When I read novels like this, ones that take place in the lands of the famous stories I grew up with, I took for a few things.
1) A twist to make this...moreWhen I read novels like this, ones that take place in the lands of the famous stories I grew up with, I took for a few things.
1) A twist to make this story original. The story needs this to distinguish itself from a retelling. (i.e. The Little Engine CAN'T or something shocking like that)
2) An aspect of the novel that will change my view on a character or a group of characters. ( (i.e. A story that will make me hate Cinderella or some other beloved fairy tale character)
3) A refreshing narrator that makes me care about the plot. (I look for this in all first-person novels, but it's especially important in this kind of novel)
Tiger Lily has all of these things, and is everything you could want in a Peter Pan themed story.
Aspect 1 You will realize while reading Tiger Lily that things will not end as they did in the movie and original novel. Tiger Lily seems to take place in a Neverland opposite universe where no character, no matter how important in the original version, is safe. There will be twists and unexpected turns of events.
Aspect 2 Before I read Tiger Lily Peter Pan was a childhood hero of mine. Now I despise that heartbreaking good-for-nothing player with intense power. Any book that can make me change my opinion on someone like this one did is a memorable read.
Aspect 3 As for the narrator, Tinker Bell provides a unique kind of narration reminiscent of Death's narration in The Book Thief. She provides a fly-on-the-wall perspective of the events in the story, but has her own input on what's happening. The narration is creative and fresh.
There is one big problem with Tiger Lily, and it's big enough to mark it down a whole letter grade. And that problem is that this book's romance aspect moves way to fast. Tiger Lily and peter are in love before they really get to know each other. This is also known as "insta-love". Insta-love can ruin a book, but not with Tiger Lily. The novel is hindered with it, but manages to overcome it by building a plot that distracts the reader from it. Stephanie might disagree, but I think novels can overcome "insta-love" with a good plot.
Tiger Lily will satisfy most fans of the original story, but be ready for some unexpected twists.
In my review of the first book in the series, Eighth Grade Bites, I prai...more There will be spoilers in this review
Let's go back to Vladimir Tod, shall we?
In my review of the first book in the series, Eighth Grade Bites, I praised author Heather Brewer for balancing Vlad's vampire life and social life. I also praised her for creating vivid characters that are likable and relatable. However, I hoped for more explanation about Vlad's world, and to do more with Uncle Otis to make him more trustworthy and fatherly. (He is Vlad's only father figure) Let's start by talking about the world-building.
Heather Brewer tried to expand the vampire world in this book, but only succeeds in creating more questions. She once again settles for a half real and half fake vampire world when compared to vampires in mythology. For instance, vampires can't stand garlic powder but holy water has no effect on them. This can really frustrate a reader that's trying to get this world straightened out inside their head. [image error] I just don't get it. Why doesn't the sun make him sparkle?
Throughout Ninth Grade Slays, I constantly had to wonder what a vampire could do and what he couldn't. Sometimes I just had to guess.
Now to the characters. Vlad, who was a great character in the first book, is becoming less and less likable as the book goes on. He refuses to be awesome and start eating people. And every time he thinks about his dead parents, who died four years ago, he cries. He cries a lot, and the more he cries, the more I stop caring. He has the mind-blowing (sorry for the pun) power to read people's minds, yet he refuses to use it because he thinks it's an invasion of privacy.
I was not amused with you, Vlad.
Uncle Otis, however, is a much better character than he was in the the first book. He is more trustworthy, takes Vlad on impressive "study" trips, and is someone that is not afraid to use his vampire powers to be epic. [image error] I approve, Otis. I approve.
Another problem I had with this book was Vlad's new friend, Joss. He seems too nice and happy-go-lucky to last for too long. (Vlad and Joss become friends in a couple of minutes) Then, when Otis tells Vlad that there is a vampire hunter in town, who else would you suspect but nice, innocent, Joss?
And guess what?
I was right in suspecting him!
Joss was the evil guy. Who saw that coming? Oh wait. I did.
But if we're talking about characters, I have to give kudos to Aunt Nelly and Henry for being as cool as ever. Henry is as loyal as a human slave can get, and I really felt for Nelly when she would have serious conversations with Vlad and laughed with her when she would joke around with him. And once again, Heather Brewer succeeds in integrating school life and vampire life. And in case you were wondering, this book is still meant for boys. That doesn't mean girls won't enjoy it, but Vlad is easier to relate to if you're a guy.
Ninth Grade Slays took the series downward a bit, but hopefully Vlad will take one step back before taking two steps forward.
