Sunday, March 31, 2013

Everbound (Everneath #2) by Brodi Ashton

Review by Tempest.

Blurb:

Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should’ve been hers. She’s living a borrowed life, and she doesn’t know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.

Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about Nikki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.

Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they’d anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.

In this enthralling sequel to Everneath, Brodi Ashton tests the bonds of destiny and explores the lengths we’ll go to for the ones we love.


* * *

HAPPY EASTER, EVERYONE!

I'm gonna be perfectly honest, I did not really like the first book, Everneath. Really, the only reason I even bothered with this one was because the premise of the story is so interesting I had hopes that it would improve. Through the first 150 pages, I kept thinking to myself, "Ugh, why am I doing this again?" and completely planned on giving it two stars at most. But then something strange happened, something that that far into a book doesn't usually. It got...good. No, better then good. It actually got kind of great. I was completely drawn in all of a sudden and the next thing I know I've read another hundred pages without coming up for air. I was so close to giving up on Brodi Ashton, but the last 2/3 of this book changed my mind. Finally, the story actually begins to take off and we're actually shown something other then a bunch of old stuff that's already happened. That's the other thing, unlike with the first book where the flashbacks were more tedious then anything else, they actually worked in this one. I didn't feel bombarded by them and each memory was carefully selected so that it really fit in with what was going on in the now, without getting in the way of the flow of the story. And that ending. Wow. I love that ending. If for no other reason that ending really did it for me. In the beginning I was a little turned off because of how easy it seemed to be for her, but it all makes sense the further in it goes. After the first 150 pages I would give this book FIVE stars! Many of the pieces from the beginning really came together in this book, so not only are we given answers that we needed but we're also allowed to explore more of this world that she's created. Seeing where the Everlivings come from was fantastic, and that's really where Ashton has her strong suit. She can spin the inner and outer parts of a world unknown to us, and make me believe that it actually exists. If there was more of this type stuff in the first book, I have no doubt more people would have liked it and given this one a chance. I'm certainly glad that I didn't throw in the towel, that's for sure. That last part, the last thing Becks says, however, I'm not really on board with. I sort of hope she isn't successful there simply because it would mean the end of a lot of lives. Sure, they take lives to survive, but at the same token it was mentioned in the first book that a lot of those people are planning on committing suicide anyway so...That's probably horrible of me to say. I think I've just turned dark side and gone Everliving because of Cole. Who I might just be in love with, despite the fact he's total wicked incarnate. Basically, there's adventure, romance, twists, and ALL of the characters in this book are fleshed out, making it WAY WAY WAY better then the first book. I'm actually excited for the third one to come out so I can see what's going to happen. All you have to do is get past the first 150 pages of blah, yes, it sounds like a lot, but TRUST ME, in the end you'll be so glad you did. Think of it as...one of the three ring's you have to surpass in order to make it to the tunnels. That might help. :) Jack's at the center, after all.



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Lost Prince (THe Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1) by Julie Kagawa

Review by Tempest.

Blurb:

Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

* * *

I was a huge fan of the first three Iron fey books, and then again when Ash's story came out. I'm so happy to find that this book did not disappoint! I loved being able to see Ethan all grown up (and wow...did he grown up). He's such a greatly portrayed character, and throughout the book I love how I was able to pick out characteristics or choices that Meghan would have made. I also loved seeing all the differences between them. Because of his situation, he's grown up much differently than she did, and it shows. The scenes and descriptions of Kali were amazing, and it's great that Kagawa gave Ethan a passion and interest like that. It makes perfect sense and also helps him a great deal along the way. These fighting skills are ones that Meghan didn't initially have and it's very interesting to see how Ethan handles things with them. Kenzie was great as well, with a personality almost the exact opposite of his. The contrast between them was believable and kept me interested throughout. For me, writing a review on a book I loved is a lot harder than writing one on a book I hated, so this is pretty short and I apologize. Really, though, all I can say is this story was just as amazing as the ones that came before it, with a detailed world filled with faeries and fight scenes, and of course, romance. Seeing old characters that I loved was the icing on top of the cake. Ash, Meghan, Puck, and Grim are all here and they remain the same characters. It's great that Kagawa didn't change any of them or their personalities to fit the story; she kept them as they always have been and used that to drive it forward, which in my mind is a testament to being a fantastic author. If you loved the first series about her Iron Fey, I definitely suggest reading this, and if you didn't there's enough of a different feeling and edge to Ethan's story that you might just find you like this one anyway.




