Feb 9, 2012

Demon in My View, by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Title: Demon in My View
Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Target Audience: Young Adult
Pages: 176
Rating: 7.5/10
Genre: Vampire Romance
Person: Third
Tense: Past

Blurb (quoted):

Jessica Alodola has been writing novels about vampires and witches for a few years before one is accepted for publishing and soon comes out under a pen name.
What Jessica doesn’t know is that her ideas that come from her dreams are all real and the vampire’s who’s lives she’s allowed humans to read about aren’t happy about it. It’s not too long before there are bids for her blood and Jessica comes face to face with her favourite fictional character: Aubrey, a decidedly dangerous vampire.
Aubrey is supposed to be hunting Jessica. Instead, he finds himself fascinated by her unexplainable knowledge and obvious ignorance about the world she writes about without a missing a single detail.
But when the attacks start on her life, both Jessica and Aubrey are forced to make some tough decisions – and along the way discover a few new things about both themselves and the past.

I owe a lot of credit to this book; I first read it when I was thirteen, when I was only beginning to discover my book-worm-ish nature, and have since read it several more times. However, this time I found out that the author was around fourteen when she wrote it and decided it would be interesting to reread it, this time in a critical manor, and noticed that the writing style and form is noticeably young-minded, though it sure didn’t affect my enthrallment or adoration of the book.
There are a few poems in the book that were fun and interesting to read and attempt to comprehend, which makes me smile.
The story is a mystery, the puzzle coming together piece by piece as the story progresses, so your mind is continuously flitting around the information to try and figure it out before the author wants you to (which is at the end). The characters have very strong personalities, and there is a bit of development and change by the end.
Though quite typical, it’s an enjoyable read and I loved it – even now, after three or four years and reading it eight times.
It’s a great read probably for more beginner-novel-readers, rather than those who are more mature – though I still enjoyed it, but I might be a little biased because I’ve always loved it.
However, I have to say that the book hasn’t done itself any favours by not including a blurb on the cover.

Feb 8, 2012

Persistence of Memory, by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Title: Persistence of Memory
Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Target Audience: Young Adult
Pages: 356
Rating: 6.7/10
Genre: Adventure
Person: Third
Tense: Past

Blurb (quoted):

Erin Misrahe isn’t your average sixteen year-old high school student. Having spent most of her life checking in and out of mental institutions, she is in constant fear that her violent alter-ego, Shevaun, will pay her body a visit after almost two years of being symptom-free.
But as it turns out, Erin isn’t the only one with a wacky story – she soon discovers that not only is her new best friend Marissa, and best-friend-from-the-institution Sassy, are shapeshifters – and that maybe Shevaun doesn’t exist only inside her schizophrenic mind, but is actually a vampire who is none too happy to have a human attached to her mind.
Now her life is more of a mess than ever and Erin finds she doesn’t know who to trust – only that whoever she believes, it shouldn’t be herself.
Join Erin in a topsy turvey word of secrets and lies that is no place for a girl who doesn’t know what’s real from what’s not.

The first thing I have to say about this book, is that this was the second or third time I’ve read it – I say this because, I think it just goes to show how good it is, to have me coming back over and over.
Secondly, I think it’s very original – and I know I’ve been saying that in a lot of reviews, but I’ve honestly never read or heard of anything remotely similar to this one.
It’s multi-POV, which means it has parts written from the point of view of a range of characters; I thought this was effective for the plot because it meant the reader was able to have a lot more information that some of the characters, which meant I wasn’t in the dark about half the things that were going on and I had most of the puzzle pieces.
It has interesting ideas, like different clans for different types of shapeshifters, and it also has this sort of idea of… imprinting on the mind – and I know that I probably made no sense just now, but I have no idea how else to explain it without extreme spoilers.
I liked the characters in this novel; the main characters all had severely different personalities which made conflict as well as spiking interest. They were somewhat developed, though there were holes in a few of their personalities but the great thing is that with the writing style and the way it was done made it so you just didn’t need or even think about the extra information – you only had what was vital to the story, which I suppose can be both bad and good in different ways.
I do however think that it… average. The original ideas weren’t really enough to make it WOW and even though it did hold my attention and put me in the moment, it just doesn’t stand-above-the-rest, it doesn’t stick in your mind like a sore thumb, and it didn’t get my heart racing.
Even so, it was an entertaining read, and good to curl up with on the weekend.
I also found the length was just right; it didn’t drag on, and it’s good for those who like a long read or just a short one – it slips right in the middle.

