**Actual, full review** Original will be posted on my blog 8/31/2012. Why yes, I am posting it two months early. Why yes, I might decide to...more 2.75 stars
**Actual, full review** Original will be posted on my blog 8/31/2012. Why yes, I am posting it two months early. Why yes, I might decide to reschedule it for a later date. Why yes, you may continue to the review now.
Quick, quick! Grab your reins and your deer--we've got an original mythological creature in La Ville de YA!
Okay--seriously though. Even as I didn't fully enjoy Valkyrie Rising, I have to admit that it's got some fantastic mythology and setting that we very rarely see in a market as crowded as YA. I can go on and on about why I think that is, but then this would not be a review but rather a rant of utter pointlessness, so let's just skip right to the good stuff, yeah?
The two biggest points Valkyrie Rising has going for it is its mythology and setting. But let's save the praises for last, because unfortunately, this book did not claim me an infatuated fangirl overall.
1) THE CHARACTERS--This is one of the biggest reasons why, though I thought the book was good, I didn't really like it. There's nothing wrong with these characters--in fact, they're very badass and easy to relate to.
Except I didn't relate to them.
Now this is probably just something personal, or maybe I'm really delusional, but I couldn't help but feel as if these characters felt a bit too... overused. Whenever they spoke or acted, even as I enjoyed their strategies and clear heads, they never spoke to me. The reason why is that they're kind of--at least, to me they are--your average YA characters. Nice girl with a oh-so-mysterious past. Boy-who-flirts-all-the-time-but-is-really-secretly-in-love-with-the-heroine. Brother-who-is-the-"better"-one-of-the-family-and-needs-to-learn-some-respect-for-personal-bubbles. Theses characters are perfectly fine. But they're not so brilliantly captivating when, say, you've read about their story quite the number of times. Also, I felt like there wasn't much substance beyond these perfectly acceptable facades. Though the characters are good, they are not three-dimensional.
2) THE PLOT--Though it was with valkyries instead of some other paranormal/mythological creature, I must say that the plot, too, felt to me very predictable. There aren't many plots under the sky, and I get that. But I really would have liked to see a *teeny tiny* bit more of unique twists to truly make Valkyrie Rising stand out among its many, many peers/competitors/fellas.
3) THE PRAISES--Finally! Even though the book was a mere okay to me due to the aforementioned points, please please please don't take that as a point to say that I didn't like it. I actually did. It just never captivated my attention the way I would have loved it to. (Sorry for all the italics. I don't know why, but I feel very italic-y today.) BUT! Like I said before: the new mythological interactions and setting really enhanced this book's quality to me. If you like YA and mythology, I think you'll enjoy this one.
Overall: Despite its overt plot and often-flat characters, Valkyrie Rising is, at the very least, a fresh take on something we see too much in the market, and, at the very best, quite the entertaining read.
Give this book a try! Who knows--you just might fancy it quite the bit more.
Actual, full review: Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
There is a sky, bloody and pungent with fever. It is so red it drips so black it smothers. It rips savagely but softly, like the teeth of an animal biting a strip of meat. Imagine this. Then imagine a girl armored in leather-like fierceness and a griffin shrilling and clawing with the fervor of anger and loss, punched in deeper than a blow and scars longer than a lifetime.
In Stormdancer there is desperation edging anger and loss, and there is something very, very fierce, the face of defiance and cracking facades. That is this epic and this epic is phenomenal in every color and word.
I think what so cleanly separates movies from books is that movies generate more action and therefore often more epic than books do. Books can be epic, like Eon and Eona by Alison Goodman, but they are not images clamoring your vision. But see, I was wrong. Stormdancer is not so much of a book or a movie rather that it is a keen and enthralling combination of both, an epic that digs into your bones and words that shiver through your skin. It's very, very beautiful, in a savage, feral sort of way. The imagery is vivid and the world is so real you can feel the branches snapping at you and the thunder smacking your ears. I knew this was going to be epic, because Jay Kristoff has a knack for it, but what I did not expect was a tale woven of blood and family that is so, so, so good it is beyond capable human processing.
There is a caveat I need to say: in the beginning 80 pages or so of this book, I couldn't quite bear it. It was, honestly, slow-paced. The language was smooth like the silk of royalty, but I thought, maybe there is too much description in this. Please speed up soon. I am telling you this because hold on--hold on tight because you might want to shut the book or take a rest but do not--wait until you get to the thundertiger, the arashitora, and then close it because by then you will only be capable of doing so after you have read the entire book in a breath. It is a captivating story, but also an investment: the beginning constructs the world, not hurriedly and quickly, but brick by brick, so that it is more languid than usual but the most poignant profit of all.
