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Well this was a helluva book. I was really excited to read an apocalypse/zombie tale from a romance writer and I was not disappointed. If there is such a thing, this is definitely a girl-friendly zombie story.
In Red Hill, a virus has broken out via flu shots and the infection escalates so quickly that you're into it by the second chapter...which is pretty typical of apocalypse stories. And I say 'stories' not books because I've only really read one another infection novel-The Passage by Justin Cronin. Other than that, I'm referencing movies.
The story is told from alternating 1st person POV and it is executed flawlessly! Plot is good-several small groups of people in dysfunctional relationships are fleeing the contamination zone with the idea of getting to the same property-Red Hill, a farm house owned by a doctor. Half of the story is the journey there, these different groups within the same area all attempting to migrate to Red Hill believing that it is a defendable, sustainable and isolated safe-haven. We all have a place in mind I think-a bolt-hole in case of Zombies, so it's nice to see how many people have the same idea, but makes me think I need to change mine so I don't end up fighting others for it ;)
The second half of the story is pretty painful, as all of these different-stroking folk attempt to co-exist. And no it's not like the movies-they're not out to kill each other for a crust or anything. But it's more about how people will relate to one another when the primary goal is survival. It raises the question: 'So if he was the last guy on earth...?'
The writing is great. I can't fault Jamie McGuire. The characters are intriguing but nothing entirely original there. And though the story-line adheres to the typical apocalyptic formula, there are some nice variations thrown in to keep it interesting. One issue I had is that the Zombies lose their scare factor pretty early in. Maybe it's the pace at which they walk or how easy they are to kill or the fact that they're referenced as 'Teds' and 'Shufflers' but instead of being terrified when they came into a scene, I was imagining this:
In truth I was a little more scared of the heroine, Scarlett by the end then the 'shufflers.' But I would be her in this same situation. And probably find myself as Zombie bait given the trouble she causes in the name of good.
What I liked most about this book was that it wasn't horrific in the typical sense. The zombie gore is kept to a minimum. Rather, the damage inflicted is the emotional kind. I was on the edge of my seat a lot more in regards to the characters personal lives and as it turned out, that was a safe place to be. Though the violence is less, the global impact less terrifying and nightmare-inducing and the usual : 'Oh god what if one jumps out of the closet...?' not as all-encompassing, this book will upset and shake you.
Once again (god I'm having bad luck with this lately!!!) I have to put my mummy-bonnet on and caution anyone over-sensitive to take a deep breath before reading this. There are some very upsetting themes in this book. Well, for me there was. Two scenes in particular had me cringing and you really can't get too attached to anyone because a lot of people die so sadly yes, it loses a star because I'm the HEA kinda girl. But there is a hopeful thread woven between the tragedies and I really couldn't turn pages fast enough! I was in a dressing room for my 4 year old's stage debut this afternoon hurrying through the last two chapters and crying out: 'No!' 'Oh yes!' 'NO!"
And it's pretty hard to get an audible reaction out of me!
Jamie McGuire has a real gift for building personal tension-whether it be worry, sexual pre-occupation, a crush or heartbreak, she gets it so right that you cannot help but become emotionally entangled with her books. I probably will read this again, and can't recommend it highly enough!
Okay I'm pissed off. Just had a whole review almost finished and safari quit. Pfft! This one will be shorter because now I'm pressed for time.
Cinder is an awesome book. Fans of both the Hunger Games and The Selection are going to wet themselves over this one. It's a Fairytale and yet nothing like it's namesake Fairytale, short of a significant foot, an interested prince and a crappy step-family.
To quote Tyra Banks, this book is what I'd call ugly pretty.
There is no glamour to our heroine and it's endearing because of it. Okay the final scenes pissed me off a little because it's like : 'Woman! Just a touch of lipgloss? A shower perhaps? Napi-San the gloves?????!!!' But then again there's a 'beauty is only skin deep' theme going on here so that's just my inner diva throwing a trendy-tanty when I should be rising above.
Don't read this expecting 'hearts and flowers' because there is a lot of suffering and shitty goings-on that will frustrate some. I wouldn't say pack away your HEA expectations-but shelve them or you will go mad waiting for the whole fairy godmother thing. (*Tiny Spoiler alert-there is no pumpkin or godmother but a sassy robot named IKO and what sounded like a VW bug circa '99 to me.)
