Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book for free from The Book Smugglers, the publishing duo behind this title.
I don’t usually do short stories anDisclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book for free from The Book Smugglers, the publishing duo behind this title.
I don’t usually do short stories and I’ve frequently find myself saying that every time I read a short story I actually like. But it’s true, I don’t. In this case, Huang’s story immediately hooked me and by the time it was over, I was wishing for more. The pacing was perfect for its length and never felt rushed like some novellas may feel. What I really loved was reading a story that featured diverse characters that felt natural to the setting and plot. I’ll probably be interested in checking out the author’s other work in the future....more
This is going to be one of those rare times where my rating isn't very indicative of my personal feelings of the quality of a novel. (Savor this momenThis is going to be one of those rare times where my rating isn't very indicative of my personal feelings of the quality of a novel. (Savor this moment because I don't see it happening too often.) Here's the thing about Neptune's Tears: if you are a veteran Sci-Fi reader, chances are it will be lacking in complexity for you. However, if you are a noob to the genre or a younger reader or a reluctant reader, this novel may be perfect for you. Unfortunately, I don't fall in the latter category and I don't think I'm a part of the target audience for this book, but I can still see a lot of redeemable qualities for Neptune's Tears.
- The writing isn't bad at all. Even though I mentioned I think this book would be great for younger readers, I didn't ever feel like Waggoner was talking down to the reader. This was especially evident with the science she used to set her world up and the descriptions. The world is described in a clear manner without info-dumping on the reader.
-Neptune's Tears features a diverse group of characters. One thing I really love is when a book has other nationalities or cultures present. So many times in YA lit it's the usual all white cast with the occasional token character. But this book takes place in London and has a variety of nationalities present. In fact, the main character even travels to Indonesia later in the book. It's apparent that Waggoner wanted her book to be more of an accurate representation of the world in the future, and the best way to do that was to actually include the rest of the world.
- The plot moved along swiftly and the twist wasn't predictable. Looking back at my reading experience, I'm a little surprised that I didn't see the plot twist. There were a few times when I wanted to DNF Neptune's Tears, but I was very interested in seeing what David's big secret was, so that kept me reading until the end.
What didn't work out for me:
- The pacing was entirely too fast. There were times when I long stretches of time had passed by, but I didn't realize it because the story moved at such a rapid pace. This caused the most issues with the romance. One minute Zee and David are meeting and the next they are falling in love. At first, I thought it was insta-love and I HATE insta-love 99% of the time, but then I realized a few months had gone by later. I felt like the book could have used better transitioning and been smoothed out more in that department. Also because the pacing was so fast, there were pages where it should have been interesting but weren't because the scene felt like it was stuck on a weird Fast Forward type setting. It was like I was skim reading a book without skimming. That, in turn, led to boredom.
- The world building wasn't very complex. This is a personal preference, but in order for me to be fully sucked into a world, I need a lot more details. Neptune's Tears gives the reader the basics, but I don't feel it fully tapped into its potential. I would have liked more info on what it meant for Zee to be an Empath. How did this skill emerge in the future world? (Speaking of the future world, I would have like more info on that in general.) If falling in love was so discouraged if a person was an Empath because it negatively affected their job, why was Zee and David's relationship seemingly the exception? There was so much that was left unsaid and the author generally stuck to things that only pertained to Zee. And that would probably be fine for some readers, but I require a little more.
- I couldn't relate to the characters. I'm not sure what it was, but these characters did nothing for me. I think this might go hand in hand with things not being as fleshed out as I usually prefer, the characters included. Everything was strictly on a need to know basis as it pertained directly to the story and plot with very little wiggle room. I never really felt I got a good sense on who Zee was as a person. What were her likes besides her job and David? What did she like to do for fun? For me, there was no real substance. There were simply these characters and they live in this world and, oh hey, here is the plot. Bam, wham, thank you, Sam.
The bottom line? I really believe this novel could have used an extra 100-150 more pages and if things had been more detailed, I could have really loved this one. That being said, I do think Neptune's Tears would be perfect for reluctant readers. It's short, has a decent plot and not overly complex.
Usually I don't like reading novellas. I find that I have a harder time connecting with the characters with such few pages. So Actual rating: 3.5 stars
Usually I don't like reading novellas. I find that I have a harder time connecting with the characters with such few pages. So I was surprised that by the time I read the last page of Shadows I found myself missing Dawson and Bethany. Perhaps it's because I devoured Shadows right after completing Obsidian. I'm not sure. Or maybe it's because despite Dawson and Bethany's absence thus far in the series, I can still feel that they play a much bigger role than perviously realized. Whatever the case, I found this novella to be entirely bittersweet.
