This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a really fun one if nostalgia is your thing. Thankfully I love reminiscing on the past and seeing what baby Mari was up to which means today I’ll be sharing with you the first ten books I reviewed. Goodreads allows you to sort your read books by review, so I was able to pretty easily find which ones happened the earliest. August and September of 2014 were apparently very busy for me as all of these ten books and reviews come from those months.
Disclaimer: I have copied and pasted all of these directly from Goodreads without having edited them first. I’m sorry baby Mari was so terrible.
Flawless by Sara Shepard (review from 8/9/2014)
Let me just start off by saying that the TV show is WAY better than the books. I am kind of shocked by that, and honestly disappointed. Flawless was so shallow and annoying and overall it just made me angry. Will I read the rest of the series? Yes, because I hate starting things and not finishing them. Also, I am curious about how the book series is going to progress differently than the TV series.
Winger by Andrew Smith (review from 8/11/2014)
Okay, let me just sum this book up for you in a non-spoilery way. Ryan Dean West is a 14-year-old junior. He is a skinny-ass-loser. He is not gay, but doesn’t have a problem with gays. These three things he tells you over and over and over and over and over again. And he also objectifies every girl he sees. On-top-of-that-the-entire-book-is-written-like-this-with-all-of-these-annoying-and-unnecessary-hyphens. And there ya go, by reading this one review you have read Winger by Andrew Smith.
Rumble by Ellen Hopkins (review from 8/27/2014)
Once again, Ellen Hopkins has blown me away. Her writing is beautiful, and I found myself deeply invested in the characters she created. RUMBLE made me think about my personal beliefs and some of the decisions that I have made. Hopkins, whose books are written in verse, mixed up her writing style to include excerpts from an essay the main character, Matt, had written. I have read every book this author has written, and without a doubt, RUMBLE has taken the place of being my favorite.
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (review from 8/31/2014)
I was very excited to finally read THE 5TH WAVE. I had heard so many positive things about it, and with it being made into a movie starring Chloe Grace Moretz, I figured it was high time I read it. This was a hard book for me to get into. Cassie is a whiney and immature character that I found very frustrating. She says one thing and then contradicts herself just a few sentences later. At on point in the book, she says, “I don’t want to be a shark.” This line perfectly sums up Cassie. Aliens are attacking, the world is ending, and she doesn’t want to be a shark. At no point in this novel do any of the characters develop whatsoever. I found myself not caring what happened to them and actually hoping they would all die just so the book would be over. There were a few times when I would begin to get excited about the story, but every single time it fell flat and I found myself disappointed. Yancey’s writing is sloppy and repetitive. The points of view would change randomly from he/she did this to I did this and back ag He brought characters into the story and carelessly disposed of them, only to randomly bring them back in the end. I most likely will not read the sequel when it is published, but will probably see the movie when it comes out in hopes that Hollywood can take what could have been a great story and make it into something amazing.
Shutter by Courtney Alameda (review from 9/2/2014)
I have never been able to get into a book intended to scare the reader – until now. Courtney Alameda’s writing was captivating, and the story she told was unlike any other. She went to great lengths to put intricate details into her story, but not so much that things were hard to keep track of. Up to this point, I have always found stories involving Van Helsing, Dracula, etc. like characters to be hokey; however, if more writers would weave their story and make it believable as Alameda did, I would be more likely to read them. Within the first few pages I had goose bumps crawling up my arms and I had to ensure that all the lights in my apartment were turned on before I could continue reading.
When I first saw that there were three main male characters involved, I was instantly worried about a love triangle (or would that be a love square?). Thankfully, this was not a problem. Micheline and Ryder are adorable together, and they only have eyes for each other. The way that these two characters interact makes the reader hope and pray that there will be a happily ever after.
Overall, I was very pleased with this book. The pacing was good, the characters themselves were enjoyable and their interactions with each other were natural and believable, and the conflicts were resolved in a manner that made sense and left me satisfied. My only problem with the book was that I had a hard time staying focused on it. The story was interesting, but for some reason it was difficult for me to stick with it for long periods of time. Despite my inability to focus on the book, I would still recommend this to anybody who is a fan of horror novels, loves YA, or is just looking for a fresh new story.
Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross (review from 9/8/2014)
WHATEVER LIFE THROWS AT YOU is a fun must read for any age that enjoys young adult novels, whether you are into the whole romance thing or not. Just make sure that you have enough free time to be able to sit down and read this book cover to cover, because you will not want to put it down once you start.
I actually posted my full review of this last week because I still love this book so much!
Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones (review from 9/13/2014)
When I first picked ILLUSIVE up, I was very wary. The book is being described as the X-Men meets Ocean’s Eleven, and that just sounded way too hokey for anything that I would ever enjoy. Despite going into the book expecting not to like it, after the first chapter I was hooked. The fact that the good guys are self-professed criminals gave things a very interesting vibe. It was hard at times to know who was good and who was bad. I like that Emily Lloyd-Jones kept me guessing. This assured that I was never bored and kept me fully engaged the entire time. The humor was awesome! So many funny jokes are contained within the pages, which made this such a fun read. The way that things are connected and intertwined is amazing. References were made throughout the book that mentioned events from the beginning in both big and small ways. All of the characters were very enjoyable, even the ones that you are supposed to dislike. They were crafted so well, and the ways they interacted with each other were very believeable.
