Pages: 394 Release Date: December 20th, 2011 Date Read: 2011, December 1st - 15th Received: NetGalley Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 17+
SUMMARY- Avry isPages: 394 Release Date: December 20th, 2011 Date Read: 2011, December 1st - 15th Received: NetGalley Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 17+
SUMMARY- Avry is hunted, a criminal on the run. Except, she's done nothing wrong. She is a healer, a woman who can take sickness onto herself, completely removing it from its host. She and her kind are on the run, hunted for something Avry is sure they didn't do. After being caught and almost killed, she is rescued by a band of men who want her healing powers for themselves to save an old friend. As they begin their journey through the forest, hiding from mercenaries and soldiers, encountering magicians of all kinds, Avry discovers more about what happened during the plague when she was separated from her family. She also suspects the men - Kerrick, Belen, Flinn, and the others - have more to their request than meets the eye. And with armies rising on all sides, kings being overthrown, and the world going hungry, Avry, Kerrick and the other men may have to sacrifice more than they bargained for the well-being of all.
MY THOUGHTS - I really enjoyed this book! Based on rave reviews, I hoped for something a bit more...refined. But I was pleased with the end result!
My few issues: Everything (especially in the first half) felt a bit too fast. Not the pace of the story - the actual events. They happened in the blink of an eye. I felt like this took away from the emotion and depth of the story. Toward the middle, one character dies and everyone's sad - and then suddenly it seems as thought they've gotten over it. I'm sorry, I felt it needed a bit more time to dwell on things.
Which leads me to the writing. It was...ok. There were some good descriptions, but for the most part the writing was quick and short-sentenced, leaving very little room for anything more than sparse description. For the most part this wasn't a bad thing; actually, I would say a lot of the quickness to it came from Avry's character, who is a to-the-point kind of girl. The rest of tit, however, made me think the word "lazy" more than once.
Oh, and what was with the dialogue? I mean, it wasn't terrible, but it felt weird...out of place. It had some spunk to it, and made me laugh with all the funny sarcasm and bantering, but I guess it was one of those things I was expecting to be refined. It was super slang-y.
CHARACTER NOTES - I loved a lot of these characters; others, I just didn't get. Avry, Kerrick, Jael, Daneen, Winter, Sepp, Flea, Ryne, and a few others all sat well with me. They were fun to read about and created a great atmosphere.
However, Quinn and Vain (for the first half), Belen, Tohon, and so on - they fell short. They were either cheesy formula characters or hard to envision. I wanted to like Belen so badly, and I did to some extent, but he just wasn't believable. And, I must say, what was with Tohon? Womanizer with a slightly feminine edge? Really?? I was slightly...confused. But whatever. Getting passed that, I did think he was a great bad guy, and his plans made me grimace in pain. He's a scary person! :/
Avry herself - so great. Kicks some butt; doesn't let herself be taken by emotion, but is capable of loving greatly; has an incredible gift and the heart to bestow it upon others; she is totally relatable. I felt like a friend, for sure. Not a bestie, but definitely a friend.
Kerrick - phew! What a jerk - at first. My gosh I wanted to slap his face SO many times. But by the end...man, I loved him. He'd been so hurt, you can't really blame him. I seriously loved every moment with him - good and bad!
STORY NOTES - Boy, do I love a slow-moving romance. One that takes months of hardships and getting to know one another. One that creates beautiful tension. One that heals broken hearts. One like this. Avry and Kerrick's romance made me sooo happy. Every step of the way I rooted for them to be together. I loved their pride-fights, their cold glares, their working together - and their warm embraces. it was so amazing - gave me butterflies and made my eyes prickle with tears.
The rest of the story, despite its slightly too-fast pace, was very fun and intense and crazy. Just crazy. Fascinating action and really neat ideas about magicians and magic in general. The death and peace lilies were so original and I hope there's more about them in the second book!
Avry's journey definitely awed me. Her purpose, her need to heal this man she'd never met. She affect she would have on the kingdoms. Really, really neat!
SUMMING IT UP - It sparked my imagination - and my emotions. A fun read in a fascinating fantasy world!
FOR THE PARENTS - Language scattered throughout. (B**t**d, d**n, and a few others.) Some sensual comments/scenes, especially involving Tohon. There are a few details. He uses magic to make her desire him - she expresses that "emotional Avry" wants things that are quite awkward (she says a few times what she wants and how he has her at his mercy). Besides that - Kerrick and Avry kiss and have sex toward the end of the book. Literally 3 paragraphs cover this scene (in future pages, it's referenced that they sleep together multiple times in the following days) but even in such a small amount a lot is said. A few physical details, but mainly emotional. Kind of unrealistic, as she is (spoiler!) dog sick with the plague at the time. Recommended 17+...more
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel (The Dark Endeavor Chronicles #1) Pages: 304 Release Date: August 23rd, 2011 Date Read: 2011, Oct. 25th-20th Received:This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel (The Dark Endeavor Chronicles #1) Pages: 304 Release Date: August 23rd, 2011 Date Read: 2011, Oct. 25th-20th Received: Library Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 14+
SUMMARY - Victor and Konrad Frankenstein are twins - together from birth, inseparable at any cost. They are both the same in looks - and yet so completely different in personality, wisdom, and vision. When Konrad grows ill, and none of the doctors seem to be able to heal him, Victor decides to take the matter into his own hands. He wishes to create the Elixir of Life, to bring his brother to complete health again. With the help of his friends Elizabeth and Henry, Victor will risk everything to save his brother's life, before it's too late.
MY THOUGHTS - I love Kenneth Oppel. I love the way he writes, the way his characters spring to life, imperfections and all. This Dark Endeavor shot up my reading list when I saw it. It was first in line, even with tons of stuff going on. I had to have it. And it was totally awesome! Maybe not as memorable as the Matt Cruise books; maybe not as totally incredibly amazing - but wonderful all the same. Totally different, too. For a while, I wasn't sure what to rate it, but 4 stars feel right. While it didn't blow my mind, it was still so solid and right and good and just soooo well-written because you really can't expect otherwise from Kenneth Oppel.
CHARACTER NOTES - Victor and Konrad were so perfect for each other and this book. Because not only are they twins ad best friends, but they are also, in a way, opposing forces.
Victor had a great leading role voice. The reason? He was a fool, lacking in wisdom and grace. And yet, I absolutely loved him. That Oppel was able to show Victor's immense stupidity without making the reader hate him is an incredible feat. Seeing Victor change throughout the book, whether for good or bad, was also something I could hold onto about Victor. I still think of him. HE was memorable, that's for sure.
Elizabeth and Henry were extraordinary; Elizabeth with her two sides, Henry with his fears and doubts. They were 3D and easy to relate to and totally different.
And Konrad. He's not a favorite, but he was indeed strong and valiant, at heart if not in body. If I had not cared for him, the drive to the story would have been lost. He was important, and I definitely value presence in the book.
STORY NOTES - At first, I was incredibly intrigued. What would Oppel do with a retelling/prologue of Frankenstein's life? The first chapters were both startling and beautiful, as well as sad and foreboding. Then I got busy with life and couldn't read for two days and lost track of the story at a slower part...and it took a bit of shoving my way back in before I felt at home again. But as soon as I was, the story flew ahead and - wow.
It was crazy. The quests and feats they accomplished to get the three ingredients to the Elixir were intense and really revealed character strengths and weaknesses.
There were some very crazy twists in the end, and I was happy to find that Oppel delivered his usual - where just when you think things can't get any worse, they do. This happens for a few chapters and then - BAM! You're shocked by the final, climactic scene. I love Oppel for that, among other things.
Also -the love triangle. Woah! I've never read anything quite like that. Yikes! What will happen?!
SUMMING IT UP - Bitter. Usually I don't use negative words to describe books I like, but it's so true. This book was full of bitterness - mixed with love, braver, passion, and madness. What a crazy combination - one that I heartily enjoyed - and even shed a tear over. Wow! Such Wicked Intent comes out late this summer and I'm SO EXCITED to read it!! :D
For the Parents - Maybe one minor cuss word. Some passionate kisses; Victor sees Elizabeth's wild, passionate, side and feels something powerful towards her - love, surely, but also an animal-like lust which he tries to overcome. Non-explicit talk of a wedding night. Some very intense scenes (emotionally and physically). Recommended 14+...more
Kelsey thinks her job at the circus will be a temporary job - but how wrong she is! When she joins she discovers that she has a special connection witKelsey thinks her job at the circus will be a temporary job - but how wrong she is! When she joins she discovers that she has a special connection with the beautiful white tiger that performs every night. She becomes a kind of caretaker, taking care of his food and water and making sure he's safe inside his cage. She sits by the cage every night and reads to him, or writes in her journal and tells him stories.
But when a man comes to the circus and buys Ren, the tiger, Kelsey feels that she is about to lose a great friend. She finds she is wrong, however, when the assistant of the man who purchased the tiger comes to her and states that he has noticed her special bond with Ren. He offers her the life of luxury during a trip to India, all to accompany Ren on the journey and make sure he is settled nicely into his new home. And when Kelsey says yes to this incredible opportunity, she finds that her dear Tiger is actually a prince under a 300 year old spell, and she will do anything to break the curse. Even if it means falling in love with a man she can never be with. _______________________________________
I absolutely adored this book from the first. Kelsey is such a believable character - she's funny, innocent, and loves greatly. Within the first ten pages, I could totally relate to her and wanted to be her friend. And I just loved her way of speaking. She has character in her dialogue and - get ready for this - I just picture her talking fast and a bit too much. Not in a bad way - she just loves explaining things and she most definitely has an opinion. It was adorable! And Ren...he was pretty much the perfect guy. He's been a tiger for 350 years, so what can you expect? He's learned patience, obedience, and gentleness. He's also very very innocent (unfortunately, his innocence is sometimes masked by the fact that he's freaking gorgeous.) This could bother some people, but never fear! Ren has bouts of anger and doesn't always make right decisions - especially when he's angry. This makes him believable amd human.
Kelsey's bond with Ren is just super amazing... With the tiger, she's comfortable - and then all of a sudden she has to get to know Ren as a man. She doesn't know how to respond to Ren when he's in human form. And I can see why...as soon as I read the description of Ren as a man I couldn't help but giggle. I wouldn't be able to speak, either, if I saw him the way that he is described. And it's not just that he's beautiful - he's serene, kind, and he loves greatly. That's one thing that really hit me about this book - the love. The love in this book is strong - and it runs much deeper than a kiss and a caress. I love that even though Kelsey notices Ren's beauty, she knows that if he was just your average guy, she could sit and talk with him for hours on end...just be with him. And still love him like she does. And Ren, even though he could get any girl, loves Kelsey. She loves him, too - so much it hurts. But then...comes the doubt. (Real life doubts, normal doubts that every girl would have if she was in love with a drop-dead gorgeous man trapped by a tiger's curse. Haha!) (Oh, and if you start to doubt the love story - DON'T. Scream and be angry with them all you want - but DON'T put the book down!) I loved Ren's response to the doubt in their relationship...but you'll just have to read it if you want to know what I'm talking about. :)
The love story was built slowly, like it should be (most of the time). They don't kiss at first, but rather let their relationship build slowly, and they don't sleep together at all. I was so thankful for this. Ren has an old-fashioned "I'm going to ask your permission" kind of attitude about love. He admits he's never felt this way about any woman and he tries so hard to please Kelsey and make her happy - not to satisfy his own desires. He respects her more than words can say and this aspect of him did NOTHING to keep ME from falling for him as well... ;)
As far as the writing goes: I liked it. Not my favorite, but it was easy to read and Colleen Houck's descriptions of people, the landscapes, and even little details were very well done and I could easily and quickly picture exactly what was being described. Things I didn't like: a few of her phrases seemed a bit out of place. Sometimes I felt that the paragraphs were too short. And there were a couple of point of view shifts, but not enough to really be noticeable. I also didn't really like that Kelsey's thoughts were in past tense. Even in the story is in past tense, I think it should always be a rule to make character's thoughts in present tense. You think, "I want to eat that dessert." NOT, "I wanted to eat that dessert." Make sense?
