Monday, March 28, 2011

The Goddess Test (The Goddess Test # 1) by Aimee Carter

The Goddess Test (Goddess Test, #1)

GoodReads Summary

Every girl who has taken the test has died.

Now it's Kate's turn.

It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

If she fails...

My review

Heads up! some spoilers ahead!

At first I was all : )

Now, I'm all, "No. just no." :( 

There’s a lot that was either too convenient, suspicious or implausible. When Henry said, “There is always a rational explanation, but sometimes things may seem irrational or impossible if you don’t know all the rules,” I took it as a dig because this line came in the heels of me trying to make sense of a couple of things that made little sense to me.

The prologue had me interested; the first chapter has me nodding along and tut-tutting Kate’s sad circumstance. The next ones had me raising an eyebrow, but I plodded on. After a while, I noticed I had paused quite a number of times already. This did not bode well for Kate’s story.

My main complaints come about because of the MC’s, Kate and Henry. First, Kate. At the beginning of the book, she had decided not to bother making friends in an attempt to protect herself from more hurt. Despite her prickly exterior, she managed to snag not one but two friends! The suddenness of these friendships had me thinking of my number one pet peeve in YA’s: INSTANT LOVE ala any YA pair. How does this relate to Kate and her new found friends? Well, wasn’t she suspicious that in a space of 15 or so pages she found herself precisely where she didn’t want to be in the first place--- with friends? These instant friends made me suspicious, ESPECIALLY JAMES! I can understand why Ava had made an such an abrupt about face. Maybe it’s just that they were in a friendly town? *At this point, I’m thinking to myself, Am I over thinking this?*

With Henry in the picture, I was a little more confused. His appearance was rather abrupt and the story he was giving her was a rather big thing to take at face value. And once I found out who he was and what he could do (and didn’t do)… honestly? I couldn’t see what she saw in him.

So there Kate was, going from outright doubting him, to tentatively being curious, to completely accepting what he had to say, in the blink of an eye.. and for what again? Once she knew what was what, she surprised me by accepting her situation too quickly and easily. I could not fathom why she would do what she did for someone who was not really good! Wow! Kate must be a goddess to be able to rise above all of that! She just sounded too good to be true.

*To be released:  April 26, 2011

**ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. No consideration, monetary or otherwise, was given in exchange for this review.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Clarity by Kim Harrington

Good Reads Summary
When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth?
This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.
Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her.
It's a gift.
And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

My Review

I feel like I’ve just seen one of those made for TV murder-mysteries. With all these little clues pointing to one guy, the protagonist(s) couldn’t help jumping to conclusions. There’s a lot of this jumping-to’s going on. It got a little repetitive in fact: circumstantial evidence points to X, so X must have done it. X cleared. Newly found evidence points to Y, so of course Y is guilty.. and so and so forth. I mean, the authorities were just so easy to lead along! All of that was worth it though because that ending (while visible from miles away) was well executed.

But the thing that I had the most difficulty was how she got involved in the first place. Apparently when there‘s murder in town, who you gonna call? Why, the local 16 year old psychic. Up to that point, I was sure to give this book a big old 5/5... especially, given Clare being just that fiery/snarky/spunky. Swallowing the pill of authorities actually roping her in to help (albeit secretly,) was a difficult to do. But once done, I found I enjoyed Clarity. Setting aside the two points above, I shall now do a John Green and enumerate the reasons I liked it:

First, the cover! Just look at it! Isn’t it gorgeous? That alone entitles this book a star (at least.) Next, the dialogue just zinged. I liked how Harrington made them all sound like mini-cops. The novelty of that alone entitles this to another star. Then, the characters (of which there are plenty):

Her brother is… honestly? Slutty. But cannot discount the affectionate, protective bond between him and Clare. Clare, I absolutely adore a character that stands up for herself. I respect how the author paints a picture of this tourist town girl, who cannot wait to get out of it. I respect how the author clearly shows that she has a lot of feelings: good ones, bad ones, but the best were her conflicted ones, which leads me to… Justin and Gabrielle.

Yes, there is a love triangle. But surprise of surprises--- I liked it, all  three of them in fact. I liked how she and Justin had a history. I enjoyed the insta-love/lust she and Gabriel had for each other. (I prefer Justin btw.)

Overall: Clarity = WIN!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman

Good Reads Summary 

It's been three years since the devastating accident ... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

My Review

My brain hurts. My heart hurts. My everything hurts!  

