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 in exchange for an honest review
Hidden Gates by D.T. Dyllin is one of those books that has a gorgeous cover, a thrilling premise, and just an intense amount of promise. But it all falls short for me, especially since it feels like the novel focuses more on the sexual tension between the characters than the really, really cool idea behind the book. Sure, there were some instances at the beginning where I was hooked, but near the middle of the book, everything just sort of fell apart.
P.J. is one of those characters that's a little naive, thinking that she is equal to those around her; that no harm can come to her. I didn't grasp the intensity of her naive nature until one particularly disturbing scene near the beginning of the novel that changed my view of her completely. I'm not a huge fan of her, and though there are instances where she stands up for herself against her love interest (which I admit is rare in a female character caught in a similar situation), she quickly falls back into the fragile female character that she is.
I know this is a New Adult novel, meaning that sex runs rampant throughout the pages. But honestly, sometimes I think this novel was just written with the purpose of getting extremely sexy men naked. P.J. complains about her love life, then remembers that, oh yeah, the world is in danger. I know I sound like a prude--trust me, I enjoy a sex scene or two, but these characters act like people who have nothing else to do but screw.
I love the idea of the different types of paranormal people hidden within our non-paranormal society. It is totally cool, plus the little twist Dyllin includes regarding P.J. is REALLY neat. This story just took on a life of its own and escaped Dyllin's grasp, but not in the best way.
The relationships between the characters are also weak and kind of cruel. P.J. is a horrible friend. Though her best friend is kind of creepy with how she knows everything about her, P.J. is rude and outright bitchy.
I don't think I'll be reading the sequel, simply because I don't want to encounter P.J. and her sexual adventures. I want to read about the paranormal happenings in her world, not how jealous, controlling, and possessive the men in her life are. (less)
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Alex Flinn's Towering is very obviously a retelling of Rapunzel with a twist--it wouldn't be a Flinn novel otherwise. Towering is an original adaptation of a tale that has become increasingly popular and it was refreshing seeing it brought to life in a new light. A fun and surprisingly quick read, Towering is a cute story to be read on a quiet afternoon. Though it is at times cheesy (as fairy tales often are), Flinn's new novel includes a surprise twist and an ending fit for a fairy tale.
The story begins with Rachel and Wyatt, the co-narrators. Wyatt hints that something dark happened in his past, while Rachel alludes to the fact that she is lonely. By having the two characters introduced this way, Flinn is setting up the obvious "Hero and maiden in distress" situation we are very familiar with in recent novels. And though she challenges this notion with Rachel being more than just a chick in need of rescue, we still see the co-dependency featured in fairy tales.
The pacing is very quick, almost to the point of lacking believability. While I loved that these two characters seem to save each other in their darkest times, I find it so awkward that it is an "insta-love" kind of romance. I mean, before Wyatt meets Rachel, he has other women on the brain. But then--BOOM! There is Rachel in all her blond, blue-eyed beauty. Oh, and she's very innocent, naive, and old-fashioned. I just find the whole situation a little forced. I mean, at least let the characters grow to like each other! Give them some time to fall in love, don't just shove it in my face.
Okay, putting that issue aside.
I liked the mystery aspect and the intertextuality, which was very intelligent and unexpected. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (coincidentally one of my favourite novels) is featured in Towering as a key to understanding what is happening to Wyatt. I love that Flinn adopts ideas from another classic novel portraying madness, and the ghostly spell of the past, to retell such an admittedly sad fairy tale. I think it's fitting and a fun little twist.
The mystery, though not completely surprising, is great. We are given clues and red herrings, and it allows you to be an active reader in the story, rather than just an observer. I like that Flinn doesn't truly start dropping hints until just after the middle of the novel, because then we can still go along with Wyatt's search for the truth.
I don't know how I feel about Rachel. It's like her old fashionedness rubs off on Wyatt. I get that she is locked away from society in some small town that barely even registers on the map, but come on. I'd expect for Wyatt's vernacular to rub off on her, not the other way around. Also, though she is told (various times) of the dangers in the real world, she easily falls for Wyatt.
Wouldn't she at least put up a fight?
I understand that she is lonely, and I more than understand Wyatt's quick taking to her, but I find these characters to be a little unreliable.
