Reviewed by Laney Belle on November 1, 2010
Mockingjay, the third installment of the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins was an action-packed ride that kept me on the edge of my seat, but did not completely satiate my needs. Let me explain…after reading Hunger Games and Catching Fire, I was anxious to know what was going to happen to my beloved Katniss and Peeta! I lived in anticipation while waiting for this final book, and was so excited to get my hands on it in August! Yet, after reading it I didn’t feel that this ‘love story’ was worth all of my devoted enthusiasm!
Mockingjay picks up where Catching Fire leaves off, which is right after the daring rescue of Katniss by the rebels. Katniss has been taken to District 13 to recoup, and Peeta has been taken prisoner by President Snow. Katniss is of course devastated, angry, and starts to feel indifferent towards the war since she thinks that Peeta is most likely dead because of her. Her feelings of ‘indifference’ soon change after a televised segment from the Capitol featuring Peeta himself, proving he was in fact alive! She reluctantly decides to reengage herself in the war by becoming “the Mockingjay”, a symbol of the rebellion against the Capitol. Sounds exciting huh? I must say, Suzanne Collins definitely delivered a clear and detailed storyline filled with intense action and drama.
However, even with the ongoing excitement of the story, my biggest qualm was the character development. For reasons that are well explained in the storyline, our usually charming and charismatic Peeta was not himself. He was angry, viscous, uncaring towards Katniss and murderous at times. I felt like I had been introduced to a new character, rather than reunited with a longtime friend. Then there was Katniss, who was more like a shadow of her former self for most of the book. I was slightly perplexed that this strong, courageous young woman could be so easily broken and almost lethargic after her rescue from the ring. It just doesn’t seem in her character to give up so easily. Gail was just about the only redeeming character in the story, as his role of the warrior and protector of Katniss never faltered. He definitely proved himself during this book.
The love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gail remained in existence; however the romanticism between the characters definitely lacked the luster that embodied the first two books. I mean DAYUM, couldn’t we get ONE PASSIONATE MAKE OUT SESSION?! Is that too much to ask Suzanne?! Still, at the end of the book Katniss finally makes her choice between Peeta and Gail, giving us readers the closure we’ve been waiting for.
Overall, the book was extremely fast paced and entertaining. If this book were a stand-alone, I would probably rate it at a 3.5. However, given the complexity of the series and my love for the storyline, I’m going to give it 4 pumps. I’m taking one pump away for the missing romanticism and pitiful character development of “Panem’s Sweethearts”.
Reviewed by Piper Grey on August 6, 2010
Chocolate, anyone? I guarantee when you read Joanne Harris’ Chocolat, you will need some! No book has ever made me more famished and craving confections EVER! This tug of war story between Church and chocolate comes to bare in a sleepy little French community that holds a few less appetizing secrets of its own. But how can magical visitors, an ornery old matriarch and a sexy redheaded gypsy unlock the community’s unappetizing skeletons and overcome evil disguised as virtue? By way of indulgence, that’s how!
Flashy and unmarried Vianne Rocher and her 6 year old daughter, Anouk, meander into the petite community of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes as it prepares for Lent. Within a few days, Vianne opens a copious chocolate shoppe on the town square that the local church also borders. Countless handmade delicacies temp the town’s folk into disregarding their Lenten vows which draws the enraged attention of the austere parish priest, Francis Reynaud. Being the daughter of a “witch”, Vianne distrusts the rigid policy of organized religion and lives by a pagan belief in the wind that drives her along her life’s path. She holds a little magic of her own that she is careful not to abuse. However, in true Vixen form and to fuel the fire a smidge, Vianne announces a chocolate festival to follow Easter Sunday service and a sweet holy war breaks out!
