Review will be posted on my blog closer to the release date.
Let the Sky Fall has a wonderfully original paranormal twist. I’m a huge fan of paranormal...moreReview will be posted on my blog closer to the release date.
Let the Sky Fall has a wonderfully original paranormal twist. I’m a huge fan of paranormal stories, but after a while it kind of starts to feel like you’re reading the same thing over and over again, so I was delighted that Let the Sky Fall was something new. Everything from the setting to the ability to communicate with the wind felt like a breath of fresh air (har har… sorry, couldn’t help it! :P).
Shannon Messenger is an amazing storyteller, and I could really feel everything coming alive from the pages. Her descriptions were absolutely fantastic and if you’ve ever had even the tiniest desire to have the ability to fly (and haven’t we all!), this book will definitely make you long for sylphs to be real.
My one issue with the book is that it seemed overly long and it kind of felt like not that much happened, considering the length. That said, I’m definitely looking forward to the next book (I’m assuming this is the beginning of a series!).
If you’re looking for something a little different in your paranormal novels, you definitely don’t want to miss Let the Sky Fall! (less)
I was immediately interested in reading The Boy Recession when I heard about it, mainly because my college h...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
I was immediately interested in reading The Boy Recession when I heard about it, mainly because my college had a similar male-female ratio (Okay, maybe not quite the same, but it sure felt like it sometimes!), and it sounded like a fun story that I could totally relate to. Having read it, I can say that I wasn’t really blown away, but it was sweet, cute story that I enjoyed reading.
My favorite thing about it was definitely the humor; there were several moments that had me smiling and giggling out loud. I loved the chapter headings in particular, taken from the school’s online newspaper. Some of my favorites:
“Popularity of Plaid Shorts Plummets as Preppies Flee Julius” “Senior Girls Lobby to Take Over, Convert to Lounge Boys’ Bathroom in South Hallway” “Cougars Among Us: Julius Juniors and Their Freshman Boy Toys”
The characters felt like SUCH typical teenagers: the boys weren’t drop-dead gorgeous and mysterious, they were juvenile and dumb and often pretty gross. Which isn’t what you always want to read about, of course, but it totally fit with this story. The stakes weren’t end-of-the-world high, everything was pretty chill, and everyone was just generally concerned with normal high school stuff, mainly whatever gossip was new in the dating scene. And there is a sweet, heartwarming happy ending that will for sure put a smile on your face.
A whole year passes in the book, and we generally just get flashes of scenes and hear about other things that happened in between chapters. This was a little jarring at first, but once I got used to it I enjoyed it. It made the book feel like a lot like a year of high school – when you look back you don’t remember every single day, but you remember the year in terms of the important events, those bigger moments when things changed – and I feel like that was really captured well with The Boy Recession.
This isn’t necessarily the kind of book that you can’t put down, that you’re dying to read every chance you get, but it’s a nice, easy read, and I’d recommend it for anyone looking to just chill out and head back to high school for a couple of hours.(less)
I absolutely adored Hannah Harrington’s debut novel, Saving June, and I was so excited to read Speechless. A...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
I absolutely adored Hannah Harrington’s debut novel, Saving June, and I was so excited to read Speechless. And while I don’t think that Speechless had quite as much magic for me as Saving June did, I still loved it and can highly recommend it.
At times, Speechless was incredibly difficult for me to read. The incident at the beginning that sets everything in motion was real and painful and I actually had to put the book down for a while and walk away. Which, even though it made me vaguely nauseous, is a great thing, because I love it when a book can affect me on that level.
On a related note, I really disliked Chelsea at the beginning and honestly doubted whether or not I would ever be able connect with her and root for her. This is usually a deal-breaker for me, because if I can’t connect to the main character it’s not likely that I’ll be able to enjoy their story. But Chelsea’s development throughout the novel was really well done, and Hannah Harrington did a great job at making it feel gradual and realistic. The Chelsea at the end of the book is still recognizable as the girl from the start; she still has flaws and issues to work out, but she does a lot of growing in between. I do have to admit though, overall I definitely liked her better when she wasn’t speaking.
However, I did love all the supporting characters in a way that I never really loved Chelsea, and they really made the novel for me. They’re all incredibly well-developed, and they managed to worm their way into my heart even with the minimal amount of page time they got.
Overall, Speechless is an engrossing and wonderfully written novel about one girl’s path to realizing what is really important in life. It will make you cringe, it will make you laugh, and it will make you think. I devoured it all in one sitting and I can’t wait for Hannah Harrington’s next book!(less)
Review will be posted on my blog closer to the release date.
SPOILER FREE REVIEW!
I loved Marie Lu’s debut novel Legend, so I was thrilled to...more4.5/5 Stars
Review will be posted on my blog closer to the release date.
SPOILER FREE REVIEW!
I loved Marie Lu’s debut novel Legend, so I was thrilled to get the chance to read the sequel. I’ll admit that I didn’t remember everything from the first book (it’s been a while since I’ve read it!), but Prodigy picks up pretty much right where Legend ended and it wasn’t hard at all to get absorbed into the story again. There’s something about this world that just completely sucks you in.
Prodigy continues the dual narration, which I really love. It’s so interesting to get to see both June and Day’s perspectives, especially considering what different backgrounds they come from. We also get to see a lot more of the society that Marie Lu has created, which was something I was definitely hoping for from Prodigy after finishing Legend. I feel like I have a much better sense of how the society came to be and what’s really going on, rather than just the vague feeling we got from the first book.
We also see a lot of familiar faces in Prodigy, as well as several new characters, who I can’t wait to get to know more in the third book. And Metias! God, I don’t know what it is about Metias, considering how early he dies in Legend (not a spoiler!), but I’ve always felt such a connection to him and I mourned for him SO HARD, which just continues with Prodigy. I don’t know how Marie Lu has made me care about him so much, but I love it. There were tears, I’ll tell you now.
Prodigy is such a fantastic second novel. It’s packed with action and surprises and teasers of things to come. And oh my goodness, that ending! Ack, my heart. It’s both heartbreaking but also oh so perfect and I am SO excited for the next book. I cannot wait to see how this story ends!(less)
This book is so HUGELY entertaining and I absolutely loved it! Despite the potentially heavy subject matter...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
This book is so HUGELY entertaining and I absolutely loved it! Despite the potentially heavy subject matter of needing to undergo a fake kidnapping in order for the FBI to protect you from dangerous terrorists, it’s a really light, fun read, and I had a huge smile on my face the entire time.
Digit is absolutely adorable and so hilarious, both in her inner monologues and her interactions (particularly with John, the hot FBI agent assigned to protect her) and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud so many times. From her obsession with bumper stickers to her shyness about her crazy math skills, she is such an enjoyable character. And she and John have fantastic chemistry together. I loved watching the development of their relationship and it was so sweet when they eventually got together.
