Publicat în Amy Garvey

Cold Kiss (Cold Kiss #1) by Amy Garvey

Synopsis:

It was a beautiful, warm summer day, the day Danny died.

Suddenly Wren was alone and shattered. In a heartbroken fury, armed with dark incantations and a secret power, Wren decides that what she wants—what she must do—is to bring Danny back.

But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy Wren fell in love with. His touch is icy; his skin, smooth and stiff as marble; his chest, cruelly silent when Wren rests her head against it.

Wren must keep Danny a secret, hiding him away, visiting him at night, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school, and Wren realizes that somehow, inexplicably, he can sense the powers that lie within her—and that he knows what she has done. And now Gabriel wants to help make things right.

But Wren alone has to undo what she has wrought—even if it means breaking her heart all over again.

Review:

I chose this book after I browsed through some GoodReads reviews and most of them were describing it as beautifully written, lyrical, heartbreaking, haunting, etc, etc. Plus, a lot of readers were mentioning how they cried while reading it more than they did in their whole life. And that’s exactly what I was wishing for. A book that would rip my heart apart, that would tear me to pieces and stick me back together, that would leave me breathless and make me live for a few days inside the protagonist’s mind.

And while I did enjoy going through the story, the book definitely didn’t reach the expectations those reviews created.

Wren is a teenager that inherits magical powers from her family, but is still pretty much witless of the way she can use the powers inside her, since they are a taboo topic in her house. So when her first love dies suddenly, she impulsively takes the decision to try and bring him back. Only that, of course, the… thing that she brings back is barely a shell of the boy that she loved. And slowly, day after day, she becomes more and more conscious of the fact that maybe this wasn’t such a great idea after all.

I loved how the author made a very clear difference between the flashbacks from the past, that illustrate the amazing relation between Wren and Danny and the present, when things are so wrong, but still tender, painful but still heart warming. Before Danny starts becoming a complete different being, in the first weeks after his death (and resurrection), he still holds most of the parts that made him be who he was. He’s still the one Wren loved more than anything, he’s still her comfort zone, still the one that makes all bad things disappear with only a hug. It’s only his need of her that starts growing in an alarming way, his increasing addiction to her presence that makes things worrying. And slowly, his memories that Wren was hoping to hide are now all surfacing, making him confused, angry and dangerous.

When the protagonist meets another boy that is also gifted in a similar way she is, and whom unexpectedly, seems to know what she’s done, it starts becoming obvious that she needs to fix the mistake that she made.

I loved the realistic feeling that the book offered, despite the fact that it’s a fantasy story. The magic has its own place, while life continues to be very normal in most of the ways. Wren has to juggle between hiding her undead boyfriend, going to school and a part-time job, not losing her best friends for good, following her mum’s rules and keeping a decent relationship with her family. And between all of this, she also has to deal with the guilt of falling for somebody else, while Danny’s new existence is revolving only around her.

Even if usually I roll my eyes when I hear about love triangles, the author did such a good job that it didn’t disturb me at all. Considering that Wren is only 17 and that her life is such a huge chaos, I didn’t find it weird or inappropriate that the new guy looks like the only light in the whole darkness. Plus, she’s mature enough to solve her own mess without turning to him as a damsel in distress. Or, at least, not more than she should. All her mood swings are comprehendable, all her drama queen moments are very much self explanatory because of the pressure that she’s holding on her shoulders.

I enjoyed the whole ride, I emphasized with all the characters and understood their decisions and motivations. I didn’t find any remarkable personalities in any of them, but they are all well written, without major flaws and give you the feeling that they could be any real persons that you could meet in your everyday life.

The strongest point of the book remains the romance. It’s sweet and surprisingly, comes in smaller doses than expected and makes you melt a little bit every time when you encounter it.