Harris’ secondary characters were as scrumptious as the delicacies Vianne creates. Her uncanny ability to guess her clients favorite confections brings curious minds into her shoppe. Once there, Vianne becomes a savior to these suppressed souls. The abused kleptomaniac, Josephine, finds sanctuary and safety in Vianne’s friendship. The grumpy but wise senior, Armande, uses Vianne’s advice and trickery to help her develop a relationship with her only grandchild, Luke. As an elder of the town, Armande is privy to many of Lansquenets secrets and one in particular has Father Reynaud salivating in panic. And there’s Anouk! Vianne’s 6 year old daughter is a sweet little imp who has so much to teach about love and life; even to her mother.
Well, you can’t have sweet without a little sexy, right? My favorite must be “Roux Chocolate!” Roux is the mouthwatering leader of the river gypsies that stop at Lansquenet to sell their handmade goods. They are given a threatening welcome at the indirect hand of Reynaud; but Roux manages to spread some much need sugar Vianne’s way!
I’m giving this book 4 outta 5 pumps, taking one away for the sometimes drawn out discussions between Father Reynaud and a mute mentor he calls “pere” whose significance isn’t evident until the very end….which is why I didn’t mention him. Harris’ little morsel, Chocolat, was a bittersweet story of good vs. evil, new vs. old, change vs. stagnation. If you’re in need of something sweet but don’t want to burden your Vixeny waistline, savor this bon bon of a book and your taste buds won’t be the only thing that ends up satisfied!
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on July 13, 2010
Wanda Schwartz is human. Quite terribly so. So mortal and ordinary that in any other novel her character may have been the one that readers would likely forget. However, in Dakota Cassidy’s laugh-out-loud paranormal romance,The Accidental Human, Wanda adds an interesting dynamic to a very unique circle of Vixen-like friends.
For starters, Wanda is a successful consultant for Bobbie-Sue cosmetics. She lives and breathes color wheels and is making the world a better place by pinpointing her clients’ exact color auras. She has the kind of girlfriends that every woman dreams of; Nina and Marty, who are always there for her even despite their vast differences. Wanda is trying to get her life on track after her divorce from her D-bag of a husband; however, a recent doctors visit reveals that our fair Wanda is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Like any good human, she isn’t welcoming of the news at first, but quickly discovers that she is given the chance to right some wrongs and live the rest of her days the way SHE wants to – courtesy of her spectacular F*ck-It List! Yet, it is not in her plan to tell anyone about her deteriorating condition.
Heath Jefferson wasn’t exactly part of the plan either! Ahh, dreamy-hunk-o’-white-meat-stick-a-fork-in-him-and-take-a-bite, scrumptious Heath. Yes, that same Heath walks right into Wanda’s life when he answers a classified ad for a job with Bobbie Sue. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “A man selling cosmetics?! Uh, no!” or “He MUST be gay!” Well, just you wait. Heath and Wanda’s chemistry is undeniable; and the hilarity that ensues is quite entertaining. I loved their strange but steamy relationship and how it worked quite nicely with the irony that is Wanda’s world.
It is worth mentioning that Wanda’s best friends are of the paranormal kind. Nina is a hot-headed mouthy vampire and Marty is the semi-sweet and emotional werewolf; and they are both on a journey to live forever with their life-mates. Still, they desperately need their reliable friend Wanda to referee their fights, make lists, and plan group shopping trips. She is the human glue keeping everything paranormal tied together with a pretty pink bow. And back to our man, Heath? Well, he isn’t exactly what he claims to be as Wanda discovers all too soon.
The Accidental Human is the third out of four novels in Cassidy’s series. I picked it up on a whim and can honestly say I don’t feel as though I missed much by not reading the first two books. It is chalk full of Vixen-esque vocabulary that will surely bring out your inner hussy. Cassidy’s humor and saucy language are appropriate, the world she creates for Wanda is very real, the characters are charming, and the sex scenes do not disappoint. Overall, Cassidy earns 4 out of 5 pumps from me. I’m only taking one away for the ending that seemed rather silly and far-fetched in comparison to the tone of the rest of the book.
