Wow! One of the bests YA books I've read in a long, long time. I'm a sucker for high fantasy to begin with, but when it's done right, I swoon. Rarely...moreWow! One of the bests YA books I've read in a long, long time. I'm a sucker for high fantasy to begin with, but when it's done right, I swoon. Rarely do I give a book five stars (I would really have given 4.5 if it had been possible) but I really think this book deserved it.
Shadow and Bone is a high fantasy novel (as I said) complete with mystical creatures, powers, and a light fairytale feel. The book follows Alina, a orphan raised by a wealthy duke, who has a secret gift even unbeknownst to her. Upon discovering her gift she is challenged with learning to wield it and navigate its impact on her once-simple life.
What really got me was the plot's unparalleled originality and believability. Everyone and their sister is trying to "redo" or "recreate" the YA fairytale novel and not surprisingly, it is very difficult to do well. Sure, there were moments here and there that I caught myself amid an eye roll at the very few and seldom cheesy moments. It's a fairytale for crying out loud, you're not going to buy into everything. However, Bardugo comes very close to convincing me that Little Palace might have been real place at point in time or is maybe even alive and bustling in a parallel universe somewhere. (Let me have my dreams.)
One teeny, tiny complaint. I didn't much care for the Darkling's character. (view spoiler)[Though he did have me fooled just like everyone else, lemme tell ya. That was a good plot twist. I just found his thirst for evil, sinister thing a bit cliche. Can we just have a villain who wants what he wants without all the "muahaha"? I would have liked if he'd just stuck to his agenda and not bunny-trailed to being extra evil for the sake of it. But maybe that's just me.
If you like books like Seraphina, Graceling, and overall being entranced by fun, mystical worlds, this book is a must-read. So impressed with it and excited to read the second in the series. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I was unexpectedly impressed by this book. (Would have giving 3.5) As an avid YA reader, I was initially annoyed by many cliche plot elements such as...moreI was unexpectedly impressed by this book. (Would have giving 3.5) As an avid YA reader, I was initially annoyed by many cliche plot elements such as the disconnected single parent, the siblings that don't understand their differences, and sadly even the nature of the serial killer was a bit cliche. I mean seriously, you must know that using a sinister line like "Won't you come out and play?" is overwhelmingly overdone. However, that being said, I did enjoy this book. It felt like a very long prologue to the actual series; things moved very slow and as I was sincerely interested in the serial killer, but I also know that main characters rarely die so I wasn't very worried about Rory's welfare. I was more interested in the oddities in Juniper Landing and what was going on behind the scenes.
I was very surprised by the ending. Not that I'm impossible to stump, but I've read a lot of YA books and am seldom caught off guard. Kudos to Kate Brian for not leaving too-obvious cookie crumbs throughout the plot that ultimately give everything away and make the reader feel like a dummy. She did a great job of keeping the ending a surprise. Since the second book just came out a few weeks ago, I plan to pick it up soon and see how this whole thing plays out.(less)
I found this novel pretty entertaining at parts. Recently I've been in the mood for historical romance, and when I came across this in my local librar...moreI found this novel pretty entertaining at parts. Recently I've been in the mood for historical romance, and when I came across this in my local library's ebook collection I thought, why not? It took me about a week to read as I had a lot of other things going on, but the book moved slowly enough that I was able to put it down without any gotta-see-what-happens anxiety.
I was a bit put-off at the beginning of the book because of how cliche it began. Nineteenth century female with passion stubbornly refuses to marry against the wishes of her family. Of course I knew that meant the book would end with her, in fact, marrying.
I did like the main characters Emily and Marcus. I thought they each had very distinct personalities that fit together nicely. As is expected in romance novels they take to each other quite quickly and without much substantial reason. As for Emily and Marcus' aunts, they were not very well-rounded characters at all. I had to keep reminding myself which aunt was which because essentially they read like the same person: frolickey, frivolous, and intrusive. I did think they added a lot of fun to the story, though.
