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Archive for the ‘7.5’ Category

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

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The Maze RunnerWhen Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind. (From Amazon.ca)

It took me a while to get into this book. It opened up slowly but it was interesting because you’re looking through Thomas’ view. So in a way you’re experiencing this alongside Thomas. This had a certain Lord of the Flies ring to it, with the boys in their own groups and at times resorting to violent clashes and they even have their own lingo (which takes a while to figure out, but you do get the hang of it). Naturally, you’ll find Thomas stuck in the middle of everything, as he tries to figure out what really goes on in here especially when Theresa enters the story. The concept of the book was interesting, what was more interesting was the group of boys managed to stay and work together (you’d think they run amok and start bashing each other on the head after being stuck together for a while).

What I liked were the Grievers. Now those were really interesting. I liked reading the real close call moments where Thomas was pretty close to getting killed. They were interesting and at least provided a good amount of the action part of the book. The action does pick up through the second half of the book, and towards the end, you end up being blindsided with what really is happening. The ending will either make you frustrated, or eager to know more. I fall in the latter. It was a giant cliffhanger but well done to make you wanting to read the second book.

Although the book does pick up, and the pace quickens, there are so many questions asked, and few are answered. It does get frustrating whenever Thomas does ask something and everyone seems to either avoid the question entirely or just shrug it off. It’s irritating to read, and you certainly do feel Thomas’ frustration. It’s irritating to see the other boys not answer what seems like very simple questions and it doesn’t seem fair to Thomas that he’s kept in the dark when all he’s trying to do is make sense of things.

I’m going to pick up the next book for sure as I’m itching to find out what’s going to happen next. Readers of dystopian fiction will most certainly enjoy this book, but it’s also encouraging to see that this book also seems to cater to male readers as well. It’s a refreshing change and I think it’s a well done book to please the target audience. Even if you don’t fit the target, don’t hesitate to pick this book up. Especially if you’re into the Lord of the Flies theme. Mix this with a bit of dystopia and science fiction and you’ll get a well written book with an excellent cliffhanger that will make you want more out of this series.

I give it a 7.5 out of 10.

Written by Karoline

March 20, 2012 at 6:11 pm

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

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The Dark DivineGrace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared–the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood–but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held. The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude’s high school. Despite promising Jude she’ll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel’s shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes. The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy’s dark secret…and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it–her soul. (From Amazon)

I liked this book, it’s different, although a little slow moving. The plot does move slowly and gradually takes the reader along for the ride. Which is not too bad sometimes. I did like the writing style of the book. It is in some parts, a bit description heavy but I liked it because it gave the setting a rich detailed picture and gave the story more substance.

The actual plot and the origins of Daniel is one of the most interesting I’ve read. Yes, these types of paranormal monsters are overdone, but the origins behind Daniel and his history is definitely different and worth reading about – plus it got me reading into that kind of mythology. I have not come across something like this so far, so reading about this is definitely something refreshing and new.

There is a bit of budding chemistry between Daniel and Grace. It’s there but not quite as passionate or exciting as some of the other YA couples I have read in the past. Daniel does have a certain charm to him as a brooding bad boy and Grace being your typical smart good girl is a typical cliche romance and while yes, it’s been done before it’s not so overdone as their relationship starts to grow slowly – so it gives it a realistic feel to it. (No, they don’t fall in love overnight and declare their undying love a la Romeo and Juliet) (Which is good!)

Grace as a character and main heroine is ok…I did not have much of an opinion of her. She does not really stand out as some of the other main girls I’ve read in the past but she’s certainly readable, it’s just she does not stand out as much from the rest of them. Jude on the other hand got me really angry, he was a selfish twit and when it’s all revealed in the end the urge to stomp on his face was pretty strong. Oh and Pete. Wow you’re a jerk. A pretty handsome charming one, but still a jerk – which makes you ugly all of a sudden.

I’ll be picking up the next one because it’s got me all so curious about what’s going to happen next. This book is meant to be read slowly and to take things in slowly it’s worth a read through as although there are some things that are the same in every YA paranormal you see, there are some vast differences which puts this from the rest of the pack.

I give it a 7.5/10.

Side Note: The cover is nice…kinda. I hate feet so that just botches it up…..

