EVER Super Review

To give the group a chance to read different books (and more frequently), the Super Reviewers are doing smaller, but still as super reviews on other books. One such review is this one. But the rules are still the same, where we:

  • share several points of views
  • use a handful of paragraphs
  • take down one big, bad book

Today we’re starting with a review of our very own Jessa Russo’s Ever.

Ever Cover RevealSeventeen-year-old Ever’s love life has been on hold for the past two years. She’s secretly in love with her best friend Frankie, and he’s completely oblivious.
Of course, it doesn’t help that he’s dead, and waking up to his ghost every day has made moving on nearly impossible.
Frustrated and desperate for something real, Ever finds herself falling for her hot new neighbor Toby. His relaxed confidence is irresistible, and not just Ever knows it. But falling for Toby comes with a price that throws Ever’s life into a whirlwind of chaos and drama. More than hearts are on the line, and more than Ever will suffer.
Some girls lose their hearts to love.
Some girls lose their minds.
Ever Van Ruysdael could lose her soul.

A word from the author Now, for the FUN: For the entire two months of the tour (March & April), I will have a Rafflecopter form on my website. I will be giving away two books to one winner (one signed paperback copy of EVER, along with a signed paperback copy of the coming sequel, EVADE).

Totally squee worthy, right? And considering the cliff you’ll be hanging off of at the end of this book, you’re going to want to enter her Rafflecopter (find the links below the review) as many times as possible to fix that “end of the book” blues with the sequel. It’s within your reach! Don’t miss out. Now, onto the reviews:

See what we think, and then see what you think. If you’ve already read the book, we’d love to hear swhat you think. Hell, if you haven’t and you think you might, you can share that, too.

Ray In the first few pages of Ever, I was already drawn in and held captive by the sheer emotional trauma and turmoil this MC was going through. In the author’s words I found a connection that made me actually feel what this person was going through. I mean, can you imagine loving someone for so long, having them ripped away from you, but then they are still THERE and keeping you from moving on? It’s like wanting to eat your mom’s cake while the pie your girlfriend baked is sitting there right beside it. You want one of them so bad because you know it’s amazing, yet to do so would devastate someone else. Sometimes you just have to choose though!

In this love story, we have Ever who has been in love with her next door neighbor, Frankie, for years. An accident claims his life, but something keeps him from moving on to the next world. In a cruel twist of fate, the ghost of Frankie lingers in Ever’s home. Maybe some would see this as a comforting thing, but for Ever it seems like it’s little less than torture. She still loves the dead boy, and at times it seems as though she’s also dead and trapped in that house, unable to move on.

Bright and shining light at the end of the tunnel? Cue Toby, the new guy next door. Ever’s immediate connection with him may seem a bit too sudden for some, but if you’re on a deserted island for a few years and a nice bottle of rum washes up, you don’t question. Sparks fly, feelings fall, and mysteries abound as she gets to know the new guy, then the new guy’s ex-girlfriend, who I actually liked. Something’s up with Toby, and though Ever seems to want to ignore that fact or pretend something isn’t wrong, it’s there and makes you wonder just who, or what, the hell this guy is.

Those of you with access to violence-inhibiting weapons just remember one thing once you reach the end of the novel: Book two is coming out soon. Book two is coming out soon. Book two is coming out soon. Just keep repeating that and you won’t want to kill the author for her cliffhanger-y ending!

Jalisa I always love a book that grabs your attention within the first few pages, one that piques your interest in a way that you have to satisfy your curiosity, no matter what. With a opening scene that features the ghostly love of a young woman’s life as a hang out buddy, Ever was that kind of book.

“Addictive”  would be the best description of Ever. With a mix of realistic dialogue and an effective situational understanding of teen drama , Russo weaves a tale that is just as believable as it is fantastic: a hard thing to achieve.

What I found most striking about the novel…well, hell, let me blunt. At times, the reading hitched on dialogue that, despite the ability to be fantastically realistic, was at other times stiff. But that was the only drawback. Everything else was so gripping, I nearly ignored four periods of students to sneak in snippets. I fell behind in grading. It was that kind of book. The mystery and the drama are just the thing that makes a YA book sizzle. The energy and heat that I look for in a YA book versus an adult read was all there. I couldn’t have asked for more.

