THE CAGED GRAVES is a historical mystery based around two real caged graves the author, Dianne Salerni, came acOriginally posted at Beneath the Jacket
THE CAGED GRAVES is a historical mystery based around two real caged graves the author, Dianne Salerni, came across in Catawissa, Pennsylvania. After some research and still not knowing how these caged graves came to be, the author created her own story around them and formed something great.
Verity is a kind and charming character, as well as, a strong heroine: she stands up for what she believes even when others are against her. She won't let anybody deter her from finding out why these two graves that she has personal connections to are covered in cages and sitting outside the church cemetery on unholy ground. And I mean anybody. Father?** Whatever. The man who will be her husband?** Screw him. The attractive doctor's apprentice? Wait. There's an attractive doctor's apprentice? Yes. His name is Hadley Jones. He creates the third corner of a nice little love triangle that actually works with the story and has a purpose. That purpose being related to Verity's character development. Yes, there is also character development, and not just in Verity, but the other characters. This book spoils me. Now I'm going to expect it in everything I read.
The setting of the story is nice and well developed and the prose isn't flowery or over descriptive like one can find in historical novels, but rather simple with an elegant tone. I love the author's writing style. It really fits the feel of the book. As for the mystery, it had me guessing right along with Verity. Maybe I could have caught on sooner, but I was so engrossed in the story that I didn't ever stop to try and figure it out myself. Usually, I have the clues figured out before the character, but in this case, I was having so much fun reading I forgot to try to solve it.
The Caged Graves is a novel with a strong female protagonist and an interesting, well-mixed cast of supporting characters. If you're looking for your next historical novel or a light mystery then check this one out. I also recommend this to fans of A NORTHERN LIGHT.
**These two characters are very supportive of Verity, actually. But if they weren't, she still would have walked right over them.
-A copy was provided by the publisher for a fair review-...more
THE FOURTH STALL: a noir for middle graders! It's definitely different from other books I've read, and I didn'tOriginally posted at Beneath the Jacket
THE FOURTH STALL: a noir for middle graders! It's definitely different from other books I've read, and I didn't think it was a needed genre until I finished it. More noir for the young'uns please!
Mac's office resides in the fourth stall in the East Wing boys' bathroom. He isn't there to do his business, but to do business. Mac sits in his office and hears the problems of his fellow classmates. If it's a problem he can solve, and he can solve any problem, he'll take it on. For a fee, of course.
There's a lot of great humor in the book and a lot of times I couldn't help laughing. Especially at the descriptions and escapades of Mac's team of bullies. The first time they're all introduced is quite brilliant really, and it's a part that stayed with me after I flipped the last page. I love the fact that there are really no good guys in the book. Even Mac, who always tries to do things for good, can screw up at times. And the nemesis? Truly and mysteriously evil throughout. But, this leads me to my next thought:
The book is violent, yes, but I particularly found the gang of high school upperclassmen who seem to have no qualms about going after elementary and middle schoolers to be quite unnerving. It's hard to read middle-grade books as an adult sometimes (one rule seems to be that parents can't exist). I'd be curious to get feedback from someone whose in the age group it's intended for to see how they felt (haven't met one who has read it yet). But then, maybe I'm just being ignorant and teens are beating up younger kids nowadays! It has been a while since I've been to middle school. Apparently, we are not keeping these children and teens busy enough. More homework, I say! More chores! More ballet recitals! And if they're not in ballet, then make them go to one!
Overall, will I be picking up the second one in the series? For sure....more
I'm going to say that A CORNER OF WHITE is one of the most creative YA novels to be released this year. I mightOriginally posted at Beneath the Jacket
I'm going to say that A CORNER OF WHITE is one of the most creative YA novels to be released this year. I might even already call it the most creative. GASP! Yeah, I went there.
Moriarty's fairytale world where Elliot lives is one I've never read about before. It's almost like the modern world in which we live, but with lots of magic and fairytale elements. It's not like urban fantasy, so maybe it's rural fantasy. Get it? Because Elliot lives in farming country? What I think I found the most interesting was the idea of color storms. In Cello, they have various color storms (i.e. red, yellow, purple) where each is more dangerous than the others. It's a new and creative idea. Or at least it is to me from all that I've read, because I haven't read everything. #Angiefact
As for Madeleine's world, which would be our own modern one, it's...well...our own modern one.
