Review: Vanish {Firelight #2} by Sophie Jordan

Review: Vanish {Firelight #2} by Sophie Jordan

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:

For a second in series, VANISH was handled fantastically. Sophie Jordan had my anxiety levels up and I really felt for these characters. Heartache for Jacinda, pity and disgust for the mom and a sort of fear and happiness for Tamra — along with a slew of other emotions for the secondary characters that were introduced or brought back in the second novel. Intense elicited emotions is what I live for in a book – the plot might have a few holes but if the book creeps in and forces unique emotional responses from me, I’m in love. Top this with a good plot, great character building and on-your-toes twists and turns…well I’m smitten with Sophie Jordan and her fire-breathing creations.

REVIEW:

Jacinda has sacrificed herself again. Back to the pride they go with Cassian as their guide and the newly manifested Tamra. Yet, all she can think of is Will. Her love for him is so intense but she must protect him, her family and herself at all costs. And that means the pride, Cassian and the rules they will inflict on her – just hopefully, with her willful return her wings will not be clipped.

If her young adult books are this good I must go out and buy her adult novels, because I’m now a big fan girl of Sophie Jordan. To carry a second book this well takes talent – as I’ve noticed after a few badly digested second novels that I’ve recently read. This is a series that you don’t want to pass up, but it is highly suggested that you read book one.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Recommended for paranormal romance fans and young adult. Go back and read the first one if you haven’t yet, this is not a stand-alone. This is also recommended for more mature teens because some items might be a bit harder for a younger teen to process, yet, nothing at all explicit or out of order.


 
 

Young Adult Novel

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Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:
As a new trend goes, retellings come and go in fits and starts…we’ve recently gone through a mass retellings of fairy-tales, then Greek mythologies, but one that seems to stay with us are the retellings of Shakespeare stories. Might as well right? Better than another retelling of Dracula. And from a retelling POV this one was original. At least Stacey Jay didn’t just recycle the story and put it in modern times…it just well was a retelling. Where my blasé attitude stems from, I’ll put it in perspective via an analogy, which I so love. It’s like a remix of a great song, think BLACK EYED PEAS – The Time (Dirty Bit) which is a sampling of Time Of My Life by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes. We’ve gone from “Don’t put Baby in the corner…” an endless love to…drunk escapades and some sl*t puking in the corner. The song may hit, I might want to jump around the house like a lunatic when it comes on – but the BLACK EYED PEAS don’t own it. It didn’t manifest out of their genius – and the beat might hit, it won’t chime endless in the consciousness of a generation. Yeah, yeah, I know big words, some are probably thinking “stuff it”. Yet, I must say IMHO, you can’t be EPIC with a retelling. But, it can be romantic and entertaining and compelling, which JULIET IMMORTAL was.

REVIEW:
The story of Romeo and Juliet is retold in JULIET IMMORTAL. Dark forces are pitted against the light as the dark strives to end the love of soul mates by turning one soul mate against the other in pursuit of eternal life. The story of Romeo and his young bride Juliet in reality was much different from the tale Shakespeare told. Young lovers, from rival households, they did fall in love, against the wishes of their family and they did marry – but shortly after their wedding vows, Romeo killed Juliet in pursuit of eternal life. As Juliet bled to death, she cursed Romeo’s name and was given the task, by the light, to reverse all the damage he would do as an agent of the dark. Her ultimate goal – bring soul mates together in true love and not have their stories end like hers. You would believe it to be easy, but Romeo is determined to bring souls over to his side and he doesn’t play fair.

When Juliet is brought to life this last time – something is different. She is having trouble contacting her handler, a woman she calls Nurse and she doesn’t seem to have the powers she is usually imbued with. On top of the strange environment, she also is helped along by a very handsome young man who she is instantly attracted to even though she knows she must fight her feelings. There is no way she can have feelings for a boy, she isn’t even in possession of her own body and his aura might hint that he is one of her soul mates…nothing is going as it should for Juliet – even Romeo is acting strangely and hinting at them working together. Romeo her sworn enemy, her soul mate.

