This book is both captivating and infuriating at the same time.
The cover drew me in right away. What a gorgeous way to grab my attention! As I starte...moreThis book is both captivating and infuriating at the same time.
The cover drew me in right away. What a gorgeous way to grab my attention! As I started reading, I realized there is a good bit of mystery going on in The Winter People. It's pretty apparent that Salome is different from most kids her age. We are led to believe that it has to do with her fear of winter after a near death experience as a child, but the reader quickly realizes there is more to her story.
That's about where my captivation ended, unfortunately. The annoying qualities of the characters over took anything that I enjoyed. For starters, Salome is annoying. She jumps from one boy to the next without any hesitation. Not cool. I am glad that she realized the manipulation and potential abusive relationship with one boy, but she was the rebound queen. That made her relationships feel trivial, so I had a hard time believing when she found 'the one'. Her best friend wasn't much better. She was just as flighty in a very skanky sort of way. I won't say much about her, but these two girls were not good role models.
But the plot twist in the end did help save the story. It wasn't a surprise but it was delivered well. I did like Salome's choice, so at least I was left with a happy ending.(less)
I live in a house full of boys that are crazy about super heroes. I live and breathe Marvel and DC Comics. I even have Wonder Woman socks. I consider...moreI live in a house full of boys that are crazy about super heroes. I live and breathe Marvel and DC Comics. I even have Wonder Woman socks. I consider myself well-versed in all things superhero. While browsing the aisles at Barnes and Noble over the summer, we instantly gravitated to the graphic novels (which are next to the YA section). I refused to buy another graphic novel for my oldest son, so he picked up Hero Worship by Christopher Long; I picked up V is for Villain by Peter Moore... and our superhero reading showdown began.
I thought I had a highly original book in my hands when I started V is for Villain. In some respects, I did because every book is unique even when it shares many similarities with another. The story is fun with a likeable narrator. I liked that Brad showed no aptitudes to make him "great"-- or great by hero standards. It was rather funny at times to feel like you were poking a big stick at how small minded some of the characters could be. There was also a pretty major twist at the end that you may or may not see coming, but certainly put things in an interesting light.
But I guess what kind of nagged at me along the way was how similar V is for Villain was to Hero Worship. I seriously doubt it was intentional (Hero Worship came out 5 months before V is for Villain) but it was still obvious at times. In each book you have kids that have special powers that they aren't able to use, a school for developing special powers/heroes, and a corrupt society. Yes, very generic themes but still similar.
Add that to the super annoying footnotes littering the pages and I became a bit frustrated while reading. I cannot begin to say how obnoxious a paragraph long foot note is. Maybe it was supposed to add to the effect of reading Brad's after the big event diary or something. I dunno. It was lost on me.
My son didn't seem interested in V is for Villain at the store, so I never pushed it on him afterwards. It was okay, but not a favorite. I also felt like it was marketed to younger readers but had very mature themes (lots of talk about female anatomy and sex). Both of those would not go over well for my very naive child. Overall, it held my interest for about 2 days, then I found myself rushing to finish before the library's deadline. I was hoping for more, oh well. (less)
I think I need a shelf for "barely finished" because this one belongs there. It took a lot of effort!
Thank goodness for twists, otherwise I would have...moreI think I need a shelf for "barely finished" because this one belongs there. It took a lot of effort!
Thank goodness for twists, otherwise I would have been really annoyed with this book. It just kept going on and on. Too much time spent on Bryn feeling sorry for herself. Her constant paranoia and whining drove me nuts. I really started scanning through things just to see if things would get better. At some point I even considered making this a DNFer. I just didn't know if I wanted to put the effort into something that I felt was mediocre. But I did finish and this is what I found:
Best character was Evan. He was funny and conflicted. I liked his pushy, call it like it is nature. He brought humor and insight into an otherwise drab group of characters. The rest of the characters were annoying. Bryn felt flat. She never developed into anything more than a whining mess. There was also not enough Teddy for me to believe any hint of a romance between the two. He had potential, but it was never developed. Same for the supporting characters. There was a great deal of effort spent making the reader feel suspicious, but it was not executed well. I felt like I was left hanging on many things.
If I could describe how I felt while reading Huntress, it would be best described as a light, steady rain. The kind that is constant enough to eventua...moreIf I could describe how I felt while reading Huntress, it would be best described as a light, steady rain. The kind that is constant enough to eventually make wet spots appear on concrete, but never heavy enough to soak the ground.
I know, weird description for a book, but that's how it feels. It was a steady, complete story but it never really saturated my senses. I never had that moment where I felt lost in the story.
The author did a great job of creating the setting. At times I did feel as if I were seeing things from the characters' eyes. I also really liked the characters: Kaede, Con, and Taisin. Each character felt unique and had a different outlook. Con was probably the character that did not have as much sway in the story, but I still liked him. The idea of love was also different. I didn't know what to expect with this book, but it was good. It felt complete and believable. It didn't feel forced or fake.
