Cath & Ren are twin sisters off to attend their freshman year at university. Cath is set in her ways, shy, anti-social and unwilling to take on ne...moreCath & Ren are twin sisters off to attend their freshman year at university. Cath is set in her ways, shy, anti-social and unwilling to take on new experiences. Her twin sister, on the other hand, can't wait to jump into college life. Ren has moved on and Cath is left floundering, clinging to the only thing that she loves in life just as much as her sister - the Simon Snow book series and the fan fiction Cath writes.
I desperately wanted to like this book. I met Rainbow Rowell and she's a lovely and funny person. Her characters are interesting and not your typical YA stereo-types. Her descriptions are unique and memorable and I had a few giggle moments while reading. However, this style of book, and Rowell's writing style in general, just aren't for me. She's a good writer and tons of my friends love her books, but I just can't connect with them. For me the pace is too slow, the books largely character, rather than plot driven. The overt references to fan fiction and the fan subculture were a bit heavy-handed, but that's most likely because I'm a huge Harry Potter fan, have written fan fiction and am intimately familiar with the subculture in question and all its foibles and craziness. I'm curious how someone outside the Harry Potter fandom, who's never read fanfic, heard of fanfic or slash or the general zaniness of fandom, reads this book. Perhaps for them that's the fascinating piece that makes this book irresistible. In the end, for me, I wasn't emotionally invested enough in the characters and plot to continue. I know, however, that tons of other readers loved Fangirl.
Fangirl is notable for falling into the New Adult genre - an emerging genre that is still trying to establish itself. I think that this book will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen and similar authors. Certainly if you enjoyed Rowell's first book, Eleanor & Park, you'll enjoy this book as well - it contains the same sort of quirky, off-beat characters, and has a similar pace and feel. (less)
Charlotte Silver's parents are famous paranormal investigators and skeptics. When the family ends up in Charleston, they encounter a very strong spiri...moreCharlotte Silver's parents are famous paranormal investigators and skeptics. When the family ends up in Charleston, they encounter a very strong spirit that attaches itself to Charlotte and begins complicating her life. Adding to Charlotte's woes, after moving to a new town, starting at a new school and somehow landing a new bestie who just happens to be the head of the popular crowd, Charlotte finds herself embroiled in a mystery surrounding said bestie, her absentee boyfriend, Adam, and resident bad boy Jared James.
The book started out with a lot of promise but ultimately fizzled. Right from the beginning there were some serious disconnects. We're told that Charlotte's parents don't believe in the paranormal, that they drive around in a van labeled "Doubt" and yet they have ghost detecting equipment, speak the ghost hunter lingo and get really, really excited about paranormal indicators like EVP, light orbs and energy spikes. For supposed skeptics they sure as heck act like they believe in ghosts, despite their weak arguments to the contrary. Next we're told that Charlotte's sister, Abby, is chum - a ghost magnet used frequently during documentary shoots. While I laughed at the term and love the concept, Abby was way to jumpy for someone who's occupied that position most of her life. The same goes for Charlotte. Supposedly they grew up being dragged through haunted houses, dungeons, creepy dark places, and yet Abby freaks out because she gets a deep sense of sadness from a location shoot? It doesn't track.
Another pet peeve for me was Charlotte's sudden and intense friendship with Avery. Charlotte moves to town and magically makes friends with the head cheerleader? Because NONE of Avery's otherwise apparently attentive friends are around in the weeks before school starts? It just doesn't fit. More-over, not one of those existing friends has a problem taking Charlotte into their tight-knit clique when school starts. And the mystery surrounding Avery's boyfriend and what really happened to him? Utterly ridiculous. [spoiler]For goodness sake, Jared isn't willing to admit he crashed his car because he swerved to avoid Avery's dog? Really? He's just going to be vilified and not say a word? And because he swerved to avoid hitting the dog, Jared somehow believes he murdered his best friend in the accident? He believes it so much he TELLS Avery he murdered Adam. But of course he won't tell Avery he crashed because of her dog - that would be too traumatic for everyone. I felt like there was a lot of lead up to the reveal of what happened to Adam and why and then to have it be something so ridiculously simple felt very disappointing.[/spoiler]
The actual writing wasn't bad, nice descriptions, excellent scene-setting and a good pace throughout the novel. The characters were distinctive and dialogue was well done. The plot holes and stumbles, however, were too much of a distraction and the decent writing style couldn't rescue the overall story. I think that Mara Purnhagen shows a lot of promise as a writer and I'll be interested to see what she writes in the future. This particular book just wasn't to my taste. (less)
Scarlett Bernard is back, just weeks after her confrontation with Olivia and embroiled in a whole new mess. Scarlett's actions at the end of TRAIL OF...moreScarlett Bernard is back, just weeks after her confrontation with Olivia and embroiled in a whole new mess. Scarlett's actions at the end of TRAIL OF DEAD have left the LA werewolf pack unstable and left Scarlett with a badly injured leg. A new wolf in town is causing trouble, trying to create a mate and leaving dead bodies in his wake. And because that isn't enough trouble, an ancient society has come to town - their main mission, hunting and killing werewolves. Meanwhile Scarlett's love life is still a mess with sexy Jesse Cruz, LAPD detective, on one side and Eli,hot friend with benefits and Beta of the wolf pack, on the other.
