8.28.2011

VAMPIRE ACADEMY: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL Review -- Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy: The Graphic NovelVampire Academy: The Graphic Novel by Richelle Mead

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Wow.
This was my first graphic novel EVER, so I might be a little biased in my review, but that's irrelevant. I really enjoy the whole idea of a graphic novel, and what better book to start with than Vampire Academy? The novel form is the beginning of one of my favorite series around, and the graphic novel form sticks to the book really well -- my only concern is its lack of length. It's only 144 pages, with small little captions on each, so naturally the pace will be quicker. In this case, it's A LOT quicker, but it doesn't matter too much because the plot is great.
I burned through the book. If you total all the time, it was probably a good forty-five minutes or less.
I can't wait what Leigh Dragoon and Emma Vieceli do with Frostbite and the rest of the books in the series!

BLOODLINES Review -- Richelle Mead

Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1)Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is gonna be in third person . . . *forehead slap*

C'mon, Richelle. You're not meant for third person. We found that out in KISSES FROM HELL.

EDIT 5-16-11




YOU NEED TO COME OUT TOMORROW. What if Judgement Day on Sunday strikes me down and I die not knowing what happened to Sydney? (*knock on wood*)

EDIT 8.25.11

It's coming today!, Oh, golly, IT'S COMING TODAY!

IN THREE HOURS!

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Hopefully I don't fall out of love with Mead and become like these:

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EDIT #2: 8.25.11

It just arrived. Just now.

HolyshitI'mgoingtopeemypants.

In related news,

Thank GOD Sydney doesn't look as deathly pale on the REAL cover as she does online. That would be really bad.

Finalized Review (8.26.11)
Bloodlines is nothing short of deserving of a chapter-by-chapter review. This will be super interesting, considering I've never attempted to do one of these before. Mead is just such an interesting author, and I feel a need to do it.

So, without further ado . . .

Chapter One
This eighteen-page chapter is undeserving of the title "Interesting." In fact, I'd think it's more deserving of the title "Boring as Shit." Even that might be an understatement. I'm sure if Mead wasn't looking for unsubstantiated length and was looking for making the beginning interesting in any way, she would've condensed the chapter, maybe made it about 10 pages shorter. A lot of the dialogue was unnecessary, only adding length to make it thicker and make people with the more-is-better aura about them happy.

Chapter Two
Hmm. Whataya know? The scene isn't even over! In fact, you get a total of 34 pages of this Perpetual Scene of Incessant Dialogue. Doesn't that sound fun? The two chapters together could have probably survived having been combined and sliced in half, if not more. Mead elaborates and elaborates and really she could have started the book in the third chapter while revealing small tidbits of information from the first two chapters and adding tension to the story, but you're not looking for tension, are you, Mead? It definitely would have made the story more enrapturing.

Sydney is totally outspoken and seems really lame. She's definitely not the Rose-Georgina-Eugenie-type main characters I've come to expect from Mead.

Chapter Three
Yeah. The story would have been much better had Mead condensed the first two chapters into review spread periodically throughout this chapter. Although she wouldn't have been able to use the oh-so-creative "I couldn't breathe" opening line, it would have made for a better overall product.

The majorly good thing about this chapter is the appearance of Adrian in this chapter, along with the awesome Abe Mazur. Those two characters made the beginning of this book bearable. Sydney left me at a loss for words. I mean, really. You could have at least given your main character a mildly interesting personality. Sydney is not, however, an interesting main character. She is a description.

Chapter Four
Chapter Four is exactly what I feared it would be: more scintillating (yeah, right), vivid and endless discussion. However, following the addition of Adrian and Abs, we now have our fearless ex-narrator stepping into the spotlight. This is disappointingly her only cameo, if I'm recalling this all correctly. Rose is the most badass character to step onto the page in this book, which is sad but good. Mead wants you to continue loving her, and you will as long as she's the baddest one around.

Rose's dialogue seems contrived to me for some reason, like it's not really her. Maybe it's just because I'm not hearing her thoughts and I'm not reading the book from her PoV. I'd much rather have Rose narrating at this point than the cardboard ex-plot-device that Sydney is.

