Tag Archive | paranormal

Review : Glimmer

Glimmer by JPhoebe Kitanidis
Pages : 352
Genre : YA, Paranormal
Stand Alone
My Rating :

What it’s about :

A girl and a boy wake up together in bed. Both are confused and lost; neither of them know who they are, where they are or why they are there. They remember how to talk, walk and use objects, but they have lost any memory that could give them information about their personal life.

After some suspicion on both parts, they decide to work together to solve the mystery that is their lives. Soon they discover that Summer Falls is no usual town, and that their memory loss might be only one of many mysteries…

My Thoughts :

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I cracked open Glimmer; fantasy, paranormal, science-fiction, aliens? Or what? I was kind of in a “meh, whatever” mood and Glimmer looked intriguing enough to pull me out of that bored state of mind. I am happy to report that it did, and with great success!

From the start, the story is intriguing. We do not know the main characters’ names (we learn later that they are Elyse and Marshall), and both are terrified and suspicious of each other. I often complain about dual narratives, but in this case, I felt it worked well enough : it gives us a better insight into each of their story than a third person narration would have. You can see how they react to each other, and though their voices are similar, their personalities are different enough.

Elyse and Marshall quickly bond over their peculiar situation (maybe a tad too quicly?) and as a team, they start to investigate. And then things become even more interesting : not only the two of them have lost any memory related to their identities, but the town where they find themselves is weird. Elyse sees some people where Marshall sees no one – until these people connect to Marshall and blue sparks fly. Summer Falls’ residents are also all a bit too cheery and distracted – so much so that, despite their condition, Elyse and Marshall almost feel like they are the only normal people left.

The beauty of Glimmer is that it mixes a little of everything; paranormal, magic, the town’s strange history, heatnaps, creepy characters, and a mystery that keeps you reading past your bed time. Elyse and Marshall’s quest for truth gets even more interesting when they have to face who they were before losing their memories, their qualities and, most importantly, their faults. And while they both have a complicate family situation, I have to say that Elyse’s broke my heart a little.

In the end, I really enjoyed Glimmer. Though I found the ending a little too rushed and filled with too much information, it had a strong conclusion that answered all important questions. I am also thrilled that Glimmer is a stand alone novel! I read enough series as it is. But I do hope I get to read more stories coming from Kitanidis’ fabulous imagination.

Review : Fracture

Fracture by Megan Miranda
Pages : 262
Genre : Ya, Fiction, Paranormal
Stand Alone
My Rating :

What it’s about :

When Delaney fell through the ice into the cold water, her chances for survival were very slim; and yet here she is, a week later, alive despite being underwater for eleven minutes.

Her doctor can’t explain any of it; why she survived, why she woke up from her coma, why she isn’t brain damaged. And he certainly can’t explain why she feels this sudden itch when she gets close to dying people. Did she develop a new ability, or is she, after all, damaged? If anyone can answer, maybe the mysterious Troy, who seems to always be around when she expects it the least,  can…

My Thoughts :

I am feeling generous with the stars today!

Fracture was surprisingly good. Not that I was expecting something bad (if I was, I wouldn’t have read it!), but I didn’t think it would be this good! This feeling probably comes from the fact that Fracture isn’t your typical YA paranormal novel – and because of that, I can see why many readers were disappointed with it, or just didn’t like it as much as I did.

There’s a romance, even a love triangle, although in retrospect, not really. On one side you have Troy, the new and mysterious and really dark kind of guy, and on the other you have Delaney’s best friend Decker, her neighbor who has forever been part of her life. The tension between these two was very different from the one Delaney had with Troy, but very complicated, too. Troy seems to have answers and, in a situation where her parents don’t trust her and her best friend has his own secrets, he seems to be the only one she can turn to. However, she desperately wants to be back to normal with Decker, but as they each keep things from each other, their relationship is now very uncomfortable. It felt realistic to me that their relationship changed as the grew up, and that they weren’t sure what do to with it, or how to act around each other anymore.