Enshadowed (Nevermore #2) by Kelly Creagh

Review by Tempest.

Blurb:

Varen Nethers is trapped in a perilous dream world -- a treacherous and desolate realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life. Isobel Lanley, plagued by strange visions and haunted by the nightmares of Varen's creation, is the only one who can save him.
Isobel knows that her only hope lies within a Baltimore cemetery. There, in the early morning hours of Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, a mysterious stranger known as the "Poe Toaster" will make his annual homage at the legendary poet's grave.
Only the Poe Toaster holds the key to the way between worlds. But even greater dangers lie ahead for Isobel. An ancient evil, draped in veils of white, is watching, challenging her for Varen's affections. When Isobel finally finds Varen, he is no longer the quiet and brooding boy who once captivated her, but a dark force, powerful and malevolent.


* * *

Kelly Creagh has officially been added to my favorite author's list. After the first book, Nevermore, I feel in love with these characters and was glad to find that their portrayal in Enshadowed didn't disappoint. Sadly, frequently an author will come out with an amazing start to a series, but the second book will be a huge let down. This was no where near the case. I loved every word. Isobel remains the same strong willed character she was in the first book, still searching for answers as well as a way to get Varen back. We get to see both sides of her, the one who will do anything for him and the one who feels guilty over those things. She's such a well rounded character, and it's easy to fall into her head and buy into all of the crazy that goes on around her. The only issue I had was how little she spoke with her parents. After something like that, sure, I wouldn't risk telling them about Nocs and the dreamland either, but by the way she constantly mentions she and her dad used to be really close, you'd think she'd attempt to talk to him about why she likes Varen so much. She doesn't do a lot of convincing, or attempting at it. For Gwen either. This is more of a personal annoyance than anything that actually ruins the story, however, so don't let it affect your decision to read. For the most part, I hate books where the two main characters are torn apart and we don't see them together almost the entire story, and yet Creagh managed to pull it off with flying colors, making sure to add Varen in places where he was most needed. I didn't find myself frustrated with the book, rolling my eyes and groaning until they got back together, which is what usually would happen in a situation like that. Usually it's because authors can't manage to make the rest of the story interesting enough, or they make the reasons behind their separation seem petty and unimportant. Easily fixable relationship issues aren't all that interesting. What's keeping Isobel and Varen apart however...I don't know how they're going to settle all of this, which is the best part. I've never been so thrown before with any series, usually able to at least guess one step ahead, but not here. It isn't just Varen and Isobel who are amazing in this book; all of Creagh's characters are vivid and enthralling. I fell in love with Pinfeathers in the first book for some strange reason, and in this one more so. She did a great job describing both the world they all live in as well as how it changed and shaped their personalities. I would without a doubt recommend this series to anyone who's interested in mystery, suspense, romance, and a good dose of the paranormal. Not only that, but anyone who's a fan of Poe will appreciate the subtle and not so subtle hints of his work throughout. Also, just as a side note, anyone who likes to draw can actually email their drawings of the characters to the author. She puts them in "Varen's Sketchbook" on her website. Something I thought was pretty cool. :)  



Saturday, March 23, 2013

Flight (The Crescent Chronicles, #1) by Alysa Rosy Ivy

Review by Tempest.

Blurb:

Sometimes you just have to take flight.

A summer in New Orleans is exactly what Allie needs before starting college. Accepting her dad’s invitation to work at his hotel offers an escape from her ex-boyfriend and the chance to spend the summer with her best friend. Meeting a guy is the last thing on her mind—until she sees Levi.

Unable to resist the infuriating yet alluring Levi, Allie finds herself at the center of a supernatural society and forced to decide between following the path she has always trusted or saving a city that might just save her.