You know what? This doesn't even feel like a new series to me. It just feels like Vampire Academy book seven, but Mead needed a fresh new voice and decided to switch it up.

Chapter Five
I love how it takes 71 pages to do what they need to do to get the book rolling, am by that I mean I love how it takes 71 pages to get to the school.

It would have taken 1 without all the stupid, relentlessly boring dialogue that preceded their arrival, but I feel like Mead needed that little bit for length and self-justification.

Anyway, this chapter is all about their accommodations and adjustments and settling in to the school. Blahblahblah.

Chapter Six
In this glorious chapter, we learn how much of a nerd Sydney truly is on the inside and how unlike Rose she is. In a book about Rose, Mead wouldn't have written entire scenes about her being in class. She'd write entire scenes about her kicking ass (which is her specialty). Can you tell I love and miss Rose's narration?

Chapter Seven
Mead knows how her fans think, and she knows they'll think this book is absolute dog-shit without Adrian's support. Adrian is officially my favorite male character to walk the page of the VA/Bloodlines series. I think Mead really screwed up making Rose stay with Dimitri in VA. He totally doesn't deserve her. And, you know, Rose and Adrian only have a three-year age difference. That's better than seven.

Just sayin'. It wouldn't have been as illegal.

Chapters Eight Through Twenty Seven
These chapters definitely up the ante, something much needed after the shit-fest of the first seven chapters. The foreshadowing in this book is something Mead is very skilled with. She uses it wonderfully.

Overall, as a first book in a series, it's better than Vampire Academy as far as actual plotting and structure go. The main character is obviously better in VA, but that's a given. No one really likes an MC that's outspoken and quiet.

I was really happy upon learning that the series would be written from first person instead of third. Third person and Mead just don't intermingle. Kisses from Hell proved that.

The climax reminded me a lot of Frostbite, and when you read it, you'll understand.


The Moral of the Review: Don't let the sickening first seven chapters annoy you! Keep on reading. I promise it'll be worth it.

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE Review -- Beth Revis

Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)Across the Universe by Beth Revis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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FINALLY got this at Borders. Now, I can play with the reversible jacket ALL I WANT.

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REVIEW TIME!
This time, I'm actually going to write a decent, long review. The past few I've been slacking, and I apologize for that. Without further ado . . .

MY REVIEW!

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 It's . . . explosive. *snickers*

Across the Universe is going to be an extremely difficult book to point out flaws in, because I was enraptured in the wonderful and beautiful story the entire time I was reading it, and I didn't have time to look for flaws (well, there was one typo: "cryo" was changed to "cyro."
As I was saying, the first chapter starts off with a bang, and the intensity doesn't lower at all throughout the almost-400 pages of the book. I don't know about you, but I LURVED all of the characters.

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Especially Amy. She was just this fireball of awesomeness and joy and wonder and PASSION!

Elder was pretty awesome, too. I like how all of the non-corrupt characters really love fighting what they believe in.
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From the very first page, I was completely in love with the story, and if I wouldn't have had to, I wouldn't have put it down. It was THAT good. I really cared about the characters, really developed a sense of respect for them. I love how in this book, the lines between right and wrong, good and bad, blur, and you don't know which is which for a while, because the main characters don't.

The plot, characterization, writing, and organization all earn solid five stars from me, because I thought this book was incredible, and while it did remind me a bit of Glow (they're both different enough in their own ways to where they don't just seem like carbon copies), I really enjoyed both of them and can't wait for each of their respective sequels.

THREE CUPS OF TEA Review -- Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a TimeThree Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


EDIT: Just so you guys all know, the word "Mortenson" is in the text a total of 1,943 times. That's right. 1,943.









"ENGLISH TEACHERS BEWARE!"





What I wish to do so badly to this book.



0.5 of 5 stars



Before I get started, I just want to say that no review I could ever write ever would ever portray how much this book sucked for me. To me, Three Cups of Tea is the perfect embodiment and representation of the most tragically horrible book I've ever read.



