Although I have NO idea what was happening, this book sure did deliver on the scares!
Plot: When I picked up White Space, I had no idea what it was ab...moreAlthough I have NO idea what was happening, this book sure did deliver on the scares!
Plot: When I picked up White Space, I had no idea what it was about. I still don't but we won't talk about that right now. The book opens up with Emma who has a head full of metal from a terrible accident involving her druggie father and her body bouncing off a wall. She thinks that all of the metal is responsible for her "blinks" - periods of time where she mentally blacks out and hallucinates. On a snowy road in Wisconsin, she meets a cast of characters who are all connected to her in some way, the fun starts when people start dying though. :) White Spaces is an extremely complex novel, I don't even know where I would start explaining - without spoiling it! Just when I started to understand something, I questioned if I actually understood what was happening and then just get a headache trying to wrap my head around it. I had to go to bed after I read the cliffhanger, I just...couldn't think anymore. While I know it sounds like I'm being really negative about this book, I don't mean to be. One of the strongest points of this novel is that Bick doesn't hold any punches in her horror scenes. They were spooky and creepy, just the way I liked it! I probably would have loved this novel if it were a simple "seven-kids-in-a-spooky-haunted-house" story but...it's not.
Characters: Each chapter is told through the eyes of other characters which can be a little confusing at times. There were times where I had to go back to the beginning of the chapter to figure out whose narration I was following. Even though the book follows many characters, I think it's safe to say that Emma is our main character. I don't really know much about Emma, I found some of the other characters a bit more interesting. Rima particularly held my interest only because she had also powers. One of my biggest issues with the novel is the lack of emotion. Early on in the book, a character dies and everyone's reaction is basically "WELP." ...no. That's not the proper response to seeing someone die before you! Scream or cry or SOMETHING.
World Building: Bick writes horror very well, and I this is why I was able to picture myself in any scene. She did an amazing job depicting the landscape and making it feel so...isolated and wonder what was behind every door.
Short N Sweet: Confusing as all hell but the horror element was spot on! (less)
The synopsis promises a survival tale about a young girl whose got nothing to lose. I'm sad so say that the synopsis was this book's stronge...more1.5 Stars
The synopsis promises a survival tale about a young girl whose got nothing to lose. I'm sad so say that the synopsis was this book's strongest point.
Plot: H20 opens with Ruby at a party at her friend's house doing what teenagers do: drink, dance, make out. Everything changes within 5 minutes and most Ruby's friends and family are dead because of a simple rain shower. Eventually, Ruby has nothing left in her small town and sets off on an adventure to find her father. From the start this book was a mess. The action goes from 0 to 60 without any real emotion connected to the characters so I felt nothing when someone died. For a flesh-destroying bacteria, I expected a lot more focus on the agony and the process of how the rain can kill a person but we aren't privy to that kind of information. What this book lacked was the sense of urgency. Seeing how millions of people just died in 10 minutes, you would expect a survivalist tone from the characters but it's missing. Ruby recounts the events as if everyone has a serious case of the chicken pox, there is no urgency, no despair, no emotion, nothing.The ending of H20 was pretty abrupt, I didn't know that this was first in the series, but I think I would have liked the ending a lot more if it were just a standalone.
Characters: Ruby is one of the most annoying MCs I have ever had the displeasure to read about I swear to God (btw words like God, damn and any other explictives are censored in the novel with a little emoticon thing. That was the second most annoying thing in the book. Just don't curse then)! She's your typical angry teenager who has the whole "You're Not My Real Dad!" attitude towards her stepdad, which is pretty crappy because he spends a good chunk of the novel trying to save her hide. While people are scrambling to get water, turning on each other, and dropping dead left and right, you would think that this girl is blind to all of this. People are looting stores for essentials, what does she buy? Clothes that she has been coveting for months; she evens wears a sequined dress for a duration of the book. She takes the time to perfectly apply her makeup and criticizes others who haven't taken a shower in a day or two. And she still has the time to feel humiliated when she has to talk to the class nerd.
World Building: In short, there is none. Ruby travels from her small town in England and basically drives to London, then end.
Short N Sweet: H20 sounded like something every dystopia lover would love to have on his or her shelves; subtract one annoying main character and add more emotion, and it would have been (less)
I picked up this one high off the adrenalin of Dead To You. Unfortunately Crash was not able to measure up to any other works by Lisa McMann.
