What I’ve Been Reading Lately

the nest book

 

Holy mother of gawd how is it August already?? I CAN’T EVEN. Well then, let’s get to talking about two of the books I read in July.

 

First up was:

 

 

The Nest

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

 

[Keep Reading]

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

book-recommendations-wibr

 

 

I have a feeling this summer is going to be a lot of me doing shorter book talks especially since, as I talked about here, I’m going to maybe post a little less during the summer.

 

The Memory Book Lara Avery

The Memory Book by Lara Avery

I received this for review consideration but this in no way affected my opinions.

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Ashes to Ashes by Melissa C. Walker | Book Review

Ashes to Ashes by Melissa C. Walker | Book ReviewAshes to Ashes by Melissa C. Walker
Series: Ashes #1
Published by Katherine Tegan on December 2013
Genres: Paranormal YA, Supernatural YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

three-stars

 

 

 

book synopsis Callie dies in a tragic accident and finds herself in the afterlife which is not at all what she pictured. She’s stuck in a realm called the Prism which is where one goes after they die and before they go to heaven. The point of being at the Prism is that you learn to move on and let go of your former life and help the loved ones you left behind to heal and be at peace. Her guide Thatcher helps her to deal with her feelings and tries to help her learn about the Prism and the whole haunting process on earth. She struggles to see her dad, best friend and boyfriend in so much pain and she has a hard time letting go. Soon she meets some ghosts who are angry and have not yet moved yet and they will do whatever they can to stay on Earth. The things they tell Callie conflict with what Thatcher has told her and she struggles with letting go and moving on or trying to cling to her old life.

good books to read I’m familiar with the author’s contemporary novels, though I haven’t read them, and my interest was certainly piqued to learn she was writing something a bit more supernatural. The premise seemed interesting to me because I’m fascinated by “after life” kind of stories so I picked it up when I was in a pretty bad reading slump. My feeling overall was that it was an “okay” to “good” book but it was perfect to get me out of my reading slump because it’s so out of what I normally read. I read it all in one day and just COULD NOT STOP. It’s hard to explain because I know that it sucked me in but it wasn’t necessarily because it completely blew me away. I’ll break it down:

Things I enjoyed

 + the world building: I was very fascinated by Melissa’s version of the afterlife. After you die, you kind of hang in this balance and you are supposed to “haunt” your loved ones to help them move on and then you move on yourself. The way Melissa wrote the afterlife just completely set the mood and I enjoyed learning how the “moving on” process went and how things work in the Prism. We learn everything through Callie’s guide, Thatcher, and it really started to get interesting when some characters emerged who DIDN’T move on and started telling Callie conflicting things from what Thatcher was telling her. I kept wanting to figure out the truth and see if Thatcher was keeping things from her about the whole process.

+ Callie’s own moving on story: Callie’s death actually became more devastating to me as she went and haunted her old life. The scene with her dad really choked me up. Even though Callie was a bit much to handle for me personally, I did cut her some slack because of the fact she’s dead and has to watch her old life  — especially when she starts to find out something about someone close to her. I enjoyed watching her try to grapple with the fact that she’s in this afterlife and decide what to do with the information she’s presented with. Her emotions were very strong and I couldn’t even imagine having to watch your loved ones mourn you and feel so connected to your life. It got even more complicated when she starts hanging out with some of rebel type ghosts because we watch her struggle with the idea of moving on or staying like that forever so she can be “a part” of her old life still in a way and not let go of it. ALSO, part of the story was that Callie seems to have more energy and be a bit “special” comparatively to the others. THAT was pretty interesting and I was dying to find out why.

+ how the ending sets up for book 2: MAN. Game changer kind of ending and I think the story has the ability to be super interesting because THINGS.

Things that were MEH

+ the pacing: While I was interested in the worldbuilding personally, it was just very uneven. It was pretty slow moving in the beginning, which I don’t even mind, but it seemed like the end just because VERY break neck. All of this info came at us and all of these things happened and there was just so much. Wish it had been a little more even. I was intrigued from the beginning so I was committed but it definitely had pacing issues.

