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 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 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!
Reviewed by Piper Grey on October 16, 2009
Halloween has always been my very favorite holiday ever since I can remember. Not the gory / monster part but the ghostly / cemetery part is how I explain it to people. There is just something about the possibilities of ghosts roaming the earth on that one special night that just gets my heart pumping and my imagination soaring. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman gave me butterflies like Halloween was just around the corner. Please understand up front that this book targets an audience of 4th to 8th grade readers but carries great weight & depth; a story that anyone can enjoy. So there is absolutely no hanky-panky, people!
This novel opens with a pretty macabre event. A family is massacred off-screen and the killer searches for the sole remaining family member to complete his gruesome task. The toddler he seeks has wandered out of the house, up the hill, to an old graveyard and into the protective hands of its residents. The babe is given the name Nobody Owens (Bod for short) by his ghostly adoptive mother, Mistress Owens, and is granted the “Freedom of the Graveyard.” This status enables Bod to execute various tricks of the dead like fading and dream-walking. Just give me one day with those little tricks and Diabolical Piper would RULE THE WORLD BABY!
Bod experiences the pains and thrills of growing up through a string of otherworldly adventures. As a result, he discovers various life lessons through his interactions with a treasure-trove of descriptive and beloved characters from various historical periods. These characters include an impish witch, a melodramatic poet, a roman leader, and a shadowy nocturnal guardian (who I suspect to be a vampire but can’t be sure) just to name a few. Readers are first introduced to each ghost through their clever epitaphs engraved on their headstones. This will certainly get you thinking about what might be on your own headstone! Hmm… “Piper Grey – 19(blah-dee-blah) to 20(someday) – Rawkin the Afterlife in Pink Sequins!” Whadayathink??
The villains in this gothic fantasy are all a bit sketchy and vague. One version of the ‘bad guy’ is a coiling, 3 headed serpentine called The Sleer and is the oldest thing in the cemetery. Imprisoned in its tomb, it guards a small treasure and fruitlessly waits for a master to protect. We never get to the history of the creature, the treasure, or the missing master. Another type of villain belongs to an ancient order whose members names are puns off of the name “Jack” but not much else is explained about them.
Although this novel is dark at times, the overall message it delivers is one of self-discovery and overcoming fears of experiencing life. Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book is a 5 pumper in this Vixen’s opinion. This coming of age story of Nobody Owens has the potential to become a classic…. and would create delight in graveyards everywhere if it were to make its way to the big screen. Here’s hoping!
Reviewed by Laney Belle on September 14, 2009
Riveting; Jarring; Spellbinding; Exhilarating; Unpredictable; Emotionally charged. These are the words I would use to describe Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. I can’t articulate enough how tremendously in love I am with this new series! However, I must warn you as I did with The Hunger Games, that this sequel STILL does not provide you with the closure you’re looking for! AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!! If you’re like me, and need resolution, then the ending of this book will have you screaming “COME ON!!! WHAT HAPPENS NEXT DAMMIT?!?!?!?” LOL Fortunately for us, the author MUST be planning a third book for this series, because there’s no way she could leave her fans hanging like this otherwise! HURRY UP SUZANNE!
Before I begin, I want to confess that I had my own theories about what this sequel could possibly be about… and all of them were wrong! I want everyone to benefit from the same feeling of surprise and shock that I got while reading this. Therefore, I’m going to limit any in-depth discussion of the plot. With that said, I will tell you a few things about this book that I loved best, without spoiling anything for you.
Catching Fire doesn’t exactly start out where The Hunger Games left off, but that aspect shouldn’t bother you too much. It takes place a few months after the Games, and after that long train ride back to District 12 where our lovable Peeta confessed his true love for Katniss. This story brings you into their post-Game lives as Victors of District 12; which, as you may have suspected, is not the carefree, easy-living that the Capitol proclaims it to be. Since the Games, a secret resistance against the Capitol has been forming. Intending to squash this new opposition, the Capitol uses the upcoming ‘Quarter Quell’ (the 75 year anniversary of the revolution against the Capitol) to instill fear back into its citizens. With so much at stake, Katniss and Peeta are forced into a variety of life or death situations…all of which will have you gasping for air!
The author’s writing style is seamless, almost as if she never really stopped writing this story, but just divided it into sections and called each one a book. You will feel yourself easily glide right back into the first-person dialect as The Hunger Games, without any awkward adjustments. The writer’s speed and trajectory of the plot is what contributes to the overall excitement and thrill of the story. You will be captured by the first chapter!
Like The Hunger Games, my favorite aspect of this book was its merciless unpredictability. You really never knew what was coming next! There are so many twists and turns and just when you think you’ve got it all figured out…BAM…you’re thrown for another loop! I give Catching Fire 5 outta 5 pumps for its ingenious topsy-turvy plot, incredible character dynamics, and amazingly enticing action scenes!!! I LOVED THIS BOOK!