First let me tell you what I liked about JULIET IMMORTAL, I did like the twist, I thought it was rather sick and not all flowers and petticoats. Love that. I liked Juliet’s character, I thought she had spunk. I thought the story line was compelling and I was flipping through the pages to get to the end. The author also kept me on my toes with twists in the plot. I think she did do an excellent job in this retelling.

What I didn’t like about the book was the underlying concept, it wasn’t as believable as I would have liked. Just in the end it didn’t click, it was just like all of a sudden the dark side was like WHOOSH and over whelmed everything and gave up on their pursuit without a real explanation. Just a few more t’s had to be crossed – and the ending was just, well, aligned too well. My overall thoughts are, while this book was entertaining and kept me going, it seems like it was just missing a little something…

RECOMMENDATIONS:
For language and sexual references along with violence it is recommended that readers have a bit of maturity before partaking. Recommended for fans of Romeo and Juliet and retellings in general. This might be a good transition from contemporary young adult romance to paranormal romance.

 

Young Adult Novel

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Review: Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans

Review: Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:
Michael Vey wouldn’t have been something that I’d grab if I was perusing the shelves of my local book store. For one, the title and for two, the fact that it seems geared for middle grade boys. I like Percy Jackson when he’s a little more grown up…and you have to admit Harry Potter got a bit more relatable just about the time he entered the TriWizard Tournament. Now – push those negative thoughts to the side, because MICHAEL VEY exceeded my expectations 100 times over. Yes, they were low expectations but really – this is a shockingly good book. Great for middle grade boys of course, but also fun, entertaining and exciting for 30+ females.

REVIEW:
Michael Vey, what can we say about Michael? Fourteen years old, short for his age. Your typical underdog, poor and to top it off he has a slight case of Tourrette’s which gives him a tick that is universally mocked by all. What Michael doesn’t want you to know about him: He’s deadly. Like an electric eel, Michael can shock someone into submission just by touching them. His mother is afraid for his safety and the moment someone gets even a hint of his powers, she packs them up and moves them to a new town. Michael is now attending Meridian High School, his best friend and neighbor, Ostin Liss along with super popular Taylor Ridley are the only ones he has ever told of his powers and with their help he’s soon discovering he might not be alone, in fact there might be a whole group of children that all have similar powers. But, as more and more comes to light, one things becomes obvious…there is a group that knows about these children and they’ll stop at nothing to get a hold of Michael, including, kidnapping Michael’s mom.

This was a good story, entertaining, quick paced, good character development and an underlying mystery that had me engrossed in the story. Michael, his friends, Ostin and Taylor were well developed and I was quickly taken by all of them. The evil factors in the novel were just creepy enough to give me goosebumps. Richard Paul Evans did an excellent job and I can’t wait to read more of this series, which I think it’s supposed to be seven books (I could have read that wrong and I can’t find where I saw this).

Being a middle grade book, though, it did have it’s immature moments which can be hard for more mature readers, but they were few and far between.

RECOMMENDATIONS:
Recommended for tweens and teens, 12+, more mature readers might be a little turned off by the sillier parts. For fans of I AM NUMBER FOUR, PERCY JACKSON and other supernatural themed, male leads, you should enjoy.

Young Adult Novel

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Review: Ship Break by Paolo Bacigalupi

Review: Ship Break by Paolo Bacigalupi

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:
After having read and enjoyed The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi I quickly moved on to his young adult novel, SHIP BREAKER. Favoring the gritty and in-your-face style of writing that Bacigalupi is known for, SHIP BREAKER, while young adult, didn’t hold back. Bacigalupi thrust you into a very uncomfortable, dystopian world and rubs your face into it repeatedly and if you are anything like me, you’ll love every minute of it.

REVIEW:
In the future world of SHIP BREAKER there is a huge economic divide between the poor and the rich, much like you would find in 3rd world countries. The rich live in sickening luxury while the poor destroy themselves to earn pennies and barely survive. The Gulf Coast region of what was once the United States has been devastated by hurricanes, plague and famine. Ragged villages exist upon the coast, their whole existence revolving around scavenging the oil tankers that were left to rot after the decline of the human race. Nailer is our hero of this story, he is a young teenager, still small in frame so he is able to squirrel his way through the ships and scavenge on what is called Light Crew. His existence is horrendous, forced to scavenge in an environment that could kill you at any turn, then only to come home to an abusive father, waiting for that day when his shoulders grow a little too wide and then he won’t be able to crawl through the ships…therefor not able to work any longer.