I loved Delaney as a character, even though she might not be the most likable person out there. She is honest about how she feels, for instance saying that others’ generosity surprise her because she isn’t sure she would have done the same things in return. I’ve never liked characters that are too perfect, so to have Delaney’s flaws exposed like this made her feel more realistic than most characters. Plus, her parents, very present in her life, felt extremely real, too. As much as I felt for Delaney, I felt for her mother too.

Also, I really liked the writing. Something in the way the author uses the words made it easy to relate to Delaney, to feel how she felt and to root for her.

The paranormal part was, in some ways, a very small part of the story. It’s there, and a constant preoccupation of Delaney’s, yes. But there is so much more going on in this little book! If you are expecting ghost hunting or action or lots of paranormal activity, you might get disappointed. Everything about Delaney’s new “ability” is dealt with in a very normal way, and though we get some answers, nothing is completely clear by the end of the story (not to me, anyway!)

Which brings me to the book’s conclusion. I felt it was a really strong one. It was a bit dark, a bit hopeful, but also true to life in that not every piece of Delaney’s life is suddenly fixed. We can see that things are getting better and will probably be even better in the coming months, but not everything is tied up with a nice little bow.

I almost only have positives to say about Fracture and, honestly, I don’t even want to bother with the negative aspects of it. Without being a life changing story, it definitely was a breath of fresh air among other paranormal YA novels, and one of my favorites of 2012 so far. I’m looking forward to reading more of Megan Miranda, hopefully in a close future!

Review : Hallowed

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Pages : 403
Genre : YA, Paranormal
Series : Unearthly, Book 2
My Rating :

What it’s about :

Just as she is trying to put behind the fires and everything that went down that night, Clara starts having a new vision. This time, it comes in the shape of a terrifying dream where she is losing someone she loves. But who? Is it possible for her to stop it?

As if the constant worrying for her close ones wasn’t enough, Clara also has to deal with her brother’s strange attitude, the growing tensions in the triangle formed by Christian, Tucker and herself, and learning every day a little more about who she is. But before this chapter of her life is over, everything in her life will be forever changed.

My Thoughts :

Oh. My. God.

I thought Unearthly was good, yes, far above the average young adult paranormal romance. Still I was unprepared for Hallowed, and how much I liked it. What am I saying? I loved it. I’m talking about a 4.5 starts coming really close to a 5 here!

It was not only a captivating story, but also a very, very emotional one – something I hadn’t expected at all from a novel of the genre. After all, YA paranormal is what I turn to to be entertained. Here though, Cynthia Hand gets close and personal with death, grief and the sense of powerlessness that accompanies both. She delivers a story with depth where Clara goes through all kinds of emotions, and us with her.

Also, I can’t say enough of the author’s great writing of a fantastic romance. I have mentioned more than once before being tired of the love triangle, but this might be the exception. I felt that Hand didn’t hesitate to go where many authors won’t, tearing apart what was already established to start anew. Tucker is still a lovely boy, but as we get to know Christian better through time, it is impossible to resist his charm and good nature. Plus, his understanding of Clara was exactly what she needed, when she needed it. Without taking anything away from Tucker, Christian developed in his own character and we finally get to really know him.

There’s still an element of danger with the Black Wings more or less hanging around, making Hallowed a constant roller coaster of emotions and adventures. We learn just so, so much about angels in this book that it kept me constantly on my toes, trying to guess what was next. I was very happy to see many of my predictions come true! Because of Hand’s fantastic writing, I didn’t feel as if it had been predictable; there was always an element of surprise in the details, or with the moment chosen for new revelations and twists.

I’m so glad this turned out to be even better than I expected! Book three will only be coming out in 2013, and this seems a bit too far from now for my taste!

Series Reading Order :

  1. Unearthly
  2. Hallowed (coming January 2012)
  3. – coming in 2013 –

Review : Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Pages : 418
Genre : YA, Fantasy
Series : Daughter of Smoke and Bone, book 1
My Rating : 

From the book : 

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

My Thoughts :

No, your eyes do not deceive you; Daughter of Smoke and Bone really got five fat stars from me, a rating I rarely give to books. But it deserves it greatly; it was one of the most original novels I have read in a while, not in comparison to other YA novels, but in comparison to books of all genres and cagories. What a breath of fresh air Laini Taylor offers us with this beautiful, captivating story!

