Pages: 240 Release Date: January 1st, 2011 Date Read: 2011, November 15th-16th Rating: 3/5 stars Recommended to: 12+
Summary - Vera lives in a decripit worlPages: 240 Release Date: January 1st, 2011 Date Read: 2011, November 15th-16th Rating: 3/5 stars Recommended to: 12+
Summary - Vera lives in a decripit world in the near future, a world so caked and dry that there is almost no fresh water. What water is left is usually full of dirt and chemicals - which has caused many to become sick and die - and is regulated by the government to make sure everyone gets a fair shair.
But Kai changes things. He is wealthy and water comes easy in his household. He and Vera become close, even with Kai's secrets and Vera's doubts. When Kai goes missing, Vera and her brother, WIll, leave home in search of him, certain he has been kidnapped. And what about that river Kai always talked about? Could it have enough water to build back the earth? The whole world is about to change - and they must face it - no matter the cost.
My thoughts - When I see a book has an average of 3 stars as a rating, I usually don't waste time reading it. If virtually everyone thought of it as "just okay", why bother? There are tons of great books out there, just waiting for me to read them.
But apparently The Water Wars just wouldn't get out of my head. Every time I saw it, I was in awe of the cover, and what might possibly lay inside. Soon, the temptation became too much. I picked it up at B&N a few weeks ago, and found myself totally engrossed by the first few chapters. I bought it then and there, delving further into the story as soon as I could.
At first I was shocked - how did this get only 3 stars average?! It deserves at least 4! The imagery was perfect, the story/writing/characters beautiful... But sometimes beginnings are the author's strong point, as the case with Stracher. The middle? Notsomuch. Sure, I enjoyed it, but there were flaws, flaws I couldn't ignore. In the end, I was glad I had read it, but I wished it would have been more.
Character notes - For the most part, these were great characters. Kai is the light, the hope of this story. I loved him instantly (third paragraph down, first page). He was actually what convinced me to buy the book; I wanted to know more. He's a character who makes you cock your head and think. I love that.
Will and Ulysses were less thought-provoking but still developed well. However, even then, some of the things Ulysses did were out of character and made me go, "Huh?" Will was completely consistent throughout.
Vera herself was...well, I hate to say it, but very childish. Her voice reminded me of that of Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird, which is not in itself a very bad thing... Scout, however, is 8-years-old, and Vera is supposed to be 15. I liked her but was unable to picture her well or keep a consistent personality image. In the end she became something more, but by then the story was over.
Story notes - You know those stories that are good and interesting and intense, but you feel like everything is just a tad bit too easy? This was one of those. "Oh, we need to get back onto that island, but we can't swim or fly...we need a boat!" (Insert arguing.) "Oh- wait! There's a boat!" It seemed...pointless.
So all-in-all the story had a great beginning, a flat middle, and a good end. And as you see, my problem with The Water Wars is not with the tagline - "Would you be willing to risk everything for someone you just met?" I feel like that tagline greatly misleads. Kai and Vera know each other for 2 months before he disappears. Even better -they see each other almost every day. I'd say she has every right to go after him!
Everything else was great, but I, the big-book reader, wanted more meat - description, dialogue, more action, you name it. But, oh well. I liked it for what it was; I was thankful it wasn't all grossly "Global warming! Save the planet!" preachy; I was satisfied in the end.
Summing it up - A short, thought-provoking novel. It had me thinking so much about the water I drink, the air I breathe, the food I eat, and the land I see. What if it was all gone - like the snapping of fingers, quick and sudden?
For the Parents - A bit of kissing, not described; violence - some blood. 12+...more
Kelsey Hayes has just gotten through with the adventure of a lifetime. She has broken 1/4th of a curse, given two tiger men back a quarter of their lives, and has fallen madly in love with one of them. He claimed he loved her back, but he's so beautiful...he could have any woman he wants. Back in Oregon, Kelsey is trying to forget about her Indian princes and why the heck did she leave them?...when Ren ends up moving in next door and properly asking her to date him. It is then that she realizes they truly love each other. Their time is cut short, however, when Ren is captured by Lokesh's men. Kelsey and Kishan, Ren's brother, are left to break the next part of the curse and save Ren. But with Kishan harboring dark haunts and hurts, and Kelsey missing Ren, it may be harder to get through then they thought. And nothing will ever prepare them for what lies after... ___________________________________
My thoughts - November better get its butt over here, and fast, because I need more of the Tiger Saga! (Insert interesting fact: Book 3, Tiger's Voyage, is released November 1st, 2011, which happens to be my 18th birthday! Happy dance!) I seriously love this series. I loved the first book, and Tiger's Quest just added to that love. Golly, I was so sad it was over! I need to know what happens, and FAST! It's like...a medical emergency or something. Just kidding...sort of. ;) And while I absolutely loved this book with a passion, this is not a perfect book. I really like Houck's writing, especially now that it has become Kelsey's voice so absolutely, but it's just not a favorite. Sometimes I feel like the sentences are a bit short/choppy, or that scenes go a little too fast. There was also one part of the book toward the middle (see story notes for more) that I found quite boring...
Character notes - Ok, really? First Colleen Houck makes me fall for Ren, and I'm perfectly happy loving him and not actually liking Kishan at all. And then - WHAM! I'm hit by the full awesomeness of Kishan's character - and suddenly I could marry them both. Part of me still prefers the first brother; another part, the second. They're both wonderfully crated, deep into the story, with so much heritage and personality. It's killing me not to know what's going to happen to them/between them/with Kelsey. (Oh gosh, the part with the baby...the dream...I just want to know!) (That was the scene that made me fall completely for Kishan...) Kelsey is so simple...and yet she's smart, brave, funny, and totally genuine. Very likable, very relatable, very real. I love her faithfulness to Ren, even when she could totally ditch him for his also smoking hot brother. But she's not thinking about that; she's thinking about Ren and who he is as a person and his safety and how much she loves him and can't wait to see him again. He is what keeps her going, alive. It just makes my heart melt and butterflies do flips in my stomach. :D
Story notes - Ahem. If I could run around my house making absurd, loud noises to get out my intense emotions upon finishing this book, I would do it in a heartbeat. But as that would most likely brand me as a person in need of immediate mental help, I will restrain myself. But seriously - emotions. running. WILD! This story was crazy. Crazy good. I really liked the beginning as it developed Ren and Kelsey's relationship more. They had such a bumpy start, so it was a nice change to see them in a normal environment. After that, the story got intense after Ren's capture (insert saddest face ever) right up until Kelsey, Mr. Kadam, and Kishan start traveling. Then, for about fifty pages, the story took a slow, and (to me) boring dip, all about traveling and strange religions. I was really worried for about twenty pages if this was going to be as good as Tiger's Curse... However, my fears were quickly put to rest. The quest was incredible, even better and more intense than the last. It had a fast pace, lots of humor, and a touch of sadness. And TONS of action. The feel of the story line was different from Curse, and I was amazed at how original everything was. I seriously have no expectations for Voyage; I just know it'll be good! And then the end of the Quest... GAH! It broke my heart. I got all melancholy...for a good while. Then at the bookstore, when I saw the blue and orange colors of this lovely Saga, I melted. Need. TO. KNOW! I just love the romance. In fact, it has become one of my all-time favorite love stories. The way Ren loves Kelsey is just so real and refreshing. And Kishan - I just want him to be happy!
Summing it up - Emotionally gripping!!! Goodness, can I say it again? I'm so excited for Tiger's Voyage! This had me angry, happy, sad, shocked, and hungry for more.
