Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins is a feel-good romantic novel. As expected, Perkins'...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins is a feel-good romantic novel. As expected, Perkins's second novel is full of moments that make the reader wish s/he had such a romantic dilemma. Fun, incredibly witty, and more than just a love story, Lola and the Boy Next Door is a fun and quick read.
A couple of the unexpected twists in the novel are Lola's two gay dads. It was incredible seeing how seamlessly Perkins weaved such amazing characters into a novel that deals with accepting differences. Lola herself is extremely unconventional. But it doesn't simply stop at her appearance, but at her choices in love.
My issue with Max, Lola's boyfriend, is how disgusting he is as a character. He treats people like crap and is way too intense. Not just that, but the way he makes Lola into a weaker character by degrading her and letting herself question who she is.
Lola is spunky and incredibly creative. She's also overly stubborn. Though I loved her story and the way it concludes, the path getting to her happily ever after is full of easily avoidable moments. If you still love someone, and you think about him/her always--would you not choose him/her? But I guess for drama's sake, the story needs that extra inner conflict to keep the book going.
Perhaps my favorite character is Cricket. Sexy, unassuming, and intelligent, Cricket Bell is one of the most appealing boys I've encountered in my romantic Y/A adventures. Unlike other boys, who wear confidence like an over-powering cologne, Cricket is a stumbling, nervous wreck around Lola. Which is ridiculously cute and charming.
The pacing of the novel is awesome. I loved that Perkins does not conclude her story where most authors would, but instead satisfies our curiosity by continuing until the events beyond the book are obvious. The dialogue is sharp and witty, effectively demonstrating the characters' personality.
What irked me a bit was how easily the whole Max issue is resolved. I mean, okay, I knew he was a dick from the moment he stepped into the storyline. But still. I figured there would be more... oomph! We spend most of the novel with a confused Lola, pondering what she will do, understanding her hurt and Max's jealousy, so the fix to the situation is a very soft metaphorical and nearly harmless punch at a huge, menacing issue in the novel.
Even with its faults, Lola and the Boy Next Door is a great read for a rainy day, or just for lounging around the house. I recommend Perkin's novel to fans of her previous novel Anna and the French Kiss. Also, if you love romantic Y/A fiction and protagonists who speak their mind and have their own special quirks, then you just might end up loving this one.(less)
Sophie Kinsella is one of my favourite authors and I was surprised when I realized how many books she’d wri...moreFirst appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Sophie Kinsella is one of my favourite authors and I was surprised when I realized how many books she’d written since I’d last read Remember Me?. Thankfully, I came to my senses and now own almost all of her standalone novels (not a huge fan of the Shopaholic series). One of the reasons why I love Kinsella’s writing so much is because of her fluent use of humour and romance in stories that show female protagonists learning life lessons. But mostly, and I won’t delude myself to say that this isn’t a huge part of why I love her writing, I love the romance. Kinsella’s novels ARE Chick Lit, no matter what other fancy genre titles may be put on her stories. These are empowering stories that encourage female readers to not settle for the expected, or to not settle for less than what they deserve.
The Undomestic Goddess did not disappoint in serving as a warning to all you workaholics out there. There is a life outside of the office, life is good and relaxing living in a middle-of-nowhere town where no one knows who you are or that you barely sleep, and that there might be an extremely well-built, sexy worker waiting for you. This is what awaits you in Kinsella’s novel. So, you workaholics, ever thought what type of life you’d be living if you weren’t attached to your phone or constantly checking your emails? Then, give this one a look if you feel the need for inspiration.
Samantha Sweeting is a workaholic lawyer living in London who always gets home late, rarely has dinner with her family (unless it is a quick dinner, full of beeping cellphones and business oriented conversations), and has just made a big, big mistake. In a state of shock, she leaves her office before the crisis fully erupts and jumps on a train. To where? She doesn’t know. In fact, she’s still going over her BIG MISTAKE. When she does get off the train, she’s suddenly in a new predicament when she gets mistaken for a housekeeper interviewing for a job at a big house, when she just needed directions. Now, Samantha has to learn how to cook, clean, and do other menial housework, while keeping her identity a secret. She begins to question her life when she sees that there’s more to life than business mergers, and when she unexpectedly starts falling in love.
There were a few things that irked me by the end of this novel and that’s mainly why I’m not rating it perfectly, but other than these little occurrences, I enjoyed the story!
1. One of the issues I always tend to have with Kinsella’s characters is how oblivious and/or rude they are before their transformations. I know that they change and become better people, but Kinsella sometimes takes it a bit too far. Samantha is one of those people that I would loath to meet when I am at work at my coffee shop. Before she becomes a girl who doesn’t care too much about her “important” career, Samantha is ruthlessly rude, narrow-minded, and intimidating. There’s even a hint at the beginning that her secretary hates her. But, one other thing that I really don’t like about Kinsella’s protagonists is how naive they can be before they have their moments of clarity near the end. This is a technique that Kinsella has adopted and I can see that it is one that a) sometimes works for her and b) sometimes doesn’t. The problem with sticking to this method of writing is that the stories become predictable, so onto my next point.
2. The storyline was a bit predictable. This didn’t deter me from the story because there were still moments where I was happily surprised, but some of the choices that Samantha made and what happened to her were a bit predictable. I don’t want to ruin the experience for anyone, but if you’re a fan of Kinsella you may have noted that the protagonists tend to take a huge step backwards from what they’ve learned throughout the novel near the end, right before realizing what they’ve done and righting their lives once more. Like I said in my previous point, it seems like Kinsella has stuck to this routine since it hasn’t really failed her yet.
3. One of the greater issues in the novel regarding her family isn’t really resolved. (view spoiler)[Samantha mentions a brother who had a breakdown and became a teacher several years before the events of the novel, yet Kinsella doesn’t explore this relationship further. Also, I felt deflated when Samantha’s horrible relationship with her controlling mother was left unfinished. To her credit, Kinsella did have Samantha stand up to her mother, but there wasn’t really any form of conclusion between the two. Yes, Samantha DID take control of her life back from her mother, but, at the risk of sounding cliche, couldn’t Kinsella have found a slightly better resolution between the two? This is one of the other problems I have with Kinsella’s characters sometimes, they are sometimes left as what they are instead of growing. I know Samantha’s mother was a one-dimensional character, but she was Samantha’s mother for goodness sake. (hide spoiler)] In all honestly, I was disappointed with this relationship, considering how well Kinsella has portrayed previous parent-child/child-in-law relationships.
1. Despite all of the negatives mentioned above, I am a sucker for chick lit. Kinsella’s writing is fluent and humorous, making it a quick and fun read. Unless you’re like me and look at the novel too critically. The Undomestic Goddess is no exception. I can always count on Kinsella for a good laugh.
2. Though a bit predictable, Kinsella has the gift of writing fun, feel-good stories. She creates worlds where foreign readers can feel part of the England and UK atmosphere with her witty and hilarious diction. I found myself enthralled with this small town that Samantha arrives in and the descriptions made me want to be part of that world.
3. Even if they are sometimes annoyingly naive, Kinsella’s protagonists, like Samantha, have strong voices that always mark the beginning of the story. Kinsella isn’t a writer who begins her stories with long descriptions or with an intelligent sentence. Instead, her protagonist’s voice is always the first thing the reader meets, and the personality of the character is immediate. For example, first line of The Undomestic Goddess is: “Would you consider yourself stressed?” (Kinsella). This line actually belongs to a questionnaire that Samantha is filling out and the interesting thing is that Kinsella, without having a fully developed, over-thought sentence, has already introduced the gist of Samantha. Is she stressed? Could this character be a workaholic?
Despite the issues that I found in The Undomestic Goddess, I enjoyed this novel. The problems that I did find are more a pattern in Kinsella’s writing rather than problems specific to this novel. But hey, I still love Sophie Kinsella and I can’t wait to read her future works. If you enjoy cute and fun Chick Lit with an edge (slight swearing, slight sex), then I suggest that you read Kinsella’s work. In the world of Chick Lit, Kinsella is definitely a name to keep an eye on and any fan of feisty protagonists should check out the other novels by this author!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I LOVED Morgan Matson's Amy & Roger's Epic Detour!
