Friendships. Romance. Mystery. I’ve been a fan of historical romance for a long time now, especially Regency era romance. But everything IMy Thoughts:
Friendships. Romance. Mystery. I’ve been a fan of historical romance for a long time now, especially Regency era romance. But everything I’ve read up until now has been written for adults. So, it was interesting to read this particular book as the author had specifically written it for the young adult audience as kind of an introduction into historical romance. Even though the plot was a bit simplistic, I think the author managed to pull this off nicely, allowing this book to be a good first read for any teenager interested in checking out the genre.
I believe the best thing I loved about this book was the interactions between the main character, Lady Alexandra, and everyone in her immediate circle. Her two closest friends, Vivi and Ella, were charming and witty and fleshed out enough for the reader to get a real sense of their values and morals and how they interacted and influenced Alex throughout the book. There was a strong bond between the three that was felt throughout the book and I was very pleased to see it.
Also, Alex’s interactions with her brothers was fantastically done, although I would have actually loved to have seen even more. She held her own with the three of them regardless of how they were teasing her or giving her a hard time. And there was real affection there between her and the three men that was wonderful to see where sibling characters are concerned.
And of course, there was her interactions with the main hero of the story, Gavin, Earl of Blackmoor. From the beginning, the author painted these two as close, but more in a brother/sister kind of way that blossomed into something that was definitely not brotherly/sisterly. There was the conflict of whether either of them should have feelings for the other, then the uncertainty of what exactly they were feeling, and finally the realization that it was indeed proper and actually very welcome for both of them. Alex’s conversations with Gavin were sometimes funny, sometimes upsetting, but there was always that underlying strength of friendship that helped each of them get through the various uncertainties and upsets between them.
So, character interactions and development were brilliant in this story and that is something I was relieved to see as I’m always a huge proponent for this ingredient. The author also did an excellent job in weaving in what it was like for a young lady of Regency London to go through her First Season, her debut into society, so to speak. And I liked how the author touched on how women were viewed during that timeframe and how her various characters struggled with what was expected of them versus what they truly felt and believed.
The only thing that I felt was weak in this story was the overall plot. Sometimes that happens in romances, though, and everything else made up for its weakness. Basically, the mystery was solvable from almost the very beginning. There was one twist however that I actually didn’t have right and was pleasantly surprised at the end. But, the villain was obvious and his reasons for wrongdoing were rather petty and unimaginative.
Overall, I found this to be an excellent introduction for younger readers into the world of historical romances. It combined solid knowledge of the timeframe with wonderful and relatable characters that I think younger readers can identify with. I just wish the plot itself could have been a little stronger, but I still think the book is well worth the read, especially for those that have not tried out this genre yet.
*Note: This author has written numerous adult historical romances, several of which I’ve read and enjoyed. So if you’re looking for something in this genre that’s written more for an older audience, then check out her other books. :) ...more
Melancholy and disconnected. The disappearance of a child is always unsettling and this book touches on this sort of tragic event in a uniMy Thoughts:
Melancholy and disconnected. The disappearance of a child is always unsettling and this book touches on this sort of tragic event in a unique way. The author decided to tell the story from the perspective of the child that disappeared. And to hear such a horrific, tragic event from a fourteen-year-old girl’s perspective can be quite haunting and a bit surreal.
Very early on, it’s revealed in rather disturbing detail what exactly happened to Susie Salmon the night she disappeared. The reader is immediately acquainted with her attacker/murderer, so there is no mystery as to who could have taken this girl’s life. As Susie tells her story, she’s watching up from her version of heaven as events unfold for her family and friends. She keeps an eye on her murderer as well, but is helpless to point anyone in his general direction.
As much as I wanted to love this book, at most I can only say that I have lukewarm feelings. It was a better than okay read for me, but it was not a great read. I recognize that the writing style is meant to be a bit chaotic and disjointed as it’s coming from a young girl’s perspective and this young girl is bouncing around from one scene to another as she tries to watch all of her friends and family as well as tell her story. But it was this writing style that left me feeling too disconnected from Susie and the other characters to the point that the emotions of what was unfolding just weren’t coming through for me.
