Before I get into my review, I want to be upfront: I hate the original R&J. I hated suffering through it in high school English classes (because r...moreBefore I get into my review, I want to be upfront: I hate the original R&J. I hated suffering through it in high school English classes (because reading it once wasn't enough, I got to read it all three years), and I hate the everyday references to true love that seem to be synonymous with Romeo and Juliet...like they go together. I get that it was an epic love story, but there are so many other stories out there that demonstrate what I see as real true love. This may or may not color my feelings for Juliet Immortal.
Despite being different than I thought it would be, Juliet Immortal met my expectations in regards to turning Romeo and Juliet's story completely upside down. I initially thought R & J would become some sort of vampire, fey, or another type of immortal, but they were something completely different. I didn't expect that, but I ended up liking it.
There were some flat characters in this book, including the love interest (the other one). I wish I had gotten to see a little more of his personality. We see that Juliet feels for him, and we hear his life story, but he never seems to show any charisma. Juliet herself was interesting enough of a character to have me like and understand her, but it took half the book before I decided I really liked her. I really enjoyed Romeo's character. Stacey Jay captured a kind of arrogance about him that hid his immaturity fairly well. With each move he made in the story, I could see his suffering or anger, and could see the reasons behind why he did what he did. He was definitely the best character in the story; good and bad.
I really got into the book in the second chapter. The way we are introduced to the character and her modern-day self at this time, sucked me into the story. The things that happen and the reasons behind the characters' current places in the world made such a fascinating story that I was up all night reading until I had finished. It is really a unique plot, and Romeo and Juliet was the perfect story to revive with it. It definitely isn't perfect, but whether you love or hate Romeo and Juliet, you'll love the paranormal revamp Stacey Jay gives it. And besides--who can say no to an epic love story turned into an epic hate story? :)
To say I fell for the hype for this book would not be the truth...because the truth is that I created my own hype for this book, long before...more1.5 stars
To say I fell for the hype for this book would not be the truth...because the truth is that I created my own hype for this book, long before I found Karsten's blog and saw how hilariously funny he is, which only added to it. The sad part is that after all my excitement, I didn't like Wildefire. I know, I'm crying too, because that means that what comes next is stuff I hate to type.
It's truth time and if you loved this book, you may not like what I have to say.
Let me start off by saying what I like about Wildefire:
The diversity is fantastic. That line in the description that says "group of gods and goddesses" does not lie. They are a group of gods and goddesses from all over the world, meaning that each person in the group is a different ethnicity. I loved it, and wish there was more of this in other books I read.
The conversation flows nicely, is very funny, and sounds like conversation of real teenagers.
The main character, Ash, is not whiny and swoony. She's sarcastic and headstrong, and knows how to handle herself.
Eve, the evil sister. She is my favorite character, and I love what happened every time she showed up to make life interesting. She reminds me (a lot, actually) of Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, post first-human-murder. And I'm not just trying to throw in another Buffy reference there, I really mean that. The way she talks, how she acts, how she seems doomed to be evil; even how she shows up at the most inconvenient times. I'm not sure if it's because Eve reminds me so much of Faith, that I was able to understand her enough for her to be my favorite character, or if I've just got a soft spot for crazies, but I liked her.
Cool blue-eyed monsters that *spoiler*-->May or may not be evil<--*End spoiler*
Now for the negatives:
First and foremost: not a lot happens until the last five or so chapters. There is so much set-up going on, classes, drinking, school activities, and other stuff that happens besides the main plot, that I was ready to give up on reading halfway through. I did push on though, and had an awesome surprise after a seemingly random conversation became the turning point in the book. It was the last sentence of this conversation that made me say: "oh, dang!" ...and I knew it was about to get really good. And it did. Karsten's plot in that last part of the book was killer!
The characters could have all been the same person...with a few exceptions. For most of the book, they have the exact same sense of humor and the same types of jokes and comebacks. Any one of them could speak another's line and I wouldn't know because none of them have enough of their own voice, besides Eve.
Teenage girl dating much older and completely random forest ranger who is clingy and shady from the beginning = not a good idea. And that's not a spoiler for the plot...It's just safety 101.
I know there are debates about whether or not this is a valid complaint, but my opinion is firm: Ash is way too violent for my tastes. I don't mind her sarcastic attitude and rough exterior at all. It's quite refreshing not to have a timid and swooning character. But it seems she can't be sarcastic and headstrong and know how to handle herself, without getting physical all the time; she hits people for the smallest reasons, knocks some characters down without a thought, and threatens and even assaults her own friends and boyfriend(s). What person--who wants to keep her friends and boyfriend, at least--does that?
I get that she's a goddess who could technically be prone to violence. But she rejects another character because she's too violent, yet here she is being violent herself...towards her friends! Not to mention that the other gods and goddesses (including the mighty god of thunder) seem to have a lock on their outbursts of anger. And the fact that she's Polynesian does not at all explain the reason for her angry bursts (as one reviewer tried to claim), so I am left eternally wondering about it.
Lastly: There are unrealistic consequences for anything that happens, unless Eve does it. One example: The principal of the school timidly stands by and watches a girl get knocked down by two different people, while mentally wagging a finger and threatening to call the police. One got an arrest warrant afterward, and one only got a week suspension.
P.S. This has nothing to do with what I thought of Wildefire, but I just wanted to mention that the pronunciation of the Goddess Pele's name is wrong in the book. Pele is pronounced: Peh-Leh (like the e in fell), instead of Pay-lay (like the a in day), as it says in the book. It's a common misconception about the pronunciation of the letter e, especially since it sounds pretty close when it's said quickly (even Wikipedia and other sites have it wrong). Not a huge deal, but it made me laugh when I saw it spelled out this way in the book. :)
It hurts to write this review, because I was so excited for this book. I love everything Jane Austen, and when I read modern versions of Pride and Pre...moreIt hurts to write this review, because I was so excited for this book. I love everything Jane Austen, and when I read modern versions of Pride and Prejudice, it just makes my heart happy.
Sadly, this one didn't quite do the trick for me.
While the characters were supposed to be modern versions of Jane Austen's characters, most of their personalities were too different. Elise (Lizzy's modern counterpart) began the story as a girl unsure of herself who let herself be bullied around by two other characters, and who even felt inferior when Derek (Mr. Darcy's counterpart) ignored her or brushed her off. Jane Austen's Lizzy would never have felt inferior in those situations! Later in the story Elise's personality starts to show and she is a much more interesting and funny character, but she is still full of self-doubt and has little sense of self worth...until she gets the guy. Yeah....
The other characters were either flat, and showed hardly any personality beyond what we are told should be there, or were outright obnoxious. The romance between Chase and Juliana (Mr. Bingley and Jane) happens outside of the scenes in the book, so they seem to fall in love after just a few class periods. The romance between Elise and Derek starts out promising (he's very much like Mr. Darcy in the beginning), but quickly turns typical. Average, at best. Something about the story kept me reading all night long, so it's not without redeeming factors, but I still felt like something was missing.
The good points of the book are the fantastic modern parallels to Jane Austen's day. Some of them were very clever and I applaud the author's ability to take what Jane Austen saw was wrong with the time period, and relate it to what is wrong in our time period, too. I also really liked the relationship between Elise and Juliana. They didn't get along perfectly, but they talked to each other and helped each other throughout the story.
