Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

Description: What happens when happily ever after... isn’t?

Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.

And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

Delilah and Oliver work together to attempt to get Oliver out of his book, a challenging task that forces them to examine their perceptions of fate, the world, and their places in it. And as their attraction to each other grows along the way, a romance blossoms that is anything but a fairy tale.

Language: Mild
Violence: Mild
Sexual: Mild

   In Between the Lines, you will read two different stories scattered around in the book: the beginning of the book has the start of the story-in-the-story, which continues on between the POVs of Delilah and Oliver. The characters are very relatable to me, which is something I really like about it, and the overall story is extremely unique. The pacing was nice and not too fast, but not too slow, either.
   After finishing this book, I felt so many different emotions; they weren’t of irritation or annoyance for the story, and it wasn’t even sadness that the book itself had ended, but it was happiness that the characters in the story got what they wanted and lived happily ever after.
   This was the perfect book to get me out of my reading slump, and I’m certainly not sorry I picked this one up. In fact, even though I know this is real life and not some fairy tale, my thoughts for everyone having a happy ending are a little higher than before. And everyone deserves a happily ever after, right?

Cover: I like the cover because it is pretty simple and is relatable to the story.

Setting: The story takes place with the beginning of the story-in-the story, afterwards including Oliver being tired of the same old story played out constantly whenever the book was opened, and Delilah wishing she lived in a fairy tale, where everything was better than her life, or she could meet Oliver in real life.

-I have to say, Oliver is my favorite character in this story (surprise, surprise). He’s charming, but has enough faults that he doesn’t bore the readers. He is almost the complete opposite of his role in Between the Lines, the fairy tale where he has the lead role and has to win his courage by rescuing the fair maiden, Seraphima. The way Oliver adores Delilah and pushes aside her faults to see her true beauty was something I liked, and how he was very chivalrous and is much like a prince charming.
-Delilah is another one of my favorite characters, because she is so relatable and interesting. So she likes reading fairy tales better than socializing and trying to be cool, so what? I don’t really understand why her mother is so against her reading fairy tales, because in my opinion, you’re never too old for fairy tales!
-Frump was another character I enjoyed reading about, although he wasn’t necessarily the lead role in this novel.
-Seraphima was the most bubble-head princess I have ever read about, and is Oliver’s true love in the story-in-the-story in which he has to rescue from the villain—damsel in distress, as you could call her. She practically throws herself at Oliver any chance she can get.

Storyline: I love the storyline! It’s very unique. I’ve never thought of the plot of a character being sick of constantly reliving their role in the story and having their own lives and personalities when the book is closed, or wanting to escape their repetitive story. Very interesting and the overall story is a cute one.

Writing: The writing style is fairly simple, nothing elaborate, but strangely addicting. I adore the descriptions of the castle and land in which the story-in-the-story takes place, and the way Delilah and Oliver speak in their POVs is relatable and interesting.

Surprises: There were a few surprises in Between the Lines, but the main surprise is how much I found I enjoyed this book!

Overall: 5 stars. Between the Lines is officially one of my favorite books, and one that I will definitely read again sometime in the near future. My only complaint is that I wish I read more about Oliver and Delilah’s love story, but then again, I love thinking of how their story may end and contemplating this whole novel myself.

Recommended: This book is absolutely recommended! However, it may suit better with the younger teen crowd, rather than the older. This is a cute, clean fairy tale that will leave you thinking long after you’ve completed it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Review: Passion by Lauren Kate

Description: Luce would die for Daniel.

And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce and Daniel have found each other, only to be painfully torn apart: Luce dead, Daniel left broken and alone. But perhaps it doesn't need to be that way....

Luce is certain that something - or someone - in a past life can help her in her present one. So she begins the most important journey of thislifetime...going back eternities to witness firsthand her romances with Daniel...and finally unlock the key to making their love last.

Cam and the legions of angels and Outcasts are desperate to catch Luce, but none are as frantic as Daniel. He chases Luce through their shared pasts, terrified of what might happen if she rewrites history. Because their romance for the ages could go up in flames...forever.

Sweeping across centuries, PASSION is the third novel in the unforgettably epic FALLEN series.