The more I think about Rock On, the more frustrated I get with it. I was expecting so much more than what I got. The more I read, the more annoying th...moreThe more I think about Rock On, the more frustrated I get with it. I was expecting so much more than what I got. The more I read, the more annoying the characters got, and the more predictable the plot became. What I wanted was some kind on victorious retelling of a high school bands rise from preforming in their lead singer's garage to making millions and playing music in front of thousands. What I got was a bad disney-esque situation comedy about a lead singers angst to his brother and crush.
Rock On is filled with excerpts from the mock fan page of The Band to be Named Later, text, chat room, and e-mail conversations, and web articles about the band. These are all well and good in the beginning but get steadily more obnoxious as the book progresses. For instance, the fan page quickly to turns from a news feed for the band to a badly-scripted comment conversation about who has a girlfriend and who doesn't. The conversations do nothing for the story and often use cheesy phrases in an attempt to read like something a teenager would like.
To say the dialogue is bad would be an understatement. Keep in mind that all characters quoted here are about sixteen years old.Let me give a few examples:
"What fun is that? Holding auditions makes us look big, legit." "That's the tragedy of dorkdom. Residents don't recognize each other." "You're, like, a real rock star." Rock On spent a little too much time trying to be hip with for the young folk and not enough time working on the framework of the novel.
The characters, how I hated them. Orion, like I said before, is filled with angst. Angst that no one wants to hear about. His brother is a jerk, so I hated him to. His sister is a brat who declares herself "unhateable". Orion's friends remind me of a middle school clique. Jane, Orion's love interest, has about as much of a personality as an rat's tail and her only purpose is to serve as eye candy for Orion, who lusts over her too much. All we know about the poor girl is that she likes poetry.
Was I a little harsh on Rock On? Probably, but I was very disappointed with the story I got. If your not a middle school girl, stay away.
I'm launching a a new effort to try to stay on top of the latest YA book trends, and vampire books seemed like the obvious place to start. The Vampire Genre seems to have boosted other genres like Dystopian and Fallen Angels. So over the next couple of months I'll try to read as many books in the supernatural creature trend as I can. I started my search looking for a vampire book, and since I didn't want to read Twilight again (Edward, I love when you watch me sleep!) I settled on a different book, Turned by Morgan Rice.
Yes, I know. The fact that Morgan Rice wrote this book should have been a major red flag for me. Those of you that have read my review for Arena One know that Morgan Rice books haven't really been favorites of mine in the past, but I was hoping that this time Morgan would do better. My expectations were low and It wouldn't take much to impress me.
And it actually wasn't that bad.
It was quick and easy to get through, and some scenes were interesting, like the concert hall or the street fight. However, this book lacked depth. It really just seemed more like a teaser than a novel. I believe that all series should have a first novel that is satisfying enough to stand by itself, but also makes you want to read more. With Turned, I felt like it was just an introduction and not a real novel.
Another thing that bothered me was how quickly Caitlin fell in love with two boys. this book takes place over a two to three day span and in that time Caitlin manages to find two guys, falls in love with both of them, and gets trapped in a love triangle. I feel like Morgan Rice really oversimplified what love is. (Not that I would know, though. Ha Ha.) Also, there is some serious lack of explanation on how certain characters get from one place to the next, or how some useful objects end up in someones possession.
The negatives way more than the positives, but Turned is definitely better than Arena One. I'm not sure if I'll continue reading this series, but I might if I fell generous enough to give this series a second chance.
Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer is the next book I read in my effort to get more up to speed on a Young Adult Fads. This book surrounds a teenage...moreEighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer is the next book I read in my effort to get more up to speed on a Young Adult Fads. This book surrounds a teenage boy trying to manage middle school life, cope with his growing thirst for blood, and figure out how to controlling his always-strengthening vampire powers. Just to be clear here: the target audience consists of teenage boys. Anyone else might have a hard time getting into the story.
Vlad is a likable kid. He was orphaned four years ago, and I felt for him whenever he would remember his parents. His parents are shrouded with mystery, as I feel there's a little more to them than is being revealed to us in the present. Vlad's surrounded by a faithful best friend, an ominous teacher, a treacherous villain, and a caring guardian in this coming-of-age story. The characters are great. No problems here.
The plot is nice and quick. The action and daily life are integrated in a way that's reminiscent of the Harry Potter books. A bit premature comparing the two? Yes, but Eighth Grade Bites isn't one of those books with non-stop action and no character development. Balanced plots are a must in books like this. The only plot hole I could find was that one character was trusted a little to easily. That character then betrays Vlad. (whodathunkit?) But then changes his mind and saves Vlad again. (Yay?) Then Vlad immediately grows attached to this character and they walk off into the sunset together and all is happy again. That's a pretty big plot hole.
