I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell is one of those novels that starts with a lot of promise--the premise alone should be appealing--but loses a bit of its steam as the story begins to reach its conclusion. While I did connect with the protagonist on various occasions, loved the idea of his world suddenly changing, and adored the whole family dynamic with his brother, I thought that the story lacked...something that would make any other story "pop".
Callum, the protagonist, is a normal teenager who immediately wakes up in the hospital, his life now different and slightly more dangerous, thanks to his best friend's murder attempt. I enjoyed watching how, despite being in a different "world", Callum adopts what is expected of him, despite not actually knowing what's going on.
In a way, the reader witnesses Callum grow into the antihero of this new world, even though deep down, we all know he's supposed to be the hero. This could all possibly hint at the fact that, though we think we know who we are, it is inevitable to sometimes find new sides to our personalities, especially when what we have previously always known is challenged.
I'm giving this one three stars because, despite its flatness from the story's middle to its conclusion, I was still intrigued. Normally, if a story is truly boring, I abandon it. But Undercurrent has so many questions without answers that it's easy for a reader to be sucked into the void of Blackwell's writing.
But this unsated curiosity is also the novel's downfall.
In trying to increase the anticipation, Blackwell forgets to answer some of the questions he creates. The conclusion hints at a sequel, but when one goes to the internet to check out the details for a possible sequel, there is nothing. I've read novels with inconclusive conclusions before, but like I mentioned earlier, this one lacked a certain quality that would normally leave the reader feeling mind-screwed (excuse the censoring). Instead, the reader is just left with a giant question mark and the slight feeling of being ripped off.
Okay, I did enjoy the relationship between Callum and his older brother because it was sweet and showed a side to Callum's antagonist that we would never have guessed, humanizing him towards us. I also felt Callum's anxiety over finding the truth and being led around by people he never so much as interacted with before.
The idea of the novel is pretty cool and appealing, but the prose was very slowly paced. It took me much longer to read this one than it should have, but somehow the pages just dragged.
Would I recommend this? Sure. If you like contemporary fiction with a hint of sci-fi, then check this one out. Keep in mind, however, that the hint of sci-fi is very tiny and the answer to the phenomenon in the novel is never really given. If you like strong-willed male protagonists, then check this one out.
Oh, and there's also a cute, if slightly traumatized, puppy!(less)
I received a copy from the publisher & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Laurie Plissner’s Screwed is one of those young adult contemporary novels that feature dramatic reactions, the sometimes dark truth behind religion, and what it means to be the shattered image of perfection that sometimes hides our true selves. Plissner’s novel is daring in how it deals with religion, youth, and the very popular and unfortunate trend of teen pregnancy.
Having read Louder Than Words, I was expecting a lot out of Plissner’s second novel. From the get-go, I noticed that it would be a completely different experience.
The third person, omniscient narrative immediately stood out as something that might annoy me. If the story is about Grace, the protagonist, and her unplanned pregnancy, then why are we seeing how everyone else reacts to her situation? Shouldn’t we be worrying more about what Grace is experiencing, rather than what others think? Doesn’t this contradict the message of strength, hope, and love that we are ultimately receiving at the conclusion of the novel?
Or, I may have not liked it simply because I’ve never been a fan of third person narrative…let alone omniscient narrators.
I liked the romantic aspect of Screwed because it helped bring the beauty out of the ugly situation. It gave light to an otherwise bleak moment in Grace’s life. And with jerks like Nick, her unborn baby’s daddy, Charlie, her love interest, is a refreshing male character. He both respects her and treats her the way Nick unfortunately doesn’t. And though it is a little unrealistic, it still made me giddy whenever they were around each other.
I also thought it was a nice touch to show Grace that one wrongly thought out decision doesn’t have to define the rest of her life. I’m not an advocate for abortion, nor am I an advocate for people to get abortions—I believe that this choice belongs only to the pregnant mother-to-be. So, it was nice to see that Grace’s choice to let the baby live was neither affected by her parents’ belief that it is only right to have an abortion, nor by her strict religious upbringing.
While I am a sucker for a dramatic read, this was flirting with the idea of too much drama. It almost felt like Plissner was trying to get a rise out of the reader. I know it is vital to affect your readers’ emotions, but sometimes subtlety works over the dramatic. The intensity reached the point of unrealistic for me, but hey, there are a few parents out there who are just as harsh as Graces—neighbours like hers though…not so sure.