In reality there seems to be a bridge between our imagination and the unknown beyond it, and we cannot cross that bridge. But Jay Kristoff scours for the water and succeeds, and he builds his own boat, a glorious, magnificent thing and on it he journeys past the horizon of our imagination and brings back with him the treasures of an adventure swelling with impossibility and luminosity.(less)
Truly magnificent. I've been meaning to finish it since I first started it some time last year, but I couldn't find my copy until I stumbled...more 4.5 Stars
Truly magnificent. I've been meaning to finish it since I first started it some time last year, but I couldn't find my copy until I stumbled across it today and finished the book. It reminds me of Gilda Joyce, which was one of my favorite series back when I was a kid. I just adore this book. Lawrence is so sweet, and Victoria is awesome in that feisty girl-power type of way. I look forward to anything else that Ms. Legrand writes!(less)
Quick reaction: I have literally one minute to type this, so: this book was so good I can't even-
I used to think that Cricket Bell w...more**STARRED REVIEW**
Quick reaction: I have literally one minute to type this, so: this book was so good I can't even-
I used to think that Cricket Bell was exactly the type of boy and love I want in my life. Not anymore. Sean beats him. Gosh he and Eva are so amazing: Eva's passionately a dreamer and rebelliously strong, sort of like me, while Sean is quietly ferocious and intellectually witty. They are freaking perfect together.
You see reviews all over the place and they usually start with some tagline among the lines of "The Lost Girl was a disturbingly beautiful, unconditionally sorrowful, and fascinating story weaved (pun intended) with threads of the strongest characters and most tragic flaws."
Then the review continues, discussing voice, character, plot, pacing, what worked and what didn't work for the reviewer, etc. I do this all the time. We bloggers do this because it's the way a review is written, right? You review by letting the readers know what to expect and when to hang on; who they can anticipate they'll love and just how many tissues they need to prepare beforehand.
For the first time in my over-a-year blogging experience, I am at a loss for words.
I'm staring at this seemingly pointless page of review and I just don't even know anymore. I can't describe it. There's no way to transcribe the immensely emotional and staggeringly heart-breaking idea and soul behind The Lost Girl. I can't talk about the boy, the girl, the story--I can't even think about it without succumbing to the verge of crying.
This book... Well, let me put it this way:
You know how there are all these different types of instruments, how they're all so different and powerful and how, when they all clash together, the noises and sounds merge into this tinkling, spine-chilling sound? Imagine those instruments as essential parts of a book. The piano is the plot, the characters the violin. The flute is the emotional depth and the drums the pacing. These all sound beautiful on their own, but often the drums and the flutes clamor or the piano and violin are out of sync and the end product, though delightful, feels often... insubstantial. As if there's something missing and it's incomplete even though all the needed plot elements are there.
The Lost Girl is the song that meshes everything together and emerges with a masterpiece--one deserving waterfalls of tears and thousands of standing ovations. It's the arrow that snags you right in the heart. It's the poison you swallow with love. It's the air you breathe when you're desperate and a raging mess.
It's just... so hard to review this wide, haunting vision. I feel like I'll just rant on and on and I won't ever say anything remotely meaningful because The Lost Girl is indescribable. It's the feeling of a million contradictions flying at you and, in the end, it somehow makes sense. It makes sense out of the nonsense and it makes music out of the imperfect.
By no means is anything perfect, but The Lost Girl wins a medal for being one of the closest books to ever achieve it.
Maybe you'll hate it, maybe you'll love it. But no matter what, there's one thing I can guarantee:
You will feel. This book will yank out all of your emotions and smear them side by side so that when you finally finish it, you will feel.
And that's an entire masterpiece in itself. (less)
Quick Reaction: I feel extremely conflicted. While reading this book, I couldn't help but notice that its structure and story arc was so similar to th...moreQuick Reaction: I feel extremely conflicted. While reading this book, I couldn't help but notice that its structure and story arc was so similar to the first book I ever wrote/completed that I can't help but feel a bit lenient. The story wasn't the epic tale I hoped it would be, but it had this sort of... quality to it that reminded me so much of my own writing that I really don't know how to feel. Honestly, I didn't like it that much. I finished it quite quickly and it was captivating, but it never wowed me. Yet I also found myself struck silent by the similarities between the way C. J. handles her characters and the way I used to handle mine. I'm not sure if I'm making any sense. I guess what I'm trying to say is, this book is entertaining, but it's not epic or breathtaking, at least not to me. But it's also very intrinsically relatable, especially if you're a writer, because I know I saw certain strategies I used to employ mirror themselves in Defiance, and this sort of self-reflection can really intervene with one's perception of a book.
All in all, I'm still not sure what I should rate this as, so my best suggestion would be to just go to the library and try it first.
**ACTUAL, FULL REVIEW:** Original will publish here on my blog on January 8th, 2013. Here is the full review, without its formatting and links, for your early appétit!
It seems that, just like Seraphina, everyone else loved this one (or mostly everyone, at least). Well, lest I be defiant (absolutely dreadful pun intended), I should absolutely love this too, right?
Yeah, as you can probably tell in the title, this defiance was very exactly mirrored in my own feelings. No, I'm not a fan of this book. Well, no, perhaps that's a bit harsh. Here, let me attempt to explain:
This book was a debut novel. No, I'm not trying to state the obvious. I'm saying that the quality of it felt like what a skeptic would expect a debut novel to feel like. Unlike Seraphina, I felt that Defiance employed a lot of writing strategies that are effective in pacing, but not so much so in plotting. The plot was interesting enough, but it felt very formulaic. A girl, who needed help from a guy, even though she wouldn't admit that she needed help (which is both good and bad--Rachel was hot-tempered to the point it was just irrational, and it's also very useful to ask for help at one time or another). I understood her emotional turmoils, and I understand that Logan's personality and their history is problematic, but I can't say she really stood out to me. She reminds me a bit of Korra, honestly. Very stubborn. But the difference is that Korra knew to ask for help when she needed it, and she also had a very distinct, immediately-recognizable personality, while Rachel and the rest of the gang just felt flat to me.
