The Wanderers is a great story for fans of young adult paranormal romance. It features a young girl reeling from the tragedy of losing her boyfriend i...moreThe Wanderers is a great story for fans of young adult paranormal romance. It features a young girl reeling from the tragedy of losing her boyfriend in a car accident. She’s about to finally leave her family to head off to college across the country. She’s ready for the new start, and she knows her best friend, Josie, will be there to make it even better. When she gets there, it seems even better than she imagined at first. She ends up closer to Josie than she thought, and during their first week, she’s already been to a rocking party, met a cute boy (or several), and been invited to join a sorority. But things aren’t all peachy. That hot boy from the party isn’t the kind of guy you’d bring home to your parents, and he’s hounding her like there’s no tomorrow. And the dreams she started having after she lost Kyle in the accident? They’re back. And they’re changing. And the boy she just met is taking a leading role. Soon after that, a girl a campus is brutally murdered, and she doesn’t know who to trust.
Once I got into the story, I found I didn’t want to stop reading. There’s enough mystery to keep you wondering, and you find yourself interested in Ella and what’s going on with her. I really like Tristan as a love interest because Ella knows he’s bad for her and keeps fighting him off. The difference between his boozing and man-whoring default persona and the tender glimpses Ella gets are interesting, and enough to make you wonder if he isn’t so bad after all. And for the times when Tristan is a grade-A jerk, there’s Jack, another interesting guy. Between them and Ella and Josie and the secondary characters, and everything that is happening around them, it’s a real page-turner. It made me smile, it made me mad, it made my heart hurt, it made me laugh, it made me scared for Ella, it made me wonder what in the world was going on, and it even made me tear up. I enjoyed all the emotions The Wanderers elicited from me, and overall I thought it was a great book! The paranormal twist is an interesting one, and is done differently enough that it keeps you intrigued. I think readers will like it, as I did.
On a few critical notes… As the novel is a somewhat long one, I believe it could be tightened up a lot by removing some of the more extraneous scenes. There are several places in The Wanderers where the more mundane details of Ella’s life are chronicled. While I understand that some such scenes are good for developing characters and setting, many could be done without to give the novel a more concise, action-filled, polished feel. As for the technical aspects, I must say that The Wanderers would greatly benefit from a quick glance from an editor of any sort to catch grammar and word errors, particularly typos, missing commas and incorrect word choices. Many small errors exist that generally don’t necessarily impact the readability, but clearly make the work seem less polished. As an avid reader of fanfiction, I was not as turned off by this as some readers might be. Some may find it to be a real issue.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Wanderers and recommend it to fans of paranormal romance, particularly readers who are interested in the story of a girl going off to college and discovering that not everything she knew is as it seems. I think you’ll be entertained, as I was.
This book was obtained freely from the author, Jessica Miller, in exchange for an honest review.(less)
One of my first thoughts about Sneak, having read Swipe over eight months ago, is that the book could have done with a little more review. I am used t...moreOne of my first thoughts about Sneak, having read Swipe over eight months ago, is that the book could have done with a little more review. I am used to having some of the events and characters of previous novels glossed over to some extent in series books. Particularly since it is targeted to a middle grade audience, I believe some overview would have been beneficial to enhance the reader’s understanding, familiarity, and comfort with what has happened so far and how that is affecting the beginning of the novel.
However, once I got back into the flow of things, I found myself really enjoying Sneak. When I first read Swipe, I hadn’t really picked up on the Christian connections. However, between Logan finding the bible in Sneak, the marked faces, and a friend’s casual comment about the series, I started to put it together. Sneak is still definitely enjoyable if you aren’t a Christian, or don’t know the stories very well. It is a well-played, solid dystopian novel that’s got enough thrills for young adults (and adults, if they choose), but clean enough for the younger set. However, when you consider the parallels with Revelation and the mark of the Beast, Sneak becomes even more clever. (Look at the cover! All the sets of the three numbers add up to six! The devil’s in the details :P )
Sneak picks up where Swipe left off, with Logan searching for leads on Acheron, the mysterious place which holds his sister. DOME is cracking down on the Markless harder and harder, enraged after the Dust and Logan slipped through their fingers. As threads of the stories of Logan, Erin, Hailey, Peck, and the other Dust intertwine, we discover more and more about DOME and how they really treat the Markless, the Marks, and a bit about how things were before. Angler weaves the political and religious themes through the characters and dystopian science fiction story with a deft hand, never feeling like he is forcing them on the reader.
I recommend this book to people of all ages who think they might want to pick it up. The series is well-crafted and clean enough for young readers. While there is violence, it is not particularly graphic. Any curses or slurs are manufactured for this futuristic world, so the language is clean. Also, the characters are mostly young (Logan had just turned thirteen). Overall, I feel that is very suited for a middle grade audience and up. Sneak continues an interesting story set forth by Swipe, and leaves a lot more excitement to come. I definitely look forward to the next installment!
