6.30.2011

HEREAFTER Review -- Tara Hudson

Can there truly be love after death?
Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.
Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.
Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.




REVIEW

HEREAFTER was an extremely cute book. Josh(ua)'s relationship with Amelia was cuter than a baby kitten, and while Joshua was quick to accept many things about Amelia (the fact that she was dead, for one), I still fell hard for them. In the beginning of the book, Hudson's prose reminded me of my prose (and I'm a 14-year-old boy [ouch]), but as I read on the flaws in it became less noticeable as I became much more engaged in the story. The thing that broke my heart about this story is the unclear and unsuspected death of Amelia Elizabeth Ashley and how her recollections unfolded as she came out of the "fog" of being a ghost and having her memories of life clouded over. The story is poignant and heartbreaking, not to mention fascinating. Amelia is an instantly likable heroine, having been through so much, and you'll soon find yourself falling in love with Joshua and loathing Eli right next to her.

The only thing about HEREAFTER that really bugged me is how little attention is paid to the shrouded mystery of Amelia's death. More attention is paid to her relationship with Joshua and her seemingly lame and unimportant conflicts with Eli (I'm still kind of unsure what happened with him) than to the main focus of the book, which was supposedly her horrifying, fatal fall off the bridge. I also wish to here more about Jillian and other supporting characters in book two.

Overall, HEREAFTER is a great debut from Hudson, and I look forward to ARISE, book two in the HEREAFTER trilogy.

Four Owls

6.27.2011

UNEARTHLY Review -- Cynthia Hand

I bought UNEARTHLY (pictured below) back in JANUARY, and I didn't decide to pick it up until now. What is wrong with me?


In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.
As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?
Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

REVIEW

Wow.

That's all I can think right now.

In the beginning of UNEARTHLY, the action is dull. The characters are gloomy and remorseful after an unexpected move to Wyoming. The school life is really stereotypical, and the friends are all meh.

Then, when the main love interests are introduced into the story and the plot thickens, you're quickly and unexpectedly thrown into a thrill ride that's unforgettable.

If this review were solely on the last half of the book, it'd be five stars no-questions-asked. The action is just so gripping, and the characters' emotions are so tangible, you'd have to be a really tough critic to rate it any lower. Everything is just paced so perfectly, and dialogue is so precise--it's the closest thing to a perfect book. But, sadly, the first half screws things up.

The lack of action or excitement in the beginning knocked off a solid star from the book. Sure, it was needed to set the rest of the book up, but it could've been done a little more interestingly, like Clara, literally the perfect girl, wasn't halfway bored to death sitting there talking to Wendy and Angela.

The characters weren't too lackluster--I found Clara's friends Wendy and Angela (Angela especially) quite interesting, and Tucker and Christian weren't too shabby, either. The thing I like about the way Hand created the foundation for the love triangle is the fact that Christian and Tucker are both distinctly different characters, and how choosing between them will create completely different lifestyles for Clara; it's not like they're boring clones of each other created for the sole purpose of giving Clara two people vying for her attention and therefore more "plot."

UNEARTHLY really impressed me (and may I say how cute this book is?! I just wanna tickle it!), and I am literally counting down the days until HALLOWED is released.

Four Owls


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As a side note, this is the next book I'll be reviewing:

HEREAFTER by Tara Hudson! It's about a ghostly girl, and it should be really good. I'm looking forward to reading it. Check back in a few days or so for my review!

Hayden :)

Reminder!

Hi, everyone!
This is a reminder to all of you that this blog I'm doing is only for reviewing NEWLY READ BOOKS. Sure, I've read 280-something other books, but I'm not going to re-post those on here (for obvious reasons). For short reviews of those, you can check out my Goodreads profile. This blog is only to try something new.

My Goodreads profile can be found at:
http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2995566-hayden-casey

Thank you,
Hayden :)

6.26.2011

MATCHED Review -- Ally Condie

In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.
Cassia has always trusted their choices. It's hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path no one has ever dared follow--between perfection and passion.
Matched is a story for right now and a storytelling with the resonance of a classic.




A lot of professional reviews of MATCHED mention, allude to or imply similarities to THE HUNGER GAMES. Reading this book makes me go, "THE HUNGER GAMES, who?"

MATCHED left me breathless, literally, and after I turned the page, I realized that I seriously underestimated this book when I first bought it and skimmed through it, and that when CROSSED/book #3 come out, without a doubt I'm buying them.

The physical action in the book is relatively low, the most heated scene being when someone is taken away, but that really is irrelevant, because even though the novel isn't physically powerful, it is emotionally powerful in a breathtaking way. It's almost like you're experiencing everything Cassia is experiencing as you read.

Condie's prose is BEAUTIFUL with a capital B . . . and E, A, U, T, I, F, U, and L. Not to mention the cover . . . mmmmmmph! When I first saw it, I was incredulous. It is absolutely, jaw-droppingly beautiful, yet so simple at the same time.

The characters are all really interesting, being controlled by the Society in the way that they are, left with minimal choices to make for themselves. Some were mildly interesting, but for the most part, Condie really fleshed them out and made them three-dimensional (which would seemingly be extremely hard to do, considering they've minimal choices to make, and choice is a key factor in good characterization), but Condie does it really well.

I have to admit, after reading this book, I cannot WAIT for CROSSED.

P.S. TEAM KY!!!

Five Owls


The next two books I'm going to be reading and reviewing are UNEARTHLY by Cynthia Hand (finally gonna finish it!) and HEREAFTER by Tara Hudson. Stay tuned! :)

6.25.2011

Dilemma . . .

I was at my friend's house yesterday, because before yesterday I hadn't seen him in months. I was reading UNEARTHLY, and he saw it and said, "What's that about?"
I explained it to him. He looked very interested, and I could tell he wanted to read it. Later that night, when I was doing something else (I was on the computer), he snatched UNEARTHLY up off of the floor and began to read it. When I assured him that it was my book and that I was reading it, and he wouldn't budge. Apparently, he'd read everything he owned and didn't have anything else to read. I assured him that it'd be easier if he read MATCHED (which I also had with me), he blatantly refused.
So, last night at 10:00, I started MATCHED. And, let me tell you, it is better than I ever thought possible.
But, I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place (I think that's what the expression is). I'm not sure whether to finish and therefore review first, UNEARTHLY or MATCHED.
Be prepared for whichever I choose. :) Or help me choose one.

6.24.2011

Welcome!

Hi, everyone! I just created this book blog on a whim, and I hope you like the design and everything. I created the THE TEEN BOOKWORM picture myself, so if anything is wrong with it, be sure to tell me!
The first review I'm going to be doing is UNEARTHLY by Cynthia Hand. It's a YA angel book, and I'm about one-third of the way through it.
Thanks for checking this out! Email me at haydenmcasey@hotmail.com or send me a message on my Goodreads profile if you have comments.

Thanks,
Hayden :)

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