In some ways, Screwed also reads like a fairy tale waiting to happen. Great and loyal love interest (where was he when Grace was being tormented in school?), a best friend who would do anything for her and loves her unconditionally (where was she when Grace was being tormented in school?), and a neighbour that proves to be her fairy godmother (Why is she in a less than stellar neighborhood, conveniently close to Grace?)—Grace has it all. She’s just lucky like that, despite her ever-growing belly. Also, throw in the slightly confusing and extended conclusion that made the novel drag.
Also, I was kind of mad that I didn’t get to see what happened to Nick. Yes, I believe it is hinted at, and yes this was Grace’s (semi, anyway) story, but still. Shouldn’t the reader get the satisfaction in seeing Karma at her finest?
I did love some of Plissner’s prose and descriptions—one of her best writing attributes—and the little notes Grace writes for the baby. I also loved her relationship with her neighbour and how at the end, there are hints of second chances.
But the pacing was off—there were often scenes that were simply skimmed over—and the characters were a little unbelievable and unreliable.
I recommend Screwed to fans of quick and dramatic story lines. If you enjoy pregnancy stories, you might like this too. Religion tends to play a heavy hand in this one, but in both a negative and positive light. I’m not a huge fan of religiously motivated decisions, but it’s not so extreme that it makes Screwed off-putting.
The romance is sweet and this is a very quick read.(less)
I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review
Wander Home by Karen A. Wyle is a literary novel with an interesting setting: a unique interpretation of what the afterlife may look like. Wyle's novel is mysterious and complex. Laced with romance, familial love, and a mystery that forces us to question our beliefs of what comes after death, Wander Home is a very thought-provoking read.
Eleanor, the protagonist, is a woman we meet only after encountering the other minor, but not one-dimensional, characters. Her fear of the unknown is understandable, especially when her life, or afterlife, is finally starting to make sense. Her relationship with her daughter, Cassidy, is sweet and though Cassidy can assume any age she wants, it is refreshing to see the innocent love she harbors for the mother that left her when she was a young child.
Wyle's world is exquisite and unique. The descriptions of places visited are delicately described, like the reader is taking in what the characters are seeing as if s/he were actually there viewing it all. Wyle does not miss any chances to describe the beauty of what she's dubbed as her version of the afterlife. The prose is nearly lyrical as characters shift from one place to another.
Though at times either too complex to follow, or predictable, the storyline is a nicely paced construction of character growth, mystery, and a blooming romance. Rather than give the reader all of the details at once, Wyle makes the reader work for the answers by dropping hints here and there.
I will admit, however, that though Wyle's world is incredibly imaginative, it is also limited. I often had questions regarding the rules of this world the characters inhabited--most regarding one-dimensional characters.
Wyle's novel is a fresh twist on the afterlife. Her characters, and she's got many, share the story as the omniscient narrator details what each character is experiencing in this new world. I liked the omniscient feel of the novel because it gave me less reasons to ask questions regarding some of the characters.
I recommend this novel to readers of adult fiction, but also to young adult readers 14+, due to some adult themes--but nothing too severe. If you're a reader who enjoys stories of the afterlife, unique romance, redemption, and familial ties, then I recommend this book for you. (less)
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. (less)
Abigail Gibbs’s young adult novel Dinner With a Vampire, the first installment in The Dark Heroine series, is another addition to the popular vampire genre. Full of romance and beautiful prose, Gibbs offers the reader a more creative, better detailed, and slightly less naive version of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. It is inevitable that the two are compared, since they both touch on the romanticization of vampires.
I admit that this is a guilty pleasure book, especially because of how it treats its female counterparts. I did my best to read straight through the disempowerment of female characters and the cliches that sprinkled the pages. For the most part, I allowed myself to be swallowed by the gothic romance and sexy male protagonist.
The unappealing aspect of Gibbs’s novel is how female characters are portrayed. This vampiric world introduces hierarchies full of men, as well as passing comments of female vampires hoping to one day have an equal say. The female protagonist, Violet, for a good portion of the story, is treated like an object, rather than a person, which unfortunately mimics the disempowerment of females in young adult novels.
What the reader will like about this story, however, is Gibbs's awareness of how weak Violet is in the novel. She points out flaws by having other characters comment on them, which is superb. This realization and commentary gives the novel comedic relief, whether intended or not, because Gibbs is showing her readers that her story takes place in a world aware of Violet’s frivolities.
