In the land of Forever, Nicholas Claus is king and rules with a kind, lovable, and steady hand. When a little boy in New Yor...moreOriginal review - 12/20/10
In the land of Forever, Nicholas Claus is king and rules with a kind, lovable, and steady hand. When a little boy in New York City sends Nicholas a letter, asking Santa what he wants for Christmas, Nicholas is shocked. However, he snatches the opportunity with both hands and wishes for a daughter. Holly Claus is born to him and his wife, Viviana, soon after. She is a darling child, perfect in every way. Her beauty, even as a baby, cannot be compared to. Her kindness, as she grows up, is the greatest kindness the immortals have ever beheld. Her love, throughout her life, is destined to conquer time.
But as a baby a curse is laid on her by the evil Herrikhan, who has been banished to Odyl for his wicked doings in the world of the mortals. However, in order to release himself, someone who has a pure, undefiled heart must give her heart to him. When Holly is born, Herrikhan takes the opportunity and encases her heart in ice, preserving her love and purity and kindness so that she will one day fall in love with him and give him her heart, and in turn release Herrikhan forever. But how long can Holly stay away from the mortal world, where she longs to be? And how long can her heart stay frozen before something tragic happens?
This is an epic book. This is the kind of book I strive to write; it’s also the kind of book I desire to read when I want something original. A story that will tell me something new. I don’t know who wouldn’t want to write/read a book like this. It holds everything: power, redemption, evil, romance, mystery, intrigue, amazing kindness, and a love that conquers all. This book is…essentially…perfect. Her writing, while not my absolute favorite, was undeniably full of talent and grace and a beautiful style. From the time Holly is a baby to when she meets Jeremy, Mr. Carrol, Mr. Kleiner, and Mr. Hartman, she is transformed from a sweet baby to a beautiful and dear young woman. And in their own way and with their own personality, the other characters are built with magnificence – a perfect mixture of magic and reality.
A good example of this would be the king of Forever - Nicholas, or Santa Claus, as we know him best. I was worried he would be cliché, “that big jolly guy” kind of stuff. He is kind and jolly, yes, but he is far more than that. Brittney Ryan kept Nicholas’ jolliness without turning him into the Santa that talks to kids in your local mall. He was his own person, a human (however immortal he may be), and a husband and father who had personal cares. Brittney Ryan transformed him from Santa to Nicholas, the greatest thing she could have done in this case. But all characters possessed this amazing personality that could have been terribly cliché.
This book also lives up to its name: The Legend of Holly Claus. Yes, it is a pure legend, from the first word to the last. Brittney Ryan wrote a seamless work of art that lives up to every reader’s expectation of what a good legend should be like. How can a 550 paged legend be so fascinating? is a question I’ve often asked myself. And “Holly Claus” is the answer to that question.
Another thing that I loved is that there is no Jack Frost or Frosty the Snowman. As much as I love those characters, it was so wonderful to have something new. Herrikhan is evil, wicked, and terrifying. Holly is as lively as a bird in the morning. Despite her icy heart, she never loses sight of the greatest object in life - serving others. So she uses her talent of making dolls to serve the world around her… But of course, I won’t say anymore. You’ll have to read it. (Side note: Unfortunately, I can’t delve into my favorite character, whose name I won’t even mention. If you read the book, you will understand and will love this character just as much as I do. I just don’t want to ruin the ending for you!)
One word to describe this book: enchanting. Lovely, wonderful, magic, and good-enough-to-give-you-goose-bumps will do it, too. I’m listing this book in my “Classics” category, because it is a classic. It holds everything anyone could ask for in a Christmas book, and more besides. (It’s not just a seasonal book, either. I’d read it in the dead of summer!) I will surely read it again, most likely next Christmas, and I already look forward to snuggling up with a blanket and tea to read this irresistible classic.
Annalisa Townsend has always had a safe life. But when her father's ship, carrying a chest of gold that is supposed to be delivered to the Governor of...moreAnnalisa Townsend has always had a safe life. But when her father's ship, carrying a chest of gold that is supposed to be delivered to the Governor of a new settlement in the Caribbean, is attacked by pirates, Annalisa will stop at nothing to get revenge. A young pirate in the raid, James Sterling, steals a ring from her finger and a kiss from her mouth, in exchange for letting Annalisa go free. Now that she has caught Sterling, however, Annalisa is determined not to fall under the spell of his false charm. But for how long will this determination last? With every passing hour, and the closer they sail to finding the lost treasure, Annalisa is afraid of her feelings. Can a change of heart in Sterling change everything she ever stood for? _________________
Let me begin this review by saying that this isn't a well-told story. And her writing skills aren't the best I've seen, either. There were a few things that weren't "finished" in the end. Two of the characters still did not have reconciliation like I'd hoped; a few of the characters weren't well developed at all. The writing was choppy at time...quick...lots of fluff and hardly any meat at all. It isn't what you want if you're looking for a filling, intense, driving story.
But.... To be completely honest with the world, I am a hopeless romantic. If I find a good love story, I'm swept away in an instant. I've even skimmed certain books just to find out what becomes of the relationship in the end. This story caught me from the first, however, and I read all the way through. Three times. In the span of 16 days. (Twice in three days, and again about 10 days later.)
Do I ever do this? No. Never. Ever. But I was too enthralled. I loved James Sterling too much. I wanted Annalisa to fall in love with him. I wanted him to not be a pirate. I wanted him to fall in love with her. I wanted him to change in one way but stay the same in another.
Were my expectations met?
At 230 pages long (and a very short book in height), with adventure and a love story to pass the time quickly, I'll let you figure it out. :)(less)
Beauty by Robin McKinley Pages: 325 Release Date: January 1st 1978 Date Read: 2012, February 13th-17th Received: Own Rating: 4.5/5 stars Recommended to: 12+...moreBeauty by Robin McKinley Pages: 325 Release Date: January 1st 1978 Date Read: 2012, February 13th-17th Received: Own Rating: 4.5/5 stars Recommended to: 12+
SUMMARY - Grace, Hope and Honor have lived the finest life in the city, well taken care of by servants and, most importantly, their father. Honor, the youngest, goes by the name of Beauty, although it does not fit her, as she is the ugliest of the three sisters.
When trouble strikes and the family is forced to move into a small house in the country, Beauty hears stories of the Beast who lives in a castle in the woods behind their house. She is unsure if she believes the stories...until her father returns from a trip, claiming that he has seen the Beast, disturbed his presence and now must pay. Either he must return to the Beast, or one of his daughters must take his place. Beauty, and only Beauty, just might have the courage - and the love - to change the lives of everyone she knows.
MY THOUGHTS - I love books like this. Slow, like thick, sweet honey pouring from a jar. Or like melted chocolate drizzling over strawberries. I don't even know. Just sweet, lovely, and very savory. Wow!
The beginning of Beauty was really good, but the end was good times great. Beauty doesn't even leave for the Castle until after 100 pages in, but I was hooked from the first page! Beauty, her family, their story - all intrigued me. I wanted them to be well. And I love how everything was so perfectly set up and how everything tied into the end.
McKinley's writing is seriously beautiful. It's all-encompassing...like, the words surround you when you read them. I'm dying to get to reading more more more!
CHARACTER NOTES - Beauty (Honor) is a wonderful character. She's sweet and stubborn and loves without restraint. She's consistent, but I also saw character growth as I read. She made an impression on me and I won't forget her, no matter how many heroines I get around to reading about in life.
Beast is somethin' else. He isn't like the Disney Beast, who goes from "loser" to "lover". I don't want to say anymore abut him and spoil it...but - wow. I loved him from the moment Beauty first met him. Seriously, my heart started pounding!
There are some fun minor characters - Ger, Hope, Grace, the father, even the horse Greatheart. They added to the story and I cared for each one of them individually. I was especially hoping for Grace's story to end happily - read the book to find out if it did!
STORY NOTES - This is a slow story, but not in a boring way. It draws you in and doesn't let go - but it also gives you room to breathe and just enjoy.
Beauty has some seriously beautiful imagery, especially regarding the gardens. The one scene that talked about the sunset causing the garden to glow a golden color....that's just one instance that had me melting with love for the beautiful descriptions.
The reasons I give this book 4.5 stars and not 5 are not big things, or even issues to begin with - just a few things I wished had been different. I am, still, entirely satisfied and loving this book. I guess my main thing is that I wish the change of feelings in Beauty hadn't been so sudden. I could tell it was coming based on the scenes, and because, DUH, everyone knows how this story ends, but it was a bit too sudden for me when she realized she loves him. Which brings me to my other thought - I wish the last few pages had been more passionate. It was so wonderful and gut-wrenching and lovely and then it was like, "Yay, we're happy. The end."
But despite that, when there was passion.... ACH! Beauty made my heart ache. The nightly proposals, the learning to trust, the sweet, beautiful moments shared... I'm seriously already looking forward to reading it again!!
