Aimee Carter strikes again! Pawn was so much more than I expected.
I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting much. I totally judged the book by its cover (wh...moreAimee Carter strikes again! Pawn was so much more than I expected.
I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting much. I totally judged the book by its cover (which doesn't do much for me). BUT, when I started reading I was hooked.
Aimee Carter is an amazing story teller. A-mazing. I was captivated, and I couldn't pull myself away until I finished.
I love dystopians. I devour them. Reading do many books in the same genre makes it very hard to find something that feels fresh and original. I was worried that Pawn would not be new. I worried for nothing! It was like nothing I have read before. NOTHING. Imagine part Scott Westerfield's The Uglies series with serious spy action. If you can do that, you might have Pawn slightly figured out.
What is so great about this book you might ask? That's a hard one to pin down.
First, the plot is incredible. It's super fast paced, but doesn't feel rushed. It's complicated. You feel torn because your emotions are tested. Who do you hate? Who do you support? Is that guy that's growing on you "good" or is he some dastardly character in disguise?
Then, there is the writing. The dialogue is very witty. Kitty is another great female lead. She's resourceful, but also too quick to make decisions. She's constantly doing things that might not end up so well for her. But that's ok, because she can think on her feet. She's also devoted to the one she loves. As I read, it felt like I was living the scenes. The dialogue was perfectly paced and believable. It didn't feel forced.
Which brings me to another thing I loved about Pawn: the characters. Kitty feels emotions with an intensity that is heart wrenching. She has to watch so many people she cares about suffer, while others live lavishly. She is sick of it all, and ready to take a stand... but where is that going to lead her? The heroes are extra bold, and the villains are sinister. (Think "The Most Dangerous Game" here.) They are also layered more than a Floridian in a snow storm. Every time you think you have one character figured out, there is a twist.
I would be kidding myself if I didn't say I consider The Blackcoat Rebellion series to be "the next big thing" in dystopians. There is going to be a lot of buzz about these books, mark my words. I've already added it to my YA book club list for next year!(less)
Books like this makes me wish I was more acquainted with all the classics. I never read Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", so I have n...more
Books like this makes me wish I was more acquainted with all the classics. I never read Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", so I have no idea how closely Severed follows the plot. The only version of Sleepy Hollow I can remember is the Disney version with the bumbling Ichabod Crane riding backwards on a horse. Hardly the picture of old world smolder pictured in this version.
Needless to say, I was reading Severed for the fun of it.
It was a quick read. The writing flowed smoothly and the characters were pretty enjoyable. Katrina and Ichabod stole the show, of course. I thought Marten would have more of a presence, but he seemed like a place holder more than anything. I was a bit disappointed by his quick appearances because they just felt like ways to move the plot along without offering much to the story. The same went for Brom. I just knew he had a different role in the story, but I was fooled. He was very disagreeable, and I didn't care for him much. Even so, I was surprised by the outcome.
There were only two things that really nagged me while reading. First, why did the ghost speak to Katrina? It made sense at first, but as the story wrapped up, it did not. Why was the ghost seeking her out? What role did she play? I didn't feel like that was given an adequate answer. Also, there was no resolution with the snooty best friend. We all know how things end up when someone feels cheated out of a potential love interest. This particular "friend" was very childish and irrational in her actions, but no consequences occurred. There was also no resolution to that conflict. It was as if she also disappeared into smoke like a specter.
This was a quick read. The story was decent, but some elements still felt underdeveloped to me. If you like retellings, give this one a try. (less)
I had never heard of this series before, so I had no idea what I was getting into. I was pleasantly surprised though. Here is a short run down of what...moreI had never heard of this series before, so I had no idea what I was getting into. I was pleasantly surprised though. Here is a short run down of what I enjoyed the most:
1. The magic. There was a slight magical element that I was not expecting. The idea of a long-lost royal line that has been in hiding was intriguing. Add in that the daughters of the royal heirs have secret abilities, and the interest factor jumps. I would be crazy if I didn't mention the freaky Queen. She had some sick abilities that made my skin crawl!