I'm a huge fan of books that feature adventures like road trips, so I was very pleased to learn more about the U.S. with Amy and Roger. But of course, this young adult novel doesn't simply follow these two characters on a geography lesson. Matson's novel touches on the subject of loss, friendship, love, and what it means to finally let go and grow.
The chapters that feature memories from Amy's past are a little annoying because, though they help us see who she is, they interrupt the current story. If Amy is trying to overcome her past, why do we have to relive it?
I did love the imaginative use of postcards, pictures, and little notes and drawings within the book. I love visual proof of what the characters are seeing, so this made Matson's book all that much more memorable.
This is where we are introduced to Matson's writing and I have to say, I'm a fan now.
For fans of road trip adventures, cute male characters, and quirky friendships! (less)
Ah, Kody Keplinger, how may I count the ways I love thee...writing? 1. Realistic characters 2. Realistic issues 3. Inspiring storylines 4. Strong, powerf...moreAh, Kody Keplinger, how may I count the ways I love thee...writing? 1. Realistic characters 2. Realistic issues 3. Inspiring storylines 4. Strong, powerful writing
I could seriously go on, but I won't because I'm sure any one else who has ever read The Duff and now Shut Out knows how talented Keplinger is as a writer. She faintly reminds me of Sarah Dessen, who enjoys exploring the complexities of teenage life, rather than just being another cliché.
Shut Out, for me, was written even better than Keplinger's previous novel. It's like she took the problems that her writing faced before and improved on them in this novel. Cash Sterling, the boy who's caught the protagonist's eye, is realistic, not insensitive nor arrogant like we see so often in the last few years of YA fiction, but he is aloof like we girls believe boys to be. He is REAL. Which makes him that much more appealing as a character.
Lissa is a powerful character who has a lot of anxiety issues to overcome, but her past is a simple explanation for such stress. I found her to be powerful because she was REAL. She made mistakes like any other girl would in real life and she learned from them. She faced moments of real growth and took them on full force, even if it was painful for her to accept the consequences and the realization that she'd been wrong.
I loved this book, I think, more because of how I understood what was going down (I've read Lysistrata so I was quickly able to see what Keplinger was doing) and how it was executed. I sympathized with the characters and was happy/angry with the moments that deemed such responses.
I recommend this book to any YA reader out there because, honestly, I know most of us love the supernatural, but sometimes we need real books like these to remind us of what the YA genre is really about. It's not just about sparkling vampires and heartbroken werewolves, but it is also about realistic teens facing realistic issues that affect our way of seeing the world.
Good job Keplinger, you've knocked another one out of the park. This is one author to keep our eyes out for. (less)
Reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky was like reading a present version o...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky was like reading a present version of a J.D. Salinger or Jack Kerouac novel. Sure, this may sound cliche, but it is quite obvious just who must have inspired Chbosky as a writer.
Chbosky's debut and sole novel has a rare quality to it. The novel is real, honest, and has a keen insight into life as a teenager that reflects not just on the early nineties, but on any time frame later on (or perhaps earlier). Written in epistolary form, Wallflower follows Charlie as he navigates life as a teenager and dealing with death, love, sex, drugs, alcohol, and abuse.
This novel is memorable and can easily become a reader's favourite read.
What I loved the most about this book is how unassuming it is. It tells the reader the barest of details, but offers so much more.
1. I really wish I could say there are no negatives, but I have to follow my rule of always finding something off-putting about a novel. One of the problems I have with Chbosky is how slow and sometimes tedious his novel feels.
2. Charlie is such an interesting boy who is privy to nearly everything, hence his given name "The Wallflower", so I was left frustrated at times when I wasn't told more about a topic or what is going on around Charlie. I guess this is one of the pitfalls of reading an epistolary novel (and why I'm not the greatest fan). We, as readers, are limited to what the writer of the letter/journal entry sees, hears, or experiences, rather than reading about every minute detail or beyond the narrator's point of view.
1. Chbosky manages to capture the troubles of young adulthood so honestly that it goes beyond mortification (about sex, drugs, and other taboo subjects), and delves into the truth of high-school and what it is to be a teenager.
2. Charlie reads a lot of books that reflect on what he experiences throughout the novel. Chbosky manages to tell us so much about his character via the books he likes to read, that I was in awe of his ingenuity.
3. Three words: Funny, Sad, Real. For me, as I devoured page after page, these three words defined my initial reactions to Charlie's life every time he encountered something new. I think it's a gift to be able to create something so powerful, yet elicit such a response from readers.
4. I can honestly say that this book was not predictable for me. Unlike some people I talked to, the ending was pretty clear to me, but only when I reached it. For some, you may have to read it again to catch the gist of what is going on and why Charlie is the way he is. The ending is powerful and breathtaking, despite the horrible realization that the characters experience.
5. I can't state enough how much I love Chbosky for exploring such a touchy subject. He weaves a web that ensnares his readers and plays with them by keeping those around charlie at a slight distance, so that it is mainly just the reader and Charlie, (because honestly, who else can the reader trust in this novel but Charlie?), until the pivotal end. Chbosky shows the aftereffects of a serious moment in Charlie's life that changes him forever, without actually stating it or alluding to it until the very end.
6. When Charlie realizes how infinite simple moments can be, I found myself relating and figuring out how my own life had similar moments. I liked that Chbosky made me reflect on my own life as I read Charlie's tale.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is definitely one of those books I will keep on my bookshelf and re-read when I want to be enlightened. Chbosky is a wonderful storyteller, it's really too bad he's only written one book.(less)
Ah, Patrick Ness, you have made a new fan over here in Ontario.
The Knife of Never Letting Go, the first installment of the Chaos Walking trilogy, ...moreAh, Patrick Ness, you have made a new fan over here in Ontario.
The Knife of Never Letting Go, the first installment of the Chaos Walking trilogy, tells the story of a young boy who lives on a planet that the characters refer to as "New World", as opposed to Earth being "Old World" (though in fact, we are never quite sure if "Old World" is in fact Earth, but that's a different matter). The boy's name is Todd Hewitt and he is a citizen of Prentisstown, a devilish place plagued with men who harbor horrible thoughts. The bigger problem with this town? Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts, which is kind of creepy and disconcerting when one reads the scribbles that Ness offers as a window into the characters' minds. Todd and his talking dog, Manchee, set off on an adventure throughout New World so that they can escape the horrors that await Todd when he turns fourteen and effectively becomes a man.
This novel took me for a ride, at first I found the writing hard to follow, not because of the storyline, but because of the intentional spelling errors. However, once you get wrapped up in the seductive story you soon begin to grow accustomed to the writing, almost becoming a member of Todd's little group.
Possess by Gretchen McNeil is a creepy story of a girl with psychic abilities that help her rid...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Possess by Gretchen McNeil is a creepy story of a girl with psychic abilities that help her rid people of demonic possessions. At first I was a bit skeptic of this novel, especially since it dealt with demons, exorcisms, and religion (I laughed when I watched the exorcist, so please try to understand my skepticism). But I was pleasantly surprised.
"Rule #1: Do not show fear.
Rule #2: Do not show pity. Rule #3: Do not engage. Rule #4: Do not let your guard down. Rule #5: They lie.
Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.
Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king."
McNeil's novel was a quick paced, fun read, though of course it had only a few flaws.
1. The protagonist, Bridget, was a bit stubborn and annoying. Characters would tell her that she needed to do something but she would protest instead of acting. Even near the end when she needs to pay attention, she still stubbornly fights against the facts. This annoyed me because of how naive and ignorant she was acting. This occurred several times.