Of course the novel will have a different effect on each reader. But in the end, I believe it’s almost impossible not to like the story. Because what’s the biggest fear that we all have if not the fear of losing our loved ones? And so, just by thinking about it, all the actions and decisions of Wren become alternative realities of what each of us, the readers, might do in an imaginary world where death wouldn’t be the final step.

Reclame
Publicat în Megan Crewe

The Way We Fall (Fallen World #1) by Megan Crewe

Synopsis:

It starts with an itch you just can’t shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you’ll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in. 

And then you’re dead.

When sixteen-year-old Kaelyn lets her best friend leave for school without saying goodbye, she never dreams that she might not see him again. But then a strange virus begins to sweep through her small island community, infecting young and old alike. As the dead pile up, the government quarantines the island: no one can leave, and no one can come back.

Those still healthy must fight for the island’s dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.

Because how will she go on if there isn’t?

Review:

One of the never ending obsessions that I will always, always have are apocalyptic stories. And from all the world ending scenarios, the killing virus has always been one of my favorites (rivaling with zombie stories probably ^_^). Therefore, the moment I read the description of The Way We Fall, it instantly became a must read. And even if I only rated it with 3 stars, because of some negative aspects that I’ll cover later, overall, I loved reading it.

I haven’t check other reviews yet, but I’m guessing it’s very possible for a lot of people to be disappointed by this book. Contrary to what you might expect when it comes to an apocalyptic novel, The Way We Fall is not really a fast-paced story. The description sounds way more impressive or grand than the actual acts that are taking place in the world of Kaelyn.

Returning to live on an island with her family, the protagonist, a sixteen-year-old girl, has the usual teenager concerns: adapting to the new school, becoming a better person, making friends or getting out of her comfort zone. But what she doesn’t know is that soon, the so-called problems that she has are going to be a joke, compared to what’s coming next. Slowly, without any warnings, an epidemic infection starts making victims on the remote island. And all of a sudden, Kaelyn’s whole world shatters and all the people she loves and cherishes are falling victims of it, one after another. Being separated from the coast and isolated by the government, the survivors must find a way to discover a cure and in the same time, deal with the depletion of resources and with the rebellious groups determined to turn the disastrous situation into a living hell.

The absolute mind blowing fact is how casual and completely non-heroic the whole story is. Every single book or movie that treats the apocalyptic topic will have heroic characters that protect everyone around them, that keep their loved ones safe (and alive!) and manage to magically find the cure that will eventually save the world. But one question that’s always been in my mind is… if something like that would ever happen in reality, how ignorant would we be, how unprepared to deal with this and how easily would we all collapse? We are not heroes, we’d have no support from the governments that are probably incapable to deal with the chaos, we live in our protective glass bubbles that would suddenly explode into millions of pieces. Realistically speaking, we wouldn’t be able to save anybody, not ourselves, not our families or friends, much less the whole world. We’d literally be at the mercy of pure luck or faith, not able to do much except for maybe putting on a breathing mask, avoiding crowded places and some other small, irrelevant and probably useless safety measures.

And that, ladies and gents, that is exactly what happens in Megan Crewe’s novel! None of her characters is a hero. Not any of them is a former CIA, United Nations or FBI employee, to know what to do in case of disaster and to have higher connections that would save them. They are all regular people, with regular lives and with their hands tied up in front of the catastrophe they’re facing. So all they can do is help each other in modest ways, to organize themselves in the chaos surrounding them in order to get the feeling of a purpose, the illusion that they are doing something, whatever they can, however small that is, instead of just doing nothing and waiting to die.

I was surprised and I absolutely adored this new approach on the topic, it’s not something that I remember reading in any other books. The downside is that it doesn’t really offer a thrilling experience. There’s not a lot of action going on, there are very few pages that leave you breathless and craving for more. You can literally put the book down at any given time and then forget about it for several days. Of course you’ll still have a tingle of curiosity, but The Way We Fall is definitely not one of those reads that make you stay awake till 5AM in order to finish it.

