Book Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Title: The Replacement
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Published: 2010
Publisher: Razor Bill

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:

Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate’s baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.

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I wanted to like this story, the concept is one that I haven’t seen a lot of, and the fey/changelings are something that interest me. However, I just could not get into this book at all. There are so many questions left unanswered, and everything is mysterious, nothing gets explained and all of the characters seem to know what’s going on, but there aren’t any resolutions or forward movement.

Mackie is one of the biggest problems for me. He’s vague and a bundle of walking contradictions. His changeling status makes it so he can’t handle loud noises, yet his favorite place to be is in the pit of a rock show? Or on stage with the band. He can’t touch metal, but he drinks beer from a can. The author spends so much time making him so different from everyone else, and then doubles back and breaks her own character rules. I really couldn’t get behind his voice, or his actions–or really bring myself to care what was happening to him. He’s got a crush on Tate (who is her own bundle of off putting characteristics) and yet he wants to hang out/make out/score with the hot/slutty girl of the school.

Also, can we stop with the slutty characters? You can have sexual characters, just please no slut shaming in books. It really is off putting, and shows no respect for the characters themselves. It distances me even further from this story, because this particular character was only referred to by how hot she was/how easy she was. I did like Emma–she was a character that seemed so fleshed out compared to the others. She had motivation and drive and distinction from everyone else in the story.

I’m not out to trash this book, or anyone who enjoyed it. I couldn’t get into it. There were moments that showed promise, but then something completely removed me from the story. The concept is neat, and something that we don’t see a lot of in the book world. I just wanted more from it.

Overall: pink2 Skip this. It’s frustrating and disjointed.

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Book Review: Unspeakable by Michelle K. Pickett

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Title: Unspeakable
Author: Michelle K. Pickett
Published: February 10th 2015
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
“Breathe. No one will break me. I’m strong. Breathe. Just breathe.”

On the outside, Willow appears to have it all. She’s beautiful, smart, from an influential family, and she dates the most popular guy in school—Jaden. But she would walk away from it all in a second. Willow is tormented by lies and suffocating guilt, not the hearts and flowers people believe her life is full of.

She carries a dark secret. Plagued by nightmares and pain, the secret dominates her life. If she hadn’t walked away. If she had just…but she didn’t. And now she has to live with her choice. But when someone uncovers her family’s past, they use it against her, crushing her spirit little by little. She tells herself she just has to make it to graduation. Then she can leave Middleton, and her secret, far behind.

When Brody transfers to Cassidy High, he turns Willow’s life upside down. He shows her what it feels like to live again, really live. And suddenly, she isn’t satisfied with just surviving until graduation. She wants a normal life—with Brody—and he wants her. But the closer they become, the more it threatens to unravel the secret she’s worked so hard to hide.

Willow finds true love with Brody. Will she let his love save her, or walk away from him to keep her secret safe?

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I feel a little weird saying that I really enjoyed this book considering the subject matter. That out of the way, I really enjoyed this book. The story is well written, the characters are engaging and have strong, solid voices. Willow really stood out for me and I really love how she grew and changed as the story progressed-it was refreshing to see her find her own footing and stand up for herself. Brody is a great character and he really works well with Willow. I love their relationship and how it changes both of them and really pushes Willow to stand on her own.

There were a few instances where I was a little skeptical of the authenticity of the story. Medical professionals are trained to recognize abuse, as are teachers, and most adults would question the amount of bruises/’accidents’, and injuries Willow happens to have. A few scenes slipped past me as well, as some of the abuse happened in front of witnesses. I understand Jaden’s hold on the school and student body, but someone would have spoken up at some point–and that could have been really interesting to explore. That being said, I did like how Willow didn’t instantly become able to stand on her own simply because Brody came into her life. It took time for her to be able to speak up, to do something other than suffer at the hands of her tormentors.

Overall: pink3 A well written, thoughtful read with memorable characters. I will be picking up more from this author.

Comic Talk: Batgirl Vol. 1 (New 52)

Writer/Artist: Gail Simone, Ardian Syaf, Vincente Cifuentes

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis: Three years ago, Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, nearly lost her life when the Joker shot her through the spine. Ever the fighter, Barbara not only survived but after years of sitting in a wheelchair found a way to walk again.

Barbara has reclaimed her life and regained her independence, but must prove to her mentors Batman and Nightwing, as well as her Police Commissioner father, that she’s capable of doing it on her own. Even more important, she must prove to herself that she can complete the long journey to recovery.

