Saturday, July 28, 2012

Nightfire by Alyson Burdette

NightfireNightfire by Alyson Burdette

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads: When a murder shakes the small town of Peninsula, all eyes are on Olivia Townsend. She may look eighteen, but the townspeople can sense there’s something darker hiding behind her pretty eyes. Olivia knows the smart thing to do is to get out of town. Suspicious neighbors can only mean trouble for a vampire. But leaving becomes much more difficult when William, a mysterious man from her past, arrives. Finding out what brought him back is a temptation Olivia just can’t resist. William’s kindness and interest in Olivia only makes leaving harder. As she starts to fall for him, she’s forced to decide if sticking around is really worth the risk of being discovered. Of course, her mystery man has a secret of his own-and he’s not talking.

My Review: 
I recieved this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

In Nightfire, we meet Olivia, a lone vampire living in a small town. Shes been a vampire for over 100 years and has never met another of her kind. She lives a solitary existence, keeping to herself to avoid the suspicions of the towns human population. When a local murder occurs, all eyes turn to her.

William is new to town, housesitting for his Uncle who is away. Tagging along with him for the Summer are Williams girlfriend Jane and her brother/Williams best friend, Jesse.

Olivia meets the trio early on, and is immediately drawn to William, who reminds her of someone from her past. But William has a girlfriend and a secret, and hes not the only one...

First, the negatives.

Olivia obsessing over/proclaiming her love for William, and how she'll die if she cant be with him in every second sentence from the minute she met him. There was no build up to it at all. She saw him. She was in love, obsessed, the works. I hate instalove, so this was extremely frustrating for me. Im just not into reading 100 pages of the protagonist mushing and gushing all over someone she only met 5 minutes ago.

Certain scenes being totally unrealistic. Theres a scene very early on when Olivia magically finds where William is living just by walking around the streets. (come on, very few towns are so small that anyone knows every single house, and what cars the owners drive). And then shes busted spying through the window by Jesse and what does he do? Call the cops? no, he invites her in for lunch. And she accepts. I suppose Jesse and Olivia's behaviour in this scene can be explained by events that happen much later but why are Jane and William not a little freaked out that Jesse is just bringing random stalkers into their house? Do they really think he had a girlfriend he hadnt mentioned, even tho they'd all been at school together? Just all seemed a little too convenient.

Nothing really happens for more than the first half of the book. Its slooooooow. Nightfire is written from the first person perspective (Olivia) and honestly, i think it would have been so much better written in the third person perspective. If we'd been able to hear Jesse's and Williams point of view, i think the first half would have been much more interesting.

So for these reasons, this book started off as one star read. It was just the same old thing ive read a million times before.

HOWEVER! The hook for me, came pretty late in the book. About 70% in to be exact, when Olivia finds out that shes not just your run of the mill, average vampire. And from here on, i devoured the book in a matter of hours. WHY WHY WHY didnt she find out earlier? I didnt care to listen to her gush about William for half the book when we could have been finding out more about her true nature and the vampire world. And the little bit we did find out in the last 30% of the book is just not enough, i really wanted more. Will there be a sequel Ms Burdette?It was the last 30% that bumped my rating up from a 1 to 3 star read.

The main positive i wanted to mention, is how incredibly beautiful the authors writing is. I kept thinking time and time again that the descriptions in this book were almost poetic, and after looking on the authors blog, i realised she does in fact also write poetry. I really do look forward to reading more from this author. I think she could be something amazing with a more unique story line, and i hope that she continues on with the more interesting aspects of Nightfire, if she does choose to write a sequel.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French KissAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

My rating: 4.75 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads: 
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. 
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

My Review:
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. I really loved this! If i were 20, Id be totally going fan girl crazy over it. The only reason im not is because the description of the main love interest kinda reminds me of my little brother. So that was a little weird. And the only reason i just couldn't give it 5 stars. I give it 4.75 stars tho!!!!

I started Anna and the French Kiss because i felt like i was the only person on earth that hasnt read it. Its recieved so much hype, i felt left out! I was in the middle of another book, that was totally dragging, so i picked this up, hoping for a quick, light, easy read.

And it totally delivered! Anna and the French Kiss is basically the story of an American girl named Anna whose father sends her to an American school in Paris for her senior year.

Anna doesnt speak French, knows nobody in Paris and as most teenagers would be, is very reluctant to leave behind her family and friends and everything she knows in America, even if it is only for a year.

The first person she meets in Paris is a girl named Meredith. She latches on to Meredith and quickly becomes a part of Merediths group of friends, which includes Josh, Rashmi and Etienne St Clair. (and just quietly, how sexy is the name Etienne?!)

St Clair (as all his friends call him) is smart and sexy, and he and Anna become fast friends. Anna is immediately attracted to him, but he has a girlfriend. And she has a sort of fling waiting for her back in Atlanta. Plus Paris and living away from home is pretty daunting, she needs friends more than a romance.

And so begins the story of their senior year, their friendships, their relationships.