There’s not much to say about the characters. They’re mostly colored in black and white, being either the good ones or the villains. Not a lot of substrate, not somebody you’d adore or hate from the bottom of your heart.

Of course, since it’s an YA book, there’s a love story developing and weirdly, it didn’t make me roll my eyes. I understand how, despite the catastrophic events (or actually because of them?), the surviving instincts would be accompanied by the need of fellowship and the feeling of belonging, in order to compete with the growing despair. Plus, there was nothing forced or exaggerated in the romance, no sudden Romeo and Juliet vibe, so the addition of the love story was welcomed.

If you’re ready for a slower and less impressive storyline than the usual end-of-the-world novels that you’re accustomed with, give it a shot. It’s definitely a fresh approach of the apocalyptic stories and if you’re not starting it with huge expectations, you might find yourself hooked on after the first few pages.

Publicat în Kass Morgan

The 100 (The 100, #1) by Kass Morgan

Synopsis:

No one has set foot on Earth in centuries – until now.

Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth’s radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents – considered expendable by society – are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life…or it could be a suicide mission.

CLARKE was arrested for treason, though she’s haunted by the memory of what she really did. WELLS, the chancellor’s son, came to Earth for the girl he loves – but will she ever forgive him? Reckless BELLAMY fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And GLASS managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.

Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind’s last hope.

Review:

I was looking for a dystopian TV series to watch, and I remembered that I’ve heard about The 100 series, so I decided that the former book addict that was still buried somewhere deep inside of me just cannot start a TV series without reading the book. Even if… well… it’s been a while, to say at least, since I last read something other than Buzzfeed articles.

Heads up: the book and the TV series are pretty much two different stories. They do share some of the characters and the basic plot, but so many things were changed in the TV adaptation that you cannot really judge one of them according to the other. And it’s not the typical case of „the book was better/the movie was better”. It’s just easier to consider them as two… similar, but pretty much separate stories.

So back to the book, since I’m not planning to do any movies reviews anytime soon. Does „meh” count as a review? Or „so-so”? Because overall, this is pretty much the feeling that I got during the whole reading. You probably read the synopsis already so you have an idea about the storyline. After our present world becomes inhabitable, the remaining population moves on spaceships for some centuries, waiting for the Earth to cleanse itself so they can return. Since technology doesn’t seem to advance that much, the best idea to test if Earth is still radioactive or it can be re-inhabited is to send 100 convicted teens on it, in what might be a deadly mission.

The main characters are some of these teens (Clarke, Wells, Bellamy and Glass) and we are carried throughout the story moving from one’s POV to another’s. Which, to be honest, was not the best idea, since their voices are all so similar that in some moments, you almost forget who’s story you’re reading. Plus, their personalities are pretty plain, no salt and pepper, nothing to get your attention and make you really care about them. Don’t get me wrong, there are some chapters that don’t let you put down the book, but that’s basically because of the action twists and not because you’d really give a damn if any of the characters lives or dies. The only one that has a spark is unfortunately the one character that was completely eliminated from the TV series, Glass. Probably because her story develops on the ship and it’s mostly related to the social rules and different classes that were also disregarded in the movie.

And here comes also the part that I truly loved about the book. The small, almost unnoticeable details that the author inserts in order to give you a clearer look of the characters’ feelings. I didn’t find them in all of the histories, but the chapters of Glass are packed with them. Her relation with Luke is so tender, sweet and realistic that it almost eclipses the whole main plot. And I’m not the kind of reader that would choose romance over action, but in this case, I actually found that this specific love story was the best part of the whole novel.

One more thing that I appreciated is the way the spaceship social life was painted. We don’t get a lot of details about why and how the population was separated into classes, given extremely different treatments or having such inequal rights, but I honestly didn’t miss them at all. It was addictive to see how humans behave even in these extreme conditions in the same way they did since the beginning of existence. How privileges extend to a small, powerful group, while the majority is fighting for survival and how contrasting their concerns and pursuits are.