A CORNER OF WHITE contains Moriarty's witty dialogue and fantastic characters. The dual main characters Elliot and Madeleine are easy to sympathize and laugh along with. As for the secondary characters, I love when I can grow to adore them just as much as the protagonists, and the author didn't disappoint me here.
I like how Madeleine and Elliot connect with each other from two different worlds, and how their stories are intertwined. Speaking of stories, my main fault with the book is that I found the story to drag at parts which, unfortunately, didn't keep me reading sometimes. Unlike Moriarty's past books which I've loved (Feeling Sorry For Celia, anyone?) and couldn't put down. I give lots of Angie Points (I just created these) to the author for starting a series that I found to be completely different from what she's written before. I think the final product is a success, minus a few parts of the book I found to be slow....more
The Shadowy Horses is the first book I have read by Kearsley and I have to say, I am hooked! I found this one to be amazing and can't wait to pick upThe Shadowy Horses is the first book I have read by Kearsley and I have to say, I am hooked! I found this one to be amazing and can't wait to pick up another one by this author. This book has all my favorite things in it: Scotland, roman history, ghosts, and archaeology. It's like she wrote it for me! Even though I know she didn't, I will thank her anyway. Thank you Susanna Kearsely for writing me my perfect story. I owe you one.
I found the mystery in the book to be intriguing and I couldn't stop reading. I had to see where the story was going to go and how it was going to end. And the romance. I loved it. The characters are so well created and three-dimensional and I instantly fell in love with Verity Grey (and David Fortune) and everyone else (and David Fortune). The story has a good mix of humor too. Writing this, I'm already getting the urge to read it again! I know that I'll be reading another of her's very very soon. ...more
I had a little romance with Yovanoff's second novel THE SPACE BETWEEN and was so excited about reading PAPER VAOriginally posted at Beneath the Jacket
I had a little romance with Yovanoff's second novel THE SPACE BETWEEN and was so excited about reading PAPER VALENTINE. Now, I didn't connect with it the way I connected with Space Between, but I still enjoyed this uber creepy read.
I've decided that Yovanoff must be one of those rare authors that is still able to find ideas that no one has thought of before. Or else, she's just really good at masking overdone plots and making them her own. PAPER VALENTINE is a serial killer mystery that could have bordered on the cliche, but Yovanoff makes what I'm going to now coin a "Yovanoff."
A Yovanoff: when an author adds new elements to an old plot
She writes characters with heart and flaws, and the characters in this story are no exception. Hannah has a nice arc and her relationships with the other characters are complex and natural. I also liked that the romance took a background role and wasn't at the forefront, as it's not what the book is about. It was also super sweet!
Now on to the mystery, it isn't the most unpredictable mystery EVAR, but there are some nice twists in there to throw the reader off. You think you've got it all figured out and then something new is added to the mix. The whole thing had me on the edge of my seat from the beginning all the way through.
Once again, Brenna Yovanoff has yet to disappoint me! Though I do still need to read THE REPLACEMENT......more
I made a personal decision not to review books at least a month before their release date, but I finished ThisOriginally posted at Beneath the Jacket.
I made a personal decision not to review books at least a month before their release date, but I finished This Is Not a Test about a week ago and it still has me thinking about it. I love this book with all of my heart. MY WHOLE HEART. I initially wanted to read it because, well, zombies and I was curious as to how exciting a book could be that takes place inside one location (stage plays, yes, books, maybe). Well, it is exciting and I was never bored. Courtney Summers doesn't hold back or sugar-coat things. This book is intense. This book is raw. Sloane is one of the most complicated characters I have come across in a while and her struggles touched my insides (in a good way, not a dirty way). All of the characters are distinct from one another and I am impressed at how I could hate one of them one minute and agree with him or her the next. To me, this proves excellent writing and Summers has talent. Mucho. Talento. Can't wait to get my hands on her other books!
