Well that was a pleasant surprise!! Maybe in the future I should always approach a book with lowered expectations!!! Though not quite 4 stars, I giveWell that was a pleasant surprise!! Maybe in the future I should always approach a book with lowered expectations!!! Though not quite 4 stars, I give this a very solid and well deserved 3.5.
This is the kind of story that doesn't pretend to be something that it isn't. It's got a relatively simple plot, characters that are pretty bog-standard and is written in a style that is minimalist and uncluttered. These may all sound like bad things, but they really aren't, at least not where this book is concerned.
Yes, the plot isn't overly imaginative, but sometimes it's refreshing to read something that you don't have to decipher and pick apart to get at the meat of the story.
I said the characters were unoriginal, but that doesn't mean they are the kind of bland, two dimensional caricatures devoid of human emotion and the ability to speak without moaning and/or mumbling, you would expect to find in a book like this one. They may follow similar patterns, the seemingly shy and quite girl who's actually a lot tougher than she appears, the best friend who has rather strange personal tastes, this one being obsessed with all things British and dressing as if she had emerged from a period drams. And of course there were the incredibly cute boys vying for the fair ladies' affections, one wholesome and good, the other a bad boy a little rough round the edges. Sounds familiar doesn't it? but there wasn't one point while I read this that I got bored, or found the characters tiresome and dull.
The author managed to take well worn themes and personalities and completely make them her own. And best of all? NO FREAKING LOVE TRIANGLE!!!! Oh happy days. I kept expecting one to crawl out of the wood work, but nothing. Not even a hint. The long suffering male best friend remained just that, a friend. This in itself makes this worth reading!!
I also mentioned the simplistic narrative style, but that's not quite right. While the author doesn't weigh us down with heavy metaphors, she still has the ability to write with flair, even more so because she doesn't assault the senses with reams and reams of needless waffle. Her writing is lyrical enough, but also to the point and is the sort of writing I can really sink into.
So what if this is basically Tithe with a smile? Humour is good, and in most cases for me, can mean the difference between an ok book, and a great book. Stolen Away is fun and highly entertaining with maybe a little fluff poking out here and there. Disengage brain to enjoy to the fullest!! ...more
Ummm...so I finished this a while ago and couldn't find the time/be bothered to write a review until now. Unfortunately in that time I have almost comUmmm...so I finished this a while ago and couldn't find the time/be bothered to write a review until now. Unfortunately in that time I have almost completely forgotten everything about it. All I remember is a vague sense of disappointment, perhaps because once again a steampunk novel promising so much failed to live up to my hopes. Don't ask me exactly why, because I have no idea. Any opinions I had have been lost to the great void that is my brain, but that doesn't really bode well. Now my memory is pretty appalling, but I usually retain some lasting impressions, enough to write a reasonable sized review. Not this time. I know there were lots of things that bugged me, but even those niggles haven't stuck around long enough for me to write any of them down. So I guess all I can say about this book is...meh....more
This is probably going to be one of the hardest reviews I am ever going to write. I will likely spend hours trying to do the book even one iota of jusThis is probably going to be one of the hardest reviews I am ever going to write. I will likely spend hours trying to do the book even one iota of justice, but I will inevitably fail. It's not necessarily to do with my ineptitude with the English language (although it is shoddy at best), it's more that my skills at turning feelings into words suck the proverbial balls!! A book can make me feel something so profoundly and yet when I try to explain to someone how I felt, I end up regurgitating the classic response, 'it's hard to explain', whilst my head explodes with frustration. In fact someone asked me today if the book was sad. After a few moments of pondering, I came up with the immortal line, 'it's devastating, but not sad'...WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!! And therein lies the problem. So I will do the best I can.
The strength of any contemporary novel lies in the believability of it's characters. With fantasy, you can cover up a flimsy cast with an epic and all engrossing story of dragons and quests etc. With a crime novel there's always a murder to solve. But there are stories like this one, that are just about the people, and the stuff that effects people. Real people. But if the people in these stories aren't true representations, then the whole thing falls to pieces. It's easier to empathise with extraordinary situations because they've never happened before and they are never going to happen, but when there are people out there who can tell you what these things really feel like, then it becomes harder to imagine them yourself. Luckily, John Green seems to have an uncanny ability to make observations about people, that seem so obvious when you see them written down, but are things you've never noticed before. Then there's the way he writes them. It's effortless, as this stuff just pours out of his every orifice and he just puts a piece of paper underneath to catch it all, and it becomes a story. It's kind of unfair really, the way he can make you understand something with just a few words.