On the other hand, the writer could have described in the same way the mini-society that formed on Earth. Considering the fact that all of the teens were convicted for something, it’s easy to assume that once they landed on an unfriendly and unfamiliar place, the interaction of such a big crowd would be anything but smooth. I feel like the author tried to portray this aspect, but the general image is still blurry and incomplete.

The last few chapters are obviously coming with some major twists and cliffhangers, which is expected since the book is just the first novel of a series. And that also explains why there are plenty of points that were not fully covered, so nothing to complain about that. Probably in the next volumes, the puzzle pieces will fall into a clearer image.

All in all, the book was entertaining enough, definitely not a complete loss of time, but for now, the story doesn’t really shine brighter than so many other YA dystopian novels. It’s mostly just a survival, post apocalyptic story that probably got overrated because of the cinematic attention it got lately.

Publicat în Ioana Visan

Broken people (seria Broken People, volumul 1) – Ioana Visan

Broken people (seria Broken People, volumul 1) - Ioana VisanBroken people

Ioana Visan

Disponibil: Amazon

Numar pagini: 230

*

Sinopsis:

You don’t always get what you want, but if you’re lucky, you might get what you need.

For one week only, an impenetrable castle is open to the public, and Dale Armstrong has come to Bratislava to rob it. When he finds his partner’s arms mangled, he desperately searches for a way to fix him before time runs out. 

Because the war in the Far East is sapping all the allied nation’s resources, only The Nightingale Circus has the spare parts, the power, and the expertise to fix prosthetics and help the injured, but nothing is free.

Unfortunately, Dale doesn’t know about The Nightingale Circus’s side job, but a forced encounter with the most dangerous woman in the city, the Golden Lady, sends him their way. On this roller coaster of crazy twists and flips, schemes and deceit, wishes and dreams, no one can foresee how the aerialist will land. 

Anything is possible in a world of Broken People.

Parerea mea:

De multe ori, atunci cand trece mai multa vreme intre momentele in care parcurg volume consecutive din anumite serii, ajung aproape sa uit cat de mult am indragit o anumita poveste. Asa mi s-a intamplat si cu noua serie a Ioanei Visan, Broken People. Am citit prequel-ul The Nightingale Circus, volumul de povestiri ce introduce in scena membrii circului si evident, stiam ca mi-a placut mult. Insa uitasem CAT de mult! Odata ce am parcurs insa primele pagini din Broken People, mi-au revenit insa toate sentimentele aproape uitate si am cazut parca intr-o transa din care abia am reusit sa ma trezesc cand am ajuns la finalul romanului.

In mod surprinzator, personajul principal al seriei nu face parte din gama acelor personaje deja cunoscute in The Nightingale Circus. Il cunoastem pe Dale, un presupus… mercenar (?)/raufacator(?), aflat in Bratislava pentru a da o spargere de amploare. Curand insa, din cauza unui incident neplacut si spre nemultumirea sa , povestea acestuia se intersecteaza cu cea a personajelor deja familiare din cadrul circului. Iar treptat, ceea ce parea sa fie doar un contact temporar, se transforma intr-o relatie complexa, cu suisuri si coborasuri.

Firul narativ se intinde pe doua planuri, dand nastere unor provocari diferite, insa in timp, acestea ajung sa se amestece si sa se contopeasca intr-un scop comun. Evident, fiecare personaj are o tinta diferita, fiecare se straduieste pentru a obtine un alt premiu. Insa lupta lor este aceeasi si, de voie, de nevoie, sunt nevoiti sa o duca impreuna si sa isi ajusteze treptat dorintele si actiunile in functie de nevoile tuturor.