For the parents - A few kisses; focused on the emotional more than the physical. The kisses are very passionate, though. Sometimes Kelsey sits in Ren's lap during a kiss, but not always. They talk about being "together" together, without details. They talk about waiting until marriage. Kelsey and Kishan kiss. Recommended 15+. ...more
Tiger's Voyage by Colleen Houck (#3) Pages: 560 Release Date: November 1st, 2011 Date Read: 2011, December 12th-17th Received: Library Rating: 4/5 stars RecTiger's Voyage by Colleen Houck (#3) Pages: 560 Release Date: November 1st, 2011 Date Read: 2011, December 12th-17th Received: Library Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 16+
These books are awesome, and therefore you should read them. But this review has spoilers to the first two books. If you haven't read Tiger's Curse and Tiger's Quest, you should check out my reviews for them: Tiger's Curse Tiger's Quest
SUMMARY - Kelsey Hayes is back at Mr. Kadam's - both Tigers safe. Kishan is happy and healthy, but Ren, on the other hand, is still healing - and he still doesn't remember Kelsey. Worse, he feels physically ill when he's around her. Still, he pushes through, eventually admitting he has feelings for her, despite the pain.
As they embark on the third quest, they discover they must uncover Durga's necklace, come face-to-face with Dragons, and possibly something much worse. And all the while Kelsey must decide between the Tiger's - who will she love? And what will trigger the memories Ren is missing?
As Kelsey and her Tiger's come closer than ever before to finishing the Quests, they also discover more behind Lokesh's plans. Will they be able to stop him before he tears them apart?
MY THOUGHTS - Oh, this book made me SO sad. Not like bawl my head off sad, but the kind of sad that's mixed with slight frustration and tons of anticipation - and love. A lot of it.
Colleen's writing still sin't my favorite, when she's describing things happening in the real world. However, when Kelsey, Ren and Kishan step into magical realms...that is when her talent shows. She writes with fantastic imagery and with a style that reminds me of fairy tales by the Grimm brothers and other fantastic story tellers. Colleen becomes stronger and stronger with every book she writes and I'm so excited to see how she improves in the next book!
CHARACTER NOTES - I really really respect what Colleen did here: where things could have gotten extremely complicated, she made it worth the read and gave her readers more respect for the characters.
Kelsey continues to be the heroine I want to read about. I feel like I know her well and would totally hang out with her if she was...well...real. I understand what a tough place she's in with trying to break the curse and decide between two amaaaaazing men. She made some choices that...man, I could never imagine making. She's brave, a heroine through and through, and I just canNOT wait for more from her perspective!
Now - onto the boys. Yum yum yum! I'll have one of each, please? ;) Actually, I'm still extremely partial to Ren. So, I'll take an order of Ren with a side of a wedding ring and a few beautiful Indian children. Haha!
In any case. When I said before that these boys are amazing, what I really meant was extremely beyond fantastically incredibly gorgeous and wonderfully amazing super incredible manly men. (Translation...well, there isn't one. You get the picture.) They are both worthy of Kelsey's attentions, for different reasons. But I'm 100% all for Ren. In Tiger's Quest I became drawn to Kishan - but Tiger's Voyage just pulled me right back to Ren. He's got his flaws, like Kishan, and Kelsey, but that doesn't change anything for me. You all know how much I love perfectly imperfect characters. Ren is that. Kishan, in Tiger's Voyage, seemed a bit more on the perfect side (surprisingly) and this is one of the things that made Ren stand out even more. While Kishan is a bit heartbroken because of is love for Kells, Ren's heartbreak seems, to me, much more intense and for an incredibly good reason.
I really enjoy Mr. Kadam and Nilima as well, but Wes annoyed the crap out of me. Let's just leave it at that. He's not important enough to add more.
Now - the dragons. WOWZERS! Colleen has totally done something extraordinary here. Each one was so perfectly described; each had his own amazing personality. Each made his mark on the story, whether for good or for bad. I would name them if I had the book with me. But, as I don't, I'll have to rely on their attributes to say: My favorite is between the star dragon and the hunting dragon. The elements they brought to the table were incredible - especially since they revolved around the passion between Ren and Kells.
STORY NOTES - Colleen's stories are just in your face awesome! And what I love about them is that each one is completely different from the last. Each has its own feel and beauty and hook.
This time around, Colleen stuns her readers by taking them yet again to lands beyond our own - to the stars, to the deepest oceans, to underwater castles and fantastic islands. There is no end to how cool this story is. I mean, who doesn't want to travel to an underwater treasure trove, or fix the fading glow of a star, or any of the other fantastic journeys within this book?
So basically, I'm amazing. I'm totally dying, because of course there's a cliff-hanger and of course someone's still in mortal danger. I know Colleen's working as fast as she can, but - HURRY UP!!!
SUMMING IT UP - Gorgeous. Seriously gorgeous. I'm so looking forward to Tiger's Destiny, coming out later this year!
For the Parents - The boys, both trying to get the lead in Kelsey's affections, are quite a bit more, ummm, bold this time around. Some suggestive comments and gazes, some admiring. Kelsey's "power" is fueled by her passion for Ren, which is definitely written in a suggestive way. Lots of passionate kissing, some detail. Recommended to 16+
Pages: 384 Release Date: May 17th, 2011 (First published August 6th, 1998) Date Read: 2011, October 5th-12th Received: Library Rating: 4/5Yearning to Read
Pages: 384 Release Date: May 17th, 2011 (First published August 6th, 1998) Date Read: 2011, October 5th-12th Received: Library Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 12+
Summary - Anara is a dark world. Deserted, or so it seems. The Makers have left, but their power still lives in the Keepers - or the few who are still alive. The Watch hunts them, tortures them, kills them. Galen Harn and his apprentice Raffi are two of the very few still-living Keepers. Galen has lost his powers as the result of a bad accident and will do anything to get them back.
When the ultimate mission arises, one that means risking everything, Raffi must learn the power of faith, as they are ever hunted, and as they draw nearer and nearer to the dark and abandoned Tasceron, the City of the Makers.
My thoughts - I first discovered Relic Master in January of 2011, when I came to the end of Sapphique and saw it advertised. As I'd just finished wiping my tears over Sapphique and marveling in its raw beauty and power and awesomeness, I was absolutely thrilled to learn that I would soon read more by this incredible author.
Catherine Fisher did not disappoint. And while I found The Dark City wasn't nearly as perfect as Incarceron and Sapphique, I can't help but love what this book holds. The writing was just beautiful... It's like old fairy-tale type writing, or a legend or something, and still it has a modern ring to it. I mean, who can do that? It's her little niche, and I absolutely love it.
Character notes - This story comes from the perspectives of Raffi and Carys, but I felt like the book was more about Galen. It was his quest, his missing powers, his faith, that drove the story. Raffi, a scared 16-year-old, is not exactly a 3D character. He came across as flat, which really bummed me out because her other characters are really well done. Carys was interesting. I liked the tension she brought - and I still don't know if she's good or bad, which intrigues me.
Shean, the Sekoi, and Galen were all extremely fascinating, each in his own way and to his own purpose. While Shean had a small part, he really held my attention in that short time. The Sekoi was so weird but way cool to read about! They are some of the most original creatures I've ever read about.
And Galen...he may have been a grumpy, bitter old man, but I cared for him. He was so desperate, so sad without his powers. When half of you is gone, something you have cultivated for years and years, you would be crazy not to go after it. Galen's faith, even without his powers, was strong, his prayers spoken in diligence, knowing he would be saved.
