Tag Archives: suspense

Review: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

18 Jul

Series: Maze Runner, book #2

Published: October 12th 2010 by Delacorte Books

Details: Hardcover, 360 pages

My Rating: 2.5/5

My Summary:

Second installment of The Maze Runner trilogy. Thomas and the gladers discover that the maze was only the beginning, as they enter phase two in the trials set up by WICKED. Interesting world, but would have liked less trials, and more on the background of the project. I also keep having issues with the underdeveloped characters. Won’t continue the series.

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A few chapters in:

The Maze Runner told the story of a couple of teen boys who find themselves in the center of a giant maze, with no recollection of their pasts. I didn’t outright love the book, but I thought it was intriguing enough to want to read the sequel. The ending in particular had me hooked as it promised revelations about the reasoning behind the maze, and more on the dystopian world outside.

Enough said, I started reading The Scorch Trials and I’m now a few chapters in.

We enter the story exactly where The Maze Runner ended. Thomas and the other gladers have been rescued and are enjoying their first night of good sleep in dormitories provided by the rescue team. But that peaceful sleep shatters the next morning when all hell breaks loose.

The first thing they notice is that their dormitories are surrounded by screaming “cranks” – which is what the insane disease-affected people are called. Then, they discover that the entire rescue team has been murdered in the kitchen. Thomas finds that his friend Theresa has disappeared and in her place there is a new boy, Aris, who appears to have come from another group who also went through the maze.

Not surprisingly, Thomas already overfull head is now swarming with a million new questions. As is mine. Thankfully, just as my head is about to explode with questions, a man appears in the dormitory. And he reveals the following:

The Maze was phase one of a series of tests which essentially were designed to monitor the reactions of the human race, and pick out who is the most fit to fight the world catastrophe which is currently going on in the world right now. The man also tells them that Phase two is about to begin, which is predicted to be even tougher than the maze (if that’s possible).

The next day the boys are instructed to march outside the dormitories, into the blaring sun of a destroyed world in order to complete phase two. And this is where I am now. The boys are marching through a desert land towards a city, and I can only imagine what they will encounter there. Crazy cranks for sure..but what else?

 
 
 

 
 
 
After finishing the book:

I can’t help but feeling a bit disappointed. I read this sequel in order to understand why someone would put the boys through the maze. I read it in order to find out more of the dystopian world outside. None of that materialized here.

Instead, we got a rehash of the maze runner. The only thing that changed were that the boys now knew that they were being put through some kind of trials. Apart from that little detail, it was the maze all over again. The boys stuck somewhere, where they had to survive various “variables” thrown at them, all directed by the creators of WICKED. In the end, the sequel didn’t bring us anything new. It felt very much like a middle book, whose only goal was to take us readers to the book three where the BIG CONLUSION will be revealed. I could have easily skipped the book entirely and gone straight ahead for the final book The Death Cure instead, and not feel the slightest lost.

The biggest downfall however were the lack of development in the characters. I said it in The Maze Runner, and I’m saying it again here. I could not connect to the main character Thomas. Which is strange, since I’ve been following him through two full books now. I’ve been watching him being beat up, betrayed, kissed and what not else, and all I feel is nothing! I’m wondering if it is because he’s got a bit of that Mary Sue syndrome, always doing the right thing in every situation, always good at everything he does. I’ve never been a fan of characters that are too perfect. Yet, even so, it’s strange that I care so little about him.

And that goes for the rest of the characters. Apart from maybe Minho, I couldn’t have cared less who died and who survived. Granted, we know very little of the other characters, which in itself is another fault of this series. When they start off on their phase two journey in this installment, there are twenty or so boys in the group. Yet it seems as if Thomas (as well as the reader) knows of only Newt, Minho and Frypan by name.  The rest of the group is reduced to nameless stand-ins, only there to be killed along the way (in order to spare the main characters).

I wasn’t a big fan of the romance either. I mean, it felt like Thomas had more chemistry with Minho than with Teresa. Likewise with Brenda. There was just nothing there, and I consequently got tired very quickly of all the angst regarding these two girls. I wish it had been skipped all together.

The question is now: Will I continue the series?

These first two installments are promising a final conclusion to the series that will explain the grand scheme of the WICKED . Only, I am almost positive I will end up being disappointed again, just like I was disappointed with the escape from the Maze.

You see, I don’t think there is a brilliant solution. There is all this talk about variables and killing patterns and how it’s all supposed to bring them closer to a cure. Considering the awful things these boys have gone through, there has to be a seriously brilliant solution to explain all this, and frankly, I don’t think there is one. Dashner did not deliver in regards to “the solution” to the maze,  and I have a strong feeling he will fail to deliver in the last installment as well. Hence, I’ve decided to leave this series.

