Jeez Louise, did I wait too long to write this review OR WHAT? (Spoiler: the answer is not “or what.” I waited too long.)
So, here’s what I remember about Game by Barry Lyga.
-I still liked Jazz and found his internal struggle interesting. He has to try to reconcile his personality and how he grew up with the person he wants to be, but he’s afraid that there’s something fundamentally flawed about him because of who his father is. His voice still feels authentic and real.
-CONNIE. I love this girl. Thank you, Barry Lyga, for providing some diversity in a female main character AND making her pretty damn awesome. She doesn’t have Jazz’s “experience” with this kind of stuff, but she’s smart and strong and she knows it. Getting her POV in this follow-up was awesome.
-The gore. Oh dang. Who ever said that YA books have to be edited to be less “graphic?” Because I’d like to place I Hunt Killers and Game in their hands. The gore is crazy and scary and– so so good.
-I did find it a little more difficulty to suspend my believability in this one. In the previous novel, the murders happened in Jazz’s small town and were by a copycat of his father’s work. His involvement made sense. It was harder to believe that a New York City cop would seek out his expertise for a case seemingly unrelated to his serial killer dad.
-BUT dear old dad was creepy as all get-out, guys. As was this mystery. Barry Lyga’s thrillers are so so compelling and I can’t WAIT until we see Jazz again in the next novel.(less)
You know when you “mood read?” Say you finished a really great book about spies (just, y’know, for example), and you pick up a book that you haven’t heard anything about because the only thing you do know about it is that is has that element that you want more of. In this case: spies.
So you start the book. And then comes that moment. That moment when you start a book and expect to like it– and wind up loving it instead.
Also Known As by Robin Benway was described as “perfect for fans of Ally Carter” and WORD UP. It was. It really really was. I’d like to add that it especially reminded me of the early Gallagher Girls books. The main character, Maggie is a fun, normal teenage girl– who just happens to have been a safe cracker from a very young age. Moving around on missions with her family is all she knows. Only now she’s expected to have her own mission and navigate the treacherous waters of a private school, make girl friendships, and get all flirty with the son of newspaper owner.
And it IS PERFECT.
Maggie’s character arc in Also Known As is fabulous. She goes from thinking: spyspyspyspyspyspyspy, to considering relationships with people besides her parents amidst said spy chicanery. And working towards unscrambling a mystery, mostly on her own. She’s conflicted about lying to people– both her parents and her new friends. Her friend Roux is both sad and funny, and the swoony moments between Maggie and Jesse are too cute for words.
By the way, I have to stop and point out that I loved seeing Maggie’s parents play so active a role in this story. It’s something not a lot of YA books have at play and it worked really well.
In addition to the interesting spy aspects, guys, Also Known As is so hilarious. Like… LAUGH OUT LOUD funny. I’m told that this is a THING which Robin Benway is very good at, these LOLs, so I will most definitely be looking up more of her work.
To sum up: I enjoyed Also Known As by Robin Benway to a tremendous degree, so much so that I read it in one sitting within a few hours– at which point I was very sad that it was over. (less)
I was cautious going into Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder. I had very sincerely enjoyed reading the previous novel, Touch...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
I was cautious going into Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder. I had very sincerely enjoyed reading the previous novel, Touch of Power, but in my mind, things had seemed kind of… wrapped up. Looking back, I’m not sure why I felt that way because the Big Baddie is still alive and at large, with an army of the dead at his disposal.
But in Scent of Magic, we jump back in here Touch of Power left off. Avry and Kerrick have only just been able to get together and have ze sexytimes, when they must part for equally important and dangerous missions. There was a lot of exposition to explain what had happened in the previous book and I know it needs to be there to remind us, but it was dry and had a very this-happened-then-this-happened feel.
I still really enjoyed Avry in Scent of Magic– appreciated how in touch with her emotions she was and how determined she was to completely her missions, but my believability was stretched a little thin. Avry goes into disguise in the army without many people seeming the wiser which didn’t mesh with my take on her personality.
I was extremely excited to see some familiar and funny faces again, but they were a little lost amongst a cast of new characters. It’s one of those cases where I was overwhelmed and had trouble keeping everyone straight. I did, however remember Tohon aka the Big Baddie and was just as repulsed by him this time around. He’s sexually manipulative and every time he showed up I was about ready to vom in my mouth. He’s terrible and sickening.
The POV of Kerrick was interesting as well– he got to explore a side of the Fifteen realms that we hadn’t seen before and it was a cool side to see. There were conflicts that didn’t have to do with the war we were so focused on and I’m interested to see where that goes in the future.
To sum up: I don’t want this to be a review where you’re left wondering: “So did she like it , or what?” I did and if you liked Touch of Power, I recommend you continue on with Scent of Magic, but in my opinion, it has a slight case of Second Book Syndrome.(less)
From everything I’ve heard about his books, I was expecting Big Things from Every Day by David Levithan and the author certa...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
From everything I’ve heard about his books, I was expecting Big Things from Every Day by David Levithan and the author certainly didn’t disappoint.
Levithan’s prose is deceptively simplistic, but crafted in a way that even the simplest sentences have a poetry to them.
This book manages to teach us lessons without getting preachy. Things like the fact that love is love.Whether a person is thin, heavy, model gorgeous, average, male, or female. No matter which body A moves to every day, A loves Rhiannon. Love has no gender, race, or size.
MILD SPOILERS AHOY: (view spoiler)[ Here’s a harder truth that Every Day addresses: sometimes, love isn’t enough to make things work. As much as we want it to, it doesn’t conquer all because other circumstances affect relationships.