One thing, though: I adored Logan. I know some people say he was very controlling, but I didn't see it that way: I perceived it as that he used words necessary to steer hot-headed Rachel onto the path she needs to go on, and basically he just did what he had to do. He's a very straightfoward yet complex guy.
To deviate from the characters topic, a quick note about world-building: the world, I felt, was very predictable and mirrored what one would expect out of a high fantasy novel. Nothing fancy, nothing too unique (though I certainly liked the inventions touch a lot, and found that possibly the greatest asset for Mrs. Redwine). It's okay, and it's cool, sometimes. But it's not wow.
Lastly, and quickly, the pacing: This was awesome. C. J. paced her novel pretty well. It was a bit ragged and uneven at times, but overall it was quite nice and I was very engaged in the novel.
Overall: this book was good. It wasn't bad at all, that is to say. But it's also not what I would read if I wanted to go on an absolutely incredible fantasy adventure. However, I can see the potential in Mrs. Redwine, and I have a feeling that soon enough, all of this criticism I'm giving will become nothing but obstacles she's prevailed above. (less)
Where Leigh Fallon's Inkpop novel had definite and transparent flaws, Sweet Evil is smooth and brilliant...moreQuick Reaction: I. Freaking. Love. This. Book.
Where Leigh Fallon's Inkpop novel had definite and transparent flaws, Sweet Evil is smooth and brilliant and beautiful, and Anna is such a sweet gal! Oh, and please don't get me started on Kaidan. Seriously. *flails/fan-girls* But seriously, I'm floored by the way Wendy handled the taboo subjects addressed in this book. She made ordinary extraordinary. Everything out of nothing. Just... amazing.
Original is here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
A thrilling, fast-paced novel echoing elements of violence and hu...moreOriginal is here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
A thrilling, fast-paced novel echoing elements of violence and humanity, The Hunt is an engaging dystopian novel that is, finally, a book I can claim will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games.
The most interesting fact about this book is its ability to stubbornly shove its way up your priorities list. It's nothing ground-breaking, or earth-shattering, but it's certainly refreshing. The main character, Gene, is already a master of survival, so the reader doesn't have to sit through the aggravating pain of waiting for the MC to realize how to live--and, more importantly, he realizes that others' survival matter, too. Not only that, but Gene is quite intelligent, and that alone made my job a lot easier: often you have characters who crackle against the page with only brute force or sole intelligence, but a calculated force and "street smarts" combined is a treat to sit through.
The premise of this novel rings similarly to The Hunger Games, yet though there were definitely scenes where I felt an overwhelming sense of déjà vu, moments of originality still peek through the pages. What I admire most about Andrew's writing is his twists. For those of you who've read The Hunger Games (and if you haven't, what the heck are you doing reading this review?!), you know the ending of the first book is SHOCKING. Well, take that level of surprise and inject it about ten times more, and you get The Hunt. Gory and shiveringly chilling descriptions rise formidably in this novel to create an ambiance of fear and suspense, a dangerous combination that keeps not only the main character's life at a gun's point, but also tightens Fukuda's grip on the reader as well.
Though not a mind-blowingly incredible debut, The Hunt is still interesting; a thriller unlike one I've read in a long time. If you think you've had enough of vampires...
I might pick this book up again later, but right now, it's agitating me too much. Kelsey's just too... shallow, meretricious of a character for me to...moreI might pick this book up again later, but right now, it's agitating me too much. Kelsey's just too... shallow, meretricious of a character for me to relate to. Her problems are just... nothing compared to many, many other people's. And though I do like her voice, she just talks too much like a five-year-old for me to truly understand. (Did I mention that all she has on her mind are boys, friends, an annoying archenemy--who I don't even know the motivation nor story behind--impossible parents, and, oh, yeah, annoying sister?) *sighs* I really wanted to like this book, but I'm close to Kelsey's age zone and, trust me, we. teenagers. do. not. talk. nor. act. nor. think. like. that. Sure, we fantasize about boys, but that and a sudden arch-nemesis who Kelsey instantly disregards as Satan are not all we ever think about!
Quick reaction: I said this on Twitter, so if you've already heard it, please bear with me.
This book was the most personal book I've ever read. It rem...moreQuick reaction: I said this on Twitter, so if you've already heard it, please bear with me.
This book was the most personal book I've ever read. It reminded me of these feelings: irrevocably broken. Tragically beautiful. Unexpectedly fascinating.
I am in love with this book so, so much. Definitely one of my favorites of all time. <3
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, most formatting and links have been lost. To see the complete, formatted review, please click on the original link.)
