Something Strange and Deadly

Oh! Hello there! Long time no see! I’m really happy to be blogging again and I’m sipping some green tea and smiling because I just really forgot how much I enjoy blogging! So any-hoo, tonight I’m going to review a book that I read last year and just recently finished re-reading. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard was SUCH a good read that I just couldn’t resist writing a review about it.

Now I hope by now everyone knows that I am throughly obsessed with zombie stories, and by obsessed I mean if it has any sort of walking dead I’ll give it a try. I will read any zombie story ranging from gross to extremely disgusting. Luckily for the readers with delicate sensibilities, this book didn’t have anything TOO gory! The book is set in Victorian Philadelphia which was another thing that I really enjoyed about the story. Dennard’s combination of these two elements ultimately made this book irresistible to me, and I had to pick it up.

The protagonist of Something Strange and Deadly was Eleanor Fitt, who definitely didn’t fit the typical mold of a “proper” lady. Eleanor’s father dies after his business fails and the Fitt family finds themselves with a bit of a money issue. Eleanor’s brother Eli, leaves to travel the world, and the book begins with Eleanor anxiously waiting his arrival back in Philadelphia. Unfortunately for her, fate has other plans as she is mysteriously handed a telegraph from her brother by a zombie…yup a real grotesque creature in its own right. Soon after Eleanor enlists the help of the Spirit Hunters, a trio that was called to town as soon as the dead began walking. With the help of these three, Eleanor quickly begins to find out exactly who she is and what she wants.

I think that Eleanor is easily one of the best protagonists I’ve read in young adult fiction today. She was smart, fiercely independent, and just plain fabulous. I liked Eleanor because she wasn’t what someone during that time would consider perfect or extraordinarily beautiful, which made her more relatable. Although many women at that time were expected to be complacent and lady-like, Eleanor really began to speak her mind as the book went on and I really liked that as readers we were able to see her growth. By the end of the book I was completely girl-crushing on Eleanor because of the strength and poise she exhibited throughout her trials.

I can always appreciate a good cover!

I can always appreciate a good cover!

I absolutely adored Daniel as a love interest, mostly because he wasn’t misogynistic or overbearing. He didn’t treat Eleanor like a porcelain doll except for when he was worried about her safety (and this was more because Eleanor was not used to fighting or being in dangerous situations, not necessarily because she was a female). He eventually gave up trying to protect her and let her do what she wanted/needed to do, which was a nice departure from the usual trope of love interests.The other Spirit Hunters were equally as kick-butt and overall Dennard did a great job with character development. Joseph and Ji (the other two spirit hunters) were great supporting characters that really fostered Eleanor’s growth.

The plot of the book was so mouth watering to me – I just absolutely loved it! I thought that Dennard did a really good job creating a mysterious, romantic, action-y novel without making either of those elements over the top. As the book went on I found myself really wondering exactly what was happening and who was behind everything because the mystery was so complex and well written. I liked that the book had some mystical elements that didn’t feel over the top and crazy. I liked that the zombies weren’t your typical run-of-the-mill zombies that are all too common today. The pacing of the novel really worked for me as well, as Dennard brings us right into the action and doesn’t let us up for air until the end. There were no superfluous parts and the writing was tight. On the plot level, I definitely think that this book was extremely strong.

If you like a strong female protagonist, a mouth-watering love interest, and some zombie action I would DEFINITELY recommend this book. Even if zombies aren’t typically your cup of tea, this book had a lot of other very interesting elements and a strong plot, so don’t be intimidated by the subject matter too much. Until next time, lovely readers!

The Infernal Devices Trilogy

Ok so at one point I will try to review all three books separately because they all had their good and bad points for me (mostly because I’m morally opposed to love triangles of any sort). Now, I read the first book in this series after I had finished all the books out in The Mortal Instruments series, which at the time I think there were three or four out. I was and still am a huge fan of Cassandra Clare so when I realized she had written a spin off series for TMI (I feel so trendy for abbreviating like all the other fangirls) I decided it would definitely be worth a read – and I certainly was not disappointed. I finished this series last Tuesday a bumbling, crying mess. After it was over I could not stop thinking about it and the ending is still haunting me.

