The Darkest Joy by Marata Eros eARC received from Gallery Books via Edelweiss Release Date: February 18, 2014 Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn The Sisters Say...moreThe Darkest Joy by Marata Eros eARC received from Gallery Books via Edelweiss Release Date: February 18, 2014 Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn The Sisters Say: Had great potential, but the writing needs serious editing
I really wanted to like this one. It sounded so great—a Julliard candidate whose family is murdered runs off to Alaska to find herself again—only the killer won’t let her get away. It’s a great concept, and I love romantic suspense novels. However, this one was not done well. The writing seemed almost tacky at times, the characters walked the line on believability, and romance was way too insta-lovey.
It’s a big deal for me to call something insta-love. I usually like the “love at first sight” romance, but the romance in this one just didn’t seem realistic. Chance rescues Brooke after a suicide attempt, and the very next day, they are both in love with each other? I just don’t see that happening. There could have been some kind of Nightingale syndrome, but not on the part of both of them. It just seemed so fake to me, and as a result, I had a hard time even when the relationship did progress to a point where love would have been possible.
The writing really bugged me at times, too. There were some chapters that were well-written and times when I enjoyed the story; however, there were other times when the writing seemed to be very, for lack of a better word, childish. Too many simple sentences and too many bland words that just didn’t create a visual effect for me as a reader. And the love scenes? I literally laughed out loud (not in a good way) because the descriptions were just so awkward.
And then we have the characters—at times, each of the characters were interesting and you could see behind their actions. But then there were others times when they just seemed so flat and boring. This is a story about recovery, and I just didn’t see Brooke going through those stages of grief that she should have gone through. She went from clinically depressed and wanting to die to “I’m so in love” and that’s all that matters. Plus, I found it really unbelievable that she would ignore the FBI’s calls and letters when the murderer is still on the loose.
Overall, this is not one of the better NA books on the market right now. It is one of the first ones I have read that had an element of suspense in it; however, it just wasn’t done well. I think with some extreme editing on the syntax, plus some more vivid descriptions, this could be a much better book (less)
Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong eARC received from Harper via Edelweiss Release Date: April 8, 2014 Reviewed by Middle Sis Jenn The Sisters Say: Slow p...moreSea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong eARC received from Harper via Edelweiss Release Date: April 8, 2014 Reviewed by Middle Sis Jenn The Sisters Say: Slow plot and boring romance leads to disappointment
This is my first Kelley Armstrong book, and I was looking forward to seeing how she writes. Unfortunately, I am afraid this will be my last Kelley Armstrong book if this is indicative of her other books. I was intrigued by the synopsis of the book—creepy unsettled souls that two twins must put to rest, an ancient evil that hunts them, and two sexy guys to help them along on their quest. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, all I ended up with was a slow plot that dragged along with only a few unsettling moments, very little information on this so-called “ancient evil,” and little to no romance with the sexy guys.
I think the concept of this book is great, but the delivery just fell short in every way. It actually started out pretty interesting in the prologue…the spirits telling Moria to leave Ronan her blade. I was thinking that was going to start off some great action scenes. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see much into what Ronan uses the blade for. The story picks up 4 months after that when Ashyn is going into the Forest of the Dead. This could have been a great part of the book—I mean, it’s the Forest of the Dead where angry spirits reside! However, all we ended up with was blood everywhere. How did it end up that way? We never got to see. Kelley skipped over everything that could really give you chills.
There also seemed to be way too much going on at once. The girls get separated, each with a guy, and then we get 4-5 chapters following each of them. I just wasn’t a fan of how this was set up, even though I don’t know how else she could have done it. It just seemed like she couldn’t really delve into each of the four characters in the way I wanted her to. As a result, they all stayed a bit flat.
There were some scenes with great potential for romance, too, but they were just blown off. If you know me, you know I love my romance. But this book pretty much has zilch. She hints all the way through of these two feeling something for each other, but nothing ever happens. The relationships stay flat and dull.
At halfway through this book, I could have set it down and never thought of it again. But, I really wanted to see if it would get better. Sadly, it just got even more disappointing. This is one series that I will not continue. (less)
Avalon by Mindee Arnett eARC received from Harper Teen Release Date: January 21, 2014 Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn The Sisters Say: Great setting, but dis...moreAvalon by Mindee Arnett eARC received from Harper Teen Release Date: January 21, 2014 Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn The Sisters Say: Great setting, but disappointing plot and characters
(This review is over the first 67% of the book)
I started out excited to read this one because the reviews had been great. Unfortunately, I just didn’t see what everyone else saw in this book. While I enjoyed the space setting and the macabre events that started the book, the characters and slow plot ruined it for me.
