Sophie Kinsella is one of my favourite authors and I was surprised when I realized how many books she’d wriFirst appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Sophie Kinsella is one of my favourite authors and I was surprised when I realized how many books she’d written since I’d last read Remember Me?. Thankfully, I came to my senses and now own almost all of her standalone novels (not a huge fan of the Shopaholic series). One of the reasons why I love Kinsella’s writing so much is because of her fluent use of humour and romance in stories that show female protagonists learning life lessons. But mostly, and I won’t delude myself to say that this isn’t a huge part of why I love her writing, I love the romance. Kinsella’s novels ARE Chick Lit, no matter what other fancy genre titles may be put on her stories. These are empowering stories that encourage female readers to not settle for the expected, or to not settle for less than what they deserve.
The Undomestic Goddess did not disappoint in serving as a warning to all you workaholics out there. There is a life outside of the office, life is good and relaxing living in a middle-of-nowhere town where no one knows who you are or that you barely sleep, and that there might be an extremely well-built, sexy worker waiting for you. This is what awaits you in Kinsella’s novel. So, you workaholics, ever thought what type of life you’d be living if you weren’t attached to your phone or constantly checking your emails? Then, give this one a look if you feel the need for inspiration.
Samantha Sweeting is a workaholic lawyer living in London who always gets home late, rarely has dinner with her family (unless it is a quick dinner, full of beeping cellphones and business oriented conversations), and has just made a big, big mistake. In a state of shock, she leaves her office before the crisis fully erupts and jumps on a train. To where? She doesn’t know. In fact, she’s still going over her BIG MISTAKE. When she does get off the train, she’s suddenly in a new predicament when she gets mistaken for a housekeeper interviewing for a job at a big house, when she just needed directions. Now, Samantha has to learn how to cook, clean, and do other menial housework, while keeping her identity a secret. She begins to question her life when she sees that there’s more to life than business mergers, and when she unexpectedly starts falling in love.
There were a few things that irked me by the end of this novel and that’s mainly why I’m not rating it perfectly, but other than these little occurrences, I enjoyed the story!
1. One of the issues I always tend to have with Kinsella’s characters is how oblivious and/or rude they are before their transformations. I know that they change and become better people, but Kinsella sometimes takes it a bit too far. Samantha is one of those people that I would loath to meet when I am at work at my coffee shop. Before she becomes a girl who doesn’t care too much about her “important” career, Samantha is ruthlessly rude, narrow-minded, and intimidating. There’s even a hint at the beginning that her secretary hates her. But, one other thing that I really don’t like about Kinsella’s protagonists is how naive they can be before they have their moments of clarity near the end. This is a technique that Kinsella has adopted and I can see that it is one that a) sometimes works for her and b) sometimes doesn’t. The problem with sticking to this method of writing is that the stories become predictable, so onto my next point.
2. The storyline was a bit predictable. This didn’t deter me from the story because there were still moments where I was happily surprised, but some of the choices that Samantha made and what happened to her were a bit predictable. I don’t want to ruin the experience for anyone, but if you’re a fan of Kinsella you may have noted that the protagonists tend to take a huge step backwards from what they’ve learned throughout the novel near the end, right before realizing what they’ve done and righting their lives once more. Like I said in my previous point, it seems like Kinsella has stuck to this routine since it hasn’t really failed her yet.
3. One of the greater issues in the novel regarding her family isn’t really resolved. (view spoiler)[Samantha mentions a brother who had a breakdown and became a teacher several years before the events of the novel, yet Kinsella doesn’t explore this relationship further. Also, I felt deflated when Samantha’s horrible relationship with her controlling mother was left unfinished. To her credit, Kinsella did have Samantha stand up to her mother, but there wasn’t really any form of conclusion between the two. Yes, Samantha DID take control of her life back from her mother, but, at the risk of sounding cliche, couldn’t Kinsella have found a slightly better resolution between the two? This is one of the other problems I have with Kinsella’s characters sometimes, they are sometimes left as what they are instead of growing. I know Samantha’s mother was a one-dimensional character, but she was Samantha’s mother for goodness sake. (hide spoiler)] In all honestly, I was disappointed with this relationship, considering how well Kinsella has portrayed previous parent-child/child-in-law relationships.
1. Despite all of the negatives mentioned above, I am a sucker for chick lit. Kinsella’s writing is fluent and humorous, making it a quick and fun read. Unless you’re like me and look at the novel too critically. The Undomestic Goddess is no exception. I can always count on Kinsella for a good laugh.
2. Though a bit predictable, Kinsella has the gift of writing fun, feel-good stories. She creates worlds where foreign readers can feel part of the England and UK atmosphere with her witty and hilarious diction. I found myself enthralled with this small town that Samantha arrives in and the descriptions made me want to be part of that world.
3. Even if they are sometimes annoyingly naive, Kinsella’s protagonists, like Samantha, have strong voices that always mark the beginning of the story. Kinsella isn’t a writer who begins her stories with long descriptions or with an intelligent sentence. Instead, her protagonist’s voice is always the first thing the reader meets, and the personality of the character is immediate. For example, first line of The Undomestic Goddess is: “Would you consider yourself stressed?” (Kinsella). This line actually belongs to a questionnaire that Samantha is filling out and the interesting thing is that Kinsella, without having a fully developed, over-thought sentence, has already introduced the gist of Samantha. Is she stressed? Could this character be a workaholic?
Despite the issues that I found in The Undomestic Goddess, I enjoyed this novel. The problems that I did find are more a pattern in Kinsella’s writing rather than problems specific to this novel. But hey, I still love Sophie Kinsella and I can’t wait to read her future works. If you enjoy cute and fun Chick Lit with an edge (slight swearing, slight sex), then I suggest that you read Kinsella’s work. In the world of Chick Lit, Kinsella is definitely a name to keep an eye on and any fan of feisty protagonists should check out the other novels by this author!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...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
Possess by Gretchen McNeil is a creepy story of a girl with psychic abilities that help her ridThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Possess by Gretchen McNeil is a creepy story of a girl with psychic abilities that help her rid people of demonic possessions. At first I was a bit skeptic of this novel, especially since it dealt with demons, exorcisms, and religion (I laughed when I watched the exorcist, so please try to understand my skepticism). But I was pleasantly surprised.
"Rule #1: Do not show fear.
Rule #2: Do not show pity. Rule #3: Do not engage. Rule #4: Do not let your guard down. Rule #5: They lie.
Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.
Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king."
McNeil's novel was a quick paced, fun read, though of course it had only a few flaws.
1. The protagonist, Bridget, was a bit stubborn and annoying. Characters would tell her that she needed to do something but she would protest instead of acting. Even near the end when she needs to pay attention, she still stubbornly fights against the facts. This annoyed me because of how naive and ignorant she was acting. This occurred several times.
2. Okay, sorry for this spoiler, but it's a pretty obvious thing: Bridget's mother and her love interest's father are in love. I'm not really disturbed with this, but others might not be so accepting of the fact that Bridget's soon-to-be boyfriend's father will be her step-father if her mother decides to marry him.
3. Though it isn't so obvious that it disrupts the story, there are some editing mishaps. Every once in a while I ran into awkward sentences that made me re-read the sentence twice to understand what was intended.
4. A bit predictable, but still a fun read.
1. The eerie tone was awesome. It was consistent and expertly done.
2. Ignoring the protagonist's annoying behavior, the other characters were intriguing.
3. The world created by McNeil is interesting because of how effectively she uses diction to create fear and intrigue for the reader.
4. McNeil's story is creepy as hell, which is incredibly hard to do effectively in a novel. But she uses a simple thing like an animal haunting a home and makes it a scary experience for the reader.
5. This isn't the first book in a series! Do you know how refreshing that is?
This was definitely one of those novels that was a surprise. If you want to get spooked, while enjoying an interesting story, then you should check this one out. I will definitely be looking forward to McNeil's work in the future....more
Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky is a blush-inducing novel that straddles the line betweenReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky is a blush-inducing novel that straddles the line between the young adult age group and the newly created new adult age group. If you've read Forever... by Judy Blume then perhaps you'll understand what I'm insinuating about this novel, but if you haven't read Blume's classic novel about sex and growing up, then you're in for a surprise.
Dom, the protagonist, is a student about to finish her final year of high school. She is a believable character in the sense that she is innocent when she first meets Wes, her love interest, especially since she had no past experiences with guys. Both Wes and Dom are virgins, not just sexually, but in a relationship sense. Everything they do together is a new experience and we are taken through every new phase in their relationship.
I like that, unlike with other contemporary romance novels, Dom does not think that Wes is perfect. She analyses his faults and as the novel progresses we see how realistic faltering love can be.
The bluntness of the narrative is jarring, and this is where the blushing factor comes in. In some ways, we have become increasingly desensitized towards the issue of sex, especially with it being more popular in literature, film, and even television shows (where censoring has become surprisingly lax). So, for a book to make me all giddy and blushy like whenever someone alluded to a sexual act when I was a teenager, that's a pretty big thing.
I think what made the "did that just happen?" feeling even more pronounced was how random it feels. One moment, Dom is thinking about something innocent, then all of a sudden she is contemplating her sexuality and commenting on her best friend's sexual prowess in a very unflinching way.
Also, it is the contrast between her assumed innocence and the dominance she quickly gains in the relationship--sexually and emotionally--that makes this novel stand out. Her behavior, however, is reminiscent of how overpowering first love can be. When your first love ends, or even hints at a conclusion, the world may feel like it is falling down.
She is realistic because of her very real emotions regarding her first boyfriend. Will this be the one for her? Will he always love her? Should she changed everything for him? Her fear of losing something she finally has after years of wanting it can be reflected in the answers to the aforementioned questions (found within the book, of course).
Anatomy of a Boyfriend is a very fast-paced novel. The prose is fluid and easily grabs the reader's attention. Snadowsky's novel is a great exploration of teenage sexuality and first loves.
I would recommend Anatomy of a Boyfriend to readers who want to read contemporary romance novels that don't end well, romantically, but have a protagonist who grows and learns from her experience.
I do not recommend Anatomy of a Boyfriend to younger readers, due to the high level of sexuality. ...more
I feel like I should begin this review by stating that the reason why I read The Selection by KThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I feel like I should begin this review by stating that the reason why I read The Selection by Kiera Cass was mainly because of the front cover. Of course, after reading the synopsis I just fell more in love with the idea of reading this Young Adult novel. I decided to read this novel despite some negative comments going around about the author's bad behavior towards a reviewer, because I care more about the book than the author's actions.
Cass's story has its own unique fun to it. I devoured this novel because it was a light, sometimes funny, and super romantic read. It did have some issues, but not enough to repel me.
"For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined."
1. How cheesy is it to give your protagonist the name "America" simply to make a point of her fighting spirit? I am a huge fan of using the protagonist's name to send a message to the reader, but being so obvious is kind of irksome.
2. While a lot of the characters in Cass's novel added mystery and fun to the storyline, America's mother was a bit on the undecided side. By this I mean that one moment she was all, "You are my daughter, so I will guilt trip you into a potential marriage that will make you miserable just so we have a better life", and the next she was "I understand your pain sweetie, but we love you and want you to be happy." I want to say she felt a bit bipolar, but I don't want to offend anyone.
3. Ugh, why must protagonists be portrayed as weak women pining for men who act like complete assholes? I acknowledge that it is unrealistic to make a character completely emotionless when she and the one she loves stop being together, but when a breakup happens because the guy is too chicken-shit (excuse my language) to fight for the girl he so obviously loves, I get annoyed that the protagonist yearns for him even more. Really. Oh and by the way, the whole scene (view spoiler)[ with her and him after she is in the castle is ridiculous. Girls reading books like these need strong protagonists to look up to, not women who immediately revert back to the I-love-you stage (hide spoiler)] in an already broken (and previously unhealthy) relationship.
1. I loved the storyline of America being taken to a palace to possibly meet her prince charming (pun intended). Though a bit slow at first, the story quickly gets interesting and I'm a sucker for romance. Which this has a lot of. Cass's novel was a bit predictable, but it didn't stop it from being a fun ride.
2. I was never a huge fan of The Bachelor, but even though this book is like a novelization of a season from the once popular show, it was neat seeing everything happen from the perspective of a contestant, rather than from the cliched viewpoint of the prince.
3. The ending was expected, I mean, the prince had like a gazillion girls left to pick from and under the pressing conditions (which I will not reveal) it is understandable what he had to do. I just wish Cass would have gone a little longer before concluding, but then that means that her ending was enough for me to want to read the next installment.