Overall, this is a very quick read that boasts some cute scenes with the main characters. If you think you will be able to keep this separate from Pride and Prejudice in your mind, you should definitely give it a try.
I want to be normal, but no one talks about sex, so how should I know what normal is? -Kody Keplinger, Shut Out
To be honest, I wasn't sure I could handle what would obviously be a lot of talk about sex--if you've read the description, it is only a logical guess. I've tried a few books before that attempted to broach this topic, but none of them worked for me. But after seeing a few raving reviews, curiosity got the best of me and I found myself picking this book up from the bookstore one day, and picking it up again to read the same night. And I did. not. put. it. down. I read this book in one sitting, staying up until 4:30 the next morning to finish, 'cuz yeah, that's how I roll.
Back in April I read Bumped by Megan McCafferty...and wasn't much impressed. There really isn't much comparison between the two aside from the sex themes--one is dystopia, and the other is contemporary--except for the fact that the message both are trying to get across is the same: that you don't have to conform to other people's idea of normal; a message that especially applies to the females, in both books. While I never felt I really got right the message from Bumped, I definitely got it from Shut Out, and in a way that was surprisingly tasteful and enlightening.
What starts out as an attempt to end a decade-long feud between the two sports teams, turns into a battle of the sexes, and eventually a lesson in understanding as certain truths are revealed (and one big one that I never thought was coming) The realizations the characters come to are amazing, and I feel like I experienced something as I read. Their situations are exactly those of teenagers nowadays: feeling the pressure to either have sex, or to lie about it. As we get deeper into the story, this topic gets more importance as the girls come to find that our perception of others is often wrong. They begin to see not only each other, but themselves differently, as they follow the main character, Lissa, to who leads them through the strike.
But Lissa is a hot mess. She has control issues that run her life, she doesn't see what is often right in front of her, she is in denial about a few things, and she is struggling to cope with the death of a loved one. She's a real teen, who has problems of her own, but she takes charge and somehow manages to get herself through all the chaos. Even when it suddenly becomes personal.
The problems Lissa and the other characters face in the story hit close to home for me, and I assume they will for others, too. While I'm past my teenage years, this is definitely a book I wish I had at that age. Its message has the ability to make a deep impact, but it is subtle and doesn't feel preachy or forced. This won't be everyone's cup of tea, and I get that. For me, it is one of the best books on the subject that I have read, and has become an instant favorite.
Oh, and the love story? Believable, romantic, and completely swoon-worthy. You didn't think I'd forget about that, did you?
A note about the writing: this book was jarring to read at first. I didn't get the note in the description about it having a "poetically minimal writi...moreA note about the writing: this book was jarring to read at first. I didn't get the note in the description about it having a "poetically minimal writing style" until after I started. That note doesn't lie; there are no grammar tags, lots of short sentences, and things are spelled phonetically, according to the population's heavily accented speech...meaning, of course, that this will be a turn-off for a lot of readers. That's understandable, but I urge you to keep reading, even if you can't make sense of it. It is definitely worth it!
In my own case, after the first page, I slapped on a thick western/hick accent in my head, and suddenly the dialect made perfect sense. It was then that I understood the genius of it all, being written out in the jarring, abrupt, way the main character thinks. It added a depth to the story that could not have come from anywhere else.
Blood Red Road has managed to make its way onto my list of best books read this year. From the moment I began reading, I was taken on an adventure. I was entertained through every page, and was left satisfied, but ready for more. That's not to say that it is perfect; it suffers from plot holes and lacks complete world building. I'm still not sure when in the future this took place, or why the world came to be the way it is in the book. But you know what? It also made me forget to care about any of that, and it did it with exceptional characters and character growth.
Saba is one of the best heroines I have come across in a long time. She's uneducated, inexperienced, and can be pretty mean, but she doesn't let any of that slow her down. She is smart, observant, learns fast, and does not hesitate to do what needs to be done. Some have compared her to Katniss from The Hunger Games, and I have to agree...to a point. Both are survivors, strong, and able to adapt to their situations. Neither of them want to be in their current situations, but they both do what they have to. In all other ways, they are each their own character. And Saba, by the way, is a fantastic character.
Saba's relationship with her sister Emmi is a big, satisfying, part of the story. They don't get along; Saba has always seen Emmi as a nuisance, and is none too nice to her. We watch as their relationship evolves as the story goes on, and each tries to put their past behind them.
I've got to hand it to Moira Young; the romance between Jack and Saba is pretty hot...and it is completely clean! A few kisses and that's it. The rest is conversation and arguments...a few well placed words.
Jack, even without being the romantic interest, is my favorite character. He's rough and has a "lone ranger" vibe going on (think of a teenager mix of Rhett Butler and Clint Eastwood--pick any western), and most importantly: he stands up to Saba whenever she needs it.
Wait. Rewind. What?
Yes, Jack isn't the doting, cater-to-your-every-need type of boy. Saba isn't a damsel in distress, and he doesn't treat her like one. He doesn't hesitate to let Saba know when she's being rude, or has gone too far. And while he's doing that he somehow gets her to see inside herself, and actually empowers her to continue being strong and brave. THAT is the kind of guy I want to read about!
THIS is the kind of book you've been waiting for. Read it!
Talk about an enticing read! I can honestly say that Savannah Grey is unlike any other boo...moreThis review was originally published on: The Reading Fever.
Talk about an enticing read! I can honestly say that Savannah Grey is unlike any other book out there. Combine a completely unique, and slightly disturbing, set of powers, with a completely unique, and slightly disturbing storyline, and you have Savannah Grey.
When I originally requested this book, it had a different cover. I'm glad it did, because I'm not sure I would have requested it if it had had this current cover. I'm not a fan of horror, and--as I said in another review--I am much too chicken to read anything that looks even remotely scary. But I read this.
What Cliff McNish does with the story kept me reading page after page, even as I cringed through some parts. He uses a different writing style than I am used to, telling the story from different points of view, but I quickly got used to it.
McNish created a heroine who you can connect with, who has a different set of skills from the norm, and goes outside the normal cliches to create a unique and haunting storyline. As someone who reads a lot of YA fiction, it was a relief to be handed something so new. Even the villains in the book were new, interesting, knowledgeable, and had a depth to them that could only be fully appreciated after revelations towards the end.
My only complaint is where the book ends. It ties up loose ends, while leaving some very much open. My mind can't handle that; it needs to know more!
Those who are looking for a something out of the norm will definitely like this book. It is a quick read, that will keep you up all night wondering what will come next. And believe me--as much as you try to guess, you will not see the end coming. (less)
I was torn, unsure whether to be awed by the awesome frivolity of it all (the multiple plays on words and meanings...the complex, yet hilarious senten...moreI was torn, unsure whether to be awed by the awesome frivolity of it all (the multiple plays on words and meanings...the complex, yet hilarious sentences), or to be completely offended by a message so overdone, it basically shouted at me.
I'm all for feminism, but there is a fine line between pushing for equality, and acting like an idiot. I have an utter lack of sympathy for the main character. In fact, I dislike her. Sadly, I dislike the rest of the characters even more.