Reviewed by Piper Grey on April 22, 2010
Fashion, flirting and fornicating! The three staple things a girl of today’s modern world embodies, right? But does that translate to the women of the 1920’s? You bet-cher Betty Boop it does! At least it does in Sophie Kinsella’s book, Twenties Girl. Sadie is a partying, fashion forward flapper who makes the most out of life but she has a few problems. She’s lost her necklace and, oh yeah, she’s sorta dead!
Sadie was born in the early 1900s and died a drooly old lady in a nursing home when she was a ripe old 105. However, her ghost is in her younger 23-year-old form and she’s haunting her 27-year-old great niece, Lara Leighton who turns out to be a serious mess. She’s just been dumped by the love of her life AND her business partner. She’s broke and going crazy because she thinks her Great Aunt Sadie’s ghost is haunting her. She can hear and see her plain as day going around screaming at strangers to get them to do her bidding… and its working! Of course, Lara is the only person who can see and communicate with Sadie so she badgers Lara into recovering her beautiful dragonfly necklace. Sadie is not all together sure why, but she knows that she cannot rest until its back in her possession. But where could it be? Or should we say “Who lifted it?”
We meet various lively and expertly developed cast members along the way to solving this mystery. A greedy, rich snake of an uncle, a ditzy self-centered flake of a cousin and boring yet bothersome parents are all suspects! Enter the classic preppy business man with penetrating eyes that has caught Sadie’s attention! Hello Daddy-O!! And she wants him. But the only way she can get him is through Lara. “Anyway you can get it” is what I always say! OWW! A reluctant albeit comical romance develops between Lara and this frowny American. Much to Sadie’s shagrin.
Eventually, Sadie and Lara start to unknowingly learn from one another and the impressions that they leave on the other are life (and death from Sadie’s point of view) altering. Lara uncovered the fact that Sadie’s life meant so much more to so many more lives than she could ever imagine. And Sadie helped Lara figure out the difference between going through the motions of a relationship and really living and loving another person by letting go of her inhibitions.
This was a fun and light story that I absolutely loved! The ending was a bit heavier but delivered a sweet and tender message of family and keeping yours close. I’m giving this book 4.5 outta 5 pumps. Minus .5 for the lack of steamy sex! Sheesh, can I catch a break with the no-sex books already??? But I took away a valuable lesson from Twenties Girl. I want to be just like Sadie when I am 105 years old…. minus the drooling of course!
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on April 13, 2010
I think someone copied off of Stephenie Meyer’s paper! Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Stolarz should’ve been called Twilight: The Lame Edition. Wanna know why? The storyline is almost exactly the same as Meyer’s Twilight except Stolarz created the most boring and ludicrous characters to star in her book. Come along with me as we journey to Déjà vu town…
To begin, the main character, 16-year old Camelia almost gets hit by a car. And where does she almost get hit by a car? In the parking lot at her school! Some random hottie on a motorcycle comes to Camelia’s rescue by pushing her out of the way. So, after “Evel Knievel” saves Camelia from getting hit by yet another horrible teen driver, he speeds away on his bike without even telling her his name. All she remembers is a scar on his arm that is cool to the touch. Ooh… yawn.
So, who was the mysterious hero? He’s the new boy in town named Ben and he’s supposedly gorgeous. I could see that if you like uninteresting characters with freakish scars. He also has a secretive past that everyone at the school questions. The students hear rumors that suggest he killed his girlfriend and had to move to get away from all the drama surrounding her death. Even so, when Camelia recognizes him at school, she is eager to thank him for saving her life. But he claims that he wasn’t her hero. Really?? That’s unusual. Maybe he fell off his motorcycle and hit his head the day before and forgot! Oh, but it gets better…. Ben and Camelia are lab partners in CHEMISTRY! Ha-Ha! Are you reading this Stephenie?? Surely there are other classes in high school where students pair up and work together, right?!