The final installment The Death Cure to be published in October this year.

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Review: Iron King by Julie Kagawa

28 Jun

Series: Iron Fey, book # 1

Published: February 1st 2010 by Harlequin Teen

Details: Paperback, 363 pages

My Rating: 4.5/5

My Summary:

Meghan ventures into fairy land in search for her kidnapped brother, where she faces many dangers together with her friends. I loved this action-packed book! Great world-building, very well written, wonderful characters and a touch of forbidden romance. Can’t wait to read the sequel Iron Daughter.

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A few chapter in:

The Iron King is a series that has been around for while, with three books out and a forth on its way later this year. I have only heard good things about it, and so I am expecting it to be a good read. Actually, anything after reading Evernight is bound to feel great.

Oh, and this book is also next on my “what to read next” poll, hence why I’m finally picking it up now. As always, thanks to all who voted!!

I’m now a few chapters in, and I’m already in awe over the writing. Now, this is how you tell a story! And yes, I am looking at you Claudia Gray.

Okay, so with that initial praise out of the way. Here’s what I know so far:

Meghan Chase lives far outside on the country side with her mom, her step dad Luke and her little half brother Ethan. Her dad disappeared many years ago, and ever since she’s felt like a guest in her own house, as Luke never truly welcomed her in. Ethan however cares about her, and it’s adorable to watch.

As we enter the story, Ethan is scared, because there are monsters in his wardrobe. Meghan chases this off as one of his imaginary monsters, and heads off to school with her best friend Robbie.

But weird things have only begun, and strange things keep happening as her 16-year old birthday draws closer. It all culminates when Ethan is kidnapped and replaced by a strange creature known as a fairy changeling. Not only that, but her best friend Robbie reveals his true identity as a fairy.

Yep, it seems as if Meghan just stepped through the Rabbit’s hole in Alice in Wonderland. Still, she forces herself to keep it together, because she has a brother to save.

And so, that’s how, a moment later, she finds herself venturing into Fairy Land in search for her brother, accompanied by her ever protective fairy best friend Robbie. A journey that takes a dangerous turn as soon as they step through the portal.

I don’t think she’s been there more than a full 24 hours yet, and already she has been chased by hounds, a dark mysterious horse rider, goblins, a strange water horse and what not else. She’s also met a rather unusual travel companion, a talking cat!

In short, this is just getting more and more interesting. And so far, I am loving it!
 
 
 

 
 
 
After finishing the book:

I found a new world that I want to live in: Nevernever in The Iron King.

Because WOW, it’s been some time since I’ve entered a world as fascinating and complex as that of The Iron King. An I’m in awe over the ability to create such a world. I envy you Julie Kagawa!

Yep, like you’ve guessed, I just finished The Iron King. And I feel a bit like I did when I finished The Mortal Instruments Series, which is a strong desire to jump into that world again.

In many ways, these two series share some similarities. A girl who thought she was normal, discovers she’s anything but, while she plunges into a supernatural world she did not know existed, in search of a kidnapped family member. Accompanying her on the journey is her best friend and a dark brooding young man who hate each other’s guts. Both series provide non-stop action, as they are chased by one strange creature after another, jump into several portals/trods and also end up visiting an oracle.

Yet, the similarities never bothered me. On the contrary, I welcomed them. Because I loved the Iron King for the same reasons as the Mortal Instruments. For the wonderfully drawn supernatural world, the quirky characters and of course the romance.

Speaking of similarities, it also shares some similarities with Glimmerglass, with how both heroines (due to mixed parentage) can live in both worlds. All though, while I had problems understanding how that made the heroine potentially powerful in Glimmerglass, it was perfectly clear in Iron King, another proof of what a much better fairy book Iron King is if compared to Glimmerglass.

Okay, so moving on!

The plot reminded me a bit of The Neverending Story, that is, how disbelief causes the death of magical creatures. I loved The Neverending Story as a kid, and so this particular theme really struck a chord within me. I was almost hyperventilating during that last part when they trekked through Machina’s territory, and oh how I suffered with Ash.

The characters were so well-rounded, that I felt as if I was walking side by side with them throughout the book. As so many other have commented, the cat Grimalkin may have been my favorite secondary character. So cool, so cate-like, what’s not to love? All I can say is that it was a true pleasure to get to know this little creature. Oh I may have offended him now by saying “little”. Sorry Grim!