2. The characters. Charlie was a pretty resourceful gal. I enjoyed her cleverness. Her friends, eh. Some of them did not have large enough roles, and others hard too much presence. Max was also a delight. He was mysterious and brooding. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with Charlie in Max as the series progresses.
3. The story telling. The pages flew by as I read. This was an easy read, but it didn't come across as being an amateur read. It was fun. A perfect light, enjoyable read. It's one of those books that you can just get lost in.
Overall, I enjoyed The Pledge. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise, and a series I will continue to read. (less)
Reboot is a new take on dystopians. The concept behind the book is unique and refreshing-- in an undead sort of way.
I really liked the characters. Wr...moreReboot is a new take on dystopians. The concept behind the book is unique and refreshing-- in an undead sort of way.
I really liked the characters. Wren and Callum were a very interesting combination. You can't help but like Callum. His innocence and good nature was a start contrast to Wren's hard exterior. As far as that saying "opposites attract" you can't deny it with these two-- they are as close to polar opposites as you can get.
The action is pretty quick and will keep you turning the pages. However, the plot itself is a bit long winded. At 365 pages, I would say a good 50 of those could have been edited out to make this a shorter read. I made it to the final 30 pages before I decided I just couldn't devote any more time to the book.
I hate saying I did not finish a book, but as a person that can devour books in a day, if something takes me more than a week to read it becomes a flag. Reboot took me several weeks before I put it aside. By the time I reached the end of the novel I felt like I knew what would happen. The most critical aspects of the plot had occurred and I needed it to wrap up. Instead of getting closure though, it felt like a whole new plot was beginning. I just didn't feel like I wanted to invest in the time it would take to wade through those dense moments of Wren's inner conflict to get to the goods.
If I had been in a better mindset, or reading this in a car with no other books, I would have finished it. But when there are so many books waiting to be read, it's hard to stick with one that isn't holding your attention. Will I read the next book in the series? Most likely. (less)
First let me start by saying how glad I am they changed the cover. The original (pictured here) was an eye sore. I would have never picked it up with...moreFirst let me start by saying how glad I am they changed the cover. The original (pictured here) was an eye sore. I would have never picked it up with that cover. But the new cover has a delightful, whimsical font that just called to me. I did not realize that this book is not brand new. In fact, it was originally published in 2009. Given that dreadful cover that looked like a bottle of Pepto Bismol exploded on it, it's easy for me to see why I never knew this existed.
Unfortunately, I read this book months ago and never got around to writing the review. By now, most of the finer details have escaped me. I can, however, summarize what has stuck with me.
First, I really liked Rose. She was plucky. Her sass was endearing. She wasn't over the top or annoying. She stood up for herself but still knew her place. I also felt like her character was really well written. Even though the setting is not present day, the author did a fine job of making it easy to relate to Rose. The supporting characters were also enjoyable. My favorite was the sarcastic talking cat.
I also enjoyed the setting itself. A magical house that sparkles with magic and responds to Rose's emotions. Pretty awesome! Add that to an old-timey location with just a dash of mystery and you have a very remarkable setting.
The other thing I remember most about Rose was how quickly the plot moved. I flew threw this book because it was packed full of action. For younger readers, this is so important because we know how short their attention spans are. I also thought the conflict was well placed and unexpected (to a degree). It was pretty easy to determine who the "bad guy" would be, but how the villain was vanquished was a surprise.
I can't wait to see what else happens in this series. I did not anticipate Rose's decision in the end, which makes the set up for the continuation to be very interesting. (less)
I tried SO hard to finish this book. I tried for nearly an entire month, in fact. But try as I might, I just couldn't do it.
I thought this cover was...moreI tried SO hard to finish this book. I tried for nearly an entire month, in fact. But try as I might, I just couldn't do it.