Story notes - The story line was the strongest aspect of this book. It was full of interesting cities (the world building is phenomenal; I think that's Fisher's biggest strength). I was sucked in, wanting to explore this world Anara, totally engrossed. And boy, did I get my wish. Everything is well-described, while still leaving room for the reader's imagination.
The history of this world, from Creation on, was so fascinating that I can't wait to learn more in the next book. It was very well developed, with no holes. The Makers and the Crow all interest me greatly. The twists and turns in the story kept me thinking even after it was over, especially the end.
The religious aspects of this story were perfect and compelling. I found it related to Christianity in many wonderful ways; I was very encouraged, again, by Galen's faith. The prayers (answered or not) and the power of the Relics (the Makers' power) added a beauty I was not expecting...and it made the story even better.
Summing it up - Dreamy. The whole book felt like a dream, and I was floating through it, an unseen spectator. It was as strange and as beautiful as a dream, too. I'm so excited for the 2nd book!...more
I absolutely love love love Galen. He's by far my favorite. And in this book I love how Galen grew so much. And how Carys's inner struggles have suchI absolutely love love love Galen. He's by far my favorite. And in this book I love how Galen grew so much. And how Carys's inner struggles have such an impact on the book.
"What is it?" Harnor whispered. "I don't know. But Galen will." "Who's Galen?" he began, but then he stopped, staring over her shoulder, his face set in sudden agony of terror. She spun around. Far down the halls, up through the open trapdoor, something dark and long, endlessly long, was slithering....more
Gabi and Lia Betarrini are tired of being in Italy. While most girls would love to spend summer vacation in Italy, it is not so for the Betarrini girls. Their mother is a major archaeologist who spends most of her time in old tombs and castles. The girls think it's boring to do this every summer, and especially now, since their father has died in an accident. But when the girls come across some hand-prints in the wall of a tomb (a tomb they're not supposed to be in), Gabi is separated from her sister as they are transported back in time - right into the middle of a political land feud in the 14th century. At first, it's like she's dreaming. But when she realizes that this past world is real, she must face dangers like she never dreamed to find her sister and get them both home. But the young man who rescued her at the tombs and gave her a place to stay in his family's castello - he's so wonderful. She's never met anyone like him, and knows she never will again. He is engaged to marry a very prominent young lady in Italy - but what if he loved her back? Would such a love be strong enough to convince his family they were meant to be together - to make Gabi never want to leave this past time ever again? _________________________________________
My Thoughts - I liked this book from the start, but it took me a while to love it like I was hoping to (about 150 pages). But after those 150 pages, I was flying through, totally sucked into the story and loving the characters. This really is a great time travel story. I loved how it was all planned out, each aspect of the story so closely entwined with the others. I felt very...involved. As though I was living in the story. It is original and builds the story on a world that, if I'm not mistaken, has been written about very little.
I sometimes felt like the dialogue was a bit off (examples: language back then was much more proper. It's one thing for Gabi to use lots of contractions, but I felt like Marcello and Luca used too many. Also, random word choices were just a bit too...modern for me); but most of the time I was swept away by their conversations. I especially loved the politics involved in this story; to me, a bit of political intrigue added just the perfect touch to this story. It wouldn't have been the same without it.
Character notes -
Let me start by saying that Gabi is one of my favorite heroines. Every time she did something brave (which was most of the book), all I could think was, "You go girl!!!!" I admire her so much and love her brave heart. She's a "she-wolf" all right! I really loved how it showed her growing faith and trust in the Lord - how she heard prayers that were really felt by those saying them, and how she began to cling to that communication between her, a feeble human, and the Almighty God. Inspiring. :)
I may be a "loner" here, in saying what I'm about to say... But: I didn't fall for Marcello right away. In fact (this goes for both Marcello and Luca), I wasn't even sure if I liked his character. Both he and Luca were a bit bland to me at first. But after a few chapters, once things got into full-swing, they became more realistic. Also, I came to appreciate Marcello's personality and strong character before I found his physical features attractive. I couldn't quite picture him for the first 100 pages, but after that I could see his face clearly. For those wondering what I thought: Yes, he's a good-looking guy, but I prefer...less shoulder, more height. Every time Gabi would admire his broad shoulders, it kind of bugged me...until I started to like him, as a person. Then I was okay with anything she did or said. ;)
I never quite got into Luca...he stayed bland to me through most of the book. But Fortino - he's a definite favorite character. I felt bad for him in his sickness, cared for him, and felt pain when he did. He was really well developed to me and I can't wait to read more about him in the second book!
Story notes - Everything about this story was well pieced together. The time travel, the events, the battles, the relationships... The love story is my favorite aspect - it had me gasping because they couldn't be together. Stupid, wonderful forbidden love - you make me crazy! I must admit, though: for the first 100 pages I didn't quite see the connection between them. I could see how/why he was crazy about her, but I didn't quite understand her side, and why she was attracted to him... (It was probably because I wasn't even sure what I thought about him.) But then...oh! Then there was the secret-meeting-to-dance scene (well, that's how it ends up...), and I was all for the romance, and could totally see why Gabi loves him. That scene was one of my favorites!
The peril in this story is definitely intense. Like, for the last 100 pages or so I bit my nails down to the quick. I knew that at any moment, anything at all could go wrong. To be able to do that to your readers is very good story telling.
One word or phrase to sum it up (final thoughts) - The word that runs through my mind when I think of this book is daring. It was so full of adventure and romance and wonderful twists and turns that had me shocked. (AKA - for those who have read it - chapter 19, page 288 specifically. If you read this and weren't gasping for breathing and absolutely shocked by this turn of events...and that stupid ***spoiler!!!*** blank page...well...I don't even know what to say to you. HA!) I definitely recommend this book and think everyone should give it a try! :) Now, I have to wait for book 2, Cascade, to come out. At least it's only three weeks! :)
For the parents - Honestly, nothing. There's a quick, one paged scene where some bad guys throw Gabi to the ground, tacking her there with their swords. One guy moves to untie his pants...and the good guy comes running in. The word "rape" is not even mentioned; his intentions almost went unnoticed to me. There are a few kisses, innocent and sweet. Good for ages 12 or 13 (depending on maturity level) and up. :)...more
Gabi and Lia are back in their own time - and boy, do they have stories to tell! But in order to get their mom to believe them, they must return to 1300's Italy to prove it. When they arrive, their archaeologist mother just can't get enough of the artifacts; Fortino is healed, based on Gabi's remedies; Lady Romana Rossi is squirming her way into things - just in a different way than before; and Gabi and Marcello's love is blossoming into something greater than they'd imagined. But when Gabi, the she-wolf, is forced to make some tough (ok, really really really hard) decisions, and some very wicked plots are discovered, will the Castello Forelli be able to hold? Will Gabi and Lia have the strength and courage to live the lives of the She-Wolves of Siena? Or will Firenze crush them all? _______________________________________________
My thoughts - OMGEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I kind of liked this book a lot...like, a ton...I loved it!!! To be completely honest...I mean, seriously! This book held so much more than the first book. I came in with lower expectations than I had with the first - and suddenly I was shocked! Cascade became a favorite about half-way through. The battle scenes, the escapes, the characters - they were much more real and memorable. I look back at my favorite scenes and I realize that they amount to pretty much the entire book. And now I'm thinking the release of Torrent can't come fast enough!
Character notes - Oh, Gabi. She inspires me. Lia, too, and Mom. But Gabi is by far one of my favorite heroines. Humor, strength, and courage. Beauty - inside and out. And love. So much genuine love for everyone. Her growing relationship wiht God totally inspired me - her small prayers that meant so much.