4. I liked the mystery that some of the characters in the novel offer, made me incredibly curious!
5. The cover was eye-candy. I have to add this to the list because it is what attracted me in the first place.
I eagerly await the next installment in the series!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
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'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
Susane Colasanti’s Keep Holding On is an inspiring story that delves into the hard truth about bullReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Susane Colasanti’s Keep Holding On is an inspiring story that delves into the hard truth about bullying: parental or societal. Told in fast-paced prose, Noelle, the protagonist, describes her situation in much more gusto than would be expected in a child of abuse. She is not only emotionally abused by her mother, but she is abused by her peers who taunt her for being poor. But when a horrible event occurs that rocks the social order of the school, it is up to Noelle to decide if enough is enough.
Though predictable, Keep Holding On is one of those great young adult novels that more people should read. It isn’t the way the message is being sent that matters, it is the message itself.
Colasanti, in my humble opinion, does a magnificent job in creating a story depicting that we aren’t as alone as we believe we are. She shows us the power of friendship, love, and the ability to hold on.
I recommend this book to anyone seeking a quick read with a heavy message that will mean something to all of us, whether we want to believe it or not....more
Sometimes I get a strange urge to read novels that freak me out, so a good zombie novel is a plThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Sometimes I get a strange urge to read novels that freak me out, so a good zombie novel is a pleasant way of sating this strange craving. Jonathan Maberry's Dead of Night is a creepy novel set in a quiet town in the United States that experiences a zombie invasion during a stormy night. Though a bit slow at the beginning, when the action begins it hits the reader like an infected bite.
I caution you, however, if you have a weak stomach then Maberry's work may not be for you.
"A prison doctor injects a condemned serial killer with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake while his body rots in the grave. But all drugs have unforeseen side-effects. Before he could be buried, the killer wakes up. Hungry. Infected. Contagious. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang…but a bite."
Though this was a fun read that took me a bit longer to read than normal, it had some issues that bugged me at times.
1. There are some moments where more editing is needed. Words missing, awkward sentences, misspelled words, and grammatical errors appear throughout the novel. These errors distracted me because they were so obvious.
2. Some of the characters drove me nuts, like the protagonist. She was so intense at times that I wanted to slap her and tell her to stop being such a b%^&. I know she has a huge chip on her shoulder, but it still annoyed me.
3. Though relatively fast-paced, there were moments where the story just slowed down. Not just that, but there's a point where some characters find out what is actually happening and they keep asking the most obvious questions. I wanted to yell at them because Maberry was dragging on the chapter and slowing down the pace. I can't stand it when authors feel the need to over-explain something instead of trusting their readers.
1. This novel was scary as hell when it got going. It made me think there were things moving around my house at night and sometimes I had to put the book down and recollect my emotions.
2. Though this is your typical zombie novel, Maberry still explores the issues of Government and what would happen in the face of the apocalypse. I know that this is a cliche in all apocalyptic novels, but it was still powerful.
3. Though this novel was predictable, I liked the ending! It made me think, "Oh crap, they're so screwed!"
4. I did dislike the protagonist at times, but when she started fighting for her life, it was awesome! There's a cool scene with a lot of fighting and a lot of creepy zombies, where she kicks ass.
5. The reason why the zombie attack begins is proof of how curiosity and hatred can be deadly.
I liked this novel and I'll probably read more of Maberry's novels in the future. If you're going to read this, don't go in expecting something mind-blowing, but a fun ride full of spooks and nightmare worthy moments....more
I enjoyed Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, but it lacked a certain touch that would otherwise makeMini review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I enjoyed Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, but it lacked a certain touch that would otherwise make it a favorite.
It was creepy and exciting, since it's set in a world where werewolves are a reality--which reminded me of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series. I was drawn to the mystery aspect of the book and how this ghost was seemingly haunting her best friend.
What I didn't like so much:
1. The detective work isn't as prominent as the synopses hints at. 2. There is a LOVE TRIANGLE. Like, a pretty obvious one that set my nerves on edge. Just, no. 3. The protagonist is one of those plain Janes who magically has all the guys wanting her, putting her in the cliche woods.
What redeemed this for me:
1. The creepy small town 2. The surprise twists 3. The sexy male characters (ignore my age)
I have many mixed feelings regarding this one, but it was a fun read.
This was a fun read with a very fresh take on the idea of werewolves!
I wasn't too keen on the love triangle, and even though the protagonist wasn't exactly out of the cliche woods, this was still an exciting read!...more
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
Lisa Unger’s novel Beautiful Lies, the first installment in the two-book Ridley Jones series, is a thriller/mystery.
The story follows Ridley Jones through a maze of lies she has recently uncovered about her life. She faces dangerous obstacles and is nearly killed on various occasions. Action-packed and for the most part fast-paced, Unger has written an exciting novel for lovers of the genre.
Ridley's narrative tends to go on tangents about her ideas on philosophical issues. For example: how the choices we make affect our lives. These moments in the novel are often long-winded and unsettling for the reader, since it distracts him/her from the flow of the story.
Unger does make Ridley extremely realistic, however, by having her question not just herself, but the reader as well. By utilizing this technique, Unger is adding to the air of mystery, confusion, and lack of trust that the protagonist feels in her altered world. If Ridley can't trust anyone around her anymore, should the reader trust what s/he is being told? We are guided by an imperfect, untrusting protagonist who wants us to partake, and perhaps, aid in her search for the truth.
Though very passionate and informative at times with anecdotes about Ridley’s past memories sneaking up on her, or the use of Carl Jung to emphasize a point, Unger sometimes takes too long to get to her point. I understand that this is a thriller and it is necessary for the reader to be reeled in, but on occasion the story feels long and tedious. This is especially true of the first half of the novel. Unger attempts to build anticipation with her dragged on introduction, but instead makes it feel drawn out.
The good news is that the second half of the novel is exactly what the reader hopes for in a thriller. The action and passion that Ridley and her male love interest experience is riveting. Whatever fleeting thoughts the reader had of abandoning the book are quickly forgotten as the suspenseful story takes him/her to an intense finale.
Of course, questions are left unanswered and will most likely appear as motivation for Ridley in the second installment.