This Is Not a Test is not a book about zombies. In fact, I've read some reviews where people have found the zombies to be unnecessary. I would have to politely disagree and here's why: I can't imagine any other reason for Sloane to be stuck inside the school with some fellow students. Maybe a terrorist attack? But that one would make it a different story. To me, the book is about Sloane struggling to survive in a life she has already given up on before the book even starts. She's in a situation where all she has to do is go outside and she'll die. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Dead. Done. I think zombies are perfect and add a certain something different to the book. Plus, they're probably a metaphor for something I haven't quite figured out yet...or something.
I can't wait until I can get my hands on a finished copy and rub it all over my face. Because that's what I do with books I love.
Content warning: graphic sexual situations and language....more
This book is so freaking cute! I hope Meredith doesn't take offense to that because it's not an insult, it's aOriginally posted at Beneath the Jacket:
This book is so freaking cute! I hope Meredith doesn't take offense to that because it's not an insult, it's a big compliment. With all the paranormal/supernatural/heavy YA books I've been reading, it's a nice change to read about a regular old fourteen-year-old girl doing fourteen-year-old things and making the mistakes of a fourteen-year-old. Kelsey and her friends are very believable characters right off the bat. While reading, I remembered myself hanging out with my friends talking about the same exact things Kelsey and her friends do; having the same worries. Sans the alcohol though. I was freaking straight-laced, yo (until I turned sixteen, haha!).
Meredith's writing is entertaining, witty and natural. Freshman Year had moments where I was cracking up. I'll specifically refer to a certain scene involving a beard, but that's all you'll get. It's a scene you don't want to be spoiled for, believe me. It doesn't just deal out the funny, though. The book also deals with issues like bullying, friendship, crushes, and betrayal (or what feels like betrayal to someone who's fourteen. See? This is why I like it so much!).
A warning for anyone concerned: there is a lot of under-age drinking in the book and some sexual talk. This was not my fourteen year old experience, but a friend of mine assures me I may be in a minority, haha. I guess at twenty-seven I have already, embarrassingly, become an old fuddy-duddy who wanted to parent and take the alcohol out of their hands. ;) So if this makes you uncomfortable, I would stay away for a bit....more
Let me start off by saying that I Hunt Killers is for a more mature YA audience. Little, Brown recommends it fOriginally posted at Beneath the Jacket:
Let me start off by saying that I Hunt Killers is for a more mature YA audience. Little, Brown recommends it for 15 and up and I would have to agree. With that being said...
I really enjoyed it.
I was sucked in from the very first line: By the time Jazz got to the field outside town, yellow police tape was everywhere, strung from stake to stake in a sort of drunken, off-kilter hexagon. -quote taken from the ARC
This is the first book in a series of I don't know how many, and there is a lot to set-up for the next book, but I was never bored while reading. The author places many red herrings throughout, so I was constantly guessing and going back and forth as to who the killer was. Lyga does a great job of keeping the reader invested in the story and invested in Jazz. I couldn't help but love him. Jazz, raised by a serial killer and groomed to be one himself, is in a constant struggle with who he is and who he will (or won't) become. The cast of secondary characters aren't as complex as Jazz (nor should they be!), but I found them just as entertaining. On a quick side-note, Jazz's girlfriend, Connie, is African-American and I would like to give kudos to Lyga for including an interracial couple in his novel. It's not something one sees much in YA. Now back to the review:
The book is about serial killers so it has its fair share of gore. Some of the descriptions of the murder victims are very intense which, I believe, is where the 15 and up rating comes in. These scenes aren't the most disgusting ones I've ever read, but they're still pretty strong for a young adult novel so fair warning. Also, there is a lot of use of "taking the Lord's name in vain." If you are offended by this (I admit it was a bit too much cursing than I'm comfortable with), I leave it up to you to make your decision. I started the book not knowing that there are going to be more so as I got towards the end and realized it wasn't "ending," I rolled my eyes and heaved a sigh. Another book with a sequel. It's okay, though, because once I reached the end, I didn't mind it. For a cliffhanger, I actually really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next one! I'm also looking forward to the television show it is currently being turned into. I'm curious as to how they'll adapt it...
