This one didn't do it for me. I am SO disappointed to say that because I really like this series. I loved The Luxe books, but the second book in the BThis one didn't do it for me. I am SO disappointed to say that because I really like this series. I loved The Luxe books, but the second book in the Bright Young Things series falls flat. Now, don't get me wrong. It's still a good book; it just wasn't my favorite.
With the first book in the series I got all moony-eyed right along with Cordelia over Thom Hale. The ending of that book left me emotionally charged and dying to know what was going to happen. With all of the anticipation I had for this book, I'm a little disappointed with how things turned out. I'm not a fan of Max Darby. At all. He annoys me. Granted by the end of the book I felt a little better about him, but that doesn't change the fact I had to suffer through 1/3 of the book with him in my way. Plus, I just know he's going to end up being a bigger jerk than Thom. I just know it. That does not make me happy.
Then there were the subplots. I love how this story is told through alternating points of view. Well, actually, it's still written in a 3rd person point of view more or less, but the focus alternates on the different girls. I like that. I think it's really well written for such a hard task. The story moves along well enough, except that it dragged in parts. I didn't find myself enraptured in the girls' stories like before. I felt like the purpose of this book was to move the overall (and unknown) plot along. I'm sure the remaining books are going to be HUGE! Letty and Astrid came off as whiny and needy, which bothered me. Cordelia seemed so detached that I didn't care for that either. I really have mixed feelings on this one. My favorite parts dealt with Grady, but I am not at all happy about that outcome.
All of the elements of Anna Godbersen's writing that I adore are evident. It reads like a tabloid article from the 1920s. Her use of descriptive language is great as always. At times, I felt like I was in the story-- like an observer in the spectacles. But other times I read felt like a reader. If you liked the first book, you need to read this one. It serves as a foundational piece to the remainder of the story that is to come. But honestly, I would just read reviews and summaries to find out what happened. Unless you get a copy for free and want something to do. ...more
I'm sorry. I could NOT finish this book. I got stopped at page 58 and couldn't muster the energy to move beyond. It was too annoying. The whiny 13 yeaI'm sorry. I could NOT finish this book. I got stopped at page 58 and couldn't muster the energy to move beyond. It was too annoying. The whiny 13 year old narrator grated my nerves. I never found the humor that everyone kept speaking of. Maybe it was on page 59? All the same, the first 40 pages kept repeating the same information, and I just couldn't handle the thought of the remaining 400 pages doing the same.
Sadly, I had to book this book down. I don't know when (or if) I'll pick it up again to finish. If anyone has read it, I would love to know if it gets better. I would consider giving it another try. ...more
If you had the power to heal, what would you do? Ada is faced with the dilemma in Ada: Legend of a Healer by R.A. McDonald. Growing up in multiple fosIf you had the power to heal, what would you do? Ada is faced with the dilemma in Ada: Legend of a Healer by R.A. McDonald. Growing up in multiple foster homes with people who didn’t understand her or took advantage of her has made Ada somewhat rough around the edges. She has never met her mother or any other living relative. When she exhausts her welcome with her current foster family, Ada’s aunt Jessie comes to the rescue. It’s an odd match, but Ada is thankful for the escape from the foster system.
She quickly learns, however, that Jessie’s life is nothing like what she expected. Living with Jessie means no permanent address, no phone, and no chance of a normal life. Instead, she finds that they are constantly followed and hunted by the deranged Senator Grimes. When she asks Jessie why people are constantly trying to capture them, she learns that Jessie has a unique power. Jessie can heal any sickness with a simple touch. As shocking as this is, it is even more surprising for Ada to learn that she has the power too.
After several narrow escapes and suspenseful chase scenes, Ada arrives in Paris, France looking for her mother, Simone. While in Paris, Ada befriends Madame Jardin. Suddenly, Ada realizes that she wants to heal Madame Jardin’s illness—not because someone is making her, but because she truly wants to do it. With that act, Ada realizes that she does have the power to change someone’s life. Although her time with Madame Jardin is important, meeting Daniel and Uncle Henri end up being the most important events in Ada’s life. With Daniel and his Parkour running group Ada finds true friendship and a sense of belonging. Together, Ada and Daniel set out to find Ada’s mother. Unfortunately, when they find her she is nothing that Ada thought she would be.
If you enjoy fast paced plots, this book certainly has one. There are plenty of chase scenes and narrow escapes to appease the adventure lover. Throughout the book there seems to be an element of subterfuge that never goes away. While the plot is fast paced, it does tend to leave you hanging at the end. Of course, this is because Ada’s story is just beginning. There is an open door for the second installment in this series.