And even if you can see a happy ending for yourself, if it means that you have to do something that you knowis morally wrong, you should do the right thing as opposed to granting yourself that happy ending. People will respect you more for it.
God knows I respected A more for it. A was self-sacrificing, giving Rhiannon a chance to be happy even though A had to move on. That’s a big love; caring more about the other person’s happiness. (hide spoiler)]
Overall rating: 5/5. Every Day was simply beautiful. This is another one of those books that I hope makes it onto required reading lists someday. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
In the aftermath of the French Revolution, The Academie draws children of influential people across the world, including Eli...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
In the aftermath of the French Revolution, The Academie draws children of influential people across the world, including Eliza Monroe, the daughter of the future president, Hortense de Beauharnais, stepdaughter of Napoleon Bonaparte, and Caroline Bonaparte, sister of the very same– the original short man with short man syndrome.
On the fringes of society, Madeline, a Creole actress at the Comedie Francaise, lives abused by her mother and head-over-heels in love with Hortense’s brother, Eugene.
I was prepared to be a little obsessed with this book because, well, of three reasons mostly: 1) BOARDING SCHOOL 2) Historical fiction (and thus INTRIGUE POTENTIAL) 3) FRANCE. Oh, frenchy french France. But, alors, I cannot say “J’adore.”
The Academie is written from 3 points of view: Eliza, Hortense, and Madeline. Despite occasionally revelations of their different maturity levels and obviously different situations, all three girls sound relatively the same, which didn’t really fit for me since they’re from completely different walks of life. As I was getting introduced to them, I didn’t always keep track of which point of view I was reading, since I wasn’t familiar enough with their situations.
As things went on and I understood them separately, each girl had the potential to win me over completely. Eliza kind of made me want to pat her on the head, Hortense had my respect, and Madeline my sympathy.
Different areas of the plot held my attention more than others. I read most avidly during Napoleon’s overthrow of the standing government (that totally doesn’t count as a spoiler, guys, it’s HISTORY). But a great deal of the novel felt rushed. Each girl had a love interest (or two) and with 3 points of view it was overwhelming.
I loved the inclusion of historic details. I really did, but sometimes it felt like some details, while interesting, simply took away from the plot that Susanne Dunlap was trying to weave in The Academie.
And the ending– well, it totally threw me off. I was so sure I knew what was going to happen, but I was wrong. Sometimes that’s cool, but in this case I don’t think it would have been a bad thing if I was right. The ending left me unfortunately unsatisfied.
Overall rating: 3/5. The Academie was more of a guilty pleasure historical fiction novel than anything else, but kind of all over the place.(less)
So. Ummmm… 172 Hours on the Moon was terrifying. In a totally good way, of course, but my God. If this had been a movie bein...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
So. Ummmm… 172 Hours on the Moon was terrifying. In a totally good way, of course, but my God. If this had been a movie being played in front of me I probably would have had my knuckles turning white while I tried not to scream. Or I would have been screaming. EITHER OR.
The novel begins with plans to send another voyage to the moon and as part of a publicity stunt, the powers-that-be decide to hold a lottery across the world to allow three teenagers to join in and spend 172 hours on the moon aboard the moon base DARLAH 2. We’re introduced to Mia from Norway, Midori from Japan, and Antoine from France.
Though we don’t get any major character building, Midori was by far my favorite mostly because I got to see her being adorable in Japan and her name is Midori, just like one of my my favorite drinks. Plus I thought Mia was a little bit of a brat and Antoine was a TOTAL CREEP. I guess it kind of makes sense that if any characters hook up, it would be the two of them, even though it happens so out of nowhere that it feels contrived.
But there’s hardly time to think about that because while 172 Hours on the Moon was mildly intriguing, things started to GO DOWN around a quarter way through. And once they get to the moon? OH MY GOD GUYS, things get REAL. Every twist the book, took I was struck by the urge to flail and yell “WHAT IS HAPPENING?!”
I was comforted by what I knew from the synopsis, but then that comfort gets TORN AWAY. It ends in a way I just did not see coming and when I finished the novel I felt vaguely dumbstruck.
And still a little scared. In fact, I’m a little scared just remembering my reading of it now.
Overall rating: 4/5. A great book to scare the pants off you, if that’s the sort of no pants time you’re into. If I thought my heart could take it, I’d definitely read more translated works by Norwegian author Johan Harstad.(less)
I don’t even know where to begin to review Code Name Verity. My hopes were high as I began reading due to all of the hype surrounding the title, which always feels like a bit of a gamble. But my hopes could have been even higher and Code Name Verity would not have disappointed me.
The phrase from the summary– “intricately woven”– is amazingly apt. As Verity writes her confession, trading her knowledge with the Nazis for a few more precious days, I felt vaguely ill, imagining the horrors that were to come. When Verity, referring to the war, “You always feel a little bit sick inside, knowing the worst might happen at any moment,”* it felt as if Elizabeth Wein knew what I was going through as I read her book.
Though seemingly a traitor, Verity is an amazingly brave and sympathetic character. Her captors are breaking her as best they can with the knowledge that her best friend has died, the screams of other prisoners, and her own torture. But she’s obviously angry over the great injustice taking place and she still she seizes on small moments of defiance. She also has her moments of caustic humor and times when her incredible intelligence comes through.
Historical novels– well-done ones– are a weakness of mine. and Code Name Verity absolutely qualifies. Elizabeth Wein did a clear amount of research to bring the terrifying times of World War II to life in excruciating detail.
