Archive for the ‘5’ Category
Crime lives–and dies–in the deceptively picture-perfect town of Port Gamble (aka “Empty Coffin”), Washington. Evil lurks and strange things happen–and 15-year-olds Hayley and Taylor Ryan secretly use their wits and their telepathic “twin-sense” to uncover the truth about the town’s victims and culprits. Envy, the series debut, involves the mysterious death of the twins’ old friend, Katelyn. Was it murder? Suicide? An accident? Hayley and Taylor are determined to find out–and as they investigate, they stumble upon a dark truth that is far more disturbing than they ever could have imagined. (From Amazon.ca)
I really tried to like this novel. The cover got me all curious. Yet it wasn’t what I thought it was. I thought there was going to be more of a paranormal feel to it, but it’s limited to mostly the twins having their telepathic abilities. I rather liked the history behind the two girls that was actually the more interesting part of the book. The mystery part of the book wasn’t that great. It sure had all the makings of an intriguing mystery, it even got me hooked and I kept trying to guess who was behind it. Yet the ending was just so anti climactic and I felt almost as if I was cheated out of a good ending (and suddenly feeling the urge to demand a refund of my time back). So when you find out who did it and what really happened, it was pretty much bland.
The characters were okay. The twins were your typical gifted, overachieving, strikingly beautiful people to ever walk the earth with paranormal powers. Nothing new there and they were like made out of a cookie cutter style. None of the characters really stood out to me, and I think this, with the combination of rather dry writing, and a slow pace of the plot, I didn’t really enjoy the novel. It was disappointing, since I was looking forward to reading this, and I thought it certainly had the potential to be interesting.
I am still not sure if I’m going to read the second one of this book. It’ll have to be spectacular and exciting enough for me to read. It is the first book of a series, and sometimes they’re off to a rocky start so who knows what the second one will have. Not going to recommend this to anyone but if you are curious, I say take it or leave it.
I give it a 5/10
Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, and anger at her mother and aunt for keeping them from her, Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father—the artist Z.G. Li, with whom both May and Pearl were once in love. Dazzled by him, and blinded by idealism and defiance, Joy throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the communist regime. Devastated by Joy’s flight and terrified for her safety, Pearl is determined to save her daughter, no matter the personal cost. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challenges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation. Yet even as Joy’s and Pearl’s separate journeys converge, one of the most tragic episodes in China’s history threatens their very lives. (From Amazon.ca)
I was very disappointed with this book. I had high hopes because I really did enjoy Shanghai Girls. The beginning of the book wasn’t so bad actually. It was pretty interesting. I liked the way you follow Joy through her journey to China – it was an eye opener, but her naivete also gets the best out of her as well. The reader already knows she’s in for a quite a bit of pain and suffering and so sometimes you find yourself shaking your head at Joy’s blind faith in the system.
I actually preferred Pearl’s point of view of the story and her journey, because she had left so much behind and some questions were left unanswered. I loved how she went back home, back to her town and back to where she used to live, to find it radically changed, but she found people she recognized. It wasn’t really a reunion that would be considered nice, but after so many years of not seeing these people, it was nice to see they were still there. I really liked reading Pearl because she showed a lot of strength and courage to go back and face anything to get Joy back.
When the Great Leap Forward comes along, I liked how this was added in, to make the plot move, and to put Joy and Pearl’s journeys on a similar backdrop, but I just could not get into it. It was really slow and things just seemed to drag. The switching back and forth from Pearl to Joy wasn’t so bad but the pace of the book was about the same as watching molasses being poured out of a container. Joy’s plot really did seem to drag its’ heels. I did not know how much of her stupidity I could take.
The ending wasn’t so bad. However by the time I was almost done, I really wanted it to be done. It was very drawn out, and the writing just seemed really bland. It did not have the same dramatic tone as Shanghai Girls did. One thing I will mention though, this book does a good job in drawing out feelings from the reader.
It wasn’t the greatest book, if you’re a fan, or wanting to know what happens at the end of Shanghai Girls, well you might as well read it. Otherwise, you could just skip it. It’s too slow and bland to be fully enjoyed which is too bad, it would have been an excellent novel otherwise.
I give it a 5 out of 10.
All-American Tom, golden child Nicki, and outsider Leila live in rural Spring Valley in the not-too-distant future, when oil production has slowed dramatically and the country is running out of oil. People can’t get to work because they don’t have gas; they’re being laid off because of businesses cutting costs; the price of everything is rising; and heat and electricity are increasingly hard to get. Nicki’s family is being torn apart by the crisis, and Leila is worried about how to survive the winter on her own. As winter progresses, life in Spring Valley grows more desperate, and people in nearby towns are pitted against one another. The teens must find ways to stop the raids and fighting—and new ways to live without oil. (From Amazon.ca)
The book had all the things I wanted when I felt like reading about the world going down the drain and what happens when stuff hits the fan. So naturally, I picked this one up. It’s a short read, as it’s less than 200 pages.