Part of the plot’s lure is the unexpected characters. I wasn’t exactly sure what I expected to find in Ada’s mother—after all the woman abandoned her daughter from birth—but I was certainly surprised. Simone is not at all the loving, warm mother-figure you might expect. I’m not even sure if she was thankful for being rescued. I got the feeling that she has an extreme sense of entitlement, which really makes me dislike her. Adding in her character makes the plot all that more juicy. After all, life is not full of happy endings, so it seems fitting that finding her mother was not Ada’s happy ending.
Not all of the characters are worthy of loathing. In fact, the majority are very enjoyable. Ada is a sardonic teenager. She does not hesitate to lash out with her bitter tongue if the mood strikes her to do so. I personally found her witty and a lot like the teenagers I work with, at least with her attitude towards others. Ada grows as a person during the course of the novel. In the beginning she is untrusting and cold towards most people, but by the end she is defending others and has a sense of connection to Uncle Henri and Daniel and his friends. I enjoyed that she didn’t stay stagnant. Additionally, there is an element of romance between Ada and Daniel (nothing more than a kiss occurs, however). You can feel the tension building between the two, but I don’t feel like it ever went anywhere. It seems that from the beginning Daniel is drawn to Ada—and vice versa—but I never fully understood why. Overall, though, it was a believable match and what seemed like a lack of foundation didn’t bother me. ...more
I must say that it has been a long time since I’ve read a paranormal romance novel that I actually enjoyed as much as the Twilight series. Even if youI must say that it has been a long time since I’ve read a paranormal romance novel that I actually enjoyed as much as the Twilight series. Even if you’re not a fan of the Twilight books, you would still like this book. It’s very fresh and original. The concept of guardian angels falling in love with humans seems to be a little over played at the moment, but that didn’t affect my enjoyment any. The chemistry between Vincent and Kate was so believable that their story sucked me in. I was completely captivated.
Te characters in this book are awesome! I loved, loved, loved the fact that Kate was intelligent and strong. Even though she was devastated by her parents’ death, she held on to life. Of course, for a while there wasn’t much to her life, but she overcame that. Kate loves to read (already a plus in my book for lovable characters) and she loves fine art. She is described as an “old soul,” which I find to be the perfect description for her. It seems like the majority of the heroines in romance-type novels seem a little weak or too dependent on a male for security and strength. This was certainly not the case with Kate! She was a fantastic strong, female protagonist.
I also adored Vincent. His description just makes him seem delicious. Dark hair, blue eyes… sigh. His attraction to Kate was simply steamy, yet it managed to stay clean. I do love a boy with virtues in YA novels. The other characters were also enjoyable. Georgia, Kate’s sister, came off as flippant and irritating most of the time. I’m pretty sure that’s how a typical self-absorbed teenage usually acts, so it worked. Jules and Ambrose were nice sidekick types. Both were standoffish in the beginning, but they ended up having a nice supporting role by the end of the book. But my favorite minor characters have to be Kate’s grandparents. They just seemed charming. I loved how “progressive” the grandmother tried to be, but at the same time they were old fashioned. They seemed eloquent, sophisticated and completely in love with one another. I loved their relationship. It gave me tingly feelings like a Hallmark commercial.