The second star is purely for the genius--and often amusing--word play and sentence structure. The only things that kept me reading.(less)
For some reason I thought this book was set in modern times when I began reading. I hadn't read the synopsis for a while, so I was judging it by the c...moreFor some reason I thought this book was set in modern times when I began reading. I hadn't read the synopsis for a while, so I was judging it by the cover (which looks fairly modern to me). I was confused for a while because I couldn't tell if the characters were from the Middle, Victorian, or modern ages. Their mannerisms, speech, and even some of their gadgets seemed to be from different periods. I got it worked out after a few chapters, but it was confusing at first.
The book starts off strong with great characters, interesting relationships, and with hints of a big, huge, secret that I wanted in on right away. The social system and the powers that the characters have, are different than I have come across. The language laws are too cool for school; not that I support them (go free agency!), but I find it interesting that they were put in place as a way to separate different social classes. I can see how--in the mind of a dictator--separating classes by languages would make perfect sense. Along this same line, I also found the Queen fascinating. Even though she's evil, I wanted to keep reading about her so I could explore her personality and history. Am I terrible for always loving the bad guys? They have such complex personalities that I love to dissect.
As far as other characters: there is your handsome and charming guy, who actually speaks like a character who would like to invest quality time with the object of his desire, instead of merely making cheap sexual jabs at her and scorching her with his eyes (yep, I think I'm in love); there is the best friend who is cooler than your average best friend (you'll see why); there is another friend who is loyal above all else; and then there are the parents who are blissfully present in the story, even if they aren't spoken about frequently. I really enjoyed the characters.
But somewhere in the middle of the story, I realized that I was predicting everything that happened. What began as something fresh, turned into something mostly formulaic. It was at this point that I found myself bored--not with the story itself--but because I knew what would happen, and when. I knew the formula, and it detracted from my overall experience.
Despite that, the story still held my interest all the way through to the end, where something very interesting was revealed that I can't wait to read more of in the next book. If you love adventures and love stories, and don't mind something that sticks close to formulas that have been done before, this will be a great book to read.
*I received an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
One thing's for sure, do NOT read this book at night, even if you are tucked nice and safely into your own bed! Don't Breathe A Word has the creepy th...moreOne thing's for sure, do NOT read this book at night, even if you are tucked nice and safely into your own bed! Don't Breathe A Word has the creepy thrill factor down pat, and it doesn't hesitate to violate widely known "safe spots." I loved every creepy chill I had, though, even as I flipped all the lights on, sat up so I could see around me better, and tucked the blanket under my legs real tight. I just couldn't stop reading for anything as unimportant as my own fear.
There is something alluring about this book, that kept me up reading all night. The story was scary, tragic, nutty, and just hopeful enough to keep me awake and unsure of how the ending would turn out. It is a very good book. Jennifer McMahon created a genius tale for adults, one that takes its readers back to childhood in a haunting way. I loved that.
Despite all that, I cannot recommend this book. So begins what could become a pretty lengthy explanation:
There were many ways the ending could have turned out. As I read, I could see the paths in my mind, mentally closing them off one by one, as each was ruled out by events in the story. As it got closer to the end, I saw two paths left, and hoped and hoped that it wouldn't be the one I feared it would be. I could sense what was coming, lurking at the back of my mind, and I really hoped I was wrong. I wasn't.
*This is where some spoilers come in...I'm sorry, but I can't explain this without them.*
(view spoiler)[Are you still reading? Well, if you are, I assume it's because you want to know what happens. To be blunt, little girls are taken, their lives ruined and the children they're forced to have, taken from them, and some very important people who shouldn't be, are in on it. We know some of this from the start (it's in the description), but it is that last part that was such a shock. And after a heated revelation/conversation towards the end of the book that contained no emotion on one party's side, a personal line had been crossed.
Please don't think I'm being prude. I accept the fact that these things happen, and it isn't an automatic "line-crossing" if I come across them in books. But the utter lack detachment, the lack of explanation as to why these people were in on it and why they did it, and even the question of what good it did to have those specific people in on it all in the first place, is what really throws me.
And even then, after all this, the ending throws me again by leading the story onto that other path, the one I had hoped it would go on before, but really it was all just one huge path, leaving the story with no redeeming factors. None.
I cringe as I type this, because the story was just so excitingly good...up until that line was crossed. I if you've been following my blog, you know I have been super excited to read it. Now that I have, I just can't recommend it. I originally planned to give a lower rating, but I raised it a little because it was such a good book otherwise.
The first thing I noticed about The Near Witch, is that Victoria Schwab's storytelling skills are superb. She writes beautifully, and the old tales to...moreThe first thing I noticed about The Near Witch, is that Victoria Schwab's storytelling skills are superb. She writes beautifully, and the old tales told in the town of Near for ages feel like something Hans Christen Anderson could have come up with. When it becomes apparent that these tales might have some truth to them, the story dives into a chilling story of disappearing children. And boy, did it freak me out! Word to the wise: do NOT read this book at night. Especially if it is windy outside. The Near Witch was able to successfully make me feel like my eight-year-old self who is afraid of windy nights. The story definitely has a haunting sort of feel to it.
I wanted to give this book a higher rating, but I just couldn't. The love interest is a flat character, who we get to know almost nothing about. Even after he tells his story, I still felt like I had no idea who he was; what made him tick; what he felt passionate about. Along the same lines, I didn't believe the love between them was real at all. They fell in love almost instantly, and it seemed to happen out of a mutual understanding that at a later point in the book, they would need to be in love to move the story forward. It just didn't work for me.
It also seemed that the MC never got any sleep! She is out every single night in the story, and then out every day from sunrise to sunset. There were only a few times when we are told that she actually slept, and even then it was only for a couple of hours. Being out for so long meant that she also skipped most meals, which just added to the fact that this girl should not have been able to function!
The passage of time also seemed to fluctuate throughout the story. In one scene, the MC gets up early in the morning to walk to the witches' house, is there for a few minutes, and makes it home just before the sun goes down. In another scene she is able to make it to the witches' house, back home, and then far out of Near before the sun even starts fading (no, this is not a spoiler). These inconsistencies happened quite often, although I admit that I might not have paid so much attention to them if it weren't for the no-sleep/no-food thing. And who knows? Maybe she did eat and sleep, and maybe she was just a fast or slow walker, depending on the need. Whatever it is, these things weren't mentioned in the book enough to make it believable.
Despite the above, Lexi is a character with strong determination and good sense of self worth. I like that. She doesn't let the men in her town push her around, and she doesn't let their threats make her stop her search for answers, either. Go Lexi! Aside from Lexi, there were some other strong characters, like the uncle and the witches, who I really liked. They were each consistent, and acted according to their situations.
As a standalone novel, The Near Witch is a good read. The pace is a little on the slower side, allowing the haunting atmosphere to really set in, and your mind to be thoroughly freaked out. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Sebastian and the Afterlife has a very interesting concept. It deals wi...more3 1/2 stars. This review was originally published on my blog: The Reading Fever
Sebastian and the Afterlife has a very interesting concept. It deals with those who pass away, who still have unfinished business in the mortal world. When they pass on, their spirit leads them to places of learning in a realm between the mortal world and the afterlife that is controlled by the Grim Reaper, where they learn the skills necessary to fulfill their unfinished business in the mortal world and move on the the afterlife. But, as the descriptions says, there are those in the realm who are trying to take it over, and are making it a dangerous place to be.