There were a couple aspects to the story I didn't think were necessary. (view spoiler)[The first scene where we "overhear" Eva and Willard discussing the poison, I don't think the word "poison" really needs to be used. As a reader, I already knew well before that that something fishy was going on, I don't need the author to insult my intelligence by "making sure I get it." I highly doubt if two people were going to poison someone that they would openly use the word "poison" in a busy household. That's just careless and unrealistic. I also thought Eva dying during the climax scene was ABSOLUTELY ridiculous. It just made the story less credible. What kind of serious head injury did she inflict on herself that she was both consistently conscious and dead within minutes? Am I the only person that noticed how unaffected everyone was? The doctor just went over and calmly shook his head when he couldn't find a pulse? Seriously? This scene really bugged me. It's like Violette wanted the scene to be a little more climactic so she thought - lets kill someone!(hide spoiler)]
I didn't mind the writing. I found it easy to read and it flowed well. I read an ebook copy though, and I was rather annoyed at the vast amount of typos I had to stumble over throughout the book. I also got annoyed with overuse of the metaphor, "left on the shelf."
I didn't think the book ended as well as it could have. We spend the entire book hearing about Emily and Marcus' disagreements on marriage, but there is no resolution. (view spoiler)[Obviously at the end they just up and decide to marry. Emily spends so much time worrying that Marcus won't approve of her goals and aspirations, but then at the end of the book the topic is brought up casually like it was nothing. (hide spoiler)]
In the end, it was certainly entertaining and did provide some literary enjoyment over the last week. I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it, but if you're thinking about reading it I say - go ahead.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
In this memoir Phil Bryan takes you through his many misadventures in ministry beginning in the 80s (I was not around yet) and ending with his present...moreIn this memoir Phil Bryan takes you through his many misadventures in ministry beginning in the 80s (I was not around yet) and ending with his present day situation. As a P.K (pastor's kid) myself, I got a little extra enjoyment out of reading Exile in Jesusville than - I assume - most readers. Growing up in the church and then later being shuffled around from church to church to church by my own parents, who I can only guess were seeking the same thing as Phil - a perfect place, I was so entertained by the all-too-familiar church politics and "business" of ministry. Since I grew up in this environment as well, the Christian lingo Phil sprinkles throughout the book had me giggling and then subsequently frowning when it occurred to me that those who were fortunate enough to have grown up without gleaning the sugar-coated language used in most church environments had to have these phrases explained to them.
Though I disagree with some aspects of the book - namely some of the language, both sexist and vulgar, (I am sensitive, what can I say?) for the most part I heard many of my own thoughts reflected on the page. I can remember being frustrated with the business of church since I was a kid and as my frustration has accumulated on and off throughout the years, it was incredibly refreshing to hear someone voice these things aloud. Similarly, when Phil talks about "saving face" in Asian culture, I feel this often happens in the church world. As I read many of his thoughts and judgements on the churches corruption and thirst for "butts in the seats" I couldn't help but think - is he allowed to say this? I feel we are often afraid to judge or call the church out because we (like Phil) put our faith in the organization rather than Christ.
I read this entire book in one day, it was that captivating for me. Like Phil, I believe in value and necessity of the church body. But I detest when the church becomes the staple of faith and God the trusty sidekick. What an entertaining, eye-opening read!(less)
In comparison to the first book, this one is awful. It lacks, well, everything. There is really no plot going on. When the book first picked up where...moreIn comparison to the first book, this one is awful. It lacks, well, everything. There is really no plot going on. When the book first picked up where Wither left off as Rhine and Gabriel escape, I was excited. Awesome, we get to see how they get out and where they end up! We get to see Rhine's joyful reunion with her brother and maybe they'll go back to the manor and break everybody out! But no, the book is just one awful circumstance after another. I get the whole humanity-is-suffering, there's-no-hope-for-us thing that's going on, but couldn't there be at least one happy moment?
It's not like I picked up this book hoping for sunshine and glitter, that's not what I was expecting. But I was expecting to want to root for the characters. After a while, Rhine made more stupid decisions than I was willing to put up with. So I stopped caring about what happened to her. At the end (I won't say what happens) I was angry! I wanted to slap her and ask, why are you giving in so easily??
