Kiss of Frost marks my second and final venture into the world of Gwen Frost and Mythos Academy. Unfortunately, this one didn't improve upon the pro...more Kiss of Frost marks my second and final venture into the world of Gwen Frost and Mythos Academy. Unfortunately, this one didn't improve upon the problems I had with it's predecessor and spent a lot of time recapping the storyline or following a predictable plotline.
I had a few problems with the first 'Mythos Academy' book, Touch of Frost, however I felt it did offer a unique spin on the boarding school/kids with magic storyline and decided to continue with the next book to see if it improved. Sadly, it didn't. Kiss of Frost was no better - in fact, I felt it was a lot worse - and offered nothing new or surprising to the series.
I just can't get behind Gwen Frost as a hero or likeable main character. Even her hot/cold relationship with Logan failed to inject life into the wintery landscape that was Kiss of Frost.
As for the main plot twist, I had it picked out as soon as she met the 'swoonworthy' Preston. The same thing can be said for all the 'mini-plots' within this story such as Oliver's secret, Grace Frost's death and Logan's relationship with Savannah. I felt as if Jennifer Estep was gathering all the predictable plot devices known to YA and using them in Kiss of Frost. I don't want to give too much away for those who haven't read the book, but it was just really silly and I expected something more - something more intelligent.
It's pretty bad when the most shocking/unforseen thing you learn in a 300-page book regards an uncle-nephew relationship.
I also drew a lot of comparisons to the 'Vampire Academy' series with this one. The second book in 'Vampire Academy', called Frostbite, is also set in the snowy mountains as a school getaway.
A good 25% of this book felt recycled from the first, too. I like a small recap with a second installment in a series - especially if there has been a large amount of time between their release - but in this case, it was just excessive. As soon as Gwen mentioned something, such as the library, I immediately knew I was in for a convoluted spiel about just how intricate and lifelike the stone creatures that adorned its exterior were, and so on and so forth. I wouldn't be surprised to find out certain paragraphs were simply copied and pasted from Touch of Frost into Kiss of Frost.
The irksome catch phrases Gwen chooses on using every two pages are back, too; 'magic mumbo jumbo', 'warrior whiz kids', 'my gypsy gift', 'froufrou', 'The Powers That Were'... My teeth were basically grinding from page one. I've seen this complaint in a lot of other reviews, too, with some readers using the 'find' tool on their electronic copies to see just how many times a certain phrase comes up. I bet it's a ridiculous amount.
All in all, Kiss of Frost was just downright disappointing. I had a lot of trouble finishing this one - the only thing that kept me going was my desire to write about just how unhappy I was with it. I really wanted to get behind the 'Mythos Academy' series, but unfortunately it just wasn't meant to be.
Recommended to: If you really loved the first book, you may like this one. However, if like me you had your doubts, I'd say steer clear of Kiss of Frost.(less)
Drawn in by the stunning cover and unique premise, I picked up Illuminate as soon as there was a reading slot free on my e-reader, thanks to the lov...more Drawn in by the stunning cover and unique premise, I picked up Illuminate as soon as there was a reading slot free on my e-reader, thanks to the lovely people in the publishing department for the book and Netgalley. Unfortunately the book took me many weeks to finish, mainly because it was so lengthy and I couldn't find myself as drawn into Haven's world as I wanted to be.
The main drawback for this book for me was the length. At over 500-pages, I felt that Illuminate was too clunky to really hold my interest. There were loads of scenes and pieces of dialogue that could've been scrapped in the final draft to make the book more engaging and flowy; such as the scenes of Haven unpacking with Dante, etc. I felt they didn't add any 'weight' to the book, and as soon as my interest was piqued, a slow, uncessary scene would pop up and dull my reading splurge.
I found myself having to muster the energy and patience to pick up Illuminate. I was previously on a reading-high until I picked this one up, sadly. While the ideas behind the book were fresh and unique, there just wasn't enough suspense sprinkled evenly throughout the story to keep me entertained. I didnt find myself clinging to Haven as a narrator and there was no love story to speak of (well, unless you call the interactions between her and Lucian) until the very last pages.
I wish that more of the historical concepts behind the Lexington Hotel had played a bigger role in the book, too. I liked hearing about the hotel's history with Al Capone, the secret passageways, etc. and I first went into the book thinking that our cast of characters would somehow be interacting with the past. What we get instead was a lot of 'work life' to do with the hotel, which quite honestly bored me throughout most of the novel.
There was an 'angel' aspect throughout the book that's hinted quite early on, but doesn't actually come into play until the final chapters. I was hoping for some new take on angel mythology, but Illuminate doesn't offer anything more just yet - it's all still shrouded in mystery. I also felt that the characters themselves were rather cardboard-like, with the token gay best friend and unsure heroine. I came to quite appreciate Lance toward the end, but for a good part of the book he felt rather hollow and ghostlike in regards to his personality. Haven's parental figure problems and all that side-story of the hospital and her checking in seemed to throw me off the story, too. It was another piece of the book I felt could have been cut altogether.