I thought this cover was stunning. I thought it was going to be some type of mermaid book. To a degree it was, but the Aquarathi are not mermaids. I don't know what they are, other than water dwelling sea monster-like creatures. It is a mystery I did not solve in the 200 pages that I read.
What drove me crazy about this book was the lack of descriptions. It was as if a grade school child was telling me a story that they remembered, but left out all the vital details. What should be been described in more depth was glanced over. What did not need pages or paragraphs of details seemed to drag on endlessly. It got to be too much.
I also did not like the slow moving plot. This book literally put me to sleep at night. I think I spent one night reading for a few hours but that was it. The majority of the time a few pages had my eyes heavy with slumber.
There was one element that kept me reading: Lo. I thoroughly liked his character, even when the others felt unremarkable. He was witty and a tad bit sarcastic. My favorite type of love interest in a story. I know he was vital to the plot in some mystical way, but I never made it to the end to find out how. If you could stick with the book through the slow parts, I think there could be some promise in this series. It is a unique concept... book 1 was just not a home run. (less)
I read it. that one part was... I can't believe it. I'm not happy with the outcome, but I get it. I guess. I'm a bit let down by the conclusion to my...moreI read it. that one part was... I can't believe it. I'm not happy with the outcome, but I get it. I guess. I'm a bit let down by the conclusion to my beloved series.(less)
How do you like your mermaid stories? Do you prefer them to be Disney-esque? Or do you prefer them to teeter on the edge of creepy? If you prefer the...moreHow do you like your mermaid stories? Do you prefer them to be Disney-esque? Or do you prefer them to teeter on the edge of creepy? If you prefer the latter, Westward to Strange is for you! The mermaids in Westward to Strange are not friendly. In fact, they are downright terrifying. I have to give the author props for coming up with an original take on a siren. There is an element of mythology in the book that is new and unique, at least to me. I also thought the concept behind these killer mermaids helped heighten the mystery of the subplots. Don’t read Westward to Strange thinking it’s just about mermaids. There is so much more going on in this book! For fans of mysteries, there will be much to keep you reading. For me, though, it was the descriptions that kept me turning the pages. I enjoyed reading about this beach community. Being a Florida resident myself, I felt like I could visualize the setting in my own town. I also enjoyed some of the characters. I was instantly drawn to Jake. I didn’t connect with Cass at first, but he grew on me. I’m always on the lookout for books with mermaids. With so many books in the genre already on the market, it’s hard to find something fresh. Westward of Strange certainly delivered in the fresh and unique market! (less)
The ending of The Darkest Minds left my heart in my stomach. But the ending of Never Fade left me with sweaty palms, a racing heart, and sitting on th...moreThe ending of The Darkest Minds left my heart in my stomach. But the ending of Never Fade left me with sweaty palms, a racing heart, and sitting on the edge of my seat. It was phenomenal! I’ve been saying this since I read The Darkest Minds, and I still stand by my claim—this is my new favorite dystopian. Move over Tris and Four, because Ruby and Liam are stealing the show. It is so hard to find a second book in a series that is better than the first, but found it I have. Never Fade was every bit as good as the first book, if not better. There were surprises and heart aches all along the way. I was sucked into this story almost from the beginning. For all those that said Ruby was the weak link in The Darkest Minds, you won’t be saying that now. She has grown so much. Ruby is now in control of her powers and takes them to a whole new level. Of course, that level comes with horrible consequences. She is strong, determined, and a serious force to be reckoned with. She’s also not alone. Vida is another strong female lead in the book, although my least favorite character. I never really cared for her. She is rough around the edges and foul, which makes me hesitant to recommend this to my school aged students. I’m very disappointed by that, too, since I rave about The Darkest Minds all the time. I could analyze the plot, but it would take away so much. This is a book (series) that you need to experience for yourself. It’s fresh and exciting, and packs a serious punch. (less)
First and foremost, the content and basis of this horrific story is terrifying. You cannot dispute that. I've...moreI have mixed feelings toward this book.