I'm not going into detail about plot and whatever, I leave that for you to discover. What I will say is that it's one of those books that changes your outlook on life. Probably not forever, maybe not even for a month or a week, but I guarantee that for a least a couple of days, you look at the world a little differently.
So, yeah. I guess it's fair to say I loved it....more
I am going to have to give Dystopia a break. I've been saying they're getting same-y for a while now, but it's getThat's technically a 3.5 out of 5!!!
I am going to have to give Dystopia a break. I've been saying they're getting same-y for a while now, but it's getting worse. I think this would have been a pretty decent read if I haven't gotten to the point where I can sniff out plot points a mile off. In a time when Dyostopia is the new 'big thing' if you can't make a story original, you have to do something else to make your story stand out. There was just about enough of that in this one for me.
Good points were the characters. The heroin started out a bit naive and irritating but luckily grew out of that pretty quickly and the male lead had just the right mix of gruffness and sensitivity to make him likeable. The problem was that you knew they were going to end up together. Which just takes all the fun out of it and is a real flaw in these teen novels, the romance very often becomes the main story. I like a bit of romance, but I want it to be an added bonus not the entire plot!!
The story was ok, but not overly adventurous. There's the people living in relative safety and comfort on the inside, in Pods and the 'savages' that inhabit the wild of the outside. Girl from inside meets boy from the outside and inevitably sparks fly as they try to right wrongs and overthrow evil. I enjoyed a couple of the details, though I won't go into them for risk of giving away spoilers.
I'm sure there were a couple of bad points but unfortunately I have forgotten as this one has already joined the large collective of dystopian fiction that is swilling around in my head. After a while they just start to become the same book. I think the bad bits were only me being fussy anyway.
Suffice it to say there was enough to keep my interest and the author writes with a fair amount of skill, but it follows the same patterns as pretty much of the future set novels that have come before it. I blame the vast amount of Dystopian fiction for this not getting 4 out of 5....more
Hmmm, where to start? What I will say is that if you are Dee Shulman, look away now. I am doing this for your own good. And apologies, this is going to be long. I will do my best to avoid spoilers (though it'll be difficult as there are a lot of specific bits that I really want to moan about!!!)
I really did try to find some positives, as I don't like giving a completely negative review. It's not really fair or constructive, but it was difficult. The only thing I could find, was that the author can put a sentence together well, and technically speaking, her writing is pretty, well, readable. The problem that I had then, was with what the words were saying.
So lets start with her characters. I don't think I have ever instantly disliked a character as much as I did Eva. She's just too perfect. It's never really spelt out for us, as Eva's storyline is written in first person perspective, and being so humble and self-deprecating (which gets really annoying!!!) she never says 'I'm stupidly intelligent', but when we discover she can hack into computers at the age of 8, it's kind of implied.
Then once she hits her teens, she suddenly becomes some kind of radiant goddess that boys can't seem to resist, which girls hate her for.
So far she has brains and beauty. What are we missing?...oh yes, talent. She can play guitar and sing!! There we go, the perfect package. To be fair to the author, she did try to balance Eva out by giving her family/friend issues, but by that point my dislike was so firmly cemented, I just couldn't bring myself to sympathise or care and I just wished she'd stop whining and get over it. You can't have everything.
Her family doesn't understand her, which she often reminds us of, and she has no friends because she can't let anyone know her secret super-duper brain powers. All the boys want to date her because she is so beautiful and all the girls loath her because they are riddled with jealousy!!
Later on though, she meets Ruby who becomes her first friend. But when they fall big style (not Eva's fault of course, and yes, that was sarcasm) she becomes a stereotypical jealous, teenage villain, calling Eva lots of nasty names very publically. But don't worry, Eva's not alone, and the friends she doesn't even realise she has come to her rescue in the most cheesy fashion you could imagine. Yay.
A lot of my criticisms are probably just me being a bitch though, as I find people like Eva extremely hard to relate to and empathize with. It didn't help much that wasn't particularly believable either. It soon becomes obvious to all that she's a brain-box, gorgeous and a mean musician, but it's the fact that she's so modest about it to the point of denial, that irritates me so much! How can she not know that she's stupidly attractive, when every guy who takes one look at her instantly seems to throw themselves at her feet, or how intelligent she is by the fact she gets accepted into the Boffin Institute (actual name St. Magdalene's)? It all comes across, to me, as a bit false. Just a little self acknowledgement of her many gifts, and some simple honesty would have made me like her more.