SUMMING IT UP - Delectable. I'm still thinking of golden sunshine, red roses, and Prince Charming. That's what Beauty promises, and it delivers perfectly.
For the Parents - Nothing! A kiss or two. Verrrrry clean. Recommended to 12+!(less)
Meggie longs for the Inkworld. Her mother’s stories have formed the world so perfectly in her mind that she cannot help but desire to go there. But ho...moreMeggie longs for the Inkworld. Her mother’s stories have formed the world so perfectly in her mind that she cannot help but desire to go there. But how is that possible? How could she when she doesn’t even have the book? And is it possible to read yourself into a story? What Meggie doesn’t know is that a man named Orpheus has read Dustfinger back into his story, leaving Farid with nowhere to go. But when Farid shows up at their door with the fateful paper that sent Dustfinger home, and the news that Basta is still alive and on his trail, Meggie must make a decision. Should she follow her heart – and Farid, who is set on seeing Dustfinger again – into the Inkworld, or will she do the safe thing, and stay with Mo and Resa and Elinor and Darius? It is up to her, and what she does may affect the lives of the living – and even the dead.
I would love to just write a review that is ALL about Dustfinger, but I shall refrain. I shall refrain because it would probably bore most of you. Seriously. It would be like “I love him, I love him, he’s the best, he’s the greatest, I want to meet him, he’s wonderful…” and a lot of other stuff that is not very important…
But I’m fortunate: the whole book is amazing to write about, so I’m not in a bad way at all.
To begin – this is my third time reading this book. It felt like the first. The door was closed, and it slowly opened, letting it the scent of the Inkworld, the sights, sounds, and people. It opened up and, suddenly, I was there, like Meggie, and I was a part of the story. It was happening to me. It chose me, made me its own, and swept me off my feet. This has happened every single time, and it feels new and wonderful every single time.
Seriously, this book is phenomenal. It has the feel and story of a classic fairytale, like what you’d read in a Grimm Brother’s story, and it has the easy flowing writing of an extremely well-written children’s or YA novel. I think the reasons are these. For one, Cornelia Funke is German. She has the heritage, the old-fashioned love for fairytales. And then there’s the translator, Anthea Bell, who translates books from both German and French, and possibly even more languages, into English. (She translated another really great book, The_Princetta, from French.) She has a way of working words that adds to Cornelia’s German talent.
Favorite character: Hehe…yah. Dustfinger. The man who is human. I think that’s what makes me love him so much. He’s just so regular, despite his abilities to breathe and speak to fire. He’s talented, yes, and those who knew of him wrote songs and ballads about him to keep his legacy alive. But he doesn’t think once about the fame. He only loves the fire, the crackling flames that bend to his will. And he loves Roxanne. He loves her so much, and she loves him, too. I always say that if I could trade places with a character from any book, it would be Roxanne, so I could be married to Dustfinger. He’s just…wow. You love him in spite of his mistakes, his personal struggles. In fact, these things make you love him even more. And he does in the end of Inkspell makes me cry every time I read it, and I’ve read it maybe 10 times. This, and everything else he does, makes him one of my top three favorite characters in all of literature.
But while Dustfinger is my absolute favorite, each other character is so well-developed that I could easily write a whole characterization paper about each one. They are all equally defined, from Fenoglio, to Mo, to Meggie, Resa, the Piper, Firefox, the Adderhead… I could go on, really. Even the most minor characters have their own personalities and characteristics that make them individuals. It’s truly amazing.
Favorite aspect: There are just about a million things I could put down here…so pretty much the whole book…but I think my third time around I was really struck by Fenoglio’s plan at the end. His words for Meggie to read – to bring to life. It really is genius. So intricate and wonderful…
Summing it up with one word: ’tis an impossible thing to do, when I consider every facet of the story. One of the many descriptions I can think of is devastatingly beautiful. Need I say more?
For the parents: a bit of language, d**n, son of a *****, and ba***rd. References to a 15-year-old girl who’s fallen in love with a prince, and who is said to spend her nights with him. A bit of kissing. Recommended for 13 and older, because of the things mentioned above and the intensity of the story.
Mo was never a killer - until Fenoglio fashioned a robber after him. Now everyone thinks Mo is the Bluejay. This world need a hero, so why shouldn't he be that for it? Dustfinger, the fire-eater, is dead, and Farid is working tirelessly for the newly-arrived Orpheus, hoping that the moon-faced man will bring Dustfinger back from the dead using his voice. Meggie misses Farid terribly - he won't just come visit her!), and she's worried about her father. And her mother, for that matter, who is now expecting a child. The Adderhead is rotting away in his castle, due to the faulty book Mo bound. If only Mo could write those three words in the book and be over with the Adderhead... When Orpheus writes words to bring back the man they all miss most, and the Piper becomes more and more treacherous in the name of The Silver Prince, Mo might just have his chance. He'll need help, of course, and the right words. Or else all will fail and both he and Meggie - and many, many others - will lose their lives to Death.
My thoughts - Prepare for my inner fangirl to come out:
There are an infinite number of reasons why I freaking LOVE this book. Dustfinger. The writing. Dustfinger. The story. The action. The robbers. Dustfinger. The writers inside the story. Dustfinger. All the characters. The passion. Dustfinger. The love. The danger. The incredible amazingness. Dustfinger. (Plus about a few hundred more Dustfingers.)
Catch my drift? Haha! I'm pretty sure this looks mighty similar to my review of Inkspell. Notice any similarities? I'll get to him in a minute...
For now let me just say, This book reminded me with every page WHY I LOVE this series SO much. Why I will ALWAYS love this series. I've read it 3 times - and each time it gets better.
Character notes - I love all the characters in this story, even if I have an intense loathing for them. Funke's villains (Adderhead, Piper, Milksop, Sootbird, Orpheus) are REALLY BAD. Her heroes and heriones, likewise, are REALLY GOOD. And all her supporting characters added to the story exactly how they should, so even if I don't like them, I respect their roles in the story and can't see the story without them. One such case is Farid. GOSH that kid irritates me in Inkdeath. But he belongs in it. He's a part of it and adds ot it perfectly, good or bad.
I love robbers. Heroic robbers. And when you make that into "unlikeliest of heroic robbers", I love them even more. Well, the Bluejay, Mo, Silvertongue...he is the unlikeliest - and he's so perfect! I loved his role even more this time around... His change in character, but still being Mo from Inkheart, gave me butterflies. I loved how his fears, worries, and loves played into the story; how it was so unexpected. His character is real and beautiful and I loved his so much more this time around. He was so sacrificial. Again, butterflies. ;)
Meggie becomes quite the young lady in Inkdeath. Her bravery and love for others is evident. She grows into a lovely young lady who may more may not have more than one suitor. She inspired me.
And Dustfinger. Does it get any better than HIM?! He's so incredibly wonderful. I won't say much about him because of certain spoilers that I don't want to, well..spoil. However, I can say that if I were to ever exchange places with a fictional character, it would be with his wife Roxanne. (Grins sheepishly.) His promises are always the best - especially those he makes to his wife. Promises can be so romatic - and his are the epitome of romantic promises!
Story notes - Cornelia Funke was born and raised in Germany, where fairy tales are developed in the most incredible manner. She obviously has influenced from them - her books are all written in fashion after the Grimm brothers, or maybe the Danish author, Hans Christian Anderson. She often alludes to German/European works, and includes qotes at the beginning of each chapter, most of which are from foreign literature. This influence helps create the perfect fairy tale atmosphere for the book. It is dark, cruel, beautiful, strong, outlandish, and tragic. It helps pull the story along because it resembles the fairytales of old that everyone loves. THe story itself is full of sword fights, castles, fairies, and other, stranger creatures, scenes of sadness and desperation, scenes of joy and love, scenes of theivery, manipulation, and deceitfulness. It is rich, full, and lovely. It holds deep secrets and intense terrors. And, in the end, the love, passion, and sacrifice of the heroes in this story triumph over evil.
One word/phrase to sum it up (final thoughts) - There are WAY to many single words/phrases I could use to describe this beautiful story. I'm not going to try - just go read it. Really. And if you haven't read the others, start with Inkheart and work your way up! You won't be sorry!!!
For the parents - This is definitely for older teens, no matter what the bookstores and stupid age banding say. The subject matter and intensity level are for teens, 15 and up. Some scenes involve mild cases of torture. Cuss words sprinkled throughout. A gross character fondles this maids and it could be implied that he's sleeping with them. References to a young girl who was sleeping with her lover; he has died and she is now heart broken. Farid kisses multiple girls when they do him favors...(less)
Ninety-five days, and all will be well. Lena will have had her procedure, and any trace of the disease, amor deliria nervosa, will be in the past. She will have a new life with whatever man she is matched with, and she will be free of pain, of agony, of loss, of sorrow. She will be free of love, a terrible word that drags people into the depths of their own sickness.
She will be free.