Okay, okay, I'm being mean and hard on these two poor lovebirds. I know. But I honestly did enjoy Towering. Once I got into it, it was a surprisingly quick read. I felt satisfied by the events that took place, and I knew I'd read another enjoyable Flinn novel. I just didn't think it was something that would change my life for forever. It was just a light and magical read.
I recommend Towering to lovers of fairy tale adaptations in young adult fiction, quick romance, adventure, and fun mysteries. If you like ghosts, there're a few of those too. Even if you don't end up liking the characters, you might like the storyline.
Though they're not perfect, you can always count on Alex Flinn for an entertaining read!(less)
I'm a fan of Sherry Soule because of how captivating her story lines are...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy for review
I'm a fan of Sherry Soule because of how captivating her story lines are.
She has these immense ideas that, if put successfully onto paper, will steal the reader's attention for hours. The difference between Moonlight Mayhem and Beautifully Broken is extreme.
Beautifully Broken, the first in the Spellbound series, has a protagonist, Shiloh, that was a bit too emotionally unattached. In Moonlight Mayhem, the sequel, Shiloh is too emotionally attached to her father's death, but barely mentions her other friends.
Moonlight Mayhem will make an entertaining read for readers. However, my focus was occasionally stolen by misused words. I did enjoy, however, how the characters surpassed the high school cliches to work together on the problem at hand.
Seeing as this is a sequel, there's not much I can say without causing huge spoilers. So, read at your own risk.
(view spoiler)[What irked me was Shiloh's lack of mention or emotional response to the deaths of her friends in Beautifully Broken. It was like they had never even existed. I tried very hard to get past these issues and focus on the plot, which was quite good.
The mystery is exciting and, like her previous book, creepy as hell. I could relate to Shiloh's pain over losing her father, so that was a nice little moment. (hide spoiler)]
Would I recommend this book? Sure. The action is fast-paced and the emotional connection that Shiloh shares with her (still alive) best friend, Ari, is realistic. The story is riddled with creepiness and Soule strives to go beyond the cliches of the supernatural. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(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)
I'm very conflicted after reading Superheroes Wear Faded Denim by Law Reigns. Though it grabbed my attention, it wasn't in my usual way. I gave the novel two out of five stars because the story was original, but I wavered between a one and a two because the writing was too archaic and lacked editing, while the characters, mainly the protagonist, Blissany Cherry, were so weak and annoying, that I almost put the book down out of frustration.
This book dripped with the sexual tension Blissany carried with her while on her adventures. Unnecessary metaphors including sexual innuendo appeared here and there, while religion also made a very frequent visit to the storyline.
Blissany was very weak. She was naive and stubborn to the point of stupidity. Seriously, if everyone is telling you the same thing, why are you still not believing them? Sure, the storyline picks up after a while, but Blissany's character still drove me insane.
I'm sorry guys, I really wish I could have enjoyed this one more, I really do. The story has so much potential and while others may enjoy this ten times more than me, I couldn't get into the writing. An example of something that really had me on edge is the word "upon". Reigns loved that word in her novel. Here are two examples: when a character placed something on a table, it wasn't "on a table", it was upon a table. When it rained, it wasn't "Rain fell on leaves", it was "Rain fell upon leaves". "Upon" is archaic and stilts the rhythm of the prose. It drove me nuts.
I would recommend Superheroes Wear Faded Denim to readers who want a slightly sexy read about angels and magical beings. If you like quirky stories with potential, then I would suggest this.
I wouldn't suggest it, however, to those who are like me and can't get past the flaws and archaic writing in a novel. (less)
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Kiersten White's Mind Games adopts a recently popular style of writing that I'm not the biggest fan of. This style in particular uses prose as something more than simple storytelling, but as a means of emphasizing the protagonist's emotions. Though the story is exciting, new, and an interesting take on the powers of the human mind, the prose is not my favorite.
Fia, the protagonist, is an impressive character that somehow withstands a lot of mental and physical abuse for her blind, but psychic sister, Annie. At first, I was frustrated that her sister, being the older one, was so oblivious to the dangers of her new world without their parents. I think it was because of her immaturity that it took me a while to figure out that she is the older sister.