* * *

I was immediately drawn into this book. In the first few chapters the characters were extremely interesting and the setting was vivid. I could picture everything in my mind, and I wanted to know more of where the story was going. Allie brings along her best friend, Jess, and in the first two chapters the differences in their personalities help to give each of them more individuality. However, by the third chapter things kept happening that made the book less enjoyable for me. For one, at the beginning of this chapter it's mentioned that they're out drinking. They're only eighteen, and legally the drinking age for New Orleans was changed to twenty-one in the early 90s so...Not likely. At least if it was brought up that they'd found a bar that was still serving them anyway, or that they some how snuck in, it would have been fine, but because it wasn't I felt instantly jarred from the story. As the reader, I don't want there to be any moments where I'm questioning whether or not the events in the book could really happen, whether it's about people with wings or just getting served alcohol. Later on, the author passes up the perfect opportunity to describe Levi to us after he apparently takes her in. The line there is, from Allie's point of view is, "Normally I would call a guy on mentally undressing me, but I was too busy taking my own inventory." Except we never get what that inventory is. It would have been much better if she'd taken the time to show us what he looks like, especially because he was just introduced. There are a bunch of instances where this is the case, an opportune moment to draw the reader in through detail is passed up. The few things I mentioned above I could get over, but the scene where Levi finally tells her what he is....Not so much. It was much too brief, and not at all believable. Firstly, it was sort of impersonal for him to do it in front of his entire crew, and secondly, the whole ordeal was described in only a couple of pages. Right after she just asks to go home. Up until this point she's been fighting her attraction to Levi, but after she finds out he has wings she's completely done a one-eighty. It's like now that she knows he's supernatural she wants to be with him. That comes off as pretty shallow. Speaking of, the situation with Jess and Levi's friend was loads of shallow. It was a convenient way of getting rid of Jess though, but sadly it was obvious that's all it was. By then I didn't even like her friend anyway, and honestly I'm not too impressed with Levi either. He and his friends just seem like alpha-jerks in the first half and that gets old really fast. Last issue I had, he explains that at one point in their past, their people could turn fully into birds, but they've since evolved and now only have wings. How is that evolving? I think that a bird would be harder to spot than a man with wings attached to his back. I feel instead that if they'd developed the ability to do both, either transform completely or just have wings that would be an evolution.The reason I gave this book three stars is because the beginning really did make a lasting impression on me. I won't say much about the ending because I don't want to give it away, especially because this is part of a longer series. I'm not positive I'll take the time to read the next book, but I'm not writing it off as an impossibility either. My suggestion would be to check it out, but don't pay too much attention to the details otherwise it'll drive you crazy.  



Thursday, March 21, 2013

Crescendo (Hush, Hush #2) by Becca Fitzpatrick

Review by Jacey

Blurb:

Crescendo (Hush, Hush, #2)Nora Grey's life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn't pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it. A mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angel. He's more elusive than ever (if that's possible) and what's worse, he seems to be spending time with Nora's archenemy, Marcie Millar.

Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Patch hadn't been acting so distant. Even with Scott's infuriating attitude, Nora finds herself drawn to him--despite her lingering feelings that he is hiding something.

If that weren't enough, Nora is haunted by images of her murdered father, and comes to question whether her Nephilim bloodlines has anything to do with his death. Desperate to figure out what happened, she puts herself in increasingly dangerous situations to get the answer. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything--and everyone--she trusts.


***
Most of my friends have heard me tell the tragic tale of the horrible sequel to Faerie Wars. That was a long time ago, back in 9th grade, but it's stuck with me to this day. Probably because horrible sequels are just epic pits of disappoint for readers. After reading something so amazing, the reader immediately scrambles for the sequel, just to feel that rush again. When they find out that the sequel was a bad trip, the author's first work now just seems like tease, and one is hardly motivated to follow through on the third installment. These emotions were highly involved when I read the sequel to Faeries Wars: The Purple Emperor. Never did I think I would pick up another sequel that would grant me such disappointment. Becca Fitzpatrick, tragically, proved me wrong.

I picked this up having already heard terrible things about it (refer back to my colleague's review from a few weeks ago). Still, I wanted to go into it with an optimistic view, so I did, I gave the benefit of the doubt, and as usual Fitzpatrick wowed me with her first person persepctive in it's first two chapters...then...suddenly, it's as if someone else decided to pick up the pen and just go off on a wild goose chase for the rest of the book. 