Then, Alex. The boy from the labs. He has the mark of the procedure, but he's different, somehow. And he knows Lena...has seen her before and wants to be friends.
She doesn't know why she says yes to his invitation to meet him. But she does.
After, nothing is the same. ________________________________________________
My thoughts - Delirium shook me to the core. No, really, my hands were shaking and my breathing was coming fast.
But first, I must rewind to the beginning. At the beginning, within the first ten pages, my jaw dropped. This is quality literature, I told myself, sucking in those pages without delay. The writing. The characters. The atmosphere. Picture yourself sitting, surrounded by the white halls of a hospital. Everything smells clean, sterile, and you can't help but notice the faint echo, as though life, real life, is outside the walls that surround you. Everything looks shiny. Everything is bright. You have a headache. You've had tests done, and now you are waiting. Waiting for the verdict. Waiting for someone, someone in draped in more white, to come and tell you your future. Will you live, or will you die? Your fate rests in his hands. The verdict that will change your life forever is about to be revealed to you.
Well, this is what the beginning of this book reminded me of. The waiting, the endless waiting, as though your whole life is just a waiting game. What else is there but what's in front of you?
While reading the first fifty pages or so, I was, in fact, reminded of the color of this book's cover. That light turqoise, like a piece of the ocean. But flat and sterile, like in a hospital. And then, as the story progressed (while I continued to drop my jaw in amazement at the beauty of it), I realized that every scene is defined by a color. The party was black, with bright neon of blues, pinks, and oranges. The picnic was golden, like a piece of sunshine. The star scene was navy blue. And throughout every scene, the color turqoise was laced, as though reminding me of the impending danger of the procedure.
When I had forty pages left, I sat down and finished the story. My hands shook and I could barely turn the page. I was amazed, pained, scared for what would happen... And then - the end. Oh....I cried. Actually, I sobbed. And I don't throw that word around lightly. There are some books that cause me to shed a few tears, but only a few, a rare few (Sapphique, Inkspell, Jane Eyre, Uncle Tom's Cabin, the three books of the Circle Trilogy, and The Silent Boy, to be specific), cause me to lose it completely. This, my friends, joins that list, my crying list, my epic list.
And, mind you, this is coming from the perspective of someone who didn't want to read this book. I wasn't sure about it. I'd heard a lot of good and some bad, and I still didn't have a good feeling about it. Well, I was wrong. Like, really really really wrong...
Character notes - Immediately, I cared for Lena. I felt the pain she felt, and I wanted to help her, or at least see her happy. To see her free of the lies of her society. I wanted to comfort her about her mother and be the best friend she needs. She seemed strong to me, despite the sadness she felt. All she needed to do was realize it was all a lie. Only then could she break free.
And she needed someone special to help her with that. Someone who would pull her out of her own troubles and show her the world around her for what it truly is - a beautiful world, full of deceived and deceiving people. That person took shape in Alex. Alex seemed...different. Right from the start. Not only does he stand out in that strange world, but he stands out in literature, too. He's not your typical boyfriend, either. When Lena needs someone strong, he is strong. When she needs someone kind, he is kind. He always protects her. He loves her genuinely and selflessly, always thinking of her first, what she loves and wants to do. When Lena begins to fall into a self-pity craze, he's tough with her, but only because he wants her to see the truth - because he loves her. I cannot tell you how stinking impressed I am with his character. The amount of selflessness and care and respect and beauty put into the love he has for Lena surprised me. I was not prepared for this quality of a love story. I have a feeling that my opinion of many love stories I read in the future will be colored by this one, just because it was so incredibly amazing to me. I also love that Alex is the color of autumn. At least, that's what he reminds Lena of, and it's stuck in my brain now, too. His hair is the color of autumn leaves. His eyes are the color of amber. He's just warm and...wonderful. Like, really truly wonderful. Quality.
Story notes - This is something else that surprised me: the perfect smoothness of the story. Like, it was incredibly smooth. There were times when I felt the pace could have gone out of whack - but nope!! It went smooth, like Lauren Oliver has never done anything else in her life except write smooth stories. And the story itself... Twists and turns and creepy Crypts and love. Lots of love. It's powerful. NOT your easy, light read that you can put down and say, "Yay that was happy, now let's move on!" When I finished it (during my good, long cry), I had to think. In fact, I don't exactly want to pick up a book right now because I just want to let this one rest a bit on my mind before I dive into another story.
One word/phrase to sum up this book (and final thoughts) - There are quite a few words that come to mind when I think of Delirium... Powerful, colorful, LOVELY, quality, coherent...flipping amazing! But I really think the best word (actually, phrase) to describe it is breath-takingly beautiful. When I reached the end of the book, I kind of did lose my breath. There's so much going on, so much to learn about these characters and experience in this deceived world. And there's so much love. So, so much, that it got me thinking about my life. My loves. How do I love those around me? How can I take advantage of this freedom? And the choices I have...it's amazing compared to the world of Delirium. This, I take advantage of too much. What better choices can I make in the future? Really, this was quite a life-changing, thought-provoking book for me. I hope everyone will give this book a shot - literature as quality as this deserves a majorly huge spotlight. :)
For the parents: Some brief strong language. (F**k, b**ch, d**n, s**t...) A short scene (less than a page long) where Alex sees Lena without a shirt on (it's implied without a bra as well), and he tells her she is beautiful. They don't have sex but they kiss a lot. Not super descriptive.(less)
Percy Jackson is back at Camp Half-Blood – and there is yet another problem. Or rather, the continuing problem of Kronos and his growing army. When another oracle is revealed – this time to Annabeth – the daughter of Athena chooses three inhabitants of the camp to go with her: Percy, Grover, and Tyson. The three set out on the dangerous mission of finding Ariadne’s string before Kronos’ monsters can find it, but it turns out there is more to their quest…and that it is all the more dangerous. With Grover still wanting to find Pan, and Annabeth desperate to accomplish this quest – even though it seems someone will die in the end – Percy must once more use his wits and the power of Poseidon to help his friends and prevent Kronos from being able to navigate Daedalus’ deceitful labyrinth.
Ummm…can I say, “WOW”? Because that’s how I feel right now – and have felt since I finished this book. I will start by saying this is my favorite Percy Jackson book so far. It had a tone that was a bit more serious than the others, but its contents are fascinating to no end. Not kidding, I was ten times more hooked than in the last three, and I really really liked those!
Percy is altogether a likable guy. If I was in the story, I’d have a major crush on him… He’s smart, kind, reliable, and has faults to make him more human. And more likable, I say. When I’m reading these books, especially this one, I feel like I’ve grown up with him. He started out as a 12-year-old who thinks he’s a mortal with ADHD and dyslexia. Now he’s almost sixteen and has skills like none other, and fights demigods and monsters – and sometimes gods. He’s like the Hercules of our time. You can’t help but love him! And just when you think he’s pulled the coolest stunt in the series so far, he does something else that’s even cooler. The fight scene in chapter 14, “My Brother Duels Me To The Death”, has got to be one of the best fight scenes I’ve read in a long time…maybe in all time.
Annabeth’s character was altogether more developed in this book, I felt. Because she had to lead a quest, you see and hear more of her decisions. It was really neat to get close to her character like never before….to get inside her head a bit.
The other characters, of course, are awesome. They accent the story perfectly; no one is out of place. And I love the writing. I can tell Rick Riordan has a fun time writing these books – because the reader has fun reading them! Percy’s voice is unmistakable and (again) likable and interesting to read. So far, the story has built up perfectly. It started out with just a little bit about Kronos in the first book, then a little more in the second, then more, and now this – a full battle! It feels so natural.
Favorite character -
This has been established: Percy. However…there is another that tied pretty closely who is only in this book. That would be Daedalus. He. Was. Amazing. The twist in the story that revolved around his character was SO fascinating!
Favorite aspect -
Percy and Annabeth’s growing relationship/friendship (call it what you will). Their friendship has always intrigued me and I feel it has developed well over these four books. I can’t wait to see what happens between them in the next and final book!