Every good book would not be complete without a character or two that you loathe. There were several that I could pick, but I have to express my frustration over Charles. I wanted to punch the little brat. It’s a good day when a book can evoke that much emotion from me to make me envision choking and punching a character. That is certainly how I felt with Charles. Such.a.punk.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to the paranormal romance lovers out there. It’s clean—no X rated material. The characters are well written and well developed. The plot is fast paced enough to keep you reading. (I managed to finish this book in one reading.) The concept was somewhat original, but I am getting tired of angels and demons, vampires, and werewolves. I guess it can’t be escaped in the genre. If you liked Twilight, you should love this book. The connection between Kate and Vincent is every bit as strong as Bella and Edward’s pull on one another. Plus, Kate doesn’t come across as a whiny, irritating, self-pitying baby like Bella did in New Moon. (Her constant pining away for Edward almost drove me away from the series.) This book will be a series, so I am anxious to see what happens with Vincent and Kate. I’m pretty sure the troubles they will face together are just beginning. ...more
Kate Winters has spent the last four years of her life taking care of her sick mother. Now, her mother has decided she wants to return to her home ofKate Winters has spent the last four years of her life taking care of her sick mother. Now, her mother has decided she wants to return to her home of Eden, Michigan for one last time before she dies. Kate isn’t thrilled with the idea of moving from New York City to a small town in the middle of rural Michigan, but she would do anything to make her mother happy. As soon as they arrive, however, things get complicated. Kate has to start her senior year over as a new student, to make matters worse, she clumsily bumps into the super jock boyfriend of Ava—the school’s most popular girl and cheerleading captain. Needless to say, it is not an instant friendship. Ava is not thrilled with Kate’s presence (and the attention she seems to be drawing from their school mates), but she shouldn’t worry. Kate is not interested in anything or anyone, except taking care of her mother. When Ava invites Kate to a bonfire in the woods, she reluctantly agrees to join her. Once they arrive at the party, however, Kate realizes that it was a set up. Ava brought her to the woods—alone—to torment her. When Ava dives headfirst into the river, Kate is left standing on the bank fuming with anger. She is stranded in the woods at night with no way home. Pulled from the middle of her thoughts, Kate realizes Ava has been knocked unconscious… or so she thinks. Faced with the choice to face her terrifying fear of water in order to save Ava or to let her drown, Kate finds herself rushing into the freezing water and pulling Ava to safety. Only, Ava isn’t unconscious. She is dead. Desperate to save Ava, Kate hastily makes a deal with the mysterious (and gorgeous) Henry. In return for saving Ava, he requires Kate to live with him during the winter. At first she refuses, but she eventually finds herself living at the elaborate Eden Manor. Thinking that Henry is a complete lunatic (he claims to be the god of the dead, after all), she plays along with her role in the deal. While living at the Manor, Kate has to face several tests that will determine if she is worthy of becoming the queen of the dead and an immortal. If she fails, she returns to her previous life with no memory of her stay at the Manor, and Henry dies. If you haven’t figured it out yet, this book is a modern retelling of the story of Persephone. I just adore Greek mythology (ok, all mythology) and this book did not disappoint me. Too often I find retellings strained and disappointingly unoriginal. However, this book was great. The plot had plenty of similarities to the myth that we all know, which satisfied me. But it also added several original elements that I think enhanced the storyline. I loved that Kate was a strong-willed, kick butt female type. I also thought showing Henry as a compassionate and caring form of Hades was a nice touch. The characters were so well developed that I found myself tearing up a few times during the touchy mother-daughter scenes between Kate and her mother. At the same time, I found myself so completely irritated with some of the characters that I felt like I could strangle them with my bare hands if they magically manifested in my presence. It takes a very talented writer to take a reader through such a broad spectrum of emotions in one novel. As far as the plot is concerned, it is certainly a quick, easy read. I found it hard to put down. There were several twists in the story that I didn’t expect. I had my suspicions at times, but the story kept me guessing until the end. I did figure out the role of James long before Henry confirmed it, but that’s ok. There was a pretty heavy hint that made it pretty hard to ignore. I mean, Henry said, “You’ll see.” You had to know something was coming. I’m disappointed that this book doesn’t hit the shelves until April of this year. That means I have to wait until 2012 to read the next book! I love how the story ends at the perfect place for a continuation. The dynamics between the characters is so well thought out that there seems to be an endless possibility for what might happen. I am anxious to see how Kate and Henry fare during the following winter, and to see if the friendship between James and Kate recovers. I would certainly recommend reading this book if you like mythology retellings. I read an e-galley from NetGalley, but I’ve already pre-ordered my paper copy for the bookshelf. This book is worth having in paper form. ...more
Brigitta and her younger sister, Himalette, are the only two faeries in their entire village of White Forest that have not been affected by a mysterioBrigitta and her younger sister, Himalette, are the only two faeries in their entire village of White Forest that have not been affected by a mysterious curse. During the preparations for the annual festival, every living being in the White Forest is turned to stone. Brigitta suddenly finds herself faced with a great challenge. She doesn’t know how to reverse the curse—or where to go for help—but she knows she must do something before the magical protection around her village is destroyed. With a great responsibility weighing on them, Brigitta and Himalette start their journey to Dead Mountain, where they hope to find help from the banished faerie, Hrathgar.
Along the way to Dead Mountain, Briggita and her sister encounter many dangers and make new friends. Together, Brigitta, Himalette, and Minq (a character that seems to resemble Jar Jar Binx from StarWars) head off to Dead Mountain. When they get there, they meet Hrathgar. Brigitta and Himalette are mesmerized by her kindness and can’t seem to understand why she has always been described as evil in the stories of faerie lore. Minq is not so easily impressed by Hrathgar’s innocent appearance. Through several twists and turns of events, the young faeries quickly learn that everything is not what it appears to be. Hrathgar is actually two separate people! Hrathgar Good (the faerie they first meet) and Hrathgar Evil (the faerie from the stories) are split personalities that share the curse from ancient times. Brigitta and her friends find themselves faced with an even more difficult challenge: they have to end the curse on their village and defeat Hrathgar Evil. But they aren’t sure if they are capable of destroying such a powerful faerie all by themselves.