Language: Mild
Violence: Mild
Sexual: Moderate

   It seems I’ve grown accustom to reliving the failures this series has fallen to (pun not intended—okay, it kind of was). But maybe that’s just because I have a love/hate relationship with it.
   I cannot stress how boring this book was. The same things happened: Luce finding her old self, staying in her past for a few minutes and watching her past-self kiss the past Daniel, and then leave off to another past, while Daniel is chasing after her and missing her a split second too late. Why? He should be extremely fast and teleport or whatever. He is an angel, isn’t he?
   Some things were also pretty confusing. When Bill was introduced, I felt he was unimportant and weird. Yeah, he was interesting, but it never explained how exactly he could change into whatever or whoever he so pleased until the very end. And even the explanation seemed as if Lauren Kate only just thought of it at that same time we did! I know we’re the readers and all, but I hate being perplexed through the entire book, even if Luce is confused as well. Luce is pretty stupid without many emotions—why don’t we know more than she does?
   I felt this book was very unnecessary and was only a type of filler for the last book in the series, much like the second book. I was hoping this book would resurface my love for the series and make my happiness in it soar through the sky, but unfortunately, it did the complete opposite I was expecting—no, hoping for.
   After my past two negative reviews I didn’t enjoy giving you guys, you’re probably wondering why I’m going to continue on reading the next book in the series. It’s because I still liked the first book and I want to see how the story ends, and whether it gets less boring and more interesting very fast. But, Lauren Kate, I want some things explained to me! I don’t like living in the dark!
   I probably won’t reread this book ever again. Sorry, but I just can’t put myself through it. But if you like this series and would like to continue it, don’t let this review stop you!

Cover: I didn’t like this cover as much, because it looks a bit cartoony. But it’s still pretty, in my opinion.

Setting: Time-travel seems to be the main thing in this book, using shadows to transport them into another world. Luce pretty much travels everywhere in her past, meeting her own self—excuse me, selves—and past Daniels.

Characters: Daniel Grigori very lost and a bit lonely, and wouldn’t let anybody else help him, which annoyed me quite a bit. If he can’t find the girl on his own, why won’t he let anybody help him?
-Luce was consistent with her new time-travel abilities. Basically she did the same exact thing from Chapter One to the end, with nothing very interesting happening.
-Cam was hardly in the book. This was fairly irritating! He was the most unique of all the characters in Passion.
-Arriane was hardly in this one as well. Another favorite character is gone to the wind.
-The characters thoroughly acted as puppets lead only by a string, very emotionless with less unique things about them in the previous books. At least in the others they had a bit of depth. In this one, there’s none at all.

Storyline: The storyline lacked many things. It had too much detail in some parts and not enough in others. I wasn’t pleased at all with the storyline, as I felt it was repetitive and dull.

Writing: One word: repetitive. Not only was this book extremely slow-paced, but it was also boring with its same reoccurrences and very choppy. I’m pretty sad about the fact that things weren’t interesting and the story didn’t exactly pull me into it as much as the first book.

Surprises: Nothing was especially surprising to me. This one was pretty dull, except the part where Bill had a secret identity I didn’t expect.

Overall: 3 stars. I would give it 2.5 stars, but as I’ve grown to somewhat appreciate the simple things about this series I’ve decided to be a bit kind to this book. I could be much more brutal than I already am about the past few books. Even though the first book was awesome, the series seemed to only go down the cliff from there. And unfortunately for these books, they don’t have wings to catch their fall.

Recommended: I would recommend this book for anyone who loves a unique love story, fallen angels, and/or doesn’t mind taking their time with this one.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Review: Torment by Lauren Kate

Description: Hell on earth.

That's what it's like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel.

It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts - immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn't told her everything. He's hiding something - something dangerous.

What if Daniel's version of the past isn't actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?

The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series...where love never dies.

