I finally read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan after having friends recommend it anThis review first appeared on my blog:Book Addict 24-7
I finally read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan after having friends recommend it and urging me to read it. Even though I devoured it, I felt on the fence about whether I liked the novel or not.
While well written stylistically, the content had me frowning at various points. This was definitely a strong story that was fraught with plot holes and weak character development, especially with the protagonist Mary.
"In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?"
Before I give the impression that I disliked this novel, let me make something clear: Novels with protagonists who blindly follow their own selfish desires in a world that has many greater problems, despite the characters around them, drive me insane. Sure, the concept was cool and I enjoyed the terror that the characters experienced, but it wasn't anywhere near a perfect book for me.
1. I don't mean to be fickle, but this novel needed a bit more editing. I usually don't mention editing issues if it isn't so blatant that it disturbs my reading, but this novel had it enough times to make me comment on it. I know some editing errors are little mistakes that become nearly invisible in a novel of three hundred or more pages, but yeah, these errors occurred everywhere. Grammatical errors, typos--ugh.
Another point under the whole "editing" thing: awkwardly phrased sentences. When this occurred it would disrupt my reading and I would actually try to rearrange the words until they made sense. I shouldn't have to do that with a published book!
2. I really, really disliked Mary. She was naive, selfish, immature, indecisive and annoying. What kind of person risks the lives of those she loves just so she can see the ocean? Yeah, I get that the ocean is a metaphor for hope and for faith, but come on. It was so drawn out, I wanted to pull my hair out.
Since I'm talking about Mary, why don't I bring in the other characters as well? The only character that I really cared for was the protagonist's love interest, Travis. He was, in my opinion, well developed, but his relationship with Mary fell flat. In fact, many relationships with Mary fell flat. Why? Because she was a weak protagonist. The other characters tried to be developed, but most of them failed.
3. There are so many things that left me confused at the end! Some questions were left so open-ended that it is very difficult for me to come to a conclusion. I know there is a sequel, but I don't know if I'll be reading it.
4. By the way, how can a village in the middle of ass-crack nowhere know what salt tastes like? I've always been curious about that with certain books. If you are so far away from the ocean and you have no way of going into the outside world, how can you procure salt, let alone know what it would taste or smell like?
5. The romance wasn't as strong as it could have been because of Mary's constant whining and unhappiness.
6. The beginning was slow! I was expecting some great adventure with zombies, but didn't get my wish until well into the novel.
1. Ryan's book had some creepy moments, effectively scaring me and making me curious. Ryan is also gifted at eerily describing surroundings.
2. When certain characters died I actually cried. Yes, I cried. Ryan's characters may be weak, but she has a way with words so as to rouse a reaction from her readers.
3. Let's ignore for a moment the writing and focus on what a perturbing picture this plot paints for us. We have a post-apocalyptic world where cities have fallen and zombies have devoured most of humanity. Then insert a character who's need to see the ocean is as dangerous as literally jumping into a hoard of zombies. If anything, Ryan succeeds in showing the fragility of humanity and the dangers of curiosity.
4. Let's face it, Ryan teaches us that a girl can dream. Even if there are deadly consequences.
5. Ryan is pretty good at redeeming characters when they've failed the reader's expectations. See point two in the positives to see what I mean.
6. It was pretty cool when Mary finds the old newspaper clippings and pictures. I think that was one of the neatest parts of this novel.
With so many mixed reviews, it's easy to be indecisive when it comes to deciding whether I liked or disliked the book. For me though, I'm going to remain on the fence because though I obviously disliked various parts and characters, I didn't hate the story. If Mary were more mature and less selfish, then this book would have gone down a completely different path. Instead, Ryan made her character slightly cliched and just a nuisance....more
James Patterson’s 1st to Die is the first installment in the Women’s Murder Club series. This mystery thriller follows homicide inspector Lindsay Boxer, a member of the Women's Murder Club, and her search for the elusive murderer of newlywed couples.
Lindsay is difficult to find believable at times because of how Patterson portrays her. Though he does a marvelous job of creating her world and introducing her to his readers, Patterson’s male voice sometimes sneaks into Lindsay’s behavior, making her hard to connect with as a female reader. However, Lindsay’s medical struggles with Negli's aplastic anemia, the body's inability to produce red blood cells, and her growing love affair, adds depth to the novel.
The other women in the Women's Murder Club: Claire, Cindy, and Jill, all represent a faction in the world of law and I looked forward to the chapters where I could learn more about them, but I was left disappointed. If these three women are a big influence on how the grisly murders are solved, then why does Patterson bypass their backstory? And why does Jill, the assistant D.A. prosecuting the suspect, make an appearance much later in the book?
Another issue I encountered was the blatant attack on men. Patterson’s struggle to write from the viewpoint of a female character resulted in bitter women. The Women’s Murder Club is created for the sole purpose of proving that women can solve a mystery without male influences. Interestingly enough, a contrasting situation is witnessed between the suspect and his relationships with other women. As a result, Patterson’s novel is an exploration of the hindrances of gender in a book that investigates sexual murders.
The plot is masterfully written. Patterson surprises his reader with nearly every cliffhanger, creating an almost unimaginable and disturbing conclusion. His writing style welcomes the reader to join the investigation, since Lindsay is also learning as the novel progresses.
The chapters written from the murderer's point of view are disturbing as he offers the reader clues about his identity and the final minutes in the victims' lives. From the killer's reaction to his first kill, to the haunting murders themselves, Patterson's world promises to enthrall the reader with his intriguing, but nauseatingly realistic writing.
Well researched and an eerie insight into the world of serial killers, 1st to Die is a mystery thriller that will keep the reader guessing up until the final sentence of the epilogue....more
I can see why Neal Shusterman's Unwind would be such a hit with both young adult and adult readers.Review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I can see why Neal Shusterman's Unwind would be such a hit with both young adult and adult readers. Unwind is full of mesmerizing characters, a frighteningly possible future, and an adventure that will forever be memorable to the readers who dare enter the pages. Unwind is a masterpiece that invites the reader into a well-conceived and creative world.
Not for the squeamish, Unwind is a dystopic novel that explores the abuse of power, the innocence of childhood, and the horrible side of ignoring the horrors in our world.
Connor is an unexpected hero that starts off with one single thought: Survive; Risa just wants a future to look forward to; and Levi, despite his set path and later, rebellious behavior, just wants to believe in more than what he is being told.
The three characters that lead the story forward are complex and give Unwind a depth that I was not expecting. When I learned that three protagonists would lead me to the conclusion, I became wary. Thankfully, Shusterman's writing is enviable.
The pacing could have been better. I found my mind wandering on several occasions, but only on a few. The first half of the novel is a bit slower than I imagined, but the action picks up during the second half of the novel.
Unwind is an important novel to read because of the topics Shusterman touches on. His novel may be fiction, but the topics can be applied to many things in the real world. The importance of life is questioned after the Second Civil War that created the Unwind law, putting human ignorance on a pedestal to be mocked by the reader.
Who would be so blind and cold as to let children be unwound? Who would willingly sign his/her child's life away, just because s/he is a troublesome kid?
Perhaps what makes Unwind such a powerful novel is the lack of censoring that Shusterman adopts when openly criticizing modern culture under the guise of fiction. The characters are teenagers, but they have more life experience than the adults surrounding them. The idiocy in Shusterman's fictional adult world is palpable, and though we are made to hate them, we are also made to critically think and ask: what led them to this moment; to these decisions?
I would recommend Unwind to readers that enjoy dystopian novels, stories that question humanity, strong characters, and frightening scenarios.