In fact, for you today, I'm going to make a list of the 10 most tragic things in Three Cups of Tea.







The 10 Most Tragic Things In Three Cups of Tea (Not in Any Order)



1: The Stilted and Pretentious Writing

Don't even get me started on the atrocious writing. Relin is the worst possible person anyone could've ever chosen to write Mortenson's story. In fact, if someone else would have written the book, I probably would've enjoyed it a lot more. It may even have been a three-star read for me, if it wasn't written in a horrid and stilted manner. Relin describes every single thing down to the last detail. I specifically remember an entire scene dedicated to the entire biography of someone completely irrelevant to the book at all, some climber woman who was really brave and all that crap. Another two chapters were backstory and DIDN'T ADVANCE THE PLOT AT ALL. (No wonder it took me 83 days to read this book!)

The prose of the book is more purple than Barney, and I think that speaks for itself.



2: The Pacing

This book wasn't exciting at all. I felt in no way excited to read more; in fact, I couldn't have cared less. As I mentioned in the first section, Relin writes detail of every single thing (and I'm not kidding), like it really mattered what color hat his guide exiting the mountain, Mouzafer, was wearing and how many scratches it had and how long he had it and how he recalled his experiences of getting it every time he put it on. Okay, that might have been a minor exaggeration.

*snickers* I jumped up, cheered, and giggled maniacally when I was done and realized I didn't have any more hell to go through before the summer was over.



3: The Blatantly Hyperbolized Heroism

And by that, I mean how Relin writes Mortenson to be completely pretentious and how he writes this aura of perfection about him that makes him seem like Jesus descended to Earth and decided to build schools for poor and starving Middle-Eastern children. By the time I got to around page 100, I finally found Relin detailing something Mortenson wasn't good at, and I was relieved that he really wasn't the second coming of Jesus like Relin was brainwashed to believe.

If you're reading this:

Dear David Oliver-Relin,

Mr. Gregory Mortenson HAS FLAWS.

Please get this through your thick skull, since it's obvious Mortenson didn't write a word of this.

Sincerely,

a Frustrated Reader.




4: The Length

Three Cups of Tea is 125,000 words. For those of you who have no idea how long that really is, it's longer than Twilight. Yes, it is FREAKING LONGER THAN TWILIGHT. I'm sure if the editor of this book had any common sense, it would've been condensed to AT LEAST a maximum of 85,000. So much of this book was just extended detailing and backstories that really had no relevance to what was currently going on. I really didn't care about Marina at all; I didn't care that his throat clogged up and his sexual organ swelled every time he saw her, and that he was talking to his Balti friends about her and about how beautiful she was. Did it have anything to do with the schools being built? I'll give you a hint: the answer rhymes with the word "HO" (which happens to bring Marina to mind), and it starts with an N.



5: The Lack of Reference to Balti Language

In the entirety of the book, there is a lot of Balti language used, especially in the beginning when he's adjusting to life there. The Balti words are nearly always italicized (i.e.: Inshallah), but I'd say only 1/4 of all the Balti words are defined in the text, either right next to the word or in the sentences/paragraphs that follow. Google helped me a lot over the course of the book when I actually cared about what they meant because I thought they'd help me later on. I don't even remember what my example word above means. That's how scarce definitions of the Balti language was.



6: The Sentence Length

I'm gonna get this out of the way: most of the sentences in this book wouldn't even fit in Goodreads status updates, I shit you not. Goodreads status updates can be up to 420 characters. Whole sentences are commonly over that length in this book. It'd be a HUGE pain in the butt to read aloud. I don't think I've ever read a book in the history of my life that's this stretched out.

I mean, seriously. Even the very last paragraph of the book (which is one sentence, people, and it's in #10) is completely stretched out and seems strangely perpetual and confusing and dramatic when it's not. It seems like Relin tried to create a cute ending and failed miserably (look at all those freaking commas!)



