Tag Archives: YA romance

Tuesday Review Day: Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

So I FINALLY got around to reading Silver Shadows, book 5 in Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines series (you can see my review for books 1-4 here) and am feeling very conflicted. I loved the Vampire Academy series and have really enjoyed this one up until this point, as well, but I’m starting to feel as though Richelle Mead is grasping at straws with some of the twists she adds in.

This one gets a bit spoilery!

Silver Shadows
Series: Bloodlines
Author: Richelle Mead
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Pages: 416
Rating:3.5 stars

Book 4, The Fiery Heart, left off with Sydney Sage being sold out by her sister and carted off to an Alchemist re-education center to have who-knows-what done to her in the hopes of re-brainwashing her into towing the Alchemist line. Silver Shadows picks up not long after she gets taken into the initial stage of re-education, in which prisoners are denied anything relating to comfort – they’re kept in the dark, food is bland, there is no bed, there is only a sink with cold water for bathing, etc.

Once Sydney earns her way out of this area she is deposited onto a floor with others who are being re-educated/brainwashed. Re-education turns out to be everything Sydney feared it was and more. The brainwashing is not only psychological and physical but also chemical. Nausea is induced as images of moroi flash across a screen, burns are inflicted to force confessions, and “re-inkings” occur when a prisoner gets especially out of hand. But Sydney’s main goal is to escape and find her way back to her boyfriend Adrian.

Unfortuantely Adrian has slipped back into his party boy ways. Once he realizes he is unable to reach Sydney via spirit dreams (in which he visits her in her dreams), he lets spirit drag him down into a deep depression. He drinks his sorrows away and spends all of his time partying. Only once he is finally able to reach her does he realize just how far he has fallen and how much he risked in ignoring his need for help. But it also gives  him the kick in the butt that he needs in order to get back on track to finding her. Once he does, their escape begins to take on a very Rose and Dimitri feel and leads to a major plot twist and a huge (albeit somewhat predictable) cliffhanger ending.

Minor spoilers ahead!

What I Liked:

1. Richelle Mead is really good at using alternating voices between chapters. Sydney is very precise and methodical, Adrian is very whiney, dreamy, and broody. Normally I’m not crazy about alternating perspectives but she makes it work.

2. Maybe this should’ve been obvious when I read the VA series, but they finally clarified exactly why a moroi royal needs one living family member in order to qualify as a candidate for king or queen. It’s because if that person dies, there needs to be a family member to succeed them. I feel like this should’ve had “duh” written all over it, but it was never explained that the monarchy was at one time hereditary, not the product of a council vote.

3. Sydney wasn’t spared “just in time.” She went through months of torture before being rescued. It may sound weird to have this on the “what I liked” section, but I think it was necessary for a few reasons. First, it caused doubt. It left the question as to how Sydney would handle it wide open. Yes, we’d all like to assume a happy ending. But there’s still another book coming, so things could’ve easily gone much differently. Second, it shows Sydney’s strength of character both before and after her ordeal. Third, it emphacized just how detrimental Adrian’s spirit use and alcohol abuse is to those around him. And lastly, it finally showed just how bad the “Reeducation” we’ve been hearing about all along really is.

What I Didn’t Like (Spoilers ahead!):

1. As I mentioned in my review of books 1-4, things always fall into place too neatly. Without getting too spoilery, Sydney just happens to stumble across the right prisoners to help in her plans, she almost never runs into any hitches with her crazy plans, and for a super-secret compound that supposedly doesn’t exist, it’s awfully easy to break into and out of.

2. Fleeing to the nearest town after a daring escape probably isn’t the best idea.

3. The big twist. This knocked off at least one star from my review. I won’t give it away, but it’s definitely Adrian’s most insane idea to date and I don’t really think it works with the story. Paranormal aspects aside, logically it just doesn’t make sense and makes Adrian look like an idiot once again because he’s caused significantly larger problems for the moroi than there were before.

