I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!
Well now, this was a pleasant surprise! I don't think I've read too many YA mystery novels, or if I have I don't quite remember them, so this was a nice place to settle in. My first thought is that Amelia Brunskill has quite a talent for pacing, which I'll expand on in a bit. The Window drew me in, and I ran through it so quickly that it actually surprised me. I love effortless reads, and this book definitely fits that bill.
Jess and Anna. Anna and Jess. The twin angle was a beautiful addition to this story, because of the even sharper contrast between their two personalities. The same on the outside, but so very different in all other aspects. I loved how Brunskill slowly unveiled Anna's thoughts and feelings, as Jess slowly dove further and further into her sister's life. I think it's such a truth that we never really know someone, even an identical sibling, as much as we think we did. For Jess, Anna's life is this enigma. It takes her death to change to that at all.
I usually hesitate to the use the phrase "compulsively readable", because it's one of those phrases that's tossed casually around the book world and shows up endlessly on covers. However, I can honestly say that this phrase applies to this book. Reading The Window is effortless. Maybe not content wise, since Jess' hurt is palpable and tough to read at times. Plot wise though, this book pulls you along in its wake. I found myself having to forcefully put this book down at bedtime, because I just kept wanting to know what would happen next. Brunskill has this beautiful slow burn going through this story. It gives you just enough to tempt you to the next chapter, and then does it all over again. I didn't mind one bit.
My only complaint, and the reason I gave this book 4 stars rather than 5, is the fact that it felt a bit anti-climactic to me. Now, again, I'm used to reading this genre in the more adult section of things. So I had to step back and remind myself that this book is written for a younger set of readers, and features a much younger protagonist. I had to point out to myself that many of the scenarios in other books I've read wouldn't play out in the life of a high school student. So, just take this as my personal preference more than anything. I enjoyed this book immensely. I powered through it like a madwoman. It just didn't hit that unforgettable mark that I look for in a 5 star book, and that's totally okay.
Long story short, read this. It's excellent.
Everyone is supposed to be a combination of nature and nurture, their true selves shaped by years of friends and fights and parents and dreams and things you did too young and things you overheard that you shouldn’t have and secrets you kept or couldn’t and regrets and victories and quiet prides, all the packed-together detritus that becomes what you call your life.
So far, this book is much more than I thought it would be. Well, that's not entirely accurate. I actually picked this book up without reading the synopsis because LOOK AT THAT COVER. Yes, it was a case of cover love. No, I'm not sorry. It's actually genuinely good so far.
I'm on a Fantasy kick again. I can't shake it. I'm going to assume it's because it's what I need to read right now, and just roll with it.
This book was painful to make it all the way to the end of, but I've already DNF'd so many books this month and this one was a request I actually made. So I powered through. It took me a month, but I finished.
It feels like Clare had a general idea of what she wanted to write, even a set of rough character sketches, and then never hammered it into anything solid. There were a lot of fabulous ideas here, but they were all over the place. Worldbooks are a really cool concept. The ability to create an entire world, simply by scribing it into one of these, sounded like something I'd normally fall in love with. The problem was that the descriptions only skimmed the surface. I never saw deeper than the idea itself, and that was the case for most of what is in this story.
Add in the fact that the pace feels maddeningly slow for most of the book, and then picks up in a mad rush to the end, and you have a book that drove me nuts. I never felt invested. Every time I thought sometime was starting to peak my interest, the book would meander away on a tangent and my questions weren't answered. Argh.
So 2 stars to this one, because I only 1 star books I didn't finish. Sorry book. Your cover was so promising.
I powered through this book, I tell you what. I kept waiting for small snippets of time to sneak in some listening, because I NEEDED to know what happens. Ugh. I need a physical copy of this book to hug. I loved every minute of it.
Someone should have told me not to listen to the end while I was getting ready for work this morning though. All the tears.
After months upon months of ignoring new releases, and trying to stay away from the hype, I finally gave in and picked up The Cruel Prince. Okay, more accurately, it actually popped up on my library loan list and I went "Oh, that's right! I put myself on the waitlist for this!", and then proceeded to devour it. I knew I wanted to read this from the moment that I saw Holly Black's name across the cover. If anyone knows Fae, it's Holly Black. I had high hopes for this one and, I'm glad to report, I wasn't disappointed in the least!