Favorite character: Ren. Who else? :)
Favorite aspect: A lot of things: Ren and Kelsey, Ren and Kishan (who was also a great character, by the way), Mr. Kadam's grandfatherly relationship with Kelsey, all the Indian mythology... You could definitely tell that Colleen Houck cares about her character's relationships and how they affect each other. She also was very skilled in telling about the Indian culture and mythology. It was scary, intimidating, and shocking at times. But interesting. I definitely don't believe in any of what they talked about, and have no desire to, but it was interesting all the same. I also really like that girls AND boys will love this book. It was really a good balance of romance, action, and mystery.
One word to sum up this book: I definitely think parts of the this book were sweet, but then others were action packed and sometimes frightening (the good kind of frightening, though). So I think my word would be tempestuous. It was like an ocean storm, one that carries your emotions and imagination on a wild ride that is not easy to forget. I'm impatiently awaiting book #2 and I can't wait to see what's in store for all these lovely characters!
For parents: Honestly, I think a good starting age for this book is 15-16 years old. The characters don't sleep together, but there are definitely some (steamy) kisses with some description, and lots sexual tension. The characters snuggle a bit, mostly because Ren wants to comfort Kelsey in times of struggle. Ren likes to give tender caresses, too. This is as far as it goes. I really appreciate that. No language AT ALL. Overall, a very clean book, because even though the characters kiss and hold each other, they really really love each other and respect each other enough to be rational....more
Fang by James Patterson (book 6) Pages: 309 Release Date: March 15th, 2010 Date Read: 2011, September 14th-15th Received: Library Rating: 4/5 stars (that'sFang by James Patterson (book 6) Pages: 309 Release Date: March 15th, 2010 Date Read: 2011, September 14th-15th Received: Library Rating: 4/5 stars (that's an extra star for personal enjoyment!) Recommended to: 14+
SUMMARY - Max and the crew of Bird Kids are in Africa for a CSM feed-the-poor expedition. They are happy to be free of people, Erasers, and things that should be dead chasing them. And Max - she can't stop thinking about Fang. He's on her mind all the time - and apparently, vice versa. But what happens when a new bird kid is introduced? Dylan is a new, 8-month-old clone with wings. He doesn't know how to fly very well, but he's gorgeous and looks a little older than the original Flock. And apparently, he's Max's perfect match. Her other half.
And Fang is supposed to die. Soon.
MY THOUGHTS - As I greatly love Fang, I cannot help but love this book. I'm totally emotionally connected to the characters - especially Max and Fang. because they're so amazing and perfect together. The story line in this one was better than some of the others, including the mad-scientist stuff, which was beginning to go downhill. But now the story is getting to the heart of things, the deep secrets of who, exactly, is going to try to destroy the world.
In all honesty, this book was sad. It had a sad ending. Don't read it unless you can get your hands on Angel right away. If you love the characters just as much as I do, then you'll be dying to know!!
I'm not adding my normal character/story notes because I feel the same about them in practically every book. Great characters who I love. FANG. And a fun story that varies from really good to really cheesy. Most of the time it's fun-cheesy. Sometimes it's stupid-cheesy. Sometimes it's serious. Seriously good.
And lemme say this: if you've read a couple of the books and aren't attached to the characters, don't keep reading. Honestly, to me, the characters make it worth it. Without them, I wouldn't be here, writing this review for the 6th book.
SUMMING IT UP - FANG. FangFangFang!!!!! I neeeeeed to KNOW!!!!!...more
Pages: 416 Release Date: June 1st, 2008 Date Read: 2011, October 30th-31st Rating: 3/5 stars Recommended to: 12+
Summary - Kate is done with love. She has gPages: 416 Release Date: June 1st, 2008 Date Read: 2011, October 30th-31st Rating: 3/5 stars Recommended to: 12+
Summary - Kate is done with love. She has given it up - no more will she fall into its clutches. Jerome broke her heart and crushed her soul. Never again. When she wins a contest - and a trip to Italy with the other winning teens - Kate wants to spend her time properly examining the ridiculousness of Romeo and Juliet, instead of prancing around falling in love. And when the chance comes to turn the tables and play a prank on the girl who's trying to prank Kate, she more than happily seizes her chance, never expecting the snare that awaits her.
My thoughts - I'm not too much of a Romeo and Juliet fan. To be honest, even with my ridiculous romanticism, I've had my own practical statements and refutes and arguments about their love story. So while Kate was, for the most part, ridiculously practical, I admit freely that I, for the most part, agreed with her.
But anyways - apart from that...
This book was fun, but nothing special or extraordinary. I actually think it fell below the mark of ordinary or good. It had lots of issues - the writing was fun and dramatic but lacking the good stuff; the characters were all fluff and there was no personal connection; the story line had holes; the POV shifted weirdly. I wasn't expecting much, however, so I wasn't disappointed. But neither was I excited, and that is the problem.
Character notes - I really wish this book had been more personal. There were POV shifts that made no sense; but not only that, the characters themselves were choppy and inconsistent. For the most part, I saw these 16-17 year olds as 11-13 year olds. They had major maturity issues - issues usually overcome by the time you turn 13. It was awkward.
The best character was Giacomo, but even he lacked consistency. I thought of him as 14 years old for the majority of the book. He had a nice back story to add depth to his character but I thought him making up conversations between himself and a saint at the Catholic church, and then running around with a ladies' man reputation was such a strange combo. I think the author may have been trying to show the reader that he really was a great guy underneath?
I really liked Kate, but she was so poorly crafted that I didn't really get to know her, and that made me sad.
And to add to matters, at the end of the story, in the last 15 pages, all the characters just suddenly acted their ages.
Story notes - Overall, I really liked this story. It made me laugh and had a nice ring to it. The story-line twisted and turned with hilarious events and complication. However, I felt that it was poorly done and as a reviewer I must be honest...
What really bugged me was that it held no personal connection between characters or me and the book. For example - Kate and Giacomo are trying to make everyone believe they've fallen in love. They are about to kiss for the first time to throw off the spies following them - and it suddenly cuts to the POV of the spy! Therefore leaving me, the reader, with no idea of how Giacomo or Kate felt about the kiss that was supposed to be a farce. Basically, there was very little progression of feelings.
Summing it up - Playful! For the most part, this book had very little to offer when it comes to being a good book, but I did enjoy it all the same. A quick and fun summer read and it'll make you want to travel to Italy! :D
Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen Pages: 281 Release Date: August 15th, 1998 Date Read: 2011, November 9th - 11th Received: Own Rating: 4/5 stars RecommendedSomeone Like You by Sarah Dessen Pages: 281 Release Date: August 15th, 1998 Date Read: 2011, November 9th - 11th Received: Own Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 16+
SUMMARY - The summer Halley turned sixteen, everything changed. When her best friend Scarlett calls her at camp, Halley knows something is wrong. Michael Sherwood, Scarlett's boyfriend, was hit in a motorcycle accident. He died instantly. And there is more to it - Scarlett is pregnant. Scarlett, the one who has always been strong enough for the both of them, now needs strength from Halley. And with her mother controlling everything and strange Macon Faulkner (Michael's best friend) pursuing her, how can she help her best friend the way she needs to?
MY THOUGHTS - This being only my second Sarah Dessen book, I was unsure of how I'd like it. I mean, sure, it was going to be good in the sense of well-written, good characters, etc. That much can be expected. But on a personal level, how would I enjoy it?
Well, it turns out that, on a personal level, I adore this book. It struck me because, not only is it redemptive, but the pregnancy part was so...sweet. The sweet that only exists in a mother toward her unborn child. It was truly beautiful!
CHARACTER NOTES - I love it when characters do stupid things and you see them walking right into a trap - they get hit hard - and you still love them through it all. Halley, Scarlett, Marion, Julie - they are (almost) all like that. At one point or another, they all drove me to wishing I could rip my hair out, but even still I wanted to stick by them.
Halley did some pretty dumb things, lemme tell you. But you have to learn somehow - and a lot of the time it's the hard way. The reason I respect Halley is because (A. Everyone makes mistakes; and (B. Her choices/attitude in the end were good and right and, might I add, just perfect for the story. She learned, and that's what matters. That's what I love.
As much as Halley was a great MC and POV, Scarlett proved to be my favorite. She rocked this story with her personality and emotional draw. But especially, she made the incredibly wonderful decision to keep the baby, despite all odds and all opinions. (Not a spoiler, I promise.) The way she brightened people's days...the way she held true to speaking truth to Halley when her friend was struggling, made her a heroine in her own right.
Oh, and Vlad the Impaler, sorry, Warrior was the BEST!
STORY NOTES - Well, who knew contemporary fiction could be soooo freaking intense? Sheesh!! The whole time, it seems, I held my breath in anticipation, shock, awe, or happiness. So many emotions, so much going on.
This story ranges from romance to passion to mistakes to anger to love to being young. It has a little something for everyone to take away from it. It will break your heart - make you cry - mend it again - still make you cry.
And everything is as you would want in the end. Far from perfect, but beautiful in the imperfections. All my questions were answered, even things that I thought for sure there wasn't enough time to pull off. But there was, and it was beautiful.
SUMMING IT UP - Real. Like the hard-core real that is life. I will most assuredly read more of Dessen's work - I look forward to it!
For the parents - A few references to sex, and also condoms. Scarlett is sixteen and pregnant. Abortion is touched up on, but Scarlett does the amazing hard thing and keeps the baby. Quite a bit of kissing. Halley and Macon get very close to having sex one night, after he pressures her over the course of time. She starts to feel sick and breaks it off. The details in this 2-paged scene are more emotional, rather than physical, and how she shouldn't be here. Recommended 16+...more
Pages: 228 Release Date: May 11th, 2004 (First published September 1st, 1999) Date Read: 2011, August 30th-31st Received: Own Rating: 4/5Yearning to Read
Pages: 228 Release Date: May 11th, 2004 (First published September 1st, 1999) Date Read: 2011, August 30th-31st Received: Own Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 16+
Summary - Welcome to the life of Colie Sparks - once a fattie, daughter of a world-famous workout instructor, and bored for the summer. She has to stay with her (eccentric) aunt, an aunt who doesn't exactly fit into her small town of Colby, NC. But what Colie finds in Colby is more than she expected, and it may change her life forever.
My thoughts - This is a book about belonging. It's about Cats and Normans, grilled chicken salads, sympathy cards, and sunglasses. It's about friendships and laughter and growing up. It was full of real life, great happenings in a small town, and rising above.
It was surprising to me to discover just how inspiring it was. It had me laughing out loud the entire time, except the times when I was boiling over with anger at the mean girls or holding back tears at the sweet parts. But mostly, I was laughing. It had me from the first page. I began to love it all, including the writing (which was really good), and especially the dialogue. This is all especially surprising to me since I thought I'd never read a Dessen book (or a contemporary fiction). But after reading a few rave reviews from my dear friend Laura @ A Work of Fiction, and found this copy for $1.00, I knew it was about time. What a great way to start!
