Tuesday, July 31, 2012
NOTE: I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
I must say that I found this book very helpful. It was full of God guided advice, Scripture verses and enlightening conclusions. I expected an instruction book, but found something much more valuable. It was not only a guide to mothers, it could very well serve as a guide to their daughters.
I think that in the times we live, we need to open our eyes and actually look around to see how much the world affects us as people. We are born unique people, then we conform to society, to our peers, to others' expectations of us. And our uniqueness is quickly forgotten.
But Vicki Courtney, through personal examples and national studies, can help open up our eyes. She writes about love and understanding, and keeping our ground no matter how difficult it may seem at times. Her advice is realistic and accomplishable through faith in God and Jesus Christ. By realizing what the Lord did for us, and keeping it in mind all through the day, we could truly become better attuned to the many ways He loves us and blesses us.
"Your Girl" is a keeper book for all mothers of today's age, who are concerned about their daughters growing up in a world where girls are considered toys, objects and visual stimulants for men. I sure am going to re-read it once I become a mother.
I rate it with
Thursday, July 26, 2012
I received this book for review from H.D.Gordon's agent, Nicole, who is a friend of mine on Goodreads.
First thing I want to say is, that JOE isn't a YA book. Not due to any sex scenes, but because of the language. There are too many expletives, that could really bother a person. They sort of bothered me too, but then again, I think they were written all in the right places. Without those offensive cuss words, I don't think that the same effect could be accomplished.
And second, I just want to say a HUGE thank you for letting me review JOE. This novel was beyond my expectations. I truly didn't expect it to be so amazingly well written, judging by the style I was used with from the Alexa Montgomery Saga.
The difference is indescribable. The writing style is UNIQUE, in a Tahereh Mafi sort of way, but it's nothing alike. It's just completely Heather Gordon, and I just LOVED IT!!!
The story itself was totally absorbing. It was impossible to leave the book. It was full of action, thrill, psycho elements. And it was obvious that Heather did more than enough research in order to write JOE. I think that this is like an author's rebirth :) I'd love to see a second installment - at least I was left with the impression that there could be one.
Anyway, this story is told from the POV of JOE, and a third person POV of several more characters. I didn't expect to see the uniqueness of each character's mindset and all, but it was there. There weren't two characters for whom I could say that they were alike. They were all different, with all sorts of personality traits. Some of them I loved, others I hated. That, I think, is a great thing - having real feelings for fictional characters. It means the author did her job very well.
*Joe was simply amazing. She was no hero - as she pointed out in several places. But she was brave, hard-working and selfless. She knew her limitations, she lived with her past mistakes, and she didn't want to continue living with guilt. So, Joe decided for once not to be an observer, but a doer. And I was simply impressed by the steady character and hand of this girl. It takes real guts to do what she did.
*Danny, the Decider was a psychopath of a higher class than I had thought at first. *Thanks Heather for describing the difference between psychopath and sociopath, I had no idea.* He was organized, calculating and cold-blooded. I didn't understand his motives, and urges, and honestly I thought he was a complete nut. I hated him, but I loved how well he played his role. The mass-murderer profile was complete in him.
*Michael was a guy to kill for. And I was excited that found Joe not only likeable, but loveable. She was, truly, and I loved Michael for not ever even thinking about her speech impediment as a negative trait. I loved him for appreciating her.
*Mina was a brave girl and loving mother, and I think she had every right to be happy. She and Russel were just great for each other.
*Eric - I kinda liked that guy, he was someone who wanted to change his life. I enjoyed his story very much.
*Claire - I sort of hated her at first, until she realized that what she'd been planning at first was not what she really wanted. Glad she opened her eyes to reality.
So, I would totally recommend this novel to any thrill seeker. It's truly an amazing ride.
My rating, clearly is
Thursday, July 19, 2012
The author, Frankie Rose, was very nice, letting me review her book. I must say that I didn't quite know what to expect of it, but it turned to be an interesting read. My rating is 3.5 stars, but due to known reasons I'm giving it 4.
What I liked:
There were several scenes that were pretty intense and action packed, and I felt drawn to them. They felt realistic, with all the gore and bloodshed. I also enjoyed the hot romantic scene, though I felt like there should've been more than one of those ;) Daniel's chapters felt different, as they should've, since a different character was narrating, and I found them very well structured and appealing.