Unwind is the kind of novel that explores some of our greatest fears and makes them reality for the characters trapped within the pages....more
The Immortal Rules, the first installment in the Blood of Eden series, by Julie Kagawa took meThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The Immortal Rules, the first installment in the Blood of Eden series, by Julie Kagawa took me by surprise from the beginning to the very end. I am fairly new to Kagawa's writing style and I was very pleased at the story that she created in her tome of a novel.
Kagawa manages to take the used and (sometimes) abused vampire genre and makes it her own with a quick-witted protagonist who is, for once, the vampire instead of the damsel in distress. Fast-paced and unputdownable, The Immortal Rules is a sign that there is still hope for what once made Bram Stoker so great: an unforgettable vampire story.
Despite the albeit cheesy cover, Kagawa's story is an intriguing look into the mind of a vampire that is in some parts cynical and all parts tough.
1. The only real issue I have with this one is the predictability. Then again, it is getting increasingly hard to create unpredictable pieces of literature when so much has already been done. I just wish that the protagonist's actions weren't so transparent, though I won't lie, I was still hooked.
1. The writing style, in my opinion, is superb. I am a fan of writers who choose brisk sentences, as opposed to artsy, over-dramatic sentences that explain everything in detail. Kagawa has the ability to reel her reader into the story using words to her advantage--therefore employing the tactic of saying less to show more.
2. The adventure never ebbs. When a part of the story starts to come to a conclusion, another adventure immediately takes over, pulling the reader through yet another trip through the forest in Kagawa's novel, or into dangerous territory. Each adventure is fresh and exhilarating. Best of all, not only is the action non-stop, but the story is neither messy nor choppy, it instead flows to one heart-stopping finale.
3. The pacing is quick, clean, and epic. See number 2.
4. Okay, I won't lie, Kagawa creeped me out. Especially near the beginning.
5. The characters are well developed, even the ones that don't make it through to the end. Allison, the protagonist, is a realistic blend of strong and weak, so that her humanity still shows through her obvious undead status. Not only did Kagawa manage to make a realistic protagonist, she gave Allison depth and made her relatable (except for the whole undead thing.)
6. Whereas in other books a reader is left waiting for the action to begin, in Kagawa's novel we are immediately brought into the heart of the conflict. There are monsters, there's hardly any food, people starve and die--that's life for Allison. There's no sugar coating, there's no pretending that her life is any different for the benefit of the reader. We are brought in and boom, we learn the gritty truth about life in The Immortal Rules, and all with a single, powerful scene.
I highly enjoyed Kagawa's novel. It was fun, exciting, and I don't know how I ever felt wary of reading it. The size is disconcerting, I'll be honest, but it is well worth it. ...more
Eileen Cook's most recent novel, Unraveling Isobel, is spooky and has a spunky female protagonist who isn'tFirst appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Eileen Cook's most recent novel, Unraveling Isobel, is spooky and has a spunky female protagonist who isn't afraid to speak her mind. The novel opens on a very pissed off Isobel as her mother relocates her to an island where her new step-father lives before the start of her Senior year. There, she learns the importance of not caring what others think, she finds love, and has a creepy and life-threatening experience.
Full of humour, suspense, and mystery, Cook's novel is a surprisingly quick read that will pull its reader in and doesn't let him/her go until the end. There are some unanswered questions which may annoy the reader at the end, but for the most part this is a great summer read.
I have to admit that Cook's best talent is her dialogue. I couldn't stop laughing on more than one occasion as her characters' personalities flowed out through their manners of speech.
If you're looking for a fast, fun, creepy, and addicting read that's also on the romantic side, then I would recommend Unraveling Isobel--it's worth the read. ...more
I enjoyed Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, but it lacked a certain touch that would otherwise makeMini review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I enjoyed Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, but it lacked a certain touch that would otherwise make it a favorite.
It was creepy and exciting, since it's set in a world where werewolves are a reality--which reminded me of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series. I was drawn to the mystery aspect of the book and how this ghost was seemingly haunting her best friend.
What I didn't like so much:
1. The detective work isn't as prominent as the synopses hints at. 2. There is a LOVE TRIANGLE. Like, a pretty obvious one that set my nerves on edge. Just, no. 3. The protagonist is one of those plain Janes who magically has all the guys wanting her, putting her in the cliche woods.
What redeemed this for me:
1. The creepy small town 2. The surprise twists 3. The sexy male characters (ignore my age)
I have many mixed feelings regarding this one, but it was a fun read.
This was a fun read with a very fresh take on the idea of werewolves!
I wasn't too keen on the love triangle, and even though the protagonist wasn't exactly out of the cliche woods, this was still an exciting read!...more
Susan Ee's Angelfall is an interesting and occasionally disturbing young adult novel that explores qReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Susan Ee's Angelfall is an interesting and occasionally disturbing young adult novel that explores quite a few popular themes in young adult literature: zombies, angels, romance, and powerful female protagonists. While the characters were well-rounded and entertaining to follow in Ee's world, it is the world they live in that makes this story truly powerful.
I find it interesting that there is an instance where Raphe, the angel helping Penryn, the protagonist, explains that evolution has made his kind much better than humans. The reason why I find this interesting is because it indadvertedly comments on the human condition and how we treat this world. Much like the angels, we fight our battles in helpless worlds, destroying everything we touch. And I don't mean any country in particular or whatever, just humanity in general.
Penryn is powerful because she keeps the same nerve that puts her on the path to finding her little sister throughout the novel. Despite her increasing feelings towards Raphe, she is experiencing powerful self-growth as she discovers what is truly happening in her world.
The descriptions are sad and not uncommon with the imagery offered by other post-apocalyptic authors. The difference between Ee's novel and a few other post-apocalypse novels is that Ee creates an emotional response within Penryn for what is lost, which then passes onto the reader.
Ee makes sure to keep the reader intrigued by giving the reader more than just characters stuck running through the forest. She offers creepy as hell moments full of blood and gore, but also soft, memorable moments between a human and one of the most revered paranormal creatures in existence.
Okay, I won't lie. I was expecting more romance. Raphe sounds gorgeous and he is obviously very drawn to Penryn, but if you're looking for a book full of stolen kisses, "I'll stand against them all" declarations of love, and a happy ending, Angelfall is not it. Ee does not give everything away with the first installment of her series. She knows how to keep the suspense going for the reader with questions like: What now? What will they do? How will he know? --if you've read the book, you'll know why I ask this.
I would recommend Angelfall to fans of post-apocalyptic novels that have strong story lines, powerful female protagonists, sexy angels, creepy children, and are fast paced. ...more
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting is the third novel in the Body Finder series, which has anothThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting is the third novel in the Body Finder series, which has another installment set to release sometime in 2013. If you haven't read the previous two books, I suggest you do so (preferably The Body Finder; the first novel and the namesake of the series), since this book wasn't in the same league as the first book. When I first read The Body Finder, I fell in love with Derting's writing and the story she had to tell, when I read the second book I felt like she'd done it again (though not as strongly), and some say third time's the charm.
Yeah, not so much.
Sorry Derting, but though I did enjoy The Last Echo, it could have been so much better.
"In the end, all that's left is an echo...
Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet's talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals—including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe—it's Violet's job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice. When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by "the girlfriend collector" she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new "relationship" and Violet may have caught his eye...."
Okay, ignoring the fact that this synopses basically tells you all the events that happen in the previous two novels (Major Spoilers above), this synopses hints to us that this book is going to be another mystery that Violet tries to solve, while somehow catching the eye of the killer. I have some issues with what this novel promises and with what it actually gives me.