2. Okay, sorry for this spoiler, but it's a pretty obvious thing: Bridget's mother and her love interest's father are in love. I'm not really disturbed with this, but others might not be so accepting of the fact that Bridget's soon-to-be boyfriend's father will be her step-father if her mother decides to marry him.
3. Though it isn't so obvious that it disrupts the story, there are some editing mishaps. Every once in a while I ran into awkward sentences that made me re-read the sentence twice to understand what was intended.
4. A bit predictable, but still a fun read.
1. The eerie tone was awesome. It was consistent and expertly done.
2. Ignoring the protagonist's annoying behavior, the other characters were intriguing.
3. The world created by McNeil is interesting because of how effectively she uses diction to create fear and intrigue for the reader.
4. McNeil's story is creepy as hell, which is incredibly hard to do effectively in a novel. But she uses a simple thing like an animal haunting a home and makes it a scary experience for the reader.
5. This isn't the first book in a series! Do you know how refreshing that is?
This was definitely one of those novels that was a surprise. If you want to get spooked, while enjoying an interesting story, then you should check this one out. I will definitely be looking forward to McNeil's work in the future.(less)
Jenny Han's The Summer I Turned Pretty has been haunting me from the moment I heard a short synopsis...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Jenny Han's The Summer I Turned Pretty has been haunting me from the moment I heard a short synopsis of it on a youtube video. For days I pondered what it would be like to read her novel; to experience what Belly experiences with Susannah's boys. Then, I finally gave in. It just happened to be at a very early hour. From the moment I read the first chapter, I knew that I had to finish Han's story. I knew that I needed to know what happened the summer that Belly turned pretty.
Fast-paced and reflective, The Summer I Turned Pretty shows us the hardships of first romance and the magic of summer. Belly's narrative has the reader jumping back and forth from the present to various other stages in her adventures down at Cousins beach. Though sometimes annoying, since this style sometimes disturbed the flow of the story, these instances are so small in comparison to the story's greatness that I barely even noticed them.
Han has a winner here and I'm only sad it took me so long to read it. I laughed, cried, and got pissed off with the characters. Belly isn't a girl who acts like she's thirty or ten, she acts like a girl who is age appropriate to her 15-16 age range. I loved watching the romance unfold, even though it was a bit predictable.
Conrad and Jeremiah are both two very different boys, and though Han has it set in Belly's mind that she will have Conrad, we still root for Jeremiah, the funny underdog.
The conclusion of the first installment in Han's Summer trilogy is unexpected and emotional. I haven't cried in a while after reading a book, but Han got me with her effective prose and dialogue. I felt giddy, sad, and bemused as the events unfolded, and I think other readers will too.
I recommend The Summer I Turned Pretty to those who enjoy a sweet summer read with a darker undertone. Dealing with cancer, depression, and heartbreak are the dark marks in this novel, but the illusion of summer will reel the reader in before drenching them in the sometimes cruel realities of life.(less)
I have a separate list for books that I am weary of reading, usually because of the great revie...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I have a separate list for books that I am weary of reading, usually because of the great reviews and hype about them. Anyone else would say: "Hey, if they're popular and have great reviews, why wouldn't you want to check the book out?" But in past experiences I've gone into books solely based on the recommendations and five-star ratings on book sites, and more often than not, I was left sorely disappointed.
Veronica Rossi's Under the Never Sky, thankfully, did not fall into the disappointment pile. This book was really, really good. Perhaps one of the top ten for me this year. Though the synopses of her book made me pause and contemplate if this was a book to read or pass, I'm glad I jumped the gun and read it anyway.
Let me just say that there are about four different covers for this novel, the one I've posted on this review (on my blog) is my favourite one because it shows BOTH of the characters, rather than just the female protagonist (since both her and the male protagonist have a say in the story). Rossi is a stunning writer and, cliches aside, I can see her making splashes in the YA literary world.
"WORLDS KEPT THEM APART.
DESTINY BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER.
Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.
Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.
If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers."
I only have one negative point about this novel:
I can't fathom how such a great book can have such a cliched and annoying ending. I've seen awesome novels greatly affected (negatively) by bad endings. I know Rossi is just building up tension for the sequel and such, but I personally think she could have taken a different route.
Also, this is such a copout for the next installment. It gives me the impression that the authors who do this (Kimberly Derting did something similar with her latest Body Finder novel, ugh) have no other way of attracting the reader's attention for the next novel because they may be running out of ideas.
Rossi's use of (view spoiler)[ending the novel with another character (usually in power) threatening one (or more) protagonist to create tension in the second book had the opposite effect on me. Her choice to have her character be manipulated by the antagonist made me wary of the next installment in the series. (hide spoiler)] I've seen it done before and it isn't always a success.
The positives, of course, are much greater in number.
1. I loved the world that Rossi creates in her debut novel. It's elaborate and creative.
2. Rossi's writing is fluid and beautiful, allowing the reader to effectively see into her imagination.
3. The character development was superb. At the beginning, Aria describes Perry as only a secluded person can describe someone new to her. Her fear and distate is so clearly stated that I felt bad for Perry, but he doesn't describe her any better. What I liked though is how slowly the two begin to see each other differently, until the point that they realize they're both just humans, whether one has special powers or not. This is powerful to me because it shows great character development and it teaches the reader an important lesson: we are all human, despite where we are raised or how we are taught. Though Aria's character at the beginning frustrates me, but her actions were plausible because of how she was raised.
4. Though it is nearly impossible to write a completely unpredictable novel, Rossi kept me at the edge of my proverbial seat. She didn't stop all the way through the novel... until the ending, but for that you'll have to reread my negative point about this novel.
Will I read the sequel to this, even though I obviously loved Under the Never Sky? I'm not sure. Again, the ending has me cringing with uncertainty as to where Rossi is going to take this monster of a cliche ending. Will I read any future works by Rossi outside of this series? Most definitely. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I bought Marie Lu’s Legend (the first book in the Legend series) on a whim. I’d read good things abo...more This review first appeared here: Book Addict 24-7
I bought Marie Lu’s Legend (the first book in the Legend series) on a whim. I’d read good things about Lu’s work, as well as bad on Goodreads and decided to check it out for myself.
Simplistic and bold, the cover of Legend, I assume, is meant to catch the attention of adventure seekers who are sick of the pretty girls in impossible dresses looking distraught on book cover after book cover. I know that talking about the cover of the book isn’t really reviewing it, but I think it is important to note the simplicity of it because Lu is already showing the defiant nature of her novel. If the popular choice for a novel is that of a woman crying, then you’ll see an impossible amount of weeping women in your local bookstore, but then imagine eyeing among all of the sad faces, Lu’s novel in all it’s silver and gold glory (nice colour scheme, by the way).
What was once the United States has becoming a feuding war zone. The Republic (where our protagonists reside) is at war with their neighbors, the Colonies. Much like other dystopian worlds, The Republic takes its children at the ripe age of ten and tests them so as to ascertain who are the weak, the passable, and the exceptional future citizens. June and Day, the protagonists, are as different as can be. While June is an intelligent, rich, and promising girl, Day is a poor felon on the run from The Republic. When June’s brother is murdered and all signs point to Day, she must decide what’s real and what is just a fabrication of The Republic.
What ensues is a crazy adventure full of suspense, fun, and of course, romance (you seriously didn’t think that there would be no romance, did you?) While there are some awesome aspects of Lu’s novel, there are some weaker points as well.
1. I know it isn’t fair to say that Legend is predictable because it is from two perspectives, but it doesn’t stop it from being true. While it wasn’t a huge deal like in some other novels I’ve recently read, it still bugged me. I wish that I could for once play detective with a book and be wrong at the end. In a good way.
2. This is a minor point that I hope Lu works on for her sequel: the speed of the novel. The action and events that are described in the inside flap fully begin to take place about halfway through the novel. I know that the author is building up suspense, but while her novel is beautifully written, it dragged a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with the creation of the background information for the reader. I also agree with Lu giving the reader time to fall in love with the characters by giving us more time with them before all hell breaks loose, but she could have moved it a little faster. I really loved this book, but this was an annoying aspect of Lu’s writing. Though I’m sure others would disagree.