I also really loved Digit’s evolution throughout the book and her gradual acceptance of “Digit” as an important part of herself. Watching her grow in confidence (and particularly John’s role in that growth) was incredibly satisfying and added a subtle layer to what would otherwise be a fairly fluffy contemporary novel.
My one complaint is that this book is so short! I wanted to spend so much more time with Digit. Although I’ve seen rumours that a sequel is in the works, which makes me very happy. :) Be sure to check out A Girl Named Digit when it releases in June; it is pure fun and entertainment and you definitely don’t want to miss it.(less)
As a former dancer I knew I was going to enjoy Waltz This Way, but you don’t need to appreciate ballr...moreRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z.
As a former dancer I knew I was going to enjoy Waltz This Way, but you don’t need to appreciate ballroom dance or reality TV shows in order to love this story. It’s full of relatable characters, snappy dialogue, and sexy moments, and it’s such a fun ride every step of the way.
I loved loved LOVED the interactions between Drew and Mel. I like my romances hot and snarky, and these two have chemistry in spades. They’re hilarious and clever and absolutely wonderful together. Mel is just a fantastic character all on her own; I love her relationships with everybody. Her scenes with the boy geniuses in dance class were especially fun.
The supporting characters were actually one of my favorite parts of Waltz This Way. From Drew’s eccentric family (particularly his son, Nate), to Mel’s best friends from LA, the different personalities definitely made the story what it was.
And although this is technically the third book in the Ex Trophy Wives series, it stands well on its own and it isn’t at all necessary to have read the previous books in order to enjoy it. I was really intrigued by the glimpses we got of the previous ex trophy wives, and I’m definitely looking forward to going back and reading the first two books in the series, particularly to learn more about Jasmine’s story.
I will say that I thought everything was wrapped up just a little too neatly and maybe slightly unrealistically, but it was a nonetheless satisfying ending. When I decide to read a contemporary romance I’m usually expecting a happy ending, so I’m not really complaining. :)
Overall, Waltz This Way is a fun, sexy story with sweet moments, fabulously clever dialogue, and a great cast of characters. If you’re a fan of contemporary romance you won’t want to miss this one!(less)
I have been anticipating this book ever since I first heard about it ages ago, and I was so eager to get my hands on...moreOriginally posted at From A to Z.
I have been anticipating this book ever since I first heard about it ages ago, and I was so eager to get my hands on a copy. Stories about childhood friends or sweethearts that are separated and then reunited years later (or ‘reunion romance’ as my tag on Goodreads calls them) are my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. I cannot even tell you. So I was thrilled when For Darkness Shows the Stars totally delivered and I LOVED it.
The world that Diana Peterfreund has created is so interesting and different. I would have loved to have more background information about how the Reduction came about and how everything happened, but the story didn’t feel like it was lacking at all without that extra information. It also didn’t feel like she was trying too hard to create this incredibly unique post-apocalyptic world, if that makes any sense. These days I feel like so many dystopian-type stories are trying so hard to be the next big “thing” and I didn’t get that feeling from For Darkness Shows the Stars, which I definitely appreciated. It just felt very naturally original and appealing.
Elliott and Kai are both absolutely brilliant and incredibly frustrating at the same time. I loved each of their journeys as individual characters, and I definitely loved them together. This is my favorite kind of love story, you guys. The tension between them is palpable; you feel everything they’re going through so much. They’ve had a difficult history together, and Kai is just harsh enough with Elliott for it to be perfect. I will say that the romantic in me wanted a little more of the lovey-dovey stuff (yeah, I’m a sap), but honestly it didn’t even matter, I still loved it. And the whole story is peppered with letters that Kai and Elliott wrote to each other as they were growing up, which was a wonderfully sweet window into their back story and really allowed the reader to see their growth and maturation.
I haven’t read Persuasion, so I can’t really comment on its relationship with For Darkness Shows the Stars, but I can say that I will most definitely be reading it after this. I love the idea of a futuristic take on an originally historical setting, and I can’t wait to read the story that inspired Diana to write this amazing book! Whether or not you’re a fan of Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a unique and emotional read, and I highly recommend it.(less)
I was immediately intrigued when I first heard about The Selection, both because of the interesting premise...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
I was immediately intrigued when I first heard about The Selection, both because of the interesting premise and the gorgeous cover. I’m left with mixed feelings after reading it, but overall it was a fun and entertaining read.
The Selection has been pitched as “The Bachelor” meets The Hunger Games, and I can definitely understand the comparisons to both. I’ve never actually seen “The Bachelor,” but the competition that the girls go through in The Selection seems pretty similar to me. I really enjoyed the girls’ interactions as they realized that they were becoming friends (some of them, at least!) despite the fact that they were all competing to win the heart of Prince Maxon. And Maxon himself is such a sweetheart! I do wish that his friendship with America had happened a little slower, but their interactions were a lot of fun.
America herself is a likeable heroine, though at times she came across as a little too perfect and admired. Her interactions with Aspen and her family were some of my favorite moments, especially her little sister, May. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her. (And more of Aspen!). This is one of those love triangle books where I don’t feel very strongly toward either boy, YET. I like them both, so we’ll just have to see what happens. :)
The comparison to The Hunger Games is also understandable to me, although I think they are alike less because they’re both dystopians and more because of other very similar plot elements (which I’m not going to go into, but you’ll probably notice as you read the book).
To be honest, in comparison to a lot of dystopians, The Selection hardly even feels like a dystopian novel. People are divided into numbered caste systems (with Ones being the highest and Eights the lowest), and there are occasional rebel attacks, but the overall tone of the novel is much more relaxed and the story focuses mostly on the Selection itself. Which in some ways is a refreshing change from the heavier novels out there, although I am hoping that in future novels we’ll get more information about the rebels and everything that's going on.
If you like your dystopians a little on the fluffier side, and if you enjoy reality competitions like “The Bachelor,” I’d recommend reading The Selection. For me, it wasn’t am-AH-zing, but it is definitely a light, entertaining story that I enjoyed reading, and I am planning to check out the next book in the series.(less)
Review will be posted on my blog closer to release date.
Altered is a wonderfully fun and unique adventure that barely slows down from start to finish....moreReview will be posted on my blog closer to release date.
Altered is a wonderfully fun and unique adventure that barely slows down from start to finish. It took a little while for me to really get into it, partly because it is so different, but once things got going I couldn’t help but get invested in Anna and her relationship with the four boys. It was a really fun dynamic to have one girl with four guys, and I really loved that Anna could hold her own with them. No damsels in distress to be found here!