This is another fun, fast read filled with lots of action and great characters. I love the dynamic between Scarlett and the old world creatures. My heart broke several times for her and I was rooting for the good guys to win even when I wasn't always sure who the good guys are. The resolution of the Nova wolf plotline felt a little easy & swift for all its build up, but that was my only real quibble with the book overall. Scarlett remains one of my favorite UF heroines and Olson continues to write engaging books that make me stay up way, way too late reading them. I can't wait for the next installment.(less)
Lost in the beginning stages of dementia, Maude struggles to hold onto her thoughts. One thought in particular keeps her worrying -...more3.5 stars out of 5
Lost in the beginning stages of dementia, Maude struggles to hold onto her thoughts. One thought in particular keeps her worrying - her friend Elizabeth is missing. No one will listen and no one will help her find Elizabeth. Maude knows that something awful may have happened to her friend and she's determined to find out the truth. Seventy years before, Maude's sister, Susan, went missing as well and Maude never found out her sister's fate. As Maude's dementia progresses, the past and the present begin to mingle in her mind as she tries to unravel dual mysteries.
This is a heartbreaking book. I sympathized with Maude and at times cheered her on, at times felt only pity and occasionally squirmed with discomfort at her shenanigans. Emma Healy presents a brilliant and convincing portrait of advanced dementia, evoking sympathy not only for Maude but for her family and their struggles to take care of her. The language is beautiful with lovely unique descriptions that bring the story to life.
I felt that the story dragged on a bit in the middle and perhaps a third of it could have been edited down or cut. The pacing overall suffered from that mid-book slump and there was a repetitive feel to many chapters. I realize that is largely because Maude, herself, is stuck in a continuous loop, but that could have been conveyed without drawing things out so much. The mystery of what happened to Elizabeth and Susan is an interesting plot device used throughout the story. Unfortunately it's one of the areas that failed for me because in the mystery depart there was no twist offered at all. The answer to both questions was patently obvious from mid-way through the book and there were no real surprises, except the connection between the two mysteries.
In most stories there's a character arc where the main character progresses, in this novel, due to the nature of its protagonist, that's the exact opposite - her character devolves. The ending fit the story and fit Maude's character. I appreciate that, for the most part, Healy didn't feel the need to wrap things up in a pretty little bow. That wouldn't have fit her story or characters. Part of the tragedy of the story is that due to her dementia, though Maude ultimately solves both mysteries, she can't remember that fact. For her there is never any resolution, because there can't be. I applaud Healy for remaining true to her characters and story.
This book is likely to appeal to fans of Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Still Alice by Lisa Genova and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It's an adult contemporary novel and you'll find it shelved in the general literature section or with cozy mysteries. (less)
Tessa is a covert operative with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities branch of the FBI, the FEA. Like her fellow FEA agents, Tessa posses a unique...moreTessa is a covert operative with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities branch of the FBI, the FEA. Like her fellow FEA agents, Tessa posses a unique ability, a mutant adaption that sets her apart from the rest of humanity. In Tessa's case she has the ability to transform into anyone she touches, an exact carbon copy. Her best friend can turn invisible and the boy she's crushing on in the FEA has super-human strength. People like Tessa and her friends are called Variants and not all Variants are good. Tessa gets her first field experience when a series of gruesome murders rocks a tiny town. The FEA suspects Variant involvement and Tessa is sent in to impersonate one of the teen victims who died - popular Madison Sinclair.
There are a surprising number of negative reviews for this book. Despite some issues, I liked Impostor. The book is fast paced and has an X-men feel to it that appeals to me. For the most part, I liked the characters, from Tessa to Alec and Devon. I liked the serial killer twist. Liked the creepy vibe in some sections and had fun trying to figure out the mystery.