Anyway, as time goes on, Camelia learns that she has a secret admirer of sorts. This character plays an active role in the book because there are chapters specifically devoted to his side of the story. This is a unique aspect for Stolarz’s book – and it at least breaks up the dull interactions between Camelia and her annoying friends, Kimmie and Wes. So, not only does Camelia have a very strange and seemingly dangerous boy toy to contend with, but she has a stalker who is frustrated by all of the attention she’s giving to Ben. However, Ben is hiding an even bigger secret from Camelia. Readers will likely consider this revelation unoriginal and quite similar to something Edward explains to Bella in Twilight.
Deadly Little Secret is a young adult book full of another author’s ideas. It has an unexciting storyline with underdeveloped and childish characters. Moreover, seasoned readers will immediately recognize who Camelia’s stalker is. This book gets 1 1/2 pumps from me. I’m taking away 1 pump for each of the three Twilight déjà vu moments mentioned above, and another half away for Ben only being somewhat attractive. Trust me Vixens, this book is not worthy of your precious time.
Reviewed by Piper Grey on April 12, 2010
Wisty! Whit! New Order! Magic! Ahhh, Fire! Prison! Dead girlfriend! Escape! Look a puppy! A.D.D. anyone??? I seriously think that James Patterson and/or Gabrielle Charbonnet are card-carrying members of A.D.D. Anonymous because that’s what reading their sorcery-slash-dystopia novel, Witch & Wizard was like with its 300 pages and about 100-ish chapters! In it, a smart aleck-y 15 year old girl, Wisty Allgood, and her older brother, Whit, are fugitives of the New Order, a newly elected but suppressive political regime that is absolutely con-witch/wizardry. This administration completely changes the world while everyone is asleep one night. …seriously…
Wisty and Whit are unaware of their supernatural abilities until the New Order comes to arrest them for it and Wisty burst into flames. Neat trick, huh? They are eventually overcome and thrown into prison where they have time to explore their new abilities. It also becomes evident during this time that the leader of the New Order holds a personal vendetta against the Allgood family as a whole. Despite the efforts of their “Nurse Ratched” type guards, they escape with the help of Whit’s dead girlfriend (yes, I said dead…she’s a ghost). While attempting to find & save their parents, they encounter group of teenage revolutionaries who are surviving in a holocaust type world. They believe the bewitched duo to be mystical entities and also prophets who will use their power to restore harmony and overcome the New Order.
The cast of characters are potentially colorful but are not completely developed. Examples of the more robust players include the evil “The One Who Is The One” that leads the New Order who has a foreboding and all knowing persona. And then there is Byron, a former schoolmate who is eventually turned into a weasel for witnessing the powers of the siblings and threatening to nark them out. There is also Whit’s dead girlfriend’s ghost, Celia, who helps them escape prison where they are made to run through a hallway lined with hell hounds for their supper. Finally! A diet that works!
The super short, 3 – 4 page chapters and constant switching between Wisty’s and Whit’s perspectives depicted blinky-type thoughts that never really amount to anything substantial. It was like watching a hyper 8 year old bounce around Santa’s workshop. The end result is a lack of depth that keeps the reader from creating a clear picture of the settings. This did, however, allow for an action-packed read with few lulls in the storyline.
So, while this was a suspenseful and vigorous tale, my mature hottie side was left completely ignored and I felt like I had whiplash from the rapid fire micro-chapters switching between thoughts at lightning speed. I also feel that the authors were writing to a strictly middle school aged audience. I would seriously doubt that our fantastically sexy fans could be intellectually (or otherwise, OWW) stimulated by this venture! 3 pumps outta 5, says The Vixen That Reviews!
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on April 9, 2010
What girl needs an excuse to read about a tough, sexy, and romantic Army man? I sure as hell don’t!! Bring it on, baby! In Dear John, Nicholas Sparks delivers a love story to readers (like me) who can’t seem to get enough of his epic fictitious relationships. However, in this particular novel, readers receive a unique glance into the life of John Tyree: the Army grunt and surprisingly tender man after my own heart!
