A Certain Slant Of Light by Laura Whitcomb: review

A Certain Slant of Light (Light, #1)A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb
Series: Light #1
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group:
Mature Young Adult
Genre: 
Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: 
HMH Books
Release Date: 
September 21st 2005
Synopsis:
 In the class of the high school English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them: for the first time in 130 years, human eyes are looking at her. They belong to a boy, a boy who has not seemed remarkable until now. And Helen–terrified, but intrigued–is drawn to him. The fact that he is in a body and she is not presents this unlikely couple with their first challenge. But as the lovers struggle to find a way to be together, they begin to discover the secrets of their former lives and of the young people they come to possess.

My Thoughts:

I found quiet beauty within the pages of A Certain Slant of Light. Even though the book contains mature themes and some slightly disturbing moments, Laura Whitcomb somehow makes every page seem beautiful. Well, it was all beautiful to me at least.

What you will find in this novel is a story of two ghost, the romance that blossoms between them, the lives (originally belonging to two souls who wandered away from their bodies) they try to blend into, the fragments of memories that they slowly start to recall, their struggling to forgive themselves, and searching through their emotions and soul.

Whitcomb does a magnificent job at telling the story, weaving together all the many different story elements together perfectly and giving each one enough attention. She made A Certain Slant of Light a completely compelling story. I could go on and on about how the finesse this lady was able to tell her story with. There are religious and spiritual themes in thus book, and while I thought them to be executed well and not in a “preachy” way, it could bother some readers. Just thought that that might be something readers would want to be aware of…

A Certain Slant of Light is a bit different from many other Young Adult novels, because of the two leads. The two lead characters, James and Helen, are in their late twenties (though the empty bodies they take over are teens). I really didn’t know what to expect since the characters are clearly not young adults. Fortunately, Whitcomb wrote James and Helen in a way that allowed me to be able to understand and connect with them, despite the significant age difference.

One might say that the love that sparks between James and Helen could be called insta-love or something close to insta-love. It’s true that James and Helen talk about love very early into the book , but I see their romance another way. I think their love stemmed from loneliness and desperation. The two ghost haven’t been able to touch or speak to a person in over a hundred years. So I only think it’s natural that the two characters would want to cling onto each other as tightly as they could.

The atmosphere of this novel is what really grabbed hold of me. A feeling of muted melancholy and creepiness went over me while I read A Certain Slant of Light. But there was also the occasional feeling of love and hope. I love it when a story has a noticeable atmosphere that stays with me even after I finish. And this book certainly had one of those atmospheres.

Whitcomb’s prose is absolutely wonderful. The way she puts words together is lovely and even calming. I swear, one could devour her words all day. It also seems like Whitcomb has a large love for poetry and literature as a whole, as her book has references and quotes peppered throughout the course of the story.

A Certain Slant of Light is a truly amazing novel and I can not wait to read Whitcomb’s most recent release, which is a sequel to this one. I am literally having to restrain myself from begging for people to read this book (I’ve been getting a little hyper lately 😉 ). So, if you have an urge for a book with ghost and a little more, A Certain Slant of Light is at the bookstore, waiting for you. Like it was waiting for me.

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Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford: review

Suicide NotesSuicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford
Stand Alone
My Rating
: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Mature Young Adult
Genre: Realistic, Contemporary, LGBT
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: October 14th 2008
Synopsis: I’m not crazy. I don’t see what the big deal is about what happened. But apparently someone does think it’s a big deal because here I am. I bet it was my mother. She always overreacts.

Fifteen-year-old Jeff wakes up on New Year’s Day to find himself in the hospital. Make that the psychiatric ward. With the nutjobs. Clearly, this is all a huge mistake. Forget about the bandages on his wrists and the notes on his chart. Forget about his problems with his best friend, Allie, and her boyfriend, Burke. Jeff’s perfectly fine, perfectly normal, not like the other kids in the hospital with him. Now they’ve got problems. But a funny thing happens as his forty-five-day sentence drags on: the crazies start to seem less crazy.

Compelling, witty, and refreshingly real, Suicide Notes is a darkly humorous novel from award-winning author Michael Thomas Ford that examines that fuzzy line between “normal” and the rest of us.

