Monday, February 4, 2013

Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever. by Caissie St. Onge

Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever. by Caissie St. Onge
Random House, 240 pages
Courtesy of Random Buzzers

"For Jane Jones, being a vampire is nothing like you read about in books. In fact, it kind of sucks. She's not beautiful, she's not rich, and she doesn't "sparkle." She's just an average, slightly nerdy girl from an ordinary suburban family (who happens to be vampires.) Jane's from the wrong side of the tracks (not to mention stuck in the world's longest awkward phase), so she doesn't fit in with the cool vampire kids at school or with the humans kids. To top it all off, she's battling an overprotective mom, a clique of high school mean girls (the kind who really do have fangs), and the most embarrassing allergy in the history of the undead, she's blood intolerant. So no one's more surprised than Jane when for the first time in her life, things start to heat up (as much as they can for a walking corpse, anyway) with not one, but two boys. Eli's a geeky, but cute real-live boy in her history class, and Timothy is a beautiful, brooding bloodsucker, who might just hold the key to a possible "cure" for vampirism. Facing an eternity of high school pressure, fumbling first dates, or a mere lifetime together with Timothy, what's a 90-something year-old teen vampire to do?"

This book should be retitled Jane Jones: Worst Vampire Book Ever. I understand that the point of the book was to be humorous and entertaining, but I don't think it was any of those. When the book was supposed to be funny, I found myself cringing for the main character, and I didn't find it entertaining. If I could have the time back that I wasted on this book, I would take it in a heartbeat.

This book was clearly supposed to target younger readers of the genre. Even so, I think one would be hard pressed to find one of these younger readers that actually really enjoyed the novel. Everything just seemed ridiculous and randomly thrown together. I found myself counting down the page numbers until the end of the book instead of actually appreciating the plot. As such, it's very difficult to pay attention to what's going on because you get bored.

Everything simply fell flat. I blame this on the length of the book (only 240 pages) because there wasn't enough time for character development. To be honest, I really don't have much more to say about this book. If you want an entirely mindless read where you are cringing in embarrassment for the main character, go right ahead. Otherwise, skip this one and find something better to occupy yourself with.

Rating: 2 stars - I didn't like it. Barely worth borrowing.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Hidden by P.C. & Kristin Cast

Hidden by P.C. & Kristin Cast
St. Martin's Griffin, 320 pages

"At last, Zoey has what she wanted: the truth is out. Neferet's evil has been exposed, and the High Council is no longer on her side--but she's far from done wreaking havoc in the vampyre world. First, a mysterious fire ravages the stables. Then, Neferet makes a devastating move that will test them all. With the tension at a breaking point and friendships on the line, can the nerd herd come together to stop the spread of Darkness before it's too late?"

Why is this series still going? WHY?! Sure, it's entertaining enough, but honestly, I was almost going to rate this two stars. Enough is enough, and nothing really progressed too much in this book. I can certainly describe this series in one word: disappointing. If we took all of the junk and fluff out of the series, we would most likely have a gem. But, unfortunately, that is not the case.

Let's see... everything has been beaten into our heads like crazy. Neferet is a psychotically evil. Aphrodite likes to call Stevie Rae a bumpkin. Kramisha likes to talk like she is from the ghetto. Zoey has a million guys in love with her. Zoey is really close with her grandmother. Kalona wants redemption. Yeah, we get it; this is great and all, but tell me something I don't know. I'm just... tired. I'm ready for things to end... this is the tenth book, so I'm pretty sure it would be okay if it did!

The content of the book just seemed incredibly silly. Neferet capturing Zoey's grandma? Really? That's the best you can do? The only two things I liked in this book was 1. the relationship between Zoey and Stark and 2. Kalona's character development. Thank the lord for these two things, or the book would be nearly irredeemable. Not only did the central conflict seem silly, but the author is trying to bring back Heath! WHY? Was that ridiculous, aggravating love triangle for 6 books (!!!!!) not enough? Zoey doesn't need Heath, and dare I say it, but he is so much more tolerable when he is DEAD.

Needless to say, this series needs to end. Like, soon. And I really am not looking forward to the next book all because of the one incredibly obnoxious character whose name starts with the letter "H" that doesn't know how to stay dead.

Rating: 2 1/2 stars - Liked it, but was incredibly annoyed.

Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter

Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
Disney Hyperion, 294 pages

"With more than a million Gallagher Girls books sold, a legion of fans have fallen in love with the New York Times best-selling spy-girl series, and the fifth book delivers the most nerve-wracking, high-stakes adventure yet. The last thing Cammie Morgan remembers is leaving the Gallagher Academy to protect her friends and family. But when Cammie wakes up in an alpine convent and discovers months have passed, her memory is a black hole. The only traces left of Cammie’s summer vacation are the bruises on her body and dirt under her nails. All she wants is to go home. But even the Gallagher Academy now holds more questions than answers as Cammie and her friends face their most difficult challenge yet. With only their training and a few clues to guide them, the girls go in search of answers on the other side of the world. But the Circle is hot on their trail and will stop at nothing to prevent Cammie from remembering what she did last summer."

I'm going to be honest and say that for a while that I didn't even realize that this book had been released. It has been under the radar for a while now, and as a result, my interest has kind of waned. Granted, the book was still an enjoyable read, but I am kind of wondering when the story will end....