Although I enjoyed the novel, I freely admit it has its fair share of issues as well. It falls into the same trap as many YA books with the heroine being just a bit too boy-crazy, not fighting her own battles often enough and the occasional descent into purple prose. Tessa's bouts of whininess, her super special status and inexplicable appeal to those of the male persuasion definitely had a Bella Swan-esqueness. And the ending ... yeah that got weird and complicated. I think I can predict where the series is going but I could be wrong. I'm willing to find out and give the second book a chance. This is not my favorite read of the year but it was a guilty pleasure read. I have no idea why I liked it. I just know I did. (less)
When a pile of left feet (and no other body parts) turn up in the flood plain, Alex is called in to see if she can raise a shade or help identify the...moreWhen a pile of left feet (and no other body parts) turn up in the flood plain, Alex is called in to see if she can raise a shade or help identify the victims. A month after the events of Grave Witch, Grave Dance finds Alex once more mired in a tricky case, stalked by bad guys both mortal, fae and magical and still torn between two men in her life: Death, the sexy soul collector, and Falin - a Fae knight from the Winter Court. Alex must figure out who's using black magic to kill before the rogue witch tears a whole in reality and merges the mortal world with the Aetheric.
Another fun, quick read. As with the first book it's well written, has strong description, excellent pacing and memorable characters. This book also has all the same pitfalls - it's very much a genre book and doesn't stray outside the industry norms at all. The requisite love triangle is still present, still filled with angst and still annoying the heck out of me.
Despite my gripes, I enjoyed the story and will definitely read the third book in the series. (less)
In the second Cormoran Strike novel, Strike is hired by a distraught wife to find her errant writer husband. The seemingly simple case takes a rapid t...moreIn the second Cormoran Strike novel, Strike is hired by a distraught wife to find her errant writer husband. The seemingly simple case takes a rapid twist, however, when Strike discovers that the writer disappeared after creating a controversial novel that has lawyers jumping into the fray and the London publishing community up in arms over it's libelous content. There are plenty of people who wanted Owen Quine to disappear and when the writer turns up dead and the London Met proves too incompetent to solve the case, it's up to Strike to find the killer.
The Silkworm is an engaging, twisty mystery that draws the reader in and keeps you guessing until the last second. I never saw the twist coming but in the end all the signs were there and the ultimate reveal was completely convincing and plausible. As with the first book in this series, Silkworm is filled with striking, memorable characters that leap off the page and keep the reader's interest. Literary references abound and some definite tongue-in-cheek jabs and the writing process, authors and the publishing industry in general are woven into the narrative.
I found the literary quotes at the start of each chapter a bit superflous but that's my only complaint about an otherwise delightful book. I can't wait to see where the series takes us in the future.(less)
When Adam's ex-wife, Christy, shows up and insists on moving in, it becomes clear pretty fast that she wants to replace Mercy and come back to the pac...moreWhen Adam's ex-wife, Christy, shows up and insists on moving in, it becomes clear pretty fast that she wants to replace Mercy and come back to the pack. Unfortunately Christy's also got a psycho ex-boyfriend after her and worse still, he seems to be some sort of super-powerful supernat Mercy and pack have never encountered before. Bodies are piling up and the pack is in trouble as Mercy and Adam try to track down the bad guy and keep Christy from splintering the pack with her usual dose of drama.
Another fantastic addition to the Mercy Thompson series. There's a lot of action, some nice twists and a few more details about Mercy's past offered up. Christy's presence was a nice, unexpected complication. I love how Briggs keeps the story interesting even though the main love interests, Adam and Mercy, have gotten together. They say in TV and often in books, when the love interests FINALLY get together it's a death knell for the series. This book certainly proves that wrong for the Mercy Thompson series. I'm just as in love with the series now as I was when I first read Moon Called and there is nothing to disappoint in Night Broken. (less)
Kara was summoned against her will into the Demon world and now has to fight for her life, all while trying to figure out who to trust.
I hated this bo...moreKara was summoned against her will into the Demon world and now has to fight for her life, all while trying to figure out who to trust.
I hated this book. Hated. I really enjoyed the other books in the series so my disappointment with this one was fairly epic. The aspect that appealed to me most about the first several books in the series was the supernatural cop angle - that gets completely thrown out in this one. Moreover I just wanted to slap Kara so many times. She's a mostly passive, wishy-washy, whiny victim who allows herself to be manipulated and abused. She'll basically screw anything with legs and has the self-preservation instincts of a suicidal lemming. I forced myself to finish the book, praying it would get better. It didn't. The plot was painfully slow and tiresome. The big reveals (of which there were few) were tepid at best and not enough to keep my interest.
