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Unearthly

Book 88/100 - Unearthly by Cynthia Hand


It's not going to change your life or anything, but Unearthly is a very very good book. Angels are pretty trendy in YA right now but up to this I've not bothered reading any of the popular ones. I could tell they weren't for me and a whole load of bad reviews cemented my feelings. Some good reviews of Unearthly made me give it a go.

It didn't disappoint. Something about this book gives it the edge over a lot of the mediocre stuff in the genre. Clara, our quarter angel heroine, acts and sounds like a believable teenager. She's got all these special powers without falling into Mary Sue territory. In fact, she's pretty flawed. I didn't always like her (she was pretty careless with Wendy's feelings) but she's got plenty of room for growth.

There's enough pop-culture references to make it sound fairly realistic and the dialogue is good for the most part. (one 'i know what you are' part made me scoff a little but it's no biggie) They style makes it an easy read, clear and informal and the pace ticks along nicely.


The best thing about it is the way the relationships develop. The family bonds and friendships feel read. And I really have to commend how the romance plays out. It's so refreshing to see a teen romance grow from friendship and mutual affection. Both boys in the inevitable triangle are worthy love interests, imo and I can't think of many (any?) YA books I could say that about. The characters and their bonds are far more interesting than the plot here and I'm ok with that.

It came to an interesting and fairly exciting climax and there's still lots of good stuff to be dealt with in the rest of the series. I can't wait for Hallowed to be released and I'm glad I don't have to long to go. This gets an easy 8/10 for me. b

And we don't trust Angela, right? RIGHT?

a note of madness

book 87/100 - A Note of Madness by Tabitha Suzuma

This book was an interesting and thought provoking look at a teenager suffering with mental illness. It definitely provides insight into bipolar disorder and shows how anyone can be hit by an illness like that.

But the writing really prevents the reader from becoming engaged with the book and the characters. It's not as clear as it could be and it's hard to feel a connection with Flynn. I didn't care about him as much as I would like to and it definitely lacked the emotional impact of Suzuma's more recent book Forbidden. Then again, this was her first book so I can forgive some mistakes.

It's not bad, by any means. You can totally tell that Suzuma puts effort into her work and her research and this makes me want to like it .(I'm still super impressed that she held a fanfic competition for one of her books) It just lacked something for me. 6/10

the night circus

Book 86/100 - The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


First of all, this is the prettiest book ever. The red hardback cover and the black-edged pages are so striking. I'm glad I went and got this off Amazon, since we typically don't see hardbacks much here in Ireland. Generally, the larger size paperback will be released first and then a smaller version or a mass market one will come out later. It was also much cheaper to get this one online than to buy the one available in shops here so it was definitely a good decision.

The book itself was very enjoyable, though very slow to start. I had to appreciate all the lush description and the rich world created in the pages.
But the tone and style were lacking a little, imo. It created the sense of being an observer which was very fitting with the concept behind the book and the circus. But it also prevented the reader from getting too invested in the characters and I didn't care as much as I could have. It felt like the supporting characters were far more interesting than the main ones too.

This is a great book.It's clever and original and the concept is really strong.Maybe it was a little over ambitious and I just wasn't as absorbed as I wanted to be, so it gets 8/10.

birthmarked

Book 85/100 - Birthmarked by Carragh O Brien

I liked lots of things about this book. Gaia was a strong lead with admirable morals and ethics. Leon was interesting and swoonworthy and the romance that developed felt natural. The stuff with the mystery and the code solving was unique and unpredictable. The world of the Enclave was sinister and believable and the baby stuff added a real edge to the setting. The climax was, to me at least, genuinely tense and exciting. I was really engrossed in it while reading.
Some things, I didn't care for. There were too many coincidences in the plot and the writing was a little bland in places.

It was fine. I can't fault it really; it just lacked that certain spark needed to push it past being only average. It didn't really leave any impact on me so it gets an 6/10.

a song for summer

Book 84/100 - A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson

I liked this so little I can't even be bothered to say anything about it.
Seemed like something I would love but turned out to be boring and ridiculous and old-fashioned and completely ridiculous.