Language: Mild
Violence: Mild
Sexual: Mild

   Torment, unfortunately, is one of those second novels where not much happens until the last hundred pages. I feel that this book could have been three quarters shorter and be a more satisfying read than I found this four-hundred and fifty-two pages of mostly filler to be. I don’t like downgrading novels and I hate writing bad reviews for them, but let me begin with my rant before I move on to things that I enjoyed.
   Something that annoyed me repeatedly was how Daniel and Lucinda would kiss and then get into a huge fight, solve this said fight with kissing, and then start all over again. Another thing that was aggravating was the fact that their relationship was more physical than mental, in my opinion, and how everyone seemed to throw the word love around as if it were a game of catch. Everything seemed to be the same in this book, and I was left feeling a bit exasperated that nothing important really happened until the very end, which didn’t exactly blow my mind either.
   So yes, this book has flaws. Do I regret reading this? Maybe the first few hundred pages. Will I continue the series? As I have the last two books already and I am still curious to see how the story plays out, I will continue this series.

Cover: Again, the Fallen series has lovely designs that have become some of my favorite covers. Well done.

Setting: Shoreline is the new boarding school in California Lucinda has been sent to, with a whole lot more new characters and a lot less of the previous characters I had grown to love. I didn’t really appreciate this, nor did I enjoy the atmosphere. I liked how at Sword and Cross, there were flaws and extreme conditions, but at Shoreline it seems as though everything is perfect—well, almost.

Characters: Daniel Grigori was much more controlling in this book, and even though it was for Luce’s safety, for some reason this irked me a bit.
   Luce was constantly breaking rules against everyone’s better judgment and seems to always give in to what people want her to do without a fight, another thing that annoyed me.
   I hate Cam as much as I have grown to, but I absolutely love Miles!
   Arriane was only in the last hundred pages or so in the book, but even then it made Torment so much more interesting. Oh, how I did miss that raunchy girl!
  Although interesting, I found myself not enjoying the presence of most of the other new characters introduced into the story.

Storyline: The storyline seemed to be lacking much more depth than the previous book (Fallen) had, and I can’t help comparing the two on the differences. It begins with the truce between Daniel and Cam, then with Lucinda going to live in yet another boarding school (Shoreline), living among both humans and Nephilims, to help her blend in and be safer.

Writing: I appreciated the writing better in the first book than this one. It wasn’t outstanding, but it was beautiful in its own way. Something that did annoy me, however, was how slow this one was—yes, it was even slower than the first one, but I do think you should read it, if you can tolerate it.

Surprises: Nothing was especially surprising to me, but the ending made me a little confused.

Overall: 3.5 stars. Although this review has more faults about Torment than anything marvelous about it, it is still an important book of the four-book series. It is still recommended, although it is a bit dull more times than less. There were some things I enjoyed, and some I didn’t. But everyone has their own opinions, so don’t let my mostly-negative one stop you from reading this overall great series!

Recommended: I would recommend this book for anyone who loves a unique love story, fallen angels, and/or doesn’t mind taking their time with this one.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate

    First of all, you may have noticed I changed the set-up for my reviews. If not, well, that’s perfectly fine.
    Now to the review!

Description: There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori. Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword and Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move. Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret... even if it kills her. Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

Violence: Moderate
Sexual: Mild
Language: Mild

Fallen is a book I will not soon forget, but it’s not one I would necessarily read again extremely soon. I will warn you, though, that many slow parts may tempt you to skip ahead in the book, but don’t. It’ll just make you more confused than you already started. Plus, you would miss a great story! I started this book with no expectations whatsoever, after reading some mixed reviews that left me uncertain, but I have to say that I’m pleasantly surprised! Fallen left me with more perplexing questions that I began with and can’t wait to find out.

Cover: I love the cover! It’s so gothic and pretty.

Setting: Something I really enjoyed was the boarding school setting of Sword and Cross, with the descriptions of how everything was; the old feeling to the building and how it used to be a church made it more interesting, with the gravestones and the ancient statues that could just crumble down any moment.

Characters: One of my favorite characters died in the end. I’m not saying who, because I don’t want any spoilers, but in my opinion she was the most interesting of them all. And she died. Need I express this more?
Other than her, my other favorite character has to be Daniel—obviously. He’s an angel, although a fallen one, and has undying love for Lucinda! Of course I love him.
   I thought Lucinda was a little relatable at times, but, yeah, she was, like she said, a little bit of a stalker also, and could be a kind of damsel-in-distress sort of girl. But I love her friend Arriane! She’s so sarcastic and rebellious and interesting. Who doesn’t want a punk character in a story?

