Wow, it took me a long time to finish this one since it's so long and I had family visiting for a good chunk of the time I spent reading it. All I ca Wow, it took me a long time to finish this one since it's so long and I had family visiting for a good chunk of the time I spent reading it. All I can say is that I didn't like this one as much as Divergent. Tris spends so much time bouncing from one thing to the next, one place to another, all without any direction or purpose. She finds out very early on from Marcus, Tobias' father, that he knows why Jeanine attacked the Abnegation faction at the end of the first book, but Tris doesn't get that answer at that time. She doesn't even feel it's all that significant of information to go after until the end of the book.
I just feel like it should have been much shorter and it would have been easier to get through. There are a lot of unnecessary scenes and lengthy descriptions that could have been left out completely. It bogged down the flow of the story and made it soupy to tread through. Shouldn't this story be more action-oriented and adrenaline-pumping? It is for a few short scenes, but that's all in its entire 525 pages.
For some reason, I sometimes find the second book in some trilogies to be “the sagging middle” books, and Insurgent seems like that to me. There is a plot twist at the very end that leaves you wanting to read the third book because it promises to answer the overarching, pink-elephant-in-the-middle-of-the-room question, why are all these people living in factions in Chicago, Illinois and are completely unaware of the outside world? So, I'll likely read Book 3 just to find out, but it better be more focused, more action-oriented and less cluttered with meaningless prose so it's not such a pain to get through.
To authors: Please remember you need to write a real story even in Book 2 of your trilogies. If you can't, then save us the pain and write duologies, instead. 'Kay, thanks. ...more
Why have I taken so long to get into the Lawson Vampire books? This short story is completely dope!
First of all, the writing is superb—exactly what aWhy have I taken so long to get into the Lawson Vampire books? This short story is completely dope!
First of all, the writing is superb—exactly what a story like this needs to be written like. This is pure urban fantasy, the kind starring an adult male protagonist, and that requires a certain writing that makes you feel like you're truly inside the head of a guy who marches to the beat of his own drummer. An outlier. But, a really cool guy that is so different from everyone else that you just wanna hang out with him because his life is so dangerous and cool. Merz makes it happen.
This is exactly the kind of urban fantasy I love to read. For me, it has to star a male character who is an agent of some sort of organization (or a mercenary guy on his own). He has to have so much swagger that he creams you with it from a mile away. Here, the swagger mostly comes from the story itself and the epic writing. From what I can tell, Lawson has swagger, but I couldn't tell so much because most of the story takes place during a flashback to the 1960's when he was younger and less confident.
That part of the story sets up what happens in the present and it's just cool, for lack of a better word. The action is so in-your-face and extreme, it reads sort of like watching The Bourne Identity movie. And, even the villain is epic and truly thinks deeply like a villain. I love me an epic villain. I'm amazed all these elements are packed into such a short story that literally takes a half hour to read from beginning to end.
Needless to say, I can't wait to read my copy of the Lawson novel that follows, The Kensei. I've finally found my dream urban fantasy novel series. I hope the TV adaptation hits the airwaves soon... ...more
Plot: Anasazi is the second book in the Sense of Truth series, and it picks up about a year after the first one left off. The main character is a younPlot: Anasazi is the second book in the Sense of Truth series, and it picks up about a year after the first one left off. The main character is a young woman named Megan who never appears in the first book, but she is already a friend of David's. David is the first book's protagonist's ex-boyfriend. He texted Megan to come meet up with him in the Arizona desert, and already being keen on him, she didn't hesitate to hop on her motorcycle and head out there. But, David is nowhere to be found in the small desert town mostly inhabited by Hopi Native Americans. He had something to do with the town's big archeological dig, but she spends the novel trying to find him because someone has decided to eliminate him for his research on the dig.