While this one wasn’t my favorite by far, the entire series as a whole is still really good. But while I’m hoping the final book is better than this one and is able to take the big twist and spin it so it works better, I’m  unfortunately not optimistic.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, New releases, Paranormal, Romance, Series, Vampires, YA

Tuesday Review Day: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was one  I really wanted to knock off my 2014 Goals list (which I really need to get cracking on), so when it lowered quite a bit in price (only $1.99), I snagged it. The concept of it was a bit unclear based on the description, but it sounded interesting enough to try it out.

Mara Dyer

Author: Michelle Hodkin
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Pages: 466
Rating: 4 stars

Mara Dyer is a 17 year old girl who wakes up in a hospital to discover she is the only survivor of a building collapse that took the lives of her two closest friends and boyfriend. She has no memory of the events leading up to the collapse, including how she came to be there. She experiences severe PTSD after her release from the hospital due to her feelings of survivor’s guilt, prompting her and her family to pack up and move to Florida for a fresh start. Once there, she begins to see that she has what appear to be some very disturbing abilities. After she meets Noah, the popular British classmate with a reputation for breaking hearts, she realizes that he may be the only one who can help her understand her new powers. With him, she sets out to discover what she can do, and whether she can use those powers for good or if they have a more sinister purpose.

What I Liked:

1. The different twist on paranormal was done really well. There was no way (for me) to really guess what was fueling Mara’s powers and how Noah was connected to them, and once more came to light it indicated a really great story would be continued in the next two books.

2. The love between Noah and Mara wasn’t immediate. It took a little while for them to actually get together, although he pushed it from the start. Mara, while definitely attracted to Noah, held him off because of his reputation and her past, which at least indicated some level of common sense on her part. She didn’t automatically assume he was “different” with her.

3. The minor things. I liked that the books Mara was into weren’t the old-school classics, like in so many other books. She’s caught reading Lolita, which, while not exactly a new release, it’s also not centuries old. Also, Hodkin pulls off the sibling aspect well. Usually protagonists are only children, or have siblings that are relatively absent. Daniel and Joseph were very present in the book and were integral to the story, giving Mara a home life that consisted more than absent or clueless parents. The sporadic references to Harry Potter and LOTR were also a plus.

4. The language was pretty typical for teenagers. Sexual innuendoes, raunchy jokes, etc. were included in the dialogue, which made the characters a bit more believable. I know not all teenagers have potty-mouths, and foul language does not a good book make, but when you walk down the hall in a high school, you’ll hear plenty of things that could hardly be considered intellectual conversation.

What I Didn’t Like:

1. The typical YA romance formula was followed. Mara shows up on her first day of school dressed like a bum, gets into it with the prettiest girl in school, becomes BFFs with a friendly nice guy, embarrassed herself, and makes googly eyes with the hottest guy in school. Who also happens to be British. Not to mention the “warm current” she feels when their hands brush. Come on now.

2. Ok, Mom, super smart lady that you are. Your daughter has been prescribed antipsychotics and you feel the best time for her to take her first pill is as she’s walking out the door for a date? With a boy you just met? I’m gonna go ahead and say that’s probably not the best idea.

3. The whole missing-brother thing was really random. I’m still not entirely sure of the purpose of it. I thought it would be the climax to the book, and even that would’ve been odd because there was still so much unknown about Mara. I get that the author was trying to reveal something about Mara and Noah (kind of), but there wasn’t really enough foreshadowing to indicate that something big would be revealed.

4. Once Mara discovered what her powers allowed her to do, she didn’t really attempt to control them. She knew that she could if she really wanted to, but she let her emotions get in the way of learning to use or control them to keep herself from falling apart. That cast her in a pretty negative light in my eyes.

All in all this was an enjoyable book. The surprising cliffhanger at the end has me really itching to read the second book, so I’ll likely have that one up for review soon, too.

Now, on to check a few more books off of my goals list!

 

1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Cheap reads, Fiction, First in series, Paranormal, Romance, Sci-Fi, Series, YA

Tuesday Review Day: Frost by Kate Avery Ellison

So this one almost went on my “Couldn’t Finish” shelf. It was so hard to get into that I had to put it down a few times before actually finishing. But once it got going, putting it down became very difficult.