Now let me preface this mini-rant by saying that this series had one of the worst love triangles I have ever encountered. Now when I say “worst” I do not mean in terms of badly written-ness or annoying protagonist-ness, I mean that this is a love triangle that ripped my heart in two. I (of course) had a certain person I was rooting for but I still could not help but adore the other boy. I’m trying to not spoil too much or taint this rant with my opinion of who Tessa (the protagonist) should’ve chosen, so excuse my vagueness.

The books all had such amazing story lines (despite the love triangle) that I can’t even begin to explain each one. All three books had great action sequences and lots of mysteries and once you finish the first one I promise you that you’ll be hooked. Clare has such a good method of weaving in different events for each character into an overarching arc so even when I found myself unhappy with the main arc of the story I could always find solace in the smaller arcs. She also has such a great way of writing characters – she almost writes in such a way that every single character in the series has enough material to be a main character. Some of my favorite supporting characters were Magnus (OF COURSE!), Sophie, Cecily, and Charlotte. It is almost baffling to me how some authors can create such intricate worlds but it is clear that Clare has managed to do that with the Shadowhunter world and it is a world that I will continue to visit as long as she continues to write it.

On the first cover we see WIll, the second Jem, and the third Tessa.

On the first cover we see WIll, the second Jem, and the third Tessa.

Now, Clare ended the series with what I suppose satisfied many readers but I honestly could not deal with the ending. Had I not read the epilogue I might have been content – but I did read the epilogue and I found myself kind of upset. Whenever I think back to the book Clockwork Princess I want to vomit because it literally gave me soooooo much anxiety. After I finished the book I had a sudden yearning for the TMI series with the monogamous relationship between Clary and Jace.

I suppose it is a sign that Clare is an absolutely fabulous writer because she produced such an emotional response in me, but as of right now I am still an emotional wreck. I try to convince myself to be happy with the ending, but I’m not. And let me add that I am not unhappy because of Clare writing it that way – she is the author and is the only person that ultimately knows what happens at the end of her own story – but I suppose I am just unhappy because I found the book’s ending to be very melancholy.

Despite my own mixed feelings about the end of the trilogy, I seriously recommend that anyone who has not yet read this series READ IT!!! Clare is an absolutely amazing storyteller and her ability to weave so many different story lines into one is not something any author can duplicate. If you are already a fan of the TMI series, I highly recommend you give The Infernal Devices trilogy a try because as I re-read the TMI series I found SOOO many cool connections between both series’ and I understood a lot of things a lot better.

So overall, I hope to review all three books separately as this was not really a review but just me word-vomiting (is that a verb?) my thoughts on an absolutely amazing trilogy’s end. Read these books and I promise that you won’t regret it – even with my painful over thinking of the ending I can’t bring myself to regret picking up these books. I mostly posted this because I honestly had so many thoughts and no one will listen to me drone on and on!

Thanks for reading!

Shadeland

The cover is pretty interesting!

For my third review of five, I have decided to review an indie book that I got for free on Smashwords. Now if any of you have been on Smashwords looking for a good free book, you know that it’s pretty much a gamble. I really wasn’t expecting much from this book and I was actually pretty surprised to find myself getting interested in this book. Although there were a couple of parts that were a bit slow, the book was a surprisingly refreshing and interesting read.

The book starts one years after the massive “coming out” of the Eidolon (there are many different species) as we are introduced to our protagonist Liv and her best friend Luke. Liv has known about the eidolon for a while because Luke told her his secret a while back. After the “coming out” there were waves of protests and riots, but things are relatively calm present day. The biggest challenge that the Eidolon face is the discrimination and disgust that come from certain humans. After a girl that Luke dropped off the previous night is murdered, Luke is deemed a suspect in her murder and imprisoned (mostly because he is not human). As Liv tries to solve the mystery and help prove Luke’s innocence, she meets a hunky bounty hunter named Jared and finds herself on a surprising adventure.