Characters: Megan is an interesting girl with a troubled past who can kick-butt when needed. She's sassy and sarcastic and very stubborn about finding the missing David, even in an area she doesn't feel completely welcome in. David is a character I already like from the first book, but he's missing for most of Book 2. Still, he's the same old charming character I liked from The Thirteenth Chime. Lucas is a teenage Hopi character who ends up being the only character Megan can really trust to help her out, and I thought he was cute.
Technical Writing: I really didn't like how the first book was written, but this one shows good improvement on the technical side.
Storytelling: I think the storytelling shows continuous improvement in this installment, which I liked in the first one. I know nothing about the Hopi Nation, but this author clearly did her research. How she weaved this mystery together is a mystery to me, me being someone who just doesn't get how mystery authors do it. I'm very impressed. How she tied everything together from what was discovered at the dig site, the Rock City (which may or may not be fictional), and how the ancient Hopi could use a calendar to figure out when to plant crops so they'd grow perfectly... It was all so very expertly done.
Overall Quality: The quality of Anasazi is overall higher than The Thirteenth Chime, although I feel I might prefer the first book because I like David, and he appears in the first book a lot more. I think the mystery plot of the first book appealed to me more, as well.
Favorite Moment/Scene: When Megan finally finds David after searching for him for so long. He's in terrible shape, but he manages to help her help him because he's an EMT. Also, I was impressed with how Megan found him. She used a hawk, something straight out of Native American folklore/mythology, to locate him and I thought it was really cool, for lack of a better word.
*I received an e-copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review....more
I didn't expect to like this book so much, but I just couldn't help it. It's fabulous! Jenny, originally named Iphegenia, is a 27-year-old poor spinstI didn't expect to like this book so much, but I just couldn't help it. It's fabulous! Jenny, originally named Iphegenia, is a 27-year-old poor spinster of the gentry class who was never bred for marriage. She is content to exist to make other people, those higher in station, comfortable because she feels it enriches her own life, even if she's treated poorly and ill-used by those higher borne people. In the plot, she gets caught up in a scheme to protect a silly 17-year-old girl from marrying a young man only interested in her money, then becomes the girls unpaid companion for a few months in her home in London. Along the way, she meets Mr. Peter Teverley, a 35-year-old bachelor with some money and they spend their time having clever little spats with each other along the way.
I really like Jenny because she's mature and proactive, although she is overly self-sacrificing. But, I can hardly fault her too much, since everybody expects her to be this way. Nobody can give her much respect for being a poor spinster (stupid society). Peter Teverley is seriously hilarious and incredibly blunt. I'd love to converse with someone like him because he's just so refreshingly honest, not to mention a handsome, smart bloke.
This is a book written exactly like how Jane Austen wrote her romances, so much so, you'd think it's a 200-year-old novel. Of course, it was originally published in 1980, and I'm happy it got republished last year (2011). If you love Jane Austen, or sweet Regency romances, then how could you not adore this title? It's not overly predictable and all the characters are highly entertaining. I can't find much to dislike about this book. It's a joy to read.
My score: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
*I received a complementary copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review....more
I'll start by saying that I really liked the characters in this short novel. Emily might not be one of the most interesting ones, but her older brotheI'll start by saying that I really liked the characters in this short novel. Emily might not be one of the most interesting ones, but her older brother Sam was hilarious and breathed life into the story. I liked Aurelie and her nephew, Clifford, as they were eccentric and creepy to Emily until more was discovered about who they were.
I think this story functions really well as Middle Grade reading material and not as strictly Young Adult teen fiction. Parents could allow their young children to read this without fear of profanity, sexual situations, or violence. The protagonist is a thirteen-going-on-fourteen year old girl, and I think it's perfectly appropriate for a much younger audience, provided the younger child can read at the level of a thirteen-year-old.
I did, however, wish the scene where Emily trains as a witch, learning chants and spells, had been shown rather than quickly summed up in a few sentences. I would liked to have seen a bit of the process of her learning how to be a witch. And, it is a very quick read with a thin plot that comes to a quick resolution, although it ends right when another complication begins to develop. It feels like a cliffhanger, but the main plot does have a resolution and this new development serves to set up the beginning of the next volume that furthers Emily's overarching story goal.