7: The Fabrications

Three Cups of Deceit  How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way

Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way

These should be self-explanatory.

In fact, I'm pretty sure I would've enjoyed this book more (maybe a lot more) if I didn't know most of it was false. Knowing this makes reading it seem pointless. Why would my English teacher assign something completely fabricated and horribly written for me to read over the summer when she could've chosen much better alternatives that actually have character and aren't filled with cheesy metaphors?

I've heard the previous years' choice was Lord of the Flies, and at this point, I welcome that book in with open arms.



8: The Word "Mortenson"

The main flaw that arises in writing this book in third-person is how many times the main character's name is referenced. I mean, seriously, you couldn't have called him Greg? Just reading the name "Mortenson" after reading this book makes me shudder and feel sick to my stomach.

I actually think this book would've been better had it been written by Mortenson; the prose would've been much less purple (maybe a nice, subtle shade of periwinkle) and I'd have been able to escape the dreadful "Mortenson" that appeared at the beginning of each paragraph. I put this book on the shelf "prose-is-purple-as-barney" for a reason.

This just in: the word "Mortenson" appears 1,943 times in the text of the novel. That's right. Be warned.



9: The Painful Metaphors

Relin needs to obliviate the word "metaphor" from his vocabulary, because it doesn't truly enhance his writing, but instead makes it laugh-worthy. I write better metaphorically than him, and I'm 14 years old. Metaphors like a storage space "smelling like Africa" and the night being "bitterly crystalline" (things which still don't make sense to me) can be eliminated. Being as I, along with many others, have never been to Africa, I don't think that first metaphor should even be usable. Maybe the editor just gave up and decided he/she was done with this atrocity. (I honestly wish I had that option somewhere along the line of reading this.)



10: The Last Paragraph

Tell me, have you ever read anything more screwed up grammatically than this?

"Mortenson put his hands on the shoulders of Sadhar Khan's brown robe, as he'd done a decade earlier, among other mountains, with another leader, named Haji Ali, conscious, not of the gunmen still observing him through their sniperscopes, nor of the shahid (a word not defined) stones, warmed to amber by the sun's late rays, but of the inner mountain he'd committed, in that instant, to climb."

Can someone just shoot me now?



THE ONLY POSITIVE ASPECT OF ANYTHING RELATED TO THE STORY:

-The end, because I knew it was over and I wouldn't have to turn another page in it again.

-Haji Ali. Anyone who says "Sit down and shut your mouth. You're making everyone crazy" to Greg Mortenson deserves my utmost respect.

-The line "Sheeyit! Bitch ain't got but two dollars."

The story, in certain parts (a.k.a. Tara's childbirth, things that take place in America, things I can understand, things that don't have italicized words taking over the pages), was cute enough to make me give this book 1/2 a star out of sympathy.



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Below, I'm going to include some memorable status updates of mine and some snapshots of margin notes:



Status Update 1: ""With his ear for languages, Mortenson soon had a basic Balti vocabulary." This is what I'm sure Relin meant by this sentence: "With his astounding ability to do everything he desired, including his outstanding ear for languages, within days, Mortenson was magnificently able to develop a large and complex vocabulary of the Balti people, which he was able to speak flawlessly." That's what the rest of it is like..."



Status Update 2: "'The snout of the Baltoro Glacier lay at the bottom of a canyon, black with debris and sculpted to a point like the nose of a 747.' Really? 'Like the nose of a 747?' I don't think anyone knows what that is. I think 'like a G6' would be more relatable to modern society."



Status Update 3: "Wow. If I look past the glaring errors and factual mishaps and exaggerations and over-detailing and overused words and complete and utter bias and misused adjectives and inexplicably long sentences and blatantly hyperbolized heroism and tragic characterization, this isn't bad!"



Status Update 4: "This book has Irrefutably Biased Syndrome: "If Mortenson had known how scarce and precious sugar was to the Balti, how rarely they used it themselves, he would have refused the second cup of tea." Which, of course, is blatantly insinuating that Mortenson had the manners of a saint and was completely acceptable with leaving the sugar to the Balti. Relin is inferior."