Elizabeth Wein is also the master of surprise. I found myself sobbing rather violently through Code Name Verity’s resolution as she took me on a rollercoaster plummet of emotions.
Overall rating: 5/5. Masterfully written, Code Name Verity is a World War II novel that will break your heart.(less)
Confession: I have a soft spot in my heart for southern living. I like country music, cowboy boots, Sweet Home Alabama, sout...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
Confession: I have a soft spot in my heart for southern living. I like country music, cowboy boots, Sweet Home Alabama, southern accents, and right this minute I’m watching the new ABC dramedy GCB.
So to a certain extent, my love of a drawled y’all meant that I liked The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker.
Ricki Jo (or “Ericka” as she now prefers) is seizing on the chance to reinvent herself as she enters high school and the popular boy “Wolf” would fit perfectly into her plans.
But the thing was, I wasn’t all that fond of “Ericka.” She made a lot of poor decisions when it came to choosing her friends and it truly infuriated me how she’d go back to Wolf over and over again no matter how much of a jerk he was or how much he embarrassed her.
Like her best friend Luke, I preferred “plain old Ricki Jo,” who is a little eager to please, but sweet. She loves her dog and her family. She doesn’t much care for harvesting tobacco, but she’s not a hellion about it either.
When I very deliberately put myself into the shoes into those of a high school freshman, I found Ricki Jo a sympathetic character. I vividly remember my own freshman reinvention; I spoke in a determinedly perky high-pitched voice, going out of my way to fight my reserved nature and be outgoing.
I imagine that younger readers of the genre in their early teenage years will feel the same and sympathize with her. Older readers, like myself, may get distracted from the plot due to an urge to shake some sense into Ricki Jo.
Overall rating: 3/5. Better suited for younger readers, but still an enjoyable read.(less)
I needed this book. I needed it in a way that I didn’t even KNOW that I needed it. Which kind of works because Hadley and Ol...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
I needed this book. I needed it in a way that I didn’t even KNOW that I needed it. Which kind of works because Hadley and Oliver didn’t know that they needed each other either. Because, you see, I was feeling the burn already this year. I’m not referring to an exercise burn (though I AM sticking with those New Year’s resolutions so far). No, I was already going through a book burn-out this year already. Reaching for each new book with a little bit of dread.
But The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight cured me. Because much like the main characters themselves, I very quickly fell in love. In love with Jennifer Smith’s uncanny observations about life and love and the wonderfully realistic characters she created in Hadley and Oliver. In love with her ability to juggle the past with the present and family relationships with romantic ones.
In certain ways Smith’s writing reminded me of Sarah Dessen’s. She creates metaphors that just resound with truth time after time.
I could tell very early into the book that I was going to love it. I was reading with an almost alarming speed, dying to see what would happen next, what adorable quirk Oliver may have or what perfect thing he might say. The beginning stayed true to the rest of the book, never once leaving me with the feeling that it was dragging or moving too fast.
Both Hadley and Oliver are traveling for major events. Hadley sort of needs saving, but the thing that made me love her and Oliver together is that he needs saving too. And then? They wind up saving each other.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight may be fiction. But it makes you believe that true love still exists. And that real life fairy tales still happen.
My only complaint? That the book had to end.
Rating: 5/5. Thank you, Jennifer E. Smith for living up to the hype in a big, big way. This one makes my favorites list easily. I can’t wait to read more by this author.(less)
Helloooooo protagonist that I loved. You hear that Jordan Woods? I love you. I want to be your best friend. We can braid eac...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
Helloooooo protagonist that I loved. You hear that Jordan Woods? I love you. I want to be your best friend. We can braid each others hair and do our nails– erm. I mean we can drink Slurpees and you can try to teach me about football. And we can even curse like you so love to do. Please continue being awesome.
Jordan Woods is used to being one of the guys. She plays football, she’s an All-American player, and the captain of her team. Her best friends are all boys. Her dad, an NFL player, is the only one who doesn’t seem to get who she is: a serious athlete. He wants her to be a lady. And Jordan’s never had any urge to do that girly stuff like dress up until a new guy joins the team.
And I was right there with her at first. Ty is gorgeous and sweet and is paying attention to Jordan in a non-douchebaggy way. He’s ignoring the mean cheerleader that gets a kick out of bad-talking Jordan. And he treats Jordan like the great player she is. He was winning me over just as surely as he won her.
But then… can I just say that I totally saw this love triangle coming? But I could not have been happier about how it went. Oh HENRY. I could have cheered (erm– thrown a Hail Mary? I don’t know enough about sports to make jokes like these). I had a big stinking crush on him. I thought for a while that Jordan would just stick with Ty, but love that she turned to her biffle in the end. Though, if I’m honest, I didn’t think making Henry into a manslut was an utter necessity.
Jordan has real and enduring friendships with her teammates, which I also loved. Yes, Henry’s a bit of a stinker part of the time for obvious reasons, but JJ and Carter are awesome guys and totally realistic. Plus, Jordan manages to finally connect with some girls as well.
The storyline outside of the immediate team was also wonderful. Jordan is trying to prove herself to her dad and the collegiate football community. She wants them to see that she is more than just a gender label, grows to be more than a player and finds outside interests, and it all comes full-circle to an ending that gave me the warm fuzzies.