Written by Karoline

November 8, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Way of the Wolf by E E Knight

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Way of the Wolf EARTH, 2065: UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT
Welcome to David Valentine’s world. It is a world where conquered humans occupy a role somewhere between livestock and slaves. A world ruled by unearthly monsters of such dark intent and limitless hunger that they can only be called Vampires. Violently orphaned at the age of eleven, Valentine’s aimless life changes when he meets a group of men bearing arms against the vampiric invaders and their human allies. These men are Wolves: elite guerrilla fighters engaged in an ongoing battle to win back the Earth. The Way of the Wolf is not an easy road to travel. Few men or women can master the disciplines involved, and those who do rarely survive for long. But for young David Valentine, compelled by the losses of his past and the dreams of his future, there can be no other choice. It is a choice that will lead him to adventures beyond his wildest imaginings…and to horrors worse than any he has ever faced. (From Amazon.ca)

The format in which this book is done is interesting. I haven’t come across this until now. For a good part of the novel, you get what looks like short stories of Valentine’s life before the actual plot begins. I understand how some readers thought this wasn’t the most perfect way to introduce the story. However I thought it was not only different but a good way to introduce the main character, and his background, with background information about the setting in this way. You follow Valentine throughout his youth, then you follow him through the period on where he first starts training to become a “Wolf” (a special elite unit). It’s not until a good later part of the book is where the actual plot begins. I liked this kind of introduction. It made getting to know Valentine easier. It gave Valentine a three dimensional form and it chronicles his development in good detail.

The setting is also interesting, however it took me a while to finally get the hang of it (without consulting the glossary at the back). The vampires here are ruthless and evil, so you will definitely not find the romantic stereotype anywhere in this book. There’s a blend of post apocalyptic characteristics, with dark fantasy, and science fiction elements. So really you have a good mixture of just about everything in here. Personally, I like the dark fantasy and post apocalyptic parts. Earth really is a bleak place to be and the descriptions, and characters enhance the setting.

Valentine is all right as a character. He does seem like your most awesome hero and at times it could get a little annoying. I wish he could have a bit of a darker edge to him (ie: he could be a jerk once in a while) but he seems to be your average good guy with a troubled past. I suppose that’s not too bad although it could be considered cliche and overdone by other readers.

What I did enjoy most about the novel is the overall plot. The pace was good although certain areas did experience a bit of a bump here and there. However all I will ask is for the author to not do any more romantic scenes and I’m shuddering to think if there will be more romance in the other books to follow. I read a particular romance moment and I just about nearly choked. Really? a man would do what Valentine did?? that’s just gross! after having a fit for about a few minutes I resumed with the story (Apologies for not being specific. It is detailed and explicit so I won’t go further than that). After finishing the book I still found that particular passage to be still unnerving. That’s the only part that I strongly dislike in the book. Seriously, just take the romance out of this. It wasn’t necessary and the plot was fine without it!

This was a nice interesting start to what looks like an action packed series. I’m definitely going to follow this series for sure. If you like dark fantasy with sci fi elements in a post apocalyptic world try this. Plus, the vampires aren’t sparkling. You might just like it!

I give it 7.5 out of 10.

SIDE ORDER: Here’s the quote (for those curious to know)

“She reached between her legs and brought up her fingers. A smear of blood coated her forefinger and thumb….He (Valentine) kissed away the blood from her hand”

Seriously, guys do that? that’s pretty gross if you ask me it’s one of these moments that make me go WTF is that and WHY is it in this novel that I am trying to enjoy?. For my sake, Mr Knight, please no more romance scenes…please?????

Written by Karoline

August 2, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Review of The Lens and the Looker

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The Lens and the Looker This review is part of a blog tour I have signed up to. Thanks to Pump Up Your Book and to Lory Kaufman for the wonderful opportunity to read this book.

It’s the 24th century and humans, with the help of artificial intelligences (A.I.s) have finally created the perfect post-dystopian society. To make equally perfect citizens for this world, the elders have created History Camps, full sized recreations of cities from Earth’s distant pasts. Here teens live the way their ancestors did, doing the same dirty jobs and experiencing the same degradations. History Camps teach youths not to repeat the mistakes that almost caused the planet to die. But not everything goes to plan.

In this first of a trilogy, we meet three spoiled teens in the year 2347. Hansum almost 17, is good looking and athletic. Shamira, 15, is sassy, independent and an artistic genius. Lincoln, 14, is the smart-aleck. But you don’t have to scratch too far beneath the surface to find his insecurities.