Considering Gibbs is 18, most likely younger when she first wrote Dinner With a Vampire, this novel is a very impressive piece. The prose is nearly effortless, the diction well beyond expectation, and the pacing is quick, but not distractingly so. The story reads like a Jane Austen novel full of vampires and risque moments.
Gibbs also has a way of building anticipation for the reader. Certain scenes are very well crafted, luring the reader into the moment, rather than just telling him/her what happens next. In a way, Gibbs is seducing the reader with her prose, much like Kaspar, the male protagonist, is seducing Violet.
Dinner With a Vampire is a must-read for fans of vampires in young adult novels. Though sexy enough to be inappropriate for readers younger than fourteen, it is a quick and tasty treat for readers craving a romantic paranormal novel.(less)
Let me just state that it's really not fair that I read Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard just before Ga...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Let me just state that it's really not fair that I read Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard just before Gayle Forman's Just One Day.
I'm going to be blunt and say that Forman's novel is more about self-discovery after a perfect day comes crashing down, rather than travelling, though it was oddly reminiscent of the themes found in Wanderlove (I'm just going to go out on a limb and state that Wanderlove has most likely ruined every other travelling book that I will ever come across).
But even if it lacked the aspects of travelling I so yearned for, I still found it to be a fairly entertaining novel. It has the lesson of finding yourself amidst the chaos and confusion of abrupt change, how hiding your true self from the most important people in your life, especially yourself, may be disastrous, and how sometimes taking a chance is worth the risk of losing it all.
The first part of the novel pulled me in immediately. Here you meet the less than perfect, but still sexy, Willem, a dutch actor. Allyson, the protagonist, is intrigued enough to break from her perfectionism and strict lifestyle to spend one day in Paris with this stranger. While I am a sucker for a storyline like this, I will note that it is rather cliche.
"Carefree boy meets straight-laced girl. Carefree boy helps release straight-laced girl from the confines of her boring, controlled life."
Ignoring the cliche, I will admit that they are cute together, making me want to read more about their adventures. It is when they are apart, however, that Allyson's behavior grates on my nerves. For all you know, someone has stripped her bare of who she once was because of one perfect day. But it makes sense, because in a way, that one perfect day stole the controlled and well-behaved Allyson, leaving someone unsure of what she wants out of life.
That one perfect day is about more than just romance--but about who Allyson was pretending to be before Willem stepped in.
So, the novel spends a good chunk of the story trying to put the broken Allyson back together again into a new and more free-spirited Allyson. Though this is enlightening and powerful, the delivery is dramatic and boring. I kept expecting more and wanting more of the storyline. I wanted Allyson to stand up to those around her, I wanted her to do something regarding her misery, but she was just as quiet and controlled as always, even if she was slowly dying inside (emotionally, of course).
The conclusion though. Wow. THAT is a reason to keep reading this series. After all those months of suffering, Allyson finally returns to Europe and I loved it. The moment she decides to return, the story gains more life.
Though the writing is indeed beautiful and descriptive, the editing is horrendous. I know it is inevitable for a few editing errors to slip through the cracks (no one is perfect), but wow. On one page alone there must have been about five mistakes. I can't even begin to explain how irritating this was.
Even with my pickiness over the editing, I did love Allyson's character growth, the places she visited, and the many people she met. Would I read it all again? Probably, simply because of the travelling bits and Willem.
Always for Willem.
I recommend this one for readers who enjoy a good contemporary young adult read about self-discovery, romance, and a slight touch of travelling and exploration. (less)
If We Kiss by Rachel Vail is a light young adult novel that deals with the difficulties of first lov...moreReview 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. (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)
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)
The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols is one of those young adult novels that can be read in o...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols is one of those young adult novels that can be read in one sitting. It has its cute moments that make you go "aw" and moments that make you want to throw the book away. I've read The Boys Next Door by Echols, so I had a slight idea of what I was getting myself into. The premise looked cute and promising, but let me warn you, it isn't as it seems. I'll explain what I mean in my Negatives. Here's a synopsis that I think would better justify Echols's story:
(view spoiler)[Gemma has big plans for her next year in high school. She plans to try out for the majorette squad, she's on her way to losing the weight she's always wanted to lose, and she just wants to survive another couple of years so she can make her getaway. Then she meets Max and his friend, Carter. Just as she believes that Max, a very attractive Japanese-American, is flirting with her, Addison steps in. Addison is Gemma's "best-friend" who always seems to be abusing Gemma in some way, whether it is belittling her, or sabotaging her chances at love. Even though Addison and Max are dating, Gemma, who begins dating Carter, can't help but notice that Max flirts with her despite Addison and Carter. It's all a complicated mess. (hide spoiler)]
Okay, I know I sound like I disliked this book from my synopsis, but I actually didn't. I disliked a few things, but it was a fun and quick read.