A Hunger like No Other, by Kresley Cole

Title: A Hunger like No Other
Author: Kresley Cole
Target Audience: Adult
Pages: 356
Rating: 7/10
Genre: Romance
Person: Third
Tense: Past

Blurb (quoted):
A mythic warrior who’ll stop at nothing to possess her…
Lachlain MacRieve, leader of the Lykae Clan, is enraged to find the predestined mate he’s waited millennia for is a vampire. Or partly one. This Emmaline is small, ethereal half Valkyrie / half Vampire, who somehow begins to soothe the fury burning within him.
A vampire captured by her wildest fantasy…
Sheltered Emmaline Troy finally sets out to uncover the truth about her deceased parents – until a powerful Lykae claims her as his mate and forces her back to his ancestral Scottish castle. There, her fear of the Lykae – and their notorious dark desires – ebbs as he begins a slow, wicked seduction to sate her own dark cravings.
An all-consuming desire…
Yet when an ancient evil from her past resurfaces, will their desire deepen into a love that can bring a proud warrior to his knees and turn a gentle beauty into the fighter she was born to be?”

Emmaline Troy, half Valkyrie, half Vampire, has only just left the nest to search for information on her ever-missing parents when she is suddenly taken hostage by a savage man that terrifies her. When forced to help him return home, Emma doesn’t realise that going with him means changing her life forever – and along the way discovering new things, not only about herself, but about the parents she never knew.
Lachlain MacRieve has been trapped and tortured for longer than he can track, doomed to burn alive repeatedly thanks to his immortality. But when he senses the presence of his mate, the soul he’s been waiting for all his life, it gives him the strength to escape – only to find, to his horror, that she is a vampire, the same species that had tortured him.
But with both of them keeping secrets and a dangerous opponent hunting for Emma, can they possibly survive the trip to the safety of Lachlain’s home? More troubling, can they survive each other and the roiling turmoil inside them both?

First of all, I have to say I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked up this book – I’d never heard of the author before or anything, and I was in a rush, so after the library computer search turned out this books name, I swiped it up and left… Only to discover later the amount of detail in the sex. With nothing to compare it too, I’m not really sure if this one counts as erotica, but honestly I’m seeing a trend – anything in the adult section that involves vampires always seems to have a bunch of sex involved… So I warn you now, this is for a MATURE audience.
Now, other than that surprise, this was a highly enjoyable novel – I liked the storyline, it was very original so far as I’ve read, and the characters have specific personalities that develop and change as the story progresses – though, I think perhaps a few of them change too much, especially the main character who could well be a new character entirely by the end; I’m not sure if I like that about it or not. And honestly, I think the rhetorical question in the blurb is cheesy, typical, and easily guessed, which almost made me not bother reading it, but once I started the novel was compelling enough to keep me reading.
I thought, once so many names started popping up, that I’d get at least a few of them muddled, but the way it was written made it so easy to keep them all straight in your head and always had a way to hint who’s who.
Admittedly, I have a couple of complaints. Firstly, I kept forgetting that Lachlain had a Scottish accent until I read him saying “no’” instead of “not” and then my mind’s voice would automatically jump into the accent again, only to die off when he stopped speaking – though I’m not sure this can be blamed on the author. Also, the names got a little confusing – not to remember, but to pronounce and I had to guess at a lot of them; for example, I had to decide to pronounce “Lachlain” as “Lack-lan”, even though I kept trying to think “Lock-lin” or “Latchlin” simply because the first one sounds normal and the second one is how it appears to be said…
It’s an entertaining read for sure – definitely has it’s highly laughable moments, it’s tension, and it’s romance plus adventure.

Feb 6, 2012

Tempest, by Julie Cross

Title: Tempest
Author: Julie Cross
Target Audience: Young Adult
Pages: 413
Chapters: 43
Rating: 8/10
Genre: Sci-fi / Romance
Person: First
Tense: Past

Blurb (quoted):
Today: Jackson and Holly are in love.
Tomorrow: she will lie bleeding in his arms.
Yesterday: Jackson must undo it all.

A booming sound rang in my ears, followed by Holly’s scream. Then everything seemed to stop – my heart, my breath… time.
Jackson has a secret – he can jump into his own past. But when a shocking event propels him further back in time than he has ever been before – he finds he can’t return.
Now Jackson has to find a way to save the girl he loves before they have even met, and time is not on his side…”

Jackson discovered he isn’t your average teenager when he was eighteen: he can jump into the past, but only a few days. Only his science-geek friend Adam knows his dangerous secret, but his life is turned upside down and inside out when two men kill the love of his live and something forces him two years into his past, where he is horrified to find he can’t escape.
Now, with secret after secret constantly limiting the number of people he can trust, Jackson must try and find a way to save his future-girlfriend Holly, who he hasn’t even met yet, while evading the growing number of people trying to kill him – which could include his own farther.
As the lies accumulate and the danger grows, Jackson fears he may never return to his own time – and not just because he can’t jump forward, but also because he might not live long enough.