These three “hard cases” refuse the valuable lessons History Camps teach. But when they are kidnapped and taken back in time to 1347 Verona, Italy, they only have two choices; adapt to the harsh medieval ways or die. The dangers are many, their enemies are powerful, and safety is a long way away. It’s hardly the ideal environment to fall in love – but that’s exactly what happens. In an attempt to survive, the trio risks introducing technology from the future. It could save them – or it could change history. (From Goodreads)

Okay. Word to the wise; there is sci fi elements, but you won’t be spending too much time in the future world. The book is mostly set in 14th century Italy. That being said, this might disappoint some readers who are looking forward to reading about a post-dystopian world. I didn’t mind as historical fiction was always something I liked to read. Mixing historical fiction with science fiction elements also provides an interesting story. The sci-fi element does make a significant impact on the story (with Pan) but it doesn’t overpower it. Which is nice, as there’s lots of historical setting descriptions to provide a good accurate setting that is easy to picture.

I thought it was interesting the author decides to make this book a post-dystopian society/setting. With all the dystopian fiction out there, this is an interesting and refreshing twist. Although not all the answers on how the setting came to be is revealed. It would have been nice to provide that bit of background information, alas it’s not necessary.

The main general plot was really good. It gets even better towards the end with a good action climax and the ending leaves you wanting to know what happens next (there is a bit of a sneak preview of the second book at the back). As mentioned before, I liked the description of the historical setting. Not only was it concise and in detail but it was enforced and repeated throughout the novel. I can only think this is because it makes the characters (and the reader included) realize how much everything is taken for granted. The constant reminder of people’s rotting teeth was rather gross, but it really does enhance the setting, and lets you count your blessings for being born in a different time period.

The three characters were nicely written and well done. I would have preferred to see more of Lincoln in this story (he is a smart aleck and has a funny quote or two). Yet the story focuses a lot more on Hansum and a little on Shamira. Lincoln does disappear for some time during the last half of the book however I am hoping he would come back with a bigger role in the second book. I’d have to say I liked how all three developed in their own way. Lincoln ends up maturing a lot as he used to be the real mouthy and rebellious one of the three. I liked Hansum, he was the steadier and unspoken leader of the three plus the love story with Guilietta provides a good part of the romance in the book – I thought they were rather cute together. Although besides Lincoln, I liked Pan a lot too. He helped the three through their adventures, but also provided a means of making their living situations improve (however it does have consequences). I’d like to know more in detail what consequence this may have in the future, but for now you do see a change in Pan’s appearance (which is comical).

With such a unique idea of the History camps and an interesting blend of science fiction and historical fiction, this book was a real fun read. It had a bit of everything in one well written book. Readers might also notice it’s also an interesting history lesson on 14th century Italy (well, at least on how people lived back then). I would definitely recommend this to other readers (I think it’s most suited for those that like YA). It’s certainly a different read and lets readers take a break from the massive amounts of dystopian fiction out there.

I give it a 7.5 out of 10

Written by Karoline

May 23, 2011 at 8:00 am

Posted in 7.5, Review

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Review of The Devil’s Right Hand

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Devil's Right Hand

Note: This is the third book in the Dante Valentine series. So yes you have to read them in order. I think you’d be pretty confused if you didn’t. Start with Working for the Devil and follow up with Dead Man Rising.

Dante Valentine, the necromancing, half-demon bounty hunter, returns for a third installment in this entertaining series from Saintcrow. This time out Dante is summoned, along with her demon lover Japhrimel, by Lucifer himself, who makes her an offer she can’t refuse: it seems that four demons have escaped from hell, and Lucifer wants Dante to track them down and return them to his dark domain. Though there isn’t much negotiating room when dealing with the Devil, Dante strikes a bargain and accepts the assignment. With the help of Japhrimel, she recruits a posse of supernatural beings and sets out to accomplish the Devil’s dangerous mission. Of course, not all is what it seems-the Devil isn’t called the Prince of Lies for nothing-and soon she and her crew find that their souls are at stake. (Taken from Amazon.ca)

This was a much better improvement from the second one. (I found Dante to be a little whiny). She still packs a punch with her wit and literally kicks butt in the action scenes. Although she’s still emotional at times, and Japhrimel doesn’t really help her much (at least it seems like it). I’m glad Dante got back on her feet and is somewhat back to her normal self.

