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Posts Tagged: Dual Time Periods

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Review: Breakable by Tammara Webber

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Breakable by Tammara WebberBreakable by Tammara Webber
Series: Contours of the Heart, Book 2
Also in this series: Easy
Published by Berkley Books on 06 May 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Easy

Place(s) Traveled To: Arlington, VA // Washington, DC // Unnamed, Texas

First Line(s): Landon. Eight years ago. I woke with a jerk, screaming.

 Breakable by Tammara Webber is a companion book to her bestselling novel, Easy. In Breakable we get to see Jacqueline’s story from Lucas’s POV and we also get to see a little more of his backstory. The story shifts from right after his mother’s death, when most people still called him Landon, to the present where he runs into Jacqueline. I liked how Webber did a back and forth with the present and past as it helped to break up the different aspects of Lucas’s story and it didn’t feel like the lead up to meeting Jacqueline was slow and weighted down. Overall, Breakable is a quick read and it took me only a few hours to get through but I felt that it was missing something and so it wasn’t as good as Easy.

Part of this I think is because I felt like I was missing part of the story. There were things and dialogue that were glossed over in Breakable because they were discussed in more detail in Easy. This made me wish that I’d re-read Easy right before starting this book in order to have all the details super fresh in my mind. I also felt that not a ton of new information was given in this book. Yes, we got to peak into Lucas’s past but there was nothing new on the Jacqueline/Lucas story. Also, because Lucas was the savior and not the victim this one didn’t have the same emotional impact. Although, Lucas’s past does give the reader its own set of emotions and feels.

The parts I liked best about Breakable were the ones that took place in his past before he left home for college. I really liked seeing the kid he was and the man he became. It was heartbreaking at times to see what he went through after the death of his mother and it makes him an even more endearing character than before. Without those life experiences he wouldn’t be the Lucas that we know and love and there is also a good chance that he may never have met Jacqueline if things didn’t happen as they did.

Even though I didn’t like this one as much as Easy I still liked the story of Lucas and Jacqueline. I liked seeing thing through the eyes of Lucas though in someways I wish that Easy had been a dual perspective story. I think it would have been betting to get both sides at the same time or at the very least, as I said above, I really should have read Easy again before picking this one up. It just felt like there was a little more distance between what was happening and the reader that it didn’t suck me in as much. This could be because of the male POV which isn’t always an easy one to write when you aren’t a male. But it could just be because all those details that got glossed over. I enjoyed Breakable and I do recommend it but in my humble opinion this one isn’t a standalone book and really does need to be read with Easy to fully appreciate Lucas’s story.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Audio Review: Fallout by Todd Strasser

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Middle Grade, Review1 Comment

Audio Review: Fallout by Todd StrasserFallout by Todd Strasser
Narrator: Jeff Cummings
Published by Brilliance Audio on 10 September 2013
Genres: Historical, Middle Grade
Length: 4 hours 53 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Hudson Bay, New York (1962)

First Line(s): I wake to a hand on my shoulder. Dad’s voice is urgent. “Get up, Scott!”

I have been reading several middle grade novels that seem to defy my expectation on what middle grade should be. I usually expect the stories to be less intense and less serious than a young adult or adult story. However, recent middle grade reads has proven me wrong in this the latest of which, Fallout by Todd Strasser is a crazy roller coaster ride of emotion and what ifs. Fallout is told in a non-linear format in which each chapter moves from the present (1962) and the near past – the summer before the main events in the story. The story hinges around Scott and the bomb shelter that his father builds in the backyard. A thing that all the neighbors scoff at until there comes a day when a bomb does drop on their town.

What follows is this crazy, fast-paced story that will leave a reader a bit breathless. While the jumps to the near past do break up the story sometimes they are a needed break from the events and emotions that are going on in the bomb shelter. As the night that the bomb fell several neighbors beat and bullied Scott’s father into letting them inside. Its tense in the shelter as it was built and stocked for 4 people and now there are almost a dozen. Including the horrible, douchbag Mr McGovern who I spent the entire book just wanting to punch him in the face. A more self-entitled, self-rightous, and just all out selfish person I’ve never encountered before.

Along with a decent story what made this book was the narrator, Jeff Cummings, who does an excellent job in bringing this story to life. While some of the voices would sometimes blend together Cummings always infused just the right amount of emotion into any given scene. Cummings helped make the scenes just a bit more tense and helps bring the listener right there into the bunker with all the other characters. Cummings is one of those narrators that I will not mind listening to in other stories in the future.