Status Update 5: "Okay. In nonfiction, don't quotes have to be exact? There's no freakin' way Mortenson remembers everything everyone said as if it were five minutes ago."



Status Update 6: "Finally! Something Mortenson's NOT good at! *forehead wipe*"



Status Update 7: "Why does he keep going back and forth between America and Pakistan? You'd think the airfare expenses are dwindling away what little he has left of his savings. Not a very smart investment, if you ask me."



Status Update 8: "I'm going to start calling you Morty. "Dear Morty, I didn't pick this book up by choice, but if I did, I wouldn't have picked it up to hear about the prosperity of your love life. But thanks for sharing (NOT). Sincerely, A Disturbed Reader."



Status Update 9: "'Mortenson arranged to go back home and see his wife, Tara, whom was expected to deliver their first child within a month. He gets kidnapped by misunderstanding people. Mortenson is rescued by kind men who arrange a party thrown in his occasion and who give him money for his schools to be built.' That was the value of the entire twenty-page chapter. Literally. And you wonder why I hate this book?"



Status Update 10: "Aw! That was a cute scene. (That's probably all the positive you'll get about this book.)"



Status Update 11: ""'I promise,' Mortenson said, adding the burden of another vow to the weighty collection of oaths old men kept making him take." That might just be the most clever line I've read thus far."



Status Update 12: "Dang! Morty just reached into some chick's uterus."



Status Update 13: "Chocolate would help right now. Chocolate always helps."







MARGIN SNAPSHOTS: Photos Taken of Memorably Cruel Comments

















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SIRENSONG Review -- Jenna Black

Sirensong (Faeriewalker #3)Sirensong by Jenna Black

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Pre-Read
May I ask what happened to the dark, smokey cover theme?

Post-Read
It's too bad these books are over and done with, because I really would've looked forward to the next one if there was one. They just keep getting better, and I know Black wouldn't disappoint.
In Sirensong, Dana and the group take a trip to Faerie to meet the Seelie Queen, Titania. They are soon sidetracked as something happens (I'm not going to spoil it for you!) I think this book is the best of the three (it definitely has better prose), and I can't wait to read more of Jenna Black.



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8.18.2011

VANISH Review -- Sophie Jordan

Vanish: A Firelight NovelVanish: A Firelight Novel by Sophie Jordan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Plot: 3 stars
Vanish had a very unorganized and at first uneventful plot. After it got rolling, though, there was no stopping until the finish line. There was little to no tension in the story, which made for a much less hypnotizing read than Firelight.
Characters: 4 stars
The characters are like their usual selves in Vanish, and the few new characters introduced are fleshed out to the point of where you understand them. Jacinda is a little stronger in Vanish, but not worth the extra star.
Writing: 5 stars
The writing in Vanish is as fluid and languid as in Firelight. The prose is magnificent and beautiful.
Organization: 3 stars
The plot of Vanish seemed to be a lot less organized. It reminded me of Spirit Bound in the Vampire Academy series, because its structure wasn't too coherent.

TOTAL: 3.75 stars


Vanish seemed to be on a completely different wavelength than Firelight. The setting abruptly changed, and with it, other things changed as well, for the worse.
I'd say Vanish is a good example of a case of Second Book Slump. It seemed to digress in quality from Firelight, which I thought was a fantastic series starter.
I'm looking forward to book three, but not as much as I did before Vanish.