Overall rating: 4/5. A wonderful contemporary read that made me eager to keep reading. I can hardly wait for the companion novels.(less)
I thought that New Girl and I were going to click easily. I didn’t read Paige Harbison’s prior work, but I’m a fan of her mo...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
I thought that New Girl and I were going to click easily. I didn’t read Paige Harbison’s prior work, but I’m a fan of her mother’s and hoped that the talent ran in the family.
And when we started off, things looked fairly promising. The main character, “New Girl” (for we don’t know her by any other name until the end of the novel) is off to a boarding school from St. Augustine. She’d once been eager to attend, but now that she’s a senior in high school, she’d much rather stay and enjoy the last year before college. But her parents are so excited about being able to do this for her that off she goes to a school where almost everyone seems to hate her.
New Girl is based on a gothic novel called Rebecca and I will absolutely give this to Paige Harbison: she nailed the gothic tone perfectly.
But unfortunately, the biggest message that I took away from this novel was that people are batshit crazy. New Girl seems to hold onto her sanity the longest, but the guy she likes is RATHER douchey, her best friend back home turns into a jerk, the missing girl Becca is a snob, and her roommate is the craziest of them all.
And I therefore didn’t like ANYONE which made it difficult to enjoy their story.
Overall rating: 2.5/5. I regret to say that I found this one a disappointment. Great tone, but little to no character depth.(less)
I started reading Saving June during November, also known as National Novel Writing Month. I was trying to keep up with my T...morePosted on Almost Grown-up:
I started reading Saving June during November, also known as National Novel Writing Month. I was trying to keep up with my TBR to a certain extent and was sure that with the monkey of an unfinished novel on my back, I’d be finishing Saving June later. Much later. But then something happened.
I was sucked in.
The book opens on a very sad note. It’s the day of June’s funeral. We learn a little bit about her through her sister, Harper, who is both a likable and realistic protagonist. June was the golden child, the one who did well in school and would listen to her divorced parents and go to the State school, even though she’s always dreamt of Berkeley and California.
Now, the idea of what was once June sitting on a mantel, stuck in their hometown forever doesn’t work for Harper. She decides to trek across the country and take June where she’s never been, but always wanted to go: California. It’s her last chance to “Save June.”
There are so many things about this book that I loved.
It was definitely a tear-jerker. I mean obviously when someone loses a family member– a close family member, like a sister, there are going to be a lot of emotions to deal with. There’s grief, tears, and anger, but the way that Hannah Harrington wrote Saving June, it’s so realistic. At first, it’s all Harper can think about or focus on, but as life goes on, her attention winds up elsewhere. But the grief still sucker-punches her from time to time.
One of those sucker punches comes in the form of music during the road trip, which is another thing that I loved about this novel. Music isn’t just mentioned; instead, all kinds of music are an integral part of the book. My copy (unsure if it’s in the final since it was a galley) even had a few official playlists for Saving June. There are the fun little moments where ABBA gets some play time, but my favorite parts were when we really see the power that music has to speak to our souls.
But as for the fun? This book also has that in spades. There’s the road trip (who doesn’t love one?), the bickering between Jake and Harper (I have a serious thing for love-hate relationships… I couldn’t get enough of those two), and the friendship between Harper and her best friend, Laney…
Oh. That friendship. I LOVE that friendship. Laney and Harper are actually good friends to each other. It’s not one of those horrible back-stabby kinds of friendship that pop up way too often in YA Lit. They’ve both got some serious issues and they have each other’s backs. It’s that simple, but it is a beautiful friendship. I think you’ll love this. I know I did. I can’t wait to see more from Hannah Harrington.
Rating: 4/5. This was an amazing debut novel. Hell, this was an amazing novel, full stop. If you’re looking for an emotional contemporary read, be sure to pick up a copy of Saving June. I think fans of Sarah Dessen especially will love this one.(less)
I didn’t realize at first that Sisters of Glass was a novel written in verse. Some might find this a point against its favor...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
I didn’t realize at first that Sisters of Glass was a novel written in verse. Some might find this a point against its favor, but for me, it was a point for it. I’ve never been a fan of poetry– I respect it as an art form, of course, but my tastes don’t tend toward it in reading or writing. Instead, I thought it read as smooth, but simplistic prose.
I was taken in by Luca and his attitude toward Maria. He didn’t treat her as delicately as the rest of the family and considering how trapped she feels, I don’t blame her for falling for him.
It’s certainly an easy and quick read, and I felt swept along by the prettiness of it all. Venice, glassblowing, art, lovely singing… it’s easy to fall into if you’re a romantic as I am.
My largest problems with the novel were that I felt Maria’s sister Giovanna or “Vanna” to have the wildest behavioral shifts. She went from loving to sneering and back to loving without any explanation. I didn’t feel like I could trust her when she was suddenly nice again.
My other major problem was that everything at the end was tied up very conveniently and with very little fuss. It felt totally unrealistic and I didn’t buy it. No one’s feelings got hurt and it was just… too easy.
Overall rating: 3/5. A quick read and well-suited for someone looking to dip their toe into the pool of verse novels.(less)
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill was one of those titles that was on the tip of everyone’s tongue this year, whispered alongsid...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill was one of those titles that was on the tip of everyone’s tongue this year, whispered alongside Stephanie Perkins and the famed Anna and the French Kiss.
While I can’t say that Meant to Be toppled Anna at the top of my list, it was a novel that I greatly enjoyed.
This was largely due to the connection I felt to the main character, Julia. Because for real, Julia is now on my fictional BFFs list. That may be a little narcissistic of me because when I tell you that Julia is like… a magnified version of me (especially teen me), I speak the truth. It was a refreshing change to read a book and see a character behaving so much like I would in her situations.
