I had high expectations going into Lauren Oliver's Delirium, since Before I Fall is one of my favoriReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I had high expectations going into Lauren Oliver's Delirium, since Before I Fall is one of my favorite young adult novels. I was also very excited because of the incredible reviews it has received since its publication.
Oliver has created a complex world that promises a very original look at the topic of love. A story like this calls for a powerful protagonist that can handle the pressure of standing up against the oppressive environment s/he lives in. An example of powerful characters in a similar environment would be Connor, Risa, and Lev from Neal Shusterman's Unwind.
In my honest opinion, was Lena a strong enough character and/or narrator for a novel that explores such a complex and political storyline? No. She was not only weak, but incredibly unreliable since she didn't know where she stood, or what she wanted for most of the novel--though the reader is made to believe that she does.
Lena's timidness was beyond irritating. Her fear of everything is debilitating and I spent a good portion of the book rolling my eyes at her comments of how scared she was, or how "love" was this big bad monster.
I know she was conditioned to fear love, and change can't come about in a short time frame, or else the believability of a story goes down. But honestly, up until nearly three quarters of the novel, Lena was still acting completely powerless--Even though she knew the truth. One sentence that was beyond frustrating, and I quoted it on my Goodreads progress section, stated the following: "There's no way I can disobey my aunt, so I follow her..." (Oliver 310). This sentence reeks of powerlessness, but even worse, it makes me think that Lena simply chooses to not look at her other options.
The reason why I've rated Delirium so low is because of Lena. It's been a while since I've skimmed over the last few pages of a book simply to get away from a character.
There were also a few inconsistencies, and the lack of commas where they were needed drove me nuts (blame it on my picky reading preferences). An example of an inconsistency would be (view spoiler)[the moment when there is a raid. If the procedure removes fear, love, pain, etc, why do Lena's aunt and sister show obvious fear? (hide spoiler)]
Oliver's world is so detailed, complex, and I will admit, beautiful, that it is completely off-putting that she has such a weak protagonist. As with Before I Fall, the writing is imaginative and the idea of love being illegal, though I had a few doubts about the subject, is very intriguing and original.
I really wanted to like this one, I really, truly did. But instead of sighing at the romance between Lena and Alex, I was groaning because of her immature actions. She loved Alex, so why was she so scared of him? If she is destined to be this powerful heroine, why does she lack any real power and/or passion for what is right within her? Where is her drive to be the powerful character she needs to be?
Characters are flawed, I know this, but she was unrealistically flawed given her situation. Hana, her best friend, was much better suited for the pressures of what Lena faces. In a way, Hana would have made a much better protagonist.
Lena made an interesting comment about who she is at the beginning of Delirium and at the conclusion: she is an in-between girl (Oliver).
I agree completely with this statement, since Lena spends most of the novel in an in-between place. She neither moves forward as a character, nor does she truly revert to her old life--though she wants to, her life is now tainted by what she's experienced.
Her in-between state consists of various questions: Should she love Alex? Should she trust that he is right? Should she follow in the footsteps of her mother, but without the dire outcome? Should she think for herself? Should she fight for what is right?
Lena's assessment, though posed as a simple explanation of her appearance, says so much about her, that it makes perfect sense why she would be so indecisive. ["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"]>...more
I finally read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan after having friends recommend it anThis review first appeared on my blog:Book Addict 24-7
I finally read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan after having friends recommend it and urging me to read it. Even though I devoured it, I felt on the fence about whether I liked the novel or not.
While well written stylistically, the content had me frowning at various points. This was definitely a strong story that was fraught with plot holes and weak character development, especially with the protagonist Mary.
"In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?"
Before I give the impression that I disliked this novel, let me make something clear: Novels with protagonists who blindly follow their own selfish desires in a world that has many greater problems, despite the characters around them, drive me insane. Sure, the concept was cool and I enjoyed the terror that the characters experienced, but it wasn't anywhere near a perfect book for me.
1. I don't mean to be fickle, but this novel needed a bit more editing. I usually don't mention editing issues if it isn't so blatant that it disturbs my reading, but this novel had it enough times to make me comment on it. I know some editing errors are little mistakes that become nearly invisible in a novel of three hundred or more pages, but yeah, these errors occurred everywhere. Grammatical errors, typos--ugh.
Another point under the whole "editing" thing: awkwardly phrased sentences. When this occurred it would disrupt my reading and I would actually try to rearrange the words until they made sense. I shouldn't have to do that with a published book!
2. I really, really disliked Mary. She was naive, selfish, immature, indecisive and annoying. What kind of person risks the lives of those she loves just so she can see the ocean? Yeah, I get that the ocean is a metaphor for hope and for faith, but come on. It was so drawn out, I wanted to pull my hair out.
Since I'm talking about Mary, why don't I bring in the other characters as well? The only character that I really cared for was the protagonist's love interest, Travis. He was, in my opinion, well developed, but his relationship with Mary fell flat. In fact, many relationships with Mary fell flat. Why? Because she was a weak protagonist. The other characters tried to be developed, but most of them failed.
3. There are so many things that left me confused at the end! Some questions were left so open-ended that it is very difficult for me to come to a conclusion. I know there is a sequel, but I don't know if I'll be reading it.
4. By the way, how can a village in the middle of ass-crack nowhere know what salt tastes like? I've always been curious about that with certain books. If you are so far away from the ocean and you have no way of going into the outside world, how can you procure salt, let alone know what it would taste or smell like?
5. The romance wasn't as strong as it could have been because of Mary's constant whining and unhappiness.
6. The beginning was slow! I was expecting some great adventure with zombies, but didn't get my wish until well into the novel.
1. Ryan's book had some creepy moments, effectively scaring me and making me curious. Ryan is also gifted at eerily describing surroundings.
2. When certain characters died I actually cried. Yes, I cried. Ryan's characters may be weak, but she has a way with words so as to rouse a reaction from her readers.
3. Let's ignore for a moment the writing and focus on what a perturbing picture this plot paints for us. We have a post-apocalyptic world where cities have fallen and zombies have devoured most of humanity. Then insert a character who's need to see the ocean is as dangerous as literally jumping into a hoard of zombies. If anything, Ryan succeeds in showing the fragility of humanity and the dangers of curiosity.
4. Let's face it, Ryan teaches us that a girl can dream. Even if there are deadly consequences.
5. Ryan is pretty good at redeeming characters when they've failed the reader's expectations. See point two in the positives to see what I mean.
6. It was pretty cool when Mary finds the old newspaper clippings and pictures. I think that was one of the neatest parts of this novel.
With so many mixed reviews, it's easy to be indecisive when it comes to deciding whether I liked or disliked the book. For me though, I'm going to remain on the fence because though I obviously disliked various parts and characters, I didn't hate the story. If Mary were more mature and less selfish, then this book would have gone down a completely different path. Instead, Ryan made her character slightly cliched and just a nuisance....more
James Patterson’s 1st to Die is the first installment in the Women’s Murder Club series. This mystery thriller follows homicide inspector Lindsay Boxer, a member of the Women's Murder Club, and her search for the elusive murderer of newlywed couples.
Lindsay is difficult to find believable at times because of how Patterson portrays her. Though he does a marvelous job of creating her world and introducing her to his readers, Patterson’s male voice sometimes sneaks into Lindsay’s behavior, making her hard to connect with as a female reader. However, Lindsay’s medical struggles with Negli's aplastic anemia, the body's inability to produce red blood cells, and her growing love affair, adds depth to the novel.
The other women in the Women's Murder Club: Claire, Cindy, and Jill, all represent a faction in the world of law and I looked forward to the chapters where I could learn more about them, but I was left disappointed. If these three women are a big influence on how the grisly murders are solved, then why does Patterson bypass their backstory? And why does Jill, the assistant D.A. prosecuting the suspect, make an appearance much later in the book?
