Poor Layken. Her father died recently, and her mother up and moved the family across the country to cold Michigan. Things start to look up when she mePoor Layken. Her father died recently, and her mother up and moved the family across the country to cold Michigan. Things start to look up when she meets her neighbor Will. He introduces her to slamming and they seem to be starting something special. Of course, nothing can ever be that easy and it turns out he is a student teacher at Lake’s school. Now they have to find a way to get along as teacher and student, while fighting their attraction.
Layken was a likable character. She was strong and helped her mom (who worked nights as a nurse) care for her little brother. She was still heartbroken about her father’s death, but was too busy “being there” for her mother and brother to really mourn him. She took her responsibilities at home seriously, but she also knew how to have fun and she had a great sense of humor. Will was also very likable, and I can definitely see how they would be perfect for each other. He was also forced to grow up way before his time, and he took those responsibilities seriously as well. He would do anything for his little brother, but he also recognized that he and Lake could have something special.
I loved their little brothers, especially together. They were like 2 peas in a pod, and I was so glad they had each other to lean on. The first person to take Lake under her wing at the new school was Eddie, and I loved her, too. She had been through hell growing up, but she still managed to be nice, friendly and loving. She was exactly what Lake needed right then. I also loved Nick, Eddie’s boyfriend. He was pretty much THE PERFECT BOYFRIEND. I was so happy Eddie had him. The one thing I didn’t like was how Lake and Will’s relationship became so intense so quickly. They went on 1 date (granted, it was a good date) before the truth came out, then she spent the rest of the book heartsick over not having him. I didn’t really see how they could like each other that much after just 1 date. It was kind of overly dramatic.
The story was intense, and covered much more than Lake’s relationship with Will. It was not just a story about them facing down obstacles to their relationship (although there was plenty of that). It dealt with loss, friendship, parent relationships and love. And it did it so well! I’m not afraid to admit I cried at least once. Colleen has an amazing gift for making you really care about the characters and what they’re going through.
I really like the cover. The stool on the stage is perfect, as that’s where some important scenes take place in the novel. It’s simple and quiet.
The sum up: I fell in love with the story, and have no doubt you will too. I can’t wait to read the follow-up, which is told from Will’s point of view....more
Lily is (unhappily) all alone during the holidays, thanks to her parents ditching her for a long-awaited vacation. In an effort to find someone who “gLily is (unhappily) all alone during the holidays, thanks to her parents ditching her for a long-awaited vacation. In an effort to find someone who “gets” her, she leaves a red notebook on the shelf of a public bookstore. Dash, (happily) alone at Christmas after leting each of his divorced parents think he was spending the holiday with the other, is enjoying this quiet time to himself when he stumbles upon a red notebook on a shelf in The Strand. The notebook challenges Dash to complete a task and once he does, he challenges the notebook’s author right back. So begins a weekend of getting to know each other by writing their thoughts, dreams and desires in the notebook.
Dash and Lily were fun characters. They were both sweet and kind. They were each dealing with their own personal issues, though none were what I would call “deep”. They both seemed to know exactly what they wanted out of life, and how to get it. They had great senses of humor and were both willing to try something new and be adventurous. Before they met for real, you just knew they were going to get along fabulously.
There were a few things that bugged me, like the fact that Lily knew (or was related to) at least 1 person in practically every one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. That eventually became too unbelieveable. Also, their characters were just too hipster for me. Like David and Rachel were creating the coolest, most nonconformist characters they could think of. But there were also things I enjoyed about the book, like the alternating points of view (Dash and Lily, natch). They were both authentic and that made it easy to get into their heads. I loved the little snippets of New York sprinkled throughout the book.
The cover is adorable and perfect for this light holiday read. The snow, the city street signs and the little heart in the crosswalk sign all work together magically.
The sum up: A quick and fun read full of Christmas spirit....more
Entice takes place shortly after Embrace left off: Violet is getting stronger with training and she is learning more about Grigori and exiles. She andEntice takes place shortly after Embrace left off: Violet is getting stronger with training and she is learning more about Grigori and exiles. She and Lincoln are still fighting their mutual affection, with little success. Violet is looking forward to the new Grigori arriving in town, and hoping Onyx will just leave her alone.
I liked Violet, she was strong and spunky. She had pretty much accepted that she was Grigori, for better or worse. Though she still struggled with her feelings for Lincoln, she realized a relationship with him would be impossible and tried to do the right thing. One thing that bugged me was her seeming unconcern about her doors being unlocked, even though she knew she had locked them. She would think “that’s odd,” then just move on. She never thought to tell Lincoln or Griffin or, I don’t know, the police? For someone who had exiles trying hard to kill her, she didn’t seem to mind the fact that someone had obviously tampered with her doors.
Lincoln seemed to waffle with his feelings for Violet, and I was getting just as frustrated as she with trying to figure him out. He seemed to care about her, then he would run off with Grigori Magda for some secret mission he wouldn’t tell Violet about. I thought we were through with the secret keeping, Linc? Magda seemed to hate Violet even more in Entice than she did in Embrace, and never really gave a reason.
