I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Kiss Kill Vanish is the first novelReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Kiss Kill Vanish is the first novel I've read by Jessica Martinez and while I was excited to finally read something by this author (and come on, that cover incites excitement, right?), I was left a bit...wanting. Though the genre description (mainly on Goodreads) suggests that this is a thriller, there's not that much thrilling about it. There were some things that redeemed this novel, but unfortunately, not a lot of things saved this one for me.
Valentina, the protagonist, is someone that really irked me. I understand that she found out some pretty nasty things about her family, but she made herself into a victim. I know, I know. When someone finds out the dark truth behind her family's wealth, it can be pretty traumatizing. But the thing that bugged me about Valentina was how desolate she made her world feel. There were moments when the characters around her called her childish, naive, and selfish and I actually agreed. Valentina is the perfect example of a self-victimized character who chooses to run and hide when the crap hits the fan, rather than seeing the things around her for what they are. It sucks to be put in a situation like hers, but she should have made something out of the situation rather then sticking her head in the mud and feeling sorry for herself.
At least, she doesn't see the truth around her until almost the end of the novel. As a result, more than half of the novel is full of Valentina's self-pity and whining about her situation. She trusts the wrong people, depends on people--even though they have proven to be undependable--, and decides to basically prove what others are saying about her by planning something ridiculous near the end of the book.
Basically, the "thrilling" part of this book doesn't start until something kind of huge happens (no spoilers from me!) The event causes a slow-motion domino effect where Valentina's life FINALLY begins to look a bit more intriguing. Even so, I found myself sighing occasionally while I attended her self-pity parties in her tiny "closet" of a bedroom.
By the way, I was so excited for her to be Cuban because of all of the allusions that were given to Cuban culture. But, I was sadly disappointed.
Anyway, my favourite character (and probably one of the only reasons why I finished this book) is Marcel. He starts out so damaged that you can't ever picture him as anything more, but his character is so multi-layered that even Valentina is left with the uneasiness of how well-created he is. Isn't that something, when a side character shows more promise than the protagonist?
Marcel is basically the catalyst for so much, but I won't go further with that, unless you want spoilers.
As for Emilio. I don't know what to say about him. He's obviously too old for Valentina, he somehow gets away with a lot of stuff that would not be okay in his situation, and honestly, the story would have survived without him. If you've read this book and are shaking your head at my last statement about Emilio: think about it. Take all of those moments that he appears in Valentina's life and imagine them to be someone else (like one of her sisters), instead of Emilio. A lot of those times can also be a cruel case of wrong place at the wrong time. He's an unnecessary character.
Would I recommend this to anyone? Sure, especially if you're into stories set in Montreal and vaguely in Miami. If you like crime YA novels and male love interests that are actually realistic and not Adonis's twin, then you might enjoy this one.
P.S. I realize that I sound quite snippy in this review and I apologize.
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
When I saw Nash by Jay CrownQuickie review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
When I saw Nash by Jay Crownover on Edelweiss, I started jumping around like an excited kid because I love her Marked Men series, so imagine my surprise when I ended up not being the biggest fan of this installment!
Man, what a bummer.
The characters in this novel were so frustrating, that I wanted to put the book down. I mean, I know that New Adult is full of cliches and distraught romances, but this one was just too much for me. The long paragraphs full of introspection, the non-stop second guessing, the unrealistically cruel level of judgment, and the naïveté of this novel just drained me. Not only was I bored with the monotony of “I like him, but he did this when I was younger”—(view spoiler)[which by the way is bull because how can you just KNOW someone is talking about you and then HOLD IT AGAINST THAT PERSON FOR YEARS? Like, who does that? Get over it, move on. You don’t even know that it’s about you!! (hide spoiler)]
Yes, I know the female character was bullied, and yes I know that it’s near-impossible to get over (trust me, I know), but if someone is actively showing you how much they care and admit that they weren’t the smartest during their adolescence, then yeah, think about it, take it all in, and move on. Don’t dwell on how horrible a person was if they’re trying to show you how much they cherish you now. Kids are cruel and chances are, ten years later, they will regret their words (and yes, I understand that this isn’t always the case, sadly enough. I’m looking at you, miss bully from seventh grade who STILL smirks when she sees me now, thirteen years later.)
Phew. But I obviously digress.
This book took energy to read. Not just because of the female character’s inability to see her fantastic worth, but because of how it just felt like the story kept running in circles.