The characters of this book were a little more than decent. I liked Liv just fine, but I wasn’t totally enamored with her like I would have been with an awesome protagonist. I like the fact that she stood up against Jared, Luke, and anyone else who tried to tell her what to do. I liked the fact that she really didn’t talk unless she had something important to add, and I also enjoyed the fact that when she voiced an opinion/thought/comment, she expected everyone to listen and not to brush her off. Liv and Luke’s relationship was a little weird, but cute! They really understood each other well and I liked the way they interacted. Jared was not totally sah-woon worthy, but he was a pretty good love interest. Although at times he was a little sexist, it wasn’t overbearing or pig-like. There is potential for a love triangle but as of right now it seems pretty straightforward.

I really liked the idea of this book. I liked the fact that the “coming out” was still pretty recent and that we got to see the world as it was going through this adjustment period. One thing that I didn’t really like was that this book occurred over such a short period of time so we didn’t really see as much growth and development with the characters. Another thing that bothered me was the scope of the book, as they pretty much just stayed in one area and didn’t travel beyond – I would’ve liked to see how another area interacted with the Eidolon. Although I liked the premise of this book, I believe there were some parts of it that could’ve been improved upon.

I don’t know if this book is available for free on Smashwords still, but if it is, I do think that it is worth the time. If this book had cost money, I think that it would be a different story. While it is not a bad book by any means, I don’t know if I would spend more than maybe $3 on it. If you like paranormals and are looking for a quick read, this might be a good book for you. If you are looking for something with a little more substance, I would check out another book. Now on another topic: THIS IS DAY THREE AND THE FIVE DAYS ARE ALMOST UP!!!! *does happy dance*. I hope that you all have been checking out my reviews because let me tell ya, these things are stressing me out. Until tomorrow guys!

The Carrier of the Mark (Carrier Series #1)

While the cover might look neat, don’t let it fool you! It may as well have white hands holding out a blue apple!

In my last post, I went on a short rant about how much I hate when authors emulate Twilight in their writing, whether it be consciously or subconsciously. This book pretty much does exactly that. I cannot express to you my regret over paying $9.99 for this on my Nook. I SERIOUSLY CANNOT. This was probably one of the worst Twilight copies I have EVER read. EVERRRR! Basically it’s Edward and Bella all over again, but a lot worse. Even Bella (as much as I despise her) had some king of redeeming qualities *eye twitch*. Megan Rosenberg (our protagonist) is the equivalent to Bella in this story. Insecure, naive, and totally dependent on her love interest. Megan moves to Ireland after her dad (AKA Charlie) gets a job there. She meets a group of friends and on the first day of school, a guy named Adam DeRis pays attention to her (OMG YAY! -.-). After that she can’t get him out of her head, surprised? Me either. They eventually start dating thanks to a set of circumstances eerily similar to Twilight‘s (seriously are you surprised?). I won’t even bother to try and explain the supernatural circumstances that bring them together because they were: a. ridiculous and horribly explained and b. they weren’t really that important compared to the LURVE happening in the book

The plot was totally unoriginal. UNORIGINAL I TELL YOU. Yes, the paranormal aspect may be a bit different (no vampires/werewolves as far as I know) but it honestly was exactly like Twilight in every other aspect. Basically the course of the book is Megan seeing Adam, staring at him and obsessing over him constantly, him saving her multiple times, and finally them getting together (SHOCKER!). Honestly there wasn’t much more to the plot than that, just an underdeveloped conflict thrown in at the very end of the book.

The characters are where I’m really going to dig my teeth into right now. Megan was, quite possibly, one of the most horrible protagonists I have ever had the displeasure of reading about. She was totally dependent on her dad, boyfriend, and friends throughout the course of the story – never once did she branch out by herself and actually not be dependent on someone else. Even Bella was better than that, which is SAD dear readers, it is SAD. Megan was just a totally unappealing character to read about, not only because of her lack of independence, but because of her low self esteem and selfishness. Adam DeRis is just like Edward but less appealing. He has the whole “I don’t want to be with you to protect you” syndrome as well – as if he is actually that unselfish! If you’re going to try and emulate Twilight at least give us a good male lead, not some half-ass effort at broodiness and cockiness. Adam also had two siblings eerily similar to Alice and Rosalie, albeit in a flash of “originality” the author made our Rosalie into a male. We also have our Carlisle AKA Fionn who of course, Adam takes Megan to meet the day after they kiss.