There were several things that I predicted right from the beginning, which caused a lot of frustrated yelling at the characters for not realizing things sooner, but I actually enjoy getting that emotional about a book. And there were a few twists that I absolutely didn’t see coming, which was fantastic.
Altered doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but things are left open enough for the possibility of a sequel, and I would love to find out more about the Branch and their experiments. If you’re looking for a fresh sci-fi story that will pull you, and especially if you’re a fan of the TV show Nikita, I would definitely recommend Altered. (less)
Review to be posted on my blog closer to the release date.
I went into Time Between Us expecting something like a young adult Time Traveler’...more3.5/5 Stars
Review to be posted on my blog closer to the release date.
I went into Time Between Us expecting something like a young adult Time Traveler’s Wife, and while there are definitely similar elements, this is a much different story. In Time Between Us the time travel aspect felt like it came second to the love story, which still makes for a sweet book but left me wanting a little more in terms of complications and obstacles due to the time travel. And I couldn’t help but question the logic of some of Bennett’s actions and decisions.
This is not to say that there aren’t any time travel shenanigans, because there definitely are and I truly enjoyed some of them. I especially loved some of Anna and Bennett’s first interactions. There is also an emphasis on the consequences and responsibilities of time travel, which I thought added a great layer. Is it okay to go back in time and change things? How much is too much? Although I will say that it bugged me a little that Bennett was willing to bend his rules for Anna even though she clearly had less experience with it than he did. Man, that boy was whipped. Haha.
If you’re a fan of time travel romance but the complexities of time travel tend to give you a headache, Time Between Us is the perfect book for you. The time travel is fun and easy to understand and you won’t be able to help getting swept up in the whirlwind romance of Anna and Bennett’s story. Curl up with a mug of hot chocolate and let yourself get lost for the afternoon.(less)
Masque of the Red Death is a hard book for me to review. Maybe I was expecting too much, but overall it wasn’t as amazing as I was hoping it would be. There were definitely things I liked though, and I enjoyed it enough that I’m planning to read the sequel (and there IS going to be one, guys, this is the beginning of a trilogy).
Bethany Griffin’s world building is pretty fantastic. The whole novel has a very dark, kind of sexy, gothic feel to it, which I really liked. She did a great job in setting a tone that is very fitting for a retelling of Edgar Allen Poe. I do feel like The Debauchery Club itself could have been more intense (especially given its name), but the world outside the club was fabulously described. Corpses in the streets, body collectors rattling along with their carts, the terror of being caught outside without a mask, airborne contagion, a city in ruins… I could see and feel it all. And the masks. I LOVE the idea of the masks. Who doesn’t love a masquerade? Now just imagine a masquerade ball, but it happens every time you go outside. (And, you know, without all the dancing and frivolity.)
I have to admit, I haven’t actually read Poe’s Masque of the Red Death (and I love Poe, so I don’t know what’s wrong with me), so I don’t know how many of the plot elements came from Poe and how many were original ideas, but as someone going into this book as a blank slate, I thought there was a great blend of elements of young adult fiction along with a Poe-esque setting and atmosphere to the story.
The thing was, I had a lot of trouble connecting with any of the characters, which is the main reason that I didn’t fall in love with this book the way I had hoped I would. I didn’t understand the motivation behind a lot of their decisions, and there also wasn’t a lot of consistent character development throughout the novel. This unfortunately affected my investment in the various relationships, so I was pretty ambivalent toward almost everybody (I did really enjoy Will, although some of his actions still confused me). I would have loved more fleshed-out characters, and I’m hoping to see more of that in the next books.
Overall, Masque of the Red Death has a fantastically creepy gothic setting, with an enjoyable storyline despite a disconnect with most of the characters. The last few chapters in particular race along and the end of the book will surely leave you eager to read more.(less)
Okay, so this book almost makes me want to go stand in a storm and try to get struck by lightning. An...moreRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z.
Okay, so this book almost makes me want to go stand in a storm and try to get struck by lightning. And if a book makes me want to do something that’s potentially fatal, well… the book has to be pretty awesome, right? Right. (Please note the use of almost.)
Struck is such a unique story. From the view of what might happen to Los Angeles after a horrible earthquake to the idea of a girl who is addicted to getting struck by lightning, the fascinating premise will draw you right in, and the remarkable world-building will keep you there.
Jennifer Bosworth is a screenwriter, and it’s completely evident as you read Struck. The devastated city of LA is brought to life through her wonderful descriptions and everything jumps right off the page. I almost felt like I was watching a movie in my head, and I would love to see Struck on the big screen. The story moves along rapidly, with the book broken up into the three days before the storm hits, and you can feel the tension as it gets closer and closer. Everything leads up to the explosive ending, with twists and turns all along the way, including something that I totally did not see coming (and I’m usually pretty good at guessing things so it’s awesome when an author can surprise me).
I really liked Mia from the start. She’s not one of those annoyingly naive heroines who can’t ever tell what’s going on. She has her moments, of course, but for the most part she’s incredibly smart and intuitive, and I absolutely loved reading from her perspective. The rest of the characters are also great; everyone from Mia’s family to her love interest to the members of the two cults are interesting and fun to read about. Although I will say that I wish there had been a bit more development to the romance; it was just a bit too fast-moving and instalove for me to really get invested in it.
And one note about the cults, while there are pretty heavy religious themes to the novel, it’s not done in a preachy or overbearing way at all. Jennifer handles the cult aspect very well, and I would recommend not letting that prevent you from reading Struck.
One of the things I love about this novel is that while there is definitely the possibility for future books, Struck itself is a complete and engaging story with a satisfying ending. There’s no awful cliffhanger, no frustrating loose ends. Not that I don’t enjoy the occasional tantalizing cliffhanger, but it’s a refreshing change to finish a book and actually have it end.
With an awesome heroine and a unique premise, Struck is an addictive, fast-paced novel that you won’t want to put down. I can’t wait for more from Jennifer Bosworth!(less)
This book was so much more real than I was expecting. For some reason when I first heard about it I g...moreRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z.
This book was so much more real than I was expecting. For some reason when I first heard about it I got the impression that it had almost a psychological thriller feel to it and that the reader was going to be unsure about which was reality - Sabina’s dreams or the facility where she lives. This is NOT the plot, clearly I am just an idiot (in my defense I think I first read a different synopsis than the one above), and what happens is actually a very beautiful story about Sabrina’s struggle with schizophrenia.
Life Is But a Dream portrays Sabrina’s condition incredibly well and it is so easy to sympathize with her. Brian James really manages to get inside her head, allowing the reader to see the world the way Sabrina does and understand why she gets worried about losing herself to the medication. Some of the things she sees sound so beautiful, and it doesn’t always feel like she’s crazy. She’s just afraid of her life changing and she doesn’t want to become a mindless robot like the rest of the world. You can’t help but get caught up in her story.