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on August 19, 2009
How do I begin to describe the whirlwind that is Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife? This book knocked me off my feet and filled my heart with powerful emotions. Henry DeTamble is the time traveler in this book, however, his adventures are not by choice. Henry has a genetic disorder that instantly forces him to abandon the present and thrusts him into the unknown. During his travels, he cannot take anything material with him. Therefore, he is often naked which is quite the treat for us Vixens! Regardless of Henry’s unique existence, he remains very normal. And yet, what he wants more than anything is the one person he is always leaving; his wife, Clare.
Clare Abshire chronologically saunters through life like everyone else; everyone but Henry that is. She meets Henry when she is 6 years old while playing in the Meadow on her parent’s property. Henry is in his thirties and instantly finds himself conversing with this inquisitive child. No, he’s not some sick pedophile! Believe it or not, he’s actually only 8 years older than Clare! Using a journal filled with dates populated by Henry, Clare prepares herself for a life filled with Henry’s comings and goings. In an excerpt Clare says, “It’s hard being left behind. I wait for Henry, not knowing where he is, wondering if he’s okay. It’s hard to be the one who stays.”
The reader will quickly become engrossed in this book’s storyline. Each chapter outlines the dates and ages of the characters making it easy to catch on to the recurring theme. A detail that readers learn to appreciate is that Henry cannot alter the future with his presence. There is also a lot of foreshadowing in this book, so pay special attention to the particulars! Still, what I enjoyed most was the abiding love that radiated from the text. Henry and Clare’s relationship can only be described in one word: epic. Epic amidst all of the typical lifetime experiences such as: friendship, discovery, passion, and unrivaled intimacy. Although, I must say I am quite disappointed in Niffenegger’s uncanny ability to end a chapter just as the clothes were flying off! I’ve got two words for you: Twilight Sex. C’mon Audrey, that was not very Vixen-like of you!
Nevertheless, TTTW nurtures the soul of the hardcore romantic. Niffenegger introduces a unique element to relationships and eradicates the barriers of time. Even with this challenge, she stunningly untangles the often confusing journey with ease. Personally, I know I’ve enjoyed a book when I turn the last page, examine myself, and discover that I look like something out of a Rambo film! Can someone please remind me to invest in waterproof mascara?!
Because I am such a sucker for love stories, and since I can’t stop thinking about Henry and Clare, I give this incredible book 4 ½ outta 5 pumps! I’m only taking a half pump away for the pseudo-Twilight bedroom scenes that left me biting pillows of my very own!
Reviewed by Laney Belle on August 15, 2009
DING DING DING! Can I have your attention please?! The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins is hands down, one of the best books I’ve ever read! This young adult story is surprisingly enticing and full of suspense! It will leave you breathlessly anticipating what’s next throughout the entire book. It is only fair to warn you though – if your looking for a story with closure, you won’t find it until October! Hunger Games is the first book in a series and book two will not be out until October 2009. SO LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN!!
The story takes place in a post apocalyptic world, where the Capitol city “Panem” maintains political control over 12 worldwide Districts. However, this is not the story of a glorious new nation that cares for its people. On the contrary, the rich State of Panem leaves most of its districts in poverty, and forces them to obey extreme laws punishable by death. This uncaring and cold regiment (which significantly resembles that of a communist society) has also demanded that two “tributes” from each District, between the ages of 12 to 18, be used as gladiators in a televised fight to the death where only one can survive. The winning tribute receives a years worth of rations for their District, and a life of ease for themselves and their family. It’s like the ultimate reality T.V. show, infused with lots of shock and awe!
While reading this story, I completely fell in love with the two main characters. Katniss (yes, ridiculous name I agree), is the perfect role model for any teenager. She’s a strong, caring 16 year old girl with an incredible knack for survival due to a life of hard living! The heavy responsibility of feeding and protecting her family in a very poor district fell on her shoulders after her father’s death. Peeta is a sweet, witty and funny young man who easily steals your heart with his charm! Though just an acquaintance to Katniss, Peeta eventually comes to mean more to her than she ever expected. The chemistry between these two characters is addicting, and really forces the reader to experience a range of emotions! I laughed, I cried…I felt like a teenager again!
My favorite aspect of this book was its unpredictability. Just when I thought I knew what was coming, something completely unexpected happened instead. Suzanne Collins did an excellent job of keeping the reader guessing; flawlessly arranging the hints and clues to keep the reader engaged in the story. I gave this book 5 outta 5 pumps for its creativity, enticing action scenes, and encompassing love story!