A lot of readers (especially the adults) are going to say this in unrealistic but to them I say, if you're looking for realistic, put down the book with the robot high heel on the cover and head over to Grisham. It's YA-it's written for the boy-crazy, note-passing, selfie-taking YOUNG adults and is supposed to be a cheap thrill loaded with sentiment, and Cinder delivers on this. In fact the protagonist herself is a terrific example of what a 16 year old girl is really like-Both hopeful and pessimistic, self-loathing, well-meaning and ready to pitch a fit if you try to donate her to medical research. She can be very frustrating and make some decisions that will make you want to stomp on her robot foot but that's what 16 year old girls do.
I did not want to put it down. I am so happy to be all excited over a series again. I'd be reading the sequel now if not for the other two less-than-awesome books I'm still trying to get through. This is great dystopian and there's a terrific mix of magic, mechanical and mayhem in this post-war world that sets it apart from the others I've read. The good-guys are likeable, the bad guys are dreadful and quite terrifying, and the grey area characters are exactly that-Grey. They could go either way and do.
I'm not a sci-fi fan. In fact, I kind of hate it-I always thought of it as an unromantic genre, far removed from my dreams of mermaids and Dread Pirate Roberts' BUT I liked the angle this writer came from. I found Cinder's genetic/technical make-up fascinating, especially when the two sides of her come together. The world building is similar in creative overdose the way The Hunger games is, which is a GREAT thing. But it's not set in America *Dramatic gasp* but 'New Beijing' and the bad guys are from the MOON. Isn't that neat? Aren't you just foaming at the mouth to read it now? I was! Nothing against Dystopian American societies-they're fantastic to read about-but how fun to swim over to Asia and check out how they're going for once! They're almost always painted as the bad guys in world war situations so it's lovely to be able to empathise with them! Rest assured however, for those of you who find it hard to connect with non-westernised writing, this book is not drowned in Eastern culture. It seems that every country remaining has lost it's specific identity which is kind of nice. If not for the Lunars, you'd think that this dystopian world would have found a way to thrive as one without the oppression of religion or cultural line-crossing guards. And maybe they will if they take the lunars out, and then get over their cyborg racism.
Yes alas, poor Cinder is at the bottom of the social barrel because she is half robot. Among other things. And I want to pat the author on the back for giving amputees a heroine who could possibly kick some inter-stellar ass. I'm still pissed at THG movie for not portraying Peeta with a prosthetic limb-amputees need fictional role models too! Though it weirded me out at first that she had robot parts-I snapped out of it a few pages in when i realised her soul was intact, and would greatly encourage others to do the same!
Now Cinder isn't perfect. It's full of exciting plot twists that unfortunately, the author gives away bluntly and fairly early in. Or maybe that was just me-it's pretty hard to sneak a plot twist by a writer-but there was one sentence a chapter or so in that made me go : 'Oh MAN! Really? You couldn't have rephrased that so I'd be a LITTLE surprised later?' And lo and behold I was right and it's basically the crux of the story too so that was a let-down. I think there are a bit of showing vs telling issues here-the author goes into great detail when she shouldn't, and vagues out on you when you need a bit more picture painting. One or two things caught me by surprise but unfortunately, they were shitty things I would rather have not happened.
The ending is a bit chaotic too-at one point I had no idea what was going on and re-reading didn't clear much up, and there's a cliffie, but the cliffie thing is easy to spot a few chapters back. It's obvious that it's going to be quite a long epic story so if you hate cliffhangers and pick this up before the next book is released, more fool you, lol.
I'm going to give Cinder a solid 4 starts with the potential to be a 6 star series. It's a good mix of drama versus fantasy versus heart-breaking and will move you if you go with it. In fact, if the series has a happy ending it will probably surpass THG for me :) Well done Marissa Meyer!
Have you ever been swimming in the ocean on a chilly day and then stumble across a hidden patch of warmth? There's nothing like it. It instantly soothes and makes you feel welcome where before you felt uncomfortable and somewhat paranoid.
After months of scouring the virtual mermaid shelves and coming away slightly irritated, Merminia has become that delightful surprise-a patch of pleasant, familiar warmth.