Then there's Seth, the male lead. A gladiator. He's strong, agile, quick and has this uncanny ability to pre-empt an opponent's next move before even they do (facts that we are reminded of constantly). Basically the perfect fighter. Then there's the fact that the poor dear, has to be beautiful and ooze charm that seems to draw in the opposite sex like a magnet. It's a hard life. But like with Eva, the author has tried to balance him out with being a slave and lacking in the freedom department. I actually found that I liked him to start with, but then his love interest, Livia, appears and he becomes a bit of a simpering romantic obsessed with love and the need to be with this girl he barely knows. I'm afraid I lost all respect for him. Again, this is probably just be my own personal failings when it comes to matters of the heart, but it started to get a little cheesy.
So within a few chapters, I was already finding this book a bit of a struggle, as I wasn't really invested in the characters. But I will say, which can be viewed as the second positive, is that though I personally didn't get on with her characters, the author has admirable character building skills, as through the course of the book, you really get to know them inside and out.
You may at this point, be wondering why I continued reading. The answer is the plot, as I was interested in finding out how she was going combine the two very different story lines together. The book makes it clear that time travel is involved, but it takes a while for that particular plot point to develop as there is a lot of initial back-story to wade through. Unfortunately, I was to be disappointed as the whole thing becomes a little silly.
We are introduced to the concept of Parallon, an alternate dimension (I think) that exists outside of time...and that's about all we get. There is very little explanation as to what it is, why it's there or even where it got it's name and although there's a character in Parallon who seems like he might have the answers, he is too irritatingly evasive and vague to be of any use.
It is from this point Eva and Seth finally meet, and it all seems a bit patched together, erring on the side of random. A series of events that don't really fit together or flow, leaving the whole thing disjointed. Towards the end of the book, I waited for a climax to the plot and maybe a few answers to some of the many mysteries hinted at, as, though this seems to be the start of a series, usually there is some sort of sense closure and of wrapping up. However, as there was no real focus to the story, this was absent. Instead we got some technical jargon about the fever for which the book is named, and although high-lights the research the author must have done, was detailed to the point of being boring and I'm afraid I began to skip chunks.
Then we finish on a scene that was missing from the earlier narrative, and should have been the grand finale, in which we discover the key details of a pinnacle event that occurred previously and that links, Seth, Eva and Livia together (badly and tenuously). Yet alas, by this point, I had lost all interest and just wanted to finish the book.
So, in conclusion, not good. Characters that are hard to like and unrealistic. A plot with too many holes and (deep breath) missing explanations that leaves the whole thing feeling like lots of random ideas just thrown at each with no real effort to linking them together, and too many mysteries that are left unresolved and therefore make no sense.
A lot of this (as I always say in my reviews) is of course personal preference so I won't tell you not to read it, as you may miss out on a book that you may in fact, like.
My goodness, that's the longest review EVER. If you made it this far, I commend, congratulate and thank you. You are super....more
A foray into an unknown genre, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It has all the pace and drama of any Bond movie and a bad assA foray into an unknown genre, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It has all the pace and drama of any Bond movie and a bad ass female assassin that, though she kills quite a few people, you can't help but like. What helps is that she isn't just another gun-for-hire out to make a quick buck, and it's not a case of petty revenge. She wants justice, no matter what lengths she must go or who she has to hurt in the process, and though it can seem quite harsh, when her motives are revealed, she becomes that bit more human.
You also can't help but feel sorry for our poor hero, Perry, who gets dragged into this crazy, action-packed and reasonably violent situation face first. Though Perry's journey is quite traumatic, there is an element of self discovery and growth, a lot of that thanks to Ninja-girl Gobi, who is able to make him realise the truth to his situation, mainly in regards to his controlling father...whilst holding a gun to his head
So it's a little cliched and the plot isn't completely origianl, it still has everything you'd want from a action thriller, as well as a real human element that, all in all, makes this a pretty good read!!!! ...more
What an intriguing concept. I have to admit, being a bit thick, it did take me a while to get the hang of the whole 'remembers the future' but forgetsWhat an intriguing concept. I have to admit, being a bit thick, it did take me a while to get the hang of the whole 'remembers the future' but forgets the past thing...but like I said that's because I'm a dumbass!!!! Like for ages I couldn't figure out how she knew who her mother was every morning, then like a genius figured out it was because she could remember her from the future!!! Duh!!!!