I must start off saying that this book was great! Overall, it’s a great story about discovering your destiny and courage. Brigitta is brave, even though she doesn’t realize it. She’s determined to make things right in her village, so she sets off on what seems to be an impossible task. After everything is resolved, she is shocked to find that her destiny markings have finally revealed themselves. While she’s trying to understand the great change that she will face, she has a pretty deep conversation with Ondelle, the High Priestess of the faeries, about destiny. Ondelle shares some words of wisdom with Brigitta when she tells her “to allow all destinies to unfold as they should.” Brigitta tries to let this set in, but it’s still a hard concept for such a young faerie.
If you look at the book from a literary stand point--which I would be inclined to do with my students-- you can see several similarities to the classic struggles of good against evil in literature. There are evil villains with dubious plots and young heroes that have to discover their inner strengths and final destinies. Young Brigitta begins the story as a faerie that doesn’t fit in or understand her place in the faerie society. By the end of the book, she has an idea of what her future holds, even though she doesn’t think she can fulfill the high expectations. I couldn’t help but think of The Lord of the Rings as I read through this book, which isn’t a bad thing, considering I liked those books as well.
The plot is fast paced and starts quickly. You are sucked in to the story within the first two chapters. I was very thankful that it did not take long to develop the plot, and that the plot moved quickly throughout the book. The names were highly original, but I also found them a mouth full. If I had to read this book aloud, I might have some difficulty pronouncing all the names and places. Of course, that is a minor detail that doesn’t interfere with the story at all. My favorite aspect of the entire book is the great detail that went into describing the setting and characters. The touchy relationship between Brigitta and Himalette was very believable. I could picture the looks of irritation on Brigitta’s face as her younger sister sang her invented nonsense songs. The characters were very well developed and enjoyable, and I enjoyed them all.
I would say that this book is intended for the younger readers (10-12 year olds) that enjoy E.D. Baker’s books. It might seem a bit childish for the traditional YA reader. Brigitta is just reaching the point of “The Change,” so she isn’t as mature (in some aspects) as some of the more well known characters in YA literature. Brigitta of the White Forest is a clean, fast paced adventure that I would certainly recommend to any reader that enjoys stories about faeries and a good light-hearted read. ...more
Sadie has spent the three years since her mother’s death moving from one foster home to another. She is labeled crazy by her peers and the adults in her community because she refuses to believe her mother is truly dead. After all, there was no body found at the scene of the car accident and one never showed up afterwards. But for Sadie, believing that her mother is alive somewhere isn’t enough. She wants a normal life, and she can’t have “normal” when her mother is missing.
As if her life isn’t complicated enough, Sadie learns she has magical powers on the night of her thirteenth birthday. When she finds herself riding to safety on the back of a centaur, Sadie realizes that “normal” is no longer an option for her life. Now she is faced with the daunting task of saving both the human and magical realms, learning how to use her new powers, and finding her place in the world.
I really liked Sadie in this book. She was a charming girl that struggled with issues that most young adults have: she was too trusting, too hard on herself, etc. Sadie was way too trusting. If she were real, I would have slapped her at least twice during the book. However, she is just like most twelve and thirteen year olds I know, which makes her a believable character (magical abilities aside). I think her doubting nature makes her more believable because she is not full of confidence. (Who is full of confidence at thirteen?) I also liked the addition of the ornery gnomes as Sadie’s companions throughout her adventure. They were a pleasant, humorous addition to the story.
I have mixed feelings about the plot of this book. If I were twelve or thirteen, I would probably be okay with the pacing. However, as an adult I felt it lagged at times. It took me forever to read this book, which is uncommon for me. I had a hard time getting into it. On a positive note, however, the detail given to building the characters and setting were phenomenal. I could picture the scenes I read in my mind with vivid detail—even the disgusting details of exploding trolls dripping with snot that smelled of rotten eggs. The amount of detail that went into building the characters and setting really ended up being a saving grace. I felt like I was so invested in the characters that I needed to finish the book to see what would happen. There were several plot twists that were surprising, which I enjoyed discovering as I read. The ending left the book open for another book in a possible new series. So, I’m fairly certain we will see more of Sadie.