Meghan was a great main character as well, she had some spunk in her, and I loved her determination to get back her brother. The romance did not take a forefront but was still very sweet, and oh so forbidden as well. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. And the ending brought tears to my eyes, because Ethan is just the most adorable character!

There was really only one thing I didn’t quite understand, and that was why they didn’t go with Grim when he offered another safer route to Machina’s fortress? It seemed a bit strange that they would decline his offer.

But that is a small complaint to an otherwise wonderful book. Be assured that I will be continuing with the sequel Iron Daughter in a very near future, as I need to revisit this world again!

Review: Desires Of The Dead by Kimberly Derting

28 Apr

Series: Body Finder, book #2

Published: March 15th 2011 by HarperCollins

Details: Hardcover, 368 pages

Rating: 2/5

My Summary:

Sequel to The Body Finder about Violet who can sense murdered bodies. I thought her steamy romance with Jay in the previous book was really good. This one however was a disappointment. It felt like a filler, with no plot to speak of, and with a heroine who showed no backbone whatsoever, to the point that she started to bug me. Won’t continue the series.

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A few chapters in:

I remember reading The Body Finder and loving it, especially the budding romance between Violet and her childhood friend Jay, which was truly sweet. And so, when this sequel hit the shelves, I knew I wanted to continue their story.

Hence, here I am a few chapters in. Violet and Jay are now a couple, and as much in love as before. But troubles are closing in, and it comes from various directions.

Firstly, there are two new kids in school, Mike and his sister, and Jay has started to spend far too much time with Mike, to Violet’s dismay. Meanwhile, someone – a girl – is feeling angry with Violet for supposedly taking Jay from her and has started threatening Violet with various anonymous messages.

As if that wasn’t all, Violet has also found a new body. As you may recall from The Body Finder, Violet has the uncanny ability to sense murdered bodies, as they give out a special echo sound that only Violet can hear. Once discovering a body, the echo will keep bugging Violet until it has been given a proper burial-place where it can rest in peace.

Hence, after coming across this latest body, she places an anonymous call to the police so that it can be found. Problem is, her call is traced back to her, and before she knows it, the FBI has approached her for questioning. What will happen when they find out about her ability?

And this is as far as I’ve got.

Unfortunately, I have to admit I’m not feeling it yet with this sequel. Violet has started to bug me, because she keeps everything a secret, refuses to let anyone help her and in general is just too meek, quiet and gloomy for my liking. I’ve wanted to yell “get it together!” quite a few times already. Which can’t be a good sign. I’m especially frustrated with the way Violet treats Jay, who does everything in his power to keep her happy, yet all she does is pouts.

Moreover, the plot is not much of a plot yet, rather it’s screaming filler. Particularly the subplot about a psycho girl who dumps dead cats on Violet’s porch is a bit too over the top for me. It sounds more like Glen Close in Fatal Attraction than a little school girl who is jealous over another girl’s boyfriend, don’t you think?

In short, I’m trying to remember now what was so good with The Body Finder, because doubts are creeping in. Or maybe I’m being too harsh here, it may get better the more I read, let’s hope so..

 

 

After finishing the book:

Well, you probably have guessed it already from my little prelude above. I was not a fan at the beginning of the book and that’s unfortunately how it stayed.

My main issue is that a plot was lacking for about two-thirds of the book. Instead what we got was Violet, Jay and friends going on about their life. There were tons of descriptions of Violet’s best friend Chelsea’s infatuation with Mike which didn’t add to the story line at all. More than highlighting the fact that Chelsea just rivaled Vee in Hush Hush as the most obnoxious best friend ever in YA literature (I see a Top 5 List emerging). Geez what an irritating, self-centered brat!

Ok, with that out of the way, back to the topic at hand: the non-existent plot. Tons of passages are dedicated to Violet feeling this, and feeling that, that she should really say this and she should tell someone that, yet no words ever form in her mouth. Frustrating to say the least! Moreover, what really annoyed me this time around with Violet is that she seemed so fragile! It felt like a gust of wind could make her crumble, or a mean look could make her cry, you know what I mean? I wanted to shake her about 90% of the time, and shout ” Just get it together girl”!!

Then to top it off, we get to the “break-up” between Violet and Jay, happening over a phone call when Jay doesn’t immediately accept Violet’s accusation of someone he knows. Say what?? Now I understand that having no plot, we need to shake things about a bit, thus creating a bit of a turmoil between Violet and Jay seems like a good idea. Yet, that poor excuse for a break-up made me (if possible) even more frustrated with Violet than I already was. She really is impossibly difficult!