+ Callie: I couldn’t figure that girl out. It was hard to get a sense of who she was before and all I knew of her was what we got to know in her time of grief when she was dead. I didn’t feel like she was all that developed for my taste and I really didn’t like connect with her. I think her confusion and grief over dying stood out to me and leapt off the page but that’s about it. Something was off with her voice but I couldn’t even begin to try and explain that. I also found her very naive in ways to an almost unbelievable point. I mean, CLEARLY there was something different with her and she just shrugged it off.

+ The ending: As much as I said I LIKED it up there because of the potential it brought with it, I totally had an inkling about it and thought it was maybe a bit predictable.

book reviewsAshes to Ashes was the sort of book I needed to get me out of my rut because it was a different kind of read for me being paranormal. I read it all in one day because I was fascinated by this version of the afterlife and thought the mood of the afterlife and Callie’s grieving was written really well. However, there were things that definitely detracted from the story like pacing and Callie herself in ways. I wouldn’t say this is a MUST READ but I found it to be an entertaining read. I’ll be reading the conclusion to this duet for sure though!

short book review

Ashes to Ashes Melissa C Walker

for-fans-of-book
afterlife stories, books like Touching The Surface & The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg, paranormal/supernatural books

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? If you read it, what did you think? Did you find the setup of the afterlife interesting? Did you guess the ending? Any predictions for book 2? Have any of you read any of Melissa Walker’s contemporary novels and do you think I’d like them?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

three-stars

Something Strange & Deadly by Susan Dennard | Book Review

Something Strange & Deadly by Susan Dennard | Book ReviewSomething Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange & Deadly #1
Published by HarperTeen on July 2012
Genres: Paranormal YA, Steampunk
Also by this author: A Darkness Strange & Lovely // Strange & Ever After
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

four-half-stars

 

 

 

It’s 1876 in Philadephia and the increase in the number of Dead rising from their graves is unsettling. Eleanor has seen them firsthand while she was waiting for her brother Elijah at the train station. Elijah doesn’t show up and she receives an alarming telegraph from him that was delivered by one of the zombies in the station. She’s worried for her brother — for obvious reasons — but also because she and her mom are struggling to maintain their wealth after their father died. As she tries to find out what happened to her brother she is thrust into the world of the Spirit Hunters who are trying to save the city from the Dead and figure out who is controlling them.

OH MY GOODNESS! I had an ARC of Something Strange & Deadly and then was sent a finished copy and it just sat on my shelf. I wasn’t really sure it was my thing. Then it became our book club book and THANK GOD because I loved this book and I’m regretting just letting it sit on the shelf for so long. It was such an absorbing and addictive read that I blew through and immediately started the next book. The thing you have to understand….I NEVER go right to the next book immediately. EVER. I read things in between. So THAT should tell you something about how obsessed I am right now over this series.

From the opening scene I was HOOKED. Walking Dead? Historic Philadelphia (my city!)? Petticoats, corsets and parasols? YES PLEASE. The mystery woven in from the start with the disappearance of Elijah didn’t let up and even more mysterious elements with the increase in walking Dead were added. It was just such a compelling read for me because it contained so many elements I loved — mystery, historical fiction, smooth writing, very slow burn romance and a compelling paranormal element that doesn’t feel overdone. I quickly became obsessed as it was just so compulsively readable!

The world-building was pretty sparse but I actually enjoyed that. You immediately know that there are Dead rising in this 1876. We don’t really know WHY they are but it’s just something that as a reader you accept as part of the world. They rise sometimes. But then the real tension comes because it’s becoming WAY more frequent and there have been some gruesome deaths. We learn WHY the increase is happening and what not but we don’t ever learn how they rise in the first place. It didn’t bother me not to know because I quickly got into the world and just accepted that was a part of it. I LOVED how Susan Dennard wrote the setting for Something Strange & Deadly. Maybe it was just that I knew most of the places in Philadelphia she was talking about but I loved being immersed in this time period.

One thing I will tell you is that the zombie/Dead are not the main focus of this novel so if you are looking for a really gory zombie novel this isn’t really that. They don’t make make up as much “screen time” as, say maybe, my favorite show The Walking Dead. I personally don’t READ a ton of zombie novels, despite my intense love for The Walking Dead, so the balance was just fine for me because the story was amazing and the Dead were very much being controlled by something — they weren’t just aimlessly hungry and wandering types of zombies. There was a purpose and someone making it happen. It’s a very fresh approach to the idea of zombies or walking dead. I will say I figured out WHO was controlling the Dead but there were still some other things I didn’t connect the dots which blew my mind.

