I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Indelible is Dawn Metcalf's second young adult novel and while the ideas behind her novels are incredibly original, I fail to connect with her story telling. I won't lie, I was super enthusiastic to read this one--I mean, look at that cover and that description! Who wouldn't want to read something that both looks and sounds so appealing? And while Indelible will definitely be loved by many readers, I unfortunately found Metcalf's novel to be disappointing and weakly written.
The beginning shows a lot of promise, what with the mysteriously handsome and dangerous boy, the fun and youthful setting, and the idea of magic within the folds of reality.
Joy, the protagonist, starts off as an interesting character who has gone through some seriously dark stuff. At first I felt compassion for her--after all, here's this girl who is terrified, but has no one believing her. But then, I started to get annoyed. Not just with her character, but with nearly every character in the book. First you have the meddlers, then the naggy characters, then you have the very frustrating and slightly creepy love interest and protagonist. Let's just say that after a while, every character got on my nerve.
Okay, I understand where some of the characters are coming from, and perhaps my reaction to how they acted towards Joy might be biased, since my personality would never allow for people to treat me the way they treat Joy, but come on. If a girl doesn't want to talk about something, that's her business. This felt like a huge issue in the novel, as if Joy was fending off people telling her to tell them this or that, which drove me nuts and was a total turn-off. I find it very hard to connect with characters who are either very indecisive throughout a novel, or who let others push them around (without speaking up by the end of the novel).
Like I said before, the beginning of the novel is the redeeming quality, so naturally I enjoyed almost every aspect of it. The pacing was well done, since we're immediately brought into the heart of the situation where Joy's life changes forever. I like that Metcalf doesn't dwell on the mundane at the beginning, since her novel is full of creepy and fast-paced moments. She also creates a dark and uncomfortable tone by using effective descriptions and metaphors.
But as the novel progresses, the story begins to unravel like a badly knitted sweater. The pacing, once comfortable, becomes jerky, the storyline starts to take a few too many twists, A LOT of new information is introduced, which is very overwhelming.
Joy is frustrating because she never quite knows what she wants, the romance in the novel feels forced and lacks that raw power that is usually evident in great romantic novels, and everything just feels like one big mess.
Honestly, I don't know what to make of the novel. The beginning shows a lot of promise, but from the middle to the conclusion, it's almost like Metcalf is trying to make her story more original and more complex, so as to have a reason to write a sequel.
If you like original stories and very stubborn characters, then give this one a read. I may not have enjoyed it, but I know that others certainly will--mainly because of the magic, romance, and adventure. I wasn't a huge fan of her first book, but those who were, might end up loving this one.(less)
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'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)
First thoughts when I finished reading Blood Heavy by S.L.J. Shortt: This story isn't complete.
Blood Heavy has so much potential. It has a strong storyline, witty dialogue, and sexy characters, but it has one major flaw: horrible editing.
The characters themselves help carry the story. The author's inspiration is Eric Kripke's Supernatural and I definitely noted that before it was mentioned at the end of the novel, but I can't look past the editing.
Another issue I have with this novel is how unorganized it is. Though the storyline is promising and intriguing, the plot is all over the place. I would stop reading just to understand what was happening during certain moments in the book.
Also, the protagonist has two names because his first given name is apparently too common in the world that Shortt has created, but no other characters are introduced with that particular name. As a result, there are moments where the narrator refers to the protagonist one way, while the other characters call him by a different name.
As it is, I don't know if I could recommend this book to future readers. I don't think it is complete. Blood Heavy needs extensive editing and I find the lack of editing very distracting and annoying.
I'm not giving Blood Heavy one star out of five because the storyline is strong and promising, but instead two stars because it is incomplete.(less)
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)
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)
I knew that Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan's novel Team Human would be a different kind...moreReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I knew that Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan's novel Team Human would be a different kind of book after reading the first sentence. What I wasn't so sure about was whether I would like it, or not. Team Human's protagonist, Mel, is one of those characters that can be philosophical and wise, but she can also be a pain in my proverbial ass.
Of course, I do understand that this novel is satirical. It is hard to miss the constant connection to the novel that started it all, Twilight, but while it was a mostly enjoyable read, Team Human felt like a book that tried a little bit too hard.
I will put my feminist comments aside for this one, since I understand that the figure of a weak female character is merely used as comedic relief in this novel. What I will comment on, however, is how Mel tries too hard to be that dependent voice of reason readers yearn for. She is opposed to vampires to such an extent that she does not listen to others besides herself, making her come off as arrogant and immature.
While she does grow as a character and finally concedes that fate is not in her hands, I found that even in the conclusion, she is still a less than admirable character. Perhaps Cathy, the best friend and friend-in-need-of-rescue, makes for a better protagonist. Sure, she falls for the undead, but even she appears to have a better head on her shoulders.
I will also add that it feels like this novel has a character that brings to light everything that is actually wrong with vampires, which is useful in a world that is being assaulted with romantic illusions of deadly and once terrifying creatures. Whereas I like the fact that the reader isn't made to just accept a character because another character tells us too, I don't like how Mel makes it almost impossible to see the other side's story because she is the only one we can rely on.
As a result, I found Mel to be an unreliable character.
So, why the three stars? Because despite the weak characters and the slightly disturbing way of looking at another culture (let's just call it that to make it easier), the story isn't half bad. I like the mystery, the twist at the end, and the way Mel is constantly forced to question her previous beliefs and how she is challenged by less narrow-minded characters.
Also, the randomness of this novel did have me laughing a few times. Team Human is one of those books that can be either a hit or miss, but for me it was a mixture of both.
If you enjoy satire, then you might like this one. If you were angry with Bella because Edward was so obviously evil and bad for her, then you'll definitely enjoy Team Human. But, I do warn you, that the style of writing and the wit isn't for everyone. Team Human will test your patience, but stick it out--you might like the twist at the end!(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)
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.
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 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)