Okay, I’m done complaining about this one.
I gave it two stars because it’s still Crownover and I’m still a fan. I’m just hoping that the next one is MUCH better....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
I'm very conflicted after reading Superheroes Wear Faded DReview first posted on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from the author for review
I'm very conflicted after reading Superheroes Wear Faded Denim by Law Reigns. Though it grabbed my attention, it wasn't in my usual way. I gave the novel two out of five stars because the story was original, but I wavered between a one and a two because the writing was too archaic and lacked editing, while the characters, mainly the protagonist, Blissany Cherry, were so weak and annoying, that I almost put the book down out of frustration.
This book dripped with the sexual tension Blissany carried with her while on her adventures. Unnecessary metaphors including sexual innuendo appeared here and there, while religion also made a very frequent visit to the storyline.
Blissany was very weak. She was naive and stubborn to the point of stupidity. Seriously, if everyone is telling you the same thing, why are you still not believing them? Sure, the storyline picks up after a while, but Blissany's character still drove me insane.
I'm sorry guys, I really wish I could have enjoyed this one more, I really do. The story has so much potential and while others may enjoy this ten times more than me, I couldn't get into the writing. An example of something that really had me on edge is the word "upon". Reigns loved that word in her novel. Here are two examples: when a character placed something on a table, it wasn't "on a table", it was upon a table. When it rained, it wasn't "Rain fell on leaves", it was "Rain fell upon leaves". "Upon" is archaic and stilts the rhythm of the prose. It drove me nuts.
I would recommend Superheroes Wear Faded Denim to readers who want a slightly sexy read about angels and magical beings. If you like quirky stories with potential, then I would suggest this.
I wouldn't suggest it, however, to those who are like me and can't get past the flaws and archaic writing in a novel. ...more
I came across Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani, the first in the Viola series, a year or so agReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I came across Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani, the first in the Viola series, a year or so ago and finally got around to reading it while on my trip. This was a surprisingly quick read, yet it lacked a few qualities that would normally make a book stand out for me. What I surmised as I concluded Trigiani's novel is that yes, this book can be read in one sitting, but not because the book is fascinating, original, or gripping--it is simply an easy read.
While Viola in Reel Life is aimed at a teen audience, the prose feels like it is written for a much younger audience. While I love Viola's friends and the relationships she forms while she is at boarding school, Viola herself is hard to connect with, thanks to her unnatural prose. She is naive beyond comprehension and her narrative is at times redundant.
Viola's relationship with her first boyfriend lacks the emotions that one would equate to first love. This observation leads me to believe that Trigiani tells her readers what her characters are feeling, rather than show them the building emotions as her characters grow.
Though the ending is abrupt, I was somewhat sad to see the book finish. Personally, I think Viola has a lot more growth in store for her. I just hope that Trigiani manages it in a less unattached fashion.
There is a fun twist to this novel, however, and that is the short-lived mystery that literally haunts Viola until the conclusion. Though the story reads more as an angst-ridden novel, Viola in Reel Life does teach valuable lessons to readers caught in similar situations. Trigiani teaches us that not everything is as it appears to be, and to have faith during times where life isn't going the way we plan.
Though it is nowhere near perfect, I would recommend this book to younger readers. The writing might connect with younger teens and pre-teens, since it isn't anywhere near the maturity calibre of recently published young adult novels. Trigiani captures the difficulties of growing up and the importance of just letting go and accepting whatever life throws at you. ...more
If We Kiss by Rachel Vail is a light young adult novel that deals with the difficulties of first lovReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
If We Kiss by Rachel Vail is a light young adult novel that deals with the difficulties of first love and the sometimes unexpected consequences of first kisses. Vail also challenges her young protagonist to mature as her thought-to-be perfect home life changes when her mother falls in love with a man that isn't her father.
Charlotte, the protagonist, is a good girl whose first kiss comes from a very unexpected source. What ensues is a novel full of questions regarding loyalty, love, and a new way of life.
The writing is very fast paced and straightforward. If We Kiss can be easily read in one sitting. Despite Charlotte's less than stellar behavior, one can't help but want to finish the story and see what happens next.
Though the story is a fun and quirky read, it is a little hard to take it all seriously, especially since Charlotte is a bit whiny and very naive. Her best friend, the supposedly experienced one in the group, is increasingly annoying because she is incredibly condescending. Her remarks towards Charlotte reminds me of just how catty us women can be.