Watching her family disintegrate as a result to her disappearance was a bit unnerving, but it was very believable. Each person deals with events in their own way and I found that Lindsay (Susie’s sister) and Mr. Salmon (their father) responded the most realistically. The mother, even though it was shared in bits and pieces as to why she was the way she was, behaved the most unnaturally for me and I couldn’t feel any sympathy towards her at all.
The other realistic aspect of this novel that I’m glad the author touched on was the idea that when a child disappears, a body is not always recovered. Susie’s body never was found, only one piece of it, and so there was never a true closure for the family. And even after they and the police realized who the murderer was, closure never came because the police could never catch him and get him to confess. Sadly, this is the case with a lot of disappearances and I couldn’t imagine having to go through life always wondering what exactly had happened to my loved one.
It was interesting that the author chose to portray heaven as a place that is designed specifically for the occupant. Susie had dreamed of attending high school for a long time and so her heaven consisted of the high school she never got to attend as well as other aspects, such as gazebos and architecture and lots of animals that she was fond of. I would have liked to have seen more exploration of her heaven as only a few small tidbits were sprinkled here and there throughout the story and it made me curious to know more.
The ending left me feeling a bit blah. Things were wrapped up too quickly and scenes flashed by in the last few chapters where as the rest of the book almost dragged. The balance was a bit off for me and the way the ending wrapped up was a bit unrealistic to me as well. I don’t want to spoil this, but it has to do with the mother and the rest of the family. If you’ve read this, you probably know what I’m referring to. If not and you plan to, you’ll understand.
Overall, this was a good book that could have been great but just didn’t quite make it to that level for me. I don’t regret reading it and if it’s a book you’ve had on your list for a while to read, I would recommend it. Perhaps it will connect for you in ways it just couldn’t connect for me. ...more
This book is just full of pure awesome! I loved that the author went a completely different direction in describing her vampires and how very oppositeThis book is just full of pure awesome! I loved that the author went a completely different direction in describing her vampires and how very opposite they are of what mainstream media has portrayed them to be. Nina was the perfect narrator for this story and I loved the interactions she had with the extremely eclectic group of vampires she was a part of. I also loved that she still lived at home with her mother, having been turned at the age of 15, and how her mother accepted what had happened to her and stuck by her through the decades.
Everything about this novel was unique and intriguing, keeping me turning the pages to find out how things were going to flow next. I'm really looking forward to reading more by this author and hope that anyone who has an interest in the paranormal genre will give this book a chance. I really don't think you'll regret it! :)...more
This is the newest installment in The L & L Mysteries and is a little more laid-back, not quite as intense as the first two. It's still an excelleThis is the newest installment in The L & L Mysteries and is a little more laid-back, not quite as intense as the first two. It's still an excellent read, IMHO, and I hope that readers will enjoy what Leyla and Lucien get involved in this time!...more
I know I'm the author of this book but I've read it a couple of times since it's publication and have loved it every time! The interactions between LeI know I'm the author of this book but I've read it a couple of times since it's publication and have loved it every time! The interactions between Leyla Richards and Lucien Vintera, the main characters, are great and the situations they get into are sometimes dangerous and sometimes humorous. This is the first book in the mystery series that takes place in the fictitious country of Ansalucia and is written from both characters perspectives. I hope that those of you who read this book enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Happy reading!...more
In this sequel to the awesome Deadly Cool (check out my review), Hartley is now a member of the Herbert Hoover High school newspaper, theMy Thoughts:
In this sequel to the awesome Deadly Cool (check out my review), Hartley is now a member of the Herbert Hoover High school newspaper, the Homepage. When a cheating scandal erupts, she sets out to find out how the answers were stolen in the first place. But, before she can get the scoop from Sydney Sanders, the girl caught cheating, Sydney ends up floating face-down in her own pool, electrocuted while Tweeting. As the suspect list grows, Hartley races to find out who the murderer is before she ends up becoming the next victim.