The thing that got me was how I would feel if I woke up every morning and couldn't remember what happened the day before, or the day before that. Unlike London, I would most likely curl up in a ball and moan at the unfairness of it all, how if I had just had the most perfect day ever, my mind would be wiped clean and I would lose it all. The character in the book writes notes to herself, which I'm guessing helps, but you can't write down every thought and feeling that you have. You'd be there all day. Plus having to read all those notes when you get up every single morning, would be so much effort. But on the plus side I guess there are things that you could experience for the first time over and over again, like re-reading that book that you love >.<
Then there's the fact that London can see glimpse's of the future and not just her own. I can't imagine seeing what will happen to a friend, particularly if it's really bad, but not being able to tell them. It would be so frustrating.
This was a really engaging read that didn't overwhelm you with crazy action or try to make anything to complicated. The events that happen were very real, things that occur everyday, but with the added element of the main characters 'condition' transformed them into something new, as most of the issues London has to deal with are things that haven't happened yet. I would have perhaps liked to explore her condition more. There are mentions of why she can't remember her past, but nothing is really solidly explained, but that's my only issue...well, there was a bit where her fella is describing why she loves her...which was a bit mushy. But that's it really. ...more
Not a lot to say on this one really. Pretty average plot with not a lot of excitement and not one iota of originality. That's not to say it was awfulNot a lot to say on this one really. Pretty average plot with not a lot of excitement and not one iota of originality. That's not to say it was awful as such, just dull. So I've given up. I think I gave it a fair enough go though!!!
Because I am one lazy old so and so, I am just going to shamelessly paste a link to my video review found on youtube... http://youtu.be/KSHOVp8TAzc
Ok, not going to be the longest review, but that's only because my brain is all mushed up at the moment.
This is a wonderfully quaint re-telling of TheOk, not going to be the longest review, but that's only because my brain is all mushed up at the moment.
This is a wonderfully quaint re-telling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, with all the bits and trimmings, all present and correct, and although the plot itself holds nothing new or particularly original, the strength of this version of the classic fairytale lies in it's characters.
Each princess comes equipped with their own varying personalities, ranging from the shy and retiring Clover, to the mischievous and loud Bramble. Even the younger ones have a certain charm, and that's coming from someone who doesn't really like children!!! Don't get me wrong, they could be irritating and whiny, but never to point where I felt like kicking them in the shin. Heather Dixon captured their childish innocence perfectly.
Azalea makes a very likeable and convincing heroine, taking on the roles of mother, sister and protector with gusto. Her humility and humbleness made her instantly relateable and her bravery in the face of danger made me want to cheer her on!!!!
'Entwined' was certainly one of the better fairytale imaginings that I have encountered, if not one of the best.
(hmmm...perhaps my brain is not quite as mushy as I thought!!!)
Ok, I give up, I'm never gonna finish this because I just don't like it. It's confusing, I'm not overly fond of any of the characters and I found theOk, I give up, I'm never gonna finish this because I just don't like it. It's confusing, I'm not overly fond of any of the characters and I found the style of narration irritating. Either talk normally or stylised, don't keep flicking between the two.
I may go into more detail when I can be bothered....more
*headdesk* Why oh why do I do this to myself? I knew about halfway through that this was going to be one of those books that I was going to regret rea*headdesk* Why oh why do I do this to myself? I knew about halfway through that this was going to be one of those books that I was going to regret reading, but did I stop reading? Nope! That's because I still have this ridiculous need to reach the end of a book in the vain hopes that the story will get better, the characters will be less annoying, that it will stop being so gosh darned feeble and tedious. BUT THEY NEVER DO!!!
To be fair this book started out ok. It was never going to be amazing, or knock my socks off, but it held a certain amount of promise. I was intrigued by the Steampunk/faerie mix, two genres I enjoy and hoped would work well together. And they did for a while. Then all the other stuff started getting in the way.
The plot was nothing special. Headstrong girl unwilling to conform to social standards gets in trouble. She gets sent to an institution full of stereotypes, from the mean girls out to get anyone they see as a threat to the evil teachers deluded into thinking their way is what's best for everyone when in fact they're just plain psychotic. There was even a pervy doctor for crying out loud. This cast of completely unoriginal characters then do their up most to quash all of the things that make the girl 'special'.
Then we have the faery element. A sacrifice of a girl possessing a 'special' quality so that they can lavish her with wonders and trinkets, make her feel like a princess then kill her to restore the balance of the world. Guess who the lucky girl is. The rest of the book is spent twatting about not actually telling a story. Rather it turns into the Kevighn-Noli-Steven show, the plot taking the back seat to the inevitable love-triangle. Oh goody.
