7.27.2011

Second Grave on the Left Review -- Darynda Jones

Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson, #2)Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones

My rating: 5 of 5 stars




View the full version of this book online

                 

Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper Extraordinaire, is back in this sexy, suspenseful novel of supernatural shenanigans.

When Charley is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by her best friend who tells her to get dressed quickly and tosses clothes out of the closet at her, she can’t help but wonder what Cookie’s up to. Leather scrunch boots with a floral miniskirt? Together? Seriously? Cookie explains that a friend of hers named Mimi disappeared five days earlier and that she just got a text from her setting up a meet at a coffee shop downtown. They show up at the coffee shop, but no Mimi. But Charley finds a message on the bathroom wall. Mimi left a clue, a woman’s name. Mimi’s husband explains that his wife had been acting strange since she found out an old friend of hers from high school had been found murdered a couple weeks prior. The same woman Mimi had named in her message.

Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. He’s left his body because he’s being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can’t let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they’ll have a portal to heaven. And if they have a portal to heaven…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty. Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Will Cookie ever get a true fashion sense? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel them as they do? Here is your signpost for the most hilarious read of the summer: Second Grave On The Left.

Before I start, I just want to say: Charley Davidson, you are a

.

Charley Davidson is up to her usual antics in Second Grave, and is dare I say even funnier in this installment than the last. I can pretty much guarantee witty, LMFAO humor on every page (at least, that's what it was like for me). She'll keep you up laughing for hours, and you won't be able to sleep!

The plot in Second Grave was better for me as well, the mystery more realistic and intense and the structure more coherent. I'm really regretting not waiting to read this series until the third book was out! (Hopefully I'll be able to score an ARC of Third Grave Dead Ahead.) The chapter headings had me cracking up as well, but I won't ruin any of the fun for you and tell you any. :) You'll just have to read it and find out for yourself!

As I promised Jones, I tried to find a sparkly, glittery, resplendent GIF to spice this review up, but sadly all I could find was the BA GIF above. Hopefully that'll compensate for my lack of good findings.

Second Grave was everything I wanted and more. I liked it even more than the first one. I personally can't wait for Third Grave Dead Ahead, because I know Darynda Jones will spice it up and make it even more irresistible than its two predecessors. Hopefully the wait for February won't be too hard on me!

Second Grave on the Left brings spunky heroine Charley Davidson back into the spotlight, and she's funnier than ever! Surrounded by a witty, charming and seductive supporting cast, Charley delivers good, old-fashioned humor that's sure to keep you reading late into the night! A must-read series.

7.25.2011

GLOW Review -- Amy Kathleen Ryan

Glow (Sky Chasers, #1)Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.


I graciously received GLOW from a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway, and the book was provided by the publishers, St. Martin's Press! Thank you all for this wonderful opportunity!

There are some books out there that are completely clear in their intentions, whose characters are completely either good or evil, whose plot is simple enough to be easily understood. Let me tell you know that GLOW is not one of those books. GLOW is not a book you sit down to read intending to finish it in one sitting and move on with your life. GLOW is one of those books you sit down to read intending to savor it and become engrossed in the not-so-clear intentions of the characters and the constant twists and turns of the plot.

GLOW is written in third-person perspective, something which doesn't enhance anything about it and seems to kind of disconnect you from the narrator characters. The reader feels more emotionally attached to a character who speaks from the first-person perspective because you think, "What if I was experiencing this?" With third-person perspective, you think someone else is experiencing it and you don't pay attention to what is really going on. The perspective of the book is one of the two factors I feel chopped off a whole star from me.

Imagine it like this:

Scenario 1 (Third-Person Narrative)

You're watching this on TV.

description

How do you feel? Maybe you laugh, say "Wow, that would probably hurt!" and carry on.


Scenario B (First-Person Perspective)

Your friend tells you, "Wow, I got in a really bad ski accident," which plays out like this in your head:

description

How do you feel? You are starstruck, say "Oh, wow, I'm so sorry! I bet that really hurt," and feel bad for them.

Which would you rather read about? The emotionally-detached one or the intense, attached one?

That's how I felt about GLOW, like it would've majorly benefited from a re-vamp perspective-wise.

Now, I have the other reason GLOW is only four stars:

The conclusion.