When Charlotte's mother meets a man, Charlotte is quick to dismiss the fact that her mother has a life beyond her motherly duties. While I understand that she is a younger teenager, it is very unfair and stubborn for her to assume her mother would not live a life beyond their home. There is one particularly disturbing scene where Charlotte is less than civil with her mother.
We expect character growth, since that's what this kind of novel calls for: the character will learn from his/her failed/successful love experience, and s/he will learn to accept that his/her parent is happier. But what actually happens is momentary acceptance, which turns into a sequel that sounds to be a repetition of the same issues.
One of the most important lessons I believe the reader can learn from Vail's novel is the difference between lust and love, and how this can cloud our judgement. It makes you question how many of your first crushes were just a result of lust and not love. Some may find this message inappropriate, especially for the age group, but it teaches us to not take things at face value, and to not drop everything just because we are romantically inclined towards a person.
And simply because I can't end this review without mentioning it: the possibility of a step-brother romance. While some may be turned off from the novel because of this topic, it isn't a huge issue in the novel. Charlotte mainly focuses on how to face her feelings and how to be true to herself and those around her.
I recommend If We Kiss to readers who want a light read to pass the time. Vail's novel, though not the most substantial novel I've ever read, teaches its readers to think before reacting. ...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 knew that Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan's novel Team Human would be a different kindReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I knew that Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan's novel Team Human would be a different kind of book after reading the first sentence. What I wasn't so sure about was whether I would like it, or not. Team Human's protagonist, Mel, is one of those characters that can be philosophical and wise, but she can also be a pain in my proverbial ass.
Of course, I do understand that this novel is satirical. It is hard to miss the constant connection to the novel that started it all, Twilight, but while it was a mostly enjoyable read, Team Human felt like a book that tried a little bit too hard.
I will put my feminist comments aside for this one, since I understand that the figure of a weak female character is merely used as comedic relief in this novel. What I will comment on, however, is how Mel tries too hard to be that dependent voice of reason readers yearn for. She is opposed to vampires to such an extent that she does not listen to others besides herself, making her come off as arrogant and immature.
While she does grow as a character and finally concedes that fate is not in her hands, I found that even in the conclusion, she is still a less than admirable character. Perhaps Cathy, the best friend and friend-in-need-of-rescue, makes for a better protagonist. Sure, she falls for the undead, but even she appears to have a better head on her shoulders.
I will also add that it feels like this novel has a character that brings to light everything that is actually wrong with vampires, which is useful in a world that is being assaulted with romantic illusions of deadly and once terrifying creatures. Whereas I like the fact that the reader isn't made to just accept a character because another character tells us too, I don't like how Mel makes it almost impossible to see the other side's story because she is the only one we can rely on.
As a result, I found Mel to be an unreliable character.
So, why the three stars? Because despite the weak characters and the slightly disturbing way of looking at another culture (let's just call it that to make it easier), the story isn't half bad. I like the mystery, the twist at the end, and the way Mel is constantly forced to question her previous beliefs and how she is challenged by less narrow-minded characters.
Also, the randomness of this novel did have me laughing a few times. Team Human is one of those books that can be either a hit or miss, but for me it was a mixture of both.
If you enjoy satire, then you might like this one. If you were angry with Bella because Edward was so obviously evil and bad for her, then you'll definitely enjoy Team Human. But, I do warn you, that the style of writing and the wit isn't for everyone. Team Human will test your patience, but stick it out--you might like the twist at the end!...more
I'm a big fan of Meg Cabot. I have followed her adult fiction novels as they've been publishedThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I'm a big fan of Meg Cabot. I have followed her adult fiction novels as they've been published and tried to keep up with her large list of Young Adult fiction. Abandon is the first novel I read by her after reading her disastrous adult novel Insatiable. Thankfully, Cabot didn't let me down with this addition to her list of published works. Of course, this isn't a piece of literature meant to be passed on as a classic or a memorable novel, but just something that one should read for fun and without high expectations.
"Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.
Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.
But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld."
The story was a fun read, but I can't deny that it has many flaws.
1. I don't know if I liked Pierce. Her character is reminiscent of so many of the naive protagonists who act for "the greater good". An example of this is when Pierce enters a particularly bad situation with the intention of helping a friend, only to be saved by the very man she fled from in the afterlife. I wanted her to be more spunky, considering how she fought her way through hell to get back to the living, yet she becomes a stereotypical female protagonist who has to be told everything more than twice.