As I read this book, there was a particular stanza in Taylor Swift's If This Was A Movie that came to my mind...
Come back, come back, come back to me like
you would, before you said it's not that easy.
Before the fight, before I left you out.
This was the most personal book I have ever read. It was irrevocably broken. Tragically beautiful. Unexpectedly fascinating. Pleadingly hopeful. Heartbreakingly desperate.
I am shattered into fractures as I attempt to think about this book and write an extremely difficult review. It is nearly impossible to encapsulate my feelings. So perhaps I should start this out with a question.
If you had one day left to live, what would you do?
I know what I would do. I would go to Alaska, go on a cruise ship, and sail straight into the wind of the unknown. I would stand out on the deck, hands gripping the rails, watching the plethora of wildlife, of uninterrupted nature erupt with beauty in front of my eyes. I would stand there and feel myself soak in the life of everything. To feel.
But if I had to equate that journey, that aching experience into one concrete thing, I would call it Fracture.
Delaney is a miracle. A fluke, a mistake, a lie. She constantly shifts back and forth between doing what she needs to do and what she wants to do. She is this unstable bomb that shoved her way straight into my heart. She was broken, she was gone, she was still there, she was this massive question of the unknown and hopeful and terrifying. She was how I felt, but her situation was worse, and it was, then, from the first page that I met her and discovered her dilemma that I knew I would love this book, and I did. Oh, I did so much.
Originally, I did not want to read this book. I saw a myriad of similar premises during the time I discovered this, so I wasn't particularly that interested. But when I read Slide by Jill Hathaway, and Jill recommended this book... I just had to read it. And I am so, so incredibly glad, so incredibly thankful I did.
After reading this book, I wanted to scream. To shout. To laugh until I doubled over and started crying. To throw myself and drown in a lake of Megan Miranda's words. I was in love. This book was everything I needed right then, right now. I needed love. Hope. Strength. Resilience. The heroine who comes out scarred, but still alive, still standing, still strong. I needed that, and that was exactly what I got.
This review is getting long, and I'm sorry. Applause if you're still reading. But this book deserves so much, and yet so little in my own, vain, thoughts. Because I want to share it with everyone, but I also don't, because I want to keep it to myself and keep it as my own, just look at it and associate it with me and everything else would just fall away into oblivion.
One thing that impressed me tremendously was Megan's shockingly phenomenal ability to walk the tightrope between the supernatural and the scientific. She gives you a realistic explanation, but also hints at something more omnipotent. She talks of purposes and trades and lies and death and empty voids in truthful, bold ways that twisted my heart. I cried during this book, because I was so struck by the relativity of Delaney and me. It was like someone took a knife of my own making and stabbed me with it again and again and again until I was just this mess of bleeding emotion.
This book was, in one such inadequate word, amazing. I urge you to read it. I urge you to experience what I felt. I urge you to join me, for our hearts may be made of fractures pieced together, some of our decisions may be the absence of thought, but this book, it is empty in the void of imperfection.
Have you ever seen red, orange leaves spiral and collapse in the fall? See them land to their death in a graceful and resilient way?
Because beauty is not always looks, and beauty is not always brains. Beauty is the recognition in the difference of both, and the unique distinction of that such an inadequate concept does not truly exist in objectivity.
And this book is it. Beauty.
If you had one day left to live, what would you do?
Quick reaction: This book is so funny it will make you laugh until you start to cry. Then you'll actually cry--because this story is so raw, so comple...moreQuick reaction: This book is so funny it will make you laugh until you start to cry. Then you'll actually cry--because this story is so raw, so complete, so fantastically satisfying that you'll marvel at how, yes, such brilliance finally, finally got published!
I. am. in. love. with. this. book. Head-over-heels sort of love.
If you love Divergent by Veronica Roth (which should be everyone of you out there reading this), you will be completely blown away by this book. Pre-order it! Now!
Actual, full review: Original will be posted on my blog on 6/14/2012. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Insignia is insane. It is beautifully simplistic and complicatedly evocative. Crushingly despairing and hilariously witty. Intelligently phrased and bluntly honest.
I am completely, head-over-heels in love with it.
This book was not what I expected at all--in fact, I didn't expect anything. And the power this books holds is incredible: it is so subtle that you will not feel the choking grip the story and its characters have you until some thing called reality shocks you out of your numbing shell. The story isn't even just completely frightening in its very realistic interpretation of our future, but that it's also so funny. I laughed out loud so many times that it wasn't even embarrassing anymore since everyone was used to it (though I did get a few weird looks still...).
Kincaid has delivered a tale that rocked books off of my favorites shelf like a hurricane. In other words? This book is dominating my love right now. And I can't even pinpoint what it is I loved about the book so much. Everything. It's just so not fair to pick one amazing aspect and laud it, you know? That would be like staring at the rainbow and calling one particle the best of them all. Inefficiently vague and insufficiently degrading.
I can't say much about this book: too much and I will spill out a heap of feelings no one cares for, and too little so I would be incapable of expressing my love fully. I never say this, but if you loved Divergent, you will love Insignia so hard it'll hurt like plunging into the most dazzling lake from a hundred-feet cliff.
