sensitivemuse

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Envy: An Empty Coffin Novel

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I really tried to like this novel. The cover got me all curious. Yet it wasn’t what I thought it was. I thought there was going to be more of a paranormal feel to it, but it’s limited to mostly the twins having their telepathic abilities. I rather liked the history behind the two girls that was actually the more interesting part of the book. The mystery part of the book wasn’t that great. It sure had all the makings of an intriguing mystery, it even got me hooked and I kept trying to guess who was behind it. Yet the ending was just so anti climactic and I felt almost as if I was cheated out of a good ending (and suddenly feeling the urge to demand a refund of my time back). So when you find out who did it and what really happened, it was pretty much bland.The characters were okay. The twins were your typical gifted, overachieving, strikingly beautiful people to ever walk the earth with paranormal powers. Nothing new there and they were like made out of a cookie cutter style. None of the characters really stood out to me, and I think this, with the combination of rather dry writing, and a slow pace of the plot, I didn’t really enjoy the novel. It was disappointing, since I was looking forward to reading this, and I thought it certainly had the potential to be interesting.I am still not sure if I’m going to read the second one of this book. It’ll have to be spectacular and exciting enough for me to read. It is the first book of a series, and sometimes they’re off to a rocky start so who knows what the second one will have. Not going to recommend this to anyone but if you are curious, I say take it or leave it.
Paper Valentine

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What stood out for me the most about this book was the writing. It was very well done. The sights, the smells, and the general feeling throughout the plot was certainly felt. I loved the mood and atmosphere that was set for this story. The whole mystery mixed with some paranormal characteristics was good although I was wrong as to how Lillian died. I certainly wasn’t expecting what she died from. But then, that would be pretty typical right?The story does sort of try to not become a typical plot you would find in most of these types of novels although when it came to the end it basically boiled down to an ending that you would have expected - but as I have mentioned earlier, what stood out for me was the writing style of the book. Although it may have left you wanting more out of the plot, you can’t dismiss the unique writing style and how well done it was. The ending had a mini twist, but it offered closure and closed all the loose ends nicely.As for Hannah as a character, I didn’t dislike her or like her. It certainly did feel that Lillian and Hannah were two halves of one person and one without the other would be just an empty shell. You certainly did feel sorry for Lillian and what she went through. As for the romance factor in the story. It was all right. Certainly, it’s typical (bad boy and good girl couple) but they seemed to be fit for each other quite nicely.Although I thought book was pretty decent, it left me wanting for something more. Also, the plot was a bit slow to go through and the pace could have been a bit quicker. Otherwise it’s a decent read and worth a try at least once, just to get the feel of Yovanoff’s writing style, which was excellent.
Blood Red Road

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I had trouble with finding a good book in the Dystopian genre that was on par with The Hunger Games. I thought to myself, nothing will be able to compare. I finally found its’ match. It’s this one. For sure. People who ask for other books like Hunger Games, I yell out Blood Red Road and nothing else. Remember Mad Max? well the world is something like this. Dry, desert, hot. Blazing hot. The setting was so descriptive and rich you can feel the heat, the sweat, and the dryness. It sure seems like a very desolate lonely world, but the world building is wonderful and so rich and detailed. It’s a perfect setting for this type of novel and it’s extremely well done. I loved Saba. She’s tough, she’s gritty, she’s not afraid to get dirty and to fight tooth and nail to get to Lugh. She treats her little sister like dirt, and yes I did find the little kid annoying, I would have hated to be in her shoes if she ever got Saba angry. But, you have to give credit to Emmi, she does talk back. As the story progresses, Emmi does grow on me and she’s definitely got the same strength Saba’s got. I love the bantering between Jack and Saba. There was chemistry there and with Saba’s bad temper it just made their interactions absolutely fun to read at times. The characters overall in this book were excellent. There was nothing to dislike! I also loved the Free Hawks. It was just awesome reading a girl gang who are able to survive on their own!The action scenes are also really good (there’s worm like creatures! it’s like the sandworms from Dune except evil and really really aggressive!!! I squeed when I read this part!) the entire plot of this book was engaging, interesting and could not stop you from reading. It was literally, a page turner.The only thing I had an issue with is Saba’s narration. It’s different, and took me a few tries to follow but you do get used to it as you read through the story. Other than that, fans of the Hunger Games would LOVE THIS! and SHOULD READ THIS! drop everything else and give this one a try. It’s one of the best dystopian books I’ve read that definitely should share the pedestal that the Hunger Games is on.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns

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Wow. I absolutely loved. No. LOVED. This book. So, what did I like about it? first of all, the setting. It’s got some influences of the Spanish court, but with a lot of fantasy elements as well. The fantasy elements are pretty good and unique there is magic involved but not your standard magic you would be used to reading in the usual fantasy novels. I thought the setting and fantasy elements were pretty different and unique. It’s a great blend of historical fiction with fantastical elements in between. There is magic to not too much to put off the anti-fantasy readers out there. The action and intrigue elements are also well written in this book. It certainly does add more substance and also adds a bit more variety to the reading. Elisa is a wonderful character. She might not be the most sexiest one I’ve ever read, but what I loved about her is her inner strength and her intelligence is featured throughout the book. Those qualities she had within her made her character development very enjoyable to read. She certain did develop especially during the latter part of the novel. The other characters in the books are also well done. I didn’t care much for Alejandro though I thought he was pretty weak (plus, the way he treated Elisa, especially after her change in appearance really didn’t sit well with me). Also, it seems some characters in the book just disappear from the novel. Yes, there is a second one after this, but it might help to find out what might have happened to them just so the reader won’t forget about these secondary characters.Still, it’s worth the read. I loved the setting, and the nice blend of fantasy and historical fiction. I definitely recommend this to other YA readers who are into the fantasy genre.
Bloodshot

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I’m always very cautious when I pick up an urban fantasy book. For two reasons: 1. I’m not a romance reader, so the moment I see a paranormal/urban fantasy with romance and unexplainable feelings stirring from the loins because there’s a character with bestial urges and dangerous animal/pheromone attractiveness, it makes me roll my eyes and go for the next book on the list. 2. Inter species fluid swapping makes me cringe. Enough about this I am going off subject...I am very pleased to say, this book has NONE of the things I was not looking for in this type of book. Actually, in fact, I was pleased with this book overall. I loved the writing style, and what grabbed me after a couple of chapters is Raylene herself. Raylene is a character so well written, and so filled with wit and charm you can’t help but like her. She’s got an attitude, and her insults are beyond hilarious not to mention, her narration of the story is what really keeps the plot going and interesting. I’m not sure who you would compare her to, as my experience reading in this genre is somewhat limited, but I’d have to say her wit and insults got me laughing out loud at times. Her snide side comments also provide for much of the comic humor that goes on throughout this book.That is not to say this book is in anyway a light hearted read. The real plot itself is dark and the overall setting and some of the characters are oily, seedy, and awful. So there is a balance between action and humor here that makes the reading certainly ‘feel’ light even though the subject isn’t close to that. What I thought was fun was Raylene seems to attract a small group of followers and she has no choice to accept them. I thought the two orphans showed the ‘softer’ side of Raylene (does she really have one though? maybe!) and the other two followers show potential romances (maybe? although her choice at the end rather surprised me). The book overall was really good and I had fun reading this. There were moments where the action was so fast paced and almost movie quality reading, and then there’s comedy moments where I found myself laughing out loud. I’m really looking forward to reading Hellbent, the next book that comes after this one. Greatly recommended for urban fantasy fans.
Secrets of the Crown

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I’m so glad this series just keeps getting better! I’ve really enjoyed the first one, but this one is even better!It’s still an adventure, and it’s certainly more focused on Aldwyn and his friends. It’s certainly more focused on Aldwyn and his past, and provides a little more on the background information to make the world building more comprehensible and easy to picture. I’m also glad to see Gilbert still hasn’t lost his touch on being the funny one of the group. I was also surprised that Skylar is still a know it all but she’s not as annoying and has turned out to be more friendly and supportive. I still love Aldwyn and he will always be my favorite. The plot is still just as good, I liked the riddle/puzzle element to it, it’s reminiscent of the Redwall books (they’re always filled with those) but with a much more adventure flavor to it. The thing I like about this is the writing style of the plot. It’s easy to picture, and if possible, could very well be made into an animated feature film. The illustrations provided are also fun to look at and is a great addition for younger aged readers.I’m looking forward to the next book in this series and can’t wait to see what happens to them next! most definitely recommended to Middle Grade readers, but all ages will have fun reading this one. Note:It’s best if you read the first before this one.
Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division