Beautiful Lies is a novel full of deception, surprises, and is action-heavy as the conclusion nears. Those who love a descriptive storyline and an engaging protagonist will most likely enjoy Lisa Unger's novel....more
Miranda Kenneally does something I love with her second novel, Stealing Parker. She makes it a compaReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Miranda Kenneally does something I love with her second novel, Stealing Parker. She makes it a companion to her debut novel, Catching Jordan, adds in little snippets about Jordan, but lets the novel sit on its own. Fun, light (despite the creepy aspect, though the coach is my age...awkward?), and extremely addicting, Stealing Parker is a homerun of a novel... give, or take a few minor issues.
Parker is a bad girl. But she's only that way after her mom's scandal rips her family apart.
What I liked was how Kenneally hints at why Parker is the way she is at the beginning of the novel, adding in little standalone lines that should make the reader think. That's one of the great things about this novel: Kenneally doesn't just tell the reader what's up, she nurtures the secrets, lets them slowly tease the reader, then offers one last clue so the reader can put everything together. That takes trust in the reader. A LOT of trust, and I respect her for it.
Parker was a reliable narrator. She was a careless and slightly boy-crazy girl that changed at the appropriate time. The pacing was good, so her character growth was believable and the reader can trust her to make the right decisions. Or at least, the right decisions for her.
The romance? The book is, let's see, twenty percent about friendship and the same for family, the rest is about romance. Though I loved the romance, I wish I could have learned a little more about Parker's family, or at least, I wanted to know what happened afterwards. But hey, it is Parker's story.
Religion plays a huge role in this novel and it kind of caught me off-guard. In all honesty, I'm not the biggest fan of books depicting religion as the way a person chooses to live his/her life because it feels like it is being pushed on the reader. I believe in God, don't get me wrong, but no matter what religion it is, I find it disconcerting when a novel tells me what a good Catholic or Christian girl is. (A novel that drove me crazy with this was All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin)
But the novel was so much fun, that I didn't let it annoy me. If you love romance, sports, and fun quick reads, then you might want to check this one out!...more
When I jumped into Evan Fuller's Mutt I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into. I have readThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
When I jumped into Evan Fuller's Mutt I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into. I have read independent authors' novels before that have left me confused, angry, and even tired, so I won't lie, I was a bit weary. But Fuller's debut into the world of writing is an exciting and fluently written story that delves into the politics of humanity if the world were to experience catastrophic events (I'd like to even say that the points raised in the novel can be used to compare the different powers that countries in the present global economy hold).
The cover is intriguing and it forces the reader to look for any hints of what is offered within the pages. The magic can be seen in the wisps of smoke coming off Green, the central magical character in the novel, and the rough life of the Wastelands can be noted in the wear and tear of his clothing. The colour of the background might indicate the "wasteful" atmosphere that the characters explore.
The following synopsis is from smashwords:
"Centuries after most of humanity died out, a new civilization is slowly constructed upon the remnants of the old.
Emery, a young man living in the walled city of Rittenhouse, has taken it upon himself to rescue "mutts," as the citizens of Rittenhouse call the impoverished masses outside. When Timothy, a boy afflicted with a fatal illness, seeks Emery's help, the two embark on a deadly errand to secure the medicine Timothy needs. This mission takes them from the safety of Rittenhouse into the wasteland outside it, where ancient superstitions are reborn and humanity struggles to survive amidst the ruins of a fallen American metropolis."
To be honest, I have become a fan of Fuller's writing and only really had two complaints while reading the novel.
1. Editing. Though not to such an extent that it distracted me from the story, the editing could have been a bit more thorough. Some of the errors include: a few missing quotation marks, extra words, oddly phrased sentences, and missing words. The problems with editing weren't so huge that it completely killed the novel because the writing was still beautiful. Don't let this deter you though: a) because I am a stickler for these things in novels, and b) the story is brilliant and thought-provoking.
2. There is one moment where a professor is called out of a classroom and I never get to find out what happened... I would love to see an answer in the sequel!
1. Fuller's writing is effortless. When I first began reading Mutt, I found myself lost in the world of Rittenhouse and the Wastelands (which immediately brought my thoughts to T.S. Eliot, but I digress). The writing is fast-paced and this is mainly why I finished so quickly!
2. There is a scene that terrified the hell out of me. Why is this a positive? Because I rarely find novels that legitimately have sections that scare me to the point were I feel uncomfortable. For example, there's a point where Emery, the protagonist, is attacked and his thoughts become erratic. How does Fuller present the mental change of his character? By writing one long run-on sentence, which is an excellent technique when done purposefully with the intention of disturbing the reader and making him/her wonder why the author has written such a sentence.
3. The emotions that the characters experience are well written and I found myself empathizing with them. Let me tell you, some moments in this book will break your heart, while others will make you just as angry as the characters themselves.
4. The characters all varied for me. Lydia was a bit of a nag, but I understand why. (view spoiler)[That wholeromance in the novel was a bit unexpected, but I hope that it is explored further in the next novel since it left me feeling a bit confused. (hide spoiler)] The people in and from the Wastelands had a great dialect, which Fuller continuously used. He varied it slightly as the social status of the characters either rose or fell. Emery is of a higher class, so his dialogue was rich and intelligent.
5. The description of things that survived after the extinction of the world as we know it and how the world rebuilt itself is brilliant. It was fascinating to see how things would be in such a world and how our actions now would be viewed later.
Mutt is a great debut novel and I urge you to read it if you enjoy dystopian novels that not only explore magic, but also the political issues behind the changes that the world undergoes when it is trying to fix itself.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Thirteen Days to Midnight, by Patrick Carman is a young adult novel that follows orphan Jacob FThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Thirteen Days to Midnight, by Patrick Carman is a young adult novel that follows orphan Jacob Fielding after his guardian's death and the legacy that is left for him. The premise of this novel is what drew me in since I was curious to see what Jacob experiences and his apparent connection with death. While Carman introduces his character in a pretty neat way, his story wasn't what I was anticipating.
"You are indestructible. Three whispered words transfer an astonishing power to Jacob Fielding that changes everything. At first, Jacob is hesitant to use the power, unsure of its implications. But there's something addictive about testing the limits of fear.
Then Ophelia James, the beautiful and daring new girl in town, suggests that they use the power to do good, to save others. But with every heroic act, the power grows into the specter of a curse. How to decide who lives and who dies?"
Various things, good and bad, stuck out for me as I read this book. At points I was confused while at others I was awed at what the characters were experiencing.