Take my advice and snatch this book. It's the most amazing blend of humor and anguish, authenticity and dystopia, evasiveness and blunting that I have ever read. And you know I wouldn't ever lie to you about something like that.(less)
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and SOME links have been lost.)
There are NO WORDS that can describe how I feel about this book. It's freaking badass and mind-boggling and brilliant and fast-paced and beautiful and devastating and so infinitely intelligent I can't even-
Forget it. I cannot write this review in a calm and neutralized way. I'm fan-girling way too hard. Is it possible that I have a girl crush on Janelle and absolutely love Ben Michaels? Oh yes. Is it possible that this might be the best sci-fi book I've ever read? Possibly. I'm teetering towards a yes, even though A Million Suns is glaring and threatening to cryogenically freeze me.
If the world rained brilliance, then Unraveling is a hurricane. It's unstoppable in its formidable exterior and gorgeously raging interior. It brings pleads and tears and SO MUCH BADASSERY I was freaking out with ohmigod this can't be happening it can't be THIS good, can it?! AHHH!!! the entire time.
I can't do this anymore. I can't. I don't even know how to express my thoughts without collapsing into the chasm of full-on exploding happiness. So here:
Oh, this is good so far. Nothing like, MIND-blowing or something, but I freakin' love Janelle's personality. And the writing's so smooth it's like gliding on silk.
FAEIORJIIOJARAKKKFAK I CAN'T EVEN I CAN'T EVEN I CAN'T EVEN- I cannot believe it. I knew this was coming, but the very idea is SO mind-blowing I am shocked to a thousand universes away. Elizabeth Norris, Queen of Doing Her Homework and Absolute Aweseomeness, I kneel to you. Please bestow upon me the honor of being your knight. I will ride out past the edges of the world to proclaim my loyalty to you. I have just one small favor to ask... convince Ben to marry me, please? Pleeeease?
That's it. This book was so good, reading it was like tumbling down a hill of rainbows: you'll crash and burn, and it's all so beautiful, who freakin' cares about the scars? I'm so spoiled by Janelle and Ben that I don't even want to touch another book in fear that suddenly Unraveling is going to pop and disappear. I feel like I should hang this book in a frame or something, so that I don't do something stupid, like drink hot chocolate and just stare at the words until the chocolate spills and I ruin a page and then I'm so outraged at myself I quit eating chocolate all together. Oh, man, would you look at that. This book has me so twisted in ecstacy, I cannot seem to fathom any sort of quasi-coherent thought.
It doesn't matter if you hate sci-fi or chocolate or books; Unraveling flares against boundaries of fears and smashes them apart. And if the world should truly crash soon, then there is one thing I must insist that you do: READ. THIS. BOOK.
P.S. Is my rambling not convincing enough? Then listen to this song: it conveys the book's ambiance perfectly. (Also, I totally want to see the movie. Not for Kristen Stewart, but for the special effects and Chris Hemsworth. ;) )
Actual, full review: Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Survive is a story churning with...moreActual, full review: Original is here on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Survive is a story churning with darkness and ice, cold and familiar all at once.
In the beginning of the story, Jane wanted to die, and I was angry. Perhaps I should've felt sad, sympathizing. But the truth is, I felt a rage storm and only a single drop of empathy.
The brief explanation is this: I am usually understanding of suicidal thoughts--despite the fact that I wish no one ever suffered from them--but Jane wanted to die because suicide runs in her family. She repeats this throughout the beginning and I find that an irritating, humiliating thing. Her father killed himself and now she wants to, too. That's no real reason at all.
Therefore, you can imagine my surprise when I closed the book, heaved a sigh, and realized that what I felt was not despise and resentment and instead a hole empty and heavy.
This is one of those books where, if you charge on despite the horrifying and apathetic beginning, you will get a reward greater than your expectations and perhaps even what you bargained for. Though Jane is a hostilely nonchalant and carelessly stubborn protagonist to start, as her survival--and failure to do so--in the wilds slowly hangs itself in jeopardy, her self-realization is actually incredibly enlightening and freeing to witness. With the help of dear, poor Paul, Jane survives--not simply the wilds but also herself. She learns to respect others around her as well as her individuality and that alone is something very inspiring.
The development of characters in this book are not perfect, but their desperation and fear crack through sharper than a dagger of ice. The atmosphere Alex Morel sets up is chilling, creepy, and frightening all at once. Her language and sensory is beautifully handled and the complex relationship between characters are delicately woven and retrieved. If there's one thing to keep you reading, it's Morel's straightforward and urgent prose that grabs at your attention and doesn't let go.
In the end, Survive is a surreal story balancing life and death on a dangerously thin scale. One move in the wrong direction and the entire story itself collapses.