3. Day can be kind of arrogant and I still don’t know how to respond to that. I remember reading what he thinks of pretty girls and what he’d do to them (at fifteen!) and thinking wow, that must be one advanced community! (And in fact, it probably is considering that they get tested at 10). I’m on the fence about his character.
1. The concept of this story appears unoriginal and overused, but Lu adds a special touch of something that gives the novel a bit of a push out of the usual dystopian novels. The rise of the political “we won’t take your crap” novels shows that some writers are playing with fiction in order to comment about society without adding magic, vampires, or werewolves into the mix.
2. Lu uses different coloured text for when speaking from Day or June’s perspective. Not only is this fun and helpful, but the effect acts as a way of showing more profoundly the differences between June and Day. Like with the cover, the artistic decision with the coloured text is genius.
3. I loved the characters. Not just June and Day, but the minor characters who end up affecting the protagonists’ lives. I liked that Lu didn’t overdo the thirst for blood that some characters have (not vampiric thirst, just crazy killer thirst) and that her true villains appear calculated and intelligent, rather than angry and vengeful. The side characters that work for The Republic are creepy as hell in their stoic appearances and I loved it.
4. I mentioned the problem of predictability, but let me tell you that Lu played with my mind. I am not going to write this spoiler down, but just remember that not everything is as it seems (this however is one instance, hence the negative side of this stays up-top).
5. I’m on the fence about the relationship of the two protagonists. I’ll have to wait for the sequel to decide whether I like it or not.
6. June’s character is a bit naive, but she’s powerful. She plans and eventually finds the truths that she needs to learn and she’s a good character to follow in this series.
If you like dystopian novels with a kick or young adult novels that can be devoured in one sitting then I recommend you read Legend.
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard is such a fantastic book that it's incredibly difficult to put into words just how much I love this book. The prose, the characters, the adventure (whenever I experience something new I call it an 'adventure', so I am a huge advocate for life's little adventures), the romance, the self-discovery... and I can go on, and on.
Hubbard's voice is powerful as she confidently guides her characters through the complex world of South America. She expertly navigates the twists and turns backpackers experience while discovering new worlds, creating an exciting "what will happen next?" vibe.
I could not put this one down, and when I absolutely had to because of work, or that little nuisance called sleep, I couldn't stop thinking about Bria's newly changed perspective of the world.
Okay, enough gushing, let's get serious.
Bria is a teenager who recently left a less-than-stellar relationship before her trip, which slowly reveals itself to be a learning experience for Bria. When she decides to embark into the unknown world of South America, she has no idea how her life will change.
What got me hooked onto Hubbard's novel was how nicely paced the introduction to her protagonist is. She doesn't linger on unnecessary descriptions or backstories. Instead, she ops for having the scattered revelations of Bria's life months before her trip be our guides into just how much Bria is changing.
Rowen, the potential love interest, isn't what you would call a conventional male character--at least, appearance wise. But as the two characters grow to know each other, we can't help but fall a little bit in love with Rowan. His past is rife with learned lessons, regrets, and innocence, making him tough, but realistic in that he too, at some point, was just as lost as Bria.
Hubbard's descriptions of the various stops along Bria and Rowan's journey make it so easy to pretend you're with them. You're smelling what they smell, tasting the delicacies they encounter, feel the heat of the unforgiving sun--reading Wanderlove is an adventure of the senses.
The message of finding oneself hit home with me. When I was a kid I always imagined traveling and exploring the world, but Hubbard's novel has encouraged me to widen my horizons beyond the stalemate that my life has entered. A book that affects me in this sense will forever have my respect.
Wanderlove isn't a book to be taken lightly. On the outside, it may appear like a chick-lit novel gone rogue, but don't be tricked. Some of the aspects of Hubbard's novel that make it a powerful read are the multiple life lessons, like never underestimate life, sitting within the pages waiting to be found by its reader.
I recommend Wanderlove to readers of contemporary fiction that has adventurous characters. If you like a good narrative and descriptions of exotic lands, then dive into this one. Bria's world is alive within the pages of this memorable young adult novel.(less)
Eileen Cook's most recent novel, Unraveling Isobel, is spooky and has a spunky female protagonist who isn't...moreFirst appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Eileen Cook's most recent novel, Unraveling Isobel, is spooky and has a spunky female protagonist who isn't afraid to speak her mind. The novel opens on a very pissed off Isobel as her mother relocates her to an island where her new step-father lives before the start of her Senior year. There, she learns the importance of not caring what others think, she finds love, and has a creepy and life-threatening experience.
Full of humour, suspense, and mystery, Cook's novel is a surprisingly quick read that will pull its reader in and doesn't let him/her go until the end. There are some unanswered questions which may annoy the reader at the end, but for the most part this is a great summer read.
I have to admit that Cook's best talent is her dialogue. I couldn't stop laughing on more than one occasion as her characters' personalities flowed out through their manners of speech.
If you're looking for a fast, fun, creepy, and addicting read that's also on the romantic side, then I would recommend Unraveling Isobel--it's worth the read. (less)
When I first jumped into The Fault In Our Stars I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into, considering that so many people were recommending...moreWhen I first jumped into The Fault In Our Stars I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into, considering that so many people were recommending it to others and that it had such an unbelievable rating. I've fallen into the trap of people recommending popular books that left me wondering why they were so successful in the first place many times before. I will admit, this was the first time I’d ever read a John Green novel and even though I have a friend who is always parading her love for him whenever we see each other, I’d always been reluctant to read any of his books... you know, on the chance that I might find out that I do love his writing and join the ranks of admirers breathlessly awaiting his next novel. But, in all honesty, I’m happy I read The Fault In Our Stars before his other novels, because now I know what Mr. Green is capable of.
Hazel is a survivor of stage IV cancer, through the invention of a fictional drug. She expects to live the life that she has been given by watching reality television, reading, and sleeping. But, when her mother decides that Hazel should attend a support group for child cancer patients her life changes in unimaginable ways. There, among the other kids in the “literal” heart of Jesus, Hazel meets Augustus Waters, the one boy who shows Hazel that there’s more to life than what she believes there to be and that she should use every moment of it.
The reason why I found it important to review the series as a whole is because the books appear to introduce an uninterrupted story, which is somethin...moreThe reason why I found it important to review the series as a whole is because the books appear to introduce an uninterrupted story, which is something that is rarely done successfully these days. May I remind you of various authors who enjoy over-explaining what has happened in previous installments? We all have authors in mind who do this, but I will not put anyone up for judgment here. Much like my previous review, the format I will use will be separating the good and bad things about this collection. Yes, I am now a fan of L.J. Smith because of her tale-weaving skills, but this doesn't mean that her novels are perfect. No novel is perfect, that's what makes them beautiful.
From the moment we meet Miles, the protagonist in John Green's Looking for Alaska, Green has already...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
From the moment we meet Miles, the protagonist in John Green's Looking for Alaska, Green has already found a way to intrigue us by stating Miles' a) love of last words spoken by famous dead people, and b) his search of an illustrious "Great Perhaps".
Though Green does on occasion tend to forget that he is talking to a younger audience, Looking for Alaska is the type of contemporary novel that urges its readers to consider what life is about and if we are all, in fact, searching for exactly the same thing as Miles.
Miles' attraction to Alaska Young is palpable. Between the innuendos and her constant need to remind both of them that she loves her boyfriend, the attraction is electric. But what makes this novel unconventional is that this is a romantic novel that surpasses all that we have come to expect of romance novels. Like Alaska, Green's book is more than the surface suggests and through dark hints and coyly hidden clues, the reader can somewhat understand what Miles slowly comes to understand. But again, much like Alaska, the novel can only tell us so much before we reach a dead end.