By the way, Derting's first two novels were devoured by me in less than two days, while this one I had to keep putting down because it just wasn't that addicting.
1. If you've read my review for Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi then you know what my biggest (and only) complaint for that novel was. The ending of Derting's novel must be the new offspring of cliches. The whole "mysterious antagonist" threatening the protagonist into pursuing something that is against their will is overkill, and I'm sorry, but for a novel that isn't as strong as its predecessors, this was a weak move. I get the whole wanting to have something to write about in the next installment, but not only was the unfolding of the conclusion predictable, but it was just plain annoying and frankly, I'm iffy about reading the fourth book.
2. Spoiler to those who haven't read the previous installments and want to in the future, The Last Echo BARELY touches on Jay and Violet's romance, which was the cutest thing ever (best friends in love type of deal, which I admit is a cliche as well) in the first two novels. Instead, we have the protagonist frolicking around with her emotions and this new "Rafe" character that registers as a big no-no for Violet. Plus, this whole "electrical shock" thing between the two characters whenever they touch is annoying. I understand that Derting is trying to create tension between her characters, but this is yet another cliche: the love triangle.
3. Violet kind of pissed me off in this one. She was immature and kind of dense. How does she not see what's right in front of her? Of course, she's always been a bit slow when it comes to understanding that she shouldn't throw herself in the way of danger, but Violet was dumber than usual in this installment.
4. This is just a personal question I want to ask to those who have read The Last Echo: Are you excited to read the constant reminder of the jewelry box music in the next installment?
I'll give you a hint: I'm not.
I know it sounds like I hated Derting's novel, but though some things annoyed me, I still fairly enjoyed it.
1. I'll hand it to her: Derting knows how to creep her readers out. Perhaps the strongest aspect of her novel is the murderer's perspective. Dark and delicious; it gave me the willies reading that at night.
2. Though I disliked the character of Rafe, it was cool to learn a little more about him and the rest of the team.
3. Derting may be flirting with cliches, but her writing is still fluid and imaginative, which makes her novel a quick read.
4. I disliked how this novel barely focused on Violet's relationship with Jay, or even Violet herself, but when Derting does bring up scenes with Jay they are just as fantastic and romantic as ever.
For some reason I feel like Derting's Body Finder series is going downhill. The series started so strongly, producing a similarly powerful sequel, but this third installment made me pause. I'm almost wary of what the fourth book will be like because I can kind of predict it as I write this review. The ending says it all: this author is running out of ideas. Of course, the one certain constant is the creepy factor of her antagonists, and if I could I would just read the excerpts from the points of view of the murderers in the future novels....more
I received a free copy of The Accidental Siren for review purposes.
The Accidental Siren by Jake Vander Ark is a young adult debut set in Lake Michigan that follows twelve year-old James during the summer of 1994. This particular summer is unforgettable for young James since it is the year he experiences his first love. Beautiful and surreal, twelve year-old Mara is the object of every boy’s dream, yet her attraction goes beyond reality and touches on the supernatural.
Vander Ark successfully recreates 1994 for the reader by using references to popular artists, films, and trends of the time. He openly warns the reader of the prejudices that were still active in the early nineties; racial discrimination being an important subject in this novel. The Accidental Siren also explores the difficulties of growing up. James, a prepubescent boy when we meet him, struggles with his weight, hormones, and changing body as the summer progresses.
James, as a protagonist, is unreliable. As the frightening conclusion approaches, he does nothing to show us that he is affected by what he’s learned about Mara. At times, as is pointed out within the story, the reader is left wondering if James is in fact relaying the truth, or if everything we’ve learned from him is all an illusion caused by obsession.
There are moments where Vander Ark’s characters appear unrealistic. However, an older version of James reflects on particular events in certain chapters, reminding the reader that this is an adult’s retelling of a childhood memory.
Written in beautiful prose, Vander Ark’s tale warns of the perils of obsession. The setting is described using flawless metaphors that paint James's world in the reader's mind. The plot becomes more haunting with every chapter, effectively dragging the reader deeper into the story with every twist and turn.
Jake Vander Ark's debut is a wonderful book to read not just because of how original it is, but because the writing in itself is something magical that the reader can't detach him/herself away from....more
I received this ebook for reviewing purposes from the publisher.
Morgan McCarthy’s debut, The Other Half of Me, follows two siblings over the span of twenty years as their lives morph from childhood innocence to adulthood in a nurture-less environment. Written in hauntingly beautiful prose, McCarthy has created a unique, albeit slow-paced, novel.
Jonathan Anthony, the narrator, is at times unreliable. When he recalls his childhood years, he occasionally uses words much too advanced for a young boy, making him unbelievable. Understandably, Jonathan was an intellectually advanced and solitary boy. But excusing Jonathan’s unreliable nature, he does paint a lovely picture for the reader. The metaphors are exquisite in their uniqueness, and the descriptions are flawless. Every minute detail is observed, however, making the plot feel tedious. The reader should consider: Given the trouble Jonathan experiences with memory after tragedy strikes his family, how can he possibly remember everything so clearly?
Theo Anthony, Jonathan’s sister, appears to be the protagonist of the story. Her behavior is what moves the plot forward. Though we learn about Jonathan and his rising success in the architectural world, it is Theo’s life that we crave glimpses of. Jonathan, whether McCarthy intended to or not, places Theo on a pedestal throughout the novel as he relates her deteriorating mental state. Theo is seen through Anthony’s subjective eyes, inadvertently placing her on a pedestal for the reader as well.
The character growth is successful because of its subtlety. One of the motivating factors for character growth in McCarthy’s novel is grief. She does not overplay the role of grief in her novel, instead she caresses it and gently directs the reader into understanding the grief that is haunting her characters. The second factor affecting character growth is the love that Jonathan and Theo share. It is the familial love between the two siblings that gives the story depth. McCarthy does not easily give her characters unconditional love. Instead, Jonathan refuses to bestow or receive love, while Theo is too quick to share it.
Morgan McCarthy’s debut’s greatest flaw is the pacing, but her characters and masterful descriptions redeem the story. The Other Half of Me begins unsteadily, but will haunt its readers with its conclusion....more
Little Star is the first book I've read by John Ajvide Lindqvist. I was floored. Not by the prose--which was entertaining, but not the best I've read--but how graphic Lindqvist's writing is. Granted, I've watched the films based on his previous novel, Let the Right One In, but I was not prepared for some of the gut-clenching scenes that I was introduced to.
The story opens on a once-famous family that finds and raises a secret "daughter" that is gifted with a beautiful voice. But this anonymous baby has something wrong with her, not physically, but mentally. The reader is then taken through the years as "Little One," as she is nicknamed, grows and becomes odder and odder. We meet another girl named Teresa and that's where the novel begins to slip away from the storyline that the reader has become acquainted with.
Though disgusting, Lindqvist's descriptions of the murders that do occur in the novel are very well written. The reader is left craving the next violent scene and as a result, Lindqvist promptly opens the door for the reader to step through and enter the minds of the various murderers. I think that's one of the reasons why readers are drawn to his writing: because of his ability to make even the most psychotic characters relatable. Also, he writes on disturbing topics with such ease that I can't help but wonder if he himself has committed a few unspoken crimes.
Though addicting and a very quick read (the chapters are shorter, making you read quicker than usual), the pace lagged on various occasions. At times, I felt that little moments told to us from the point of view of other characters (the narrator is third person, omniscient) were a bit dragged out and could have been told in much shorter spans.