There’s also the bonus factor of an English setting. With Julia and Jason, I got to go romping about the country and historical sites. I got the thrill of rule-breaking without actually having to break any rules as I grinded my teeth with worry that they’d get into trouble with their teacher.
Jason was an ultimately loveable character and certainly managed to make me swoon in spades, even if I began the novel loathing him as much as Julia initially did.
And by the time the novel came to a close, I was grinning from ear to ear at it.
To sum up: If, like I did, you keenly felt the absence of a Stephanie Perkins swoonfest this year, Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill may help you ease the pain.(less)
Romantic comedy and chick-lit used to be my genres of choice, so I’m not sure exactly how I let it become so long since read...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
Romantic comedy and chick-lit used to be my genres of choice, so I’m not sure exactly how I let it become so long since reading my last one. I’m not about to hop off the Young Adult train, but Carrie Goes Off the Map was a nice change from the usual.
Carrie is all set to get married to her fiance, Huw. He, unfortunately, has different ideas and dumps her on the night of his stag party. Months later, Carrie hears that Huw has rebounded quite easily and is getting married– that very day. So she hatches a plan for a getaway on a camper trip, though Huw’s old friend Matt wasn’t who she originally planned to bring along.
Phillipa Ashley has a terrifically funny voice. I found myself giggling out loud at Carrie, her antics, and her nicknames for people and at Matt’s behavior– there’s one scene when he’s shouting at the television in particular that stood out in my mind.
Also, confession time? I have a total weakness for romances where a character is obviously trying to fight off an attraction to another and Carrie Goes Off the Map fits the bill in that respect. Matt’s a pretty stand-up guy: a sexy doctor (rawr), but he saw Carrie in one of her worst moments and she seems to determined to hate him. I loved when she finally gave up on that. Yes, romantic comedies can be a bit predictable, but who doesn’t enjoy the ride of a romance?
I really liked how both Carrie and Matt don’t want to jump into a relationship to start off. Okay, I suppose really I liked that Carrie didn’t jump into one. Matt’s a little bit more of a “wild stallion” (and yes, I am as much in disbelief that I tried to pull off using that term as you are.). Carrie just got out of a really serious relationship, and she understandably explores some options first.
Overall rating: 4/5. Overall, a romance that left me grinning with the added bonus of Brits. I’ll be happy to explore more by Phillipa Ashley in the future.(less)
Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown unfolds the tale of Calder White, a merman with three sisters. Despite Calder’s prefere...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown unfolds the tale of Calder White, a merman with three sisters. Despite Calder’s preference for warm waters, he is pulled north to migrate to Lake Superior with them every year. But this year is different. This year, they have a previous target in mind.
One of my favorite parts of reading a mermaid novel continues to be discovering the author’s interpretation of mermaids. Calder and his sisters are what amounts to energy vampires. They seduce their prey and drag them down to the floor of whatever body of water they happen to be in, and suck positive emotions away. Essentially, they suck the life right out of them. There’s more, of course, but the rules and secrets of mermaids are revealed as the plot of Lies Beneath progresses and I wouldn’t want to spoil any of that for you.
There are also moments in Lies Beneath that strongly reminded me of The Little Mermaid. Only… the positions of the male and female were reversed. Still, those small moments made me chuckle to myself in my reading of the novel.
Lies Beneath has many of the typical hallmarks of a paranormal romance. Boy is overprotective and undeservedly jealous. Boy has to resist killing girl. Girl unravels boy’s secret and ignores danger.
And ummm… girl is an English aficionado… Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the poetry sprinkled throughout Lies Beneath, but it only enforced the stereotypes of paranormal romance that I already had in mind.
And those are ordinarily factors that would have me write a book off. But I think what saved Lies Beneath from that fate for me was the fact that we see the paranormal romance from the male point of view this time.
Calder’s conflicts didn’t quite excuse the obvious issues that he as a love interest presented, but being in his head for the novel made all the difference. I suspect that if the positions were reversed– if Lies Beneath had been through Lily’s eyes instead, I’d have quickly grown irritated with both her and Calder. As it was, when Calder is trying to impress upon her the danger she and her family are in and she says something about “Ariel,” I totally understood Calder’s frustration– I wanted to shake Lily myself.
Greenwood Brown’s Lies Beneath also has subplots of Calder’s history and current desire to free himself from from the “school of fish” that is his family. The climax is gripping and brings the story to a satisfying conclusion.
I’d recommend Lies Beneath for fans of mermaids and paranormal romances. Even those former fans of paranormal romance who have grown tired of the cliches of the genre may enjoy this refreshing take, as I know I did.
Overall rating: 3.5/5. More enjoyable than most paranormal romances for me, I quite enjoyed the mermaids in Lake Superior in Anne Greenwood Brown’s Lies Beneath.(less)
After all of the hype, I anticipated that I was going to feel one of two ways about Tempest: I thought I would either want t...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
After all of the hype, I anticipated that I was going to feel one of two ways about Tempest: I thought I would either want to rave wildly about how much I loved it or I was going to want to chuck the book against the wall. Fortunately, since I was reading on my Kindle, I didn’t experience the latter feeling. But I didn’t run into the former either.
I didn’t connect with the story as I held out hope for, mostly because I didn’t really grow to connect with Jackson or Holly. They both felt a little flat to me. Jackson, for instance seemed to have a typical college boy attitude: not overly mushy, a little offensive at times– but he’s well-read, majoring in Poetry, rich, can waltz, and oh yeah– happens to be able to time travel. I couldn’t make myself believe it. And Holly– well, honestly, when she wasn’t on the page, I wasn’t itching to see her. When a romance is really working for me, I always want to see the two characters together and that wasn’t the case here.