That being said, the plot might not have been too bad, if it hadn't kept being so over the top and forced. The author just seemed to be trying too hard to shock, rather than taking the time to build an atmosphere or explore a situation.
And the characters!!! Utterly generic. The main character had promise, but by the end she had turned into one of the simpering ninnies she was trying so desperately to avoid. The last third of the book she spends hurt, upset or crying. Most of the time all three. What happened to the strong girl who liked to fix machines and didn't want to end up a mindless drone? Enter the love interests. As soon as the males vying for her affections had been identified, it all went tits up. There was endless prattling on about out which one was better, which one should she choose, which one was the least dickish. Even when she made her choice, 100% and completely decided which one she wanted, she still faffed about, even though she declared that she had made up her mind. A. Nnoy. ING. I don't give a rats ass who, just PICK ONE GODDAMMIT!!!! The worst part is it's a split narrative, meaning we have to hear from the boys point of view, which included hearing about how amazing she is, how much they want her, how much they want to protect her, blah, blah, blah.
By the end of the book the girl has absolutely no spine left whatsoever and is more than happy to let one of her boys shower her with affection one moment, then push her away to next (most of the time literally). Then she lets him do it, all over again. Now, she says she will ignore him, that after trying to tell him how she felt and getting it thrown back in her face, she won't let him toy with her emotions anymore. Literally two sentences later she's letting him pull her into his lap for a hug. But it's ok, she doesn't help him pull her into his lap, she makes him do all the work. Thatta girl. You stand firm!!! Oh yeah and then she starts crying. What a shock.
Her characters are also all stupid. For the sake of the story, there are things they don't think of or miss, so it can be revealed as a big plot twist later on, but they are so glaringly obvious they just come across as feckless idiots. How many times did they repeat, 'be careful when making deals with the fae'? but they missed out one of the most important terms of their bargain, even though they apparently went over all the points in theirs heads over and over. They still missed it. How stupid can you get? There was also a lot of fobbing off in the narrative. A lot of cliches thrown in, a botch job at covering up the holes in the plot, so the author didn't have to try to explain inconsistencies. Some examples were lines like, 'I was trying to protect you' and, dammit I can't remember any more. That's how quickly my brain wants to be rid of this book.
There is also the fact that the ending just kind of fizzles out. A solution is reached in rather lack lustre fashion, again with more stupidity on the part of the characters, the lead in particular, but it just carries on...and gets really stupid. Plus, for some reason, the author refused to stop writing about a character when his part in the plot was over long before the ending. The only reason he remained was most likely to retain the 'excitement and drama' of the love triangle. As it had already failed to begin with, there was absolutely no need to follow the continued escapades of the man who lost. Especially when he just ended up in a brothel.
Then it turned into a seedy porn fest. Nothing up to 'Fifty Shades' standards, but it was just unnecessary and cringe-worthy. Not all females want or need soft porn in their books to enjoy them. I did NOT need an chapterly update of the goings on in the main characters nether regions.
The overuse of the word 'dollymop' made me want to hit things.
Oh heck, there's more, but that goes against my non spoiler giving principles. Heaven forbid I ruin it for you just in case you still decide to pick this up.
Suffice it to say I shall not be reading the further adventures of Noli the insipid.
I have read many attempts at retelling the classic fairytales. Some are OK, but the authors fail to make the story their own. Others are just plain awI have read many attempts at retelling the classic fairytales. Some are OK, but the authors fail to make the story their own. Others are just plain awful. But when I first came across 'Cinder' I had a feeling I had found something truly special and after the first few pages, I discovered that I was right, which is a first.
With a cyborg Cinderella with an artificial foot, Meyer has taken the centuries old folk tale and given it a completely original and wonderfully futuristic twist. She has managed to blend the old and the new together seamlessly, as if this were the true story of Cinderella as it was meant to be told. She has kept all the key elements in place, right down to the 'pumpkin' carriage and evil step-mother, yet fitted them in to her own story, made them work for her in her own brand spanking new a glorious vision of the future!!!! The world she has envisioned is a marvel to behold, her characters richly detailed and brought to life.
It really is quite marvellous, and I am completely jealous of what Marrisa Meyer has created, but am also eagerly awaiting, not to mention impatient, for the next installment, which I have a horrible feeling I am going to have to wait ages for!!!! Curses!!!!! If it as all possible, I would beseech her publishers to hurry up and release the next one asap because I CAN'T WAIT ANOTHER YEAR!!!!!! >.<...more