Honestly, I don’t even want to write more about this book because that’s how awful it was. The only reason I decided to review it was because I wanted to save some people from wasting money on this crud. It is absolute rubbish I tell you (creatively using british slang to avoid cussing!). If you want to read a worse version of Twilight then by all means, go ahead and read this!!! If you aren’t in the mood for a totally unoriginal plot, unlikeable characters, and a boring remake – DONT READ THIS BOOK! DONT EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER (well you get it) EVER READ IT! I would not even recommend this to someone I hate, that’s how bad it is!

 

Want me to review a book? Email me at youngadultbookmuncher@gmail.com or comment this post!

Dead is the New Black (Dead Is series #1)

If you are looking for a paranormal romance-y type book that isn’t a total Twilight cut copy, Dead is the New Black (and the rest of the series) is definitely for you! We have a super spunky protagonist, the evil-but-somewhat-likeable-has-a-good-heart cheerleader, and of course the best friend/love interest! This story introduced so many elements that really make it stand apart from the paranormal romances in this day an age, because let’s face it: many of them are Twilight with a different abnormality and names. Daisy Girodano and co. add a refreshing twist to a genera that is slowly but surely loosing new material.

Our story begins with Daisy’s junior year in high school in the small (fictional) town of Nightshade. Daisy is pretty much the opposite of popular, thanks to her used-to-be best friend Samantha “The Divine” Devereaux who humiliated her in middle school. Her only friend happens to be one of the hottest guys in school, Ryan Mendez (convenient – where can I get one?). As the story progresses, we learn that Daisy comes from a family of psychics (except for her dad, who disappeared mysteriously when she was in middle school). Daisy feels like an outsider to her own family as she is the only one in the house that has not developed psychic powers. The story centers around mysterious cheerleader behavior, a missing girl, and some very spooky secrets lurking in this paranormal little town.

I absolutely loved all of the characters in this book (except Penny because she was SO annoying). Daisy was an excellent main character as she had a good head on her shoulders, and a good sense of right and wrong. She also had a healthy curiousity that made the book interesting. She was very respectful, courageous, witty, and she really stayed true to who she was throughout the course of the novel. Samantha was also a very interesting character because she had all the elements that you would expect from an antagonist in a teen novel and yet I couldn’t help but fall in love with her hard-headedness and sass. She was a character I expected to hate but she actually ended up being one of my favorites in the book. Ryan (SAH-WOON) was a good love interest for Daisy, as he wasn’t clingy or obsessive (which is SO not cute) and he went along with Daisy’s plans because he was a good friend. Daisy’s sisters (Rose and Poppy) were also likable and fun characters. All the characters in this book had a lot of depth to me and that is something that I really value in teen books these days, because honestly we really have a lot of crappy novels out there.

The plot was somewhat predictable but fun anyways! It had a few unexpected twists and turns but overall it wasn’t really that surprising to me. What I really adored about this book was the premise of a supernatural town, psychics, and mystery. I felt that the concept of this book (while not exactly totally new) was refreshing in the genre of paranormal romance! I liked the fact that there were a few subplots that presented mysteries for future books in the series. The whole book had a very original vibe and fun mood throughout and it was definitely worth the read!

If you are looking for a refreshing, fun read this summer, I definitely recommend this! It was full of mystery and romance and had good characters. The reading level was fairly easy but it didn’t feel like a pre-teen book, but rather a book for teenagers. I actually got this book from the library and devoured the series in 2 days, but I ended up buying the books again on my Nook  because they were so cute and well written and I wanted my own copies! This is definitely a lighter, fluffier, and faster read but it is worth every penny!

Want me to review a specific book? Let me know! Post a comment or email me!

youngadultbookmuncher@gmail.com

The Last Echo (The Body Finder Series #3)***

*If you have not read the first two books I suggest reading them before this review

Let’s just say that the third book in this series was nothing short of disappointing. I know I should review the first two books first, but I cannot bring myself to hold this review back any longer. I guess reading the first two and liking them so much, I was expecting a lot more from Mrs. Kimberly Derting, and unfortunately this book did fall short of my expectations.