All in all, it was just an 'okay' book, and sadly offered nothing special for me personally as a reader. From what I can gather from the ending, there are more books to come, but I won't be reading them. After a 500-page haul of trying to overthrow Aurelia and the Outfit, I'm not sure I can go through it again. After all, we learn in the last few pages that Illuminate was just 'the first test' for Haven and friends.
Recommended to: I'm sure a lot of readers out there will love Illuminate, however it just wasn't the book for me. If you're willing to invest in a 500-page read, by all means check it out. However if you feel that it's not to your tastes early on, as I did, maybe listen to your instincts.(less)
Mercy unfortunately falls into the basket of ‘a paranormal book without much paranormal’. Like other angel books before it, this debut by Rebecca Li...more Mercy unfortunately falls into the basket of ‘a paranormal book without much paranormal’. Like other angel books before it, this debut by Rebecca Lim falls a little short. While some readers will grasp on to the potential of this series, I find myself unable to do the same.
I really wanted to like Mercy, but it was just… okay. It’s not bad, it’s not good. Rebecca Lim’s writing was quite beautiful but the story itself felt a little bland. I found myself confused about where the story was going, what we as readers were meant to ‘know’ firsthand before diving in, and feeling completely unattached to any of the characters.
Mercy – as Carmen – was an alright storyteller, but I can’t even remember if we’re even told explicitly she’s an angel or if I had just gathered that from the blurb on the back of the book. For the most part I think she’s in the dark, although it’s painstakingly obvious from what’s happening to her – and the ‘angelic like’ creatures that keep invading her dreams – what her true heritage is. Not to mention she also glows and can do all sorts of strange, angelic things.
Ryan, as a love interest, was pretty generic, and although I could fathom the friendship forming between he and Mercy, I didn’t see any attraction despite Mercy insisting there were sparks. I don’t want to be told. I want to feel the connection.
I found myself halfway through the book and still feeling as if I was within the preliminary chapters. For the most part, Mercy was set in a school where there is some kind of musical/choir/singing workshop being held. I was pretty uninterested with the social dynamics that were being laid out and described (Tiffany, etc.) and the singing information in general. I felt they took a lot away from the promised supernatural plotline. Instead of learning more about the angel lore and history of the characters, we’re learning who’s got the best singing voice and who can triumph over whom vocally.
There’s also the mystery-on-the-side of who abducted Ryan’s sister, Lauren. Although Mercy has the ability to touch people and ‘see’ into their souls, she only puts this to good use a couple of times.
I think Rebecca Lim had some great ideas, but her execution didn’t carry them to their full potential. I’m so confused about the ‘angel’ aspect of the book (about Luc and his angelic brothers) and I’ll admit I was counting on at least some of the loose ends to be tied up by the end of it. Instead, Mercy ends with a cliffhanger that offers nothing in the way of angelic resolution.
Reading the blurb for the next one, I kind of just sigh. It doesn’t sound like the book has evolved and I dread that it’s going to start over from scratch again. If I had more patience I would probably read Exile, but at this point in time I’m a little over expending my reading time on series I can’t grasp with enthusiasm straight off the bat. For me, Mercy is another series – much like Alyson Noel’s The Immortals – that I’ll decided to skip.
Recommended to: If you’re curious about this series, give it a go. The beautiful covers certainly drew me in. Like I said, Rebecca Lim’s writing makes it finishable and the book itself is easy to breeze through. Think The Body Finder, by Kimberly Derting, mixed with angels.(less)
It feels so wrong awarding a book by MEG CABOT a mere 2 stars – but, unfortunately, that’s all Abandon was for me. It lacked the certain ‘Meg-ness’...more It feels so wrong awarding a book by MEG CABOT a mere 2 stars – but, unfortunately, that’s all Abandon was for me. It lacked the certain ‘Meg-ness’ I’ve come to know and love in her books, as well as a gripping plot. The only redeeming points of the book (the interaction between Pierce and John) were too few and far between.
Let me stress this before I go any further – I am a huge fan of Meg Cabot’s other books; namely The Mediator series (which is an all-time favourite of mine in the YA genre) as well as Avalon High. So when I heard about Abandon, a new YA series by one of my favourite authors, I was beside myself. I was thankfully able to get my hands on a beautiful paperback copy thanks to Pan MacMillan AU and I started it as soon as I was able. Unfortunately, what was inside the pages didn’t live up to my high expectations.
A lot of the promotion for this book rests on the myth of Persephone and Hades, but I found that the myth itself takes a backseat. Looking back on the book I’m not entirely SURE what Abandon is really about. If you’re interested in the book for it’s myth-factor, I urge you to check out another Persephone/Hades re-telling in the form of The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter.
This book isn’t very well driven by plot. It’s really a mash-up of all different events with no evident seam. Sadly absent were the plot twists and clues evident in The Mediator – storylines that I hungrily ate up because they were just so damned intelligent. I also found myself having a hard time forging a relationship with any of the characters. Pierce is quite lackluster, as are the slew of supporting characters. A lot of the plot focuses on what is known on Isle Huesos as ‘Coffin Night’, yet nothing in THIS book (it may later in the sequels) comes to fruition regarding the event. It just seemed quite pointless.