So, to say I am disappointed is an understatement. I really thought I'd stumbled onto something great after finishing Wither but it looks like this won't be a series worth remembering.(less)
Okay Beth Revis, we need to talk. I’m not thoroughly familiar with science-fiction as it relates to space voyages and exo-planets, but I think this st...moreOkay Beth Revis, we need to talk. I’m not thoroughly familiar with science-fiction as it relates to space voyages and exo-planets, but I think this story has too many flaws to ignore.
My first question: How are 2000+ people flying around space, roughly thirteen generations into the future so technologically behind? I remember reading in the book that the ship was built around 2036, so if that was about the time Amy was alive, that would put the current time of voyage around 2450-2500, right? Are you telling me in four to five-hundred years we are still using things like keypads and elevators? Really?
Second question: Could they really reach mono-ethnic status in that short period of time? I find it very hard to believe that after only a few centuries they all looked almost exactly the same. I’m sure there are some dominant genes that would begin to define their small population, but still. It seems rather quick. I’m no scientist, so I may be wrong.
Third question: Why do they appear to be speaking Cockney English?
Fourth question: How did nobody notice that Eldest, Orion and Elder were the same person? No one, not even THEY noticed that they looked exactly alike? Going back to question two, I realize that supposedly everyone looked similar because of their mono-ethnicity, but would you still not notice they’re clones of each other? That seems way too far-fetched.
Last question: Why did we not find out until the end how Amy was unplugged? That changed everything about the entire story and it was only brought up in the last five pages or so. I’m left with sub-questions: Were the unplugging of the rest of the bodies coincidence? Honestly, how did they come to the military conclusion so easily? How did nobody ever try to wi-com Orion and notice he didn’t have one? Why wasn’t Harley’s suicide investigated, after-all, Elder was the only witness. Where do they get their water from? If they are 150 years behind schedule, shouldn’t their resources be depleted?
I will read the second book in hopes of checking any of these questions off my list.(less)
I didn't mind the subject-matter, but seriously, how many YA paranormal novels are going to follow this c...moreQuick, entertaining and moderately painless.
I didn't mind the subject-matter, but seriously, how many YA paranormal novels are going to follow this cliched outline? Dark, mysterious boy falls in love with a normal girl (for seemingly no reason) while the entire novel is based around unlocking his mysteries. I am so tired of the rich, flawless, self-assured, nothing-can-touch-me heroes dominating the YA romance novel these days. Give me a normal guy who makes mistakes and isn't perfect! I want Mr.Darcy to be reincarnated into the modern novel. Give me more Leons (Birthmarked), Gales (Hunger Games) or even Jacob Blacks for crying out loud. I'm bored with the Edward Cullen clones dominating the market.
I do have a few questions: 1. If Damen has lived so long (600 years at least) how is it that he didn't figure out that Drina was the one behind Ever's repeated deaths? If he's so dreamy and smart like Noel makes him out to be, how did he not catch on? 2. Why can Ever see auras? I'm annoyed when Fantasy books don't explain anything. I got the whole, near-death experience thing made things a little wonky, but is there really not more of an explanation? (Yes I realize this is a series and that more answers may come later.) 3. How did she kill Drina? Lets be realistic, please! Don't tell me love conquers all. I don't have time for that. You truly want me to believe that she was defeated, and all of her other-worldly evil, just because she didn't have enough LOVE in her HEART to defend herself!? Give me a break.
Overall, the book was on the very shady side of okay.(less)
Alright. I feel like I have a lot to say about Finale since it's the last in the series and we've been through so much together! *sob*
I've been readin...moreAlright. I feel like I have a lot to say about Finale since it's the last in the series and we've been through so much together! *sob*
I've been reading the Hush, Hush books over the last couple of years as they've been released, and I have to stick with my seemingly-ongoing opinion: the very first book was the best. Hands down. The plot was so fresh and original, and the characters were interesting and mysterious. Crescendo wasn't bad; it was a fun second read. However, I didn't enjoy Silence much at all; I felt it was more of the same-old-same-old: Nephil/Fallen Angel war, Patch saves Nora a few times from various attacks or kidnappings, you know the drill. This was again a problem for me in Finale.