(view spoiler)[I've always had a problem with Kara being interested in Ryan and yet perfectly willing to screw a demon at the same time. I'm all for female empowerment but I'd be just as thoroughly disgusted with a male character who did this. If you are in love with someone, or falling in love with someone, you don't have a F***-buddy(a term freely used in the series) on the side. It's like a huge moral black-hole. Moreover- initially Mzatal is set up as a persecutor, then he flips heavily into a father-figure. That relationship is definitely painted that way, but wait no - because in the end Kara has to screw Mzatal as well and it's all good because hey Ryan would understand if he was in his demon lord guise. Arghhhhhh! I hate this so much. (hide spoiler)]
Female empowerment is not synonymous with becoming a slut. That, more than all the other crap in this book, pissed me off the most. Complete sub-genre shift aside (goodbye Urban Fantasy, hello High Fantasy) the main characters fell apart and the plot went to hell. I am done with this series and won't read any future books.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
In the second Kara Gillian book something is stealing the essences of people and killing them. At first, Kara is afraid the essence stealer is a demon...moreIn the second Kara Gillian book something is stealing the essences of people and killing them. At first, Kara is afraid the essence stealer is a demon she's responsible for bringing over into this realm. But as more bodies turn up she begins to see a disturbing pattern emerging. Barely back at work a week after her medical leave following the Symbol Man case, Kara is plunged back into the world of the arcane and a political hot-mess unrolling in Bealac. To complicate matters Lord Rhyzkahl is back and propositioning Kara to become is summoner, a role she's not sure she wants to take on.
Another fun, fast read filled with nice twists, lovely world building and a cast of characters that I'm happy to spend time with. At times I want to smack Kara upside the head, especially in regards to Special Agent Ryan Kristoff and in her dealings with Rhyzkahl. The demon lord is rather ambivalent and I'm not sure if I'm supposed to like him or not - but perhaps that's because Kara feels the same and the book is from her perspective after all. I like that the relationships are drawn out a bit more in this book and it's not a straight up sexcapade read. The paranormal detective aspect is what appeals to me most and that's the part that delivers the most punch. I rather dread the coming love triangle with Rhyzkahl and Kristoff, which was patently obvious in the first novel and more so in this one, but at least it's developing slowly. I also like that Kara has a strong code of honor, stays true to herself for the most part and isn't a drop-dead-gorgeous amazing kick-ass heroine - she's flawed and normal, a bit pudgy until she stops eating from stress and while she does kick-ass it's with abilities that she earns and hones and not just because that's the way the author has decreed it with nothing in her background backing it up. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading the next book. Probably some time this week - because I lack self control when it comes to a good read.(less)
Lucy Carlyle is a ghost hunter, one of the newest members of the Lockwood & Co paranormal investigations company. Unlike the other large ghost hun...moreLucy Carlyle is a ghost hunter, one of the newest members of the Lockwood & Co paranormal investigations company. Unlike the other large ghost hunting firms in London, Lockwood & Co has only 3 employees and they're all kids, no grown-up supervisors allowed. When one of their cases goes horribly awry Lockwood & Co may have to close up shop forever - unless of course they agree to take on the most haunted house in Britain. Of course the last team that went in all died.
This was a fun, fast, rollicking read. I fell in love with all of the main characters and I have to admit the creepy descriptions gave me chills and had me leaving a light on as I read late into the night. Stroud is a genius when it comes to descriptions and Lucy's world comes to life in this book. The world building is superb. The grand mystery was easy to figure out halfway through but I didn't care because I was enjoying the story so thoroughly at that point. I had a hard time pining down WHEN this story takes place, however. At first I thought this was set in a Victorian London or a derivation thereof but it became apparent later that the book is actually set in the present - but an alternate present where there are a lot of historic trappings, ghosts run rampant and not all modern conveniences appear to be in common use. That confusion on time and setting was my only complaint in the entire book. I look forward to reading more in this series and eagerly anticipate the next book.(less)
The Taylors have been witches as far back as anyone can remember and they are the creme da la creme of Savannah magic society. Unfortunately, Mercy Ta...moreThe Taylors have been witches as far back as anyone can remember and they are the creme da la creme of Savannah magic society. Unfortunately, Mercy Taylor is a magical dud without a lick of magic at all. Her twin sister Maisie on the other hand got an extra huge helping of magical mojo and is the princess of the family - beautiful, talented and almost everyone's favorite. It's been that way since Mercy was a baby and she's use to her sister getting all the attention, she loves her sister and doesn't begrudge her the limelight. But she does lust after her sister's fiance. Ashamed of her feelings, Mercy turns to an infamous hoodoo root doctor - Mother Jilo, begging for a spell that will make Mercy love her best friend Peter and end her feelings for Jackson, her sister's intended. That one little spells sets of a chain of events that throws Mercy's entire world into turmoil, beginning most notably with the murder of her Great Aunt Ginny.