I was really impressed by the fact that Ever was that it was set in a world nearly identical to ours with one pointed exception: not only could Ever see her lost love’s ghost, but so could her friend Jessie, and her parents, and everyone else (if he appeared). I don’t think I’ve ever come across a novel that included that, and it was a nice break from the main character falling into situation after situation of people misunderstanding their interactions with the ghostly presences.

I wish I could tell you more about the book, as its just as unique as it is a great read, but revealing any of it will ruin the fantastic kick that it provides.

If you like YA, if you like the supernatural, you are missing out if you pass on this book.

Read. It.

Links & Tour Info

LINKS:
SCHEDULE:
             3/4/2013…
Al’s Fair With Pen & Paper
             3/5/2013…
Love & Life & Learning
3/6/2013… The Quiet Concert
3/8/2013… Fiction for Foodies
3/11/2013… Amazing Books!
3/12/2013… Kate’s Book Life
3/13/2013… The Soul Sisters
3/14/2013… Ms. Nose in a Book
3/15/2013… My Library in the Making
3/18/2013… CM Albert Writes
3/19/2013… The Passionate Bookworm
3/20/2013… Literary, Etc
3/21/2013… Snuggling on the Sofa
3/22/2013… Starbreaker 
3/25/2013… Beach Kissed YA Books
3/26/2013… Girls PWN
3/27/2013… Larissa’s World
3/28/2013… Beauty and the Bookshelf
4/2/2013… Books for YA!
4/3/2013… YA-Aholic
4/4/2013… One Life Glory
4/6/2013… Alex Reviews & Interviews
4/8/2013… Loco for Libros
4/9/2013… Katie’s Stories
4/10/2013… The Worm Hole
4/11/2013… Pen & Muse
4/12/2013… Jolene Haley
4/13/2013… A Book Rapport, Not a Book Report
4/16/2013… Ink in the Book
4/17/2013… Paranormal Bookclub

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Iron Thorn Super Review

To give the group a chance to read different books (and more frequently), the Super Reviewers are doing smaller, but still as super reviews on other books. One such review is this one. But the rules are still the same, where we:

  • share several points of views
  • use a handful of paragraphs
  • take down one big, bad book

Today we’re starting with a review of Caitlin Kittredge’s Iron Thorn.

kittredge-caitlin-the-iron-thornIn the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft’s epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical—born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is growing shorter by the day.
Aoife Grayson’s family is unique, in the worst way—every one of them, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their 16th birthday. And now, a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different.

See what we think, and then see what you think. If you’ve already read the book, we’d love to hear swhat you think. Hell, if you haven’t and you think you might, you can share that, too.

Reviews

Holly Iron Thorn is a really hard book for me to review. All the way through, I kept thinking I should be enjoying it, but wasn’t. It was only my third sample of steampunk, a genre for which I am still holding off judgement. I must admit that the world building was fantastic in a lot of ways. I liked the creature mythology, but struggled to feel comfortable with some of the alternate history aspects, which didn’t always seem to mesh well. This is probably my issue more than that of the book, but it made it difficult for me to relax into the tale. My biggest issue, however, lay with the characters.  I didn’t understand Aoife’s motivations, and found the relationship between her and her friend Cal really difficult. They both treated each other like crap. As for the love interest storyline: I couldn’t stand Dean. His nicknames for Aoife made me want to vom. “Princess” and “Kid” are not, I repeat NOT, sexy nicknames. No.

I won’t be reading the sequel.

 

Jalisa Iron Thorn was all around a pleasing read for me. It wasn’t one that I would rave about, as there was nothing particularly striking about it, but I enjoyed the read nonetheless. I thought that Aoife was interesting, if illogical and I liked her spirit, despite the misguidance it gave her actions. Kittredge painted a very visual world and I was happy to view it, as the details were very cinematic. Unfortunately, besides like Aoife, I wasn’t a big fan of any other character (and I wasn’t a big fan of Aoife’s either). Aoife’s partner in crime Cal was annoying from beginning to end and love interest Dean could have been any ol’ slick, patronizing guttersnipe (though I preferred him to the bumbling, inconsistent Cal).
The storyline was fine, though it didn’t leave much of an impression. I could easily forget about it, so I doubt I’ll pick up the second book, either, but I am a fan of the concepts of steampunk and unlike some other reads I’ve attempted, this was easy to read and at the time of reading wasn’t dull. I figure many of my middle school students would enjoy it quite a bit, though it would leave most adult readers feeling a little…unsatisfied.

