Julia Hoban’s Willow makes me weep

willowWillow by Julia Hoban

Genre: Contemp, YA

Published: 2009 April, by Dial

Format: Paperback

Source: Bought my own copy from Booktopia 


Seven months ago on a rainy March night, Willow’s parents drank too much wine at dinner and asked her to drive them home. But they never made it–Willow lost control of the car, and both of her parents were killed.

Now seventeen, Willow is living with her older brother, who can barely speak to her. She has left behind her old home, friends, and school. But Willow has found a way to survive, to numb the new reality of her life: She is secretly cutting herself.

And then she meets Guy, a boy as sensitive and complicated as she is. When Guy discovers Willow’s secret, he pulls her out of the solitary world she’s created for herself, and into a difficult, intense, and potentially life-changing relationship.

I was so excited for this novel. Depression and cutting is not something I read very often, for fear of it been done wrong. Sadly, I didn’t think it was done right at all. There was so many cringe worthy moments in this book, with sickly romance and a weird writing style. I didn’t like Willow.

Willow’s story starts after an accident that left her parents dead, and her deep in depression. We follow her road from cutting to forgiveness with the help of Guy (very original name), our love interest.

That was probably the biggest turn off for Willow. The romance was shocking. Let me tell you why.

–          Insta love. At times, I could definitely see a connection between Willow and Guy. They liked a lot of the same things and had plenty to talk about. BUT. That didn’t happen very often. Nope. The majority of their conversations focused on Willow’s cutting situation. What a romance buzzer. I’m sorry, but how can I believe love is in the air when all they ever talk about is cutting and other depressing topics? I can’t. I just can’t.

–           Love conquers all. A boy can fix all of you problems because he constantly tells you how ugly your scars are. Because your biggest conversation starter is the price of razors.  Because having someone love you for those reasons alone makes you feel better, even when you are all sorts of messed up. Ugh. I can’t stand it.

–          Sex can redeem and change you. Yup. Our love interest says so himself (in more subtle words).

P.S The sex scene is REALLY AWKWARD and un-romantic. It was the most cringe worthy thing I have ever come across in a YA novel. Not exaggerating.

Okay, moving on from the god awful romance, the way this was written was really odd. It was third person, present tense. It took me two thirds of the book to get over it. It was just the weirdest combo. I constantly had to re-read sentences because at times, they sounded wrong and I was constantly being disconnected from the story. Very jarring, and prevented me from properly connecting to the story and characters.

Another problem I had, was that I didn’t agree with the way cutting was portrayed. I’m probably going to sound really insensitive here, especially since I have never experienced the kind of depression that urges me to harm myself. But I found it really odd how carefully she looked after her cuts. I did understand and agreed with a lot of it – her reasons for doing so, her worry of someone finding out, the great lengths she goes to keep it hidden. It was just the cynical way she acted about it that felt wrong. I needed something a little more frantic and less logical. It’s hard to explain, but while so much of it felt real, there was just a little something that didn’t sit right with me and left me judging it the entire time.

Okay, so I touched on something there that I actually did like – a lot of the time, Willow’s emotions were very believable. Her train of thought and reasoning was often very relatable and understandable and I could totally picture myself thinking like that if I were in her position. Again, though, it was missing an edge of urgency and pain. It felt almost too logical for something so traumatic.

Sadly, that isn’t enough to redeem itself. I couldn’t connect to the characters, even though Willow was relatable, the writing just ruined any chance I had with her. I disliked the entire romantic aspect of Willow, and I cringe just thinking about it. I can only recommend this book if you can ignore tense and enjoy corny romance. For those more like me, I wouldn’t recommend Willow.

myrating

barelyrockstheboat

Not Fangirling Over Fangirl

fangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Genre: YA, Contemp. 

Published: September 10th, 2013 by Pan Macmillan 

Format: Paperback

Source: Bought my own copy. 

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life. Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She’s got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words …And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible …

Oh I can already smell the controversy this review may cause.

WHY do I not like the books everyone dies hard for?

Again, as I do for most popular books, this will not be my typical style of review.

What I didn’t like:

Simon Snow.