Another point that hit me once I was done with the novel was the unanswered questions. The fate of the girl and her closest friend, Teresa, is pretty clear, but yet, we know nothing of what happens afterwards. I don't know if this is a trend with Lindqvist, but I for one want to know what the consequences will be after the characters' actions.
If you're a fan of Lindqvist, then definitely read Little Star. I'm not familiar with his work, but I do love the occasional Swedish novel. Little Star is one of those novels that will fill your morbid curiosity, then sit there churning, while making your world more unsettling as the conclusion approaches....more
Crushed by K.C. Blake is a surprisingly dark yThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received this novel from the author for review.
Crushed by K.C. Blake is a surprisingly dark young adult supernatural romance that follows a young witch and her twin sisters as they discover and play with their magical abilities. When I first started reading this novel, I expected a cutesy story of a young witch and a reluctant teen boy. Instead, Blake's story explores the dark side of magic and death in a fast-paced and slightly addicting tale.
The romance in the story is quickly paced and cliched. One of the issues I have with Blake's romance is that it happens so suddenly that it leaves the reader confused. Characters should not change their emotions as quickly as Blake changed hers because it is unrealistic. To make it worse, these changes occur over a short amount of time. Though her story is a fun one, I find Blake's technique of introducing romance into the story weak. I wish that the introduction to these new emotions was smoother and less confusing.
Though the characters appear to lack realistic emotions (vows of love are questionable due to the lack of action, for example), the storyline is fun and suspenseful. I was gripped as the story progressed and the mystery within the pages thickened.
I recommend this book to anyone seeking a quick, no-frills read that uses the plot to move the story along rather than the characters. If you're seeking an emotional, romantic read then perhaps this isn't for you....more
When I first saw that Jenna Elizabeth Johnson's novel was called Faelorehn, the first installment iReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
When I first saw that Jenna Elizabeth Johnson's novel was called Faelorehn, the first installment in her Otherworld Trilogy, I didn't know what to expect. The title was a bit intimidating, since I usually shy away from books with unfamiliar words for titles. Thankfully, I ignored my fears and began reading this addicting young adult novel. While I did have some issues with the novel, this was a fun, quirky read.
Meghan, as a character, was split for me. On one hand, I loved the fact that even though she was different, she was popular or adored. Unlike other novels where the female character is usually revered for her unusually beauty, Meghan is just like any other teenager struggling to understand who she is, and in this special case, what she is.
What I didn't like so much about Meghan was how stubborn she was. Sometimes I wanted to pull my hair out with how infuriating she made me. For the most part, she was a strong character, it was just this tiny quality that had me on edge of loving her as a character. Johnson's other characters also felt a bit over-the-top with their bullying or their lack of understanding. While some were very funny, some were clearly sadistic.
While there were a few moments in the novel that lagged, I attribute any faltering of the pace to Meghan's irritating stubbornness. Apart for these instances, the pacing was superb. Johnson grabs your attention and rarely lets it go. Her writing is enchanting as she pulls you along, makes you addicted to her nearly flawless prose, then abruptly lets you go with an ending that leaves you begging for more.
For me, though I shook my fist in the air when the ending came upon me, I liked how Johnson leaves the story so open-ended. It's a great strategy because she concludes her novel in a way that is neither a way to prolong the inevitable with a needless second installment, nor in a way that makes you throw the book away with frustration. She finishes Faelorehn with a flourish, leaving the reader with a fulfilled, yet curious feeling.
I recommend this book to lovers of fantasy and those who have a soft spot for stories about faeries and mythical creatures. This is a fun read that needs to be read. You will fall in love with the male character who appears in Meghan's life and you will cringe along with the other characters....more
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Kiersten White's Mind Games adopts a recently popuReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Kiersten White's Mind Games adopts a recently popular style of writing that I'm not the biggest fan of. This style in particular uses prose as something more than simple storytelling, but as a means of emphasizing the protagonist's emotions. Though the story is exciting, new, and an interesting take on the powers of the human mind, the prose is not my favorite.
Fia, the protagonist, is an impressive character that somehow withstands a lot of mental and physical abuse for her blind, but psychic sister, Annie. At first, I was frustrated that her sister, being the older one, was so oblivious to the dangers of her new world without their parents. I think it was because of her immaturity that it took me a while to figure out that she is the older sister.
As the story progresses, the reader is taken back and forth between the past and the present. Sure, I learned a lot more about the characters because of this technique, but it was also frustrating because I just wanted to see where the story was going in the present time.
It's undeniable that White has a talent for creating original stories. Her Paranormalcy series is a fun paranormal adventure and it showcases her strong writing style. Mind Games, however, is one of those novels that is either a hit, or miss. Some readers will enjoy it, while others will walk away frustrated and/or confused.
I will admit that the writing does help the reader experience how hectic Fia's thoughts are, but it also feels forced and unnecessary. Viewing the world through Annie's permanently dark stare is unique and enthralling, and the mystery behind her and Fia's world is promising. The writing was just something that impeded on the power of the novel.
I would recommend Mind Games to readers who liked Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi--simply because the writing style is very similar. Both authors use words and sentence structure in a dramatic way. They emphasize their characters' troubling thoughts and emotions through repetition.
Though a relatively short read, Mind Games will make the reader work for the answers. White succeeds in making her reader sympathise with Fia, especially since the novel is full of emotionally triggering experiences and disturbing revelations....more
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Wasteland by Susan Kim and LaurenceReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Wasteland by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan is a post-apocalyptic young adult novel that features children living adult roles in a makeshift community in the middle of the desert. Though a slow starter, Wasteland does become captivating once the various pivotal characters are introduced.
Esther, the protagonist, lives in a slightly disturbing world where children "partner" up and attempt to have children, while trying to survive the dangerous world. Though the portrayal of children acting as adults is interesting, the biggest success of this concept comes from Kim and Klavans' ability to still portray the innocence and naiveté of the children, despite their deadly surroundings.
The premise of Wasteland is actually pretty cool. The idea of a society run by children and the exploitation of power in a world that appears to lack any power whatsoever is intriguing. It was exciting finding out secrets and what some of the characters' lives were like before the events in Wasteland take place.
Wasteland is written in third person and the narrator is omniscient. At first I wasn't sure how I would like reading the novel from such a wide perspective. For example, if something neat was happening, I usually had to wait while the narration flipped back to another character before I could find out what happened next with the previous character. Sure, this writing style creates anticipation, but it just mainly annoys me. I will admit, however, that I did get accustomed to the narrative and even grew to like it by the conclusion of Wasteland.
Esther grows as a character rather quickly. While what she experiences warrants an extensive amount of character growth, the change is abrupt. I prefer when a character slowly comes to terms with what s/he needs to learn in order to better him/herself, since it allows me to connect with the character and his/her internal struggle.
My greatest issue with Wasteland is the pacing: it was much too quickly delivered. This plays with more than just Esther's character growth, but the plot in itself. The story feels rushed, as if the authors want to reach the conclusion, or the better parts of the novel quickly. There is one particular instance where Esther and her love interest profess their love for each other--yet they barely know one another, and one is supposedly still grieving the loss of a loved one. The rushed pace made me question the authenticity of what should be beautiful moments between two characters.
I will, however, praise Wasteland for its surprises. Several revelations occur during the story and most came as surprises. Whereas similar novels tend to make what's coming next obvious, Wasteland keeps its reader in the dark.
I recommend Wasteland to readers of post-apocalyptic novels and semi-dystopic worlds governed by children....more
I received this novel from the publisher for review.
The Kill Order by James Dashner is the prequel to the Maze Runner trilogy, a young adult post-apocalyptic series. I found Dashner’s latest novel to be a deliciously dark adventure that hooked my attention from the prologue to the epilogue. One of the great qualities of The Kill Order is that it can be read as a standalone novel.