What I didn't like:
There were some scenes that lacked any feeling at all. They seemed to stretch on and on, and that felt kind of annoying. I supposed they were supposed to build anticipation, but all they accomplished was making me want to skip ahead. The last chapter should've held some passion, but there was none. And the induced coldness between the characters was just weird. Some lines felt forced and unrealistic. There were several places where I noticed inconsistencies - for example, Farley - the lead female character - saw a white painted building and the color of the sand (red), during a particularly dark night, just before saying that she was completely night blind. There were other places like this one, but I don't remember them off the top of my head.
The story itself:
It was a nice concept, and I think it was sort of unique - at least I haven't read anything quite like it. Of course, there were the good guys and the bad guys, and those in between. There was impossible love, and then some super powers. But it was strung differently, and I liked that. I didn't quite understand whether the people from the Quarters were humans or something different. And why were there immortals in the first place... That bit was sort of confusing.
*Farley was the lead female character, who was supposed to be a part of this very important prophesy. I honestly expected her to have some special powers of key importance, and I kept waiting for them to manifest. Alas, they never did - unless that weird bit in the end could be counted. Sometimes Farley sounded stiff and vain and completely out of character, and that really bothered me. After all, the reader counts on the characters having depth and layered personalities. I wasn't really impressed with this girl.
*Daniel was the mysterious guy, who was grumpy and rude just because he didn't want to show his love. Sure, there was the oath he swore to stay away from Farley, but it was pretty obvious that that won't work out. There was some big mystery around those two, which never came out. Were they supposed to be together? Were they not? At any rate, Daniel was hot and full of internal conflicts, and that made him even hotter. Sometimes his indecision bugged me to death, and I wanted to slap him senseless. But other than that, he was a nice guy.
*Agatha was one of the characters we didn't know much about. She was just there. Period. No back story. Sure, she was nice and smart and a kick-ass heroine, but still - it would've been nice to know more about her.
The rest of the characters weren't all that prominent, though they all played their assigned roles. I guess I'd love to learn more about Kayden - he's a delicious mystery.
My rating is
Friday, July 13, 2012
NOTE: I received this book to review from Netgalley.
As usual, I'll start off with my thoughts on the writing and the story as a whole, then proceed to talk about the characters themselves.
The writing style was nice, though there were places where it felt kind of stiff and chopped. The story flowed fluidly, and was deeply moving and captivating. I could easily step into the story along the characters and walk in their world, i.e. it was realistic and could hardly be put down.
I also loved the deep level of research that the author has made in order to give us readers a sense of reality in this unknown to us world - the world of the Amish communities. Not even for a minute did I forget that we were in an Amish community. The strict rules and laws, the buggies and old fashioned clothes, the outdated mannerisms... they all spoke of an era long forgotten.
With this said, let me give you a little note on what this book is about. It's about the impossible love between an Amish boy (Noah) and an English (where English encompasses anyone who isn't Amish) girl (Rose). Lots of conflicts, rules and circumstances stand between those two, and they aren't sure where whether their love would be enough to overcome them. This first installment of the trilogy is full of hot and passionate romance, of heartbreak and hope.
I think I should say that I understand the Amish point of view though. The desire to live simple lives rebuking all temptation, and staying away from the outside world isn't foreign to me. I've wondered about the benefits of such life not once. But even with all the corruption out there, some technologies have become a necessity to our households.
So let's talk characters now:
*Rose - she's the most sensitive person I've ever encountered in a book. Until she met Noah she appeared to be calm and composed even after her mother's death and the move to a new place. But then she met Noah and all those problems began and she always seemed to be crying over this or that. Truly, I understand what it means to be sensitive and emotional - I can describe myself as such - but Rose was totally overdoing it. It was truly irritating from one point onward. I swear I rolled my eyes not once as her tears rolled down.
*Noah - I think that guy was the most honest guy I've ever read about. I kept on thinking that he'd lie or something, but he didn't. It felt bizarre and weird and also very nice, knowing that the guy you love wouldn't ever lie to you. What surprised me most about Noah was that he had never even considered living outside his Amish community, or finding a girl from among the English, and here he was, falling head over heels for Rose. And the passion he showed for her... perhaps the restraint came to be too much when one loosened? I dunno, it was just weird. I definitely liked him though, and I think that if it depended on him, he wouldn't really want Rose to give up on all parts of her life for him.
*Rose's father - in the beginning and the end he acted like he very much cared about Rose and his two sons. But in the middle pages, he was all absorbed with his new girlfriend..... That's just wrong. He didn't figure out there was anything going on between Rose and Noah until it was too late. And then he couldn't stop it. Not that I think he should've stopped it, but he could've worked out a better compromise or something.