And Marcello - phew! Someone get me a fan and a fainting couch! That man became so much clearer to me in Cascade. His face, his personality. He gave me chills most the time...Gabi is one heck of a blessed girl! He's the ultimate stronghold, the kind of man any girl would want to spend forever with. The way he loves Gabi is gut-wrenching. It's not a summer fling - on either side. It's a forever kind of love.
But those are the good guys. What about the bad? The wicked men in this book are...wicked. Super wicked. They gave me chills...different kind of chills than Marcello, of course. Chills, like I want to cower in fear and hide from them. New enemies are formed, raising the old, already high stakes a level or two or three higher. No kidding.
And Lord Greco...who ARE you?
Story notes - YES YES YES YES! With action, fast and furious, danger, escape, and a love story that will melt your heart - there is no reason why you should not pick up this book this very second. Begin our journey into a world of old, where battles are fought with a sword and bow, feuds are extremely common, almost getting killed is a common pastime, and true love really comes in the form of a knight in shining armor. The escapes will have you dying to turn the page; the battles will have your blood pumping; the sweet, stolen moments between Gabi and her man (and Lia and hers...?) will sweep you off your feet. Oh, yes. This is epic story-telling at its finest. And the way it was written... I mean, must I still go on? ;)
Summing it up - Memorable, from first word to last. I want to relive it over and over again, like a good song. Let it play, again and again...
For the parents - A few kisses. Nothing inappropriate. Good for young teens. :)...more
Torrent by Lisa T. Bergren (River of Time #3) Pages: 388 Release Date: September 1st, 2011 Date Read: 2011, October 2nd - 5th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 staTorrent by Lisa T. Bergren (River of Time #3) Pages: 388 Release Date: September 1st, 2011 Date Read: 2011, October 2nd - 5th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 stars Recommended to: 12+
This review contains spoilers for the 1st and 2nd books. If you haven't read them, I suggest you do, for I highly recommend them to everyone!!
SUMMARY - Gabi and Lia have just done something unimaginable. They went into the future (or rather, the past), saved their dad before he died, and managed to talk him into going back to the past with them. Now they are reunited with Marcello, Luca, the Nine, and the Forelli household in Siena. Castello Forelli is still under the command of Paratore and Firenze - and Fortino, Marcello's brother, is still in their possession, being beaten within an inch of his life.
It is up to the She-Wolves and their men to get him back and to save Castello Forelli. What will they be willing to sacrifice to rescue Fortino and the Castello? Marcello wants Gabi to marry him, but is she ready? And will her family toss aside any future plans to give Gabi the lifestyle she so desires? There is only one way to gain Fortino's freedom and one so dangerous that none of the Betarinni's may come out of this plan alive. It will take every ounce of courage and love they have, and the help of a mighty God, to see this battle to the end.
MY THOUGHTS - Oh my gosh, I don't even know what to say. (And now watch me write a lengthy review.) I had no stinking clue the conclusion would be...this. No way. It's flipping intense. There were times when I almost cried. Then I would laugh out of sheer joy. And then I would get so pissed at some dude or another (there were some seriously annoying dudes here...) And then, guess what? I would laugh. And almost cry. And then be so happy I thought I'd burst. There was so much adrenaline pulsing through me that I felt it long after the book had finished. It was nearly 400 pages of non-freaking-stop. I can't even stand the awesomeness. I need to read the series over again - or Tribituary needs to come out TOMORROW. Or both. Preferably both.
I just can't believe how perfect this book was. It fit the series to the exact - giving me what I was expecting and yet totally shocking me with every movie. I mean, it was craziness! And I had no idea that Gabi's and Marcello's love would be so sorely tested...
CHARACTER NOTES - Gabi is amazing. She is not only a fantastic daughter and sister, but also a fierce warrior and passionate, faithful lover. And, most importantly, she grows to be a wonderful woman of God. I respect her even more than a lot of my most respected heroines because of this. And if you combine that with everything else, you get...amazing. Even with her faults, she's just the best. Anyone would want her as a friend.
Marcello...and Rodolfo. Where to begin with those two? In the last book, Cascade, I felt like Marcello was more...real. And I was fascinated by Greco. This time, Marcello was only in half of the book. The rest of it, Gabi was with Greco. And I totally fell for Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome. All. The. Way. I understand why Gabi didn't, of course (she and Marcello - totally and completely!), but if I were Gabi and I hadn't already pledged my heart, making a decision between the two would have been hard. By the end of the book, I definitely (finally!) fell completely for Marcello, but I still love Greco. A LOT. I want more of his story!! I think the two men tie...or, well...Oh I don't know!
Before moving on: I loved Marcello's growling. OMG (fanning myself)! You'll only know if you read the book, so hurry up already! Marcello definitely had me blushing often... Such a MAN!
Lia, Mom and Dad are great characters - kicking butt and saving the day. I loved seeing the girls with a father figure, and watching "Lord Betarrini" observe Marcello was hilarious!
The only person who didn't seem extremely real to me was Luca. :( He felt flat. He said some funny things, helped out a bit, but he was never truly there. Or at least not for me.
STORY NOTES - Like I said before - Non-freaking-stop. Front to back, top to bottom. The ink markings between the covers of this book contain an adventure totally of its own originality and spark and element. I mean, just, wow. And wow again. So many twists and turns in the story - no end to the madness. I got to the point where I found myself asking, "Could this get any worse?!" I doubt it could have. Dang. I had no idea what the turnout would be.
And yet it was perfect. Any different would have felt...off. Ohmygosh I was just so happy with those last four or five chapters that tied everything into a giant bow of beautifulness. (And still left room for the story to take off again!)
Lisa does an amazing job describing events. There were quite a few scenes that were so dang powerful - either because of the dialogue or the descriptions. Either way there was just enough of everything to give the story the perfect touch, one that, in turn, has affected the lives of many (seriously, I view these books as life-alteringly cool) and will do so for more, I am sure.
I loved the awesome faith questions asked in here. Gabi struggles, asking herself, and others, questions about God's existence, His sovereignty, and it was incredible to see those questions answered and to see how they affected Gabi and everyone else.
SUMMING IT UP - Powerful. In every way, this book had me grasping the book for dear life. And when I set it down I found I was pumped and ready to live. I love books that make me want to jump up and climb a mountain, or bike cross-country, or swim and ocean. Or write a book. Books that inspire are always my favorite - and that is exactly what Waterfall, Cascade, and Torrent are. Inspirational. Favorites.
FOR THE PARENTS - Some kissing, passionate but only a few details. Two of the characters get married, and only detail-less kissing beforehand on their first night together. So clean - and a beautiful example of healthy, faithful, passionate love. Recommended 13+...more
Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George Pages: 254 Release Date: October 25th, 2011 Date Read: 2012, February 2nd-7th Received: Library Rating: 4/5 stTuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George Pages: 254 Release Date: October 25th, 2011 Date Read: 2012, February 2nd-7th Received: Library Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 9+
SUMMARY - Princess Celie loves Tuesdays. That is the day the Castle, Castle Glower, grows a new room. Celie prides herself in knowing the Castle almost backward and forward. She's even working on a map of Castle Glower - something that has never been done before. All is well for the royal family - except that her parents have gone off to her brother Bran's graduation without her. But when the King and Queen's carriage arrives back at the castle, covered in arrows and empty except for a royal guard, Celie's parents are presumed dead. Nothing can stop Celie, however, from believing they are alive. But what shall be done about the schemers, liars, and murderers in court? It is up to Celie and the castle to protect the throne and find the King and Queen, before it's too late!
MY THOUGHTS - Jessica Day George is just wonderful. I love her books... They're so satisfying and undeniably adorable, and Tuesdays is no different.