My Thoughts:

Oh, Suicide Notes… This novel was like a little box filled with all kinds of different emotions. Laughter, anger, sadness, heartbreak, confusion, laughter, and more. Suicide Notes was able to bring out so many different emotions. And yes, I know that I wrote laughter twice, but seriously, this book is hilarious. You really wouldn’t think that a story with such sad things in it could be so funny, but Ford managed to form a meaningful story that is as funny as it is full of impact.

“Maybe I can convince my parents to move to France. No one in France cares if you tried to kill yourself. In fact, I think they like you better because you’re all tragic.”

Fifteen-year-old Jeff slit his wrists on New Year’s Eve as an attempt to take away his own life, only to wake up on New Year’s Day in the psychiatric ward of the hospital. And has to stay there for forty-five days. It is pretty obvious to Jeff that he shouldn’t be there, that this is all a mistake. He doesn’t belong in a place filled with crazy kids. He doesn’t need a psychiatrist. He is perfectly normal and sane. Though as time goes on, the crazy kids start to seem less crazy and Jeff realizes some things himself.

I can not even begin to put into words how much I loved Jeff. His funny comments and observation had me loving him almost instantly, and his narration goes off into random tangents, which I found to be highly amusing. But even with all the laughs that Jeff will cause you to have, he is a clearly flawed person. His development is what Suicide Notes is all about, and boy, it was an amazing thing to read about. It only took me three hours to finish all forty-five chapters, because I was so absorbed in Jeff’s story.

Jeff’s problems and reason for committing suicide were all honestly and accurately portrayed, I believe. It never felt as if Ford was trying to downplay something. I actually had to pick up some pieces of my heart after reading the pages that revealed what happened. The rejection, pain, and embarrassment Jeff went through really stabs at ones heart.

The supporting characters are all well-written and play huge roles in Jeff’s development. I’m going to have to be vague, as I believe that Suicide Notes‘ supporting characters will be much more interesting if a person doesn’t know much about them. Let’s just say that I absolutely loved Dr. Katzrupus (nicknamed “Cat Poop” by Jeff) Bone, Juliet, Sadie, and Martha. And while there were some characters that I didn’t take a liking to or just didn’t get to spend a good amount of time with them, they never felt unneeded.

Reading Suicide Notes requires a mature and receptive mind. While the novel has a lot of humor, it can get dark at times, and many topics, such as suicide, sexuality, identity, and abuse, are all examined, discussed, and depicted at some point throughout the story.

I enjoyed reading Ford’s prose. It’s pleasant and gets the job more than well done. And seriously, I utterly devoured all the passages that are chock full of humor. This author really knows how to make a reader laugh!

“Sometimes I think there’s someone up there just sitting around thinking of ways to make me look like a complete moron. Seriously, I bet there’s an angel—or, more likely, a demon—assigned just to me. And every day it gets up and asks itself what it can do to ruin my life. Well, today it got an A plus.” 

If there is anything that this novel is really lacking, it’s an epilogue. I would have loved to find out how Jeff patches things up with his best friend Allie and went through life after he got out of the hospital. Unfortunately, my longing will only stay as that, longing 😦

Suicide Notes is a compelling novel that will make you experience all kinds of emotions. I loved it and can’t recommend it enough. It’s humor, characters, and portrayal of problems that many teenagers face absolutely wows me. Just please, read this book!

The Archived by Victoria Schwab: review

The Archived (The Archived, #1)The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Series: The Archived #1
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult/
Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Romance
Publisher: Hyperion
Release Date: January 22nd 2013
Synopsis: Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

My Thoughts:

Now, The Archived was a book I could really sink my teeth into. The novel had a unique story unlike any other I have read that is very easy to get lost in, and the atmosphere was very much like an atmosphere I would find in a very large private library– hushed and secretive, the only real difference being is that this book made me feel like there was a dead person peeking at me through a space between two books sitting on a shelf, which I found to be somewhat chilling.

In the back cover of The Archived‘s hardback, there is a picture of the Coronado, a old building filled with doors to the Narrows and memories from the past. Mackenzie, a Keeper and a girl struggling with the loss of her little brother, moves into the apartment building with her parents. What she finds there is a suspicious increase of Histories, the records of the dead, escaping into the Narrows and a murder mystery whose affects even ripple into the Archive.