Which it shouldn't be called, because the story felt in no way concluded at all. Ryan's lame attempt at a cliffhanger didn't help, either. If you've read this book, you know what I'm talking about. How it resolved felt in no way resolved, and like Ryan was just setting you up to buy the next 11 installments of the SKY CHASERS Series. The main, persistent problem set up within the first 60 pages of GLOW isn't even resolved. Something else is minorly wrapped up, but when I closed the back cover of the book, I felt in no way satisfied by the ending.

GLOW is an extremely enticing read with twists and turns around every corner, but it lacks emotionally with main characters written poorly and an open-ended conclusion that doesn't fully deliver. The cast of supporting characters is suspicious enough that you don't know who you can trust -- and when you do, you're wrong. High-octane action and suspense make GLOW a hit!

7.23.2011

First Grave on the Right Review -- Darynda Jones

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1)First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


If I could only say one thing about First Grave on the Right, it's that the main character Charlotte "Charley" Davidson is ROFLMAO, pee-your-pants, snort-and-snicker-in-the-middle-of-class funny. Her constant witty remarks about random observations will keep you laughing into the wee hours of the morning. But, since I'm allowed more than just one thing to say, I'm going to also say that the premise of the novel is devilishly clever, and the supporting cast of characters is nothing short of entertaining. Something about First Grave felt like it was missing, but I can't place a finger on it. The mystery of the novel is . . . well, mysterious.
One thing about First Grave that slightly annoyed me was how Jones gave some supporting characters nicknames that Charley had created, and she'd go back and forth calling that character by both names. In Uncle Bob's case, it took me until the book was nearly halfway over to determine that his nickname was him and not a different character.

If you're looking for a book with high-quantity and -quality humor, First Grave is for you! If you're looking for a book with a well-developed and shrouded-in-darkness mystery, First Grave is for you! If you're looking for a spunky, kick-ass heroine, First Grave is for you! `



View all my reviews

7.16.2011

Wintergirls Review -- Laurie Halse Anderson

WintergirlsWintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Here's the deal on Wintergirls:

-The story is completely fascinating, with Lia's eating disorder and the whole concept of a "wintergirl." What wasn't fascinating, however, was how I wasn't actually lovin' the plot until about 2/3 of the way through the book. Let's just say there was too much build-up.

-I like how realistic Lia's eating disorder seems even though Anderson hasn't (or at least I don't think she has) been through any of this herself. Very nice research done.

-Be prepared to put this book down if you're repulsed by things such as "Must. Not. Eat. Must. Not. Eat. Must. Not. Eat. Must. Not. Eat. Must. Not. Eat. Must. Not. Eat." stretching on for three pages.

-Lia has a little sister named Emma who's nine, and for some reason she bugs the crap out of me. I can't name a reason, but she seems like the pesky, annoying little sister I've never had, but will someday (I've got a five-year-old one, and she hasn't gone through this phase yet.)

-Be prepared to put this book down if you're also repulsed by ugly stepmothers . . . wait, no. It's wicked stepmothers, isn't it? Oh, well. Either will work.

-Actually, it doesn't really matter, because all of the parental figures in Lia's life EPICFAIL-suck. So, basically what I'm trying to say here is:

-There isn't one character in this book I truly cared about. Well, I guess Elijah was alright, but he wasn't the truly spectacular, I'd-cry-if-you-died type.


All in all, I wasn't too impressed with Wintergirls. And that's all I can really summarize about it.



View all my reviews

Stalled . . .

For the past day or so, I've just not been in the mood for reading. I've kind of stopped to smell the roses, and now I can't get enough of the fragrance, so I just cut one off and keep it with me at all times so I can smell it.
The rose hasn't died yet, but when it does, expect to see a review up, maybe for this:



-Hayden :)

7.13.2011

THE UNWANTEDS Review -- Lisa McMann

Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths.
Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret—behind the mirage of the "death farm" there is instead a place called Artime.
In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it's a wondrous transformation.
But it's a rare, unique occurence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron's bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.
May I just say how clever the premise for this book is? Everyone with a single ounce of creativity is Unwanted and "executed," and everyone who's athletic or intelligent stay and are deemed Wanted? That is single-handedly the most clever premise I've read in a long time. That's true fantasy, a whole world spawned from just a single question. McMann doesn't fall flat of what I expected from this wonderful idea. In fact, I didn't even know what this was going to be about until I read the Introduction. I was engrossed!