Dashner’s writing is fast-paced and addicting. Mark, the protagonist, and Alec, a war-veteran who joins Mark, embark on a quest to find a cure for a mysterious disease plaguing the survivors of the nearly-destroyed Earth.
The reader is given a glimpse into Mark’s experience during the solar flares that killed a large portion of the Earth’s population and natural resources. Mark’s recounting of the events that took place a year prior to the current events of the novel, told in present-tense and introduced as recurring dreams that he suffers from, are so creepy that I can’t help but be wary of our future. By writing in present-tense, Dashner is effectively making the reader feel like s/he is there with Mark: seeing what he sees and feeling what he feels.
Dashner does not spare us the gory details in The Kill Order. His descriptions are unsettling and disturbing. I enjoyed how vivid his writing is because it shows that he isn’t afraid to be honest. Dashner’s well-placed details not only set the tone of the novel, but help the readers understand his view of what life would be like if the world was on the verge of destruction.
Dashner hints that death is inevitable for his characters. I know that these characters' purpose is to let me know how the world in the Maze Runner trilogy came to be and how the Kill Order, issued by the government, affected the survivors of Earth. Yet, I rooted for them and waited to see if they made it through to the end. This reaction is a result of wonderful character growth.
To be honest, I have always been wary of Dashner’s writing because his character development tends to feel stilted. Imagine my surprise when I found myself connecting with Mark and the other characters. Dashner elegantly shows the reader Mark’s slow descent into madness, while still managing to portray his various emotions. I was impressed to note that Mark accepts his fate. As a result, I found the last few sentences before the epilogue to be some of the most powerful lines in the book, simply because Mark has successfully grown as a character.
I will be so bold as to state that The Kill Order is perhaps one of Dashner’s best novels yet. I would recommend The Kill Order to those who want a different take on how a disease can ravage the world, and to readers who are seeking an addicting story of a teenager and his will to survive....more
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
True to the creepy synopsis and covReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
True to the creepy synopsis and cover, Suzanne Young's The Program is a disturbing portrayal of a world where suicide grows rampant and is classified as a mental disease that is catching, especially in teenagers. Between the scary idea that the government could give such power to industries much like "The Program", and that teenagers facing the increasing difficulties in their world can be classified as suicidal, Young's novel is not only original, but effectively eye-opening and thought-provoking.
Sloane, the protagonist, is perhaps one of those fortunate characters that we can't exactly hate. We see her decisions, we see her world beyond the knowledge that she is capable of holding--thanks to "The Program"--, yet we can't really outright blame her. If you don't know what's good or bad for you, how can you make the "right" decision? If your previously known world is a blank for you, would what we classify as right and wrong be the same for you?
What immediately caught my eye was the romantic aspect of The Program. It drives Sloane forward, even as her familiar world disintegrates from her memory. It also isn't one of those immediate romances that the protagonist encounters at the beginning of the novel. Instead, we are introduced to this powerful couple who vow to stand against the world, even if they have to make dire decisions. What I liked about this is that while Sloane's world does revolve around her relationship with James, she uses the difficulties they face as a way of growing and overcoming the chains of their society.
Perhaps one of the best, and most frustrating parts of The Program are when Sloane encounters the antagonist: "The Program". We are made to really hate this organization, even as they promise Sloane that they are healing her. This is where being an observer becomes useful. Whereas Sloane and her parents see only what "The Program" wants them to see, we are privy to everything. In a way, this is kind of awesome because we hope and hope that Sloane will also learn of what is happening. We root for her because of the powerful character she was at the beginning of the novel.
The pacing was less than stellar. The beginning of The Program, though used to build up the importance of Sloane and James' relationship, dragged a bit and I often found myself wondering when the intriguing parts would come. Instead, we are plagued with Sloane's depression and the dread that something bad is about to happen...the issue is that it took to long to get to said "something bad".
Keeping that in mind though, once Sloane enters "The Program" then everything becomes much more interesting. We connect a lot more with the characters, the storyline becomes addicting, and we start to truly root for Sloane.
Also, I've never been a fan of characters who have long internal dialogues when they are on a limited amount of time. There is no sense of urgency in their thoughts, despite the urgent situation. This happens quite a bit in The Program and let me just say that if I could shake Sloane into shape, I would have.
The epilogue was fantastically creepy. It hints at just how every action has consequences and how, though we strive to move forward and forget our pasts, we will always fall back and repeat what has happened.
One of the interesting quotes I found in Young's novel is, "I think that sometimes the only real thing is now" (Young), which ironically touches on the fact that yes, we do need to live in the here and now, but what if our pasts can save us from the here and now? This quote forces the reader to ponder what life would be like if we just simply lived in the present, rather than let our pasts mitigate our actions.
I recommend The Program to fans of dystopian fiction that hits a little too close to home, and deals with the painfully familiar topic of teen suicide. The romance in this novel is powerful and shows just how strong our hearts are when it comes to judging character and knowing what we truly want, despite our pasts being a distant memory and the present our only reality. ...more
Bleed by young author Nusrat Sultana is an ambitious novel that offers an original perspective of the vampire genre. Sultana’s debut is impressive, since she manages to draw the reader in and keep his/her attention throughout the 264 pages. Though her technique is a bit archaic, Sultana is an author to watch for in the future.
Bleed is a novel revolving around Amaryliss, a young girl on the verge of changing into something from a horror book. Not only does she receive news that will aid in re-shaping her outlook of the world around her, but she starts to experience odd events that make her question her sanity. Then she meets Austin, the strange and always cool boy by the graveyard. But Amaryliss knows her parents are keeping secrets, and she's confused by Austin’s sudden appearance. As a result, she spends the greater part of the novel questioning nearly everything she sees as she learns about her seemingly new world.
Sultana’s ability to write in an omniscient, third person voice is seamless. The reader will barely notice when she changes from one character’s point of view to another. Another aspect of writing that Sultana appears to have a strong understanding of is how to show the reader what is happening, rather than telling him/her what s/he should be experiencing. Sultana shows the reader Amaryliss’s fear through slightly archaic diction, regardless of how old-fashioned the writing appears.
However, one of the downfalls of Bleed is how cliched some of Amaryliss’s characteristics are. It feels like Sultana uses every negative feature from a past heroine when it comes to describing her own character. Amaryliss’s frailty is reminiscent of the past gender-degrading state of various heroines, and her naiveté over the situations surrounding her is an over-used tactic to create angst in novels. One other cliche is Austin’s ability to always appear when Amaryliss needs him. Does anyone remember a certain sparkly creature waiting on the sidelines?
Of course, even with all these cliches, the reader must admit that Sultana’s Bleed is a fun and highly addicting novel. Though at times the dialogue is contrived and the pacing is a bit slow, Bleed will grab the attention of nearly any eager reader.
Bleed is recommended for readers who want a different take on the vampire genre, and a plot that grows beautifully as the story progresses. Sultana sets the stage for a new generation of writers who promise to take the future of literature by storm....more
Kendra C. Highley's Matt Archer: Monster Hunter is a young adult novel tReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy for review
Kendra C. Highley's Matt Archer: Monster Hunter is a young adult novel that follows fourteen, soon-to-be fifteen, year-old Matt as he navigates a supernatural world full of monsters and a mysterious life-altering prophecy. With a hint of teenaged angst towards young love, and spine-tingling descriptions, Highley's novel is a book that will make the reader both giggle with anticipation, and squirm with what Matt encounters.