I Hunt Killers isn't for everyone. I think it's for that special audience who is in love with Dexter (I, personally, can't handle that one!) and never misses an episode of Criminal Minds. If this sounds like you, I hope you pick it up in April and give it a read! If not, just know I think its pretty great. ...more
I love history, so it should be assumed that I enjoy a good historical fiction novel. When I received Cross MyOriginally posted at Beneath the Jacket:
I love history, so it should be assumed that I enjoy a good historical fiction novel. When I received Cross My Heart, I was so excited. It takes place during the Italian Renaissance and it revolves around a mystery! My mind went right to The Ruby in the Smoke which is one of my favorite historical mysteries. I didn't enjoy this one as much as The Ruby in the Smoke, but Cross My Heart definitely has its positives.
It should be said that Sasha Gould's writing is gorgeous. From the first sentence, I was immediately drawn into the world of Laura, a convent raised girl who is immediately thrust into Venice society by her money and status hungry father. I found it interesting to read about a naive young girl discovering her place in a, previously unknown, society while at the same time trying to solve the mysterious death of her sister. It's this that leads her to the Segreta, a group of women who collect secrets. I found the idea of the Segreta fascinating and wish we got to spend more time within their ranks, but without the mystery surrounding them, Cross My Heart wouldn't be much of a mystery. A few red-herrings were thrown in there and it wasn't until near the finish that I predicted the ending. Good on Sasha Gould!
As interesting as I found Laura's situation she sometimes came across as a little bland for me. It was the characters around her that kept me interested. I also wasn't convinced about the romance that grows between Laura and the painter. If I remember correctly, they only interact in the book three times before they confess their love. Cross My Heart isn't about the romance, but if placed in the book, I still expect to feel it and have it make sense to me. It's just another part of the novel (like the ending) that felt rushed.
All in all, I liked the story and the idea of it, but I feel like the execution could have been a bit more drawn out and detailed....more
It's been a long time since I read a book with "themes." Or at least books without themes like: the end of the world, zombies, andBeneath the Jacket:
It's been a long time since I read a book with "themes." Or at least books without themes like: the end of the world, zombies, and witches. Everybody Sees the Ants tackles issues like bullying, depression, suicide, and family dysfunction. And it is amazing. Here is why:
King's characters are three-dimensional. I, personally, think it's difficult to write a book with close to no action and to focus mainly on a character study.You know why? Because they can get boring. Luckily (pun intended), Lucky is so fascinating. He's a depressed teen who doesn't even realize he's depressed. One of the things I love about Lucky is his self-deprecating humor. Guys, the book deals with serious issues, but I found myself laughing out loud at moments (and some of them inappropriate, thank you A.S. King). I didn't find any stereotypical characters in this book. Even the bully, Nader, is taken to the next level as psychotic.
King's writing is superb. Her imagery is full of image and King had me feeling every feeling. For example, I was appalled at the bullying that Lucky is subjected to by Nader and was appalled at his passive parents for not doing all that they could. It took all of my strength not to put on my nonexistent Parenting Hat and jump into the book to do something about this. Yes, this is an actual power of mine and please don't tell the government.
I love Everybody Sees the Ants because it's one of those books that will have different interpretations for everyone. This is why I won't share mine with you. I'll let you decide what the ants are to you (as well as other symbols in the book). I don't usually do book clubs because I have so much other stuff to read, but I need to have a club for this book (it's cheating if I already read it, I know!). It's a perfect book club suggestion if you're looking for your next pick....more
First, I love the cover by Evan B. Harris. It's beautiful and I think it definitely draws the eye. I also want aOriginal review at Beneath the Jacket
First, I love the cover by Evan B. Harris. It's beautiful and I think it definitely draws the eye. I also want a print of it to hang on my wall. Someone make this happen. Please.
Second, I enjoyed the book! From the first page, I was transported to the Depression era. I was drawn in by Barnaby's wonderful writing style, the story, and the colorful cast of characters. Portia has a fire and passion that I liked. No one, not even the creepy Mister is going to stand in her way! The narration style is different than any other book I've read recently (or that I can remember right now). It goes back and forth between third-person omniscient and first-person. The first-person is normally a page or two where the reader gets an inside glimpse of Portia and the other circus characters. I would expect something like this to throw me out of the story, but I really enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts. I also don't think it happens enough to be a hindrance to the storytelling. I think of it as an enhancement. Especially since the reader learns more about the histories of the characters at these points.
