For a while I was stuck between a 2.5 rating and a 3 rating. Unfortunately, even though Maria Fredericks talks about series topics for the YA crowd, t...moreFor a while I was stuck between a 2.5 rating and a 3 rating. Unfortunately, even though Maria Fredericks talks about series topics for the YA crowd, the formulaic plot couldn't raise this book to a 3.
Plot: A young girl goes missing after a house party one night and she is found strangled and sexually assaulted the next day. I chose this book because it's the classic YA murder mystery, especially when it involves a strained relationship. The novel starts right in the action; our MC, Rain, receives a call early one morning from her ex-best friend's mother wondering if she knew Wendy's whereabouts. The novel progresses as Rain finds clues that leads her to believe that the culprit was a fellow classmate and she does whatever she can to bring justice to Wendy Greller. I really liked that Rain was a fragile creature with insecurities. This novel is as much about Rain's attempt to find herself as it is to find Wendy's killer. I also liked that Fredricks brings addresses the issue of victim-blaming and slut-shaming. These are very serious issues in the media and it was good to see it addressed for the high school crowd. Unfortunately, the mystery was too easy to solve and I felt like I was reading just to confirm my theory (it was confirmed). There were no new developments, just waiting for Rain to realize what you, the reader, had already realized.
Characters: Rain is a very interesting main character. She was born with a cleft palate which made her the target for most of her young life. As the book is fairly short (just 224 pages) and was not enough to get to know the characters. We meet Rain who has the most development, Taylor who is Rain's best friend, and Nico who is the prime suspect. I didn't make a connection with any of the characters, I barely made one with Rain. There are hints about Rain's personal life situation, but not enough to form a full picture.
Setting: The Girl in the Park takes place at an upper class New York high school. There isn't much to say about it. Rain moves mostly between her house and school, and I couldn't really make a clear image of what everyday life was for the residents. Many of characters allude to the socioeconomic status of the neighborhood and how there are outsiders, but I didn't get that. From anyone.
Short n Sweet: Maria Fredericks' The Girl in the Park is a stereotypical "party-girl-found-dead whodunnit with no surprises or loops. The characters are mostly one dimensional but Fredericks does make the issue of slut shaming a focus and how people are eager to blame the victim rather than the true culprit. (less)
When you're a princess and life hands you lemons, you GET THE HELL OUT OF DODGE. Princess Lia decides to take her life in her own hands and flees from...moreWhen you're a princess and life hands you lemons, you GET THE HELL OUT OF DODGE. Princess Lia decides to take her life in her own hands and flees from an arranged marriage to the prince of a neighboring kingdom. What she doesn't know is that the jilted prince and an assassin have followed her.
Plot: The Kiss of Deception is, naturally, about deception which is all in good fun. I spent the majority of the book guessing which male character was the assassin and which was the prince (and I'll admit-I guessed wrong). As the first in a series, Pearson's concern is to establish the world, characters and to introduce the series' overall conflict. The first half of the novel was slow and seemed to drag on quite a bit; thankfully, the novel picked up speed once identities were revealed (and people started dying).
Characters: The main character, Princess Lia, is a very strong female lead. I liked her, I liked her a lot. She was caring and she was strong. Actually, I liked all of the characters except the two male leads. The Assassin and The Prince were such cookie cutter characters that I couldn't even picture what they looked like. Within pages of meeting Princess Lia, both characters fall madly in love with her, and she in turn fell madly in love with one of the mystery men after a handful of conversations. YAWN. I found one of the male character's a lot more interesting than the other because he was more prevalent in the novel and so the reader was able to learn more about him as a character and not just a love-struck man.
Setting: In High Fantasy novels, the one thing that you absolutely cannot mess up is the world building. At first I wasn't really impressed by Pearson's world because the story took place mostly in one setting. It was only when the characters ventured out that I was able to learn more about the world and its history. There are random bits of text from the culture's holy scripture but I couldn't connect any of those readings with what I knew about the characters and world so they seemed a bit pointless to me.
Short n Sweet With all the hype of this novel, I knew I had to get my hands on this book. I found the world to be interesting and the female characters to be strong and really likable. The book fell short in my expectations with it's let's-fall-in-love-within-the-first-fifty-pages, but redeemed itself in the last half of the novel when the focus wasn't love, but shed more light on politics and secrets. I would read the sequel, but mostly out of curiosity. (less)
I chose an audiobook format for this book, mostly because the narrator was Rebecca Gibel and I absolutely adored her narration of Splintered and Unhin...moreI chose an audiobook format for this book, mostly because the narrator was Rebecca Gibel and I absolutely adored her narration of Splintered and Unhinged, thankfully her performance did not disappoint. Gibel's voice aids Sophie Jordan in her dystopian tale of the other, and what are we risking by containing said "other."
Plot: What caught my eye about this title was the idea that the impulse to kill another human being can be isolated by a gene. I'm happy to say that this novel did not disappoint and I can't wait to see how Jordan expands on the government's treatment of these imprinted individuals in the concluding novel. The pacing for this is perfect and Sophie Jordan took Davy's journey a lot further than I had expected. You start by experiencing a the day in the life of Davy Hamilton, perfect grades, perfect boyfriend, perfect life. That all falls to pieces when she gets word of her HTS status, and you get to experience her fall from social acceptance. The book really got interesting in the last act as the government started to take more drastic measurements against HTS carriers. One thing that really helped keep the story interesting were the random transcripts/letters/conversations regarding Davy's family, occurrences of HTS-carriers committing crimes, and the government's plan for HTS-carriers.
