I was lucky enough to get an ARC copy for review. I'm not huge on romance novels, but I was hoping that this would be as good as Julie Cross' Tempest...moreI was lucky enough to get an ARC copy for review. I'm not huge on romance novels, but I was hoping that this would be as good as Julie Cross' Tempest novels. I definitely wasn't disappointed.
Karen Campbell is an elite gymnast who's never had much of a social life outside of gymnastics. When her parents die in a car accident, she's faced with the choice of leaving her home town to live with her grandmother whom she hardly knows, or take her coach's offer to stay with him and continue training. She decides on the latter. She moves in with her coach and his son, Jordan, but since she doesn't have much experience (at all) with dealing with the opposite sex, she can't help but act incredibly awkward whenever he's around. The fact that he's attractive doesn't help. Jordan is more understanding about her situation than she ever could have hoped for, however, and as they get to know each other, she realizes that they have more in common than she originally thought. Jordan has a unique perspective on loss and is able to help Karen through her situation better than anyone else.
Even though Karen is seventeen, the fact that she has little relationship experience puts the character in a unique situation. As she starts acknowledging her feelings for Jordan, a lot of her lines are a bit cliche, like you'd expect from someone much younger, but taking her lack of experience into account, it makes complete sense, and Cross does an excellent job of incorporating the first-crush-cliches without making the plot seem overly corny. Throughout the story, as Karen tries to cope with the loss of her parents, we see her writing letters to them as well as others around her, and are able to see first hand how her feelings develop and transgress as she navigates the stages of loss and tries to adapt to her new life. Even though it's in first person, these letters offer a uniquely personal connection to the main character. Cross' novel offers a very accurate depiction of how a teenager would try to cope with losing her parents, rearranging her entire life, and entering her first romantic relationship. It's a heart wrenching coming of age account of finding the courage to move on, even when it seems like everything is lost.(less)
If you think waiting a year for Book 2 of this series was bad, venture carefully, my friends. CLIFF HANGER ALERT!
Things have definitely changed from w...moreIf you think waiting a year for Book 2 of this series was bad, venture carefully, my friends. CLIFF HANGER ALERT!
Things have definitely changed from when Jackson first found out that he could time travel. Now, he enters training for the CIA agency that his dad runs. Although his father is fully aware of all of his capabilities, none of the other recruits have any idea. In fact, the mere idea of humans being able to time travel disgusts them. He has nobody to talk to about his past, and nobody to turn to when Holly turns up as a part of the opposing agency, Eyewall. Of course, she doesn't remember him, and even against his greater judgement, Jackson can't stay away from her, putting both of their lives at incredible risk.
As Jackson moves through his training Eyewall, along with some familiar enemy faces, are making more and more appearances, making it harder and harder for him to keep his abilities a secret. And while many questions are answered, even more are popping up with each and every chapter.
Once again, Cross has created a page turning thriller laced with just enough romance to capture the hearts of the readers without over running it with a gooey plot. Don't try to read this unless you have your full concentration devoted to it, because just like Tempest, Vortex throws all standard rules of sci-fi time traveling out the window, so intricate that its almost a science in itself.(less)
By this point in the series, nearly everyone is convinced that the end is drawing near. Some are hopefully clinging to the possibility that the barrie...moreBy this point in the series, nearly everyone is convinced that the end is drawing near. Some are hopefully clinging to the possibility that the barrier will come down and they will be able to leave the FAYZ, while others worry that the end won't be so clean cut. On the one hand, the giaphage has taken on the human form as Diana's daughter, making it more dangerous than ever. On the other hand, now that the FAYZ walls are transparent, the whole world is watching, witnessing terrifying, unexplainable acts of terror and violence. Sam and Caine team up to go after the giaphage, hoping to catch her while she's still recovering from Sam's attack at the end of Fear (Book 5), while Edilio takes charge in Perdido beach and tries to get the kids back to work instead of spending nearly all of their time at the barrier, trying to communicate with the public and their love ones. We also get to see quite a bit of Connie Temple and get inside her head about what's going on in the outside world, and her opinion on how things look in the FAYZ. Meanwhile, Little Pete, now a body-less 'something' begins weakening, and it becomes clear that the Giaphage fears that he will take a body as it did in order to fight. As always, the clock is counting down, and the endgame isn't exactly clear. Right from the beginning, questions start piling up quicker than answers. What will happen if the barrier comes down? Will the kids be charged for the terrible acts they have committed? Or will the Giaphage kill every last human inside, leaving only itself to venture out into the world?