I am incredibly glad that I picked this book up and gave it a chance. It has definitely turned into one of my favorite reads, and I am so excited for the sequel, Deceptive! You will definitely want to get your hands on this one, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
A Whispered Darkness by Vanessa Barger (review from 9/14/2014)
I have been really into paranormal books lately, and so far, A WHISPERED DARKNESS has been my favorite. The events which took place were very believable, and that intensified the creepiness factor. Every time I pick up a paranormal novel, I am worried that it will be hokey; however, the haunting of Claire’s new home seemed absolutely real. At times I would be so into the book, that if Claire said that the temperature in the room dropped, I would start to feel goose bumps crawl up my arms. There were instances when I had to glance over my shoulder, because I was afraid somebody was watching me. Vanessa Barger did a simply phenomenal job at being descriptive without overbearing the reader. Whether she was describing the characters, a setting, or ghosts haunting people, the story flowed so smoothly and I was able to visualize everything easily.
All of the characters were crafted well to me, except for Bryan. He seemed like a slightly unnecessary character that was randomly thrown in at times to create more tension. Bryan ended up bogging the story down, and when he would appear, things just felt very awkward and forced. I did, however, thoroughly enjoy all of the other characters. Claire handled situations maturely, Haven was just wonderful, and Claire’s younger brother Grant was absolutely perfect. The possession of Claire’s mother was written so well. As time went on, there were subtle changes in her mother, from the way her hair was fixed to her handwriting, and it was interesting to see somebody slowly being taken over by a paranormal being.
Overall, the novel was paced very well. There was never a time when things felt like they were going too slow, and the only part that felt rushed was the ending. I was not very satisfied with the way things were resolved, but it was an ending I could live with. Though A WHISPERED DARKNESS is certainly not a comedy, Barger did include some comedic lines dispersed throughout the book to keep things from getting too dark and gloomy.
The wonderful author herself provided me with an e-book, but I enjoyed it so much that I plan on purchasing a print copy of it! I can see myself making it a tradition of reading this novel every time that Halloween comes around, or any time that I am simply in the mood for a creeptastic tale. If you are looking for a good, spooky read, then A WHISPERED DARKNESS by Vanessa Barger is one that you will definitely not want to miss.
Orenda by Ruth Silver (review from 9/16/2014)
Looking at the cover for ORENDA, and reading the synopsis, made me think that this was a book I would really enjoy; however, almost everything about this story was just wrong. ORENDA moved extremely quickly, which meant that Ruth Silver was unable to set up either of the worlds. Everything in Orenda is supposed to be opposite from what is in the real world. This idea intrigued me, and I would have really loved to see the drastic differences, but was unable to do so. Because the novel moved so fast, it was also easy to get confused as to what character was speaking or who was doing what unless it was clearly stated.
The characters were severely underdeveloped. I saw no change in them from the beginning of the novel to the end. I enjoy being able to tell when a character has grown and learned from all of the experiences he/she has gone though, but Silver did not provide this. There was also no difference from the initial characters and their doppelgangers. Everybody seemed to act and speak the same way, so at times it was hard to differentiate between them.
Silver had a wonderful idea for ORENDA; unfortunately, it just was not executed to the full extent that it should have been. I did encounter a few passages that were humorous, but it was not enough to save the novel. The cover for ORENDA is absolutely beautiful, it is what first drew me to the book, but it is very misleading. It gives me the impression that Lil can see Orenda through the river/pond she is looking in, or perhaps even use the body of water to travel to the world, but neither of these possibilities are true. Silver has authored several novels, and I am open to the idea of giving another a try. She seems to have good concepts, and I would like to see whether or not she is able to carry them out fully in a different novel.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (review from 9/19/2014)
I know I am a little behind on the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE wagon (okay, actually way behind), but let me have my fangirl moment. LAINI TAYLOR IS A GOD SHE IS SO BRILLIANT WHY DID IT TAKE ME TWO WHOLE YEARS BEFORE I GOT MY HANDS ON THIS BOOK AND READ IT THANK GOD I FINALLY DID!(!!!) Thank you. I will now attempt to be composed throughout the remainder of this review; however, I make no promises.
At the beginning of the book, I was having an incredibly hard time. So many of the character’s names started with the letter ‘Z’ that I was getting them all mixed up and confused. The more I read though, I was able to learn more about each person, which made it easier to tell them apart. I ended up falling in love with each and every character. I was able to see all of them develop emotionally, and they were crafted with amazing individuality and had such great personalities. Taylor’s descriptiveness made it to where I could clearly form images in my mind of how the characters looked. All I can say is, please let me have blue hair like Karou.
Taylor took a classic good versus evil, forbidden love, fantasy story and put such fantastic twists in it. Just when I would start to get comfortable with the story, BAM, she threw in another surprise. The feelings of shock and disbelief I would feel when there was a huge twist in the story was majorly apparent in my face and in the way I would gasp. People would ask if I was okay, only to have me grunt back at them and continue reading. I would not put up with any interruptions while in the process of reading this book. This novel is the absolute perfect example of what a page-turner is. It won’t matter if you need to go to sleep because you have to be up for work in six hours, you will not want to put this book down.
In short, if you have not read DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, then what are you waiting for? Seriously, READ IT NOW!
Do you remember the first book you ever reviewed? I’d love to know what it was so let me know in the comments!
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted each week by Jana from That Artsy Reader Girl. Visit her blog to see what books she first reviewed and find other’s lists as well!