I had not started it yet, but already I was upset with Mia. It’s been a little over a month since I read If I Stay, so I know what she went through. I also know what she does to Adam. And like Adam, I didn’t know why. Like him, I wondered. Like him, I was angry. But once I got started on this, I saw quite clearly what losing her did to him. Then I felt a little more angry and heartbroken for him. And still I  wondered, as he did, why? 

Like If I Stay, this story is told from past to present and back again. Only this time around, it’s a past with Mia, then losing her AND a present of her absence and that ever constant wondering of WHY? So what I took from it is what Adam felt-- his confusion and his anger. Then slowly, I saw and even understood her reason. Except understanding only left me feeling only little more heartbroken. Because with it, now it wasn’t just his sorrow I had to contend with, it was hers as well.

And when he finally reached that point where closure was possible I felt it. What he said about something special ending is what I felt as I turned that last page: Yes, I could feel sad about it, but  happy too because I got to meet such special people, Adam especially. I’ll probably be hard pressed at finding another protagonist who will make me feel the way he does/did. But you know what? I’m fine with that. I’m perfectly fine with that.

So now, all I’m saying is Thank you, Gayle Forman. You’ve given me characters that made me hurt, made me cry, and finally made me smile.


5/5 and then some!

*e ARC Review copy from Net Galley obtained  in exchange for no consideration, monetary or otherwise, whatsoever. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott

Stealing Heaven

Good Reads Summary

My name is Danielle. I'm eighteen. I've been stealing things for as long as I can remember.

Dani has been trained as a thief by the best there is—her mother. They never stay in one place long enough for Dani to have real connections, real friends—a real life.

But in the town of Heaven, everything changes. Suddenly, Dani must question where her loyalties lie: with the life she's always known—or the one she's always wanted.

My Review

Does this qualify as NA? If so, NA is my new YA!

Stealing Heaven reminds me of Pretty Woman. Only instead of a handsome suave business man type there's, get this, a young cop! The pairing seemed so unlikely that it verged on being corny that I was positive I would to mock it after. Later though I caught on to what they felt for each other: a wanting, a tentative one, for someone they knew not at all but completely all at once (Guess who read a lot of paperback romances when she was younger.)

Her HEA, was a bitter sweet one. Getting to it was not easy, but was definitely well-worth the read. Most of Dani’s miseries IMO came up because she just couldn’t say no. For a girl in her business, she was surprisingly trusting and oblivious when it came to her mom. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised. Especially since, she knew nothing else outside their world. While Dani is probably a little older than the typical YA 'heroine' (so I was expecting a certain maturity,) she still behaved the way they would: insecure about her mother‘s affection, suspicious, surprised then a little thrilled by a “boy’s” attention, and wanting of friendship. And most of all, her desire for normalcy:

I like the way he says my name, the name I’ve always wanted for the me I’ve never gotten to be.
I was totally aware of what she was, as well as what they intended to do in Heaven. I knew it was unlikely (too convenient) for her to be rescued from it by Greg (even if I hoped for it a little.) But when it all did take place, I felt a tad disappointed in her. She just couldn’t say no!

The biggest and best surprise for me in this was Greg. At first, I thought, policeman = knight in shining armor = eye roll. He wasn’t! (Thank God.) He never actually does any saving but is instead just always there. But I think the second best part of it, was how, in the end, it was who made up her mind. She was the one who decided, not her mom, not Greg, but her.



Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

Good Reads Summary

Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.

Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.

With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

My Thoughts

Every paranormal novel (romance or otherwise) that I’ve read in the recent past should have a star taken away because this book deserves five stars and then some. This book is how paranormal should read. I’m in love. I’m in love with Sam. I’m in love with this book. I’d even go as far as saying I’m in love with the author.

Second, if this is the way Lish McBride writes, give me more! I love the certainty in Sam’s voice. He totally knows his life is going nowhere and with absolutely no pretense says as much.

With a title like ‘HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER,’ I thought I knew what I was getting, but I was so surprised by it's humor, it’s darker feel, it's humor, it's edginess then by it's humor again! Said title was a bit off putting at first, but am I glad I got to read this! To reiterate: funny, dark and edgy.