Where Fallout kind of lost me was in its ending which was a bit too open ended for my liking. Yes, there is a device I normally don’t mind in a story as I do like to think about where I would like a story to go. Fallout is just one of those stories where I would have liked to have seen just a little bit more for Strasser to go just a little bit farther in the telling of what happened next. Although the way this story ends does lend itself to the potential of a sequel so maybe there will be one at some unknown point down the line. If there is, then you can be sure that this reader will be checking it out.

irishdarkblue

four-stars
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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Review: How to Love by Katie Cotugno

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: How to Love by Katie CotugnoHow to Love by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer + Bray on 01 October 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Young Adult
Pages: 405
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars

 

Place(s) traveled to: Broward, Florida

First Line(s): I’ve been looking for Sawyer for half a lifetime when I find him standing in front of the Slurpee machine at the 7-Eleven on Federal Highway, gazing through the window at the frozen, neon-bright churning like he’s expecting the mysteries of the universe to be revealed to him from inside.

When I first read the synopsis of How to Love by Katie Cotugno I was intrigued. I love stories that cover both the past and the present and enjoy getting that complete picture of a story. In the case of How to Love, each chapter alternates between the before and the after. Before, Reena was a typical teenager in love with a boy who just happened to be dating her best friend. After, Reena was a teen mom and the baby’s daddy had skipped town when she got pregnant and he’s only just returned. The boy in question is the same, Sawyer and he had to the potential to be this complicated character but in the end he never quite lived up to what he could have been. The same can also be said for How to Love as a whole.

While I did enjoy How to Love I just felt that it lacked depth. There were many questions that were never fully addressed and many others that were just glossed over. Reena in the time After was a bit of a mary sue allowing everyone around her to walk over her and treat her like she was less than she was. Reena in the Before had so much potential and had such big plans that when things feel through do to the unexpected pregnancy those around her treated her horrible. Especially the ones that should have loved and supported her the most. If it wasn’t for Aaron and Shelby I fear she may have spun out of control.

Another area where this book lost me was in the YA cliche of the BFF who really isn’t. In How to Love Reena ends up with two of these, first there is Allie, who knows how much Reena likes Sawyer but dates him anyway. Then gets all high and mighty and so very bitchtastic when Reena eventually calls her out on it and then BAM no more BFF. In the After, Reena has become good friends with Shelby and on the surface Shelby is a true friend. But that is when Reena is dating her twin brother, Aaron. When Sawyer returns and starts to get between Aaron and Reena (they do share a baby and a complicated history) Shelby goes a bit bitchtastic and Reena suffers for it.

*le sigh*

While I don’t agree with some of Reena’s actions I do understand them and I am glad that it is with Sawyer’s return that she finally starts to grow a spine. Though I do wish she’d done with without breaking hearts along the way as while I understood the draw of Sawyer in the Before I didn’t get it in the After. I think that Reena was just too accepting of things there and really wish there were more answers on why he left and more importantly why he returned.

I did like the writing style of Katie Cotugno and do plan on reading more books of hers in the future. Though I don’t think that I will be rushing to read her next book.

 

irishdarkblue
three-stars
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Monday, July 1, 2013

Review: Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Review: Two-Way Street by Lauren BarnholdtTwo-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt
Series: Two-Way Street,
Also in this series: Right of Way
Published by Simon Pulse on 26 June 2007
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Love & Romance, New Adult, People & Places, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Through to You, Right of Way

Place(s) Traveled to: Unnamed, Florida // Boston, MA

First Line: I’m a traitor to my generation.

Well, dear readers it shouldn’t surprise you what initially drew me to Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt because this, my friends, is a road trip book. I adore road trip books with a passion that is probably a tad bit unhealthy. They feed my wanderlust and let me “travel” to multiple places in a short amount of time. I love all the random crazy things that happen on a road trip and its always just such a fun experience. So, its with a heavy heart that I saw that Two-Way Street fails at being a road trip book. Or at least, how I like my road trip books to be.

There are no crazy side trips. There are no fun adventures. There is also very little description of any of the stops that Courtney and Jordan make along the way. Its all quite disappointing. Oh there is talk of them in hotels and on the road but you never get a sense for where they are. And that makes me sad because the journey is what makes a road trip book. Now, there is a journey in Two-Way Street but its more of internal one that the two main characters take as they drive from Florida to Boston in order to start school.