But getting back on her feet in Gotham City will become even more challenging when a very personal hit list is revealed in the hands of a new villain.

And Barbara’s name is on it.

picadillypink I have to admit that I’ve always been a Batman type of girl. I hadn’t ever read any of the Bat family–until I got sucked into the new 52 verse. Barbara Gordon due to a medical miracle has regained her ability to walk. She strikes out on her own, starting to regain her independence. Her roommate Alysia is awesome–while suspecting Babs is up to something, doesn’t push or go snooping around. One thing that I LOVE about this volume is that Barbara dons the batgirl cowl, but she makes mistakes, big ones. She struggles while fighting, being out of practice. I love the scenes with her and Nightwing and the retelling of their history and the love that they have for each other. The ending arc with Bruce/Batman was done really well, their interaction smooth and effortless. One thing that really stuck out to me is Barbara’s struggles especially with PTSD/night terrors. It shows that she is still effected by the events of The Killing Joke story arc. It’s a brilliant move by Gail Simone and I love it. The art for this volume is absolutely breathtaking, great colors, and easily read.

Overall I highly recommend this volume. Features a strong female lead, and great story.

Book Review: The Best Laid Plans of Boys and Men by Anne Conley


Title: The Best Laid Plans of Boys and Men
Author: Anne Conley
Published: Janurary 3, 2015
Publisher: Self.
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book to review by My Family’s Heart. All opinions are my own.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
The Best Laid Plans of Boys and Men tells the story of the whirlwind May/December romance between Taylor and Alexander. While Taylor is completely caught off guard by Alexander’s maturity and the difference between him and every other boy she’s dated, Alexander’s busy trying to figure out how to tell her he’s the lawyer suing her pants off.

This is a standalone story of approximately 30 thousand words, not part of any of Anne Conley’s series.

picadillypinkI LOVED this book. The characters were absolutely amazing and well rounded, and so believable which is something that really makes or breaks a book for me. Alexander is an interesting hero choice and I love his interactions with Taylor. Their chemistry from the first page was apparent and it only continued to escalate as the pages went by. Their story was intriguing and intense, and really kept me hooked until the last page.

The main story line really raised some great questions when it comes to relationships, and the importance of honesty from the start. This is a great intense read, my only complaint is that I wish it was longer, but as with other great books it’s just because I was so into the story. I’ll come back to this story and re-read it, it’s that good. The emotions, characters and plot are believable. It’s a wonderful story and I want everyone to read it. This is my first story by Ms. Conley, and it won’t be the last.

Overall: pink4

Book Review: Lunacy by R.A. Sears


Title: Lunacy
Author: R.A Sears
Published: December 2012
Publisher: Darq Deviant Press
Disclosure: I won Lunacy off of a Facebook contest. All opinions are my own–the author did not ask me to review in exchange for this book, it was a gift.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Kacea Meade is your average high school senior: a bit of an outcast, a good student, and looking forward to graduation so she can move on from little Elm Valley, New York. Or so she thinks. Unbeknownst to her, Kacea has a dark destiny heavily entrenched in magick, creatures meant to dwell only in nightmares, and Ragnarok: the Norse apocalypse.

Jynxx Davison, Kacea’s classmate and long-time crush, has his own unnatural calling that is brought to light through her awakening. With their relationship just starting to blossom, a cloud of tragedy hangs overhead, threatening all she holds dear and forcing her hand. To keep her family and friends safe from these eldritch beings with godlike powers, can Kacea leave everything she’s ever known behind and trust in the word of a vampire?

picadillypink I could not put this down. I quickly fell in love with the main cast, two characters stole my heart completely, and at one point I was texting a friend going “THIS CHARACTER BETTER NOT DIE BECAUSE RAGE”. Lunacy is a fast paced read that is dense with world building and blazing imagery. I’m a visual person, and I really appreciate it when authors books are lush with description and images that can stand on their own.

Kacea just wants to finish high school and get on with her adult life. She’s smart, quirky and has a good group of friends that she can count on. She’s been crushing on Jynxx since middle school, and it seems that fate has brought them together. Their chemistry is off the charts, and melts the pages without being too explicit or hurried. Kacea is a strong female character, who knows what she wants and can stand on her own. Jynxx is a character that falls into the ‘tall dark and handsome with a tragic past’ but this is expanded and doesn’t fall into the trope territory.