Character notes - Every person in this book, from page 1 to page 228, is defined. Perfectly imperfect. I was so pleased by this! Colie, with all her baggage she's holding onto; Norman, with all his funny, hippie ways; Mira, the eccentric relative. Morgan and Isabel, besties who love each other unconditionally despite their hilarious and sometimes hard differences. Bea Williamson, the town gossip, the ruler of all social standings (in her small, pathetic world). There was even Cat Norman (as opposed to Norman Norman), who is by far the most fascinating and hilarious cat I've ever come across.
These characters had me laughing out loud and gaining strange glances fro my family. They made my heart pound, my blood boil, and my eyes grow wide. There was no end to the realness of them all. I related to both Colie (I've never been a skinny girl, and I know what it's like to be "new") and Morgan (my drama is ridiculous sometimes). They all inspired me, though. Even Isabel with her bad attitude and Morgan with her constant quitting. Because who's perfect? Not me, that's for sure, and not these characters. And that's what makes them so incredibly epic.
Story notes - I wrapped myself in this story as I would in a bright beach towel after a day in the water. It took me about four hours, and by the end I was warm, dry, and basking in sunshine.
It really is a great story. It had the conflict in the beginning, things are hard, Colie doesn't understand, she's hurting, she wants to belong. Then things lighten up; laughs are shared, lessons are learned. But darkness threatens to swallow up the happiness. I loved even those dark scenes, when everything looks grim and depressed. But they help each other, encourage, serve and love, and together the break through the shadow and into the moonlight. Sometimes it takes listening to Gloria Gaynor and dancing like a freak, or sitting for a painter for hours and hours. Sometimes, it just takes a simple word of encouragement. But no matter how it happens - the darkness is brushed aside, life is reborn, and the story goes on. There is no "the end". No, this is only the beginning.
Summing it up - Encouraging. A lovely read, no matter who you are or where you are, with characters that inspire and a story that rocks and a depth I was not expecting. Put it on your list; you will enjoy it!
For the parents - Brief strong language (GD, B, and a handful of minor cuss words). A few extremely nondescript kisses. Some references to what highschoolers do to others when they hate them. One girl is called some rude nicknames (Hole in One, Slut, etc.). one stupid man is said to have cheated on his fiancee, married the girl he cheated on, got her pregnant, and was still dating his fiancee! :/ Recommended 16+....more
The Flock has just said goodbye to Ari, Max's half brother...the one who tried to kill them all in the past, but changed his ways and got killed. Now the Flock has to move on without him. They're all developing new, crazy powers on their own, all getting stronger and ready to take on the world. When Mrs. Martinez, Ella and Max's mom, recommends the Flock to a team headed toward Antarctica, the Flock are hoping to use their new skills to help save the world. But what is this new mission in this freezing cold place? Will they be safe like the scientists claim? ___________________________________________
My thoughts - Once again, these books are great. I loved the action and the connection between characters, as well as the outstanding scenery. But there are two things I didn't love...or even like. 1. The new bad guys. 2. The sudden, cheese-ball homage to global warming. BAM! Out of nowhere? Maybe if the series had led up to this, it would've made more sense.
Character notes - I'll start with the bad guys. Ok...what? Where did THAT come from? It was strange. And choppy. And just plain weird. I wanted to to snort in disbelief. Definitely cheesy...not the cheesy I love about the Flock, but "Are you freaking kidding me?!" cheesy.
However, despite the stupidity of James Patterson's newest destroy-the-world freaks, the good guys were great. Max continues to be amazing, along with the rest of the Flock. The crew of the ship was a great addition, especially Brigid. She caused tension between Max...and FANG!
Ok, so Fang grows up a little bit with each book. It's seriously super attractive. Like, him lacing up his manly snow boots while giving Max this business...or uncoiling rope to save someone's life. Or the way he works so well with Max. He's becoming a man and it's extremely appealing and worthy of the butterflies that float around inside of me whenever I read or hear his name.
Story notes - Like I sad. Global warming. Outta nowhere. Like the bad guys or the weird random hurricane at the end. There wasn't enough intro to it, any of it. Maybe if the last book had somehow led up to it, I would have found it enjoyable. But as far as I know, this is a one-book thing. Which kind of irked me.
Besides that, I liked the story. The new setting of Antarctica, complete with blinding snow and penguins, was really fascinating and held my interest. It was a great way to add originality to the series. The fight scenes and rescue scenes were good, written well. And, my favorite, the romance. It's blossoming, another reason why I love Fang and how stinking manly he is.
Summing it up - A cool ride. Like, if Disney gave the Matterhorn real snow and some penguins to waddling about, and maybe a few bird kids to fly around it, that's what it'd be like. Despite the random holes and sudden appearances in the story, I was highly entertained and am looking forward to book #5, Max. Extremely clean, nothing for the parents....more
Joan's parents, Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry of England, are each trying to win the princess over. After years and years of fighting, Eleanor and Henry carry an animosity towards one another that no one can miss. They discover what a useful pawn their seven-year-old daughter Joan is, and frequently use her to their advantage. But when circumstances make it convenient for Joan to marry King William of Sicily, a man ten years her senior, Joan's life is about to become the hardest it's ever been. ______________________________________________
My thoughts - I found this story surprisingly dark. The kind of dark that involves heartbreak, illness, death, war, and suffering. No matter which way you look at it, Joan's life was sad. I also found this book surprisingly good. No the greatest book ever, just solid and secure. I don't often read historical fiction, and usually when I do it's for the story, not the history. But this one was different; I came in with no expectations and enjoyed everything about it, including the history parts, even when I felt a bit confused by so many quick historical facts, details and updates. I started reading this book at a faster pace than I'd recommend. I'd like to read it again, slower, to get all the details I may have missed.
The writing was excellent (after finishing it I went and wrote 3,000 words of my own story on a high), and the characters were so well done it was like I knew them...had known them for years.
Character notes - For one, Joan had my attention with the first words she spoke. She was immediately alive and real. As the story continued on, I watched as Joan grew from a 7-year-old playing with dolls to a 10-year-old engaged to a 22-year-old. Then she became a woman at 14 and a widow at 25. The rest, I won't say. You'll have to see for yourself. But in any case, Joan became like a life-long friend. I had lived life for 25 years through her eyes. Her bravery and courage alone were enough to like her, and her kind heart made me love her. I also pitied her, knowing she could do nothing about her situation. But she forged on, making the best, even when things were hard.
My favorite character had a small role throughout the story, and had his main role toward the end. Lord Raymond... While there is no Perfect Prince Charming in this story, there is a Count, and he is charming, despite his imperfections. The end scenes with him in it made me giggle - he's so wonderful.
That's one thing I greatly appreciated about this book. There was no romanticizing things. Down to the last character, everyone had a flaw, and most of them affected the story greatly. Lord Raymond liked to throw his good looks and charms around too much, and William neglected his duties. Constance had a dirty secret. Eleanor was a heartless woman, despite her beauty. Richard made brash decisions. Real people were not downplayed and made into perfect, selfless people without a care in the world. That is probably the best thing about this book.
Story notes - Just like the characters, the real life in this story is not dumbed down into fairy tale wonderland. Not in the slightest. In a world with meager medical assistance, warlords wanting to be king of all, and stupid and sad marriage customs, this story can be...heavy...at times. It weighed on my heart most of the time; I found myself sickened by Joan's parents' willingness to marry her off. "He'll probably wait till your courses come before trying for an heir, but if he comes to your bed before then it wont be a sin," was basically the theme for young girls handed over into marriage. Sick. Sick sick sick. This is real life, though, and while our society's problems are much different, we still have them, all the same.
Still, in the midst of all of Joan's hardships and shames and struggles, there is happiness. And while her happy moments are few, they were perfect for the story, without a question. And then end. The end was perfect in every single way. I couldn't have asked for anything better. What a great way to show how hard work and courage pay off. (And I must say, while I sometimes like tragic endings, I felt like this book needed a somewhat happy ending for all its hardships...I can't say I was disappointed.)
Summing it up - The word trust is what comes to mind as I think back on the story. This book is about Joan's journey to trust. She was abused her whole life, and finally finding a friend or two to trust was a miracle to Joan. Every which way she looked, someone would do something terrible, making it hard for Joan to look to anyone for help. But in the end, she was rewarded for her perseverance, as she should be. It was a sat story with a touching end, satisfying and beautiful in every way.
For the parents - Recommended to ages 16+. Two quick uses of GD. Sexual content, while not graphic or even detailed, is still there, just like every other nitty-gritty detail of Joan's life. This book doesn't just reference to her husband's visits to her bed, but they're not full sex scenes either. The details are sparing, but you get that she's either in pain or annoyed or just plain unhappy. Later, when she marries a man who truly loves her, he makes a comment as to how he can't wait to undress her. He is gentle with her and doesn't force her when she claims it will hurt, since she's only ever been hurt. Quick references to the night before. Aside from Joan, men's young lovers are often mentioned, and one male character is having a passionate affair with his aunt! :/...more
Ty doesn't want Gemma to leave. She lived at his house, with his family, for three months, but more than one accident in the water convinced her she needed to leave. But now, after the Seaguard kicked her out of the Trade Station, Gemma wants to find her brother and live with him and the gang. Ty is quite uncomfortable with this. But when Ma and Pa are kidnapped by a town of Surfs, everything changes. If Ty and Gemma can find out where the Township Sachem is, they can find Ma and Pa. And the place to go for such information? Rip Tide, the stack city where safety is never secure. It will be a miracle if they get out of there alive, never mind what might come after... _______________________________
My thoughts - I love Kat Falls. I love the way she writes. I love how she creates her stories and shapes her characters and makes me shiver with anticipation or giggle with delight. So, basically, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was everything I was hoping for and more. I pre-ordered it and started it the day after it arrived, I was so stoked.
Was there anything I didn't like? Well, yes, only one thing. The world building. This was an issue (the only issue) in Dark Life. This futuristic world is crazy cool and original, but I feel like Kat Falls' descriptions of buildings, Townships, stack cities, and certain underwater places lack depth, making it hard for the reader to picture everything clearly, especially with so much going on at all times. However, this world is fairly easy to work with in your own mind, and I found myself adapting as I used my imagination to fill in the blanks.
Character notes - I think of Ty and Gemma as one of those epic duos like Sam and Frodo, or Harry and Ron...except Ty and Gemma are a guy and a girl and, well... They're kinda sweet on each other. And it's kinda adorable. Anyways... I love the way both of their characters are developed and how they stay true to their personalities, especially Ty. He's one lovable young man who is quite mature for his fifteen years. Gemma is also memorable...I just can't get enough!
The side characters in this book were really awesome as well! So much deception goes on, whether for good or bad, that you don't actually know who is doing what until the very end. ("What do you mean?" you are probably asking. Well...I can't tell you. You must read the book!) Captain Revas, Mayor Fife, Ratter, Representative Tupper, and Gabion are just a few. They are all so complicated, with so many layers, and I was completely surprised when the end came about and I finally knew who was doing what. I'd tried to guess but Kat Falls' twists and turns were too good for me!
Story notes - Like I just said, layers. This story is full of them. New ones are added and old ones are taken away. The whole time I was like, "Wow, something else?!" The pace is quick but still gives enough to time to the reader to enjoy every detail. The plot is thick. The writing is beautiful. Ty's voice and Kat's style work seamlessly together.
I wish the end twist about who was committing the crime would have been drawn out longer, but what's done is done and it was extremely enjoyable nonetheless! And while all the loose ends about the story were tied, there are still some unanswered questions overall, which make me believe there is going to be a third book!!!
