The slant on YA books

Tag Archives: paranormal

Mind Games (Mind Games #1) by Kiersten White 

mindgames

The was the second time I read Mind Games, and I still found it just as clever as the first time.

Mind Games has a crazy, female assassin as one of the main characters, which are some of my favorite to read about. Fia is a really enjoyable character in a warped sort of way.

Fia is the definition of unpredictability, so there are lots of twists and turns to keep the book interesting.

I have to say that I consider Annie as a secondary character, even though she is the other half of the novel’s narration. Fia’s story is the only one I am truly interested in, and it is also seems to be the true focus of the book. The secondary characters don’t see a lot of growth and they are all portrayed very simplistically and almost one-dimensionally. Part of this is due to the unreliable narration of both girls, but it still is something I would love to see improved in the sequel.

The timeline of the narration doesn’t always make the most sense. It fits with the novels desperate energy and manic characters, but sometimes it was too hard to keep track of every story thread. 

Overall, Mind Games fascinated me with its wit and rough-around-the-edges characters. I really hope Perfect Lie lives up to and exceeds my expectations. 

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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Pages: 419   ColdestGirl

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Date Published: September 3, 2013

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave. 

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself. 

 

Continue reading


The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4) by Richelle Mead

Pages: 438  fiery heart 

Publisher: Razorbill 

Synopsis from Goodreads: In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . . 

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever. 

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

Review:

The Fiery Heart was just about what I expected, which was good and bad. The Bloodlines series seems to have fallen in a comfortable pattern for me, which is nice but not exciting. I can’t help but compare the series to Mead’s previous Vampire Academy novels. This series is missing some of the passion I expected from VAyet I keep reading book after book hoping to find it again.

Honestly, I think my issue is that I’m impatient and these books are taking their sweet time. We’re four novels in and the this felt like the first one where something major occured.

Between one book and the next it feels as though Sydney and Adrian change personalities. Their overall characteristics stay the same, but Sydney especially is doing things I never would have believed just a few book prior. Sydney and Adrian’s relationship failed to deliver, in my opinion. All of the right elements were there, but things just got way too repetitive. The Sydney in this installment was a pale version of herself because she was so consumed with Adrian. The majority of the novel was about them trying to find time together instead of the exciting world of moroi and dhampirs.

The plot was back and forth until the end, when it finally started to redeem itself.

As negative as this review seems, I did enjoy The Fiery Heart, just not as much as I hoped. Everything was comfortable and familiar but never delivered a new experience I hadn’t already felt.


More Than Jamie Baker (Jamie Baker #2) by Kelly Oram

Pages: 342 perf5.250x8.000.indd

Publisher: Bluefields

Source: ARC received from author in exchange for my honest review 

Summary from Goodreads:

 Jamie Baker, the only girl in the world with superpowers, has now accepted who she is and learned to control her power. Not to mention she has the best boyfriend on the planet. Life is finally looking good. But the day she witnesses an accident and decides not to save the guy out of fear of being exposed, she realizes that simply being Jamie Baker isn’t enough.
After seeing Jamie so wrecked with guilt, the ever-helpful Ryan Miller decides it’s time to make all of his fantasies about turning his girlfriend into an honest-to-goodness superhero become a reality. 

Of course, coming up with a decent Super Name and fending off all of Ryan’s attempts to get her into spandex aren’t the only problems Jamie faces. The more her alter ego starts to make headlines, the harder it becomes for Jamie to hide her extracurricular activities from her best friend, the government, radical scientists, and the mysterious new guy who is determined to steal her from her boyfriend. 

 

Review: In some ways More Than Jamie Baker was a big improvement on Being Jamie Baker. The writing was a bit more sophisticated and the characters certainly more mature. But, in other aspects it didn’t meet my expectations.

One conflict of Being Jamie Baker played a huge role in MTJB. I was glad because I felt it wasn’t given the attention it needed in the first installment. While it made me happy that it was finally being discussed, it also angered me because it wasn’t handled maturely and at times Jamie was quite insensitive about it.