1. I know some authors include a prologue into a novel as a way of either preparing a reader for an upcoming moment of tension, or for giving the reader some information that may be vital for understanding the text. Carman, however, includes a prologue that is separated into two different one and a half page chapters. The first is an italicized third person view of what is apparently happening later on in the novel (though the scene doesn't make a reappearance and I think this will just add to the confusion), and the second is simply labelled "One Day Later", yet it is first person, with Jacob asking the reader a series of questions. Personally, I would have just included the latter chapter. One, because it is a cool introduction, and two, it feels more effective than blindly throwing the reader into a situation where the style of writing isn't even the same as the rest of the book.
2. The front of my hardcover copy of the novel says, "The Grim Reaper doesn't disappear...he catches up." I'm sorry if I ruin this for anyone, so (view spoiler)[, there is no "Grim Reaper". What there is is a death monster that Jacob carries with him ever since the car accident where he was spared and his guardian died. The monster is a result of a curse placed on a man hundreds of years ago and yes, it keeps the person that hosts the monster safe and immortal, but the wearer can't just toss it around from person to person and then take it back. In a way, the monster is an omen of death, but it is in no way a Reaper. (hide spoiler)] This confused the hell out of me at the end... it's just so complex.
3. The way that Jacob falls in love with Ophelia James is a bit too much, to be honest. It only takes him several days to fall in love with her and then risk not only his life, but his best friend's life as well in order to save her.
4. Ophelia's character, while I know that she was changing from influences I can't state, was so dramatic I wanted to reach into the book and slap her.
1. Each day is separated by a page that tells the reader how many days there are left until midnight (which is what the prologue is about). I think this is cool because I didn't have to read the same sentence stating what day it is and how many days are left with each new chapter. Of course, there are various chapters in each section.
2. The latter part of the prologue is awesome and I like that Carman uses the same tactic of superpowers and the curiosity that humanity holds for those things we don't have at the beginning and the conclusion. It is not just cool, but a great way to wrap up the story.
3. Even with all the little nuisances, Carman writes a fun story that moves along quickly. He doesn't focus on unimportant scenes that don't have any relevance to the story. Everything is connected, one way or another.
4. The ending is predictable, but I was still surprised by some aspects of it. I'm not spoiling it for you guys, so you'll just have to read the book to find out what it is!
Though Carman offers us a fast-paced and adventurous story, the concept of the novel is a bit confusing. I won't be surprised if future readers jump into this with one idea of the novel in mind, only to come out thinking, "huh, that's different."
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 a free copy of Tempered by Fire from author H.E. Birss so I could review her debut nThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a free copy of Tempered by Fire from author H.E. Birss so I could review her debut novel. I was a bit nervous as the day that I would receive the novel neared because I didn't know what to expect. Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed.
Birss introduces us to a magical, and rather dangerous, world full of multi-dimensional characters who mimic real teenagers, rather than just making them in the likeness of perfection (as so many Young Adult authors tend to do in order to make their readers love the male/female protagonist). While some of the characters are very attractive, the personalities are all diverse and entertaining (especially the protagonist's cynism).
"Like most girls her age, all Hailey Catherwood wanted to do was get out of high school alive. However, thanks to an interloping fairy, that might not even be an option anymore… Unlike most girls her age, Hailey has the Sight - the ability to see into the fairie realm. When a hot-headed Fire Sprite shows up and tricks her into one months servitude, her life is suddenly overrun with blue-skinned kelpies, sabre-toothed monsters, and monocle-wearing squirrels. An evil fairy queen further complicates matters, pushing Hailey into a magical mess as she is forced into a quest that she’ll, regrettably enough, never be able to forget."
While I loved the story, there was just one issue that I found in this novel, which I admit I was warned about, but I am always honest in my reviews.
1. The editing. I know that Birss wrote and published her novel rather quickly, but I am a bit of a stickler for editing. Whereas all of you who read her novel in the future will probably skim over such occurrences in the story, I make note of this so that future readers who do determine their experience on issues like editing can go in and try not to focus on the errors, but on the magical story. I would hope, however, that this becomes less of an issue in the next two installments in the series, since I think that this story has a lot of potential for being a hit with young readers.
1. Very fast paced!
2. I liked that Hailey, the protagonist, thought for herself. She didn't let the guy decide what she was doing. It's rare to see female characters rely so little on male characters, so this was refreshing. Also, her attitude was reminiscent of Kody Keplinger's protagonist in The Duff, which kicked ass.
3. The budding romance wasn't your typical, "Oh, you're hot, I want you, I need you," a la Twilight, but it was stormy and resistent. Even though (view spoiler)[ the characters slowly fall for each other, they don't relinquish the way they are, which is a fresh way to look at relationships in young adult novels. (hide spoiler)]
4. The descriptions of the creatures in the magical world that Birss has created are wicked. To give you a hint: There are flying noses AND a hot blue guy.
5. The adventure. I can't be the only one who wishes that my sometimes dull, monotonous life could be turned into a whirlwind of fun, danger, and romance. That's exactly what Birss offers in her novel, and honestly, isn't reading a type of escape? Why not escape into a magical world like the one created in this novel?
This was definitely an entertaining read, even with its flaws. I've seen debut novels before with the same editing errors that made me stop reading them. Why did I abandon those and not this one? Easy. This one had a compelling plot-line that was not hindered by the editing. This is the type of rare debut novel that is fantastic as it is, but could be phenomenal as the series grows. I'm excited to read the sequel and I hope for the best of luck to the new writer in our midst!["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
Strength & Justice: Side: Strength is the first installment in a young adult science-fiction series by Adrem Kay. Jeremy Itsubishi, the protagonist, leads readers into the world of Geminate City where danger and magic lurks. Kay touches on the Japanese culture via Jeremy's knowledge of the food and language of the culture. We are also given the opportunity to visualize some of the events in the novel by glancing at the six hand-drawn sketches scattered among the pages.
Jeremy is a 15-year-old smart-mouth with the habit of acting before contemplating the consequences of his actions. Though I liked Jeremy and his loyal personality, he is sometimes wearisome. While he occasionally acts and sounds much older than his age, there are moments when his whining and blatant misunderstanding of situations are a bit over the top. The reader watches as Jeremy's world quickly falls apart as the mysterious Repulsion Illness, a disease that rids a person of his/her magic, spreads. The fast-paced plot causes Jeremy to grow as a character. He does this by surpassing the comical facade that is presented at the beginning of the novel.