The realm itself is an interesting place, and I like the imagination that went into it; the powers, the places, the way everything works, and how the spirits function (not to mention the Agents; I may have to book-ish crush on one of them). It's perfect for those who like reading supernatural stories.
As far as the characters, I did have a hard time keeping track of names, especially since everyone who was introduced was given a name, description, and sometimes even a back story, whether they were a key character, or someone who was only mentioned once or twice. Aside from that, I liked the main character, Sebastian. We are shown what a toll his death has been on those who knew him, and his quest to find peace with leaving his girlfriend Sarah behind, is sweet, and just a little heartbreaking. I also really liked Onyx, who is a smart, strong-willed girl, and brought a lot into the story.
Overall, Sebastian and the Afterlife was an entertaining book. It shows a different view of what happens when we die, and given the danger the characters face, it was fun to guess what would come next. Reading about a realm where the Grim Reaper is not only in charge, but is good, went against everything I've ever thought of the guy. But I liked it. :)(less)
Maureen Johnson sure knows how to tell one heck of a ghost story. Her descriptions of modern London, coupled with the historical aspects of Jack the R...moreMaureen Johnson sure knows how to tell one heck of a ghost story. Her descriptions of modern London, coupled with the historical aspects of Jack the Ripper were fantastically chilling. I read this book so quickly, I could hardly keep up with myself...which wasn't very good for my brain at 3:00 in the morning, but whatevs. This book was cool!
For some reason, I didn't catch that it is set in modern London until I began reading. It says so in the description, but no matter how many times I read it, I didn't pick that up. I was expecting a story about the murders of 1888, but opened to find a modern setting. I didn't mind at all though, as the story was extremely interesting.
There were a lot of historical facts and comparisons between this modern Ripper and the original, which were stealthily snuck in, and that I really liked. Johnson did her homework well and was sure to cover all the angles, from known facts, to unconfirmed rumors. I actually learned a thing or two...and I've already read a few Ripper books prior to reading this (well done!). Along these same lines, I really like the reason for the title: The Name of the Star...which I didn't understand before reading it. Sooo creepy, but sooo cool!
The only downside to all this is that so much of the book was focused on the Ripper, that Rory (the main character) and the love interest were just a little flat, and too much of their relationship happened off of the pages for me to understand its depth. I would have loved to have seen more of them interacting, especially during class. Rory talks about what a wacky and fun family she has and how she is kind of the same way, and how back home she was well-known at her school. But aside from a really good line here and there, I didn't see a lot of personality from her to back this up.
The upside is that there are a lot of other interesting characters that fill in for the MC. The Ripper, for one, is a nice piece of work. Boo and Alistair are two other shining examples. The book is also full of humor from many of the characters, and I found myself continually writing down funny lines as I read them to remember later.
I should also mention that it does get graphic at times, so consider this your warning.
This review was originally published on my blog. See the full review at The Reading Fever.
"Logan Quinn was the kind of guy who could stab me in the eye with a freaking Twizzler." -Jennifer Estep, Touch of Frost
Touch of Frost is such an entertaining book! It is light, fun, adventurous, and kept hold of my attention through the entire book. The main character, Gwen, is a little geeky but it's something she's proud of. She has an awesome power that she has to be aware of at all times and it can be taxing. But what I really like about her is that she actually likes this ability. It controls her life, but she doesn't hate, or resent it; she actually admits that she is kind of nosey and likes that her power enables her to know other people's secrets.
She did have a hard time accepting that Mythos Academy was actually full of mythological warriors, which I had a hard time understanding. In the beginning, Gwen sees sparks flying from the tips of one of her classmate's fingers, but she is still questioning whether or not magic is real, halfway through the book. That was the only head-banging thing about the story, but it resolved itself later on.
The other characters, especially Daphne, were often surprising in how their personalities changed. And while I predicted some of the things that happened, but there were also things that I didn't predict and was surprised by (always a plus). The writing is simple and clear; something I found I really enjoyed because I was able to just relax and read, and not have to think too much. It's a great mix of mystery and adventure, and a good read for those who like Urban Fantasy.
The second book comes out at the end of November, and I'm really excited for it!
Someone asked us later, "Didn't you wonder why no one came across you sooner?" Did I wonder? When you see your parents zipped up in black body bags on the Jellicoe Road like they're some kind of garbage, don't you know? Wonder dies. -Melina Marchetta, Jellicoe Road
I am amazed at my reaction to this book. I can honestly say that not only is it the best book I have read this year, but it is one of the best books I have EVER read. But let's start at the beginning....
I wanted put this book down in the first 20 or so pages, and if it hadn't been my book club's pick for this month, I would have. I didn't understand it, and I wasn't connecting to the characters because of that. And then, like a fog clearing, things began to make sense. I became enthralled with the story, going back and forth between pages to clarify what I thought I understood or had figured out. The reason I had so much trouble in the beginning is because this books asks just as much out of the reader as it gives; it makes you work a bit, putting puzzle pieces together to figure out what is happening. It doesn't give information up easily. And I love it so much more for that reason.
These characters are three-dimensional. Their strengths and weaknesses are written on every page, right along with their deepest fears and greatest joys. The friendships, the arguments, the bonds that are made--there is something startlingly truthful about this book and how the past of a few characters contributes to the future of so many others in harrowing, life-changing, and sometimes exciting, ways. I fell in love with Narnie after reading her first words, I fell in love with Taylor when she first stood up for herself against the townies, and I fell in love with Ben and Raffie after they good-naturedly teamed up to tease Jonah.
And Jonah Griggs? Well...(view spoiler)[I fell in love with that boy the moment he stood up for Taylor and punched Richard. It was obvious what he was doing, even if he didn't know yet, and it made my heart do flips! (hide spoiler)]
I won't go on forever, because there is hardly more that I can add about this book that others haven't already said. I'll just say that it is all true; Marchetta is one of those writers who can bring emotions out of you that you've never experienced before; one of those who can make you see the world in a different way. And that happens in this book, believe me. I finished reading and immediately opened it back up and started from the beginning again so I could experience it all one more time; something I have never felt compelled to do before. It was even better the second time.
This review was originally published on my blog. Read it at The Reading Fever.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Sweet, thought-provoking, and adventurous; that's how I would describe Academy 7. Recommended to me by Mega...moreOriginally published at: The Reading Fever.
Sweet, thought-provoking, and adventurous; that's how I would describe Academy 7. Recommended to me by Megan from Posey Sessions (thank you!), Academy 7 has been one of the best books I have read this year. I was mislead by the cover, into thinking this would be a novel with romance as the basic plot point...but it's not. It goes so much deeper, by dealing with social issues of the future, and presenting multi-layered characters. In fact, there is very little romance in this book, just a few short and sweet moments, that both tantalize and satisfy.
The character development is good. Really good. It's what drives the story, allowing the reader to see deeper and deeper into each character as it goes along. Both main characters (Aerin and Dane) have their own share of troubles, and it is very interesting to see how they react to each situation. They seem like real people, acting in ways that are consistent with what knowledge the reader has been given about them.
The world Osterlund built is similar to other science fiction stories set in the future; there is space travel, unrest between planets, and a government that is trying to keep the peace between other planets by bringing them all under their power. There are good guys and bad guys. What is unique, is that we find out about the politics of the government by listening to the students arguing in Debate class at the Academy. This is the class that is mentioned the most in the book, and through their arguments, the reader is able to learn more about the book's current events, than in any other way. It also shows a lot about the characters, if you pay attention to the way each of them argues.