Courtney and Jordan used to date until one day Jordan breaks things off unexpectedly. So there is lots of tension in the car at the start of this trip. Courtney is pissed and Jordan is so obviously hiding something. As this story is told in the present and the past its not long before the reader is aware of what this secret of Jordan’s is. When you do your heart breaks a little for his situation. While so much could have been avoided by simple communication its not all that easy in this case. Jordan is walking a very fine line and I can totally understand why he made the choices that he did.

Also, once you know the why it becomes a bit harder to sympathize with Courtney as her attitude just makes her a tad bit unlikable. I liked past Courtney but future Courtney is a bit hard to take. But her actions are also totally realistic so I can’t hold her bitchiness against her…much. Two-Way Street is very much a character driven novel and its one where I was really glad that it was told from both Courtney and Jordan’s perspectives. This alternative POV telling adds a bit of depth that would be severely lacking if this was a one-sided story.

Two-Way Street is a quick, fast-paced story that I read in just a few hours. Its easy to get lots in this book and its one that I would consider to be a brain candy read. Its a lazy day book, or one for a rainy day, or a day at the beach. Its not a book you pick up if you want something serious and that’s not a bad thing. This isn’t a book that I’ll bully people for but I don’t feel like I wasted my time reading it. Its a cute story even though its a predictable one. This was my first Lauren Barnholdt book but it probably won’t be my last. After all, Two-Way Street does have a companion story…which sounds an awful lot like this one so I will probably wait to read that one.

three-stars
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review: Five Summers by Una LaMarche

Posted by Irish in Review1 Comment

Title: Five Summers (Goodreads)
Publisher: Razorbill

Source: Publisher
Publication Date: 16 May 2013
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 1595146725
Format: ARC
Pages: 384

The author on the web:

Place(s) Traveled to: Onan, New Hampshire (Lake Ossipee)


Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
First Line: There are some things that seem like they’ll just never happen.

Growing up I didn’t go to summer camp often, there was always so many fun activities going on in the community that I grew up in that it seemed silly to go away somewhere to do the same things. Plus the the kids that were in my neighborhood may not have always been the ones that I hung out with at school for various reasons. But when I did go to summer camp there was always something magical about it and so I’ve always enjoyed reading books that deal with the subject. Five Summers by Una LaMarche is the newest summer camp book that is told from the points of view of the four best friends (Emma, Maddie, Skylar, and Johanna) over their five summers at camp.

The girls all come from different areas and home lives and they reinvent themselves in different ways at camp. Each summer they come together grow and bond and then they go home for the winter and wait until the next summer. Eventually they grow too old to attend the camp as campers and while some return as counselors the girls mostly drift apart. That is until the annual reunion weekend comes and the girls reunite. Over the course of the book you learn what brings the girls together, what drives them apart, and what bonds them all over again.

Five Summers is a tale of friendship at its best and while there is romance in the story it doesn’t dominate it. In some ways, Five Summers reminded me a little of Morgan Matson’s Second Chance Summer (my review). Although it was lacking some of the magic that I found in that book. While I enjoyed Five Summers I wish that it had a bit more depth to it. The whole story was a bit predictable and superficial and while part of me was glad the romance wasn’t the focus I also wish that there was more of it.

Five Summers is a book about camp. If you’ve ever been to camp or dreamed of going to camp then it should bring up some fond memories. Five Summers is a book about summer and its lazy days. Its a book about friendships and first loves. Its a quick read and would be a great book to bring with you to read at the beach. Its what I would call a brain candy book in which its fun to read but doesn’t tax the brain too much. To be a brain candy book isn’t a bad thing, sometimes you need those light books to distract yourself from the world. The sort of book that is like an episode of Full House where everything is resolved in 30 minutes and everyone is happy and smiling at the end.

This was Una LaMarche’s first book and while it didn’t wow me as some other debuts I did like it enough to know that I will be looking out for her next book. She may not focus on romance but she does know how to write about friendships. She also writes a pretty entertaining blog so you should check that out after you finish reading her book. If you are a fan of Morgan Matson then you might enjoy this book as well. LaMarche and Matson have a similar style and I look forward to seeing LaMarche’s writing grow over future books.