I wish I could like it more. Yet I couldn’t. Although the situation is realistic and could be very possible, I just couldn’t get into this book. It was dry, and the characters weren’t that great to begin with. There’s also a potential love triangle but the characters just were not likable and there was absolutely no chemistry with any of them that it was almost painful to read.
The plot itself was okay, the subject matter interesting but it just did not have enough to really engage me as a reader. It could be also because the bland characters just didn’t do enough to make the plot flow successfully. It does get a little preachy towards the end, with the environment speech – however I have to add that house and how it was made was very interesting and if only houses like that could be made all throughout, perhaps this type of situation could be avoided.
I’d say take this book or leave it. It is a short read, but because of the dry plot and the blandness of characters the reading took a bit longer than I expected. The idea is unique but more should have been done to make it a more engaging book to read.
5 out of 10
Please note: I’m not sure why ppl would tag this book as “Dystopian” I personally think it’s not….
When Pierce first sees him, she thinks he is a murderer. She’s right about one thing—he does take lives. But not in the way she ever imagined. Pierce is drawn to the dark stranger even as she tries to uncover the mystery surrounding the tragic death of someone close to her. As she gets closer to the truth—and the stranger—unexpected secrets are revealed, even in her own heart. (From Amazon.ca)
At first this book started off great! it was an interesting idea and I was really interested and engaged with this book. Yet as the book progressed it got really confusing with the flashbacks Pierce has, and her time spent with this mysterious stranger (you find out later who he really is). The flashbacks would have been much better if they actually were related to the present day events but they just seemed to be a rehashing of memories. Even so, it feels it’s all jumbled and it’s makes the reading awkward.
I also had a hard time liking Pierce. She was like a wooden doll with hardly any feeling or form and to be blunt, she just seemed so blah. Nothing exciting at all. I didn’t quite understand her relationship with John Hayden. It was like she liked him, but then she steered clear away from him. Although he ends up saving her from several horrible experiences, she just wants to get away from him as if he’s the plague. Ok. I supposed there’s not a problem with that but if they’re supposed to be the romance couple here, the chemistry seems way off and it just feels like it’s not there. Even the rules of ‘Opposites Attract’ does not work here. Pierce just seemed so wishy washy half of the time I ended up not really liking her in the first place.
The plot itself was okay. Although it’s supposed to be somewhat similar to the Hades and Persephone myth you don’t see much of it except for some parts here and there. Even so, it’s does not seem well put and just feels like a cut and paste job, with a lot of fluff in between. It does pick up in the end though, and it’s interesting enough for me to wait for the second book, I am not in a real rush to get it.
I’d say take it or leave it with this one. I have not read Meg Cabot’s books before but fans of her might like this book more than I did. Those who want a better rendition of the Hades/Persephone myth, try The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter.
I give it a 5 out of 10.
Deliver Me from Evil introduces readers to Mara, an eighteen-year-old girl who has been enslaved for nearly ten years, having been sold by her parents in Mexico and then smuggled across the border into San Diego where she was forced into sexual slavery. Readers will also meet 18-year-old, Bible-college-bound Jonathan and his 16-year-old sister, Leah, whose paths cross Mara’s and who become involved in her dramatic rescue. Interwoven between the stories of Mara, Jonathan, and Leah is the heartbreaking story of another young woman in captivity in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, whose past life mysteriously connects to the young people in San Diego. (from Goodreads)
The subject matter in this book is not an easy read at all. It’s heart breaking in moments and you can most certainly feel the despair and helplessness these girls feel and you just want to reach out and save them from this miserable horrible life. It’s hard to believe Mara still manages to survive this ordeal and manages her sanity at the same time. She’s unbelievably strong and I greatly admire her as a character. She’s got a huge amount of strength to be able to put up with this kind of life.
However, the story that really got to me was the one with Chanthra and Lawan. As the book progresses, her story gets bleak, and gets bleaker each time she appears. It was difficult to read yet it shows what millions of people are enduring as a result of sexual slavery, and are not fortunate enough to get out of this horrible vicious cycle. I liked the relationship they had and thought it was interesting of the author to tie both these girls to another family in the US. It wasn’t obvious at first, and when the reader understands, it makes their story even more tragic.