As the story progresses, the reader is taken back and forth between the past and the present. Sure, I learned a lot more about the characters because of this technique, but it was also frustrating because I just wanted to see where the story was going in the present time.
It's undeniable that White has a talent for creating original stories. Her Paranormalcy series is a fun paranormal adventure and it showcases her strong writing style. Mind Games, however, is one of those novels that is either a hit, or miss. Some readers will enjoy it, while others will walk away frustrated and/or confused.
I will admit that the writing does help the reader experience how hectic Fia's thoughts are, but it also feels forced and unnecessary. Viewing the world through Annie's permanently dark stare is unique and enthralling, and the mystery behind her and Fia's world is promising. The writing was just something that impeded on the power of the novel.
I would recommend Mind Games to readers who liked Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi--simply because the writing style is very similar. Both authors use words and sentence structure in a dramatic way. They emphasize their characters' troubling thoughts and emotions through repetition.
Though a relatively short read, Mind Games will make the reader work for the answers. White succeeds in making her reader sympathise with Fia, especially since the novel is full of emotionally triggering experiences and disturbing revelations.(less)
Thirteen Days to Midnight, by Patrick Carman is a young adult novel that follows orphan Jacob F...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Thirteen Days to Midnight, by Patrick Carman is a young adult novel that follows orphan Jacob Fielding after his guardian's death and the legacy that is left for him. The premise of this novel is what drew me in since I was curious to see what Jacob experiences and his apparent connection with death. While Carman introduces his character in a pretty neat way, his story wasn't what I was anticipating.
"You are indestructible. Three whispered words transfer an astonishing power to Jacob Fielding that changes everything. At first, Jacob is hesitant to use the power, unsure of its implications. But there's something addictive about testing the limits of fear.
Then Ophelia James, the beautiful and daring new girl in town, suggests that they use the power to do good, to save others. But with every heroic act, the power grows into the specter of a curse. How to decide who lives and who dies?"
Various things, good and bad, stuck out for me as I read this book. At points I was confused while at others I was awed at what the characters were experiencing.
1. I know some authors include a prologue into a novel as a way of either preparing a reader for an upcoming moment of tension, or for giving the reader some information that may be vital for understanding the text. Carman, however, includes a prologue that is separated into two different one and a half page chapters. The first is an italicized third person view of what is apparently happening later on in the novel (though the scene doesn't make a reappearance and I think this will just add to the confusion), and the second is simply labelled "One Day Later", yet it is first person, with Jacob asking the reader a series of questions. Personally, I would have just included the latter chapter. One, because it is a cool introduction, and two, it feels more effective than blindly throwing the reader into a situation where the style of writing isn't even the same as the rest of the book.
2. The front of my hardcover copy of the novel says, "The Grim Reaper doesn't disappear...he catches up." I'm sorry if I ruin this for anyone, so (view spoiler)[, there is no "Grim Reaper". What there is is a death monster that Jacob carries with him ever since the car accident where he was spared and his guardian died. The monster is a result of a curse placed on a man hundreds of years ago and yes, it keeps the person that hosts the monster safe and immortal, but the wearer can't just toss it around from person to person and then take it back. In a way, the monster is an omen of death, but it is in no way a Reaper. (hide spoiler)] This confused the hell out of me at the end... it's just so complex.
3. The way that Jacob falls in love with Ophelia James is a bit too much, to be honest. It only takes him several days to fall in love with her and then risk not only his life, but his best friend's life as well in order to save her.
4. Ophelia's character, while I know that she was changing from influences I can't state, was so dramatic I wanted to reach into the book and slap her.
1. Each day is separated by a page that tells the reader how many days there are left until midnight (which is what the prologue is about). I think this is cool because I didn't have to read the same sentence stating what day it is and how many days are left with each new chapter. Of course, there are various chapters in each section.
2. The latter part of the prologue is awesome and I like that Carman uses the same tactic of superpowers and the curiosity that humanity holds for those things we don't have at the beginning and the conclusion. It is not just cool, but a great way to wrap up the story.
3. Even with all the little nuisances, Carman writes a fun story that moves along quickly. He doesn't focus on unimportant scenes that don't have any relevance to the story. Everything is connected, one way or another.
