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.(less)
Reading Stephanie Perkins’s novel, Anna and the French Kiss, is like taking that European backpackin...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Reading Stephanie Perkins’s novel, Anna and the French Kiss, is like taking that European backpacking trip you’ve always wanted to take, yet haven’t taken. You go in expecting what everyone else describes—the scenery, the experiences, the wonders of a new world— and, much like with life, your experience can always go either way. In my case, I received all that was promised tenfold. Perkins’s novel showed me the beauties of Paris through the eyes of Anna, the protagonist, who is blind to the obvious, yet manages to show us her gorgeous surroundings.
Full of romance and moments that will grasp at your heart, Anna and the French Kiss is a must read for teenage girls. Anna is an extremely relatable character who grows throughout her experience. Though slightly predictable, this novel will still clutch you in its grips and won’t let you go until the heartwarming conclusion.
Whereas other novels would suffer from so much drama and predictability, Perkins manages to blend the two cliches beautifully together to create something new.
Anna and the French Kiss is an experience that needs to be savored, as well as devoured. Perkins’s writing is nearly flawless as she takes the reader on a tumultuous ride of romance, growing up, the hardships of imperfect parents, and friendship.(less)
Lauren Henderson's Flirting in Italian, the first in the Flirting in Italian series, is neither a boo...moreReview 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.(less)
First thoughts when I finished reading Blood Heavy by S.L.J. Shortt: This story isn't complete.
Blood Heavy has so much potential. It has a strong storyline, witty dialogue, and sexy characters, but it has one major flaw: horrible editing.
The characters themselves help carry the story. The author's inspiration is Eric Kripke's Supernatural and I definitely noted that before it was mentioned at the end of the novel, but I can't look past the editing.
Another issue I have with this novel is how unorganized it is. Though the storyline is promising and intriguing, the plot is all over the place. I would stop reading just to understand what was happening during certain moments in the book.
Also, the protagonist has two names because his first given name is apparently too common in the world that Shortt has created, but no other characters are introduced with that particular name. As a result, there are moments where the narrator refers to the protagonist one way, while the other characters call him by a different name.
As it is, I don't know if I could recommend this book to future readers. I don't think it is complete. Blood Heavy needs extensive editing and I find the lack of editing very distracting and annoying.
I'm not giving Blood Heavy one star out of five because the storyline is strong and promising, but instead two stars because it is incomplete.(less)
Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft, the first in the Audrey's Guides series, by Jody Gehrman is a quick read that offers more than the short synopsis can possibly portray. With its well-written prose and witty dialogue, Gehrman's novel is a fun summer read that will steal your attention for hours.
There are four points to take notice of while reading Gehrman's novel: the dialogue, the prose, the characters, and the speed of the story.
The dialogue served its purpose of drawing me in and evoking different emotions from me. When the characters were humorous, I felt their humour, yet when they were sad, I couldn't help but feel their hurt. Gehrman's success with dialogue is followed by, at times cliched, prose. While her writing is nearly flawless, she does employ the tactic of describing (view spoiler)[the electric touch between two characters that are attracted to each other--a cliched way of stating that the two characters have a connection. (hide spoiler)]
One important aspect of Gehrman's novel that I particularly like is the connection between the characters. I love that I can simply feel how important each character is to one another without being told by the author. There is obvious chemistry where there needs to be and the romance had me intrigued during my experience. I do have one thing that bothered me, I wish we knew more about Audrey and her love interest, but then again, this is the first in a series. I look forward to seeing how her relationship evolves!
The teeniest flaw this novel has is the pacing. There are moments where the story appears to slow down to a standstill and the reader is left wondering, hm, what now? Another issue with pacing is how the story builds up to such a huge climax, yet the conclusion happens a lot quicker than expected, not really letting the reader take in what's happening before it is over.
Gehrman's novel is a fun twist on the witch genre. She mixes old myths of what witches can do with new and creative powers and terms. I recommend Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft to those seeking a fun and slightly dark novel about magic, love, and the power of family. Also, if you're looking for fun characters with an edgy twist, then you might want to give this one a look.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I received this novel from the publisher for review.
The Kill Order by James Dashner is the prequel to the Maze Runner trilogy, a young adult post-apocalyptic series. I found Dashner’s latest novel to be a deliciously dark adventure that hooked my attention from the prologue to the epilogue. One of the great qualities of The Kill Order is that it can be read as a standalone novel.