The plot was good, however what bugged me was the ending. I do realize it is a Christian Fiction novel, so obviously it’s going to be different from other fiction novels I have read. Yet I just can’t believe the ending. It just did not seem realistic to me. The idea of the bad guys not even doing anything even at gunpoint is just not possible. They’re criminals. I’m sure they can overtake a couple of teenagers as well despite a gun being held by one of them. The ending just seemed way too good to be true in my opinion.
Because I just could not accept this ending, it made a huge impact on my opinion of the book. Had the book ended different (ohhh I don’t know? maybe at least give Jefe a big punch to the head???) then I would have given this book a much better grade. Otherwise, I just felt disappointed with it.
Despite my dissatisfaction with the ending, I still liked the book. This is Christian Fiction so there are a lot of references to God. I can’t say I recommend this to everyone, but I do think it should be given a read through. Slavery, in all kinds of forms does still exist.
I give it a 5 out of 10.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a horror book. Yet I kept on finding this one through book blogs I’ve been hopping through, and also through book newsletters I get through e-mail. I did take it out of the library numerous times, but always having to return it because of the due date. Finally, I managed to dig in and read.
Conrad and Joanna are trying to save their marriage. Conrad, decides to buy a large old Victorian house that used to be a birthing house for pregnant women (who were usually pregnant outside of wedlock and needed a place to hide for 9 months). Just as Conrad is about to move in, the previous owner gives him a photo album of the history of the house and its’ inhabitants (midwives, and young pregnant women). While leafing through the album, Conrad found something odd and literally impossible; several pictures featuring his wife. The nightmare then begins, as an old crime is re-enacted, and Conrad and Joanna become unwilling victims of the house with a past that doesn’t sleep.
Oh my. Where to start. There were plenty of parts where the hair on the back of my neck stood to one end. It hit me by surprise too. (If any of you have read it, remember the popsicle doll part? argh!) I had the misfortune of reading that part at night right before bedtime. So, there is plenty of horror and suspense. The thing is, although the horror parts are very well written and enough to keep you on the edge of your seat, the storyline and characters don’t really give the story substance or depth.
I didn’t really like Conrad, or Joanna. Conrad hasn’t grown up yet and still acts like an 18 year old teenager who still on raging hormone syndrome. Joanna doesn’t help much with things either as she appears to be whiny, selfish, and acts like a B-movie diva. Despite the book’s great horror moments, Conrad ruins it all with his Lolita moments with Nadia, his constant thoughts about not getting any “action”, and his immaturity just has no boundaries. It can be quite eye rolling and very tedious.
What also bugs me, are some moments where things are mentioned, and then are just forgotten. Like the snakes Conrad has as a hobby. One of them undergoes a miraculous conception…..and….that’s it. Then you have that strange family that used to live in the house before Conrad. They had children – not very normal children. Bad things had happened to them while in that house. Nadia used to babysit the kids. Then they moved out. Hrm. It’s these kinds of details that needed explaining to make the plot and story more enjoyable and thus, more comprehensible.
Now here’s the part that really bugged me. There was one single chapter dedicated to how he and and old ex girlfriend spent the night together making love. It was descriptive. It was long. It was very detailed. At that point I thought to myself “Why would you write a chapter all about that, and why should I care?” I actually skipped ahead. I found it unneccesary and didn’t add anything to the story. So they had sex. Whatever. If I wanted detail and the dirt I’d get myself an erotic novel. I believe it’s not needed here.
The ending was all right. It was something I did rather expect out of a horror novel. Although it did leave me feeling rather as if there should have been a lot more to it. Nevertheless it did succeed in getting me scared in certain parts of the book. It was too bad it fell short in other areas, and the chapter I mentioned above just nearly killed the book for me. Overall, if you don’t mind these shortfalls and just want to read it for the thrills, go right on ahead. The horror moments of the book do deserve credit.
I give it a 5 out of 10.
Wizard’s Funeral is book two of the Red Pavilions series by Kim Hunter. It’s one of the lesser known fantasy works out there (that I know of) and I picked up the first book by chance at the local library book sale. I read the first book before I started this book blog, however if you want to know more about it, my review for it is here (Caroline C is my name under the review). It is greatly recommended you read Knight’s Dawn before you jump into Wizard’s Funeral.
The King Magus has been declared dead, and his sucessor is a young boy whom Soldier had met in his previous adventures. Yet there have been some that would prefer if the young boy would be dead. Soldier decides it’s his responsibility to protect the boy and his mother, yet also he has other problems of his own when his wife goes missing and Zamarkand is left in a political chaos.
If you have read my shelfari review on Knight’s Dawn, I wasn’t really expecting much from this book. I decided to keep going with the series because there was an element of political intrigue that was interesting, and also I was curious as to the mystery behind Soldier’s past and who he really is. It wasn’t a bad book, but there were a couple of things that I didn’t like. Yet let me get to what I liked about Wizard’s Funeral.