And, also, may I say how big and how unexpected of a switch-up this is from McMann's normal stuff (paranormal romance! I know),? I feel like this is a completely different author here, because her paranormal books are written in such short, edgy, gripping sentences and this book is written in vivid, languid, fluid prose that just jumps off the page and into your head. I can't say which I like better, because in her paranormal stuff, you're just constantly flipping pages and you're haunted by the story, but in this middle-grade fantasy novel, you're just completely entranced by the beautiful language and you can't stop reading.

No matter what, I officially present McMann the Most Versatile Author Award!

It's official.

(I just made that! On a complete whim.) Seriously, though. How can you not agree with me? Freakin' polar opposites here, and she can do 'em both. That takes some serious writing mojo.

This has to be the most creative book I've ever read. McMann doesn't fall short of my expectations, which I appreciate to the fullest extent. The ending of this book is totally open-ended, so you really have no idea of knowing whether or not this will be a series. Honestly, I'd just prefer this to be a stand-alone, but I'm open to another book or three of THE UNWANTEDS.

Gripping and languid, THE UNWANTEDS is McMann's most creative book yet, with a premise to "die" for; I was quickly engrossed into Alex's world of misery and new hope, and when I reached the end I was deeply saddened -- saddened, that is, by the fact that I'm left hanging with no sequel within reach. I strongly recommend you pick this up!

Crank -- Ellen Hopkins, and Dragon's Oath -- PC and Kristin Cast (Double Review!)

Both of these books are
's for me.


 Kristina Georgia Snow is the perfect daughter: gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble. But on a trip to visit her absentee father, Kristina disappears and Bree takes her place. Bree is the exact opposite of Kristina -- she's fearless.

Man, it was good to read this again. I haven't read it in years. My memories of its contents were so hazy I couldn't even remember Kristina's middle name. Or the name of the guy that . . . did something to her.

Ellen Hopkins is one of those authors whose books you can only read so many of at a time before they all start blending together into one loosely incoherent story, because they all sort of deal with the same topics (they're all about drugs and sex and naughty stuff teens shouldn't be doing). That mistake was one I did the first go-round Hopkins-style, and one I'm not going to make again. This go-round, I'm only reading the books in this trilogy, which are CRANK, GLASS, and FALLOUT. I'm not going to re-read IMPULSE, IDENTICAL, BURNED (although I'm so tempted because that's my favorite of them all), or TRICKS. I'm just going to read these three and be done.

So, if you want these stories to be somewhat memorable for yourself, I recommend savoring them slowly and getting a good feel for what they have to offer individually, not reading them all and making the mistake I did, not being able to remember anything but the book's topic.

CRANK should've been a five-star read. It could've been a five-star read. It wasn't a five-star read, but merely a three-star read, because something about it was missing.

Hmm . . . I dunno. Maybe that missing thing was an INTERESTING, VARIED PLOT!

Here. Let me give you the run-down on CRANK's plot.

description

Except maybe more like "Get High, Sleep, Feel Anxious to Get High Again, Repeat!"

The effort put into trying to keep the plot varied and interesting was a fail that turned out to be something like this:

description

In words, it goes like this:

Kristina moves.
Kristina gets high with her dad.
Kristina moves back to Reno.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
(view spoiler)[ Kristina gets raped. (hide spoiler)] Something different! *gasp*
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.
Kristina gets high.

Put that on repeat about 50x, and you'll be good.

A GIANT, CORROSIVE FAIL.

One thing I love about Hopkins' writing, though, is how inventive and beautiful some of the poetry-style entries are. They're not all about Kristina/Bree. No. Some of them are about just "the monster" (meth) in general, and they describe what it feels like to be on it, something you won't get in that enormous detail anywhere else. And, I know, it is written in verse, so it's expected to be beautiful. And it was.

The negative side to Hopkins' style of writing in verse is that because the formatting has to be a specific way, the length of the sentences can be greatly reduced, sometimes down to even a single word per sentence, which may go on for a whole page without leave. This makes for what seems like an easy read (even though, in all reality, it wasn't that easy), and it can be misleading.

CRANK was a very inventive and very true account about what drugs can do to a person's otherwise perfect life. It doesn't seem preachy, but at the same time, it sounds informative and gripping.