I didn’t like the Simon Snow bits in-between chapters or when Cath read out her Fan Fiction. WHY? It felt so pointless. I GOT that Simon Snow is Cath’s life, okay? I didn’t need to read a book inside of a book to understand that. I barely coped with the snippets at the start of each chapter, but when Cath started reading her fan fiction? I have one word – boring. It was boring, useless, didn’t really add to the story. I read Fangirl for Cath NOT SIMON SNOW. I DON’T CARE about Simon Snow. I just needed to understand that Cath does, but I didn’t need to read pages and pages of pointless Simon Snow fan fic to understand that.

I actually didn’t find Cath all that relatable. Sometimes, she would say or do something and I was like AH, THAT’S ME! But it didn’t happen very often and it wasn’t all that spectacular. I can find a little of myself in a lot of fictional characters. She wasn’t something special for me like she is for a lot of my bookish, fangirl friends.

I didn’t like Levi all that much – in saying that, I probably related to him more than anyone else in the book. I also didn’t believe Cath and Levi’s attraction. They were a weird couple and I just couldn’t invest myself in it because I didn’t believe they liked each other.

I DID like Raven, though again, I thought Cath and Raven’s friendship was really weird. I just didn’t get it.

I liked the other components of the book – it was told really well, all the characters were unique and real (ish), I followed the story easily and enjoyed it! Though it didn’t make me feel anything. I didn’t get emotional. It was entertaining, but didn’t reach that spectacular level because it didn’t get me, the girl that can cry over anything to feel anything.

So… 3 breezy birds from me.

asoftbreeze

REV GIRL by Leigh Hutton! Dirt, Bikes and Girls galore

revgirlREV GIRL by Leigh Hutton

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Published: May 25th, 2014 by Leigh Hutton Books

Format: Paperback

Source: I received a free copy from the author to review 

Inspired by a true story

It’s hard to be the new girl, but it’s even harder being the new girl who races dirt bikes . . . 

Ever since her parents forced her to move from Canada to Silvertown, Colorado, Clover Kassedy hasn’t fit in. So how do you deal when everyone hates you?

Focusing all her energy on racing her motorcycle did it for a while, but now that Clover’s managed to find a bestie and a boyfriend, the pressure on the sixteen-year-old is worse than ever.

She’s determined to get to the World Championships, where she could finally meet her idol – an Australian, the World Champion – and have a shot at becoming a professional dirt bike racer. But with her super- competitive dad, workaholic mother and relentless bullies at races and at high school, Clover is struggling to make her dreams a reality.

Will it be her scheming ex-best-friend who shatters her world? Or will she let her ‘perfect’ boyfriend – the guy who has finally made her feel like she belongs in their school and their town – stop her from becoming an international racing star?

A big thanks to the author, Leigh Hutton, for providing REV GIRL for review! 

REV GIRL by self-published author, Leigh Hutton, was a very intense, exciting and empowering read. I did have some issues when it came to dialogue and certain events throughout the book were hard to connect with.

REV GIRL follows Clover, a very real, teen girl who loves to dirt bike race, as she sets out to follow her dreams. Let’s start with the fact that I loved Clover! She is a little steam ball of motivation. She’s very emotive and I can relate with a lot of her feelings. Plus, she was empowering. I loved her more and more as she matured from the girl who nearly wanted to give up dirt bikes to dedicating everything she’s got to what she loves. I loved her growth, her attitude, everything.

Sometimes, it felt like REV GIRL was a bit rushed. There is so much packed into this 300 page book, that at times I hardly knew what was going on and it was over before I could make sense of it. It wasn’t a quick read, but “fast paced” can certainly be used to describe REV GIRL.

Even though REV GIRL is inspired by true events, I personally felt like a lot of what happened was unrealistic. This affected how I connected to the story at times. For example: making best friends in 2.5 seconds. As a girl who has serious trouble making friends, I found this annoying. It just doesn’t happen, okay? Not for someone like me, and not for someone like Clover, and not really for anyone. Yeah, you can connect with people quickly, but not like that. Not on that level. It felt way to optimistic and wishful. Like Clover rubbed a lamp, found a genie and wished for a bestie.

I also had some trouble connecting to the story when I was made aware of the differences in geographical location – this can’t be helped, obviously, but I feel as though I have to point it out because it is something that nagged on me whilst reading. These are little things, like wearing high heels to school. I mean, I’ve grown up here, in Aus, where I wear a uniform to school with some seriously strict policies. And when I see things like this I’m immediately shocked at the difference. I kept thinking, “pft, who on earth would do that?”. But what would I know? Maybe American girls DO wear high heels to school, like they do in Mean Girls and Clueless.