The book begins in present time, as John is observing the one true love of his life, Savannah, from afar. Readers quickly begin to wonder why he is not scooping her up into his arms and whisking her away on horseback into the sunset. So what went wrong with John and Savannah? Why does John continue to love this woman even though he is not with her? Will he come marry me instead?! Oops… er, that last question may have just been something I was wondering! LOL But Sparks answers these questions and many more; and readers soon understand love is not as easy as it appears on the surface.
You see, their love story begins pre-9/11 while John is on leave visiting his reclusive coin-collecting father back home in North Carolina. John meets Savannah on the beach and is immediately captivated by her. So much so, he finds himself doing everything he can to impress her. One thing I truly enjoyed was how thoroughly Sparks described the male psyche. Every glance, every touch, every word was carefully calculated by John ensuring he wouldn’t offend Savannah. He was a perfect gentleman, AND THAT WAS THE PROBLEM!! Arg! I can appreciate the innocence of a new romance, but John was returning overseas and a guy needs a little lovin’ to keep him comin’ back to his woman. Am I right, ladies?!
Well needless to say, John goes back overseas (without getting any action!), but he and Savannah agree to write to each other all the time. This portion of the story began to drag for me because I was longing for more romance. However, after 9/11 occurs I found myself invested in the story, worrying over the impact that this huge event would have on John and Savannah’s relationship. With letters and occasional phone calls keeping their relationship together, I wondered if their love would overcome the hefty challenges of time and distance.
Dear John invites readers into the life of a young soldier who wants nothing more than to be with the woman he loves. Sparks won me over by giving me rare insight into the mind of a son, a boyfriend, a soldier, and a man. The raw emotions John has in the story permeated the pages and touched my heart. For these reasons, I give Dear John 4.5 out of 5 pumps. I am taking a half pump away from Sparks for failing to wow me with his abrupt ending that left me wanting nothing more than a John to call my own.
Reviewed by Laney Belle on March 24, 2010
The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, by Rick Roirdon is a totally fun and amazing read! It’s no wonder The Lightening Thief (first book in series) was so successful on the big screen! I’ll confess that these chronicles were intended for a younger audience, which was evident in the cheesy punch lines of a few of the jokes. However, the plot, action-packed battle scenes, and budding romance will definitely keep most adults enticed throughout the series. If you liked the Harry Potter books, or even Cirque De Freak, then you will definitely enjoy the adventures of Percy Jackson.
The story revolves around Greek mythology; creatively bringing ancient Gods and monsters to life in a modern day setting—Manhattan to be exact. Percy Jackson, a dyslexic and highly strung teenager, constantly finds himself in trouble and kicked out of every school he attends. As strange things start happening around him, he discovers that his dyslexia is actually caused by his brain being hardwired for Greek, and his hotheadedness is actually because, well, he’s a demi-god—the son of Poseidon! This discovery leads Percy to Camp Half-Blood, where he takes refuge and trains with other children of the Greek gods. The idea here is that Greek gods have affairs with mortals, and the resulting children are demi-gods. Unfortunately for the readers, there aren’t any details on this god-like hanky-panky! Pity!
Roirdon definitely has a knack for capturing the cynicism and blatant mockery that IS the American teenager. I found this aspect very humorous and quite nostalgic if I’m being honest. Roirdon cleverly weaves the tales of Medusa, the Cyclops, and the Hydra (among many others) into some extremely intense battle scenes. His descriptions of these beasts provide readers with incredible mental images, leaving almost nothing left to imagine. You’ll find this very useful if your knowledge of Greek mythology is a little rusty, like mine.
Aside from Percy, there are many unique and endearing characters that readers will enjoy getting to know. Annabeth, daughter of Athena, is smart, crafty, and strong! She is also the girl of Percy’s dreams, and would make a great role model for young women today. Tyson is an adorably stupid Cyclops with bravado and charm. Grover is a funny young Satyr (half goat, half human) who provides the comedic relief and is also Percy’s best friend. You will fall in love with these characters and witness their struggles with monsters, family, and love. It’s a ‘save the world’ kind of story with a promising romance mixed in.