Hartley's back and as snarky and awesome as ever! I love how she has to stumble her way through an investigation rather than just suddenly knowing how it all fits in and who the bad guy/girl is. And her interactions with the hunky bad boy, Chase Erikson, along the way just add to the humor and awkwardness of the typical teenage life. This murder mystery had several interesting twists along the way and it wasn't until I was about 70% into the book that I started suspecting a certain person of being the actual murderer. I think the author pulled off the who-done-it aspect beautifully and had me changing my guess several times throughout the book. This is definitely a perfect sequel to the already wonderful first book and I can't wait to see what this author comes up with next! One thing I'm hopeful for is much more Hartley and Chase interactions...I absolutely LURVE those two!!...more
Unsettling. Mysterious. Adventure. The title of this novel threw me when I first saw it because I couldn’t imagine it having anything to dMy Thoughts:
Unsettling. Mysterious. Adventure. The title of this novel threw me when I first saw it because I couldn’t imagine it having anything to do with Jack the Ripper. After reading this, I’ve discovered that the title was absolutely appropriate. Much like any other person, I knew about Jack the Ripper but didn’t really know details. So, I was pleased with how well the author wove in facts and accounts from the original Ripper case to give the reader a fresh look at a very old, yet still wildly infamous figure from history.
Rory Deveaux was an excellent heroine for this story. She was smart, but not flawlessly so, and she was adventurous, but not recklessly so. From her arrival in London to her getting adjusted to boarding school life to her sudden ability to see ghosts, she handles most everything with the right mix of caution, enthusiasm, and wit that made me identify with her very well. And I loved the little tidbits of her hometown that were sprinkled throughout which helped her to relate to the various events and occurrences that were taking place around her.
The mystery was an intriguing one that had me wondering just who or what was committing all of the Jack the Ripper-like murders. And even after I figured that out, I was still left to wonder what the motive was behind the murders. It actually turned out to be a surprisingly unique motive that I thought fit very well with the overall story.
The setting was of course in East London. And I feel the author did an excellent job describing the city as well as explaining the locations of each of the Ripper’s victims, both from 1888 and from the present. There were also neat tidbits about the Underground that ended up playing a key part in this story.
As for the romance, it didn’t really do anything for me and didn’t enhance the story any. It probably could have been left out completely. The only thing it did establish was that it showed Rory in the light of a typical teenage girl who has a crush and goes through the motions of carrying on a ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ kind of relationship. It wasn’t one of those ‘oh I’ll die if we’re ever parted’ kind of romances, thank god. And I can see where the author has left a possibility of a much more meaningful romance to develop later on in the series between Rory and a different character. But, for now, the romance was just a typical, mediocre teen thing. Which, I guess, is way more realistic than some of the romance that happens in other YA books. Point is, the romance took a backseat to everything else in the story and I found that to be a good thing.
Overall, this was a great beginning to what I’m hoping will be an interestingly unique addition to the YA paranormal/mystery genre. I really enjoyed the complete story from start to finish and look forward to reading more in this series! Definitely recommend it for anyone who likes YA mysteries and YA paranormal or for anyone that is intrigued by the Jack the Ripper phenomenon and want to learn more about. ...more
After years of frightening nightmares, uncontrollable hallucinations, and anti-social behavior, Faye Robson finds herself being admitted to HolbrPlot:
After years of frightening nightmares, uncontrollable hallucinations, and anti-social behavior, Faye Robson finds herself being admitted to Holbrook Academy against her will. Feeling abandoned and completely alone, she discovers quickly that Holbrook is more a prison than a school for troubled teens. Unable to escape, Faye slowly accepts her place within her new Family - five other teenagers with varying mental and physical problems.
Then something strange occurs: Faye and her Family wake up with their hands stained red and strange drawings on the floor in the same red color. Instead of remaining closed off and distant from one another, the Family begins to pull tightly together, determined to unravel the mystery that they seem to be at the center of. But as revelations are made, Faye becomes desperate to hold onto her secrets and is shocked by what she soon discovers.
Faye Robson seems like a typical, troubled teen dealing with insecurities that are compounded by horrible nightmares and strange hallucinations. She doesn't think she's crazy and just wants to be left alone, having accepted the fact that she's different and will never fit in with the rest of Society. But as she interacts more with her assigned Family, she begins to find a confidence in herself that brings forth a determination to unravel the mystery that she's trapped in.