Another issue I encountered was the blatant attack on men. Patterson’s struggle to write from the viewpoint of a female character resulted in bitter women. The Women’s Murder Club is created for the sole purpose of proving that women can solve a mystery without male influences. Interestingly enough, a contrasting situation is witnessed between the suspect and his relationships with other women. As a result, Patterson’s novel is an exploration of the hindrances of gender in a book that investigates sexual murders.
The plot is masterfully written. Patterson surprises his reader with nearly every cliffhanger, creating an almost unimaginable and disturbing conclusion. His writing style welcomes the reader to join the investigation, since Lindsay is also learning as the novel progresses.
The chapters written from the murderer's point of view are disturbing as he offers the reader clues about his identity and the final minutes in the victims' lives. From the killer's reaction to his first kill, to the haunting murders themselves, Patterson's world promises to enthrall the reader with his intriguing, but nauseatingly realistic writing.
Well researched and an eerie insight into the world of serial killers, 1st to Die is a mystery thriller that will keep the reader guessing up until the final sentence of the epilogue....more
Fake Boyfriend is a young adult fiction book. I love some of Kate Brian's other novels, but this one was only so-so for me. A bit predictable, but stiFake Boyfriend is a young adult fiction book. I love some of Kate Brian's other novels, but this one was only so-so for me. A bit predictable, but still a cute, light read. Brian introduces us to three close friends who each have romantic issues to be solved by the end of the story. Isabelle is set on dating a bad-boy that is all bad for her, Lana has a tremendous crush on the girls' fourth best friend, a guy, and finally, Vivi is a girl whose blunt and pushy attitude always sends boys running. In order to keep Isabelle away from her bad-boy ex, Vivi decides to take matters into her own hands.
I don't know what I was expecting when I started this one, but I know that it wasn't something this predictable and... cutesy.
I read All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin a while ago, but I've been putting off thiThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I read All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin a while ago, but I've been putting off this review because of all the things that bugged me. There are a few redeeming qualities about Zevin's novel, that's why I'm not giving it one star. I'm not even going to write my own summary for this one, I'll just copy and paste the one from Goodreads.
"In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family."
Zevin had such a cool premise for her story. Her novel could have easily been one of my favourites this year, but she wasted it by including pointless tangents, way too many religious references (hey, I believe in god and all, but I don't advocate books that keep reminding the reader of what a "good catholic" girl is), and disconnected emotions.
1. As I've already mentioned, the religious commentary. There were moments where Anya would simply start talking about what made her a good catholic girl and how she should behave. I'm okay with characters commenting on their religious beliefs because it helps the reader construct the characters in his/her mind, but I don't like it when authors drill their ideas into the reader through their words in a book.
2. The chapter titles drove me crazy. I understand the whole hinting-at-what's-going-to-happen thing, but Zevin full on tells the reader what's going to happen. For example: "VIII. i am sent to liberty; am also tattooed!" Ugh, please.
3. The dialogue drove me insane. Especially after the second half of the novel (where the storyline goes down the hole). Zevin adopts the tactic of telling the reader things, rather than showing him/her what's happening. Here's an example: "I told him I'd rather not," (Zevin 292). I know some of you might not find this a problem, but insert the above example into various points in the novel where dialogue can easily be used to "show" rather than "tell" what the protagonist is thinking.
4. I really, really disliked Anya. Her attitude and her actions drove me insane. It was like looking into the mind of a child or a naive woman. I understand why she did some of the things that she did, but her mentality was just annoying to watch unfold.
5. The novel had so much potential! I was so engrossed in the story for the first half that I could barely put the book down, but then Zevin kills it. She stuffs the plot with needless tangents like Anya's messy romantic life, which by the way, takes up a good chunk of the second half of the novel, completely overriding the idea of mob life and the illegalities of chocolate.
I'm basing these on the first half of the novel.
1. This was an intriguing story that had me wanting to know what would happen next.
2. The writing was fluid, even with the religious doctrine.
3. The story showed potential, until (view spoiler)[Anyawas released from prison (hide spoiler)]. If Zevin had worked on this part of the novel more, then she would of had a kick-ass novel, but instead it was like the story flew out of her hands and took a life of its own, and not in a good way.
Just writing this review tired me out, imagine how I felt after reading the novel.
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Rock and a Hard Place by Angie StantReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Rock and a Hard Place by Angie Stanton is a heartbreaking novel that explores the power of love and one’s self. Stanton’s characters prove that sometimes you have to learn to be able to handle life your own way before relying on others. With that being said, this young adult novel is also a pretty clear case of insta-love connections, fantasies being realized, and incredible cruelty. The pacing made for a very fast read and the female protagonist’s hardships will shamelessly pull at the reader’s heartstrings. Basically, Stanton’s novel plays like a sad violin song that will have you tearing up.
Stanton’s novel is also the first in the Jamieson Collection, which is a series that follows three brothers who have become famous through their band. The novel is written from both Libby and Peters’ perspectives, which is both a good and bad thing. Good, because it allows us to witness what each character is thinking and experiencing, and bad, because it added to the drama of the story.
Stanton makes Libby’s character so beyond salvation that the reader may wonder how a writer can be so cruel to her own character. On the other hand, though, I have to give props to Stanton for offering Libby the ultimate salvation: Peter, the rock star. Think about: what are the chances that one of the saddest female characters in young adult fiction (for the sake of this review) meets the perfect and most selfless guys—who happens to fall in love with this raggedy girl in the span of ONE ENCOUNTER?
Don’t get me wrong, I liked this book because it was cute (romance-wise) and because the need to know what was going to happen to Libby next was too addicting, but I’m not going to pretend that it isn’t extremely unrealistic. I know the idea of girls attracting a rockstar’s attention is something that is explored a lot in romantic novels, but when it’s to the extreme seen in this novel, it becomes a bit too much.
Okay, I’m being mean.
This was a GOOD book, especially if you’re like me and shamelessly love romance in a story, but I just wish that Stanton had made things a little less dramatic and Libby a little less frustrating. She finally does grow a backbone somewhere in the book, but the reader is still taken through her weak phase—and when I say weak, I don’t mean a character trait, I mean the way she is written, meaning that she is hard to sympathize and connect with (to clear things up.)
I recommend this one to fans of insta-romance novels that feature damsels in distress and their heroic saviors who would do anything to help them out. If you like fast paced stories and drama, then this one is for you.
The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines is the first in The Vincent Boys series and it is the kind of ride tReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines is the first in The Vincent Boys series and it is the kind of ride that a reader needs to have a metaphorical helmet for. Between the sexual tension the characters harbor for each other, the mistakes made, and decisions taken, the reader will be left raw and lost.
Beau and Ashton are two characters that have a very cliched story to tell, but Glines still manages to draw the reader in. This story is reminiscent of the very popular Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire and if you've read it, then you might understand what the negatives and positives of this review will be. Though I loved the moments they were together, I found the time Ashton and Beau spent apart were so angst-ridden, I ended up finishing Glines's novel much later than I'd anticipated. Also, the way they handled their situation just reeked of future problems and unwanted attention.
Ashton, the female protagonist and one of the narrators, is, in my opinion, a weak character. She is sweet and obviously confused, but the way she deals with her problems is weak--despite the strong character she is supposed to possess beneath the layers of her faux perfection.
Beau, on the other hand, is a more gusto-filled narrator. I love his spunk and how honest he is, but I dislike his temper and possessiveness. Sometimes I wonder if authors have forgotten that women are not items, but people with the ability to choose.
For example, if a character decides to leave another character because s/he thinks it is the right decision, does the male character have the right to control the other character and tell him/her that, "No," you can't leave because, "you are mine,"?
Don't get me wrong, I know it is for romantic purposes. Hell, I swooned and wanted a Beau of my own, but then I sat here and thought about it all--then I thought about it some more today. I've noticed this trend and though it may appear romantic, do you want someone to not let you make your own decisions simply because you "belong to him/her?"