Photo courtesy of Goodreads

Photo courtesy of Goodreads

Author: Kate Avery Ellison
Series: The Frost Chronicles
Publication Date: April 18, 2012
Pages: 181 (on Kindle)
Rating: 3 stars

Frost by Kate Avery Ellison is the story of a girl named Lia who lives in Iceliss, a small villiage in what is known as the Frost, the frozen snowy land outside of the land of the Farthers and the evils of modern-day civilization. Her small village lives in a very old-fashioned way, trading goods and services, each person contributing the the whole community. They have completely separated themselves from the Farthers to avoid becoming tainted by their lifestyle. The downside to living the way they do is that they live in constant fear of the Watchers, evil creatures who roam the woods after dark.

After Lia’s parents die in a tragic accident, Lia is left to care for her disabled brother and sister. One day, her sister comes across a wounded Farther in the forest. She appeals to Lia and convinces her to bring him back to their farm and heal him. Taking a great risk, Lia chooses to do so. This action leads her to learn things about her parents, the people she trusts, and the world she grew up in that will change her forever. She must choose whether to maintain loyalty to the world she was raised in or take a new path that will lead her to places she never thought possible.

What I Liked:

1. The outside view of the modern world gave a really interesting perspective. While some of the things were very different and futuristic, most of the lifestyle of the Farthers described in the book was dead-on with our own world. Seeing it from the perspective of an outsider, however, made it much a less appealing place.

2. I didn’t expect the ending. I thought that Lia would simply revolt with Gabe against her people and the Farthers, but what actually happened was pretty unexpected and left me wanting to read the next book in the series.

3. It was short but not rushed, which isn’t a combination you often come across.

4. No love triangle! This seems to be happening more often with newer YA novels, which is nice because it leaves room for other more important things.

What I Didn’t Like:

1. Lia’s tone was very dry and boring. It made it really difficult to really get into the story because there was so little emotion in her voice for the first chunk of the book.

2. The bad guy’s confession came way too easy. I always hate when the villain taunts the victim by explaining every last detail of his plans, and this was no exception. He detailed what he did almost immediately upon finding Lia and Gabe, which made it all a bit ridiculous.

3. Because it was such a short book, the fact that it took so long to get going was extra disappointing.

I’m still up in the air about this one. I’m pretty certain I want to read the second book, Thorns, but I don’t know that I’ll be doing it any time soon. It’s certainly worth a read, but it will likely take a bit of time to get into. But it’s got a pretty interesting and VERY unfinished ending, so if you’re looking for a new series, pick up this starter (it’s only $.99 for Kindle, currently unavailable on B&N, Google, and Kobo).

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Cheap reads, Fiction, First in series, Paranormal, Romance, Self Publishing, Series, YA

A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest

This week’s review is on A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest, book 1 in the Shade of Vampire series. I’ve been looking for a new series to read for some time now, and I’m really happy I came across this one. Its been sitting in my Kindle library for months now, and I’m glad I finally got around to reading it. That’s one of the bad things about eReaders – I’ll see a book on sale super cheap (this one is $.99 on Amazon) so I’ll buy it and then promptly forget about it because it’s not staring me in the face like a physical book. By the time I actually get around to reading some of the books I buy they’ve usually been sitting in my library for months. I’ve probably got about 10 that are still waiting to be acknowledged.

Photo courtesy of Goodreads

Photo courtesy of Goodreads

Author: Bella Forrest
Series: A Shade of Vampire
Published: October, 2012
Pages: 152
Rating3.5 stars

One evening after having an unhappy conversation with her best friend / crush, Ben, Sofia goes for a walk on the beach to decompress and feel sorry for herself. While there, she gets captured by a vampire named Lucas and is taken to reside in a vampire fortress called The Shade as a slave to his yet-to-be-awakened brother, Derek. Once Derek is awakened, he is drawn to Sofia because of her compassionate nature toward the other girls who have been taken captive. He chooses her to be his personal slave but treats her more like a princess than anything, protecting her from those in The Shade who would wish to harm her. After her first attempt at escape nearly results in her death, Sofia chooses to bide her time and hopefully come up with a newer more foolproof escape plan later on. After awhile, and although Sofia still harbors feelings for her old life, she slowly finds herself falling for Derek and begins to feel as though she would be unhappy without him should she be allowed to go free. When certain bizarre and unforeseen circumstances lead to her chance at freedom, she must make a decision that will change the course of her life, and the lives of those around her, permanently.