What fascinates me is the fact that this book, in so many ways, is the polar opposite of my own. Historical, mythical, under-sea kingdom dwellers who radiate light and battle opposing kingdoms-but there's so much more to it then that and the scene it's set upon stretches from end of the ocean to the other and is not afraid to push the reader's imaginations to the limits. Things which startled me at first, such as fire and flowers underwater, healing rays and hair that stays pretty braided even when submerged simply become part of the norm and reminded me that not everything I read needs to have a factual basis. It's imagination food and as creative as anything in the Harry Potter series-relax, read on and grow big and strong!
Okay down to the specifics :)
The heroine Selinne, is of course beautiful and headstrong (If this kind of thing bothers you then go read something gritty. Mermaids are supposed to be perfect and a bit sneaky) but can play saviour or damsel depending on the conditions. I especially like one of the beginning scenes when there is a battle and she pockets some jewellery left behind. This made me laugh-because this is exactly what a mermaid would do, especially a young one. And she instantly pays a price for this which is a great way of sneaking in a YA relevant theme without preaching.
The hero, or who I assume to be the hero, Gabriel, is written so well that he reminds me of the better behaved though suspicious teenage boys I grew up with. I close my eyes and I can almost see the conflict on his face and it's a wonderful that a female writer has captured this practiced indifference. Too often lately male heroes are just throwing themselves at the girl's feet, regardless of the repercussions and so I appreciate Miss Cole's ability to twist a stereotype and make it believable.
There is a third character and I worry that I've fallen in love with the guy who is destined to lose out on the girl. Aramis is wonderful. And though he's selflessly devoted to Selinne, there is nothing saccharine about it. His feelings do not weaken his character or detract from his attractiveness. He's not the crazy stalker-guy, or the 'pity-me' best friend but a fierce protector with unwavering devotion who sees her so clearly that he never feels the need to push his own feelings to the forefront of her mind because he is resigned to the fact that she's not in love with him. I see this curving towards a love triangle but I will try not to invest too much hope that it swings-and stays-in Aramis's direction. But I can dream.
Merminia is written in 3rd person from alternating perspectives but thankfully, the author keeps this style clean and easy to follow. It is written for YA, so sexuality is not flaunted and violence is kept within boundaries, and even though I've been shying away from this genre of late Miss Cole has written this story in a way that is accessible to all readers-from Middle grade to adult I cannot think of one moment in this story that could lock and bolt it into one classification.
I have to take a moment to emphasise that this is the kind of YA/paranormal romance which stays true to the genre and doesn't skew it to please teens everywhere by trying to be cool. There are no cell phones, no insta-love, no bitchy school friends, no black and white 'jealous popular girl' (There is one but her character development is as unique as the others and is in no way a stereotype) no trips to the mall, no naive 'Oh he likes me? Really?!' moments and no brand-dropping.
Selinne is offline!
Not one other mermaid or paranormal romance I've read lately can boast this-they've all, in sections or sometimes constantly-read like a string of facebook posts among cheerleaders. But Merminia is about mermaids. Not about how cool it would be, to be a mermaid, so you could take a selfie with a tail. If I had ten thumbs, I'd stick them all up for this feat alone! YA's desperately need more books that focus on character development on the deeper level, and do not just sprout catchphrases and wax lyrically about beauty and boys.
On that note I'lll add that I couldn't tell that this was an Indie book. It has been meticulously edited and crafted. The narrative voice is strong and smooth, but the most outstanding part of Emm Cole's writing is her ability to knock you on your tail with some prolific sentiments, usually within character dialogue, that are truly touching. For the first time ever-I actually highlighted stuff.
'I love her because I trust that she is the same person, no matter what company she is in' Aramis (Ahh SWOON!)
'My life has always been mine, Merconius. The fates may play their games of magic and will death and terror as they please. But my mistakes or triumphs cannot be owned by them or you. I have nothing but pity for your emptiness.If you had all the power and control you seek, you would still never feel happy or whole.' Selinne ( I know a few people who I'd like to tattoo this onto while they sleep, lol)
'Protecting our people means never hiding from a fight, Bayren. Protecting your conscience means you should never go in search of one either.' (Whoah. See why I love Aramis?!)