One thing that started to gnaw at me as I read, though, was how the story seemed to drag on after a point. Then, suddenly, it shifted and ended. I was a bit annoyed by that, but I also see its purpose. I think I would have preferred if other parts of the story were cut and the ending developed a bit more.
It's hard for me to put into words how I felt about Huntress overall. I was proud of myself for branching out and reading a book with a LGBT main character. But it just didn't astound me. It was good, but I don't know if I see what all the hype was about.
Aside from a stellar cover, what can you expect from Hit? The answer to the story is both simple and complicated. On the basic level, you have a prett...moreAside from a stellar cover, what can you expect from Hit? The answer to the story is both simple and complicated. On the basic level, you have a pretty horrific accident that wrecks havoc on the lives of a family. Sarah is a senior with everything going for her. She's beautiful and talented. Unfortunately for her, she develops feelings for the student teacher visiting from the local college, Mr. Haddings. The reader never really gets a clear picture of whether or not these feelings were reciprocated, but something is certainly afoot. There is a lot-- and I mean a lot-- of ambiguity in this area. When Haddings realizes he's hit Sarah, it's not just his windsheild that shatters. This man finds himself knee deep in a mess that he will never escape. Sarah's best friend Cyndi is quick to paint a less than ideal image of Hadding's motivation to hit Sarah. But it's left up to the reader to decide whether she's right or not. I liked the story itself. It was certainly gripping enough to keep me turning the pages. You can tell the author did a great deal of research to make Sarah's experience in the hospital as realistic as possible. At times, it was pretty gruesome for my weak stomached self. The story alternates between Sarah and Haddings' points of view. While Sarah spends a large part of her time unconscious in the beginning, she seems to be the one with the most insight. Haddings had a small part to play upfront but then his character seemed to fade away. He just wasn't as strong as I'd expect him to be. The two characters that really stood out to me were the parents. I don't think they were meant to be the focus, but it ended up that way for me. The mom has issues, obviously. I would think for a parent facing her children growing up and moving on, there is some struggle with the "empty nest syndrome". It would have to be a hard adjustment to make to see the person you've spent the majority of your life taking care of move on without you. That's where Sarah's mom finds herself until suddenly she's given that second chance to take care of Sarah. You see a very vulnerable side to the needs of a parent struggling to find a place outside of her child. Then there is the dad. I think I liked him the most of all because he was dealing out the life lessons. He's a man of faith that is struggling with forgiveness, and rightfully so. I really liked his lines about hope and forgiveness. There were some powerful messages coming from his character. Overall, I enjoyed Hit. It was a very quick read that kept me reading from the start. I felt like some of the characterization for Haddings could have been fleshed out a bit more, but I chose to focus more on the secondary characters as I read. I think this enhanced my reading experience, and kept me from focusing on things that I would have wanted to see changed(less)
I really don't know how/why it's getting 4 star reviews on Goodreads. The idea is beyond my understanding....moreThis. Book. Really, it should be 2.5 stars.
I really don't know how/why it's getting 4 star reviews on Goodreads. The idea is beyond my understanding. I really felt like I was being generous with 3 stars at times.
Let me start by saying that the flow of the plot held me back from loving this book. I was around 60% complete before something "good" started to happen. Something that made me go "oh, hey now" instead of mindlessly reading. Needless to say, it was super slow at times.
With that being said, I can mention the characters. Annabelle just annoyed me for some reason. I cannot exactly put my finger on it, but she did not impress me at all. In fact, she was a bit annoying. The idea behind Dream Boy is highly original, so I can say it's fresh. But I just wasn't buying the whole "let me love the boy from my (literal) dreams from day one" thing. Maybe I'm crazy, but if lover boy showed up to my school from my dreams, my first reaction would be WTFizzle just happened. It would NOT be hey boy, remember that dreamy kiss? Let's do it again. So Annabelle gets a big wah wah from me, and Martin/Josh gets a super wah wah wah (cue cheesy game show sounds). If you told me Martin/Josh was an alien, I would totally buy that based on how he acted. His speech patterns and way of explaining things were definitely weird. I was not impressed.
I was also not impressed with the setting. Dream Boy takes place in a small town somewhere, and it really could be Anywhere, USA. There was nothing descriptive or even tangible to hold on to. It felt under developed and lacking.
The one thing I did enjoy was the best friend, Will. The banter between Annabelle and Will was believable and I adored it. There should have been more. He was the character that kept me reading.
So, this is going to be another book that you will either love or dismiss. It's going to be up to the reader to form his/her own opinion. This girl, however, was unmoved.(less)
Ugh. So many questions left unanswered in this book. The thing that bothered me the most with this book is the plot. And any reader knows, that is the...moreUgh. So many questions left unanswered in this book. The thing that bothered me the most with this book is the plot. And any reader knows, that is the kiss of death for a book.