I’ll start out with what I enjoyed—the setting. Mindee did an amazing job describing the creepy hollowness of space. When they enter the dead zone (the part of space that seems creepily supernatural—she calls it something else, but I can’t remember what at this point), the eeriness really starts to go into overdrive. I loved the murderous and mysterious scenes that we see in the lost spaceship, and the strange anomalies that keep occurring were fantastic. If you are a big sci-fi fan, you might enjoy this book just because of the great details in the setting.
Still, even though I loved that part of it, I couldn’t get past the flat characters. I tried and tried to relate to one of them, but I just couldn’t. The dialogue seemed very young (middle grade, really), and the little romance that I did see (I stopped at 67%) was dull and really seemed to detract from the rest of the story. I also couldn’t make it past the slow plot. I’ve heard that it picks up in the second half, but after a month of trying to read some every day, I got to the point where I just didn’t think anything could bring me back into the story.
Overall, this wasn’t a book for me, although it might be one that big fans of sci-fi love. If you plan to read it, I hope you are able to enjoy it more than I did. (less)
Unhinged by AG Howard Published by Amulet Books On Shelves Now Reviewed by Middle Sis Jenn The Sisters Say: Delightfully Wicked, Enigmatic, and Sexy
So, yo...moreUnhinged by AG Howard Published by Amulet Books On Shelves Now Reviewed by Middle Sis Jenn The Sisters Say: Delightfully Wicked, Enigmatic, and Sexy
So, you know that I LOVED AG Howard’s debut novel, Splintered. It was a magnificent re-imagining of the Alice in Wonderland story. Seriously, falling down a rabbit hold never sounded so good. Then came Unhinged. Oh how glad I am to say that it definitely does not fall into the “sequel slump.” Unhinged will pull you straight through the looking glass, right back into that mad, mad world of Wonderland. Only this time, Wonderland is invading our world; and only Alyssa can stop it.
I will say I missed the creepiness of Wonderland, and more than once, I wanted to scream at Alyssa to shun our world and go diving back down the rabbit hole because that is where she belongs. However, it was great to see how Wonderland could twist the reality of our own world. The macabre and gruesome were anything but missing—creepy slinking goo piles of oil, a treacherous sister with spider legs, angry flowers bent on burying people alive. All these wonderfully eerie creatures are hiding in plain sight, just waiting for you to turn the page and let them loose.
I really love Alyssa, even when she is stupid, I still love her. She is strong and determined, and she is so very much like us. Alyssa is tired of everyone telling her what she should and should do (who wouldn’t be), who she should and shouldn’t be—and there comes a point where you can really feel her frustration. She wants to be Netherling at times, human at others—but she’s both, and learning to meld those two identities is her greatest struggle. While I wanted to scream at her at times because she was missing the obvious, I still really enjoyed watching her embrace her true self (human and netherling, but stronger than both).
Oh the debate of boys. I am still Team Morpheus all the way. In fact, I really dislike Jeb. He just isn’t Wonderland enough for her. Even when he knew what she was in Splintered, he just didn’t give her what she needed. He’s too vanilla while Alyssa is goth style rainbow sherbert. Don’t ask me what that is, but you know what I mean. I can see that Jeb is heroic and loyal, but he seems to drop her for his career in this book. Not to mention that she can’t really be herself around him—even if he knew the truth, I think she would always be trying to be more human for him.
Now, I know you could argue that if she ended up with Morpheus, she couldn’t truly be herself either because he wants more of her Netherling side. But, when you look back at all the memories of their childhood, he does accept her human side. In fact, it is Morpheus that shows her how to meld them into her true identity. I just wish she would see him for what he really is—he may hide behind illusion and riddles, but his love for her is clear (albeit selfish at times). I love Morpheus’s personality—strong and protective, elusive with a big dose of grandeur, and sexy, sexy, sexy.
AG Howard has brought Wonderland to life once again, and I praise her for making me such an adamant fan of her world. Her poetic words bring life to the macabre creatures, and her imagination and creativity makes her characters a brilliant mystery. And then that ending!!! OH MY GOSH!!!! I both loved and hated it—such a cliffhanger, but at the same time, I loved seeing Alyssa embrace her destiny. (less)
Inhuman by Kat Falls Published by Scholastic Available Now Reviewed by Middle Sis Jenn The Sisters Say: Exhilarating, I...moreAbsolutely amazing. Review to come.
Inhuman by Kat Falls Published by Scholastic Available Now Reviewed by Middle Sis Jenn The Sisters Say: Exhilarating, Imaginative and Hot
I have been in a YA reading slump for the last two months, and I was almost ready to throw in the towel. I thought maybe it was me just not being in the mindset for YA, but then I picked up Inhuman by Kat Falls. I hadn’t heard much about it, and the reviews were sketchy; but the synopsis sounded promising. So, I sat down and started reading….4 hours later and I had finished the book. I COULD NOT put it down!!! So, thank you Kat Falls for writing such an amazing YA dystopian AND for bringing me out of my slump!