The prose is gorgeous. I've never been into marking up my books and making notes, but this was a tempting experience. Green has an incredible talent for metaphors and it made me want to note them down and carry them with me everywhere. I remember one particular quote that I still recall even days after having read it: "if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane" (Green, 88). This lyrical quote is beautiful, not because of how fluid the prose is, but because it is such an original and powerful quote, without appearing pretentious, that it can't help but be memorable.
Miles himself is a force, even if he doesn't realize it. He is beautiful because he is this character searching for something so beyond the mind and life of teenagers. He is also powerful because he first shows us an Alaska that is perched on a precarious pedestal, then slowly grows and teaches us to look beyond our youthful fantasies and search for the truth in our own individual worlds.
When I finished Looking for Alaska, it was like I'd just read a previously unknown J.D. Salinger novel. Miles may not have been as disturbed as Holden Caulfield, but he too was searching for something--these two great literary characters were searching for their own "Great Perhaps".
But this also raises the question of what a "Great Perhaps" truly is. Are we all indadvertedly searching for our own "Great Perhaps", or are we just stragglers chasing someone else's dream? Is what we see every day at school, our jobs, etc, really what we want, or is it just someone else guiding us? Do the "Great Perhaps"'s of life live in the people we meet, or is it something we find once those people leave us?
I recommend Looking for Alaska for any lover of contemporary fiction. Sure, the text is a little saucy, but a little controversy is good for the soul.
Looking for Alaska is one of those novels you want to devour, but end up savoring until the conclusion. Though you want answers, you are willing to wait--almost like Miles and his apparent addiction to mourning the Alaska he once knew, and will forever love.(less)
I'm a big fan of Meg Cabot. I have followed her adult fiction novels as they've been published...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I'm a big fan of Meg Cabot. I have followed her adult fiction novels as they've been published and tried to keep up with her large list of Young Adult fiction. Abandon is the first novel I read by her after reading her disastrous adult novel Insatiable. Thankfully, Cabot didn't let me down with this addition to her list of published works. Of course, this isn't a piece of literature meant to be passed on as a classic or a memorable novel, but just something that one should read for fun and without high expectations.
"Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.
Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.
But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld."
The story was a fun read, but I can't deny that it has many flaws.
1. I don't know if I liked Pierce. Her character is reminiscent of so many of the naive protagonists who act for "the greater good". An example of this is when Pierce enters a particularly bad situation with the intention of helping a friend, only to be saved by the very man she fled from in the afterlife. I wanted her to be more spunky, considering how she fought her way through hell to get back to the living, yet she becomes a stereotypical female protagonist who has to be told everything more than twice.
2. Ugh. Will we ever find a man who isn't an asshole all the way through the novel? Sure, I'm okay with a guy being a jerk at the beginning, but if he starts changing as the novel progresses then that's great, but this guy was a jerk all the way through... stating that he is trying to protect her... by controlling her?! How could she love a man who is controlling, follows her, and scares her? Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
3. By the way, for those of you who HAVE read this novel, Isla Huesos, where our protagonist and her mother move to after a divorce, does not translate to Island of Bones (that would be: Isla de Huesos). The correct translation of Isla Huesos is Bone Island. Fun times being Spanish and seeing errors like this in a popular book.
4. I was so irritated at the messiness of this novel. It felt like it was going all over the place. One moment, the protagonist is recalling a past event, and the next she is back in the present. If this happened a few times, okay, but this happened throughout the whole novel. She would basically cut short a thought she was having, only to continue it several chapters later more often than was necessary.
5. The dialogue, in my opinion, was a mess. Cabot would entice us by having her character ask a question or begin a thought, yet she would write paragraphs before writing the rest of the dialogue. It felt disruptive and it annoyed me to no end.
1. I love mythology, so mistakes aside, this was an entertaining book. I loved seeing how Cabot explored yet another popular genre and made it her own.
2. There weren't any editing problems that I could note, the only thing that bugged me was Cabot's writing style.
3. I liked some of the characters that Cabot introduces to us and I hope we learn more about them in the future.
The sequel toAbandon, Underworld, is already out and I'm a bit wary of checking it out, but I will probably end up reading it anyways because I can't really stay away from Cabot's books. I just hope that her story has taken on a more cohesive style.(less)
I've Got Your Number is the second Sophie Kinsella novel I've read this year and the hopeless r...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I've Got Your Number is the second Sophie Kinsella novel I've read this year and the hopeless romantic in me is ridiculously happy about this fact. Kinsella's standalone novel showcases the author's talent in creating a Chick Literature novel that will not disappoint her fans. With quickly paced writing, wit, and the occasional moment where your heart stops, Kinsella manages to write yet another successful novel to add to her career. Of course, with all of this being said, I suggest you read my review of The Undomestic Goddess, also by Kinsella, to see my already mentioned complaints about her writing since I will not be rewriting it on this review.
Poppy Wyatt is getting married to the man of her dreams. It doesn't matter that his parents don't really think she's good enough for their son, or that she feels inadequate beside his intellectually inclined family. At least, it didn't matter. But something bad has happened. Poppy has lost her engagement ring and to add insult to injury, someone has just stolen, STOLEN, her cellphone, so can you blame her for thinking that she is royally screwed? But then, when she thinks all is lost, she finds a cellphone in the trash and immediately makes it her own... until a stranger begins messaging her claiming that the phone belongs to his company. Will Poppy ever find her ring? Will she ever be able to please her future-in-laws? Is her husband-to-be really who she thinks he is? And more importantly, who is this stranger messaging her?
1. Poppy's character is trying to make herself appear more professional and intelligent, so she adopts the use of footnotes from her future-in-laws. Throughout the whole novel. I know that Kinsella was just trying to keep a sense of consistency, I've seen this before in other novels that employ a similar tactic. For example, Meg Cabot's Queen of Babble series has designs of wedding dresses at the beginning of each chapter. Cabot's use of the drawings visually display her character's love of design and her knowledge of wedding dresses, and are very entertaining. Kinsella's use of footnotes did not entertain me, they were annoying. I know it offered an "insight" into Poppy's thoughts, but Kinsella could have simply added these thoughts directly into the narrative of the novel. Okay, I am a bit biased. I extremely dislike footnotes and I find them very distracting and disorienting. Since I had to keep looking at the footnote to see what Poppy thought, I kept getting more and more irritated since I just wanted to read the story.
2. The binding. I know this probably only happened to me, but as I read, the binding snapped! And I don't mean in a joyful "yay, she's reading me!" way. Even now as I skimmed the pages, the front cover hung lazily, unhinged from the book. Fun times.
3. Of course, the characters. Why must Kinsella's characters be so aloof? Why must they be so naive? Clearly, I am just talking about Poppy. Poppy's decisions lead to an ending that was not only anticipated, but was not as strong as I thought it could have been.
1. The concept of texting is used wonderfully throughout the novel. Kinsella manages to write a story that mimics how most of us communicate with friends and loved ones nowadays. I know a similar technique has been used before, but in Young Adult novels. Kinsella successfully opens up this style of writing for adults in a fun and sexy way.
2. I love Kinsella's writing. It's so fluid that I always end up getting swept away. Despite all the negative things I've mentioned, give me a Kinsella novel and I'm good to go. Her use of dialogue makes it feel like you are standing there in the story listening to the characters chat. Kinsella is clearly not afraid of making her words sound like they would if they were spoken with emotion in real life. For example, if a character is worried, instead of writing, "What will I do?" Kinsella writes, "What will I dooooo?" Effectively bringing out the personality of the character through the use of dialogue and having some fun with it too.
3. Kinsella always gives little hints as to what her characters (antagonists and protagonists) are up to. I know this may be seen as a negative, but her little hints always make me feel like a detective. One of the good things about this novel is that yes, it was a bit predictable, but not every aspect was predictable. I would have never guessed the things I learned at the end. It was a fun surprise!