Remember Sophie from Hex Hall and Demonglass? Well, I love Sam for all the same reasons that I love her! Except Sam is so much more… He gets his ass handed to him time and time again but still picks himself up. And I think I love the author for creating a protagonist who talks and acts real. If he’s scared, he doesn’t pretend otherwise. If he is confused, he says so! Then his friends, each of them added something special. Brooke has a biting sort of humor, Ramon and Frank are always there. Then there’s Brid!

I even love the bad guy in this one. Can I say ‘authentic,’ because that is what he was. He didn’t mess about but was simply bad!

Is there a next one? Does she have other books? (Yes, I am becoming aware of the need to STOP GUSHING about Sam... but I can’t!) I am definitely keeping my eyes open for this author's stuff.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When It Happens by Susane Colasanti

When It Happens

Good Reads Summary

Reminiscent of the movie Say Anything, a debut novel for all those searching for The One!

Sara and Tobey couldn't be more different. She is focused on getting into her first-choice college; he wants to win Battle of the Bands. Sara's other goal is to find true love, so when Dave, a popular jock, asks her out, she's thrilled. But then there's Tobey. His amazing blue eyes and quirky wit always creep into her thoughts. It just so happens that one of Tobey's goals is also to make Sara fall in love with him. Told in alternating points of view, Sara and Tobey's real connection will have everyone rooting for them from the minute they meet!

My Review

I was born too late! I wish I were more conscious/aware the decade when The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire and Pretty in Pink were cool and hip. Then my inexplicable crushes on Andrew McCarthy *sa-woon* and John Cusack *sa-wooning some more*, wouldn’t be so… well, inexplicable. But thanks to weekend reruns on ABC5, I have watched them over and over and over again (much to my brother’s confusion.) Why am I so into those movies anyway?

I am very fond of those movies for the same reason I am very much into WHEN IT HAPPENS. Those movies, this book are just simple and sweet stories with a dash of teen angst, a little late teen rebellion and a lot of falling in luv. Who didn’t love the emo girl coming out of her shell with the  princess make over that she got? Or who didn’t love  the idea of rebel boy getting little Ms. Perfect? Or who didn't swoon a little with over Lloyd's boom box serenade?

And then there’s my personal favorite, Andrew McCarthy (in anything!)

So, yeah, *grumbles* I feel very cheated having been born too late.

Where does the book come in? Well, WHEN IT HAPPENS is a throw back to all those movies. In it, Mr. Slacker (that’s Tobey) decides to better his ways to get Ms. Smarty pants (that’s Sara.) All so they could have their something real. I loved how they would tell the same story with slight differences. Where one thought something was cute, the other thought it lame… and the rare instances where one thought something lame with the other concurring!

I also loved their  friends! What marvelous bonuses! Sara, Maggie and Laila probably crack me up because they remind me so much of me and my own friends. I love how they laughed at themselves but were there for each other.  I loved how they weren’t peas in a pod / clones of each other, but had personalities of their own. And Mike and Josh? Oh my gosh, they would have been what the guys on Entourage were in high school if the guys in Entourage were slightly dorky-er and musically inclined!



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Good Oil by Laura Buzo

Good Oil
Good Reads Summary

A wonderful, coming-of-age love story from a fresh new voice in YA fiction. 

'Miss Amelia Hayes, welcome to The Land of Dreams. I am the staff trainer. I will call you grasshopper and you will call me sensei and I will give you the good oil. Right? And just so you know, I'm open to all kinds of bribery.' 

From the moment 15-year-old Amelia begins work on the checkout at Woolworths she is sunk, gone, lost...head-over-heels in love with Chris. Chris is the funny, charming, man-about-Woolies, but he's 21, and the 6-year difference in their ages may as well be 100. Chris and Amelia talk about everything from Second Wave Feminism to Great Expectations and Alien but will he ever look at her in the way she wants him to? And if he does, will it be everything she hopes?

My Thoughts

I love the cover. Amelia looks absolutely ecstatic, and like a good friend of mine, I found myself wondering, What the hell is she laughing about? That’s just one of the reasons I went out and got this. It seems I am having a love/hate thing going for Australian YA. I have loved every single book that I have managed to get my hands on. But HATE the fact that it’s almost IMPOSSIBLE to find them over here.

I need more books just like this one.