I’m not used to reading books in a boy’s POV, and usually it takes me a little while to adjust, but in this book I was sucked in and nothing was foreign.
The plot and storyline were new waters for me, but I can’t say I’m not a fan! The theme of time-travel is only one of the countless mind twisters in this book, and it’s a puzzle you’re continuously trying to piece together in your head, but the puzzle pieces keep morphing.
The characters weren’t as developed as some I’ve read, though they definitely change and evolve throughout the story, and they had enough details to make them individuals – other than the main characters, there wasn’t much description on appearances and when there was, it was a once-of that I forgot a few pages later.
The emotional side of it is great too (I don’t know if it was just me or the books influence, but I kept thinking about my own boyfriend), and there were definitely a couple of moments when my eyes watered.
There are countless names, though it isn’t necessary to be able to remember all of them, but I do like to know whether a character was the driver or the agent in the last chapter… It also has a lot of dates (every chapter begins with a date and time), but I could never remember the last one I read, so they were a moot point for me.
It has a great writing style, and it kept my mind involved the whole way through, and dragged me right along with Jackson through time. I read the book in two days, and the ending leaves it open for a sequel, and I hope there will be.
My only complaint was slight confusion now and again about what characters were present and when the scene was – which is conveniently important in a book about time-travelling.
I also have to bring out the conspiratory feel to the novel; secret agents and the CIA? It's great.

About the Author:
Julie Cross has worked with children and teenagers for several years as a gymnastics programme director and running teen-writers’ workshops. But most of all she loves reading teen books, so one day in 2009 she decided she was going to write her own. And Tempest, her passionate and pacy debut novel, was born. Julie lives in Illinois USA with her husband and three children.

Fracture, by Megan Miranda

Title: Fracture
Author: Megan Miranda
Target Audience: Young Adult
Pages: 264
Chapters: 20
Rating: 9/10
Genre: Romance / Drama
Person: First
Tense: Past

Blurb (quoted):
A lot can happen in eleven minutes. Decker can run two miles easily in eleven minutes. I once wrote an English essay in ten. No lie. And God knows Carson Levine can talk a girl out of her clothes in half that time.
Eleven minutes might as well be an eternity underwater. It only takes three minutes without air for loss of consciousness. Permanent brain damage begins at four minutes. And then, when the oxygen runs out, full cardiac arrest occurs. Death is possible at five minutes. Probable at seven. Definite at ten.
Decker pulled me out at eleven.

By the time Delaney Maxwell was pulled from a Maine lake’s icy waters by her best friend, Decker Phillips, her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead.
But somehow Delaney survived – despite the brain scans that show irreparable damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be fine, but she knows she’s far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can’t control or explain, Delaney now finds herself drawn to the dying, and when she meets Troy Varga, a boy who recently emerged from a coma with the same abilities, she is relieved to share this strange new existence. Unsure if her altered brain is predicting death or causing it, Delaney must figure out if their gift is a miracle, a freak of nature – or something else much more frightening.”

Delaney Maxwell was under the ice for eleven minutes. She was dead… or at least, she should have been. But when she emerges from a week long coma with no signs of brain damage despite brain scans claiming she should be ‘damaged’, she returns to her same old life – only everything is different now.
Everyone she knows is treating her differently, including parents and best friend, but only she knows that something really is wrong with her. After being drawn to strangers and friends who had later died, Delaney is forced to ask some hard questions: is she sensing death, or causing it?
When she discovers Troy Varga, a boy who emerged from a coma with the same ability, she’s relieved to feel less alien – but is the mystery man with a temper really to be trusted? Delaney begins to wonder what kind of friend she’d made after countless suspicious occurrences.
But most troubling is Delaney’s best-friend-since-childhood, Decker Phillips, is suddenly showing interest in another girl and Delaney doesn’t have a clue why that bothers her so much.

I’m not sure if it was because I had a lot of time on my hands, or if I was addicted to this book, but I found myself picking it up repeatedly over two to three days until I turned the last page.
The story line and plot is one I haven’t actually come across before (which is rare, considering the amount of books out there), which was great for a fresh spin on things. The characters had individual personalities and habits, which is always a must-have for me – I don’t want to be reading about a group of clones!
At first I found the length a little intimidating – not because I don’t normally read large books, but because I wanted to finish it before school went back (two days later), but I honestly flew through it. Also, I like that it was a book you really want to pick up and read, but it’s not going to keep you up all night or distract you from other tasks.
I enjoyed the setting (I live somewhere without snow, so the book being set in a snowy-winter was great). It really draws you into the setting, putting a stream of images through your mind.
However, I have to say the first few chapters were… they weren’t bad, but it wasn’t and instant hook that had you page-turning. The writing style didn’t get on my nerves either, which does happen with some authors, so I was glad when I found I was able to settle down into it.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable read and I recommend (though not HIGHLY) it to others.

About the Author:
Megan Miranda was a scientist and high school teacher before writing Fracture, which came out of her fascination with scientific mysteries – especially those associated with the brain. Megan has a BS in biology from MIT and spent her post-college years either rocking a lab coat or reading books. She lives near Charlotte, North Carolina, where she volunteers as an MIT Educational Counsellor. Fracture is her first novel.