One word to sum up this book (and final conclusion) -
This book is a maze. Really and truly. Not only are the characters stuck in a multi-thousand year old maze for most of the time, but the story events are just like it – twisting and turning and totally surprising. Highly recommended to everyone…seriously. This book just topped off an already good series. And I heard from the kids I babysit that #5 is super duper surprising and that I “won’t guess in a million years what happens!” They tried many a time to tell me what happens…I had to plug my ears and make loud noises until they stopped screaming and getting all excited about it…and still they were jumping up and down. They had me all excited and squealing! And when I finished The Battle of the Labyrinth, it had me squealing with excitement and clapping my hands and dropping my jaw over and over again, trying to say something worthy. (Nothing worked…) So what am I going to do now? Dive into The Last Olympian, of course! I’m sure many wonderful and surprising adventures await me there! (less)
Nico's plan is crazy, but it may be the only plan that will effectively work to save Olympus - and the rest of the world. So Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon, follows Nico and does the unthinkable - something only two other men have undertaken. But now Olympus is under attack, and only the demigods are available to fight. The gods themselves have left their thrones on Olympus to battle Typhon, the most powerful Titan, as he barrels his way across the U.S. Percy is chosen to lead the demigods and every other stray group he can pull together. This kid has got a lot on his mind: the prophecy, which has now been revealed to him; the many opposing voices and opinions that surround him; the lies that would be so easy to believe; Annabeth and Rachel; and now this whole army. It is up to him, and him alone, to make to the choice that will save Olympus - or bring the whole world tumbling down to Tartarus. _________________________________________
My thoughts -
My thoughts? My thoughts?! My feelings, more like it! I'm so sad because the series is over...and yet totally happy because the end was so satisfying. It left me in amazement and awe as I set down the final installation to the insanely good series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
At the beginning of this series, I would never have thought I'd feel this way. The first three books are good, and enjoyable and fun and adventurous. But when book four came around, I realized, "Holy moly, I'm attached to these characters and I didn't even realize it - and now the series is almost over!"
The Last Olympian took me by surprise. I had no idea, until the moment it happened, what was going to happen. The prophecy hung over the story. Percy was going to have to make a decision that would alter the fate of Olympus. Many people were going to die. Either Kronos or the gods would rule once Percy had made his decision.
It was insane. Packed to the brim with adventure, magic, and mystery - along with that lovely sarcastic sense of humor that makes Percy who he is - the last Percy Jackson book delivered. More than delivered. The end was perfect and exactly what I was hoping for. It made me clap and laugh and it filled me with excitement.
Favorite character (character notes) -
I always choose Percy as my favorite character, and this time is no exception. However, this time I am unable to choose a supporting character that I prefer over the others. They were all so amazing this time - really, I was surprised. Nico had a great part in this story, a memorable one. Annabeth was awesome, Grover, Silena, Chiron, the gods, and all the rest of the demigods... It was as though they all made their grand finale performance - and all were memorable in some way.
One thing I must add is that I LOVED the new characters introduced (whether for only a moment or for a few chapters). I don't want to say any names because it might give something away...just know it was an amazing last addition to the cast and I was thoroughly impressed! (I got to meet one of my favorite Greek heroes - it was amazing!)
One last note on Percy... Over time he has changed and grown and become a young man. But in this book you see him as stronger, more intense - and yet still more tender than ever before. It's hard not to totally respect and adore him. Favorite aspects/scenes -
There is so much to love about this book. It was, in every way, the grand finale to a grand series! Favorite scenes include the River Styx, Hudson and East, the scenes with Morpheus (oooohh morpheous...), and, of course, the last scene in the second to last chapter, which made me giggle with joy!!! (It had some of the best one-liners, which I will always remember!)
Other aspects about this novel that I love: Rick Riordan is a master at tying up loose ends. He is a master of delving into the language of a teenager and making Percy a realistic boy in the 21st century. I love the way he re-introduces the characters and how he sets up the premise of the story so quickly. I love the atmosphere of The Last Olympian, among all the other books. It was dark, chaotic, and yet almost dreamy. Almost moist, like after a giant storm. But really, the storm had yet to come. And there is that sense of humor, that sarcasm that always prevails. There are humorous situations that could be really cheesy - but Rick Riordan manages to make them hilarious, like laugh out loud hilarious! There are some absolutely incredible heart-pounding edge of your seat battle scenes. Each satyr, half-blood, and any other kind of creature fighting for the gods had his own part to play and affected the story in his own way. They all worked together to bring this story to a climactic, unforseen ending that will leave you gaping.
I mean, really. It doesn't get any better.
One word to sum up this book (and final thoughts) -
I would describe this book as phenomenal. Seriously, I was so impressed. If you haven't read this series yet - you should. They are rewarding, well-written, quality pieces of literature with a fun twist on Greek mythology. They definitely deserve a round of applause. And I can't wait to someday re-read them, because I know what amazing stories are behind those covers.(less)
Gooooshhhh... The hard reality, the gritty truths, the tough choices and the fervent passion: Anne Perry's trademarks that never ever ever FREAKING EV...moreGooooshhhh... The hard reality, the gritty truths, the tough choices and the fervent passion: Anne Perry's trademarks that never ever ever FREAKING EVER get old.(less)
There are only a few books in the world worthy of me staying up till 3 AM to finish. This book was one if them. IM FREAKING OUT OK?! That was perfect....moreThere are only a few books in the world worthy of me staying up till 3 AM to finish. This book was one if them. IM FREAKING OUT OK?! That was perfect. PERFECT. Every detail, every moment, was careful and planned and yet totally unexpected!! What even.(less)
Kelsey Hayes has just gotten through with the adventure of a lifetime. She has broken 1/4th of a curse, given two tiger men back a quarter of their lives, and has fallen madly in love with one of them. He claimed he loved her back, but he's so beautiful...he could have any woman he wants. Back in Oregon, Kelsey is trying to forget about her Indian princes and why the heck did she leave them?...when Ren ends up moving in next door and properly asking her to date him. It is then that she realizes they truly love each other. Their time is cut short, however, when Ren is captured by Lokesh's men. Kelsey and Kishan, Ren's brother, are left to break the next part of the curse and save Ren. But with Kishan harboring dark haunts and hurts, and Kelsey missing Ren, it may be harder to get through then they thought. And nothing will ever prepare them for what lies after... ___________________________________
My thoughts - November better get its butt over here, and fast, because I need more of the Tiger Saga! (Insert interesting fact: Book 3, Tiger's Voyage, is released November 1st, 2011, which happens to be my 18th birthday! Happy dance!) I seriously love this series. I loved the first book, and Tiger's Quest just added to that love. Golly, I was so sad it was over! I need to know what happens, and FAST! It's like...a medical emergency or something. Just kidding...sort of. ;) And while I absolutely loved this book with a passion, this is not a perfect book. I really like Houck's writing, especially now that it has become Kelsey's voice so absolutely, but it's just not a favorite. Sometimes I feel like the sentences are a bit short/choppy, or that scenes go a little too fast. There was also one part of the book toward the middle (see story notes for more) that I found quite boring...
Character notes - Ok, really? First Colleen Houck makes me fall for Ren, and I'm perfectly happy loving him and not actually liking Kishan at all. And then - WHAM! I'm hit by the full awesomeness of Kishan's character - and suddenly I could marry them both. Part of me still prefers the first brother; another part, the second. They're both wonderfully crated, deep into the story, with so much heritage and personality. It's killing me not to know what's going to happen to them/between them/with Kelsey. (Oh gosh, the part with the baby...the dream...I just want to know!) (That was the scene that made me fall completely for Kishan...) Kelsey is so simple...and yet she's smart, brave, funny, and totally genuine. Very likable, very relatable, very real. I love her faithfulness to Ren, even when she could totally ditch him for his also smoking hot brother. But she's not thinking about that; she's thinking about Ren and who he is as a person and his safety and how much she loves him and can't wait to see him again. He is what keeps her going, alive. It just makes my heart melt and butterflies do flips in my stomach. :D
Story notes - Ahem. If I could run around my house making absurd, loud noises to get out my intense emotions upon finishing this book, I would do it in a heartbeat. But as that would most likely brand me as a person in need of immediate mental help, I will restrain myself. But seriously - emotions. running. WILD! This story was crazy. Crazy good. I really liked the beginning as it developed Ren and Kelsey's relationship more. They had such a bumpy start, so it was a nice change to see them in a normal environment. After that, the story got intense after Ren's capture (insert saddest face ever) right up until Kelsey, Mr. Kadam, and Kishan start traveling. Then, for about fifty pages, the story took a slow, and (to me) boring dip, all about traveling and strange religions. I was really worried for about twenty pages if this was going to be as good as Tiger's Curse... However, my fears were quickly put to rest. The quest was incredible, even better and more intense than the last. It had a fast pace, lots of humor, and a touch of sadness. And TONS of action. The feel of the story line was different from Curse, and I was amazed at how original everything was. I seriously have no expectations for Voyage; I just know it'll be good! And then the end of the Quest... GAH! It broke my heart. I got all melancholy...for a good while. Then at the bookstore, when I saw the blue and orange colors of this lovely Saga, I melted. Need. TO. KNOW! I just love the romance. In fact, it has become one of my all-time favorite love stories. The way Ren loves Kelsey is just so real and refreshing. And Kishan - I just want him to be happy!
Summing it up - Emotionally gripping!!! Goodness, can I say it again? I'm so excited for Tiger's Voyage! This had me angry, happy, sad, shocked, and hungry for more.