Amelia is a fifteen year old in love with a 21 year old. I know it kind of, sort of sounds pervy, but if you think about it.. Dimitri and Rose were not that different age wise (If I remember correctly.) Ignoring that particular reference to VA, Good Oil is nothing like it. It is instead YA Contemporary the way I like it:

It’s a smoothly told story of how a fifteen year old pines over an almost 22 year old Chris. It is also interspersed journal entries from said guy. Honestly, without hearts in my eyes or anything? This is my kind of book… bitter and sweet all at once.

He calls her youngster. And she is that. You can tell by how she regards feminism. Anyway, I could very well be her. Well, I could very well have been her a couple of years ago. She’s so passionate about everything. What was it about her that had him thinking of her more towards the end of the book? He says, ‘She made him think.’ For me, it was that was she was honest - in a no holds barred fashion; telling it all.. at least until something related to him came up. BUT the thing is, she is young. She is Pip. Everything she complained about in Pip… those were her issues too, IMO. This was obvious to her as well.

And what pray tell does a fifteen year old see in a twenty plus year old guy? First, I love a guy who keeps a journal. It seems so... sensitive. SEEMS being the key word.. Because honestly (again) he is just too wrapped up in his own problems. That is until later, when he starts to see her in a different fashion.

As to that ending? THAT ending?! Well, I expect a great follow up.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott

Perfect You

Good Reads Summary

Kate Brown's life has gone downhill fast. Her father has quit his job to sell vitamins at the mall, and Kate is forced to work with him. Her best friend has become popular, and now she acts like Kate's invisible.

And then there's Will. Gorgeous, unattainable Will, whom Kate acts like she can't stand even though she can't stop thinking about him. When Will starts acting interested, Kate hates herself for wanting him when she's sure she's just his latest conquest.

Kate figures that the only way things will ever stop hurting so much is if she keeps to herself and stops caring about anyone or anything. What she doesn't realize is that while life may not always be perfect, good things can happen -- but only if she lets them....

My Thoughts

Good Golly! I think this is one of those books where you want to shake the main character to get her to open her eyes. Kate is m.i.s.e.r.a.b.l.e. It isn’t that she’s unpopular… that’s the least of her worries. One, her father has quit his job to sell vitamins at the mall. Two, she has to work as his assistant. Three, her “nightmare” of a grandmother has moved in to help out. Last, her best friend has turned into a beauty and totally forgotten her. The only bright side is her love/hate relationship with Will- her school’s hook up king. *more on him later*

I really did not like how self-involved they all were. And I do mean all of them! Her father was too wrapped up in his dream to notice their home life was crap. Her mother was too wrapped up in supporting her husband. Todd, was too wrapped up in being a man about town. Her grandmother was too wrapped up in appearances. Her best friend was too wrapped in being popular. And she was too wrapped up in being miserable.

Wait, am I making them out as hateful? Well they are! Or they were. Her blinders came off slowly, but with each realization, I would go, “Oh, thank gosh.. She’s thinking!” Once her blinders were off… once her mother’s blinders were off, I liked the changes that happened. Once they recognized the gem that her grandmother was (convenient, I know,) I felt relief.

“If they’re all so hateful, why bother?” one might ask. I could not help myself. The story is just that good. Even if the individuals were crappy, and even if the relationships were all screwed up, I liked how honest the story was.Honest. How? Well, there’s no denying that they were flawed, (except for Kate, the MC, it seemed. She just kept on denying till the very last moment when she couldn’t anymore) BUT there’s also no denying that they’ve got a good side too. Her father with his passion (blind as it was,) her mother with her loyalty, her brother with his humor, her grandmother with her willingness to assist (wanted or not.) And Kate with her (slow) discovery and acceptance of those flaws and merits.

But let me get down to the happy-happy side: Will. I really enjoyed him as a character, and then later, them as a couple. They start out a bit juvenile (think boy hair pulling to get the girl to pay attention,) all very love/hate. Deep down she liked him, but just couldn't face another rejection so she'd reject him at every opportunity. Until a very sudden twist of events, then she just couldn’t get enough of him and vice versa. Except, it didn’t stay that way, because like her grandmother said, Kate's used to being miserable. I love how their relationship developed and that the more she learned of him, the more she liked him. I didn’t like the yo-yo that was her emotion though.


Friday, March 11, 2011

The Iron Thorn (The Iron Codex #1) by Caitlin Kittredge

The Iron Thorn (Iron Codex, #1)
Good Reads Summary

In the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft's epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical—born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is growing shorter by the day.

Aoife Grayson's family is unique, in the worst way—every one of them, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their 16th birthday. And now, a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different.