I could not put this book down. I loved it. The only thing that makes me sad, is that it is a stand alone novel. I am now extremely interested in the world and characters, and am dying for a sequel! (less)
Michelle Zink's writing. It was beautiful! The setting. I was drawn to the ti...moreThis mini review was originally published at The Reading Fever
What I loved
Michelle Zink's writing. It was beautiful! The setting. I was drawn to the time period, and I liked the Gothic feel it had to it. The concept of the prophecy. Seriously. Generations of sisters turned against each other? Genius! The strong beginning.
What I didn't love
The plot fell short. Honestly, I was expecting more, and it didn't deliver. There were a few times when the emotions of the characters didn't match with the situation. Most notably, was a horrible part towards the end, where emotions were just not there...and they really should have been.
In short: Prophecy of the Sisters is not without its merits, and the prophecy itself is so good, that I would still recommend it to anyone who is interested in the genre.(less)
I've had this one on my to-read list for quite some time, but had never gotten around to reading it until this week. To be honest, I didn't read it ea...moreI've had this one on my to-read list for quite some time, but had never gotten around to reading it until this week. To be honest, I didn't read it earlier because I thought it was going to be just like all the other paranormal fantasies out there. There was a time--in the beginning of the story--when I groaned, thinking I knew exactly where the book was going to end up. But I was so wrong! The plot kept me guessing throughout the story, and I didn't know where it was going, until it got there (I love that).
Of course, there are some cliches, such as characters who appear in the nick of time, and a love that seems to develop too quickly (even if the characters were childhood friends). But the overwhelming insight into friendship and familial relationships is satisfying. This is a story of loyalty, trust, and many different kinds of love.
The main character, Grace, did take a few chapters to grow on me, but I ended up liking her. She grew into herself throughout the book, and I began to respect her for some of the actions she took. The other characters provide interesting conflict in the story, allowing the tension to slowly build. I like that even though Grace's family seems to set the standard for their parish, they all have flaws as well. And though the Grace's father is a pastor, and there is talk of religion, it didn't feel preachy at all.
This is a great book for those interested paranormal fiction, or just starting out with werewolves (oh yeah--did I mention the werewolves?). It's light on the gore, but heavy on the feelings. I didn't mean to stay up all night reading (whoop's--it's 6am), but I got to a certain point in the book, and just kept rolling. It was that good.
This book had my attention from the very first chapter, where Benson is dropped off at the Academy, and the mind-boggling mysteries begin. I was so in...moreThis book had my attention from the very first chapter, where Benson is dropped off at the Academy, and the mind-boggling mysteries begin. I was so interested in finding out what in the world was going on in that creepy place. The school seemed completely wacko; those who were there seemed resigned to their fate, and the addition of someone like Benson--who refuses to believe there isn't a way out--shakes things up. He is a bit of a jerk, but he was the jerk that was needed. He pushes everything into action, and had the guts to find out more (even after being beaten up many times). While I didn't particularly like him, his personality was the perfect addition to the story.
The twists are surprising and I didn't see most of them coming. At Maxfield Academy, nothing is as it seems. I love that I could never figure out what would happen next. In the end, I had a lot of questions though, and not enough answers. Even when some big things are revealed, they are not explained. I'm a little embarrassed to say that I didn't get the ending...which has never happened before. I read the last few pages over and over, perplexed with what had just happened. I still don't get it. Do with that, what you may.
I also had some questions about the validity of the foster kids being in the academy. Supposedly, the Academy targets foster kids, because they don't have anyone who will worry about them, or who will check up on them. Once at the Academy, they have absolutely no contact with the outside world. But that can't be true, because foster kids have caseworkers. And state lawyers. And people who have to check up on them constantly with a phone call, or a face-to-face visit. These are facts. It would not be easy for them to just disappear for years (or lifetimes) like that, without raising questions about what goes on at the Academy.
Suspending disbelief about that, the book was good. It kept me on my toes, ready for whatever came next...and then surprised me every time. If you like action and mystery bundled with thrilling dystopia, this is the book for you.
*I was provided with an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
"Wow." That's basically the only word I could transmit once I finished reading Stay. I lov...moreThis review was originally published on: The Reading Fever.
"Wow." That's basically the only word I could transmit once I finished reading Stay. I loved it. I loved it just as much, and possibly more than, the best books I have read this year...not because of a beautiful romance, or sexy characters, but because it was profound and enlightening. In fact, I'm including a few quotes in this review, because the book was full of profound and enlightening passages.
Stay resonates with me in ways I can't even put into words. It can be hard to understand abuse, and why someone would ever put up with it (I'm not judging here; I've had my own experiences with abuse). There is an honesty to the pages of this book, allowing the reader to think about Clara's situation, and really understand it and even identify with Clara; allowing the reader to see inside those moments when it is happening, and she feels like she wants to do something about it, but doesn't know how, and then she decides to brush it off or shoulder it, as if it were all her fault. Somehow, Caletti is able to let the reader see how easily one can go down that path, and not even realize it.
"It's strange, isn't it, how the idea of belonging to someone can sound so great? It can be comforting, the way it makes things decided. We like the thought of being held, until it's too tight. We like that certainty, until it means there is no way out. And we like being his, until we realize we're not ours anymore." -Stay, by Deb Caletti
I was hooked from the first page. The story is set up nicely, leaving you wondering what happened to set everything in motion as it did. Caletti removed herself from the story, allowing it to be told by Clara. This is done so well, that the reader feels involved; like it were happening to a best friend right at that very moment. I love that there are also footnotes, where "Clara" wanted to give more information about something she was talking about. It's a cute addition that gives more credit to the story.
"I've heard that people stay in bad situations because a relationship like that gets turned up by degrees. It is said that a frog will jump out of a pot of boiling water. Place him in a pot and turn it up a little at a time, and he will stay until he is boiled to death. Us frogs understand this." -Stay, by Deb Caletti
The characters in Stay are very developed, especially Christian (the jerk), and Clara's dad. Clara, herself, is a great character, and I loved the view inside her head the book gave. The town that she and her dad run away to is such a charming place, and full of character. I couldn't help but laugh at the names of every place they came across (read the book and you'll get it); pretty clever stuff.
"People can attach themselves to something--an idea, another person, a desire--with an impossibly strong grip, and in the case of restless ghosts, a grip stronger than death. Will is a powerful thing. Will--it's supposed to be a good trait, a more determined and persistent version of determination and persistence. Bit will and obsession--they sit right next to each other. They pretend to be strangers and all the while meet secretly at midnight." -Stay, by Deb Caletti
My final thoughts are that Stay is definitely a favorite book (I'm buying a copy, and it's going on the good shelf.), and highly recommend it. Be prepared for your emotions to get involved, though. Stay is deep, emotional, read. Definitely worthy of the Fever Inducer title.(less)
I liked the imagination that went into this story; the magic and powers...they were nice, and I loved reading about them. I also liked Trist...more1.5 stars.
I liked the imagination that went into this story; the magic and powers...they were nice, and I loved reading about them. I also liked Tristan. He was a pretty cool guy, and seemed to be wicked with a sword (the few times we saw him in action).
