Wilhelmina "Mina" Grimm is not your typical teenager. She is a descendent of the Brothers Grimm and the latest in a long line of fam...moreUnEnchanted 3 Stars
Wilhelmina "Mina" Grimm is not your typical teenager. She is a descendent of the Brothers Grimm and the latest in a long line of family members who must survive a curse that forces them to relive the tales collected by their ancestors.
An intriguing premise very similar to the TV series Grimm but the writing is simplistic and would have benefited from a professional editor.
That said, the story itself is engaging and Mina is a sweet albeit clumsy heroine dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a social outcast at school as well as the dangers associated with the family curse, i.e. an abundance of fairy tale characters coming to life and threatening her family and friends.
Overall, not too bad even if the ending is open ended and disappointing. (less)
Strong world building but the teenage sniping and romantic angst illustrates once again why I dislike reading YA (I had enough of...moreCity of Bones 3 Stars
Strong world building but the teenage sniping and romantic angst illustrates once again why I dislike reading YA (I had enough of this nonsense in high school and I have no wish to relive it in my reading).
None of the characters are particularly likable, and there is a complete lack of camaraderie between the so-called protagonists. What should come across as friendly teasing and ribbing is actually harsh and cold, and the derogatory comments are delivered not softly with a hint of humor but with scorn and a tinge of malice. There is also an unappealing elitist and prejudiced undercurrent in their words and behavior that makes it difficult to identify with them.
That said, Clary turns out to be a courageous heroine and the gradual buildup of her relationship with Jace is very appealing. Jace, however, can be an obnoxious jerk although he does have his intriguing moments of vulnerability and some slight romantic hero potential, but he isn't quite there yet.
The plot is engaging and the basic premise of a villain with a racist ideology in search of a cup that can help him build an army is compelling, if unoriginal. Moreover, the main antagonist, while despicable, does not have that all encompassing, menacing and world destroying evil that characterizes other works of epic fantasy. Clare's writing also lacks the creativity, foreshadowing, intertextuality and language construction of these stories, i.e. Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, and Harry Potter.
On a final note, the Star Wars inspired twist at the end turns the book into a soap opera. Unfortunately, I have a very unhealthy addiction to soaps (they are like watching a train wreck - you just can't help yourself) and now I'm going to have to continue to find out if this travesty is going in the direction I think it is.
Narration: Ari Graynor's narration is not the best - even those characters who are adults sound like snotty teens. I've learned that subsequent books have a different narrator so I will probably listen to the next one as well.(less)
Note: This is a review of the audiobook read by Carolyn McCormick. The narration is very good and McCormick does a good job of...moreThe Hunger Games 4 Stars
Note: This is a review of the audiobook read by Carolyn McCormick. The narration is very good and McCormick does a good job of distinguishing the different voices, especially Gale and Peeta who sound masculine without coming across as too adult.
With regard to the book, it did not blow me away as much as I thought it would after all the hype. Yes, the concept is thought provoking and disturbing, particularly in light of the voyeuristic path our society has taken in recent years with Reality TV, but the pacing is problematic - plodding and bogged down with excessive detail concerning food, foliage and Katniss's internal ruminations.
That said, the dystopian world building is excellent and Collins succeeds in conveying the hardships of life in District 12 as well as the superficiality, cruelty and perniciousness of the Capitol. The characterization is also very well done with just enough detail on each and every character to make you feel you know them all personally.
I found myself liking Katniss even though she comes across as cold, unfeeling and manipulative at times. Her motivation is completely understandable given the circumstances. Peeta is simply lovely and if there is one thing I truly dislike about Katniss, it is her inability to see the truth and depth of his feelings for her - she is obtuse and constantly attributes ulterior motives to his actions, which are completely short sighted and wrong.
The violence is somewhat extreme for a young adult book. However, given the theme and nature of the plot, it seems appropriate.
Overall, a complex and compelling story with a disquieting message that makes you think. (less)
Synopsis Violet Ambrose has always kept her ability to sense the echoes of the dead a secret but after finding the body of a...moreDesires of the Dead 2 Stars
Synopsis Violet Ambrose has always kept her ability to sense the echoes of the dead a secret but after finding the body of a dead boy, she has drawn the attention of the FBI. Unfortunately, she also finds herself the target of a disturbed stalker and has no one to turn to, not even her closest friend turned boyfriend, Jay Heaton who is preoccupied with he newest pal, Mike, whose family seems to have secrets of its own.
Review The paranormal thriller premise has potential but is completely overshadowed by the teen melodrama and angst.
Violet has become a completely different character - she has regressed emotionally and is now a typical whiny and jealous girlfriend who keeps secrets and overreacts to the smallest thing. The fact that she fails to tell her parents of the FBI's interest, is completely illogical and ruined my suspension of disbelief.
The story begins well with the discovery of a boy's body and Violet's stalker but ends up going in a confusing and disappointing direction. The tension and suspense that builds in the beginning rapidly fizzles out by the end.
Violet and Jay's romance is sweet and they certainly have oodles of chemistry but his perfection gets old after a while and the inclusion of Rafe feels out of place. It is as if Derting needed a tick next to "love triange" on her YA check list.
I may eventually read the next book if it comes my way but I won't be actively looking for it.
Synopsis Violet Ambrose can see, hear, smell, and even taste an imprint left by a dead animal or person as we...moreThe Body Finder by Kimberly Derting 4 Stars
Synopsis Violet Ambrose can see, hear, smell, and even taste an imprint left by a dead animal or person as well as the matching imprint carried by the individual responsible for that animal or person's death. She lives in a small town, where teenage girls suddenly begin disappearing. Violet stumbles across one of their bodies and becomes involved in the search for the killer whom only she can identify.
Review This is a great debut novel. The plot elements are unique and engrossing. The characterization is excellent, especially the relationship between Violet and her best friend, Jay. My one small quibble is the lack of tension and build up of suspense toward the end, but this does not detract from the overall reading experience. recommendation: a must read for YA fans.(less)
My least favorite in the series - too drawn out in places and Harry's angst starts becoming contagious after awhile. However, I must point out that ho...moreMy least favorite in the series - too drawn out in places and Harry's angst starts becoming contagious after awhile. However, I must point out that how I felt while ready must have mirrored Harry's emotions and that makes Rowling a true artist. (less)
A classic from my childhood. Well written and compelling. The importance of the bonds of family, friendships and relationships are themes that are sti...moreA classic from my childhood. Well written and compelling. The importance of the bonds of family, friendships and relationships are themes that are still as relevant today as when Alcott first wrote her story. (less)