The first in an enthralling new mini-series of novellas from the #1 bestselling authors of the House of Night, Dragon's Oath tells the story behind the House of Night s formidable fencing instructor the love that will transform him, and the promise that will haunt him.

With almost 12 million books in print, the House of Night is an international publishing phenomenon that shows no sign of stopping! Now, for the first time, the Cast duo will share the back stories of some of the House of Night's most crucial and mysterious characters. And it all begins with Dragon s Oath. Before Zoey is Marked and arrives at the House of Night before she rises in power to confront utter darkness, and the House of Night is divided there's Dragon, and the dark choice that won t let him go.

Long before he's a professor at the House of Night with Zoey and the gang, in the early 19th century, Bryan Lankford is a troublesome, yet talented human teen. He thinks he can get away with anything until his father, a British nobleman, has finally had enough, and banishes him to America. When Bryan is Marked on the docks and given the choice between the London House of Night and the dragon-prowed ship to America, he chooses the Dragon and a new fate.

In 1830's St. Louis, the Gateway to the West, Dragon Lankford becomes a Sword Master, and soon realizes there are dangerous challenges and beautiful perks. Like Anastasia, the captivating young Professor of Spells and Rituals at the Tower Grove House of Night, who really should have nothing to do with a fledgling But when a dark power threatens, Dragon is caught in its focus. Though his uncanny fighting skills make him a powerful fledgling, is he strong enough to ward off this new darkness, while protecting Anastasia as well? Will his choices save her or destroy them all?

Illustrations by Kim Doner.


Seriously. How awesome-looking is that?!


Now, for the review. . . .

DRAGON'S OATH took me exactly 28 minutes and 17.5 seconds to read. That's it. No joke. I timed myself. That being said, there's not a whole lot of new and exciting content. It almost seemed like a short story to me, one with a lot of really extended, unnecessary detail.

The first chapter and the epilogue were in present-day HoN, and chapters two through eight were back when Dragon was Marked and all the chaos that ensued. (I know. Eight chapters. That's it?) Nevertheless, the novella was really well-written, and although it lacked length, it made up for it in plot and characterization. The primary reason DRAGON'S OATH wasn't five pages was because every chapter ended on the left page, the right page after was blank, the left page after had an illustration, and the right page started the next chapter. So, basically, about three pages are blank per chapter, which just seems lazy on PC's part.

That all being said, PC and Kristin Cast's latest miniature (literally) installment in the House of Night series was thoroughly enjoyable. I enjoyed reading about the spell casting and about the Darkness, a prominent theme in current House of Night books (AWAKENED, I'm sure DESTINED as well), and I'm sure we'll hear more about that in future books. I look forward to DESTINED! 

Through a boy, Bree meets the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild, ecstatic ride turns into a struggle through hell for her mind, her soul -- her life.

7.11.2011

Cryer's Cross Review -- Lisa McMann


The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on... until Kendall's boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace. Now the town is in a panic. Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects Nico and Tiffany: they both sat at the same desk. She knows it's crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, dreaming of Nico and wondering if maybe she, too, will disappear...and whether that would be so bad. Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. Can he possibly be alive somewhere? Where is he? And how can Kendall help him? The only person who believes her is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating...and attractive. As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into Nico's mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly—and deadly—local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.


If I could only use one word to describe this book (whether it be short, long, medium, descriptive, simple, or in-between), it'd simply be terrifying. Don't tell me you haven't gotten the horror vibes from this book! How creepy would it be to walk into school and find etchings like TOUCH ME , ONLY YOU CAN SAVE ME , and SAVE MY SOUL inscribed into your desk? I don't know about you, but I'd be absolutely, mind-blowingly horrified.

That's the feeling this book gives off. The horror aspect of the novel is illustrated gorgeously in your head. You feel like you can't turn pages fast enough to just get to the frickin' end and SEE WHAT HAPPENS ALREADY. The challenges OCD presents to Kendall and her friends is valid (other reviews have said it's completely falsified and shallow), but I know otherwise, because, for one, McMann's daughter has it, and I don't know an easier way to figure out how OCD works than to go to your daughter; and, for two, I have a mild, self-prescribed case of it as well. I mean, I don't have to face all of the difficult challenges Kendall does (uh, hence the "mild" part), nor do I feel trapped by it, but by all means I know what it's like to struggle with it.

