I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
No Angel by Helen Keeble is a youngReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
No Angel by Helen Keeble is a young adult paranormal novel that is surprisingly funny and entertaining. Not only does Keeble somewhat mock the theme of angels in today’s literature, but she also takes various jabs at the idea of the beautiful female love interest looking for “Mr. Right,” and love at first sight. The level of satire in this novel is not so overstated that it made me roll my eyes, which was nice because though Keeble’s attempts were obvious, they were entertaining. Funny, fast paced, and pretty original, No Angel is an interesting read.
Rafael Angelos, the protagonist, is a walking example of the satire introduced in Keeble’s novel. Not only is he hot, a chick magnet, and “the chosen one” (No spoiler, I swear—it’s pretty obvious,) but his name pretty much makes you zero in on the fact that he’s not from this world. I like to think that names are a pretty important part of a storyline, since they can say so much about a character and the story itself, so kudos to Keeble for choosing such a well-known religious name.
Keeping that in mind, I’m also a huge fan of authors who use character traits as a way of showing just how ridiculous certain themes can be. For example, the female lead in Keeble’s novel is self-centered and a bit narcissistic—she basically states that without her, the school will burn. Can you say Hero Complex? How many times have we read about female leads who think their lives are so complicated because the world’s fate depends on them? Keeble is basically showing us such an exaggerated version of this popular character archetype so we can see just how ridiculous the concept is.
The idea that Rafael is the only guy at an all-girl school immediately shows me that he is going to play a pivotal role in the storyline. Keeble takes the extreme of what some of us have always wondered (come on, I can’t be the only one,) and goes with it by showing us how someone’s fantasy can go horribly wrong. Just imagine, a drop of water in an ocean of dry sand, basically. Add on the fact that these girls are not only beautiful, but deprived of male attention, and you have the ingredients for a hilarious situation.
I haven’t read anything by Keeble before, but reading this one inspired me to read her other work (which is on my very long to-read list.) The dialogue is hilarious, and some of the characters are so overdramatic in their roles that they are beyond entertaining. What I found the most intriguing though is the idea of love and anything romantic as a means to an end. Rather than being the reason for the two main characters to meet, romance is seen as a curse in this novel, since there is so much pressure behind it. The pressure to perform adds on to the irony of the situation, making it even more comedic.
No Angel is a fast-paced novel that will have the reader giggling at the dark humour and the over-exaggeration of some of the characters. Not only does No Angel have a double-entendre title, but it is also an intelligent and original story in its portrayal of what we associate with a paranormal romance novel. I recommend this one to readers who enjoy satire in young adult literature, and anyone who just wants a good laugh. ...more
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
A Shimmer of Angels by Lisa M. Basso is a young adReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
A Shimmer of Angels by Lisa M. Basso is a young adult novel that begins slowly, but picks up speed near the middle of the story. While the novel is somewhat predictable and a bit cliche, it is an emotional story full of anger and misunderstanding. A fast read with touches of romance here and there, Basso's debut into the world of young adult novels is powerful and dangerous.
Ray has been in and out of a mental institute for a good portion of her life. Why? Because she can see angels, or can she? It isn't until her most recent release that Ray's world starts to make a little more sense and she begins to question whether angels are real, or just a figment of her schizophrenic imagination.
One of the most popular topics in young adult literature today is that of angels, so I was expecting the predictable scenarios that often plague overused topics in literature. Thankfully, Basso adds a bit of originality into her story line with her powerful and independent protagonist, Ray.
Ray's name hints at her power and I think it is something the reader should consider as the series progresses. The name "Ray" depicts a streak of light, most likely from the sun--i.e. a ray of sunlight. I am a sucker for names that hint at the protagonist's purpose, so this was not lost on me.
There is romance beneath the layers of anxiety Ray experiences, but I was glad to see that it didn't take up the whole novel. Whereas other novels love to make the romance between the characters the main focal point of the story, Basso makes it something that occurs along the way in Ray's hectic life.
Ray's character grows from a timid, fearful person to a powerful guardian of sorts. Though I do not agree with some of her choices, she is one tough protagonist. Her family life is fraught with unfairness, but Basso makes the reader consider what her father is experiencing as well.
The male characters that surround Ray kind of irritated me, just because of their inaction. Though they are ridiculously sexy, they have their faults. But in a way, their lack of action turns Ray into a much stronger character. This is where originality comes into play--instead of falling to pieces, Ray accepts her fate, but slowly builds herself up without the help of the men in her life.
Readers who love angels and fierce protagonists will most likely enjoy A Shimmer of Angels. Written in quick and witty prose, Basso's novel is a fun twist on the angel genre that will have the reader yearning for more. ...more
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble iReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble is a very quick and quirky read that features a witty, and slightly neurotic 14 year-old protagonist. The storyline is considerably original, while the mystery promises to intrigue the reader until the conclusion. Preble's novel is a great light read for a hot summer day.