What I liked:

1. It was short. Normally that bothers me – the last time I read a super short series-opener was Morgan Rice’s Turned (see my review here) and I wanted to throw it (and the Nook it was on) out the window when I finished. This one managed to pack a lot into a short space, leaving me wanting to scoop up the second book as soon as I finished. This leads me to the second thing I liked…

2. Not a lot of filler. This goes hand in hand with its length. Because it was short, a lot of unnecessary talk and explanation was left out. A lot of times that kind of thing ends up seeming like padding, so even though this one was short, the lack of fluff made it good.

3. Sofia wasn’t a weakling. She fell in love with a vampire, but she didn’t become a completely different person (relatively speaking) in doing so. She made some pretty drastic changes to her life, but they were all because she wanted to and because she wanted to make the best of a crappy situation, not because she was talked into it by a good-looking vampire.

What I didn’t like:

1. Sofia’s LLI (Low Latent Inhibition) disease/disorder/whatever. I still don’t really see the point, other than it keeps her calm and focused. It seems more like a way to make her “special” and explain away her lack of freaking out than anything else. Hopefully it’ll get developed a bit more in the rest of the books.

2. The characters were pretty 2-Dimensional. They would say that they were sad/happy/angry/etc., but it didn’t really come through in the things they said and did. Maybe if the book had been a bit longer the characters could’ve been developed better, but as it was, they were pretty blah.

3. Talk and thoughts of escape were out the window pretty quickly. True, the likelihood of escaping from a treetop vampire fortress under a spell of darkness is pretty slim, but after Sofia’s first attempt at escaping, the reader no longer had any insight into plans to escape. Sofia said that she and the girls sometimes talked about it, but for the most part they seemed to write it off as impossible and focus on how to have fun in The Shade.

I’m usually pretty picky about vampire series. It’s really hard for authors to make them not cheesy, and while this one teeters on the edge of cheesy, it’s still pretty good. I’ve got a couple of other books lined up to read, so I’ll probably get to the rest of the series within the next month or two. Until then, this one is definitely worth checking out. It’s short, so even if you hate it, you won’t have wasted a huge amount of time on it.

1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, First in series, Paranormal, Romance, Self Publishing, Series, Vampires, YA

Shatter Me by Tehereh Mafi

Photo courtesy of Goodreads

Photo courtesy of Goodreads

Author: Tahereh Mafi
Published: October, 2012
Pages: 340
Rating: 4 stars

I’ve had Shatter Me on my To Read list for a long time now, and I’m really happy I finally got around to reading it.

Hunger Games meets X-Men is the best way I can describe it, although I certainly wouldn’t put it at the same level of awesomeness.

Tiny spoilers ahead!

Juliette’s world has been taken over by The Reestablishment, a governing body that controls how and when people eat, who gets what food, where people can and can’t live, and the jobs that people do. She has been locked up in an asylum by the Reestablishment after her fatal touch causes her to accidentally kill a young boy. Being isolated from others – both in and out of the asylum – has caused Juliette to go a little mad, but she overcomes that relatively quickly once a soldier for the Reestablishment named Adam breaks her out. He has been ordered to do this so she can (hopefully) be put to work for his tyrannic boss Warner, a leader of the Reestablishment, using her bizarre power to help torture people for information. She ultimately breaks out of her new prison (a suite in Warner’s home) and ends up in an anti-Reestablishment movement’s headquarters with 55 other people who have freakish gifts like hers.

What I Liked (with more tiny spoilers):

1. Once I figured out how to navigate the incessant rambling metaphors, the story was really interesting.

2. The ending was really cool. It doesn’t seem like this will just be a series about a girl choosing between two love interests, but about finding her place in a world that she didn’t know existed. She thought she was a lonely freak, and that turned out not to be the case, which was nice.

What I Didn’t Like:

1. The main thing I had issue with was the perspective. I generally don’t have problems with the first person perspective; I usually prefer it. But this was completely stream-of-consciousness and FULL of metaphors, so at times it got a little convoluted. For example:

“I always wonder about raindrops.