The moment I knew I was going to have issues with the plot was when I noticed the uneven pacing. The story started off solidly and had a nice quickness to it, then all of a sudden there are new characters and rushed scenes. Indie goes from newbie witch to master of her powers in literally one night. That was super annoying for me. She would practice her skills and fail miserably on day one, then wake up on day 2 able to do more than she practiced. Even for a book that requires me to suspend my belief, that was not believable.
Then there is the ending. Ugh. I absolutely hate it when books introduce new characters at the very end from nowhere. That is exactly what happened in Hexed. Granted, I knew something was up with the new BFF because that was a repeat of a previous plot element (not too original, I'm afraid), but I was deeply frustrated to see a name that I do not recall reading anywhere else in the book. At the end, instead of being left wondering what's going to happen next, I'm left wondering who the heck is this new character. Not exactly a masterful cliffhanger in my opinion.
Since I'm on a tangent, I might as well mention my other remaining grievances. First, the sudden shift in behavior between the supposed long-time bestie. I figured that was coming due to the underlying tones laid out in the book with that character's behavior, but there was no closure at all. It was as if she was just written off as ___ type of person and that was that. There were lots of other questions/situations that did not get resolved, but I don't want to bash the book completely. Some readers may really enjoy it, it just wasn't for me. One positive thing I can say is that this author does a nice job building the romantic tension between Indie and the wizard guy-- whatever his name was. That was fun to read.
You may want to give Hexed a try, but the rest of this series won't be for me. (less)
Well, A+ for creativity and a unique concept. The idea of forced sterilization has actually come up in conversation with my co-workers, so you know I...moreWell, A+ for creativity and a unique concept. The idea of forced sterilization has actually come up in conversation with my co-workers, so you know I was surprised to see it as a major plot driver in a YA novel.
While the idea behind the plot in this book is interesting, a lot of questions were not thoroughly thought out. For instance, what happens if a person is in college but has to leave to take care of a sick family member? If they don't go back to school or get a job, are they part of the class that gets sterilized? There were many what-ifs that should have been dealt with to make the plot more solid.
Also, like all good dystopians with a corrupt government, more detail to the alleged conspiracy needed to be given. That was such a huge part of the turning point in the novel, but it was glanced over. I felt like the action just ended within a few pages, which was disappointing.
Overall, I'm not a huge fan. I gave it a 3 because the idea was original but it was a weak story. (less)
Some books haunt you long after you finish reading them, and Undone is one of those books. When I finished the final page I didn't know what I felt. A...moreSome books haunt you long after you finish reading them, and Undone is one of those books. When I finished the final page I didn't know what I felt. Anger. Anguish. Everything in between. Such a powerful and tragic ending.
I had mixed feelings about this book as I read it, but I think my overall impression is that I liked it. It's one of those books that lingers. I had some issues with Jem's interactions throughout the book, but they didn't keep me from turning the pages. I don't want to spend time dissecting characters because it's heart breaking. Jem is broken and blinded by grief, and it has the worst implications for her (as you can imagine).
What really stuck with me is the range of emotions displayed in this book. Luckily, I have not had many experiences dealing with loss and grief. I cannot speak on the healing process because I am no expert, but what I felt was real. I felt grief and loss. I felt Jem's pain and anger. Undone made me think about so many teenagers faced with difficult (or humiliating) situations and how they choose to cope. The fact that suicide is a "solution" for so many is disheartening. The power of pain to keep you from seeing what is in front of you is also a big feature in this book. Poor Jem, unfortunately, could not see through her cloud of despair. The ending is still pretty awful in the most shocking of ways and for so many reasons.
I do recommend this one, but be forewarned: It's a heavy hitter. The ending is going to stay with you and drill into your soul, so be committed to finishing. I don't consider it a 5 star book Like Thirteen Reasons Why because there were definite flaws with characters and elements of plot believability, but if you can think of the characters like true high school kids it's going to strike a chord. (less)
It is so hard to find books that boys would want to read. Geoff Herbach did a great job of finding that male voice that will speak to many readers whe...moreIt is so hard to find books that boys would want to read. Geoff Herbach did a great job of finding that male voice that will speak to many readers when he wrote Gabe.
Gabe was very entertaining. I loved how layered he was. Gabe is overweight-- okay really overweight-- and hides behind his insecurities with humor and food. We hear that a lot about girls, but not so much about boys. Why would a boy be insecure? Eating your feelings, what? What male teenager is in tune with that? Gabe certainly isn't until he has an epiphany.
In one single moment he starts to realize what's wrong at his highschool and ultimately in his little world, and he gets mad. From that point on it's a pretty amusing story of finding oneself, breaking molds, learning to accept the harshest of life's lessons, and taking a stand. Gabe does all of these things with biting humor and great insight.
The writing style I did not care for, but I can see it being appealing to younger readers. Fat Boy does not unfold like a traditional story since it's being told "deposition style" to the police. For me, that got annoying because all I could tell of certain character interactions was from Gabe's words and actions. It made me feel like an outsider to the story. However, I stuck with it and kept going because I liked the story that Gabe had to tell.
I'm filing this one away as another good book for teenage boys. (less)