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8.17.2011

SHADOWSPELL Review -- Jenna Black

Shadowspell (Faeriewalker, #2)Shadowspell by Jenna Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

When I read GLIMMERGLASS, I was hesitant. I was unable and tentative to put my trust into Jenna Black's hands. Would I like her writing? Would I like the worlds she created, the characters she created, the storylines she'd woven?
After finishing SHADOWSPELL, I can answer that with a big fat YES. And, no, the YES canNOT be lowercase. Not even the "E" and the "S." No. Not happenin'.
Well, I can answer that as a YES to every question but the writing one.
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Ah, HELL nah!
See, even Selena Gomez agrees with me.
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Shadowspell brought a new character into the game, the Erlking, and when he was first introduced, I had my doubts. He was the typical macho-guy you see everywhere. As the story went on, hidden depths of him were introduced, and at the very end, I had my doubts again. Just as a warning for those who haven't read it.
Aunt Grace goes from the loving, protective auntie figure you aunties all aspire to be to this:
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Overall, I think SHADOWSPELL definitely takes a step up from GLIMMERGLASS. Even though the title didn't relate to the book like the first one did. Which upsets me. (Yes, these fragments are there for a purpose. Even though they really annoy me. Especially when authors use them nonstop because they're trying to imitate the way Americans speak. Even though I do that sometimes. Which I shouldn't be shaming. Because that would make me a hypocrite. Which I'm not. I promise [Look! A non-fragment!{Oh, wait. There's another one.}])
Shadowspell starts where Glimmerglass ended, and Ethan is at the movies with Dana (which really seems like an old-lady name to me [no offense, people named Dana]). Chaos suddenly ensues, and Dana is left trying to figure out how to reclaim her beloved. Shadowspell definitely has an enhanced coherence to its structure, unlike Glimmerglass in which events just unfolded without reason, and tension builds until it all comes falling down in the earth-shattering climax!
It definitely earns the increase in stars Glimmerglass failed to earn (the 4.5 as opposed to 3.5). I hope you agree! *pasted-on smile*
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FIRELIGHT Review -- Sophie Jordan

Firelight (Firelight, #1)Firelight by Sophie Jordan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Firelight is a solid four-point-five stars.

From this point on in reviewing, I'm going to start a rating system. It will contain the following:

Plot: This section will summarize how I felt about the story, what I liked and about it, including a rating.
Characters: This section will detail how interesting and original the characters are and what I think of them, including a rating.
Writing: This section will explain what I thought about the author's writing style and detail, including stressed infodump warnings, including a rating.
Organization: This section will explain how cohesive and organized I thought the plot was, including a rating.

PLOT: 5 stars
The plot of Firelight, in one word, was intense. Sophie Jordan is a very talented writer, and her style reminds me of Lili St. Crow but with shorter sentences. She uses the most languid phrases to describe the simplest things, and it's very refreshing to see that in the YA genre, as opposed to the standardized simplistic writing.
Jordan is also a master at adding tension to her stories. I found I couldn't stop reading, and when I had to, I really didn't want to. Firelight is one of those books that makes you surprised you've been reading for two hours when it doesn't feel like it at all.

CHARACTERS: 4 stars
Jacinda was supported by a wonderful cast of unique, differentiated characters, but I felt Jacinda herself was a little bland, a little "cardboard," if you will. While she did have her moments of undiluted passion, most of the time she was resenting her sudden move away from her beloved area where she'd spent the rest of her life until her dad died and she was almost caught by the Hunters, a league of people whose sole purposes are to hunt the Draki and sell their valuable skin and scales. I wasn't too impressed with her throughout the novel.

WRITING: 5 stars
Jordan's writing is gorgeous. See the PLOT section for more explanation (they were kind of interwoven).

ORGANIZATION: 4 stars
Firelight was well organized. All of Jacinda's moves made sense, and they weren't just there for advancing of the plot. They were what teenagers would do. If I wasn't such a fast reader, I'd probably have thought the plot was running a little slow in the first half, but it didn't bother me.
The arrival at the ending of the book brought on a major cliffhanger, one that was expected and in no way satisfying. This book would've been an amazing stand-alone, and the addition of the cliffhanger has me concerned about what's going to happen in the second book, other than the inevitable resolution.



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8.14.2011

GLIMMERGLASS Review -- Jenna Black

Glimmerglass (Faeriewalker, #1)Glimmerglass by Jenna Black

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars



I had no reason to like this book. The writing is mediocre at best and the characters lack originality. I liked it a lot more than I thought, though. For one, the plot was a little more complex than I expected, twists throwing me off every few chapters or so, and a few of the characters were not sickening stereotypes that you see so much in YA fiction.