Of course, this doesn't simply involve Beau. This extends to Ashton as well. She is such a scaredy cat. Not only is the clearly right decision in front of her, but when it comes to her finally revealing her true self, she falls back on her facade. Her character jumps so much that I don't know what to think. She is unreliable and frankly, quite annoying. I kind of wanted Beau to have more of a narrative presence than her, simply because he at least lives without restrictions, even if he acts like a caveman when thinking about Ashton as "his".
With all that being said, I did enjoy the first half of the book and maybe the last chapter of the novel. Once the proverbial shit hit the fan, I think the story fell to pieces. As a result, the once enjoyable and sexy novel turned into a sordid affair full of weak characters and cattiness that is never really explained.
This dramafest is enjoyable if you read this for the pure pleasure of it, which can be done. But as I write this review, I find that Glines did such a good job in starting up a romantic story that it took me a day or so to see the flaws. Also, the preview for the sequel in the series prompted me to thinking that this trend of "you must be mine, no matter what" in older young adult romance novels is not going anywhere, any time soon. ...more
I think it’s only fair to begin this review by stating that Megan Crewe’s novel was not at all what I was anticipating. I honestly don’t know what I eI think it’s only fair to begin this review by stating that Megan Crewe’s novel was not at all what I was anticipating. I honestly don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t really what Crewe offered. I blame this on the fact that I didn’t properly read the synopsis (and I caution all of you to read future synopses thoroughly so that a novel isn’t a complete and utter surprise to you).
The Way We Fall is the first installment in the Fallen World series by Megan Crewe. The story follows Kaelyn, a teenager living on an island that is quarantined during a virus outbreak. As she watches the people she loves get sick in front of her, she must figure out a way to protect those she loves and avoid those who have let the fear of sickness reign their actions, whether they be inhumane or not. All the while, Kaelyn is writing down her experiences in a journal that she hopes to give to her ex-best-friend when the horrors of the island end.
(view spoiler)[ this is not a zombie tale, but simply, a story of people getting sick… and rambling… and then hallucinating… before dying. (hide spoiler)]
Though Crewe’s novel wasn’t what I expected, it wasn’t all that bad. The story line was thought out and I liked to see that the protagonist was bi-racial.
Read the rest of my review on my blog: Book Addict 24-7["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols is one of those young adult novels that can be read in oThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols is one of those young adult novels that can be read in one sitting. It has its cute moments that make you go "aw" and moments that make you want to throw the book away. I've read The Boys Next Door by Echols, so I had a slight idea of what I was getting myself into. The premise looked cute and promising, but let me warn you, it isn't as it seems. I'll explain what I mean in my Negatives. Here's a synopsis that I think would better justify Echols's story:
(view spoiler)[Gemma has big plans for her next year in high school. She plans to try out for the majorette squad, she's on her way to losing the weight she's always wanted to lose, and she just wants to survive another couple of years so she can make her getaway. Then she meets Max and his friend, Carter. Just as she believes that Max, a very attractive Japanese-American, is flirting with her, Addison steps in. Addison is Gemma's "best-friend" who always seems to be abusing Gemma in some way, whether it is belittling her, or sabotaging her chances at love. Even though Addison and Max are dating, Gemma, who begins dating Carter, can't help but notice that Max flirts with her despite Addison and Carter. It's all a complicated mess. (hide spoiler)]
Okay, I know I sound like I disliked this book from my synopsis, but I actually didn't. I disliked a few things, but it was a fun and quick read.
1. The Characters. Not all of them, but some of them drove me up the wall. Especially the protagonist. I hate when protagonists have abusive friends who put them down with snide comments and deliberately embarrass them in front of others. What do I hate more? When these same protagonists don't stand up to their mean "friends" and instead call them "best-friend". I understand that this was a growing process for Gemma. I know that this whole Addison being a bitch thing worked out for the plot, but seriously, when an author has such an abused person as their protagonist then wouldn't it look like a weak person is running the show? Gemma had her best-friend, the guy she calls a good friend and had once loved until he stomped all over her emotions, and the rest of the school bullying her. And to top it all off, Echols "fixes" her protagonist by having her lose weight. I have never liked the message this sends to readers, and I never will.
2. I wanted to learn more about what happens with Gemma and her dad, but Echols (view spoiler)[ just has Gemma comment on her going to visit her dad. (hide spoiler)] It felt like this relationship was forgotten by Echols in the process of writing the book. It's almost like she was near the end and said, "Oh crap, her dad!" I wouldn't have minded meeting him and seeing how he was with the daughter he barely calls. If a character has such an intense anger towards a parent, shouldn't the author try to show both sides to the reader? Shouldn't the author resolve the issues between the parent(s) and the child?
3. I'm just going to say that this plot was transparent. I knew what would happen, but hey, it is a fun read, so didn't put too much pressure on this aspect of the novel.
4. The synopsis gives you the briefest of views into what's happening. The only hint that's given is the comment "her so-called best friend" when referring to Addison. It doesn't say how she met Max (and why she was in the vicinity in the first place, which is important). It doesn't say ANYTHING about her body-image issues, or anything generally close to what her life is like. All the synopsis says is that she meets a boy who asks her bff out, even though she liked him more than her, and oh-no's! what will she do?
1. With all the character issues written in the Negatives, I do want to mention how Gemma DOES stand up to her friend at the end and how she grows as a character later down the road. The Gemma in two-thirds of the book drove me insane, but the Gemma afterwards was strong.
2. Despite the annoying little misunderstanding (which, once you start reading the book you'll know what I mean), the story is cute!
3. The writing was straightforward and quickly paced. That's probably why I finished this one so quickly. It was well edited and had a good constant narrative voice. The novel is written in first person, past tense, which I loved.
4. I loved the fact that Max was Japanese-American. I mean, how fantastic is that? I've always thought of Japanese men as extremely attractive and to see one in a young adult novel was awesome! (I loved his family too!)
Basically, my biggest dislike with this novel was the protagonist and some of the other characters. How they treated her felt so melodramatic and I disliked that it took Gemma almost the whole book to stand up to them. But with that being said, I still liked the book and would recommend it to anyone who wants a quick, light young adult read. ["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"]>...more
I'm a big fan of Meg Cabot. I have followed her adult fiction novels as they've been publishedThis 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....more
What attracted me to The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann was the synopsis and how fun it sounded. I'mThis review first appeared on my blog:Book Addict 24-7
What attracted me to The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann was the synopsis and how fun it sounded. I'm not going to lie, I didn't go into this novel expecting a Harry Potter story or something FANTASTIC.
The Unwanteds is a middle-grade level novel that follows the life of twins Aaron and Alex after they've been separated at the "Purge" that Quill, a city which punishes those who are artistic and celebrates (in unemotional ways) intelligence and drive, hosts every year. There, the children are separated into three categories: The Wanteds (which is the highest honour), the Necessaries, and The Unwanteds (which are the artistically inclined). While Aaron seeks out a higher position in the government in the world of Quill, Alex is sent to be executed for being artistic, only to find that he is actually going to a hidden world that helps the "Unwanteds" master their artistic skills using magic. What follows is a fun adventure that seems to run its course a bit rapidly, but leaves enough questions at the end for a sequel.
While McMann's novel was a fun read, it did have its issues (both minor and major).
1. When I bought this book the first thing that I noticed was the headline that is sprawled above the title: "The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter". I've seen this so many times before and not just with these successful series, but with others (another perfect example is the comparisons that publishers make to Stieg Larsson's Millennium series). I find that using just the name of a successful series is a serious ploy to get you, as a consumer, to a) Spend your money in hopes of attaining the same joy you felt when reading a popular series for the first time, and b) To sell the book via word of mouth, i.e. "OMG this book really IS like The Hunger Games!" When deep down, you really know it's not. While I did enjoy McMann's novel, I found it irritating to see that this story is associated with what some may consider classics just so that readers will buy it.