My Thoughts

It's a good thing this has a little over 500 pages, otherwise it would have been too much. The author throws in everything! And surprise of surprises, I enjoyed it! I am not sying it was perfect. In fact, there is a specific clump of pages I could have just done without. But all in all, IRON THORN was quite satisfying.

One complaint though: the reader shouldn’t be tasked with having to figure out how to say the lead’s name. I mean, “Aoife”. It took me several tires to figure out how to roll my tongue to come up with a believable/right sounding name… and I’m still not sure I was/am saying it right. Thus, from here on in let Aoife be known as X.

But before that, let me just say that the first fifty pages were AWESOME. I know, I know… there has been some move to strike said word from the English vocabulary given its over use (much like people want “gone viral” removed.) BUT there is no other way to describe why page after page after page just flew by! Awesome it is. So awesome in fact that I briefly considered getting copies of H.P. Lovecraft’s work. (In comparing Iron Thorn to HP Lovecraft’s, am I insulting HPL fans? Hold your horses.. And read on… please.) From the first, we know that the author was inspired by Lovecraft she even dedicates the book to him. So, with the first fifty pages in mind, I wondered if this inspired version is this good, just imagine how the originator/ inspiration/ Master Builder’s stuff must be!

To bad the awesomeness stalled around page fifty...

Then kicked back into gear around p 160!!!

I really enjoyed the characters in this one. They are, all of them, not as they seem (And I really do mean all of tnem.) Then there's the world that they live in. I also enjoyed all the twists in it (and there are a lot.) So here goes,

X is a ward of the state. With her mother is in a madhouse, she goes to a school where she disagrees with half the things taught (re: Heretics.) In her blood, it is said, lies madness. A madness that drives her away from her mother. A madness that caused her brother to almost kill her. In a few, she turns sixteen when her madness might be triggered. Madness being just the first step to being virally decimated. Those infected devolve. Add on the fact that X’s world is one divided between Rationalists and heretics. The former look down on the latter as “those who reject reality and substituted the fantastical lie of magic and conjuring for science and logic…” Cool, right?

The problem is by the time her world and its background had settled enough in my head X started sounding like a drip: (a.) X, like a lot of teenagers has a love/hate thing going on with her mother. (b.) She hates her situation, complains (to herself) about how everyone sees her in a certain light, but does nothing about it! That is, until her absentee brother pops in the picture. (c.) Then there’s the way she treated her best mate, Cal and later on Dean(!)

Once they get to where they need to go, things get much better (or different?). One, I was expecting a Leviathan/Behemoth i.e. a lack of romance compensated for by other aspects like action or mystery, but that was not the case here. The change in relationship between the characters took me by surprise. It seemed contrived. As if the author felt something absent and decided to plunk the girl into more trouble… (Let’s put them in the impossible situation of having him them like her!) THANKFULLY, that was not the focus of IRON THORN.

I had a Clockwork Angel moment too when Conrad’s role became clear. A girl in search of her missing brother in a steampunk-ish novel. Sounding familiar yet? With nothing held against CA, I am thankful (again) that the similarities are superficial! IRON THORN is so much more. It’s darker and edgier. So dark in fact, that I could practically hear the moans of those in Doctor Portnoy’s care, and the shrieks of those falling from the bridge. So edgy, I could practically imagine the mist around her.

And if steampunk and a missing brother ala-Clockwork Angel aren’t enough to convince you, well, why don’t we throw in some Fey. Apparently her life wasn’t complicated enough… BUT I L.O.V.E.D it! The fey aspect in this one raised the creepy factor up a couple of notches (if that's possible.)

With so many things going on, some might be tempted to chuck it. I would have done so, but after page 160 the story just flows. Reading on, I found myself liking the charatcers more, curious abot what they would do and what would happen to them. So, the length of the book makes sense. Nothing short of 500 could fairly contain all the details in the book. In the end, IRON THORN worked for me. The boring part (pp 50ish-150ish) was mind numbingly boring… but that was offset by the good parts which were absolutely just that... Good!

I am looking forward to the rest of this series.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Falling Under (Falling Under #1) by Gwen Hayes

Falling Under (Falling Under, #1)
Good Reads Summary:

Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.