Shadowspell is sitting on my shelf right next to Glimmerglass, and my only question about the next two installments is:



Are the next two titles related to the story like Glimmerglass was?



Now, onto Shadowspell!



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8.13.2011

A STOLEN LIFE Review -- Jaycee Dugard

A Stolen Life: A MemoirA Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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Anyone else getting "If I Die Young" vibes here?



Now, on a more serious note, the subject of kidnappings has driven me wild all my life. When I was a youngster (and I still am, but I mean when I was a young youngster), kidnappings were the stuff of nightmares for me. In kindergarten, I had a dream I was in class at a party at night, and when I went out into the hallway alone, this guy

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put me in a big black bag and carried me away into the night. I peed the bed that night and went into my dad's bed crying.



Yeah. Kidnappings and I have a long (and indirect) history with each other. So, imagine my inevitable surprise when I'm surfing Goodreads one day and I find out that the eighteen-year-span kidnapping survivor had written a book. I knew nothing else of the world but the fact that I needed to read this book at some point in my life. This book would benefit me more than food after a three-day fast (which I've never participated in, by the way), not just to inform me more about what Jaycee went through but about how I need to get over my fears and come to terms with them.



This book did just that, and while it may not have the best writing I've ever read (actually, far from it) or the best structure (again, far from it), this book helped me to overcome something that kept me up at night. It helped me realize that stranger kidnappings are really rare, and if I were the target of one, I could escape. It's helped me become more secure in myself as a person and overcome my fears.



Hearing little tapping noises in the middle of the night would set my heart on full-panic mode, and I'd lie awake for hours thinking it was someone tapping a creepy, grimy fingernail on my window, peering in, waiting for me to come to them and let them take me away. In all reality, it might've been a mouse running through the walls, but I'd instantly set my mind on the worst and believe it to be true.



A STOLEN LIFE may not be the best book out there quality-wise, but if you're like me, it may help you overcome a challenge in life.



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8.12.2011

SUPERNATURALLY Review -- Kiersten White

Supernaturally (Paranormalcy, #2)Supernaturally by Kiersten White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Actual Rating: 3.5 stars)

Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be . . . kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.
But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.
So much for normal.

Wow. I really should've reread Paranormalcy before I started this.
Kiersten White did very little review at the beginning of SUPERNATURALLY, which lead to a very confused Hayden.

This was me:
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I was trepid going into this book. Previous Goodreads reviews shattered all sense of hope I had of this being a good sequel. They said the characters fell flat (specifically Lend) and it suffered from being the middle book in a trilogy. I think those reviewers were wrong, at least in my sense of the experience of reading it. The beginning of the book may have been pretty slow, but once you got going you didn't want to stop. The only thing that stopped me from continuing and finishing this book last night was my need of sleep. I woke up this morning with the book overturned and my bookmark right underneath my hand.

SUPERNATURALLY did have its fair share of differences from PARANORMALCY, a big one being Evie isn't cooped up in the IPCA every minute of every day like she was for the majority of the first book (or at least what I can remember of it). Lend spends most of the time in SUPERNATURALLY away at school, and he seems to take the backburner in this installment, which I don't really mind. A new character is introduced in the book, as well; his name is Jack, and he's a kinda-human that has access to the Faerie Realms. He's really obnoxious, loud and blond, which makes for great fun in Evie's world. At a certain part in SUPERNATURALLY, I was thinking Lend was out of Evie's love triangle and Jack had filled his part, or maybe she'd made it a love rhombus.

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For those who have read the book (or those who haven't, but don't mind a minor thing being spoiled), my favorite part of SUPERNATURALLY is *spoilers* when Evie finds out what she is *spoilers*. I think that scene is very intense and dark, and it brings a whole new wavelength to the Paranormalcy Trilogy. I'm really liking the direction the plot is going.