The relationship between Jeremy and his girlfriend Mandy is questionable. An aspect of Jeremy that irks me is how quick he is to place Mandy above every one else, even his mother. I understand the dependency the two teenagers have for each other, considering they are both from less than ideal homes, but I can’t help but wonder if this is a realistic portrayal of a relationship.
The biggest issue I have with Strength & Justice is the apparent plot hole near the beginning of the novel. Ellie, a minor character, barely appears before she is taken out again. Given her role in the memory that Jeremy recounts, I find it unsettling that the characters barely react to Ellie’s disappearance. As a result, this character feels like a last minute addition to the plot.
Putting aside the few flaws found in the characters, Kay has created intriguing and realistic characters. The reader will laugh along with the humor and will relate to the emotions portrayed by the characters. Kay's ability to write a novel that is both character and plot driven is intriguing, since I never know what will happen next.
Strength & Justice is a fun and original adventure that will have its readers guessing until the end of the story. Readers seeking a fast-paced novel that explores a world inhabited by magical abilities and a quirky protagonist will love this debut....more
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Erin Bowman's Taken is a solid younReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Erin Bowman's Taken is a solid young adult dystopian debut with not only an incredibly gorgeous cover, but an entertaining storyline. The reader is immediately introduced to a scary, but admittedly interesting world full of mysteries and unexpected surprises. Bowman's Taken is one of the most anticipated books of 2013 and it does not disappoint!
Gray, the protagonist, is an interesting character. His name is given to him because of his eyes, but I also attribute it to the role he plays in his world. Whereas everyone around him settles into a life that is either too controlled, or one that is completely free, Gray finds a way to be in between. His need for the truth overrides the security of a trapped life, but endangers the freedom he also seeks.
Grays grows as a character in a sense, since he realizes how dangerous some truths are and how deadly his curiosity is. He also grows physically, becoming a man as the novel becomes steadily darker. It was also intriguing watching how his interactions with those around him reflected on his growing character. For example, once overshadowed by his brother's good-guy attitude, Gray becomes more than what is expected of him.
Taken is reminiscent of other dystopian novels in that it struggles to portray the dangers of government and how easy it is for just one person to see the fault in the system. Even with its similarities to other popular dystopian novels, Bowman's novel takes on an original sense by the portrayal of unconventional romance, unanswered questions, and a protagonist who acts more like a relatable and flawed teenager than a wannabe adult.
The pacing is good, for the majority of the novel. There are instances where the story slows and feels a little bogged down with the events taking place. This is the greatest flaw I found in Taken. There are instances where the story seems to pause, before continuing forward.
The descriptions, red herrings, and foreshadowing are kind of brilliant. There is one theme, which I won't mention because of spoiler issues, that keeps popping up throughout the novel. I was impressed with Bowman's ability to notice and remind the reader of every minute, yet important detail.
Though slightly predictable, Taken still offers a great number of twists and turns. Even if the reader sees something coming, Bowman's writing still captures the reader's attention. All of this, of course, leads to a very promising conclusion that will make the reader beg for the sequel.
I recommend Taken to fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and other popular dystopian novels. If you want a book rife with characters fighting against their political restraints, as well as themselves, messy romance, and imperfect male protagonists, then I strongly recommend this one for you....more
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Dualed by Elsie Chapman is the first in the Dualed seReview first appeared on my blog: my link text
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Dualed by Elsie Chapman is the first in the Dualed series, it's also Chapman's debut into the literary world, so it's only fitting that her first book is an original adventure set in a cruel world. Emotionally gripping from start to finish, Dualed is an action-filled debut that promises to rock your world.
At first, I was undecided on how I felt about West, the protagonist. One moment she's a tough fifteen year-old ready to fight the world, then she is a seemingly cold-blooded killer that is too afraid to face her fate. Though West's indecisiveness and sudden change of behavior helps the reader understand just how nerve-wracking West's world is, it is a bit distracting and frustrating to see such an inactive character.
I'm a huge fan of the hit-man scenario. Okay, it's a bit morbid, but it's kind of cool how a teenage girl can go and undermine a city that is so obviously corrupt. Mainly, however, I like the idea of a teenaged hit-girl because it makes Dualed that much more interesting.
And sure, it should be interesting enough that teenagers roam the streets of this deadly city with guns and other weapons with the sole intention of killing their evil twin, but West's role as an assassin makes it that much cooler.
The writing imitates the wariness West feels. It is straightforward where it needs to be, and descriptive when Chapman really wants her readers to focus. The pacing is strong up until the final few chapters, where the writing lags just a bit.
But that might be because by this point, West is finally coming to terms with what needs to be done.
West's character growth is sporadic, at best. Various times West grows into a mature and calculating character, yet almost immediately reverts to the weak character she is striving to overcome--which in a way, makes her relatable, since none of us are perfect before, during, or after we've figured out our paths in life.
I recommend Dualed to fans of the Dystopian genre in young adult fiction. Those who enjoy a light action novel full of anticipation and internal struggles, might also like this one. If you're looking for lots of romance, you won't find it here. Yes, there is a hint of romance, but it is more of a shadow that's always followed the protagonist, rather than something that falls on her without her knowledge. ...more
Little Star is the first book I've read by John Ajvide Lindqvist. I was floored. Not by the prose--which was entertaining, but not the best I've read--but how graphic Lindqvist's writing is. Granted, I've watched the films based on his previous novel, Let the Right One In, but I was not prepared for some of the gut-clenching scenes that I was introduced to.
The story opens on a once-famous family that finds and raises a secret "daughter" that is gifted with a beautiful voice. But this anonymous baby has something wrong with her, not physically, but mentally. The reader is then taken through the years as "Little One," as she is nicknamed, grows and becomes odder and odder. We meet another girl named Teresa and that's where the novel begins to slip away from the storyline that the reader has become acquainted with.
Though disgusting, Lindqvist's descriptions of the murders that do occur in the novel are very well written. The reader is left craving the next violent scene and as a result, Lindqvist promptly opens the door for the reader to step through and enter the minds of the various murderers. I think that's one of the reasons why readers are drawn to his writing: because of his ability to make even the most psychotic characters relatable. Also, he writes on disturbing topics with such ease that I can't help but wonder if he himself has committed a few unspoken crimes.
Though addicting and a very quick read (the chapters are shorter, making you read quicker than usual), the pace lagged on various occasions. At times, I felt that little moments told to us from the point of view of other characters (the narrator is third person, omniscient) were a bit dragged out and could have been told in much shorter spans.