*Sam, Rose's older brother, seemed to be stuck playing the father's role. Not that he was any good at it with his non-stop partying and girl-hunting. I understand that he tried, but when it was most crucial, he wasn't there.
So, in conclusion, I'd recommend this novel to any reader obsessed with YA contemporary fiction. The romance was sweet and at times bright hot. What more is there to know?
Thursday, July 12, 2012
NOTE: I received this book from Netgalley to review.
Oh.My.Gosh! This book was AMAZING! It was so completely different, so mind-blowing and so all-consuming that I feel like I'm floating in the air, now that I've finished it. It was pretty short, so it didn't take me too long to get to the end. Besides, the story was so enthralling that it had me pulled in from the very first page. And it never let me go.
At first, I thought that perhaps all the flashbacks that were used to put the pieces together, might ruin the story somehow, but they didn't. If anything, they made it sound so much more realistic, so much more true. And I can say that this is one of those books that have a ring of their own. A sound that makes you think of all the good things and all the bad things in life, and how just one moment could ruin or lift up your entire world and it would never be the same again.
This is a book with a moral lesson - one that many people don't ever get to learn, until it is too late. It's the lesson where you must learn to trust your eyes and heart to see the reality of things. That you shouldn't make up a reality where everything's bright and yellow and you feel comfortable so you choose to live in it. That the truth is what sets us free from the burden of all the lies and secrets and the things that we hide, tucked away so that nobody would see how ugly and corrupted we are on the inside.
It talks of love so deep it makes you go blind to everything else; of pain so excruciating it could tear you apart and break you into gazillion pieces; of letting go and learning to cope. And finally, of hoping and finding what's real and true and worth living for.
Here are my thoughts of the characters, who, by the way, were so realistic in every single thing they said and did, that as I was reading I felt I was right there in the story with them. It was simply amazing!
*Maggie was the narrator, through whose eyes and ears I saw the story unfold. It was her pain I felt, her misery that knocked on my heart, her devotion, etc. And even so, she wasn't the central figure in this story. I think she wasn't even the central figure in her own life. Until the horrible accident that took all her happiness away and threw her into a reality she'd never even thought she'd had to face. But through the pain, the lies and secrets she uncovered, and the anger that had built up in her, she managed to resurface and find her ground. And she grew up and stood tall and boy, was that brave! I wanted to be there, congratulating her for the decision she made in the end, because she deserved to be free of all that pain. I loved Maggie through and through. She wasn't a silly girl who couldn't get a reign of herself. She wasn't clueless, or brutal, or merciless. In fact, she was what an everyday girl looks like. With her fears and hopes.
*Joey was the other major figure in this story. Not because he was actually so much in it - because really, he was there in only the first couple of chapters. But his presence lingered in the rest of the pages. And those flashbacks brought him to life over and over again. I don't think I liked him though, even in the beginning, when I was clueless of where the story was headed. But as Maggie figured all clues and details, one after the other, I got to dislike him even more. In the end, I sort of hated him even.
*Adam won me over from the very beginning. Now that I think about it, even his name drew me near to him. Adam... Adam... sounds nice, doesn't it? Anyway, I just felt like he belonged to this story. With his caring and considerate actions, he just completely won me over. And to be honest, I sort of wanted him for myself. I was a bit angry with him for allowing all those secrets to be kept for so long, but I honestly couldn't hold it against him. All I could do in his presence is swoon. Hard. Especially when it all got revealed in the end.
Well, those are the major characters. The minor ones did matter too, and they were all perfectly portrayed in their different layered personalities. I honestly can't believe how extremely well each one of them was created. But they were, and I think I might be re-reading this story soon.
I not only recommend this book, I ENCOURAGE you to buy it and read it. Because it's THAT good. And I can tell you that it was worth every second of every minute of every hour of my time. Enjoy!
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Okay, so I was extremely excited about Before I Wake (BIW), before I adore Rachel Vincent as a writer, and I'm a huge fan of the Soul Screamers series. And when I got my ARC from Mira Ink, I was super happy, almost jumping around with joy!
This book was nothing like the rest of the series. The plot was confusing from the very beginning; no resolution (even a momentary one) was provided; there was too much murder and blood spilling; and because of all that I felt very very disappointed.