What strikes me first about this book, is that there is no huge twists or turns. Theres not really any huge surprises. A boy, meets a girl, they become friends, and eventually more. Which normally would make for a dull read. But this story just didnt need anything fancy, which is a total credit to the author. It is so perfectly written. It flows so well, that even tho there might not be anything major happening, it is impossible to put down.

I love that, unlike so many YA books these days, Anna didnt immediately fall in love with Etienne the minute she saw him. Theres no "oh ill die if we arent together" and "my every thought of every minute is of him". Shes attracted to him. But so what? He isnt available and neither is she really. The author builds this beautiful friendship between the two, that doesnt happen overnight. 90% of the book is them gradually getting to know each other, learning to trust each other.

Theres so many great moments along the way, moments of confusion when Anna starts to think that she might have feelings for St Clair, that he might have feelings for her. But just like a normal teenager, they never openly discuss things. Which makes for some really amusing, really sweet and innocent times. And sometimes you just want to yell "make your move!" at one of them. I got so involved with these characters, you really find yourself wanting to jump in there and just sort everything out for them! And the reader gets a great taste of Parisian life, through their adventures.

I wish this book had been around when i was a teenager.Theres so much for teenagers to relate to in this. Not just the romantic story, but the girls friendships, The bullying and lies Anna has to endure towards the end. Learning to become independent and learning what really matters. But ultimately, it is the romance (or the build up to a romance) that draws you in. This is the story you read when you've just broken up with someone, that makes you feel that all is right with the world again, and that the best sort of romantic love comes from being best friends first. It explores the idea that home isnt where you live, but who your with, which i love and could relate to as an adult.

I really didnt want this book to end. When you find yourself checking how far into the book you are (on an ereader) and seeing you're at 80% read and wanting to cry because youre nearly finished, you know its a good read. Highly reccomend it to anyone looking for a light easy summer read, or to anyone who enjoys contemporary/chick lit. I'll definitely be reading more Stephanie Perkins.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)Insurgent by Veronica Roth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Spoiler Warning: This is the second book in the Divergent Trilogy. You can read my review of the first book, Divergent here: 

Synopsis from Goodreads:
One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

My Review: 
I have conflicting emotions about this book.

I LOVED "Divergent", the first book in this trilogy. Its the only 5 star read ive given in quite awhile, and easily the best book ive read this year. I love the characters, the world and its factions, the sweet little romance between the leads and i loved sitting on the edge of my seat in excitement and suspense.
So i had very high hopes that "Insurgent" would be more of the same. I really wanted to LOVE it. But im left a little disappointed.

So,bad stuff first, then the good.

Tris and Four barely speaking to each through half the book. Seriously, just feels like such an overused, 2nd book plotline. It bugged me. They're such a strong team together, that they kind of annoy me when they're apart.

Tris has a touch of the Bella Swan's for awhile. "oh noone could ever love me, so ill just go sacrifice myself to the vampires". Or in Tris' case, to Jeanine and the Erudite. To say i wanted to slap her down for a bit there is an understatement.

It has a slowish start, especially compared to Divergent. I didnt really get into it until about halfway through the book. The first half just felt like a bunch of little battles thrown together for no reason, that didnt really go anywhere. It pretty much went like this- Tris and Four go to Amity, for not really any purpose, get shot at. Tris and Four go to Candor, for not really any purpose, get shot at. Tris and Four go to the Factionless...did they get shot at here? cant remember. Probably. None of it was overly exciting. None of it was very memorable. None of it was very interesting.

In the books defense, maybe the first half would have been better if I'd had time to just sit and read it in one sitting. Reading 5 mins here and there, i never really felt like i was getting into it.On the other hand, if it had been really good, i wouldnt have been able to put it down and i probably would have been reading it with one hand while i cooked dinner, or played with my kids. When a book is that good, i do that.

So yeah, the first half was a bit of a write off for me. But around 60% in i realised that my whole body had tensed up, I had scooted over to the edge of my seat and was frantically reading through the chapter to find out what was going to happen. Without giving anything away, theres a scene in the Candor compound where a character dies unexpectedly, and leads Tris into making a big decision. It felt like a turning point for Tris, and a turning point for the book. And the whole thing got better from here on.

The action in the second half is way more interesting than just the odd gun battle that happens in the first half. Its back to Tris having to use her brain and instincts. Theres twists and turns that i didnt expect and thought were great.

The character development of some of the supporting cast was cool, but it did feel a little like the author built them up just to make it hurt when she killed them off. Some of the supporting characters have really started to interest me tho.Like Peter! Surprisingly, i really like this character. I love that Tris hates him (and so do i for the most part)but Im always surprised by him, and im always wondering if somewhere along the line he'll turn into the standard third person in a love triangle. And Caleb! Big twist with him that i totally didnt see coming

The ending is A little predictable, but I like where it left off. Insurgent probably started out as a 2.5star read, and ended up a 4 star. So a pretty big turn around. Its a definite must read if you loved Divergent, and ill definitely be waiting for the third book, and to find out more about "whats beyond the fence"!

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