But that's all I can say I liked. Everything else...well, it just didn't do it for me. I think the biggest problem I had with the story, is that no one in it acts as if they are human. Backstabbing and boyfriend stealing elicit absolutely NO response from these characters but immediate forgiveness. And then it's like it never happened. No one is that perfect! The characters also switched from feeling true-love-destined-to-be-together feelings for one person, to feeling them for another, instantly. No, really. Instantly. From hot to cold, in between one sentence and the next. The most extreme example I can think of is when one character is in sparkly-eyed-love with a girl one moment, and then punches said girl in the face just a few pages over because now he's in deep-sparkly-eyed-love with another girl and thinks she's to blame for her being hurt. Really? This is not realistic at all. And no, magic had nothing to do with these jarring changes.
The other thing that bothered me is that this is supposed to be a retelling of the tale of Tristan and Iseult (or Isolde, if you prefer). That is one of my favorite tales, and it just didn't do it justice. On top of that, I felt like there wasn't enough explanation. Things just happened, and we were either given condensed versions of the stories, or were supposed to believe that the MC suddenly understood how to use her magnificent powers in a split-second, and she understood because...she just knew.
I teetered between giving this a 1-star, or 2-star rating, so I settled for a rating in between the two. The main reason for this is because I wasn't bored while reading. Like I said, the imagination that went into this was great, and I was entertained...when I wasn't frustrated with the characters. But I wanted so much to love this book. I mean, it's a retelling of one of my favorite love stories! How could it go wrong? But it did. This was definitely not a book for me, and I won't be recommending it.
This review was very hard to write, because there were so many things I enjoyed about it, and...moreThis review was originally published at The Reading Fever
This review was very hard to write, because there were so many things I enjoyed about it, and two things that I really did not enjoy about it that seemed to take the stage.
Let me start with the negative, so I can get that out of the way. *There could possibly be some minor spoilers, but I'm not talking about anything you couldn't already guess from the book's synopsis.*
The first thing that bothered me was the main character's handling of the love triangle. To put it frankly, I fell in love with the "wrong" guy, and didn't agree with most of the main character's actions throughout the book. This usually wouldn't be a problem, but this girl seemed very wishy-washy, and changed her mind about which guy she wanted multiple times a day. In fact, there were a few times where her decision changed by the hour, depending on who she was having a conversation with at the moment, and who was in the room.
The other thing that bothered me was that the main character, who is the chosen alpha female, did not act like an alpha. In fact, there were many times when her pack openly disobeyed or disrespected her, and she did nothing. I didn't see her as an alpha at all. Although, maybe I'm just accustomed to the fragile tension I see in other werewolf books and am being picky. *shrug* Has anyone else read the book, who has thoughts on this? I would love to hear from you.
With that out of the way, I can concentrate on what I did love about this story, because there was so much TO love. Andrea Cremer's world is fantastic. I love the way it was structured, the different view we get of werewolves (they're called Guardians in this book), and the way their skills are being used. While they posses some of the same structure and skills as most werewolf stories, these aren't your average hunters-of-the-forest werewolves. They are just a little different, and I like it. There are also magical elements mixed in to make Nightshade a different take on werewolves, including a dark mystery behind the magic system, and the reason for the Guardians' current status.
In short: The writing was superb, the fantastical elements fantastic, and the dark and edgy feeling of the book made it even better. And aside from what I mentioned above, the romance is overall very sexy and enticing. I have no doubt that had it not been for the two things I didn't like, this would have been among my top favorite books. It was just that good.
So the hard part comes in actually assigning it a number on the fever meter. While I thoroughly enjoyed living in the Nightshade world while I read, I was very annoyed by the main character. But a lot of the other parts of the story made up for some of that annoyance, leaving me completely perplexed in how to rate this book. In that case, I am going off of the factor that will tip the scale: I for sure plan to read the sequel, and am looking forward to its release.
"This can't really happen, this can't really happen, there's no way! This can't.......moreThis review was originally published on my blog: The Reading Fever.
"This can't really happen, this can't really happen, there's no way! This can't...." This is what I found myself muttering over and over in my mind, as I read Lost in the River of Grass. It seemed impossible, what these characters went through. I was even compiling a list at the back of my mind of things I would Google to verify they were possible. I mean, things like what I read in this book can't possibly happen! As it turns out, though, they can; and it didn't take Google to convince me of that.
In the book, the reader is reader is taken along as Sarah and Andy work together to survive the Everglades...and believe me: this is about survival! We get to be there as they encounter gators, snakes, wild boars, and are put in many dangerous circumstances. We get to watch as they help each other grow and adapt; an element of the story I think Rorby did remarkably well. I even enjoyed Andy's character, though I initially saw him as a bit of a jerk. In the end I was grateful for that, because he acted like a normal 15-year-old boy. I praise Rorby for not writing a character who was 15, going on 25 (thank you!).
I don't remember the point where I stopped caring if a survival tactic was viable or not, or whether an animal would really react the way the author portrays. I lost all sense of disbelief in this crash-course to the everglades, somewhere between swimming the gator holes and seeing the wild boars. Rorby's writing has an element of truth to it that made everything in this book seem personal, somehow. Reading it was like sitting at grandma's knee, listening to her tell a true story from her past...only this one involves saw grass and swamp trekking. Rorby definitely showed her survival know-how, and earned trust in my eyes. And the fact that reading about it all brought out every phobic tendency I've ever had, made no difference. I was enthralled.
Admittedly, I almost didn't give this book a second chance after putting it down after the first few chapters. It began a little choppy, and I wasn't very attached to the characters. But when I did pick it up again, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found, and ended up finishing it in one sitting. I think I found it hard to read in the beginning because Lost in the River of Grass isn't filled with long, flowing prose. Neither does it use huge words, or attempt to captivate with an out-of-this-world love story. Truth-be-told, it doesn't flaunt many things besides the character's reactions to the dangerous environment around them. But it's that very environment, and their reactions to it, that will suck you in, glue your hand to this book, and make you simultaneously cringe, while speeding up your reading to discover what is next.
I highly suggest Lost in the River of Grass!
Oh, and think this couldn't really happen? This quote is directly from Ginny Rorby's website: "Lost in the River of Grass is based on the true story of my husband’s ill-fated trip to the Everglades with his then girlfriend in his airboat. While they were ‘visiting’ one of the hunting camps in the Everglades, the airboat sank. It took them three days to walk out. I wrote the original story of that ordeal for Fort Lauderdale’s Gulf Coast magazine, published in the late 1990s."
I was able to review this book, courtesy of Netgalley.com(less)
Can I tell you how utterly excited I was to read this book? Tyger Tyger remains one of my favorite books read this year, and I was so excited to read...moreCan I tell you how utterly excited I was to read this book? Tyger Tyger remains one of my favorite books read this year, and I was so excited to read more! Three pages into the first chapter of this book, and I was already reminded of why I loved the first one so much: the interaction between Teagan, her family, and her friends. The book begins moments after Tyger Tyger left off, and the entire family (plus a few friends) are living under one roof. Their relationships are great, and while they don't all get along, they interact in a way that is captivating to read about. Each character has their own quirks which makes for fantastic conversations, arguments, and competitions. The family dynamic is one that I definitely appreciate reading about.