If I have a big complaint, it would be that the end felt a bit rushed to me. The entire book I was waiting for an amazing climax and I feel almost like nothing happened. I was left with a "wait, that's it?" It's a very easily solved ending. Too easy, in my opinion.
Wonder Show reminds me a bit of Moon Over Manifest (a book I love!). Yes, they are both set during the Great Depression, but they also involve two strong female characters who will stop at nothing to find their fathers. I think Wonder Show will find its place in the MG/younger YA audience. Though, it would suit a more mature middle grade reader as it is a dark book that deals with some issues like abandonment and suicide....more
Everyone seems to love Born Wicked. This will, unfortunately, be another book I will go against the grain on. I fOriginal review at Beneath the Jacket
Everyone seems to love Born Wicked. This will, unfortunately, be another book I will go against the grain on. I feel like the narrator, Cate, only talked about two things: what everyone is wearing and she hates being a witch.
What Everyone Is Wearing: Every time someone enters a room, Cate describes in great detail what he/she/everyone is wearing. I began to dread the party scenes. I understand it's a historical novel and period clothing is a part of the atmosphere the author wants to create. I get that and I usually love that, but I feel like Spotswood went overboard. I get that Cate and her sisters' new clothing was important to them. It's a big deal. But the author would also go into great detail about the clothes of other people Cate was with or saw. This was perplexing to me because from what I got from the book, Cate doesn't care for clothing so why would she talk about it in great detail? There's a difference between an important piece of clothing that means something to the character and just a piece of clothing.
She Hates Being a Witch: Cate hates being a witch and she talks about how much she hates it all the time. Normally I can stand a negative nelly. Example, I adore Briony in Chime and, holy crap, does that girl hate herself. I wish I pinpoint the difference in the two characters, but Cate began to get on my nerves a bit. Maybe because she doesn't have the self-deprecating humor that Briony has?
Spotswood does a great job of world building and giving Born Wicked a "classic" feel. Her writing style fits the time period perfectly. I didn't realize the book was going to be mainly centered around the romance. Don't get me wrong, I love romance in my books. Romance is da bomb, but I think the reason I wasn't pulled into this one is because I didn't feel a connection between Cate and her two love interests. It felt kind of bland to me. I also found myself wanting more story progression in Born Wicked. I feel like the majority of the book is Cate talking about clothes and attending parties and just talking. All of the action finally comes into play in the last few pages and it is awesome. I thought the book was finally getting interesting at the end and then it ended. Sad face. Luckily, there's a next one.
I recommend this book to fans of romance and historical fiction. Just because I felt this way, doesn't mean you will. I seem to be in the minority anyway. ;)
Oh Born Wicked, how I wanted to love you. I like you, but I guess we should just shake hands, say we had a good time, I'll tell you I'll call you, and then part ways....more
The Dead of Winter is horrorlicious. It's a scary book that actually scared me. Priestley does a great job of giving his novel a classic Gothic feel.The Dead of Winter is horrorlicious. It's a scary book that actually scared me. Priestley does a great job of giving his novel a classic Gothic feel. A few times I had to remind myself that this book wasn't written in the 19th century. The prose is classic and well-written. I loved it.
The Dead of Winter is full of frightening scenes and these moments wouldn't have worked without Priestley's truly creepy descriptions. The book played out as a movie in my head and left me terrified. I can't say much without spoiling it, but one of the scenes involving the priest's hole scared the crap out of me. I was like, "OPEN THE DOOR OPEN THE DOOR OPEN THE DOOR!"