I love the take on werewolves here, and the werewolf mythology that’s presented. Speaking of mythology, the subtitle of this book is The Ragnarok Legacy, so there’s Norse mythology intertwined with the world of the wolves, Kacea’s seemingly human world and with the addition of vampires it’s certainly jam packed with supernatural elements, but it doesn’t get cluttered. Everything works together and blends beautifully. I’m really interested in where this story goes as it ends on a cliff hanger (con #1). There is a novella that bridges between book one and book two. Book two isn’t out yet, so I’m going to wait somewhat patiently for it.

My only complaint about this book is the sheer amount of characters presented. It’s got a massive cast, both main and support and what I like to call mainsupport (those who are support, but have more of a storyline than the support cast normally do.) At times I had to stop and figure out who was who, making sure I had the right characters in the right place. I have a feeling that these characters will be important down the line, but it was kind of intimidating at times to have so many in the book.

Overall: pink4 I’m chomping at the bit for the second book, which isn’t out yet. I have the novella somewhere in the house so I’m going to be tracking that down as well. It’s a great read full of action, and really amazing lore. If you’re an anime/manga dork like I am, you’ll find little Easter eggs and connections.

Book Review: Falcondance by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes


Title: Falcondance The Kiesha’ra volume 3
Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Published: September 13th 2005
Publisher: Delacorte Press

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Nicias has never felt completely at home among the avians and serpiente in Wyvern’s Court, despite his loyalty to Oliza Shardae Cobriana, the heir to both thrones. He is a falcon, the son of two exiles from Anhmik- and images of this distant island have always haunted his dreams. But when Nicias’s visions become more like reality, his parents have no choice but to send him back to the homeland- and a royal falcon- they’ve tried their best to forget.

If Araceli won’t bind Nicias’s new found magic, it could destroy him. In a place where everyone is a pawn, only one other woman has the potential to save Nicias. But she holds the keys to a dangerous power struggle that will force Nicias to choose between his duty- and his destiny.

picadillypink To be completely honest I’m still on the fence with this series, as Snakecharm left a bad taste in my mouth. Falcondance introduces a slew of new characters, the second generation of the books if you will, and it’s a little difficult to sympathize with any of them straight off the bat. As readers we’re thrown directly into the story without any sort of buildup or back story at all. Nicias is an interesting character, and I have a feeling he’ll play an important part in the next book.

Falcondance is a bit of an information dump after the first chapter, revealing more about the Falcons, their history, their magic and their part in the war between the avians and the serpiente. This book is far more political than the other two, focusing on an older, stricter culture than the others. It was interesting to see the differences between the three, especially through Nicias’ eyes as he’s someone who doesn’t quite fit in anywhere, until later in the story. It is a short book at just under two-hundred pages, but at times drags. The action, when it does happen is far more brutal and intense than the other two books in the series, further progressing the story and introducing some darkness to it.

Overall: pink3 Falcondance hasn’t redeemed the series for me, but I am more likely to pick up the next one rather than dropping it.

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green.


Title: An Abundance of Katherines
Author: John Green
Published: September 21st 2006
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Katherine V thought boys were gross
Katherine X just wanted to be friends
Katherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mail
K-19 broke his heart
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun–but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.

picadillypink I wanted to like this so badly–and I’m also sensing a pattern with Green’s works for me. I find them so pretentious and almost antagonistic in the way that they present the overly smart male protagonist and the whimsical, mysterious female that he undoubtedly falls in love with. Maybe because the narrative voice in TFioS is female, and I identify a little bit with the way Hazel presents herself and speaks that I didn’t find it as pretentious as the other books by Green.

My other problem with An Abundance of Katherines, is the pacing. It seems to drag and flip flop between the past and current events. It stretches out so slowly that it was almost a burden to finish. I’m trying really hard not to have any DNF books this year, and already six days in I was really tempted to just put it back in the bag for the library. I slogged through it, finding Colin boorish and just someone that I really didn’t want to read more about. The only slight ray in the dark was Hassan, but even that was drowned out by Green’s incessant reminders that he was Muslim, and throwing around Arabic/Islamic phrases. Please do not get me started on the footnotes, I hate them in text books, and I have absolutely no interest in seeing them in fiction (which is probably one of the reasons why I don’t read high fantasy either).

Overall: pink2 I have two more John Green books to read and I’m not certain I’m going to.