Overall, this was a decent read. It’s a little different from the books I typically read, but I enjoyed it all the same. I would say that Any Witch Way is geared towards the tween set more than a typical YA reader. I’m sure my students would enjoy reading this, and I wouldn’t mind offering it to them. It was a clean, well-written piece of fiction. ...more
This book gets an A+ for originality. The whole idea of only teenagers being able to have children and the effects on society is thought provoking. IThis book gets an A+ for originality. The whole idea of only teenagers being able to have children and the effects on society is thought provoking. I looked forward to reading this book. The whole idea behind it seemed fabulous. Unfortunately, I was really disappointed. My poor balloon of anticipation was deflated soon after starting the book.
I hate focusing on negatives in books. I think every piece of literature has at least positive aspect. As I already said, originality is a plus for this book. I also really like the characters Zen and Melody. They were a nice pairing. Zen didn't fit into any of the norms for the new society, which made him instantly likeable. He had a wonderful charismatic personality and a "screw it" attitude. Melody was conflicted. She was destined to be a surrogate, but the idea never set well with her. I liked her whole transformation from follower to leader. If the book only focused on these two characters, I would have loved it. They made the book.
Unfortunately, there were other characters. Harmony, Melody's long lost identical twin, and Johndoe. I could not stand Harmony's character. I thought she was a scheming, double crossing, "godfreaky" witch. I know that's not the way I was supposed to feel about her, but I couldn't help it. The moment she saw Johndoe's image and realized that he was supposed to be the other half of the surrogate for Melody, she decided to counterfeit Melody's identity to try to "convert" the gorgeous piece of man meat. What a load of crap. There was no intentions of conversion. Let's call it like it is-- she was a lusty hooch. Honestly. Bah! Needless to say the entire concept behind Harmony ticked me off. With each page that focused on her I became more irritated. I didn't even want to read her chapters! But I knew I had to in order to know what was going on. Then there was Johndoe. He was flat and boring. So disappointed.
The other thing that irked me about this book was the over the top stereotypes. I know with satires (which this book falls into that category) you tend to magnify the stereotypes, but this book fell flat. I think that Mel's part in the book was well thought out. Again, I really liked her character. She was conflicted and more believable. But Harmony's role fell short. Am I really supposed to believe that she justified cheating on her husband (who may or may not be gay-- WTH?!) because she thought she was doing God's work by sleeping with Johndoe and furthering the population. That just made my blood boil. She was so easily swayed.
And then there was the ending! What a mess. It was so rushed and ill-suited to the whole book. Harmony instantly knows she pregnant and realizes she made a mistake by sleeping (several times) with Johndoe. So she goes back to her husband, Ram, and they decide to return to their commune and raise the child as their own in outcast mode? Lame. Oh, and then Johndoe miraculously shows up on Mel's doorstep looking for Harmony because he loves her, but he's too late. So together, he and Mel, set off to find Harmony. At least that's what you're supposed to assume since it never shows what decision Mel and Johndoe reach.
I know a lot of people liked this book. I just wasn't one of them. It bothered me on so many levels. If it only focused on Zen and Mel, it would be awesome. If I had a do-over, I wouldn't bother reading this one. ...more
The synopsis from the back cover does NOTHING for this book. It sounds good, but it doesn't even begin to hint on all of the complex and completely awThe synopsis from the back cover does NOTHING for this book. It sounds good, but it doesn't even begin to hint on all of the complex and completely awesome elements found in The Door to Canellin.
To begin with, there were multiple plots intricately woven together. It was amazing to read the same story told from several characters points of view AND still be able to find the depth in each individual character. All of the plots eventually merged into the same story, which heightened the climax of the story.
Most books that I have read lately have followed a traditional plot line. Rising action, climax, falling action and resolution-- just like the books in your high school literature class. All of the elements were in this book (obviously), but it was a constant up and down, which kept me turning the pages. Just when I thought that some major catastrophic event was about to occur, the story would switch to a new character--or take a completely unexpected turn-- and start to build the tension anew. It was knuckle-biting suspense all the way through.
I'm a huge fantasy fan; I can't even pretend like I'm not. With that being said, it's no surprise that I was drawn to the magical/fantasy elements in this book. What fantasy fan can resist a maniacal dragon, wizards, and double crossing dragon warriors? Not to mention our Black Knight worthy of Arthurian legend (definitely some similarities there) and the lovable and honorable thief, Elarie. Oh, and there is Jiane-- a completely rockin' swordsWOMAN that can best the top blademasters.