Jenna, the protagonist, tells us the story of how her brother became her guardian (in a paranormal sense) through diary entries. I haven't always been a fan of epistolary novels, since I find it hard to believe that a character would write down every detail that s/he notices. It always feels false to me, especially since I am an occasional journal writer (especially when I was a kid).
Okay, rant over.
But all of those annoyances aside, Preble does a pretty good job--though her character is only 14. Jenna is a very fun character to watch develop because she isn't your typical teenager. Not only is she dying when we meet her, but her family is far from conventional. She is not only grieving the potential loss of her brother, but she is grieving the loss of her father, and who her mother used to be. For a young teenager, she has her plate full.
Though the tone is occasionally light, there are darker themes within the novel. Addiction, death, sabotage, and abandonment are a few of the issues brought to light. And while Jenna distracts us with her wit and banter, her neurotic tendencies tend to seep into her dialogue when she is detailing her deteriorating health. Though the reader may find Jenna's character amusing, there is no doubt that she hasn't lived an easy life. Perhaps it is her attempt at distracting the readers from her familial struggles that endears her to us.
Preble's angels are your typical very attractive people, but their rules and abilities are slightly different from what we're used to when we read other angel inspired novels. Casey, Jenna's brother, is so well described and created, that even I was pulled in by his new allure. Preble is that good. Paranormal fiction in young adult novels is a very normal occurrence nowadays, but every once in a while an author comes along and adds a new twist to popular creatures. Preble is one of those authors.
The mystery is great! I kept trying to guess who was out to get Jenna's family, but every time I tried guessing, something would push me in a different direction. I'm the kind of reader that can usually guess what's going to happen from the get-go, but Preble managed to throw in a few red herrings that threw me off the scent. It was refreshing finding a mystery book that had me guessing throughout the whole story.
My greatest concern, and trust me this usually wouldn't bug me but since this features such a young protagonist, is the use of language. Jenna is in the 8th grade and in my past experience with middle grade novels, this would still be considered middle grade because Jenna is not in high school just yet. But Jenna is 14, which was perplexing since it was December (wouldn't she be 13? Or wouldn't there be an explanation as to why she is one year behind?) and spoke like a 17+ year-old. I know her circumstances aren't the best, but wow. Jenna goes from calling her teacher an "asshat", to spewing out more cuss words throughout the novel. I also know that her attitude is spunky, but this is perhaps too much.
Let's just say I was surprised--I think this novel would have been better off if Jenna were a little older.
Despite what I've mentioned above, the dialogue is kind of awesome. Funny, realistic, and fast-paced, the characters' conversations almost came to life with how well they were written.
The conclusion suggests that there may be more books written in the series (though Goodreads doesn't have any sequels listed), and I think The Sweet Dead Life would really benefit from this, since there are characters that I would like to know more about (like Jenna's best friend), and mysteries that I would like to see solved (like, what's going to happen to Casey in the long-run?)
If you're a fan of quirky characters, understated angels, interesting mysteries, fun dialogue, and novels that portray the unconditional love between family members, then you should check out The Sweet Dead Life.
Keep in mind, however, that though the protagonist is young, the themes explored are not for a middle grade audience....more
Susan Ee's Angelfall is an interesting and occasionally disturbing young adult novel that explores qReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Susan Ee's Angelfall is an interesting and occasionally disturbing young adult novel that explores quite a few popular themes in young adult literature: zombies, angels, romance, and powerful female protagonists. While the characters were well-rounded and entertaining to follow in Ee's world, it is the world they live in that makes this story truly powerful.
I find it interesting that there is an instance where Raphe, the angel helping Penryn, the protagonist, explains that evolution has made his kind much better than humans. The reason why I find this interesting is because it indadvertedly comments on the human condition and how we treat this world. Much like the angels, we fight our battles in helpless worlds, destroying everything we touch. And I don't mean any country in particular or whatever, just humanity in general.
Penryn is powerful because she keeps the same nerve that puts her on the path to finding her little sister throughout the novel. Despite her increasing feelings towards Raphe, she is experiencing powerful self-growth as she discovers what is truly happening in her world.
The descriptions are sad and not uncommon with the imagery offered by other post-apocalyptic authors. The difference between Ee's novel and a few other post-apocalypse novels is that Ee creates an emotional response within Penryn for what is lost, which then passes onto the reader.
Ee makes sure to keep the reader intrigued by giving the reader more than just characters stuck running through the forest. She offers creepy as hell moments full of blood and gore, but also soft, memorable moments between a human and one of the most revered paranormal creatures in existence.