Alec as a love interest was very interesting. He and Sabrina fall in love very quickly, which isn’t my favorite thing, but is understandable under the circumstances. They have both been locked away from the world, told that they’re crazy, and they find comfort and understanding in each other. I totally get it, and it was wonderful to watch their connection develop and see someone understand Sabrina in a way that she hasn’t experienced for her entire life. What made it interesting to me was that at certain times I thought that Alec almost felt like the villain. As a reader I became so invested in wanting Sabrina to get better and conquer her disorder that it was really hard to read when Alec tried to convince her that the doctors were the crazy ones and didn’t have her best interests at heart. I went back and forth between not wanting Sabrina to lose her world and wishing that she would just trust her doctor.
Overall I really enjoyed Life Is But a Dream. The writing is beautiful and it is a fascinating look at the world through the eyes of someone who has schizophrenia. I’ll definitely be watching for more from Brian James.(less)
Wow. So this book was a lot darker and more intense than I was expecting. It is not your normal fluffy YA no...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
Wow. So this book was a lot darker and more intense than I was expecting. It is not your normal fluffy YA novel, but a tense action thriller with high stakes and real consequences.
The action and thriller side of the novel is done really well. The mystery of Wally’s mother’s identity, the clues we’re slowly given, how everything falls into place… it all kept me reading late into the night. And the climax is full of nonstop action and unexpected twists that had me both cringing in horror and laughing in delight.
This is the second book I’ve read recently by a screenwriter (Jennifer Bosworth’s Struck was the other one), and oh man, do they know how to bring the excitement! The writing is engaging and each scene feels like it could come straight off the pages and right onto a movie screen.
The one thing I had an issue with in terms of the plot of the novel was how easily Wally discovers everything. She makes connections and draws conclusions based on very little evidence and she’s never wrong. She guesses things and figures things out that even trained detectives would have trouble with, much less one sixteen-year-old with very few resources. I don’t think there were any setbacks in her investigation at all. Every single lead she followed turned into a wealth of information, her timing was always perfect, and the whole thing felt unrealistic. I just wish it was done in a way that was more believable.
Other than this, I did enjoy Dark Eyes as an action novel. It’s the emotional side of the novel that I felt was lacking a bit. I never really understood Wally’s motivation for running away from home, since she obviously cares for her adoptive mother, Claire, and feels guilty about leaving her. She has led a privileged and pampered life, and comes across as rather selfish. Wally is also just a very hardened character and keeps everyone at arm’s length, which makes it hard to really connect with her. She talks about her friends as her family and the people she truly belongs with (the whole reason she ended up leaving home), but I would have liked more development of her relationship with them. I personally never really saw the connection they all had, so while I became intrigued by Wally and her quest to find her mother, I couldn’t really bring myself to care that much about the crew.
Despite my issues with the book, I enjoyed Dark Eyes. I especially loved the Russian aspect to the novel, since I lived in Russia when I was a kid. It made me feel a little nostalgic. :) Overall, Dark Eyes is a dark, gritty story that will keep you turning the pages until the thrilling conclusion.(less)
Review will be posted on my blog closer to the release date.
This is such a fun, cute story. The writing is clever and engaging, and I pretty much read...moreReview will be posted on my blog closer to the release date.
This is such a fun, cute story. The writing is clever and engaging, and I pretty much read the entire book in one sitting. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The blurb mentions that the boys are in a band, but it’s actually a much bigger part of the story than I realized, and I LOVED that. I’m a huge live music fan, so it was really fun to see the inner workings of a band trying to write songs and figure out harmonies and get everything sounding just right. You definitely don’t need to be a music lover to enjoy it though; there are no technical terms or anything confusing to the music aspect of the novel. The story is very much focused on Char and her growth, and the band is a conduit for showing that.
And oh, Char. She gets tangled up with so many boys, I honestly don’t know how she handled it. Sometimes you just need a female friend, you know?
Although I did love this book, one of the small issues I had with it is that the romance actually seemed to take a backseat to the rest of the story, and it wasn’t as prominent as I expected (maybe I should have known better, given that the book is called Being FRIENDS with Boys). And the title is actually hugely appropriate. Char is dealing with friendships with several different guys, and a few of them have the possibility of turning into something more, but it feels like the book is mostly about Char dealing with a lot of drama rather than slowly falling in love.
The love story didn’t actually happen until the end of the book, and I really would have liked more development throughout the novel and a slightly less sudden ending. That said, I did have a huge smile on my face when I finished the book, so it’s not like I wasn’t happy or anything. I just would have liked more. (Put simply, basically what all this means is that I wanted more kissing! Haha.)
And apart from the lack of romance, I really did enjoy Char’s interactions with all the boys in her life. She has a unique and complicated relationship with each one, and it was so fun watching her navigate the waters of male-female friendships. I love stories that focus on those kinds of relationships, and though at times certain characters were incredibly frustrating and almost made me want to throw the book across the room, I found myself both groaning and laughing out loud as Char went through everything. There’s a lot of high school frustration and drama and angst, but once Char gets through all of that there’s a very sweet, smile-inducing ending.
If you’re looking for a fun contemporary story about a rocker girl and her many complications with the boys in her life, I’d definitely recommend checking out Being Friends with Boys.(less)
Unraveling Isobel is such a fun paranormal story, despite the potentially heavy material. It reminds me a bit of Frost by Marianna Baer, with seemingly supernatural occurrences that may or may not be supernatural after all, but it takes a much more lighthearted approach.
The ghost story side of Unraveling Isobel was done really well, and I was right there with Isobel as she began to dig deeper into the history of her new home, wondering what in the world is going on. The story isn’t so creepy that you won’t be able to sleep, but it’s just enough to maybe give you the shivers if you’re reading at night.
The writing is clever and engaging, and Isobel is a great narrator with a wonderful sense of humor. She's snarky and funny, and entirely relatable. She could be naïve at times, which was a little frustrating, but she grew a lot throughout the novel. The book is hard to put down, with new twists and discoveries at every turn. I finished it in just a few hours and had absolutely no desire to stop reading.
I do wish there had been a little more build up to the romance. When you have a love story between step-siblings there’s SO much potential for angst and confusion and I feel like a lot more could have been done with that. Once Isobel and Nate got together they were both just like “Well, whatever, we’re not actually related,” and I just wanted to see more hesitation and uncertainty. I really enjoyed Nate as a character though. He starts off as a bit of a jerk, but as he warms up to Isobel and they start spending more time together you can’t help but grow to love him. The friendship between the two of them is fantastic.