As I said, I liked how everything tied together. The complex story was well thought out and orchestrated. The details certainly make this story! The ending is complete, but also sets the stage for future novels. Plus, the underlying theme of father and son relationship building was great. It didn't seem over the top or forced. It was believable, and a great coming of age story. ...more
At first, I didn't really like this book. I was on page 170 or so and didn't feel any "magic" so to speak of. But then, WHAM! It all made sense. OrigiAt first, I didn't really like this book. I was on page 170 or so and didn't feel any "magic" so to speak of. But then, WHAM! It all made sense. Originally, I was told this book was about something totally different than I what I anticipated. (I can't help but wonder if the book's rep actually read this one or not.) I had built up this image of some hilarious fairy godmother misadventure in my mind, only to be disappointed when I realized this wasn't what the book was about. Yes, there is a f.g. element to the book. And yes, Delaney's shenanigans qualify as misadventures, but there is much more to the story.
On a deeper level, this is a very nice story of dysfunctional families and coming to terms with change. Delaney's mom died from a sudden illness, which leaves her with her father (whom she hasn't seen in many years). I think it goes without saying that there was a level of hostility felt by Delaney for a good portion of the book. Then, suddenly, the ice starts melting. I can't say exactly what element makes the melt down begin, but it's a subtle change. When I realized that change was key to the whole book, it made more sense to me. I started appreciating the deeper, larger story. The magic element was tiny and, honestly, could have been left out. I get the idea of a f.g and all, but the major point being made was the kind of stuff you find in self-help books. (Ironically enough, Delaney's dad writes self-help books. Go figure.)
As far as characters go, Delaney and Flynn are likable characters. Delaney has major sarcasm issues (and I love it). She was so sarcastic at times that it was hard for me not to laugh at loud. I could totally hear myself speaking her words. Flynn, well he's a nice guy. He's not as dreamy as some of the fellas I've read about, but he's more believable. No super hero strength or Greek god looks. Just an average Joe with a great sense of humor. Loved him. The two seem like complete opposites (did I mention that Delaney is a goth girl?), but the subtle move from I'll-stab-your-eyes-out-if-you-try-to-talk-to-me to I-can-tolerate-you-if-I-have-to to actually becoming friends (or maybe more) was a slow, believable process. I loved the ups and downs that lead them to a "happily ever after" kind of ending.
There weren't really any big surprises with the characters. You can see where everything is headed pretty early on, but it's okay. The story is well layered, so I could appreciate it for more than what the surface story was all about. Or, maybe I was reading too much into it? I dunno. If you're looking for a happy go lucky, all out fairy wand and glittery dust kind of story, don't bother with this one. You'll be disappointed. If you want a story about acceptance and surprise love, then you'll enjoy Kathy McCullough's Don't Expect Magic. ...more
If Hans Christian Andersen were still alive, this is a story he would write. I loved the world create by Jaclyn Dolamore in Between the Sea and Sky. EIf Hans Christian Andersen were still alive, this is a story he would write. I loved the world create by Jaclyn Dolamore in Between the Sea and Sky. Esmerine, a mermaid who befriends a "winged boy", is a little different from all the other mermaids. She has learned how to read and write; a thing most mermaids find impractical. She has also learned how to transform into a human and walk on land. Alander-- the "winged boy"-- is a Fandarsee. Like Esmerine, he is also different from the others of his kind. Instead of being content as a messenger, he enjoys reading and studying philosophy.
When Esmerine's sister (Dosinia) goes missing, Esmerine travels to the human world to find her. She knows that her sister has been visiting with humans, and she fears that she has been captured. Once on land, Esmerine finds her old friend, Alander, and begins her search for Dosinia. But Esmerine is not just looking for her lost sister. She is also searching for her own place in the world and the bonds that unite her heart with Alander's.
One of my all-time favorite fairy tales is The Little Mermaid, even Hans Christian Andersen's tragic version. The mystery and beauty of living under the water has always enchanted me. This book did not disappoint me. I still managed to get the tingly feeling while reading about Esmerine's life under the sea. Above all that, though, I think I liked the fact that the created world was so different from any mermaid story I have ever read. In this book, mermaids and Fandarsee are a well known fact, not a hidden secret. The humans are not surprised to see the mystical creatures walking and living among them on land. In fact, merpeople, Fandarsee and humans interact daily and conduct business together. That alone is fascinating and unique.