In fact, I became seriously convinced that rather than fallen angels possessing people in this book, I thought that the Plastics from Mean Girls decided to possess Nora. One minute, she's Karen Smith, just stumbling through the dialogue and falling for psychological tactics that Nora from book one would NEVER have fallen for. Case and point: when Scott uses reverse psychology on her so she'll go to the insane Battle of the Bands. I mean, she even talks about how she took a psych course...you'd think that would have helped. But no. Additionally there are just so many times that you watch her stumble into these situations that put her and her friends at risk. Then, suddenly she'd turn into the nosy Gretchen Wieners, who finds it necessary to snoop on EVERYONE, and in being so, also finds it ok to break into every character's  household, though of course Patch visiting her dreams is just SO not fetch. Then, my favorite, Nora morphs into the Regina George; in this form, she's being a conniving witch, seen at dinner when the Parnells come over and her overbearing mother tries pimping her out to Scott. Nora from the last book would NEVER been so mean putting him on the spot about his past. Even though I didn't know much about Scott at this point, I wanted to seriously reach through the pages and smack her for being so mean to him. With the rest of her time, Nora deems it necessary to scream at Patch whenever he shows up, crying when he's not there, but then shrieking that she doesn't want him to be her guardian angel five seconds later. The amazing heroine that I had such a girl crush on in the first book is pretty much gone for the majority of the novel. Vee, her obnoxious bestie from the last novel, was actually the good friend in this, and on top of that you get to see Nora criticizing her for her eating habits, and just comes off as arrogant when she talks about food. I mean, come on, adding strawberries to your cereal isn't being "conscientious about" what you eat? (p. 128) In the last book, all I wanted to do was get more into Nora's head. In this book, I would have wanted anyone but her.

In addition to the main character being more than sub par, I thought most of the people on the character roster were just poorly done. If anyone remembers Polonious from Hamlet then you could compare his presence to that of Scott Parnell's mother: absolutely infuriating. And not in the good way at all. Her obnoxious personality could have been pulled off in the way that I would have loved to hate, but like many of the characters in this book, Fitzpatrick lacked grace when drawing out the characters' personalities. They were all just blunt, basic personalities that just grated me for the majority of the book. At the beginning of chapter thirteen, Fitzpatrick surprised me even further; I could not believe that she has Nora consider suicide. Moreover, she didn't want to do it to make things right; only to make the archangels feel bad. It further showed that this was not Nora Grey from Hush, Hush, and was just appalling to read that someone who was such a strong character even consider that an option.  

Additionally, I just could not follow what was going on in this book. Not that it was even that complex, it's just that it either involved Nora needing to break into someone's house, or that she was yelling at Patch again. It all became monotonous. When actual key details did pop up, I didn't realize I missed them because I had become so accustomed to just jumping from place to place. It didn't help that the Nora that I adored in the last book finally decided to pop back into existence the last thirty or so pages, because by that point I just wanted to finish the book and though I was told that everything got wrapped up by that point, I really had a hard time sitting back and appreciating the final pages, as I was so intent on putting this book down. .I apologize for being a little heated in this review, but seeing that many of reviews from the first book compared to the second go from 5 to 1 is a good indication that the author just needed Patch and Nora to be apart for a good portion of the book, with little thought into how she was going to pull it all off. I've heard from some people that the third book is better, but I think I'm going to need a break for a while before continuing on.

Review Rubric:
 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Nevermore (Nevermore #1) by Kelly Creagh

Review by Tempest.

Blurb:

Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

* * *


Wow. I'm stunned by how much I loved this book! Seriously, couldn't get enough of it. The characters are so vivid, and the world that Kelly Creagh's created...simply wow. This book has been sitting on my TBR goodreads shelf for a while now, and I only purchased it after a fellow goodreads friend recommended it. If this happens to be the case with any of you--that you've been planning to maybe get to it and just haven't yet--STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING/READING RIGHT NOW! I mean it. I don't think I've ever meant anything more in fact. The concept of a goth kid and a preppy cheerleader girl isn't exactly unknown to the world, however, the way this is pulled of works brilliantly, and even manages to make it unique. I love Varen's character, yet at the same time I also love Isobel, which is awesome. Lot's of the time only one of the main characters ends up being amazing, but in this book both of them are. They each have great personalities (not to mention chemistry with each other) and neither is too ashamed to stand for what they believe in. I think what I love most about this book is that it didn't take sides, it wasn't that all of the preps were mean and the goths were just misunderstood. They all had their moments, just as they all weren't bad or good in the broader sense of the word. It's the same with both Isobel and Varen. There are moments where she does something you don't agree with just as there are where he does something you don't. Because of this they come off as real individuals, and the reader is easily able to forget that they're actually made up. And the way she mixed Poe in there...I'm gonna say it again, wow. I'm a huge fan of Poe and have been since I was around ten years old. I have the huge book of his collective works, and I've always been fascinated by his writing. With the way she was able to spin this, I now feel that Creagh is a literary god(dess). It's so creative and just plain brilliant the creatures and the twists that she comes up with. She doesn't just throw information at you either, so everything you learn you do so cohesively with the rest of the story. There's just the right mixture of action and suspense as there is romance. The only problem I had with the story was that Isobel's friends all turned on her rather quickly, there wasn't a single one who stood by her side. While this is how Gwen got worked in, I feel like she should have had at least one friend who wasn't completely a jerk. Then again, it did add to the parallels between her and Varen, that in the end they're both actually lonely. Anyway, it's always harder for me to right a review for a book that I love because I don't want to give anything away. Basically, I'd recommend this book to everyone. If you haven't yet experienced Poe then this is a great opportunity to do so while in a setting you might like more, and if you have and are a fan like me, you won't be disappointed by this. Creagh does a great job holding true to Poe, even if she did add a little more oomph to his life, or more so, the ending of it. ;)



Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Wanderers by Jessica Miller

Review by Tempest.

Blurb:

What do you do when you learn your family is the one who's holding all the secrets. Secrets that could get you killed...


Ella is looking forward to starting college in the fall with her best friend Josie. She’s looking for a place where she can get away from her overbearing parents and two older annoying brothers. Unfortunately Ella realizes that sometimes the past comes back to haunt you.
Ella soon learns that the man who terrorizes her dreams is in fact real and coming after her.
When one of her classmates is murdered, Ella slowly recognizes this is not some strange coincidence. Ella fears that the boy she’s falling in love with is the one who stalks her dreams and no longer knows who she can trust.
When she finally learns the truth of her families deepest secret, Ella has to face her demons by taking out one of the people she thought she could trust…before they kill her.

* * *

I got a copy of this book through a R2R because the storyline sounded very interesting. Once the story finally got into it, there were a lot of great twists and turns that left the reader questioning what was going to happen next. I liked the suspense in this, and how it started right away with us seeing the crash through Ella's dream (which was a great way to start and show us without having us actually there) and then with Jake missing in the woods. I thought both scenes were great ways of drawing the reader in without being over the top. Seeing the accident through her dream helped drive home the fact that she wasn't over what had happened. Which is why I was a little annoyed that that part of the story sort of fell by the way side further in. I would have liked there to be more focus on Ella and her dead boyfriend. Ella herself was also really annoying, and not just her. A lot of the characters in the beginning seemed too over the top. Dean felt forced into the mold of a cliche party boy, equipped with the bad attitude (Jasa). For a rich family who really didn't want to be seen as just spoiled rich snobs, he sure managed to pull it off well. That also felt like forced information at the beginning when we hear from Ella's inner monologue that she's got money but hates being judged for it. She also goes on to saying her mom told her not to let other people's opinions both her, yet she clearly is if it annoys her when she's thought of as spoiled right off. Her father was another one that seemed forced, like he was there just to further the plot but not fully fleshed out first. The scene between him and Dean in the cabin for instance was rushed and he started yelling way to soon for it to come off as anything other than over dramatic. Another thing that bugged me was a part where she's kissing Mark and she excuses him becoming too handsy by saying he couldn't control himself. Because we're seeing all of this from first person, this isn't the type of thing she should know for a fact. That sort of behavior isn't excusable, and she just brushes it aside while telling us that he lost control. Not all of the characters where forced, there were a few that I really liked such as Josie, and of course, Tristan. Once we got further into the story where we could really see Ella's new experiences with both of these two things got better. I love the dynamics between Ella and Tristan, though she treats him pretty poorly in the beginning which again was annoying. I felt that because Josie had a bigger part, her character wasn't forced into a little box. She was given more thought and because of that ended up a well rounded character. I think that this proves that this author needs to polish this work more, but can without a doubt do it. A lot of the sentences are repetitive, and whole scenes should be either lengthened or taken out entirely. I would recommend this book to those who are interested in a good mystery however, because it definitely does keep you wondering the whole way through. I don't want to give any of the actual plot away and spoil it for anyone so I'll just leave it at that. Oh, but just as one last note, the term is actually "wives tales" not "wise tales". :) Common mistake that's easily fixed.



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Crescendo (Hush, Hush #2) by Becca Fitzpatrick

Review by Tempest.