First off, true to form, Holly Black expertly drags the reader into the darkly glittering world of the Fae. A world where things are both beautiful and terrible. A world where humans definitely are at a disadvantage, and where they are so enchanted by it all that they don't even seem to care. What I've always liked about Black's fairy world is that it isn't always a kind a one. It's one where there is suffering, war, and hatred. It's one where beautiful beings have sharp edges and sharper knives. It's the kind of world that you love to read about, but would be terrified to visit. In other words, it's my kind of setting.
Even more impressive is the fact that every single character who graces these pages is perfectly rendered, and multi-faceted. I was stunned by how easily I fell into step with Jude. Her inability to conform, despite the fact that it would have been the easiest thing to do, made me fall in love with her character. Jude is strong as steel, and equally as intelligent. The stark contrast between her, as a protected human in a fairy world, and Vivi, as an unwilling fairy in a fairy world, was perfection. I ate up their sisterly bond, swooned over the descriptions of balls and battles, and couldn't stop myself from hating the same people that Jude found herself hating. I think what made me fall for Jude the hardest was that she was never afraid to admit that she was wrong. She was human to the core, and beautiful because of it.
Truthfully, even the plot the blew me away. It was perfectly paced, and set up in a way that I never saw the next move coming until right when Jude did. Black weaves a gorgeous web on court intrigue, filled with backstabbing and death. Even when I was absolutely sure that I knew where things were headed next, I was wrong. It was wonderful. I love a plot that keeps me on my toes. As for the ending, well, I knew going in that this was the first in a series. So I'll say that the ending is good for a first book, and satisfying enough. You'll see, after all, that I did give this a full five star rating.
If you're looking for viciously lovely Fae, more court intrigue than you can shake a stick at, and a book that will keep you reading well into the night, this is for you.
Okay, this book is going on the shelf right next to IT. Right next to all the books that have so much magic wrapped up into them that it doesn't even feel like that the author is trying. I've sobbed, I've giggled, and I'm just so in love with every single thing about this story. What a life. What a story.
I was telling my friend last night, over dinner, that my favorite part about IT is the message that adults forget their childhoods all too easily. That life makes us new people, and those new people forget the magic that they experienced. This book has that same gorgeous message, and I'm taking it to heart.
This book just keeps getting better and better. It might be my current hormonal state, but I keep tearing up on how beautifully done this snapshot into the life of one young boy really is. E. recommended this, so I already knew that it was going to be good. I just didn't know how good it was really going to be. I'm SO impressed.
So, surprisingly, I'm really digging this book. Well, I guess it's not all that surprising. If there's one thing that I know for a fact, it's that Holly Black can write about the fae. I've read a few of her other fairy related books, and have always been impressed with how easily she can pull her readers into their dark and beautiful world. My biggest issue is usually the plot! It never seems to be as good as the world building.
In this book, I'm actually really seeing what I've hoped for from Black for a long time. It's her same darkly glittering fairy world, but the plot here is superb as well. There's court intrigue, strong characters and, unless the ending lets me down, a good build up towards the end.
I desperately hope this book doesn't fail me, because I'm kind of in love right now.
I'm giving away a copy of this gorgeous book on my blog, courtesy of Simon Teen and Big Honcho Media. If you have a U.S. mailing address, and this looks like something you'd like to read, would you please go and enter? :D
What to say first about this book? Ah! Lippman came into my life, way back when I was a new blogger, when I ended up with the 11th book in her Tess Monaghan series for review. I remember being a little worried that I wouldn't be able to pick things up so late in the story line, but there was Lippman's exceptional writing picking me up and taking me on a journey anyway. I ended up loving that book, and I've been a fan of Lippman ever since! So imagine my excitement when I was asked to be on the tour for Sunburn. It's been long enough since I read one of her books that I was eager to see if her writing was what I remembered from before. Oh, it was. You'd best prepare for some gushing.
It's so impressive to me when a book can completely command your attention from the first few sentences, and Sunburnaccomplishes that easily. Polly's story, while you don't know who she is just yet, pulls you into its web. I found myself utterly invested in this woman, and unable to look away as everything she'd planned slowly fell into place. I know that I'm being vague, and you can understand that it's a purposeful vagueness. There are just too many things that I can't give away, without ruining your enjoyment of this spiderweb of a book. Just trust me when I say that Polly's story is extremely layered, and totally worth taking the time to uncover.