In fact, my favorite scene from the book is one where there is a silverware-throwing instructional/competition. It was one of those things that just sort of happened because everyone was in the right mood at the right time. It wasn't even a big part of the story, but it made an impression on me because it was so fun and cute, and allowed everyone to bond. I have definitely been participant in more than a few similar, and seemingly random, events with my family that turned out to be unforgettable.
There is a lot of humor in this book. There was humor in Tyger Tyger, but this sequel really brings it. Having a lot of people around each other is bound to bring out the best and worst in anyone. Luckily, the best of these characters happens to be hilarious banter, and the worst happens to be irony and satire. :)
The only reason I didn't give this a higher rating (and believe me, I wanted to) is because at the end of the book, not much is solved. New problems are brought up or discovered, but only a few are resolved, meaning the story doesn't move forward a lot. This wasn't such a huge deal to me, since the rest of the book was so interesting, but I still would have loved to see more progress.
Overall this is a great sequel, and definitely a must-read for those who loved Tyger Tyger (and if you haven't read that, what are you waiting for?). Poetry and music still have a strong significance in this one, Aiden is still the coolest little brother ever, and Finn is even more swoon-worthy! Oh, and the bickering between Finn and Gabby? Priceless. Can't wait for the next one! :)
Inside Out was such a great read! I enjoyed all the politics, mystery, and danger....moreThis review was originally published on my blog: The Reading Fever.
Inside Out was such a great read! I enjoyed all the politics, mystery, and danger. Maria V. Snyder kept me guessing the entire book, and the twist at the end totally took me by surprise.
The setting was good, and allowed the reader to really get a feel for the living conditions and suppression of the Scrubs. I loved the layout of Inside, which is pretty impressive if you think about it. The work schedules of the Scrubs, and the way they are forced to live all adds to the knowledge that the Pop Cops like to be in total control. The book was set up very well without giving a lot of back story, which allowed the story to move along, while staying mysterious.
The characters were interesting, especially Trella, who was a strong heroine. Despite how the synopsis makes her sound, she isn't just a bratty, rebellious teenager. Throughout the story she shows herself to be physically and mentally strong, cunning, and best of all, brave. Her only flaw was that she was just a little too strong. There were just a few times when I would have liked to see just a little more reaction from her than there was. Although maybe that's not a flaw at all. After all, it prevented her from turning into the swooning heroine who is only strong when the hot guy isn't around. There's too much of that going around.
*Spoiler warning: you are subtly told this information in the first chapter of the book, but it is still a spoiler.* Considering everything, my absolute favorite thing about Inside Out, is that the Scrubs fight back. Even before Trella came along, they had been fighting back in their own ways, even if they made little difference. I thought it was very realistic. History has always shown that no matter how suppressed a group of people are, there will still be those who fight back. I think that's missing in a lot of similar novels I have read lately, where the people seem to just accept that they can't change anything. That's wrong, and Inside Out sends that message. *End spoiler*
I highly recommend Inside Out for readers young and old, alike. It is original, fast-paced, entertaining, and clean.(less)
From the moment I first read this book's description, I knew I wanted to read it. I was exc...moreThis review was originally published on: The Reading Fever.
From the moment I first read this book's description, I knew I wanted to read it. I was excited to finally be able to pick it up this weekend, and had a great time reading. It did not disappoint.
After the first few pages of reading, I was worried this would become something similar to 13 Little Blue Envelopes, and I regretted reading both books so close together. But it quickly turned into something different; Jessa's path not only to self discovery, but to discovery a couple key life lessons. There are secrets, lies, betrayals, and heartache between these pages, all shown while traveling through Italy.
The situation that Jessa is put into is very real. It happens a lot, and I think we all know how hard it is to face your first heartbreak. Kim Culbertson created a character in Jessa who continually thinks she has everything under control, while really cracking under the surface. Jessa displays real emotions and gets some deep thoughts as she tries to work through her heartache and make sense of everything that has suddenly fallen apart.
There are some pretty funny parts in this story, and even some dramatic ones (it is the Drama Club, after all :) ). The characters are interesting, and they each have distinct personalities, aided by their talents within the Drama Club. I like Jessa's character a lot. She reminds me of people I know who are very into theater and musicals and such, and it was fun to see parts of their personalities on the page.
There were a couple downsides, like the many instances where students on the trip got in trouble without any real consequences. This wasn't such a huge part in the story, it was more annoying since I kept expecting some sort of fallout or reprimand to come from each instance that never came.
The letters in the care package Carissa sends with Jessa are funny, serious, and surprisingly thoughtful. With them, the story took a different turn than I originally expected, but it was nice to be surprised, and I really liked how it ended (even though I NEED to know more!!). Overall, I found Instructions For a Broken Heart to be a fun, quick read about the complexities of life and love, and what it means to be in a relationship. I definitely recommend it.(less)
Let's be honest: it is easy for a vampire story to take itself too seriously. Drink, Slay, Love does not. It is light, fun, and hilarious. I have neve...moreLet's be honest: it is easy for a vampire story to take itself too seriously. Drink, Slay, Love does not. It is light, fun, and hilarious. I have never read a vampire story quite like it. With the introduction of the were-unicorn (with all the powers you would expect a unicorn to have), it is unique.
Yeah. You heard right.
Vampires vs. Unicorns.
Pearl starts off as soulless and uncaring as the rest of her relatives, but throughout the book, she slowly learns what it is like to be a human--to think, act, and (gasp!) care like a human does. As the changes in Pearl begin to take hold, we are given a really good look at how different she really is. Her struggle with who she was (pre-unicorn staking), who she is becoming, and who she wants to be, is very apparent. I felt sorry for her, because of how she was losing something that was so much a part of herself--her predatory nature. And the pressure she gets from her family doesn't help things at all.
Speaking of Pearl...she's awesome. Like really, really awesome. She's sarcastic and tough, and goes to school in steel-toe boots. She's a vampire and she knows it, and she won't let anything trivial like gaining a soul get in the way of kicking someone's trash--(view spoiler)[That scene with Jadrien in the basement? Best. Ever. You go, Pearl! (hide spoiler)]. She was also a great friend to one of the characters, even though she resented her in the beginning.
The other characters in this book are way cool, and I wish I could say more than that without spoiling anything. I'll just say that Pearl meets a lot of people, and they all have an affect on her, and on the story, in different ways.
There is fighting, scheming, and manipulating in this book. There is humor, and there are unicorns. There is a hilarious prom theme. There is a love triangle that isn't a love triangle. And although the story is a bit predictable (and I think it took Pearl way too long to figure out who the unicorn was), I couldn't get over the great mood I was in after finishing. It was like I had just been told a good story by a close friend. Sometimes that is just what a girl needs.
*I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This review was originally published on my blog: The Reading Fever.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Wow. I finished this book, and that's all I could say. What this family goes through is incredibly heartbreaking, and I cried many times while reading...moreWow. I finished this book, and that's all I could say. What this family goes through is incredibly heartbreaking, and I cried many times while reading. They were tears of gratitude and hope, as if I had been through everything with them. And in a way, I had.
The format of this book--entries in a diary--was the perfect choice for the story. We see how Miranda's ordinary life is completely rocked after the meteor collides with the moon. Everything changes, and so does Miranda...but she doesn't do it quickly. With each new entry, we see her adjusting to a new way of life, surviving during this desolate time, and helping her family to survive as well. All the events are colored by her changing perception, which adds another layer of depth; something else to think about about digest, as somewhere along the way she grows from a bratty and selfish teenager, to a girl who would sacrifice anything for her family. Her character growth is fantastic.