Change comes to the shores in the form of a terrible hurricane, not uncommon in those parts, but with it comes more scavenge as Nailer and his friend Pima come across a clipper ship, broken and screaming wealth. A lone survivor on the ship puts some serious questions in front of the teens…it would be so much easier just to kill her and take the scavenge then it would be to let her live. Something stops Nailer though and he does the right thing…hoping that his choices, made for the right reasons will lead him to a better life instead of just scraping by in his village.

Bacigalupi (just like writing out his name – saying it is even better) has the voice of a science fiction rock star. His descriptions are so vividly stunning that the world comes alive around you. To describe his book in one adjective it would be “rusty”, it’s just this old world, slightly acidic environment that is portrayed in such naked and viscous detail that it can almost be hard to digest at times. This is a book you don’t want to pass up.

What some readers might find hard to take in: This is a more “boy” oriented story, it’s not romantic with kissing and sobbing and love triangles. This is an adventure story with a girl and a boy, but the theme is triumph over your circumstances, not romance. I highly recommend this one and it’s great for something different, if you are tired of those love triangles…

RECOMMENDATIONS:
Recommended for fans of dystopian and gritty science fiction. Recommended for more mature teens 14+ because of some mature and sometimes violent themes, but nothing that is out of line.

 
 

Audiobook

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Review: Tomorrow When The War Began by John Marsden

Review: Tomorrow When The War Began by John Marsden

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:
It would seem since I have been on an apocalypse kick for awhile, so audible.com was keen on me listening/reading to TOMORROW WHEN THE WAR BEGAN and I had done a marvelous job ignoring them…even though it kept popping up on my recommended lists on both amazon and audible. You see, even though I enjoyed RED DAWN the movie, I didn’t know if I would like to read about it – and that is what the reviews constantly compared it to. I guess I should have listened to Auntie Amazon and Audible, they were right. I should have read, listened, inhaled TOMORROW a long time ago, because it was a fantastic read and has thus launched me on a mission to get a hold of a digital copy of the Australian made movie inspired by the book. (Which is IMPOSSIBLE!!!) One day I guess. This book has it all, smart witty teens, a bit of action, action and more action, innocent coming of age drama, a slight bit of romance and a carefully tailored setting that had me wanting to board the next plane to Australia.

REVIEW:
Ellie and her friends have planned a spontaneous camping trip that ventures deep into the bush of the Australian outback. Their camping is fun and might spark a romantic interest or two, but besides that it all goes as planned…until they return home. Only a week has passed but their houses seem abandoned, their pets are starving, dying or already dead. Something is seriously wrong and as they push further into town they realize that those jets they had noticed flying over at the beginning of their trip might not have been domestic. They have been invaded, their families held in makeshift POW camps and households suspected to hold insurgents are being bombed indiscriminately. They are at war and to escape capture Ellie and her friends must make choices, what will they do, who will they hurt to survive and stay free?

Phenomenal ride! I was literally on the edge of my seat throughout the entirety of this novel. Haters can yammer all they want that this is just like Red Dawn and I give it to them – TOMORROW is like Red Dawn, just like TWILIGHT is like The Vampire Diaries. Same concept – yeah, but the story is compelling, heart-felt and intense, it entertained me, broke my heart at times and had my anxiety up. I also did this one via audio book so I got to experience the Australian accents, which was fun. I love their accents – but they didn’t fall into a lot of Aussie slang, which was a relief because frankly I’m usually at a loss with a lot of their “shortened” words. You have to check this one out and I’m literally restraining myself to not grab book two.

RECOMMENDATIONS:
Recommended for fans of young adult apocalypse novels. There are some heavier themes with violence and some sexual references so recommended for more mature teens, but there is nothing graphic that should turn off parents.

Audiobook

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