I was far more interested in the theory of time travel, which, yes, could be a bit confusing at times. But hey, it’s time travel. Nothing about that sounds simple. Unless maybe you’re the Doctor. I felt that as the plot moved along, Cross cleared things up pretty well. We discover how it works right along with Jackson.
A few scenes tugged at my heartstrings. Those were largely the ones that were family-oriented and dealt with Jackson’s relationship with his father and his deceased twin sister. That’s when I actually felt a brief connection with Jackson.
As for the plot, I’ll be honest, that I enjoyed. Most of you know that Summit Entertainment has already purchased the film rights for Tempest and I think it’s going to be really fun if it’s carried out well. Tempest was packed with scenes that action, science fiction, and romance lovers would all love.
Overall rating: 3/5. Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it, but ultimately wound up enjoying the story. Looking forward to the movie someday because I definitely intend to see it. (less)
I want to appreciate this cover for a second. Because even though it pretty much has nothing to do with this book, it is gorg...morePosted to Almost Grown-up
I want to appreciate this cover for a second. Because even though it pretty much has nothing to do with this book, it is gorgeous. I especially love how the redhead's hair matches the raining autumn leaves. And even though Izzie is described in the first few paragraphs as having "dark hair," I really love this cover. It makes you think you're going to read this really poetic romance.
That's not the story that I read though. In fact, I think the cover was the best part of this book.
I really like the legend of Tristan and Isolde. The myth is layered with complicated emotions of love and betrayal and heartache. Tris & Izzie does not have things like emotions to clutter it.
Not that they're not supposed to, you understand. But everything about this book just felt flat.
I didn't connect to a single character. Not a one. Not even Izzie, and since the book is written a close first person narrated by Izzie, that was especially disappointing. Forgiveness is granted in the blink of an eye, complicated emotions happen in a heartbeat and nothing develops-- it simply is.
The world-building just didn't make a great deal of sense. I don't want to spoil things for you if you decide to read it, but a great deal of things are explained away in a manner that just didn't feel plausible. Magic is kept a secret from non-magic folk seemingly by dumb luck and yet the need for secrecy is impressed upon the reader time and time again. It didn't add up.
The major problem with this book can be summed up in three little words: "told, not shown." Characters shouldn't have to spell out exactly what they're feeling and doing. Things should be nuanced, body language should communicate, moods should be set, pacing should express how the action and timing are perceived. I didn't get that here. It felt like I was being talked down to... or talked at, even. The writing in general seemed to be dumbed down: as though that was what the Young Adult audience has to mean, but if you're even reading this blog, I'm sure you already know that not to be the case.
I think the author had a great idea modernizing Tristan and Isolde. Unfortunately, I don't think she followed through on it very well.
To be honest, I was dreadfully bored while reading this book and it was supposed to be a thrilling romance and adventure. At least it wasn't a long book.
Rating: 1/5. It wasn't the worst book I ever read, but I was very disappointed by it after looking forward to reading it. Exciting premise. Major let down.(less)
I hate writing bad reviews. HATE IT. Because I'm very aware that the author has accomplished a difficult feat...moreTo be posted on Almost Grown-up: 10/3/11:
I hate writing bad reviews. HATE IT. Because I'm very aware that the author has accomplished a difficult feat: writing a book in the first place. It's not as though she sat down and said "Today, I'm going to write a book that will make readers want to throw it across the room."
But unfortunately that's what was accomplished.
The premise of The Mephisto Covenant sounded really interesting to me. It seems like angels are the new craze and I haven't read many books depicting them, so I was curious about this one.
The first few pages had me really interested with Sasha suspicious of her mother's boyfriend and trying to solve the mystery behind her father's death. If the book had been about that a little bit more I might have been able to get behind it.
Instead, Sasha is quickly lured into the den of the Ravens, a pseudo-cult that worships Eryx. And Jax, a Mephisto, saves her.
But because Sasha is Anabo, when Jax smells her, he's basically in luuuuuuv.
Personally I have never known a smell that powerful. I love the scent of Curve for Men as much as the next girl, but it's never convinced me that I am meant for the guy for eternity. Anyway, the Insta-love (just add destiny!) effect was probably my biggest pet peeve in this book.
It was hard to respect Sasha when internal dialogue called someone the "town ho" and her outer dialogue responded to news with a solemn "That's heavy." Has anyone outside of surfer-dudes used that expression since the seventies? Then there's this awkward bit where Sasha does this "I like Jax, no I don't, no I shouldn't, but I want him, but he's leaving, but I like him, no I don't..." thing that just irritated me beyond belief. (To be fair, for his part, Jax had an equally annoying "I love Sasha, I want to do Sasha, I know better than Sasha, I am so wise, but woe is me for we cannot have the sexy times, and she will never stay conmigo' thing)
And let's not forget the sex scene, which was surprisingly graphic for a YA book. Graphic enough that if the characters weren't teenagers attending high school, I'd say that this didn't belong in the YA category. I had a clue that things were going to take that turn when before the book was even halfway through Jax describes Sasha's "perfect pink nipples." (And then I vommed in my mouth because it was so awkward)
Which he saw because he popped into the dressing room without permission while she was changing. Which is totally okay. And going on her Facebook without permission to look at her wall and private messages is okay too. Because, y'know, it's for her own good.