The story introduces our protagonist, Violet Ambrose, when she is still in high school. She is still happily with her boyfriend of a few months Jay Heaton. Now can I stop for a minute and say SAH-WOON! Jay is such a good male lead for this novel and I enjoyed him immensely in the first two books. Now back to the summary, Violet has now become part of an organization that has use for her shall we say…special skills. You see, Violet can find the dead. That’s right, our protagonist basically finds the bodies of people who have been murdered; now what makes this even more interesting is that every dead body leaves what she calls an “imprint” on her. These imprints can be anything from tasting something sweet to hearing bells chime when she is near a body. After that, she cannot get the imprint out of her head until the body is laid to rest. However, she can always remember the imprints. But the bodies aren’t the only things that have imprints…their killers carry the same imprints as well. This makes her very useful for an organization lead by the mysterious Sara Priest. But Sara isn’t all that comes with this, she also makes some friends that have interesting abilities as well, especially Rafe who is nothing if not mysterious, guarded, and a teeny bit scary. While they are trying to catch a killer, the killer ends up getting infatuated with Violet. Will she be his next victim, or will she catch him before he can make her one? That is basically the premise of this book.

Now I had many problems with this book starting with the fact that Jay was barely in it. That’s right, the protagonist’s hot boyfriend was barely in the book for more than a few pages at a time. I am not saying that  I expect Jay to be everywhere with Violet because that would be creepy and obsessive, but I do wish that the author had written him in more, and given him a more significant part. Jay and Violet’s relationship was so cute and interesting in the first two books, and so the fact he that he wasn’t in this one as much really broke my heart and made the book less enjoyable. If you read the first two and loved Jay, be prepared for some disappointment.

Problem number two was the slight love triangle that was introduced. I am completely FED UP with love triangles in Young Adult fiction and just in general. Love triangles are overrated and overused and they really don’t add that much to the plot other than making me get frustrated with the protagonist for being promiscuous with two boys/girls. If you haven’t guessed it already, the love triangle occurs between Rafe, Violet, and Jay. I think the reason that this frustrated me the most was that in books one and two of the series, Violet could not get over how much she loved Jay and blah blah blah. But then she starts thinking about another boy, right after all her and Jay have been through. Really? REALLY? This book had enough going on without putting a love triangle into the equation. Why oh why couldn’t Mrs. Derting break the trend of love triangles in YA fiction? I swear in every book that I read, there is some sort of love triangle now a days. Most frequently they do it in the second book, so when Mrs. Derting didn’t I had some hope. But now? I’m crushed. Love triangle was NOT NECESSARY.

Okay now that that was established, lets move onto the plot. The plot was good in theory, however it was very repetitive of what happened in the first two books. I feel like the author just keeps putting Violet with different killers and recreating the climax in a different setting. It does get old after a while. Although there was the added element of Sara Priest and all her new friends, the plot was pretty similar to the first two. I had hoped for something different than just Violet being threatened. Maybe one of her friends? Maybe Jay? Just not Violet in the same old story.

Now onto the last most annoying thing about this novel: Violet herself. In the first two books I really loved Violet. She was smart, pretty, capable, and a strong person in general. She never felt sorry for herself or complained about her situation. Overall, she was just a sweetheart in general. Was she painfully oblivious at times? Yes, but in an endearing way. In this book she basically lost all innocence. She was feisty and sometimes even verged on rude, and let me tell you that does not work for her. At all. I felt like she was being stupid and attention seeking the whole novel, and she was also painfully indecisive! This might just be me, but that’s how I felt she acted a lot of the time. The fact that the author was able to take a character I adored and make me hate her by the end of this book, is a bit sad. But it’s the truth.

The redeeming quality of this book: the ending. We were left on a massive cliff hanger, which was a bit surprising as I thought this would be the last book in the series. However, I would be an idiot to think that after reading the ending. I liked how the author ended it like that as opposed to giving it another generic ending to go with it’s generic plot line.

This is strictly my opinion of the book. I believe that it was well written and all, but it was just a disappointment. I didn’t feel that “I never want it to end” feeling that I got with the first two books. In fact I was looking foreword to the ending a lot. If you liked this book, than good for you! I don’t mean to offend anyone with this review and I hope that that is understood. If you have a book you’ve been eyeing and you want me to review it, COMMENT THIS!