In turn with feeling a little unrealistic, the dialogue was a little cheesy at times. Like texts, declarations of love and “boyfriend hunting” just felt weird. Again, this stopped me from connecting to the characters and story.

I’m iffy about the romance. At first, I groaned, because it was most definitely insta-love. But then as the story went on and it was upsy downy for the love struck couple, I began to feel okay about it. Because young, fast, first love is real – it happens. It’s awkward, fun and beautiful, and I feel like the book explored this well.

Even though some of the socializing and dialogue is cheesy and awkward, I was thoroughly impressed with the description of dirk bike racing! For someone who’s never even touched one, I actually felt as if I had after reading one of the racing scenes. I’m a visual and sensual person, so this was brilliance! Every time Clover was on her bike, I felt like I was, too, and the adrenalin would start pumping. No doubt my favourite thing of the entire book!

So, I had some connection problems with the story for various reasons, though a lot of them were personal and won’t apply for everyone. I thought the dialogue was a little on the cheese side, though I had no problems connecting to Clover and really enjoyed watching her grow. This got my heart pumping with the racing and I totally applaud Hutton for making a girl like me who will probably never touch a dirt bike, dirt bike race in my mind. Fast paced, fun, energetic are just some of the ways I would describe REV GIRL. I recommend to anyone who likes a story about first love, growing up and a little action.

myrating

asoftbreeze

Lucy Saxon’s Take Back the Skies died slowly in my palms

takebacktheskiesTake Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon 

Genre: Sci-fi/Steampunk, YA

Published: 5th June, 2014, by Bloomsbury

Format: Paperback

Source: I received a free copy of Take Back the Skies from the publisher to review

Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.
So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .

I have to come right out and say it, I was fairly disappointed in this book. It had all the promise and possibilities of something amazing and it didn’t deliver. I was captured at the beginning. It had such an interesting world to play with, with a spirited MC. But from halfway I just kept facing issues and problems that got in the way of my enjoyment.

(SIDE) This story is more suitable for the younger side of YA. I didn’t have a problem with this, I quite like that younger, childish adventure story. But for those who mind, I recommend it for early teens.

I liked the characters in Take Back the Skies. They were perfect for a story like this; loveable, easy to picture. Sometimes a little too perfect, but otherwise I still liked them. I could really connect with our MC, Cat. She was so spirited and full of life, dreams and opinions. I really enjoyed reading about her!

Sadly, Take Back the Skies suffer’s from some insta love. At first, it was just a cute little crush. But then it blew out of proportion by being full on, devoted, never going to love another, kind of love. Plus, there was a love triangle, but it wasn’t too unbearable.

I noticed a fair few cliché’s in this book that didn’t really need to be there. Actually, they were all over the place. It also started to become a little too convenient, a bit wishful. This starts to take away the adventure, adrenalin feeling for me.

I also couldn’t help but see the plot holes. It’s like the analytical side of me picks these out like I do with olives on pizza. There were quite a few things that just didn’t connect or match up. There was also a part in the book where a lot of careful, thought out plans had to be made. But really, these plans were half made and severely holed. There was a lot of relying on conveniences to pass.

There was also a bit too much “good” vs “bad”. Even though that is expected in a book like this, I’ve begun to have an appreciation for things not being as they seem, for the line between good and bad to be blurred. It would have been good to see a little complexity in Take Back the Skies.

Now the ending.

The ending did not sit well with me. Not only was it flat (I did cry though) but it was slightly awkward. Moving on to the epilogue, I was so so so disappointed. Set two years into the future, Cat is an entirely different person, clashing with all of her beliefs and morals from the girl we had 300 + pages to get to know. This led to an immediate disconnection from Cat. She went from being this spirited, ballsy girl to a complete stranger. I get what the author was trying to say from this, but I personally think Cat should have kept to her guns. It made her different, made us like her, she’s had numerous arguments about her beliefs, and for her just to give in? Nope. There was nothing that made me think it had to happen. I was gutted by this end and not impressed.

