Actual review: Original is here on my blog. I read this book with my brother and it's quite awesome. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and link...moreActual review: Original is here on my blog. I read this book with my brother and it's quite awesome. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
I'm a scaredy cat.
It's an universal fact, really. I get scared outta my wits for the simplest things. But over the years, I've come to discern that there are two types of scary:
1) The OH I AM GOING TO SCARE YOU ALRIGHT type: This one's so common, its ratio to Type 2 is like 99:1. It's the horror movie you're psyched to see and then scared to death of. It's the jokes your friends whisper and then you have nightmares about. (Really, why would you have friends who do that, anyway?) It's the scary thing that scares you in a memorable way, alright...
A terrifying, never-again-am-I-going-back-to-this type of scary.
That is not Scary School.
2) The OH, THAT WAS SCARY BUT SO FUN! AGAIN! type: This is the entertaining type of scary that kids love on Halloween. It's scary but you expect it, and it's got a plate of humor as a side dish and fun as your drink. It's scary but it's the type of scary that makes you laugh and not make you have a heart attack rivaling a tornado.
That is Scary School.
My brother (AKA The Kid) and I read this book together. He's exactly in the age range that the story is aimed for, so I figured it'd be a good idea. I remember the first day we started reading it:
Me: Hey, kiddo, we're gonna read 'til page 70 today, 'k? The Kid: Page SEVENTY? Can't we reach that tomorrow? Me: *raises eyebrows* The Kid: *groans* FIIIIIINEEEE.
~30 minutes later~
Me: Hey, Kid, we're on page 100. You wanna stop? The Kid: SHHH! I'M TRYING TO READ HERE! Me: *secretly smiles*
As you can tell, Scary School is a clear success with characters echoing the loves of kids and a plot that's both challenging and hilariously awkward. It's strange, grotesque, and so very in character. It's like Edgar Allen Poe for kids, minus the blood and deaths--just kidding. There's plenty of deaths in this book.
Which... brings up an interesting point.
Now, this wasn't an issue for me or my brother, and you know those Goosebumps stories (totally Scary Type 1!) utilize this like I eat rice, but there are a lot of deaths in this book. Not violent, gory, brutal deaths like in The Hunger Games but deaths that are "common." At Scary School, death is not a distant ponder: it's an inevitability. Derek addresses the deaths as if they are no big deal (I mean, Nurse Hairymoles can bring you back from the dead--literally--so what's there to worry about?), but some parents may see this as an indirect way to emphasize the nonchalance of death. Or teach kids about how you should let a teacher turn your world into an autocracy. (Just kidding, Russia!) (...maybe...) I encourage parents to let their children enjoy this mock-up of a perfectly balanced novel between hilarity and genuine characterizations.
Basically, if you didn't get the memo: Scary School is perfect for scaredy cats, non-scaredy cats, and all of the cats in between.(less)
So lately I've been squashed by the debate tournaments that had me dragging through the night doing random research, but now that it...more**Quick Reaction**
So lately I've been squashed by the debate tournaments that had me dragging through the night doing random research, but now that it's over I find myself with way too much free time, which, of course, means that I can finally go back to reading more! Yay!
Here's the thing. I stayed up past 3AM to finish reading this book and it's so subtly vivid, so quietly morbid that it actually managed to scare me more than Anna Dressed in Blood did (though I did read ADiB in the daylight...). I think this book is pretty much awesome, like its cover. It's not just a haunting story. It's freaking chilling. And Wesley is the guy you'll root for if you are a fan of Augustus Waters.
In any case, this book harbors some major twists. Most I saw coming but one I didn't at all, which of course is always pleasantly surprising.
**more intelligently phrased full reaction/review coming closer to release date** (Meanwhile, why not check out my blog?)(less)
Original will be posted on my blog on January 10th, 2013, here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lo...more**ACTUAL, FULL REVIEW**
Original will be posted on my blog on January 10th, 2013, here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
I'm going to try really, really hard to make this review as gentle as I can let it be. But make no mistake: I did not, at all, like this book.
