This is a very strange book. The narrative reads like you threw a fairy tale and a YA romance into a blender.
Like most paranormal YA romances, this hThis is a very strange book. The narrative reads like you threw a fairy tale and a YA romance into a blender.
Like most paranormal YA romances, this happens quickly and with little effort on the part of Maxim or Oddily. Maxim is more likeable than most YA love interests - he has a personality, albeit one that needs to be established more beyond 'protect Oddily' - and divided loyalties, to his sister and Oddily. A standard complaint in YA romance is that the characters need more interaction before they fall in love - it stands for this novel as well.
Oddily is an odd character, as well. I really wanted to like her, and I sort of did. But she was just so weak and down on herself that it gets boring after awhile. She's too innocent in a world populated with caricatures of people, like Starla's parents.
There were a lot of grammar and punctuation mistakes in the Kindle copy I got off Amazon. The font on the cover is a truly odd choice.
The story has potential, but ultimately the reader is too distant to the characters; there's not a lot to engage the reader with. I think the narrative style needed more fine tuning and that the story itself needed to be fleshed out. I haven't decided whether I'll read the next one. ...more
I loved the first half of the book, where Alison is just a girl with some intense mental obstacles. Synesthesia isSadly, this book fell flat with me.
I loved the first half of the book, where Alison is just a girl with some intense mental obstacles. Synesthesia is something that has always fascinated me, and I loved how this book explored that.
The problems started when Dr Faraday appeared on the scene - I hated Dr Faraday on sight. He was the proposed love interest and there was nothing about him that I liked. His relationship with Alison felt hollow.
The mysterious murder of a classmate pinned on Alison is terribly anti-climatic, summed up and brushed off in mere paragraphs and with the lamest of excuses, that you wonder how such a thread sustained so much of the earlier book - especially when it was all the result of a rather star-trekky alien race that threatens Alison and Tori. Right about the time that Dr Faraday is fired, the story goes dramatically downhill, turning into something that feels like low-rent sci-fi.
I really would have like to see Alison explore more of her world with her new understanding of her condition, especially with her so-called best friend and family members in a stand alone book.
I think R.J. Anderson is a very smart writer who created a fascinating world and I think it could have worked well with a supernatural or sci-fi twist but the set-up just wasn't established early enough in the book....more
I loved Rosemary Clement-Moore's The Splendour Falls. I loved her distinctive, intricate characters, and I expected to love Texas Gothic.
It took me tI loved Rosemary Clement-Moore's The Splendour Falls. I loved her distinctive, intricate characters, and I expected to love Texas Gothic.
It took me three attempts to get past the second chapter. The beginning isn't as compelling, as attention-grabbing as The Splendour Falls, and it is a denser-feeling read. In truth, Texas Gothic reads like it was Clement-Moore's first book - slower, an unevenly paced plot and several other issues in comparison to The Splendour Falls. (view spoiler)[
- I was utterly fascinated by the Goodnight family. I just wanted more of them, more background, more information. I loved that they were all named for flowers, but wanted to know why. I also loved the magical specialities but didn't really understand Amy's affinity with ghosts - yes, she finds and communicates with them, but it seemed rather weak comparing to Daisy and Phin's abilities.
- I needed more about Ben and his family. More about his family, his likes and dislikes. Just more.
- I LOVED Uncle Burt and Mac. I thought they were awesome characters who definitely needed more 'screen time'.
- I needed WAY MORE about the 'Mad Monk'. I wanted more research, more information about the three bodies and the history, about the town and their feelings, their history... just more.
- Some of the dig team seemed totally superflurous. I understand that it was meant to be accurate, but I don't think it was necessary to name so many of them. (hide spoiler)]
The main failing of Texas Gothic was how slow it was, and how everything was hurriedly crammed in at the end. However, the characters, for the most part, were well-rounded and interesting.
Honestly, if this was apart of a series, I'd definitely be back for book 2! ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Edit:Had I known about this author's condescending Slated article, I would have passed over this and any future work. Her attitude towards YA books cEdit:Had I known about this author's condescending Slated article, I would have passed over this and any future work. Her attitude towards YA books can be boiled down to 'throw it together, let marketing build the hype and then smugly simper at fan girls', that for some reason YA readers do not require books that are well written simply because they are YA. According to Ms Crouch, we are less worthy of good writing.
As a hopeful YA writer and a YA reader, my thoughts on this are pretty much unpublishable.
Of course, in a moment of perfect karma, this is exactly why TML suffers.
The Magnolia League. It's popped into my line of sight a couple of times in the last few months and every time I've put off reading it. Honestly? YA is suffering from a really irritating trend at the moment - the Put A Bird On It trend. Except it's Put Magic In It. According to the YA world, everything is better with the supernatural, hooray!
Except, it's not. I thought this book sounded intriguing - Southern debutantes are about as far away from me as you can get - until I hit the supernatural bit. But when this book and it's sequel crossed the threshold of the local second hand book store, I figured I'd give them a shot.
The technical problems are fairly standard in YA - there is way too much telling rather than showing. TML suffers from a near-fatal case of info-dumping. The book could have been far more engaging if Crouch had decided to start ... (view spoiler)[right when Louisa died rather than afterwards, to give us more of a sense of who Alex was, who her mother was to her and what her life was to her rather than overused hippie-stoner stereotypes and the YA standard of 'mooning over highly inappropriate boy'.