This book had such a good concept, great idea’s, characters and settings. But I couldn’t sit back and enjoy it. I kept picking at plot holes and rolling my eyes at the cliché’s. I was appreciating the cute, slow romance until it got out of hand. I was loving Cat, this strong awesome girl, until she was ruined by the end with no justification good enough for her change of character. This book wasn’t for me.

myrating

still stiff & stuffy

Reboots kick ass in Rebel by Amy Tintera

rebelRebel by Amy Tintera

Genre: Dystopia, YA

Published: 1st June, 2014

Format: Paperback

Source: I was provided a copy of Rebel from Allen and Unwin.

Wren and Callum finally reach the Reboot Reservation, a safe haven from HARC, which controls the cities. But it isn’t the paradise they’d hoped for. As they learn more about Micah, the bloodthirsty Reboot who runs it, they discover that he’s been creating an army with one goal in mind: to kill the humans in the cities … ALL of them. Wren’s first instinct is to head out for new territory, but Callum can’t stand by and let his human family and everyone else be hunted down. With HARC on one side and Micah on the other, saving the innocent and forging a lasting peace between humans and Reboots is a nearly impossible task. But Wren and Callum have never let that stop them before. 

 

 

The sequel to Reboot was all I could have wanted in an ending! It was action-packed, hot and steamy and filled with characters and development. Rebel was very satisfying, though it sometimes fell flat, and I had a few problems with perspective changes, character recognition and connection.

Always start off with the good, yes? Amy Tintera sure knows how to write a killer action scene! There was so much of it in this book, it fed my craving for blood and warfare. I can certainly count on detail from Tintera.

Another MAJOR thumbs up from me is the character growth in Rebel – especially when it comes to Callum. I admit, I wasn’t Callums biggest fan In Reboot. I thought he was nothing more than the cute love interest – the catalyst to Wren’s change. But in Rebel, we see in Callum’s perspective. Not only do I understand him better, but this helped to illustrate his development as a character. He went from being whiny and annoying to helpful and using initiative to take charge of his situation. I now like him and believe he is someone worthy of Wren.

And of course, Wren continued on her path for change. She is practically an entire different person by the end of this book. I won’t give anything away, but it is truly excellent and probably my favourite thing about Rebel.

I was very absorbed by Rebel. The writing, characters and world is very easy to slip into. Sadly it was also easy to slip out of, as well. Though it was absorbing, I wasn’t captivated. This book didn’t have my undivided attention. Even though it was action packed, something just fell a little flat for me.

It may be because I wasn’t connected to the characters, nor the plot. I liked them, enjoyed their growth and reading their story, but I wasn’t distressed when something bad happened, nor overwhelmed when something good happened. It just didn’t evoke much emotion from me.

Sometimes, I had trouble with the dual perspective. Even though it states who’s perspective we’re in, and it’s consistent with swapping from person to person – they sometimes sounded familiar and I had to go back to the beginning of the chapter to re-check who I’m reading from.

Another problem I had was recognizing all the characters. There were so many of them, and all I had were names to connect with. I’m more of a visual girl, so it takes more description of traits, or even looks for me to make a connection with who they are. Sometimes a name would come up and I would be like; who the heck is that? What have they done? Do they have a trait, or looks or something I can actually visualize?

Other than that, I was very satisfied by the ending. Wren’s change, combined with what she wished for all along, nearly made me cry. It was close, but I managed to hold myself back. Despite my minor problems with character recognition and perspective confusion, I really enjoyed Rebel and thought it was a great conclusion to the first book. Connection issues aside; the development was great and I would highly recommend this series.

myrating

justbreezy!

Schizophrenia at it’s best – A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

abluesodarkA Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

Genre: Contemporary, YA

Published: May, 2010 by Flux

Format: Paperback

Source: Bought from Booktopia  

Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura’s dad left them. Convinced that “creative” equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked—and together may offer an escape from her fears.

 

A Blue So Dark is one of those books that stays with you. What really stood out for me the most is its honesty. Brutal honesty. It was thought provoking, insightful and beautiful. It explored so many issues – not only of schizophrenia; but the effects it has on everything else. It looks at loosing friendships, broken families, mending relationships, poor socio economic area’s, teen pregnancy, health effects, stress. There is just so much packed into 300 pages that I’m a little overwhelmed.

A Blue So Dark follows Aura as her schizophrenic mother descends into a dark place. Aura is striving to keep her mother’s condition a secret, while still look after her. In turn, Aura goes through things no girl should at her age. We see her develop and learn from her experience, and I loved watching her mature as the story progresses.