Summing it up - When I think of this book, in my mind's eye I see pre-storm waves crashing and lightning striking. What a story! The originality of it - so like the first one and yet totally different - is enough to get anyone liking it. And yet, still, it's one of those books I see on everyone's TBR, but so far down the list that it's easily forgotten. Shame! What fun, adventure, and danger are all missing out on! You all should charge to the nearest bookstore and buy both books in hardcover. And when the third book comes out (there has got to be a third!!), go buy that one, too. Kat Falls has created something you won't want to miss out on!
The Hangman in the Mirror by Kate Cayley Pages: 248 Release Date: July 7th, 2011 Date Read: 2011, November 22nd-30tRead more reviews at Yearning to Read!
The Hangman in the Mirror by Kate Cayley Pages: 248 Release Date: July 7th, 2011 Date Read: 2011, November 22nd-30th Received: NetGalley Rating: 5/5 stars Recommended to: 13+
SUMMARY - Francoise has never known wealth or even a good life. Her mother came to New France a whore and married her father, a drunken soldier. Together, they barely scrapped a living - relying on Francoise for much. Francoise herself, however, has never given up her dreams of a fine life. When tragedy befalls her family, she takes her chances as a lady's maid. But how can a girl of the streets survive in such a place? Francoise's mistrust may be the end of it all.
MY THOUGHTS - I love it when I'm right.
I've had my eye on this book for months, before it even came out. Despite its unappealing cover, I was intrigued. I entered a contest for it but didn't win, so I waited. Then it popped up on the screen on NetGalley - I did not hesitate. Yet I started it warily, unsure, but totally loving it and hoping it would stay amazing.
Yes - it did stay amazing. So amazing that I held my breath the entire time. Many people said that the suspense was lost because too much was revealed. (I even guessed a few things correctly, which I usually don't do because I don't like to speculate or I just can't figure it out.) But the main thing to do while reading this is to speculate as little as possible. Just enjoy the story - suspense in other areas will keep you.
The writing, I must say, gripped and held me. It was beautiful prose and Francoise's voice was strong and prominent from the first pages. The writing has a huge role in reeling me in - I was definitely caught by the bait! That and the prologue - I think it's so great to start the story toward the end, to give a taste of foreboding danger.
CHARACTER NOTES - I loved every character within these pages. The book is so short that I expected it to be like other short books with little character development. I don't know what happened, but these characters were like magic. As soon as they were presented it was like I immediately knew them.
And while this could be said about every single one, I must say something specific about Francoise, for it was especially true for her. It was literally the first page, the prologue, that had me going, "Wow! I like her style, her voice; I sympathize; I fear for her - wow!!" After that I felt like she was able to grow as a person because she was already developed in my mind. It was a lovely display of one aspect of great literature and I heartily give my applause.
STORY NOTES - I have a thing about disliking short books. I'm not trying to, but I feel like I don't like almost any of the short books getting rave reviews.
But here - here! is one of the few that I love. Because of the characters, as I said before; and because the world isn't a complex fantasy world, there was no need to explain a lot or get the reader to picture everything correctly. It was our world, through and through, easy to imagine, and therefore leaving room for things to grow naturally in the reader's mind as the story progressed.
Now, I'll admit - it's a simple story. Don't read too much about it, or else it might make it seem even less complicated. Go in with very few expectations, and you should be just as awed as I was. Because there are really only two ways it could go.
I will tell you now that I literally had NO clue until the very. last. page! Talk about suspense!
In any case, I love the path the story took, how it was straight to the point but still had a good amount of emotional depth. I am so pleased.
SUMMING IT UP - Commanding. I say this because it commanded my attention from the very beginning. I hope more people enjoy this book and put it on their shelves, as I hope to do when I make my next Amazon order. Oh, and important note - don't read the Goodreads summary - it gives away a lot of the story. Just add it and get off - let yourself be surprised! :)
For the Parents - A few references to whores. Francoise is a thief sometimes. +13
*This ebook was provided by NetGalley in return for an honest review. I was in no way compensated; all thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.*...more
Pages: 541 Release Date: August 30th, 2011 Date Read: 2011, September 21st-28th Received: Own Rating: 3/5 stars Recommended to: 11+
Summary - The day Mac was kidnapped started out as a good, normal day. But when the murder of crows descended and Prue watched as they lifted her baby brother off the ground, her day went from good to bad. And then from bad to worse when they disappeared into the Impassable Wilderness, a place where no one ever goes. Prue can't possible tell her parents what has happened - she can't quite believe it herself! - so she knows immediately that she must venture into the Impassable Wilderness to find her brother, never suspecting what new friends and ugly terrors might lay in those woods.
My thoughts - As Colin Meloy is a favorite singer/songwriter of mine, I was naturally ecstatic when I discovered he was coming out with a book. Colin's stories in his songs have never been anything but fantastical, and I've always wanted him to write a book. I got my wish - but things didn't end up quite as 5-star-he's-a-genius as I'd hoped.
For the record, I enjoyed myself. There were many scenes that had me riveted and were quite original and/or funny. However...
For one, the descriptions were lengthy. Too lengthy, in my opinion. At first they were beautiful and everything was perfect; but then he just kept going with them, a lot about plants and trees, and I'm thinking, "It's the Impassable Wilderness. There are tons of plants. Plants everywhere. And there are pictures, too, that show tons of greenery. So, does he really need to keep describing?"
So the beginning was great. The middle was slow. All the plant details and lots of getting from on place to another. More details. Then, the end. It was a fun end, well-crafted, and had a great battle. A few secrets were let out and it was all a great hurrah! (Well, besides that lame end to Curtis's story. I hope he's in the second one to make up for that?)
Character notes - Prue and Curtis were, seriously, great characters. I loved them, and found that I connected with them. I noticed a small glitch in Prue (she started out as an indifferent teenager and suddenly became a grateful and super loving and protective older sister), but I could only enjoy her company throughout the novel. She was quite a catch and very willing to do the right thing, as was Curtis.
While Meloy's descriptions sometimes got out of hand, they were never more enjoyable than when he was describing characters. The humans, the land animals, the birds... It wasn't hard to picture them at all, with all their differences and strange clothes and/or funny character handles.
Story notes - This story is bizarre, with a fascinating air of originality and a dark undertone. It had the feel I'd wanted, but was a bit slower than I'd hoped. I very mournfully contemplated giving it a break about twice. (I'd have picked it up again later...) But I'm glad i finished it all the way through. It could have been cut down at least fifty pages, and I wish the battle scenes had been more personal, instead of a lot of general action, but it was so fun nonetheless.
In many ways it reminded me of the Chronicles of Narnia, what with the talking animals, one character being deceived by a witch, and a magic forest, but it was also very much it's own story. I was able to appreciate it, even when I was disappointed that I didn't fall madly in love.
Summing it up - Descriptive - great, good, and bad. I definitely enjoyed myself and would like to read Meloy's next book in the Wildwood trilogy - although this time I probably won't spend $17.00 on it; I'll go buy his CD's instead.
For the parents - Violence and excessive drinking among the coyotes. Parents may want to take a look at the violence for themselves, because not every 11-year-old likes scary witches. 11+...more
Pick a favorite book. Then write a paper about your three favorite parts, and one thing you would change. So goes Emily March's English assignment. And after a hard day of drama with boys, she is more than happy to work on it. When she picks up Little Women and realizes how much she'd want to change, she doesn't expect to be swept into the story - or to become one of the March sisters, either! But that is exactly what happens. Emily's life - and the story of Little Women, is about to change drastically. ___________________________________________
My thoughts - Some things I liked. Some things I did not. I tried terribly hard to enjoy the book with effortless ease, not prying into random details and picking at the story too much. Btu I just couldn't do it. There were quite a few things that just would not stop bugging me, and I feel compelled, as an honest reviewer, to share them with you. Yes, the story was cute; yes, I laughed, smiled, and even got caught up in emotion (although, only toward the end); yes, I was once more inspired by the characters, mostly Beth and Jo. But there are issues to be addressed.
Character notes - The characters in Little Women have always made me fall in love with them every time I watch the movie or read the book. And while she didn't do it exactly, Lauren Baratz-Logsted did do a good job portraying the characters well, the sisters especially. Marmee, not so much. And Laurie was adorable, but, of course, I'm biased to the Christian Bale version. (Mr. Bale, you have defeated everyone's chances of being as good as the original - even you!) Aunt March cracked me up, as did her parrot.
What about Emily March? Well, she's not exactly the most likable character. She drove me crazy with her really really bad logic. She made decisions that had me wanting to rip out my hair. I personally didn't like her at all until the end of the middle (if that makes sense). Another problem I had was at the beginning - I had a hard time seeing the connection between the author's voice/style and Emily's voice/character. I could sense Lauren's style, which I like, and then suddenly I was reading from Emily's perspective. The two were discernible, and I found this annoying. I wanted them to mesh and be one voice; it's something I find incredibly important. However, toward the middle, I felt the two voices come easier and go together better.
One of my favorite things about the book - Emily and Beth's relationship. I mean, SO sweet. So tender and adorable. They had nothing in common, and yet they just had this sweet, sisterly love. It made me grin and get emotional over Beth (and the change in Emily...finally!) on more than one occasion.
So, in the end, I liked Emily March. The changes she made were for the better and worth going through the crap for.
Story notes - While I didn't know where this story was headed in the beginning, I loved the turnout and the really cool twist at the end. The way everything played out made me happy. It went through all my favorite scenes from Little Women and added some great ones. I loved the dialogue but wished there was more of it. I felt like there was a lot of telling about the conversations between the characters, and not enough actual dialogue. It would have added more meat to the story... I really liked how circumstances made the book itself magic. I loved Emily's perspective on the 1860's, all her likes and dislikes...
But while I liked the story, there were things I just couldn't ignore. Like, the story amnesia. Emily couldn't remember who John Brooke was, and when certain events would happen or what certain events would happen. And then, all of a sudden, with no transition of thoughts, half-way through the book, Emily was like, "That must be my story amnesia..." It was weird. One moment I'm confused by the lack of explanation for her lack of memory of a book she'd read many times. Then, there's a sudden diagnoses.
In the end I still had some unanswered questions, and the end seemed short, but I was satisfied and happy that I had read the book.
Summing it up - Flawed but likable. This story isn't exactly solid, but it is clean, funny, and it ended well. I'm satisfied and can't wait to read more from the author! Thank you, Lauren, for sending me the ARC copy to review! :)
For the parents - A quick reference to, what if Emily March scandalized the family by becoming a lesbian? Emily also tries to kiss Laura...and awkward scene. He pushes her away and accuses her of having a fever. Over all, clean. Recommended 14+.
This ARC copy was provided by the author in return for an honest review. I was in no way compensated; all thoughts and feelings expressed are my own....more
Hester Latterly has just received dreadful news: her friend Edith Sobell's brother, well-renowned General Carlyon, has just died a very horrible deathHester Latterly has just received dreadful news: her friend Edith Sobell's brother, well-renowned General Carlyon, has just died a very horrible death. He was pushed over a balcony during a dinner party when no one was around, and then had a halberd driven into his chest. Not only that, but his wife has confessed to killing him! Edith believes her sister-in-law may be trying to cover up someone else's crime, maybe her daughter's, but Alexandra is adamant that she killed her own husband. Hester believes that Oliver Rathbone should be hired to defend her - and Monk to discover more about the case. With the three of them working to solve the mystery - and Monk slowly but surely discovering his past - a secret, terrible and black, is unleashed on the Carlyon family, a secret more terrible and buried than anything Monk, Oliver, and Hester could have ever guessed. __________________________________________
My thoughts - I would have killed him, too. I've never felt that way about a murder mystery before, but it's true. You would have. Your mother would have. Almost anyone would have. Why? I guess you'll just have to read the book. ;)
Basically, this book made me cry. If I hadn't been so dehydrated from my stupid sunburn, I would have sobbed. I never thought a trial could be so moving.