The characterisation was a problem. Alex. Oh Alex, when I finally found a character in a YA who shared my name, I had hoped to really like her.
Alex is bland. You conjure up some sympathy for her, losing her mother so suddenly and then being put into the care a grandmother she doesn't know. But it seems like everyone is reduced to being an asshole to Alex. The owner of the commune where she and her mother lived, the boyfriend at the commune, even her grandmother. The girl is this universe's butt monkey.
Another thing that really bugs me is Alex's weight. Not that she's overweight, it was cool to see a YA heroine that didn't belong on the Teen Vogue cover, even if she does prance all over the line of 'distinctive in her scenario and raging hippie-stoner cliche'. Her weight is constantly commented on, even being a reference for nicknames! And I'll be frank, before she hits the magic tonic to be a perfect, desirable size 0, her grandmother bought her Marc by Marc Jacobs and other designer clothing. The girl isn't that overweight if she's rocking MbyMJ. I became super irked with Alex when her magical weightloss (of course, the magic means she can still eat anything and everything she wants because the author's goal is to see how many Mary Sues she can cram into one book and still cackle all the way to the bank.)
Hayes and Madison are pretty much interchangable characters, Madison's snarkiness disappearing around the time Dexter has lunch with them, leading to the most predictable 'Beauty and the Beast' supporting couple I've seen in a long time. Madison and Hayes are so similar, I honestly wonder why there are three of them. Could Madison and Hayes have been one person and Anna been the third, to add more tension between the three 'heirs'? It would have made things a lot more interesting.
Most of Hayes' problems are more evident in the second book, but you can see some of them here - she's pretty, smart, sweet and has a boyfriend that she's using spells to keep interested. We're never actually shown any reason why she wants to keep him - there's no love or lust or true control issues we've seen - just her using magic to keep him.
Madison is just two dimensional. Snarky and beautiful with fashion designer aspirations, and a nerdy boyfriend - that's pretty much it.
Thaddeus. Oh Thaddeus. Maybe that's a really traditional Southern name, but to me it feels like someone raided the Greek or Roman Gods section on Wikipedia to name their Adonis. We're reminded every time Thaddeus appears on the page that he's gorgeous - probably an 8 on the Stephanie Meyer Male Leader Reminder Chart. He gives Alex one rule for being with him - never use a spell on him. I've never seen an MC sprint so fast to breaking a promise. It was almost impressive how quickly Alex when from 'yay' to 'pass me the damn boyfriend magic' even when there really wasn't a damn thing wrong with their still-new relationship.
I could discuss the quasi-sex scene thing that just appeared out of no where but that still confuses me, as it seem to have no real point. To show their connection? As a pithy comeback to a one-liner by Alex earlier in the book? I don't know. It felt out of place to me.
Mothers are invisible forces here, relying solely on grandmothers that remain youthful and dewy to reign in the teenagers.
Miss Lee is ice cold, and hands out the money like tissues. She's not a sympathetic character in the least, even forbidding her grieving granddaughter from calling her anything but 'Miss Lee'. She is a total blank, besides being the leader of the Magnolia League. She seems to show very little love towards Alex, with most of their dialogue being Miss Lee telling Alex off. It doesn't feel like an authentic relationship. We needed to know more about Miss Lee as a person.
The Buzzards are curious characters, and much of the knowledge shared here seems like the research was in depth but the writer chose to gloss over the details. I will say that I thought their potential was wasted in the second book, because there was something good here.
The character of Constance was another wasted character who was given an info dump at the end - her story had potential and could have been spread out to create more of a balance.
So many things in this book seem to happen because they need to rather than having any sort of cause - Alex's sudden return to California for me, appeared out of nowhere, Alex suddenly stopping talking about the environmental impact of Hayes ad Madison's consumerism - hell, Alex gets thin and becomes a totally different character, Reggie and Crystal, and the destruction of Louisa's prized garden back at the commune - a garden that not only provided a regular income, but had a great business reputation. Or Alex agreeing to change her hair. At one point, we suddenly skip ahead two months. It isn't balanced writing.
Even the twist at the end of the book feels plucked out of thin air, like they need to find something to keep this going. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, this is froth. It's like Mean Girls meets Charmed without any of the funny or atmosphere. The characters seem to go through the motions and it felt like a chore to read. I think Ms Crouch had something potentially interesting here, if she had taken her time and constructed this book with the care and consideration that all literature deserves, despite the age of the reader. It would have been a much longer but more enjoyable book, and that would have rolled over to the sequel. Instead, we get something that can join the ranks of The Selection - flat, bland and monotonous.
Another solid entry in this series - definitely one of the strongest entries in the 'Lying Game'. The twist at the end was almost-unexpected, and someAnother solid entry in this series - definitely one of the strongest entries in the 'Lying Game'. The twist at the end was almost-unexpected, and some of the details stunned me as well.
I liked it, however my tolerance only expands to one more book to wrap up the mystery. If this series extends again, I think I'll just hit Wikipedia like I did for Pretty Little Liars. ...more