I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. Obsessed, I tell you. I couldn’t put it down because of the absorbing mystery elements, the fresh take on the idea of zombies, the Victorian Philadelphia setting, the compulsive readability, the characters and the very slow burn romance that just dangles there and filled my heart with tension. I’m not a huge paranormal reader but I WANT TO SHOUT MY LOVE FROM THE ROOFTOPS. There honestly wasn’t anything I didn’t like about this book. It was that type of read where I was so immersed in the whole of it that I couldn’t be bothered to think about anything other than what was happening in the book. I love that kind of read where I’m so absorbed in the story that I can’t even think of all the reviewer things that normal come in my head.

Something Strange & Deadly review

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? If you’ve read it what do you think?? How did you like this approach to zombies? Do you totally ship Eleanor & Daniel? (Anyone else here kind of feel bad for Clarence?). Also, did you guess who the necromancer was?? I had a hunch!

four-half-stars

Vampire Academy #1 by Richelle Mead | Book Review

Vampire Academy booksBook Title/Author: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Publisher/Year
: Razorbill 2007
Genre: Paranormal YA
Series: Yes
Other Books From Author: the rest of the VA series, Bloodlines series, Georgina Kincaid series, Dark Swan series

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Rose is a Dhampir — half human and half vampire — and she and Lissa, the vampire princess she’s been trained to protect, left St. Vladimir’s Academy boarding school and have been on the run to keep away from the danger looming there. They have finally been caught and find themselves back at St. Vladimir’s Academy where they try to get back into the swing of training and magic classes and social life but there are quite a few obstacles — rumors, romances they know they shouldn’t be involved in and something dark that puts Lissa in danger.

*This isn’t really going to be a thorough review because everyone and there mom has read this*

So, yes, I’ve finally read Vampire Academy! I will wait for your applause, those of you who have been waiting for me to read this! It’s a HUGE series and I’ve been putting it off because of a) hype and b) if you read this blog you know I don’t read a ton of paranormal. Especially NOT vampires. But here we are…I’ve read book 1 of the series!

Vampire Academy started out VERY slow for me. I just wanted to not read it anymore but I kept going because people said the series got better after book 1. If I didn’t have that knowledge? I would have probably put it down. I just wasn’t feeling it and the pacing was sloooow. I just felt like some of the worldbuilding was dumped on me and I was waiting for a discernible plot.

Rose made me giggle a bit because of her sassy attitude but there were things that really irritated me about her and also I felt like she was a bit one dimensional in the beginning. While she isn’t altogether LIKEABLE, I appreciate a flawed character and she grew on me more and I’m certain there is more to her. The development for some of the other characters was a little bland — especially for Lissa. She was seriously a SNORE.

Despite the shaky start, it become a really addictive read. Even when I was unsure about this one, there was this draw (besides all of the praise) made me stick with it…to see it through. I definitely think I was rewarded a little more than midway through and I couldn’t put this down AT ALL. The plot surges forward and twists abound and I became thoroughly engaged in it all. I loved watching Rose’s skills get better to protect Lissa and learning more about the vampire society. I’m chomping at the bit to head over to the library and get book 2. Especially because I hear the series just gets better and better..which is a relief because I’d say I was a little disappointed not to LOVE this book like everyone else.

OH HEY. I betcha you’ve been waiting for me to talk about Dimitri. I DIDN’T FORGET. I wanted to save the panty throwing for last. So Dimitri, yah? Let’s talk about how Richelle gets a gold star for the best romantic/sexual tension ever. Like seriously. Panty melting! In the beginning I just wasn’t getting the appeal of Dimitri because all we really knew about him was that he had a ponytail, was a powerful guardian and was Russian..oh and wears a duster lol. It seemed obvious that Rose, flirt extraordinaire, was going to totally go for her older “teacher” and I was nervous there would be NO believeable connection between them. But then suddenly Richelle started writing Dimitri in a way where I was like HEYYYY. I actually really grew to love Dimitri and am excited to see what happens between the two of them. Also, I had to fan myself during a certain scene. YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. Compulsion. That.Is.All.