Plus, while the whole plot thread is just deliciously mysterious, it's really the characters themselves who steal the show. Polly is the perfect unreliable narrator. She's easy to love and hate in equal measures, depending on what is newly being revealed to the reader about her. She's shrouded in doubt, yet with enough humanness to make her likable. Adam, on the other hand, is this rock in shifting sands. He's strong, reliable, and yet slowly being eroded by our dear Polly. As the book reaches a climax, and Adam's real plight comes to light, I'm sure you'll find yourself just as stunned as I was. There's a lot to love about how well laid out this book really is.
So why the four star rating, rather than five? I can easily pin that on the fact that the ending, while completely plausible, didn't really suit my tastes. That doesn't mean that it won't be perfect for most readers. That doesn't mean it isn't an excellent ending overall. That's just me, being my nitpicky reader self, being completely transparent with you. I didn't love the ending of this. Still, it's a totally solid and enjoyable read. The twists and turns are wonderful, and I'm still impressed. Lippman hasn't lost her edge, and I hope she never does.
I tried. I really, really tried.
I can't do this book anymore.
From the cookie cutter "Hot Girl", "Broody Guy", "Damsel in Distress" characters, to the broken world building that refuses to even try to make sense, it all just got to be too much. If I had to listen to Elena talk about drowning in "Mean Hot Guy" Blake's eyes one more time I was going to throw something at the wall.
I even skipped ahead an hour in the audio book to see if things got any better. They didn't. Elena was standing in front of a gate, conveniently the only "maiden" (yes, friends, the only virgin) who could enter them. *sigh*
Oh well, I tried. Time to move on to bigger and better things.
First off, credit where credit is due, I have to applaud Monir for the diversity in The Final Six. It's so refreshing to not only see both a female and a male main character in this story, but the fact that Naomi and Leo, while they share a destiny, are so different is wonderful. The differences in their views about the competition, their ethnic backgrounds, and their family lives all come together to create a beautiful story about growth through the pursuit of a common goal. I loved how ambitious both of them were because, as I stated above, it's great to see strong male and female characters side by side. We need more of that.
As for the plot, I can say that the science fiction aspects of this book were really accessible. I loved the addition of VR and AI! The Final Six easily walks that line between sharing the technology of the future and still being something that you can find yourself picturing. It helps, of course, that Monir has an uncanny ability to write beautifully descriptive scenes. The competition manages to pull the reader in quickly, and make you feel like you're part of the action. I even found myself rooting for the friendship to romance brewing between our two characters, despite the fact that I'm normally anti-romance. Could I have done without that? Probably, but the fact that I didn't dislike it was a nice surprise.
Why then, you ask, did I rate this at four stars rather than five? First there's the fact that, despite how different Naomi and Leo are in many aspects, our two main characters are pretty difficult to tell apart in their POVs. If there hadn't been headers on the chapters letting me know whose mind I was currently in, I would have been lost a lot more. My other issue was, and I know this is just the way that my particular brand of reading brain works, there were so many unexplained things that were just conveniently happening. I mentioned how perfect the descriptive writing was in relation to the competition technology. That's why I was a little baffled as to why there wasn't any explanations for how electricity works now, why Earth is being abandoned instead of fixed, and why the treatment only works on teenagers. Am I being nitpicky? Possibly. None of that took away from my overall enjoyment. Still, I have so many questions.
So, after a lot of thought, I settled on a solid four star rating. I haven't yet read a book similar to this, so I'm pretty happy with the journey I was taken on. The ending is a blatant cliffhanger, so rest assured that there's another book coming down the pipeline. Maybe that one will answer the rest of my questions? Only time will tell.
I don't have a full review for this yet, because I just finished it on the train ride this morning, but it was an excellent read! The ending wasn't my favorite, thus the missing star, but overall I felt like Lippman did amazingly well at this standalone!
I recommend this.
Oh look, I have something good to say about a book I'm reading!
I mean... it's Laura Lippman so I don't think anyone is surprised, but this book is GOOD.
Read it on my lunch break and missed my mouth multiple times with my food good.
Mad that work isn't over and I haven't finished it yet good.
More rambling to come.