2. Ugh. Will we ever find a man who isn't an asshole all the way through the novel? Sure, I'm okay with a guy being a jerk at the beginning, but if he starts changing as the novel progresses then that's great, but this guy was a jerk all the way through... stating that he is trying to protect her... by controlling her?! How could she love a man who is controlling, follows her, and scares her? Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
3. By the way, for those of you who HAVE read this novel, Isla Huesos, where our protagonist and her mother move to after a divorce, does not translate to Island of Bones (that would be: Isla de Huesos). The correct translation of Isla Huesos is Bone Island. Fun times being Spanish and seeing errors like this in a popular book.
4. I was so irritated at the messiness of this novel. It felt like it was going all over the place. One moment, the protagonist is recalling a past event, and the next she is back in the present. If this happened a few times, okay, but this happened throughout the whole novel. She would basically cut short a thought she was having, only to continue it several chapters later more often than was necessary.
5. The dialogue, in my opinion, was a mess. Cabot would entice us by having her character ask a question or begin a thought, yet she would write paragraphs before writing the rest of the dialogue. It felt disruptive and it annoyed me to no end.
1. I love mythology, so mistakes aside, this was an entertaining book. I loved seeing how Cabot explored yet another popular genre and made it her own.
2. There weren't any editing problems that I could note, the only thing that bugged me was Cabot's writing style.
3. I liked some of the characters that Cabot introduces to us and I hope we learn more about them in the future.
The sequel toAbandon, Underworld, is already out and I'm a bit wary of checking it out, but I will probably end up reading it anyways because I can't really stay away from Cabot's books. I just hope that her story has taken on a more cohesive style....more
I read All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin a while ago, but I've been putting off thiThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I read All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin a while ago, but I've been putting off this review because of all the things that bugged me. There are a few redeeming qualities about Zevin's novel, that's why I'm not giving it one star. I'm not even going to write my own summary for this one, I'll just copy and paste the one from Goodreads.
"In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family."
Zevin had such a cool premise for her story. Her novel could have easily been one of my favourites this year, but she wasted it by including pointless tangents, way too many religious references (hey, I believe in god and all, but I don't advocate books that keep reminding the reader of what a "good catholic" girl is), and disconnected emotions.
1. As I've already mentioned, the religious commentary. There were moments where Anya would simply start talking about what made her a good catholic girl and how she should behave. I'm okay with characters commenting on their religious beliefs because it helps the reader construct the characters in his/her mind, but I don't like it when authors drill their ideas into the reader through their words in a book.
2. The chapter titles drove me crazy. I understand the whole hinting-at-what's-going-to-happen thing, but Zevin full on tells the reader what's going to happen. For example: "VIII. i am sent to liberty; am also tattooed!" Ugh, please.
3. The dialogue drove me insane. Especially after the second half of the novel (where the storyline goes down the hole). Zevin adopts the tactic of telling the reader things, rather than showing him/her what's happening. Here's an example: "I told him I'd rather not," (Zevin 292). I know some of you might not find this a problem, but insert the above example into various points in the novel where dialogue can easily be used to "show" rather than "tell" what the protagonist is thinking.
4. I really, really disliked Anya. Her attitude and her actions drove me insane. It was like looking into the mind of a child or a naive woman. I understand why she did some of the things that she did, but her mentality was just annoying to watch unfold.
5. The novel had so much potential! I was so engrossed in the story for the first half that I could barely put the book down, but then Zevin kills it. She stuffs the plot with needless tangents like Anya's messy romantic life, which by the way, takes up a good chunk of the second half of the novel, completely overriding the idea of mob life and the illegalities of chocolate.
I'm basing these on the first half of the novel.
1. This was an intriguing story that had me wanting to know what would happen next.
2. The writing was fluid, even with the religious doctrine.
3. The story showed potential, until (view spoiler)[Anyawas released from prison (hide spoiler)]. If Zevin had worked on this part of the novel more, then she would of had a kick-ass novel, but instead it was like the story flew out of her hands and took a life of its own, and not in a good way.
Just writing this review tired me out, imagine how I felt after reading the novel.