Merminia is the mermaid book that every other mermaid book aspires to be. This is the real deal-fans of The Little Mermaid, Mer cosplay enthusiasts and romantic fantasy readers are going to love this! There is beauty without glitter, death without suffering, drama without becoming maudlin, sadness without angst and darkness without shadow.
In an ocean full of Indie authors, Emm Cole has emerged as a bona-fide writer, and I eagerly look forward to reading all of her future works.
Beautifully written, highly original, entirely frustrating.
This was my first Lauren Kate book. Though my husband has had her books on his shelves for years, I wasn't planning to read any until I spied this one in the flesh (Ahhh a REAL book!) and was delighted by the cover, which to me runs a close 3rd to 'The Selection' series for drop-dead pretty. And of course the colours made me think it might be mermaidish and because I was torn between all of the other mermaid books I intend to read, I opted for the one right in front of me.
This story has an incredible premise-one I will not hint at or spoil for you because it takes 50% of the book to find out what it was actually about but I will point out that it's not mermaids.
Um...I don't think so anyway. But it is about water. However the heroine is not blonde as picture on the cover which strikes me as odd. Authors slave over their covers so why you'd misrepresent confounds me a little. That takes the review down from 4 to 3.8 because I think it's a huge factor. If you're going to feature your character's face-make it relevant please.
The fact that I didn't know what the point of the book was irked me. A lot of the thrill of reading is turning those first 50 pages and scrambling to ascertain what the story is about. But in the case of this one...by the time I got to the 120 page mark I'd come up with so many theories that I stopped actually paying attention to the story and had started writing another in my head based on my own imagination. It was tiresome, I have to say it. HOWEVER when the other shoe drops you're like:
I think it's highly original. 6 star original. But I haven't read a lot of the recent YA so maybe I'm wrong. But I was certainly alert after that!
The characters in this book are very likeable. There are a few that are somewhat vilified but you like them anyway. There is a love triangle, but it's more hinted towards than actually developed. The guys involved are wonderful, the heroine just flawed enough to be believable but I don't think I'm on the 'right' side of this particular triangle. I almost always pick wrong, so here's hoping.But at the end of the day, I'd court either as a potential book boyfriend ;) Ander is lovely but Brooks has that sexy vibe goin' on which will probably win over the creepy thirty-something women like me who read YA.
There is so much that is wonderful about this book. I love Lauren Kate's description of things-every setting is original and beautiful. It made me long for a Bayou I've never seen, and I like the way the south-east setting completely clashes with the origin of the legend involved. The dynamics of the relationships are all wonderful and questionable. You get the feeling that you can't trust anybody and I like that because I hate being able to pick the ending of books. I love the premise, and thought the story-telling sections of this book (the story within the story) were perfectly placed and so well written that it already seems like an old fairytale I've known for years. I could read a whole book about that alone! The pacing and POV (Third person, 2 perspectives) are brilliant-top rating there too!
In fact, the execution of this book is almost flawless and could have become a favourite of mine if not for a few needling factors. The story revolves around our heroine of course and from the first page-weird, paranormal stuff is happening to her-stuff she remains absolutely oblivious to. That's okay...for awhile. But she takes sooooo loooonnnggggg to wrap her head around her involvement that I was rapidly losing patience with her. People tease Twilight a lot, but I loved the fact that Bella puts 2 and 2 together so rapidly. After awhile, when it came to Eureka's lack of understanding, or even her lack of curiosity, I needed a time out.
I listened to this on audio and though the narrator is awesome, around the 80% mark I had to double-time it for a chapter out of frustration which might not have occurred if I'd been physically reading it-so that's always something to take with a grain of salt with audio-it's paced so slow that the irritating sections seem worse than they might be in your inner monologue.
Towards the end all of the pieces are in place and things get exciting fast and it was going SO well and then all of a sudden-up pops my pet peeve-Violence against children. I have to mention this in my reviews because it is really important to me-I can't abide it. Sure I can know it's happened but if it's too intricately described, my 'mummy' hackles rise.
And then of course it opens that scary door-if THAT isn't off-limits then how bad could it get and now...I'm nervous about reading the rest of the series. But then again, I probably have awhile before it comes out so I'll get over it.