My Review
Dear YA,

1. Please don’t let this be another book on star crossed lovers whose relationship is doomed from the beginning because one is in danger of being killed by the other.
2. Please, please, please no more love triangles!
3. Please make the heroine a heroine by which, I mean a thinking, independent, strong-willed and self-aware young woman… who could be construed as a positive role model for your target audience. And let the male lead be more than just her love interest. Let him have a more interesting role and not just eye candy.
4. Please don’t let the dialogue be riddled with “now-isms.”

YA-PNR Reader


First off, I will restrain myself from making sparkly comparisons because while there are similarities, there are enough positive elements to balance the book out. Now, color me surprised: I actually enjoyed this one! Among the positives that FALLING UNDER has to offer are the dialogue, the shifting mood and the dream sequences.

But first, to the negatives. (I tried to keep myself from making comparisons, but sometimes it just cannot be helped.) Theia is virginal, cosseted, and a little priggish. Her being virginal, and cosseted led me to the question of why. Her father’s treatment of her left me befuddled. It begged the question(s) A. What’s wrong with her? Was she another one of those girls ala A Walk to Remember heroine… goody-goody and sheltered. (B) Or had she been not so goody-goody prior to the books opening; thus, requiring an iron fist in her upbringing (C.) Or had there been a tragedy that just pushed him to act the way he was acting… or (D.) Was it an English stodgy thing? As I was saying, she’s pretty tame. I would not have minded that particular fact, but she’s tame AND then oblivious to why the male lead was obsessing over her.

Add to that a giggly moment (whether done by design or the product of my gutter brain, you’ll just have to judge) of when she actually says, “Take me.” I don’t know, but bodice-ripping-Regency/Harlequin-esque historical-romance much? This mental image might have been compounded by the old sound of Theia’s thoughts. As said, she is virginal and cosseted. And apparently very prim and proper, in her thoughts as well. She just sounded old (more on this later.)

Throw in a mercurial Haden. Flirt one moment ass hole the next. I do not see the charm of one so fickle. Would you go after a guy who would leave you whilst a storm is going on. I am sounding positively old fashioned, but the guy just showed his true colors at that moment in the book.

All that said, this book wasn’t bad. In fact I found myself satisfied by the turn of events. Yes, it was a little too pat… but still consider:

I really enjoyed the darker feel to it. Moments of Falling Under are a horror/slasher film montage. Burning man, Night terrors. Mysterious stranger. Gothick-y music possibly leading to her (a) death or (b) love. Sewn lips, Chopped up brides.

Then there were all the dream sequences that reminded me of Beetlejuice and Chicken Run. I have a deep seated fear of clay-mation. This probably stems from a childhood scare-fest involving dolls coming alive and hacking away at limbs carelessly strewn willy-nilly over the bed’s edge… wait, what was I saying? The dreams sequences caught my attention because they had the same feel as Corpse Bride etc. *shudder* It was this that, I can honestly, kept me reading… despite Haden’s hot and cold attitude toward her…despite Theia’s virginal and innocent disposition…despite her father’s tendency toward being overbearing.

The language attracted me too. I have said that her thoughts sounded old, much older than her purported seventeen years. Despite this incongruence, I went with it. As a result I felt as she felt. Her confusion was mine; as was her frustration. That’s where the authenticity ended for me though because once her conscious interactions began, she started sounding typical YA heroine. (Daughter who had not rebelled but wants to. Friend in the middle… neither super pretty nor super smart… but wealthy enough. AND thankfully she didn’t always speak so “old” just serious at times.)

The most authentic lines sprang from Donny’s lips. I liked her particularly since she had a tendency towards being brazen. I liked that she spoke her mind in a very “current” way, but managed not to bludgeon said current-ness to death (as has happened in some books.)

And speaking of Donny, I liked the friendship dynamic going on in this one. They are a study in contrast I suppose. Especially, with Donny the brazen one, Amelia the outgoing sweet one and Theia, the heroine the socially awkward one (Hmmm… this assessment might actually be more apt under the “Argh” column). Put them together and you could end up with a whole girl.

So in response.

Yes, it does start with an “I love you, but I might kill you, so let’s just not,” BUT I got a kick out of how the author addressed that problem.

And, Hallelujah! There is no love triangle!

Sadly, the heroine is a cardboard cut out of YA heroines: meek and oblivious to her charms… AND, Yes, the male lead does start out as mere fuel for her dreams. BUT I do love how the author turned them on their heads in the latter half of the book.

The dialogue while current was not over done.

So over all: It's an OK read