An excellent ending to an excellent series. Throughout the Gone series, the lines between the good guys and bad guys are blurred so much that it becomes hard to know who to cheer for. Each book is different. Sometimes each chapter, and this one was no different. The character development is phenomenal. It's hard to imagine mere children living through all of these horrifying ordeals, and by the end of this book, I honestly had a had to remind myself that they're only fifteen. Relationships continue to develop between Astrid and Sam in ways that seem impossible for their age, but when you think about everything they've been through together it starts to make more sense. And then there's Caine, who started out as the biggest threat in the FAYZ, and has slowly transformed into a sort of makeshift hero who's desperate for redemption. The final battle ended a bit abruptly, I think, which is probably the only negative thing I have to say about the entire book. Grant also gives us the opportunity to see what happens after the final battle in a section called 'Aftermath'. This was the hardest part for me to read. It's so vastly different from the rest of the series. While reading, I never thought much about what would happen if the FAYZ ended, and I never thought about who the characters would have to live without (because yes, there are plenty of losses in the final installment). Absolutely wonderful.(less)
I always suspect nothing less than page-turning suspense from Dean Koontz, and this did not disappoint.
Tommy, a Vietnameze-American, has shunned his...moreI always suspect nothing less than page-turning suspense from Dean Koontz, and this did not disappoint.
Tommy, a Vietnameze-American, has shunned his heritage every since he and his family arrived in the States when he was 7. Instead of being a doctor or part of the family bakery, he makes his living writing detective novels, which greatly offends his mother and the majority of his family. One day when he arrives home with a brand new Corvette, Tommy is feeling great-as if his American dream is finally completed, and nothing could ruin it. But when an odd rag doll shows up on his front patio, everything turns from terrific to terrifying in a matter of hours. When he brings the doll inside, it begins to come apart at its stitches, and some sort of horrible creature comes out. With the ability to grow and change its grotesque form, it chases Tommy from his house. Unsure of who to turn to-or who would believe him-Tommy runs into Deliverance (Del for short) Payne, who unequivocably accepts his odd tale and agrees to help him. Together, the pair must find a way to survive the demon until dawn, but as the night goes on, the creature gets more skilled, and more terrifying by the minute.
The play between the characters is fantastic. Tommy and Del are such polar oposites, and Del seems to have the uncanny ability to enfuriate and fascinate Tommy all at once. You can tell from the biginning that there's something strange about her, and she doesn't exactly seem to hide it. Armed with bizarre intuition and unbelievable speed when it comes to hotwiring cars and boats, Tommy becomes sure that she's not a normal waitress, and I was pulled along for the frustrating ride as he tried to unwind the truth about her. On the other hand, the interaction between Tommy and his mother is one so real that it sometimes hurt to read. His mother is insulted that he rejects his herritage, and takes all of his 'American' decisions to heart. As always, Koontz's ability with description is unparalleled. There's not a single scene where I can't see myself in the settinga longside the characters.
I was luck enough to get an advanced copy of this book, which my grandma from Chicago sent me. While I'm not a huge fan of a lot of vampire stories, t...moreI was luck enough to get an advanced copy of this book, which my grandma from Chicago sent me. While I'm not a huge fan of a lot of vampire stories, this one actually managed to hold my attention. Mainly because it has more to do with real-life problems then paranormal or fantasical ones. It's laced with comedy and sarcasm as Mina tries to cope with her vampire parents whom are trying to get her to join them in her rightful place as their vampire daughter. Mina just wants to be normal, and the blood-sucking life style doesn't seem to be for her. But when her uncle comes to be her mentor into her potential future lifestyle, she starts to contemplate the importance of family and how she can balance her high school life on top of her herritage.(less)