The parents in this book also have some serious issues. There are times when I just want to be able to crawl inside certain novels and smack a few characters around, and this was definitely one of them. Although it would have been nice if we could have gotten to know Isobel’s dad better; there’s definitely the potential for a great relationship there.
With clever writing and a totally engrossing storyline, Unraveling Isobel is an awesome modern day ghost story. Though not a mind-blowing novel, it’s a fun, light read and I’d definitely recommend it.(less)
I’m not really sure exactly how to review this one. I actually went back and forth about whether I should ev...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
I’m not really sure exactly how to review this one. I actually went back and forth about whether I should even write a review or not, but I decided to at least put some thoughts down.
It’s not that this was a bad book, by any means. It’s just that it wasn’t really for me, mainly because the story has much more of a Christian slant than I had realized. There were hints in the title and the blurb, but since I hadn’t seen it marketed as Christian fiction anywhere I just didn’t realize how large a role it would play. I generally tend to stay away from faith-based books, simply because they're not really my thing.
However, now that that’s said, the story itself is well-written and I did enjoy reading it. I love road trip books, and it was fun watching them explore Route 66, especially with Matt’s unexpected detours. The locations are wonderfully described and it definitely intensified my ever-present wanderlust. I felt like the growth of the characters throughout the novel was also done really well. Thou Shalt Not Road Trip has a very unique and colorful cast, and I was intrigued by their personal journeys even if I didn’t really personally identify with any of them.
If you enjoy books that have more of a religious slant to them, I’d definitely recommend Thou Shalt Not Road Trip. Overall it was just an okay read for me, but I don’t think I’m necessarily the intended audience for this kind of story to begin with.(less)
WOW. This book is one craaaaaazy ride and I loved every second of it. The characters are wonderfully relatabl...moreOriginally posted on my blog From A to Z.
WOW. This book is one craaaaaazy ride and I loved every second of it. The characters are wonderfully relatable, the story is unique and edge-of-your-seat thrilling, and it all leads up to a shocking conclusion that will leave you reeling.
Janelle is a fantastic protagonist. She’s smart and brave, and she’s so determined to investigate everything that’s going on, which is great fun. I especially loved her interactions with pretty much everyone in her life. She’s close with her father and protective of her little brother, she has an AMAZING best friend, Alex (I’m such a sucker for best friend stories), and I really enjoyed watching her relationship with Ben develop. The characters are all so real, and I really came to identify with them and care for them. I’m not ashamed to say that I might have cried a couple of times because of certain events in this book. The wounds are actually still a little tender. Yeesh.
The story is wonderfully addictive; I tore through it all in one night. I love that Unraveling is such an atypical paranormal story. I won’t give anything away, but I absolutely did NOT see anything coming, which was kind of awesome. There were so many “Woah!” moments and I was never ever bored.
I don’t know whether or not Elizabeth Norris is planning a sequel, but I would LOVE to read one. And even without one, Unraveling is one hell of a ride. Occasionally heartbreaking and completely gripping, with fantastic characters and a unique paranormal twist, this book is not to be missed.(less)
Frost is one scary book. It’s the kind of scary that takes you back to younger days when you were sur...moreRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z.
Frost is one scary book. It’s the kind of scary that takes you back to younger days when you were sure there were monsters in your closet and under your bed, when every gust of wind and creak in your house was some nefarious being out to get you. When half the fear came from actual nervousness and the other half came from you psyching yourself out so much that you just sat in bed, terrified to move, with your back against the wall and the covers up to your chin.
That kind of fear is the beauty of Frost. Everything begins normally enough, with seemingly logical explanations for the little things that seem strange and out of place, and it feels like there’s no reason to think any differently. As the story progresses, however, it becomes clear that things aren’t necessarily what they seem, and that characters we thought we understood may or may not be completely reliable. The depth and characterization of these people, and of Frost House itself, is fantastic, with some of them walking the line between sane and possibly mentally unstable, between haunted and not haunted. Trying to figure out which is which and what is actually going on will leave you completely clueless and constantly second-guessing yourself.
Marianna Baer does an incredible job of setting the tone for Frost and making it so deliciously dark and creepy. I had to sleep with the light on because I was so freaked out. Dark hallways suddenly took on a whole new menace. Baer’s plot progression and storytelling is great, and everything felt very believable. The weirdness factor just unfolded so naturally; it was extremely unsettling.
Frost is an excellent Halloween-time read, and definitely one to add to the list of exceptionally well-done, crap-your-pants ghost stories. Highly recommended if you’re in the mood for chills up your spine.
*Thanks so much to Cindy from Around the World ARC Tours for letting me be a part of this tour. :)(less)
Oh my goodness, I looooooooooved this book. It is an absolutely amazing debut and definitely stands out amon...moreOriginally posted on my blog, From A to Z.
Oh my goodness, I looooooooooved this book. It is an absolutely amazing debut and definitely stands out among YA contemporaries. To be honest, I was expecting a pretty standard story, but Huntley Fitzpatrick blew me away and I got so much more than that. I read it as part of an ARC tour and almost didn't sign up for it, but I'm soooooo glad I did. I barely put the book down once I started, and after I finished I kept wishing that I was still reading it.
The Garretts are, hands-down, my favorite part of the story. They are such a wonderful family and I fell completely in love with them almost instantly. (Especially the darling four-year-old George. Can I please please have a George in my life??). I adore stories about big, loving families (the Weasleys, anyone?), and this is no exception. From the minute Sam entered their world I was grinning like a fool pretty much the whole time. I want to have a large family myself (although I think I’m planning to stop at six kids, haha), and this book totally reaffirmed that desire. The craziness and love is just portrayed so perfectly. I also really love the contrast with Sam’s own family; how she escapes into the world of the Garretts and finds a whole new life for herself. I loved watching her grow as a result of her interactions with a family so different than her own.
And the romance! Oh my. The romance in this story is so achingly sweet. Sam and Jase are ADORABLE. I felt like they had such a mature relationship, which was a really refreshing change from the silly drama that seems to be present in so many other high school romance stories. I was pleasantly surprised by how they handled certain situations, and many times I could be found clutching the book to my chest in happiness. And although the focus of the book is on Jase and Sam, I would be remiss not to also mention Nan, Sam’s best friend, and her brother Tim, both of whom I loved – the story would not be complete without them.
I knew from the blurb that there was going to be some kind of Bad Event, and once I got a little more than halfway through the book I started anxiously anticipating. I had several predictions about what might happen (and was very nervous for the safety and happiness of all my beloved characters), but I absolutely didn’t see it coming. It’s a shocking and heart wrenching twist, and it makes the story that much more compelling. My heart ached for Sam, but at the same time it allowed for some really wonderful moments between her and various other characters, as well as for her own personal development. There were just a couple of things that I wish had been resolved a little more before the book ended, but they were fairly minor.