1. The Characters. Not all of them, but some of them drove me up the wall. Especially the protagonist. I hate when protagonists have abusive friends who put them down with snide comments and deliberately embarrass them in front of others. What do I hate more? When these same protagonists don't stand up to their mean "friends" and instead call them "best-friend". I understand that this was a growing process for Gemma. I know that this whole Addison being a bitch thing worked out for the plot, but seriously, when an author has such an abused person as their protagonist then wouldn't it look like a weak person is running the show? Gemma had her best-friend, the guy she calls a good friend and had once loved until he stomped all over her emotions, and the rest of the school bullying her. And to top it all off, Echols "fixes" her protagonist by having her lose weight. I have never liked the message this sends to readers, and I never will.
2. I wanted to learn more about what happens with Gemma and her dad, but Echols (view spoiler)[ just has Gemma comment on her going to visit her dad. (hide spoiler)] It felt like this relationship was forgotten by Echols in the process of writing the book. It's almost like she was near the end and said, "Oh crap, her dad!" I wouldn't have minded meeting him and seeing how he was with the daughter he barely calls. If a character has such an intense anger towards a parent, shouldn't the author try to show both sides to the reader? Shouldn't the author resolve the issues between the parent(s) and the child?
3. I'm just going to say that this plot was transparent. I knew what would happen, but hey, it is a fun read, so didn't put too much pressure on this aspect of the novel.
4. The synopsis gives you the briefest of views into what's happening. The only hint that's given is the comment "her so-called best friend" when referring to Addison. It doesn't say how she met Max (and why she was in the vicinity in the first place, which is important). It doesn't say ANYTHING about her body-image issues, or anything generally close to what her life is like. All the synopsis says is that she meets a boy who asks her bff out, even though she liked him more than her, and oh-no's! what will she do?
1. With all the character issues written in the Negatives, I do want to mention how Gemma DOES stand up to her friend at the end and how she grows as a character later down the road. The Gemma in two-thirds of the book drove me insane, but the Gemma afterwards was strong.
2. Despite the annoying little misunderstanding (which, once you start reading the book you'll know what I mean), the story is cute!
3. The writing was straightforward and quickly paced. That's probably why I finished this one so quickly. It was well edited and had a good constant narrative voice. The novel is written in first person, past tense, which I loved.
4. I loved the fact that Max was Japanese-American. I mean, how fantastic is that? I've always thought of Japanese men as extremely attractive and to see one in a young adult novel was awesome! (I loved his family too!)
Basically, my biggest dislike with this novel was the protagonist and some of the other characters. How they treated her felt so melodramatic and I disliked that it took Gemma almost the whole book to stand up to them. But with that being said, I still liked the book and would recommend it to anyone who wants a quick, light young adult read. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I think it’s only fair to begin this review by stating that Megan Crewe’s novel was not at all what I was anticipating. I honestly don’t know what I e...moreI think it’s only fair to begin this review by stating that Megan Crewe’s novel was not at all what I was anticipating. I honestly don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t really what Crewe offered. I blame this on the fact that I didn’t properly read the synopsis (and I caution all of you to read future synopses thoroughly so that a novel isn’t a complete and utter surprise to you).
The Way We Fall is the first installment in the Fallen World series by Megan Crewe. The story follows Kaelyn, a teenager living on an island that is quarantined during a virus outbreak. As she watches the people she loves get sick in front of her, she must figure out a way to protect those she loves and avoid those who have let the fear of sickness reign their actions, whether they be inhumane or not. All the while, Kaelyn is writing down her experiences in a journal that she hopes to give to her ex-best-friend when the horrors of the island end.
(view spoiler)[ this is not a zombie tale, but simply, a story of people getting sick… and rambling… and then hallucinating… before dying. (hide spoiler)]
Though Crewe’s novel wasn’t what I expected, it wasn’t all that bad. The story line was thought out and I liked to see that the protagonist was bi-racial.