Also, Heather Brewer struggles with explaining this particular vampire world. She tries to create a world where half of the vampire myths are true where the other half are completely fake. A little more explanation would have been helpful.
Despite the faults, EGB is still a good, quick read. If you're a teenage boy, you'll probably love this one, but the rest of us who demand a little more explanation in our lives should stay away.
Reaction at the beginning of this book: "This isn't chick-lit, this is a modern day simulation of human psychology and the deleterious effects of scrutiny."
Reaction in the middle of this book: "Wow. I actually care about eight girls and their social status."
Reaction at the end of the book: "What the F***! NO! NO! Did my kindle forget to download the last few chapters? How could an author end a book like that?"
Reaction after letting the ending sink in: "Oh. I get it now."
Just thought you should know what I was thinking.
I usually don't read chick-lit for obvious reasons, but I was so intrigued by this premise. The List seems like more than a few girls flirting with boys. It looked to me like this book would be mainly about bullying, and I was delighted when that's exactly what it tuned out to be.
Author Siobhan Vivan is scary accurate when it comes to describing high school. No flat characters or dialogue. No young romance cliches. Every character was fresh and believable, and The List is something that could actually happen in most high schools across the country. There's a great twist towards the end, though I was able to see it coming before it did. And there is, as said above, an abrupt ending, but if you give it time to sink in you will find that the ending was satisfying in it's own right.
The List should be required reading in all high schools, so that every student can understand the hurt that comes with being labled. Sure, there will be kids that don't give about other people's feeling and go about their bullying ways, but others may realize how bullying wears down on a kid. Maybe they will be moved by The List.
Needless to say, I give The List a ginormous recommendation.
Who needs vampires, werewolves, or fallen angels when you've got grim reapers?
The first time I heard about Croak I thought it was a story about a frog or something. Can you really blame me? The title suggests that frogs will play a part in this novel but alas, there are no frogs to be found. Awww. That's a shame. Let's hope for frogs in the sequel.
Croak by Gina Damico is a young adult novel about a girl with supernatural powers that somehow manages to get by without the use of a love triangle. (gasp!) It's main purpose is to build a new, self-sustaining, and magical world. This world, which is really a town in upstate New York, is inhabited by a little less than one-hundred grim reapers who transport souls from one life to the next. I think that Gina Damico has created a very interesting world here in Croak and I can't wait to see where she decides to go with it. The only problem here is that Mrs. Damico spends too much time on world building and too little time on building a plot to go with it.
Croak was slow at times, and had some uncomfortable romantic scenes. It's kind of annoying how every fantasy YA book has to have a romance. They're all either love triangles or really mushy, boring romances. Croak's romance falls under the latter category. It was pretty obvious that the two protagonists were going to get together from the start. On top of that, the mystery aspect of this novel seemed lost on me. I knew who the secret murderer was from the beginning of the book because this character was the only one that had any kind of suspicion to him/her. Add an unnecessary death and slow pace, and we can conclude that Croak is definitely not without faults.
However, Croak is still a satisfying read. The setting is warm and welcoming yet vast and the characters were fun and realistic, and the humor is perfectly implemented into the story. I also liked the fact that some famous and influential people such as presidents that are now deceased made an appearance it the afterlife. This was and original and charming way to keep the reader intrigued through the slow moving novel. Plus there's a strong, good triumphs over evil conclusion, and everyone loves one of those.
Croak has it's faults, but they are forgivable and the end result is a strong debut novel. I can't wait for the sequel.
The Fault in our Stars is one of those books that you shouldn't read in public.
It's one of those books that will cause certain involuntary actions tha...moreThe Fault in our Stars is one of those books that you shouldn't read in public.
It's one of those books that will cause certain involuntary actions that will result in loss of respect from peers.
So if you do decide to read it, read it in your bedroom behind a locked door. Don't come out until all traces of crying face have been eradicated. Respect is hard to earn, but easy to lose.
The Fault in our Stars is a very unique book. It's not your typical cancer story. The majority of it is not moping and crying and mourning, although there's some of that in there, and this novel has direction, which is more than you can say for a lot of cancer books out there.
The characters have interesting and deep personalities, making you care about them.They're the kind of people you want to read about, which is a key factor to having when writing a cancer story such as this. It's not predictable like most cancer novels, and it carries positive message that the reader will remember for a long time. It's also chock-full of memorable quotes, (I highlighted plenty of sentences while reading on this on my Kindle) and Augustus and Hazel speak in such a way that is unique to them. The characters also had refreshing sense of that keeps the story light and innocent.