I am so happy that I still have one more Sophie Kinsella novel to read in my library. I will never tire of her work and look forward to any future novels by her. I recommend this book to those who enjoy Chick Literature and find witty, English female protagonists entertaining... oh yeah, and if you're a hopeless romantic, you might want to check out this one as well as some of Kinsella's other novels.(less)
I've come to realize, Huntley Fitzpatrick's My Life Next Door being the catalyst for this thought,...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I've come to realize, Huntley Fitzpatrick's My Life Next Door being the catalyst for this thought, the synopsis given for a book is often very misleading. Don't get me wrong, the summary of My Life Next Door captures the beauty of the romance in this novel, but what it doesn't do is show the depth of Fitzpatrick's storyline. Sure, there is wonderful romance that makes the reader smile with childish glee, but there are dark, relatable, and agonizing moments that help make this book feel whole, complete--accomplished.
Samantha, the protagonist, is a girl gifted with intelligence, beauty, and a wealthy family. Even still, she works hard to be someone besides the daughter of the rich state senator. As the novel develops, we meet Jase, the boy next door, and watch as the two fall in love. What I like about Fitzpatrick is that she knows that a good story goes beyond the romance. Her characters grow, change, and adapt to situations that force them to think outside of the expected norms. They are extremely relatable.
Fitzpatrick also writes very witty dialogue. She captures the tone of a teenager so acutely, that I couldn't help but be wrapped up in Samantha's commentary, or Jase's words. But it isn't just the teenagers' voice that she has downpat, it is all of the voices of the characters. Children, toddlers, adults, people with a slight case of OCD, a character with a drug/alcohol problem--she touches base with almost every type of character, and does so with grace, talent, and style.
My Life Next Door can be easily placed alongside Sarah Dessen's work. She captures life as a teen and displays it beautifully for her readers. The fun part is that this is Fitzpatrick's debut! Personally, I'm excited to see her rise in the literary world and I'm elated that I chose to read this book now, rather than later.
I recommend My Life Next Door to readers who have overbearing parents, or ominous friendships. To readers seeking love, or that happy feeling you get only from a great contemporary YA novel. If you're looking for beautiful prose and witty characters. I recommend this book to anyone who has read Sarah Dessen, Susane Colasanti, Deb Caletti--and other authors in that stream.(less)
Susane Colasanti’s Keep Holding On is an inspiring story that delves into the hard truth about bull...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Susane Colasanti’s Keep Holding On is an inspiring story that delves into the hard truth about bullying: parental or societal. Told in fast-paced prose, Noelle, the protagonist, describes her situation in much more gusto than would be expected in a child of abuse. She is not only emotionally abused by her mother, but she is abused by her peers who taunt her for being poor. But when a horrible event occurs that rocks the social order of the school, it is up to Noelle to decide if enough is enough.
Though predictable, Keep Holding On is one of those great young adult novels that more people should read. It isn’t the way the message is being sent that matters, it is the message itself.
Colasanti, in my humble opinion, does a magnificent job in creating a story depicting that we aren’t as alone as we believe we are. She shows us the power of friendship, love, and the ability to hold on.
I recommend this book to anyone seeking a quick read with a heavy message that will mean something to all of us, whether we want to believe it or not.(less)
Miranda Kenneally does something I love with her second novel, Stealing Parker. She makes it a compa...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Miranda Kenneally does something I love with her second novel, Stealing Parker. She makes it a companion to her debut novel, Catching Jordan, adds in little snippets about Jordan, but lets the novel sit on its own. Fun, light (despite the creepy aspect, though the coach is my age...awkward?), and extremely addicting, Stealing Parker is a homerun of a novel... give, or take a few minor issues.
Parker is a bad girl. But she's only that way after her mom's scandal rips her family apart.
What I liked was how Kenneally hints at why Parker is the way she is at the beginning of the novel, adding in little standalone lines that should make the reader think. That's one of the great things about this novel: Kenneally doesn't just tell the reader what's up, she nurtures the secrets, lets them slowly tease the reader, then offers one last clue so the reader can put everything together. That takes trust in the reader. A LOT of trust, and I respect her for it.
Parker was a reliable narrator. She was a careless and slightly boy-crazy girl that changed at the appropriate time. The pacing was good, so her character growth was believable and the reader can trust her to make the right decisions. Or at least, the right decisions for her.
The romance? The book is, let's see, twenty percent about friendship and the same for family, the rest is about romance. Though I loved the romance, I wish I could have learned a little more about Parker's family, or at least, I wanted to know what happened afterwards. But hey, it is Parker's story.
Religion plays a huge role in this novel and it kind of caught me off-guard. In all honesty, I'm not the biggest fan of books depicting religion as the way a person chooses to live his/her life because it feels like it is being pushed on the reader. I believe in God, don't get me wrong, but no matter what religion it is, I find it disconcerting when a novel tells me what a good Catholic or Christian girl is. (A novel that drove me crazy with this was All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin)
But the novel was so much fun, that I didn't let it annoy me. If you love romance, sports, and fun quick reads, then you might want to check this one out!(less)
The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks is the second novel I read by him. I don't know what it is, I don't...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks is the second novel I read by him. I don't know what it is, I don't know how he does it, but he is a genius when it comes to grabbing a reader's heart and not letting go until the conclusion. Mind you, I kind of cheated because I watched the movie first, but trust me when I say that it is well-worth the read.
I finished this book while out grocery shopping and I remember putting it back in my bag, finished, and with a tiny piece of my heart. The romance is so tender and the prose so precise, that I felt deflated somehow knowing that I wouldn't be reading the story of Logan Thibault and Elizabeth Green anymore.
As for the story itself, it develops just as slowly and sensually as the budding romance between the two characters. Yet, Spark creates an antagonist that completely counters the romance of the novel with his chauvinistic and sexist notions of his ex-wife and child. In a way, Keith Clayton, the antagonist, makes the story whole, shattering the illusion of a perfectly, happily-ever after romance. I noted that his character also grows the most in Sparks's novel. His anger increases, his actions became more stealthy, and his hate is so severe that I felt his evil intent through Spark's use of choice words--that's one hell of a skill.
Yes, the story develops slowly at first, but then it quickly commences as all of the characters become more and more intertwined. I usually don't read adult novels that feature romance as their main genre, but the beauty of Sparks's novels is that he manages to merge romance with suspense, and every other little touch that would make a reader addicted to a storyline. But, I devoured this book simply because it was good old-fashioned storytelling. Beautiful words, realistic characters who were nowhere near perfect, and the sense that something life-altering was about to occur at the end of every chapter happily satiated my hunger for a well-written story.
I recommend The Lucky One to those who are looking for a romantic, but not sappy read. If you've read Nicholas Sparks before, but have bypassed this one--don't. You should read it. Maybe you'll be like me and it will have you laughing and smiling simply because two characters fall in love.(less)
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting is the third novel in the Body Finder series, which has anoth...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting is the third novel in the Body Finder series, which has another installment set to release sometime in 2013. If you haven't read the previous two books, I suggest you do so (preferably The Body Finder; the first novel and the namesake of the series), since this book wasn't in the same league as the first book. When I first read The Body Finder, I fell in love with Derting's writing and the story she had to tell, when I read the second book I felt like she'd done it again (though not as strongly), and some say third time's the charm.
Yeah, not so much.
Sorry Derting, but though I did enjoy The Last Echo, it could have been so much better.
"In the end, all that's left is an echo...
Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet's talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals—including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe—it's Violet's job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice. When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by "the girlfriend collector" she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new "relationship" and Violet may have caught his eye...."
Okay, ignoring the fact that this synopses basically tells you all the events that happen in the previous two novels (Major Spoilers above), this synopses hints to us that this book is going to be another mystery that Violet tries to solve, while somehow catching the eye of the killer. I have some issues with what this novel promises and with what it actually gives me.
By the way, Derting's first two novels were devoured by me in less than two days, while this one I had to keep putting down because it just wasn't that addicting.