The storytelling is remarkable, with slow pacing that had a pensive feel to it. And the wistful, gentle yet powerful prose that enhanced the many other elements of The Archived. I am thoroughly impressed with how engaging this story was. I really had a hard time putting the book down, especially when those exciting scenes with Mackenzie hunting in the Narrows, kicking History butt, or even just those scenes with Mackenzie walking through the Archive.

Victoria Schwab did a fantastic job with her world-building. It was inventive and creative. The two words of the Archive, a place where the dead rest on shelves like novels, and the Narrows felt dark and had a certain mysteriousness to them that only made me want to explore more, even if both worlds sent a little chill down my spine.

Mackenzie had a character that I immediately felt a connection to. I could feel how tired she was of lying, the emotional toll that her little brother’s death had on her, how jarring the move to the Coronado was to her, and even her frustration with all the suspicious things happening around her. All those feelings of hers felt painfully real and made a huge impact on me.

But, even with all that internal conflict going on inside, Mackenzie was a tough character. She possessed  a strong determination inside her, and had downright awesome skills as a fighter and a Keeper. The reader can definitely count on her to get things done.

Wes was, well, he was great. Really, really great. I adored him, and the extra life and humor he brought to the story. I cheered (in my head of course) whenever he walked into a scene. And he perfectly fitted into place beside Mackenzie. I seriously want to hug the author for making such of a memorable love interest.

I only have two quibbles, quibbles with the romance and the villain. Wes is a great love interest that I am excited to read more about in the sequel of this book, but the Other Love Interest fell flat as a love interest. Then again, I’m not even sure if there was really any actual romance between Mackenzie and the Other Love Interest, as the whole thing is pretty vague.

The villain was just too easy to guess early on in the novel. So while I enjoyed the story very much so, the mystery became lackluster, because the villain is pretty obvious. I will say that this may not be so for other readers, since there are plenty of other suspects to point fingers at. I just happened to especially notice one character and thought him to be an obvious villain.

Schwab has created a very strong first book for a series. While it might have its flaws, it is highly absorbing and extremely creative. I have no doubt that lovers of the paranormal, and maybe even lovers of paranormal libraries, will love The Archived. And now it is time for me to go hunting for a door to the Narrows. Farewell! (Please ignore Lottie’s delusions.)

Note: The image of the back cover is from here.

Burning Blue by Paul Griffin: review

Burning BlueBurning Blue by Paul Griffin
Stand Alone
My Rating:
4.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Publisher: Dial
Release Date: October 25th 2012
Synopsis: How far would you go for love, beauty, and jealousy?

When Nicole Castro, the most beautiful girl in her wealthy New Jersey high school, is splashed with acid on the left side of her perfect face, the whole world takes notice. But quiet loner Jay Nazarro does more than that–he decides to find out who did it. Jay understands how it feels to be treated like a freak, and he also has a secret: He’s a brilliant hacker. But the deeper he digs, the more danger he’s in–and the more he falls for Nicole. Too bad everyone is turning into a suspect, including Nicole herself.

Award-winning author Paul Griffin has written a high-stakes, soulful mystery about the meaning–and dangers–of love and beauty.

My Thoughts:

I opened to the first page of Burning Blue with extremely high expectations. How couldn’t I with such of a intriguing synopsis that not only promises a fascinating story but a look into the meaning and dangers of love and beauty? And then I read all two hundred eighty-eight pages in one day, absolutely breathless. Burning Blue is did not just reach my expectations, but exceeded them. Paul Griffin doesn’t hold anything back in this provocative and compelling novel.

Burning Blue immediately captures a person’s attention by depicting the scene in which Nicole Castro’s face is splashed with acid by an unknown person, completely ruining a half of her face and also changing her life. Everybody knows about the incident that stole the beautiful girls beauty, but only one person, Jay Nazarro, goes after the culprit. And what happens after that is an addictive story with many suspects, a developing friendship, a remarkable exploration of the affects of such a horrible crime, and the support that can get someone through it.

It should really be told that this book is not a “beauty is what’s on the inside” story that continually tries to nudge the message into your mind. Burning Blue does indeed show that a person is made up of things other than how beautiful they are, but Griffin manages to keep it subtle, keeping the story far from being cliche.