I wish the whole book could have been as good as the last half or so. I will still definitely be continuing on with the series because it really took a hold of me by the end and I heard the series only gets better. If I didn’t know this, I’m not sure if I would be continuing on because I’m super picky about my paranormal.

 

Vampire Academy

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Was I the only one that thought this one wasn’t amazing? Are you excited for the movie? Thoughts on casting? I have specifically NOT looked at any pictures/trailers because I want to read for a while with my own image of Dimitri.

three-stars

Ashes On The Waves by Mary Lindsey | Book Review

Ashes on the Waves by Mary LindseyBook Title/Author: Ashes On The Waves by Mary Lindsey
Publisher/Year
: Penguin June 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: No
Other Books From Author: Shattered Souls

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Liam lives on the island of Dochas  where he is a complete outcast — everyone calls him a demon, his own father hates him and he seems to be cursed. When a childhood friend named Annabel Leighton, the daughter of a family who owns an estate on the island, returns to Dochas things seem to be looking up for him as they their relationship grows. The Otherworlders, the mythical beings that live in the sea, make a wager that human love can’t endure in the face of suffering and trials and put the strength of Liam & Annabel’s love to the test with these terrible obstacles.

I’m so conflicted on this one and I seem to be in the minority as I scanned all the glowing 4 & 5 star reviews of people who seemed to not feel conflicted. Ashes On The Waves was definitely unique compared to what I’ve encountered in paranormal YA with being based off of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem “Annabel Lee” and infused with Celtic lore. I appreciated the fresh feeling the story had but it lacked something for me and I’m going to attempt to explain it though I’m not sure that I’ve quite put my finger on it even still so I’m listing it all out.

What I Liked:

1. The premise: I LOVE LOVE LOVED Annabel Lee when I had to read it in college and thought it was an amazing inspiration for a paranormal story. I loved the way Mary Lindsey took the bare bones of that poem to write a truly compelling story about true love and infused it with Celtic lore and these otherworldly creatures that were testing the love of Liam and Annabel. The story really got interesting when the wager was made and it was so heartbreaking to watch Liam and Annabel’s love being messed with by the Otherworld. You couldn’t help but root for them to conquer all. It was a nail-biter until the very end as we watch the bet get uglier and uglier as Liam and Annabel prevail.

2. The setting: The island of Dochas was creepy — it’s this island that isn’t up to speed with modern life. So everywhere else is much like our contemporary society and Dochas is just archaic and still clinging on to its old ways — including very old superstitions. The writing of Dochas was incredible because it was so atmospheric and haunting and I honestly almost forget this book was set in present day. Dochas definitely took on a life of its own and it was easy to picture this creepy place!

3. The lore: The celtic lore was so interesting to me and I was quickly pulled into all of the otherworldly, mystical beings. It was so refreshing and unique!

4. Liam: I really liked reading this from Liam’s point of view and I really felt for him. He was such an outcast and people were SO cruel to him and he lived with a lot of guilt, a father who hated him and, aside from his boss who I LOVED, he was just so alone. This is one character who I felt like my heart kept breaking for throughout the course of the novel. I was happy that he had Annabel (for his sake) and as soon as that wager was made I was LIKE COME ON LET HIM HAVE SOMETHING GOOD IN HIS LIFE.

What Didn’t Work So Much For Me:


1. Annabel & Liam (and my connection to them):
OK, so from the get go we know this is an epic love story that is being tested by the Otherworld. We are supposed to root for them because they are being put through the ringer and we want love to prevail. To some degree, I really did root for them but more so on principle and not because I really FELT their relationship. I really didn’t FEEL connected to their love story it just honestly didn’t do much for me maybe until the end but at that point I already felt like a fly on the wall rooting for them rather than feeling the passion they had for each other. It’s going to come down to, I think, whether or not you connect with their love story. I can’t tell if my disconnect was because I didn’t GET Liam’s intense love for Annabel after really only knowing her as a little girl but following all the news stories about her crazy, socialite life or if I just didn’t GET Annabel and if I really felt her passion for him like I did Liam’s.