I was also left scratching my head when the true nature of the people around Pierce was revealed. The whole Mr. Mueller thing, as well as Hannah Chang, was also lumped into the ‘pointless’ box for me.
As mentioned, the only thing that redeemed the series for me (in order for me to finish the book) was the relationship between Pierce and John. Meg knows how to write romances – I’ve seen evidence of this in her other books – but to my disappointment (although it claims to be the spine of the story) the love story was quite scarce. The few interactions we glimpsed between the couple were great, but I felt they were rushed, too.
I was constantly confused throughout the chapters. Pierce keeps hinting at things that have already happened, and how she ‘should have known’, but doesn’t tell us until a few chapters later. While it could have been craftily ambiguous, it just felt puzzling.
I wanted to like Abandon, I really did, but I couldn’t make myself. There are two more books in the series but I think I’m going to have to skip this one. I rarely point my readers to other reviews of the books I’m reading, but if you’d like to read another review that mirrors my thoughts pretty exactly, head on over to The Book Eater.
Recommended to: Check it out, I suppose, if you’re curious. If you’re dead-set on reading Meg Cabot (as I was) no review is going to dissuade you from doing so!(less)
I wish A Touch Mortal had been more than it was. I really enjoyed Leah Clifford's style of writing, but I felt the story fell prey to many of the YA...more I wish A Touch Mortal had been more than it was. I really enjoyed Leah Clifford's style of writing, but I felt the story fell prey to many of the YA cliche's I've read time and time again. If Eden's story had taken on its own, original plotline, I believe I would have enjoyed this book a lot more. I am glad I persevered, however, as the ending did improve the book as a whole.
I considered giving A Touch Mortal three stars instead of two, but the more I though about it, the more I felt I was being too generous by doing so. There was just too much inside this book I had a problem with - a good 3/4 of it, actually. I really trudged through this one...
Despite being fairly 'over' angel stories, I was drawn into the series by a trailer I saw quite some time ago promoting the second book in the series. I thought 'huh, this seems like it may give a unique spin to the overdone the YA angel genre', and I was certainly right about that. A Touch Mortal isn't your typical YA angel story - but much to my disappointment, it does still follow the basic formula and allows you to predict the end way before the last pages are even close.
Probably my main irk with this book was the main character, Eden. I didn't feel sorry for her or warm up to her in any way. When I read about girls in YA novels that want to commit suicide, they all seem to be the same - loners, goths/emos... Eden falls into that trap. And even though she's contemplating killing herself before meeting leading man/angel Az, it's because of his 'death' that she decides to take the plunge... quite literally into the ocean.
Cue pink streaks in her hair, chunky boots, chipped nail polish, etcetera. when she comes back to life as a 'Sider' - an immortal sub-race made up from people who committed suicide and have nowhere to go after their deaths. I won't get into the mechanics of the Siders, or their element of 'Touch' (because I like to review my books and not re-cap the whole plot) but Eden could definitely have been more likeable. I am really past tolerating our focal characters when they insist of barging into dangerous situations with no clue what they're doing, or blatantly disregarding strict orders for their safety.... ya know?
Her little gang of 'Siders' didn't really strike me as fascinating secondary characters, either. Libby was probably the most entertaining or likeable one, but I saw where her story was leading way before it actually happened. As for Eden and Adam's relationship? It left a sour taste in my mouth. Especially when (trying to avoid too many spoilers here, but it's quite inevitable) by the end of the book, Eden seemed to totally forget how his story ended. I mean, the girl didn't even flinch or remark about the incident despite dating him for over half the book.
Kristen was an interesting character - zany and original - but not exactly likeable. Gabe, the Bound angel, was probably the most interesting of the bunch. It was his final plot twist that has actually almost convinced me to read on to the second book, A Touch Morbid. As for our leading man, Az, all I can say is 'meh'...
Luke, the baddie, had the potential to be a really great character, but he lost it somewhere along the way.
I mentioned briefly that I really loved Leah Clifford's style of writing. It's descriptive and fully-fleshed out, but at times I felt it included really unnecessary things as 'fillers' for dialogue - case in point; Eden and her friend Jarrod are having a conversation as they walk along the street. Leah Clifford thinks it interesting to point out how a rotted newspaper piece catches in Jarrod's shoelace, how he dislodges it, and keeps walking. Come again?
I am glad, however, that I finally finished A Touch Mortal and have laid my curiosity about the series to rest. At this point in time I'm still undecided on whether I'd like to continue on with the next book, but if I do, it will be to continue Gabe's story. I have little to zero interest in Eden and her friends. That being said, if Leah Clifford does come out with a new book or series, I will look into it as I think she's an author to watch.
Recommended to: If you're looking for an angel story that brings in some new elements, and pretend-strong goth girls don't bother you, give A Touch Mortal a go.(less)