If there is one thing that I take away from reading Shadows it's the reasons behind Daemon's interactions with Katy in Obsidian. Don't get me wrong. That doesn't make his actions okay in any shape or form. But it does give the reader better insight. Basically, it's nice to know Daemon wasn't just being a complete jackass just for the hell of it (though, I do think he enjoyed tormenting Katy at times and she him). What's interesting was seeing the almost the exact same events that happened with Daemon also happening with Dawson; something Daemon tried very hard to prevent.
Going into the novella, I already knew the general story behind what happened to Dawson and Bethany since it's referenced a bit in Obsidian, but to actually see it play out was a different story. Dawson is the kinder twin of the Black family, so it was relatively easy to grow attached to him and root for his determination at staying with Bethany despite the obstacles in their relationship. Unfortunately, I didn't have the same feelings for Bethany as I did Katy. She wasn't a bad character and I didn't dislike her, but I don't feel I got a good feel for her. I think it's because most of the events were focused around Dawson than Bethany. And not to mention I was still riding my "Katy high" when I dived right into Shadows. I did like Dawson and Bethany together. And I usually don't like "love at first sight" stories, but there wasn't any insta-love to be found, just instant attraction that later turned into something more, which is perfectly realistic.
If fans are looking for a more action packed story, this one probably isn't it since it does focus mostly on Dawson and Bethany's first meeting to their getting-to-know-you's and dates. It's a much slower paced book than its processor and less witty. I thought that was appropriate considering the novella carried a certain level of foreboding from the first page that demanded seriousness. All throughout the novel you are watching them go through the motions, attempting the impossible, all the while heading for the inevitable. I wanted to reach out and tell Dawson to not go to that movie theatre that night, but alas, the book was already written. *sigh*
All in all, this was a very good novella and I will definitely be continuing with the rest of the series....more
I have a confession to make. I actually bought this book without reading any reviews. That is highly unusual for me because I rarely buy any books (I' I have a confession to make. I actually bought this book without reading any reviews. That is highly unusual for me because I rarely buy any books (I'm a library girl through and through) and when I do, it's under two circumstances: 1) I've read it before, loved it and would read it again or 2) It comes with the highest recommendations from my most trusted reviewing friends. Chopsticks is a bit of an enigma for me because out of all the books to choose from at Books-A-Million, I chose it simply because of its first impression. I was just about to leave out the door, unable to decide on which book to invest in or which one to waste my money on, when this huge "photo novel" with the weird title caught my eye, sitting on the end of a top shelf. One glance through the book and I knew it was for me: The entire story is told in photos of everyday things. It amazed me in five seconds, so I bought it.
When you first look at the cover, what do you think it's going to be about? Well, for me I thought it was going to be your usual girl meets boy, yada, yada, yada. But Chopsticks is so much more than that. You see, depending on how you interpret the novel, it could actually tell two different stories. It could tell the simple contemporary story of sixteen-year-old Gloria "Glory" Fleming, a piano prodigy, who falls in love with Francisco Mendoza, a boy who becomes her escape from her stressful life. Sounds fluffy, right? Well, it can also tell the deep and dark story of a lonely, broken, child star pushed so hard to perform to perfection that she slowly loses her mind, causing you to question everything you see in the book or thought you saw. Do I have your attention yet?
Chopsticks is simply brilliant. The amount of time and skill it took to arrange the photos to tell this mind-bending story is commendable. The phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words" definitely fits the bill here because there are hardly any narrative text in the book, yet I felt a very strong connection to the characters. This book really doesn't need the extra words. Instead, the reader must follow the pictures of Francisco's drawings, Glory's concert programs, family photos, letters and images of household belongings. Chopsticks is very intimate in that way because it feels like you've been peeping into someone else's life for eighteen months in only 272 pages. It's the kind of book that you could zip through in thirty minutes, but by the ending it'll make you go back and re-read it more slowly. It's that easy to miss something.
I went out on a limb and purchased Chopsticks and I'm so happy I did. It took me on what I thought would be a simple fun read to an involved story that I couldn't stop thinking about after I finished. I know I could read again and still have a healthy appreciation for the complexity of the story. So, if you are a visual person like myself and you're looking for something totally different from your usual fair, Chopsticks may be the book you've been looking for....more
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.
Reading this book to my kids brought back found memories of my mother reading If You Give a Mouse a Cookie to my brother and I. She'd read it to us ov Reading this book to my kids brought back found memories of my mother reading If You Give a Mouse a Cookie to my brother and I. She'd read it to us over and over, as many times as we asked. We loved that book just as much as my kids enjoyed this. I'll definitely be buying this one soon. ...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.
My daughter and I really enjoyed this one. The illustrations were beautiful and eye catching. It's very different from the illustrations I'm used to s My daughter and I really enjoyed this one. The illustrations were beautiful and eye catching. It's very different from the illustrations I'm used to seeing in children's books because the technique used gives the pictures great depth making them very vivid. One thing I noticed from the start was that the family featured in the story was multi-racial. That was pretty cool. This is yet another must buy for the kids' library. ...more