1. If you've read my review for Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi then you know what my biggest (and only) complaint for that novel was. The ending of Derting's novel must be the new offspring of cliches. The whole "mysterious antagonist" threatening the protagonist into pursuing something that is against their will is overkill, and I'm sorry, but for a novel that isn't as strong as its predecessors, this was a weak move. I get the whole wanting to have something to write about in the next installment, but not only was the unfolding of the conclusion predictable, but it was just plain annoying and frankly, I'm iffy about reading the fourth book.
2. Spoiler to those who haven't read the previous installments and want to in the future, The Last Echo BARELY touches on Jay and Violet's romance, which was the cutest thing ever (best friends in love type of deal, which I admit is a cliche as well) in the first two novels. Instead, we have the protagonist frolicking around with her emotions and this new "Rafe" character that registers as a big no-no for Violet. Plus, this whole "electrical shock" thing between the two characters whenever they touch is annoying. I understand that Derting is trying to create tension between her characters, but this is yet another cliche: the love triangle.
3. Violet kind of pissed me off in this one. She was immature and kind of dense. How does she not see what's right in front of her? Of course, she's always been a bit slow when it comes to understanding that she shouldn't throw herself in the way of danger, but Violet was dumber than usual in this installment.
4. This is just a personal question I want to ask to those who have read The Last Echo: Are you excited to read the constant reminder of the jewelry box music in the next installment?
I'll give you a hint: I'm not.
I know it sounds like I hated Derting's novel, but though some things annoyed me, I still fairly enjoyed it.
1. I'll hand it to her: Derting knows how to creep her readers out. Perhaps the strongest aspect of her novel is the murderer's perspective. Dark and delicious; it gave me the willies reading that at night.
2. Though I disliked the character of Rafe, it was cool to learn a little more about him and the rest of the team.
3. Derting may be flirting with cliches, but her writing is still fluid and imaginative, which makes her novel a quick read.
4. I disliked how this novel barely focused on Violet's relationship with Jay, or even Violet herself, but when Derting does bring up scenes with Jay they are just as fantastic and romantic as ever.
For some reason I feel like Derting's Body Finder series is going downhill. The series started so strongly, producing a similarly powerful sequel, but this third installment made me pause. I'm almost wary of what the fourth book will be like because I can kind of predict it as I write this review. The ending says it all: this author is running out of ideas. Of course, the one certain constant is the creepy factor of her antagonists, and if I could I would just read the excerpts from the points of view of the murderers in the future novels.(less)
I've been looking forward to Roth's latest installment, Insurgent, in the Divergent series for...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I've been looking forward to Roth's latest installment, Insurgent, in the Divergent series for almost a year. I was a bit wary because of how some series kind of die out as more books are added, but I put that fear aside when I finally got my hands on a copy.
Needless to say, I devoured Roth's novel.
Not only did I like it more than the first installment, but I found that it was stronger both in writing and character/setting development.
Of course, there were small mistakes here and there, but no book is perfect.
1. The romance between Four and Tris was so tumultuous this time around! Whereas in the first novel Tris's budding romance with the fellow former Abnegation member saved her and helped her develop, I found that the near-destruction of their young romance in the second novel was kind of depressing. I mean, sure, nothing is perfect when you're a teenager, especially when it comes to romance. I was getting a little frustrated when they kept fighting over the smallest things when there were so many more important things going on around them. If I had to pick the weakest part about this novel, it would be that.
2. There were some editing errors, but Roth addresses this on her blog here.
1. The cliffhanger. I know that some may see this as a negative, but the fact that Roth could get such a mass reaction over her ending is impressive. Not only did she write an ending that was not in the least bit cliche, but she made it open to so much interpretation that I commend her. I remember looking at the book when I reached the end and thinking, "That's it?! That's it?!" Yeah, way to go Roth.
2. The character development was brilliant in this installment. Whereas Roth just briefly explains who is who in Divergent, she makes her characters bloom under her pen in Insurgent. Tris specifically had more depth and it was easier to see what she was experiencing and how everything was affecting her. It kind of reminded me of Harry Potter in The Order of the Phoenix because he too had to deal with PTSD, and I felt her pain in her actions and thoughts just like with Harry.
I also loved the fact that Four wasn't perfect and he too was being affected by the conflicts around him, which seeped into his relationship with Tris--it wasn't a lovey-dovey relationship, but one that reflected the environment they were in. I admit it grated on my nerves that these characters couldn't be more romantic like in the previous book, but I also understand that this is realistic considering the context of their situation.
3. The dystopian setting was awesome! The description was brilliant and almost completely different from the previous book, especially since this time around we're taken all over the city rather than just remaining in dauntless (excluding the occasional adventure here and there.)
4. It was like Roth took all the negative criticism about Divergent and improved greatly while writing Insurgent. I was impressed.
5. Though a little predictable, there were a lot of surprises.
Basically, as you can note, I loved this novel. Will I read the next installment in the series? Hell yes. To not do so would be a kind of reading sin for myself. Of course, I'm a little worried and curious to see how she tackles the third book and if it will live up to this successful sequel, but I can only hope. (less)
I received a free copy of The Accidental Siren for review purposes.
The Accidental Siren by Jake Vander Ark is a young adult debut set in Lake Michigan that follows twelve year-old James during the summer of 1994. This particular summer is unforgettable for young James since it is the year he experiences his first love. Beautiful and surreal, twelve year-old Mara is the object of every boy’s dream, yet her attraction goes beyond reality and touches on the supernatural.
Vander Ark successfully recreates 1994 for the reader by using references to popular artists, films, and trends of the time. He openly warns the reader of the prejudices that were still active in the early nineties; racial discrimination being an important subject in this novel. The Accidental Siren also explores the difficulties of growing up. James, a prepubescent boy when we meet him, struggles with his weight, hormones, and changing body as the summer progresses.
James, as a protagonist, is unreliable. As the frightening conclusion approaches, he does nothing to show us that he is affected by what he’s learned about Mara. At times, as is pointed out within the story, the reader is left wondering if James is in fact relaying the truth, or if everything we’ve learned from him is all an illusion caused by obsession.
There are moments where Vander Ark’s characters appear unrealistic. However, an older version of James reflects on particular events in certain chapters, reminding the reader that this is an adult’s retelling of a childhood memory.
Written in beautiful prose, Vander Ark’s tale warns of the perils of obsession. The setting is described using flawless metaphors that paint James's world in the reader's mind. The plot becomes more haunting with every chapter, effectively dragging the reader deeper into the story with every twist and turn.
Jake Vander Ark's debut is a wonderful book to read not just because of how original it is, but because the writing in itself is something magical that the reader can't detach him/herself away from.(less)
I received a free copy for review from the publisher.
Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Fanny Merkin (A.K.A. Andrew Shaffer) is a parody of E.L. James’s series, Fifty Shades of Grey. The debut encompasses various other aspects of pop culture, offering witty commentary from both the protagonist, Anna Steal, and her romantic interest, Earl Grey.
Shaffer is aware that Anna is not the most reliable character in his book and he plays with this revelation. Anna acts as his example when he criticizes the weak female protagonists literature has adopted, the narcissistic male billionaire characters, and the farfetched plot twists employed in recent novels.
Shaffer persuades his readers to notice the flaws in our current society. He challenges us to question who we are idolizing and what the effects of such adoration could be. He also comments on the state of the modern novel. A terrifying prediction that rings true if we continue to entertain weak protagonists and the relationships they have with other characters. Whereas humorous for the most part, this novel is a serious examination of the ludicrous fads overwhelming society.
Shaffer’s writing is fast-paced, fresh, and entertaining. This book does require some knowledge of Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight, since the underlying dark humor isn’t always blatantly clear. A person not privy to the general plots of either books may not understand the meaning behind Shaffer’s satirical novel.
The reader must observe Shaffer’s ability to comment on the cliches of erotic and romantic literature without seeming pretentious. This can be seen when he creates a hysterical mood that shatters the illusion of romance by overusing cliched words. The word "Gaze" appears to be one of his favourites.