Character notes - MONK! How I love that guy. I love everything about him, even his pride and anger. I love him when he's angry, I love him when he's joyful. I feel for him when he's struggling... I just want him to remember!!!
Hester was even more amazing this time around; she had to sometimes lead the way through tough situations and I loved how she did it - her bravery is to be commended! Oliver Rathbone is likable and necessary to the story, but to be honest he's nothing compared to Monk. I hope he keeps getting better and better with each book!
The side characters are all phenomenal, every last one. The way Anne Perry describes people - not just your typical "full lips" but instead, "sensual mouth" - blows me away. The characters are perfectly drawn up with the very first few words. And again, as in the other two books, the desperation, tension, and humanity between characters is unseen in most literature today. She's like a modern Dostoevsky... And if you know me, you know he is one of my all-time favorites.
Story notes - This story was harsh. Intense and totally mind-blowing like the others - but more brutal than the first two. And from what I hear, the most brutal of the whole series. The mystery unfolded slowly (once again it was like slowly tasting a delicious desert), and with every new step I was shocked. I had no idea how many small details would be incorporated into the end - and what a huge impact they'd make. And when I read the last twenty pages, all those details came into play, and I couldn't help but clasp my hand over my mouth and cry. So heartbreaking, yet so perfect. Mind-blowing.
Summing it up - Brutal. Seriously, shocking and saddening but altogether incredible. I'm so sold on this series and I can't wait to pick up book #4 (A Sudden, Fearful Death) - now I just need money to go buy it! ;)
For the parents - Once again, like the other two books, this book is very much full of older subject matter. However, this time around it is much more than just an intense murder case... The details of this case - while sparing us of circumstantial details - are much more perverted than in the other books, and will not be good for young teens and even some older teens who may be more sensitive. The main part of the mystery involves a very sickening way of life. If you would like to know the details, read what's next - but know that this will give away the main mystery: the father/two others were/are performing incest/sodomy on two little boys. Another culprit did it to multiple boys over the years. Two of the wives let them continue doing it because they didn't want to lost money/social standing. Some brief strong language. Recommended 18+. ...more
Catherine's mother has just died - and her father is a pirate. Dealing with grief, Catherine must convince her father to allow her to go on his next cruise with him. He is the only hope she has left; she doesn't want to be left with her Aunt. She has wanted adventure all her life, and this is finally the chance. And then there's the question of the man who was prowling around their house the night before her mother died. He'd gotten in, looking for something, and Catherine barely managed to scare him away. If she stays, something like that could happen again. So when her father accepts, Catherine is thrilled. But pirate life is not what Catherine - now Charlie - bargained for. And the danger of her request may cost her the lives of those she loves. ______________________________________________
My thoughts - If this book hadn't been so short, I would have put it down half way through. Or maybe, if it had been longer, it would have been better, with more meat and substance and intrigue. But the fact of the matter is: it was short, underdeveloped, and even stupid. I know Eve Bunting was trying to create a pirate world that was based off reality more than romanticism, but I'm sorry, it just didn't work. There was nothing working in her favor here. The events were real, perhaps, but not beneficial to the story. Things must happen for a reason, or else all falls apart. Writing a realistic story does not mean having characters die for no reason. (Well, if there was a reason, I must have missed it...) With that said, here is a little explanation for why I finished this book (it's not much, I can assure you; how did I manage?!): 1. I liked the writing. 2. It had potential. By potential, I mean I was able to, in my mind, picture things the way I wanted them to be or to go. Other than that... Yah. That's pretty much it.
Character notes - There was very little character development. Charlotte was a sweet girl who meant well and learned a lesson, but she fell flat. William was the best character, but he was so underdeveloped it was sad...I wanted to get to know him more. The rest of the characters felt forced and unnatural. Like, maybe Bunting was trying to create interesting and unusual characters. Maybe trying too hard. Because basically, it lacked. Someone's distinct, strong, and disgusting smell should not be his only distinguishable character trait.
Story notes - I was so looking forward to a story about pirates that's actually good. (The other one I read was Steel by Carrie Vaughn. Come on, people! Step it up a notch!) Unfortunately, I discovered not too far into this story that that was too much to ask. I felt like there was seriously no adventure. Danger, maybe a bit. Lots of talking and explaining. Quite a bit of useless details and hurried explanations packed into tiny sentences. Within seventy pages or so, she was already on the ship. At seventy-five pages or around there, William figured out she was a girl. Wait, there are only 125 pages left - how's she going to tie up everything and finish it off well, when not much as actually happened?! Truth is, she didn't. She didn't let the suspense build and explode in the end. Instead, she'd let you think about some mystery for twenty pages or less and then explain away the suspense.
Summing it up - Flat. Boring. Fast. Too fast. Too short. Too uninteresting. I wish it had been more, but unfortunately it wasn't.
For the parents - Recommended to ages 11+. But it was stupid because at the end it was implied that Catherine and William have sex on the beach where they're marooned, after they've practically starved for two weeks. It was weird to say the least - they hadn't even developed a relationship! Ugh!
So, basically I'm looking for a good, solid, realistic and still romantic pirate story. Anyone have any suggestions?...more
The case is dangerous: the murder of a young woman of society, stabbed to death in her own room and a few trinkets stolen. Inspector William Monk takes on the case, still lacking 95% of his memory but determined to keep this loss a secret and prove himself worthy. It seems a simple endeavor, but the case becomes more and more complicated with time. Monk is able to prove that the murderer attacked from within the house, a feat that could only be accomplished by someone living in the house. It being practically a crime itself to accuse a member of high society of being a criminal, Monk's reputation is on the line. Was the murderer a servant, like society says it should be? Or was he a family member, harboring a dark secret? And Monk has his own problems to attend to, more personal and deeper than anything he's ever experienced - or so they tell him. Who is he? Why does he have the reputation he has? Who will he become without his memory? With these questions never ceasing, and the murder case honing in on him, Monk must face problems and consequences he never foresaw. ___________________________________
My thoughts - I normally don't read mysteries. They intrigue me, but I'm not motivated to read them like I am a good fantasy/dystopian book. That is, I'm not motivated to read mysteries other than the William Monk mysteries, which are some of the greatest books around. I could rave for hours about the genius of these books. They provide incredible, life-like characters, situations that are out of the ordinary but not hard to believe, insight into the Victorian era in England like only a Victorian novelist could give, and phenomenal mysteries that have you guessing until the very end. Literally, the last few pages.
Have I caught your attention yet?
If I haven't, keep reading and I hope by the time you finish reading this review you'll have made up your mind to start reading this incredible series.
Character notes - The characters in Anne Perry's novels seem, to me, as real as any one I can see or hear or interact with. They are full to the brim with wonderful liveliness and incredible depth, human desires, strengths, and weaknesses. This is hard to come by these days in a near perfect way - but Anne Perry has nailed it and I can't tell you how much it inspires me.
Monk is one of those "tragically wonderful" characters who I love and adore. I can't get enough of him. Whatever he does is interesting, whether its solving a crime or discovering things about his past. I admire him and love his journey as he discovers how proud he was in the past and is humbled. He and Hester are the perfect duo for these books...how I love their arguments!
Runcorn and Evan are great characters as well. The Lord Basil and his wife Beatrice, their son and daughters, their brothers and sisters, their servants - all of them had me captivated. There is a sense of human desperation in these stories that is very real and easy to relate to. Everyone, tried and exhausted and frustrated, trying to make sense of it all, no one trusting, everyone confused - it is stunning to read and makes for an intensity that builds and builds and builds and finally bursts. Wonderfully done, Perry!
Hester has a greater part in this story than the last (actually, half of the book is from her perspective). I feel like I should say this in case anyone is expecting just Monk's perspective and is possibly frustrated (as I was at first). But Hester is a fun character and brings a lot to the story, so if you go into it expecting that, you'll love it from the first!
Story notes - While character development and interaction is a major focus (and one of the main ways the author uses to solve the mystery), Anne Perry uses incredible details and events to set up the story, create a conflict, and solve the crime. A few scenes had me cringing (or freaking out, haha!) because it was so intense and I had no idea what was going to happen and I didn't want one thing to happen... Or I was just plain stumped.
This book, just like its predecessor, was not a "fast" read for me. For me, it was intense, yes, and very interesting and satisfying and incredible, but it's one of those books I feel like I have to read slower to get all the details... The details are meant to be soaked in. Let's say you ate a really sweet strawberry really fast and didn't let the taste linger on your tongue...how sad! You wouldn't get the full potential of that wonderfully tasting strawberry! It's the same with these books. If you don't savor them, you might miss out on some incredible details that make the story all the more fantasic. That is what I love about these books. They make me slow down and focus on the little things; they make me forget about the next book I have to read and just enjoy; they make me appreciate slow-building intensity. One word to sum it up (final thoughts) - Stunning. This is some of the best prose out there, a lovely combination of mystery and historical fiction, of detail and story and character. And it's all tied up perfectly at the end, leaving you surprised at the turn the story took in just the last ten pages, and totally in love with good literature, Victorian England, and William Monk. Is there anything not to love? Need I say more?
For the parents: These are not children's books; whether or not they are young adult books is everyone's personal opinion. There is nothing sexual, and there is little bad language. However, the subject matter and the violence and possible psychotic killer can be very intense for certain readers. One character is stabbed mercilessly and left for dead (details not shown, but the inferred could be enough to make a more sensitive reader uncomfortable to the point of dislike); there are a few references to rape and how to rape a Lord's daughter is a crime, but to rape the same Lord's servant is pardonable. Over all a profound book and recommended to every adult, and most older teens out there! ...more
Being a mutant isn't always easy. In fact, it's never easy. Maximum Ride and her friends - her family - are six mutants created by scientists at the School. They...well...they have wings. They can fly. Max, Fang, Iggy, the Gasman, Nudge, and Angel: a family, the best of friends, in hiding, freaks to the rest of the world, never completely safe. They are on their own, after their savior and father figure, Jeb, was killed. But when the youngest of their Flock, Angel, is kidnapped by the Erasers, creatures created by the School for evil purposes, Max and her friends will do anything and everything to get her back - and they might just discover some startling secrets and life-or-death obstacles along the way. _________________________________________
My thoughts - This story is told from Max's perspective, and let me just say first off - Dang! That girl has one powerful, impressive, and strong voice. But more on that in a bit....
This was one heck of a book. It was another "Well...I'm not sure if I'm going to like it" book. Another, "Holy crud I was sooooo wrong" book. I can't say enough good stuff about it - in fact, I'm lacking any sort of criticism...because there's nothing to criticise! James Patterson has all sorts of talent - in every area of writing/story-telling. It blew me out of the water.
For a while I was like, "Wow, this book is really well-developed in the story factor!" Then, a bit later, I thoguht, "He really focuses on characters and making them real...I'm impressed!" Then, the same thing about the action. Then the writing. Then the emotion. I went on like this in dog-chasing-tail fashion before I realized: It isn't one of these aseptcs...it's all of it - the whole flipping package!
Character notes - From the very first pages, I felt like I knew Max already. She's strong, sweet, loving, and tough when she needs to be. When I think of Max, I think mature. She's had to go through so much, had to practically raise these kids on her own, and even through all the tough pockets of life, she loves them more than she loves herself. Her selflessness amazed me - as did the rest of the Flock's. All six of them were willing to give their lives for the others in a heartbeat.