In fact, all the characters were just great. Every single one was layered, individual and Schindler does not turn the blind eye at the bad stuff – she embraces it and makes her character real.

In saying this, there is an exception. A Blue So Dark included romance, but it was the most minor part of the book, you can hardly notice it. This is a great example of where the main character gets their act together before going into a relationship. And the love interest is nothing more than just that – a cute guy that pops up every now and again to remind us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. He gives us something to look forward to in Aura’s future. We really don’t know much about him at all.

Schizophrenia isn’t something I know much about, which is why I found this book really insightful. I had no idea what to expect or how the characters were going to react to the different situations posed to them. I found it really intense and I was shocked – actually shocked that some people live with this, like this. It was definitely eye opening.

I also enjoyed how art plays such a big part. I love reading about artists. It’s close to home. My Mum’s a painter, and I think my mind sways more to the artistic side at times. It’s interesting to see how Aura’s interpretation of art is tainted by her mother and her illness, and she begins to shun that part of her.

Not only does it talk about artists, but the whole book is an art piece. The way it’s written is beautiful. The descriptions were just enough to satisfy my need for visuals.

Plain and simple – I just really enjoyed this book. To the amount of issues it explores, to art, to descriptions, to being just a real, honest book that opened my mind to something that I once shrugged at.  I got really emotional towards the end, because there are still some loose ties. But otherwise, I was really blown away by this little paperback I bought on a whim. I highly recommend!

myrating

 

storm

 

P.S – I just learnt that Holly Schindler is releasing a new book called Feral, that’s tagged to be like The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan. GIMME GIMME GIMME. 

DNF Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan – sci-fi gone bad

glow

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Genre: Sci-fi, Romance

Published:October 2011, by  Macmillan Children’s Books 

Format: Paperback

Source: Bought 

 

I hate not finishing books. Luckily, this is only the second this year. But seriously. I wish I could finish this then say lots of great things about it and everything would be dandy with rainbows, unicorns and an unlimited supply of bookmarks.

But no. Books as bad as this somehow manage to make it mainstream and have a semi decent GR rating. So I pick it up, expecting something good, or at least readable, only to be deflated and have my breeze sucked out of me.

I don’t rate books I haven’t finished – just a personal rule. But I do write a mini review of why I couldn’t finish said book.

So, why was Glow so bad that I could barely read over 100 pages of it?

  1. The writing. I can’t remember the last time I read such a plain, boring style of writing. The descriptions were as basic as possible. The actions, scenes, explanations – everything was just so utterly boring to read.
  2. Has some of the most stupidest concepts I have ever come across in a sci-fi book – and that is seriously saying something.
    Get this – religion is a major, MAJOR theme in this book.Not that I have a problem with religion, just that it pretty much takes over the plot whilst attempting to be sci-fi. It just does not work and is way to over bearing
  3. The love triangle was obvious first chapter. The stinking first chapter.
  4. Humans = robots with bi-polar. One second their smiling, next their choking eachother, then hugging, then crying, admitting undying love. in a punch up – Just like that. No build up. Nothing.It was almost robotic. They just do it. And not only that, you can tell that female lead was meant to be kickass, but she was so so weak. Disappointing.

So, at just over a 100 pages in, I stopped and skipped to the end. Let’s say that I’m glad I didn’t bother.

On the other hand, sorry to dump all the negativity on you. I hate writing up things like this, but I feel as though I need to keep my blog as balanced and as honest as possible. Can’t have all the good and none of the bad.

 

Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder suffers second book syndrome

16129491Scent of Magic (Healer #2) by Maria V. Snyder 

Genre: YA, fantasy 

Published: This edition published January, 2013 by HarlequinTEEN Aus

Format: Paperback

Source: Bought second-hand. 

As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.

Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible … again

I don’t know how to feel about Scent of Magic. I was excited to read it, and I DID enjoy it, but by the time it ended I was left with an overwhelming “what even happened” feeling. It lacked a plot, lacked meaning and depth, and I still have a problem with the lack of description. I call second book syndrome! 

I couldn’t quite place why I was having this disappointed, I expected more feeling, until I re-read my review of the first book. Then It all became clear.

What did I love Touch of Power so much? It had goals, plot, motives, meaning, lesson’s, life questions and deep, meaningful messages and themes. This is everything that Scent of Magic lacked.