All right, so moving on. In the last couple of chapters a plot finally emerges. Unfortunately, it turns out to be so predictable it reads as a child story. Lots of foreshadowing. I felt like, three chapters away, I could have stopped reading and mapped out that whole conclusion myself. And get everything right!

Finally, the one and only thing that was good was the writing. Violet’s uncanny ability is described in such a way that even though it’s certainly weird and I have never encountered anything remotely like it before, it makes perfect sense as I’m reading it. As if the dead calling on Violet is the most natural thing in the world. No doubt due to excellent writing skills.

Nevertheless, I have no plans to continue Violet’s and Jay’s story. I’m not sure what is in store for them, no doubt another murder case to be unraveled and possibly one or two minor fights with Jay, maybe even Rafe making an appearance as another candidate viewing for Violet’s attention. All though that would be a shame, seeing as Jay is such a lovely guy.

Oh, I’m just guessing here. Like I said, this is the end of the series for me. After having read this sequel, I believe Derting should have left The Body Finder as it was (no doubt) originally planned: as a stand-alone novel.

Third book to be published sometime next year.

Review: Siren by Tricia Rayburn

3 Dec

Series: Siren Trilogy, book # 1

Published: July 13th 2010 by EgmontUSA

Details: Hardcover, 352 pages

My Rating: 3.5/5

My Summary:

Enjoyable paranormal read about Vanessa who is investigating her sister’s sudden death in a coastal town in Maine. If you are tired of fallen angels and vampires, this is a refreshing tale of something new: sirens. It’s a quite spooky read what with all the deaths caused by these creatures. Also with a hint of a romance. Be prepared to have questions left unanswered though. Sequel out next summer.

A few chapters in:

Ever since this book was published half a year ago, I’ve been keeping an eye on it, as it seemed to include everything that I normally enjoy in a book. We have Mystery: check! Sweet romance: check! Paranormal twist: check! And finally, but not least, great reviews: check!

I’m now a few chapters in. Quiet Vanessa and her lively sister Justine return together with their parents to their lake house in Maine to spend the summer. As always, when in Maine, they hang out with the neighbours and brothers Simon and Cabel. However, this time not many leisurely days go by until the unthinkable happens. Justine’s dead body is found in the sea, after having supposedly thrown herself off a cliff in bad weather.

Vanessa and her parents leave Maine in complete shock to arrange the funeral at home. After a few days, Vanessa decides to go back to the Lake House to investigate her sister’s death further as she is doubting the police report stating that Justine jumped off the cliff herself. There, she meets Simon, who tells her that ever since the night when Justine died, his brother Cabel has been missing too.  Meanwhile, the weather in Maine is behaving rather strange, gathering up storms from out of nowhere and calming down the next second. Somehow, I believe the weather is linked to these disappearances, but how I don’t know.

And this is as far as I’ve got, but the beginning is promising and I’m sensing a bit spooky too!

After finishing the book:

I have just finished the book, and..I liked it. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but I did enjoy reading it.

First of all, I have to point out that it had some striking similarities with Need, all though instead of pixies, here there are evil sirens. In both books, the heroine (a girl with a lot of fears) is grieving the sudden death of a family member. Both storied are set in small towns in Maine, involving quite a few deaths before our heroes manage to close in on the enemies. And last but not least, they both involve a kick-ass grandma Betty!

I could go on, but if I do I’m afraid there will too many spoilers. I gave Need a stunning 4.5, and as you can see, I was not as impressed with this book. The main reason? The romance, which was so much stronger and steamier in Need. Loved Zara and Nick!

Ok, I’m getting sidetracked, back to this review:

We have Vanessa, who is a very likeable heroine, thoughtful and cautious, yet brave and strong. Just the way I like a heroine. All through the book she deals with her sister’s death, which is a painful process and somewhat confusing, as she gradually realizes that she didn’t know her sister as well as she thought.

We have geeky but still adorable Simon. A romance is hinted between the two of them, or rather starts but never truly takes off. I actually thought there would more romance, but it turns out the suspense in this novel overshadows the romance.

There are also many side characters, such as Paige, Cabel, Zara and Betty who were very well portrayed. I particularly warmed for sweet (almost to the point of naive) Paige, who seemed so misplaced amongst all the cruelty.

Even though the romance was not as prominent as I hoped it would be (as you know, I am a romantic at heart), it still very much kept my interest. I got a real spooky feeling while reading about the small coastal town surroundings, with dead bodies washing up onshore every few days and a weather going havoc. You don’t need to be an Einstein to guess that the sirens were the cause of all the mayhem (considering the title of the book), but there were many questions regarding the how and why? Through most part of the book, I was kept in the dark, with only tiny bits of information thrown in here and there. And it worked, I kept turning pages hoping to get my questions answered.