I wonder about how they’re always falling down, tripping over their own feet, breaking their legs and forgetting their parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end. It’s like someone is emptying their pockets over the earth and doesn’t seem to care where the contents fall, doesn’t seem to care that the raindrops burst when they hit the ground, that they shatter when they fall to the floor, that people curse the day the drops dare to tap on their doors. 

I am a raindrop.” (5)

And it goes on like this throughout the entire book.

3. Juliette’s constant blushing, hopes that she wasn’t blushing, and embarrassment because she was blushing (or might be blushing) was ANNOYING. Seriously, she blushed or flushed (or tried not to blush) 31 times throughout the book. I tried my best to keep her isolation from society in mind as I was reading, but it happened so frequently that it became difficult not to be annoyed by it.

Blushing aside, this was a really good start to what seems to be a pretty promising series. I’m really excited to find out what happens, because this is one of those cases where I can’t really predict what the outcome might be. I just bought #2, Unravel Me, so hopefully the story will continue along in the same way. I don’t know that I would’ve liked to have seen anything added to or taken away from the plot, so this one gets 4 stars, mainly due to the perspective and incessant babbling.

1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, First in series, Paranormal, Romance, Sci-Fi, Series, YA

Motifs of Love and Dan Wells’ Partials Sequence

The leitmotifs of love and the adulterous triangle, having already been much overused, must be banished entirely from the theater.”

-F.T. Marinetti, Manifesto of Futurist Playwrights: The Pleasures of Being Booed

This quote was taken from the Critical Writings of F.T. Marinetti and was part of his 1911 Manifesto of Futurist Playwrights: The Pleasures of Being Booed. Marinetti was the founder of the Futurist movement that began in Italy in 1909 (see his Futurist Manifesto here), which sought to rid the world of art’s obsession with the past and focus on those things carrying us into the future, such as technology and industry. This quote is referring directly to the many themes in drama that have been perpetuated throughout history, telling the same story but in different ways. In particular, and as the name of his movement indicates, Marinetti believed art needed to move out of the past and into the future. Art needed to be about something new, not a new version of something old.

The first thing that popped into my mind when I read this (and why I put a little star next to it to remember for later) is because this sentiment is still applicable today, 100 years later. In particular when I saw “leitmotifs of love and the adulterous triangle,” I immediately thought of the countless thematic elements present in the Young Adult genre. It would be impossible to create a solid list of the clichés that continue to be perpetuated in the Young Adult genre (although Joëlle Anthony has gotten a pretty good start). There are protagonists who love to read, protagonists who think they’re plain, protagonists who think they’re plain yet draw the attention of all the boys, mousey brunettes, lip biting, sighing, blushing, mumbling, divorced/absent parents, a conspicuous lack of technology…you get the point.

The big one that I’m getting at is (you guessed it) the love triangle. It’s everywhere, across all genres, and the funniest part about it is that it’s rarely a surprise who the protagonist is going to end up with. I mean, did anyone actually think (spoiler alert!) Bella was going to end up with Jacob? Or Lena with Julian? Probably not.

One of the books I came across recently that actually strayed from these ideas somewhat was Partials, the first book in the Partials Sequence by Dan Wells. So far there is a slight love interest going on, but a true love triangle doesn’t seem terribly likely because there are no strong feelings on the part of the female protagonist and there are much bigger things for her to worry about. The only real triangle I could imagine seems physically impossible, so if Mr. Wells manages to pull it off, kudos to him.

Photo courtesy of Goodreads

Photo courtesy of Goodreads

Author: Dan Wells
Series: Partials Sequence
Published: February 2012
Pages: 528
Rating4.5 stars4.5/5

The Partials are biologically engineered robot-humans that have turned against their creators. After the Partials and a virus known as RM that few humans are immune to decimate the human population, the Partials mysteriously retreat and humans are left to die out. One group of surviving humans lives in a settlement on Long Island. They want for almost nothing, which can’t be said for post-apocalyptic America in other books. But they live under the constant threat of the Partials who are still out there yet remain hidden, and it becomes clear there are threats from within, as well.