To be fair, I might have had very high expectations about BIW, because the previous installment, If I Die, was simply smashing! But I believe that Rachel should've known that she raised the bar, and that she had to exceed that bar in BIW. Unfortunately, in my opinion, she didn't manage it.
Now, don't get me wrong, I did like the writing, as usual. It was flawless, so no problem there. It was the plot that disturbed me, as it appeared to be confusing and somewhat pointless. I didn't really comprehend the whole deal with what was going on and why, and there was a moment of time where I actually wanted to just leave the book and never finish it.
Still though, I pushed on, and I was slightly gratified. The last 100 pages or so was where the interesting things happened, and where the third star in my rating came from. I won't say more because I don't want to spoil the book for you. In fact, you may end up totally loving it, so don't take my word for it.
Anywho, let's discuss the characters.
*Kaylee - I can't say I liked her here at all. I truly adored her in the previous books, was fascinated by her character, but now... not really. In my eyes, she wasn't Kaylee anymore. And perhaps it was somewhat right for her to be so, since she was dead and all. I guess her personality couldn't remain the same in some areas. Still, to me it felt too much of a change, and it was sort of unrealistic. Those things she did... well I don't think that Kaylee would've done them. And yet, I read of her doing them. It was just... it didn't feel right.
*Tod - I got to like Tod in If I Die. Here he sort of lost me. He acted strange, said weird things, took nothing seriously, and I felt like he wasn't dependable anymore. It honestly felt like all he wanted to do with Kay was make out. Not that I have anything against that, but seriously, I didn't see any depth. Disappointed.
*Nash though is a totally different story. He came back! I loved him! Every bit of him! From his misery, to his love, to his very existence. His personality, how it changed, was completely realistic. I couldn't have explained his turmoil and pain better. For him is that forth star. And to be honest, he's better off with Sabine. She's much more versatile and real, and you know, honest.
*Sabine - she totally rocked the boat this time. She was as straight forward and honest as ever. Only now there's a thin string of insecurity around her, which to me made her even more realistic. I loved how devoted she was to Nash, and even to Kaylee (who, in my opinion, didn't deserve it.)
*Sophie - even she has grown some backbone and some positive qualities here. I honestly don't hate her anymore (though I did in the first 50 pages or so).
*Emma - she's still the sweet girl, and best friend and I loved her for it.
So, in conclusion I can say that everyone should form their own opinion about Before I Wake. I was pretty disappointed by it, and I really truly hope that the final installment doesn't sink the series even more.
NOTE: I received this book for review from MIRA INK. Thanks for the opportunity to read BIW!
Monday, July 9, 2012
First of all, I want to say that this is NOT an YA book. Not even a late YA book. It's totally an adult book, even if a mild one, so please keep that in mind. I had no idea, so I was surprised when certain things happened the way they did.
I must say that I liked the setting. St. Augustine, Florida is my favorite quaint town in Florida, and I really wish I could live there. I'm in love with the Old Spanish quarter :))
So, my review..
The story was (in my opinion) original. I haven't read many shape-shifter books, especially when the transformation is into cats, so that was a nice idea. But, I kept thinking that the Christian, the male through whose eyes we see and hear everything, would transform. And he never did, so that was sort of disappointing.
There were certain things that felt weird to me though. Like, purposefully searching for the jaguar, and trying to befriend it. I don't think that a person in their right mind would do such a thing, even if they did believe the cat saved their life.
Other than that though, I think the story was told nicely. The world building was pretty accurate. And the characters sounded realistic enough.
I didn't like Christian very much, to be honest. At least until the turning point. He sounded like a spoilt child, and perhaps that's exactly what he was. He acted like everything he wanted, he had to have - be it a thing or a person. He was egotistic, stupid and selfish. He irritated me soo much! Until he sort of grew up and decided to finally act like a man with responsibilities. Which happened in the last couple of chapters or so.
Of the female characters... I can't say I was really impressed by them. Heather was okay, for a spoilt daughter of an eye surgeon. And then there was Aiyana, and her family of females, who were just weird, with their powers and all.
I read "Savage" rather quickly, and enjoyed it. Perhaps you'd enjoy it too. :)
My rating is
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
NOTE: I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
When I picked up Timepiece, I wasn't expecting any POV change. But instead of Emerson narrating the story, I was now looking at the world through Kaleb's eyes. I must say it was an interesting experience. He is such a complicated character, it's difficult to describe him in any way. I can say he was loving and kind, but he was also a bit selfish and there was a string of jealousy in there also. Of course, the hurt and pain were his constant companions as well. So yeah, there were layers upon layers of him introduced here.