I especially liked Violet’s best friend Steph. She was another strong character, and a wonderful friend to Violet. As much as she was in the novel, I’m surprised by how little we knew about her. Onyx, the big bad from Embrace, was back to torment Violet, but his character also went through some surprising changes. We learned just a bit of the history of the Grigori in their little group, but I would have liked some more backstory and personal histories of them as people.
Jessica added a lot of new information and Grigori/exile lore to this story, but it didn’t seem as confusing to me as the previous book. The one aspect of the writing that bothered me were the unfinished thoughts. For example (just a made up example, this never actually happened in the book), Violet would look at someone and think to herself “That can’t be who I think it is.” Then she’d move on to something else and I would be left wondering who the hell she thought it was.
The dialogue was the same, lots of snark from Steph and Violet, with a few chuckle-out-loud moments. There were still some unanswered questions (some of them even leftover from Embrace), and I really hope the answers show up in Emblaze. The gang did some traveling this time, and if you suspend your belief that a young woman could travel halfway around the world without her dad knowing, it’s a nice change of pace from Lincoln’s house, where the majority of the book takes place. There were a few surprises, but the big bad was not one of them. The signs were there throughout the entire novel, and frankly I’m surprised it took everyone as long as it did to figure it out.
The cover is perfect and matches the first book in tone and color. If I didn’t know anything about the book, the cover would definitely grab my attention.
The sum up: Just as good as the previous book, this one furthers the overall plot and the characters’ relationships. It will leave you eager for the next one....more
What an incredibly unique and interesting story. The main character, A, is just a soul with no body. A (who is neither male or female) just wakes up eWhat an incredibly unique and interesting story. The main character, A, is just a soul with no body. A (who is neither male or female) just wakes up every day in a different body, always the same age as A would be, and always in the same area where it went to sleep the night before. A accepted that fate a long time ago and just goes with the flow, until it meets Rhiannon, the girlfriend of A’s latest body. Something clicks and A doesn’t want to do anything else but stay with Rhiannon.
The characterization was one of the high points for me. A, though a sexless, bodiless being, was kind, honest and had a fun sense of humor. A was always conscious of the host it was in and tried hard to keep things the same, never doing anything stupid or unexplainable. While reading the book, I kept wondering how I would feel to be in such a position: no home, no family, no stability, nothing ever the same. I can’t even tell you how miserable that would make me. But A learned a long time ago that’s just the way it was and didn’t see the point in being mad or sad about it.
Rhiannon was a wonderfully flawed character. She was in a not-so-great relationship and just too scared to get out of it. She was too nice to her boyfriend, who didn’t deserve her. I thought her struggle with accepting A’s life was realistic. Though having no identity was normal for A, Rhiannon struggled to see the same person in many different bodies. We met a few other random characters (the families of A’s bodies, Rhiannon’s friends), but the story was all about A and Rhiannon, which was fine; the two of them carried the novel well.
There was a bit of suspense in the story, when one of A’s bodies suspected something, which I thought was a very nice addition. I couldn’t wait to find out how that plotline would end. There was a wonderful message threaded throughout the story: love is blind. It doesn’t matter someone’s sex, color, religion, height, weight or hair color. All that matters is what’s underneath. But for A and Rhiannon, there were complications that made it not so black and white.
The cover is perfect. I love the feeling it evokes, it’s very appropriate for the story.
The sum up: Another home run for David Levithan. It was sad and sweet and just… wonderful. Read this book. Trust me....more
Julia is a by-the-book kind of gal. She always does exactly what’s expected of her, and nothing less (or more). She’s excited about this once in a lifJulia is a by-the-book kind of gal. She always does exactly what’s expected of her, and nothing less (or more). She’s excited about this once in a lifetime trip to London; she can finally see the places she’s only read about. She’s bummed her bestie can’t make the trip with her, but hey, at least she’ll be in London. Once there, Julia is assigned as a ‘buddy’ to class clown Jason. At first, she’s upset she will have to babysit Jason, but it turns out he can be kind of fun. He convinces her to go with him to a party, where she drinks too much and ends up giving her number to any number of guys. When one of them starts to text-flirt her, she and Jason go on a mission to find the mystery guy.
I’m going to be honest, Julia was a hard character to like. She was always correcting someone when they used the wrong word, or pronounced something the wrong way. She was kind of uppity and judgmental. But she could also be nice and was willing to try new things (when Jason could convince her). Jason was also not a clear winner, as far as personalities go. He was a bit of a douchecanoe to Julia (he called her Book Licker for most of the book), and he was kind of pushy and mean. But, he was also protective and funny and even had a sweet side. I did like the fact that they both kind of mellowed out as the book went on. They learned things about themselves and each other and really grew.