4. The ending is predictable, but I was still surprised by some aspects of it. I'm not spoiling it for you guys, so you'll just have to read the book to find out what it is!
Though Carman offers us a fast-paced and adventurous story, the concept of the novel is a bit confusing. I won't be surprised if future readers jump into this with one idea of the novel in mind, only to come out thinking, "huh, that's different."
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)
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)
Review first appeared:Book Addict 24-7 I am leaving Why We Broke Up, just like The Night Circus. I don’t know why people hype up books so much. It’s s...moreReview first appeared:Book Addict 24-7 I am leaving Why We Broke Up, just like The Night Circus. I don’t know why people hype up books so much. It’s starting to get really annoying, since hyping up a horrible book makes it really difficult for us readers to know if the book is legitimately good or not. If you don’t believe me about this one, then I would recommend you give it a gander at your bookstore or library. Don’t buy it unless you are 100% sure you want to read it. Trust me.
Want me to give you an example of how the writing looks in this book? Okay. Here:
“And it wasn’t just us. It wasn’t that we were high school, me a junior and you a senior, with our clothes all wrong for restaurants like this, too bright and too rumpled and too zippered and too stained and too slapdash and awkward and stretched and trendy and desperate and casual and unsure and braggy and sweaty and sporty and wrong. It wasn’t just that Lottie Carson did not look up from where she was watching, and it wasn’t just that the waiter was holding a bottle, wrapped in a red folded napkin, tilted high over his head, and it wasn’t just that the bottled, iced with a rainy sheen on the neck, was filled with champagne. It wasn’t just that” (Handler 46).
Yeah, if you stopped reading halfway through I don’t blame you. And it is pretty much like that throughout the pages I’ve read, and I’m up to page 65. Basically the protagonist , Min, is writing a letter for her ex telling him why they broke up. Not only is her writing voice horribly annoying, it is fraught with repetition, confusing references, and the same sentence: “This is why we broke up” at the end of chapters.
I was hoping for so much from this one. It looked so neat, but then, we ARE taught to not judge books by their covers (or in this case, their outward appearance). I think, and I may be wrong, but since Peregrine’s success, authors have been capitalizing on the merging of art and writing, sometimes relying mainly on (badly) drawn pictures, rather than on the story itself. Sadly, I believe that this is what happened to Why We Broke Up. Handler focused so much on the objects within the box, that he overlooked how flawed his story was. This had so much potential, but at the end of the day, a reader is left wondering, “So what?” who cares about this breakup if you’re not making it feel important? Sure, Min did write a letter and put everything in a box, but the way the characters interacted (oh god, don’t get me started on the dialogue) left me thinking, “How did this get past the editors?”
Look, I understand what Handler was trying to do. In any other case, with more editing and a lot less overuse of the style of repetition to emphasize emotion, it would have been more successful. Also, if this hadn’t been written in the voice of a teenager and geared towards the Young Adult audience, then maybe it would have been more successful.
Honestly, I started writing this with the idea of keeping things brief. I was considering giving the book another ten pages or whatnot, but alas, I don’t think I can do it. Instead of wasting my time on a book that I know I will never like (I disliked it from the moment that the writing style became evident), I will try reading something that I will actually enjoy.
Read at your own risk and if you like it, hey, it’s okay. That’s your opinion and maybe I’m just being too harsh, but I think I’m just angry at the fact that over-hyped books keep making their way onto my shelves and that they sit there, collecting dust and waiting for me like a ticking time bomb. (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)
There are many things that I liked about Patti Smith's Autobiography, but there were also many things I did not like. I am one of those people that st...moreThere are many things that I liked about Patti Smith's Autobiography, but there were also many things I did not like. I am one of those people that started out thinking that this was a timeless piece, but I slowly began to see that perhaps this wasn't as timeless as it could have been. What Smith introduces to us is a piece that could have been an adventure for the readers, but instead it was more of a chronological retelling of her life beside Robert Mapplethorpe until his unfortunate death in 1989.
Okay, I'm going to be brief about this one by simply numbering what I liked and what I didn't like.
What I didn't like: 1. The editing. Could have real...moreOkay, I'm going to be brief about this one by simply numbering what I liked and what I didn't like.