Read the rest of my review on my blog: Book Addict 24-7["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines is the first in The Vincent Boys series and it is the kind of ride t...moreReview 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. (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)
Fake Boyfriend is a young adult fiction book. I love some of Kate Brian's other novels, but this one was only so-so for me. A bit predictable, but sti...moreFake Boyfriend is a young adult fiction book. I love some of Kate Brian's other novels, but this one was only so-so for me. A bit predictable, but still a cute, light read. Brian introduces us to three close friends who each have romantic issues to be solved by the end of the story. Isabelle is set on dating a bad-boy that is all bad for her, Lana has a tremendous crush on the girls' fourth best friend, a guy, and finally, Vivi is a girl whose blunt and pushy attitude always sends boys running. In order to keep Isabelle away from her bad-boy ex, Vivi decides to take matters into her own hands.
I don't know what I was expecting when I started this one, but I know that it wasn't something this predictable and... cutesy.
I feel like I should begin this review by stating that the reason why I read The Selection by K...moreThis 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"]>(less)
Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky is a blush-inducing novel that straddles the line between...moreReview 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. (less)
Possess by Gretchen McNeil is a creepy story of a girl with psychic abilities that help her rid...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Possess by Gretchen McNeil is a creepy story of a girl with psychic abilities that help her rid people of demonic possessions. At first I was a bit skeptic of this novel, especially since it dealt with demons, exorcisms, and religion (I laughed when I watched the exorcist, so please try to understand my skepticism). But I was pleasantly surprised.
"Rule #1: Do not show fear.
Rule #2: Do not show pity. Rule #3: Do not engage. Rule #4: Do not let your guard down. Rule #5: They lie.
Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.
Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king."
McNeil's novel was a quick paced, fun read, though of course it had only a few flaws.
1. The protagonist, Bridget, was a bit stubborn and annoying. Characters would tell her that she needed to do something but she would protest instead of acting. Even near the end when she needs to pay attention, she still stubbornly fights against the facts. This annoyed me because of how naive and ignorant she was acting. This occurred several times.
2. Okay, sorry for this spoiler, but it's a pretty obvious thing: Bridget's mother and her love interest's father are in love. I'm not really disturbed with this, but others might not be so accepting of the fact that Bridget's soon-to-be boyfriend's father will be her step-father if her mother decides to marry him.
3. Though it isn't so obvious that it disrupts the story, there are some editing mishaps. Every once in a while I ran into awkward sentences that made me re-read the sentence twice to understand what was intended.
4. A bit predictable, but still a fun read.
1. The eerie tone was awesome. It was consistent and expertly done.
2. Ignoring the protagonist's annoying behavior, the other characters were intriguing.
3. The world created by McNeil is interesting because of how effectively she uses diction to create fear and intrigue for the reader.
4. McNeil's story is creepy as hell, which is incredibly hard to do effectively in a novel. But she uses a simple thing like an animal haunting a home and makes it a scary experience for the reader.
5. This isn't the first book in a series! Do you know how refreshing that is?
This was definitely one of those novels that was a surprise. If you want to get spooked, while enjoying an interesting story, then you should check this one out. I will definitely be looking forward to McNeil's work in the future.(less)
Sophie Kinsella is one of my favourite authors and I was surprised when I realized how many books she’d wri...moreFirst appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Sophie Kinsella is one of my favourite authors and I was surprised when I realized how many books she’d written since I’d last read Remember Me?. Thankfully, I came to my senses and now own almost all of her standalone novels (not a huge fan of the Shopaholic series). One of the reasons why I love Kinsella’s writing so much is because of her fluent use of humour and romance in stories that show female protagonists learning life lessons. But mostly, and I won’t delude myself to say that this isn’t a huge part of why I love her writing, I love the romance. Kinsella’s novels ARE Chick Lit, no matter what other fancy genre titles may be put on her stories. These are empowering stories that encourage female readers to not settle for the expected, or to not settle for less than what they deserve.
The Undomestic Goddess did not disappoint in serving as a warning to all you workaholics out there. There is a life outside of the office, life is good and relaxing living in a middle-of-nowhere town where no one knows who you are or that you barely sleep, and that there might be an extremely well-built, sexy worker waiting for you. This is what awaits you in Kinsella’s novel. So, you workaholics, ever thought what type of life you’d be living if you weren’t attached to your phone or constantly checking your emails? Then, give this one a look if you feel the need for inspiration.