I was glad that the Emerson-Michael romance was developed even further. Even though we only saw it through Kaleb's eyes, let's not forget that his specialty was empathy. So, it was like we felt through him what Em and Michael had going on between each other. It was nice to know that their electric love was all true and real. It sure did feel real to me.
And there was the other romantic development, which was in a way so extremely slow and anticipated that when it finally happened, I couldn't stop myself from grinning like an idiot. I was so happy for Kaleb that he'd found the right girl who turned him from a playboy to a reliable, caring and loving boyfriend.
Besides the romance, there was a deeper development to the story. The rips were getting more real than the real world, Jack was being hunted down and the Chronos wasn't staying behind. There were murders, there were conflicts, there were mysteries.
I loved the intensity and the many twists Myra McEntire included. They made the story unique and very interesting.
I was intrigued by all those new things I learned about Kaleb. How he felt about himself, the guilt he felt for letting harm come to his mother, the betrayal he felt toward his father... And in the midst of all that, there were the insecurities that Jack was planting in his mind. I'm so happy that Lily came to his rescue.
Lily, who had secrets of her own, came out to be even more special that I thought at first. She was a girl with her own pain and sorrow, her own hard moments, her own past to run from. And her skills were something else entirely! Especially when they proved great when influencing Kaleb. They make a really nice couple.
And of course Em and Michael make lots of appearances throughout the book, all of which were sweet and endearing.
With a hand over my heart I can say that I enjoyed this book very very much. I totally recommend it to everyone who loves the time traveling kind of books.
My rating is
If I could write a review of this book while being speechless, then I'd totally do it. No, wait. I can do it :)
Now let me tell you that I only started reading Hourglass because I got Timepiece to review from Netgalley. I had heard some talk about it before, but never actually read any reviews of it. Until a GReep said she loved it. And until I had to read it before starting on Timepiece.
You know what?
This book was absolutely amazing! From the plot, through the writing style, to the characters. It was every bit a five-star-er, and I don't even for a second think that I have given it more than it deserves. In fact, if there was a possibility, I'd give it six stars. That's how good it was.
There were so many twists and turns in the plot, and they were so well thought out, that I was left gaping at the pages, wondering how on earth Myra McEntire produced something so spectacular as a debut work. But she did, and I am so happy that I can share my thoughts with you!
So, this book is sort of about time travel. It's about seeing visions (or rips, as they call them here) from the past or the future, being able to slow down or speed up time, and other time related abilities. Of course, that's not the entirety of it.
There's also a hot romance that can blow electrical appliances. It's about loving someone so much that you'd be ready to give up your future, just so they can have theirs. It's about a bond so strong, that you'd risk the time and space continuum for it.
It's toe-curling, it's hair-pulling, it's exactly the type of story that would make you ache for the same type of romance in real life.
I'm not ashamed to say that I fell in love with both male and female characters, because they were just that real to me. They had real problems and dealt with them in realistic ways. Their reactions were completely plausible, all the time. And most of all, each character was layered, with depth and dimension.
Emerson was such a conflicted girl, with serious inner problems, that it only felt natural for her to turn out as a person who wouldn't trust anyone. Or anything. She'd lost her parents in an awful car accident, and the fact that she could see and speak with people from the past, had landed her in a mental institution, almost brain dead from all the pills she'd had to take. It was only after she stopped taking the pills that her life started changing. She still saw the rips, but she was starting to actually deal with that aspect of herself.
Then came Michael, who told her exactly what and who she is, and even though it didn't make sense, it also made all the sense in the world. Michael, who was gorgeous both on the outside and in, was the superhero-sort-of-guy. He wanted to make things better for everyone. And he had never anticipated finding his soul mate in the one girl he had to protect from all sorts of harm.
Lily was Em's best friend, who never asked questions, but was always ready to help. She was her own sort of a mystery person, with her own tragedies to live through.
And Kaleb... the player who had no trust in himself, who had no love to give, who had no love to get. He felt like a complete loser, but he acted like he was the best there was on the boy market. Still, he made his way into my heart because there was pain in him so overtaking, that it was a miracle he had good days at all.
Thomas and Dru were the most amazing brother and sister-in-law Emerson could've wished for. And the rest of the characters were just as awesomely portrayed as those I mentioned.
So all I can say is... if you haven't read Hourglass yet, READ IT!!!
I give it