The characters are delightful. Esmerine is different from the other merpeople. She's described as "practical" and snubbed by her peers. She has learned how to read and write from Alander, but the other sea-dwellers don't find that fascinating. How typical of people to disregard the things that they do not personally understand? Alander also deals with the same struggles on land. His father wants him to follow in the family's footsteps and become a great scientist. Alander, however, has no desire to "discover" things; instead, he wants to educate people and spread knowledge. It's no wonder that Esmerine and Alander feel like two parts of the same whole.
If I had to pick one thing that I liked the best in this book, I would have to say the descriptions. The vivid details helped bring to life the setting. When the story was taking place under water, I could picture the living quarters and imagine the class rankings (Yes, social classes under the sea!). The subtle snobbery of the "rich" merpeople was felt in every word and action. I didn't feel like the human world was described in as much detail as the ocean, but you still got a good sense of the setting. I feel like there should have been a little more detail and perception given to the human experiences since Esmerine was experiencing this land for the first time in human form.
Overall, this is a good read. It didn't take long to read--I finished in one sitting. If you like Hans Christian Andersen's version of The Little Mermaid, you will enjoy this story. There are elements that resonate in his version that continue in Dolamore's story. Between the Sea and Sky is romantic enough to earn a YA label, but clean enough for Disney. There are no graphic scenes--just a drunk and a few kisses. I enjoyed this one, but then again, it's hard to disappoint me with a mermaid story. ...more
Okay, I loved it. Plain and simple. Pearl is witty and likeable (even if she doesn't want to me). Evan and Bethany are adorable. And the book as a whoOkay, I loved it. Plain and simple. Pearl is witty and likeable (even if she doesn't want to me). Evan and Bethany are adorable. And the book as a whole is just funny. The dry, sarcastic humor from Pearl is fantastic! I loved her.
Let's talk about the characters first... Pearl. What a funny name for a vampire, right? How ironic that she would have such a symbolic name. I mean, Pearl, like the jewel that is the epitome of innocence. And don't forget about the other famous Pearl in literature (Scarlet Letter). Coincidence? I think not. Her name suits her. It captures the change that she undergoes after the unicorn attack in such a clever way. Calling her something like Elvira would never work; it doesn't show that new conscience developing in the lovely little blood sucker.
Evan is dreamy. He doesn't initially show that he likes Pearl for anything other than a friend, which is hilarious. It drives Pearl crazy. Evan comes across as a really nice, knight in shining armor sort of guy. Of course, he has one heck of a secret to share. Then there is Bethany. Perky, bubbly, almost annoying Bethany. She befriends Pearl, and it becomes an odd, but endearing, friendship. I can't forget about the would-be vampire hunters (who stink at it) Zeke and Matt. They are a riot. I'm pretty sure there might be a collective IQ of about 80 with these two. The two of them offered great comic relief.
Pearl's family dynamic is interesting. She has one uncle that wants to kill her, one that isn't right in the head, and one that only speaks in quotes from Shakespeare. Add that to a mother that is cold and calculating, a cousin Antoinette that seems a lot like the awful historical figure, and another cousin, Charlaine, that hates her. As if it was Pearl's fault she walked into the sunlight and set herself on fire? Vampires can hold such grudges! I would be seeking refuge at high school too if I lived with this family!
This was a fun read that I enjoyed immensely. It was such an original story, and very refreshing. On a deeper level, though, it's more than just a fun read. There is actually a lot of stuff going on. I already mentioned the importance of Pearl's name. The effects of the transformation are huge as well: Pearl develops a conscience, makes friends, and actually enjoys being in the sun. Those are not normal vampire qualities. Pearl's transformation make it a story of self discovery and change. After all, at some point in the story Pearl is quoting Kafka's Metamorphosis. Again, not coincidence. I wouldn't be doing to book justice if I didn't mention the irony throughout this book! There were puns galore, and Pearl always pointed out the examples of irony in the various situations she found herself in. I personally LOVE a story that is full of irony. Drink, Slay, Love was perfect! The level of the puns and irony were brilliant, and very well executed. They weren't forced and puny. It was good stuff.
I feel like this one is a must read. Plain and simple. I'm not much of a blood and guts kind of reader, so this book didn't gross me out too much. There was minimal blood suckage. It was just funny and delightful. I will be buying this one when it comes out. I actually hope there will be another book featuring Pearl and Evan. I enjoyed them so much! ...more
I had no idea what to expect when I started this book. I don't typically like books that tend to be heavy. I like my booksBEAUTIFUL. Simply beautiful.