I loved the whole Flock. All of them, so so much. They all brought something to the table, something vital to the story. They were all alive - I can still picture them perfectly, as though I've known them all my life. It's a pretty neat feeling.
(It's a difficult job, picking a favorite in a book that holds so many great characters, but Fang has got to be at the very top. He was wonderful the whole time. I love how his eyes and his fraction-of-a-second smiles convey his moods so perfectly, and all the while keep his character consistent and just awesome. And the sacrifices he makes for his "family"...man...I was so impressed - let's just say that!)
Story notes - This is one of those books where everything bad that could possibly happens - happens. Like, there is no end to the amount of trouble, danger, and action. There are bombings, chase scenes, going under cover, fist fights, and lots and lots of secrets. Every chapter held a new dilemma, every chapter brought up some new disaster that kept the Flock from attaining their goal. This only worked to make this book even more genius than it already was.
The actual story is super duper emotional. More so than I was expecting. On top of the action-packed scenes (which take up the majority of the book), I couldn't help but feel deeply...for the entire book. It was heart-breaking, pitiful, and just plain yucky-feeling that these kids have nowhere to go...that they are looked upon as freaks, cast-aways of society. Life will never be normal for them. And when they triumph over their enemies in scenes throughout the book, all I wanted to do was jump out of my seat and whoop for joy! James Patterson really use the characters and their sticky situation to tug at your heart and keep you sucked into the story until you've turned the last page. And even after, coming from my perspective.
The writing is just as wonderful as the rest of this wonderful, awesome package of a story. It's simple, its own style, with a touch of humor and lots of really great dialogue to keep it flowing perfectly. Each character had his/her own way of speaking/expressing him/herself.
Oh, and the irony of this story.... Geeeee it kept me on my toes. Max was often put in ironic situations that she couldn't get out of, or that reminded her of something terrible from her past, or both. And this leads me to...
One word of phrase to sum it up (final thoughts) - Ironic. Seriously ironic. And of course, all the other words you can use to describe a wonderful, action-packed, emotional sci-fi adventure that keeps you on the edge of your seat till the very end. Except, this isn't the end. There are six more books, and this is making me sooooo happy. I'm just dying for book #2 to come in at the library! (This is one of those series where I cease to care about all other books I have to read - I must...get...the...next...book!) Recommended to anyone and everyone...seriously. Don't hesitate to pick this up!
This is a very clean book - I think good for ages 12 and up! :)...more
Pages: 410 Release Date: This edition - 2008; first edition - 1938 Date Read: 2011, October 14th - November 12th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 stars RecommendePages: 410 Release Date: This edition - 2008; first edition - 1938 Date Read: 2011, October 14th - November 12th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 stars Recommended to: 15+
SUMMARY - "Last Night I Dreamt I Went To Manderley Again."
So the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter remembered the chilling events that led her down the turning drive past their beaches, white and naked, to the isolated gray stone manse on the windswept Cornish coast. With a husband she barely knew, the young bride arrived at this immense estate, only to be inexorably drawn into the life of the first Mrs. de Winter, the beautiful Rebecca, dead but never forgotten...her suite of rooms never touched, her clothes ready to be worn, her servant -- the sinister Mrs. Danvers -- still loyal. And as an eerie presentiment of evil tightened around her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter began her search for the real fate of Rebecca...for the secrets of Manderley. (From Goodreads)
MY THOUGHTS - Golly goodness I really really really love this book. It is one of the most unique, thought-out, and weirdly fascinating books I have ever read and probably will ever read. It was recommended to me by so many people and I found it for less than $2, almost brand new, at a 2nd hand store, and couldn't pass it up. I've found myself getting into the idea of Gothic novels and was quite interested...
By the end of this reading experience (for it is an experience), I had been shocked so many times it was almost impossible not to give it five stars on the spot. But not only did it shock me - it made me love it, incredibly so. I love this book; and for that, five stars in inevitable.
CHARACTER NOTES - The second Mrs. de Winter is quite extraordinary, for many reasons. One is her name in and of itself. I say this because she does not have one. As the story is told in first person, she does not introduce herself; her name is mentioned once as being hard to spell, that people usually get it wrong; and after she marries Max she is called by everyone she knows as "Mrs. de Winter". It was quite shocking for me to discover half-way through the book, that I had missed her first name, and I that I was such a terrible reader for missing such an important detail like that. I re-read parts of the beginning, asked around and discovered the truth: she has no first name because it is not important. What is important is that she is the second Mrs. de Winter. Besides that, she amazed me by totally getting on my nerves sometimes and still being a fantastic character who I could relate to and love. How did she annoy me? Her lack of ability to speak out sometimes drove me up the wall with thoughts of, "Goodness! Why won't she just say something?! After being so ill-treated!" But it was her character; she became like a friend; I could love her in spite of that fault (and whatever others to her name...or lack thereof). And in the end - well, she's quite the lioness at the end. I love books with changed heroes/heroines. :D
Besides Mrs. de Winter, the other characters are so perfectly drawn for the reader that it is hard to forget them. Frank (one of my top three favorites - he was soooo awesome), Maxim's sister, Max himself, Mrs. Danvers, and Favell especially, but there are others, and they, too, are profound.
And Rebecca, even being a mere ghost of a character, is still shockingly real. Everything about her made my skin crawl - and I didn't even know why. You won't know why either. There is no exact reason why I felt that way, and you will wonder... Oh, you will wonder.
STORY NOTES - This is such a unique story - and so weird. Everything happened in a way that made me weirded out with no real explanation whatsoever as to why. (See above comment on the character Rebecca.) And then - BOOM! There's an explosion, and you'll be holding on for dear life, because there's no possible way this could really be happening.
At least, that's how I felt. I was on an airplane when I read the climax - the EXPLOSION - and holy crud don't ever do that. Confined to a chair with quiet people all around me and flight attendants scanning the rows with narrowed eyes, searching for disturbance of any kind - yeah, don't ever try it. Best to wait until you've landed, read it when you get home, and whoop and holler and scream and stare in shocked silence as much as you want. All I could do was hyperventilate in a very quiet manner. Haha - just kidding! Sort of.
SUMMING IT UP - Shocking, to say the least. I did not expect it to be the way it was, with the writing style or the set-up or the conflict or the climax or the resolution. All of it was unexpected and perfect. Please, do yourself a favor and read this book, now. Unless you have the tendency to scream when shocked and are currently on an airplane. If this unfortunate combination applies to you, please wait until you have reached a safe environment before expression appropriate feelings of exuberance and/or show signs of sudden startled or disconcerted emotions.
FOR THE PARENTS - This is a classic, and should be treated as such (which means everyone should read it at least once). However, themes are slightly more mature, and I wouldn't recommend to anyone younger than 15. Some brief strong language and lots of...death. But I can't say anything else!! ;)...more
Enclave by Ann Aguirre (Razorland #1) Pages: 259 Release Date: April 12th, 2011 Date Read: 2011, October 20th-21st Received: Library Rating: 4/5 stars RecoEnclave by Ann Aguirre (Razorland #1) Pages: 259 Release Date: April 12th, 2011 Date Read: 2011, October 20th-21st Received: Library Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 14+
SUMMARY - In the Enclave, if you don't follow the rules, you die. Whether you're a Builder or a Breeder or a Hunter, following the rules means safety. Deuce, after going through with her ceremony, is a Huntress. She's proud of her title - it's all she's ever wanted. Now, she can fight the Freaks who terrorize the tunnels outside their Enclave. Deuce is partnered with a more experienced Hunter, Fade, a man who kept himself at a distance ever since he was discovered outside the Enclave, sickly and abused. With Fade, there is no turning back, once decisions are made. And with Fade, Deuce will discover a world far greater than she ever imagined. But first they must stay alive.
MY THOUGHTS - This book started out good and ended great! I wasn't expecting anything going into it; if I had, I probably wouldn't have liked it much. But this really was an excellent read - and I managed it in under 28-ish hours. ;)
At first I wasn't so sure how much I liked the writing, but that changed. As Deuce's voice became more prominent, the writing style smoothed and became very lyrical. By the end I totally enjoyed all the words!
CHARACTER NOTES - While these characters didn't amaze me with uniqueness and depth, I did truly enjoy reading about them. Deuce had a very serious outlook on her life and job, but she was still very spunky and interesting. I grew to love her as she grew and as the pages flew by.
Fade was quite something. I wasn't sure about him at all in the beginning, really loved and respected him in the middle, and then went back to being unsure in the end. I didn't really see a smooth change between theses portrayals of Fade, but I'm hoping something good happens because I'm really bummed about his change.
The side characters were typical but well-developed. I enjoyed seeing who came and left over the course of the story.
STORY NOTES - I'm surprised there wasn't more action here. At least half of the book was cutting and slicing and running and being scared, all of it was really good and interesting and really intense, but the other half set up the story and the world and what happened. I honestly wish the book had been longer, to give more action time than set-up time.
But for the most part, the story was great. I really enjoyed Deuce and Fade's adventures together, whether they were on the run or hiding in a storeroom or searching for maps. And the end was totally what I'd been hoping for: a solid finish, climactic, with a bit of a cliff-hanger.
SUMMING IT UP - A fearless venture. I love that phrase, and I think it does a great job describing this story. I look forward to the continuation!
For the Parents - Intense and sometimes gross descriptions of fight scenes and wounds inflicted. Very gross. A few mentions of rape (forced breeding, in their terms). Some men think that's all women are good for. However, this book was honestly way less scary/intense/disturbing that I thought it was hyped up tot be. Recommended 14+...more
Sam Kingston has lived her life fully - for herself. Her parents and sister don't ever see her; she's usually with her best friends Lindsay, Elody, and Ally; getting drunk; or making out with her boyfriend Rob. Or all three. She's at the top of her school - popularity-wise - and she doesn't plan to stop now. The other girls in her school aren't even allowed to speak to her and her friends without getting thrashed in some way or another. But when Sam dies, all that changes. She is given the chance - six chances, in fact - to relive the day she died...to make things right. And as her life and the consequences of her actions unfold in front of her, Sam must discover and do the right thing, before her life shatters - and with no meaning at all.
My thoughts - Dear Lauren, Your books make me bawl. Sincerely, Sierra It's ridiculous. You should have seen me. Sitting on the ground, head in my hands, bawling. My thoughts? Want to hear them? How about, "How in the heck am I ever going to find the words to write this review?!" So, as my brain is in a fuzz of "I love this book so flipping much!", I sit here with my notepad, and the book for reference, and I start my review. If I could write "How did she DO it?!" as my review (over and over again), I would. But I won't. I willtry tobe as coherent as possible for the sake of my readers.
1st: Lauren Oliver has a style of writing that blows me away with its awesomeness. Not only does it create perfect images of the characters/story, it's just so...enjoyable...like cold water running over your head on a hot summer day. Refreshing. Delightful. And it's also powerful. Especially powerful.
2nd: The images created in my mind during this story were so clear and intense that I couldn't help but turn another page...and another...and another. I can still see Sam, having a friend zip up her new, too-tight, strappy black dress. I can still picture the unfortunate scene with her math teacher. I can smell the nasty Asian food as she stomped in on Alex and Anna. If you've read the book, are the pictures as sharp in your mind as in mine?
3rd: I love the smell of this book. Period. End of story.