Let's just discard some misinformation first. That first line in the summary? "An exotic treat set in an entirely original, fantastical world brimming with deadly mystery, forbidden romance, and heart-stopping adventure"? That is not true. At least, not for me. Let me explain.
This book is not exotic, because I felt the writing was very bland. The story was told with a sort of detachment, and no real emotions were really explored. It was very "this happened, now this, now oh look here's something else that's happened, and oh my, this is all very tragic". Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Ms. Forster can't write. Surely she can. But her style was just really not my type. Also, this book is not "entirely original". Sure, it sounds absolutely amazing and original. I thought so, too. But upon reading it, I realized that it utilizes the same variation of court intrigue that Alison Goodman's Eon series does so well, except it doesn't do it so well. It's a flurry of events that do have consequences, but are not developed. It's like watching a movie unfold when nothing seems important to you because nothing connects. Not the two-dimensional characters, not the paper-cut out world, not the misuse of Asian culture, and certainly not the absolutely unscintillating romance.
Romance first: I'm so unsure as to where the whole thing was going. It was a nice tentative thing at first--no insta-love here, and yay, a backstory!--but... it was so flat. I wished I could proclaim what so profoundly breathes life into characters, because then and only then will some people deem me qualified to talk, but as a reader and a blogger/reviewer, all I can say is that I didn't feel anything. It was more "meh" to me than anything else, and the whole thing seemed to be going in a thousand different directions at once (do you see the pun tucked in there?).
I told you this review was going to be negative, so I'll wrap it up with this last bit of complaint that is quite personal and most likely won't affect most of you.
I'm 100% Chinese. I grew up in China. I'm quite sure I'm of enough caliber to analyze my culture, so let's look. I realize that Miriam mentioned somewhere that this book is based off of South Asian cultures, and I also understand the gap in translation. I've gone to enough museums to know that "the green-leafed Spring" is an acceptable, translated painting name, etc. But this book had so. many. of the long-named translations like "in the name of the Long-Tailed Cat" that it was ludicrous. I've never read an Asian-based fantasy that used this many "translations". Most of them didn't even contain any, or just one/two. This whole bizarre use of Asian culture/terminology (whether or not it's Chinese, I've Asian blood in me, and I've studied this whole shebang enough times that I see a book not fully researched when I read it the first time) was just distracting. I could barely focus on the story when the meh writing and misused culture/terminology made me want to just, oh, I don't know, headdesk really really hard.
Overall, you definitely can give City of a Thousand Dolls a try. Warning, though: if you want a good Asian-based fantasy that will rock your socks off, I cannot say that this book is it. (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)
I'm not going to write a review for this, just a reaction, mostly because I skimmed the second half of the book, and that's not really fair. I should...moreI'm not going to write a review for this, just a reaction, mostly because I skimmed the second half of the book, and that's not really fair. I should make it clear that this book wasn't bad at all--it's just that I'm trading it and also I'm in a really bored state right now, so anything that isn't like OH MY GOSH FANTASTIC isn't exactly holding on to my attention. :)
So. This book was definitely creative and I can see clearly that Julie has put a lot of work and thought into the world-building. The main character was very realistic, but despite all that, I know some of you are thinking, "wait wait wait, how the heck does an action-oriented book like Immortal Rules bore you!?!?!?!??!?!"
Ah, see, it's not exactly the book's fault. I'm just in the mood for highly emotional epic fantasy books right now, and vampires aren't exactly emotional. Also, the violence in this book is highly comparable to that of Angelfall, and I'm super squeamish, so intense, gory scenes aren't really my thing. Also, I feel like that this book was unnecessary long. I surmise that perhaps even 100 pages could've been cut--there were lots of info-dumping, and quite the majority of it happened through dialogue, which made the characters' conversations kinda awkward.
All in all, though, I cannot call this a bad book. It was certainly intriguing. I'm just not the right person in the right mood to read it at the right time. :)(less)
Quick Reaction: This book was so real that it plagued me like the bubonic. A drastic comparison? Not really.
Honestly, I've been through what Noelle's...moreQuick Reaction: This book was so real that it plagued me like the bubonic. A drastic comparison? Not really.