2. The pacing: I understand the beginning was setting up Dochas, Liam’s life and Annabel’s return to Dochas but it CRAWLED for me. There was no pull for me to read other than knowing I was promised an awesome premise. I seriously kept sideeying the book for a bit because I was bored to tears and almost got sunburnt because I fell asleep reading. HOWEVER, I will say once the wager is made…BOOM. You won’t be able to put it down. The mystery pulls you in and you are so invested in seeing how the wager affects Liam and Annabel.

If you are looking for a fresh YA paranormal novel that is NOT part of a series, Ashes on Waves is a good one! It’s well written, the setting is one that you feel transported to easily with its creepy and haunting atmosphere and its a tale of epic love that is being challenged by Otherworldly creatures who try to break them apart because of a wager. The Celtic lore was fascinating as well and I was quickly sucked into this story. HOWEVER, being that this is a tale of epic love, my problem was that I never connected or felt ANYTHING towards their love story until maybe the very end which made me feel quite distanced from this read. However, I’d still recommend and hope that you connect to their love more than I did.

 

 

ashes-on-waves-mary-lindsey


Let’s Talk: Have you read of this one? Heard of it or is it on your TBR? If you have read it, did you enjoy it or no? Did you feel connected to the romance? Anybody know of any other Poe inspired stories?

two-half-stars

Review: The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

  Title/Author: The Gathering (Darkness Rising) by Kelley Armstrong
Publisher/Year
: HarperTeen  – April 2011
Genre
: YA Paranormal
Series
:  Yes — 1st book!
Other Books From Author
Darkest Powers series), Women of the Otherworld series

Amazon | Goodreads | Kelly Armstrong’s Website

Disclosure: The publisher sent it to me in exchange for an honest review along with its sequel — The Calling. This has in no way  swayed or affected my opinions on the book. My honesty is more important to me than that.

 

 

What’s It About: Sixteen year old Maya lives a pretty normal life in her small medical experiment town outside of Vancouver with her adoptive parents. Years after she witnesses a death under unusual circumstances, even more strange things start to happen to Maya — things like mountain lions being drawn to her, a mysterious guy moves into town and seems to have a fascination with her, outsiders start poking around the town, etc. She’s never really questioned her origins or the motives of her town until now.

I definitely enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I’ve never read the author’s previous works but I received this in the mail and decided I was in the mood to delve into a paranormal world. I’m not a HUGE paranormal reader, as readers of this blog probably know,  but I do try to dip my toes in from time to time because I do enjoy the genre but I’m wildly picky. I guess I just have a hard time wading through the not-so-good Twilight wannabes to get to the unique and wonderful paranormal books. This book definitely surpassed my expectations and I was thoroughly impressed and sucked in to this story.

The interesting thing is that, though there were clearly portions of this book where paranormal-y things happened, most of the book did not seem paranormal at all. I have a feeling this will change in the second book but mostly I forgot I was reading a paranormal book because it mostly took place in the “real” world rather than a paranormal world and there were only bits and pieces revealed of the paranormal tilt to this book. I was so intrigued as Armstrong slowly unraveled some of these elements though I predicted a lot of the things.

I loved the uniqueness of the Native American folklore that was incorporated into this story as well as the setting — I loved the forest and the mystery of this weird town. Have you ever seen The Village? Well, in The Gathering we don’t know exactly WHAT the town is up to that she lives in but you know there is SOMETHING off. I found myself reading quickly and furiously on my flight because there was just SO MUCH I wanted to know about this creepy little town and the creepy little mountain lions that seem to always show up wherever Maya is.  Also, I couldn’t help but be drawn into the storyline with Rafe and Maya but I’m not sure where I stand on him. I secretly want her to be with a certain somebody else. BADLY. Speaking of that someone else, I wonder what his deal is??

I have to admit the ending made me a bit stabby because revelations were far and few between, while the mystery and intrigue was page turning and could make one ravenous for answers, and the ending just ENDED. Holy cliffhanger. I swore pages were ripped out of my copy because I couldn’t believe it would just end like that. Throw me a freaking bone and give me at least ONE answer. I won’t be waiting too long before I read the second book — The Calling — because I need some answers to all the crazy things happening.