Minunat construite, personajele iti lasa senzatia ca nu exista un singur protagonist, ca rolurile fiecaruia sunt la fel de importante si ca daca il scoti din joc pe unul singur, intreaga actiune va fi compromisa. Portretele lor sunt aproape la fel de captivante precum actiunea, mentinandu-te curios si cu ochii lipiti de carte chiar si in momentele – rare, ce-i drept – in care actiunea incetineste. Iar relatiile dintre ele, de prietenie amestecata cu suspiciune, cu toleranta, cu exasperare uneori, cu mici frustrari si nemultumiri ocazionale, sunt deopotriva de fermecatoare.

Desi planul de ansamblu iti este dezvaluit inca de la inceput, autoarea reuseste sa isi pastreze nenumarati asi in maneca pe care ti-i divulga pe parcurs si iti mentine astfel interesul la cote maxime. Iar povestea se modifica aproape la fiecare pas, apar constant factori care ii forteaza pe cei implicati sa se adapteze din mers pentru a-si asigura succesul. Mi-a placut mult faptul ca autoarea nu face deloc lucrurile usoare pentru personajele sale, ca treburile nu merg de cele mai multe ori asa cum acestea si-au propus si ca din nou si din nou trebuie sa faca fata unor provocari neasteptate. Sincer, in momentul in care destinul lui Dale ajunge sa se intersecteze cu cel al membrilor circului, credeam ca cel putin aspectul pentru care acesta ii contacteaza initial se va rezolva in doar cateva pagini, aproape pocnind din degete, mai ales tinand cont de abilitatile celor de la circ. Am fost asadar deopotriva contrariata si placut surprinsa de faptul ca socotelile initiale se duc pe apa sambetei, dand nastere unui fir narativ neasteptat de incalcit.

Finalul, departe de a fi cel pe care il banuiam, m-a lasat totusi cu zambetul pe buze, mai ales ca promite o continuare la fel de atractiva a povestii. Si in acelasi timp si datorita faptului ca abia acum, in incheiere, relatia tensionata dintre Dale si enigmatica Golden Lady pare sa se aseze pe un fagas mai clar definit. Iar apropo de asta, un alt punct forte mi s-a parut exact romantismul abia schitat, relatiile timide, ezitante, atat de realist conturate intre mai multe posibile cupluri de personaje si lipsa acelor momente atat de exasperante in alte carti in care personajele se arunca pur si simplu in niste relatii amoroase, fara a se gandi macar de doua ori la modul in care aceasta alegere le va influenta viitorul.

Romanul abunda de mister, de umor, de emotii si tensiune si trebuie sa va spun ca pe tot parcursul lecturii nu am putut sa nu ma intreb de ce dumnezeu o astfel de poveste nu apare mai des pe blogurile de recenzii si in revistele online de literatura din Romania. Pentru ca sincer, este mult mai buna decat multe dintre cartile autorilor straini despre care apar avalanse de recenzii, articole si comentarii in media romaneasca.

Publicat în Rodica Ojog Brasoveanu

320 de pisici negre (seria Melania Lupu, volumul 3) – Rodica Ojog Brasoveanu

320 de pisici negre (seria Melania Lupu, volumul 3) – Rodica Ojog Brasoveanu320 de pisici negre

Disponibil la: Nemira

Colectia: Suspans

Numar pagini: 304

*

Sinopsis:

Simpatica Melania Lupu, cunoscuta cititorilor din alte romane ale aceleiasi autoare, a ajuns la inchisoare si se pregateste de evadare. Englezul Ned Morton vrea sa iasa de pe scena mafiei cu o lovitura de neuitat. si toate personajele acestui roman piperat din belsug cu umor cauta Fecioara din Insula Grotelor, statuie din aur, in marime maturala, a Madonei. Cine si cum o va gasi?

Parerea mea:

5 dimineata. Ma strecor din pat, pe jumatate cazand, incercand sa fug cat mai repede intr-o alta camera in care sa nu risc sa il trezesc pe my significant other cu hohotele de ras incontrolabile pe care abia, abia reusesc sa mi le inabus. Sunt deja la a nu stiu cata carte a Rodicai Ojog Brasoveanu si in ciuda faptului ca mereu ma astept la lecturi delicioase din partea ei, chiar nu credeam ca 320 de pisici negre va putea sa fie ataaaaat, ataat de amuzanta. Mi se pare de departe cea mai funny carte pe care am citit-o pana acum dintre cele scrise de autoare.