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Review: Doctor Who Series 3 Volume 1 by Andy Diggle & Brandon Seifert

Posted by Irish in Review1 Comment

Title: The Hypothetical Gentleman (Goodreads)
Publisher: IDW Publishing

Source: Publisher / Netgalley
Publication Date: 19 March 2013
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: 1613775792
Format: ebook 
Pages:104

The Author on the Web:
Andy Diggle
Brandon Seifert

The Illustrators on the Web
Mark Buckingham
Philip Bond

Place(s) Traveled to: London, England (1814 & 1851)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

First Line: NA
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m crazy addicted to Doctor Who and have been since I was a child. I watch the show every week and when its on hiatus I will watch old episodes on Netflix. But despite my deep love of the show I’ve never branched into any of the books or comics that exist in the world about it. That is until recently when this one appeared on Netgalley. I was really curious about it and so decided to request it. This was a quick read, as you can imagine since it is a graphic novel/comic.

There are two stories contained in this comic and both of them felt flat to me. The stories were just so-so and never once could I imagine The Doctor, Amy, or Rory saying any of the lines that they said. The whole thing felt so still and flat. And yes I know its a comic so its all drawings but I’ve read comics in which you get a sense of suspense and movement and that never happened here. The drawings were just blah and most felt like they were a bit unfinished. 
Overall, this one just wasn’t for me and I don’t think I’ll be checking out other Doctor Who comics in the future. I may check out some of the books that are out there but I am doubtful if they’ll live up to the show. For me, I think that Doctor Who will always be something that needs to be visual and if a comic can’t bring me that same magic that I love about the show then I’m not sure anything will. 

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Audio Review: Draw the Dark by Ilsa J. Bick

Posted by Irish in Review2 Comments

Title: Draw the Dark (Goodreads)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Source: Publisher
Publication Date: 01 June 2012
Series or Standalone: Series

ISBN: 145585901X

Format: Audio
Audio Length:  ~10 hrs
Narrator: Joshua Swanson

Websites:

Place(s) Traveled to: Winter, Wisconsin

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

First Line: So. Everything I need to leave is here: My brushes. Paint. The wall.

Before starting Draw the Dark by Ilsa J. Bick I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was hoping that it would be a good mystery. After I finished I was left with a crazy amount of confusion on just what just happened. Yes, there was a mystery but there was also this dual story line that took place in the past and this odd supernatural element. There were just so many elements in this story and while some of them worked others just never seemed to mesh in with the whole picture. 

The mystery portion of the book I liked and I liked how the story wove itself over two different time periods. These are the elements that worked well in this book. These are the ones that kept me listening until the end. What didn’t work for me was the supernatural aspect which was just confusing and really took away from the story. Maybe if it was used more throughout the plot it would have made more sense but as it was it just never made any sense. And that ending….ugh to the ugh! Talk about your WTF just happened. 

I did like the various characters and how they interacted with each other. Christian was a complex character but he was likeable. I liked his uncle and his friend Sarah and they helped to really flesh out this story. As I said about the mystery held my attention although it was a little predictable at times. 

The narrator, Joshua Swanson, did a really good job with bringing all the different voices to life. He managed to sound young for the teen characters and older for the adult ones. His female voices weren’t the best but they weren’t the worse that I’ve heard either. Its not always easy though for men to do the voices of women and vice versa so I try not to hold it against the narrator. Unless of course the narration is atrociously bad. 

Overall, Draw the Dark wasn’t a novel that blew me away. I guess I just expected something more from it. Although I do think I would have liked it better without those supernatural elements that were included. The ending definitely dropped the star rating of this one down as it was just so out of the blue. This was my first book by Ilsa J. Bick and while I thought it a bit odd at times I may check out some of her other stories and see how they compare.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Waterfall by Lisa T Bergren

Posted by Irish in Uncategorized4 Comments

Publisher: David C Cook
Source: Purchased
Publication Date: 01 February 2011
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: 1434764338
Format: paperback
Pages: 369
Websites:
Place(s) Traveled to: Siena, Italy // Tuscany, Italy (1342, Present Day)
Rating: 5 out of 5 star 

River of Time Series Order

Book 1: Waterfall
Book 2: Cascade
Book 3: Torrent
Book 3.5: Bourne (~February 2012)
Book 4: Tribitary (~2012)

First Line: We paused on our hike, panting and wiping our upper lips as our guide-the old Italian farmer who owned this land-chopped down a small spaling, clearing the overgrown trail.