First and foremost, the content and basis of this horrific story is terrifying. You cannot dispute that. I've actually been aware of the issue of human trafficking for some time, and it never stops amazing me. I am amazed at how evil people can be. I am amazed how easy it is to make someone disappear. and I am amazed that more isn't being done to bring awareness to this heinous crime.
For those reasons, Sophie's story was hard to dismiss. It was full of brutal violence that no one should have to experience. Ever. I found myself shedding silent tears as I read because I could just not fathom the enormity of what this girl went through.
But I had a hard time with this book as well. Sophie was hard to connect with. As I read the beginning of this book, I just could not believe what I was reading. I find it so hard to imagine someone being so foolish. Maybe it's my cynical nature, but even in my early 20s I was never trusting. So, for a young girl like Sophie not to take alarm to a complete stranger getting her cell number and texting her-- I just could not relate. It just screamed psycho stalker from page one. To understand why Sophie struck up a friendship with a complete stranger under these circumstances, I really needed more insight. It was not there though.
In fact, the insight I was looking for came at intervals. There were many chapters of just frank, undiluted brutality. Then the story would jump forward to the present. Towards the end, it became a bit of a challenge to keep up with, especially when the remainder of the story stayed in the present.
But one thing that I just cannot understand if how Sophie felt any inkling of sentiment for the men that paid her for sex. She mentioned a few men from Italy in particular and the desire to see them again. WTH... no thank you. I just cannot imagine that. I think I would hate the people that did those things to me with such a deep-rooted passion that I would not be able to feel anything but disgust for them. No matter the situation or circumstance. I certainly couldn't think of forgiveness or friendship.
To be very honest, it took the letters at the end of the book for me to really put this story in perspective. Sophie's mother's letter is what gave me the glimpse of insight the whole story seemed to lack. She summed it up well when she said there was so explanation for why Kas let Sophie return to England with them. I was left wondering that as well as I read. I think it's clear that it was a miracle. In the midst of one of the worst situations I can think of, a glimmer of hope and opportunity crept through.
I don't know of too may books out there about this subject matter. I've never read one before at least. For that, I think Sophie's story is important and deserves a voice. It's a warning. Trust should not be given freely, my friends. Again, it's probably my cynical nature speaking for I have seen way too many acts of evil towards children in my short amount of years. But if Sophie's story can teach just one young woman a lessen that saves her from the same path, it's worth it. (less)
The ending of Shadowlands left me questioning whether I would like this series or not. I can say after reading Hereafter, I do like this series.
I fou...moreThe ending of Shadowlands left me questioning whether I would like this series or not. I can say after reading Hereafter, I do like this series.
I found Hereafter a bit more predictable than Shadowlands. If you read the first book, you understand what I’m saying because that ending came out of nowhere. Do not expect that same since of shock and surprise from Hereafter. There is nothing really surprising in this book. I saw the ending coming from the beginning. The setting is still great. The sleepy little island community of Juniper Landing is starting to be shaken. Things like hornets and dead animals and flowers are creeping in to the island paradise. It may seem like nothing for a typical Florida beach community, but it is not common in Juniper Landing. The cause of these mysteries is the focus of the entire book. In simplest form, something is amiss. Not only can you see what’s obviously going wrong in the community, but Rory and the other Lifers can sense it. Souls are going astray, and no one knows why. The creep factor is a bit higher in this one because we meet new characters. The new characters are dark and mysterious. It’s hard to say what role they will ultimately have in the series, but for now it’s not looking too good. I have to say, though, what really sold me on Hereafter is Joaquin. He never made much of an impression on me in the first book, but he shines in Hereafter. I adore him. Rory is in a tough spot, so I don’t know how things will turn out in that area. I’m very anxious to see where that subplot will take us. Kate Brian has definitely written a mystery that I’m curious about. This is typically my least favorite genre, but there was just enough of a hint of mythology (Charon and the golden coins) to suck me in. I will be waiting patiently for Endless to arrive. (less)
Sick was sick. These zombies are hardcore and not for the faint hearted. There was much gore and blood slurping, so teenage boys should be satisfied....moreSick was sick. These zombies are hardcore and not for the faint hearted. There was much gore and blood slurping, so teenage boys should be satisfied.