The writing is tragic, hopeful, insightful, and brutally honest. Miranda and her family face a lot of trials, and not all of them are physical. I really like this family. Pfeffer could have chosen to write her story about a family who was so troubled, who had no food and no house and so many trials that only one of them makes it. This is not that story. Instead, Pfeffer wrote about a family who was strong to begin with and who made the right decisions the the beginning that ensured they would have a fighting chance. She chose to write about a family who stayed put, who try everything they could to survive, and even then things look grim. Because of this, their troubles were sometimes so subtle, they were easy to miss--emotional, mental, and spiritual troubles--but they made a deep impact on me while reading.
That's not to say that the book is perfect. It definitely has flaws. For one thing, I'm pretty sure scientists wouldn't "miscalculate" the effects of a huge asteroid hitting the moon, but I'll suspend disbelief on that subject, because--what do I know? What I can't suspend disbelief of, is that afterward, no one would be able to predict the effects of the moon being pushed closer to the Earth. The family listens to the news, and all anyone says is that they aren't sure what effects there will be, but they're sure everything will be okay. Wrong! Something like that would be a breeding ground for theories and debates from scientists all over the world. I understand that power was scarce, but I would hope someone, at least, would have the decency to tell the truth to the citizens of the world during one of the TV/radio programs, and let them know what to prepare for. Scientists are smart like that.
But I digress.
Despite the above, I was still fascinated with this book. It gave me the chills. Not because it was scary, but because this is something that could legitimately happen. Maybe it won't be the moon that is pushed closer to the Earth, but there are plenty other natural disasters that could force people to live this way and barely survive. It forced me to remember that this is a big possibility, and made me renew my resolve to finally have some sort of food storage put together.
If you tend to get bored easily with books, you may want to give yourself a lot of time to read this one. The story takes place over the course of about a year. Because it is a diary, the entries are almost daily and sometimes the feelings and emotions are so subtle, it's easy to find yourself bored (yes, this is from experience). If you think you can manage it though, I highly recommend reading it. This is a book that I would recommend to pretty much anyone. The life-or-death circumstances, and sometimes even the urgency, make it hard to put down.
The Vespertine began as a book after my own heart. The setting Saundra Mitchell...moreThis mini review was originally published on my blog: The Reading Fever
The Vespertine began as a book after my own heart. The setting Saundra Mitchell created was historically accurate, and full of the intrigues of the time period. I loved the season, with its balls, gowns, and gossip. Mitchell did well, in created characters who chafed at the restraints of the time period, each reacting in different ways. Her writing was eloquent, her prose spectacular.
My interest was peaked when the book opens with the aftermath of scandal. It begins with the protagonist, who is sent home in shame and rumor, still pining after the boy she loves, hinting at the lives she ruined. The book then switches back and forth for a few chapters, between the end and the beginning of the story, before settling into telling the story. And that's where it started to feel like there wasn't much happening.
After so much juggling back and forth, dangling the scandal, the book begins setting up the events leading up to it...and not much happens. It was very slow-paced, and after about 100 pages, the only thing that kept me reading was Mitchell's beautiful prose. It picked up again in the last 50 pages, but then the ending felt very rushed, and didn't give as much explanation as I would have liked.
By the time I finished reading The Vespertine, There were a few other things that I did not enjoy. For one thing, think a lot more could have been done with Amelia's visions. They never seemed to progress. And--given the time period--I was waiting for more repercussions to come from her visions than there were. I don't think anyone would have thought them merely "parlor tricks", especially once people started showing up in numbers. On the other hand, the paranormal aspect of Nathaniel's ability was a little too much, and very confusing. There were no explanations as to why, or how, he has this ability, or even how it works. Without it--or at least with more explanation--I think the story would have flowed better. But as it is, I think it is unnecessary to the plot.
In the end, this book was very hard to give a rating. I did like it, and I very much enjoyed the writing. I found the friendship between Zora and Amelia endearing, and I smiled during the scenes when they talked at night. But then, I felt so disappointed in the plot. With such high quality writing, I had expected more from the book.(less)
I still don’t understand how Sarah Porter was able to keep me reading, despite being appalled at how excited the girls were at the prospect of helping people—especially men—drown. And there’s a lot of that happening in this book. Don’t call me prude just yet. I did, in fact, come to understand the feeling of need behind it, and the reasons these girls could be so drawn to sinking ships. Porter was able to create a group of girls whose personalities and interactions were exactly what one would expect from girls who have experienced such horrible things in their lives. I kept reading, hating what they were saying, doing, and how they interacted with each other, yet understanding that it was exactly how they should have behaved.
The main character, Luce, reminded me a lot of the ocean—no pun intended. There always seemed to be this battle raging inside her, as calm as the sea at sunrise, and then as terrible as the deadliest storm. She fights between giving in to the tragically beautiful sensation of her siren’s call, and her horror at the thought of killing innocent people. She also has to worry about her place among the other mermaids in her tribe, and each of their reactions to her as she gets pulled deeper and deeper into her internal struggles.
After reading, I had the feeling that I, as the reader, had been sung to by Porter’s words. At times the song was grim and scary, and at other times it only hinted of a danger close by. I was immersed in this story, and given a dark, gripping tale.
Read this if you are want a quick and unique tale that takes you close to the dark side, and lets you teeter on the edge a little.(less)
Loved this book! It has the perfect amount of mystery, romance, and suspense. A lot of people seem to think it is a ghost story, but that'...more4 1/2 stars.
Loved this book! It has the perfect amount of mystery, romance, and suspense. A lot of people seem to think it is a ghost story, but that's not the case. It is more on the sci-fi side than the paranormal, but it is all blended together really well, and makes a great story. It is unique to most other plots I have read. For a while, I thought it would be something similar to The Time Traveler's Wife (a book I love), but McEntire took the story on a different course, which turned out to be full of unexpected twists.
I like the characters a lot, even both of the love interests. Yes, there is a love triangle present in this book, but I wasn't very bothered by it. It seemed natural, especially considering the circumstances behind each relationship. The sad part is that I once again (this seems to be a recurring problem of mine) fell for the guy who I obviously wasn't supposed to fall for. I like both love interests, but only one of them just happens to be my type! *Instant crush* Oh, the nonsense of loving fictional men.... :)
The main character, Emerson, is smart, sensible, snarky, and sarcastic; traits she no doubt developed from her rocky past. She was interesting to read about, because of everything that went through her mind. "Seing what isn't there" has taken a toll on her, and that really comes out in the story.
This book would have gotten a perfect rating from me, but for two things: 1.) One of the love interests is constantly pulling Emerson's sleeve to make her sit, lifting her to move her, pulling her towards him, grabbing her wrists to lead her, etc.. From the context of the actions, they were in no way meant in an abusive manner, but it still got on my nerves every time it happened. Just because she's a tiny girl, doesn't mean she should be manhandled!
2.) A choice Emerson makes towards the end, that I did not agree with at all. This is more of a personal thing for me though, and I don't expect a lot of other people to see this as a problem.
Overall, a quick, fun read, that is unique in its genre and has a compelling plot.