Honestly, I've been through what Noelle's been through. I still am, sometimes. But I'm more like Simon--I don't give a darn. I really don't care what others think of me. And that's what I love about this book--Noelle's character transformation is so believable and complete that I can't point out a single flaw in it.
This is the book to read if you hated high school. This is the book to read if you loved high school. This is the book to read, whether or not you're in high school.
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: Due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
The picture you see above is a rainbow-spewing fish. It's a blurry picture, as I took it with my webcam up close, and it's not colored. I assure you, though--it is indeed a rainbow-spewing fish.
"Um, Juli," you might be thinking, "What the heck does a freakin' fish have to do with Keep Holding On?" That's a great question. And so allow my quasi-philosophical explanation to fathom for a second or five.
Our lives are blurry. They pass by us faster than we realize and slower than we desire. Things don't work out right; they turn upside-down; colors degrade to black; brightness fades to a dimmer white; what was once a promise is now a dread. Through it all we're still fighting to find a better life, and even if that means sacrificing certain values, most of the time we are willing to do it.
So why, then, is bullying such a problem? And suicide?
I have been bullied. My friend has been bullied. In fact, this generation's (and I believe what I'm saying is accurate, considering I am in this generation) idea of "bullying" and such is so drastically different from our parents' that if an adult saw some of the jokes we share, they'd probably be appalled. But that's just how evolution works, isn't it? To slowly progress and then stop and then progress and then backtrack and go on and on in this never-ending pattern, always dependent on something else?
Keep Holding On is like a giant stop sign screaming, "WAIT!' STOP! DON'T YOU SEE WHAT YOU'RE DOING? DON'T YOU SEE WHAT'S HAPPENING?" Susane's words leap off the page in an array of promise and hope, desperation and authenticity. She's encapsulated a common teenage life into one of the shortest--yet fullest--books I've ever read. And the entire transformation of Noelle's character is so believable and complete that I am in awe of Susane's obvious understanding of both the topic and her talent.
This book incarcerated me. I'm out at dinner, eating hot pot with my parents, waiting for the food to arrive and reading this and BAM it's like everything I try to forget just drowns me again. I was addicted and terrified of Susane's words. They crippled and crushed and dared me to hope. They were so real I could barely stand it. Of course, my situation is not even close to how badly Noelle gets treated, but I can relate to her, and I even pronounce it almost impossible to not relate. There are some feelings that are too hard to ignore--too rare to be immune to--and one of those is sympathy. Sympathy and a eagerness to understand. (Though again, some people's qualities and actions continually surprise me--though they shouldn't. I should probably be used to them by now.)
Funny. I'm more like Simon--I don't give a darn what you think about me--I just live life because I don't think there's a point in wasting it on not-being-awesome. But we all have times when we just sink until we can't breathe, and Keep Holding On is it. It's beautifully heartbreaking and tragically sweet, subtly raging and fabulously daring. I'm in love with it and Noelle and Julian, and this book gives me so much strength--so unbelievably much--I'm still rocketing around on a I-CAN-DO-ANYTHING! high.
Life's weird. Life's stupid and gorgeous and obnoxious and endowing. Keep Holding On will guide you through the storms and find the rainbow. Maybe you'll even see a fish on your way there. A rainbow-spewing one, at that. (less)
You guys, the inside of the book (or, at least the ARC), is GORGEOUS. There's all this fancy stuff going on, on the page numbers, drop-caps, chapter h...moreYou guys, the inside of the book (or, at least the ARC), is GORGEOUS. There's all this fancy stuff going on, on the page numbers, drop-caps, chapter headings, etc. I think it is one of the fanciest books I've ever read. :D
General reaction: Wow, this was hugely underwhelmed for me. Since I don't review DNF books, I'm just going to tell you why I didn't finish it. I gave it 100 pages, and was... well, alright, the voice was quite monotonous to me and an effort to drag through. Though the premise was interesting, I just didn't really care, because the heroine was quite aggravating. And selfish. Meh.