I was hooked from the first page! I just loved this world that Kat created—a seemingly perfect world on one side of the wall. But on the other? Savages, mutants, mystery, and two devastatingly gorgeous guys that will knock you off your feet. Kat did such an amazing job setting up this sense of mystery about the other side of the wall, the Feral Zone. After the gruesome rumors that Lane (our main character) hears, you just can’t help but want her to find her way over the wall and explore the dangerous labyrinth that was once the United States.
Kat wastes no time bringing our heroine over the wall, and from there, the action abounds. Every chapter was fast paced, and I never got bored. I loved to see Kat adjust to live in the Feral Zone, and her compassion and determination really drove the story.
OH, and the boys. I love them both—which is something I don’t say very often. Now, I still have a favorite (I’m Team Rafe all the way), but I really enjoyed getting to know each of the guys vying for Lane’s heart. First, there’s Everson, the soldier she meets just across the wall. He’s walled off (no pun intended, but hey), and he seems sincere when it comes to his desire to make the world a better place. While I figured out very quickly who he really was, I still found myself loving his friendliness and attention to Lane. Then, there’s Rafe, the roguish tough guy who hunts the ferals that put those outside the wall in danger. He’s my favorite because I love the broken, dangerous ones; not to mention that his cockiness and smirk put him smack in the alpha male zone. (LOVE!) We get to see the façade that both of them put on, but there comes a time when we get to see those facades break down; and when they do, gosh, you will just love them more.
The story has an Island of Dr. Moreau feel to it with a mutating virus creating human and animal hybrids. I loved how imaginative Kat was with her “manimal” creations, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book after that explosive ending.
Overall, this was a brilliant read, and I am dying to find out what happens next! I highly recommend this to those of you who love new and disturbing worlds coupled with a love triangle that will take your breath away. (less)
The writing was good but I just can't get past thr content. I know they aren't related by blood, but its just too much for me. I read the entire thing...moreThe writing was good but I just can't get past thr content. I know they aren't related by blood, but its just too much for me. I read the entire thing becsise5 it has such rave reviews. But I still just, ugh.(less)
Be With Me by J. Lynn eARC received from Harper Release Date: 2-4-2014 Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn The Sisters Say: Crazy, Sexy, Heartbreaking Love
I just...moreBe With Me by J. Lynn eARC received from Harper Release Date: 2-4-2014 Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn The Sisters Say: Crazy, Sexy, Heartbreaking Love
I just love how JLA is always able to scoop me out of this world and catapult me straight into hers. I’ve always heard people say to “write what you know.” Jennifer knows hotties-- her world is always overrun with them. She must doing something right. Be With Me was fantastic—with a poignant look at broken, beautiful love. And Jase? Hold on to your pants girls, because….wow.
After seeing the trauma of Tess’s past in Wait For Me, I didn’t know how this story was going to unfold. She had been through an abusive relationship, and that kind of thing stays with you. I didn’t know how she was going to be able to open herself up to someone else without there being crazy, female drama. However, Tess was so strong, reminding herself that she was no longer a victim, but a strong, independent female. I loved seeing her break apart and then rebuild—watching the insecurities and pain flake away was heart-breaking and cathartic.
However, Tess was actually the one with the least amount of tragic history. Jase, oh Jase, just broke my freaking heart. He was so strong and so protective, and you just knew by the silver in his eyes that he was aching for love, acceptance, passion. I was a little disappointed that I was able to predict his secrets very early in the book, it didn’t stop me from loving him. JLA just knows how to write the great, passionate, protective guys that I love. Jase is on the same level as Cam and Aiden—you know, the level that pretty much makes him beyond amazing (despite the llama drama).
I read the entire book in less than a day, and that is something I haven’t done in a while. It just pulled me right in, and I couldn’t stop until I knew everything that was going to happen. There really wasn’t a dull moment, even when the romance wasn’t the focus. I love that JLA can interweave a great story with her yummy guys.
My only complaints were the predictability of some parts of the book (but most books are predictable to an extent these days), and there were parts that felt just a bit to corny. But maybe that’s the mood that I am in? I’m not sure, because I usually swoon over guys being so perfectly sweet and masculine at the same time. But there were a few instances where I wanted to look at Jase and say, “Hokey much?” But then he’d do something manly and possessive and I’d say, “You’re forgiven!”
Fans of NA and contemporary romance must not push this book to the side. It’s classic JLA, and believe me, once you’re finished, you will find yourself so sad that the next book is so far away!!! Especially because she has so many great characters to focus on—Ollie, Britt, Steph—I can’t wait to see whose story comes next. (less)