The story starts off on the slower side, but that doesn't mean it's boring. Celie is adorable and the Castle is mind-bogglingly fantastic, so you can do without the action. But when the action does start up, there's no putting the book down! Celie's adventures and smart thinking are so fun to read about!
I love books and movies where kids outsmart the bad guys or trick them into a trap. Like Home Alone type stuff. There is plenty of tricking and trapping in Tuesdays - enough to make me laugh out loud a few times!
Celie's bravery, hope and endurance really shines in this book, but the others are just as important. Lilah, Rolf, and Pogue (sigh...) worked and planned and tricked right alongside Celie to get the baddies away and save the kingdom!
Before I close - Castle Glower itself was amazing. I think it's a brilliant idea and I seriously am ecstatic to see what else JDG does with it - because just sitting here I've thought of, like, five different stories she could write with the castle alone! Celie's relationship with the Casle was so sweet and personal and I'm looking forward to more of that!
And Pogue - can we please have some more Pogue? PLEASE??!
This book reminds me of... Lots of colors Cobblestones Pointy-nosed, funny-accented villains Pranking the enemy Strong family ties
Malva is a beautiful, strong-willed young lady, the princetta of her father’s kindgom, Galnicia. But there is one problem: Malva is being married offMalva is a beautiful, strong-willed young lady, the princetta of her father’s kindgom, Galnicia. But there is one problem: Malva is being married off to the Prince of Andemark, a man she hardly knows and doesn’t love. With the help of the Archont, her tutor, and Philomena, her chambermaid, Malva manages to escape her country – but only to fall into adventures she would have never dreamed of.
A couple things about this book caught my eye. One, the name…a twist on the title “princess”. And two, the art. It swirls and twists and the colors are bright and they contrast beautifully together.
This truly was an adventure. The characters grow in such a way that makes them real and easy to understand. I could relate to most of them in different ways. They all had their own special gift or personality to give to the story to make it less and less like a book and more and more like a work of art.
If you are looking for a book that has a perfectly happy ending, don’t pick this one up. I am a big fan of books that end with sacrifice and sometimes even tragedy, because it gives the book a deeper sense of reality. Now, I don’t have anything against happy endings…in fact, I’m a hopeless romantic who just LOVES a happy ending, especially if it is involved in a love story. However, when an author goes against what everyone else is doing and creates a sense of mortality in the characters, while still giving them enough class to stay loved and adored for a long time, I cannot help but stand and applaud. This is exactly what Anne-Laure Bondoux has done, leaving me a happy reader.
Charlotte Miller's father has died, leaving her and her sister, Rose, the sole heirs of their family business, the Stirwaters Woolen Mill. Charlotte keeps herself busy taking care of her sister and the Mill - for the whole town relies on the Mill. She manages to keep things in order - for a while. But when something terrible happens, Charlotte must either sell the mill or...sell the mill. But that's when the stranger shows up. Jack Spinner, he calls himself, and he has an incredible talent, one that will put Charlotte, Rose, and the rest of Stirwaters back into business. Jack Spinner spins gold from straw in one night, takes an item precious to Charlotte, and then disappears. But as time progresses, Charlotte's life changes - and she falls in love. And nwe misfortunes fall on the Mill. Jack Spinner keeps coming back to help, but its only a matter of time before he takes something truly important to Charlotte. Something irreplacable. And Charlotte may be the only person with guts enough to figure out why.
My thoughts - For the majority of the book, all I could think was "Five star! Five star! Five star!" It was seriously such an epicly strange and original tale...I was so hooked. I loved everything about the story, the characters, their hurts and struggles and joys, the conflicts that arose, the beauty of the world Elizabeth Bunce had created.
You may be thinking, "Did it turn bad in the end? Boring? Stupid?" I'm happy to report, "No, it didn't." I did love every moment of the book. However, I was a little disappointed (and more creeped out than I was expecting) with the end. Because the whole book has a leisurely pace, like hot summertime, the end seemed rushed. There are a couple of different ways that it could have been slowed down to match pace with the rest of the book.
This is my only issue. I loved everything else. And, I must say, even the last five or so chapters, with their quick tying up of loose ends, was enjoyable. I just wish she would have kept the pace.
A note on the writing: WHOOHOO!!! Elizabeth C. Bunce - you had me under a spell with your lyrical style and beautiful word choices. The way the author conjures pictures to the readers mind should be a world-wide example to all writers. Within the first 15 pages I knew everything I needed to know about all of the introduced characters, their pasts, the world they lived in, and the direction the story was going. The first paragraph is one of my favorite paragraphs...ever. It is one incredible example of what kind of information should be in a paragraph, plus how you can grip your readers from sentence #1.
Character notes - The characters were so amazing, down to those who I absolutely hated. Charlotte was immediately defined, as was Rose, and Randall (who has been added to my "favorite male leads" list), Uncle Wheeler, Jack Spinner, all the townspeople, all the contracters. This is a story of friendship, caring for one another, and love. But it is also a story about cheating thieves, backstabbers, and selfish men. Those two groups put together makes for a ridiculously good story with characters I will never forget.
I think what really stood out to me about this book was the tension between characters. It was riveting. Completely engrossing. When Charlotte and Randall began fighting, especially, I was on my seat with anticipation, wondering how it would turn out. A lot of the time I was like, "Ugh, Charlotte, another mistake?" But isn't that how we learn? We make mistakes. Charlotte makes mistakes, Randall makes mistakes. They all had their faults to deal with, things to apologize for, and they all learned something valuable in the end. The healing of broken relationships and hearts is really a wonderful way to end a story. These things, these invaluable, human things, made me love the characters even more.
Story notes - Like I said above, the story was absolutely amazing until the end. Then it was just good. I didn't love the quickness of it, because the book set me in a nostalgic mood, and then quickly jerked me awake when it totally could have kept going slowly. I'm not complaining though - despite the fastness of the climax, I loved the turnout. The layers tacked on to this story, one at a time, in perfect order, make it hard not to fall in love with.
The story holds superstition, possible ghosts, a creepy guy who spins straw into gold (and then takes what you love most: a gold watch your father gave you, a pair of pearl earrings from your grandmother...your child), lots of accidents (were they really accidents?), and a full cast of characters that will keep you rooting for them until the end.
One word/phrase to sum it up (final thoughts) - Strange and deliciously beautiful. 'Nuff said.
Do you want to read it yet? I think you should. Will I read it a second time? Yes, most likely. And I'll probably end up buying it, just because 90% of it's one of the loveliest reads I have ever laid my hands on. Recommended to everyone who likes a great, strange, dark, and slightly creepy fairy tale retelling that holds a whole lot of goodness.
For the parents - There's absolutely nothing to complain about. Charlotte and Randall are married, and they share a bed, but no details are written. She mentions that while they are on their honeymoon, they missed breakfast their first morning together. I can't remember the exact terms she used but it was along those lines...and you know anyway what's going on because they just got married. There are also lots of spooky happenings in this story, especially toward the end. I'd recommend to ages 14 and up....more
Num8ers by Rachel Ward (#1) Pages: 325 Release Date: November 8th, 2008 Date Read: 2012, January 24th - February 10th Received: Audiobook from Library RatiNum8ers by Rachel Ward (#1) Pages: 325 Release Date: November 8th, 2008 Date Read: 2012, January 24th - February 10th Received: Audiobook from Library Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 17+
SUMMARY - Jemma never wanted this gift - this curse. She never realized the Numbers meant something until her mom died - on a date that spelled out the Numbers Jem saw in her mother's eyes. now she knows - she can never look someone in the eye without knowing when they'll die. For a long time, Jem has distanced herself from the world, but now, she's found a friend in the quirky boy from school, Spider. It isn't long, however, before Jem's gift predicts a terrorist attack. Now the suspects, she and Spider are on the run for their lives, and Jem is forced to live like she's never lived before.
