beginning of Midnight Sun? Have you ever seen The Smurfs? Remember old Gargamel and how he was always either planning some lame attempt to catch and eat the smurfs or crying from failing so hard?
*Evil crackle* Yessss...I'll get those little blue smurfs! I'll sneak into their village while they sleep and boil them alive! Won't we Azrael?
(view spoiler)[ Hmmm...what a weird coincidence. I found a pic of that on Google... Oh, fangirls. Still feel like swooning now? (hide spoiler)]
Okay, now imagine Eddie just like that while he says,
She would go home to an empty house. Police Chief Swan worked a full day. I knew his house, as I knew every house in the tiny town. His home was nestled right up against thick woods, with no close neighbors. Even if she had time to scream, which she would not, there would be no one to hear.
Conniving little bastard, isn't he? ^_^
Of course, then he runs off to Alaska and throws himself one hell of a pity party. Then, he goes back to Forks and falls head over heels in love with the most "mouthwatering""beautiful""selfless"INSANE girl. This is how I envisioned Edward for most of the partial draft *wink* book:
*sigh* Eddie, Eddie, Eddie. You need help, son.
And there is also another human who had the misfortune to make Edward's personal hit list: Mike. I actually felt sorry for the douche bag in Midnight Sun. If Edward wasn't thinking about eating Bella, gently caressing her lips (LOL, who does that?), or how she looked in that damn blue blouse, he was thinking of "annihilating" the "obnoxious boy." Oddly enough, that too, had me LOL'ing. I know, I know. I'm a strange one. Heh. And when he said, "I wasn't going to stand around arguing with the wretch," I fell out. LOL.
He creeped, He perved, He stalked:
The creepiest thing, yet hilarious to me, about Midnight Sun is when Edward watches Bella sleep.
I was repulsed by myself as I watched her toss again. How was I any better than some sick peeping tom?
LMAO, you fucking aren't! This book is a Stalker's Handbook. In five easy steps you can become the best stalker eva!
Step 1: Wait until you beloved and her loved ones are fast asleep. It would be uncool to be found snooping around your one true love's house during some ungodly hour. This is especially important if there is a loaded weapon on the premises.
Step 2: The window or entry of your liking may creak. Don't forget to bring along a can of oil! This is imperative to your stalking success! You must be unseen and unheard. Like a ninja...a really creepy ninja.
Step 3: Watch your honey bunny sleep. Maybe she's dreaming of you. Stay awake, lest you miss the action. For maximum effectiveness drink a 5-hour energy drink. By all means, snoop around her room. This is your show. You run this!
Step 4: Leave before the stalkee awakens. I can't even begin to tell you how awkward it would be if you are discovered!
Step 5: Congrats! You have done it! You've stalked your soul mate! Now repeat these five steps again and again to receive your Jedi Master level of stalking badge.
Edward loses his mind and everybody knows it:
The star of this book for me was Emmett. He always said what everyone else was thinking. The "voice of reason," if you will.
"Kid's lost his mind." "Lost his mind, poor kid." "This is getting weird." "You sound like a crazy person, do you know that?" "Exactly like a crazy person." "You're pathetic."
And my favorite part is when Charlotte and Peter (Jasper's vamp friends) come to visit and Edward is there in a corner looking crazy again.
And they all sort of stare at him, yet Emmett sums it up perfectly, "Madman."
Oh and I can't write a Twilight review without throwing in a few hits at Bella. I just love it how Edward knows she has got to be crazy, but still wants to be with her. Maybe he finds it endearing like her inability to stand on her own two feet with out her face kissing the pavement. *shrugs* I really don't know what goes on inside the head of Edward. There is one part where he sits down and questions her sanity. He even goes as far to think about having her institutionalized:
How was I supposed to protect someone so...so...so determined to be unprotected?
She possesses zero self-preservation skills. Give up, Ed.
I supposed that I could arrange for her to receive the best care available... Carlisle would have the connections to find her the most skilled doctors, the most talented therapists. Perhaps something could be done to fix whatever it was that was wrong with her, what ever it was that made her content to sit beside a vampire with her heart beating calmly and steadily. I would watch over the facility, naturally, and visit as often as I was allowed...
I now truly believe both of these clowns are meant for each other. Crazy is as crazy does.
Even though I may have liked Twilight and Eclipse at one point, I feel the same way I felt about Midnight Sun the first time I read it, "Is this a parody? This can't possibly be legit. It is? Bahahahaha! Somehow that just adds another layer of LOL'ing!" If you are looking for quality YA literature, this ain't it folks. Run away! If and when this book is ever finished and released, it will only be good for one thing:
(view spoiler)[ That pic is so creepy...it's perfect!(hide spoiler)]["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"]>["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"]>...more