Romanul continua povestea Melaniei Lupu, minunata raufacatoare pe care e imposibil sa nu o iubesti, in ciuda faptului ca tot ea ii scoate peri albi si adversarului sau, maiorul Cristescu, personaj care iti devine aproape la fel de drag ca si Melania. De data aceasta, lucrurile iau amploare, protagonista trezindu-se fara voia sa (din nou!) intr-o poveste cu gangsteri internationali pe care – aproape deloc surprinzator – reuseste sa ii induca in eroare pentru o buna perioada de timp. Si, la fel ca si prima data cand doar intamplarea a aruncat-o in acest joc, Melania reuseste sa scoata tot ce este mai bun din el.

Un factor nou il reprezinta faptul ca apare un nou personaj aproape la fel de genial precum cei doi protagonisti si care intra practic in jocul acestora. Vorbim aproape de o competitie intre cei trei, in care fiecare incearca sa fie cu un pas inaintea celorlalti si sa le ghiceasca totodata miscarile viitoare adversarilor. Iar acum, noul oponent ameninta sa le dejoace planurile protagonistilor iar cititorul este pus serios in dificultate incercand sa intuiasca cine va fi castigatorul, mai ales ca situatia pare sa se incline constant in directii diferite.

Minunat construite mi s-au parut din nou personajele secundare. Unele amuzante, altele colorate in cele mai intunecate nuante, unele schitate doar vag – dar suficient pentru a va cuceri, va asigur, altele complexe, unele caracterizate mai degraba ca si personaje-tip; dar toate, absolut toate deopotriva de fascinante.

Autoarea reuseste si de data aceasta sa introduca nenumarate surprize in poveste, lasandu-te iar si iar fara cuvinte, uimit de cate schimbari de directii poate lua firul narativ si de cat de ingenios isi joaca fiecare personaj cartile. Iar finalul vine poate cu cea mai neasteptata turnura de pana acum, cu o surpriza care nu ii uimeste numai pe cititori ci si pe insasi Melania, personaj care, sincer vorbind, poate fi cu greu uluit de ceva. Mi-ar fi placut, poate, ca protagonista sa accepte propunerea care i s-a facut pentru ca e imposibil sa iti imaginezi pe cineva mai potrivit decat ea in provocarea ce i-a fost lansata. Intr-un fel, pare aproape o pierdere faptul ca talentele Melaniei nu sunt fructificate la o scara mai larga. Insa in acelasi timp, imi dau seama ca o astfel de alegere ar fi cazut poate in mediocru, mutand povestea pe un plan unde si-ar fi pierdut din inocenta si din comicul situatiilor. Raman insa cu un soi de speranta vaga, lipsita de fundament ca personajul care i-a facut propunerea ar putea sa nu se lase pagubas si sa isi incerce din nou puterea de convingere. Nu imi ramane decat sa ma arunc cat mai curand intr-o noua poveste a Melaniei pentru a afla ce mai urmeaza de data aceasta. Si sincer, cu greu ma abtin sa nu ignor total planurile de lectura deja stabilite si sa nu incep cel de-al patrulea volum al seriei pentru ca, asa cum am mai spus-o si alta data, cartile Rodicai Ojog Brasoveanu efectiv creeaza dependenta.

In incheiere nu am alt indemn decat sa va spun sa cititi seria. Nu prea indraznesc sa ma lansez in promisiuni de genul acesta, avand in vedere cat de diverse sunt gusturile cititorilor si cat de subiectiv se poate interpreta orice roman, insa de data aceasta chiar va promit ca indiferent de preferintele voastre in materie de lecturi, e imposibil sa nu adorati povestea.