Final Thought: The Gathering was the perfect read for my travels. It kept my attention with its well crafted mysteries surrounding the town and Maya’s true origins. While sometimes it seemed like not much was happening, there were just so many riveting aspects of the story that had the power to make me able to tune out the screaming baby three rows behind me and the sweaty man overtaking half of my seat. It was unique and refreshing and I’ll be picking up the second book for sure because I really enjoyed it. But that pesky little cliffhanger…GRRRRRR. It just seemed to be abrupt and WAHHH. I’ll stop whining now and read the second book.

Review On A Post-It:

What did you think if you’ve read this one? I need to talk about it with somebody!! If you haven’t read this book, is it on your radar? Are her other series good? ALSO, any recs for any other good paranormal books that someone who isn’t “well versed” in the genre might like??

three-half-stars

Review: Fury by Elizabeth Miles

Fury by Elizabeth Miles
Release Date: August 30, 2011

Read the summary on Goodreads here.

I was incredibly antsy to read Fury after hearing Elizabeth read from it at the Simon & Schuster blogger event at BEA and I was ecstatic when I found out it was in our goodie bags! The premise just really intrigued me. I love paranormal books that incorporate interesting elements from mythology or some completely unique creature that strays from the typical “creatures” in paranormal lit. The idea of placing the Roman goddesses of vengence, the Furies, into the modern world to extract revenge on humans seemed like an interesting concept that could really be built upon. I was so game for it because I really have been getting into Roman and Greek mythology.

The readability of this book was fan-freaking-tastic. I was reading quickly because I was intrigued by the Furies and wanted to find out what their deal was, I wanted to know what Chase did to make the Furies choose him and really it was just one of those stories that just perfectly held my attention and had my eyes furiously moving along the pages. I enjoyed the writing and thought Miles did a good job of pacing the plot…although there were sometimes when I slightly bored with reading about Chase & Em’s dirty little secrets. My overall reading experience was a good one — I flew through it and I finished yearning for the next installment. However, there were some things that did detract from my overall enjoyability of the story that I’d like to mention.

Firstly, don’t go into this book thinking that you are going to want to be bff’s with these characters. They won’t be characters that you will look back fondly on or have warm fuzzy feelings about. I honestly despised most of these characters in this book and it really annoyed me. I’m all for books that have despicable characters…I’ve liked plenty of books where I hated the characters..but I think that is because in some way I found them redeemable at the end or I felt like I learned enough about them to understand why they are that way or that the author was just SO crafty that they had me feeling unexplainable pangs of sympathy for even the most despicable characters.

This did not happen for me really..maybe a tiny bit for Chase but nothing significant. I was already ready to give Emily the stink eye because pretty early on because she breaks one of my Rules of Thumb For Not Being A Biznatch And Bad Friend (KIND OF A SPOILER BUT IT WAS ON OFFICIAL SUMMARY) and that is: “Thou shalt not ever ever EVER even think about your friend’s boyfriend and sexytimes in the same thought. If you do, please go play in traffic” After that I just couldn’t shake my bad feelings towards her. I also thought her bff was annoying, the bff’s boyfriend (Zach) was a major McDouche, the parents mostly sucked. I think maybe I liked Emily’s friend JD but he even kind of bored me & seemed to be that cliched “overlooked best friend who is really in love with you” type.

Elizabeth Miles laid a good foundation for the Furies story but I have to hope that we will see more of the Furies in the next book and learn more about them. They were intriguing and I feel like they still remained a bit of an enigma to me. I wanted to read more about them because at some points I was just over Emily and Chase’s stories. I honestly didn’t care what happened to them too much. I was ready for the Furies to unleash some karma real fast..because the karma that the Furies handed out was not messing around. They were pretty creepy too but I wished we could have learned a bit more aside from how beautiful and ethereal they were. Once the Furies really started to appear and mess with the humans, I found myself way more engaged in the story and plowing through like my life depended on it.

My Final Thought: Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was a fresh take on a truly interesting piece of Roman mythology that I had never heard of. I found myself totally captivated by the Furies and watching their plan unfold. It’s unfortunate that I never found any reason to care about the characters and that the Furies didn’t have more of a presence as I think I would be head over heels for this book. Luckily, Elizabeth Miles had me hooked by the premise of the Furies and that storyline to get me past some of the things I didn’t enjoy. An intriguing, well written story that would make for a pretty freaky movie. Can’t wait to read the next installment…I just have this feeling that the Furies are going to be a bigger part and it will be pretty exciting to see where Miles goes with everything after the action packed ending! So many possibilities!