If you're looking for a solid plot, though, look elsewhere. There was a lot of action, but it was pretty uneventful during the most crucial parts. The virus that causes these bone marrow sucking zombies was never fully explained. You get some scientific sounding gibberish that might pass as an explanation, but it didn't feel solid. The characters in the book didn't even buy it, so you know the reader isn't going for it.
The characters were also somewhere in the so-so spectrum. Chad was a mess. He's a bigot and not afraid to show it. I got a little annoyed with some of his off-color statements throughout the book. I can't really say I was upset when he had his 'accident'. I did like Travis. He didn't leave a lasting impression, but I liked his role enough to think "that's too bad".
Some of the other characters were a bit cloudy as well. I am still trying to figure out Laura. The entire book was spent explaining why she is this delicate flower that cannot fend for herself. She's on panic meds and all this other stuff that makes her a mess. However, Laura is swinging flag poles and cutting down zombies by the time the end of the book rolls around. Call me crazy, but someone that is on heavy panic meds should not be making that kind of recovery in a 24 hour period. I don't care if the doctors were weaning her off the meds or not. You do not become Wonder Woman on Zoloft that quickly.
Overall, this was a fast read. I flew through it in a few hours. It had some disgustingly gory scenes that I'm sure teenage readers would like. But, there were some pretty raunchy sayings and talks about sex that make this most suitable for older YA readers. (less)
Conjured was both captivating and terrifying-- all at the same time.
There is a mystery surrounding Eve. She's in a witness protection program, but s...moreConjured was both captivating and terrifying-- all at the same time.
There is a mystery surrounding Eve. She's in a witness protection program, but she can't remember why. People treat her differently than they do others; it's almost as if they are afraid of her. She's different... and she's powerful.
She can bring paper birds to life. She can change the color of her eyes with just a thought. But each time she uses her magic, she slips into unconsciousness. Entire days (sometimes weeks) are erased from her memory. Her life seems to be missing something.
Then she meets Zach. He's a super nerd working along side her in the local public library. He has no trouble telling her how he feels during their first meeting. He's also a huge believer in magic. Imagine his surprise when a simple kiss sends him and Eve floating above the stacks!
On a simple level, Conjured is a huge mystery. Every page is a puzzle to piece together. Every day with Zach brings Eve closer to a truth that she might not be ready to accept. And every day with Eve brings Zach closer to a life he desperately needs.
Eve was very unique. I wish I could say more, but it would blow the whole thing. Just know that Sarah Beth Durst (again) takes us to a whole new place with her characters and plot. Fans of her writing style will not be disappointed. Conjured is magical in every way. I was captivated by the setting of the magical realm. The imagery was beautiful and a pure delight for my imagination. I found myself longing to travel through my own portal and experience what Eve saw. (Only the good stuff, of course!) (less)
I am not a huge fan of contemporary books so I was not expecting much from The Cutting Room Floor. I was expecting a weird murder mystery, but that w...more I am not a huge fan of contemporary books so I was not expecting much from The Cutting Room Floor. I was expecting a weird murder mystery, but that wasn’t entirely what I got. There was some aspect of a murder mystery, but it was mostly about a deranged teenage boy’s obsession with the ultimate unattainable girl.