Character notes - Every single character was so visibly and perfectly etched out that it would be hard for me to forget them, even if I wanted to. Lindsay, the bold leader, the one harboring a secret. Sam, the voice of this story, changing and growing with every page. Ally, the spoiled child. Elod, the brash one. Alex, the cheater. Rob, the idiot. And Kent - Mr. Wonderful. What is it about Lauren Oliver's literature boys? I mean, really. Alex from Delirium. Kent from Before I Fall. Two of my favorite lit-boys. GAH! I just love them!!!! So basically - characters - genius. Perfect. Whether disgusting or wonderful or funny or stupid. Perfect.
Story notes - Hellooooo!!! This is one HECK of a story, from the first to the last word. Everything is so...involved. Intricate. From the moment Sam wakes up to live her last day to the last page, everything falls in beautiful harmony. Although, this is not a story for the faint of heart. It involves death, suicide, drugs, drinking, sex, fitting in, selfishness,and the meaning of life. Therefore, things can get a little intense. I recommend that everyone reads the cautionary notes below...
Sam tries to live her life better, but doesn't know how. What will it take for her to get it? How many times must she die and relive that day? As she goes from unbelieving to bitter to "I can do whatever I want without consequences" to thoughtful to, well...see for yourself - the story becomes like a path unfolding, getting lighter and lighter with each step, leaving the darkness of Sam's past behind.
Summing it up - Incredible and Devastating and Phenomenally Perfect are all words/phrases that come to mind when I think of this book. And what did it do for me, that I feel so strongly about it? It reminded me that life is short; death is often unexpected. What I do with my time - it matters. How I act has consequences, usually for others as well as me. It caused me to look a little closer at the details in life; to study others' lives and ask, "How can I serve? What can I do for you?" Lauren Oliver has written a masterpiece here (and, in my opinion, in Delirium as well), with a message for everyone. I heartily recommend, as I wipe the bittersweet tears from my eyes and live a little stronger.
For the parents - This book is definitely rated R... I wouldn't recommend to anyone under 17, as the subject matter is very intense. (No spoilers in this section.) Scenes involve smoking pot (a girl sits in an empty bathroom at school every day and smokes pot/eats lunch) and drinking heavily to the point of throwing up/passing out. The party that happens every night is full of kids making out and getting drunk and even having sex (this is only vaguely referred to). A ton of language, especially b***h. No F*** or GD, but everything else. Sam's friends spew random vulgar words, whether for shock effect or just because that's how they talk. A lot of the story revolves around the fact that Sam is supposed to lose her virginity with her boyfriend that night. It never happens (oh, the irony!), but one of the days after she dies she has the sudden urge to "get it over with". She finds an empty bedroom with Rob and they make out (a few details). However, he's so drunk that as she's asking if he wants to take off her dress, he actually passes out. Sexual jokes are made ("No glove, no love"), and a few times the girls make crude sexual gestures. One of her "second chance days", Sam seduces her math teacher. They make out and there are some details, although they are there to make you cringe at how disgusting the situation is, not how "sexy" it is, or would have been. Two teachers are secretly together and make out in an office. No details on the suicide but it happens every night and is very sad. So is it worth it, even with all this? Yes, it is. Just be sure you can handle all the nitty-gritty, disgusting details of stupid Sam's life, and you'll be blessed by selfless Sam's life. ...more
Pages: 384 Release Date: November 30th, 2010 Date Read: 2011, September 18th-21st Received: Library Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 13+
Summary - Cassia lives in the Society, a near-future government controlled world where everyone lives perfect lives. The government gives them jobs, free-rec activities, and even Matches - the marriage that will take place whenever a person turns twenty-one. Nothing is done without an Offical, specific men and women sent by the Government to sort, help, and protect the people. Cassia lives the perfect life - she is the best sorter of her complex, she has a loving family, and she has just been Matched with her closest friend, Xander.
But when a mistake is made - a cruel joke, perhaps - Cassia finds her attention drawn inexplicably to a young man named Ky. He has always been there, ever under the radar, but always somehow exceptional. With the help of her Grandfather, her father, Xander, and ky, Cassia will have to discover what it means to choose, to pick one thing above the other, to decide for herself. To really, truly live. But there have been Infractions. There have been Aberrations and Anomalies. The danger is real. How long before she and those she loves are punished severely for wanting to be free?
My thoughts - I have heard everything possible about this book. It seems like everyone's opinions are different. Some hate the characters; some love them. Some think the story is pointless; to others, it is everything. Some thing Ally Condie stinks as a writer, some think her prose is some of the best. All these different opinions had me wondering for a while, "Do I even want to try this one?"
Me, I'm in the middle, leaning toward a favorite. Not quite, but I'm sure the series on a whole could someday be at the top of my list. I'm seriously so glad I read this book. I really loved the writing. Her words, the way she placed them in each sentence, made me think about them deeply. I had a few questions (such as: what does this Society actually look like?) and a few issues (such as: there seemed to be a lot of someone thinking something and someone else guessing their thoughts to the exact). But on the whole, I wasn't even a little bit unsure about liking it. I liked it from the start; and I loved the story from the moment Cassia saw the "snow" in the beginning. For me, it was as simple as that.
Character notes - I liked Cassia from the start, even when she was "brain-washed". The always trusting the Society thing was so hard to break when she'd grown up under that. But I loved seeing her change. First from obedient, respectable, Matched girl; to a confused, afraid girl; and finally to a passionate woman who has been and is being refined by love and the beauty of making decisions.
Ky and Xander are just...awesome. Totally different, accomplishing two completely things, making me love them both. I prefer Ky, for his bravery, his selflessness, his passion, his patience, and his consistency. But I also respect and appreciate Xander, for all the same reasons, just in different ways. They are both remarkable men and I'm so excited to see both of them again. Especially Ky. Beautiful, sacrificial, tragic Ky.
Cassia's parents struck me as great characters as well. I loved their differences as a couple and how they were an example of love and marriage to Cassia. She had a great relationship with them both, as well as with her brother Bram. These are all characters I love and cherish and can't wait to read more about in Crossed.
Story notes - There isn't a whole lot of heart-pounding action. Actually, there was virtually none. This whole story is built on suspense, whether with Cassia and the Officials or Cassia and Xander or Cassia and Ky. I loved this, how the story was built on one secret after another, mystery upon mystery. Quite a few were stripped bare, even more are still unsolved to leave the reader wondering. The subtle evil of the Society, how well they had brain-washed the citizens, was chilling.
I also really loved how she used past experiences to help Cassia understand new things that came up. It also helped me, as the reader, to get into Cassia's mind a bit more, as well as see the consistency in character for everyone. It was definitely a part of the experience of the book.
Summing it up - Clean. White. Precise. And red. Like blood. I think these things when I see the cover or hear its pages rustle. It's sharp in my mind. As I write this I still feel the urge to think deeply about the story.
For those of you who have read it - When I was babysitting after I'd finished the book, the little girl of the family approached me with a soiled napkin and asked me to write my name on it. I stared at her in shock (poor thing, she had no idea why) and asked her what she needed it for. "I just do," she answered. Still surprised at the coincidence, and thinking of Ky, writing his story, I wrote my name on the napkin.
For the parents - Nothing. SOOOO clean and highly recommended!...more
"He was born with the gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad." It is with these words that Rafael Sabatini opens Scaramouche, and they are a fitting introduction. Andre-Louis Moreau has led an easy life, studying hard and becoming a lawyer, never becoming attached to anything or anyone indefinitely. Except for his best friend, Philippe, and his angel cousin, Aline. But when tragedy strikes, Andre is pushed to the edge. He becomes a public speaker for the third estate against the Privileged in France during the French Revolution. But this is only the beginning of his journey to gain revenge on the terrible, cold Marquis la Tour d'Azyr. He is swept away by politics, danger, theater, swordsmanship, and finally politics again - all in hopes of getting away with his life. But life is dangerous no matter where Andre-Louis wishes to go, and the threat of the Privileged is terrible. The Nobles, all of them, must be destroyed. And Andre must settle a score he swore he would settle - and at any cost.
My thoughts - Oh, sigh... How immensely I love this book. If I could have my way, I'd write out the whole entire book as my review, just because there is really no way to do it justice. However, I will try. I will try my hardest.
This is my third time to read Scaramouche. So, as you can imagine, I've spent a lot of time with this book. I've studied it, because it's so stinking good. I could write a whole book on this book, because it had such an intense impact on me. So much of an impact that not only have I read this book three times, but in a manner of only a year and a half. Yah, this is some intense stuff. I hardly re-read books in one year.
Basically, it's beautiful. It's emotional, tragic, powerful, dramatic, crafted like a masterpiece, and it holds some of the greatest characters and character changes that I've ever read. EVER. It's full of action, romance, betrayal, secrets, disaster, political intrigue, and (I repeat) emotion.
Character notes (favorite character) - I have a LOT to say about Andre. But let me say something quick about the others before I get into it. Every character in this story, from the beginning, has a character handle, or something you can identify him/her with. Andre, he is the actor. Philippe, he is passionate. D'Azyr, he is cold-hearted. Aline, she is an angel. They easily form to their characters and become exactly what they need to be for the story to take flight. This is an amazing thing to see as I sometimes feel like I lack character development in my own stories. Such an inspiration...like everything else about this book.
But now, on to Andre. Andre-Louis Moreau is complex. He is man, and therefore complex, as he would say. He has studied human nature for quite awhile - and yet he himself would be the most fitting example of a complex human being struggling to survive. This alone fascinates me. But let me take you a little deeper. He is an actor, always. He is Scaramouche, the aloof, witty character who wishes for none to see his true feelings. But inside, he feels. He feels deeply. There are few moments when he lets his guard down, very few, but when he does, you see the hopes, fears, and loves of a man who wants to be something more. He is also very wise and bold. In fact, his wisdom surprised me this time around. He may be jealous, act on his impulses, and manipulate his words to get his way - but there are times when he steps forward to do the right thing and he knows exactly how to make things right. Exactly how to remove himself from a bad situation.
He begins the story as a boy, searching for revenge. He is tested by love and betrayal and grows. And he comes out in the end as a man, one to be respected and trusted and truly loved. At the end of the book, I want to repeat the words of the butler Benoit, who says on page 257, "He is here....and so fine you would hardly know him. Here he is, monseigneur! Is he not beautiful?"
Favorite aspects/scenes (story notes) - My favorite scenes include chapter 6, called "Clemene"; Chapter 8, called "The Dream"; the chapter called "Madame de Plougastel", where Andre-Louis vividly remembers his childhood - it produces a lot of emotion in the reader; any of Andre's rousing speeches.
But these are just some of my favorite scenes. My all-time favorite resides in the chapter called "Spadassinicides", Chapter 7 of book 3. It is laugh-out-loud funny, with politics, wit, danger, fencing, and something of a mix between shock, reverence, and love for Andre and his genius.
Throughout the second book (the Buskin), Andre is confronted by a wall...that wall, being M. Binet, the theater troop's director. Andre has the brains, Binet has the power. Andre is witty, Binet is tyrannical. Who will gain the upper-hand? And what of Andre's love for Binet's daughter? This aspect of the story is a neat example of human nature and the lies we believe when we want something...
And of course, I love that Scaramouche is about the French Revolution. The facts, turned into a story, are interesting to read and really give you a hard-core example of what it was like during that bloody time in France. You see the revolution from both sides - the Nobles and the Peasants. Who is right, and who is wrong? It is a complicated war, but Sabatini lays it out so it is easy to understand.