2. One of the really frustrating things about this book is the way that time passed. I know that not everything should be told in detail, but McMann should have at least included SOME details instead of just saying "weeks passed". For example, we're already at the six month mark by page 114 (the chapter that's titled: "A Big Mistake") out of 390 pages. I think that the poor character development (another point) can be partially traced to the usage of too much time gone by without any real explanation.
3. Ah, the character development. I think that some authors believe that just because s/he is writing for kids that s/he get a freebie on character development. While yes, a lot of kids these days are more into television and what-not than reading, it doesn't mean they're ignorant. This generation and the future generations have the ability to gain knowledge in so many more ways than just school. So, with this in mind, why aren't some middle school literature authors treating them as intelligently as they should be treated? The character development in this novel was slightly irksome. This goes back to McMann's poor use of time. Sure, Alex goes through emotional issues with his friends, brother, and himself, but he doesn't really learn anything by the end, as you'd expect of a character who has gone through so much. If McMann would have described Alex's actions more in depth in the time that he spends in this hidden world, then maybe we would see some character development.
4. The other characters felt unrealistic. I know that these are young teens, but I wish that McMann gave more information about them. Little facts about their personalities and more insights into what these minor characters are feeling are given at the end of the novel. So, imagine that all you see is this one character and his moody, growing pains and only catch glimpses of the other characters. Let me make this a little clearer, imagine reading about Harry Potter during his moody phase in Order of the Phoenix, but not knowing anything about Hermione or Ron.
5. Sheri Radford on Goodreads commented on how this was just a mish-mash of all the popular series and story-lines put together. I agree, because there is so much going on in this book. It felt like everything that was written for teenagers 14 and over, was made "age appropriate" for kids 13 and under. I file this as a negative because it's such a cop out! I know that "originality" is a rare thing nowadays, but this was just beyond overkill.
6. The categories: Wanted, Unwanted, Necessary. They mean exactly what they imply. But what message is McMann sending to children who are artistically inclined as opposed to the ones who are scientifically, mathematically, or otherwise inclined? How about those who don't fit either categories? Think about it.
1. This is a fun, light read. Something that should just be taken for what it is, despite its flaws.
2. Seeing what the kids can do with magic and how the world emphasizes the use of artistic skill as a form of power.
3. The writing, though flawed in character development and in other forms, was fluid, which made the reading quite fast. 4. If McMann intended for me to feel disgust towards Aaron, she succeeded.
Despite everything, McMann wrote a story that can be enjoyable if it isn't taken too seriously. Will I read the sequel? Most likely, just for kicks. If you want to read this one, then I suggest you go in just for the sake of enjoying a book that regurgitates what you loved about The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and many other series. The Unwanteds is a fun read, but it shouldn't be thought of as the next innovative novel.
I knew that Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan's novel Team Human would be a different kindReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I knew that Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan's novel Team Human would be a different kind of book after reading the first sentence. What I wasn't so sure about was whether I would like it, or not. Team Human's protagonist, Mel, is one of those characters that can be philosophical and wise, but she can also be a pain in my proverbial ass.
Of course, I do understand that this novel is satirical. It is hard to miss the constant connection to the novel that started it all, Twilight, but while it was a mostly enjoyable read, Team Human felt like a book that tried a little bit too hard.
I will put my feminist comments aside for this one, since I understand that the figure of a weak female character is merely used as comedic relief in this novel. What I will comment on, however, is how Mel tries too hard to be that dependent voice of reason readers yearn for. She is opposed to vampires to such an extent that she does not listen to others besides herself, making her come off as arrogant and immature.
While she does grow as a character and finally concedes that fate is not in her hands, I found that even in the conclusion, she is still a less than admirable character. Perhaps Cathy, the best friend and friend-in-need-of-rescue, makes for a better protagonist. Sure, she falls for the undead, but even she appears to have a better head on her shoulders.
I will also add that it feels like this novel has a character that brings to light everything that is actually wrong with vampires, which is useful in a world that is being assaulted with romantic illusions of deadly and once terrifying creatures. Whereas I like the fact that the reader isn't made to just accept a character because another character tells us too, I don't like how Mel makes it almost impossible to see the other side's story because she is the only one we can rely on.
As a result, I found Mel to be an unreliable character.
So, why the three stars? Because despite the weak characters and the slightly disturbing way of looking at another culture (let's just call it that to make it easier), the story isn't half bad. I like the mystery, the twist at the end, and the way Mel is constantly forced to question her previous beliefs and how she is challenged by less narrow-minded characters.
Also, the randomness of this novel did have me laughing a few times. Team Human is one of those books that can be either a hit or miss, but for me it was a mixture of both.
If you enjoy satire, then you might like this one. If you were angry with Bella because Edward was so obviously evil and bad for her, then you'll definitely enjoy Team Human. But, I do warn you, that the style of writing and the wit isn't for everyone. Team Human will test your patience, but stick it out--you might like the twist at the end!...more
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting is the third novel in the Body Finder series, which has anothThis 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....more
I received this ebook for reviewing purposes from the publisher.
Morgan McCarthy’s debut, The Other Half of Me, follows two siblings over the span of twenty years as their lives morph from childhood innocence to adulthood in a nurture-less environment. Written in hauntingly beautiful prose, McCarthy has created a unique, albeit slow-paced, novel.
Jonathan Anthony, the narrator, is at times unreliable. When he recalls his childhood years, he occasionally uses words much too advanced for a young boy, making him unbelievable. Understandably, Jonathan was an intellectually advanced and solitary boy. But excusing Jonathan’s unreliable nature, he does paint a lovely picture for the reader. The metaphors are exquisite in their uniqueness, and the descriptions are flawless. Every minute detail is observed, however, making the plot feel tedious. The reader should consider: Given the trouble Jonathan experiences with memory after tragedy strikes his family, how can he possibly remember everything so clearly?
Theo Anthony, Jonathan’s sister, appears to be the protagonist of the story. Her behavior is what moves the plot forward. Though we learn about Jonathan and his rising success in the architectural world, it is Theo’s life that we crave glimpses of. Jonathan, whether McCarthy intended to or not, places Theo on a pedestal throughout the novel as he relates her deteriorating mental state. Theo is seen through Anthony’s subjective eyes, inadvertently placing her on a pedestal for the reader as well.
The character growth is successful because of its subtlety. One of the motivating factors for character growth in McCarthy’s novel is grief. She does not overplay the role of grief in her novel, instead she caresses it and gently directs the reader into understanding the grief that is haunting her characters. The second factor affecting character growth is the love that Jonathan and Theo share. It is the familial love between the two siblings that gives the story depth. McCarthy does not easily give her characters unconditional love. Instead, Jonathan refuses to bestow or receive love, while Theo is too quick to share it.
Morgan McCarthy’s debut’s greatest flaw is the pacing, but her characters and masterful descriptions redeem the story. The Other Half of Me begins unsteadily, but will haunt its readers with its conclusion....more
If We Kiss by Rachel Vail is a light young adult novel that deals with the difficulties of first lovReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
If We Kiss by Rachel Vail is a light young adult novel that deals with the difficulties of first love and the sometimes unexpected consequences of first kisses. Vail also challenges her young protagonist to mature as her thought-to-be perfect home life changes when her mother falls in love with a man that isn't her father.
Charlotte, the protagonist, is a good girl whose first kiss comes from a very unexpected source. What ensues is a novel full of questions regarding loyalty, love, and a new way of life.
The writing is very fast paced and straightforward. If We Kiss can be easily read in one sitting. Despite Charlotte's less than stellar behavior, one can't help but want to finish the story and see what happens next.
Though the story is a fun and quirky read, it is a little hard to take it all seriously, especially since Charlotte is a bit whiny and very naive. Her best friend, the supposedly experienced one in the group, is increasingly annoying because she is incredibly condescending. Her remarks towards Charlotte reminds me of just how catty us women can be.