The mystery solved is a bit...lackluster. Don't get me wrong, the climax is exciting but the sort of "whodunit" left me wanting more. It's also too short. Much too short. It doesn't read like a full length novel, but more as a novella. I finished the book in about an hour. ...more
Obsidian is my first book by Jennifer Armentrout and I have to say, I'm pleased. I think she definitely lives uOriginally posted at Beneath the Jacket
Obsidian is my first book by Jennifer Armentrout and I have to say, I'm pleased. I think she definitely lives up to the hype I've read from other reviewers. The best description I can come up with for this book is FUN. It's a perfect example of a fun read. You don't learn any life lessons from it and it doesn't really add anything new to the genre, but it sure is a blast to read. And quite a steamy read. There was a moment in the book where I was quite surprised at how far it went. I felt my eyes grow big in shock and thought to myself how is this categorized as YA?? But then it suddenly cut off and I admit I may have been a little disappointed. Ha! So like I said, FUN!
I love the narrator Katy: strong, snarky, a book blogger. She is a great example of a girl who can stick up for herself and she shows that she can hold her own against mega-douche Daemon (cafeteria scene anyone? I internally cheered when that happened). Speaking of Daemon, yes, I called him a mega-douche. "Sensitive" on the inside or not, he's a jerk-face and this stays pretty much constant throughout the book. Personally, I would have stopped talking to him after my first few confrontations with him but I'm not Katy and then there would have been no story, so I'm glad I wasn't the main character.
The pace of the book is great and I appreciated the natural dialogue. I loved every scene that Katy and Daemon share. Honestly, I probably could have read the whole book without the other characters and just enjoyed Katy and Daemon in a room talking and making-out. Those two are the highlight of the book. Oh, and the story ain't bad either. ;)
All in all, I found this to be a great introduction to Armentrout's work and I look forward to reading her other books. Can't wait foe Onyx (Lux #2)!...more
Like a lot of other reviewers before me have said, I really like that Hocking chose to use t**spoiler alert** Review also posted at Beneath the Jacket
Like a lot of other reviewers before me have said, I really like that Hocking chose to use trolls as her choice of mythical being as opposed to vampires, werewolves (though, gosh, I love werewolves), fairies, or witches (though, gosh, I love fairies and witches too). They are described as gorgeous trolls, but they are trolls nonetheless, so thank you Amanda Hocking. You have a place in my warm and never cold heart. I also like the idea of Trylle, a nice little secluded, gated community of trolls in the mid-west. The character Finn is the usual sensitive bad boy fare and I am intrigued by Tove . While there are definitely moments that I enjoyed, Switched has some situations that I had trouble overlooking:
1. I feel that Wendy is too quick to accept her new situation. She finds Trylle and discovers that she's not only a troll, but also a princess and then seems to just go with the flow with no argument. There's a moment later in the book when Wendy is told how she is strong-willed like her mother, but since entering Trylle, I had not seen her do anything that would show this. For a main protagonist she seems a bit too passive.
2. No one ever explains to Wendy what is going on or gives her details on her new life. Then when she makes a mistake, they look at her like she's dumb for not knowing anything or what she's supposed to do. I can understand if this was chosen as a character trait, particularly for her mother, but almost every single Trylle character does this and Wendy, once again, just seems to accept it. Fight it Wendy! Get them to answer your questions! An example is when Elora and Finn find her after she's fallen asleep with Rhys. When Finn apologizes to her for overreacting, Wendy tells him that actually he and her mother were right to be angry. It made me upset that she gave into them because it wasn't right that they were angry because they never gave her a reason why. Sleeping in Rhys's room was only an accident.
3. Contradictions. I noticed a lot of these. Finn is very protective of Wendy and flips his lid (like he should have) when she is attacked outside of her home. Now, there's a moment later in the story when Wendy finds a painting showing her hurt that was done by her mother Elora. Supposedly this picture is from a moment in Wendy's future and Finn doesn't even react. In fact, he brushes it aside. This felt off to me and very unlike Finn. I feel like Finn would have at least reacted in some way. Also, Finn is always telling Wendy to ask her mother when Wendy asks a question. Then later, there's a moment when he tells Wendy that it's his fault she doesn't know anything and how Elora designated him to teach her about Trylle. If this is the case, then why was Finn always telling Wendy that he couldn't answer her questions and to ask Elora? There are more, but this is getting long.
4. The ending. A hole in the fence? Escaping took, like, two pages. This seemed too easy to me. I craved so much more from the ending, especially after all the action that had happened before it. BUT it did leave me intrigued as to where the story will go, so...