I did appreciate the fact that the damsel-in-distress theme was taken down a few notches. Sure, Nora is helped a few times (more about that later) but for the most part she holds her own. In some ways she has a bit of an ego that got on my nerves while reading. Patch does things for her, in her best interest, and she'll just flip out because she's not in control. This casts a stark contrast on the two of them: she often gets pissed at Patch when he does something she doesn't like, though when the situation is reversed, he just shrugs it off. I know this is a series written for girls, but c'mon! No man is that perfect. Don't dish it out if your girl can't take it. I'm looking at you, Becca. (view spoiler)[I find it particularly ridiculous that Nora catches Patch kissing Dabria and without asking any questions first, goes crazy. Yet in this book she kisses both Dante and Scott and doesn't tell Patch about either of them. Double standards, much? (hide spoiler)]
Like I said before, this book felt like more of the same-old. Nora was still pointing fingers at Dabria for everything. Who cares about Dabria anymore!? Lets get over it and move on! Dabria is book one baggage, we're in book four. Lets get some new material going. (view spoiler)[From the instant Nora suspected Dabria was behind the whole Pepper/blackmailing thing, I knew immediately it wasn't her. Maybe because we've been through this before, or because Fitzpatrick is usually less obvious. Either way, one time I actually voiced while reading, "It's not Dabria!" in a frustrated attempt to get Nora to wise up. It didn't work, she still went on tracking stupid Dabria. (hide spoiler)] But speaking about who is behind everything, (don't worry, you won't see any spoilers unless you want to ;) I find it incredibly hard to believe it took Patch and Nora so long to find out. I mean, what was Patch doing the whole book? Twiddling his fallen-angel thumbs? (view spoiler)[It's pretty huge to miss that Dante was the evil master. I just find it hard to believe. Maybe the plot wasn't complex enough. (hide spoiler)]
There are two things in the book I really didn't care for and didn't think were necessary: (view spoiler)[
1) Scott's death. Very heroic of him to swoop in the end and save Nora's butt. But did he have to die? It seemed like Fitzpatrick just wanted the shock ending. Right after he died Nora is worried about how she'll tell Vee. How about worrying about whether or not Vee is alive? I'm still incredibly interested in how Vee made it out of that battle scene without any training.
2) Vee being Nephil. This did nothing for the story except maybe detract from its validity. (Yes I know it's a fantasy novel, but I want it to make sense!) How Nora can sense if someone's Nephilim or fallen angel, but can't tell that her very best friend isn't human, is ridiculous. There was no point in Vee being nonhuman. (hide spoiler)]
I still really like Patch. I still will vouch for Nora. This book had a lot of subplots, and unlike the last book I think they were balanced rather well. Not sure if I would outright recommend this series, but if you have read one or more of the books, go ahead and finish them. Finale was a pretty good ending to it all, and in comparison to Silence, to Becca Fitzpatrick I say, nice save. Nice save.
I will never tire of this concept: a girl who can sense the 'echos' or 'imprints' of murder victims. So cool and original! Since this book was titled...moreI will never tire of this concept: a girl who can sense the 'echos' or 'imprints' of murder victims. So cool and original! Since this book was titled The Last Echo, I painfully assumed this would be the last book, but it seems the story was left unfinished and there will be a fourth book. I'm thrilled!(less)
I liked this. The historical side of the story was great; I loved how the time-travel gave such clear snapshots of many important moments in American...moreI liked this. The historical side of the story was great; I loved how the time-travel gave such clear snapshots of many important moments in American history. I think Michele is a great character. She's bold, selfless, soft and a bit sensitive. Well rounded. I didn't' really get bored with her, which is good because to me the plot got a bit lost along the way. At the beginning of the book it appeared the novel was about a girl who time-travels to be with the boy she loves. But, as the plot progressed, more and more sub-plots popped up making it less obvious what the book was supposed to be about.
I liked the romance part of the book, I just wish it had been more concrete. Why do Philip and Michele instantly love each other? I get that they were 'meant to be' but, why? They don't seem to know anything about each other before they're intensely in love. And why can she time travel? Why did her mother not make the connection between the man in Michele's incessant dreams and her own experience with time-traveling? I'm thinking these questions might all be answered in the second book, which I'm definitely interested in reading.