My Life Next Door is a beautifully written story that captures a summer romance perfectly. Your emotions will be all over the place and you will love it. This is one of my new favorite contemporaries and I am so so excited to read more from Huntley Fitzpatrick. If you’re a fan of authors like Sarah Dessen, Elizabeth Scott, or Sarah Ockler, you WILL NOT want to miss this book.
And just as a final note, I read this in February, but it happened to be a rare 80 degree day and I just went outside and sat in the grass and ate a popsicle and enjoyed the sun and read nonstop and it was SO PERFECT. I’m so glad this is coming out in June, because it is JUST the thing for an amazing summer read. You can feel the heat coming off the pages. Take it poolside with you, you won’t be sorry.(less)
Wow. What an incredibly awesome debut novel! I went into this book not expecting it to be A) high fantasy, or B) just quite as amazing as it was. I LOVE high fantasy and don’t read nearly enough of it for some reason, so this was such a fun surprise for me.
We are thrust immediately into the world of Pelimburg – and what a world it is! An oppressive caste system, tightly controlled magic, selkies and sea-witches and unicorns… it’s dark and dangerous and oh so magical. Cat Hellisen has created a wonderfully imaginative and complex fantasy world that feels just like you’re stepping straight into the novel. You can feel the mist coming off the water and the magic sparking off your skin; it’s fantastic. It takes a while to get accustomed to the world and some of the terminology can be a little confusing at first, but if you pay attention you’ll be fine.
Though it has familiar themes, this is not your average fluffy YA novel; there’s so much more going on here. It is an incredibly unique and well-written story, with very relatable and real characters. Felicita is an immediately likeable and wonderful heroine – smart and brave and strong – and I really enjoyed exploring the underbelly of Pelimberg with her. The group that she takes refuge with is made up of a fascinating group of street kids, both friendly and not so much, and Felicita and the reader both get swept up in their lives without really knowing whether or not they can be trusted. Things going on in Pelimburg are much bigger than Felicita realizes at first, and by the time she understands what is happening she has ended up right in the middle of it.
The two other main characters, Dash and Jannik, are each incredibly different and charming in their own ways, and I loved Felicita’s relationship with both of them. The romance in the story isn’t necessarily the typical kind of love triangle or the kind of happily-ever-after romance that you find in most YA novels, but I thought it was absolutely perfect and realistic and fitting for the story. It’s a little darker, a little grittier, and a little more bittersweet at the end, but it works very well for the characters and their situations.
When the Sea is Rising Red is one of those books that is nearly impossible to put down. I kept telling myself I would only read one more chapter before I went to sleep and before I knew it it was three in the morning. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If you like fantasy, if you like your stories dark and intense and magical, if you’re looking for something a little different in your YA, you don’t want to miss When the Sea is Rising Red. It is a beautiful and haunting story that will stay with you for a long time.(less)
Don’t Breathe a Word is a beautiful and powerful story that tackles several issues that aren’t often...moreRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z.
Don’t Breathe a Word is a beautiful and powerful story that tackles several issues that aren’t often dealt with in YA literature. Ideas of abuse, homelessness, love, and family are all woven into the novel and make it a painful and riveting read.
This book almost definitely will make you look differently at the next homeless person you see, but for me the most powerful message in Don’t Breathe a Word was about abuse and the effects it can have on someone. Even though Joy is living on the streets, she never really felt “homeless” to me. She’s still in the same city as her family and she could go home any time she wants to. The story is more about her past and her journey to discover who she is. The topic of abuse is threaded throughout the novel very delicately and it’s handled extremely well. Joy’s past is unfolded slowly, with flashbacks of her time with Asher interspersed with her present life on the streets, and it is wonderful to see her reflections on their toxic relationship changing as she begins to grow and evolve.
The friends Joy meets on the streets of Seattle are also a fantastic addition to the story. Each of them has their pasts, their own reasons for living the way they do, as well as their own struggles and challenges. Joy can’t help but be caught up in their lives, and you’ll be pulled right along with her.
There were two main things that kept me from giving Don’t Breathe a Word a full five star rating. The first one is the connection between Joy and Creed. On the one hand, I absolutely loved their relationship and the bond they shared, and I really did feel like they had great chemistry and some really wonderful scenes together. The thing was that it was so instantaneous and it felt like they had already been friends for several months. I feel like we missed the beginning; I never understood why they had this connection. Joy basically runs away from home to try to find Creed because he saw her on a sidewalk once and told her he could help her. This seemed totally random to me and kind of threw me off for the rest of the book. I would have liked a little more meat to the beginning of their story together.
The second thing is the ending. Without giving anything away, I’ll just say that it felt very unrealistic and left me unsatisfied. After such an intense and gritty story, I wasn’t prepared for or expecting it to end the way it did. A lot of people will probably be happy with the ending, but again, I wanted more. This book could have had an even greater emotional punch if it had ended differently.
Despite these flaws, Don’t Breathe a Word is an amazing novel. It’s intense and heartbreaking, thought-provoking and utterly addictive. Definitely not one to miss.(less)
Pure is a gorgeous dystopian novel, set just a few years after a nuclear explosion in the United State...moreRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z
Pure is a gorgeous dystopian novel, set just a few years after a nuclear explosion in the United States. The population is divided into Pures and Wretches; Pures live in the Dome and remain “intact” and unblemished, while Wretches were exposed to the detonation and now have various mutations. Pressia is one of the Wretches; Partridge is a Pure who has ventured outside the Dome. Neither of them is prepared for what happens when they meet.
Baggott’s world-building is absolutely fantastic, and the setting she has created feels so real and gritty. You can almost feel the ash settling around you as you read. The idea behind the story is also so unique and interesting. The people who were outside the Dome at the time of the Detonations all fused in some way to something they were touching at the time, which makes for a fascinating cast of characters. Mothers who were holding children are now permanently attached, people have animals or other objects embedded in them, some people even fused with the earth. Pressia herself has a doll head instead of a hand. Each time we met someone new I was eager to see what their mutation was going to be, and I loved the creativity of each one.
Pure is mostly told through the alternating perspectives of Pressia and Partridge, but there are also chapters told from the point of view of various other characters. Though potentially confusing, this assortment of perspective serves to flesh out the story even more and I really enjoyed getting to learn things and see the world through other viewpoints.
At just under 450 pages, Pure is a pretty hefty book and the pace is fairly slow-moving. While in some ways this helped to create the tone of the story, I also feel like about a quarter of it probably could have been cut out and nothing would have been lost storywise. The plot is interesting enough that I wasn't ever really bored, it’s just not edge-of-your-seat thrilling the way some dystopian novels are; it feels like more of a meandering journey. I’ll admit that I’m hoping for the pace to pick up in the next book.