After finishing it, I’m not completely sure though I fully understood the how and why. I’ve read quite a few reviewers addressing the same issue, that too many loose ends were left hanging at the end, and I have to agree. I would have loved more to have been explained about the world of the sirens. And not only that, but other weird happenings, such as why supposedly dead Justine could communicate with Vanessa. Anyone got that?

Then again, I assume all this will be more throughly explained in the sequel Undercurrent, to be released next summer. The end in this book promises an intriguing sequel, so I am looking forward to continue reading this (what I assume to be) trilogy.


Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

22 Nov

Series: Maze Runner, Book #1

Published: October 6th 2009 by Random House

Details: Hardcover, 374 pages

My Rating: 3.5/5

My Summary:

Set in dystopian future. Thomas wakes up in a lift that takes him up to an expanse populated with dozens of other kids, surrounded by a maze. Together they have to find a way out before they’re killed. Not as amazing as the similar Hunger Games. Action-packed and with an intriguing premise, yet I felt slightly disappointed at the end. Sequel Scorch Trials out now.

A few chapters in:

As you know, I loved The Hunger Games. Which is why lately I have been looking for, not only the next Twilight, but also the next Hunger Games, meaning a mind-blowing dystopian young adult fiction.

Not surprisingly, The Maze Runner comes to mind. Ever since it was published a year ago, it has drawn comparisons to The Hunger Games. And so, I had to see for myself, is it as mind-blowing? Is that even possible? Time to find out!

I’m now a few chapters in. Thomas, our protagonist, wakes up in a lift. He has no recollections of his former life, in fact, all he remembers is his first name. When the doors of the lift open he finds himself in “The Glade”, a huge expanse surrounded by massive stone walls, and met with a dozens of other boys, ranging from 12 to 17 years old.  He soon learns that all the boys have arrived through that lift, with their memories wiped clean, just like Thomas.

And things just keep getting weirder. During the day, there are four exits left open in the stone walls surrounding The Glade, inviting the boys to explore the maze outside. Yes, a giant maze surrounds the place! Every night the exits close, whether to protect the boys from horrors outside or to prevent them from escaping, I don’t know.

After only a few chapters, my mind (along with Thomas’s) is already swarming with questions. Let’s just say I’m intrigued!

After finishing the book:

Ok, I have finished the book. What did I think?

Well, I know that I loved the beginning with the intriguing mystery of a maze with moving walls. Yet, it wasn’t as great as I expected it to be. Still an enjoyable read, and I kept reading because I wanted answers to all my questions. But it never truly gripped me and I’ll get to why in a moment.

Like I said, the start of the book was as intriguing as it gets. We have Thomas finding himself in “The Glade”, with a dozens of other boys. All their memories have been wiped clean, and no one knows anything about who put them there and why. All they know is that “The Creators” are providing everything they need to get by, and that a gigantic maze surrounds the place. It’s assumed that the only way out is to find a way out of the maze. The only problem is that the walls of the maze move, and that the grievers (some sort of horrible monsters) come out at night, restricting their exploration of the maze to daytime only.

Quite early on we realize along with Thomas that somehow he is special. Despite his memory loss, he senses a strange familiarity to the surroundings, especially the maze. What is also weird is that as soon as he arrives, things start changing.  Previous to his arrival, the boys have been having more or less the exact same routines for nearly two years. Not surprisingly, the sudden rupture of these routines scares the boys, causing some of them to cast suspicious looks at Thomas.

A few of the boys however are on Thomas’s side right from the start, in particularly Minho, Newt and Chuck who all came across as really nice guys, each in their own way. There is also one girl involved, who arrives soon after Thomas, but spends most of the time in coma.

All of this, which I just described, really intrigued me. I wanted to know how the boys were going to solve the maze, which role Thomas played in the whole thing, who the girl was, and generally why the boys had been thrown in there in the first place!

However, while we do get answers to some of these questions, I couldn’t help but feel disapointed at the outcome.

—  SPOILERS!!  —

Firstly, their escape was not how I expected it to be. I mean, they figured out the solution thanks to Thomas recuperating some of his memories. But if he hadn’t remembered what to do, they would never have gotten out. Hence, the smart logical solution I was expecting, something that would make me go WOW, I never thought about that!! – turned out to be no solution at all.  Given the intriguing mystery of the premise, I was expecting some clever solution. So even though it was exciting to see them fight their way out, it was also bit of a let down, if you get my drift.