There's a ton of world building backed into this book with loving descriptions and lots of attention to a handful of characters. While the plot is fairly interesting and kept my attention I did feel like it dragged a little in the middle. More-over, while some characters were well fleshed out and fully detailed, others felt like thin caricatures without much detail - Jackson and Peter for example. Both are important character and yet they have little character development and don't really stand out. Overall it was an interesting book and yet just too drawn out. I probably won't continue with the series.
I have a couple of major pet peeves: (view spoiler)[First Maise's abrupt character reversal felt completely out of left field and unnatural. There were no hints early in the book that she was anything other than a loving sister so for her to abruptly turn out to be a villain felt contrived. Furthermore - the twist with Jackson turning out to be Ren was also completely out of left field with no earlier support in the book and contrived. The major plot twist, that Mercy was actually a powerful witch who's power was stolen, was predictable (or at least I had guessed that would happen halfway into the book). My only surprise was in who killed Ginny and that was cheapened by Ren turning out to be Jackson. Also the entire explanation that Mercy was in love with Jackson because he'd been absorbing her magic and part of her recognized that in him - that made me wince. So basically she's in love with him because she's in love with herself. Meh. The pregnancy bit at the end felt contrived as well and didn't seem to serve any real purpose. Mercy's sudden realization, literally in the very last moments of hte book, that she did love Peter also felt contrived and way, way too late. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, excellent world building, inconsistent characters and a plot the limps along for most of the story. Despite my gripes I am sure that many urban fantasy readers will enjoy this series. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Sixteen-year-old Kate discovers that she carries a gene that allows her to time travel and that her grandmother is actually from the future, stuck in...moreSixteen-year-old Kate discovers that she carries a gene that allows her to time travel and that her grandmother is actually from the future, stuck in Kate's present, and trying desperately to stop a sinister religious organization from destroying the world. When time shifts and Kate loses her family in one awful moment, she has to travel back in time to try to set things right.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The time paradoxes were minimal and it's a well thought out and crafted story. Filled with likable characters, interesting issues and a healthy dose of action and adventure it was a fun read. I really liked the different characters and Kate as well. While Kate's relationship with Trey felt a trifle rushed, it was still an important aspect of the story and added that oh so popular dual love interest layer that today's YA seems riddled with. I admit I'm rooting for Kiernan, though I seriously doubt there's any way that particular relationship will work out. I will definitely be reading the second book whenever it comes out.(less)
Matteo Alacran is a clone - a science-created creature without basic human rights. In a world where cloning is possible and actively engaged in (thoug...moreMatteo Alacran is a clone - a science-created creature without basic human rights. In a world where cloning is possible and actively engaged in (though certainly frowned on as an inhumane practice) Matteo struggles to figure out his place. He's the clone of El Patron - the most important man in the country where Matt lives and a ruthless drug cartel kingpin. Matt has few companions and most people hate and despise him - seeing him as little more than a hideous pet. As Matt grows he fights to discover where he belongs.
I give this 3.5 stars. It's not quite a 4 star book for me, but it's certainly not the tempid fair I usually hand 3 stars. The world building on this is thorough and well done, the characters stand out and there's excellent description and dialogue throughout. I found the moralizing a bit heavy-handed and obvious at times and would have appreciated a subtler touch, especially in the last 3rd of the book. Maria's character was a bit uneven overall - and I found her hard to connect with. Matt was, at times, also distant and hard to relate to. I love the dilemas presented by this book however, and the underlying plot. Matt's character read as much younger than his actual age and I'm not certain if that was deliberate or a conscious decision on the author's part but I think that is why I felt a bit of disconnect with Matt at times. I loved him best in the later 3rd of the book when he was the strongest and sticking by his beliefs. I loved his refusal to be cowed in the face of the Keepers. Overall it was a quick, interesting read. I'm not sure if I'll read further in the series, but I enjoyed the first book. (less)