But that's just me. Maybe you'll like it. Who knows?(less)
Quick Reaction: 2.75 stars I wanted so badly to love this book, you guys, but I didn't. It may be because I felt the constant shift between the past a...moreQuick Reaction: 2.75 stars I wanted so badly to love this book, you guys, but I didn't. It may be because I felt the constant shift between the past and present was too sudden and rugged, or maybe because I didn't connect to Hadley (I thought it was a boy's name at first. O.O). Maybe it's because I feel like the book isn't really about the statistical probability of love at first sight. It's not even really a love story. But, it is a story of love. Does that make sense?
This book wasn't bad. It was just a sort of an eh, okay, response from me. I suppose I wish the chronological scale was more even and that something compelling and gripping actually happened in each scene, but I will tell you this:
This was a quick read. The characters were fun. And though I may not have loved it, there is a highly statistical and probable chance that you will.
Be prepared for a fantastical tale unlike any you've ever read.
Daughter of Smoke & Bone is nothing short of magical. The prose of Laini Taylor flows like a master storyteller--and yet (and yet!) here is my first problem.
I couldn't connect with the characters. This book was told in the way you might hear a story during a bonfire at camp. You are intrigued, you want to know more, but you just don't feel the characters, not like you know them. And that saddened me, because I really wanted to love this book.
The first half of the book was my biggest struggle. At first, Karou's no-nonsense personality enticed me and I hungrily read on... but the plot. While there were cool creatures, interesting histories, there was no stakes. And this was a big problem for me, because I just couldn't care about the characters. She was just a person. Sure, someone with an interesting backstory, but there was nothing that made me want, should care about her.
And then the second half.
The second half of this book is what completely redeemed the first half and the entire book for me. I was just about to give up on the book when Akiva appeared and, oh, that one guy changed the entire book for me. Suddenly there were stakes, suddenly Karou had feelings I could relate to, suddenly the world had a reason and there was mystery and things finally started rolling.
Overall, I would suggest this book to fans of a fantastic and epic tale of hope, strength, war, and enlightenment. Give it a chance. Don't let it go before you reach that halfway mark. Hope, keep on hoping, because it will get better.
Now, if you read my blog, you know that I like to play around with the name of the review. I almost never use the actual name of the book as the title of the review. When I do, there is only one explanation:
The title is unbelievably awesome.
The cover of this book is unbelievably awesome.
This entire book is unbelievably awesome.
Anna Dressed in Blood is unlike anything I've ever read before. It's a haunting story, but the book itself is almost like a spell because you just can't stop reading it, you're almost trapped by it, and every emotion you can possibly feel boil just beneath the surface and reaches out to you like tentacles.
This book is, in its essence, very, very clever. When I first started reading it, the descriptions felt jumbled, disorientating. The plot felt dragged on.
And here's where I was wrong.
Anna Dressed in Blood is not at all what it seems. Not the characters, not the plot, not the prose. This is a book that you won't really realize the wonderfulness of until after you finish reading it. Kendare Blake writes some of the best descriptions I've ever read, yet I never noticed until I finished the book and went back, looked at it, and oh, it is just beautiful.
Here, read this:
The city smells like smoke and things that rot in the summer. It's more haunted than I thought it would be, an entire layer of activity just under the dirt: whispers behind peoples' laughter or movement you shouldn't see in the corner of your eye. Most of them are harmless--sad little cold spots or groans in the dark. Blurry patches of white that only show up in a Polaroid. I have no business with them.
But somewhere out there is one that matters. Somewhere out there is the one that I came for, one who is strong enough to squeeze the breath out of living throats.
Actually, that was on the back cover, but I don't want to spoil anything for you.
Overall, Anna Dressed in Blood is a book that you have to read. The ending broke my heart, the characters won my heart, and my heart devoured this book. (less)
*thank you to HarperCollins for sending me an ARC! This does not, in any way, influence my review/opinion.*
If Twilight ignited a trend of vampires, and The Hunger Games initiated the follow-up of popular Dystopian novels, then Shatter Me is bound to inspire a trend of novels that, if written to their fullest potential, will rival Twilight and The Hunger Games to the end.