MY THOUGHTS - Sitting here, writing out that summary, I almost burst into tears. Yep, this is one of those books. Books that make me bawl. I swear I was hyperventilating at the end of this book. It's like a sharp knight to the gut. Actually, I take that back. It's a shock back into reality.
Most books with this much content usually aren't what I pick up or finish. But. There are a few reasons I finished this one.
1. The narrator. By golly this woman can read a book and make it come to life like nothing else I've ever seen. I don't typically do audiobooks, but I was pulled into Jem's world through the narrator's brilliant voice. 2. Jem's transformation (more on that below). 3. The thick intensity and grit of the world Rachel Ward so perfectly built. Oh, it's earth, the world we live in, but it's like nothing you've ever read. 4. Her writing. Ward has a way with worlds. Simple, to the point, but also lyrical and passionate.
CHARACTER NOTES - So. Jem. She's hard, closed-off, never budging from her comfort zone (if she even has one) - no friends, no life - nothing that could make her see people's death dates, their Numbers. Normally, a girl like this would drive me crazy. There's no way I could relate to her. But, the magic of the narrator and author worked together, and as soon as I heard Jem's story, her mom's story, her life now, I could never have walked away. I cared, I understood, I was Jem. I suddenly was experiencing life through her eyes. I hurt, bled for her, with her. If you can do that with your readers in such a severe, devastating way, you're brilliant.
When Jem meets Spider, so begins the slow, painful process of Jem's transformation. I cannot even begin to tell you how perfect and seamless the change wrought in her character was. Like, freaking brilliant. I'd say it's some of the best character development I've seen, hands down, next to classic characters such as Sydney Carton, Andre-Louis Moreau and Raskilnikov.
Spider was also excellently portrayed. He irritates the crap out of Jem sometimes, but she cares for him more than she's wiling to admit. There's so much heart and soul to his character, because he is the life in Jem. He brings her out of her shell with his fidgeting, jumpiness, loud personality, and care for her.
Besides these two, there's a cast of characters worthy of reading about. None have so much page time as the leads, but they all play their part. None were ever dull or awkward or stupid. I loved every last one of them.
STORY NOTES - I was sitting in my car with my 14-year-old sister, listening away to this brilliant narration, at the very beginning of the story, when Jem dropped the first F-bomb in a rather sudden, s hocking moment. She said it again, a few times in that scene. Startled, I turned it off, planning to proceed with caution when there wasn't such a young audience.
Proceed with caution. Yes. There were a LOT of F-bombs in this book. Probably 60 or so. Typically, this annoys me to pieces. BUT. I could understand where Jem was coming from, due to stellar writing skills on Ward's part. This doesn't make it okay, but if I was in Jem's shoes, and had lived the life she had, I'd probably cuss up a storm as well.
In any case, this book holds something very precious. It's a story about the delicacy and beauty of life. It's an adventure that takes you across London, the countryside, and the sea side. It's a thriller that keeps you on your toes till THE VERY END. It's a romance that will steal your heart away. It is not typical. The romance, the journey, the climax - I've never read anything like it. And because of that alone, it is beautiful.
SUMMING IT UP - Heart-breaking. Your heart will be broken once you've finished. Trust me. Shattered. But in all the right ways. Rachel Ward - please, never stop writing.
(Although, I do have to say - this isn't a book for everyone. Not all people can handle or like to handle books with this much content/grit/hardcore story. So look both ways before you cross this street. But I hope you do cross this street. I hope you do.)
For the Parents - Explicit language throughout. Drug use, theft, sex in a barn (some detail but more about the emotion)...death. It's a heavy book with hardcore themes. Recommended 17+
The Dragon's Tooth by N. D. Wilson (Ashtown Burials #1) Pages: 496 Release Date: August 23rd, 2011 Date Read: 2011, SepMore reviews at: Yearning to Read
The Dragon's Tooth by N. D. Wilson (Ashtown Burials #1) Pages: 496 Release Date: August 23rd, 2011 Date Read: 2011, September 6th-14th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 stars Recommended to: 12+ Read my interview with N. D. Wilson
Summary - The Archer Motel is a place where waffles are made every day and the dried up pool outside is full of rubber tires. It is the place where Cyrus Lawrence Smith lives, with his sister Antigone and his brother Daniel, and an elderly woman named Mrs. Eldridge. It's nothing special, until a strange man calls. He knows Cyrus' full name and is vehemently requesting a certain room - a room that happens to belong to Cyrus. But it's not the Motel he's after. It's Cyrus and Antigone that he wants, and this might just be the most terrifying and fascinating thing that has ever happened to them. Cyrus and his siblings are thrown into a whirlwind of adventures and dangers bigger than anything they could have imagined...
My thoughts - Ummm... Favorite? Ever? In the whole world? Equal to Wilson's other books? The only book equal to Wilson's other books because only Wilson can match Wilson? Yes. To all of it. Say yes to this book. Say yes to Wilson. YES! You thought I loved all those other books? Wilson squashes it all with his pure amazingness.
Now. Moving on. When I was in the process of slowly picking my way through this book (I had no intention of reading fast because then it would be over...), there were quite a few times when I would just stop and stare at the book. Or more frequently, I'd jump up and start pacing, murmuring things like an idiot, saying, "Red, flying vipers. White wings. Genius. Red. Vipers. Flying." And then I'd turn to my family and say, "Do you even understand?!" I was a bit of a mess, lemme tell you. A shocked, amazed, and totally engrossed mess.
Before I head to the next thing I must say something about his writing. It is so his own style, the way he words and places his sentences. I'm pretty sure that if I opened a random book in the store without seeing the cover or any names, and read a few sentences, and it was him, that I could guess - he's that unique, that irreplaceable. There are few who equal his skill in writing, in my opinion.
In any case...
Character notes - I would write out every character and go through the list of why they're all amazing and how evil one is compared to the other, or how great and noble, and how perfectly imperfectly human they all are, and how you don't really find characters this developed in the industry very often, and it is a delicious treat to have a copy of this book on my shelf, just for the characters alone, not to mention everything else.
I would do that, and it would bore you all to pieces.
So let me use one specific example - without ruining anything for you as the reader. As my sister and I read this book together (well, she finished it way before me), we were constantly talking about the book and how amazing it is and totally going fangirly all over our dear sweet copies (we had to buy one for each - no way we're sharing these books!!). In our discussion one day, one of the aspects of the book caught us by surprise. One of the characters, a lead role, is a bit on the serious side, kind of hardened because life has not treated this character too well; sometimes this character may seem a bit "holier than thou". Not in an I-don't-want-to-read-about-this-snob kind of way, but in a very human way. However, slowly, over the course of the book, something happens: this character morphs and changes into a softer, more refined character - and all without us knowing it's happening!! By the end of the book my sister and I were both shocked, saying that the change in this character was so smooth and perfect that it was like a slow drip, each one right after the next, until you have a full pool below.
That is the extent of the character development in this book - no telling, only showing. And that's how it should be. But Wilson has mastered it. Well done!
And as for the bad guy - holy poop I've NEVER read about a bad guy like this. NEVER. He's like serial-killer-thinks-he's-a-saint type villain, and I loved it. I loved every chilling aspect that he brought to this book. What the heck.
Story notes - How can I even wait? This story is not over - and obviously, as a hook (though I'd be hooked no matter what) it ends at a very crucial part in the story, which made me gape at the page for about ten minutes.