First, I have to say this : if you have any interest in this book, I would highly recommend that you step carefully in the world of reviews whether it is on blogs, Goodreads, Amazon or other communities. Spoilers abound even in the simple “tags” people attach to the book, which could ruin many surprises for you. This is why I chose to use the summary from the book; I tried to write one that wouldn’t spoil anything and carry a good feel of what the book was about, but I was unsuccessful and for once, I felt the publisher really did a great job with it, so here we go! I also limited the tags I attached to this review. This book really is better if you go in totally unspoiled.

Karou is an incredibly captivating character, and a beautifully written one. She’s aware of her difference, and the author doesn’t explain her situation all at once in the first few pages, keeping a little of the mystery surrounding her – which mirrors perfectly Karou’s habit of being mysterious in her life, to hide her unusual story. It’s not often that we are given a third person narration in YA fiction but it worked great, allowing us to visit both Karou and Akiva (the mysterious guy that will, of course, change her life). And while we’re on the subject, I loved Akiva. As intriguing as Karou, he had a personality of his own and a story I just couldn’t wait to hear more about.

There was so much going on in this novel, and the author kept me continuously on my toes. Every time something happened or something was revealed, I thought “that’s it then, that’s what the book is about!” And every time,  there was more waiting around the corner, surprising me and bringing more questions into the mix. Karou’s errands, the “wishes” she spends on little things, the mystery of who she is and the mystery of Akiva, they all contributed to something, bigger, greater, that took my breath away. Add to that an amazing mythology unlike anything else, and I was hooked to this book, without a chance to escape!

I loved this book so much that, rather than being looking forward to its sequel, I am in fact a little worried about it. Can it be as awesome? Surprise me again, captivate me even more? Have you ever felt like that? It seems impossible at this moment, but I’ll have to trust the author to take me on this journey.

Series Reading Order :

  1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  2. – coming September 2012 –

Review : Unearthly

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Pages : 435
Genre : YA, Paranormal
Series : Unearthly, Book 1
My Rating :

What it’s about :

Like her mother and brother, Clara is part angel, making her extremely talented at almost everything she tries. It also means she has her own personal purpose, a specific task she has to accomplish while in this world.

When Clara starts having dreams of her purpose, her life is forever changed. Moving away from the California where she grew up, she is unsettled both by her new surroundings and her more and more frequent dreams. Does she really have enough time to get ready for her purpose, or will her terrestrial side get the best of her?

My Thoughts :

Even though I had read countless great reviews of Unearthly, I wasn’t prepared to like it. Not only has paranormal YA been a little disappointing for me lately, but angel books, in particular, have been painful to read. I never made it through Halo (and gave away my copy). I finished Lauren Kate’s Fallen with countless yawns. Hush, Hush was only fun in a bad horror movie kind-of way.

Unearthly broke the mold by offering an entertaining, lovely, intriguing story with a main character who wasn’t, surprisingly, too stupid to live! Clara was so easy to warm-up to : her narration had a human simplicity with just a touch of angelical magic. She was both a teenager going through the mundane life of a teenager wanting to fit it, and an angel forever different who has a unique perspective. I think it’s admirable how successfully Cynthia Hand handled both parts in one single character, never neglecting one side of her personality for the other.

There’s romance, of course. But it’s not a love-at-first-sight-can’t-live-without-you kind of thing. And there’s a triangle, but though I definitely have a preference, it’s really not clear for me where the author is going with this. I thought I knew, but close to the end, the story took an unexpected turn and I wasn’t sure anymore. Which is another lovely aspect of the book, how it keeps surprising you with little twists and turns all along.

Clara, her brother, her mother, her two love interests and a few others form an intriguing cast of characters I am already looking forward to know better. There are a few hints of mysteries in the story that I can’t wait to know more about, and I really felt like the book was the start of a great saga, all while having a strong enough conclusion by itself.