When Charlotte's mother meets a man, Charlotte is quick to dismiss the fact that her mother has a life beyond her motherly duties. While I understand that she is a younger teenager, it is very unfair and stubborn for her to assume her mother would not live a life beyond their home. There is one particularly disturbing scene where Charlotte is less than civil with her mother.
We expect character growth, since that's what this kind of novel calls for: the character will learn from his/her failed/successful love experience, and s/he will learn to accept that his/her parent is happier. But what actually happens is momentary acceptance, which turns into a sequel that sounds to be a repetition of the same issues.
One of the most important lessons I believe the reader can learn from Vail's novel is the difference between lust and love, and how this can cloud our judgement. It makes you question how many of your first crushes were just a result of lust and not love. Some may find this message inappropriate, especially for the age group, but it teaches us to not take things at face value, and to not drop everything just because we are romantically inclined towards a person.
And simply because I can't end this review without mentioning it: the possibility of a step-brother romance. While some may be turned off from the novel because of this topic, it isn't a huge issue in the novel. Charlotte mainly focuses on how to face her feelings and how to be true to herself and those around her.
I recommend If We Kiss to readers who want a light read to pass the time. Vail's novel, though not the most substantial novel I've ever read, teaches its readers to think before reacting. ...more
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Wasteland by Susan Kim and LaurenceReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Wasteland by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan is a post-apocalyptic young adult novel that features children living adult roles in a makeshift community in the middle of the desert. Though a slow starter, Wasteland does become captivating once the various pivotal characters are introduced.
Esther, the protagonist, lives in a slightly disturbing world where children "partner" up and attempt to have children, while trying to survive the dangerous world. Though the portrayal of children acting as adults is interesting, the biggest success of this concept comes from Kim and Klavans' ability to still portray the innocence and naiveté of the children, despite their deadly surroundings.
The premise of Wasteland is actually pretty cool. The idea of a society run by children and the exploitation of power in a world that appears to lack any power whatsoever is intriguing. It was exciting finding out secrets and what some of the characters' lives were like before the events in Wasteland take place.
Wasteland is written in third person and the narrator is omniscient. At first I wasn't sure how I would like reading the novel from such a wide perspective. For example, if something neat was happening, I usually had to wait while the narration flipped back to another character before I could find out what happened next with the previous character. Sure, this writing style creates anticipation, but it just mainly annoys me. I will admit, however, that I did get accustomed to the narrative and even grew to like it by the conclusion of Wasteland.
Esther grows as a character rather quickly. While what she experiences warrants an extensive amount of character growth, the change is abrupt. I prefer when a character slowly comes to terms with what s/he needs to learn in order to better him/herself, since it allows me to connect with the character and his/her internal struggle.
My greatest issue with Wasteland is the pacing: it was much too quickly delivered. This plays with more than just Esther's character growth, but the plot in itself. The story feels rushed, as if the authors want to reach the conclusion, or the better parts of the novel quickly. There is one particular instance where Esther and her love interest profess their love for each other--yet they barely know one another, and one is supposedly still grieving the loss of a loved one. The rushed pace made me question the authenticity of what should be beautiful moments between two characters.
I will, however, praise Wasteland for its surprises. Several revelations occur during the story and most came as surprises. Whereas similar novels tend to make what's coming next obvious, Wasteland keeps its reader in the dark.
I recommend Wasteland to readers of post-apocalyptic novels and semi-dystopic worlds governed by children....more
Lauren Henderson's Flirting in Italian, the first in the Flirting in Italian series, is neither a booReview first appeared on my blog: Bookaddict 24-7
Lauren Henderson's Flirting in Italian, the first in the Flirting in Italian series, is neither a book that promises an eye-opening storyline, nor is it a book that will leave you breathless with how philosophical the message of the story is. Henderson's novel is simply a fun romp of sexy Italian men in one of the world's most romantic cities.
I don't know what I was expecting when I jumped into this book, to be quite frank. My mind lingered on other novels that toyed with their settings by displaying different languages in the titles, but I was not expecting what Henderson offered me.
Violet, the protagonist, is an English teenager on the verge of going to university who finds a painting that portrays a girl who looks very much like herself from centuries before. She later learns that the painting was bought in Italy and, being from a wealthy family, she manages to score a spot in a summer course for young women in Italy. There, her adventures begin.
This was definitely one of those books that left me smiling at the end, simply because of how cutesy the characters are. But it also left me feeling frustrated because I feel like making this book the first in a series is unnecessary. I have a feeling that all of the answers could have been stuffed into the one book, but hey, why not?
Also, Violet is one of those naive characters that tries very hard to be strong, but fails. For me, Violet is still growing as a character--a young girl on the cusp of figuring out that life isn't simply black and white.
I loved the sexual attraction in this novel. It was cliche, I won't lie, but when it comes to romance I will not say "no" to the cliche. What did bug me though is how masochistic Violet appears to be. Her love interest shows no romantic emotions, hell, he at times ignores her or tells her that he isn't interested in anything serious, and though she tells herself she won't go after him, we see her flail whenever he is around.
As for the mystery, it is a strong introduction to the story. It guides us, as the readers, into Violet's new world, but then it is nearly lost. There are moments where I even forgot that there is a mystery because Henderson focuses so much on everything else around Violet. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I just wish that the story flowed better, rather than just have random instances of mystery here and there.
Would I recommend this to other readers? If you want a cute, light read that can make you giggle, then yes. This is one of those summer reads that can be read by the pool or when lazying around in the heat. If you're looking for something deeper, eye-opening, and without the slightly insulting comments on nationality and gender issues, then you might want to steer clear of this one....more
I came across Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani, the first in the Viola series, a year or so agReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I came across Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani, the first in the Viola series, a year or so ago and finally got around to reading it while on my trip. This was a surprisingly quick read, yet it lacked a few qualities that would normally make a book stand out for me. What I surmised as I concluded Trigiani's novel is that yes, this book can be read in one sitting, but not because the book is fascinating, original, or gripping--it is simply an easy read.
While Viola in Reel Life is aimed at a teen audience, the prose feels like it is written for a much younger audience. While I love Viola's friends and the relationships she forms while she is at boarding school, Viola herself is hard to connect with, thanks to her unnatural prose. She is naive beyond comprehension and her narrative is at times redundant.
Viola's relationship with her first boyfriend lacks the emotions that one would equate to first love. This observation leads me to believe that Trigiani tells her readers what her characters are feeling, rather than show them the building emotions as her characters grow.
Though the ending is abrupt, I was somewhat sad to see the book finish. Personally, I think Viola has a lot more growth in store for her. I just hope that Trigiani manages it in a less unattached fashion.
There is a fun twist to this novel, however, and that is the short-lived mystery that literally haunts Viola until the conclusion. Though the story reads more as an angst-ridden novel, Viola in Reel Life does teach valuable lessons to readers caught in similar situations. Trigiani teaches us that not everything is as it appears to be, and to have faith during times where life isn't going the way we plan.
Though it is nowhere near perfect, I would recommend this book to younger readers. The writing might connect with younger teens and pre-teens, since it isn't anywhere near the maturity calibre of recently published young adult novels. Trigiani captures the difficulties of growing up and the importance of just letting go and accepting whatever life throws at you. ...more
I'm very conflicted after reading Superheroes Wear Faded DReview first posted on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from the author for review
I'm very conflicted after reading Superheroes Wear Faded Denim by Law Reigns. Though it grabbed my attention, it wasn't in my usual way. I gave the novel two out of five stars because the story was original, but I wavered between a one and a two because the writing was too archaic and lacked editing, while the characters, mainly the protagonist, Blissany Cherry, were so weak and annoying, that I almost put the book down out of frustration.
This book dripped with the sexual tension Blissany carried with her while on her adventures. Unnecessary metaphors including sexual innuendo appeared here and there, while religion also made a very frequent visit to the storyline.
Blissany was very weak. She was naive and stubborn to the point of stupidity. Seriously, if everyone is telling you the same thing, why are you still not believing them? Sure, the storyline picks up after a while, but Blissany's character still drove me insane.