Okay, I won't lie. I was expecting more romance. Raphe sounds gorgeous and he is obviously very drawn to Penryn, but if you're looking for a book full of stolen kisses, "I'll stand against them all" declarations of love, and a happy ending, Angelfall is not it. Ee does not give everything away with the first installment of her series. She knows how to keep the suspense going for the reader with questions like: What now? What will they do? How will he know? --if you've read the book, you'll know why I ask this.
I would recommend Angelfall to fans of post-apocalyptic novels that have strong story lines, powerful female protagonists, sexy angels, creepy children, and are fast paced. ...more
The Angel Experiment by James Patterson is the first book in the Maximum Ride series. PattersonThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The Angel Experiment by James Patterson is the first book in the Maximum Ride series. Patterson weaves an adventurous story that shows the dark curiosity of humanity, while still celebrating the hope and determination of those affected by the hands of experimenters.
I was surprised to find how young the characters of Patterson’s book are, especially with how they are portrayed. Of course, if someone experienced half of what these kids did they too would be extremely mature. The story was a fast ride (as the name so coyly suggests) of adventure, after adventure. I have a suggestion however, if you purchase the paperback edition (the one that I’ve posted above) then don’t read the synopsis on the back. I don’t know how it is for hardcover editions, but the paperback has a list of everything that’s going to happen in the book. EVERYTHING. So, unless you enjoy having the element of surprise taken from you, then I suggest you skipping that part.
Maximum Ride is a girl with wings. She is a genetically engineered child who can fly and she’s not alone. She and her small family of other younger children have been living in hiding since escaping from the “school”; a lab that held them prisoners. When the Erasers, another experiment, find their oasis, Max and her family must flee and protect those they love. From the moment that these monsters find them, everything changes and Max is forced to guide the group through obstacles, upon obstacles to find someone she holds dear.
Somehow Patterson manages to make this seemingly quick-paced story feel like two novels, since once one objective is accomplished he immediately jumps into another scenario. This didn’t bug me much, it just confused me because it moved beyond what was originally expected when I read the synopsis (not the spoiler filled one). Oh, by the way, the Goodreads synopsis? Yeah, riddled with spoilers too.
1. I think one of the most interesting and unnecessary aspect of this novel is the way that Patterson utilizes chapters. I kid you not, one page is apparently worthy of its own chapter to Patterson. I know that in some novels this is a powerful and gripping stylistic way of increasing the tension of a climax, but this technique is used throughout the whole novel. Patterson’s choice to include a ridiculous number of chapters wasn’t such a nuisance that I absolute had to put the book down. What did bug me is that so many of these chapters could have been made into longer chapters. I found that such short chapters tended to take me out of the mood that the story was creating because all I could think was, “Really? A new chapter... to follow the same idea?” It’s like talking to a friend and s/he suddenly stopping to close a door in your face before continuing to talk to you through an opened window beside the door... about the same thing. The only novels where I’ve found this tactic of short chapters useful are usually thrillers that explore perspectives of different characters (for example, Jonathan Maberry does this with Dead of Night) in each chapter.
2. I wasn’t a huge fan of the narrative voice changes. Patterson kept jumping from first person to third person in between chapters. This made the novel feel disjointed. Though it offered an almost omniscient point of view of the story, it would have worked better if either Max’s point of view was the prominent voice, or if the whole book was written in third person.
1. I loved Maximum Ride. She’s gutsy, mature, and caring towards her awkward family. Patterson hit the jackpot by naming the series after such a strong female protagonist. Sure, there’s a hint of the romance to come later on in the series, but for most of the novel it is all about Max trying to figure out who she is and why she was created. It was a nice change from the female protagonist who is barely in power, but manages to be the protagonist because: a) her voice is the storyteller and b) the fictional world revolves around her (and there’s a man conveniently waiting to save her).
2. I liked that even with such young characters, The Angel Experiment manages to have a mature, but fun feel to it. Anyone can read this book. Trust me, the adventure is worth it.
3. Despite its serious nature, Patterson somehow includes humorous moments that work to establish that though these kids are having a rough time, they are still kids who try to make the best out of a bad situation. Some lines were so ridiculous that all I could do was laugh. For example: “‘Tarzan!’ she yelled. Whatever that was supposed to mean” (Patterson 106).
4. The writing style was colloquial. I absolutely loved the way that Max spoke to me when I began reading the novel. I felt intrigued and was pulled instantly into her world. Here’s a blurb from the back of my edition: “Do not put this book down. I’m dead serious. Your life could depend on it. I’m risking everything by telling you--but you need to know” (Patterson).
I liked Patterson’s addition to the world of young adult fiction. It was a fun, light, and quick read that promises adventure, powerful characters, and kids who fight the ever-present threat of adults....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