Dashner’s writing is fast-paced and addicting. Mark, the protagonist, and Alec, a war-veteran who joins Mark, embark on a quest to find a cure for a mysterious disease plaguing the survivors of the nearly-destroyed Earth.
The reader is given a glimpse into Mark’s experience during the solar flares that killed a large portion of the Earth’s population and natural resources. Mark’s recounting of the events that took place a year prior to the current events of the novel, told in present-tense and introduced as recurring dreams that he suffers from, are so creepy that I can’t help but be wary of our future. By writing in present-tense, Dashner is effectively making the reader feel like s/he is there with Mark: seeing what he sees and feeling what he feels.
Dashner does not spare us the gory details in The Kill Order. His descriptions are unsettling and disturbing. I enjoyed how vivid his writing is because it shows that he isn’t afraid to be honest. Dashner’s well-placed details not only set the tone of the novel, but help the readers understand his view of what life would be like if the world was on the verge of destruction.
Dashner hints that death is inevitable for his characters. I know that these characters' purpose is to let me know how the world in the Maze Runner trilogy came to be and how the Kill Order, issued by the government, affected the survivors of Earth. Yet, I rooted for them and waited to see if they made it through to the end. This reaction is a result of wonderful character growth.
To be honest, I have always been wary of Dashner’s writing because his character development tends to feel stilted. Imagine my surprise when I found myself connecting with Mark and the other characters. Dashner elegantly shows the reader Mark’s slow descent into madness, while still managing to portray his various emotions. I was impressed to note that Mark accepts his fate. As a result, I found the last few sentences before the epilogue to be some of the most powerful lines in the book, simply because Mark has successfully grown as a character.
I will be so bold as to state that The Kill Order is perhaps one of Dashner’s best novels yet. I would recommend The Kill Order to those who want a different take on how a disease can ravage the world, and to readers who are seeking an addicting story of a teenager and his will to survive.(less)
GRUM! by Robyn Hill is an adventurous little book that immediately introduces the reader t...moreThis review was first published on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
GRUM! by Robyn Hill is an adventurous little book that immediately introduces the reader to the protagonist, Carol, as she is left at her Aunt's house for the summer. What follows is a fun, if not quick, adventure. There is an abundance of characters that grow as the story progresses and a sense of whimsical magic and childhood fantasies that takes the reader for an unforgettable ride. While I did have a few minor issues with this debut, they didn't deter me from finishing the story.
The characters read like miniature adults who tended to talk a bit too advanced for the middle-grade audience. I liked that Carol grew as a character, however, going from a grief-stricken and unhappy young girl to an adventurous and high-achieving teenager. Hill's writing style mirrors her love for children, since there are morals laced throughout the story and she appears to be well-acquainted with how children would respond to certain situations.
There were a few instances where editing would have made the story stronger, but all-in-all it was entertaining. I don't usually review middle-grade literature, but this was a fun read that I know I would enjoy if I were one of Hill's students. (less)
When I first saw that Jenna Elizabeth Johnson's novel was called Faelorehn, the first installment i...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
When I first saw that Jenna Elizabeth Johnson's novel was called Faelorehn, the first installment in her Otherworld Trilogy, I didn't know what to expect. The title was a bit intimidating, since I usually shy away from books with unfamiliar words for titles. Thankfully, I ignored my fears and began reading this addicting young adult novel. While I did have some issues with the novel, this was a fun, quirky read.
Meghan, as a character, was split for me. On one hand, I loved the fact that even though she was different, she was popular or adored. Unlike other novels where the female character is usually revered for her unusually beauty, Meghan is just like any other teenager struggling to understand who she is, and in this special case, what she is.
What I didn't like so much about Meghan was how stubborn she was. Sometimes I wanted to pull my hair out with how infuriating she made me. For the most part, she was a strong character, it was just this tiny quality that had me on edge of loving her as a character. Johnson's other characters also felt a bit over-the-top with their bullying or their lack of understanding. While some were very funny, some were clearly sadistic.
While there were a few moments in the novel that lagged, I attribute any faltering of the pace to Meghan's irritating stubbornness. Apart for these instances, the pacing was superb. Johnson grabs your attention and rarely lets it go. Her writing is enchanting as she pulls you along, makes you addicted to her nearly flawless prose, then abruptly lets you go with an ending that leaves you begging for more.
For me, though I shook my fist in the air when the ending came upon me, I liked how Johnson leaves the story so open-ended. It's a great strategy because she concludes her novel in a way that is neither a way to prolong the inevitable with a needless second installment, nor in a way that makes you throw the book away with frustration. She finishes Faelorehn with a flourish, leaving the reader with a fulfilled, yet curious feeling.