With a gorgeous setting, intriguing characters, and a unique steampunk dystopian twist, Pure is a fantastic look into a United States of the future, and I can’t wait to read more.
*Just a note about the age range for Pure, I’ve seen it marketed as Young Adult in some places but not in others, so I’m not exactly sure how to classify it. It’s definitely appropriate for the young adult age range, and the main characters are teenagers, but the tone of the story feels more like an adult novel than young adult. Not trying to put anybody off reading it, I just wanted to point it out.(less)
This was a did-not-finish for me, although I may pick it up again later and give it another chance.
I had a lot of trouble connecting with Gabby, she j...moreThis was a did-not-finish for me, although I may pick it up again later and give it another chance.
I had a lot of trouble connecting with Gabby, she just seemed like a completely pathetic and weak character. Her mom was annoying (and not in a good mom way), and her so-called friends and boyfriend also seemed like total jerks.
The writing was also really hard to get into. The sentences felt very convoluted and flowery, like the author was trying to evoke a certain style but just left me needing to reread sentences in order to understand what they were even trying to say.
I may or may not try to finish it later, but for now it's just not worth the time for me.(less)
The Catastrophic History of You and Me has the feeling of a contemporary novel but with an undeniably paranormal twist. Brie is dead, stuck in the afterlife, but with the ability to spy on her friends and family in the real world. These were some of my favorite scenes from the novel, and it was heartbreaking to see Brie watch the rest of the world move on without her and be unable to interact with her loved ones. The depiction of Brie’s various relationships – with her family, with her friends, even with her dog – was very well done and really set the whole tone of the novel for me.
Jess Rothenberg has captured the voice of a fifteen-year-old perfectly. It is absolutely spot on. Brie can be insecure, annoying, and impulsive but also caring, passionate, and surprisingly perceptive. She comes off as immature and angry at first, which is completely understandable given what she’s going through, and her growth and development throughout the novel are really fun to watch.
There were a few pretty major issues I had with Catastrophic History, one of which is the whole basic premise of the book. Brie actually dies of a broken heart. Literally, her heart breaks into two pieces when her boyfriend breaks up with her. This was something I knew I was going to have issues with even before I started the book, and I was hoping it would be addressed in some way that made a little more sense, but that’s actually all there is to it – she dies of a broken heart.
I also unfortunately wasn’t really feeling the romance. Patrick and Brie do have some fun scenes together that I enjoyed, but overall I never warmed up to him. He also constantly uses cheese-themed nicknames for Brie, which absolutely drove me crazy. It would be annoying enough if he just stuck with one nickname, but he uses a different one almost every time. Cheeto, Cheese Puff, Chedster, Cream Cheese, Cheez Whiz, Cheese Face, Cheese Breath… I get that her name is Brie, okay, haha, very funny. But these are not cute or flattering or endearing at all. I probably would have smacked him.
I actually did start to get more into the romance in the last 100 pages or so, but I think the final dramatic payoff would have had more of an impact if it had been threaded throughout the whole novel a little better. I know that might sound confusing, but I’m intentionally trying to be vague to avoid spoilers. :)
Despite these issues, I still really enjoyed The Catastrophic History of You and Me, mainly because of Brie’s voice and the realistic portrayal of the different relationships throughout the novel. And I LOVED the song titles and lyrics at the beginning of each chapter, those were so fun. It made me want to go find the songs and listen to them as I was reading. (And oh hey, lovely author Jess has actually made a playlist for the book on her website, which you can find HERE. http://www.jessrothenberg.com/playlis...)
The Catastrophic History of You and Me is a unique, funny, and touching debut novel about growing up and dealing with both life and what happens when it’s over. I’ll definitely be looking for more from Jess Rothenberg.(less)
I really don't like not finishing books, but to be honest I could tell after only two paragraphs that this wasn't going to be a book for me. And I did...moreI really don't like not finishing books, but to be honest I could tell after only two paragraphs that this wasn't going to be a book for me. And I did keep trying; I managed to read 60 pages before I finally gave up. There were two main issues with the book that made it impossible for me to get through. Maybe if only one of these had been present things would have been different, I don't know.
First, the writing. It felt very immature and cheesy, and I just couldn't take it seriously. I stopped reading soon after this sentence: "She watches him and feels the love chemicals pumping through her." Really? Love chemicals? Pumping through her? No. I just can't.
Secondly, Lucy is an incredibly pathetic and naive character. Yes, she is heartbroken, I get that, but it's no excuse. I don't even understand why she likes Alex, because even in her flashbacks from when they were together, he doesn't treat her well or really seem to care about her. Also, Lucy's life completely revolves around this boy. When he leaves to spend the summer on a ranch in Colorado, she actually spends her entire summer break doing the following things:
1. Watching videos online to learn how to make pop-up cards to send to him 2. Stringing a necklace of shells and beads for him, working on the porch by moonlight because it's more romantic that way 3. Whispering "I love you" to each of the aforementioned shells and beads before stringing them so that he will sense it when he wears the necklace 4. Sending him emails every day, and hand-written letters every few days 5. Custom making a printed t-shirt to send him 6. Baking him banana bread 7. Sending him one of her bras 8. Writing him a song (don't even ask me to repeat the song) And my favorite: 9. Laying in bed at night and missing him so much that she holds her own hand and tries to pretend that she's holding his.
I just couldn't keep going after that. Strong female characters are hugely important for me to enjoy a novel, and I wasn't relating to Lucy at all.
I really wanted to like this book, but it just didn't do it for me.(less)
Shut Out is a modern retelling of the Greek play Lysistrata, which is the story of a group of women w...moreRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z.
Shut Out is a modern retelling of the Greek play Lysistrata, which is the story of a group of women who decide to withhold sex from their husbands as an incentive to end a war. I’d never heard of Lysistrata before reading Shut Out, and it’s such an interesting idea to me. Sex is undeniably a very powerful and influential tool in our society and I was intrigued to see what Keplinger would do with the storyline in a modern high school context.
I thought Lissa was a little annoying when we first meet her at the start of the novel. She’s understandably frustrated with Randy, but she feels like an overbearing parent in the way she communicates with him, and she’s generally very naïve about him throughout the course of the story.
Things really get interesting when the boys start fighting back against the sex strike, and that’s when I found myself really enjoying it. I love Cash, the leader of the boys, and his interactions with Lissa are great. Despite leading the guys against her, he is a total sweetheart, and I found myself torn between wanting Lissa to stick to her guns and lead the girls to victory, and wishing she would just give in to her awesome chemistry with Cash.