With Alex Morel, you're speeding along a journey the right direction, and there is no looking back. (less)
Quick Reaction: This book made me feel so bipolar, it wasn't even funny. I don't think I've ever read a book that made me cry just as much as it made...moreQuick Reaction: This book made me feel so bipolar, it wasn't even funny. I don't think I've ever read a book that made me cry just as much as it made me want to rip it apart. The Catastrophic History of You and Me features a protagonist who felt shallow and like a 5-year-old with the way she treated everything, yet though I detested her during the "Anger" and "Bargaining" parts (this book is told in parts labeled as the stages of grief! And every chapter is a song title! So freakin' cool.), I cried bucketfuls in sadness and acceptance. In the end, I think it's the transformation of Brie that finally redeemed her in my eyes, as did the quite honestly well-thought twists. One thing, though. There's this giant big twist at the end that affects everything, and it involves a bargain, but... (and this is when I went from a 4-star to a 3-star) if it changed everything, does that mean everything Brie did during the book is just illegitimate? Non-existent? Gone? If so, there was no explaining nor backing on that aspect, and though it was a fantastic fairytale-esque ending, that plot hole cracked the ice.
Actual, full review: This review is also on my blog. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
Brie died of a broken heart, and she left me with one, too.
This book was definitely original and compassionate, but Brie has a voice that rivaled a five-year-old. Everything Was Capitalized and Of Course OMG Abbreviations! But this book--my goodness--made me feel so bipolar, it was like slowly inching up on a roller-coaster, only to have the ride be stuck at the highest point, staring down at a trail of steepness below. Brie frustrated me and made me cry. She made me want to throw the book against a wall and hug it so fiercely my ribs hurt. She makes immature decisions--and talks almost nothing like a teenager, if you ask me (a teenager. Yup. Hi there!)--but the things she goes through are so heartbreaking, I broke down into terrible sobs. I don't even know what to think.
This book is cool, though. It's broken into parts--each one being a stage of grief. Every chapter is a song title (I didn't even know until a friend pointed out that Total Eclipse of the Heart was, in fact, a song, and not a supremely cool original chapter title). And though Brie sometimes annoyed me so much, and I would have smoke steaming out from my ears if I was in a cartoon, she did make me laugh.
You know, I think I know how she managed to infuriate me and break me at the same time. Brie knows she's done wrong. She's so terrified of her own mistakes that her fears become my own, and she's so afraid that she won't ever be able to fix her own self that I am surrounded by these eternal walls of impossibility, suffocating and choking and horrifying.
Brie backed herself into a steel prison, and it's not only catastrophic, it's claustrophobic. (ha, get it? Get it?)
This book has surprises, turns, and zero explanations. And it's not even the most entertaining book of all time, considering Brie's childish voice. But here's what I'll tell you: The Catastrophic History of You and Me will find a part of you so deeply hidden--so scarce and afraid--and yank it out, fast, so that you won't even realize what happened until you feel this gigantic hole in your chest. It'll stitch you back together, one attempt at a time.
But no matter how many times it tries to save its own destruction, you won't be the same. (Whether that's meant in a good way or bad way, though, that's up for you to see.)(less)
Quick reaction: I loved this book. It made me cry at my numbest time--in the early morning hours, when I should be asleep, but stayed awake to read th...moreQuick reaction: I loved this book. It made me cry at my numbest time--in the early morning hours, when I should be asleep, but stayed awake to read this. But I had one question. (this is a REALLY big spoiler, so don't click on the tag unless you want everything spoiled it for you! (And dont' worry, this part will be deleted when my final review goes up.) (view spoiler)[Did Jack overhear Meredith tell Nikki that anyone can forfeit themselves to the Tunnels, that it doesn't have to be the Forfeit? Because I don't think he did, as Nikki told him it was nothing later when he asked her, so then how did he know to sacrifice himself in the end? (hide spoiler)]
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: due to copy-and paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
What do you call a book that made you cry at your numbest times? Everneath is a beautiful story about hope--and the absence of it; death--and the absence of it; love--and the absence of that as well.
This is a book about what was there and isn't anymore. About a past we can't help but regret and can't help but try to yank back, even though we know that won't happen, ever. There is something deeply emotional running rampant underneath the words of Everneath: not something you can see, nor hear, nor feel, but something you sense. It's so subtle--but the emotion is there: desperation, and what happens because of it.
The Everneath is a strikingly heartbreaking place. Brodi has a fantastic way of describing darkness as it sucks at everything around it, choking life and strangling emotions and crushing dreams. It is desperate, too. That's a theme threading through this book: desperation, desperation, endless desperation. But it is not a mindless, aggravating sort of desperation: it is a calm, accepted, forced sort of desperation that I dare you to ignore and wave away.
I could go on and on about how Nikki broke my heart. She has been so dry and cracked and burned that she could barely go on, but she's willing to try and fight, if only to set things right for once. I could talk about how Jack was achingly sweet and trying to find the old Nikki, only to search again and again to find someone new to fall in love with again. I could also talk about Cole and his irresistible compassion, about Brodi's expert weaving of mythology throughout the book. But I must clarify something deeply concerning--this book is not a love triangle. Nikki knows who she loves--she has made that choice so long again, it is a concrete thing that is an irrefutable truth, a stable constant as everything else in the world shakes and shudders and twists. Though she certainly must make a choice, the choice is not of love--it is of endings.
Either way, a part of her will end, and it's up to her to decide which part, or if she will just extinguish all at once.