I recommend this book to lovers of fantasy and those who have a soft spot for stories about faeries and mythical creatures. This is a fun read that needs to be read. You will fall in love with the male character who appears in Meghan's life and you will cringe along with the other characters.(less)
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.(less)
I received a free copy for review from the publisher.
Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Fanny Merkin (A.K.A. Andrew Shaffer) is a parody of E.L. James’s series, Fifty Shades of Grey. The debut encompasses various other aspects of pop culture, offering witty commentary from both the protagonist, Anna Steal, and her romantic interest, Earl Grey.
Shaffer is aware that Anna is not the most reliable character in his book and he plays with this revelation. Anna acts as his example when he criticizes the weak female protagonists literature has adopted, the narcissistic male billionaire characters, and the farfetched plot twists employed in recent novels.
Shaffer persuades his readers to notice the flaws in our current society. He challenges us to question who we are idolizing and what the effects of such adoration could be. He also comments on the state of the modern novel. A terrifying prediction that rings true if we continue to entertain weak protagonists and the relationships they have with other characters. Whereas humorous for the most part, this novel is a serious examination of the ludicrous fads overwhelming society.
Shaffer’s writing is fast-paced, fresh, and entertaining. This book does require some knowledge of Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight, since the underlying dark humor isn’t always blatantly clear. A person not privy to the general plots of either books may not understand the meaning behind Shaffer’s satirical novel.
The reader must observe Shaffer’s ability to comment on the cliches of erotic and romantic literature without seeming pretentious. This can be seen when he creates a hysterical mood that shatters the illusion of romance by overusing cliched words. The word "Gaze" appears to be one of his favourites.
There are moments where the humor tends to feel a bit forced, the jokes slipping right past me. But for the greater part, I could not stop laughing. Shaffer is able to draw out humor from content that is disturbing in nature.
Andrew Shaffer’s book is a mean feat, considering he wrote it in 10 days. A satirical look at pop culture and our society, Fifty Shames of Earl Grey is a comical debut that will have you giggling until the conclusion.(less)
I received this ebook for reviewing purposes from the publisher.
Morgan McCarthy’s debut, The Other Half of Me, follows two siblings over the span of twenty years as their lives morph from childhood innocence to adulthood in a nurture-less environment. Written in hauntingly beautiful prose, McCarthy has created a unique, albeit slow-paced, novel.
Jonathan Anthony, the narrator, is at times unreliable. When he recalls his childhood years, he occasionally uses words much too advanced for a young boy, making him unbelievable. Understandably, Jonathan was an intellectually advanced and solitary boy. But excusing Jonathan’s unreliable nature, he does paint a lovely picture for the reader. The metaphors are exquisite in their uniqueness, and the descriptions are flawless. Every minute detail is observed, however, making the plot feel tedious. The reader should consider: Given the trouble Jonathan experiences with memory after tragedy strikes his family, how can he possibly remember everything so clearly?
Theo Anthony, Jonathan’s sister, appears to be the protagonist of the story. Her behavior is what moves the plot forward. Though we learn about Jonathan and his rising success in the architectural world, it is Theo’s life that we crave glimpses of. Jonathan, whether McCarthy intended to or not, places Theo on a pedestal throughout the novel as he relates her deteriorating mental state. Theo is seen through Anthony’s subjective eyes, inadvertently placing her on a pedestal for the reader as well.
The character growth is successful because of its subtlety. One of the motivating factors for character growth in McCarthy’s novel is grief. She does not overplay the role of grief in her novel, instead she caresses it and gently directs the reader into understanding the grief that is haunting her characters. The second factor affecting character growth is the love that Jonathan and Theo share. It is the familial love between the two siblings that gives the story depth. McCarthy does not easily give her characters unconditional love. Instead, Jonathan refuses to bestow or receive love, while Theo is too quick to share it.
Morgan McCarthy’s debut’s greatest flaw is the pacing, but her characters and masterful descriptions redeem the story. The Other Half of Me begins unsteadily, but will haunt its readers with its conclusion.(less)
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.(less)
I received a free copy of Tempered by Fire from author H.E. Birss so I could review her debut n...moreThis 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"]>(less)
I've been looking forward to Roth's latest installment, Insurgent, in the Divergent series for...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I've been looking forward to Roth's latest installment, Insurgent, in the Divergent series for almost a year. I was a bit wary because of how some series kind of die out as more books are added, but I put that fear aside when I finally got my hands on a copy.