For the parents - A few kisses; focused on the emotional more than the physical. The kisses are very passionate, though. Sometimes Kelsey sits in Ren's lap during a kiss, but not always. They talk about being "together" together, without details. They talk about waiting until marriage. Kelsey and Kishan kiss. Recommended 15+. (less)
Tiger's Voyage by Colleen Houck (#3) Pages: 560 Release Date: November 1st, 2011 Date Read: 2011, December 12th-17th Received: Library Rating: 4/5 stars Rec...moreTiger's Voyage by Colleen Houck (#3) Pages: 560 Release Date: November 1st, 2011 Date Read: 2011, December 12th-17th Received: Library Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 16+
These books are awesome, and therefore you should read them. But this review has spoilers to the first two books. If you haven't read Tiger's Curse and Tiger's Quest, you should check out my reviews for them: Tiger's Curse Tiger's Quest
SUMMARY - Kelsey Hayes is back at Mr. Kadam's - both Tigers safe. Kishan is happy and healthy, but Ren, on the other hand, is still healing - and he still doesn't remember Kelsey. Worse, he feels physically ill when he's around her. Still, he pushes through, eventually admitting he has feelings for her, despite the pain.
As they embark on the third quest, they discover they must uncover Durga's necklace, come face-to-face with Dragons, and possibly something much worse. And all the while Kelsey must decide between the Tiger's - who will she love? And what will trigger the memories Ren is missing?
As Kelsey and her Tiger's come closer than ever before to finishing the Quests, they also discover more behind Lokesh's plans. Will they be able to stop him before he tears them apart?
MY THOUGHTS - Oh, this book made me SO sad. Not like bawl my head off sad, but the kind of sad that's mixed with slight frustration and tons of anticipation - and love. A lot of it.
Colleen's writing still sin't my favorite, when she's describing things happening in the real world. However, when Kelsey, Ren and Kishan step into magical realms...that is when her talent shows. She writes with fantastic imagery and with a style that reminds me of fairy tales by the Grimm brothers and other fantastic story tellers. Colleen becomes stronger and stronger with every book she writes and I'm so excited to see how she improves in the next book!
CHARACTER NOTES - I really really respect what Colleen did here: where things could have gotten extremely complicated, she made it worth the read and gave her readers more respect for the characters.
Kelsey continues to be the heroine I want to read about. I feel like I know her well and would totally hang out with her if she was...well...real. I understand what a tough place she's in with trying to break the curse and decide between two amaaaaazing men. She made some choices that...man, I could never imagine making. She's brave, a heroine through and through, and I just canNOT wait for more from her perspective!
Now - onto the boys. Yum yum yum! I'll have one of each, please? ;) Actually, I'm still extremely partial to Ren. So, I'll take an order of Ren with a side of a wedding ring and a few beautiful Indian children. Haha!
In any case. When I said before that these boys are amazing, what I really meant was extremely beyond fantastically incredibly gorgeous and wonderfully amazing super incredible manly men. (Translation...well, there isn't one. You get the picture.) They are both worthy of Kelsey's attentions, for different reasons. But I'm 100% all for Ren. In Tiger's Quest I became drawn to Kishan - but Tiger's Voyage just pulled me right back to Ren. He's got his flaws, like Kishan, and Kelsey, but that doesn't change anything for me. You all know how much I love perfectly imperfect characters. Ren is that. Kishan, in Tiger's Voyage, seemed a bit more on the perfect side (surprisingly) and this is one of the things that made Ren stand out even more. While Kishan is a bit heartbroken because of is love for Kells, Ren's heartbreak seems, to me, much more intense and for an incredibly good reason.
I really enjoy Mr. Kadam and Nilima as well, but Wes annoyed the crap out of me. Let's just leave it at that. He's not important enough to add more.
Now - the dragons. WOWZERS! Colleen has totally done something extraordinary here. Each one was so perfectly described; each had his own amazing personality. Each made his mark on the story, whether for good or for bad. I would name them if I had the book with me. But, as I don't, I'll have to rely on their attributes to say: My favorite is between the star dragon and the hunting dragon. The elements they brought to the table were incredible - especially since they revolved around the passion between Ren and Kells.
STORY NOTES - Colleen's stories are just in your face awesome! And what I love about them is that each one is completely different from the last. Each has its own feel and beauty and hook.
This time around, Colleen stuns her readers by taking them yet again to lands beyond our own - to the stars, to the deepest oceans, to underwater castles and fantastic islands. There is no end to how cool this story is. I mean, who doesn't want to travel to an underwater treasure trove, or fix the fading glow of a star, or any of the other fantastic journeys within this book?
So basically, I'm amazing. I'm totally dying, because of course there's a cliff-hanger and of course someone's still in mortal danger. I know Colleen's working as fast as she can, but - HURRY UP!!!
SUMMING IT UP - Gorgeous. Seriously gorgeous. I'm so looking forward to Tiger's Destiny, coming out later this year!
For the Parents - The boys, both trying to get the lead in Kelsey's affections, are quite a bit more, ummm, bold this time around. Some suggestive comments and gazes, some admiring. Kelsey's "power" is fueled by her passion for Ren, which is definitely written in a suggestive way. Lots of passionate kissing, some detail. Recommended to 16+
Jane Eyre, a girl of no importance and the daughter of an unapproved match, lives a troubled life for her...moreBy far one of the best books I've ever read!
Jane Eyre, a girl of no importance and the daughter of an unapproved match, lives a troubled life for her first ten years under her aunt’s roof. Her parents died when she was a baby and she was left as Aunt Reed’s charge with no other living relatives that she knew of. When her aunt can no longer stand Jane any more, she sends her to a boarding school where the rules are strict and the headmaster is every bit the tyrant Aunt Reed was. But Jane conquers, becomes a teacher, and then wishes to become a private tutor. After her ad is received and her application accepted, Jane finds herself in the home of a mysterious and strange man, Mr. Rochester, who has put his ward, Adele, under Jane’s tutelage. But then Jane finds herself falling deeply in love with Mr. Rochester, who she could not imagine would love her in return. This, and the strange happenings in Thornfield Hall, give Jane cause to doubt her future. And when Mr. Rochester’s dark secret reveals itself, Jane must question her love and discover what she must do with her life before she can find the happiness she never had.
This is one of those “Can words describe?” books. And while I feel there aren’t very many words that do an adequate job, I will try my best.
Can you believe that I haven’t read this book yet? I can’t. For years, people have been telling me, ”Sierra, you have to read this book.” ”Sierra, this is one of the best books I’ve ever read.” ”Oh my GOSH! You haven’t read Jane Eyre?!” ”What are you waiting for, you, the reader, of all people?”
So here I am, having read (devoured) the long awaited book that has been loved, cried and giggled over by hordes. And I’m here to tell you people who have not yet read this book – “What. In the world. Are. You. Waiting for?!” (I know…I’m one to talk…but now I know how everyone else feels! haha!)
Throughout the course of the book, I got choked up. But there was too much ahead to slow down, stop, and actually cry. However…when I got to the last chapter, I lost it. Tears came and the two-year-old little boy I was babysitting put down his yogurt and stared at me, head cocked to the side, probably completely confused as to why I was smiling and crying at the same time. After all the heartache and sadness, and even the little bits of joy in between, the happiness of the end just overwhelmed me. It was just too beautiful to not feel that way – there was so much emotion in my heart that I felt it would almost burst.
Jane is a character I look up to – I want to be like her. Her decisiveness, her courage, her resolution, her faith…it amazed me, and amazes me still, even after the book has been set back on the shelf. She knew what she had to do and she did it – no matter the cost. And the way she loved everyone so unconditionally – especially Mr. Rochester – continually surprised me. Her kind heart, her gentle but firm manner, and her intense love… Wow. I also loved her close study of human nature and how she described and saw people – why she was intrigued by them.
Mr. Rochester himself is quite a character. Going into this story, I was NOT expecting him to be the least like he was – physically ugly and mentally independent. He was strange, but yet so perfect for the story. In all my travels through literature, I’ve never met a character like him, and I doubt I ever will again. That character will always be embodied by Mr. Rochester alone. I easily fell for him as Jane did; her love for him was pure; she never once judged him for his faults; she loved him all the more for them. The reader cannot help but feeling the same. I loved seeing his pride break down, slowly but surely, and the way he described the experience after. It was just amazing.
As far as the story line and the writing… Both were equally magnificent. The story captured me from the first, especially when I expected the novel to begin when she was older. But I loved every bit of it – every second was glorious, and painful and lovely. I cared for Jane so much that it didn’t matter what she was doing – I wanted to read about her. And Mr. Rochester and St. John and Adele and everyone else. The writing was incredible, down to the very last word. I loved how she wrote most of the time in past tense, and then sometimes slipped smoothly into present tense, showing the reader exactly what it felt like, to be doing instead of remembering. I’m actually not a huge fan of present tense, but this was so perfect I just couldn’t resist liking it.
Favorite character: Mr. Rochester because of his originality…and how much I loved his character within the first few pages of his introduction.