Everneath is like a waterfall. It is pounding and deadly, and it is beautiful. It is destructive and ruthless, and endlessly breathtaking. It is brilliant.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Quick reaction: Freaking awesome, was this. Anyone who knows me knows I practically never get into Historicals. But as The Fray (and...more**STARRED REVIEW**
Quick reaction: Freaking awesome, was this. Anyone who knows me knows I practically never get into Historicals. But as The Fray (and some Bieber kid) says, Never say Never! SSaD was absolutely amazing. Eleanor is who I'd be if I were white and lived in 1876 Philadelphia. She's freaking kick-butt and so brave and strong. She's smart and she realizes that society's darn freaking expectations can go to the underworld. And that made me realize something, too:
I actually like Historicals. I just don't like the oh-dear-society-will-think-so-badly-of-this type of Historicals. Which is almost every Historical I've read. (Think The Luxe. Yeah... I'm still cringing over that societal puppet show.) I mean, those stories aren't bad. They're usually realistic. But I like my heroines with some grit and--god-forbid--emotions other than lust/love/fake concern/wealth. (So what if wealth isn't an emotion? It might as well be, seeing as people are quite obsessed with it, and oftentimes justifiably so.)
Yeah, this is just me rambling a bunch of nonsense again, isn't it? I apologize--it's midnight over here and I just wrote a pretty scary chapter in my WIP so I'm not exactly in the best state of mind.
But anyway, my point is this: whether or not you like historicals, whether or not you like zombies, as long as you can handle a little bit of gore, THIS AWESOMENESS IS FOR YOU.
**Actual, full review to come** (Meanwhile, why not check out my blog?)(less)
Disclaimer: Due to lack of interest, I skimmed through this book. Therefore, any misinformation would most likely be a result of that.
Quick reaction: According to Goodreads, a 2-star is an "okay" read for the reviewer. That's how I feel about this book. It was okay. And I feel, quite admittedly, bad about giving it a mere 2-stars. But man, I just couldn't... connect with Aria. Besides, lately I've been irritated by books more frequently than usual, so any book that doesn't grab me from the start has a heck of a hard job ahead of them. You know, I think the problem I had with UtNS was that the protagonist irritated me too much for me to really immerse in her world. There wasn't anything wrong with Rossi's writing, and I certainly don't think I am in any position to change anything, but I personally felt that, if you're going to use 3rd person omniscient in an action-oriented dystopian novel, you better get close to the characters' heads. Because the thing is, this book was just full of telling.
"She couldn't believe she'd let herself--and Paisley--get into this situation. She'd known going into Ag 6 meant risk, but she hadn't expected this. She had never wanted to be part of Soren's clique, though he'd always interested her." -pg.15
So. Much. Telling. I just feel like this story was told as if someone was watching Aria and Perry and telling their story in the narrator's perspective. There were barely any internalization, and without a completely thorough world-building and thoughts to pull the reader in, I became very quickly agitated by the monotone running rampant throughout this book.
Of course, many of my friends loved this book, so please, don't let my opinion change your mind. I just wasn't a fan.
Quick reaction: OMG THIS BOOK WAS SO AMAZING. Pre-order it now! It's worth it--I assure you.
Actual, full review:Schedule for post on my blog...more4.5 stars
Quick reaction: OMG THIS BOOK WAS SO AMAZING. Pre-order it now! It's worth it--I assure you.
Actual, full review:Schedule for post on my blog,The Reviews News, on 3/1/2012. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
There is this deep mystery buried in everything, but only a handful of us can tell it so immensely well that all feelings of doubt are erased upon every suspect. Jill Hathaway is one of those people.
Slide was a terrifyingly genius and shockingly realistic story that features not only moments of sudden philosophical clearness expressed in subtle ways, but also explosions of mastermind material weaved together in a fantastic plot that will have your heart pounding, your blood rushing, and your fingers itching to turn the page way past The End.
This story revolves around Vee and a struggle mentally and emotionally that should have worn any girl other than Vee out. The secret Vee holds--a key to life and death, nonetheless--is both thrilling and fascinating. What I loved most about this book was that Jill didn't let Vee's tragedy and trauma override normal teenage feelings and reactions. Though I wasn't a big fan of the semi-insta-love between Vee and Zane, I must admit that the slim dislike pales greatly next to the epic way Jill handled the mystery and story. Most of you know I am a quick guesser of mysteries and plot twists, but this was one story that had me gripped and toss theories around, an act almost unprecedented except by books such as Across the Universe, though even that was only a question of who unplugged Amy, not the murderer, as I guessed the latter before the book was halfway through.
Slide is the epitome model of how a great mystery is done. Its themes orbit around morality and struggle in a calculatedly subtle, almost unnoticeable way that will blow your mind away, but it's not the themes nor the authentic characters and voice themselves that grants this book an instant elevation to stardom. It's the fact that Jill Hathaway knows how to write one heck of a good story, and if there was ever a book to resonated the same enigma as Sherlock Holmes, it's Slide.
Quick Reaction: This book is far from perfect. Some of the dialogue felt misplaced. Some things were portrayed more stereotypically...more**STARRED REVIEW**
Quick Reaction: This book is far from perfect. Some of the dialogue felt misplaced. Some things were portrayed more stereotypically than realistically. And oftentimes the voice was excessively passive.