Griffin did an amazing job with the two leads of this book. Jay and Nicole are characters that felt, well, very complete. They were both layered, felt real, had their own flaws, big and small, and fitted seamlessly into the story. It is imperative for the story such as the one in Burning Blue to have characters that feel real so that it might feel as if the events happening in the story could really happen. Otherwise, the story would have much less impact. So it was good that Griffin was able to create such fantastic characters.

Jay, the narrator, evoked a great amount of interest from me. He has been suffering from frequent seizures caused by a head injury, and has only started to come back to school after having a seizure during a pep rally in front of everyone. Being a loner by choice, Jay was only mildly interested in the mystery of who burned Nicole. But after the developing of somewhat of a friendship between him and Nicole, he takes it upon him to use his skills as a hacker and bring the culprit done.

I admit to being a little afraid of how Nicole’s character was going to turn out. She was the most beautiful and popular girl in school, until the acid was splashed on her face, so it is understandable that she would lament over the loss of her beauty–and that was what I was afraid of. I didn’t want a character that constantly thought about how beautiful she used to be. My worries were unfounded, though, since I quickly found out that Nicole is a very brave person. She is just trying to get through this terrible change in her life using the support she is being given by the few people around her. And, frankly, I thought she was an admirable character because of that, even though I was suspicious of her at times.

The friendship (not romance, even though Jay does mention that he is attracted to Nicole) between Jay in Nicole was charming, to say the least. It was friendship built from them both knowing what it is like to be quietly pushed away by people and living with the fact that they are already labeled. But even with that friendship, the situation causes them to have to constantly try to steady the trust that has been established between them. It all felt very real. And I also loved the conversations and interactions between the two.

The mystery that Griffin crafted definitely keeps you alert and aware of everything happening in the story. With so many different suspects, I was constantly changing who I was pointing a finger at and always suspicious of many different people at the same time– even the victim herself. And when the culprit was revealed my jaw dropped. I never saw it coming. The mystery was carries out so well, executed so brilliantly. The motives were explained, the shock was all there, and the clues scattered about all felt so meaningful and obvious when everything became unravelled. I was at lost for words.

I do realize that if I had savored more details and had spent more time lingering on a page that I might have been able to solve the mystery earlier in the story. But even so, I believe that Griffin did an excellent job that deserves nothing but praise.

Burning Blue contains dialogue that is surprisingly engaging and is the source of much of the humor in the book, alongside the humor that emits from Jay’s narration. Really, I wouldn’t have minded if this book was just a script. Griffin’s prose is also engaging, flows well, and fits the mood of the story. Entries in Nicole’s diary are also inserted into the pages of the novel a few times, which, while the transitions were a bit jarring, tended to only keep you even more suspicious about everything.

At the end of the novel, I remembered that a review recommended to read the author acknowledgments pages right after you finish reading the last page. So I did. And happily discovered that the Griffin told about some of the things that inspired him to write the novel, some of which are very sad, but it was still fulfilling to read and I really do feel like I had taken something from the acknowledgments.

Burning Blue is a novel that truly does give an impact. Filled to the brim with mystery, thrills, suspicious, hope, and remarkable characters. And the perfect pacing only makes Burning Blue more addictive. I am thoroughly impressed with this book and believe it to be one of the best  mystery novels in the Young Adult genre. This is a real gem and I can’t recommend it enough.

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch: review

If You Find MeIf You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
Stand Alone
My Rating:
4.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Mature Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: March 26th 2013
Synopsis: There are some things you can’t leave behind…

A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.

My Thoughts:

If You Find Me is a real gem. It’s honest and in-depth look on family, forgiveness, abuse, and healing is a stunning. And the haunting yet beautiful view the novel has of the world is full of unmistakable hope and impact. Emily Murdoch has touched my heart with her beautifully-made debut.

Carey can only remember the woods as her home. And she can only remember Janessa, her baby sister, and her mother as her family, her father is only a reason, the reason why she currently lives in the woods. Carey’s mother leaves the woods more frequently and longer, leaving Carey the only thing to help Janessa and herself survive. But one day Carey’s mother leaves and doesn’t come back. Instead, two unknown people visit the camper Carey resides in. What follows is a honest story about dealing with past abuse, forgiving, family, and finding out where your real home is.