Needless to say, I devoured Roth's novel.
Not only did I like it more than the first installment, but I found that it was stronger both in writing and character/setting development.
Of course, there were small mistakes here and there, but no book is perfect.
1. The romance between Four and Tris was so tumultuous this time around! Whereas in the first novel Tris's budding romance with the fellow former Abnegation member saved her and helped her develop, I found that the near-destruction of their young romance in the second novel was kind of depressing. I mean, sure, nothing is perfect when you're a teenager, especially when it comes to romance. I was getting a little frustrated when they kept fighting over the smallest things when there were so many more important things going on around them. If I had to pick the weakest part about this novel, it would be that.
2. There were some editing errors, but Roth addresses this on her blog here.
1. The cliffhanger. I know that some may see this as a negative, but the fact that Roth could get such a mass reaction over her ending is impressive. Not only did she write an ending that was not in the least bit cliche, but she made it open to so much interpretation that I commend her. I remember looking at the book when I reached the end and thinking, "That's it?! That's it?!" Yeah, way to go Roth.
2. The character development was brilliant in this installment. Whereas Roth just briefly explains who is who in Divergent, she makes her characters bloom under her pen in Insurgent. Tris specifically had more depth and it was easier to see what she was experiencing and how everything was affecting her. It kind of reminded me of Harry Potter in The Order of the Phoenix because he too had to deal with PTSD, and I felt her pain in her actions and thoughts just like with Harry.
I also loved the fact that Four wasn't perfect and he too was being affected by the conflicts around him, which seeped into his relationship with Tris--it wasn't a lovey-dovey relationship, but one that reflected the environment they were in. I admit it grated on my nerves that these characters couldn't be more romantic like in the previous book, but I also understand that this is realistic considering the context of their situation.
3. The dystopian setting was awesome! The description was brilliant and almost completely different from the previous book, especially since this time around we're taken all over the city rather than just remaining in dauntless (excluding the occasional adventure here and there.)
4. It was like Roth took all the negative criticism about Divergent and improved greatly while writing Insurgent. I was impressed.
5. Though a little predictable, there were a lot of surprises.
Basically, as you can note, I loved this novel. Will I read the next installment in the series? Hell yes. To not do so would be a kind of reading sin for myself. Of course, I'm a little worried and curious to see how she tackles the third book and if it will live up to this successful sequel, but I can only hope. (less)
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting is the third novel in the Body Finder series, which has anoth...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting is the third novel in the Body Finder series, which has another installment set to release sometime in 2013. If you haven't read the previous two books, I suggest you do so (preferably The Body Finder; the first novel and the namesake of the series), since this book wasn't in the same league as the first book. When I first read The Body Finder, I fell in love with Derting's writing and the story she had to tell, when I read the second book I felt like she'd done it again (though not as strongly), and some say third time's the charm.
Yeah, not so much.
Sorry Derting, but though I did enjoy The Last Echo, it could have been so much better.
"In the end, all that's left is an echo...
Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet's talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals—including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe—it's Violet's job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice. When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by "the girlfriend collector" she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new "relationship" and Violet may have caught his eye...."
Okay, ignoring the fact that this synopses basically tells you all the events that happen in the previous two novels (Major Spoilers above), this synopses hints to us that this book is going to be another mystery that Violet tries to solve, while somehow catching the eye of the killer. I have some issues with what this novel promises and with what it actually gives me.
By the way, Derting's first two novels were devoured by me in less than two days, while this one I had to keep putting down because it just wasn't that addicting.
1. If you've read my review for Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi then you know what my biggest (and only) complaint for that novel was. The ending of Derting's novel must be the new offspring of cliches. The whole "mysterious antagonist" threatening the protagonist into pursuing something that is against their will is overkill, and I'm sorry, but for a novel that isn't as strong as its predecessors, this was a weak move. I get the whole wanting to have something to write about in the next installment, but not only was the unfolding of the conclusion predictable, but it was just plain annoying and frankly, I'm iffy about reading the fourth book.
2. Spoiler to those who haven't read the previous installments and want to in the future, The Last Echo BARELY touches on Jay and Violet's romance, which was the cutest thing ever (best friends in love type of deal, which I admit is a cliche as well) in the first two novels. Instead, we have the protagonist frolicking around with her emotions and this new "Rafe" character that registers as a big no-no for Violet. Plus, this whole "electrical shock" thing between the two characters whenever they touch is annoying. I understand that Derting is trying to create tension between her characters, but this is yet another cliche: the love triangle.