One word to sum up this book (final thoughts) - Triumphant. When I finish this book (all three times) I want to throw my fists into the air, jump out of my seat and let out a shrill war cry of "TRIUMPH!!!" Because the book takes you on a journey, the journey of a destitute man looking for happiness amongst a bloody revolution. But more importantly, he goes through a Revolution of his own, one so profound and personal that you cannot help but feel the story for yourself. Almost every emotion known to mankind can be found in this book. As the reader, I feel these emotions along with each character - and very strongly, as though they were my own. Each time I read it, it shocks me and I fall in love all over again. And I know that soon, very soon, I will want to read it again. ...more
Grand Fenwick is a little known country near France, a small duchy that has flourished for centuries because of their popular wine company. Recently, however, the wine business has failed to bring in enough money to live on. There are those who wish to dilute the wine, and others who are against this notion. Both parties continue to argue over the outcome until a grand scheme is devised: small, itty bitty Grand Fenwick will declare war on the U.S. - attack, lose, and then receive all sorts of benefits for their trouble, as they had seen happen to every nation who lost a war to the U.S.
But of course, this isn't at all what happens. In fact, Grand Fenwick, the smallest nation in the world, wins this war. And becomes the most powerful nation in the world.
My thoughts - I looked forward to reading this book for nearly 9 months before I finally got to read it for school. It most definitely did not disappoint and I want to say right off the bat that everyone should give this a try! :)
For one, this book is hilarious. Everything about it - the characters, story line, and dialogue - has some sort of humorous tinge to it. I laughed and giggled through the whole thing.
Yet, at the same time, there is a strong sense of seriousness and peril, as well as great honor, throughout the entire story. I couldn't help but follow along to discover what would happen, knowing I wouldn't be disappointed.
Character notes - I loved all the characters in this book. From the Duchess of Grand Fenwick to Tully Bascomb; from the President of the U.S. to the Russian Commissar. Even if they weren't the most in-depth characters in literature (because this story wasn't exactly meant to focus on character), they were fascinating and realistic all the same. I actually think the U.S. President is my favorite, with Gloriana (the Duchess) coming in at a close second. I respected them both and loved the way they handled the sticky situations they were put in.
Story notes - This story really focuses a lot on politics - with a mixture of action, silliness, romance, and character history on the side. I was quite taken with the story line from the start of the book. I cared about Grand Fenwick and their financial struggles and wanted them to find the solution. Then, when they proposed war, the action started. Then more politics...then suspense...and so on. I loved the perfect trap the U.S. walked into, and the perfect set-up to win the war that the warriors of Grand Fenwick had. And neither side knew it. Quite a way to set up an unexpected ending to an already hilarious (and intriguing) story!
One word/phrase to sum it up (final thoughts) - Uproarious! I loved it all, even if it wasn't super deep or life-altering. A bit of silliness, romance, and war mixed in with political disagreements of all different kinds makes for a lovely story and enjoyable read!...more
A really interesting book with a strangeness that made it original. I liked Kino and Juana and the atmosphere was alive. The imagery was, I think, genA really interesting book with a strangeness that made it original. I liked Kino and Juana and the atmosphere was alive. The imagery was, I think, genius and totally sucked me in. It was sad and strange and fresh and I found myself pleasantly surprised.
Not a favorite, but I think I will read it again later on because it is such a quality little story....more
Ty lives in a world of the beautiful and strange; of new and old; of safety and danger. He lives in the ocean, four hundred feet under the surface, on a homestead with his parents and sister Zoe. At fifteen, his dream is to one day own a homestead under his name. But for now, he makes good use of his time exploring near the dangerous, dark, lifeless areas of their ocean wonderland. When Ty makes a journey to a forbidden place and finds an abandoned sub and a frightened Topsider (the name for those still living on land) named Gemma, he is sucked into a mystery and a terrible accident involving his neighbors and the ocean's most terrifying group of men - the Seablite gang. If he doesn't do something - and quick - every homestead under the water's surface could be in danger, and his whole world might turn upside-down.
My thoughts - WHY did I not keep reading this when I picked it up first a year ago?! Ok, I seriously enjoyed this book. When I won this book in a giveaway, I was so excited to start it back up again. I was expecting it to be good - and instead I got great.
I really loved almost everything about this book. The one thing, however, that didn't quite live up to the rest of the book, was the world building. While everything else was close to perfect, the less-than-300 pages of this book didn't hold very much detail about the world Ty and his family and friends live in and why they're there. You get the gist of it, but I felt there could have been more.
Kat Falls has a really neat, clean writing style that I enjoyed. (Although, with her future books, I have to remember to read a little slower to get in all the descriptions - I missed some important details because I was going so fast!) Her word choices sometimes made me stop and go, "Oh wow, she's good." And I loved all the technical terms that she used for underwater equipment. It made it all seems so much more real. I was really amazed that this is her debut novel, and boy oh boy am I excited for Rip Tide!
Character notes - I loved the way the author built the characters in this story. They were very charming, or evil, or intimidating, or funny. Ty was an extremely likable guy who I fell for in chapter one. He was a young boy at the beginning - but by the end of the book (over a course of two days) he was...older. More mature. I adored this change in him, seeing him go from boy, always wanting to explore and be his own man, to actually being that man.
I loved all the side characters as well. Gemma is a great, strong character with lots of tough 'tude. She complimented Ty's character perfectly and only added to make this book all the more enjoyable. Also, Zoe and Hewitt made me laugh out loud quite a few times. At young ages, they both had stark personalities with crazy ideas about life that made me laugh out loud.
Story notes - What a story! Like, from front to back, every scene was riveting, or fascinating. The entire book is filled with action - it doesn't stop before the end, like, slow down to wrap things up. It goes and goes and goes, until the last page. It totally took me by surprise. And there was quite a bit of mystery mixed in, which I loved. It was like, action, fantasty, dystopia, and mystery. I don't know why but that mixture of genres hit me as just really really cool. And I seriously thought I knew what the answer to the mystery was, but...well, let's just say I was surprised.
The end was really well wrapped up, but it definitely leaves you hanging for more. The character interactions added to the story and left a lasting impression on me. It's been at least two weeks since I finished it and I still remember it all so clearly!
One word/phrase to sum it up (final thoughts) - The word vigorous comes mind when I think of this book. I looked up the definition online and what came up was, "Strong, healthy, and full of energy." That word is seriously nutshelling this book. I highly recommend this to all readers, of all ages, because...how can you not love a book full of action, adventure, a touch of (clean) romance and mystery, underwater guns, saloons, outlaws, and really really great characters! It really is a gem o' the ocean. ...more
As the third book in a series, there's not much I can say without giving away important details from the other books. So I won't go into detail. Instead, I'm going to rave.
Ummmm....HOW did this happen??!! All of a sudden, Paolini is a genius. The writing, the story, the characters, the incredible visuals and personal depth. I mean - where in the heck did it come from?!
For one, I was taken away by Roran's incredible role for this book. He's one heck of a man: hammer-weilding, Katrina-loving, brave, courageous, honest, and just plain awesome! All the scenes including him in Brisingr absolutely shock me into awe. I can't wait to see what happens to him in Book 4! "Insubordination" is my favorite chapter in the whole book...the WHOLE book.
Nasuada lived up to expectations, and actually surpassed them. The chapter about the knives and the tribal leaders was chilling and gross and fantastic. WOW. Elva, Arya, and Eragon were also wonderful. I enjoyed everything about them so much more this time around!
Oh, and the laughing dead... OOOHHHH.......
The story holds much more depth and just the right amount of detail. (Except for the sword scene...it was like 80 pages and kind of grueling, but interesting if you skim...haha!) The writing surprised me this time around, in such a good way that I can't recommend this book enough!! Everything about it blew me away...
So I'm thinking, if you haven't already, you need to give this series a try. Today. ...more
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (The Heroes of Olympus #1) Pages: 557 Release Date: October 12th, 2010 Date Read: 2011, October 14th-20th Received: Own RatinThe Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (The Heroes of Olympus #1) Pages: 557 Release Date: October 12th, 2010 Date Read: 2011, October 14th-20th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 stars Recommended to: 11+
SUMMARY - When Jason wakes up on a bus headed toward the Grand Canyon, he has no memory. What he does have is a beautiful girlfriend named Piper and a best friend named Leo. They are a part of a school for troubled children; everyone knows who Jason is and has memories about him - except their coach. Then things get even worse - the school hottie turns into a monster, and storm spirits attack them on the Grand Canyon. Jason knows he has training for this, but from where? They barely defeat the storm spirits when a chariot pulled by flying horses appears on the scene to take them to Camp Half-Blood, where demigods reside. The girl, Annabeth, needs Jason's help. A very special Hero has disappeared, and Jason is the one to lead the Quest to find him.
MY THOUGHTS - Oh, Rick Riordan, you have quite tortured me with this book. First you steal away my first and an only true demigod love and put him in possible danger - again! And then you create a new demigod who comes to a close second and make me love him! Oh, it is just too much!
What drew me in from the first was that my dearest Percy Jackson was missing, and I must go on a quest to save him! But I learned - this book is more than that. Riordan has created a new series, yes, but it is a continuation of the story of the Olympians, and I believe big plans are in store. (If you haven't read Percy Jackson and the Olympians, you don't need to in order to read this book. But honestly, I'd start there. If I hadn't had the knowledge I did, or loved the characters I loved, it would have come across as less amazing, in my personal opinion.)
It was very interesting to read Riordan in third person, as well as from three new perspectives (Piper, Leo, and Jason). But he nailed it. Really nailed it. I'm incredibly impressed.
CHARACTER NOTES - Let's start with Jason. He was wonderful. Kind of hardened by a past he doesn't remember, by his frustration, but he still made an effort to be a friend and help the camp. And when I found out whose son he was, I about died of excitement. Over the course of the book, I found myself more and more drawn to him. By the end, I was hooked. I want more Jason! I also want romance between him and Piper. It's mandatory.
Speaking of Piper... Dang, I love that girl. She's a heroine who is drop-dead gorgeous and kicks butt. I don't want to compare or anything but I liked her better than Annabeth. Of course, Annabeth is the perfect other half for Percy (who is my one true love), so for that I love her, but I was able to relate to Piper more as far as personality and real-life-outside-of-camp go. (Definitely not the drop-dead gorgeous/kick-butt stuff...haha!) She made my laugh, she was strong, and she loves unconditionally, even when she has to make hard choices between friends.
Leo definitely amazed me. He possesses great skill, is sensitive to those around him, and has a past he wants to bury. He was a crack-up and had the funniest one-liners of the group. He made the team on the quest complete!
The other characters were all up to par, especially the hilarious Gleeson Hedge, wise Thalia, and adorable Mellie. I want more of all these fantastic characters!
STORY NOTES - This is a crazy story, in all the best ways. Nonstop action, intense physical and emotional struggles, and a lovely new budding romance. Then there's the mystery of the new villains, and how to defeat them. Who's behind it all?! I also really like how the POV changes added to the atmosphere, giving a different perspective to everything and everyone.
There are quite a bit more visions, dreams, and prophecies in this book, which I really enjoyed. new gods are introduced, some good, some funny, some evil. I loved the Roman aspect of the story (brings up a lot of questions); Roman/Gladiator training = definitely amazing. It's a great way to learn mythology, even the lesser known stories. Let's just say - I love Heroes. Wanna know who my favorite is? Duh! Percy! :D
SUMMING IT UP - Lightning. It's fast, bright, and awe-inspiring. (And let me give you a sneak peak at my review for #2, Son of Neptune: it was even better than this one!!) I'm already impatiently awaiting book three, The Mark of Athena, due out this fall. You really can't go wrong with Rick Riordan!!...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