What I didn't like: 1. The editing. Could have really used it 2. The way the protagonist deals with her problems. Felt so immature, ugh, and it frustrated me
What I did like: 1. The romance (even though it was a bit controlling) 2. The intensity 3. The need to know what's going to happen next
When I first started reading I thought, hm, this is going wayyyy fast! But I see what the author was trying to do, and I get it. It's funny because after reading a post on another book about the controlling nature of boys in YA novels I couldn't stop thinking about said post while reading this relationship unfold. Now, I'm not trying to deter anyone, if you can manage to get over the horrible editing, you'll find a pretty cute story, even if it is riddled with the naive nature of the protagonist. I started reading this series because it made me think of the Perfect Chemistry series/ the Fuentes brothers by Simone Elkeles, but though it is hard to reach Elkeles's awesome writing, Reyes tries and if edited properly and if she can strengthen her characters, she might just reach that point where Elkeles stands.
I'm going to rate this a four, purely based on the fact that I was addicted and that I enjoyed the story... not because of the aesthetic value of the editing. (less)
I read All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin a while ago, but I've been putting off thi...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I read All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin a while ago, but I've been putting off this review because of all the things that bugged me. There are a few redeeming qualities about Zevin's novel, that's why I'm not giving it one star. I'm not even going to write my own summary for this one, I'll just copy and paste the one from Goodreads.
"In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family."
Zevin had such a cool premise for her story. Her novel could have easily been one of my favourites this year, but she wasted it by including pointless tangents, way too many religious references (hey, I believe in god and all, but I don't advocate books that keep reminding the reader of what a "good catholic" girl is), and disconnected emotions.
1. As I've already mentioned, the religious commentary. There were moments where Anya would simply start talking about what made her a good catholic girl and how she should behave. I'm okay with characters commenting on their religious beliefs because it helps the reader construct the characters in his/her mind, but I don't like it when authors drill their ideas into the reader through their words in a book.
2. The chapter titles drove me crazy. I understand the whole hinting-at-what's-going-to-happen thing, but Zevin full on tells the reader what's going to happen. For example: "VIII. i am sent to liberty; am also tattooed!" Ugh, please.
3. The dialogue drove me insane. Especially after the second half of the novel (where the storyline goes down the hole). Zevin adopts the tactic of telling the reader things, rather than showing him/her what's happening. Here's an example: "I told him I'd rather not," (Zevin 292). I know some of you might not find this a problem, but insert the above example into various points in the novel where dialogue can easily be used to "show" rather than "tell" what the protagonist is thinking.
4. I really, really disliked Anya. Her attitude and her actions drove me insane. It was like looking into the mind of a child or a naive woman. I understand why she did some of the things that she did, but her mentality was just annoying to watch unfold.
5. The novel had so much potential! I was so engrossed in the story for the first half that I could barely put the book down, but then Zevin kills it. She stuffs the plot with needless tangents like Anya's messy romantic life, which by the way, takes up a good chunk of the second half of the novel, completely overriding the idea of mob life and the illegalities of chocolate.
I'm basing these on the first half of the novel.
1. This was an intriguing story that had me wanting to know what would happen next.
2. The writing was fluid, even with the religious doctrine.
3. The story showed potential, until (view spoiler)[Anyawas released from prison (hide spoiler)]. If Zevin had worked on this part of the novel more, then she would of had a kick-ass novel, but instead it was like the story flew out of her hands and took a life of its own, and not in a good way.
Just writing this review tired me out, imagine how I felt after reading the novel.
James Patterson’s 1st to Die is the first installment in the Women’s Murder Club series. This mystery thriller follows homicide inspector Lindsay Boxer, a member of the Women's Murder Club, and her search for the elusive murderer of newlywed couples.
Lindsay is difficult to find believable at times because of how Patterson portrays her. Though he does a marvelous job of creating her world and introducing her to his readers, Patterson’s male voice sometimes sneaks into Lindsay’s behavior, making her hard to connect with as a female reader. However, Lindsay’s medical struggles with Negli's aplastic anemia, the body's inability to produce red blood cells, and her growing love affair, adds depth to the novel.
