Friday, February 17, 2012

Slide by Jill Hathaway

"I slid into someone else. Someone bad. Someone with a knife."

Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body. 

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

This was another one of those times where I shamelessly judged a book by its cover. Not that you can blame methat cover is like, gorgeous. The highlighted face? The blueish tint? The streaks around the title? So very awesome.

Okay so, Vee, our main character, has the (unwanted) ability to "slide" into other people's minds, and basically experience what they're experiencing without anyone ever knowing about it. I kind of fell in love with this book instantly, because the plot reminded me so of Lisa McMann's Wake, which I adore.

Note: If you have not read Wake, go read it now.

Anyway, from the first scene where Sophie's murder comes into it, I was completely hooked. It actually gave me chills down my spine. It's hauntingly creepy, because it's not some paranormal thing: There's a murderer. That person is running around your town. You could be next.

Another thing: I adored Sophie. Even though her murder happens only five chapters in, I was already rooting for her, just like Vee. I felt the same way as Vee a lot of the time: I hated Scott Becker, I loved her little sister; she was a great main character to cheer on.

My biggest dislike was the conclusion. I'm not going to spoil it, but the murderer reveal was a letdown for meI just didn't really get the motive. I guess I was expecting more...and that was just it.

My one other complaint is about Vee's best friend, Rollins. Vee thinks he suspects something about her sliding, which she never told him about. Whenever she tries to, she decides against it, because she told her dad years ago and all she got was a shrink. But still, she always feels guilty and he gets upset since he knows she's not telling him something. That would be understandable.

My problem is that, in the year that she's known her best friend, not once has she been to his house. He repeatedly gives her fake excuses when she asks to go over, and she just accepts them, never connecting the dots and saying "Um, why is it not okay for me to keep one tiny secret when you're hiding half of your life from me?" which is what I would've said long before.

I loved the suspense of the book, and loved seeing the sliding aspect, but the ending didn't quite measure up to what I was expecting. You'll probably spend a good portion of the book trying to track down a murderer with Vee, playing detective.

Read more reviews for Slide at:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

"But things don't just fall apart. People break them."

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.  When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love.  When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark. 

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead.  His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer. Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. 

The title really jumped out to me. Just enough vague creepiness in it to interest me, I guess. And now that I've read it, I don't think the author could have picked a better name for the book.

I'll probably sound clichéd saying this—I know I've heard it myself numerous times—but this was a book that had my full attention from the very first sentence. I don't think there's any other reaction when you're started off with a book like this:

"I should probably start with the blood."

 Possibly my favorite opening line—ever. It definitely started the book off with the creepiness I was looking for. And the book keeps the horrific aspect up throughout the story; not through means of ghosts or other haunting creatures, but through real life horrors: death, betrayal, distrust, loss. This isn't any old lighthearted read.

The Book of Blood and Shadow1 has a good deal of history woven into the plot, and unlike most of the stuff I learn in school, these are really interesting topics. The Voynich Manuscript for one: a book completely written in unknown language and script that not a single expert in dozens of years of trying has been able to crack. I actually stopped reading the book at parts so I could google things brought up in the story.

I have to comment on the characters, too—because this is an intensely complex cast we're given. I can't remember the last time I judged a character from the first scene they appeared in, and didn't have them follow my expectations for them the rest of the book. Max, Adriane, Chris, Eli: I never knew who was out to get Nora and who was watching her back. It was insanely infuriating, and, I would suspect, completely the reaction the author was looking for. You're along with Nora for the ride; and you're freakishly paranoid that everyone is out to get you right along with her.

But don't take this review to mean it's all drama and paranoia. Because this book falls into multiple categories, dipping into both action and adventure, a healthy dose of comedy and a romantic aspect that isn't sappy, but as much of a mystery as the rest of the book. It's got intrigue; it's got history. There's literally something in it for everyone.

I don't think the length fit the book. Which isn't the same as disliking when books are long, because a good portion of my favorite books are those five-hundred page (and up) mammoths, as my poor bookshelf would tell you. I just felt that, for this book specifically, it would've been better if it had lost a couple of pages.

There was always stuff going on, so it's not that it got boring, but it got to the point where I was ready for answers. I was ready for the plot to reach its climax, for the characters to make it to the grand finale...and I still had had over two-hundred pages to go. So it wasn't that I got bored as much as that I got impatient for the conclusion and to see how it would all work out in the end.

Read this book if you've got a long afternoon ahead of you and you need something that's going to keep you busy. Read it if you're one of those historical fanatics that loves seeing the past incorporated into the present. Read it if you want to be transported to a whole new situation, or if you're dying for some fiction with a good amount of kidnapping, life-threatening situations, murders, and kick-ass ninja skills. I could go on listing the reasons, but I think it's safe to just say that this is a book that should be added to your TBR list, and one you probably won't forget.

Read more reviews for The Book of Blood and Shadow at:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

“Sometimes a perfect memory can be ruined if put to words.”

Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.
But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

I love that cover. I love the simplicity of the blue, and how it makes you focus on the girl. You just know it's going to be something mysterious, maybe something eeire. Once I saw it, I had to read it.

I loved the language in this book; it was like it was pretty. The sentences had a way of twisting around and surprising you, and they kept me reading, even when nothing was going on.

I know a lot of reviews say the opposite, but I kind of liked Ruby. Or at least, I liked how much she loves her sister Chloe. She means it when she says Chloe is the most important person in the world to her, and I thought she was a fairly interesting character.

I want to say how much I hate giving a book such a bad review. I really do want to enjoy every book I read. But I've read five-stars reviews for this book, absolutely gushing, and I still can't make myself like it.

The first big problem I have with it is the story line. I honestly can't see a point to half the things that happened in the book. There were parts that could've been completely omitted and the novel wouldn't really have changed at all. There were these details all over that I thought were going to tie in to the story later, and they didn't.

My second complaint is that Chloe, the main character, is insanely irritating. All these strange things are going on and Chloe only really notices that they're happening. Even when she asks Ruby about them, she doesn't try to get a straight answer. She just lets Ruby talk her way out of the questions.

My biggest complaint, however, is that there's no real explanation in the ending. After everything that happened in the story, I was ready for this big finale, where everything was explained...but it didn't happen. It hinted to you what some of the answers might be, but it didn't tell you what really happened. It was like the author got to come up with this crazily mysterious story, but she didn't have to make all the plot points hook together because it was labeled a mystery book.

Obviously, this wasn't my kind of book. And I really, really don't like it when I have to give a book a bad review, especially when everyone adores it. But I just didn't like this book, which was really disappointing.

Read more reviews for Imaginary Girls at:
Chick Loves Lit and Between The Pages