Blurb:

Nora Grey's life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn't pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it. A mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He's more elusive than ever (if that's possible) and what's worse, he seems to be spending time with Nora's archenemy, Marcie Millar.

Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Patch hadn't been acting so distant. Even with Scott's totally infuriating attitude, Nora finds herself drawn to him - despite her lingering feelings that he is hiding something.

If that weren't enough, Nora is haunted by images of her murdered father, and comes to question whether her Nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death. Desperate to figure out what happened, she puts herself in increasingly dangerous situations to get the answer. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything - and everyone - she trusts.

* * *


I loved Hush, Hush. Full on loved it. This book? This is what I initially assumed Hush, Hush would be like when I first picked it up. Poor character quality, and luke warm execution. What the heck happened to Nora in this book? How/when did she turn into such a whiny, moronic girl? I think when she came back to life at the end of book one, she did so missing half of her brain because seriously...From the get go she makes stupid decisions that make next to no sense. I started thinking she was bipolar, which would be fine if that were really the case...but it wasn't. She just couldn't make up her mind. One minute she'd be thinking she wanted Patch back and she'd make up with him, and the next he'd actually be there and she'd be telling him to get away from her. The reason the two of them broke up made sense, but it was poorly executed. It felt like the author only knew that she needed to get them to split in the beginning and didn't bother taking the time to really flush out the how or the why of it. Because of that Nora came off childish and immature, and Patch was just allusive (in the not good way) and annoying. Speaking of, Nora's mom was getting on my last nerve in this book. First of all, she had no right to act like an over bearing mother when all she's ever done was work away from home. Do I get that she needs that job in order to keep the house? Yes. However, she can't yell at Nora for being a minute late for curfew EVEN THOUGH SHE"S IN THE DRIVEWAY, yet then go off for four nights straight leaving her there alone. She even sold her car. This just felt like a plot device thrown in there because honestly what mother is going to leave her daughter abandoned in an old farm house out in the middle of no where with no way of leaving? What if there was an emergency? In the first book her mom cares about her life, but you don't get the sense that she's forcing her way in or being overbearing, however in this one any time you see her she's acting like a control freak. There's a big difference between being parental and just being controlling. Trying to hook her up with Scott, a boy she hasn't seen for years? I see where Nora got her stupid, let's put it that way. Every time something important happened that she needed to tell Patch about she didn't. If she'd only told him about the weird things going on from the get go they probably could have figured the whole thing out three hundred pages earlier. Quantity does not always equal quality. I would have much rather read two hundred pages and been left wanting more than the four hundred some that now leaves me wanted to burn this book and avoid the rest like the plague. On page 133 Marcie even tells Nora there's nothing going on with Patch (this was before something was) and Nora didn't believe her. Ok, from what we know about Marcie, the girl who pointed out her dad was dead, she doesn't exactly rely on lying to do her dirty work. Nope, the girl uses the truth in order to wound people, so why would she lie now? It was dumb, and Nora wouldn't believe or listen to anyone. It made perfect sense she and Patch couldn't talk without risking the Archangels listening in on them, however, she wouldn't even listen when he'd visited her dreams. Again, it really just felt forced the entire book, and it made me hate Nora. On page 330, for instance, she judged Patch for entering peoples memories in order to glean information he needed to keep them both safe. Um, hypocrite? Throughout this ENTIRE book she sneaks into basically every characters house. How is that not invading peoples privacy? It is the exact same thing. Sometimes it's not even in order to protect herself, so much as she's curious. At least Patch had a reason for doing what he did, one that was life or death. There are tons of inconstancy's in this book, like once when Rixon calls Patch, says he'll show soon, and he never does. Nora doesn't even question why he never showed. Scott's personality doesn't make sense. One second he's into her, the next he's guilty? Then he claims to have been guilty the whole time and it was hard to be around her...Um, what? Then why were you trying to sleep with her? Must have been really hard for you. Stupid. Then there's also when she's trying to figure out the whole Black Hand thing. If the Black Hand doesn't know Scott is there, but Patch does....Hello? And she keeps flip flopping on her opinions about this. Make up your mind. Besides, if I thought even for a split second someone had killed my dad, any love I'd felt for them would be gone. She's also so sure she can move out. She's a minor. She can't go anywhere, and she's not even smart enough to realize it. The only redeeming character in this book was Vee, which is ironic because I hated her in the first one. There was still an issue with her, however, and that was that we were constantly being bombarded with the fact she likes to eat and she calls Nora babe. We get it. She likes food. That does not mean she has to be eating it, or suggesting they eat, every single scene she's in. She also does not have to repeat the word babe every other sentence. This makes it less of a personality quirk and more of a hindrance for the reader. It's sad that we needed to know she ate six donuts in one sitting. It's even more sad that that was more interesting then half the other crap going on in this book. The only good part was the ending. The last twenty or so pages it was like all of a sudden we were given back the Nora from the first book (whom I loved, by the way). The action was good and well written, it was crafty, interesting, and flowed well. It didn't feel forced, like everything that had come before it. Of course, this just adds merit to my belief that the other only really knew how she wanted it to end, and everything else was just a means to get there. I spent all day debating whether or not to give this book two stars, and not the one I've been planning on giving it this whole time, just because of the ending. Then I realized that it wasn't so much the ending not sucking that made me even debate giving it an extra star, it was the fact that it had finally ENDED. I do already have the third book in this series, and I'm seriously hopeful that it goes back to being the amazing story that Hush, Hush was, because if Silence is anything like this...Basically, I recommend reading Hush, Hush, but only if you go into it without getting your hopes up too high for this sequel.


