25 May 2015

Review: Frostfire

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Amanda Hocking
Format: Paperback
Pages: 321
Rating: 5 out of 10

Summary (Thanks, Goodreads.com): Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes.

Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who's determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royal family. She's not going to let anything stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss Ridley Dresden.

But all her plans for the future are put on hold when Konstantin– a fallen hero she once loved – begins kidnapping changelings. Bryn is sent in to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?

My Thoughts: So, this novel made me a little bit sad. Perhaps it was that it has been quite some time since I had read any novels by Amanda Hocking but I seem to recall her novels being so much better than this one.

Sure, there was some adventure and some romance aspect...it all felt forced though. I had to struggle to believe this novel and the fact that the characters weren't human was almost the easiest thing to accept! Everything went too quickly. This novel seemed to skip over a lot of important stuff, taking for granted that people had already read Hocking's Trylle series. This meant that the world wasn't explained as well as it could be. It also means that important action was lost. Fights were resolved too fast, emotional issues were skipped over, and family drama was all but ignored. This novel could have been so much more. Granted, this is part of a series, so there is room for it to get better but I wish this novel had done more to help with that. 

I loved that the main character didn't find any insta-love and that she was strong. She wanted to do things on her own and for herself. She never discounted her ability to do something and believed in herself. It's too bad that novels are more than just the characters that can be found in them.

Overall, the novel could have gone deeper. Show me deeper into the protagonists thoughts and emotions. Show me more about the world in which these people live, their city, their customs, their family arrangements, their politics, their daily lives. Show me more of the main characters and their motivations. Show me more about the big bad guys. Show me more about the fight scenes and how the characters manage to get out of these sticky situations. Show me something more! I needed more of just about everything. It needed more work, which is sad because I thought that grammar, vocabulary, and structure were great.

Basically: This novel was much worse than I expected. It was an easy read but is very clearly young adult in nature. I wish that it had slowed down. I'm not sure what this would have meant for other novels in this series but I don't care. It needed to be done. I'll likely finish the rest of the series but I am in no rush at all. This one was a disappointment. Check out Hocking's other works first, please!

19 May 2015

Review: Saint Anything

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Sarah Dessen
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 432
Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary (Goodreads is a saint): Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

My Thoughts: I always forget how much I love Sarah Dessen until I read one of her novels again. This novel was a long time coming, which meant that I've been reading so called "grown up" novels for some time now. I was really worried about getting back to Sarah Dessen...that is, I was worried until I started reading it. These novels are so fantastic because you can always connect to them in some way. You understand what the main character is going through. They aren't just horny teenagers that want to run around getting drunk every weekend at the latest parties. These novels actually talk about something. That's important.

I also find myself struggling to keep my emotions in check. I get so angry when something bad happens to the main character and it's not their fault. This happened to me a great deal while reading Saint Anything. I couldn't get over how the protagonist was being treated. I was mad that her life wasn't fair, even though I am well aware that life isn't fair. I just felt so bad for her.

Even though I was aware of the general direction the novel was taking, I still managed to find myself interested and wanting to keep reading. I didn't put it down. I think my grandfather (who was camping with me while I was reading this novel) thought that I had lost my marbles because I hardly spoke while reading it. It was just that good! And being good enough to make me shut up is a really big feat...

I like that this novel was unique in the characters, the jobs they had, the main issue of the story, that it brought up serious issues including an illness that I know relatively little about, and that there were incredible places for the characters to hang around in. Most of what I experienced in this novel was new to me which is a big deal. That doesn't usually happen. I found myself getting caught up in it all because of this. I definitely want to reread this novel some time in the future and enjoy it all over again.

I hated waiting for Dessen's next novel but I think it was well worth the wait and much different (better, much better and more grown up) than her previous novels. This one is one of my favourite novels by her for sure! I think that if you enjoy young adult and romance and just generally good books, you might want to check this one out.
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