The obvious care and love Murdoch put into this novel resulted in a heartfelt, hopeful story that is full of piercing emotion. Every event that Carey experiences during her new life is never unnecessary and packs a punch. Every interaction between characters, especially her new family, is natural and always has emotion in it. The looks into Carey’s life in the woods are often sad and heartwrenching, but sometimes have a beauty in them. The author’s depiction of emotion is top-notch.

An aspect of If You Find Me that really caught my eye was the unique prose. Murdoch captures the essence of the woods with her writing, while capturing the beauty of the feelings between the characters, the characters themselves, and the contemporary world with perfection. It’s delicate and fragile and genuine and powerful at the same time.

Carey is a character that, while being a bit of a Mary Sue, is unforgettable. Her strength and perseverance, caring for for and protecting her sister Nessa who is selectively mute, how she strongly lived her life in the woods and with a bipolar mother, and how she dealt with being thrown in a new life. And the way she looks at the world with wonder… She’s a downright admirable character that will really stay with you.

Delaney, Nessa, Melissa, Charlie, Pixie, Ryan and the other supporting characters fit right in with the story and beside Carey. They contribute much to the story as a whole and enhance it. Delaney first seems like a nasty person, but after further development, she becomes sympathetic and I felt that I understood her. Nessa is all sweetness, and Melissa and Charlie, Carey’s father, are caring, understanding parents that help Carey along on her journey. Pixie is a fun-loving, quirky new friend of Carey’s that I couldn’t help but love. And Ryan is absolutely adorable and holds a very important role in Carey’s life. Murdoch did fantastic with her supporting characters and I do love good supporting characters.

There are some triggering and dark themes featured in If You Find Me. Abandoning one’s children, abduction, abuse, among other thing. I believe that they were handled with great care and only make the novel even more thought provoking.

But despite all my gushing, If You Find Me isn’t a flawless debut, though it nearly is. The flashbacks could have been woven more tightly into the narrative, as they sometimes seemed out of place and disrupted the flow of things. But that is my only complaint in the sea of all the things I am gushing about.

If You Find Me is a novel with a really good heart at its core. Its honesty and meaning will stay with me, inside my heart. This story of a young girl’s journey is precious and deserves to be read and remembered by people, and I am glad that I got to be one of those people who did.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey: review

The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1)The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Series: The Fifth Wave #1
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Romance
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: May 7th 2013
Synopsis: The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

My Thoughts:

The 5th Wave has made quite a splash in the blogging community and is still sending ripples. (I guess that this review right here is one of those ripples, haha.) But is this story of an alien invasion really that good? In my opinion, it is. The 5th Wave is a completely addictive novel that is refreshing, adrenalin-pumping, entertaining, and thought provoking. In other words, it was pretty brilliant.

Humanity is slowly being destroyed by the Others, wave by wave. In the first wave, the aliens pulled the plug on them. Second, it was massive tsunamis. Third, it was a terrible disease spread by birds and the air. Fourth, it was the Silencer. Fifth, well, the fifth wave hasn’t come yet. That is how the aliens are wiping away humanity, in The 5th Wave. Only the strong can survive, and they will be the battlefield.

Alien invasions aren’t a uncommon thing in fiction. They are in movies, games, comics, and books. What sets Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave apart is the fantastic storytelling, the kind of storytelling that makes a person feel more of the fear and suspense every time a word is said. The novel keeps you on your toes with it perfect pacing, turning the pages, in hopes of finding out who survives and who doesn’t, who can be trusted and who doesn’t. And it makes you wonder what would really happen if an alien invasion happened. Would the people on earth unite or would we start to slowly distrust each other after everything starts to fall apart. The book really is thought provoking because of that.

The great characters are another aspect that will immediately draw you into the story. The alien invasion is seen through three characters’ point of views. Their stories seem to be separate at first, but later weave together seamlessly. Cassie, Sammy, and Ben are all compelling narrators, each in their own way. Cassie is extremely sarcastic teenage girl, dealing out dark humor and cracking snarky comments quite often throughout the book, but she is also strong-willed, serious, and determined, making her a spectacular protagonist. Sammy, Cassie’s baby brother, is a young child that is sweet and naive, giving the reader a chance to see the invasion through the eyes of someone that doesn’t understand much of what is happening. Zombie (who is awesome, by the way) is an interesting character as he is a person who has almost completely abandoned his past self, except for the killer smile, in order to train under the influence of Vosch and fight.