I'm sorry guys, I really wish I could have enjoyed this one more, I really do. The story has so much potential and while others may enjoy this ten times more than me, I couldn't get into the writing. An example of something that really had me on edge is the word "upon". Reigns loved that word in her novel. Here are two examples: when a character placed something on a table, it wasn't "on a table", it was upon a table. When it rained, it wasn't "Rain fell on leaves", it was "Rain fell upon leaves". "Upon" is archaic and stilts the rhythm of the prose. It drove me nuts.
I would recommend Superheroes Wear Faded Denim to readers who want a slightly sexy read about angels and magical beings. If you like quirky stories with potential, then I would suggest this.
I wouldn't suggest it, however, to those who are like me and can't get past the flaws and archaic writing in a novel. ...more
I was intrigued by Debbie Davies's Any Love But Mine because of theReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received an e-copy for review.
I was intrigued by Debbie Davies's Any Love But Mine because of the storyline. Although not obvious from the synopses, Acacia, the sometimes awkward and indecisive protagonist, is a young adult immortal attending a mortal high school. The story, though original, to a point, and intriguing, is flawed by the lack of editing and the sometimes inconsistant and unreliable narrator. This being said however, Davies has a good concept in her novel, especially the merging of mortals and immortals into one book. Current trends in literature will welcome a romantic young adult novel with this much potential.
In order to get to the praise, the flaws need to be mentioned. Davies has a strong voice that echoes on every page, but her strength is weakened by a very distracting lack of punctuation and the occasionally awkward word choice.
Acacia was a very hard protagonist to follow and trust. She was constantly jumping back and forth about her love life, family, and safety. It was hard to pinpoint what she would do next, which I admit would be an attractive quality in other novels, but Davies's story acquired a sense of confusion at various points.
With all its faults, however, Davies writes a swoon worthy romance, albeit brief, between Acacia and Josh. Before the plot turns complicated and confusing, the reader is set on a sure path between these two characters. We watch as the inevitable meet and greet occurs, as Acacia's knowledge of her world is challenged, and find ourselves wishing we could aid Acacia with her internal struggle of right versus wrong.
Save for minor inconsistencies, the storyline is promising. Any Love But Mine is a romance worth checking out. Davies's novel touches on mythology in an original way, even if the conclusion is a tad cliche. If subjected to several bouts of editing, Davies's novel has a chance of becoming a favorite among Young Adult paranormal romance enthusiasts....more
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble iReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble is a very quick and quirky read that features a witty, and slightly neurotic 14 year-old protagonist. The storyline is considerably original, while the mystery promises to intrigue the reader until the conclusion. Preble's novel is a great light read for a hot summer day.
Jenna, the protagonist, tells us the story of how her brother became her guardian (in a paranormal sense) through diary entries. I haven't always been a fan of epistolary novels, since I find it hard to believe that a character would write down every detail that s/he notices. It always feels false to me, especially since I am an occasional journal writer (especially when I was a kid).
Okay, rant over.
But all of those annoyances aside, Preble does a pretty good job--though her character is only 14. Jenna is a very fun character to watch develop because she isn't your typical teenager. Not only is she dying when we meet her, but her family is far from conventional. She is not only grieving the potential loss of her brother, but she is grieving the loss of her father, and who her mother used to be. For a young teenager, she has her plate full.
Though the tone is occasionally light, there are darker themes within the novel. Addiction, death, sabotage, and abandonment are a few of the issues brought to light. And while Jenna distracts us with her wit and banter, her neurotic tendencies tend to seep into her dialogue when she is detailing her deteriorating health. Though the reader may find Jenna's character amusing, there is no doubt that she hasn't lived an easy life. Perhaps it is her attempt at distracting the readers from her familial struggles that endears her to us.
Preble's angels are your typical very attractive people, but their rules and abilities are slightly different from what we're used to when we read other angel inspired novels. Casey, Jenna's brother, is so well described and created, that even I was pulled in by his new allure. Preble is that good. Paranormal fiction in young adult novels is a very normal occurrence nowadays, but every once in a while an author comes along and adds a new twist to popular creatures. Preble is one of those authors.
The mystery is great! I kept trying to guess who was out to get Jenna's family, but every time I tried guessing, something would push me in a different direction. I'm the kind of reader that can usually guess what's going to happen from the get-go, but Preble managed to throw in a few red herrings that threw me off the scent. It was refreshing finding a mystery book that had me guessing throughout the whole story.
My greatest concern, and trust me this usually wouldn't bug me but since this features such a young protagonist, is the use of language. Jenna is in the 8th grade and in my past experience with middle grade novels, this would still be considered middle grade because Jenna is not in high school just yet. But Jenna is 14, which was perplexing since it was December (wouldn't she be 13? Or wouldn't there be an explanation as to why she is one year behind?) and spoke like a 17+ year-old. I know her circumstances aren't the best, but wow. Jenna goes from calling her teacher an "asshat", to spewing out more cuss words throughout the novel. I also know that her attitude is spunky, but this is perhaps too much.
Let's just say I was surprised--I think this novel would have been better off if Jenna were a little older.
Despite what I've mentioned above, the dialogue is kind of awesome. Funny, realistic, and fast-paced, the characters' conversations almost came to life with how well they were written.
The conclusion suggests that there may be more books written in the series (though Goodreads doesn't have any sequels listed), and I think The Sweet Dead Life would really benefit from this, since there are characters that I would like to know more about (like Jenna's best friend), and mysteries that I would like to see solved (like, what's going to happen to Casey in the long-run?)
If you're a fan of quirky characters, understated angels, interesting mysteries, fun dialogue, and novels that portray the unconditional love between family members, then you should check out The Sweet Dead Life.
Keep in mind, however, that though the protagonist is young, the themes explored are not for a middle grade audience....more
Let me just state that it's really not fair that I read Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard just before GaReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Let me just state that it's really not fair that I read Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard just before Gayle Forman's Just One Day.
I'm going to be blunt and say that Forman's novel is more about self-discovery after a perfect day comes crashing down, rather than travelling, though it was oddly reminiscent of the themes found in Wanderlove (I'm just going to go out on a limb and state that Wanderlove has most likely ruined every other travelling book that I will ever come across).
But even if it lacked the aspects of travelling I so yearned for, I still found it to be a fairly entertaining novel. It has the lesson of finding yourself amidst the chaos and confusion of abrupt change, how hiding your true self from the most important people in your life, especially yourself, may be disastrous, and how sometimes taking a chance is worth the risk of losing it all.
The first part of the novel pulled me in immediately. Here you meet the less than perfect, but still sexy, Willem, a dutch actor. Allyson, the protagonist, is intrigued enough to break from her perfectionism and strict lifestyle to spend one day in Paris with this stranger. While I am a sucker for a storyline like this, I will note that it is rather cliche.
"Carefree boy meets straight-laced girl. Carefree boy helps release straight-laced girl from the confines of her boring, controlled life."
Ignoring the cliche, I will admit that they are cute together, making me want to read more about their adventures. It is when they are apart, however, that Allyson's behavior grates on my nerves. For all you know, someone has stripped her bare of who she once was because of one perfect day. But it makes sense, because in a way, that one perfect day stole the controlled and well-behaved Allyson, leaving someone unsure of what she wants out of life.
That one perfect day is about more than just romance--but about who Allyson was pretending to be before Willem stepped in.
So, the novel spends a good chunk of the story trying to put the broken Allyson back together again into a new and more free-spirited Allyson. Though this is enlightening and powerful, the delivery is dramatic and boring. I kept expecting more and wanting more of the storyline. I wanted Allyson to stand up to those around her, I wanted her to do something regarding her misery, but she was just as quiet and controlled as always, even if she was slowly dying inside (emotionally, of course).
The conclusion though. Wow. THAT is a reason to keep reading this series. After all those months of suffering, Allyson finally returns to Europe and I loved it. The moment she decides to return, the story gains more life.