—  END OF SPOILERS  —

What I also found somewhat disappointing was the lack of depth in some of the characters. I did care to some extent for the supporting characters Chuck, Newt and Minho, but I felt oddly detached from Thomas. Not that he bothered me but I felt indifferent to what happened to him, which I’m pretty sure was not the intention of the writer. When the girl woke up from the coma, I had a hard time caring for her too, and I didn’t feel the connection the two main characters supposedly had. Possibly, because we are only told that they used to know each other but never shown any background story. (Which makes sense given their memory loss). This may grow into something more solid in the sequel. I hope so.

The Bottom Line:

Disappointments set aside, I did burn through the book in a matter of days, eager to find the answers to all my questions (some of which are still left unanswered). It’s a good book, a page turner and the start of an intriguing albeit slightly depressing series. If you like dystopian fiction I recommend you to put it on you TBR-list. But it wasn’t the type of amazing book that have you gasping out loud. For that, you need characters that you truly care about.

The sequel is called Scorch Trials, which I will most likely read in the near future. After all, too many question marks are left hanging and I remain curious to what will happen next!

Review: The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

2 Nov

Series: Darkest Powers, book # 2

Published: May 1st 2009 by HarperCollins

Details: Hardcover, 368 pages

My Rating: 4/5

My Summary:

Great sequel to The Summoning, where we follow Chloe and her supernatural friends on the run from the evil people of the Edison Group. Includes some sweet moments of Chloe and Derek together. Not many questions answered though – guess that will finally be provided in the last installment The Reckoning.

A few chapters in:

If you’ve read the first book in this series, The Summoning – you’ll remember the cliff-hanger ending. And it starts just where it left off. Chloe is once again locked up by the very same people who ran the Lyle House, which she ran away from in The Summoning.  So she is back to where she started, and worse still because this time they are aware of her being a threat, and so she is under constant surveillance.

She may have someone there who can still help her though. Liz, her former room-mate at the Lyle House who was taken away, and now appears as a ghost whenever Chloe summons her. But does that mean Liz is dead?

Meanwhile, Derek and Simon are on the run, and Dr Davidoff and his team are eager to find them. While pretending to help Dr Davidoff, Chloe plots her own escape plan, finding an unexpected ally in Tori – her enemy from the Lyle House.

And this is as far as I’ve got, but it’s promising. What I like the most so far is the fact that I have no idea where this is heading. Apart from Chloe finding the brothers, which I assume will happen soon, everything else is a huge question mark. Let’s see how it plays out..

After finishing the book:

So I finished the book last night and I’m left with exactly the same feeling I had when I finished the prequel – I wouldn’t call it amazing but it’s definitely a solid 4, as in, a great fast-paced read.

The plot is quite simple. As hinted above, pretty early on, Chloe and Tori manage to escape the Edison group (which is what the rulers of the Lyle House are called). Soon after, they meet up with the guys. During the rest of the book, we basically follow them while on the run.

Just like in The Summoning the plot trots along in a great pace (neither too fast nor too slow) so that you’re always turning pages to find out what will happen next. Yet there is room for character development, mostly for Chloe and Derek who get some time alone here. As a fan of Derek, I really enjoyed reading those passages. There is no romance yet, but I sure hope that will happen eventually, because they are just so adorable together!

The Bottom Line:

All in all, I enjoyed it just about as much as The Summoning. The only negative aspect was that it felt like a middle book, essentially a filler to provide us with character development and a plot that merely served as an instrument to lead us up to the grand finale in book three. Not much happened, apart from the escape and the final pages, and I had expected more questions to be answered. Yet, I wasn’t too bothered by all of this seeing as I’ve come to like the characters so much.

So, what now? Well, I definitely have to get my hands on The Reckoning – and that quick – as I’m anticipating an even better read there than the first two, what with the grand finale and all – which hopefully (please please please), will include Derek and Chloe getting together!

Review: Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz

21 Oct

Series: Touch, book #1

Published: December 16th 2008 by Hyperion

Details: Hardcover, 252 pages

My rating: 4/5

My Summary:

Similar plot to Twilight, as in girl gets rescued by mysterious boy in near car accident at the school parking lot, then is teamed up as lab partners with said boy, who acts strange around her. But despite the similarities, it holds its own, because it is well written, with witty dialogue and with a very likable heroine. I really enjoyed this book. Sequel is called Deadly little lies.

My Full Review:

I heard from other reviewers that this book was a real page-turner. Which is exactly what it was. I read it in one sitting, and that was not my intention when I sat down with it.