Storyline: More often than not, this story will have you asking more unanswered quarries than you ever thought possible for a book of this genre. The story begins with Luce (also known as Lucinda) arriving at the school, taking in her surroundings, meeting new people, including Arriane and, of course, spotting Daniel from afar.

Writing: Although Lauren Kate’s writing style isn’t the most elaborate, it is sure addicting to read! The only way I can think to describe it is simple, but the thickening plot makes up for this. Make sure you know before starting, this is not a light or quick read! The story can be rather slow at times, but it builds anticipation and suspense along the way, and it lets us readers get to know the real Luce, her friends, and especially Daniel. (Yes, you may have noticed, I really like Daniel.)

Surprises: At times there are admittedly parts in the story where it was a bit predictable, and times where I was a little annoyed that Luce hadn’t seen some things coming, but there were a few surprises here and there. Cam, for example: I knew there was something a little weird about him and how his attitude had begun to slowly change throughout story, but I didn’t know that “something a little weird about him” could be this big. Also, with Miss Sophia: What a jaw-dropping moment!

Overall: 4.5 stars. I love the romance and the suspense with a bit of dark mystery mixed in. The characters are likeable and unique, those of whom I can’t wait to continue reading about. Plus, I need to know what’s going to happen next!

Recommended: I would recommend this book for anyone who loves an interesting love story, fallen angels, and/or doesn’t mind taking their time with this one.

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (December 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385738935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385738934

Friday, October 19, 2012

October Book Haul!

    Yes, you read the title correctly. Once a month there will be an official book haul posted.
    Some of the books, however, have not arrived. But three of them have, and I've decided to go ahead and put all nine on here. How does that sound? I don't know about you, but I am very excited about getting new books to dive into! Or maybe it's just because I haven't had any books to read for over a week. The horror.
    Without further ado, let's get started.


   Have you read any of these books? Don't be afraid to share your opinions! I welcome it, in fact.

   So, what books have you received this month?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Description: Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay. When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.

Overall Rating: 5/5 Stars-- Highly Recommended!

Sexual Content: Mild/Moderate
Language: Heavy
Violence: Extreme
Cover Rating: 5 stars. The cover really relates to the story, with Anna, and though it is a big creepy, I could definitely get lost in this cover. In fact, maybe even be able to stare at it all day and not get bored!

Wow. Just wow. I started this with no expectations whatsoever and ended with it being one of my favorite books. A definite five-stars and absolutely recommended, if you haven't read this yet, which I'm surprised if you haven't.

It starts us off with Cas just moving to a new town to hunt down Anna, but most of the beginning is introduction, because this is a new series, after all, and fellow readers are going to want to know what the heck they are reading about and what is going on (obviously); along with the introduction is the character building. Through these grand beginning explanations, the action really picks up when he finally finds Anna. Now, don't get me wrong, Anna is pretty dang scary, but until she began changing, I just couldn't see how she, the practically invincible ghost who began as, technically, a demon, could like, much less love, anybody, especially the ghost-hunter Cas, who tried to kill her more than once through the book. Nevertheless, I appear to be wrong, for as Anna became a bit more normal and less blood-thirsty, she really started to grow on me, becoming my favorite character besides Cas. Once I read about her wretched past, I felt sad for her and what she always wanted; her history made her love her even more than I currently did. I understood, then, and didn't barf when Anna and Cas fell in love (I saw it coming, of course).

Besides the romance, my favorite part definitely had to be the descriptive horrors throughout the book. They were enough to send chills down anyone's spine. I also adored the action, and I have to admit that I didn't expect the ending (which is a rare thing for me). 

Other than my favorite characters being Anna and Cas, I liked Thomas and Cas' mother. Carmel was okay, but at times she could be a bit, let's say, annoying; but then, all the girls fawning over Cas got on my nerves, too, and all the characters in themselves have flaws. But that's just one of the things that make them so great! (Because, really, who here wants to read about a perfect heroine? That's just not interesting.)

The ending crushed me. Seriously. I almost cried. Read this and you'll understand why.

Overall, pick up this book if you love a good, creepy read and a story that you won't soon forget.

Author's Website: KendareBlake.com