This book was obtained freely from the publisher, Tommy Nelson, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.(less)
★★★½ -- It was difficult for me not to give this novel 4 stars, because I did rather enjoy it. However there were just things that bothered me about t...more★★★½ -- It was difficult for me not to give this novel 4 stars, because I did rather enjoy it. However there were just things that bothered me about the novel that I can't entirely pin down, but I'll try to explain. Even though she clearly has her flaws, I liked Celaena. It's interesting to see a strong female assassin that had a very shallow side that had to adjust to having her life of luxury ripped away from her -- the night when she lost her lover and when she lost her freedom to the salt mines. Then, suddenly, the luxury is dumped back in her lap but with a very big catch -- she must fight for and serve the man that sentenced her to death in Endovier, that razed her homeland and destroyed her people. I liked Dorian, I liked Chaol, and love triangles don't immediately turn me from the book. I love the idea of the protagonist being a female assassin, particularly since I had read that the Throne of Glass series is loosely inspired by what Cinderella would be like as an assassin instead of your typical female. There's mystery, there's intrigue, there are challenges for Celaena to prove herself, and dangers she must navigate to have a chance at her freedom. But I can't help but feel that it's all just somewhat shallow.
About halfway through the novel I was dying for some backstory. Maas kept throwing in loose references to Celaena's life before Endovier, but these things were never fleshed out in Throne of Glass. So, I went and read the four prequel short stories, which ranged from enjoyable to ho-hum to how do you make such bad decisions if you're "the best" Celaena? Those definitely helped me get a picture of our heroine. But then I had other questions for Celaena... How can you start liking the prince when you know his father took your life away? How can you start liking anyone if you really were so in love with Sam? I realize a year in a death camp would probably make emotional pains dull in comparison to the physical trials, but I would have thought that (A) Celaena would be so hardened by the experience that love would be out of the question for a much longer time or (B) she would have seethed over her betrayal and Sam's murder for the year and come out wanting revenge, not warming up to the Prince and Chaol. Also, I wanted to know more about her feelings of betrayal. Does Celaena understand what actually happened the night she was caught? Does she understand who was responsible, and why? And how does this affect her? Maas seemed to entirely sidestep these questions in her narrative.
Overall though, there was enough about the story that I enjoyed that I will certainly have the next novel in the series on my to-read list. I'm curious to see how Celaena will handle being the King's Champion, and what developments will come with her new relationships with the characters met in Throne of Glass. I also look forward to learning more about the magic that's supposedly disappeared from the land, and what occurred and what's to come with the dark powers that were uncovered.(less)
★★½ -- Undeadly as a whole feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. I expected to thoroughly enjoy a book incorporating necromancy and Egyptian mytho...more★★½ -- Undeadly as a whole feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. I expected to thoroughly enjoy a book incorporating necromancy and Egyptian mythology. However, there were things about the novel that just rubbed me the wrong way. For one, I couldn’t connect with the protagonist, Molly, because I found her quite annoying. As she admits more than once in her narrative, she is shallow. In this case, I feel the descriptor suits her superficial values in addition to what I felt was a lack of character depth and development. I didn’t like her quite enough to root for her through all her problems, so I didn’t enjoy the story as much as I could have otherwise. Her decision-making skills are often questionable at best, and downright irresponsible in other cases. It is clear that her boyfriend comes back wrong, but it takes her the entirety of the novel to own up to her mistake and do anything about it. Her attitude is what I can only think to describe as “valley girl” much of the time. If she said “Whatevs.” one more time, I think I would have attempted to reach through the book and slap her.
Despite these shortcomings, there are certainly aspects of the novel I enjoyed. I enjoyed the mythology of the novel, with the Egyptian gods, the reapers, and the necromancers. I thought the concepts presented here were interesting. I liked that Molly has to deal with her decision to serve Anubis as a binding one, even though it was made in a dream and she is really quite immature about it sometimes. I can cut Molly some slack for her attitude because she had to deal with so many life-changing bombs dropped on her at once. And when she is actually being cute instead of annoying, her narrative is fun and witty. The secondary characters (especially Rath) were interesting and I find myself wanting to know more about them.
Overall, I enjoyed Undeadly enough to seek out the next installment, Unchosen. The book leaves off on a cliffhanger which leaves you wanting more. This novel is good for those wanting a non-serious, light read. It may be better suited to younger readers who will likely find Molly to be more entertaining than irksome–but not too young, as there are some sexual themes.
This book was obtained freely from the publisher, Harlequin Teen, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.(less)