Shatter Me is nothing short of a gripping ride held together by steamy romances, crippling governments, sexy villains, and a cast of characters with an unbelievable plot that will give Katniss a run for her money.
The truth is this: Shatter Me has received one of the most highest amounts of hypes I've ever seen. To say I was terrified to start this novel is like dropping an egg onto cement and wondering if you cracked it. I am truly lucky to receive an advanced copy of this novel, though, and when I saw it in my mailbox after school I immediately abandoned all things (including the very important something called HOMEWORK) and practically inhaled the pages.
Now I know why this book received the hype it did. Tahereh has this absolutely stunning and gorgeous way of writing that completely blew me away. I loved the incorporation of strike-out lines, too. In my opinion, it really made the novel stronger.
Juliette has an astonishing voice. She clutched me in her raw emotions and I couldn't escape. To read about a girl with heart in a crumbling dystopian world was an absolutely beautiful experience and all of the supporting cast was executed wonderfully as well. Kenji, James, I loved all of them! And the ending... I'm not going to give anything away, but I just need to let you know that I didn't see it coming, and I LOVED IT!
Shatter Me is definitely one of the best books released this year. I'm probably buying like twenty copies when it comes out (IN THREE DAYS! GET IT! GET IT!), just to cuddle admire them.
Quick reaction is not available due to an unfathomable amount of anger and awe and love, but mostly anger, that Juli is feeling.
Actual, full review:...moreQuick reaction is not available due to an unfathomable amount of anger and awe and love, but mostly anger, that Juli is feeling.
Actual, full review: Original is here. (Note: due to copy-and-paste, formatting and links have been lost.)
**Starred Review** (This must be a good month, 'cause that's FOUR starred reviews already. O.O)
Hallowed is like volcanic ash. It's not at all what it appears to be at first glance. It's this giant, restless, horribly beautiful substance raining down and destroying everything in its path, and it doesn't stop. It just keeps rolling and rolling until finally, you are slammed to the ground in a sudden of impact and, BOOM! you're crushed, you're just this endless ache.
There is something melancholy in the very voice of Cynthia Hand's writing that makes you want to whimper. This book deals with the emotional impacts Unearthly left everyone in, and if Unearthly was brilliant, Hallowed was suffocating in its overwhelming beauty and stupid, stupid destiny.
Destiny. This directs me to the unimaginably obvious split of TeamOreos. But Christian, even though I warmed towards him so much in this book, will never, ever replace Tucker. Tucker, oh god, Tucker Tucker Tucker Tucker. Cynthia, if you hear from me nothing else, I just want to know, why? WHY?
I'm this fury personified into someone who only feels sorrow. I feel like this giant wind whipping past everything, trying to hurt myself by isolation so I can at least claim some part of me back without having to claw and fight and plead for it. Because goodness only knows I stayed up until almost 5AM on a school night to finish this book, and then, when I am the most numb in my emotions, I started to cry, and cry and cry and cry and I was just so angry.
But I digress, and a rant does us no good. Still, I do hope you already have met the wonderful Clara and striking Tucker and he-who-makes-me-feel-ambivalent Christian. This trio has ripped me out of my reading slump and breathed life into me one whisper at a time, until suddenly, then, they tore it all out again. Everything about this book was amazing and terrible and fascinating and unbearable. I don't even know anymore. The angel lore was realistic (irony!) and subtle. The dialogue was truthful and still, snarky.
It's not the lovable characters, the heartwarming setting, and the passionate angelology, though, that sets this book apart. It's the emotional impact it had on me that truly makes it hallowed (bad pun?).
If you had a single feather, what would it feel like? Would it be soft and delightful, like a plush duck's? Or would it be heartbreakingly brittle and scarred, like someone who is lost, or has lost everything's?
Perhaps, for Hallowed, it is both. Or maybe, it's neither.(less)
Ally Condie writes beautifully. Her characters are wonderful, and she has constructed a plot that may begin at The Giver, but certainly exceeds it.