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Okay. Two reasons why I requested this book for review. 1. The hombre loves Joy Division. and 2. I wanted to know more about the band. Now I’m not a fan. Yes, I listen to a few of the songs when the hombre plays them (I must say, he still has the CD set of Heart and Soul that I bought him as a gift years ago - which makes me all warm and fuzzy because I got him something that he loves and still listens to..anyway! I’m going off topic here....)I thought the book was pretty good - now I completely understand a fan would greatly appreciate this book as it gives you an insight on how the band was. I liked the way it was written, it was to the point, and at some times really blunt. I found myself laughing at bits of it. Gradually as the book progresses though, it does get more serious and more sad - since you know what’s going to happen to Ian Curtis and although he was undergoing serious health issues they just kept going. It’s admirable because they went through a lot of struggle in the beginning, but they persisted (it’s also extremely difficult to be successful as a rock band as I learnt while reading through this book)The book also includes a more detailed description on each track the band has made which I believe fans will greatly appreciate and lots of references to other bands they have met, toured with, and sometimes fought with (hah, those were funny parts). It was also interesting to see how Hook describes Ian Curtis during their tour stops. (He can be just one of the guys too - which was hard for me to see) You also had to sympathize for him and his struggle with epilepsy. Hook’s narrative is very good and easy to follow and above all very entertaining.Fans will greatly appreciate this book, non fans wanting to read how a real (yes I say REAL) band works should pick this up to get a glimpse at how hard it really is (no seriously, it’s really hard and not as easy as you think!) also, nice small appearances from The Cure and Bono!!!!
All These Things I've Done

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I would not really put this book in the dystopia category. Yes it’s got some sort of elements (the shortage of paper, chocolate and coffee being illegal, etc) but it just seems like everyone’s putting everything in dystopia when it shouldn’t be because it’s all the rage. What got me to really liking this book was Anya as a character. She’s basically on her own taking care of her family, at the same time managing to run parts of the mafia underworld and going to school. That’s a lot on her plate and she manages to do it quite well. It’s that strength that she’s got that really got me liking her, she’s very down to earth and manages to maintain a wry sense of humor as well. The characters overall in the story are pretty good. I liked Scarlet a lot, didn’t care for her choice of boyfriend though (he’s a LOSER and a JERK I don’t care what happened to him, I did not like his past actions with Anya). The romance with Win and Anya, I really didn’t care too much for. It just seems to be so, overdone and cliched. (Surprise surprise, mafia girl goes for.. *gasp* the DA’s Son...riiiiighhhttt....)The plot is a slow pace, so it may not be for everyone. World building isn’t a great emphasis here, so you don’t really know why chocolate and caffeine are illegal. (Which may irk a few). I didn’t mind the plot despite the pace, there were times when I thought it should have gone quicker, despite the slow start and momentum, the plot is decent and the ending leaves you satisfied (at least for me it did)Looking forward to book two! I really liked the mafia spin on this book and am looking forward to more!
A Million Suns

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I loved the first one and this one was just as good. The plot carries where it left off from Across the Universe (it’s strongly recommended you read it before jumping into A Million Suns). The plot was really good and there was another mystery Amy had to solve. I loved the little clues dropped in throughout the book and Amy was just picking them up like breadcrumbs. What I loved about the book was just when you were getting comfortable and watching Amy pick up the pieces to put the puzzle together, you’re blindsided with events. These aren’t just any sort of events this is more like mind blowing What in the World OMG events where you either pull your hair or you just wanted to do a huge face palm moment (readers of this book will know what I’m talking about). It not only stops there. These blindsiding moments really pack it in towards the end of the book which makes it so exciting and enjoyable to read. I absolutely loved her writing style in this plot. Another aspect of the plot that I really liked was the chaos Godspeed was under. It’s like watching cabin fever explode onto the ship. Character wise, I’m enjoying how they’re developing. Elder’s really taking the reigns of the ship and I liked his development. He’s growing up (that dear dear boy. *wipes tears* haha) and it’s nice to see he’s finally taking charge and getting what he’s been trained for all this time.Ending is left in a cliffhanger and I’m ready to jump into the third one (can it be released NOW? please?) lots of questions asked! and hopefully they’re be answered soon! it’s a great series so far, most definitely recommended for YA readers (sci fi geeks most welcome!)
Entwined

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It’s very well written, and although the plot is a little slow to start off, I think it’s essential for it to go at that pace. It introduces the reader to a detailed world with a good amount of characters to read about. The sisters in the book are distinct enough so the reader can figure out who is who. Some of their personalities are stronger and more memorable than others (Bramble comes to mind). There’s real well placed moments of humor throughout the book and you do find yourself laughing here and there. The more fantastical and magical elements of the book are also well done, especially towards the ending where the pace of the book goes at whirlwind speed and keeps the reader engaged well until the last pages.The character of the Keeper is also well written. As the book progresses his sinister side comes out and it does get a little, well creepy. It suits the story and the setting (where the Princesses go to dance). The setting itself does seem marvelous and beautiful but there’s a coldness and detachment to it - which is a very likely home for the Keeper himself as his personality also is a reflection to the setting. The ‘couples’ of the book are well done and they suited each other. It’s another retelling of Twelve Dancing Princesses but I feel that it’s much more than that. It’s well detailed, and despite it’s length, it’s a beautifully written story where when you’re done with the book, you feel satisfied, and complete. Definitely recommended for those in love with young adult books, fairy tales and the retelling of them, but also those that like fantasy stories without intense descriptions of magic.
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