Fake Boyfriend is a young adult fiction book. I love some of Kate Brian's other novels, but this one was only so-so for me. A bit predictable, but stiFake Boyfriend is a young adult fiction book. I love some of Kate Brian's other novels, but this one was only so-so for me. A bit predictable, but still a cute, light read. Brian introduces us to three close friends who each have romantic issues to be solved by the end of the story. Isabelle is set on dating a bad-boy that is all bad for her, Lana has a tremendous crush on the girls' fourth best friend, a guy, and finally, Vivi is a girl whose blunt and pushy attitude always sends boys running. In order to keep Isabelle away from her bad-boy ex, Vivi decides to take matters into her own hands.
I don't know what I was expecting when I started this one, but I know that it wasn't something this predictable and... cutesy.
I feel like I should begin this review by stating that the reason why I read The Selection by KThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I feel like I should begin this review by stating that the reason why I read The Selection by Kiera Cass was mainly because of the front cover. Of course, after reading the synopsis I just fell more in love with the idea of reading this Young Adult novel. I decided to read this novel despite some negative comments going around about the author's bad behavior towards a reviewer, because I care more about the book than the author's actions.
Cass's story has its own unique fun to it. I devoured this novel because it was a light, sometimes funny, and super romantic read. It did have some issues, but not enough to repel me.
"For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined."
1. How cheesy is it to give your protagonist the name "America" simply to make a point of her fighting spirit? I am a huge fan of using the protagonist's name to send a message to the reader, but being so obvious is kind of irksome.
2. While a lot of the characters in Cass's novel added mystery and fun to the storyline, America's mother was a bit on the undecided side. By this I mean that one moment she was all, "You are my daughter, so I will guilt trip you into a potential marriage that will make you miserable just so we have a better life", and the next she was "I understand your pain sweetie, but we love you and want you to be happy." I want to say she felt a bit bipolar, but I don't want to offend anyone.
3. Ugh, why must protagonists be portrayed as weak women pining for men who act like complete assholes? I acknowledge that it is unrealistic to make a character completely emotionless when she and the one she loves stop being together, but when a breakup happens because the guy is too chicken-shit (excuse my language) to fight for the girl he so obviously loves, I get annoyed that the protagonist yearns for him even more. Really. Oh and by the way, the whole scene (view spoiler)[ with her and him after she is in the castle is ridiculous. Girls reading books like these need strong protagonists to look up to, not women who immediately revert back to the I-love-you stage (hide spoiler)] in an already broken (and previously unhealthy) relationship.
1. I loved the storyline of America being taken to a palace to possibly meet her prince charming (pun intended). Though a bit slow at first, the story quickly gets interesting and I'm a sucker for romance. Which this has a lot of. Cass's novel was a bit predictable, but it didn't stop it from being a fun ride.
2. I was never a huge fan of The Bachelor, but even though this book is like a novelization of a season from the once popular show, it was neat seeing everything happen from the perspective of a contestant, rather than from the cliched viewpoint of the prince.
3. The ending was expected, I mean, the prince had like a gazillion girls left to pick from and under the pressing conditions (which I will not reveal) it is understandable what he had to do. I just wish Cass would have gone a little longer before concluding, but then that means that her ending was enough for me to want to read the next installment.
4. I liked the mystery that some of the characters in the novel offer, made me incredibly curious!
5. The cover was eye-candy. I have to add this to the list because it is what attracted me in the first place.
I eagerly await the next installment in the series!...more
Possess by Gretchen McNeil is a creepy story of a girl with psychic abilities that help her ridThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Possess by Gretchen McNeil is a creepy story of a girl with psychic abilities that help her rid people of demonic possessions. At first I was a bit skeptic of this novel, especially since it dealt with demons, exorcisms, and religion (I laughed when I watched the exorcist, so please try to understand my skepticism). But I was pleasantly surprised.
"Rule #1: Do not show fear.
Rule #2: Do not show pity. Rule #3: Do not engage. Rule #4: Do not let your guard down. Rule #5: They lie.
Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.
Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession. But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king."
McNeil's novel was a quick paced, fun read, though of course it had only a few flaws.
1. The protagonist, Bridget, was a bit stubborn and annoying. Characters would tell her that she needed to do something but she would protest instead of acting. Even near the end when she needs to pay attention, she still stubbornly fights against the facts. This annoyed me because of how naive and ignorant she was acting. This occurred several times.