Teardrop goes out with a bang-a bang with a cliffhanger mind you and I am very excited to see how epic a scale she finishes this with. By the look of things, it could be huge-not some little paranormal secret hidden from the townsfolk but a BIG world-changing apocalypse thing which is very cool. I recommend it to anyone who loves paranormal romance-and not just necessarily YA. Fans of anything PNR from the Vampire Diaries to True Blood to Supernatural will probably like this a lot. Just so long as you can tolerate a very depressed heroine who suffers from a touch of insta-love, is slow off the mark and a bit bitchy :) Under all of that, she is sweet and heroic and has a damn good reason (several) to be depressed.
In the sleepy town of Seaview
Where nothing Ever happens
Everything is about to change overnight
Because of one girl.
To see her is to want her
To know her is to love her
But if he touches her
They Will come for her
Because Ivyanne has a secret
She belongs to another world
And she is to be their queen
He's not the only one falling for her
And he can't underestimate his rivals
And he's not prepared
To Hold his breath
For they are, the Marked Ones
And they won't take forbidden as an answer
They can't risk their species
On a humans heart
Even if he has hers.
Be seduced by the Sirens
I'm a HUGE fan of Jamie McGuire. HUGE. I freakin' love her, so when I discovered that she was collaborating with one of my favorite monsters - zombies - I was stoked, to put it mildly.
I won't say I was disappointed. I can't. But I also can't do my usual 5 stars for McGuire, as much as I want to. Red Hill is a fantastic read - especially for the special month of October, but I can't really say that it blew me away.
Red Hill is reminiscent of The Walking Dead. Completely. It's a beautiful thing, but... it felt too familiar, if you know what I mean. From the way the story began, progressed, and ended... It was almost as if I'd heard it all before.
In true McGuire fashion, though, the characters of Red Hill really do their job of sucking you in. I love when authors use multiple points of view, and in this book, McGuire's characters cross paths and come together perfectly.
In addition to her well developed characters, McGuire's writing style is the super glue that holds her stories together. It's witty, smooth, and just flows in a way that holds your attention and doesn't let go.
I think the only thing that is keeping me from an all-out rave review here is the ending. It was... abrupt. Almost to the point that it was anticlimactic - it definitely left me a little deflated and wishing for more.
But you know, I've been in a bit of reading slump lately, and I finished this book in two days. I couldn't put it down. McGuire's descriptions, characters, and writing style have a way of doing that, and even though I can't say this is my favorite of her novels, I can definitely tell you that it's worth your time.
Get your zombie on ;)
I am sort of stumped for a review for this. On one hand-I don't want to alienate a million people by saying it wasn't my cup of tea but on the other, it wasn't book I disliked either. Usually I love something or hate it or it was just okay but The Siren wasn't any of those things for me.
Actually it was all of them. Maybe I'll go with that!
-I loved the writing. Beautiful, thoughtful prose free of any cliches. A huge surprise for this genre I must admit and got me very excited early in.
-Loved the characters Wesley and Grace. Which is strange because I usually wouldn't.
-Loved the realism. The emotions of the characters were tangible and there was something profound slipped in every other paragraph. So yes, flawless writing.
-Hated the actions of some of the protagonists. I didn't see myself as someone who lives in a magical HEA paradise of bubbles and unicorns and cotton candy but in contrast to the mood of this novel-I evidently am. I can take a bit of the whole BDSM scene. handcuffs? Great. Gag? Blindfold? Spanking? Sure!
BEATEN TO THE POINT OF BEING ADMITTED TO A HOSPITAL???? NOOOOOOO!!!
And this is my main issue with this novel. Not the book itself but the lifestyle it represents TERRIFIES me and in hindsight, had I known it was such an honest, depressing peek into such a brutal world I probably wouldn't have read it. And not because I'm straight vanilla, hell no- I'll try lots of ice cream flavours in the right state of mind but the torture thing eludes me. I fainted getting my tattoo and belly-button pierced so to me there's a really big brick wall between pleasure and pain. And yet this still isn't the biggest factor.