Review On A Post-It
three-stars

Review: The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Publisher/Date: Simon & Schuster – 9/11
How I Got It: Got an ARC at BEA!
Read a summary here.
Pre-Order It here.

I’m going to preface this with: I normally don’t write reviews like this. I mean,  my reviews tend to be more conversational and laid back rather than a literary analysis that is eloquently written with excellent usage of literary terms straight from your college textbook. But this review…I’ve tried to write this 10 times since I finished it and this is the only way it’s worked…to gush and then to rant like I’m calling up my sister and telling her about it.

Oh goodness. This book and I…we have a real complicated relationship. I finished this book in a day. To say I devoured it would be an understatement. It was like the kind of head-over-heels-and-so-deliriously-drunk-on-lust infatuation….you know the kind that might make you go and get hitched after a day together. THAT is how smitten I was with this book.

From the very first page I was undeniably locked in. The mystery and intrigue had me in its grips, I fell in love with Noah (who weirdly enough I kept picturing as a cross between Logan from Veronica Mars and Heath Ledger in Ten Things I Hate About You…more so Logan with his bad boy swagger and adorableness) and Hodkins unraveling of the plot and ability to balance the paranormal, romantical and realistic aspects of the story was brilliant.  There was some sexy, steamy tension and that was a nice distraction from the mysteries and general confused (in a good way!) state I was in.

I mean, there were some bizarre things going on in this book. Good bizarre…in a way that I was DYING to figure it out and trying to formulate guesses as to what is going on. I felt just as crazy as Mara felt trying to grapple with what I was reading — is this a dream? Are these ghosts? Parallel universes? Is she dead or something bizarre like that? WHAT IS REAAAAAL?!? WHAT IS HAPPENING?!? Freakin A. I felt like David after the dentist for goodness sake. Seriously. The screaming and all. AND THIS IS ALL IN A GOOD WAY! MIND-BENDING!

BUT I WAS LOVING IT ALL. I was getting ready to slap a “Jamie’s Pick for Best Book Of The Year”…and, friends, that carries more weight than the big O book club sticker…and mine are sparkly.

BUT THEN…about 3/4 of the way through..something happened. Some may call it a plot hole but I just call it plain old WTFery. It involves alligators and that’s all I’m going to say. But what happened is that it really deviated from what I had come to expect from the story…and not in a good way for me. The whole situation seemed illogical to me and I didn’t quite find it believable in the scope of the book. I can’t really explain it without giving things away but that scene and some of their decisions and conclusions afterward just really seemed off. I mean, maybe it’s just me. I still pressed on because I NEEDED and wanted to know what was going on. I read just as quickly through until the end….and the ENDING…OMG. Cliffhanger central. And a real doozy of a cliffhanger too. I will most certainly be reading the second book.

My other tiny gripe is that, while I really did love Noah because I’m always rooting for that bad boy who isn’t really bad, I found him to be a bit cliched in some ways…not too terribly..but I feel like I must note it. With his playboy, jerk ways…I didn’t ever really BELIEVE that just having met Mara was enough to change. I mean, I guess they have a different connection as you’ll find out when you read it…but I don’t know. There were also some whiffs there of instalove and you know that is one of my personal bookish pet peeves. But again with that…by the end I could kind of see why he might have instantly been drawn to her.

My final thought:  Mara Dyer was a riveting and hair-raising read that will have you turning the pages ravenously with that insatiable desire to know and understand all the little mysteries and the intricacies within the book. I really did enjoy the book but some of the bizarre plot holes and some directional choices of the story coupled with some personal pet peeves prevented me from slapping a “BEST BOOK EVAHHH” kind of label on it. I would highly recommend it for readers of YA who love to be on the edge of their seat trying to figure out a HUGE mysterious puzzle and are looking for well-written supernatural stories and can maybe turn a blind eye to some bizarre plot holes. I will definitely be reading the second book because I am wholly invested in figuring out what the heck is going on!!

Review On A Post It: 

Edit: I found out via Twitter from Michelle Hodkin that there are some  changes from the ARC (that I read) and the final copy…like one major sentence that was missing somewhere. Soooo we shall see if that clears some things up for me!

three-half-stars
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