You guys, honestly I had so many problems with this book, I think I'm just going to bullet some of them (already went over a few but...)
Inconsistencies Graphic sex in YA Insta-love Gratuitous assumptions that all members of a gender think the same way Man knows best mentality Unrealistic dialogue Characters that fall flat
Rating: 1/5. If it wasn't for wanting to finish it for a more accurate review, there is absolutely no way I would have finished reading this book. However, I can see it being pretty popular because Insta-love tends to be.(less)
I'd like to take a moment to thank NetGalley for having this book because I wouldn't have known about it otherwise....morePosted on Almost Grown-up: 9/22/11:
I'd like to take a moment to thank NetGalley for having this book because I wouldn't have known about it otherwise. None of my Goodreads friends have added it. Yet.
(Yes, that means I think they should)
Kayla is a Tankborn and now, upon, her fifteenth birthday she has received her Assignment. But it's not what she thought it would be. Not how she's been taught things work. In working for the elderly high-class Trueborn, Zul, Kayla is drawn into a plot that completely subverts everything she's ever known. Everything she's ever been taught. Everything she's ever believed in.
Amid science fiction galore, enduring friendships, and enough romance to make my heart pitter-patter, Kayla and company must race in an alliance fraught with old prejudices to uncover a conspiracy and save innocent lives.
This dystopian novel is well worth the read.(less)
Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink by Stephanie Kate Strohm combines two of my very favorite genres: YA and (I hesitate to use the ter...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink by Stephanie Kate Strohm combines two of my very favorite genres: YA and (I hesitate to use the term since it seems to be frowned upon these days, but...) chick-lit. It has all the earmarks of a classic chick-lit: a loveable main character with a weakness for fashion, a quirky love interest, even the stereotypical gay best friend.
Libby, the main character, was easy for me to bond with. She has a difficulty choosing which clothes and accessories to leave behind when packing for her summer. I have... similar issues that I won't get into much here. Let's just say I've had to get creative in an airport after weighing my bag to avoid an additional baggage fee.
Plus, the girl has strong interest (read: OBSESSION) with history. Random historic facts are peppered throughout the novel and they fascinated me. Though I didn't keep up with it, World History was one of my favorite subjects in school. Libby thinks of it much the same way that I always did:
"History isn't an endless parade of facts[...] History is just stories-- I mean think about it, story is right in the word-- history is the life stories of millions and millions of people. Real people, living, beautiful, ugly, wonderful, horrible, messy, complicated human lives."*
While she loves history, Libby is undoubtedly a girl of the modern age, with her unwillingness to let go of her cell phone and connection to her best friend. Her life has countless references to pop culture that served the book well, but date it.
But it doesn't matter what era she thinks she belongs in, she makes the same mistake many girls have made throughout time: she has a crush on a big D-bag. It gets to the point with that (and the fact that she can be a little judgmental) where you want to take reporter Garrett's Hobbit-y feet and use them to stomp some sense into her head.
The ending felt a bit rushed and out of place to me. Largely because the main thread of the story revolved around Libby's romantic life and once that's resolved, I didn't feel that I needed much else to have the novel finished. We return instead to the resolution of the haunting question aboard the boat in Camden Harbor and one last twist that gets resolved very quickly.
Still, overall I'd recommend Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink if you're a fan of chick-lit along the lines of Confessions of Shopaholic. There's a major CHEESE factor to this novel. If that's not your thing, then this probably isn't for you. It's a quick, frivolous read that didn't fail to make me smile.
Overall rating: 3/5. Libby was a bit silly and so were her adventures, but sometimes a bit of silliness is what you need.
*Note: quote is from a review copy and may have changed.(less)
Surprisingly good. Quick fun read. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the ending too :)
What I liked: There was plenty for me to like in this book: I’m a big Shakespeare girl (shocker, I know), so there was a veritable cornucopia of Bardy goodness through this book.The scenes with Edmund and William Shakespeare were nothing short of hysterical so those scenes in particular really shone for me.
I was fond of Drew, even if I didn’t always buy his dialogue. And I loved the ending, which was emotionally believable but still managed to surprise me.
What I didn’t like: Miri’s dad really, really, really irritated me. Her dad left a couple years ago to “find himself” and it’s something that Miri and her mother struggle with throughout the text, but he shows up near the end of the book and suddenly all is forgiven. Just like that! He seems like a nice guy, but he did something pretty terrible to the people he’s supposed to love and never has to work for their forgiveness.
So, do I rec it? This book is a good one for Shakespeare fans and theatre junkies out there. A fun teen romance that I enjoyed and had a few unexpected twists. I genuinely Liked it. (less)
I really liked the premise of this book. I’m a sucker for the movies that this book pretty much emulates.
Marisol and Drew are both likable characters (though Drew suffers a major case of HORMONES and seems to like every girl he meets).I liked that the two of them are classic teenagers: yes, they have some attraction to the other, but it doesn’t blind them to their own lives or to other members of the opposite sex. The conflicts that Marisol and Drew face with their chosen paths are good ones, but they’re a bit glossed over at some points.
A lot of the competition scenes were fun to picture as well.
What I didn’t like: There were a lot of times in this book that I thought it could have been developed more, but it seemed like the writer took the easy way out. Mari’s best friend Luz shows up to make the final 5 in the Dance America contest as a “Wild Card” contestant, when she didn’t even make the cut to the final ten. That was just entirely unrealistic to me. I also wish that Drew and Mari’s problems (Drew with the possibility of a scholarship and Mari with her grades) had been explored more. They were dismissed much too easily for their situations.