Those who were alive when they contracted RM don’t suffer from it; however, because the virus is in their system, their unborn children do. No child born lasts more than a few days before succumbing to the virus that burns them up from the inside out. Now, after ten years of no surviving children, the medical community of this town are desperately in search of a cure in order to prevent this last bit of civilization from dying out. All women of child-bearing age are required to be perpetually pregnant (literally, the process was get pregnant, give birth, heal, repeat) in the hopes of someone giving birth to a child who is immune so a cure can be found.

Kira, who is training to be a medic, decides that the best way to find a cure is to go to the source, which means capturing a Partial and bringing it in for testing. She and a few allies manage to do just that, and while she gets in a great deal of trouble for risking the safety of the people of Long Island, she is given the chance to try to prove her theory. The aftereffects of her actions set into motion a series of events that completely turn her world on end and she ends up discovering more about herself, the human race, and the Partials, than she ever intended.

The love interest here is so minor that it doesn’t really contribute to or detract from the story at all. Love and marriage are pretty far from Kira’s mind, seeing as she is on a quest to save what’s left of the human race. However, the only options for her future are to get married and have babies with a human partner or get inseminated regularly by the government. Her triangle is much more complex than those of protagonists in other series because her choice is more than simply Boy A or Boy B. It isn’t a matter of who is the better match for her, it’s all about what choice she can live with. Does she marry a friend she cares for but doesn’t love? Or does she forgo a one-sided love and become an incubator for researchers? To be honest, it doesn’t really seem like a difficult decision, but that’s just me.

This book dealt with more of the big world-issues and more grown-up problems than many other series I’ve read. The foreseeable future of humanity’s end, infants as nothing more than science experiments gone wrong, mandated procreation, and the feeling of helplessness that comes from being unable to treat or find a cure for an illness due to a lack of resources were the main focus, not which boy Kira was going to end up with. Big issues show up in other YA series, but they’re usually not the focus. An example is Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series, in which marriages are arranged and true love is eradicated. While a focus in Delirium was breaking away from the binds of society, the main question on everyone’s mind was, Alex or Julian?

A lot of the YA genre now often gives readers an unrealistic view of reality and relationships. There’s no acknowledgement that the “love” characters feel after speaking to each other a handful of times is likely not love, but lust. I think it’s safe to say that 17 year olds, and people in general, do not meet and fall in love with their soul mates in a matter of days. Maybe some can, but it’s not the norm, and that’s what these books often make it out to be. Take me for example. I thought my boyfriend at 17 (and 15) was the man I was going to marry, and guess what? We broke up. Good thing I wasn’t a teenage girl in a YA series because I’d probably be a vampire married to a super possessive guy that ended up not being my soul mate after all. Oops.

1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Series, YA

Touching Smoke by Airicka Phoenix

Last week I received an ARC copy of Airicka Phoenix’s book Touching Smoke, book 1 in the Touch series, through the Never Too Old for Y.A. and N.A. group on Goodreads. This book was fantastic. There’s no better way to say it. Here’s why:

        Garrison to Fallon: “Have you asked yourself why you want Isaiah as badly as you do?”

         Fallon (to herself): “I hadn’t, but then again, I was a seventeen year old girl and Isaiah was

       gorgeous.”

Oh, and of course:

         “What would Buffy do?”

Why these quotes? Because they demonstrate how much of an idiot that Fallon Braeden isn’t.  Especially the Buffy one because, well, anyone who’s ever met me should know how much I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the series, definitely not the movie). It really confirmed the awesomeness of this book for me. But I’m sure that doesn’t matter to anyone else, so, on to the more important stuff.

The other day, my high school students got into a discussion about the difference between love and lust. The general consensus was that the intense I’ll-die-without-you “love” teenagers often feel is more likely a product of lust rather than love. It develops quickly, and often is very brief. But when they’re in it, the world stops and they’ll be with each other forever. I remember how it was; I (unfortunately??) haven’t entirely blocked out high school. But oh, how I knew my 10th grade boyfriend and I would be together forever! We met, fell in love (big, OMG love), and broke up within the span of 4 weeks. It was super.