I loved the characters of Will, Matt's best friend, and Matt because they help each other navigate the difficulties of growing up. Will's wit matches well with Matt's increasing strength as the protagonist. Will is the sidekick to the still growing and learning hero, and he fits the description of best friend, confidante, and unrelenting support throughout the whole novel.
When I first started reading Highley's novel, I wrongly assumed that since Matt was only fourteen at the start this would be a naive and slightly adorable story. Let me warn you, however, if you have a weak stomach, perhaps you should steer clear of this one. The story gets increasingly harder to stomach as Matt progresses deeper into his monster hunt, but it is well worth it. Highley doesn't save us from any of the disturbing descriptions and I applaud her for that. Her novel has a certain originality thanks to her fearless attempt at creating a successful horror story for the young adult audience.
Highley also has a great sense of pacing in her novel. Very rarely is there a lull in the story. The only instance where the reader might pause is during the explanation of why the monsters exist and the part Matt plays in the hunt for evil. The rush of information is a bit overwhelming, but is useful for later on in the story. Highley weaves a story that is easy to follow and is hard to put down.
If you're looking for an exciting book with tons of action and a slightly original monster story, then you might like this one. Highley offers the reader an insight into an imperfect protagonist that is growing as the story progresses, metaphorically and physically. He is also someone who isn't emotionally impervious to his surroundings, which makes him very relatable and realistic, despite the fictional situation....more
Paul Crilley’s The Lazarus Machine: A Tweed and Nightingale Adventure is a young adult steampunk novel that toys with the morbid topic of death. Crilley’s story is a great introduction to the world of steam engines, curious detectives, and wondrous mysteries. Crilley wastes no time in getting the reader hooked on his fictional world, which also includes mentions of Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty.
One topic that Crilley works well with in his novel is that of genders. This is strongly evident with his two protagonists, Tweed and Octavia. Octavia is a strong female protagonist who speaks her mind and follows her own desires. Tweed is a strong, yet respectable male protagonist that, unlike the other men around him, respects women enough to ask Octavia for help in his mystery-solving adventure.
The dialogue is witty, enlightening, and a successful mix of modern English and historical English, giving the book a unique twist. Crilley’s dialogue gives the novel a fun quality, making the story flow without boring, dated, or drawn out conversations. Plus, it is always a positive when a historical mystery novel adopts a dialect that is easily understandable.
The world Crilley creates in his novel is so imaginative, it is hard not to picture what Tweed and Octavia see every day. The complexities of the gadgets mentioned piqued my interest and had me wondering what our world would be like if our reality was the result of Crilley’s fictional history.
The Lazarus Machine is full of fast-paced action, gripping adventure, and an addicting mystery. The tone is often dark, thanks to the occasional mention of death and soul harvesting, but the characters try to keep it light with banter and determination.
Crilley’s novel is surprising. The reader enters the boundaries of the story expecting one experience, yet leaves with something completely different. The plot twist near the end is enough to change the reader’s perception of the book in its entirety. S/he is left trying to figure out a mystery of his/her own, just as Tweed comes closer to the answers he seeks.
I recommend Crilley’s novel to lovers of the steampunk genre and Sherlock Holmes. Also, if you’re a fan of mystery novels and strong female protagonists, then you should give this one a gander. The Lazarus Machine is a fantastic book for any reader new to the steampunk genre....more
Jake Vander Ark's latest novel in his Blank Canvas Series, The BrandywinReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy for review
Jake Vander Ark's latest novel in his Blank Canvas Series, The Brandywine Prophet, is the first adult novel I've read by him. Eye-opening, occasionally unnerving, and with a disturbingly intriguing protagonist, Vander Ark's latest is an exploration of the dangers of creativity and the human existence. Written in a near-omniscient style, yet maintaining William, the protagonist, as the main focus of the novel, The Brandywine Prophet is an interesting little book.
The novel is laced with the occasional red herring. Whereas other novels may adopt the use of red herrings, they are very rarely as effective as Vander Ark's false leads and spoilers. The reader will think that s/he knows everything there is to know about the story. Heck, s/he might even think that the story is predictable.
The beauty of red herrings is that they are rarely used, which I find tends to lull the reader into a false sense of security. I love that Vander Ark uses the possibility of having a slightly predictable novel and turns it into something completely unpredictable.
This unpredictability helps the characters grow or wither (depending on their situations) effectively. The reader often learns truths and falses as the characters do. Most importantly though, the reader sees how characters bond, or fall apart thanks to Vander Ark's somewhat sadistic twists and turns. And I mean that as a compliment, since he obviously has a great grasp of what makes his characters tick.
The two negatives that I could not ignore in The Brandywine Prophet, however, was the occasional lack of editing, and the sometimes slow pace of the story. Though definitely a book to read if you've read Vander Ark's previous works in this series, I found the editing to be weaker than in his other novels and the story was a bit harder to get into.
But keep in mind: once the story picks up, it doesn't relent--in fact, the slow pacing mostly occurs in the first half of the novel. If you stick with the story until the pivotal point where William's world begins to fall apart, you will be pleasantly surprised.
As always, Vander Ark's prose is beautiful. His descriptions, metaphors, dialogue, and poignant observation of a disturbed and artistic mind is what the reader should keep an eye on.
The story itself, though very complicated at times, tells the reader that not everything is as it seems. Religion is shown as a savior for some, but as the destruction of others. The topic of God is introduced, it is pursued, questioned, abandoned--but it is never forced.
Vander Ark's latest is as much a contemporary fiction piece as it is an existential examination--if we put aside the obvious dark themes of the novel. If you've enjoyed The Accidental Siren and Lighthouse Nights, then you should consider giving The Brandywine Prophet a shot. ...more
Beautifully Broken by Sherry Soule is the first installment in the SpellReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy for review
Beautifully Broken by Sherry Soule is the first installment in the Spellbound Series. The surprisingly dark story follows the quirky sixteen year-old witchy protagonist, Shiloh, as she sleuths around a dangerously haunted mansion in her quiet, but eerie Californian small town. Full of creepy moments and dark entities, Soule's book was a great read for the month of October.
I am a huge believer of the supernatural, so to have Soule give voice to a paranormal entity, let alone a demon, freaked me out a little. The descriptions were great and they placed me directly into Shiloh's world, having me see the darkness around her through her eyes. It was also neat how Soule offered the readers a few surprises as the story developed, even if one or two were a bit expected.
The one aspect of Soule's novel that had me on the fence was Shiloh. The sixteen year-old character can be viewed in so many ways. On one hand, she may be seen as an annoying and sometimes ridiculously naive character. But on the other hand, she can be taken simply as a young girl trying to deal with an absurd and decidedly adult situation. I'm on the fence because I understand that Shiloh's story is definitely beyond anything a teenager should ever have to go through, but she really drove me nuts at times.
Going off that though, let me just say that she did make me laugh, even at the worst of times. Shiloh could be facing her eminent death, but still be witty and quirky. Rumors circulate around Whispering Pines, the small town, of Shiloh's weirdness, but I like to define it more as quirkiness that jumps off the pages.
The romance, though sweet at times, was a bit off-kilter. Shiloh's quasi-relationship with Trent was, at times, hard to follow. It made me slightly uncomfortable too, not because of his actions, but because of how undefined their romance was. Trent is broken and he shows this through his unsettling actions, but in my honest opinion, he acts more like a trouble seventeen year-old than most troubled teenaged boys I've encountered in recent reads.
Soule's book was entertaining, funny, scary, and addicting until the very end. My fingers itched to reach the last page, simply because I wanted to know all the secrets being kept from Shiloh. Also, the concluding sentences have me eagerly anticipating the sequel.