3. Violet kind of pissed me off in this one. She was immature and kind of dense. How does she not see what's right in front of her? Of course, she's always been a bit slow when it comes to understanding that she shouldn't throw herself in the way of danger, but Violet was dumber than usual in this installment.
4. This is just a personal question I want to ask to those who have read The Last Echo: Are you excited to read the constant reminder of the jewelry box music in the next installment?
I'll give you a hint: I'm not.
I know it sounds like I hated Derting's novel, but though some things annoyed me, I still fairly enjoyed it.
1. I'll hand it to her: Derting knows how to creep her readers out. Perhaps the strongest aspect of her novel is the murderer's perspective. Dark and delicious; it gave me the willies reading that at night.
2. Though I disliked the character of Rafe, it was cool to learn a little more about him and the rest of the team.
3. Derting may be flirting with cliches, but her writing is still fluid and imaginative, which makes her novel a quick read.
4. I disliked how this novel barely focused on Violet's relationship with Jay, or even Violet herself, but when Derting does bring up scenes with Jay they are just as fantastic and romantic as ever.
For some reason I feel like Derting's Body Finder series is going downhill. The series started so strongly, producing a similarly powerful sequel, but this third installment made me pause. I'm almost wary of what the fourth book will be like because I can kind of predict it as I write this review. The ending says it all: this author is running out of ideas. Of course, the one certain constant is the creepy factor of her antagonists, and if I could I would just read the excerpts from the points of view of the murderers in the future novels.(less)
When I jumped into Evan Fuller's Mutt I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into. I have read...moreThis 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"]>(less)
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.(less)
Sometimes I get a strange urge to read novels that freak me out, so a good zombie novel is a pl...moreThis 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.(less)
Susane Colasanti’s Keep Holding On is an inspiring story that delves into the hard truth about bull...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Susane Colasanti’s Keep Holding On is an inspiring story that delves into the hard truth about bullying: parental or societal. Told in fast-paced prose, Noelle, the protagonist, describes her situation in much more gusto than would be expected in a child of abuse. She is not only emotionally abused by her mother, but she is abused by her peers who taunt her for being poor. But when a horrible event occurs that rocks the social order of the school, it is up to Noelle to decide if enough is enough.
Though predictable, Keep Holding On is one of those great young adult novels that more people should read. It isn’t the way the message is being sent that matters, it is the message itself.
Colasanti, in my humble opinion, does a magnificent job in creating a story depicting that we aren’t as alone as we believe we are. She shows us the power of friendship, love, and the ability to hold on.
I recommend this book to anyone seeking a quick read with a heavy message that will mean something to all of us, whether we want to believe it or not.(less)
I'm a big fan of Meg Cabot. I have followed her adult fiction novels as they've been published...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I'm a big fan of Meg Cabot. I have followed her adult fiction novels as they've been published and tried to keep up with her large list of Young Adult fiction. Abandon is the first novel I read by her after reading her disastrous adult novel Insatiable. Thankfully, Cabot didn't let me down with this addition to her list of published works. Of course, this isn't a piece of literature meant to be passed on as a classic or a memorable novel, but just something that one should read for fun and without high expectations.
"Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.
Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.
But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld."
The story was a fun read, but I can't deny that it has many flaws.
1. I don't know if I liked Pierce. Her character is reminiscent of so many of the naive protagonists who act for "the greater good". An example of this is when Pierce enters a particularly bad situation with the intention of helping a friend, only to be saved by the very man she fled from in the afterlife. I wanted her to be more spunky, considering how she fought her way through hell to get back to the living, yet she becomes a stereotypical female protagonist who has to be told everything more than twice.
2. Ugh. Will we ever find a man who isn't an asshole all the way through the novel? Sure, I'm okay with a guy being a jerk at the beginning, but if he starts changing as the novel progresses then that's great, but this guy was a jerk all the way through... stating that he is trying to protect her... by controlling her?! How could she love a man who is controlling, follows her, and scares her? Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
3. By the way, for those of you who HAVE read this novel, Isla Huesos, where our protagonist and her mother move to after a divorce, does not translate to Island of Bones (that would be: Isla de Huesos). The correct translation of Isla Huesos is Bone Island. Fun times being Spanish and seeing errors like this in a popular book.