There was no doubt where this book was heading (you can figure it out just be reading the book’s blurb, for pete’s sake), but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Once they got thrown together and started annoying each other and pushing each other’s buttons, it was quite amusing. There were several chuckle-out-loud moments; the two of them had lots of fun with verbal sparring. There were even a few swoon-worthy moments. The writing was fun and real, with a fast pace and no lagging. In fact, I’m surprised that this was Lauren’s first novel. There was also a bit of a twist near the end, so the journey for Julia and Jason wasn’t quite what you might expect.
Beautiful cover. What more can I say?
The sum up: Sweet, funny and romantic. Classic YA for the romance fan....more
Parker’s mom realizes she’s gay and leaves her family to move in with another woman. Parker’s religious and intolerant town turns their back on the enParker’s mom realizes she’s gay and leaves her family to move in with another woman. Parker’s religious and intolerant town turns their back on the entire family. Parker’s brother turns to drugs to cope, her dad turns to denial, and Parker decides to turn into the town slut.
The characters were hard for me to really get into. The book jumped right into the present day, so we didn’t get to know Parker before she lost weight and turned into a tramp, or her brother before he became a stoner waste-case, or her father before he checked out. It was hard to feel for the characters and what they were going through because we didn’t care for them beforehand. Parker was silly, with her talk of being a slut and “hooking up” and “being with” guys when all she did was kiss them. Big deal, so you kissed a few guys. I think that’s pretty natural for teenagers. Then again, she was a product of her extremely narrow-minded church, so maybe that’s what made the kissing seem so nefarious to her and her friends.
Speaking of her friends, I loved Drew, the 1 person who stuck by her after everyone else ditched her for being the daughter of a lesbian. He was kind and sweet and she was lucky to have him. Coach Hoffman was an… interesting character. He was older, and on the faculty at her school, but I thought he and Parker had great chemistry. He kept on about her age and whatnot, but it didn’t seem to bother him as much as he kept insisting. Parker’s father made me so mad, he was in such a state of denial about the town, Parker and her brother. His solution to everything was “Let’s pray about it.” I think we only saw her brother maybe 3 or 4 times, and he was high every one of those times, so I never got a read on him.
The dialogue was pretty normal stuff, aside from all the “You’re going to hell because your mom’s a lesbian” crap. There were some funny bits and a few witty comebacks, but I was surprised at the tameness of it all. There was a lot of talk about church and religion, it was a central theme in the novel, but I never felt like anything was being pushed down my throat. There was some sex talk, and a few detailed sexual situations, but nothing I would call graphic, or too much for the average teenager.
I wish I hadn’t gone into Stealing Parker expecting something as great as Catching Jordan. But I did, and I was disappointed. It didn’t suck me in or make me care about the characters like I did with Catching Jordan. Maybe I shouldn’t be comparing the two, but I can’t help it.
The cover is cute and simple. I love it.
The sum up: Stealing Parker is a light story that tries to deliver a deeper message, but doesn’t have the heart to back it up....more
Gemma is practically a fish, spending all of her time in the water, including taking evening swims alone in the bay. During one of these swims, GemmaGemma is practically a fish, spending all of her time in the water, including taking evening swims alone in the bay. During one of these swims, Gemma joins the 3 out-of-town mysterious-but-kind-of-creepy beauties who are partying on the beach. She drinks the ‘koolaid’ and wakes up different. Suddenly, she swims way better, looks more beautiful and even finds an occasional scale on her body.
Now, you and I know where this is going, but I was kind of surprised at how slow Gemma was to come up with any possible conclusion. Even with the other signs that I won’t mention here for spoilery reasons, I almost found it comical that she couldn’t figure some things out.
I really liked the characterization in Wake. The sisters reminded me of several other sister duos I know; the older one is overprotective of the younger one and the younger one hates it. Harper takes her job a little too seriously though, thanks to an ill mom who can’t do the mothering herself. Though we didn’t spend a lot of time with Brian, I liked him. He was a great dad, struggling to care for his daughters while avoiding their mom and her situation. I thought his attitude about Gemma was very believable. Their neighbor Alex, who had always been close friends with Harper, was perfect as Gemma’s love interest. There were no love triangles, just straight up crushing. My favorite, though, was Daniel, the local boy who caught Harper’s eye. He was so cute and had a great sense of humor. Penn, the leader of the sirens, was a perfect villain. She was easy to hate, with her snobbiness and flippant attitude for humans, but every once in a while, she would say something nice or seem to understand Gemma’s plight.
I think my favorite part was the siren lore, when we learned how they came to be and why they needed Gemma. I don’t know if that was standard siren mythology, or something new Amanda Hocking made up for the book, but I enjoyed it. There was a twist or two that I didn’t expect, which was nice. There were a few questions that remained unanswered, which is annoying. But, they will keep me eagerly waiting for the next book in the series.
I’m a fan of this cover. It really matches the idea of the book, and I like the little island in the background. Though I don’t actually recall a lighthouse in the story…
The sum up: Overall, a very entertaining novel with interesting characters and thorough world-building....more