Characters: I liked all of the characters from this novel. Davy Hamilton started off being somewhat unlikable because she's got the "how could this happen to perfect ME?" attitude in the beginning. She kind of reminded me of Piper Chapman from Orange is the New Black. Davy's love interest, Sean, also interested me; he had an interesting past and had such a dark perspective on life. I just wanted to hold him and tell him that everything will be better. Davy and Sean's love story was also very sweet; it progressed naturally and was never in-your-face-mushy-love-story. Thank God.
Setting: This is a very realistic novel. What do you think the government would do if they found they could weed through DNA and find the serial killers? Yeah, it'd be some GitMo Bay stuff. Uninvited takes place in three general settings and it wasn't until the final setting that I started to get a dystopian feel from this novel. I say this because the entire novel sounded like a natural response to HTS carriers, but of course it all escalated quite quickly.
Audiobook Performance: I know I'm not an audiobook expert but I LOVE me some Rebeca Gibel. I really love the different voices she has all the characters and her delivery is perfect. You can hear the fear in Sean's voice and how distraught Davy is. In terms of performance alone, I give the audio book 4/5.
Short n Sweet: Uninvited is a great novel for any dystopian fan that will get you invested in this world and has you guessing what happens next. The characterization is strong and you will be rooting for Sean and Davy from the moment they lock eyes on each other. I can't wait for the final installment!(less)
Violet is in the surprise for her life, she is part-angel, part-human and her long time crush has been secretly preparing her for the battle of Exile...more Violet is in the surprise for her life, she is part-angel, part-human and her long time crush has been secretly preparing her for the battle of Exiles vs. Angels.
I'm very confused by this book. There was nothing I hated but but there was honestly nothing that I really enjoyed. It was just....there. The plot had to take a back seat for the implied love triangle so there were many pages of Violet brooding over a boy or falling for a boy.
Violet was a very interesting character until she learned of her Grigori heritage. The most interesting character is definitely Phoenix who seems to have a lot more depth and character than any of the other characters. Lincoln, the other leg of this love triangle, is just blah. Perhaps Shirvingginton was waiting for Entice to spice up his backstory but I felt absolutely nothing for him in her debut novel.
The writing was solid, nothing special but also no glaring errors either. (less)
Mila is just an ordinary girl. She likes horses, she has a shady best friend and she can survive being thrown full-force into a ravine. No big.
To be...moreMila is just an ordinary girl. She likes horses, she has a shady best friend and she can survive being thrown full-force into a ravine. No big.
To be quite honest, I had a hard time getting into this book when I first cracked it open. It felt like the run of the mill girl-finds-out-that-she's-different-from-everyone-else-and-there-are-people-who-want-to-use-her. But this book has a lot more heart and a lot less action, which I am a sucker for. This book really picked up after Mila finds out her true origins and has to fight for her own life. It was un-put-downable and definitely had me emotionally invested until the end. Sadly I couldn't give this book 5 stars simply because of the ending. I'm not too sure I know or like where this story is headed.
I really liked Mila as a character; in the beginning she was a bit of a pushover because she was surrounded by such strong personalities (ie mean girls) but once the realization of not being human kind of dawned on her. She became very introspective and just very aware of everything around her, I liked what she had to say and I liked how she put everything into perspective. Every reaction she had lined up to what you would expect from a teenage android (regardless of how rare those are). I could have done without the attempted love story because I feel like MILA 2.0 should be about a girl trying to find the meaning of her artificial life, about a girl who is looking for answers, not about a girl who will continuously be distracted by some boy as she's fighting off unknown military agents.
The story was told from Mila's point of view which I think made me so emotionally invested in the story. Driza writes Mila as such a complex character and does a fabulous job delivering her distress and distraught. I found Mila to fascinating even when she came across weak.
In short, I thoroughly enjoyed this video and I'm curious (and admittedly a bit hesitant) to read the sequel! (less)
Review based on advanced copy! Thanks Netgalley and Random House!
Dystopian world. There are two of you. And you have to FIGHT TO THE DEATH. Yes please...moreReview based on advanced copy! Thanks Netgalley and Random House!
Dystopian world. There are two of you. And you have to FIGHT TO THE DEATH. Yes please! :) However, Chapman's debut novel did not meet my high expectations.
The novel begins on the right foot, the reader is introduced to West while she is mourning the loss of another family member. The mood is somber and West's voice reflects her helplessness in the world that only wants the best. For so much action to happen in the first 30 or so pages, the plot does slow considerably and never picks back. Never. Not even towards the end.
Moving on to the characters, I was not that impressed that leading lady West. For such an interesting government, I expected her to have more thoughts or revelations about the whole Alt thing, but she just went along with it like a dutiful citizen. Her love interest, Chord, was no better. I didn't feel as though he had a personality besides to besides to emotionally frustrate West.
While I expected more from the overall story, Chapman's writing style shows promise for future novels.
I read the summary to the sequel in this series and it sounds more like what I was expecting from Dualed, sadly I don't know if I care enough to continue with it. (less)