Those who are tired of the paranormal-romance formula might not find Unearthly to be the most original novel on the shelves, but it is certainly one of the best. I personally loved it, and I am looking forward to reading the second novel a few weeks from now!

Series Reading Order :

  1. Unearthly
  2. Hallowed (coming January 2012)

The R.I.P. challenge and 3 Reviews : The Thirteenth Tale, Virals and Prophecy of the Sisters

Hello hello, all!

First of all, I missed you. It’s crazy how blogging has become such a part of my life that, when  I don’t do it for a while, I feel like there’s a little something missing in my life!

So October came and went (that was a while ago, I know!), and despite a huge blogging slump that has made this space a lot quieter, I did complete my R.I.P. challenge before October ended! I read 4 books, as I had planned, 2 of which had been on my initial list. Not bad!

I reviewed The Lace Reader previously, and it was definitely my favorite of the four. Now is the time to review the three other books I read for the occasion, and I thought it would be fun to review them all together. While I did really enjoy one of them, and thought the other two were okay, I found that I took very few notes and had little to say about them – hence the shorter reviews. Hopefully I’ll be back on top of this blogging thing before the end of the year!

* * *

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Pages : 406
Genre : Mystery, Gothic
Stand Alone
My Rating : 

What it’s about : When Margaret gets hired to write the biography of one of Britain’s most popular novelists, she does it mostly out of curiosity. Vida Winter has had a prolific writing life, but the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale is one she has never shared before. Margaret soons find herself captivated by Vida’s tales, as well as facing the missing parts of her own story.

My Thoughts : The Thirteenth Tale was much more intriguing, and much more intricate that I expected it to be – but in a good way! The story within a story is a fascinating one, it’s also one that leaves you wondering; is this true, or not? How reliable is this woman’s narrative, really?

The pace was really slow at times but I didn’t mind, at all. It gave the book time to develop gently, and there were a lot of details to these little pieces of the story, so I was never bored. I enjoyed Setterfield’s writing, and while I never completely connected to Margaret, I loved her as a character. It was definitely a great read for October, and for the R.I.P. challenge.

* * *

Virals by Kathy Reichs
Pages : 452
Genre : YA, Paranormal
Series : Virals, Book 1
My Rating :

What it’s about : Tory and her friends are the first surprised when, after rescuing a dog from a laboratory, they witness their bodies reacting differently to the world around them. Now not only do they have to deal with their new abilities, they also got involved in an unresolved murder case.

My Thoughts : In theory, this one had everything to grab my interest : secret laboratory experiments, an almost secluded island, a cold case, etc. But I just couldn’t get into it.

Now, I know that Reichs is quite the popular author, her Bones novels being in every bookstore and the TV series being quite popular, too. But I didn’t like the writing, at all. I didn’t get Tory and worse, I didn’t really want to get to know her more than I already did. So I pushed through the novel and to be honest, I did skim a little. I don’t know whether this is a good sample of Reichs’ writing but based on Virals, it really isn’t for me.

Series Reading Order :

  1. Fallen
  2. Seizure

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Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
Pages : 340
Genre : YA
Series : Prophecy of the Sisters, Book 1
My Rating :

From Goodreads : Twin sister Lia and Alice Milthorpe are yoked together in an ancient prophecy that makes them enemies and could destroy them both. If Lia can break this familial curse, she can not only save her relationship with her beloved boyfriend; she can finally resolve the mystery behind her parents’ death.

My Thoughts : Heh. I guess that’s what happens when you get lured by the pretty covers : you take a chance and, sometimes, you get disappointed. While Prophecy of the Sisters wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great, either. For me it fell in the forgettable category. I’m not going to follow up on this one, sadly, even though the next covers are equally pretty.

One of the thing that really kept me from enjoying this one was the writing. What I felt was that the author, having set the story at the end of the 19th century, was trying to write in a way that would imitate writers of this time, or what one would think sounds like a 19th century character’s voice. Sadly, the narration was way too modern, and I didn’t buy it at all. It’s a quick read though, so for those who enjoy the genre, I say give it a try!

Series Reading Order :

  1. Prophecy of the Sisters
  2. Guardian of the Gate
  3. Circle of Fire