Dez has been in love with Riley for as long as he can remember. Unfortunately for him, Riley doesn’t prefer boys romantically. Of course, this isn’t a problem for Dez because he is so amazing that he is going to change Riley’s heart. You can guess where this is going, and it isn’t pretty. Dez was a super creepy character. His obsession with Riley was well into the freak zone. He is supposed to be her best friend, but everything he does is undermined by some selfish and twisted motive. He had a potentially redeeming moment towards the end of the book, but it still fell flat. That left Dez being stuck in the psycho section. Riley didn’t make much of an impression on me either. She was okay, but she seemed to float around in the book more than anything. Towards the end she became more grounded, but that was more of a result from other characters than anything else. I think what has bugged me the most was the ending. It didn’t seem very fulfilling. I understand that life doesn’t always end up in a box with a neat little bow, so it was fitting for this ending to be a mess. Had everyone walked off into a sunset holding hands and singing songs, I probably would have thrown the book across the room. I’m just not sure how I wanted the ending to go, but I was hoping for a little redemption and forgiveness. Instead, I got something that just hangs and lingers. The Cutting Room Floor will appeal to some readers, I’m sure. For me, it wasn’t all that. I read through it very quickly, so it was certainly a page turner. It just lacked that certain something that makes it unforgettable. (less)
This cover is stunning! Simply beautiful. I fell in love with it instantly. Then I read the synopsis and realized this was a mermaid story. Score!
I f...moreThis cover is stunning! Simply beautiful. I fell in love with it instantly. Then I read the synopsis and realized this was a mermaid story. Score!
I found the idea behind Water to be refreshing. There was a certain mythology that gave it an air of mystery. Also, there was a strong message of conservation and anti-pollution that was different. It's not your normal "mermaid" story.
For readers, you will find the setting interesting. It was hard for me to know if the geography in the book was legit or completely made up. I'm pretty certain it takes place in Africa, but I could be wrong. It was a bit confusing at times. I think the mystery of the "fish people" and the tribal stories were pretty fascinating, even if it all came together very quickly.
There were a few other elements of the story that I have mixed feelings toward. I'm still pretty uncertain about Merrick. Ok, I actually stopped reading at 65% because it was dragging on and I have other books to read. I hate to say I did not finish Water, but it's the truth. I gave it 3 solid nights of reading, but I was not connecting to the story or characters. I have a feeling that it would have picked up a good bit by the end, but I did not wait to see.
I wouldn't say this is my favorite mermaid book out there. It was rather hard for me to be swept away by the story. But, in the book's defense I do like the underlying plot of the Oceanids coming inland due to water pollution. This real problem doesn't get enough air time, so it was pretty snazzy to see it pop up in a fictional book. (less)
I. Loved. This. Book. It is so hard to say what I loved about it the most. I am torn between the characters and the setting.
Lets start with the setti...moreI. Loved. This. Book. It is so hard to say what I loved about it the most. I am torn between the characters and the setting.
Lets start with the setting. Scotland and Doon. Obviously, Scotland is a fun setting- period. But then you add in this fantastical place of Doon. There are castles, and mysterious fog, and hotties in kilts. I guess I need to talk about the characters, because that's where my mind is. Duncan and Jamie are delightful. DELIGHTFUL. I don't get all swoony over book characters, but these two make me want my own kilt wearing hunk.
Duncan and Jamie are brothers and the princes of Doon. Duncan is also an open book with his feelings for Mackenna. He is charming and clever and oh so delicious. His brother, Jamie, has the same level of hunkiness but he's a brooding mystery. I LOVED seeing how these two characters interacted with the female leads. Now, add in a delicious Scottish accent and I became a melted puddle of mush. I dinna want the story to end! (See my Scottish accent there? eh?)
Veronica and Mackenna were also great characters. They were very different, but that difference seemed to make them stronger characters. Veronica is the hopeless dreamer and optimist. Mackenna is a bit more cynical. Each characteristic brings out the best in Veronica and Mackenna. In fact, the story would be pretty flat and predictable if both girls wanted the same thing. I enjoyed seeing how they each developed as the story went on. I am also THRILLED to know that this is going to be a series. I will be reading all of these books and relishing them as if they were dipped in gold. (less)