The other women in the Women's Murder Club: Claire, Cindy, and Jill, all represent a faction in the world of law and I looked forward to the chapters where I could learn more about them, but I was left disappointed. If these three women are a big influence on how the grisly murders are solved, then why does Patterson bypass their backstory? And why does Jill, the assistant D.A. prosecuting the suspect, make an appearance much later in the book?
Another issue I encountered was the blatant attack on men. Patterson’s struggle to write from the viewpoint of a female character resulted in bitter women. The Women’s Murder Club is created for the sole purpose of proving that women can solve a mystery without male influences. Interestingly enough, a contrasting situation is witnessed between the suspect and his relationships with other women. As a result, Patterson’s novel is an exploration of the hindrances of gender in a book that investigates sexual murders.
The plot is masterfully written. Patterson surprises his reader with nearly every cliffhanger, creating an almost unimaginable and disturbing conclusion. His writing style welcomes the reader to join the investigation, since Lindsay is also learning as the novel progresses.
The chapters written from the murderer's point of view are disturbing as he offers the reader clues about his identity and the final minutes in the victims' lives. From the killer's reaction to his first kill, to the haunting murders themselves, Patterson's world promises to enthrall the reader with his intriguing, but nauseatingly realistic writing.
Well researched and an eerie insight into the world of serial killers, 1st to Die is a mystery thriller that will keep the reader guessing up until the final sentence of the epilogue.(less)
I finally read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan after having friends recommend it an...moreThis review first appeared on my blog:Book Addict 24-7
I finally read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan after having friends recommend it and urging me to read it. Even though I devoured it, I felt on the fence about whether I liked the novel or not.
While well written stylistically, the content had me frowning at various points. This was definitely a strong story that was fraught with plot holes and weak character development, especially with the protagonist Mary.
"In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?"
Before I give the impression that I disliked this novel, let me make something clear: Novels with protagonists who blindly follow their own selfish desires in a world that has many greater problems, despite the characters around them, drive me insane. Sure, the concept was cool and I enjoyed the terror that the characters experienced, but it wasn't anywhere near a perfect book for me.
1. I don't mean to be fickle, but this novel needed a bit more editing. I usually don't mention editing issues if it isn't so blatant that it disturbs my reading, but this novel had it enough times to make me comment on it. I know some editing errors are little mistakes that become nearly invisible in a novel of three hundred or more pages, but yeah, these errors occurred everywhere. Grammatical errors, typos--ugh.
Another point under the whole "editing" thing: awkwardly phrased sentences. When this occurred it would disrupt my reading and I would actually try to rearrange the words until they made sense. I shouldn't have to do that with a published book!
2. I really, really disliked Mary. She was naive, selfish, immature, indecisive and annoying. What kind of person risks the lives of those she loves just so she can see the ocean? Yeah, I get that the ocean is a metaphor for hope and for faith, but come on. It was so drawn out, I wanted to pull my hair out.
Since I'm talking about Mary, why don't I bring in the other characters as well? The only character that I really cared for was the protagonist's love interest, Travis. He was, in my opinion, well developed, but his relationship with Mary fell flat. In fact, many relationships with Mary fell flat. Why? Because she was a weak protagonist. The other characters tried to be developed, but most of them failed.
3. There are so many things that left me confused at the end! Some questions were left so open-ended that it is very difficult for me to come to a conclusion. I know there is a sequel, but I don't know if I'll be reading it.
4. By the way, how can a village in the middle of ass-crack nowhere know what salt tastes like? I've always been curious about that with certain books. If you are so far away from the ocean and you have no way of going into the outside world, how can you procure salt, let alone know what it would taste or smell like?
5. The romance wasn't as strong as it could have been because of Mary's constant whining and unhappiness.
6. The beginning was slow! I was expecting some great adventure with zombies, but didn't get my wish until well into the novel.
1. Ryan's book had some creepy moments, effectively scaring me and making me curious. Ryan is also gifted at eerily describing surroundings.
2. When certain characters died I actually cried. Yes, I cried. Ryan's characters may be weak, but she has a way with words so as to rouse a reaction from her readers.