And I. Don't. Freaking. Care.
You know, the funny thing is that I read Shannon's YA book LET THE SKY FALL last year as an ARC, around the time Keeper came out. It feels right that I've finished Keeper in the month LtSF released. But man do I understand the crazy praises people sang for this.
Sophie- Oh Sophie. Poor darling. T.T She reminded me so much of my favorite Disney character: Dumbo, of course. Not because Sophie's dumb, but because she's always stuck out (and in a different way than the cliché--though not unrealistic--portrayal). There's this one scene in Dumbo--and I don't know if you remember this, and it's been such a long time since I saw the movie on an airplane flight to China that I might even be remembering the movie name wrong--but anyways, Dumbo finally finds his mother and she's in this jail-like containment, so she can only push her trunk out between the window bars and there Dumbo cuddled while she swayed him gently back and forth, and it was night and Dumbo finally found his mother and you sob because it's heartbreaking and because Dumbo's bliss in finding that home is so freaking terrible because it makes you feel all the feels.
That scene, I think, is a metaphorical theme for this book. Sophie is lost and has to find her home, but there is so many things--the window bars, per se--that rob her of that child life and it's beautiful to see her undergo this transformation, to see her become so strong and fierce and brave but at the same time everything she's had to go through is horrific and yeah, I cried.
So I wish that a little more time was spent on detailing Sophie's feelings a bit more during certain... I'm not going to say spoilers, but certain very very very traumatic events. Not because I enjoy pain, mind you. My head was ringing from all the mental screaming I was doing to just somehow help this beautiful and so impossibly trapped girl. But I feel like that part was skimmed over a bit too quickly. Though obviously Sophie wasn't conscious enough to remember a lot of it, and I would've been too heartbroken to write anymore on the subject if I were Shannon Messenger. Thus this is really not a complaint, but my own illogical opinion.
Alrighty, so this is not really a quick reaction anymore. I think I'll just use this as my actual review. After I tidy it up a bit, of course. But that's for later.
Right now I want to talk about Keefe and Dex and Fitz and Biana and Marella and all those other characters. Shannon Messenger is- stunning. The characters can often be attributed as stereotypical, but their actions eventually deepen them into someone else, someone whose lives I can imagine, whose personality is alive and well. And the worldbuilding is fantastic, too. Though things may often seem a bit idealistic, it is but a facade, and it makes sense. It honestly is too much to ask for an author to convince the reader of every minute detail regarding their world, but Shannon was well on her way there. She suspended my disbelief, and I could clearly sense and understand the motivation behind each setting or character.
Overall, I loved this book. It certainly has its flaws, but the sometimes stereotypically-attributed characters are more than made up for by the unique and fantastic premise and the absolutely illuminating (heh... puns... you'll see) feelings I suffered/triumphed because of this wonderful, wonderful novel. I truly cannot wait for EXILE.
(P.S. If you like my reviews, please check out my blog!, if you don't mind. Thanks!)(less)
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and li...moreQuick reaction: Simply amazing. Breathtaking.
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
If I lived a thousand lifetimes, I would've read this book every time and loved it still.
Incarnate is just beautiful. It's... goodness, I don't want to ramble and gush at all, but it seems like that might actually happen. I love this book too much.
Let's start with Ana. Ana is cynical and unhappy and a nosoul. She believes all the terrible things her mother, Li, called her and told her all eighteen years of her life. As a result, she can't bare to believe that there might be more to life than living in servitude, that maybe she could fall in love and have that love requited, too. She questions things--so refreshing to have a girl's first instinct to be running away when waking up in the tent of a stranger boy--as she should, but even more so than the average person. While that might aggravate some readers, I thought it was wonderful. It was exactly what I'd expect Ana to be like after all that she's been through, and I loved her. She was real.
Sam. My gosh, I have a serious fetish for literary guy musicians named Sam. They make me smile like an idiot and bawl like the world's worst romantic. Sam is amazing. He's so patient--which I was so, so happy about, because that's exactly the type of boy Ana needs. He loves music and Ana. The masquerade scene, though, that was my favorite. It made me feel like I had wings and could fly around in my giddiness, and as long as Sam and Ana were together in their beautifully awkward, wonderfully simple way, I would never fall.
There's also the music and the premise. I think the spectacularly brilliant musical incorporation in this book is what completely sold me. I love music with all of my heart. I can live forever with only books and music, and to have both in one is like finding snow-capped mountains, shimmering rivers like satin, and blinding rays of sunshine encapsulate you forever and ever. And the premise was great--thought-provoking and incredibly awesome and definitely creates some intense and funnily awkward situations. To be the only new incarnation in a world of reincarnated people who get to keep all of their past lives' memories? Fantastic. I'm beyond excited and interested in seeing where Jodi will take us next.
I don't know how to end this review and do this book justice. But perhaps, perhaps this will work, if only halfway. While I was reading Incarnate, I was listening to Lindsey Stirling's Lord of the Rings medley, and that just flared the pages and completely enchanted me.