However deep and unique the wonderful cancer-surviving Augustus Waters is, his dialogue sounds scripted at times. He sounds like a sensi master that lives high in the mountains of Japan. He always knows exactly what to say and how to say it. I understand that he's smart, but he should've sounded more down to earth then he did.
If you're the kind of reader who loves to be moved by books, give The Fault in our Stars a fighting chance. You'll be pleased by the end result.
If the book The Hunger Games was a tree, you would have a very hard time cutting it down. This is because there would be so many layers of depth to cu...moreIf the book The Hunger Games was a tree, you would have a very hard time cutting it down. This is because there would be so many layers of depth to cut through. You would be too tired to continue before getting halfway through.
If Arena One were a tree, it would just take a small poke with your index finger to cut it down because there is no depth. There might be some moss on the tree to symbolize character relationships, but it would be light moss that wouldn't be heavy enough to make much of a difference.
But Jay, books aren't trees! You might say. I would then reply: Books come from paper and paper comes from trees so indirectly books are trees! Then you would say: You're getting off topic! and you would be right and I would continue with the review.
Sometimes I lose myself.
Anyway, if you read the summary of this book, you would probably notice how typical and unoriginal this book's plot is. You would be right. It, like another book we know, is about a teenage girl trying to prevent her sister from competing in a death tournament after their mother abandons them. The fact that this book sounds so much like a certain other dystopian novel that we all know and love should have stopped me right there. To make matters worse, the author has a history of mooching off the success of popular young adult themes. She has a book series about vampires.
But you know how the saying goes: You can't judge a book by its stereotypical plot or its author with a history of writing knock-offs. With that in mind, I read the book.
Arena One can easily be fit split into five parts. The plot is so lacking in depth that I can summarize those parts in sentence fragments.
Part 1: Nature Walk
Part 2: Car Chase
Part 3: Arena Fighting
Part 4: Rescue Attempt, Part 1
Part 5: Rescue Attempt, Part 2
This book is full of unrealistic action. The protagonist barely escapes death so many times that it is sickening. The writing is awful. Sometimes phrases are repeated over and over again. The editing could also be to blame for this. Arena One boasts no character development, little to think about, and a love triangle. (If you don't think a love triangle is a bad thing, you haven't read enough YA books.) To the book's credit, the story is action packed and although the action is unrealistic, it makes the novel easy to get through.
Bottom Line: If you're an action lover that just wants to read about fights and battles no matter how unrealistic, this book is for you. If you are bothered by poor writing and little depth, leave this one on the shelf.
The last time I read a mystery novel (The Kidnapping of Christina Lattimore) I was disappointed by the book's unpredictable ending. I fell in love with that book and it only betrayed me in the end. *sniffle* However, my wounds have healed and I was willing to give the mystery genre another chance.
But unlike Lattimore, which completely relied on the mystery aspect, Slide focuses on a people in general, their habits, their secrets, and sometimes their emotional well-being.
Author Jill Hathaway introduces a clever and original aspect in sliding, and it helps move the story along in a fluid and swift pace as well as giving the reader an inside look at each suspects lives that is not offered in other mystery books. It gives the reader an inside scoop on every suspect and leaves them feeling like they have the inside edge.
Vee is incredibly likable. I felt for her whenever she remembered her mother, and her journey from popular cheerleader to pink haired outcast seemed believable and cruel at the same time. Slide paints public high school as a deep dark hole with vicious people that will look for every opportunity to tear you apart if you get on their bad side. It's a world full of people so bored that they would relish your social downfall just to have something to talk about. Is public high school really like that? I've never been, so I wouldn't know.
However engaging and original Slide is, it has it's flaws. Some scenes seem to have happened again and again with the same people, just in different rooms. particularly the part where Vee says something to Rollins that she realizes will come across as rude just as it comes out of her mouth. This scene happens many times. Characters. Also. Do. This. A. Lot. When. They. Are. Trying. To. Get. A. Point. Across. It was cute the first couple of times but after that it became annoying. But the big problem is this: Like many mysteries, the author tries too hard to make the mystery's answer unpredictable. The character that was the killer is the one that Vee has almost no evidence against. The killer is a minor character instead of one of the major ones that are considered suspects. Nevertheless, Slide has an ending that is satisfying enough to close a stand-alone novel, but leaves enough questions for to justify a sequel.