One thing about CRYER'S CROSS that makes me really happy (especially considering this is a horror novel, and I can point to specific horror novels that don't do this, or don't do it well) is how resolved the story is. I know exactly where the horrific aspect of the novel comes from, and I know what happens to the cause, which deeply satisfies me, more than an open-ended version would. I like knowing what/who/where did this, and I like how it's not left for me to try and make an informed decision about, left with a million branches, and I have to find the right one. I don't like when authors do this because the story feels horribly gypped and like the author didn't know enough about his/her own story to create a coherent ending. That being said, McMann didn't totally overcrowd our heads with information about the conclusion, just gave us enough info to where we're satisfied but there's still a little bit of an open ending as to what happened to the characters and the horror aspect.

McMann is an extremely versatile author, being able to go from YA fantasy (THE UNWANTEDS, coming Sept '11) to this. I just now put her on the non-existent list of i-will-buy-anything-this-author-writes (which, you know, I really should make a shelf for).


CRYER'S CROSS is a gripping tale with a perfect resolution that I couldn't get out of my head for days . . . fantastic and horrifying!

7.10.2011

DARKFEVER Review -- Karen Marie Moning (Wellllllll . . .)

Wellllllll . . . It was the next day.

(To be honest, frankly, I didn't want to write anything yesterday, let alone a review for DARKFEVER.) Today was different than yesterday, however, and I was in the mood for updating this site. So, here I am! I've got my review all written (it's on Goodreads, too), so it'll be below. First, I'll post a bit about it.

MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands….
(This summary may vary a little from your paperback version, because it's from the hardcover version [and more detailed! See how convenient that is?].)

Now, for the review:


Post-DARKFEVER Haze:

Review coming. Soon. Seriously. Like, wow.

Later That Day, After My Brain Has Had Time to Recuperate:

See the "Seriously. Like, wow" comment above, in the first section? Yeah. That's what this book was like. The book was a constant action-and-drama-fest. People rip on MacKayla "Lane" all the time, but I don't see what's so wrong with her. I mean, besides all the Barbie-type mannerisms and hair flips and unwillingness to use dye, she's actually quite a kick-ass chick. (Please pardon my French.) For me, she's totally likeable and non-stereotypical (I mean, maybe I'm biased, since I played with Barbies when I was five. [Yeah. Deal with it.]), and I loved her heroism and the immediate revenge-factor after her sister's mysterious and cryptic death. All of the characters were likeable, really, including the Mr. Mysterious Jericho Barrons (whom I adored, really, but didn't see the OMG-death-from-attraction factor). I was a little thrown off by how seemingly important V'lane was in the summary, but in the book, he only showed up twice (or maybe three times; the middle-ish of the book is a little hazy).

The Ireland setting was described well, as was her hometown (her backyard, especially), and I felt like her sister would've been a great person if I'd have known her while she was alive. Maybe a lot like Mac, but still a good person.
(And, seriously. The name. Mac? I'd personally go by Kayla if MacKayla was my name. Hearing 'Mac' reminds me of the Disney movie CARS.)

On to BLOODFEVER.






The Next Book I'll Be Reading:

Uh, duh. BLOODFEVER.

But, for a special purpose, I'm adding a new section (solely for this review):

The Next Book I'll Be REVIEWING:
And the answer to that question is, I have no freakin' clue. There is such a wide variety of options for me to choose from. I don't know. I don't. Seriously. Cross my heart.

So, if/when I ever have an answer to that question, I'll post and let you know!

But, until then, it's a surprise. ;)

-Hayden :)

7.08.2011

A FREAKING UPDATE

(Subtlety isn't necessarily my forte.)

Hey, all! Just lettin' you know that I'm enjoying the heck out of DARKFEVER and I'll have a review up within the next few days. So, you know, you don't get antsy or anything waiting for me to finish, maybe, like, to the point where you just can't take it any longer and you scream in rage. Yeah. We don't want that happening.

So, I should actually have a review up tomorrow, because I have two hour-long plane rides plus an hour of "intermission" between them, which makes for great reading time. I should finish DARKFEVER in that time, and, you know, if not, then too bad.

Then, it'll be the next day.