Why do I bring this up? Because Fallon said exactly what I should’ve been thinking at 16 or 17. “I was s seventeen year old girl and [insert hottest boyfriend ever’s name] was gorgeous.” That about says it all. Could it be love? Sure. After two days? Probably not. It’s more likely because he’s hot and there’s an intense physical attraction (it turns out that wasn’t the case, but kudos to her for acknowledging the possibilities). This is one of my biggest gripes with YA series, and almost killed Twilight for me. It’s still my guilty pleasure, though. I can’t help it.

Touching Smoke was about a 16 (almost 17) year old girl named Fallon and the mysterious biker who has been tracking her, Isaiah. Fallon has been on the run with her mother her entire life, bouncing from one private school to the next and living in dirty hotel rooms. It all comes to a halt after Isaiah finally catches up to her and her mother (after her mother runs him off the road to escape him). Isaiah has been following Fallon around for a good deal of time when the book begins, and she feels an odd pull toward him, although she’s never even seen his face or spoken to him (I had to do an eyeroll at this one, but I took it back later). After he rescues her from evil flame throwing mutants and a guy who can multiply himself to create his own army, the two make a break for it.

It turns out Fallon has some pretty bizarre personality traits that she hasn’t quite figured out yet, like having to eat every few hours or else she turns into an evil monster who wants to rip her mother’s throat out. After being nearly killed several times for reasons still unknown to her, Isaiah, who has some interesting powers of his own, lets her in on a good chunk of her life story. The basic gist was, she was created by a God-playing scientist named Garrison as the perfect weapon, but her mother has kept her hidden from him her whole life. Now, he wants her back and Isaiah is helping prevent that from happening. They end up being taken captive by Garrison and his cronies and they both discover that their uniqueness goes far beyond special powers.

What I Liked:

1. Pretty much everything.

2. Other reviews I read called Fallon self-centered, bratty, etc. I honestly found her quite realistic under the circumstances. If I were in her place, learning that my entire life had been an epic lie, I’d probably be a bit obnoxious and uncooperative, too.

3. I liked the different take on paranormal. They weren’t supernatural creatures, they were man-made humans, which in my mind is even creepier. Phoenix isn’t the first author to do this, obviously, but her take on it was new, which I liked.

What I Didn’t Like:

1. Fallon’s bizarre eating thing wasn’t really explained until kind of far into the book. Until it was explained, it just randomly showed up. It was obviously important, but it was annoying not knowing what the point was. It was also a bit inconsistent. After just a few hours without food, she’s ready to tear her mother’s jugular out, but she manages to survive on just a few french fries later on once she’s with Isaiah.  And does she wake up every few hours to eat?

 2. Fallon’s draw toward Isaiah was really annoying and childish in the beginning, so I was a little concerned that that was the way she was going to be toward him the entire book. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case, but it got on my nerves enough that, if I were the type to not finish books after the first few chapters due to annoying protagonists, I would’ve missed out on a great book.

3. Fallon doesn’t seem too concerned as to why she and her mother have been on the run for so long. She accepts it as part of life and isn’t super crazy about it, but she doesn’t question it as much as you’d expect, even internally.

4. Fallon’s mother was a Brat. Yes, she was trying to protect her daughter, but for crying out loud, just tell the damn girl the truth already; there are guys throwing FIREBALLS at her! And come on, you almost run a guy off the road because he’s trying to keep tabs on your daughter, then when said daughter throws a piss fit because she is inexplicably drawn to him and wants to make sure he’s ok, you let her out of the car on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere and DRIVE OFF?!?!

http://www.quickmeme.com/img/08/0852260e6679f71219b11bfe93c3a1f789e30730b7de842f9e666aab4717471c.jpg

Yeah, no. Just. No.

Overall Rating?

4.5 stars

The time it took to really get the information I needed to fully enjoy the book took away from it a bit, but the fact that I was disappointed when it ended made up for it. I’d encourage anyone into YA paranormal to give it a try. And to be fair, my annoyance with Fallon’s mother isn’t going to affect the rating because honestly, if an author is causing a reader to feel this strongly about a minor character, she’s probably doing something right.

Photo courtesy of Goodreads.com

Photo courtesy of Goodreads.com

1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Romance, Series, YA