I had no idea what to expect when I started this book. I don't typically like books that tend to be heavy. I like my books light and fluffy. Afterall, they are my escape. The synopsis does a pretty good job of summarizing the book, but it doesn't tell you how beautiful the writing is. (sigh)
I loved Cam and Asher. I loved Nana and Pery. All of the characters were great and did such a great job of complimenting one another. Nana is hilarious. I found it hilarious that she got Cam to steal a leaf off a sacred tree that had "healing powers," but she ran off in the middle of the heist because she saw her arch nemesis. So funny. Pery is your typical teeny bopper. She's playful and innocent, but also incomplete.
Cam and Asher were mesmerizing. Cam was sarcastic and real. You could feel her fear and insecurity. I totally understood why she was trying to protect herself (her heart). And I LOVED how she changed throughout the book. It was so heartwarming. Asher is a little different. He's not dying like Cam is, but he is guarded. He has a fear of loss, so it's hard for him to leave Promise. He feels like if he leaves his mystical home, everything will come crashing down on him. All of these characters were flawed and real. More real than I could have imagined. Their imperfections were captivating.
The plot is pretty straight forward in this book. Cam is dying. In a final effort to find a saving miracle, her mother packs the entire family up and goes to the mystical Promise, Maine because she has heard magical things happen there. Cam is skeptical and guarded at first. She's an odd one (she asked to adopt a lobster from a local sea food restaurant) and doesn't want to get attached to anyone or anything because she knows she won't be around much longer. Somehow, though, things start to change. She slowly decides that maybe pretending to believe in miracles will help her family. There are some hilarious antics with Cam's forced miracles. My favorite being when she kidnapped the vet's donkey, James Madison, and doused him in flour and duct taped an aluminum foil horn to his head in order to fake a unicorn sighting for her younger sister. So. Funny. Of course, that event didn't turn out the way she wanted (like most things in her life), but it proved to be monumental. It was almost like it was the catalyst for her change of heart. And what a change it was.
There are no magical healings in the book. Cam does not overcome her sickness. It was very tragic and so real. I cried while reading the final 40+ pages. I didn't cry out of sadness though. The writing was so beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes. But most importantly, the transformation that Cam-- as a person-- had undergone was what was so amazing. I expected to be so overwhelmed with grief at her passing, but I wasn't. Instead, there was an unbelievable sense of completeness and closure. I can't put into words how the end of the book moved me. The emotions that I felt while reading are too much for simple words. But I can honestly say, it was one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.
I know there is a lot of discussion about YA books being "too dark." I would counter that argument with this book. Yes, the material is very sad and heavy, but it's not dark. It's a beautiful story of hope and change. Yes, the main character dies in the end, but it's not a sad ending. It gives hope and closure to a part of life that seems to be avoided because it brings so much grief. This is a must read. Plain and simple. You owe it to yourself to read this book, and experience the beauty of this story....more
If you enjoy a good pirate story, you will certainly enjoy Born of Tyranny. While the majority of the story takes place on the high seas, there are inIf you enjoy a good pirate story, you will certainly enjoy Born of Tyranny. While the majority of the story takes place on the high seas, there are instances of flashback that give great insights into the younger lives of the characters. At the center of the plot, this story shows how life’s choices can lead to surprising (and tragic) endings.
The characters are well written. The pirates behave as you would expect pirates to. At first I thought this was meant to be a middle grades book, but I quickly realized it’s meant more for the older reader. There are some graphic scenes that might be too gory for the younger readers (but fitting of a pirate story). There is also a small amount of sexual innuendo (this is a pirate story) that would probably fly over a younger reader’s head, but I still would still be leery of including it in my classroom library. My two favorite characters were Black Hearted and Daniel. As kids, both boys were orphans that formed a strong friendship. Through a series of tragic events in their young lives, both boys ended up on opposite ends of the law. You can imagine the conflict that unfolds between the two. Black Hearted has sworn revenge on the Royal Navy and his dearest childhood friend is now a captain in the Royal Navy.
The plot of the book is detailed. A little slow at times, it took me a while to get through the first 100 pages. I was engrossed in the story while I read it, but at the same time I didn’t feel that drive to continue reading. I tried to read the book while I was flying, but I found myself doing other things to occupy my time after twenty or so pages at a time. I think a large part of this was due to my lack of knowledge about pirates. I wanted to try something different, so I picked up this book. A true pirate fan would love this story. The novel has a sort of story-like feel to it. It doesn’t read like a history lesson; instead, it feels like I’m reading a journal from one of the characters. I enjoyed the story line. There were enough surprises that it kept the reading fresh and exciting for me. Once I realized the role of Blackbeard, I was hooked. Who doesn’t know about Blackbeard, right? Overall, it was a good pirate adventure book that I think older readers would enjoy....more