If we take a trip down memory lane, we will remember the first book in the series, I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You, as an incredibly fun and light read. I loved THAT Cammie and her friends, and while the story has gotten darker and more intricate, I miss what made me love the Gallagher Girls series in the first place: the easy friendship between Cammie and her friends, secret passageways in the school, and using spy techniques to sneak out of the school to meet a cute boy. While I know it was pretty much inevitable that this lightheartedness would disappear with Cammie becoming older, I still can't help wishing some of it was back.

Let me tell you, remind yourself what happened in the previous book before starting this one! Honestly, you will be entirely lost if you don't. Things are incredibly confusing in the beginning of the book, but fortunately things start to explain themselves later on. More and more was revealed in this book about the Circle, and hopefully this means we can look forward to a finale soon. The characters are losing their zing, though. Cammie seems so distant and her friends don't seem to be as close with her anymore. I just don't feel the connection anymore.

First and foremost, I want to make things clear. I really enjoyed this series... when I was in sixth grade. Yes, that's right. Sixth grade. This series started in 2006, and as such, it's 2013 and it still isn't finished and we only have 5 books to show for. I don't want it to seem like I don't like the series, but I think maybe it's about time to hope for the next book to be the last. The hard truth is that I'm getting older and losing interest in this series, and that can only mean that there are several others out there just like myself. While I still liked this book, the past few books have not been as great as the first ones. If I went back and read the first books right now, I would like them just as much. Clearly something is lacking in the storyline, and hopefully we will get a satisfying ending soon.

Rating: 3 stars - I liked it. Worth borrowing.

The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore

The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore
HarperCollins, 352 pages

"It all began with nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorians - who scattered on Earth and went into hiding. They look like ordinary teenagers, but they have extraordinary skills. The Mogadorians killed Number One, Number Two, and Number Three. They tried to kill Number Four ... and failed. Number Four (aka John Smith) has now teamed up with Number Nine, while Six has gone off to find the others. With the Mogadorians hot on their trail and time running out, they must find a way to come together, before it's too late. Power in numbers will save them all."

Let me start off by saying that The Rise of Nine certainly exceeded my expectations. I really enjoyed I Am Number Four, the first book in the series, but I felt that the second, The Power of Six, was definitely a slump. It was boring, and to be honest, not much happened. I still wanted to read the third book, though. When I start a series, I simply have to finish it. As such, The Rise of Nine reminded why I liked this series so much to begin with.

We finally get to meet almost every single member of the Garde (with the exception of Number 5)! The action seemed to always be going, and it was actually equally spread out between each character this time. Four and Nine were hilarious to read about. Their brotherly interactions with each other made me laugh almost every time at some point. Reading about Six and the other Garde members is always exhilarating because 1. Six is completely badass and 2. Finding out all the different legacies is an adventure in its own.

The author certainly knows how to end novels with plenty of action! The endings of every single one of his books, including The Power Six, are simple fun and thrilling to read. The entire series is one rip-roaring adventure that is a blast to read. It's a fun way to take a break from books that have heavier content so you can just sit back and relax while you enjoy it. That is, IF you can relax during the action scenes....

Rating: 5 stars - I loved it! Buy a copy!

Rebel Heart by Moira Young

Rebel Heart by Moira Young
Marion Lloyd Books, 432 pages

"The Tonton have been defeated. Lugh has been rescued. The heartstone brought Jack and Saba together. Now, Saba and her family head west to meet him and start a new life. All should be well. But the shadows of the dead are stalking Saba. And another kind of shadow is creeping across the dustlands. Then a messenger shows up. With news of Jack."

For me, Rebel Heart was a long awaited sequel to Blood Red Road. Because Blood Red Road ended with some main characters going their own way, it only made the reader want to see how they were going to get back together again. While I enjoyed Rebel Heart a lot, Blood Red Road definitely had an edge on it. Maybe it was because everything was brand new and mind-blowing in Blood Red Road, but regardless, Rebel Heart made for a great sequel.

For once we actually get to see Saba and Lugh interact with each other. In the past, we only had flashbacks, and because they are such opposites, I was really wondering how they would actual act around each other. And to be honest, I was correct in thinking there was going to be some issues. The relationship between the two feels very genuine; it's not mushy in the slightest as they have some serious issues to work out with each other. Unfortunately, I really started to dislike Lugh in this book.... and wouldn't you know it! Saba gets Lugh back and we have this glorified image of him, and it just isn't accurate... at ALL.

DeMalo was only briefly encountered in the first book, and I think Young made a great choice by making him a main player in the series. The first book focused on rescuing Lugh, and by creating conflict with DeMalo, we now have something else to focus on now that Lugh is rescued. I don't want to say too much about DeMalo's role, but let's say he certainly mixes things up.

All in all, the book was satisfying. I particularly enjoy this YA series because it seems to be targeted at the older readers of the genre, such as ages 16-18 (Not that anyone older or younger wouldn't enjoy this book!). If you've read Blood Red Road, this is a must-read. If you haven't, go get a copy of Blood Red Road and get reading! You certainly don't want to miss out.

Rating: 5 stars - Loved it! Buy a copy!