Jamie grew as a person, but Ryan did not. Ryan is unfortunately an example of a Mary Sue; he really has no faults. Mike, a character from book one, has some of the most characterization. Reading about these characters in college was a big improvement than when they were in high school.

Again, the villain wasn’t very well disguised. Jamie would realize a vital bit of info and then just disregard and forget about it because it didn’t go along with what she already believed.

I don’t sympathize with Jamie because she made the same mistakes as she had in the previous novel. The villain did redeem him/herself (leaving it ambiguous for spoilers) at then end of the book by being pretty despicable. A massive cliff-hanger ends the novel, but I’m just not sure that I am invested enough in the characters to read the third novel.

The comic book feel is still ever-present and the dialogue would make me smile. However, how some issues were handled didn’t sit well with me, and in the end the book just fell flat.


The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

Pages: 439 The Dream Thieves

Publisher: Scholastic

Summary (from Goodreads): 

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

Review:

How did I resist reading The Dream Thieves for almost a month? I’m still not sure, but I wish I hadn’t.

DAT prologue. It was so beautiful and intriguing. Truly, it was a fantastic opening to the novel.

The pace was a little bit off, in my opinion. Sometimes the switching of POV was frustrating. Just when I would want one mystery solved, another would be introduced. The complexity of Stiefvater’s plots is what I love best, but sometimes I felt like I was missing things and not fully aware of what was happening.

A few times in the book I thought, “What am I reading?” The Dream Thieves is very unique and clever, but also a bit out there. The tone of book 2 is very different than book 1. It’s got just as much magic, if not more, but it’s much more dark and strange.

Getting to know more about Ronan Lynch is easily the best element of the story. His story is the most fantastic. Adam tried to steal the spotlight on more than one occasion, but in the end it was all Ronan’s story.

New characters are introduced, adding to this large cast. I won’t say much more about who they are because of risk of spoilers, but just know that each one furthers the plot, the mystery, the magic.  

The Dream Thieves answers some questions and raises many more. Stiefvater’s usual wit comes to life. The tale of the Raven Boys continues in this riveting novel of mayhem and suspense.

I can’t get this book out of my head! I still have many questions, so tomorrow I will be posting a discussion for you to be a part of. Come back and share your thoughts.


Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram

Pages: 353  Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram

Publisher: Bluefields

Source: Received from author in exchange for my honest review

Summary from Goodreads: 

An accident that should end in tragedy instead gives seventeen-year-old Jamie Baker a slew of uncontrollable superhuman abilities. To keep her secret safe Jamie socially exiles herself, earning the title of Rocklin High’s resident ice queen. But during a supercharged encounter with star quarterback Ryan Miller she literally kisses anonymity goodbye. Now the annoyingly irresistible Ryan will stop at nothing to melt the heart of the ice queen and find out what makes her so special. Unfortunately, Ryan is not the only person on to her secret. Will Jamie learn to contain her unstable powers before being discovered by the media or turned into a government lab rat? More importantly, can she throw Ryan Miller off her trail before falling in love with him? 

Review: With a comic book-like atmosphere, Being Jamie Baker is a fun super hero-esque read.

It was exciting to read about a girl with super powers plain and simple. Each discovery of her powers is new to her and the reader, so I liked not having expectations as to what would happen next.

The beginning hooked me, but the middle started to lose me. Jamie has a unique voice which is most evident in the opening chapters. Later, I felt like the middle got a bit bogged down with some repetitive events. More on that in a minute.

A major conflict of the novel is Jamie opening up to others and learning to trust herself. Ryan, Jamie’s love interest, is at the center of this conflict. Jamie constantly goes back and forth between being his friend and avoiding him for “his own good”. I admit that I found this very frustrating, even though I could sort of understand where she was coming from. I think the middle of the book would have been stronger if Jamie had picked one decisions and stuck with it.