Favorite aspect: DUH! The love story, of course! Totally intriguing the way it was played out, the intensity of Mr. Rochester’s secret hanging over it part of the time, the rest being Jane’s own doubts about Mr. Rochester’s nature or her sadness over him being engaged to a woman who would not and could not love him – and who he had no passion for either. Oh my gosh this story had me in its clutches and didn’t let me go!!!
There are no single words to describe this book. Magnificent and heart-pounding and gut-wrenching are about the best I can do. They are true – as true as true can be – but there is something about the book that can only be felt and understood by reading it yourself. It’s not anything that can be described – it’s an experience. One that I can’t wait to relive again and again and again!!
Charlotte Miller's father has died, leaving her and her sister, Rose, the sole heirs of their family business, the Stirwaters Woolen Mill. Charlotte keeps herself busy taking care of her sister and the Mill - for the whole town relies on the Mill. She manages to keep things in order - for a while. But when something terrible happens, Charlotte must either sell the mill or...sell the mill. But that's when the stranger shows up. Jack Spinner, he calls himself, and he has an incredible talent, one that will put Charlotte, Rose, and the rest of Stirwaters back into business. Jack Spinner spins gold from straw in one night, takes an item precious to Charlotte, and then disappears. But as time progresses, Charlotte's life changes - and she falls in love. And nwe misfortunes fall on the Mill. Jack Spinner keeps coming back to help, but its only a matter of time before he takes something truly important to Charlotte. Something irreplacable. And Charlotte may be the only person with guts enough to figure out why.
My thoughts - For the majority of the book, all I could think was "Five star! Five star! Five star!" It was seriously such an epicly strange and original tale...I was so hooked. I loved everything about the story, the characters, their hurts and struggles and joys, the conflicts that arose, the beauty of the world Elizabeth Bunce had created.
You may be thinking, "Did it turn bad in the end? Boring? Stupid?" I'm happy to report, "No, it didn't." I did love every moment of the book. However, I was a little disappointed (and more creeped out than I was expecting) with the end. Because the whole book has a leisurely pace, like hot summertime, the end seemed rushed. There are a couple of different ways that it could have been slowed down to match pace with the rest of the book.
This is my only issue. I loved everything else. And, I must say, even the last five or so chapters, with their quick tying up of loose ends, was enjoyable. I just wish she would have kept the pace.
A note on the writing: WHOOHOO!!! Elizabeth C. Bunce - you had me under a spell with your lyrical style and beautiful word choices. The way the author conjures pictures to the readers mind should be a world-wide example to all writers. Within the first 15 pages I knew everything I needed to know about all of the introduced characters, their pasts, the world they lived in, and the direction the story was going. The first paragraph is one of my favorite paragraphs...ever. It is one incredible example of what kind of information should be in a paragraph, plus how you can grip your readers from sentence #1.
Character notes - The characters were so amazing, down to those who I absolutely hated. Charlotte was immediately defined, as was Rose, and Randall (who has been added to my "favorite male leads" list), Uncle Wheeler, Jack Spinner, all the townspeople, all the contracters. This is a story of friendship, caring for one another, and love. But it is also a story about cheating thieves, backstabbers, and selfish men. Those two groups put together makes for a ridiculously good story with characters I will never forget.
I think what really stood out to me about this book was the tension between characters. It was riveting. Completely engrossing. When Charlotte and Randall began fighting, especially, I was on my seat with anticipation, wondering how it would turn out. A lot of the time I was like, "Ugh, Charlotte, another mistake?" But isn't that how we learn? We make mistakes. Charlotte makes mistakes, Randall makes mistakes. They all had their faults to deal with, things to apologize for, and they all learned something valuable in the end. The healing of broken relationships and hearts is really a wonderful way to end a story. These things, these invaluable, human things, made me love the characters even more.
Story notes - Like I said above, the story was absolutely amazing until the end. Then it was just good. I didn't love the quickness of it, because the book set me in a nostalgic mood, and then quickly jerked me awake when it totally could have kept going slowly. I'm not complaining though - despite the fastness of the climax, I loved the turnout. The layers tacked on to this story, one at a time, in perfect order, make it hard not to fall in love with.
The story holds superstition, possible ghosts, a creepy guy who spins straw into gold (and then takes what you love most: a gold watch your father gave you, a pair of pearl earrings from your grandmother...your child), lots of accidents (were they really accidents?), and a full cast of characters that will keep you rooting for them until the end.
One word/phrase to sum it up (final thoughts) - Strange and deliciously beautiful. 'Nuff said.
Do you want to read it yet? I think you should. Will I read it a second time? Yes, most likely. And I'll probably end up buying it, just because 90% of it's one of the loveliest reads I have ever laid my hands on. Recommended to everyone who likes a great, strange, dark, and slightly creepy fairy tale retelling that holds a whole lot of goodness.
For the parents - There's absolutely nothing to complain about. Charlotte and Randall are married, and they share a bed, but no details are written. She mentions that while they are on their honeymoon, they missed breakfast their first morning together. I can't remember the exact terms she used but it was along those lines...and you know anyway what's going on because they just got married. There are also lots of spooky happenings in this story, especially toward the end. I'd recommend to ages 14 and up.(less)
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium #2) Pages: 375 Release Date: February 28th, 2012 Date Read: 2012, March 2nd-4th Received: OWN Rating: 5/5 stars Recom...morePandemonium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium #2) Pages: 375 Release Date: February 28th, 2012 Date Read: 2012, March 2nd-4th Received: OWN Rating: 5/5 stars Recommended to: 16+
This review contains spoilers for the first book, Delirium.
SUMMARY - Lena Holoway is old, dead, and buried. Lena Morgan Jones is new, reborn, and ready to fight at whatever the cost. The memory of Alex, of Grace and her mother, are all she has left of her life before. Her new life is with Raven and Tack, after a grueling time in the Wilds; she lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she is a student, a cured, a Zombie. She has been charged with trailing Julian Fineman, son of prominent leader of the Deliria Free America. When the two are thrown into an adventure they never bargained for, they must put aside their differences - and fight a forbidden love that can never be fostered.
MY THOUGHTS - I read. I cried. I threw a fit.
This book makes me want to pull a squirt gun on the publishers, Dick Harper style , and yell, "GIVE ME YOUR ARC'S! GIVE ME YOUR ARC'S!"
I've said it before and I'll say it again. It's something that never gets old, and I don't believe it will ever change.
Lauren Oliver is Brilliant. With a capitol "B".
And because of that Brilliancy, we have Before I Fall, Delirium, and now Pandemonium. (I'm sure Liesl & Po is just as wonderful, but I have yet to read it.) If I had to pick a favorite between Delirium and Pandemonium, I'd pick the first book, but its sequel is so excellent I cannot deny my love for it. It is a Forever Favorite and will stay there for all time.
Once again - Lauren's writing is freaking GORGEOUS. It envelops you in warm, comforting arms and feeds you inspiration by the spoonful. Even after the story is over, it sticks with the reader for a long, long time.
CHARACTER NOTES - Lena Morgan Jones is my new hero. She's my role model. If I could be half as brave as this young woman, then I'd feel like a superhero. In Delirium, Alex is the one who causes her to bud into a beautiful, brave young woman. Pandemonium shows the continued growth, the building of a new Lena who strives to do right by her memory of Alex, of her mother.
Now, ahem, ALEX. No, he is not exactly in this book as a character, but his memory shines for him, real and encouraging - to the reader as well as to Lena. I loved the way Lena's thoughts of him, her motivation to make her life exactly what he'd died for her to have, practically brought him to life. Oh, how I miss him. I'm serious - I felt like I was Lena, aching for him, wishing for his strong guidance, but also pushing forward, fighting for another day, to live, breathe love. That is why I love Alex.
Julian Fineman. Can I just ask a question? HOW THE HECK DID YOU BECOME WONDERFUL AS WELL?!?!?! After gaining composure... Julian is...wow. I wasn't sure of him at first, but now I'm dead certain. What I'm certain of (besides his awesomeness) I have no idea. I just hope Lauren has something awesome in store for him. (Although, compared with Alex....he doesn't even compare. Ok, so, we're not comparing him with Alex right now. Sorry, I just can't help myself.)
Raven, Tack, Hunter, Sarah, etc. - these are the men and women and children of the wilds. They were all very clear and precise and consistent. I mean, come on, these are Lauren's characters I'm talking about here - what else would they be?!
STORY NOTES - I'm going to be honest: I missed 37 Brooks, Back Cove...Portland. I really did. But here, in Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver has built something just as real, just totally different - Brooklyn, NY. An entirely new setting, a new structure, a strong difference in her MC - and yet everything felt as though I'd experienced it my whole life. So natural, life-like.
I really liked the then and now idea - how they were different times but they still melted into each other, seamless. Lena's contrasted self was a beautiful thing to see, to be reminded of.