I want to make my readers aware that I never had a problem with the actual story and am hoping the second in the series will be more fleshed-out. If not, well...then there will be no third for me, but for now, I'm still interested in reading about Wendy outside of Trylle with her new knowledge of who she is. It's not on the top of my TBR pile, but it's in there....more
Try Not to Breathe is a breath of fresh air (pun intended?). It gave me a nice break from all of the supernatural and dystopian YA books out in the woTry Not to Breathe is a breath of fresh air (pun intended?). It gave me a nice break from all of the supernatural and dystopian YA books out in the world. Surprisingly, with the main subject of depression and suicide, it's not depressing so chances are you won't be balling your eyes out by the end. Yay, you can read it in public! I instantly connected with the main character Ryan. All of the characters are well-fleshed out and Ryan and Nicki are perfect foils of each other. The book is a slow build, but it never left me bored. Hubbard has a fantastic and very mature "show, don't tell" writing style. I enjoyed her writing up until the end. And by the way, there is a shocking "reveal" that I was not expecting.
Try Not to Breathe is a real book dealing with a real issue that most people don't talk about, so I enjoyed following Ryan's story. It's not a book that changed my life or taught me anything new, but I was so disappointed when I had to leave Ryan behind at the end of the book!
P.S. I've been trying to write this book review for four days. It's a book that resonated with me on a personal level so it was difficult writing the review without sharing too much personal information that I didn't feel comfortable with sharing. Hence, the feeling of disconnect and suckiness in the review. ;) I did like the book, though. I liked it a lot and just wanted to share it....more
One of the things I like about Dark Seeker is that it has vampires that will not love you, but will actually kill you on sight. Browning has, of coursOne of the things I like about Dark Seeker is that it has vampires that will not love you, but will actually kill you on sight. Browning has, of course, introduced her own breed of vampires and they're pretty dangerous. Now, if you've been following my blog, you'll have noticed that I love girls who kick-ass, literally. If you're just joining me, I love girls that kick-ass (literally) and Janie does just that (literally). The action scenes were a lot of fun to read. Janie is something fierce, but is still a kid. I noticed when she's out on the streets or with her friends, Janie acts all cool, but when she's in the presence of her mom, Janie reverts back to a teenager. Just like real-life! Or was that just me in my teen years (minus the "out on the streets")?
For those supernatural romance fans, Dark Seeker has the usual recipe:
1 supernatural bad boy with a sensitive soul, make sure he's sexy A pinch of instant connection and wait 5 minutes to grow 1 other boy, the complete opposite of the first one, to form a love triangle
I poke fun, but Kai and Janie have great chemistry and I liked "watching" their romance develop. Their connection didn't feel contrived to me, it just works with the story. Now onto the problem I have: Kai has a big secret. His secret is HUGE (notice the caps), but I feel like it is handled kind of nonchalantly. It's there and then it's gone. The way it "resolves" (I found myself not truly convinced by the way that it is) feels like an easy way out and I wish the secret had added more tension to the story than just a few pages of drama. That aside, it's an enjoyable read and I had fun! The ending leaves you with a feeling of closure, but enough to leave you awaiting the next book. I look forward to where the story will go!
This post has been brought to you by "quotation marks" and (parentheses)....more
First, I don't think that the cover matches the feel of the book. The cover, to me, says "Hi! I'm a happy and quirky book!" No, Unraveling Isobel, youFirst, I don't think that the cover matches the feel of the book. The cover, to me, says "Hi! I'm a happy and quirky book!" No, Unraveling Isobel, you are not a happy, quirky book. You are a psychological thriller (of sorts) meets contemporary meets mystery meets horror with a slightly depressing story line. I mean, Isobel, the main character is pretty darn snarky and pretty darn hilarious, but I don't think this should encompass the whole book. Anyway...