All three of these characters have depth and I could really grasp on and understand what they are going through. The doubt, the pain, the fear, the sadness. Feeling all of these things constantly would really take a toll on a person’s mental state, which is why the characters’ strength is so outstanding. The supporting characters like Ringer and the Silencer also exhibit strong characterization that will left quite an impact on me. Yancey did so well with this aspect of the story that I find it a little hard to believe.

Yancey’s writing never uses unneeded words. It’s powerful and to the point, matching the fast-paced story that is The 5th Wave. And when the time is right, Yancey writes a passage that captures a character’s feelings and situation perfectly. It’s is so awe-inspiring that I was struck speechless at times. Compelling writing is absolutely required in stories like these, and the writing in The 5th Wave is just that and more.

Despite all the awesomness that the book holds, The 5th Wave has its flaws, though. The story does suffer from a romance that is bordering on insta-love and some the plot twist can be predicted early on. Although, the entertainment value that the novel contains greatly out-weighs the irritation you may feel when you come across these flaws.

The 5th Wave is one of my favorite releases of 2013. The hype it has been receiving is well deserved, I believe. I would be ecstatic to see this novel take over (get it?) readers shelves. So quick! If you want an entertaining, suspenseful reading and participate in a little mini bookish invasion of the ground that we ourselves walk on, read The 5th Wave. I doubt that many will be disappointed 😉

This is what I am hoping The 5th Wave will be able to conquer.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare: review

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Infernal Devices #1
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Historical Fiction, Steampunk
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Margaret K. McElderry
Release Date: August 31st 2010
Synopsis: Orphan Tessa Gray, sixteen, crosses the ocean from New York to find her brother Nate in Victorian London, her only possession a clockwork angel necklace from her mother. She is ignorant of her power to transform; the Dark sisters are not. They kidnap her for the Magister, who wants to marry Tessa and claim her power.

Shadowhunters, warriors of angel blood, battle demons and keep the peace in the Downworld of vampires, warlocks and other supernaturals. Orphan teen Shadowhunters Jem, Will, and Jess rescue Tessa and agree to help save Nate. Vengeful vampire Lady Camille Belcourt and her current lover, warlock Magnus Bane provide entrée to the Magister’s secret Pandemonium Club.

My Thoughts:

Reading a nearly perfect or absolutely perfect book is always something that makes me catch my breath. And Clockwork Angel is no exception with its near perfection. Really, Cassandra Clare has written an absolutely beautiful book that only comes with a little flaw. I might as well just give this book a place in the imaginary world I call Bookish Heaven 😛

Just walking through Bookish Heaven. Yup.

Clockwork Angel‘s story is intriguing. How could it not be when it has the mysterious Magister, automatons, supernatural, and action? And then add a curious mystery with an unexpected twist and you got a must read! The pacing is slow but it was well-suited to this kind of story and characters–they needed time to completely sink in.

The worldbuilding in Clockwork Angel is extremely air-tight. Cassandra Clare beautifully paints a world where the location of Victorian London and regular mundanes and Shadowhunters and Downworlders merge. She payed extra attention to the connections and conflicts that hold her world together and thoroughly explains them when needed. And let us not forget the little doses of steampunk that are sprinkled throughout the book!

The prose is highly engaging, giving the reader detailed descriptions that lets one get the feel of the scene, but never crossing into the annoying, flowery purple prose region. I especially loved the passages that were dedicated to describing the automatons. I have a liking for gears, sparks, and machinery 😉

Tessa isn’t the best heroine to have in a story like this, a story where I tend to lean toward quirky, unique, and vibrant characters. She is a kind and sympathethic character that tries to be strong even though her power is greatly overshadowed by the Shadowhunters, but she doesn’t really shine among the rest of the characters. There were also times when I thought of her as a bit of a shallow character.

The two male leads of the book, Jem and Will, were great. I couldn’t help but be completely endeared by them. I was, and still am, fascinated by their pasts and how they became the people they are now: the calm, collected, kind Jem that is my favorite character and the hurtful, mysterious, conflicted Will who has such of an odd sense of humor.. Also, the friendship between them both is really heartwarming and only makes me more interested in reading the next installments.