Divergent Super Review

To give the group a chance to read different books (and more frequently), the Super Reviewers are doing smaller, but still as super reviews on other books. One such review is this one. But the rules are still the same, where we:

  • share several points of views
  • use a handful of paragraphs
  • take down one big, bad book

Today we’re starting with a review of Veronica Roth’s Divergent.

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

See what we think, and then see what you think. If you’ve already read the book, we’d love to hear swhat you think. Hell, if you haven’t and you think you might, you can share that, too.

Reviews

Holly Addictive is the best way to describe Divergent. I read it in one day, glued to Veronica Roth’s tale like a desperate crack addict glued to the trail of her next hit.

Roth’s characterisations are, perhaps, overly simplistic, but the heroine Tris is far less annoying than most young adult heroines, so I’m choosing to ignore any lack of depth. The romance story is quite predictable, but not in a bad way. Tris’ love interest is the most interesting of the characters, and I hope to see his background fleshed out more in the sequel. I loved the dynamic between him and Tris, who both alternate between moments of strength and vulnerability, and care and protection of each other as the story progresses.

Roth doesn’t get too caught up in setting descriptions, yet while I’ve never been to Chicago, I now have a perfect image of what it will look like in the future, should the premise of Divergent come to pass. The action and pace was brilliant. Usually I struggle reading stories in the present tense, but Roth carried it flawlessly and proved that, when done well, writing this way really can pull the reader right into the action.

The premise of the story initially takes some suspension of disbelief, but soon becomes an interesting extension and discussion of the way society insists on boxing and categorising individuals. The story becomes a lovely refusal to accept such categories, a call to individuality, and an acceptance of difference. Weirdly, however, this acceptance of difference extends to the story’s metaphorical categorisations only. In a contemporary sense, the characterisations within Divergent are very mainstream. The idea that people should be praised for individuality or difference does not extend to any real or significant concepts outside the dystopian premise. While I love the discussion created by Roth, had it been followed through a little further, I believe this book could have been truly amazing. Equally, I find it a little strange that it didn’t go that bit further. It would have been so simple, and made so much more sense.

Certainly, Divergent could have been a whole lot better, it could have been totally awesome. But criticisms aside, Divergent is still the most exciting and enjoyable Young Adult fiction novel I’ve read in a long while. I freakin’ loved it.

Jalisa Upon first picking up Divergent, I was struck by the familiarity of the novel as far other YAs springing out from publishers these days, because let’s face it: dystopians are in. But as Marta Acosta (author of DARK COMPANION) pointed out, we’re getting a lot of broken societies without a lot of explanation as to why they are broken, or how they got that way.Unfortunately Divergent doesn’t really break from the pack in that respect.We get some vague explanation as to unrest and perhaps war in this society and then as a result the factions we learn about throughout the book, but there’s no solid line from point A to point B.

And while Divergent doesn’t do that, Roth does do a great job of creating an interesting world for us to visit, even if it’s not terribly detailed. Her characters are worth caring for, though they’re not overly intricate, and Tris—the main character—is not the typical vapid heroine twisting in the wind and waiting for circumstance to work her way. No, Tris’ problem is that she doesn’t know when to back down, even if her life is in danger. But I loved that about her. I could and did root for her throughout the entire novel.

I loved (and re-read and simpered over) her chemistry with Four, main love interest. It had all the spark and awkwardness all first, exciting loves have and I enjoyed following along, though we knew at the end of the day they would end up together. I loved that Roth broke the book up into the stages of choosing and joining a faction, and while I thought the book was overly long for its content, I didn’t mind staying longer in this world. I thought it was nice to see Roth toy with the idea of what makes a good society and that it much of it comes down to the individual; I hope to see her go deeper into this throughout the series.

The ending seemed a bit abrupt, but I’ll be happy to pick up the second book when I get a moment. A great YA read—I recommend to teens and adults alike.