I know, I'm dramatic. Moving on.
From the first pages there are creepy moments, fires, explosions, rather quirky characters, undying men, car chases and bullets, secret passageways, new societies, strange inventions, exploring, mysteries, etc, etc. The list goes on. And this is only 200 pages into the story - I swear. It's packed. It's a roller-coaster, always exhilarating, never stopping. It has perfect pacing, just enough to keep you drawn in for the whole 500 pages, and it still allows you the leisure of choosing how long you want to take to read it. I chose ten days, my sister chose about five. Take your pick - you won't be sorry either way. I mean, who has the ability to write a book that has it all - and still makes it so that you can personalize the pace (a pace that's still fast, no matter how long you take)?
Only Wilson, DUH.
Apart from being extremely intense and crazy and amazing, this story is really emotional. Cyrus and Antigone are exceptional characters, not only for their ability to be human, but also because they and their story creates intense emotion. Wilson's other books are all very emotional in a sense, but not "I want to cry" emotional. But The Dragon's Tooth had me shedding a few tears in some of the crucial scenes. Very sweet and sad.
Oh, and one last thing - it has X-Men like qualities. Crazy cool, huh? Don't ask - just go read.
Summing it up - Why would I even dare try to write a single word to compact this book? Such a great feat is impossible. There is no containing this story. You must feast upon it. That is the only way to understand why I love Wilson's books so much. But, granted, there will be those who dislike this book. So while I hope you will all find Wilson's books as incredibly beautiful as I do, you might not. All one can do is hope - and recommend - and push a little bit. Okay, okay, I'll stop with the book-pushing.
Recommended 12+ for some very intense scenes....more
When Tansy's father divorces her mother and moves away, Tansy does everything she can to anger her father. She answers his questions during their phone calls with monosyllables and stops reading novels, because that had been their "thing". When she has to move to Arizona to live with her father, she does the most rebellious thing yet - she starts dating high school's bad boy, Bo. Bo seems like a great catch, and Tansy believes he's just misunderstood. But when a date-turned-wrong (that wasn't actually her fault) ends in vandalism and a trip to the police station, Tansy is drowning in an ocean of trouble, and she doesn't know how to get out of it. Enter Chrysanthemum Everstar. She's a fair godmother - not good enough to be a fairy godmother. She's been here before (taking care of the lives of pathetic mortals), and there are a whole lot of other places she'd rather be. She pushes Tansy to make her first wish - and everything goes wrong. It's the start of a chain reaction that may or may not be good for Tansy. There's Robin Hood and his Merry Men (a.k.a. runaway bandits and the city's most wanted criminals) and Rumpelstiltskin in the mix, as well as Hudson, the police chief's beautiful and smart son (who may or may not be into Tansy). In this one heck of a fairytale, not everything is what it seems, and Tansy must learn the moral of her story before she can ever have hope of getting herself and her family safely home.
My thoughts - I wasn't quite sure if it was possible. I didn't know where Rallison was going to go with this book, and while I was sure it was going to be great, I didn't exactly know how great. My Fair Godmother was an exceptional piece of literature - serious, light, fluffy, adventurous, dangerous, funny, and romantic, all in one book - and I didn't think she could do it again.
HA! I laugh at my own stupidity. To think she couldn't do it again - and then to find that she has done it better. Yes. You read correctly - better.
My Unfair Godmother was a little darker, had a bit more action, just as much mystery, and a lot more emotion. It was packed. Never once was I bored or wishing it was more like My Fair Godmother. It was completely and utterly its own book, and I must say that while My Fair Godmother is still a favorite, this second addition to Chrissy's wish-granting adventures was even more memorable.
Character notes - Tansy...oh, where to begin with this girl? I loved her from the start - cared for her, wanted her to succeed, winced when she got herself into trouble. She's trying to get back at her father for leaving them, but instead finds herself in a mess that could've been avoided. The amount of character change that happens to Tansy is realistic and wonderful.
And Hudson. Oh, Hudson. I have a thing for men in uniform, and while Hudson doesn't exactly work for the police, he does...in a way. And he is, without a doubt, the epitome of manliness (and he's a senior in high school - does it get any better for us young girls?). Strong, handsome, broad shoulders, smart, probably knows how to handle a gun... He's got his faults, too, and this only made me love him more, because what realistic guy is perfect? Hudson fit perfectly into this story - even his actions in the past had an impact on Tansy and the book's turnout. The way he and Tansy interact is perfect as well. Their fights are hilarious and the whole product of their friendship gave me butterflies.
Rumpelstiltskin. Let's just say, he had me shivering. I've always wanted to read more about his fairy tale, and I was not disappointed. He was evil, ruthless, and had a heart of stone.
I also liked Nick, Tansy's half brother. He is a sweet boy who cares about Tansy, even when she has a bad attitude. And this time around, Chrissy was altogether more likable (in my opinion) and she had a much greater impact on the story.
Story notes - Like I said before, this story is darker than the last, and has its own fuel to keep it going. The way Rallison weaves in fairy tales with modern times and actual events in the Middle Ages is just genius. Everything fell together smoothly and with a grand finale at the end that had my jaw dropping.
There were so many scenes that stood out to me (such as when Robin Hood and his Merry Men first meet Tansy, or when Tansy receives the heart), but my absolute favorites include any of the scenes involving the baby. If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that my #1 goals in life are to be a wife and mother. So when a baby was brought into this story and it tugged at Tansy's heart, my own heart did a little dance and I giggled happily and squealed and just in general couldn't stop smiling. I can't tell you anything else, but just know that this was what made the book more amazing to me than the first one. (My favorite scene would have to be the "I'm not into you" flaming hair-do scene. Don't ask - just go read. It had me bursting with laughter.)
One word to sum it up (and final thoughts) - Golden. This book is pure gold (considering its contents revolve around turning straw to gold, I'd say this is spot-on) and I don't want any of you to miss out on reading it, or its companion. Please, go buy this book. Right now. Read it (and the first one!) and then put it on your shelf and/or share it with your friends (if you can bear to let it go) and read it again and again and again. It really is one of the best....more
Eve by Anna Carey (Eve #1) Pages: 318 Release Date: October 4th, 2011 Date Read: 2011, December 18th-19th Received: Own Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 15Eve by Anna Carey (Eve #1) Pages: 318 Release Date: October 4th, 2011 Date Read: 2011, December 18th-19th Received: Own Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 15+
SUMMARY - The school protects. It keeps safe. The girls inside - they are no match for the terrors of men that lay beyond the walls. The girls are given fine educations and grow up well cared for. Ever, Valedictorian of the year, almost a graduate, discovers the terrifying truth. If all she knows is a life, then she must escape. Anything is better than what her future at the School holds. Can she survive the outside?
MY THOUGHTS - I've wanted to read Eve for quite a long time. The cover, the synopsis - everything fascinated me. Now that I've read it, I'm bummed that the book didn't turn out to be a favorite, but I really did enjoy reading it. Anna Carey's writing is clear and precise, without the unneeded fluff, and also really enjoyable. I found the story thought-provoking and I definitely want more.
CHARACTER NOTES - I've heard a lot of, "Eve is so stupid! I can't believe she did all that and never learned!" I've even heard a few "I HATE EVE" statements. If that was your opinion, that's fine. But I highly disagree. Not only did I think Eve was a strong character who I totally felt a connection with, but she is not stupid. She's naive - there's a difference. She's been locked up in a school and lied to her whole life. She's been protected and sheltered in extreme ways, so she doesn't know much about the way the outside world works. Her mistakes all helped her learn and grow.