Wanna know what really blows me away? The love triangle. Yep, you heard me. I flipping love this love triangle. It's not giggling teenage girls with hunky men where all they want to do is make out. It's something totally different, out-of-this-world, mindboggling: it's mature. Yes, Lauren Oliver has succeeded in creating the mature and realistic love triangle I've ever read. Now, I have my biases. I'm a "first love" fan 1,000,000%. But honestly, I trust Lauren's expertise. What she says goes. I'm placing my already fragile heart in her hands. I trust she won't crush it. (Ok, just kidding. She's already crushed it and shredded it and mercilessly pounded it into the dirt a million times but...you get what I'm trying to say, right?)
On the topic of love, I must say the love story in this one was a bit less believable, because of who Lena is and what she's been through. I mean, with Delirium's slow-progressing romance, thick and delicious and wondrous, and with the world's best lit-man, nothing really compares now. Because of this, Pandemonium's romance seemed quite a bit fast. It was definitely beautiful, and still believable, but not as much as Lena and Alex's. I sure do hope this makes sense...
And then...WE ALL DIE BECAUSE OF THAT END. WHY?!?!?!! My mind seriously threatens to burst every time I even think about it because I can't even wrap my head around Lauren's brilliance!!!! She is the Queen of Cliffhangers and Heartbreakers. WHY do we have to wait till freaking NEXT YEAR to know what happens?!?!?!
It's just....pure genius. Pure. Genius.
SUMMING IT UP - You heard me - pure genius. From first page to last. Every word in between. Everything. I'm seriously freaking out right now!! Requiem: I need you desperately, but you are worth the wait!!!
For the Parents - A handful of s**t, brief strong language (2 F's, 2 GD's). Reference to "unnaturals" (two guys are apparently a couple). A male character asks to see Lena without a shirt on. She covers her breasts but he does get a peek at the rest. A passionate kiss, some description. They sleep in a bed together but nothing happens. Recommended to 16+(less)
Requiem by Lauren Oliver Book 3 in a trilogy 5/5 stars Some spoilers!
Can I just cry right now???? This book was epic. (It was my Best of the Bunch choice...moreRequiem by Lauren Oliver Book 3 in a trilogy 5/5 stars Some spoilers!
Can I just cry right now???? This book was epic. (It was my Best of the Bunch choice for March!) I know it received a lot of questionable reviews...I saw some where the reviewer said, "5 stars for the first 3/4th, 1 star for the last 1/4th." I had NEVER seen that in all my 3 years of book blogging, so I was really nervous to start this.
Fortunately for me, I'm one of the people in this world who believes it deserves 5 stars from beginning to end. I don't really know how to describe what it did for me - my heart was broken and whole all at once. Everything made sense. If it had happened any differently, I don't know...maybe I would have liked it, but it wouldn't have had that shocking, real-life kind of feeling it gave me.
By real life, I mean this: Things happen. Our stories are played out in our lives. Once one battle is won (or lost) your life doesn't just stop. It keeps going. It's not the end. Some things are left unsaid. Some things aren't finished. Some questions you won't have the answers to. Sure, that sucks sometimes, but it's life. Requiem earned my absolute respect and all my love because of this: It doesn't "end". I feel like there is more that will happen, so much more. I also think that...it had to stop sometime. There was sooo much work to be done after the climax that it could have gone on and on and on.
Basically, I loved where she left it. It had me gasping. For those of you who have read it, highlight this: OMG I'M SO HAPPY WHO SHE ENDED UP WITH YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!! That was ALL I ever REALLY wanted for this series!! ;) (End spoiler.) And on top of that ^^ the character development left me breathless, and the gorgeous prose was like a lullaby. And Hana...a;sldfkja;slgj;askldjf!!!! I just. I mean. UGH. It was, to say the least, beautiful.
Anyways. If you loved the first two, PLEASE give this one a try. Sure, it's a daunting one to pick up, but trust me, it's WORTH IT. And I feel if you're prepared for the ending, it won't be as much of a bummer as it was to some people.
This book reminds me of... Forests Rivers Danger Sacrificial love (my favorite kind) Growth in character Searching for beauty, especially in the unexpected LOVE (because that's really what it's all about)
Summary (Spoilers for the first 2 books!) They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past. But we are still here. And there are more of us every day. Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings. Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it. But we have chosen a different road. And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose. We are even free to choose the wrong thing. Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.(less)
"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. (less)
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!(less)
Crossed by Ally Condie (Matched #2) Pages: 367 Release Date: November 1st, 2011 Date Read: 2012, January 8th-11th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 stars Recommende...moreCrossed by Ally Condie (Matched #2) Pages: 367 Release Date: November 1st, 2011 Date Read: 2012, January 8th-11th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 stars Recommended to: 13+
SUMMARY - Cassia has been sent to work camps so she can learn submission to the Society after her love for Ky was discovered. But she is really here to find Ky, who was sorted and taken away. And she was the one who sorted him. Now it's up to her to find him; if she could only get into the Outer Provinces... She has the Compass from Ky and the blue tablets from Xander, and she will use both of them to find her way. Two boys, two worlds, and one journey that will break hearts, heal hearts, and change them.
MY THOUGHTS - I am a very expressive reader. Meaning, I jump, scream, squeal, blush, giggle, laugh, groan, and more - very openly. My poor family... ;) In any case, as far as the louder, more intense expressions of emotion go - I save those for the best of the best. So know I'm telling you the truth when I say that Crossed is one of the best of the best. I screamed at least seven times, blushed, giggled, jumped, and groaned - all in this book. And the screaming - it was loud. Just sayin'.
Even more shocking and amazing is that my sister, who is not one to show such strong emotions while reading, not only did the same as I did, but also screamed/giggled with me when I read it!
Not only did it excite me (and my sister) to extremes, but it also made me want to sit still (I know, ironic, huh?) and contemplate the beautiful, poetry-like prose, the deeper meanings, the lyrical tones.
While reading I came across the sentences -
So many beginnings. I tell myself that in a way it's good that I haven't found Ky yet, because I still don't know what to whisper to him when I see him, which words would be the very best ones to give. (Page 111)
These words are beautiful, and they portray something deeper than just Cassia thinking of what she'll say to Ky. It's about how precious speech is, how important it is to her that Ky taught her to write, to speak and give life to words. It's about not taking your words for granted. They are important, down to the very smallest word. Cassia has grown up in a world where words - your own words, spoken or written - are like diamonds.
This careful choice of words is not only portrayed in the characters, but also in Ally Condie's writing itself. Her word choices are so precise, carefully portraying the scenes and the deep emotions carried throughout. It's like poetry, but not. I don't even know how to describe the full beauty of it.
CHARACTER NOTES - Here is how well I know these characters, how distinctly they are portrayed: When the book arrived in the mail two months ago, before I knew really anything about it, I picked it up and started reading. My thoughts were, "This is great, but it doesn't feel like...Cassia. It doesn't sound like her voice at all. I like it, but I'm confused..." I put it on my shelf to read soon. My sister got to it first, and came to me, saying excitedly, "It's from Cassia AND Ky's perspectives!"
After a bit of sleuth-work, I discovered that the chapter I read was about Ky, from his perspective - and suddenly, it all fell together. When I was actually reading the book, I never had an issue, determining which voice was which. I mean, the chapters are labeled one or the other, but I didn't need that. They both had a voice distinct form the other. That amazed me, especially when both are written in first person, present tense.
Vick, Indie, Eli, Hunter, and Xander were all really well-developed side characters, and I appreciate that. I didn't love some of the characters themselves, but loved who they were for the story.
And... I love Ky. Oh, how I love Ky.
Cassia really grew in this book. She matured and did selfless things that made her radiant. Her love for Ky makes her strong, glowing. Makes her want to live to the fullest. She loves deeply, cares so much, and wants to do the right thing. She doesn't always, but that's how we learn sometimes. Cassia is just like you and me, and that's the beauty of it.
STORY NOTES - Everything about this book had me grasping for more. It's so refreshing to read this story and get lost in it. I loved the journeys the characters had to face, together and apart. There were scenes that made me scream and squeal with joy, and others that had my heart aching with sadness. The emotions were so real and big and alive.
I love Cassia and Ky's love story. I love the reality of it, how heartfelt it is. I feel like a lot of young adult love stories are full of couples whose only issue is that they're unable to be together, and other dramatic situations of the same kind. Other than that, the relationships have virtually no issues, or very small ones. I have nothing against that - a few of my forever favorites are that kind of love story. But Ky and Cassia are different. Out in the wild, they are allowed to be together - but they struggle because they have disagreements. Because they have to ask, how much will I do for you? How much do I really love you? That is one of the many things I respect about their relationship. It's perfect, with every argument, every kiss.
Everyone has to sacrifice in this story, and that builds and strengthens the story/characters in a huge way.
SUMMING IT UP - Indescribably beautiful. It's like, I can't even express my love. Please, read Matched and Crossed. Please. Please.