The reason I said I should've reread PARANORMALCY before reading this is because I forgot who some characters were (Vivian, especially), and I forgot what happened in the climax. Gradually, I began to understand more and more as it went on and the characters reviewed it for themselves, but I would've liked to know it beforehand. I have a feeling I would've had a better experience with SUPERNATURALLY had I reread its predecessor.

Overall, SUPERNATURALLY earns a solid 3.5 stars, because I felt the beginning was slow and the ending was rushed (you can just tell when the author can't wait to finish). The storyline is complex, and like Kiersten said, it's very character-driven. In my opinion, Lend doesn't fall flat, but he's as strong and supportive as ever, Reth seems to toughen up as well and become even more intimidating, and Evie is just as spunky as she was in the introduction to PARANORMALCY (entitled OH, BITE ME).

(The Acknowledgments section of SUPERNATURALLY is a riot!)

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8.10.2011

THE PLEDGE Review -- Kimberly Derting

The PledgeThe Pledge by Kimberly Derting

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Words are the most dangerous weapon of all.
In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.


I wasn't all that impressed with THE BODY FINDER, and I was pretty hesitant when THE PLEDGE showed up on my doorstep. I wasn't sure Kimberly Derting deserved another chance. If I didn't like her first novel, what were the odds I'd like the first book in a totally different genre? How big were the chances I'd find the experience of reading her third novel like I did her first and give up on her in general? Thankfully, that wasn't the case. I'm glad I did end up giving it a chance, because it wasn't anything like THE BODY FINDER -- frankly, it was better, more creative, and more engrossing.

In the beginning of the book, I wasn't too sure I was going to like it. The pacing was like the love child of a turtle and a snail, and I wasn't really "feeling" any of the characters-- I didn't get a good grip on them, didn't feel sympathy for them during crises, and didn't care if they got hurt. As the novel progressed, however, they were displayed a little more in-depth, and I grew to love a few of them (especially Angelina).

The pacing at the end is breakneck. I found myself really engrossed in the story, and I was sad when it ends. I'm really glad Derting didn't stretch the story out and make it a series, because it ended perfectly and frankly it wouldn't have worked as a series. Everything is resolved, wrapped up in a nice little package with a pretty little bow.

If you didn't like THE BODY FINDER, fear not, because THE PLEDGE definitely steps it up a level. You won't be disappointed!

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Waiting on Wednesday (1)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



DESTINED by PC and Kristin Cast
Release Date: Oct. 25 2011
Number of Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

In Destined, the forces of Light and Dark collide as their epic struggle focuses on Tulsa's House of Night. Zoey is home where she belongs, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark, by her side and preparing to face off against Neferet. Kalona has released his hold on Rephaim, and, through Nyx's gift of a human form, he and Stevie Rae are finally able to be together if Rephaim can truly walk the path of the Goddess and stay free of his father's shadow.
But is Zoey really safe? Does she truly know those who are closest to her? And will love win when it is tested by the very soul of Darkness? Find out what's destined in the next thrilling chapter of the House of Night series.

Why "Destined:" I've been a long-time fan of the House of Night series, and I can't wait for this next one! The cover is one of the best in the series as well.

8.04.2011

THE HIDDEN Review -- Jessica Verday

The Hidden (The Hollow, #3)The Hidden by Jessica Verday

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


OhmaGAWWWWWD, make sure the Kleenex is handy before you read the epilogue.

The PERFECT (and I mean perfect in every single way possible) ending, the most perfect ending ever.

I regret to inform you that sadly, I won't be able to write a review for this impeccable masterpiece, because this series as a whole has delivered so much emotion to me over the past few weeks that I think a review would be superfluous, not just to me but to you. Verday is now one of my favorite authors. Know before you go into this series that you have no reason to be tentative or hesitant, because every single loose thread of the plot is resolved, and when you're finished with the whole series, you'll have a nice little quilt hanging on your wall with no unfinished threads.

Six stars? Seven stars? Eight stars? Ten? Twenty? Infinite?
No. I can't pick a good number to fit, so I'll just have to stick with five.



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