I've had a run of bad books lately. I need something awesome soon.

perfect chemistry

Book 83/100 - Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles



Had this been a fic, I would have flounced early on and then scoffed to myself while other people freaked out about it/
But I hardly ever give up on books, so I stuck with this one.
The best thing about it was the romance. The (excuse the pun) chemistry between Alex and Britt was palpable and I was rooting for them. The dialogue was also pretty decent and most of the characters were fun and easy to like.
The bad things were the pacing, the structure and way the author portrayed gang culture. She gave the impression of having done a lot of research but it still felt like an inauthentic, sugar-coated version. The dialogue and interaction showed that she was trying but there were too many little details that took away from this.
I was really uncomfortable with Alex and Brittany's interactions at the start of the book. Before there was any romantic reason for snappy banter he was downright mean to her. It wasn't flirting, it read like harassment. The otherwise likeable teacher turned a blind eye to his comments and she got blamed for things that were not her fault.

And the epilogue. Dear God, the epilogue. It's been a long time since I cringed that much reading a book.
Overall, it's not a terrible book and I can see how lots of people would get caught up in the romance. It just wasn't the book for me. 4/10.

the goddess test

Book 82/100 - The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter


How was this book? Fine, I guess
It didn't annoy me other than the part where Ava got blamed for that one guy killing the other because she slept with him . I was pretty much rooting for Kate and Henry to be together and since I don't know much about Greek mythology I wasn't irritated by any inconsistencies.
Oh and I have to admit that Kate, while not give the emotional depth necessary to connect with her, was pretty likeable and had a good head on her shoulders. And the books ideas about the afterlife were pretty cool.

There were several worrisome themes and the ending was pretty blah. I wouldn't be rushing to recommend it but I was bothered by it.
I'll give it a generous 6/10.

darkness falls

Book 81/100 - Darkness Falls by Mia James



Earlier this year, when I read By Midnight I was really pleasantly surprised with how much I liked it. I'd been really looking forward to the sequel and snapped it up as soon as it came out.
Sadly, it was really disappointing.

The atmospheric quality that made By Midnight intriguing seemed to be completely absent. April was no longer fun and independent. Rather, she was selfish and over-dramatic and kinda dumb. Sure, there's a certain amount of character behaviour that you can let go due to grief and emotional distress but there comes a point where you want to slap a character and she reached it several times.
I will admit though, she did have a nice few lines that made me appreciate that she's not a doormat.
Gabriel, too, was super annoying. There's only so many mood swings and break ups and make ups a person can deal with before they stop wanting the characters to be together. Most of the time, they hardly seemed to like each other let alone be in love.

There was just too much obvious plot direction, too many contrived misunderstanding and the plot became muddled and predictable. It just didn't evoke any emotion in me and i couldn't care about what happened. Plus, we got barely any real answers to the larger mystery.

By Midnight was noticeably cliché and weak places, but it had enough strong points to make it engaging. Darkness Falls had even more weaknesses and not enough good points to make the reader push past them and it did not make the best of all it's creepy potential.

It feels like a commercial exercise rather than a book with any real care put into it, like a blatant jumping on the vampire bandwagon (complete with characters who love Robert Pattinson) without enough respect for the readers of the genre to give them something of decent quality. I'm being generous by giving this 5/10

old magic

Book 80/100 - Old Magic by Marianne Curley

Yawn.
This was so boring. The writing was dry and unclear. The plot and the characters were underdeveloped. The concept was reasonably interesting but it was poorly executed. Do no recommend at all.
on the plus side, it didn't cost me much. I'd be pissed if I'd paid full price. 2/10.

Forbidden

Book 79/100 - Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma



So this is a book about incest so it's not going to be for everyone. It's going to divide readers and it's going to make people feel conflicted about what they think of it.
And it was really sad.
But honestly, even if there was no incest involved it would still be a very sad story.

this got wordy and a little spoilery Collapse )



There were no easy answers or clear moral to the story. There was only a massive grey area and the reminder that there are people who have deep turmoil in their life and do not know how to cope with it. This gets 8/10. If only the writing was better, it would have been more.

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