When I first started reading it I was struck by the similarities to Twilight.  Camelia, the heroine is saved in a near car accident at the school parking lot by a mysterious guy, then teamed up with said guy as lab partners in class. This guy, Ben, is mysterious and an outcast in school. And all though not vampire, he’s got this whole “if I get too close to you I might kill you” kind of thing going on. Pretty much like Twilight.

Yet, somehow it works, and I got sucked into the story anyway. A number of reasons to this:

Firstly, I liked the heroine. She’s witty, tough and has got a reasonable voice. I could feel myself agreeing with most of her decisions. Except for possibly putting herself into the most dangerous situations, but I guess there would be no story otherwise. I also grew fond of her two friends, real funny the way they kept bickering at each other.

There is also a stalker following Camelia, and his diary notes are inserted here and there so that we get to follow his twisted thoughts. That was really creepy and had me on the edge of my seat most of the time. The identity of the stalker is unknown. Of course, seeing as the weird phone calls and letters start about the same time as Ben arrives at her school makes Ben a primary suspect. Yet, we don’t know until the very end, and I for one, was surprised to find out who it was.

The one thing where it may have been lacking slightly for me was the chemistry between Camelia and Ben. Seeing as we don’t get to know that much about Ben it’s hard to follow how they are so connected. I didn’t feel it. Maybe it develops into something more in the following books. I hope so.

Ben’s strange abilities are also somewhat fuzzily explained, and I didn’t completely understand why it was so dangerous for him to be touching Camelia.

Nevertheless, because of great suspense and a likeable heroine I still very much enjoyed reading this first installment of the Touch series, and I look forward to reading the sequel Deadly Little Lies soon!

Review: Gone by Lisa McMann

5 Aug

Series: Dream Catcher, book #3

Published: February 9th 2010 by Simon Pulse

Details: Hardcover, 214 pages

My rating: 3.5/5

My summary:

The wake series is a great series, which I’m recommending everyone to read. The last installment however doesn’t quite live up to the standard of the two previous books. That being said, I still enjoyed it, and loved getting to know more about Janies options. As a whole though, the book left me wanting more, thus the lower grade.

See my full review here:

Synopsis:

Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought she’d made her peace with it. But she can’t handle dragging Cabel down with her.

She knows he will stay with her, despite what she sees in his dreams. He’s amazing. And she’s a train wreck. Janie sees only one way to give him the life he deserves: She has to disappear. And it’s going to kill them both.

Then a stranger enters her life — and everything unravels. The future Janie once faced now has an ominous twist, and her choices are more dire than she’d ever thought possible. She alone must decide between the lesser of two evils. And time is running out….

My thoughts:

I read this, worrying about why people generally didn’t like this final installment of the Wake series as much as the first two books. And I get it now, why people didn’t like it as much. That being said, I still enjoyed the book. It’s only when comparing it to the first two books that I find myself slightly disappointed.

In this book there is no assignment. Instead, the plot revolves around Janie trying to make a decision on how to live her life. In Fade, she got an insight to one of her options, explained by Mrs Stubin. In Gone, she learns about her father, and thus learns more about the other option. All of this is interesting, and I loved getting to know more about Janie’s parents and their past. I completely understood the pondering Janie was going through.

So why was it disappointing then?

I think I just expected more, especially seeing as this is the final installment. I wanted more information, more resolvement. I would have loved more interaction between Janie and her father, Mrs Stubin and even her mother. But mostly, I would have loved Cabel to be more part of the plot. I understand that Janie needed some time alone to sort things through. But we never really get an insight into what Cabel is thinking. If compared to the last two books, he’s not part of this one much at all. And frankly, I missed him. The relationship between these two, their interactions and conversations in the previous two books is what made this series so good. At least that’s how I feel.

The ending. Well, without saying too much, it is OK, and sort of fitting to the story, and most importantly it ended on a positive note. However,  I still felt slightly dissatisfied. There were some unresolved issues left behind. I wish there was another book in the series to take care of those. I would have loved to know more of what happened next.

Unfortunately, this is the ending to the series, and I heard that McMann is not planning to write anything more in the Dream Catchers series. So this is it.

So would I recommend it?

Yes, because overall, it is great series. Original, great writing and with a wonderful love story. I’m glad I read it and I will definitely recommend it to others. Just make sure to lower your expectations somewhat for the last installment, as it is not as great as the first two.