Okay for Now is part of a unique group of books that get by without having a climax. These books do this by engrossing the reader in the lives of the...more Okay for Now is part of a unique group of books that get by without having a climax. These books do this by engrossing the reader in the lives of the main character and making you feel like you are living with them and that they are your friends. It's a difficult art form to master, but Gary D. Schmidt has now accomplished it twice, with The Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now.
The characters in this book are vivid and realistic, and the plot is believable the throughout the entire story. There is excellent character development, and Doug's quest to complete the book of birds comes to a satisfying conclusion. There are dark parts and there are light parts, and they are weaved together nicely to create an engrossing experience. Well done, Mr. Schmidt. Well done.
Another good thing about this book is that it will please fans of The Wednesday Wars (Such as myself) while no prior knowledge about Doug is needed for the story to make sense. It's just as fresh and original as its predecessor.
Although this didn't bother me, Doug had a very unique way of talking. He uses lots of run on sentences and repeats phrases such as "You know how that feels?" or "I'm not lying." plenty of times throughout the novel. This may annoy some readers. Also at risk of alienation are Red Sox fans, as Doug is a die hard Yankee fan and looks up to Yankee great Joe Pepitone. There is also a trivia contest in the middle of the novel about Yankee baseball that some Red Sox fans might want to skip over.
In conclusion, if you are bothered by little things like catch phrases or purposeful run-on sentences, this book is not for you. This book may be hard to read sometimes if you hate the Yankees. But if you can look past all that, you will find a wonderful story underneath, filled with adventure, feeling, and a great morale.
Oh my gosh this is the bubbliest book I have ever read in my life! It was so extremely bubbly! I cannot put in words how bubbly this book is. If I had to rate this book‘s bubbliness on a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate it 1,000,000,000,000,000 times infinity. That is how extremely bubbly it was.
Tally was ten times as bubbly in this book than she was in Uglies. The fact that Tally changed for the better so fast is totally dizzy-making. Zane is ten times better than David ever was, and reading about their romance was totally bubbly. When I was reading this book, I went totally life-missing and locked myself in my room. I finished this book in about two and a half hours.
Because this book is so extremely bubbly, I decided to make… THE BUBBLY BOOK AWARDS!!!
Here are the categories and the nominees:
BUBBLIEST MALE CHARACTER: Percy (PJ Series) David (Uglies) Zane (Pretties) Doon (City of Ember)
BUBBLIEST FEMALE CHARACTER: Katniss (Hunger Games) Lina (City of Ember) Tally (Uglies/Pretties/Specials/Extras) Tris (Divergent)
BUBBLIEST BOOK (OVERALL WINNER) City of Ember Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Mockingjay Pretties
There it is people! I think we have some really exciting nominees this year, and it is going to be close! While we count the votes, please enjoy this picture I have taken off the interwebs for you. It is totally pretty-making.
What? You didn’t think a picture of a small white space was pretty making? That’s so bogus, reader-la!
Anyways, here are the results…
BUBBLIEST MALE CHARACTER Percy -1 David 50 Zane 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Doon 0
BUBBLIEST FEMALE CHARACTER Katniss 2 Lina -4 Tally 190,000,000,000,000,000.567 Tris 3
BUBBLIEST BOOK City of Ember disqualified Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows dropped out Mockingjay 0 Pretties >9,000
There you have it folks! Your 1st annual Bubblies Book Awards! AUTHORS NOTE: For those of you that didn’t catch on, this is a joke. I thought the way they talked in this book was funny, so I had to make fun of it. If you thought that this is actually my writing style, then you went totally brain-missing on me. (less)
They don't have to be politically correct. They don't have to worry about things such as character development and suspense. All they have to have to do is be funny, and The Hunger but Mainly Death Games does a heck of a good job at that.
Make no mistake: This is not just a parody of The Hunger Games but of pop culture as a whole. Nobody's safe from Bratniss Everclean's taunts. The Authors show a superb understanding of pop culture today, and no how to hit the nail on the head when pointing out how silly it all is.
The great thing about this book is their is something that will appeal to everyone. The puns that are the characters names are enough to make me laugh, but for those who crave some more random in your lives, you be satisfied with jokes about bread racists, Rain Man, and Stephenie Meyer.
80% of the jokes in this book hit for me. This rest of them seemed long and dragged out. at some points the author tried a little to hard to be funny, and the parody suffered from it. However, the jokes that did hit were enough to make this an enjoyable, light read.
And if you do decide to rad this book, promise me you will do it with the right mindset. A parody is meant to be funny, not offensive. If this book makes fun of something you like (and it probably will) laugh it off or just forget about it. It's nothing to get mad about.
Pick up The Hunger but Mainly Death Games if you feel like laughing.