I recommend Beautifully Broken to those who love a fun, but spooky and witchy tale of a teenager coming of age, even if in an undesirable atmosphere. If you like characters who have spunk and don't care about how the world perceives him/her, then this might be a book for you to check out....more
Set in New York City, This Case is Gonna Kill Me is an urban fantasy novel by Phillipa Bornikova that features vampires, werewolves, and fairies. Bornikova challenges the romanticized image of vampires, werewolves, and other mythical creatures in today’s literature. Her novel draws the reader in with its fast-paced and addicting suspense, rather than with romance and coy characters.
The protagonist, Linnet, is a sassy and outspoken woman who adds personality to the story line. Bornikova's passion for horses translates onto the pages and helps move the plot along.
Linnet's reactions to the sexism in her world also makes her a reliable character. When faced with the challenge of empowering women in her law firm, she manages to give the women in the novel back their voices. Though she has moments where she questions her identity, Linnet does not waver when it comes to proving her worth.
Bornikova adopts the expected romance of the urban fantasy genre, flirts with the endless possibilities around Linnet, and shrivels up any cliched expectations for the reader. By having other supernatural beings enter Linnet’s romantic life, Bornikova offers a different perspective of what could happen in a world where the female protagonist does not automatically choose the vampire.
The novel brings to light how ridiculous it is to glorify vampires, especially when they are monsters with ulterior motives. This Case is Gonna Kill Me also moves beyond the overused “Vampire Meets Girl” plot line. In fact, Bornikova focuses more on the action in the quickly paced plot than the hints of romance in the story.
The mysterious aspect of the plot is at times predictable, but not to the point where the reader will get annoyed. Bornikova manages to create an enthralling story, despite the difficulties of creating effective plot twists in suspense and mystery novels.
This Case is Gonna Kill Me is a fast-paced and sexy story that will have readers laughing and cringing at the same time. Bornikova’s realistic dialogue will have the reader connecting with the characters, while the riveting suspense will have him/her wishing s/he could join Linnet as she works her dangerous case...more
I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Cal Armistead's Being Henry David iReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Cal Armistead's Being Henry David is a young adult contemporary novel that examines the effects of grief and the fear that guilt creates within us. "Henry David", or "Hank", is the protagonist struggling to come to terms with who he is and why he is where he is.
I've never read anything by Henry David Thoreau, so reading the few snippets of his novel, Walden, was an interesting and unfamiliar ride. Armistead introduces Thoreau's book into the mix immediately and uses Walden as a guiding light for both the reader and Hank until the conclusion.
I can't help but think that Walden, from the quotes given in the novel, was the perfect choice for Hank's story. Thoreau's ghost forces Hank to live, explore, and see what he has lost without rushing him. He adds a depth to the story that any other amnesia novel may lack.
What I absolutely loved about Being Henry David was how focused the storyline was. Sure, Hank encounters friendship, danger, romance, and even unconventional familial attachments, but Armistead stays true to the story by having it centered around Hank.
Like any good novel, Hank learns from his experiences and grows as a misguided character, but at the end of the day, the story is about Hank--not about the girl(s) he meets, the dangers of homelessness, or the friendships he bonds.
Hank is running from something in his past and Armistead makes it impossible for you to forget his goals, even if Hank himself occasionally forgets--or tries to.
The pacing is wonderful and the conclusion does its job: it concludes with us learning what happened to Hank, who he is, and what he plans and/or hopes to do with this knowledge. It leaves questions, of course, but in a way, we're left just like Hank: with no certainty of what awaits us in the future.
Poignant and beautifully written, Being Henry David is a rare young adult novel that questions the power of the mind, the treacherous addiction we at times harbor for guilt, and the dangers we encounter when we try to escape our familiar worlds.
I recommend Being Henry David to readers of young adult contemporary fiction, lovers of story lines full of character growth, and of course, fans of Henry David Thoreau....more
I'm a fan of Sherry Soule because of how captivating her story lines areReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy for review
I'm a fan of Sherry Soule because of how captivating her story lines are.
She has these immense ideas that, if put successfully onto paper, will steal the reader's attention for hours. The difference between Moonlight Mayhem and Beautifully Broken is extreme.
Beautifully Broken, the first in the Spellbound series, has a protagonist, Shiloh, that was a bit too emotionally unattached. In Moonlight Mayhem, the sequel, Shiloh is too emotionally attached to her father's death, but barely mentions her other friends.
Moonlight Mayhem will make an entertaining read for readers. However, my focus was occasionally stolen by misused words. I did enjoy, however, how the characters surpassed the high school cliches to work together on the problem at hand.
Seeing as this is a sequel, there's not much I can say without causing huge spoilers. So, read at your own risk.
(view spoiler)[What irked me was Shiloh's lack of mention or emotional response to the deaths of her friends in Beautifully Broken. It was like they had never even existed. I tried very hard to get past these issues and focus on the plot, which was quite good.
The mystery is exciting and, like her previous book, creepy as hell. I could relate to Shiloh's pain over losing her father, so that was a nice little moment. (hide spoiler)]
Would I recommend this book? Sure. The action is fast-paced and the emotional connection that Shiloh shares with her (still alive) best friend, Ari, is realistic. The story is riddled with creepiness and Soule strives to go beyond the cliches of the supernatural. ...more
Unforgiving and raw, The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab offers readers an uncensored view into what a hostage situation might look like from a young adult’s point of view. This suspenseful young adult novel uses the importance of friendship as the anchor to the story, and successfully captures a terrifying and heartbreaking nightmare within the pages of the book.
The story is morbidly addicting. Death follows the characters in this novel like a stalker and the reader is the sole witness to the deadly situation. Though s/he hopes for a safe outcome, s/he can't help but wonder who will die next.
Ariel and Sera, the two protagonists, ex-best-friends, and interchanging narrators of the novel, successfully grow as characters. The reader is given both points of view so that s/he can decide which character is more reliable. Whereas the story suggests that Sera is the stronger of the two, thanks to her past decisions leading to her social pariah status, the reader might find that it is, in fact, Ariel and her story of redemption and loss that makes her the tougher protagonist.
Quickly paced and without a dull moment, Benedis-Grab manages to write a disturbing, yet entertaining novel that will entrance future readers. Budding young romance adds an extra touch to the already thriving story line, and the will to survive makes this an inspiring read.
The Girl in the Wall can be devoured in less than a day, but the ending may leave the reader wondering if perhaps a better conclusion exists. Though symbolic and sentimental, I found that perhaps after such a heart-stopping story, the ending should have more power behind it.
I recommend The Girl in the Wall to readers addicted to fast-paced storytelling and action, and to those not undeterred by violent descriptions. Benedis-Grab’s novel is a must-read for anyone who is seeking a story that veers from the usual safe and predictable teen read....more
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Steven Parlato’s The Namesake is an emotionally stimulating young adult novel that delves into the powerful topic of abuse. Using dry wit, incredible similes and metaphors, and a very thought-provoking storyline, Parlato introduces the reader to an original and unforgiving exploration of the teenage psyche.
Parlato lulls the reader into a false sense of security, making him/her think the story is cliched and predictable. But then, Parlato surprises the reader, leaving him/her as lonely, desperate, and confused as the protagonist himself.
The Namesake starts off slowly, introducing the reader to Evan, the protagonist. At first, Parlato shows what Evan’s life is like after his father’s suicide, just before his world takes on the roller-coaster quality that makes the novel unforgettable.