Like the previous two novels, the action scenes never disappoint me. They’re well written and very descriptive and it really does feel as if you’re watching a movie instead of reading a book. I still think Dante still needs to develop a bit more. It’s like she’s stuck in a rut and can’t seem to get past the emotional stage of her development. It’s developing, but I think it’s developing a little too slow. Yet as I mentioned above, I’m glad she’s back to her butt kicking ways. She still has some issues to resolve, and hopefully they’ll get solved soon to get the plot moving faster.

The relationship between Dante and Japhrimel seems strained and tense. Although there’s a lot of love, there’s also a very deep sense of mistrust between the two of them as Japhrimel still hides a lot of secrets. I like them as a couple and they both compliment each other well.

Plot-wise, the book was good. Although it was slow at first to get into. The action does pick up and some twists were revealed to keep the story interesting. I still feel as if the story is missing something though, but it could be because I just don’t like the way Dante’s character is developing. The twist in the end was good and I’m looking forward to picking up the next book to read the series further.

Dante Valentine fans will be happy that she’s back to her own self (somewhat) and Japh is still sexy as ever. The action and plot twists will keep us coming back for more. Let’s hope with this new twist, the plot will be taken further and will be an enjoyable read like this book.

I give it a 7.5 out of 10.

Written by Karoline

November 23, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Review of Paranormalcy

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Paranormalcy

Paranormalcy

I caved in when I heard SO MUCH about this book. I mean A LOT. On Twitter, and through book blogs I go to. Okay. So I decided to jump on the boat, reserve it bright and early at the library. I’d have to say the cover is most definitely lovely don’t you think?

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours. But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures. So much for normal. (Taken from Amazon.ca)

There’s only one word that can describe Evie: cute. Everything about her is cute. I enjoyed reading what she was thinking and her actions are just like what a teenage girl would exactly do. This was accurately done and very well written. I thought the plot was good and kept my attention. It flowed smoothly and things were explained, yet still leaving the reader with questions that will be answered in the next two books. There’s a good healthy mix of romance, action, and comedy to keep the reader entertained throughout the entire novel. Some of the comments made by Evie made me laugh out loud, and the budding romance between her and Lend is a nice read.

I also really liked Evie’s friendship with Lish. They seemed like such a wonderful pair despite large differences between the two (Lish is a mermaid). I thought they were the perfect best friends pair I have ever read so far. Now in regards to the Evie’s romances, I’m not so sure if there’s really supposed to be some love triangle happening. I don’t think so since it looks like Evie and Lend are pretty well off together. Reth keeps on coming in the way but I found him absolutely revolting and definitely not boyfriend material. He’s like a real annoying fly but at the power of ten.

So, the plot’s great. The characters are pretty well done. The other reviews and opinions seem pretty accurate about the book. So why do I feel as if I didn’t enjoy this book much as others did? For starters, Evie’s obsessed with the color pink. I personally can’t stand the color and go out of my way to avoid it. She’s so girly it’s making me think she’s a book version of Barbie. Perhaps I’m so used to reading tomboy characters, or characters filled with sharp wit sans the cuteness. So this is a rather huge contrast and change that I had to adjust to. Actually, Evie started getting annoying after the first few chapters. However liking the color pink isn’t the only reason. It’s her constant descriptions of Raquel’s sighs. That got really old. REALLY FAST. I don’t care what kind of sigh Raquel did, just keep the story going! to me, it was silly and the constant repetitiveness of it got to me and sad to say, it made a large negative impact on my opinion of the book. If it wasn’t for these little things I probably would have enjoyed it much better. Perhaps I’m too used to tomboyish, mature like characters to properly enjoy Evie.

It really is a wonderful book and I probably will read the next two books following this. I’m only hoping Evie won’t get as annoying (ie: tone down the color obsession..and the descriptive sighs)..because if this persists, it may just sway me to not pursue this series at all. Yet I do recommend this book to those in love with YA paranormal urban fantasy. It really is worth the read.

I give it 7.5 out of 10.

Final Thought: Reth and Jace (From The Mortal Instruments Series) could be tied for The Biggest Douche of the Year contest….who would win that one? :D

Written by Karoline

November 9, 2010 at 7:08 pm

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