Though the writing is indeed beautiful and descriptive, the editing is horrendous. I know it is inevitable for a few editing errors to slip through the cracks (no one is perfect), but wow. On one page alone there must have been about five mistakes. I can't even begin to explain how irritating this was.
Even with my pickiness over the editing, I did love Allyson's character growth, the places she visited, and the many people she met. Would I read it all again? Probably, simply because of the travelling bits and Willem.
Always for Willem.
I recommend this one for readers who enjoy a good contemporary young adult read about self-discovery, romance, and a slight touch of travelling and exploration. ...more
For a long time I've been hearing nothing but good things about The Darkest Minds and while I admit that it had its entertaining moments, this wasn'tFor a long time I've been hearing nothing but good things about The Darkest Minds and while I admit that it had its entertaining moments, this wasn't a hit with me.
Bracken's novel had a very intriguing premise and I will admit that I'm a huge fan of super powers, so this looked extra promising. I would probably still recommend this book to other readers because everyone is different and might enjoy it loads more than me.
I had several issues with this novel and while some are minor issues, others are a bit more complex. For starters, the size of the book. I know that it's normal for dystopians or paranormal books to be lengthy, but this one was ridiculous. It was like reading a monster that never ended.
Another issue I had was the main character, Ruby. She was so whiny and there were moments where I actually yelled aloud, "You're so freaking stupid!" because, honestly? A lot of the problems she got into would have been so easily avoidable. She got herself into trouble and her wimpy self always cried woe is me, what have I done? For someone who is supposedly powerful and dangerous, she sure didn't show it most of the time. The amount of times that she is "strong" and "dangerous" can be counted on one hand, and even THAT's too many times. In an almost 500 page novel, that's kind of ridiculous.
A huge issue, in my opinion, is the unnecessary way that the novel concludes. RUBY got herself into that situation and what she did at the end is probably the smartest thing she's done throughout the whole book. Also, a certain someone getting hurt could have also been avoided many MANY times.
Now I turn to the love interest: Liam. Seriously, this guy is just...meh. I don't really have to say much about him because he was just so...cliche and sappy. Liam's been hardened by his past, yet he somehow finds a way to wax poetic in the direction of a girl who has knowingly put all of them in danger AND he's only known for a blink of the eye? It's just so hard to believe. I know that falling in love with characters like him is great and all, but I don't know if it's realistic.
I don't know. Maybe the sequel will be better and this one will be redeemed, but I don't really get the hype. It's got a cool concept, I'll give you that, but the rest was just, meh.
I'm a fan of Sherry Soule because of how captivating her story lines areReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy for review
I'm a fan of Sherry Soule because of how captivating her story lines are.
She has these immense ideas that, if put successfully onto paper, will steal the reader's attention for hours. The difference between Moonlight Mayhem and Beautifully Broken is extreme.
Beautifully Broken, the first in the Spellbound series, has a protagonist, Shiloh, that was a bit too emotionally unattached. In Moonlight Mayhem, the sequel, Shiloh is too emotionally attached to her father's death, but barely mentions her other friends.
Moonlight Mayhem will make an entertaining read for readers. However, my focus was occasionally stolen by misused words. I did enjoy, however, how the characters surpassed the high school cliches to work together on the problem at hand.
Seeing as this is a sequel, there's not much I can say without causing huge spoilers. So, read at your own risk.
(view spoiler)[What irked me was Shiloh's lack of mention or emotional response to the deaths of her friends in Beautifully Broken. It was like they had never even existed. I tried very hard to get past these issues and focus on the plot, which was quite good.
The mystery is exciting and, like her previous book, creepy as hell. I could relate to Shiloh's pain over losing her father, so that was a nice little moment. (hide spoiler)]
Would I recommend this book? Sure. The action is fast-paced and the emotional connection that Shiloh shares with her (still alive) best friend, Ari, is realistic. The story is riddled with creepiness and Soule strives to go beyond the cliches of the supernatural. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Rebecca Bloom's Eat, Drink, and Be Married is a sweet adult fiction noveReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy for review
Rebecca Bloom's Eat, Drink, and Be Married is a sweet adult fiction novel that explores the relationships between four women. I'm a sucker for a good chick lit novel, simply because I like the drama and the path to redemption that women in these novels encounter. Though fairly well written, Bloom's story starts off shaky, but picks up shortly after the midway mark.
The characters are diverse and each have their own issues to overcome by the end of the novel. My greatest issue with Bloom's characters is their believability. Most of the characters have successful lives that feel unrealistic and over-the-top--An example would be celebrity status success and name-dropping to add a "wow" factor.
The first half of the novel is where Bloom emphasizes the success of her characters to the point where her story lacks credibility. But the novel quickly bounces back as the girls finally get together for Hannah's wedding, due to the story switching from a show-and-tell of who's done what, to four friends and their bond. This portion of the novel was, in my opinion, the better half of the novel. This is where readers can relate to the characters.
The beautiful aspect of Bloom's novel is how each woman surpasses a problem in their lives, whether it is a romantic, familial, or personal struggle. Eat, Drink, and Be Married is full of redemption and acceptance. The reader is shown how a past does not determine the future and how everyone deserves a second chance, no matter where s/he comes from and what his/her situation is. ...more
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
I finished reading J.E. Jones' novel The EternalReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
I finished reading J.E. Jones' novel The Eternal Sphinxman at the beginning of January and I've been dwelling on what to write in my review since then. While there were some interesting moments in the novel, I wasn't a huge fan of the dialogue and the attempts at creating foreshadowing. But if the reader focuses more on the storyline, rather than the writing technique, s/he will find a creepy tale of revenge.
The characters are university graduates that encounter their murderous past while visiting their old college campus during a reunion. The novel is reminiscent of the Scream films, since the characters get hunted, taunted, and attacked by a masked killer. The conclusion will surprise you and the prologue will leave you smiling, despite the dark tone.
What irked me throughout the whole novel was the dialogue. I congratulate the author for being so consistent with his portrayal of his characters' vernacular, but I found it disconcerting that his characters talked in a very over-dramatized colloquial fashion. I found the dialogue very distracting and inappropriate, simply because the characters are college educated adults that talk like teenaged, or young adult characters.
I'm not even going to touch on how obscene some of the language was--not as in bad words, but just words that were a bit strong--but maybe I've just been away from adult fiction for too long.
The foreshadow was interesting, but could have been better if Jones allowed some room for the reader to guess at the hints being given. Instead of telling the reader what was in store, I would have preferred a slight hint at what was about to happen. Foreshadowing is tricky because the line between over-sharing and just enough suspense is very easy to cross.
I contemplated my rating between two and three stars, but settled on three stars because the base of the story is good. The surprise ending is also something worth noting, since it is difficult to find a murder mystery with a truly captivating conclusion.
I would recommend The Eternal Sphinxman to readers who enjoy murder mysteries and college related story lines. Though the dialogue leaves much to be desired, the story itself makes for a suspenseful read....more
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Alex Flinn's Towering is very obvioReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Alex Flinn's Towering is very obviously a retelling of Rapunzel with a twist--it wouldn't be a Flinn novel otherwise. Towering is an original adaptation of a tale that has become increasingly popular and it was refreshing seeing it brought to life in a new light. A fun and surprisingly quick read, Towering is a cute story to be read on a quiet afternoon. Though it is at times cheesy (as fairy tales often are), Flinn's new novel includes a surprise twist and an ending fit for a fairy tale.
The story begins with Rachel and Wyatt, the co-narrators. Wyatt hints that something dark happened in his past, while Rachel alludes to the fact that she is lonely. By having the two characters introduced this way, Flinn is setting up the obvious "Hero and maiden in distress" situation we are very familiar with in recent novels. And though she challenges this notion with Rachel being more than just a chick in need of rescue, we still see the co-dependency featured in fairy tales.