2. Okay, sorry for this spoiler, but it's a pretty obvious thing: Bridget's mother and her love interest's father are in love. I'm not really disturbed with this, but others might not be so accepting of the fact that Bridget's soon-to-be boyfriend's father will be her step-father if her mother decides to marry him.
3. Though it isn't so obvious that it disrupts the story, there are some editing mishaps. Every once in a while I ran into awkward sentences that made me re-read the sentence twice to understand what was intended.
4. A bit predictable, but still a fun read.
1. The eerie tone was awesome. It was consistent and expertly done.
2. Ignoring the protagonist's annoying behavior, the other characters were intriguing.
3. The world created by McNeil is interesting because of how effectively she uses diction to create fear and intrigue for the reader.
4. McNeil's story is creepy as hell, which is incredibly hard to do effectively in a novel. But she uses a simple thing like an animal haunting a home and makes it a scary experience for the reader.
5. This isn't the first book in a series! Do you know how refreshing that is?
This was definitely one of those novels that was a surprise. If you want to get spooked, while enjoying an interesting story, then you should check this one out. I will definitely be looking forward to McNeil's work in the future....more
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
I had high expectations going into Lauren Oliver's Delirium, since Before I Fall is one of my favoriReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I had high expectations going into Lauren Oliver's Delirium, since Before I Fall is one of my favorite young adult novels. I was also very excited because of the incredible reviews it has received since its publication.
Oliver has created a complex world that promises a very original look at the topic of love. A story like this calls for a powerful protagonist that can handle the pressure of standing up against the oppressive environment s/he lives in. An example of powerful characters in a similar environment would be Connor, Risa, and Lev from Neal Shusterman's Unwind.
In my honest opinion, was Lena a strong enough character and/or narrator for a novel that explores such a complex and political storyline? No. She was not only weak, but incredibly unreliable since she didn't know where she stood, or what she wanted for most of the novel--though the reader is made to believe that she does.
Lena's timidness was beyond irritating. Her fear of everything is debilitating and I spent a good portion of the book rolling my eyes at her comments of how scared she was, or how "love" was this big bad monster.
I know she was conditioned to fear love, and change can't come about in a short time frame, or else the believability of a story goes down. But honestly, up until nearly three quarters of the novel, Lena was still acting completely powerless--Even though she knew the truth. One sentence that was beyond frustrating, and I quoted it on my Goodreads progress section, stated the following: "There's no way I can disobey my aunt, so I follow her..." (Oliver 310). This sentence reeks of powerlessness, but even worse, it makes me think that Lena simply chooses to not look at her other options.
The reason why I've rated Delirium so low is because of Lena. It's been a while since I've skimmed over the last few pages of a book simply to get away from a character.
There were also a few inconsistencies, and the lack of commas where they were needed drove me nuts (blame it on my picky reading preferences). An example of an inconsistency would be (view spoiler)[the moment when there is a raid. If the procedure removes fear, love, pain, etc, why do Lena's aunt and sister show obvious fear? (hide spoiler)]
Oliver's world is so detailed, complex, and I will admit, beautiful, that it is completely off-putting that she has such a weak protagonist. As with Before I Fall, the writing is imaginative and the idea of love being illegal, though I had a few doubts about the subject, is very intriguing and original.
I really wanted to like this one, I really, truly did. But instead of sighing at the romance between Lena and Alex, I was groaning because of her immature actions. She loved Alex, so why was she so scared of him? If she is destined to be this powerful heroine, why does she lack any real power and/or passion for what is right within her? Where is her drive to be the powerful character she needs to be?
Characters are flawed, I know this, but she was unrealistically flawed given her situation. Hana, her best friend, was much better suited for the pressures of what Lena faces. In a way, Hana would have made a much better protagonist.
Lena made an interesting comment about who she is at the beginning of Delirium and at the conclusion: she is an in-between girl (Oliver).
I agree completely with this statement, since Lena spends most of the novel in an in-between place. She neither moves forward as a character, nor does she truly revert to her old life--though she wants to, her life is now tainted by what she's experienced.
Her in-between state consists of various questions: Should she love Alex? Should she trust that he is right? Should she follow in the footsteps of her mother, but without the dire outcome? Should she think for herself? Should she fight for what is right?
Lena's assessment, though posed as a simple explanation of her appearance, says so much about her, that it makes perfect sense why she would be so indecisive. ...more