Another point that hit me once I was done with the novel was the unanswered questions. The fate of the girl and her closest friend, Teresa, is pretty clear, but yet, we know nothing of what happens afterwards. I don't know if this is a trend with Lindqvist, but I for one want to know what the consequences will be after the characters' actions.
If you're a fan of Lindqvist, then definitely read Little Star. I'm not familiar with his work, but I do love the occasional Swedish novel. Little Star is one of those novels that will fill your morbid curiosity, then sit there churning, while making your world more unsettling as the conclusion approaches....more
Crushed by K.C. Blake is a surprisingly dark yThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received this novel from the author for review.
Crushed by K.C. Blake is a surprisingly dark young adult supernatural romance that follows a young witch and her twin sisters as they discover and play with their magical abilities. When I first started reading this novel, I expected a cutesy story of a young witch and a reluctant teen boy. Instead, Blake's story explores the dark side of magic and death in a fast-paced and slightly addicting tale.
The romance in the story is quickly paced and cliched. One of the issues I have with Blake's romance is that it happens so suddenly that it leaves the reader confused. Characters should not change their emotions as quickly as Blake changed hers because it is unrealistic. To make it worse, these changes occur over a short amount of time. Though her story is a fun one, I find Blake's technique of introducing romance into the story weak. I wish that the introduction to these new emotions was smoother and less confusing.
Though the characters appear to lack realistic emotions (vows of love are questionable due to the lack of action, for example), the storyline is fun and suspenseful. I was gripped as the story progressed and the mystery within the pages thickened.
I recommend this book to anyone seeking a quick, no-frills read that uses the plot to move the story along rather than the characters. If you're seeking an emotional, romantic read then perhaps this isn't for you....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
Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein is a novel that begins in the middle of the action, rather than before itReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein is a novel that begins in the middle of the action, rather than before it or after. The protagonist, Sara Jane, reveals to the reader that this will be an epistolary novel without the dates that usually go with journal entries. The reader is told nearly everything by her, whether important or not, making the story start off much too slowly. A less patient reader will probably lose interest after the first twenty or so pages, but more patient readers will be repaid with a lightning quick and electrifying adventure.
I devoured this novel in less than twenty-four hours. Even with chapters that are a bit on the long side, Goeglein's words flow like rapid bullets as the story progresses.
Of course, Goeglein's greatest downfall is not having a hook right away. In my opinion, his story begins fifty or so pages into the novel. I was wary that Cold Fury would turn into another example of how a promising book can go horribly wrong. Thankfully, once Goeglein reaches the beginning of Sara Jane's adventure, the story speeds up and flows wonderfully until the unexpected conclusion.
For me, Sara Jane is a bit of a brat at the start. What I like about her, however, is how she knows and understands that she isn't perfect. Her character growth is shown through her interactions with her few friends and the people around her. She isn't perfect, but she at least sees her potential.
The open-ended conclusion left me feeling like this might possibly be the best book in the series because the reader gets to learn more about Sara Jane and her family. Also, because we get that unspoiled first glimpse into her world as it comes crashing down on her. I'm wary of the other books, simply because I fear that the next installment will lack that sense of excitement, since we know nearly everything that we need to know now.
I recommend Cold Fury to those seeking a fun adventure that will have you rooting for the characters. I recommend patience with this one, since it does start off a bit tedious....more
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
True to the creepy synopsis and covReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
True to the creepy synopsis and cover, Suzanne Young's The Program is a disturbing portrayal of a world where suicide grows rampant and is classified as a mental disease that is catching, especially in teenagers. Between the scary idea that the government could give such power to industries much like "The Program", and that teenagers facing the increasing difficulties in their world can be classified as suicidal, Young's novel is not only original, but effectively eye-opening and thought-provoking.
Sloane, the protagonist, is perhaps one of those fortunate characters that we can't exactly hate. We see her decisions, we see her world beyond the knowledge that she is capable of holding--thanks to "The Program"--, yet we can't really outright blame her. If you don't know what's good or bad for you, how can you make the "right" decision? If your previously known world is a blank for you, would what we classify as right and wrong be the same for you?
What immediately caught my eye was the romantic aspect of The Program. It drives Sloane forward, even as her familiar world disintegrates from her memory. It also isn't one of those immediate romances that the protagonist encounters at the beginning of the novel. Instead, we are introduced to this powerful couple who vow to stand against the world, even if they have to make dire decisions. What I liked about this is that while Sloane's world does revolve around her relationship with James, she uses the difficulties they face as a way of growing and overcoming the chains of their society.
Perhaps one of the best, and most frustrating parts of The Program are when Sloane encounters the antagonist: "The Program". We are made to really hate this organization, even as they promise Sloane that they are healing her. This is where being an observer becomes useful. Whereas Sloane and her parents see only what "The Program" wants them to see, we are privy to everything. In a way, this is kind of awesome because we hope and hope that Sloane will also learn of what is happening. We root for her because of the powerful character she was at the beginning of the novel.
The pacing was less than stellar. The beginning of The Program, though used to build up the importance of Sloane and James' relationship, dragged a bit and I often found myself wondering when the intriguing parts would come. Instead, we are plagued with Sloane's depression and the dread that something bad is about to happen...the issue is that it took to long to get to said "something bad".
Keeping that in mind though, once Sloane enters "The Program" then everything becomes much more interesting. We connect a lot more with the characters, the storyline becomes addicting, and we start to truly root for Sloane.
Also, I've never been a fan of characters who have long internal dialogues when they are on a limited amount of time. There is no sense of urgency in their thoughts, despite the urgent situation. This happens quite a bit in The Program and let me just say that if I could shake Sloane into shape, I would have.
The epilogue was fantastically creepy. It hints at just how every action has consequences and how, though we strive to move forward and forget our pasts, we will always fall back and repeat what has happened.
One of the interesting quotes I found in Young's novel is, "I think that sometimes the only real thing is now" (Young), which ironically touches on the fact that yes, we do need to live in the here and now, but what if our pasts can save us from the here and now? This quote forces the reader to ponder what life would be like if we just simply lived in the present, rather than let our pasts mitigate our actions.