3. Let's ignore for a moment the writing and focus on what a perturbing picture this plot paints for us. We have a post-apocalyptic world where cities have fallen and zombies have devoured most of humanity. Then insert a character who's need to see the ocean is as dangerous as literally jumping into a hoard of zombies. If anything, Ryan succeeds in showing the fragility of humanity and the dangers of curiosity.
4. Let's face it, Ryan teaches us that a girl can dream. Even if there are deadly consequences.
5. Ryan is pretty good at redeeming characters when they've failed the reader's expectations. See point two in the positives to see what I mean.
6. It was pretty cool when Mary finds the old newspaper clippings and pictures. I think that was one of the neatest parts of this novel.
With so many mixed reviews, it's easy to be indecisive when it comes to deciding whether I liked or disliked the book. For me though, I'm going to remain on the fence because though I obviously disliked various parts and characters, I didn't hate the story. If Mary were more mature and less selfish, then this book would have gone down a completely different path. Instead, Ryan made her character slightly cliched and just a nuisance.(less)
I had high expectations going into Lauren Oliver's Delirium, since Before I Fall is one of my favori...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I had high expectations going into Lauren Oliver's Delirium, since Before I Fall is one of my favorite young adult novels. I was also very excited because of the incredible reviews it has received since its publication.
Oliver has created a complex world that promises a very original look at the topic of love. A story like this calls for a powerful protagonist that can handle the pressure of standing up against the oppressive environment s/he lives in. An example of powerful characters in a similar environment would be Connor, Risa, and Lev from Neal Shusterman's Unwind.
In my honest opinion, was Lena a strong enough character and/or narrator for a novel that explores such a complex and political storyline? No. She was not only weak, but incredibly unreliable since she didn't know where she stood, or what she wanted for most of the novel--though the reader is made to believe that she does.
Lena's timidness was beyond irritating. Her fear of everything is debilitating and I spent a good portion of the book rolling my eyes at her comments of how scared she was, or how "love" was this big bad monster.
I know she was conditioned to fear love, and change can't come about in a short time frame, or else the believability of a story goes down. But honestly, up until nearly three quarters of the novel, Lena was still acting completely powerless--Even though she knew the truth. One sentence that was beyond frustrating, and I quoted it on my Goodreads progress section, stated the following: "There's no way I can disobey my aunt, so I follow her..." (Oliver 310). This sentence reeks of powerlessness, but even worse, it makes me think that Lena simply chooses to not look at her other options.
The reason why I've rated Delirium so low is because of Lena. It's been a while since I've skimmed over the last few pages of a book simply to get away from a character.
There were also a few inconsistencies, and the lack of commas where they were needed drove me nuts (blame it on my picky reading preferences). An example of an inconsistency would be (view spoiler)[the moment when there is a raid. If the procedure removes fear, love, pain, etc, why do Lena's aunt and sister show obvious fear? (hide spoiler)]
Oliver's world is so detailed, complex, and I will admit, beautiful, that it is completely off-putting that she has such a weak protagonist. As with Before I Fall, the writing is imaginative and the idea of love being illegal, though I had a few doubts about the subject, is very intriguing and original.
I really wanted to like this one, I really, truly did. But instead of sighing at the romance between Lena and Alex, I was groaning because of her immature actions. She loved Alex, so why was she so scared of him? If she is destined to be this powerful heroine, why does she lack any real power and/or passion for what is right within her? Where is her drive to be the powerful character she needs to be?
Characters are flawed, I know this, but she was unrealistically flawed given her situation. Hana, her best friend, was much better suited for the pressures of what Lena faces. In a way, Hana would have made a much better protagonist.
Lena made an interesting comment about who she is at the beginning of Delirium and at the conclusion: she is an in-between girl (Oliver).
I agree completely with this statement, since Lena spends most of the novel in an in-between place. She neither moves forward as a character, nor does she truly revert to her old life--though she wants to, her life is now tainted by what she's experienced.
Her in-between state consists of various questions: Should she love Alex? Should she trust that he is right? Should she follow in the footsteps of her mother, but without the dire outcome? Should she think for herself? Should she fight for what is right?
Lena's assessment, though posed as a simple explanation of her appearance, says so much about her, that it makes perfect sense why she would be so indecisive. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)