I first heard about Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren from Deborah over at Books, Movies and Chinese Food who never failed to mention it when I was looking for book recommendations. Eventually she wore me down with her glowing recommendation of this series that I just had to buy it…and I was glad that I did. Because once I started I became lost in this story and found myself buying the second and third books before I was even half way done. 

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren contains within some of my favorite things in a book there is a little mystery, a little romance, dual time periods (although this one is mostly set in the 14th century), and its set in the middle ages. I adore the middle ages. I’m not sure what it is about that time period but I just have an odd fascination with it and so loved the history and pageantry found in this book. I also really liked the main characters of Gabby, Marcello and Luca. Though there were times when each would annoy me….mostly Gabby but they were minor quirks and ones easily overlooked. 

I loved how all the characters interacted and how Bergren was able to weave in the intricate histories of the books setting without coming across as dry and boring. The added in bits of history did nothing to distract from the story and only added to the richness of it. The only thing that really bugged me was how easy it was for Gabby and her sister to talk in 14th century Italian and to learn the various social morays of the time. It just seemed too quick and unrealistic for two modern day girls who didn’t share there parents passion for history.  


Minor annoyances aside I really enjoyed this novel. I loved meeting all the various characters and seeing how they interacted. There were some relationships that developed that were predicable but again that didn’t deflect from the story. Its not always about how a book will end but the journey the characters take in getting there. And Waterfall was filled with a wonderful journey and I am sorry that it took me so long to get to it. Waterfall is a beautiful story and I can’t wait until I am able to get to reading the other books in this series to see what happens next. If you are looking for a fun book to take you out of reality for a couple of hours then look no further and give Waterfall a try. I think that it might surprise you.

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Audio Review: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult10 Comments

Audio Review: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan MatsonAmy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Narrator: Suzy Jackson
Published by Brilliance Audio on 20 September 2011
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Love & Romance, People & Places, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 10 hours 8 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Second Chance Summer, Since You've Been Gone, The Unexpected Everything

Place(s) Traveled to: Raven Rock, California // Yosemite National Park, California // The Loneliest Road in America // Eureka, Nevada // Delta, Utah // Colorado Springs, Colorado // Wichita, Kansas // Fairfield, Missouri // Louisville, Kentucky // Memphis, Tennessee // Asheville, North Carolina // Richmond, Virginia // Philadelphia, Pennsylvania // Connecticut

First Line: I sat on the front steps if my house and watched the beige Subaru station wagon swing too quickly around the cul-du-sac.

I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book!

For a long time now I’ve really wanted to take a road trip across the country but I just haven’t had the time to do it. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour allowed me to take that trip and still remain firmly in boring old Massachusetts. It both satisfied my wanderlust but also fed my travel bug as well.

Amy and Roger meet for the first time in years (they were childhood friends) when Amy needs to get herself and the family car from California to Connecticut where she is moving to. The only catch is that Amy no longer drives – enter in Roger – who is being forced to spend the summer in Pennsylvania with his dad & stepmom.

At the start of the trip Amy and Roger are very stiff with each other as they are rebooting their friendship. But as they progress across the country you get to see them grow and get to know each other and this makes for a very heart-achy book. Morgan Matson did such a wonderful job with the way the emotions flowed in this book. It was gradual and real and as a listener you find yourself routing for Amy & Roger to become more than friends because you can see that there is something special there. If they just let go of their baggage and open themselves up to something new.

I really liked how Amy and Roger decided to chuck Amy’s mothers pre-planned trip and just go where the road led them. It was was healing trip for them both as they faced memories of their past which then allows them to move forward. It also allowed us a reader to get to know them both even though the book is told from Amy’s POV. I also liked the little flash backs that occurred throughout the novel where we learn about Amy’s demon’s and why she has an aversion with driving. Her past isn’t some big reveal and its pretty obvious from the start what happens but its not so much about what happened as it is about how Amy remember’s what happened. And its through the remembering and the interactions she has with those she meets as she travels across America that help her get over the past.