I recommend The Program to fans of dystopian fiction that hits a little too close to home, and deals with the painfully familiar topic of teen suicide. The romance in this novel is powerful and shows just how strong our hearts are when it comes to judging character and knowing what we truly want, despite our pasts being a distant memory and the present our only reality. ...more
Kate Mitchell's Aureole is a sweet and fast-paced novel that touches on the importance of family, whether related by blood or circumstance. Jessica Carleton, though a victim of a negligent and abusive household, is fostered by a rich family in New York City, while her siblings are sent to live with family. If the reader expects Mitchell's novel to be a "princessy, dreams come true" story, then s/he will be sorely disappointed. Mitchell goes beyond the cliches of the rich and jumps into the loneliness and downfalls of being a stranger in a rich, expectant family.
The one negative aspect of Mitchell's novel is the poor editing. Though the story follows a strong plot line, it is occasionally freckled with misspellings and repeated words. Having said that, however, Mitchell has weaved such a story for her readers that after a few chapters the editing is barely even noticed. Jessica's life with the Bishop family is fascinating and her friendship with the younger Bishop son, promising. It is easy to root for Jessica, even if she at times acts naive and too forgiving.
Though I could sense what is coming, thanks to the omniscient third person narrative, the events near the conclusion still shocked me. The reactions of the characters are proof of the character growth that occurs in the novel. One excellent example is how Jessica perceives the world near the last few chapters. Of all the characters, Jessica is rightfully the more changed.
As a debut, Aureole is an insightful view into the "princess" tale of a poor girl being taken in by a prestigious family. At times dark, funny, and heartwarming, Aureole shows more layers to Jessica's situation. In fact, money is barely mentioned regarding Jessica as she ages, except for the appropriate places. The reader does not see Jessica being bought everything, nor is she ever coddled. Jessica is the reality of how one might view the idea of a rich family taking in a poor young stranger.
I would recommend Mitchell's novel to those seeking young adult fiction that follows the life of the protagonist, rather than just one event. I also recommend this novel to readers who want the grittier side of the rich classes and their "generosity".
Aureole is a unique read thanks to Jessica's commentary on the Bishop family and her desire to overcome her misfortunes. ...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
Bleed by young author Nusrat Sultana is an ambitious novel that offers an original perspective of the vampire genre. Sultana’s debut is impressive, since she manages to draw the reader in and keep his/her attention throughout the 264 pages. Though her technique is a bit archaic, Sultana is an author to watch for in the future.
Bleed is a novel revolving around Amaryliss, a young girl on the verge of changing into something from a horror book. Not only does she receive news that will aid in re-shaping her outlook of the world around her, but she starts to experience odd events that make her question her sanity. Then she meets Austin, the strange and always cool boy by the graveyard. But Amaryliss knows her parents are keeping secrets, and she's confused by Austin’s sudden appearance. As a result, she spends the greater part of the novel questioning nearly everything she sees as she learns about her seemingly new world.
Sultana’s ability to write in an omniscient, third person voice is seamless. The reader will barely notice when she changes from one character’s point of view to another. Another aspect of writing that Sultana appears to have a strong understanding of is how to show the reader what is happening, rather than telling him/her what s/he should be experiencing. Sultana shows the reader Amaryliss’s fear through slightly archaic diction, regardless of how old-fashioned the writing appears.
However, one of the downfalls of Bleed is how cliched some of Amaryliss’s characteristics are. It feels like Sultana uses every negative feature from a past heroine when it comes to describing her own character. Amaryliss’s frailty is reminiscent of the past gender-degrading state of various heroines, and her naiveté over the situations surrounding her is an over-used tactic to create angst in novels. One other cliche is Austin’s ability to always appear when Amaryliss needs him. Does anyone remember a certain sparkly creature waiting on the sidelines?
Of course, even with all these cliches, the reader must admit that Sultana’s Bleed is a fun and highly addicting novel. Though at times the dialogue is contrived and the pacing is a bit slow, Bleed will grab the attention of nearly any eager reader.
Bleed is recommended for readers who want a different take on the vampire genre, and a plot that grows beautifully as the story progresses. Sultana sets the stage for a new generation of writers who promise to take the future of literature by storm....more
Jake Vander Ark's latest novel in his Blank Canvas Series, The BrandywinReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy for review
Jake Vander Ark's latest novel in his Blank Canvas Series, The Brandywine Prophet, is the first adult novel I've read by him. Eye-opening, occasionally unnerving, and with a disturbingly intriguing protagonist, Vander Ark's latest is an exploration of the dangers of creativity and the human existence. Written in a near-omniscient style, yet maintaining William, the protagonist, as the main focus of the novel, The Brandywine Prophet is an interesting little book.
The novel is laced with the occasional red herring. Whereas other novels may adopt the use of red herrings, they are very rarely as effective as Vander Ark's false leads and spoilers. The reader will think that s/he knows everything there is to know about the story. Heck, s/he might even think that the story is predictable.
The beauty of red herrings is that they are rarely used, which I find tends to lull the reader into a false sense of security. I love that Vander Ark uses the possibility of having a slightly predictable novel and turns it into something completely unpredictable.
This unpredictability helps the characters grow or wither (depending on their situations) effectively. The reader often learns truths and falses as the characters do. Most importantly though, the reader sees how characters bond, or fall apart thanks to Vander Ark's somewhat sadistic twists and turns. And I mean that as a compliment, since he obviously has a great grasp of what makes his characters tick.
The two negatives that I could not ignore in The Brandywine Prophet, however, was the occasional lack of editing, and the sometimes slow pace of the story. Though definitely a book to read if you've read Vander Ark's previous works in this series, I found the editing to be weaker than in his other novels and the story was a bit harder to get into.
But keep in mind: once the story picks up, it doesn't relent--in fact, the slow pacing mostly occurs in the first half of the novel. If you stick with the story until the pivotal point where William's world begins to fall apart, you will be pleasantly surprised.
As always, Vander Ark's prose is beautiful. His descriptions, metaphors, dialogue, and poignant observation of a disturbed and artistic mind is what the reader should keep an eye on.
The story itself, though very complicated at times, tells the reader that not everything is as it seems. Religion is shown as a savior for some, but as the destruction of others. The topic of God is introduced, it is pursued, questioned, abandoned--but it is never forced.
Vander Ark's latest is as much a contemporary fiction piece as it is an existential examination--if we put aside the obvious dark themes of the novel. If you've enjoyed The Accidental Siren and Lighthouse Nights, then you should consider giving The Brandywine Prophet a shot. ...more