Overall, I truly loved this series and was sad to see it end. I look forward to seeing more of Percy Jackson on the big screen though, as well as reading more of Roirdon’s work. I give Percy Jackson and the Olympians a 5 outta 5 Pumps, and would recommend this series to any Vixen looking for an extraordinary adventure filled with fantasy, fun and good ol’ fashion principles…well minus the whole affairs with Greek gods part! OOWWW!!!!
Reviewed by Piper Grey on February 5, 2010
What does the death of a child do to loved ones left behind and what happens to that too young lost soul? The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold provides the Salmon family’s answers to just those questions when their eldest daughter, Susie, 14, is viciously murdered in December of 1973! It’s a tragically sad story that is beautifully written and it really makes readers examine their own moral strength.
The book begins with Sebold’s teenage character narrating the story of her brutal rape and murder by a serial killer neighbor as she takes a shortcut through the cornfield on her way home from school. It’s a brutal scene that was hard to get through but it was never crude. After her death, Susie watches over her grieving loved ones from her perch in heaven; specifically, Susie’s personal heaven. She watches as this vicious crime tears her family apart, brings together her community, and alters her friends’ lives forever. I pitied her father, was confused by her mother, wanted to love her little brother, and identified with her sister. And I, of course, wanted a long and painful public quartering for the murderous bastard that caused all of this. In a perfect world, right?
Sebold’s writing style is light and graceful which is odd when dealing with such a tragic subject. Losing a child is neither light nor graceful. The fact that she wrote this entire story from the murdered 14 year olds perspective as a heavenly soul, gives an air that I can only describe as sweet and content. This calmness sometimes resulted in slight boredom for me. But there was a great suspense-filled incident and then, later, a very tasteful and intimate love scene that reopened my interest when I thought it couldn’t be won over again.
The ending was particularly difficult for me to get through. Not because the writing style was bad or it wasn’t interesting, but because of the sad injustice that it presented me with. I certainly wouldn’t call it a happy ending. I believe the moral to the story was “forgiveness and letting go” but I wanted “substantial and committed justice” and “never letting go”! To be honest I’m crying as I type this so there must be something that really resonated with me. I’ll have to dig deep to figure that one out.
My first hair trigger response was to give this book a big fat 2 because of how affected I was by the ending. But after further reflection I’m giving it 4 outta 5 pumps and here’s why: Sebold is a charming and superb writer. I just realized that I simply disagreed with her view of justice and it made me think about my own sense of morals, which everyone hates doing. I didn’t know what I was in for when I pick this book up but I’m glad I did and I believe I’m better for it.
Reviewed by Laney Belle on January 29, 2010
The first sign of a good book is finding yourself literally breathless during the climaxes. The Maze Runner, by James Dashner, is definitely that kind of book. It’s wild, creative, totally crazy at times, and had me constantly solving puzzles. For the most part, I couldn’t read fast enough to get through the scenes; I was in a rush to find out what happens next. I should warn you that after reading The Maze Runner, you’ll find yourself in desperate need for the sequel…which isn’t scheduled to come out till October 2010. COME ON JAMES!!! WRITE FASTER!
The book begins when Thomas wakes up in an enclosed lift of sorts. He doesn’t know where he is, how he got there, or even what his last name is. When the lift stops and the door opens, he enters into a place referred to as the glade…and he’s not alone. Standing before him he sees about 40 other boys, from the ages of 8 to 18 just waiting for him. At first glance, the glade seems almost serene, set in a field with big trees and a farmhouse to boot. However, there are 4 humungous doors on either side of the glade that lead out to a giant maze. Every night, at the same time, the doors close on their own, locking the boys inside the glade and keeping the evils that roam the maze at night out! Though, Thomas has no memory of life before the glade, this place somehow feels familiar to him. He feels the need to explore the maze with the other ‘Runners’ (those who are charged with exploring the Maze), but finding a way out of this strange reality proves much more difficult then he ever dreamed!
