Saturday, August 6, 2011

Review: Vanish, by Sophie Jordan

Vanish, by Sophie Jordan
Publish Date: September 6, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
ISBN: 9780061935107
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 304
Source: ARC for review
Series: Firelight #2
To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone. 

Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love? 

In bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s dramatic follow-up to Firelight, forbidden love burns brighter than ever.
NOTE: This review was written on May 21, 2011, prepared for posting today. This review will most likely contain spoilers to Firelight, so if you haven't read that one, you should probably stop reading now.

My feelings toward Vanish are bittersweet. I love the world Sophie Jordan has created, and I devoured Vanish just as easily as I did Firelight. However, to put it bluntly, the endings piss me off. There is no climax followed up by falling action, in my opinion. It's more like the incredible build to a climax, only to end during said climax. Firelight's cliffhanger was a killer but it was tolerable. Vanish's cliffhanger left me raising my eyebrows.

Jacinda's indecisiveness was another thing that annoyed me in Vanish. She can't seem to figure out where she belongs, and once you think she has it figured out, she changes her mind. She also didn't stand up to some people that I personally think she should have told to suck it. People treat her like shit, and she allows it and even thinks she deserves it. Hell no.

We know how I feel about love triangles. I'm not going to go into that. However, it doesn't really bother me in Firelight. I don't know why, but I feel as though the pride life and the secondary characters provide enough entertainment for me to overlook the love triangle/square. It probably also helps that I absolutely love both Will and Cassian, and though I know who she'll end up with, I really have no idea who I want her to end up with.

You can't help but feel for every character in these books. (Well except for maybe the hunters and the pride leaders. They can go to hell.) But everyone else! Everyone is going through some sort of personal struggle and you can't help but wish there was a way to make a happy ending for everyone involved.

Despite the few times I wanted to reach into the book and slap Jacinda (or better yet, slap someone for Jacinda) I ate. it. up. There is never a dull moment in these books. Words are never wasted and we're never given more or less than we need, with action from beginning to end, you just don't want to put it down. And then it ends.

And then you die.

4.5/5 Stars

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Future of Another Book Junkie

This will probably be the last post you'll see around here, for a while. I'm in the process of joining the girls at Good Choice Reading, though the details of that are being hammered out. It's unclear at this point whether I will be a permanent reviewer there, or just a guest reviewer. It's up to the girls, and it's their blog, so whatever they decide is fine with me.

I've been thinking about this for a while now. I almost just shut the blog down completely to remove myself from the book blogging world. To be honest, it feels like high school anymore, and it gets a little tiring. The fact that you can't say something in general without someone assuming it's about a particular blogger, and running to tell them as if it will somehow put me in my place, is just sad. Especially when you don't follow that blogger, or know anything about them. I'm not intimidated by anyone, anywhere. None of us are better than the rest. Thousands of followers doesn't make you better than the blogger with ten. I didn't deal with the cliques in high school, and I'm not dealing with them in blogging. (Please note that this opinion does not reflect the girls at Good Choice Reading in any way whatsoever.)

But that isn't really what this is about. It plays a role, but for the most part, I really just do not want to do anything more than reviewing. I'm only taking half a step back, of course, rather than removing myself completely. I'm not a fan of doing the memes (though I have nothing against those who do), and apparently I'm incapable of coming up with many other post ideas. I'm jaded, it's crystal clear at this point. Something else that is clear? My blog is dead. Guys, very very few even enter GIVEAWAYS. Which I'm fine with! My blog is dead because I'm an inconsistent blogger and believe me I understand that. I'm blaming no one for the crickets you hear.

So my plan is to just review. I'll review for Good Choice Reading, and help out with anything they want/need help with, and that's it. This blog will remain just as you're reading it now. I don't want to delete all of the reviews from the past, and who knows, maybe one day I'll feel like diving back in head first. I guess we'll see.

Thank you to anyone who has ever read a single thing I've written.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Review: Other Words for Love, by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Other Words for Love, by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
Published: January 11, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte
ISBN: 9780385739016
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 368
Source: Library
Series: n/a

When an unexpected inheritance enables Ari to transfer to an elite Manhattan prep school, she makes a wealthy new friend, Leigh. Leigh introduces Ari to the glamorous side of New York--and to her gorgeous cousin, Blake. Ari doesn't think she stands a chance, but amazingly, Blake asks her out. As their romance heats up, they find themselves involved in an intense, consuming relationship. Ari's family worries that she is losing touch with the important things in life, like family, hard work, and planning for the future. 

When misfortune befalls Blake's family, he pulls away, and Ari's world drains of color. As she struggles to get over the breakup, Ari must finally ask herself: were their feelings true love . . . or something else?

I wanted to like Other Words for Love. No, I wanted to love Other Words for Love.

Ari's story had a rocky start for me, with over a hundred pages passed before we meet the boy she is supposed to fall in an out of love with. This time was filled with family drama; her sister Evelyn's mood swings, Ari's lying down and taking this shit Evelyn dishes out, her lusting for her sister's husband, and a friend who is quite frankly, a shallow selfish bitch. Not to mention a mother whose character felt inconsistent. These characters are written well, so well that I found myself sick at my distaste for them. For me, this shine's a light on Lorraine's writing ability, to make me to have to take a step back and realize that these characters are fiction, and I can't go back in time and tell them they're all full of shit.

Before Ari meets Blake, she's already heavily lusting after two other guys, and it just didn't make me like her character anymore than I already did. Which was, not at all. I just didn't connect with her. Well developed? Yes. Likable? Not for me personally. She was driven purely by hormones, and I suppose that is the point, but I'm not a fan of these situations. When she wasn't worried about one of the various older men in her life, she was complaining about and/or jealous of a toddler. I just didn't like her. I found myself having to force my way through the novel at times, because my disconnect with Ari was so strong. She really wasn't any better than Summer, in my opinion.

I really couldn't connect with a single character, aside from Leigh. And even then, it wasn't a very strong connection and it was most likely the artist in her that I was drawn to. I'm not saying they weren't well-fleshed out characters, because they definitely were. I just didn't really like any of them, and it's not easy to read a story when there isn't a single character you genuinely like.

Other Words for Love is a well written, well plotted story about a girl just trying to find her way. Everything about the story feels painfully real. (Although, I must be honest, I do not understand the point of it being set in the 80's. Sure, AIDS played a small roll in the anxiety of Ari's choices, but those stakes would be just as high today, if not higher. I'm not going to focus much on that, however, because I don't know the true meaning behind the time period.) Even the ending isn't the fairy tale ending everyone is used to and vies for. If Lorraine were to tell me it wasn't fiction, I would probably believe her, because it is that realistic.

I guess at the end of the day, I didn't connect well with it because I didn't like the characters. It truly is beautifully crafted with characters you'll probably either love or hate. Lorraine Zago Rosenthal is one hell of a story teller. If you can connect with the characters, I have no doubts that Other Words for Love would make a fan out of you. This just wasn't the story for me, but I will be watching for Lorraine's next release, because I know with the right story I could easily be a big fan of hers.

3/5 Stars