Review: Fade by Lisa McMann

5 Aug

Series: Dream Catcher, book #2

Published: February 10th 2009 by Simon Pulse

Details: Hardcover, 248 pages

My rating: 4.5/5

My Summary:

Loved reading more about Janie and Cabel, such a wonderful couple! The assignment they are on this time is creepy, and Janie learns more about her abilities. Overall, great fast-paced read that I could not put down! I only wished each book was longer. Last book is called Gone.

My Full Review:

In this sequel we continue to follow the wonderful couple Janie and Cabel, and watch as their relationship deepens.  In the prequel Wake, Janie learns (to some extent) how to control her dream catcher abilities, and realizes how she can use them to help the police solving cases. Mostly positive stuff in other words.

In Fade, the inevitable negative side of her abilities sneaks up on her, and soon it feels as if her abilities are a curse rather than a gift. Every time she gets caught in a dream, it takes an incredible toll on her body, especially on her sight. She senses all of this, but doesn’t fully realize what she’s dealing with until it’s confirmed in a notebook written by the departed Mrs Stubin.

While reading the notebook she understands that she has two choices in regards to how she wants to live her life. And one of those choices does not include Cabel. It’s heart-breaking to watch Janie realizing the consequences of her dream catcher abilities, and I really felt with her along the way.

Meanwhile, they are on a new undercover mission for the captain. This time, teachers at their school are suspected of molesting students, but proof is needed. Janie is assigned the role of the bait in order to provide proof, an assignment proving to be quite dangerous.

In fact, I was a bit surprised that the whole undercover operation seemed to rest on Janie’s small shoulders alone. Not to mention the danger that the captain put Janie in. That did not seem like a believable scenario to me, like something that could ever happen in real life, rather it felt like a convenient plot devise in order to provide suspense.

That being said, it worked. I raced through the pages to find out what was going to happen. I swooned whenever Cabel was worried – which happened a lot, and my heart ached when Janie found out the horrible truths of her dream catcher abilities/curse.

So all in all, I’m loving this series, and can’t recommend it enough- and I’ve already thrown myself over the last installment Gone!

Review: Wake by Lisa McMann

5 Aug

Series: Dream Catcher, book #1

Published: March 4th 2008 by Simon Pulse

Details: Hardcover, 210 pages

My rating: 4.5/5

My summary:

A trilogy. About a girl who involuntarily slips into other people’s dreams whenever they fall asleep in her proximity. She meets Cabel, a troubled boy in her neighbourhood and they fall in love. It’s a short book, but still amazing – I read it in one sitting. Wonderful love story! Look forward to sequel Fade.

My review:

I loved this little book. I’ve read reviewers complaining about McManns choppy writing style but I thought it was refreshing. It was a straight-to-the-point type of writing. No rambling or endless passages of descriptions, just the core of the story written down in short sentences. And to me, the story flowed beautifully that way.

Janie, the protagonist is a dream catcher. Involuntarily so. Whenever someone in her proximity dreams, she gets sucked into that dream, whether she wants it or not. She doesn’t know how to control it.

One day, while driving on a street in her neighborhood she gets sucked into a particularly bad dream, and she soon learns that the owner of that dream is Cabel, a boy in her neighborhood. Cabel is a troubled boy, who’s got a pretty bad-boy reputation at school involving drugs and alcohol.

On a bus trip with school they end up sitting together, and this is where Cabel learns about Janie’s dream catcher ability as she suffers through the trip getting sucked into everyone’s dreams as her class mates take turns falling asleep on the bus.

I won’t reveal more, as it’s best if you discover that yourself. Let me just say that all though short this was a wonderful little story, involving one of the most believable literary couple I’ve met in a while, Janie and Cabel. They are so beautiful together it is absolutely heart-breaking. Both of them have had a rough start in their lives, living with practically non-caring parents. And to top it off, Janie has this weird little ability she’s trying to learn to control so that it won’t take over her life.

Very intriguing start to a series, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel Fade!

Also, if you’re like me, and really like the character Cabel, then you may be interested in reading Cabel’s point of view. Lisa McMann has written a couple of pages describing his thoughts of the first encounters with Janie, including the bus trip. Short but great read!

Check out Cabel’s side of the story

Deadly Little Lies by Laurie Faria Stolarz

5 Aug

Series: Touch, book #2

Published: November 9th 2009 by Hyperion Book CH

Details: Hardcover, 288 pages

My rating: 3.5/5

My Summary:

Ok, so the plot in the sequel is basically an exact copy of the first book. Another stalker, more doubts regarding Ben, more questionable admirers, same type of ending. I wish the story had moved forward instead. What I found intriguing in the first book just felt washed out in this one. I may still read the last book Deadly little games, out this year, to see if it gets better.