For the Parents - Nondescript kissing. Recommended 13+(less)
The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton (#1) Pages: 352 Release Date: September 27th, 2011 Date Read: 2012, January 22nd-28th Received: Library Rating: 4/5 stars R...moreThe Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton (#1) Pages: 352 Release Date: September 27th, 2011 Date Read: 2012, January 22nd-28th Received: Library Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 12+
SUMMARY - Tiki is an orphan living in the slums of London. She takes care of the others - Toots, Shamus, Clara, Fiona; they're her family. When Tiki winds up in Buckingham Palace - and unknowingly steals a ring that belongs to the Queen - things get a little strange. Rieker, a very talented thief, pays Tiki more attention than is strictly necessary; Tiki begins to see people no one else sees; and on top of that, little Clara has become very sick, and they need money to buy medicine. Things are not as they seem; stories from Tiki's childhood are about to come true, and she must put everything, including her life, ont he line to stop a war that could very likely destroy them all.
MY THOUGHTS - Kiki Hamilton - you have written something extraordinary. Seriously, people, you all need to rush out a purchase this book. Now. I'm telling you - so much fun and adventure and heartfelt emotion is wrapped in this book like the perfect present. I'm still thinking about when I can re-read it - and buy it!! Such a shelf-worthy book!!
Kiki Hamilton has a way with words that gripped me. The story and characters did a good job at that as well, but great writing is a gem. Tiki was a great third person narrative and her voice and Kiki's style blended smoothly!
CHARACTER NOTES - I had a blast reading about Tiki. She's fun, smart, caring, and has her priorities straight. Even in some extremely dangerous situations, I found her to be quite level-headed. She's a 3D character who leaped into my world and brought all her adventures with her, immersing me in her world.
Shamus, Toots, Fiona and Clara are all well-developed and realistic. They made me want to care for them myself! All are selfless children who love each other. Leo and Arthur, the princes, were a crack up! They had great roles -especially Leo, who shared some of the story from his third person perspective alongside Tiki. I very much enjoyed his contribution!
The bad guys, the faeries, were...OMG. They made this book SO intense and added a darker tone to the plot. I'm fascinated to see what's in store for them just as much as the rest!
And Rieker...saving best for last! He's by far my favorite... Man, I sure would like to be his girl... ;) I can't WAIT for more of him in The Torn Wing! Gimme gimme!
STORY NOTES - This story takes about 50-60 pages to really get going. I loved those first pages anyway, because Kiki is talented-writer-extraordinaire, but after that things took off on a wild ride of pure awesomeness!
What begins with a simple act of theft ends in a striking end that seriously has me still gaping! The climax was fantastic and totally had me dying to know what would happen next! The story moves along very smoothly except for a few places where I wish things had been drawn out more. But the pace is quick and even, and everything is properly explained.
And, I mean, come on... The time period? Amazing! Masked balls? Who doesn't want to read about those? The slums of London contrasted with Buckingham palace? Brilliant! And I swear, that masked ball scene is the best scene in the book AND the best masked ball scene in any book I've read AND probably one of my favorite scenes I've ever read. Yes, I'm being totally serious. It was just much too beautiful to set aside as any old scene.
And I seriously cannot wait for more! What will happen with the school? What about the truce and the queen's health? As much as I want the answers NOW, I am content to know that there are three more adventures with Tiki planned, and for that I am grateful. They will be worth the wait, I just know it!
SUMMING IT UP - Immensely adorable, beautifully crafted, and a total whirlwind! The Torn Wing is guaranteed to be awesome. Start this series - only then will you understand how great it really is!
For the Parents - Some intense scenes, some blood. Nothing gory. Some very innocent kissing. Recommended 12+(less)
Everneath by Brodi Ashton (Everneath #1) Pages: 384 Release Date: January 24th, 2012 Date Read: 2012, January 10th-12th Received: ARC from NetGalley Rating...moreEverneath by Brodi Ashton (Everneath #1) Pages: 384 Release Date: January 24th, 2012 Date Read: 2012, January 10th-12th Received: ARC from NetGalley Rating: 5/5 stars Recommended to: 14+
SUMMARY - Nikki Beckett has just been released from the Feed - from Cole. She has spent a century in the Everneath, allowing Cole to Feed off her energy, her emotions, for his own gain and the gain of the Everneath. She'd wanted him to, begged him to. Her hurt had been too great. But now that she's back in her own world, her own time, she does not like her two choices - either return with Cole and possibly become Queen of the Everlings or go to the Tunnels and become a battery for the Everneath. She would rather sacrifice herself to the Tunnels than be fed off of forever, but as she grows stronger, she wonders if she can escape her fate? Whether she can or not, she's determined to leave right - not like last time, when she'd just fought with her father and her boyfriend had broken her heart. But here and now, her heart seems to be drawn yet again to that same boy. Can she do the right thing with her friends and family - and possibly evade the Tunnels? Time is running out.
MY THOUGHTS - Tomorrow is the release date of Everneath. Early in the morning, I will hurriedly get dressed, grab my keys and my purse, drive to the nearest Barnes and Noble, and purchase this book. I will probably scream happily and do a little joyful jig and stare longingly at the cover and thumb through the pages, my heart thumping excitedly, like I've received a surprising and long-awaited Christmas present.
This is not an exaggeration. I am 95% certain that's exactly how it will happen. The remaining 5% leaves room for variation in how much and/or what kind of screaming, jigging, and thumbing I will do. The rest is set in stone.
Wanna know why? I'm madly in love with this book. Every. Last. Letter. Down to the dotted I's and crossed T's. Down to every apostrophe and period and exclamation point. Down to the very paper it was printed on - no! Even better - the press that made it!! The fingers that typed that first draft of a manuscript and every draft thereafter should be covered with diamond rings and kissed by all who pass.
I. AM. AMAZED. (Understatement.)
CHARACTER NOTES - These characters all stand out as likable - whether because they're good good guys or good bad guys. Or good in-between guys you can't decide about yet. But even more than being good characters - they're memorable, every single one.
Nikki is a great MC. Her voice reflects her character, on the quieter side, a girl who loves deeply, someone who never wishes to hurt others but is hurt easily by others. She's not weak, just sensitive. She's sweet and smart, but she also runs from pain, doesn't like confrontation and will do all she can to avoid it. These things add up to make Nikki who she is - one of those perfectly imperfect characters who you respect from the start, even if they have some growing to do.
Cole and his buddies are mysteries, very fascinating ones, totally puzzling, in a good way. Cole is kind of like an antagonist, even though he's not exactly the "bad guy". I'm so intrigued, but still, he doesn't even compare....to....
*breath hitches in throat - heart stops*
Jack Caputo. Jack Caputo. Jack. Caputo.
Yes, you heard me.
J. A. C. K. C. A. P. U. T. O.
*Falls into chair with dramatic sigh, hand on forehead, fist at the chest* *Knees go week and whole form begins to crumple* *Heart begins to thump exceedingly loud and fast* *Mouth opens in pure awe* *Giggles like a schoolgirl at the very sight of his name*
Take your pick. Any will apply, all with apply. There are others, too.
I loved the way he was content just to be with Nikki. How honest he was. How he responded to Nikki's situation. How everything he did was so...Jack Caputo.
I could go on. Excuse me for a moment while I give a few fangirly screams.
STORY NOTES - I never can stay away from retellings. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't. They draw me. This story is kind of a mix between a retelling and a twist...of the story of Hades and Persephone, which makes it even more amazing because mythology is something else I find extremely fascinating and hard to stay away from.
Ashton's version does not disappoint, in any way. I feel like, after an accomplishment as great as Everneath she could write anything. I hope she does. I hope she writes and writes and writes - because this story is basically my one true love, my happily ever after.
Every moment had me riveted. I loved how slowly everything about Nikki's past was revealed, which gave me time to contemplate everything. It also built the characters more smoothly than if the flashbacks hadn't been there.
The romance held something more than your typical YA romance. Not only was it sweet and innocent, not only did it give me butterflies and heart flutters, but it had already happened! I won't say any more...I honestly can't describe it - you must experience it.
The pace of this book is definitely fast, but while I read it I felt like I was experiencing everything in a time frame of the six months Nikki had. But it still went by so fast...I don't know how to explain it. Just know that I was never once bored or wishing more would happen. This book seriously has allllll the good stuff!!
SUMMING IT UP - Everneath will evermore be one of my ever-favorites. Please hurry, Brodi and Balzer + Bray!! I'm just...speechless. Still. And so, so please. Buy. This. Book.
For the Parents - Some kissing, passionate but very sweet. Jack's past includes some sleeping around, but he wishes he could change that. Nikki is once afraid that Jack will pressure her to sleep with him but he says he won't, and doesn't. He is very respectful of her wishes. Some underage teens spend time at clubs, but nothing inappropriate happens. Some very brief, mild language. Recommended 14+
*This ARC copy was provided by NetGalley (thanks a million!!) in return for an honest review. I was in no way compensated; all thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.*(less)