-Hayden :)

7.05.2011

SURPRISE! NEED Series Review -- Carrie Jones

Dear Readers,
I lied.
SURPRISE! *confetti explosion*
I'm not actually going to be reviewing BITTEN by Kelley Armstrong, because I skimmed through it dazedly and didn't pay attention to it enough to write a coherent review for it. But, a series I've read recently is the NEED Series by Carrie Jones, a series about pixies, weres, an unexpected move, and a stalker.

OVERALL SERIES RATING:


NEED RATING:
I know now after reading NEED that I wouldn't want to know Zara in real life; she's just such an awkward spirit. If I had to choose one book thats narration is true first-person and every thought is the narrator's, this would be "the one." Everything Jones writes is in Zara's head, which is really fascinating. She relates every detail to things Zara has experienced. Jones is a master.
That being said, I was only truly "captivate"d (hahahahahaha! Get it?) during the second half of the book. The first half was just Zara's adaptation to Maine and her meeting new people (which really only should've taken 1/4 that long), and it was easily just like adaptations in other books. It wasn't unique. Only when the pixie myths started to interweave themselves into the plot was I truly satisfied, because I haven't really read any faerie/pixie books before, and I was pleasantly surprised.
Nick is perfect for Zara. I already know someone else is going to come into play later, but I'm going to try to keep my pro-Nick mindset, because he's everything she wants and more . . . literally. He's more. But you won't find out until about half way through.
Zara's discoveries about herself are extremely interesting as well. Her revelations had me gasping and getting wide-eyed right next to her, which I like in books because it really sucks me in and makes me feel engrossed in the plot. Jones' writing is a little choppy and unguarded at times, and since it's narrated by such an awkward girl it deserves to be that way, and although it's needed, it is a little unnerving.


CAPTIVATE RATING:
CAPTIVATE was better than NEED for a number of reasons:
1) Astley was introduced, and even though that may seem like a bad thing because it puts Zara into an inevitable love triangle, it's nice to get an insider pixie's perspective on things through Zara's eyes. It's nice to see that Zara puts a lot of trust into him while barely knowing him. It's nice to know she can trust him like that. Besides, Astley is awesome. And, him and Zara together make A and Z. :)

2) Nick started to really annoy me in the beginning of this book. I'm not even sure exactly what it is about him that did that to me, but I started to lose a lot of my preconceived interest in him when Astley was introduced. Zara's caring for Nick, however, made me begin to like him again, because everything Zara experiences, I feel like I experience it right along with her (which is what I was really getting at with this #2).

3) Zara loses a lot of her original awkwardness, which makes me glad, because that was what really turned me off of NEED. I'm glad I stuck with this series, because Zara really comes into her own in CAPTIVATE. Astley may bring some of that out of her, but it's out, nonetheless.

4) The action was a lot more prominent in CAPTIVATE. In NEED, I felt like it was just kind of there because it needed to be, but in CAPTIVATE it was a lot more natural, like it actually should've happened instead of just happening because what-the-heck.


What happened at the end of this book really surprised me. I thought it was going to take longer to happen, like maybe at the end of the third, or at the beginning of the fourth, but it's happened, and I can't change that.

CAPTIVATE was more captivating than NEED, and if I hadn't have had ENTICE right there to read, I would have been extremely angry with that cliffhanger. In fact, I probably would've thrown it out my window.

ENTICE RATING:

In saying that the NEED books get progressively better and that Ms. Carrie Jones has really come in to her own as a writer would be an understatement. Every thought in this book is coherent, and Zara is as interesting as ever. The challenges she face are completely heartbreaking and relatable. Her journeys in this book especially are engrossing, and I can happily say that I devoured this book in an hour.
The wait to the fourth and final book will be insufferably difficult. Everything that happens in this book I love, and I'm completely torn between Nick and Astley, right along with Zara. It almost feels like I have to choose who Zara will choose; that's how close I feel to the characters, how close to their world I feel, how much I'm going to miss them until the next book.
ENTICE starts very shortly after CAPTIVATE ends, and it feels like there's not even a gap (probably because the time lapse is about 6 hours at the most).
ENTICE was definitely my favorite of the NEED series so far, and I greatly await the fourth and currently untitled book.


-Hayden :)



The Next Book I'll Be Reviewing (and I'm Not Lying This Time):


DARKFEVER by Karen Marie Moning!

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