The end picked up the pace once again. While the evil foe is obvious, the ending battle makes up for it.  I think that Jamie could have handled a situation with another enemy a lot better than she did, but it will be interesting to see how she deals with it in the sequel, More than Jamie Baker.

Many pop culture references are in this novel. (I plan on having a discussion post on this topic soon.) These references felt a little dated. I found it out of place to be reading a book with super abilities only to have Smallville or Borders the bookstore mentioned.

The writing style is quite easy to read. However, I feel that more transitions are needed to make the story easier to follow along with.

One thing that didn’t sit quite right with me was a certain plot point I can’t discuss because of spoilers. Suffice it say I didn’t think it got the attention it demanded and was brushed off a little too casually.

The super hero feel of the book makes Being Jamie Baker a fun paranormal/urban fantasy read. I would recommend BJB to younger YA readers who are looking for a place to start reading the UF/PNR genre.

For a limited time, Being Jamie Baker is available for $.99 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!


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To find out more about Waiting on Wednesday, check out my first post here.

 All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry

Publication: September 26, 2013   truth

Summary from Goodreads:

Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family. Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember—even if he doesn’t know it—her childhood friend, Lucas. But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever. This startlingly original novel will shock and disturb you; it will fill you with Judith’s passion and longing; and its mysteries will keep you feverishly turning the pages until the very last.

All the Truth That’s In Me seems completely intriguing and mysterious. From the sample I have read, I know the writing style is unique and dark and twisty. I really think that this one will be very unique, and probably not for everyone, especially because it is written in second person. I am happy that I won’t have to wait very long until it gets published!

Do you think that All the Truth That’s In Me will be a book you read? What are you all waiting on this week? 


Hey there! I thought I would share some zombie recommendations. I had a lot of fun making this “flow chart”. (I may have had to much fun putting on blood spatters.)

Zombies

So I have shared some of my recommendations, what do you have to recommend for me? Any books on here you haven’t read? Any that you agree with? 


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Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews where book bloggers share their weekly book haul.

I will be reading the Darkness Rising trilogy this week.

 gathering calling rising 

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong (Library)

The Calling by Kelley Armstrong (Library)

The Rising by Kelley Armstrong (Library)

What lovely books did you get this week? Have you read the Darkness Rising trilogy?


Pivot Point by Kasie West

Pages: 343    PivotPoint

 Publisher: Harper Teen

Source: J Reads YA! Giveaway

Summary from Goodreads:

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without. 

Review: 

Pivot Point has one of the most clever plots I’ve read in a while. Told in alternating chapters of two futures, Pivot Point kept me guessing as to what exactly would happen next. I always had some inklings about what would happen, but then a new plot element would be added to the story that complicated it further. I was quickly turning the pages the whole time.

I started Pivot Point once before, but didn’t get very far. I think it was Addie’s personality that had annoyed me when I first tried to read this book. She comes off as a bit spoiled and immature for the first few pages of the book. But, Addie grows a lot throughout the book by having to make difficult decisions.

Reading two futures at once did confuse me sometimes, especially when I wasn’t paying very close attention. The way in which the two choices affected each other was pretty fun to read. Sometimes I thought I knew which possibility Addie would choose, but something new would happen to make me rethink things. I preferred reading the future where Addie stays on the Compound, but both perspectives were nice to read.

I didn’t like many characters in the book because sometimes they were flat or stereotypes. There is a star quarter back, a sensitive artist, mean cheerleaders, an outgoing and extroverted best friend who wants to help popular-ize her bookworm best friend, etc… I have forgotten a lot of the names of some of the secondary characters because they simply didn’t play any role in the overall story.

I’m still left wondering a few things, such as the motives of certain characters. Pivot Point will have a sequel coming out in February. I can’t really talk more about the ending for fear of spoiling everything. 

At one point this may have been a 5 star book for me. Pivot Point is worth the read. Despite having a few flaws, it is an engaging and exciting novel.



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