Faye's world is one of global destruction. Oil and food shortages plague all the continents, riots and hopelessness reign in the once-great cities, and Cooperatives have developed to maintain some semblance of normalcy and civility. In the midst of all this chaos is Holbrook Academy, portraying a facade of discipline and control that has slipped from the rest of the world. But something sinister lurks beneath this facade that is maintained with ample doses of drugs and stringent forms of punishment, giving an air of desperation and urgency to the entire story.
When I first read the synopsis for this book, I was really excited and impatiently waiting for its release date. Unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed. The book started out slow and, quite frankly, weird. Then, from about Chapter 6 through Chapter 24, things were much more interesting from the interactions between Faye and her Family (Kel especially) to her attempts to unravel the mystery. But even these chapters were underdeveloped in some places and just plain strange in others. Then from Chapter 25 until the end, things just got really weird again. And when I say weird, I don't mean that in a good way. I've read plenty of psychological thrillers and have enjoyed them. But, this book just went beyond psychological to just plain, um, weird. I know, that's not very helpful, but I'm having a hard time trying to come up with a way to actually explain the weirdness and am not having any luck. Unfortunately, the overall weirdness really affected my ability to enjoy what might have been a really good book. I hate to give this book such a low rating since the writing itself was good and I did like Faye and Kel (in the non-weird moments anyway), but it just isn't in me to give it more than 2 stars. ...more
When Hartley Featherstone discovers that her boyfriend, Josh, has been cheating on her with the president of the Chastity Club, she's angry and dPlot:
When Hartley Featherstone discovers that her boyfriend, Josh, has been cheating on her with the president of the Chastity Club, she's angry and devastated. But, those feelings get quickly pushed to the side when she shows up at Josh's house to confront him, only to find the girl he's been cheating with dead in his closet and him nowhere to be found. Even though she's angry with him, Hartley's convinced that Josh had nothing to do with actually murdering someone, so she begins to investigate in order to try and clear his name. She enlists the aid of her best friend, Sam, and the high school Bad Boy, Chase, to find out who the real killer is. But as she gets closer to uncovering the truth, it may just be her who's on the killer's list next.
Hartley is a lead character that almost anyone can identify with. She's smart, resourceful, and refreshingly normal. And I love her wit and sarcasm! There were a ton of lines in this book that had me laughing or grinning, most of them from Hartley. I admire her determination to clear her boyfriend's - er, ex-boyfriend's - name even though she could have just been a vengeful witch and let him rot in jail for something he may or may not have committed. I'm sure some might compare her to a modern-day Nancy Drew (and don't get me wrong; I grew up with Nancy Drew...absolutely loved her). But, I believe Hartley has a lot more depth and realism than Nancy ever did, which makes her such an enjoyable character to follow and get to know.
Chase Erikson is the high school bad boy. But, as Hartley comes to learn, there's is so much more to him than his outward appearance. He's intelligent, thoughtful, and let's not forget...incredibly hot! Such a wonderful combination in a male lead. Although there were several scenes with Chase (one particular scene in his bedroom that was especially enticing...those of you who have read this will know which scene I'm talking about...*fanning myself), I just couldn't get enough of him. So, I'm hoping that the next book will have much more Chase!
The world is typical suburban high school drama. But, it gets a little more intense as Hartley keeps stumbling onto dead bodies. Even with murder going on, the book never loses it's feel of realism, everything from homework and class assignments to Hartley and Sam begging Sam's brother for the use of his vegetable oil burning car because they don't want to take the bus. I liked that the author didn't lose sight of these seemingly normal every day occurrences because those reinforced the idea that Hartley herself was a typical every day teenager thrown into an atypical situation.
I absolutely loved this book! Hartley is an amazing character and Gemma Halliday's writing is smooth and witty. The author weaves a story that could have been very heavy and intense to read due to the subject matter and the dilemmas teens face with peer pressure and the whole abstinence issue. Instead, the story is more light and witty while still getting important messages across. For anyone that likes a good murder mystery with plenty of wit thrown in, this is definitely a book worth reading! The next book, Social Suicide, releases on April 24, 2012, and I, for one, will definitely be escaping into it as soon as I can get my hands on it! ...more