From the first page, I was immediately drawn into Isobel's world. I felt her pain when she experienced a huge life change: her mom marries a man she met online and has only known for three months. Isobel is forced to leave behind her old school and friends and move to a small island with an even smaller population. Plus, she has to deal with her new creepy step-father "Dick" and a step-brother who apparently doesn't want Isobel there either. I didn't have a problem with the romance of Nate and Isobel even though they are step-siblings. This is probably because they didn't grow up together, so it's not like their love is too taboo. If they had grown up together and then started to fall in love that is when I would have probably thrown up in my mouth a bit, but since they didn't, I found them to be adorable together. Unraveling Isobel can bring the creepy and there were a couple of times I got goosebumps while reading certain scenes. I also enjoyed the book's view on mental illness. Mental illness isn't something discussed much in YA fiction (though a lot of this year's book releases look to change that, I've noticed) and I think the book sheds some light on a topic not normally dealt with in teen literature.
Now onto what I didn't like. There's a point in the book where Isobel's mom and Dick believe that they need to send Isobel away for treatment of schizophrenia. 1) She has yet to be diagnosed with it and 2) I don't think Isobel ever does anything bad enough to warrant this. It actually takes a lot to be put into 24 hour psychiatric care. This decision (and a supposed doctor's agreement with never having met her) seems too easy for me. The pacing is a bit here and there and I feel like there is a lot of build up to a so-so ending. Actually, it ended exactly how I thought it was going to, BUT there's a nice little bow that wraps it all up if you've been reading too many books with open/cliffhanger endings, like me.
All in all, it was an okay read for me. It's not a story that will stay with me, but I enjoyed it while I was reading it. Ultimately, I think Unraveling Isobel is more of a paperback buy....more
Books that make me the most emotional tend to be the hardest for me to review, so I don't know how I'm going to put my thoughts on The Fault in Our StBooks that make me the most emotional tend to be the hardest for me to review, so I don't know how I'm going to put my thoughts on The Fault in Our Stars in to words, but I will try. Maybe I'll start with adjectives: beautiful, heart-wrenching, heartwarming, hilarious, meaningful...there, that's a good start...
John does a fantastic job of balancing the humor and the dramatic and nothing ever becomes overdone. There is no melodrama which is an easy trap to fall into when writing on this topic. It's all too real of a novel. I immediately fell in love with Hazel and when Augustus entered the scene...GUH. LOVE. BOTH OF THEM. LOVE. I think that's all that I can express on that. The whole cast of characters are well thought out and create a great ensemble. This is definitely a novel that when it ends, you want to know what happens to every single person in the story: Who's dead? Who's happy? Who's dead and happy?
I laughed and cried and laughed and cried and cried and cried and laughed and finished the book sobbing. It is a novel that stays with you long after you read it. Gorgeous.
You know, I wish there was such thing as a John Green theme park. A theme park where I could meet all the characters in his books and have my picture taken with them and put their autographs in a little autograph book. Someone should get on this....more
I think I already have my Halloween costume planned. I'm going to be Ismae, an assassin nun. No one will knowOriginally posted at Beneath the Jacket.
I think I already have my Halloween costume planned. I'm going to be Ismae, an assassin nun. No one will know who I am, but I won't care because I'll be an assassin nun. So. Cool. Can you tell how much I love this book? I was familiar with Robin's work before Grave Mercy, so when my store received the galley of her first young adult book, I knew I had to read it. Grave Mercy proves Robin's versatile writing ability. The prose is different than her middle-grade books and has a completely different, mature writing style.
Grave Mercy has a fascinating historical setting with all the political intrigue one could want. After reading, I wouldn't be surprised if the reader immediately went to Wikipedia and looked up everything they could find on Brittany. Or that may have just been me. Upon being introduced to Ismae, I immediately knew I was going to love her. She has an independent spirit that I adore in my female characters with just the right amount of vulnerability. Robin also gave me my favorite type of romance: the "dislike turns to love" kind. The romance between Ismae and Duval takes its time and happens naturally. There is definitely none of that immediate love that seems to have taken over the average YA book.
Grave Mercy is over 500 pages long, but it doesn't read like it. I found it to be entertaining every step of the way and it was over before I knew it. If you like Tamora Pierce, Graceling, or just historical fantasy, give this book a try. I hope you won't be disappointed! Meanwhile, I'll be waiting over here for the next in the planned trilogy. The rest of the series will involve different characters introduced in the first book....more