I'm hoping the next installment is a bit more original, but, still, I liked the surprise twist at the end where Emily quickly glimpses someone unexpected of particular interest right before she leaves the world of Black Wood and returns home. I liked this story and would recommend it to people of all ages who like the Harry Potter series, as well as other children's adventure/fantasy fiction.
I received this title from the author in exchange for an honest review. ...more
* Plot: Things definitely happen, although, perhaps timed a little off what they should be. Blair is a high school girl whose friends have all just gr* Plot: Things definitely happen, although, perhaps timed a little off what they should be. Blair is a high school girl whose friends have all just graduated from high school, except she still has another year left. Everyone else is going through major life changes, especially when they all encounter a creature that appears to not be of this world. Her old friend Everett ends up being the most affected by this creature, and thus changes the most, and also makes some drastic changes to his future post-high school plans.
* Characters: Blair is a cute country girl from an inconsequential town in east Texas. Her brother, her grandfather, and her other male friends are so convincingly southern men—it's a hoot! I like Everett the best because he is different from everybody else, a nerd-boy who loves bugs and running into daunting situations head first without fear. He is super cute and I like that he gets to play the main hero character—not some popular jock boy. Although, he ends up going through some serious changes that left me, like Blair, a bit uncomfortable because I really liked Everett as the goofy, clumsy, silly guy.
* Writing: It's simple and effective. Nothing artful, but definitely decent. The southern YA voice was also really well done.
* Storytelling: I think the story could have benefited from starting a bit sooner. There is some back-story for a little while before anything important happens to start the plot. But, it does the job of helping us to get to know the characters. I really like the ambiance of the slow, hot, humid summer on an east Texas ranch, with cicadas whining and fireflies floating around under a blanket of twinkling stars. Very relaxing. It was easy to hear the characters speaking with their southern drawls. I love Blair's mother's rhymes as she spoke in rhymes all the time. It was quaint and sweet. “My Blair with the dark brown hair,” things like that. It seems accurate as to what I know of real people from that region, particularly mothers.
* Overall Quality: Pretty decent and very compelling in parts. I would have liked more information on the inhuman element in the story and why it was around them, why it had been hiding for several years, where it came from, who were its enemies, and how all of that tied into the death of Blair's father and brother (which had already happened prior to the story). I like when I'm more in-the-know than not, but it doesn't mean it's a flaw, as it's so common in literature these days to keep things uber mysterious. Everett was such a neat character, in my personal estimation, he made me want to keep on reading, especially to see where his relationship with Blair would go.
* Favorite Moment/Scene: When the non-human life form Blair and her friends had discovered started to emerge from its pod. I thought Everett's reaction upon seeing it was very interesting and memorable. (He kind of freaked out!) What the life form resembled was also pretty shocking.
* My Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
*I received this title as a complementary copy in exchange for my honest review....more
This is a prequel short story to the Shadow Falls novel series, starring Della Tsang, who is the roommate of the title character in the series, KylieThis is a prequel short story to the Shadow Falls novel series, starring Della Tsang, who is the roommate of the title character in the series, Kylie Galen. This is the story of how this friend was changed from a normal half-Chinese-half-Caucasian teenager into a vampire. As far as these prequels go, I thought it was pretty good. It's a decent length, and most of my Kindle file was the actual short story, not the preview for Born at Midnight.
I haven't read Born at Midnight, so reading this free prequel was meant for me to see if I liked it enough to give it a try. The characters were interesting, although I wonder how much they appear in the first novel. Della is probably in it enough, but what about her cousin, Chan? He was the other important character in this story, but I get the feeling he doesn't appear much in the novel. I have no idea what to think of Kylie because she's not even a blip on Della's radar screen at this point.
At any rate, based on this story, I can at least say that I think the first book might be worth borrowing from the library and giving it an good read-through.
My score: 3.5 out of 5 stars. (I liked it.)...more