The funeral of the King Magus described in this book was very unique and different. It was a meeting of creatures from every myth and legend you could think of, yet instead of making it sound like a total chaotic mess it was an interesting mixture and blend. It was also interesting as Soldier was the only human invited, and the other creatures thought he was the oddity in the funeral instead of the other way around. I thought that was the most interesting part of the book and have never read anything like this in any fantasy novel I have read. This definitely stood out.
Another thing I liked are the characters, there’s a bit of a witty black comedy involved and sometimes it comes when it’s least expected. I did jot down quite a few memorable quotes that I thought were well written and got a chuckle out of me. Aside from the previous characters mentioned in Knight’s Dawn, there are some new ones involved in this book but it’s a healthy amount so the reader is not confused. Soldier’s new friend Goldgath brought more to the plot, thus making it more enjoyable to read. Also, I enjoyed the giant cliffhanger ending. I wasn’t about to give up on this series, but it was not going to be in my top priority list to read either, but the ending changed things and now I want to know what’s going to happen.
The plot and storyline was all right, but still not great. There’s one part of the plot where Soldier arrives at a certain destination, only to go back to Zamarkand ONLY to find out he wasn’t needed there in the first place! then he makes the trek back to where he originally wanted to go to. What in the world was that all about??? and what a waste!! I didn’t know what was the point of that! there wasn’t any big revelation, or anything that is character revealing, or anything to advance the plot. I thought it was strange and extremely unnecessary.
At times I sometimes reflected back on my reading, and wondered where is this plot going to? it just seems so haphazard and to me, it feels as if this series is just going nowhwere. What seems as if Soldier is going in the right direction, something else distracts him. Also, it seems as if he doesn’t really care about his past and is not even making an effort to find out. It’s odd and not what you’d expect from a behavior of a normal human being. What I also don’t get is some of these character names. They are the most odd and most obscure ones I have ever read so far and are just beyond strange.
Overall, still not the greatest of fantasy series I’ve been reading. However I am not going to give up on it. The ending of this book caught me off guard and although there are a lot of unanswered questions, I am hoping the third and final book of this series will provide a lot of closure. It’s not the greatest, but it’s not a terrible read either. I give it kudos for making such a unique and different plot with very different characters with their own unique personalities. Do pick this trilogy if you want something different, but don’t expect a lot either. It’s definitely not your average fantasy.
I give it a 5 out of 10.
The book is a short one. About 200 pages long. It covers the life of Ramona Smollens. She didn’t have much of a life to begin with. Her father treated her horribly. Her mother didn’t care and was more concerned about herself. She lives with her mother, as her father had recently passed away. Yet her mother still treats her like dirt. So, in order to get away from this she married an older man; Solomon Columbus. Thinking married life is as glamorous as they make it out to be in Hollywood, Ramona emulates starlet Rita Hayworth. It isn’t until later when she realizes that married life and everything else with it, and that it isn’t how the movies say it is. She then sees that everything she’s tried to imitate is all part of “the lie”.
It’s hard to describe how I felt while reading The Lie by Fredrica Wagman. It was strange. It’s in first person narrative yet you’re reading through her stream of thoughts. They’re all jarbled and they fleet from one thing to another. It’s hard to make out the dialogue and then you suddenly realize she’s talking to herself (not out loud, but talking to herself mentally). It’s difficult to get used to at first. I think it’s because there’s so much use of the hyphens and everything is just all a mess. I think what’s trying to be done is to show how much of a mess Ramona is inside, whereas on the outside she’s different.
As you go further into the novel where she really starts acting irrational, you start to wonder what’s real and what’s not. At this point, I try to make out what’s really going on through this story, and even now I’m still not sure but I got the general idea. As you look into Ramona’s relationship with her mother (which isn’t that great but Ramona puts up with it). Now, her mother is a selfish uncaring person, she’s also one of those evil old vipers you sometimes see on television, who are so narcissistic you just want to leave them locked in a room filled with mirrors and they’d probably be happy for the rest of their lives. However, as you get to know her mother through the eyes of Ramona, and towards the end of the story, you start to see that Ramona inevitably starts becoming more like her mother. It’s actually rather horrible to see.
The ending is shocking, and sad. I wasn’t really expecting it and it totally blindsided me when I finished reading the book. I did a little background research though and I noticed the book does have similarities in regards to the life of Rita Hayworth. I’ll leave that to you readers. I didn’t realize it until I finished reading the wikipedia entry about her.
Overall an interesting read, albeit rather difficult to get into and I had a rather hard time following. Although the ending is sad and unexpected, you’re left feeling rather sober and serious.
I give it a 5 out of 10. (It was a hard read, I admit)