I also would have enjoyed seeing their relationship explored a bit more. There is one almost-kiss before the ending occurs and the sexual tension between them there is good, but it’s the only time I see them together in a more romantic light.
The book was also bogged down by symptoms of Telling-Not-Showing Syndrome and Repetition-itis. I often found a phrase used twice or more on a single page. And I felt discredited as a reader for being told some things that I easily could have just inferred.
So, do I rec it? If you’re into theatre or enjoy movies like Step Up, Dirty Dancing, Save the Last Dance, or High School Musical, you may like this book. Basically, movies that are about teens that overcome some obstacles to perform the way they love. I found myself drawing parallels to those kinds of movies throughout the book. However, I probably won’t read the next “Premiere High” novel. I didn’t find this one to be much my taste.(less)
This is definitely Christian Fiction (capital C, capital F), so if that’s not what you’re in the mood for, then to be honest you’ll probably want to steer clear.
But if you are looking for Christian Fiction (again with those capitals), then The Wishing Pearl isn’t a bad choice.
Olivia Mansfield is in a downward spiral. Her father passed away years ago and her mother is married to a truly odious man. Olivia has fallen in with a crowd of girls that don’t seem to be on the right path either. She takes up drinking, smoking, and marijuana. She gets brought home by the police. And she and her friends drive drunk on a routine basis.
After more catastrophic events, Olivia goes to Diamond Estates to heal internally and find her way back to God.
The journey is wrought with lapses, confrontation, and hope, but ultimately the book is uplifting as Olivia rediscovers God and Jesus.
Rating (from 1-5): 3. It was a pleasant read, but definitely only recommended to those who like the Christian Fiction genre, as there is passage after passage of finding God, defeating Satan, and accepting Christ. It was a bit overwhelming, but I did enjoy the book. (less)
It took me a little while to become truly drawn into Out in Blue. Wren and Ginger seemed so preoccupied on why they shouldn’t be drawn to each other that I was wishing for a little bit more sexual tension.
Things definitely changed, however about a quarter of the way into the book.
“I don’t understand,” she whispered. “You let me touch your wings. You held me under your wing at Jac’s. Yet, you don’t want to kiss me.”
“You’re right, you don’t understand.” Wren leaned back and pegged her with his deep green stare. “I want very much to kiss you, Gin.”
The words, and the low masculine purr with which he said them, stole her breath for a moment.
I think it was right about there that I really started to pay attention because that’s the point at which Ginger and Wren’s relationship really starts to (pardon the pun) take off. The details incorporated about archangel mating techniques and history were very interesting and made the world Gilman created that much more real. Once the pair establish a relationship, the dialogue became a bit bogged down with cheesy dialogue and the L-word (“my love,” “I love you,” “beloved,” “Gin-love”), but it is a romance novel, after all.
The adventure to rescue Wren’s father was one of my favorite parts as well. Action-packed and heart-racing, leading to a heart-warming reunion. And the twist on who we all assume is the villain! Totally unexpected, but pulled off very well.
Rating (from 1-5): 3.5. A fun paranormal read! Packed with twists, turns, and hot guys with wings, if you’re in the mood for a paranormal romance, this is one you won’t want to miss out on. - See more at: http://www.almostgrownup.net/page/44/...(less)
I have literally been looking forward to this book for years. I grew up reading Meyer’s Sailor Moon fanfiction and followed her livejournal account of her writing adventues. She was one of my favorite fanfiction authors. I think I can safely remove the word “fanfiction” from that title after reading Cinder. Meyer’s become one of my favorite authors, full stop, with her debut novel.
As one could probably infer from the title, Cinder is a futuristic reimagining of the fairy tale of Cinderella. The tale begins when Prince Kai asks Cinder to repair his android and, in the very same day, plague strikes close to home. Enjoy the quiet peace of the first few pages of the novel. Things quickly turn into a roller coaster ride of a book.
The relationship between Kai and Cinder is one that you really have to appreciate. Unlike so many other books out there, it isn’t part of the insta-love phenomenon that is the bane of my existence a little unrealistic. We grow to know both Kai and Cinder in their own right, understand the various pressures that they both find themselves under. And then, we see that seed of attraction that we can spot early on grow.
There is definitely enough romance to make lovers of it swoon, but I also loved being taken along for Cinder’s ride full of self-discovery. She learns things about her mysterious past that I never saw coming, and Meyer threw twist after twist that just left me reeling.
And let’s have a look at Meyer’s world-building for a moment: It’s more than fitting that for a futuristic novel, the villains are ones that we can’t even find on earth. It’s fitting also that the unusual “draft” only affects cyborgs who aren’t considered entirely human because of technology, and that arguably Cinder’s closest friend is an android named Iko (I totally want an android like Iko to give me fashion advice, by the way. She was adorable!). The way that the day-to-day technology is written, such as “coms” or “netscreens,” makes it seem day-to-day. I was never wondering what exactly they did, every device just seemed like something that belonged there.
Fair warning, the book ends on a wicked cliffhanger. You will want Book 2: Scarlet in hand promptly and, if you’re like me, will want to thrash around on the floor, beating your fists, crying “WHY?!” as in “WHY don’t I have Scarlet yet?!”
But it’s worth it. Meyer’s writing has all of the charm of a traditional fairy tale with the extra zap! of technology and wonderful characters to give it pizazz.
Overall rating: 5/5. I have a new favorite series. Move this book to the top of your TBR pile NOW. But don’t come crying to me over the cliffhanger please. I’m just barely recovering myself.(less)