I have to say, I was definitely surprised at how much I liked the author’s writing style. No offense to GUYS…it’s just that up until now, I hadn’t been very lucky in finding male authors that wrote with the kind of detail and organization that I like in a book. James Dashner did a great job keeping the story focused, and the descriptions vivid.
If there was one thing James could have done better, it would have been the character development. I realize the boys didn’t have memories to reflect on, but more could have been done to help the reader get to know the characters. Unfortunately, I didn’t develop a real attachment to any character in particular. This was a bummer for me, since my favorite aspect of reading is finding new ‘friends’. I know, I’m a huge dork!
Overall, The Maze Runner was an exciting book, and the ending was a total bombshell. The non-stop thriller aspect was a high point for me, and I can’t wait to see what James comes up with for the sequel. I give this book a 4 outta 5 pumps, taking one away for the disappointing character development.
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on January 19, 2010
Welcome to adolescence, boys and girls. Your hormones will go berserk, your body will change in ways you never thought possible and you will hate your parents. One silver lining in all of this is that these years are very short and will be forever cherished. For Connor, Risa, and Lev, being a teenager means something entirely different than what you and I experienced growing up. They are unwinds who are about to be chopped into little pieces and used for spare parts.
Unwind by Neal Shusterman takes place in a time not too distant from ours. The country experienced the Second Civil War called the “Heartland War”; this battle fought both sides of the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice argument. Many lives were lost as a result of this war, yet a consensus was reached in the form of the Bill of Life being added to the Constitution. This bill states that life begins at conception and is protected by law until the child reaches the age of thirteen. At that point, parents can send their teens to Harvest Camp where they technically remain alive, but are preserved in a divided state. Later, their body parts will be used to supplement other individuals who may need heart surgery, be an amputee, or just want a new pair of shiny blue eyes. The only problem is the original owner doesn’t completely disappear….
The main characters of Unwind are quite captivating and dynamic. Connor is the hot-headed, sexy, bad boy who runs away before his parents can have him taken to Harvest Camp to be destroyed. Risa is a ward of the state that is caught in a cross-fire of budget cuts, and unfortunately doesn’t have enough talent or skill worth salvaging. And then there’s innocent Lev, who just happened to be the 10th child in a very religious family who is unwinding him as a tithe to God. These three characters cross paths in a way I never would’ve predicted, and they form a bond that cannot be unwound.
Shusterman’s novel is extremely action packed and filled with possibilities that will completely shock readers. I was drawn into the plot within the first couple of pages and was challenged by some of the events that occurred throughout the story. Personally, I struggled quite a bit with the disposable attitudes and perspectives the adult characters offered. Yet, I found myself rooting for Connor, Risa, and Lev, and didn’t give up hope on a happy ending.
For being a young adult book, Unwind surprised me because it explored areas of our world that are rather adult-oriented. I appreciated this aspect immensely; however, some of the imagery became very emotionally overwhelming for me. I’m giving Unwind 3 ½ out of 5 pumps. I’m taking one away for the author’s choppy writing style that I had difficulty connecting with at times, and I’m taking a half of a pump away for the subject matter that will haunt me for many months, and maybe years, to come.
Reviewed by Piper Grey on November 12, 2009
Who saw the trailer for Cirque du Freak: The Vampires Assistant during last summer’s COMIC-CON? I was so impressed with the cast list and the sneak-peeks that I just had to read the book to bide my time until the film was released. And I was not disappointed … too badly.
The Vampires Assistant by Darren Shan is the second book in this series so I supposed you should get a quick synopsis of the first book, right? In Cirque du Freak: The Saga of Darren Shan, Darren and his friend, Steve, visit a traveling freak show. Eventually, Darren finds himself in a position where he must sacrifice his mortality in order to save the life of his friend. To do this successfully, Darren must become a half vampire, fake his own death, and be buried alive. HEELLL NO! When he emerges he realizes the extent of what his life has become and how he must count on his guardian, Mr. Crepsley, a full-vampire, as his only companion and teacher for the remainder of his existence. He is totally devastated, and completely resents the older, wiser vamp for causing his “condition”.