Plot: Cr...moreI picked up this one high off the adrenalin of Dead To You. Unfortunately Crash was not able to measure up to any other works by Lisa McMann.
Plot: Crash opens in Chicago with Jules and her family trying to live life as normally as possible while her father suffers from depression. They are the laughing stock of their neighborhood and to make matters worse, Jules sees visions of people dying when she looks at advertisements. Which...is not...normal. The main story had my attention for the first half of the book as I was curious as to why Jules had these visions. Slowly the story turned from this mysterious supernatural to a girl who is OBSESSED with a forbidden boy (think Romeo and Juliet but with pizza) and how to save his life (screw everybody else that might die). I got so bored of the two of them and her stalking of him that I just started flipping pages until I got to the end. Yawn.
Characters: Jules' family is quite the cast of characters. As they help her run her family's pizza shop, we get a better view of them than anyone else in the story. I loved the connection that Jules had with her siblings and their struggle with their father's mental illness. I actually really like that they brought up mental illness and how Jules worries over "catching" the mental illness which seems to have impacted the lives of her grandfather and father.
The love story was the weakest for me, mostly because it's infatuation. Jules has been in love with this boy for 8 years and just will not leave him alone. It was stalker level, I swear, and there is NOTHING attractive than someone who won't take no for an answer.
World Building: It's in Chicago so I love it, although I question whereabouts this takes place in Chicago. Jules and her family have a food truck at Museum Campus (downtown), but live in Melrose Park (a suburb) but somehow go to school with Sawyer who lives in Chicago? Yeah, I don't know.
Short N Sweet: Crash had an interesting concept but it was bogged down by mediocre love story. (less)
Not a Drop to Drink was a surprising tale of the importance of both survival and love. It's a quick read with a lot of feelings!
Plot: Not a Drop of Drink learned how to kill from her mother, but that's just about it. There is no compassion, there is no love - just gun shots plunging into a man's head. Brutal, I know, but when there is no water in the world, you've got to take all the precautions you can. The pacing was just right with enough action to keep me glued to the pages. The end of the novel is where most of the action is, and even though it was supposed to be very tense, I found the real to be a cheap attempt to shock the reader. While I wasn't the biggest fan of the "big fight scene," I found the ending to be absolutely beautiful.
Characters: The characters are the absolute strongest in Not a Drop to Drink. I felt as though Lynn flowered before my very eyes and it was a nice feeling to see how she grew so much in such a terrible situation. It tugged at my heart to see her experience a lot of "firsts" and to finally start letting people in. I feel like the synopsis makes this book seem like it's a fight for survival and full of action, when really it's about the characters who are left to keep their humanity while trying to survive in harsh conditions. Most of the characters won me over, especially little Lucy who came to Lynn unexpectedly. Their relationship reminded me a lot of Amy and Baby from In the After, in which a teenage girl has to play mother to a needy child in unpleasant circumstances.
World Building: The first sentence in the book is: "Lynn was nine the first time she killed to defend the pond, the sweet smell of water luring the man to be picked off like barn swallows that dared to swoop in for a drink." If that doesn't set the scene, I don't know what does! The world is desolate, people are scarce, and people no longer have the same priorities. It's a tragic world that sounds pretty plausible for our own world. Which is downright terrifying!
Short N Sweet: Not a Drop to Drink is a beautiful story about survival and the human condition. My only complaint is in regards to the novel's big reveal which seem to serve as shock value rather than the develop of the story. I'm excited to see Lucy and friend in the companion piece, In a Handful of Dust. (less)
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)
Plot: Dreams of Gods and Monsters was one of my most anticipated novels, I couldn't wait to see how Laini Taylor wrapped up her masterpiece...more3.5 stars
Plot: Dreams of Gods and Monsters was one of my most anticipated novels, I couldn't wait to see how Laini Taylor wrapped up her masterpiece. I started the book in April, and I finished it in August. It took me a while to get into this one because of the numerous storylines that seemed to be completely independent of Karou and Akiva, but tied into the story towards the end. Taylor's writing is still beautiful but I felt like a lot (too many) things were happening in this novel, and at the end of novel I found myself wondering if anything actually happened.
Characters: Karou and the gang are still lovable and know when to deliver a good laugh.I feel like Taylor's strength (besides writing of course) is knowing when to break the tension. I still adore Mik and Zuzana and was happy to see how their story progressed. I don't know if Akiva and Karou's love story left me feeling satisfied, and I'll leave it at that.