A lovely quality that Clockwork Angel contains is the love of literature Tessa, Will, and Jem have. There are quotes scattered throughout the passages and dialogue. The obvious love for novels and poetry that the characters and the author herself has is a pleasant presence to have.

I am so, so happy that I decided to jump into this bandwagon. Clockwork Angel is an unforgettable start of a series that I believe will become a favorite of mine! I give thanks to my blogger friends who have convinced me to read this book ❤

Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer: review

Spirit (Elemental, #3)Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elemental #3
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: K Teen
Release Date: May 28th 2013
Synopsis: With power comes enemies. Lots of them.

Hunter Garrity just wants to be left alone. He’s learned the hard way that his unusual abilities come at a price. And he can’t seem to afford any allies.

He’s up to his neck in hostiles. His grandfather, spoiling for a fight. The Merrick brothers, who think he ratted them out. Calla, the scheming psycho who wants to use him as bait.

Then there’s Kate Sullivan, the new girl at school. She’s not hostile. She’s bold. Funny. Hot. But she’s got an agenda, too.

With supposedly secret powers rippling to the surface everywhere around him, Hunter knows something ugly is about to go down. But finding out what means he’ll have to find someone he can trust…

*Want to sample Spirit? Well, you can! The first chapter of Spirit is available here.*

My Thoughts:

Brigid Kemmerer has successfully taken my breath away. And I’m still struggling to get it back. Spirit is like a powerful punch to the gut with its emotional and quite addicting the story. Awhile the boy-meets-girl subplot is definitely there, like in the other two books in the series, Storm and Spark, the core of the story is an enrapturing tale of learning to trust that surprised me so much with the intense beauty it held.

Yeah, this is a beauty of a book.

If the writing was decent in Storm and great in Spark, then the writing in Spirit is gorgeous. Kemmerer has a gift for creating witty, substantial prose that will keep a person’s eyes on the pages no matter what happens. I am pretty sure that I wouldn’t have cared if a tornado hit because the writing pulled me in so much. (I am happy that a tornado didn’t happen, though. I do like being alive a great amount.)

The story, well, it isn’t very complex. In fact, Spirit‘s story is pretty simple: the Guides want all the Elementals gone, and a crazy girl wants to create a war. But the constant kicks to the feels, fast pacing, and clean execution make it absolutely amazing. And the refreshing originality is not something that should be missed!

The most risky, awesome thing about Spirit is the character and development of Hunter Garrity. A character that feels completely lost with a  habit of not trusting people and pushing them away and his yearning to please his father, even if he is deceased, is a hard thing to pull off, I believe. And the fact that he seems to be making questionable choices throughout the book doesn’t make his character any less riskier.

But Kemmerer seems to know what she is doing, and pulls off this feat magnificently. I could intimately relate to Hunter, and really felt every bump in the road he had to go through. I felt his anxiety. doubts, and hurt. I also felt hit growth as the story progressed. Hunter is an almost-tangible character.

There is another character, Kate Sullivan. And oh is she a sight to see! She is completely different from Becca and Layne. It only takes a few chapters for the reader to learn that this girl is flirtatious, confident, and bold. But she also has a hidden agenda that could put the Merrick brothers at risk. Kate, like Hunter, has her own self-doubts and apparent flaws. And she, too, gets a realistic development.

I expected a romance and wasn’t surprised when it appeared. I wasn’t expecting for it to be so good, though! Hunter and Kate’s romance is by far the best in the series. Their coming together because of their shared loneliness, self-doubts, and issues with trust, helping each other both overcome their flaws. Just wow. I don’t even know how to begin. Just know that the romance can be compared to many other YA novels and come out victorious.

And there is one certain character death that is just terrible. In an incredibly good, sad way. I was shocked and misty-eyed when it happened. The ending is pretty frigging emotional, too.

I am literally only centimeters away from taking over the world so I can force everyone to read this book. Centimeters away. We’re all lucky that I’m pretty daft and don’t know how to take over the world. If this is what Kemmerer can do, then I have no doubt that she will become one of my favorite writers.

Be sure to follow the rest of the Spirit Blog Tour hosted by The Midnight Garden!

An advance copy was provided in exchange for a honest review via Netgalley.