4. I was so irritated at the messiness of this novel. It felt like it was going all over the place. One moment, the protagonist is recalling a past event, and the next she is back in the present. If this happened a few times, okay, but this happened throughout the whole novel. She would basically cut short a thought she was having, only to continue it several chapters later more often than was necessary.
5. The dialogue, in my opinion, was a mess. Cabot would entice us by having her character ask a question or begin a thought, yet she would write paragraphs before writing the rest of the dialogue. It felt disruptive and it annoyed me to no end.
1. I love mythology, so mistakes aside, this was an entertaining book. I loved seeing how Cabot explored yet another popular genre and made it her own.
2. There weren't any editing problems that I could note, the only thing that bugged me was Cabot's writing style.
3. I liked some of the characters that Cabot introduces to us and I hope we learn more about them in the future.
The sequel toAbandon, Underworld, is already out and I'm a bit wary of checking it out, but I will probably end up reading it anyways because I can't really stay away from Cabot's books. I just hope that her story has taken on a more cohesive style.(less)
Eileen Cook's most recent novel, Unraveling Isobel, is spooky and has a spunky female protagonist who isn't...moreFirst appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Eileen Cook's most recent novel, Unraveling Isobel, is spooky and has a spunky female protagonist who isn't afraid to speak her mind. The novel opens on a very pissed off Isobel as her mother relocates her to an island where her new step-father lives before the start of her Senior year. There, she learns the importance of not caring what others think, she finds love, and has a creepy and life-threatening experience.
Full of humour, suspense, and mystery, Cook's novel is a surprisingly quick read that will pull its reader in and doesn't let him/her go until the end. There are some unanswered questions which may annoy the reader at the end, but for the most part this is a great summer read.
I have to admit that Cook's best talent is her dialogue. I couldn't stop laughing on more than one occasion as her characters' personalities flowed out through their manners of speech.
If you're looking for a fast, fun, creepy, and addicting read that's also on the romantic side, then I would recommend Unraveling Isobel--it's worth the read. (less)
The Immortal Rules, the first installment in the Blood of Eden series, by Julie Kagawa took me...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The Immortal Rules, the first installment in the Blood of Eden series, by Julie Kagawa took me by surprise from the beginning to the very end. I am fairly new to Kagawa's writing style and I was very pleased at the story that she created in her tome of a novel.
Kagawa manages to take the used and (sometimes) abused vampire genre and makes it her own with a quick-witted protagonist who is, for once, the vampire instead of the damsel in distress. Fast-paced and unputdownable, The Immortal Rules is a sign that there is still hope for what once made Bram Stoker so great: an unforgettable vampire story.
Despite the albeit cheesy cover, Kagawa's story is an intriguing look into the mind of a vampire that is in some parts cynical and all parts tough.
1. The only real issue I have with this one is the predictability. Then again, it is getting increasingly hard to create unpredictable pieces of literature when so much has already been done. I just wish that the protagonist's actions weren't so transparent, though I won't lie, I was still hooked.
1. The writing style, in my opinion, is superb. I am a fan of writers who choose brisk sentences, as opposed to artsy, over-dramatic sentences that explain everything in detail. Kagawa has the ability to reel her reader into the story using words to her advantage--therefore employing the tactic of saying less to show more.
2. The adventure never ebbs. When a part of the story starts to come to a conclusion, another adventure immediately takes over, pulling the reader through yet another trip through the forest in Kagawa's novel, or into dangerous territory. Each adventure is fresh and exhilarating. Best of all, not only is the action non-stop, but the story is neither messy nor choppy, it instead flows to one heart-stopping finale.
3. The pacing is quick, clean, and epic. See number 2.
4. Okay, I won't lie, Kagawa creeped me out. Especially near the beginning.
5. The characters are well developed, even the ones that don't make it through to the end. Allison, the protagonist, is a realistic blend of strong and weak, so that her humanity still shows through her obvious undead status. Not only did Kagawa manage to make a realistic protagonist, she gave Allison depth and made her relatable (except for the whole undead thing.)
6. Whereas in other books a reader is left waiting for the action to begin, in Kagawa's novel we are immediately brought into the heart of the conflict. There are monsters, there's hardly any food, people starve and die--that's life for Allison. There's no sugar coating, there's no pretending that her life is any different for the benefit of the reader. We are brought in and boom, we learn the gritty truth about life in The Immortal Rules, and all with a single, powerful scene.
I highly enjoyed Kagawa's novel. It was fun, exciting, and I don't know how I ever felt wary of reading it. The size is disconcerting, I'll be honest, but it is well worth it. (less)