I also really loved the strong female friendships that Lissa developed with the other girls participating in the strike, particularly Chloe and Ellen. So many YA novels are focused so intensely on the romance aspect, so I’m always happy to find good friendship networks along with the swoony guy and fun romance.
The main issue that I had with Shut Out was the way it handled the girls’ discussions and revelations about sex, which is unfortunate since that was such a huge focus of the novel. It’s not that I don’t think it’s important to talk about these things, and I think the overall message was good, but there’s an art to doing it subtly and tastefully, and I felt like I was just being hit over the head with it. The girls’ conversations (and Lissa’s inner monologues) were incredibly forced and ended up feeling preachy and obvious instead of natural. It was enough to make me roll my eyes while reading.
Though somewhat disappointed, I did enjoy the novel overall, and I’m interested to try another of Keplinger’s stories, especially since I’ve heard good things about The DUFF. I’d recommend Shut Out if you’re looking for a light, contemporary romantic read and you don’t mind a slightly heavy-handed message along with it.(less)
Glimmer is such an interesting story. There’s a lot going on… magic and ghosts and heat naps and old legends and amnesia and a seemingly idyllic but confusing town… but somehow it all manages to work together and form this absolutely crazy and fun ride.
It’s really interesting when the main characters of a story have absolutely no memories, even of themselves. As a reader, it’s hard to get a sense of who they are when they don’t even recognize their own names or faces. In some ways this is a cool way to go through a story, because you’re really discovering everything along with the characters, but there were times when it was frustrating for me. Elyse in particular could be annoying, because she’s clearly an attractive girl, which apparently pisses her off as soon as she looks in a mirror and realizes. She kept making comments about her “stupid pouty lips and huge green eyes” (That’s not an exact quote, by the way, but pretty close. At one point I believe she even says she looks like a Disney princess.) and how she didn’t feel like she should have been born into this curvy body, and why are all her clothes so short and tight? Girl, you’re pretty, just get over it. I never really understood her resentment towards herself.
But for the most part it was great fun going along on the journey with Marshall and Elyse. After waking up naked together, they set off immediately in search of answers, with the reader egging them on every step of the way. With each new revelation they learn a little bit more about Summer Falls, but for the majority of the time everyone is left wondering WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?! I really loved the sense of mystery throughout the whole novel, it was an exciting change to the majority of YA novels I read. And everything is so unpredictable that you’ll have a hard time getting bored or even guessing what’s going on.
Phoebe Kitanidis has created the little town of Summer Falls really well; it’s so full of character. I visited Colorado last summer and as I was reading I could totally picture Summer Falls just nestled in the mountains there. The whole town has this awesome mysterious atmosphere to it.
Glimmer is a fun, fast-paced read, partly because you won’t want to put it down until you’ve figured everything out and know what’s happening. It’s mystifying and thrilling and just a little bit creepy. I definitely enjoyed this wild adventure.(less)
I’m having very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I love the idea of being able to sli...moreRead this review and more on my blog From A to Z.
I’m having very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I love the idea of being able to slide into other people’s bodies – I think it’s a really fresh idea for a paranormal novel and I was immediately intrigued. A lot of things about the novel were done really well and overall it was definitely an enjoyable read. At the same time, I had a few issues with it and I feel like it didn’t fully live up to its potential.
Vee is a likeable and realistic character, and I really enjoyed her interactions with the various other characters in the novel. Jill Hathaway portrays the interpersonal relationships in Slide incredibly well, that was probably my favorite thing about the story. The way the characters deal with things like grief and forgiveness is particularly delicate and touching. And although there are a lot of heavy themes touched on in Slide, the novel never felt overly dark.
As I already mentioned, Vee’s ability to slide into other people’s bodies adds a really fun and interesting paranormal aspect to the story, although I would have loved more exploration into where the ability comes from, especially whether there’s any connection to her mother. There are hints that it is hereditary but it’s never really mentioned further than that. I like that the sliding is the only paranormal element of Slide and doesn’t take over; it’s still a largely realistic story.
I think my main disappointment with Slide lies in the murder mystery. Vee is a pretty crappy detective, to be honest, which at times was very frustrating as a reader. There were many things I figured out long before she did, and she had a tendency to jump to the obvious conclusions very quickly, so by the time she got to her big revelations there wasn’t as much of an impact for me. However, I wouldn’t say that the murder mystery is completely predictable, and there are many twists and turns along the way. But the story behind the murder felt very far-fetched to me. The culprit’s motive wasn’t entirely convincing and it didn’t have the satisfying “Oooohh!” that I like to experience at the end of a murder mystery.
All that said, Slide is still a quick, engrossing read that manages to entertain despite the flaws. I thoroughly enjoyed the concept and had fun reading it.(less)
Werewolves on the Titanic? Sounds potentially cheesy, right? I thought so too, but was intrigued enou...moreRead this review and more on my blog: From A to Z
Werewolves on the Titanic? Sounds potentially cheesy, right? I thought so too, but was intrigued enough to check it out anyway. And I’m really glad I did, because the cheese factor is actually pretty low, and Fateful manages to blend the paranormal werewolf story with the historical Titanic story quite well.
The Titanic is a beautiful setting, and Claudia Gray does a wonderful job painting a picture for the reader. Both the ship itself and the details of the time period are richly imagined, and everything played out like a movie in my head (although I will admit that this probably also had to do with the fact that I was often wondering what Jack and Rose were up to… :P). At the same time, the Titanic doesn’t overwhelm the story, and I sometimes forgot that they weren’t just on some other ship. Then I’d have flashes where I’d remember and think, ‘Oh crap, this ship is going to sink soon and all these people are probably going to die.”
Our narrator, Tess, is a strong character, if a little naïve. She’s been a servant her whole life, so it’s understandable that she’s somewhat ignorant about the world, and she manages to be brave enough to make up for most of the annoyance I would have felt. The romance was a bit too insta-love for my taste, but Tess and Alec definitely had some sweet moments and I couldn’t help but root for the two of them. Even more than the their story though, I loved the supporting characters, Irene in particular. Her relationship with Tess is wonderful; you can really see the friendship and affection between them.
Gray’s description of Titanic’s demise is heart-wrenching, and you can almost hear the screams and splashes as the ship goes down. Any story written about the Titanic is inevitably going to be tragic, and Gray captures that feeling perfectly. The ending of the novel is fairly predictable, but it left me feeling content and satisfied with how things were resolved. Overall, while Fateful wasn’t mind-blowing, it’s definitely a fun and enjoyable read that puts a unique paranormal spin on a classic story.
*Thanks to Cindy at Around the World ARC Tours for letting me be a part of this tour.(less)