Warning: there may be some spoilers from the previous book

One big, big problem I have with Scent of Magic, is that it is missing a goal. It is missing a straight plot. It has plenty of catalyst, things that made me want to keep reading, but nothing concrete I could follow. Whereas Touch of Power did have – a quest to save a prince.

Due to this, the book felt clumsy. There were slow and fast moments. There were times when I had no idea what the intensions were of the main characters. There were barely any confliction of emotions or dynamics, because there was nothing to conflict against, as there was no goal. It didn’t feel like a whole, composed story. It sorta just floated along and going with the flow. The best way to describe it would be a space filler – something to connect it with the third book. I don’t know this for sure, however, because I haven’t yet read the third book.

Another problem? There was no meaning or themes or conflicting emotions or growth! What I LOVED about Touch of Power is the growth Avery goes through as she sifts through what is worth sacrificing herself for. What is worth dying for was a huge theme in the previous book.

Did this book have a theme, or underlying message? No, it didn’t. The characters were just going through the motions. It is basically a lead up to the ending and just creating issues and conflicts for the following story.

What did this mean? I didn’t see an ounce of character growth or development. The characters mostly stayed the same (bar a few side characters) and didn’t change, learn, grow, develop. Nothing. Nada. I wasn’t taken on an emotional roller coaster, either. I felt flat for most of the book – besides a few, choice moments.

I would mention the few side character’s that DO show some development, but that would be giving away too much. Let’s just say I was OVERJOYED and SO SO HAPPY I CRIED at one certain character’s reappearance. Snyder did something right!

I feel really bad for mostly bagging this book out. I did still enjoy it. I especially liked how the book started right where it left off. I liked the distance between Kerrick and Avery, and how the story didn’t focus on them but the ruined state of the realms. I still love Poppa Bear and the Monkeys. I love how the mysterious power of the lilies is fleshed out even more. I loved the inclusion of the “Tribes” and the new material it brings.

I also have the same problems with this one as with the last one – the lack of description and background is killing me!

That said, I do feel like I have a better understanding of this world and society. I just need MORE than what’s given.

Despite my earlier negative comments, I breezed through this book quickly and still enjoyed it. After I got passed that shocking ending, I felt a little flat by the rest of book – leaving something to be desired. Otherwise, I still really want to finish the series and read the last book, Taste of Darkness.

 

myrating

asoftbreeze

Sexy zombie futuristic romance? Lia Habel’s Dearly, Departed

dearlydepartedDearly, Departed (Gone with the Respiration #1) by Lia Hable 

Genre: YA, steampunk, dystopia

Published: September 2011, by Doubleday Children’s Books

Format: Paperback 

Source: From Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity 

Love can never die.


Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love. Goodreads 

 

 This was certainly an interesting book and like nothing I have ever read before. It has such a crazy genre mash up! With a combo of dystopia, historic/futuristic + zombies and warfare, I had no idea what to expect. I had difficulty getting through the intro, and then some more difficulty getting into the story line with my mind selectively choosing what it wants to read. Though I absolutely loved the characters and was crazy over the romance!

Dearly, Departed is a dystopia book after the worlds’ left over population decides to re-live the days of English Victorians. The book follows Nora – a young lady who’s status and strong personality allows her to defy social norms, after she is taken hostage by a group of walking dead. Yup. Zombies. Woo hoo!

Because this is such a strange and complex world, the beginning takes it’s time to explain everything to us. For some reason, my mind didn’t agree with this. To be blunt, I found this long intro to be boring, even though it was fairly interesting – if that makes sense. So I had heaps of difficulty getting into this book – taking me nearly 4 days to read 100 pages.

After this, another problem occurred – the book didn’t have my entire attention. After dragging myself through the intro, I was searching for something to love. I started too really like the scenes with Nora and Bram, and seeing their reactions to each other. So when other perspective came into it, I barely paid attention to them. Because of this, I missed a lot of the plot line.

Luckily this problem was short lived – by about halfway I began to be interested in the plot again and started to actually pay attention to the other perspectives. Though I became super confused towards the end when all this stuff is revealed, and I had no idea what was going on. I got it eventually, it just wasn’t effortless and required lots of careful reading.

Despite this slow start, I have nothing but good to say about the characters. I loved them all! Even the bad guys. They were all very well developed, the badies having understandable motives and the goodies were mostly well balanced and realistic.