Samantha Sweeting is a workaholic lawyer living in London who always gets home late, rarely has dinner with her family (unless it is a quick dinner, full of beeping cellphones and business oriented conversations), and has just made a big, big mistake. In a state of shock, she leaves her office before the crisis fully erupts and jumps on a train. To where? She doesn’t know. In fact, she’s still going over her BIG MISTAKE. When she does get off the train, she’s suddenly in a new predicament when she gets mistaken for a housekeeper interviewing for a job at a big house, when she just needed directions. Now, Samantha has to learn how to cook, clean, and do other menial housework, while keeping her identity a secret. She begins to question her life when she sees that there’s more to life than business mergers, and when she unexpectedly starts falling in love.
There were a few things that irked me by the end of this novel and that’s mainly why I’m not rating it perfectly, but other than these little occurrences, I enjoyed the story!
1. One of the issues I always tend to have with Kinsella’s characters is how oblivious and/or rude they are before their transformations. I know that they change and become better people, but Kinsella sometimes takes it a bit too far. Samantha is one of those people that I would loath to meet when I am at work at my coffee shop. Before she becomes a girl who doesn’t care too much about her “important” career, Samantha is ruthlessly rude, narrow-minded, and intimidating. There’s even a hint at the beginning that her secretary hates her. But, one other thing that I really don’t like about Kinsella’s protagonists is how naive they can be before they have their moments of clarity near the end. This is a technique that Kinsella has adopted and I can see that it is one that a) sometimes works for her and b) sometimes doesn’t. The problem with sticking to this method of writing is that the stories become predictable, so onto my next point.
2. The storyline was a bit predictable. This didn’t deter me from the story because there were still moments where I was happily surprised, but some of the choices that Samantha made and what happened to her were a bit predictable. I don’t want to ruin the experience for anyone, but if you’re a fan of Kinsella you may have noted that the protagonists tend to take a huge step backwards from what they’ve learned throughout the novel near the end, right before realizing what they’ve done and righting their lives once more. Like I said in my previous point, it seems like Kinsella has stuck to this routine since it hasn’t really failed her yet.
3. One of the greater issues in the novel regarding her family isn’t really resolved. (view spoiler)[Samantha mentions a brother who had a breakdown and became a teacher several years before the events of the novel, yet Kinsella doesn’t explore this relationship further. Also, I felt deflated when Samantha’s horrible relationship with her controlling mother was left unfinished. To her credit, Kinsella did have Samantha stand up to her mother, but there wasn’t really any form of conclusion between the two. Yes, Samantha DID take control of her life back from her mother, but, at the risk of sounding cliche, couldn’t Kinsella have found a slightly better resolution between the two? This is one of the other problems I have with Kinsella’s characters sometimes, they are sometimes left as what they are instead of growing. I know Samantha’s mother was a one-dimensional character, but she was Samantha’s mother for goodness sake. (hide spoiler)] In all honestly, I was disappointed with this relationship, considering how well Kinsella has portrayed previous parent-child/child-in-law relationships.
1. Despite all of the negatives mentioned above, I am a sucker for chick lit. Kinsella’s writing is fluent and humorous, making it a quick and fun read. Unless you’re like me and look at the novel too critically. The Undomestic Goddess is no exception. I can always count on Kinsella for a good laugh.
2. Though a bit predictable, Kinsella has the gift of writing fun, feel-good stories. She creates worlds where foreign readers can feel part of the England and UK atmosphere with her witty and hilarious diction. I found myself enthralled with this small town that Samantha arrives in and the descriptions made me want to be part of that world.
3. Even if they are sometimes annoyingly naive, Kinsella’s protagonists, like Samantha, have strong voices that always mark the beginning of the story. Kinsella isn’t a writer who begins her stories with long descriptions or with an intelligent sentence. Instead, her protagonist’s voice is always the first thing the reader meets, and the personality of the character is immediate. For example, first line of The Undomestic Goddess is: “Would you consider yourself stressed?” (Kinsella). This line actually belongs to a questionnaire that Samantha is filling out and the interesting thing is that Kinsella, without having a fully developed, over-thought sentence, has already introduced the gist of Samantha. Is she stressed? Could this character be a workaholic?
Despite the issues that I found in The Undomestic Goddess, I enjoyed this novel. The problems that I did find are more a pattern in Kinsella’s writing rather than problems specific to this novel. But hey, I still love Sophie Kinsella and I can’t wait to read her future works. If you enjoy cute and fun Chick Lit with an edge (slight swearing, slight sex), then I suggest that you read Kinsella’s work. In the world of Chick Lit, Kinsella is definitely a name to keep an eye on and any fan of feisty protagonists should check out the other novels by this author!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)