As with many YA books parents are mostly absent throughout the book. First Roger’s mom just drops him off in front of Amy’s house. We only see her from a distance through Amy’s eyes and she gets no dialogue. I found it odd that she didn’t even say hello to Amy. Then there is Amy’s mom – who could be a royal b&@#h through most of the phone conversations that we saw her through. I couldn’t believe some of the things she said and did. I mean of her two children Amy is the one who was always miss goody two shoes. She was the model child. She got good grades and never got in trouble. The one time she does something radical her mother goes a bit crazy. And yet her brother was constantly doing something wrong and it took YEARS before he faced any consequences. So she was just a very frustrating character for me. With all that Amy was going through taking a few extra days to travel from her old life to her new one shouldn’t have been as big a deal as her mother made it into.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour  is an excellent book to listen to in the car (if only I’d been able to listen to it on an epic road trip of my own!) If you haven’t checked this one out yet then do so now. It was amazing and I can’t wait to see what Morgan Matson writes next.About the Narrator:

I loved how Suzy Jackson narrated this book. She really brought Amy to life. She was very believable as a teenage girl and handled the male voices well. She even handled reading off the playlists well. The only thing I wished she had done differently was to try to find a way to articulate the pictures and drawings that were in the physical book. I think that those aspects add to the story and so there was just something missing in the audio since there is no way for the listener to know that they were there.

irishdarkblue

five-stars
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review: Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult5 Comments

Review: Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy PonFury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon
Series: The Kingdom of Xia, Book 2
Also in this series: Silver Phoenix
Published by Greenwillow Books on 29 April 2011
Genres: Asian Mythology, Fantasy, Girls & Women, Mystery & Detective, People & Places, People of Color, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Gift
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
Also by this author: Silver Phoenix, Blue Skies, Serpentine

Place(s) Traveled to: The Kingdom of Xia (based on ancient China) // Jian

First Line: Chen Yong was already on board the ship.

If I had only one word to describe Cindy Pon’s Fury of the Phoenix it would be love. I loved this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect from it initially as Cindy kept saying how different it was from Silver Phoenix. I was a little worried at this at first because I really loved how Silver Phoenix was told. But from the moment I started Fury of the Phoenix I knew my fears where unfounded as this book not only met my expectations but exceeded them. Fury is different as it has two central stories to it there is the present journey of Chen Yong and Ai Ling to country Jian and there is the story that takes place in the past with Zhong Ye and Silver Phoenix.That’s right the villain of the first book is back and OMG so very different then he was before. In Silver Phoenix, Zhong Ye is this evil magician who believes that Ai Ling is his lost love – the reincarnated Silver Phoenix. In Fury, you get to learn the origins of the love between Zhong Ye and Silver Phoenix and let me tell you its a beautiful story. When Fury first started to travel into the past I thought Zhong Ye? He is evil there is no way that I could like him. There’s no way that I could like these bits of the book that are about him. How dare Cindy take time away from Chen Yong and Ai Ling for him!

But readers…I was wrong. So very wrong. I loved every moment with Zhong Ye and Silver Phoenix as I did with Chen Yong and Ai Ling. In fact I became so engrossed in each segment that I hated hated hated when Cindy would move back to the other couple. There was several times when I literally asked my book…”we’re moving on already? But…but….no!!” Each story is so engrossing that I could live in them forever and be quite content.

The tension between Chen Young and Ai Ling is palpable and they remain two of my favorite book characters. Ai Ling is a strong, intelligent heroine and Chen Yong accepts that she’ll never be a traditional girl. While sometimes her independents does go against his protective grain he still supports her and helps her become more than she was before. Just as Ai Ling does with Chen Yong. With Zhong Ye and Silver Phoenix’s story there really isn’t much tension. Their story is slower and more like Spring breeze in that its gentle and all about beginnings and growth. Chen Yong and Ai Ling try to deny their attraction, but necessity’s sake they have to pretend they are brother and sister and so they are each like polar ends of a magnet that are pushing against each other. So their story isn’t as calm but it still has the sense of expectation to it.

And now I’ve reached the part in the review where I am just a rambling babbling mess trying so hard to find all the right words to convey my love for this book. To try to find the right phrase that will make you want to rush out and buy this book. But there really are no words as there are just so many thoughts running amuck in my head. Just know that Cindy Pon is an amazing writer with a real gift for prose. She has a way of weaving a world around you that you think that you are in the Kingdom of Xia as the real world just fades away as you read her words. There is action and adventure and fantasy and romance and just a little bit of everything that I love to see in a book. My brain was engaged and there were plenty of heart achy moments to keep me turning pages. This is one that I highly recommend…so go get it, read it and then come back here and tell me what you thought.

Related Posts: Cindy’s Top 10 YA Fantasy List

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