Setting: The final installment takes place on Earth, Lormandi, and Eretz. The world was still very well developed but I think I was suffering from too much information to keep my characters and places straight.
Short N Sweet: Dreams of Gods and Monsters is a lovely book with the characters you know and love from the previous novels. Not the strongest ending to a great series, but still a good read. (less)
What started off as a jumble of characters attempting to survive in Dorothy's horror story that is Oz, ends up being an action packed adventure that...more What started off as a jumble of characters attempting to survive in Dorothy's horror story that is Oz, ends up being an action packed adventure that I couldn't put down!
Plot: Amy Gumm is what the other girls call "trailer park trash;" one day while her mom is out getting her fix, Amy and her pet rat, Star, are swept away to the fictional Oz. The beginning of the novel seemed a bit...off. We start off with Amy commenting on her social life and the Queen B of the school, her mom's additions, and then we are in Oz. I kind of felt like I was in a roller coaster with the pacing of this story: one moment we are getting character development, then we are rushing through Oz, and then we have a love story (kind of), then we're at the end of the first installment. Throughout this novel, I was set on a firm 3.5 because of the pacing, but the ending made me reconsider and give it a 4. That being said, Dorothy Must Die is a creative story that isn't afraid to hold back. I love dark and creepy writing, but some of the descriptions of killings and amputations made me grimace.
Characters: Dorothy Must Die is told from Amy's perspective, this allows us, the reader, to experience Oz firsthand through her eyes, and it is gruesome. Amy is joined by a large cast of characters, like a lot of characters. In the beginning, I thought that too many were being introduced, but they all tied in together in the end. There was a hint regarding romance between Dorothy and a fellow resistance leader, but I wasn't too interested in it. This time, the story trumped the love story which was a good thing because I was more interested in Dorothy's dark and twisted ways. My favorite characters would have to be Dorothy friends: The Scarecrow, The Cowardly Lion, and The Tin Man.. Their personalities and appearances were nothing like you remember from the movie. From mauling to sword hands, they are the things my nightmares are made of.
Setting: The World of Oz gets a five out of five from me. Ms. Paige does an excellent job articulating that this is not your normal Oz; the land is barren and the citizens live in terror. Everything in Oz is described with such vivid imagery that is all thanks to the author's beautiful writing style.
Short N Sweet: This imaginative "sequel" to The Wizard of Oz will have you hold your breath, grimace, and cringe until the wicked witch is dead. The only thing keeping this novel from being a five-star rating is its pacing in the beginning. (less)
I know it's only October but I'm going to call it, this is my favorite read of 2014.
Plot: I read this book over six months ago and I still r...more4.5 Stars
I know it's only October but I'm going to call it, this is my favorite read of 2014.
Plot: I read this book over six months ago and I still remember every little detail about this book! The Winner's Curse is a book that stays with you forever (if you're me it does). The one thing that readers might complain about is the pacing. Marie Rutkoski takes her time building the world and all of the characters, this means main characters and secondary characters. There are times where the story takes a turn from the overall conflict, but the purpose it to build character and show development. There are times when I wondered why there was no action in the book, but I was wrong. You just have to be patient. Marie Rutkoski writes a beautiful story that flows wonderfully with a pseudo-cliffhanger that makes you want to know more immediately!
Characters: You can tell that Rutkoski loves her characters, all of them. She puts so much heart and personality into each character. The Winner's Curse is told through the perspective of Kestrel and Arin who both have very distinct voices and guess what, they function without the other person as well! There is no dependability, there is no instant love, these are two independent characters who have their own conflicts and backgrounds. The love story between these too is a simmer. Kestrel purchases Arin at a slave auction and they pretty much have no interaction with the other for several weeks which is really refreshing (not to mention, probably more realistic). I absolutely adore these two as a couple and what's beautiful is that they each still have to work at their relationship, this book does not end in sunshine and rainbows, which again, is more realistic.
World Building: A-frickin Plus! I was immersed in this world and could imagine everything vividly. This is in part that the book was told by two people from different social classes. We get to see the world through Kestresl, the warrior's daughter, and Arin, the slave who seems to have lost everything. The book takes place in Kestrel's world, but if you want to know more about Arin's childhood you can read the novella Bridge of Snow for $.99.
Short N Sweet: The Winner's Curse is utter perfection and it's a must for all fans of books. Seriously, go read this, you will not regret it! (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)