Evan is a genius, though at times the reader may question his intelligence. Then again, the emotional traumas his father’s secrets create are more than enough of a hindrance. As soon as Evan enters his father’s distraught world, the pacing of the book picks up and the writing style turns from quirky and at times sad, to mysterious and very scary.
Religion plays a major role in Parlato’s novel. Evan does not blindly follow his religion once he begins to learn the truth, but he does not lose his faith either. Instead, he does what any young, confused teenager may do: he questions and challenges it.
The character growth in The Namesake is tinted by the dark tone of the novel. Instead of Evan learning to accept the loss of his father, he is plagued by the depression that lived within his father’s heart. He grows as a character, but at a price. Evan faces judgment because of his differences, and even cringe-worthy embarrassment for his past.
Parlato explores the reality of suicide and the after-effects. Evan is confused, as anybody would be, but he is determined to find the truth, even if it ends up causing him more pain.
Parlato shows the reader that Evan’s obsession with finding out the truth is not the only important feature of the story, but that perhaps it is how Evan’s actions affect those around him. This point is made more poignant by Evan’s metaphorical suicide, which mimics his father’s actual suicide.
The Namesake is a novel full of chain-reactions caused by the lust for truth. Heartbreakingly real, and a harsh wake-up call, Parlato’s novel reminds the reader that everything on the surface may appear fine, but people are made of layers upon layers of life experience.
Parlato’s novel is a stimulating book for readers who enjoy contemporary fiction that touches on risky topics. The dark humor of The Namesake may appeal to others, as well.
The conclusion of The Namesake is jolting. The reader will think s/he has everything figured out by the concluding chapter, but yet again Parlato will blind him/her with the reality of Evan’s world....more
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn is a unique and creepy young adult novel that follows the protagonist, Annaliese, after a year-long absence. Though the novel is rife with mystery, hints of the paranormal, and has a disturbing conclusion that leaves the reader asking more questions, I found that this one might be more geared towards a specific group of readers. As the first paragraph in the synopses states, "The spine-tingling horror of Stephen King," I would probably guess that this is more of the audience in mind for Quinn's debut.
The writing is intriguing, but very confusing. The plot tends to jump from one place to another, sometimes making the hints the author gives her readers about the horrors in Annaliese's world a little too subtle. Don't get me wrong, I love a good horror novel that slowly builds up the anticipation, but I felt like this story was both slow and confusing and a little too secretive.
The pacing was another issue I had with Another Little Piece. I'm fine with a book that decides to give us small fragments of the bigger mystery throughout the novel, as long as the pacing is flowing well enough to keep me hooked. I was, however, more bored than I'd like to admit and I did skip ahead on several occasions. I have a heavy reading list and felt like this one really slowed me down. But then again, thinking back, the resemblance to Stephen King makes more sense too, since the storyline really tends to drag (ever read King's work and think, man, when are things going to start happening?).
I did like the rawness of Quinn's novel, though. Her unflinching descriptions of blood, gore, and Annaliese's parents' experience while searching for their daughter were, perhaps, the most entertaining aspects of the novel. I'm not stating this because I like the macabre, I say it because they were well described and bone chilling, probably the best parts of this novel.
I also enjoyed how everything came together at the conclusion. After a novel full of confusing twist and turns, it was nice seeing a conclusion that not only tied together the loose strings of why things happened and why some of the characters were connected, but also left you with the horrifying sensation that though this story is over for Annaliese, someone else may be living it over and over again in another part of Quinn's fictional world. The conclusion is also a false sense of security, since really, it makes you ask, is the horror that is Annaliese's life really over? Is this really a happy ever-after ending?
Though I did not entirely enjoy it, I know that there are some horror buffs who will enjoy this. There's gore, crisscrossing plot lines, the dangers of dark magic (or what alludes to it), and the slow build-up of a mystery that is both dark and very disturbing....more
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review
Davonna Juroe’s Scarlette is a young adult gothic romance novel that follows a naive protagonist in a dark and distressing world. Through a strikingly described setting, an eerie plot, and characters befitting the novel’s genre, Juroe creates a nail-biting adaptation of Charles Perrault's Little Red Riding Hood.
Scarlette, the protagonist, suffers at the hands of her abusive mother, yet she is still a character who does not shy away from the idea of love. She is immature at times, but gothic romance fiction features naive girls ready to faint at the sight of spooky shadows and mysterious noises.
There are various male characters vying for Scarlette's attention, which plays well with the double meaning of her name. Scarlette suggests fiery passion, lust, and power. Scarlette embodies all of these associations with her name by striving to find the truth, following her flawed heart, and disregarding her effect on others around her.
Scarlette is set apart from other werewolf novels, mainly thanks to the historical facts that Juroe includes in her novel. What makes Scarlette even more fascinating is that it is set in an era when witchcraft is abhorred, and the supernatural is thought to be more than just a myth.
The writing is beautiful. Description splashes the pages with color, and the slow budding romance between different characters adds a sigh-worthy zest to the story.
Scarlette's pace does slow down at times, but Juroe manages to capture her reader’s fading interest with the sublime. The paranoia of small villages, the grandeur of balls and ball gowns, and the dangers of love, all inhabit Juroe’s novel.
Juroe’s skill is evident in her writing, since the reader may often feel like s/he is reading a classic gothic romance novel, rather than something created for the modern teenaged audience.
Scarlette is a dark novel and is recommended for historical romance lovers, as well as readers interested in stories about werewolves. Also, fans of gothic romance fiction will most likely devour Juroe’s novel.
Scarlette will infect the reader with its dark plot and deadly mystery, making him/her eager and ready to follow Scarlette on her quest to discover the truth....more
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
A Shimmer of Angels by Lisa M. Basso is a young adReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
A Shimmer of Angels by Lisa M. Basso is a young adult novel that begins slowly, but picks up speed near the middle of the story. While the novel is somewhat predictable and a bit cliche, it is an emotional story full of anger and misunderstanding. A fast read with touches of romance here and there, Basso's debut into the world of young adult novels is powerful and dangerous.
Ray has been in and out of a mental institute for a good portion of her life. Why? Because she can see angels, or can she? It isn't until her most recent release that Ray's world starts to make a little more sense and she begins to question whether angels are real, or just a figment of her schizophrenic imagination.
One of the most popular topics in young adult literature today is that of angels, so I was expecting the predictable scenarios that often plague overused topics in literature. Thankfully, Basso adds a bit of originality into her story line with her powerful and independent protagonist, Ray.
Ray's name hints at her power and I think it is something the reader should consider as the series progresses. The name "Ray" depicts a streak of light, most likely from the sun--i.e. a ray of sunlight. I am a sucker for names that hint at the protagonist's purpose, so this was not lost on me.
There is romance beneath the layers of anxiety Ray experiences, but I was glad to see that it didn't take up the whole novel. Whereas other novels love to make the romance between the characters the main focal point of the story, Basso makes it something that occurs along the way in Ray's hectic life.
Ray's character grows from a timid, fearful person to a powerful guardian of sorts. Though I do not agree with some of her choices, she is one tough protagonist. Her family life is fraught with unfairness, but Basso makes the reader consider what her father is experiencing as well.
The male characters that surround Ray kind of irritated me, just because of their inaction. Though they are ridiculously sexy, they have their faults. But in a way, their lack of action turns Ray into a much stronger character. This is where originality comes into play--instead of falling to pieces, Ray accepts her fate, but slowly builds herself up without the help of the men in her life.
Readers who love angels and fierce protagonists will most likely enjoy A Shimmer of Angels. Written in quick and witty prose, Basso's novel is a fun twist on the angel genre that will have the reader yearning for more. ...more