Friday, March 1, 2013

The Takers (The Oz Chronicles #1) By R.W. Ridley

Review by Jacey.

Blurb:

The Takers (The Oz Chronicles, #1)

Oz Griffin and an unusual band of misfits set out on a quest in order to defeat the "Takers," monsters threatening mankind. The answers to many riddles seem to be included  in a comic book written by another neighborhood boy, but Oz and friends must find time to read it while battling dangers. Reviewers have compared the story to Stephen King's The Stand and the Harry Potter series.













***

Ok, so before I begin, I would like to say that I thought the blurb was somewhat misleading. Yes, JK Rowling made a pretty profitable franchise, but this novel should not be deemed similar to those works when picking it up. Just a forewarning to those who might pick this book up (which I think they totally should). But hey, if we're making comparisons, allow me to make a contrast: this book was in NO WAY like Harry Potter, and in many ways beats it. Just so we're all clear. *end rant*

Anywho, now to the deal: The Takers. So I don't think I've ever been as on edge with a book for some time. Yeah, I've read a few pieces where my stomach lurched a bit, but it's been a while since a book would a induce me to scream at my colleague Tempest when she opens my car door for scaring the pee-jeebus out of me. Needless to say, Ridley's narrative- claws sink deeply into your flesh as you yourself are sinking your reader-fangs into his tale of horror. From the beginning, the reader is pretty much told that these creatures, the Takers, have devoured all humans, and that you can't say their names out loud or notice them or else they'll come find you and presumably kill you. At first, I thought it was going to be one of those stories where you don't get to see the big bad wolf until near the end, or you wouldn't see them period. Which has been done, and I almost thought about putting it down, but it turns out Ridley ends up throwing these terrifying creatures at your face, and in doing so you also witness some monsters that movie directors would so often like to hide these days for the sake of suspense. Trust me though, there's plenty of that going around in this novel too, so the whole time you're wondering who's going to be eaten alive next (one of my biggest fears which made this novel even more terrifying) and trust me, Ridley does not spare the nasty details. With that said, I'll move on to the characters, who are a pretty diverse lot, including a German Shepard and a signing-gorilla. The thirteen year old narrator inevitably becomes the leader of the pack, but instead of morphing into a heroic role, Ridley still manages to portray a kid still going through puberty as an almost man who just instinctively takes up the mantle of being the leader. We see him cry like a baby, but also we see him stare down grease-covered devils and tear their throats out. 

What I liked about this book was how it pushes you to accept the unimaginable. There are moments where things seems pretty incredulous and for a second you have thoughts that can resemble this: "wait, how the heck can that happen that imposs-- Oh wait never mind, if creatures from another dimension can come and eat the entire human race, I guess that's possible too..." Basically, anything is possible and the characters are left to confront whatever is thrown at them. The plot may seem linear to some readers, point a to point b, but I actually kind of appreciated the structure. The one issue I had with this book was how rushed the last two chapters seemed. It felt like Ridley was anxious to wrap things up, maybe so he could start building upon a climactic ending, or perhaps his second book. Additionally some questions which were raised in the novel were never answered. I'll assume Ridley plans on answering at least a few of them in his sequel, which I am most anxious for.


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