And her decision at the end - I can't hate her for that. Yeah, maybe a good number of us would have chosen differently, but I felt it wasn't terrible beyond belief and will definitely have a good affect on the story. So, in the end, I loved Eve and look forward to more time with her in Once.
Caleb - he was great. I really enjoyed who he was and the change he wrought in Eve. Their romance started in friendship and blossomed very sweetly - and realistically. He made me grin often throughout the book.
The other characters all had their own independent impacts on the story, which was nice and refreshing. I hope to see some of them again in Once!
STORY NOTES - This book is intense. It takes place after a Plague - after mayhem and chaos and death - and the world outside is scary. The world inside is scary, too, but shhhh!!! No one knows!
I got chills more than one time. How terrifying it would be to live in a world like that! However, as much as I enjoyed this aspect of Eve, it reminded me a lot of Enclave by Ann Agguire. Did anyone else see this as well? Maybe not in character, but in setting and some aspects of the story, they were strangely alike.
In any case, I liked what Carey did with a story in the wilds - now I can't wait to see what she has in store for the city...and for the plot! That whole twist with the King, and at the end with her decision and how it affected Caleb, and the School?!
SUMMING IT UP - Bright. For some reason, I cannot get that word from my head in relation to Eve. The characters shine, the story catches attention, and the writing is clear. I really enjoyed myself - looking forward to more!
For the Parents - I would recommend to 15+. Very intense (sometimes dark) themes, and intense scenes of survival. There's also an attempted rape, and lots of talk about men being monsters who merely use women. A few kisses, not described much, very innocent romance....more
I have a Goodreads shelf called "don't ever read ever ever ever". I don't add books to it unless they are TERRIBLE. In fact, of all the books I haven'tI have a Goodreads shelf called "don't ever read ever ever ever". I don't add books to it unless they are TERRIBLE. In fact, of all the books I haven't liked in the last 3 years, I haven't had to add one. Until now. Gosh that was awful. I don't mean to be rude, but WOW. :/ *cringe*...more
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium #2) Pages: 375 Release Date: February 28th, 2012 Date Read: 2012, March 2nd-4th Received: OWN Rating: 5/5 stars RecomPandemonium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium #2) Pages: 375 Release Date: February 28th, 2012 Date Read: 2012, March 2nd-4th Received: OWN Rating: 5/5 stars Recommended to: 16+
This review contains spoilers for the first book, Delirium.
SUMMARY - Lena Holoway is old, dead, and buried. Lena Morgan Jones is new, reborn, and ready to fight at whatever the cost. The memory of Alex, of Grace and her mother, are all she has left of her life before. Her new life is with Raven and Tack, after a grueling time in the Wilds; she lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she is a student, a cured, a Zombie. She has been charged with trailing Julian Fineman, son of prominent leader of the Deliria Free America. When the two are thrown into an adventure they never bargained for, they must put aside their differences - and fight a forbidden love that can never be fostered.
MY THOUGHTS - I read. I cried. I threw a fit.
This book makes me want to pull a squirt gun on the publishers, Dick Harper style , and yell, "GIVE ME YOUR ARC'S! GIVE ME YOUR ARC'S!"
I've said it before and I'll say it again. It's something that never gets old, and I don't believe it will ever change.
Lauren Oliver is Brilliant. With a capitol "B".
And because of that Brilliancy, we have Before I Fall, Delirium, and now Pandemonium. (I'm sure Liesl & Po is just as wonderful, but I have yet to read it.) If I had to pick a favorite between Delirium and Pandemonium, I'd pick the first book, but its sequel is so excellent I cannot deny my love for it. It is a Forever Favorite and will stay there for all time.
Once again - Lauren's writing is freaking GORGEOUS. It envelops you in warm, comforting arms and feeds you inspiration by the spoonful. Even after the story is over, it sticks with the reader for a long, long time.
CHARACTER NOTES - Lena Morgan Jones is my new hero. She's my role model. If I could be half as brave as this young woman, then I'd feel like a superhero. In Delirium, Alex is the one who causes her to bud into a beautiful, brave young woman. Pandemonium shows the continued growth, the building of a new Lena who strives to do right by her memory of Alex, of her mother.
Now, ahem, ALEX. No, he is not exactly in this book as a character, but his memory shines for him, real and encouraging - to the reader as well as to Lena. I loved the way Lena's thoughts of him, her motivation to make her life exactly what he'd died for her to have, practically brought him to life. Oh, how I miss him. I'm serious - I felt like I was Lena, aching for him, wishing for his strong guidance, but also pushing forward, fighting for another day, to live, breathe love. That is why I love Alex.
Julian Fineman. Can I just ask a question? HOW THE HECK DID YOU BECOME WONDERFUL AS WELL?!?!?! After gaining composure... Julian is...wow. I wasn't sure of him at first, but now I'm dead certain. What I'm certain of (besides his awesomeness) I have no idea. I just hope Lauren has something awesome in store for him. (Although, compared with Alex....he doesn't even compare. Ok, so, we're not comparing him with Alex right now. Sorry, I just can't help myself.)
Raven, Tack, Hunter, Sarah, etc. - these are the men and women and children of the wilds. They were all very clear and precise and consistent. I mean, come on, these are Lauren's characters I'm talking about here - what else would they be?!
STORY NOTES - I'm going to be honest: I missed 37 Brooks, Back Cove...Portland. I really did. But here, in Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver has built something just as real, just totally different - Brooklyn, NY. An entirely new setting, a new structure, a strong difference in her MC - and yet everything felt as though I'd experienced it my whole life. So natural, life-like.
I really liked the then and now idea - how they were different times but they still melted into each other, seamless. Lena's contrasted self was a beautiful thing to see, to be reminded of.
Wanna know what really blows me away? The love triangle. Yep, you heard me. I flipping love this love triangle. It's not giggling teenage girls with hunky men where all they want to do is make out. It's something totally different, out-of-this-world, mindboggling: it's mature. Yes, Lauren Oliver has succeeded in creating the mature and realistic love triangle I've ever read. Now, I have my biases. I'm a "first love" fan 1,000,000%. But honestly, I trust Lauren's expertise. What she says goes. I'm placing my already fragile heart in her hands. I trust she won't crush it. (Ok, just kidding. She's already crushed it and shredded it and mercilessly pounded it into the dirt a million times but...you get what I'm trying to say, right?)
On the topic of love, I must say the love story in this one was a bit less believable, because of who Lena is and what she's been through. I mean, with Delirium's slow-progressing romance, thick and delicious and wondrous, and with the world's best lit-man, nothing really compares now. Because of this, Pandemonium's romance seemed quite a bit fast. It was definitely beautiful, and still believable, but not as much as Lena and Alex's. I sure do hope this makes sense...
And then...WE ALL DIE BECAUSE OF THAT END. WHY?!?!?!! My mind seriously threatens to burst every time I even think about it because I can't even wrap my head around Lauren's brilliance!!!! She is the Queen of Cliffhangers and Heartbreakers. WHY do we have to wait till freaking NEXT YEAR to know what happens?!?!?!
It's just....pure genius. Pure. Genius.
SUMMING IT UP - You heard me - pure genius. From first page to last. Every word in between. Everything. I'm seriously freaking out right now!! Requiem: I need you desperately, but you are worth the wait!!!
For the Parents - A handful of s**t, brief strong language (2 F's, 2 GD's). Reference to "unnaturals" (two guys are apparently a couple). A male character asks to see Lena without a shirt on. She covers her breasts but he does get a peek at the rest. A passionate kiss, some description. They sleep in a bed together but nothing happens. Recommended to 16+...more