Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Variant by Robinson Wells

Synopsis: Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life. He was wrong. Now he's trapped in a school that's surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive. Where breaking the rules equals death. But when Benson stumbles upon the school's real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape--his only real hope for survival--may be impossible.

Review: I keep jumping around on what I should rate this. If I overanalyze it I would give it a three, but since I did enjoy it and it totally kept me interested I have to go with four stars. I liked the story, I thought it was original. I thought the story progressed well, for me I was never bored or thought things were moving too slowly. In fact, I was sucked in right from the start and thought it had a fun eerie vibe to it that made you want to keep reading. Some have called this a “boy book” and I can see where they get that. It’s told entirely from our main character Benson’s perspective, is somewhat violent and has little to no romance. By the end I still didn’t feel like I had really connected with Benson. I liked him, I was glad that he wasn’t just submitting like so many others had, but there was just something missing for me. I think a little romance would have really gone a long way here. What little was in the book felt flat, unreal, and lacked chemistry. Benson didn’t act like a guy in that regard. I’ve read plenty of books with male POV, and it can be really fun to see a guy fall in love with a girl, and this book was missing that fun element. Like others have said, there are a few twists and a huge cliffhanger ending. I wasn’t too surprised with the twists, but was a little disappointed that some of my questions still weren’t answered by the end. The ending was way too abrupt. I can see why an author would enjoy having a huge shocker ending, but I need a little more closer and a few more answers. I’ll definitely be reading the next book though.

I saw on the author’s blog that this is actually only a two-part series and the next book, Feedback, is scheduled to come out around October 2012!

Northanger Alibi by Jenni James

Synopsis: The Russo family and Seattle, WA are no match for Claire Hart and her savvy knowledge of all things vampire related. Thanks to her obsession with the Twilight series, if there is anyone who would know a vampire when she saw one, it's Claire. And she's positive totally hot Tony Russo is a vampire--she just has to prove it. In this modern retelling of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, follow Claire's hilarious journey on her first summer adventure away from home, where she learns everything isn't what it seems, and that in some instances, reality is way better than anything she'd ever find in a book.

Review: What a fun read. I should say that I’ve never read the original Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, so I can’t compare the two. I had a vague idea what the story was about and thought the author did a good job recreating the story in a modern setting. Our main character Claire is endearingly naive, especially at the beginning of the book. To say she is a fan of the Twilight series is a huge understatement. I thought it was a fun element to the story though. I liked Tony, he has a few great lines and the two had good chemistry together. While I thought they were cute together, I had a hard time buying that they were truly in love, maybe SERIOUS like though. I can definitely see things growing between them, but the whole book only takes place over a couple of weeks with a handful of date/interactions, so love is a bit of a stretch for me. If you suspend reality for a couple hours though, it’s a very fun entertaining read. I thought it moved along nicely and kept me wanting to read more. I think I may have a new author to look out for. I loved the sample of her next book Persuaded at the end; I really can’t wait for that one! I also hope we get a book about Tony’s sister Nora, I really liked her character.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Slayers by CJ Hill

Synopsis: Dragons exist. They’re ferocious. And they’re smart: Before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant, so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it – these “Slayers” are descended from the original knights, and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a smart but spoiled senator’s daughter who didn’t sign up to save the world.The dragon eggs have fallen into the wrong hands. The Slayers must work together to stop the eggs from hatching. They will fight; they will fall in love. But will they survive?

Review: I knew this book was going to be totally different from the author’s other published work for her to take on a pseudonym, so I was able to go into it with an open mind and not expect something like she’d written in the past. ended up enjoying this one and look forward to reading the rest of the series.

It wasn’t that long ago that the word “dragon” would totally turn me off from reading a book. Not sure why, but I had no interest in them. I think it was Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George that changed my mind. Ever since then I have really enjoyed dragon lore. CJ Hill did a great job with her dragon mythology, I thought it was believable and I enjoyed how she worked dragons into a modern day setting. I liked our main character Tori. I liked that in her world she was accomplished at everything she tried, but once she reached camp things change and she was now the bottom of the pack. I like that kind of humbling. While she is still awesome, she still has a lot of room left for improvement. I suppose you could say there is a bit of a love-triangle, but personally I didn’t feel any chemistry with either guy and I’m crossing my fingers for a third option.

I did feel that the book was a little slow, and may have suffered a bit from being the first book in a series. I don’t mind reading trilogies, but like when each book in a series could almost stand on its own. I think the only reason I liked this one so much was because I knew there would be more to come. If it was a standalone book I wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much.

Overall, I did really like it. I don’t think there is anything this author could write that I would not love.
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