Nora and Bram were great leads.. Bram has such honesty, moral and will power; it’s almost humbling. While Nora is this stubborn, strong, real character who I loved. I loved that even though her world had gone back to the days of women meaning little to society other than looking pretty, Nora still took pride and fought to be herself.

I also adored the friendship she had with Pam. It was so believable. In real life, there usually is a position of power between friends. You can see this in the relationship between Nora and Pam. It was obvious that Pam looked up to Nora immensely. What I loved even more, is how this character grew more into herself and became more independent as the story went on. I loved watching her transformation.

I also like how clever Habel is with her characters! There were a few slimey’s in there that I never would have guessed. I really admire how she makes me believe one thing when the opposite is actually true!

And I can’t not mention the romance. Even though it was somewhat quick, I believed it entirely. I also liked how the zombies weren’t just bad, mindless things as they are in most books. And I liked how even the good ones were fairly balanced with both good and bad.

So I had a few issues with the plot, pace and reading experience of Dearly, Departed. But I thought Habel did a terrific job with characters and setting, creating this awesome vibe from the strange era and Victorian/futuristic themes. Everything down to the clothes, the society, behaviors and attitudes were awesome and so much easier to understand than it is in a historic book, without all the fancy words and writing I can’t quite understand. So, despite my issues with this book, I’m giving it a three because I most definitely want to read the next book!

myrating

asoftbreeze

 

 

Why I only gave The Faults in Our Stars 4 stars

thefaultsinourstarsThere probably hasn’t been a day since the beginning of this year that I have not heard of the amazingness that is John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. Not one day.

Nearly all of my GR buddies having given TFiOS a five. Nearly everyone I talk to cannot fathom this book as anything but perfection. And okay, it was pretty good, but I didn’t think it was THAT good.

So today is my turn to share my perspective of TFiOS, and to be frank, this won’t be a fangirling post. Be warned if you are a die hard TFiOS fan, because I may say some things that you will strongly and passionately object too.

Everywhere I look, I see words such as “amazing” and “pure perfection” to describe TFiOS. But I disagree, because I certainly had some issues with this book, therefore not making my list of 5 star perfection.

This won’t be a proper review – there are literally thousands and thousands of reviews for this book. I’m just listing the reasons why this isn’t my definition of “amazing”.

Okay, well there are two reasons. But they are big reasons!

1. The writing.

I’ll agree, it’s different, brilliant and blunt. But it made me feel stupid. Maybe that’s petty. But reading is all about the experience, right? About how it made you feel? Well it made me feel stupid and illiterate. There were so many words I couldn’t pronounce, let alone knew existed. And all the metaphors and hidden messages, combined with this language and intricate way of wording? I had serious trouble understanding them and I had to re-read passages over and over again with a creased forehead. There. I said it. Considering most people love The Fault in Our Stars, I’m guessing most people could understand them, or at least appreciated the new way of approaching them. I didn’t, because it made me feel as if I hadn’t just spent 12 years of my life at school.

2. It didn’t hold a meaning for me

This is a big one – when I finally turned the last page, my reaction was “That’s it? What was the point of writing this?” That’s a really bad sign, especially for a contemp. If I get to the end and I can’t see a reasoning or message, then it feels as though I’ve wasted my time. Maybe the point was to demonstrate the cancer, death, ect is just ugly and meaningless, or something. But really, Hazel made that blindingly obvious from the very beginning. I never had an “Oh!” moment or a moment of crystal clear realization. It all ended a bit flat for me.

That’s it! Two things. Two things that affect me hugely and seriously made me wonder why people love this so the heck much.

I mean, I did like it. Love it, even. I gave it a rating of 4. Which means really good, but missing something. The book was most certainly refreshing from your normal cancer/deathbed books. The writing, (though confusing) was unique. The characters were smart, witty and developed and Augustus was such a sweetie. It was brutal, honest, beautiful blah blah and all the rest.

Point blank, it made me feel stupid and held no meaning for me.

I do admit though, John Green is a genius. Even though I didn’t know what he was saying a quarter of the time, I definitely admire his style, and well, smartness. He’s totally unique, and I appreciated that. He is probably one of the only author’s I DON’T want to meet, because I feel like a conversation with him would leave me feeling overwhelmed and idiotic. In this case, I will happily admire from afar.

justbreezy!