Any society or exclusive elite that bow to one person's power is going to piss me off. Bikies, Cults, Organised fanatical religion, One Direction Concerts and Military Regimes are going to send me heading for the hills. Apparently, I can add BDSM clubs to that list. Am I afraid of them? No, simply judgemental of people with delusions of power and the sheep that follow them and this is how I feel about the supposed 'White whale alpha man' of this series, Soren. If I met him, and he clicked for me to kneel, I would pee myself on his shiny orgy floor from the giggles. If he were to drag me out the back for public urination to be 'taken care of' at gunpoint or whatever, the last evidence of me there would be, would be a selfie on Facebook STILL laughing with this older, pale priest who's apparently hot in the background, captioned : 'Dafaq?'
Soren's closer to Ewan Macgregor in Angels and Demons for me, than Christian Grey. Only hop off the 50 Shades joy-train here if you want to know what it's really like with a dom, not if you want something similar to fifty! And I didn't expect 50-however a lot of 50 shades fans recommended it to me so some people, those who don't read blurbs, are going to be sent down a very overgrown garden path.
Anyway so when the uber-man is the one our heroine is lusting after is abhorrent to me, there is going to be a disconnect and I disconnected with Nora because of it. With that link gone-it left me with one other POV-George, and I wasn't about to start foaming at the mouth for a man in his forties from London with a stick up his butt. Now to be fair, I came around to liking George. In the end he finally grew a pair and I was doing a one-person mexican wave. But there was a lot of angst to swim through before the current took over and I almost didn't make it that far.
And as much as I came around to George, by the end I HATED Nora! Oh Nora you silly little fool! If she didn't lose me at Soren, she lost me that night in the club in which she was come on, took a 15 year old boy's virginity, mounted Curious George in a roadstar and then ended the evening by climbing into Wes's bed.
No no no! She waxes lyrical about feminine empowerment and gives it up for everyone! EVERYONE! She claims to love two and be heartbroken by the third and yet attracted to every hot girl or pubescent boy that looks at her sideways. And yet everyone is supposed to accept it and smile because she's a woman and we're hearing her roar and she's so tough and smart and beautiful and talented but as far as female role models go, she's down there with Courtney Love for me. She says she does a lot of what she does because she needed a roof in her head, but personally there's more dignity in being homeless sometimes.
I know this is for me and I know that people who have read the whole series or are more insightful and less judgemental are going to get little me voodoo dolls and poke them in my typing fingers but I have to be honest. The heavy BDSM scene simply confounds me. I have a shady past. I have a shady parent. I was bullied. I was an outcast-but I dealt with it in a healthy fashion. The belief that physical pain is less than inner pain is just fine and dandy and people everywhere suffer from this issue and I can see how a bit of S&M can help deal with it....at first. However, I am not swayed by the old : 'Ahh those people down there are investment bankers and politicians! You must respect what we do because they are society's leaders!'
Umm....no, no I don't. Those people are often the scum of society, like with the guy in the story fantasising about his 12 year old niece. That IS a job for Bikers and 1D fans. If he's agreeing to have it beaten and coming back, it's because he's still getting off on it. A castration would fix it up a lot quicker!
And if this lifestyle was effective for helping emotionally stilted people progress with their lives then WHy is Nora literally incapable of having regular sex? She's not fixed. She's been in the lifestyle her entire life and she is a mental case because of it eager to drag others in! The fact that she backs off Wesley is the only thing that redeems her for me, but the fact that she does it while returning from the hospital is just too little too late.
There were a few sexy scenes in this but it wasn't a 'one-handed' read for me because I was too distressed for the poor characters. Like I said early in I adored Wesley and just wanted to cuddle him myself! Had the story shown more focus on him and Grace, who's just the sweetest little bug ever, I would have loved this a lot more.
Overall this book left me in a pretty gloomy mood with only mild curiosity to read on. I can see why it's so popular of course-it's raw and passionate, beautifully written and I commend the author for the story she's told. While you're reading it you are very much in it, like it's playing out on a screen and matters so much to you-however I'd rather be 'in' somewhere a little bit more positive. I didn't want to finish it a few times, and yet I couldn't not finish it so that says a lot for how compelling it can be because I can be pretty quick to ditch.
It is a 4 star read but methinks it belongs on the 'Classics' shelf. It made me laugh and moved me to the point of tears a lot-I just wish it had done that more often instead of making me wince. But only the very best books can make you wince and read on. Everyone should read it and judge for themselves and every judgement would be valid. But to twist one of my favourite quotes from 500 Days Of Summer-This is a story about erotica, NOT an erotic story.