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on July 27, 2009
In Twilight, did you enjoy the fact that Edward could read minds and Alice could predict the future? Well, you’re in luck! Shiloh Walker’s The Missing introduces Taige Branch, a teenage psychic who has a precious skill for visions involving children. Early in the book, she becomes known throughout her area as a heroine who has rescued children from drowning, has discovered missing bodies, and even aided in solving murder cases. However, Taige is not your typical cheery, bubbly teenager. While very beautiful, she is known as a freak that purposefully closes herself off from the rest of the world.
Enter Cullen. No, I’m not talking about Edward Cullen, ladies! I know he is our every reason for living, but stay with me! Cullen Morgan is a new breed of Cullen HOTNESS! Picture this: he’s tall, has chocolate brown hair, a nice build, and eyes that make the cool shades of the ocean look ordinary. Hello? Can we say eye candy?! Well, he gets even MORE desirable when he saves Taige from a nightmare that almost comes true; and from that moment on they are forever bonded.
What I liked most about this book is that the plot is especially captivating. It is a monster of a page turner that left me feeling as though I was cheating on my book by going to bed instead of reading! Taige’s unique visions are woven throughout the storyline. However, because she doesn’t quite have a grasp on her gift, she isn’t sure if what she sees occurs in the past, present, or future. This allowed me to creatively explore the possibilities, and when I was able to predict a few outcomes, I was left feeling slightly unsatisfied.
Still, Taige and Cullen’s relationship made this book worthy of my time. The reader can easily see why they belong together; but life crapped on their plans for a happy ending, sending them on separate paths. Several years later, Cullen finds Taige to help him with a situation involving his daughter. I was so excited for his return even though their reunion is less than ideal, and their actions were awkward and clumsy. Even so, there is no denying their past and unexplainable connection. Their romance left me sexually stimulated and needing some action of my own – A girl’s gotta ‘eat’, right?!
The Missing is a dark love story about two incredible characters. Their relationship gave me whiplash, to quote our girl Bella, but I never gave up on their potential. Yet, it is the plot that I enjoyed the most! The atmosphere is murky and depressing, and their circumstances overwhelm the reader. If you are sensitive about situations involving children, you should know that I’m a big baby, and I managed to get through this story unscathed. This book gets 3 ½ out of 5 pumps. I’m taking 1 away for the fact that I had predicted what would happen early on, and another ½ away for the author’s average writing style.
Reviewed by Piper Grey on July 23, 2009
Can I say how incredibly excited I was to read Bram Stoker’s Dracula? It is the literary work of art that started it all! There would be no Twilight or Edward Cullen without the Grand Pubah that is Dracula! I am grateful to its existence for that reason and believe it deserves a high level of respect for never going out of print since its debut in 1897! 112 years of longevity, baby! Oww! However, I found myself conflicted between the longing I’ve always had for the more romantic and simple era and my modern expectations of what a horror story should be.
The seven main characters in Dracula, minus its namesake, form a union to eradicate the evil that is the ‘undead’ and all that it has infected, to include England. After a young and beautiful acquaintance of theirs is struck down with a strange blood disorder, or so it’s believed to be, they make this their sole mission. The two most distinctive characters were Dracula and the mentor-hero, Dr. Abraham VanHelsing. These are the only characters that Stoker takes the time to give detailed physical descriptions of! He even bestows his own first name to the good doctor. After much research, Dracula’s character emerges out of the history books and is brought back to life based on a real fifteenth century Wallacian warrior prince, aka “Vlad the Impaler.” So Drac’s not from Transylvania, people! Stick that in your Trivial Pursuit and sit on it!
If you consider yourself a bit of a ‘Nosey Nelly’ and would just love to get your hands on your neighbors mail or your daughters diary, you will love the fact that this entire novel is written in the form of personal documents ranging from journal entries, to news articles, to even telegrams. This form of writing does chronologically jump around, but also gives you various characters perspectives of the story line.
There are many editions of this book in print. I read the version that includes a Foreword by Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian. She drew inspiration from Bram Stoker’s Dracula in writing her novel and I was convinced of her deep love for this story. It was extremely interesting to read her interpretation of Stoker’s thinking behind his writings and how it may have all tied into his own life experiences. The Foreword may have actually been my favorite part of this book!
I give Dracula Three, Three Vixen Pumps! AH AH AH AH! (Okay, bad “Count from Sesame Street” impression, just couldn’t let THAT opportunity pass me by?) I have to take one pump away for the lack of suspense. Back in the late 19th Century, readers considered this novel overly suspenseful but it just doesn’t measure up with today’s expectations of the genre. I took another pump away for the difficulty in reading the various European accents (albeit, comical at times) and English dialect that was common in Victorian England.