In the The Vampires Assistant, Darren has a lot to learn about what he has become and how to live with it. Unfortunately, Mr. Crepsley is the only one able to teach him. After a short stint on the road and away from the Freak show, they realize that “home is where the heart is” and return. Darren finds that there really is a lot to learn and many myths to be disproved about his new status. One thing that he is having trouble complying with is drinking human blood. Death is not instantaneous if he refuses this imposition but it is eminent. Slow, but definitely eminent.
This short read is packed with a plethora of interesting characters who find themselves in many fascinating situations. It is a Freak Show, after all! There is a Bearded Lady, a Wolfman, a Snakeboy, and much, much, more. This new, strange world is old hat to the Freak Show residents and so becomes the norm for Darren as well. He finds a true friend in the Snakeboy, Evra Von and together they find themselves working as a team and escaping various thrilling adventures unscathed.
There are twelve books in the series and they are all labeled as being in the “young adult” genre. The same genre as Twilight so I thought I was safe. However, in my opinion, these books are meant for a much younger audience. I would say 10 to 13 yos would get the most enjoyment out of them. That being said, I can completely get behind the idea of making this book into a movie! The characters and their exploits promise to draw a huge audience. I’m giving the book 3 outta 5 pumps, taking two away for under-achieving its potential in the young adult genre; but still, I express my excitement for its potential on the big screen.
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on November 6, 2009
I’ve never considered myself a thriller junky. As a matter of fact, I absolutely loathe television murder mysteries and good-guy/bad-guy dramas. Yet, my mind has been opened to a new world of novels after reading The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner. A friend loaned me the book and told me, “this is not your average kidnapping mystery, you will love it” and HOLY EDWARD, was she right?! The Neighbor is a fast-paced ride that throws readers for several loops while they attempt to find out what happened to the blonde bombshell named Sandra Jones.
I know what you’re thinking: BO-RING! But I’m telling you, that statement couldn’t be further from the truth! This book has everything avid readers crave; drama, suspense, romance, mystery, and interesting characters. It begins from Sandra’s perspective; she’s at home with her four-year old daughter named Ree, going through their normal nightly routine. You know; make dinner, play around, bath time, read books, and go to bed… except that when Sandra turns out the light there is a male figure in her bedroom doorway ready to attack! Dun, dun, DUUUN!!
So who was it? Could it have been her devastatingly attractive husband, Jason? He is clearly hiding something from police. Could it have been a convicted sex offender who lives down the street? He has taken quite an interest in the case, and Sandra had her car serviced at his shop recently. Or was it a particular student who has been spending entirely too much time with Mrs. Jones one-on-one? He obviously fell in love with Sandra. Oh, but let’s not forget that little Ree was home the whole time. What did she see and hear? Where did mommy go? Only time will tell….
I loved this book because it challenged me to figure out what pieces of information would lead to finding Sandra dead or alive. The story became a menacing web of lies and deceit that were masterfully woven between misinformation and disturbing pasts. However, Gardner struggled in her attempts to interest me with one of her main characters, Sergeant D.D. Warren; she had the personality of a wet mop who desperately needed to get laid. Other than that, not much can be said for her. Still, I can hardly complain because Gardner’s male characters compensated with their hot and mysterious nature.
The Neighbor, is a crime thriller that will completely knock your socks off! I still can’t wrap my mind around everything that happened from beginning to end, because it was so baffling and obscure. I enjoyed the viewpoints of multiple characters, loved the thrill of uncovering disturbing hidden secrets, and was in constant fear and wonderment of “who dun it.” I’m giving The Neighbor 4 ½ pumps out of 5. I’m taking a half of a pump away for the ending that didn’t quite come together due to its hurriedness. Even so, this book is worthy of your time, especially if you’re looking for an entirely different, very real, and gripping journey!