I really liked Crossed. I did. It was actually better than I expected, but... it didn't leave me with the WOW factor Matched did. When I finished Matched, I was just overwhelmed with this feeling of anxiety and ache as if I was Cassia, but, Crossed just didn't do that to me. The story had a good pace and high stakes, but its ending fell short. It just wasn't memorable--I had to skim through some things again before writing this review because I forgot a bunch of events.
There are new characters introduced in Crossed, and secrets are revealed. I think these will definitely lead to an edge-of-your-seat last book (I'm guessing it's called Sorted!). The new characters certainly added tension to the book, but the secrets... (remember here that it's EXTREMELY hard to get a twist past me, as I usually guess it waaaaay early on) I already suspected them, so it wasn't like, groundbreaking when I found out. But that's just me! You might find them to add more stakes to the story.
All in all, I think Crossed was a good sequel. It met my expectations and delivered a gripping plot. There was room for improvement, and questions we still need answers to, which I think will make a great conclusion to the trilogy. Give it a try... you just may find yourself double-crossed.(less)
**After much consideration, I bumped it up to a 4-star read! Yay!**
Quick review: Cover: gorgeous. First 3/4: wonderful 1/2 of the last 1/4: agonizing and...more**After much consideration, I bumped it up to a 4-star read! Yay!**
Quick review: Cover: gorgeous. First 3/4: wonderful 1/2 of the last 1/4: agonizing and pointless. the other 1/2 of the last 1/4: YAYY!!! Character development! Finally!!
Overall: Good. Wasn't earth-shattering like I hoped it to be, but still, good. Better than your average paranormal read, at least! (Also, it totally reminded me of Shade. I mean, musician boyfriend (view spoiler)[who dies and is on the verge of turning evil (hide spoiler)]? Other guy she meets who knows what's going on? (view spoiler)[Yet I find Lenzi to be not as strong of a character as Aura--more on that later, in the real review. (hide spoiler)])
P.S. I found it funny that the main character's name is Lenzi, and the author's last name is Lindsey, LOL. But Lenzi is quite the pretty name...
Actual, full review: Original is here. [Note: due to copy-and-paste, links and (most) formatting has been lost.]
A touching story of love and discovery, Shattered Souls is a wonderfully simplistic novel bordering on escape and ambition.
I've been drooling over in love with the cover for months now, but I was so worried that this may be just a veneer to a story I won't be interested in--I've definitely been tricked before, and it's not a fun thing.
But this story certainly lived up to its cover, and it's far better than your average paranormal read. Mary Lindsey backs her tale of unusual ghosts with realistic characters and a startling plot. And what's funny is that, when I showed the cover to my brother, he said it looked like the rose petals were assembling to form Lenzi, but I thought it was Lenzi falling apart into rose petals. I love the way you can look at the cover either way, just like you can with the book--you can choose to see with the love, or see with the fight. It's simple and beautiful that way. Another funny musing I had was that the main character's name was Lenzi (such a pretty name!), and the author's last name is Lindsey. :)
Despite my enjoyment for this book, I did wish that it contained a few things...
1) Romantic Involvement: There is a bit of insta-love, and while I totally understood it, what with the centuries-long history between Lenzi and Alden and all, it still felt too rushed. I kept feeling like Lenzi only loved Alden because of his looks. At the end, though, there was one scene that convinced me of their genuine, true love, and it certainly calmed down an unsettled part of my thoughts.
2) Trimming: The first 3/4 of the book was gripping and engrossing, but somewhere near the end, a couple of things fell apart for me. Things became predictable. Characters made irrational, hasty decisions that felt out of their personalities. Plot points became a bit sporadic, and I just wasn't feeling it. But! The book overall was so interesting that it didn't affect me to the point of no-return.
I loved the sweet relationship between Lenzi and Alden, and I actually really liked Zak. I understood where he was coming from with his actions; despite his angry personality, he really was broken, and I just couldn't hate him because of that.
Overall, this is definitely a book to check out. While it wasn't as earth-shattering as I'd hoped, it's certainly worth a receipt at the bookstore.