Reviewed by Laney Belle on July 16, 2009
If you’re looking for a series to capture both the male and female audience, The Black Dagger Brotherhood is it! This series is filled with intense action scenes, light-hearted comedy, and the kind of sex scenes that leave your tongue draggin the pages and heart racing at each climax. You smellin what I’m cookin?!
The Black Dagger Brotherhood is an erotic, paranormal romance series by J. R. Ward. This chronicle surrounds six vampire warriors who are bound by brotherhood and sworn to protect their race against the Lessers: de-souled humans who threaten their kind. This ongoing war between the Brotherhood and the Lessers is your typical good vs. evil scenario with romantic love stories intertwined. Each book is focused on a specific warrior and his saga, yet the ensuing war drives the plot to thicken with each book; coincidentally, so does the warrior’s ‘size’, if you get my drift!
The setting of the story truly adds to the excitement, as it takes place in the heart of modern-day Boston, giving it that dark and edgy feel. The depiction of the surroundings gives the reader an eerie sense of anxiety throughout, especially when the Brothers are out on the prowl, hunting for their next victim (or love interest, whichever it may be). Whether they’re in a trendy downtown club, or a hoity-toity suburb, the author’s choice of location is perfect for each scene.
The vampire warriors in the Brotherhood are totally entertaining and deliciously tempting! J.R. Ward had me rolling at the hilarious repartee that goes on between the warriors throughout the series. She also does a great job of capturing the essence of ‘man-talk’; none of that cheesy “Fabio” crap that sometimes interferes with your sexual fantasy, errrr (COUGH)… I mean visual representation of the story. This author should win a prize for her ability to create characters that embody every girl’s ‘dream man’ six times over! I’m not going to lie and say that I fell in love with these beefy man-treats, but I definitely fell in ‘lust’ with them! The steamy sex scenes had me literally coming up for air afterwards, and panting like the ‘Twigar’ I am! Raaawwrrr!
The Black Dagger Brotherhood is definitely a series I would recommend to any vampire loving girlfriend of mine. It will keep you thoroughly entertained for weeks since there are nine books altogether. If I’m being honest though, the individual storylines do get a bit predictable by book three. But I’m not your Momma, so let’s not pretend that you’re going to be reading these books for the plot! OOOWWWW!!! NAUGHTAY! So with all that in mind, I give this book a 4 outta 5 Humps…I mean Pumps! Yes, four incredible, everlasting Pumps! Whew! Anyone got a cigarette?
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on June 30, 2009
Tall, dark, and handsome. These are the typical criteria for most women looking for the real-life men who star in their dreams. In the Midnight Breed Series, by Lara Adrian this wish is granted and even magnified over and over again with each turn of the page. This series offers up another perspective on vampires; they don’t sparkle, they don’t drink the blood of animals, and they certainly aren’t teenagers! Instead, Adrian’s vampires are gorgeous, dangerous, erotic, and statuesque warriors referred to as the Order. These men are the ultimate protectors who take the law, and their women, into their own hands.
With the Breed collection, I enjoyed how each book followed a different member of the Order, and introduced a new female love interest. Every volume delivers several no holds barred, juicy, and scintillating love scenes that left me aching with pleasure and yearning for more. If you’re needing to release some pent up sexual frustration, Adrian certainly delivers the goods! On more occasions than I am willing to admit, I actually released several “mmm hmm’s” while reading these steamy sex scenes. I kept imagining how very different our world would be if these bad boys were the real deal. Oh, and if you have a thing for men with tattoos, just wait until you envision these handsome vampires in the buff; their body markings are beautifully described and incredibly spectacular!
While the love stories and the interactions between the vampires and their mates are quite prominent in this series, it is not done in a cheesy or degrading manner. Adrian’s female characters are very strong-willed, and gifted women in their own distinct ways. Each would be welcomed in with the Vixen crowd any day! With each book, I found myself relating to these women and agonizing over their mistakes and celebrating their bravery. In addition, the love scenes are well-balanced out by adding some hearty conflict between “good and evil” along with the Order’s desire for justice to be met.
Now, let this serve as your warning: The Midnight Breed Series is not intended for young adults! If you’re looking for sparkling, self-loathing vegetarians, don’t come here! Adrian’s warriors are wild, unashamed animals in the sack and trained, blood thirsty assassins on the streets. She gives her mature readers what they want: vampires, sex, action, and details! Now, I’m by no means a prude, but the language does become quite vulgar due to the testosterone charged characters. Also, only 6 of the 8 books are currently out, so there is definitely more of our Breed Boys to follow! Because of these little annoyances and minor inconveniences, I have to take one pump away giving this great series 4 out of 5 pumps!