There are moments where the humor tends to feel a bit forced, the jokes slipping right past me. But for the greater part, I could not stop laughing. Shaffer is able to draw out humor from content that is disturbing in nature.
Andrew Shaffer’s book is a mean feat, considering he wrote it in 10 days. A satirical look at pop culture and our society, Fifty Shames of Earl Grey is a comical debut that will have you giggling until the conclusion.(less)
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Amy Spalding's debut, The Reece Malcolm List, is an interesting young adult novel that dissects the sometimes difficult relationship between parents and their children. Despite the dark underlying themes of abandonment, trust issues, and less-than-stellar home lives, Spalding's novel manages to capture the essence of teenagehood in this fantastic debut.
Devan is a sixteen year-old teenager whose life changes drastically after her father dies. Not only does she have to mourn a difficult relationship with her father, but she has to maneuver her new life with her previously absent mother.
I love Spalding's writing style. Quirky, sarcastic, and unforgiving, Spalding shows us how difficult this new life is--not only for Devan, but also her mother. The dialogue is sharp, thanks to the many diverse characters, and the story is well-paced and inviting.
The idea of writing a new entry every chapter regarding the little things Devan knows about her mother is brilliant because it is both original and heartfelt. Devan is unfamiliar with familial love, so it is sweet to see how her small list progresses throughout the novel.
One of the coolest aspects of Spalding's novel, however, is the subject of musicals. What I admire Spalding for is how rather than challenging Devan's love of music and theatre, she gives Devan an opportunity to better herself through her one true passion.
Devan is an intriguing character. She shows pride and confidence--so much so that it flirts with cockiness--when it comes to her musical talents, yet she has a difficult time facing others and speaking up. Her inability to be more active vocally most likely stems from her lack of a caring home, and it is as months pass with her mother that Devan begins to grow as a character. It is always interesting/fantastic when a character's persona is affected and changed (positively) because of the world around her.
The romance in the novel is extremely relatable. Unlike other novels that feature straight to the point romance, Devan is a true teenager figuring out love through trial and error. Nothing comes easy for Devan, as it usually does not for real life teenagers, and I think this will make her even more relatable with young adult readers.
I recommend The Reece Malcolm List to fans of contemporary literature for young adults, teens who are searching for an understanding between obvious love and difficult love when it comes to parents, and readers who simply want a powerful story that is occasionally freckled with teenaged moments of growth. (less)
Reading Stephanie Perkins’s novel, Anna and the French Kiss, is like taking that European backpackin...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Reading Stephanie Perkins’s novel, Anna and the French Kiss, is like taking that European backpacking trip you’ve always wanted to take, yet haven’t taken. You go in expecting what everyone else describes—the scenery, the experiences, the wonders of a new world— and, much like with life, your experience can always go either way. In my case, I received all that was promised tenfold. Perkins’s novel showed me the beauties of Paris through the eyes of Anna, the protagonist, who is blind to the obvious, yet manages to show us her gorgeous surroundings.
Full of romance and moments that will grasp at your heart, Anna and the French Kiss is a must read for teenage girls. Anna is an extremely relatable character who grows throughout her experience. Though slightly predictable, this novel will still clutch you in its grips and won’t let you go until the heartwarming conclusion.
Whereas other novels would suffer from so much drama and predictability, Perkins manages to blend the two cliches beautifully together to create something new.
Anna and the French Kiss is an experience that needs to be savored, as well as devoured. Perkins’s writing is nearly flawless as she takes the reader on a tumultuous ride of romance, growing up, the hardships of imperfect parents, and friendship.(less)
Kendra C. Highley's Matt Archer: Monster Hunter is a young adult novel t...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy for review
Kendra C. Highley's Matt Archer: Monster Hunter is a young adult novel that follows fourteen, soon-to-be fifteen, year-old Matt as he navigates a supernatural world full of monsters and a mysterious life-altering prophecy. With a hint of teenaged angst towards young love, and spine-tingling descriptions, Highley's novel is a book that will make the reader both giggle with anticipation, and squirm with what Matt encounters.
I loved the characters of Will, Matt's best friend, and Matt because they help each other navigate the difficulties of growing up. Will's wit matches well with Matt's increasing strength as the protagonist. Will is the sidekick to the still growing and learning hero, and he fits the description of best friend, confidante, and unrelenting support throughout the whole novel.
When I first started reading Highley's novel, I wrongly assumed that since Matt was only fourteen at the start this would be a naive and slightly adorable story. Let me warn you, however, if you have a weak stomach, perhaps you should steer clear of this one. The story gets increasingly harder to stomach as Matt progresses deeper into his monster hunt, but it is well worth it. Highley doesn't save us from any of the disturbing descriptions and I applaud her for that. Her novel has a certain originality thanks to her fearless attempt at creating a successful horror story for the young adult audience.
Highley also has a great sense of pacing in her novel. Very rarely is there a lull in the story. The only instance where the reader might pause is during the explanation of why the monsters exist and the part Matt plays in the hunt for evil. The rush of information is a bit overwhelming, but is useful for later on in the story. Highley weaves a story that is easy to follow and is hard to put down.
If you're looking for an exciting book with tons of action and a slightly original monster story, then you might like this one. Highley offers the reader an insight into an imperfect protagonist that is growing as the story progresses, metaphorically and physically. He is also someone who isn't emotionally impervious to his surroundings, which makes him very relatable and realistic, despite the fictional situation.(less)
Meg Cabot, for me, was leaving a lot to be desired with her most recent releases in the young adult...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Meg Cabot, for me, was leaving a lot to be desired with her most recent releases in the young adult age group, and even her vampire series, which she released a couple of years ago as an adult fiction series, was a disaster.
Thankfully, she came back with a vengeance by writing another installment in her Heather Wells Mysteries series. After having read this one, my faith in Cabot is slowly returning. Save for the aforementioned books, I have always been a fan of her adult fiction.
Size 12 and Ready to Rock is a fun, romantic, and exciting addition to the series. We see Cooper’s sexiness and Heather’s determination to do the right thing—and solve a murder! I was hooked from the first page, until the last. The pacing is quick, the mystery is intriguing, and the romance is delicious.
With the final installment in the series set to release in just a few short days, I’m extremely excited to see just what Cabot will write next!
If you haven’t read this series, or any of Cabot’s adult fiction…what are you waiting for? (less)
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Meg Cabot is back with the final novel in the Heather Wells mystery series, The Bride Wore Size 12. For a while I was giving up on Cabot since her latest work has been letting me down (don’t even get me started on her latest young adult series, grr!), but then she published the last two installments in the Heather Wells mystery series, and yes, I have come back to the Meg Cabot adult fiction club.
Written in the similar witty style of all her other books in the series, Cabot finally concludes Heather’s story—but not before throwing in one more fun murder mystery and a heaping dose of romance. I loved reading about a female character who isn’t perfect (physically) getting the guy, and I also loved the fact that he was perfect in her eyes, but wasn’t this sex god in everyone else’s eyes. I can’t give much away, because this is obviously the last book in the series, but let’s just say that Heather finally gets her happy ending.
The mystery isn’t the toughest to figure out, but it is fun to watch Heather’s strong will to survive and protect the kids living in her building. I loved that Cabot kind of tied up the loose ends, unlike other authors who tend to forget to solve any discrepancies mentioned earlier in a series.
Cabot delivers her fun writing style in this light concluding novel that will have the reader eager to solve the mystery plaguing Heather’s world. The pacing is quick and the dialogue adds fantastic humor to the novel. I must say that though this wasn’t her best work, it proves to me that somewhere underneath the poor novels written in the past few years, the old Cabot still lingers. I love that she stays true to her adult series—it gives me a strange sort of hope.
If you like Cabot’s work circa Queen of Babble and The Boy Next Door, then I definitely recommend this series for you. It’s light, it’s funny, and it has some pretty sweet romance. Heather is a character that’s tough and unique, and from the very beginning of the series, it’ll be difficult for the reader not to fall in love with her. (less)