The pacing is very quick, almost to the point of lacking believability. While I loved that these two characters seem to save each other in their darkest times, I find it so awkward that it is an "insta-love" kind of romance. I mean, before Wyatt meets Rachel, he has other women on the brain. But then--BOOM! There is Rachel in all her blond, blue-eyed beauty. Oh, and she's very innocent, naive, and old-fashioned. I just find the whole situation a little forced. I mean, at least let the characters grow to like each other! Give them some time to fall in love, don't just shove it in my face.
Okay, putting that issue aside.
I liked the mystery aspect and the intertextuality, which was very intelligent and unexpected. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (coincidentally one of my favourite novels) is featured in Towering as a key to understanding what is happening to Wyatt. I love that Flinn adopts ideas from another classic novel portraying madness, and the ghostly spell of the past, to retell such an admittedly sad fairy tale. I think it's fitting and a fun little twist.
The mystery, though not completely surprising, is great. We are given clues and red herrings, and it allows you to be an active reader in the story, rather than just an observer. I like that Flinn doesn't truly start dropping hints until just after the middle of the novel, because then we can still go along with Wyatt's search for the truth.
I don't know how I feel about Rachel. It's like her old fashionedness rubs off on Wyatt. I get that she is locked away from society in some small town that barely even registers on the map, but come on. I'd expect for Wyatt's vernacular to rub off on her, not the other way around. Also, though she is told (various times) of the dangers in the real world, she easily falls for Wyatt.
Wouldn't she at least put up a fight?
I understand that she is lonely, and I more than understand Wyatt's quick taking to her, but I find these characters to be a little unreliable.
Okay, okay, I'm being mean and hard on these two poor lovebirds. I know. But I honestly did enjoy Towering. Once I got into it, it was a surprisingly quick read. I felt satisfied by the events that took place, and I knew I'd read another enjoyable Flinn novel. I just didn't think it was something that would change my life for forever. It was just a light and magical read.
I recommend Towering to lovers of fairy tale adaptations in young adult fiction, quick romance, adventure, and fun mysteries. If you like ghosts, there're a few of those too. Even if you don't end up liking the characters, you might like the storyline.
Though they're not perfect, you can always count on Alex Flinn for an entertaining read!...more
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
What We Saw At Night by Jacquelyn Mitchard is a yoReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
What We Saw At Night by Jacquelyn Mitchard is a young adult mystery that introduces readers to a unique storyline about teenagers suffering from a very rare condition. The novel is a very quickly paced book that can be read in a day, but it strives to be memorable by throwing red herrings that rather than intrigue the reader, may in fact confuse him/her.
I've always been a huge fan of Parkour, so it was fascinating to read a book that actually explained some of the techniques. It was also refreshing to read a novel that involved a different sport, besides the typical popular sports (i.e. soccer, football, etc). I also enjoyed how Mitchard detailed the stunts; occasionally using their french names.
What I wasn't so huge on was the mystery aspect of the novel. Sure, the creepy experiences that Allie and her friends face chilled my blood, but by the end of the novel I felt like it lacked that staying power. Instead of creating suspense, the twists and turns felt forced and just confused me more.
The conclusion, however, is pretty powerful. The final sentence promises retribution and I liked that. Allie's strength is more apparent after the climax of the story, ironically, than just before everything goes to hell. I was torn between liking her, or being mad at her for her inaction.
What We Saw At Night is more than just a fun mystery with some sporty adventure on the side. The tone of Mitchard's novel is as dark as the night her characters are confined to. Death is a constant topic between the three teenagers, and a fearful reality in their small town.
I recommend this novel to readers who want a story that is unique and a quick read. This is a book best read in the night, where the reader can easily imagine pulling off the crazy stunts these teens attempt....more
I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Luke Hollands's debut Peregrine HarReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Luke Hollands's debut Peregrine Harker and the Black Death is a fun adventure set in a time long-past where mysteries were daydreams, and danger a way of life for over-curious detectives. Hollands's world is explored by his young protagonist, Peregrine, as he strives to uncover the surprisingly intriguing mystery surrounding the sudden shortage of tea.
Peregrine isn't one of those protagonists who immediately comes off as haughty, attractive, and confident--instead, he is rather flawed and easily distracted. The novel starts off interestingly enough, but then we find that the adventure mentioned was just a daydream in a very creative mind. But then again, I think I would have shied away from this one if it were anything like the corniness produced in the first chapter.
No, what I liked was the slow buildup into the main revelation of the story--and it is huge and very satisfyingly unexpected. Though the novel is quite short, Hollands does have a skill for pacing and keeping the reader intrigued as the mysteries mount. The characters we meet along the way are all quirky and fit the stereotypical image we may sometimes have of mysterious people detectives often face. What I wasn't so keen on was how Peregrine felt the urge to describe every aspect of a new character.
I mean, okay, I get that he is painting a picture for us, but the info-dump style of describing characters has never been something I'm hugely into. A few details are all right: hair colour, eyes, height, maybe even stance, but every single detail can get wearisome, especially when your protagonist keeps meeting new people.
The adventure aspect of Hollands's debut is pretty addicting. Despite the weak dialogue (Hollands really likes using phrases like, "Old Man"), I could capture the image of a society long-past. It was exciting watching Peregrine encounter a car that to us is a weak little thing, but to him is a powerful force. Also, like I mentioned before, the mysteries that kept twisting and turning in the novel added a lot more fun to the adventure.
While I did read an advance reader copy (ARCs are often full of spelling and grammar errors), I found Peregrine Harker to be a bit weak stylistically. I get that this is an old-fashioned novel, and that it is perhaps a book written with Sherlock Holmes in mind, but sometimes Hollands overdoes it.
Like I mentioned with the dialogue, there are instances where Hollands over-emphasizes terms from the past, or well-known detective phrases. Also, a bit of the writing felt corny. Peregrine Harker is good fun, I admit, but it could have been approached in a much simpler fashion. Hollands needs to trust his readers, not simply repeat things over and over again, hoping that they understand what's happening.
Regardless of the writing style, the conclusion left me wanting more. I am very excited to see what Peregrine gets into next. I also think that Hollands's future novels will hopefully be an exciting array of mysteries waiting to be solved!...more
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Hidden Gates by D.T. Dyllin is one of those booksReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Hidden Gates by D.T. Dyllin is one of those books that has a gorgeous cover, a thrilling premise, and just an intense amount of promise. But it all falls short for me, especially since it feels like the novel focuses more on the sexual tension between the characters than the really, really cool idea behind the book. Sure, there were some instances at the beginning where I was hooked, but near the middle of the book, everything just sort of fell apart.
P.J. is one of those characters that's a little naive, thinking that she is equal to those around her; that no harm can come to her. I didn't grasp the intensity of her naive nature until one particularly disturbing scene near the beginning of the novel that changed my view of her completely. I'm not a huge fan of her, and though there are instances where she stands up for herself against her love interest (which I admit is rare in a female character caught in a similar situation), she quickly falls back into the fragile female character that she is.
I know this is a New Adult novel, meaning that sex runs rampant throughout the pages. But honestly, sometimes I think this novel was just written with the purpose of getting extremely sexy men naked. P.J. complains about her love life, then remembers that, oh yeah, the world is in danger. I know I sound like a prude--trust me, I enjoy a sex scene or two, but these characters act like people who have nothing else to do but screw.
I love the idea of the different types of paranormal people hidden within our non-paranormal society. It is totally cool, plus the little twist Dyllin includes regarding P.J. is REALLY neat. This story just took on a life of its own and escaped Dyllin's grasp, but not in the best way.
The relationships between the characters are also weak and kind of cruel. P.J. is a horrible friend. Though her best friend is kind of creepy with how she knows everything about her, P.J. is rude and outright bitchy.
I don't think I'll be reading the sequel, simply because I don't want to encounter P.J. and her sexual adventures. I want to read about the paranormal happenings in her world, not how jealous, controlling, and possessive the men in her life are. ...more