Archive for the ‘You Review’ Category

You Review: Rooms by Lauren Oliver

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Reviewed by Marianne van der Wel

Richard Walker has died. His ex-wife Caroline and their children, Minna and Trenton, have just arrived at his country house for their inheritance. But they are not the only ones in the house.

Long-dead former residents Alice and Sandra are there as well, watching while the Walkers try to sort through the detritus of Richard’s past.

All of them are haunted by secrets of their own, secrets that are trying to get free, because everything surfaces in the end.

Rooms by Lauren Oliver is set up like a house tour. You slowly go through it. In each new room memories resurface and the characters move towards the inevitable revelations of their secrets. All the characters reveal a bit of their stories at a time. At the start it feels a bit fractured, but once everyone has had their first say, you can start to see the bigger picture.

In the beginning of the story I did not like any of the characters. They all seemed petty and self-absorbed. But as it unfolded, my dislike of them became less. You get to know them and they become more human. Unfortunately, this made the beginning of the book a bit dull, and even irritating at times. I’m glad I kept reading, though. It’s a tragic story, with its own sort of happy ending. It’s the best the characters could have hoped for.

In the end I really liked this book. There isn’t much in the way of character development, but that is not what it’s about. You have to give the character a chance to tell their story. And this story is told in a very natural way. You can feel the slow build of nothing to suspenseful, and finally the satisfaction of knowing that everyone is where they should be. This is a very special kind of ghost story.

You Review: The latest releases, reviewed by ABC customers.

There is no ebook of Rooms available yet, but there are ebooks of Lauren Oliver’s previous work: Before I Fall, Delirium (but not the rest of that series, sadly), Panic, Liesl & Po and Spindlers.

You Review: The Perfectionists – Sara Shepard

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Reviewed by Esmée de Heer

Welcome to Beacon High, hell on earth for underachievers. The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard, who you know from the hit series Pretty Little Liars, tells the story of five girls who get fed up with Nolan Hotchkiss, the richest kid in all of Beacon Heights. Nolan is the worst kind of rich kid, one who uses his money to humiliate others and to always get what he wants. No wonder they want to kill him. The girls come up with their devious plan during Film Studies, taught by their oh-so-hot, but oh-so-bad teacher Mr. Granger. But when they execute said plan during a party, things go horribly wrong. Nolan ends up actually dead and the girls are being set up by the murderer, whoever that may be.

The book is a solid mystery and definitely reminiscent of Pretty Little Liars. The high school drama is unescapable and the love triangles are aplenty. There is enough juicy gossip to make the book last and every girl has her own secret and reason to want to get revenge on Nolan.

While reading The Perfectionists you do have to ignore some of the obvious flaws. Of course it makes sense that the girls wouldn’t be able to go to the police, because the police is in on the conspiracy. Of course the girls also all have difficult home situations and not a single adult is to be trusted. And of course they all have at least one boy swooning over them! What would a mystery be without a litte (read: a lot of) romance? But at the same time the book is fun and suspenseful and all the characters are different and interesting enough to make it work.

The setting of Beacon High as a high school where excelling is equally and maybe even more important than just being pretty was refreshing, and the girls are not just empty headed vessels for pretty clothing. They deal with pretty big problems besides their every day teenage problems, and the author comes up with detailed back stories that still leave plenty of room for future mysteries. The Perfectionists is a great beach read and a definite must for anyone who loves previous work of Shepard. The mystery will definitely keep you turning pages and when you’re done, you will want even more.

Blogmistress’s note: The Perfectionists was supposed to be published in the summer of 2014, but, as you can see, has been significantly delayed.  In fact, the US edition shows both a publication date of this month AND May 2015.  Go figure.  The UK edition shown above can be ordered now, though, and delivered within the week (if we don’t have it in stock).

You Review: The latest releases, reviewed by ABC customers.

Esmée, together with Charlotte, runs the Bored to Death Book Club. Head on over to see if you might like to join them!

There is no ebook available of The Perfectionists yet (…see my note on publication date confusion above), but there are ebooks available of her previous works: The Heiresses, Pretty Little Liars (and other books in that series) and The Lying Game (and other books in that series).

You Review: Made for You – Melissa Marr

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Reviewed by Jennifer Kneijber

Eva Tilling has it all: an attractive boyfriend, plenty of admirers, popular friends and a stalker.

Our story sets itself in a small town in America, where nothing out of ordinary ever happens and the lives of the townsfolk are uneventful. Until disaster strikes and a series of unusual crimes take place.

Eva is one of the victims. She gets run over by a car after leaving a party, and she is the first of several. After she wakes up in the hospital, she has a new strange skill: she can see the deaths of people upon touching them. With the help of her friends she tries to uncover the identity of the culprit.

When I first picked up Made for You by Melissa Marr, I wasn’t sure what to think of it. The writing seemed mediocre and the protagonist seemed kind of shallow. However, throughout the book it became easier to empathize with the characters. This being said, I still had a hard time connecting to them.

One thing that made Made for You an interesting, haunting, creepy and funny read was the rotation of the three different narrators. Throughout the book the point of view switches between Eva, her best friend Grace, and the Eva-obsessed Judge. We get to know that Judge is a close friend of Eva’s without knowing his real name. As a reader you try to figure out who could be behind the crimes and I couldn’t put it down until the puzzle pieces fit together and Judge’s identity was revealed.  Even though this book suffered from clichés, it remained an interesting and intriguing book until the last page.

Before I read this novel I hadn’t read any of Melissa Marr’s books, but after reading this one I am not sure if I’m interested in picking up her other works, even though this is her first semi-realistic, contemporary YA novel.

You Review: The latest releases, reviewed by ABC customers.

Three other Melissa Marr books have been You Reviewed over the years: Graveminder, Faery Tales & Nightmares and Loki’s Wolves.

There is no ebook available of Made for You as of yet, but there are ebooks of her older titles: Wicked Lovely (and other books in that series), Graveminder, The Arrivals and Carnival of Secrets.

You Review: Gutenberg’s Apprentice – Alix Christie

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Reviewed by Patricia Kooyman

As a book-lover, this historical novel about the invention of printing movable type interested me even before I had read a single letter. Once I started reading, I could not put down the book!

It is a tale well-told from the perspective of the person who did most of the work (unbeknownst to most people today): Peter Schoeffer, Gutenberg’s Apprentice. There is some detailed information on how they experimented with different (ratios of) metals to prepare alloys that would last throughout the printing of a book. It explains how to make the letters, how to set the type and how to print. The author, Alix Christie, is a printer herself and her love for the process shows. Then there is insight into the contemporary manuscript market and how the political turmoil of the time affected merchants and ordinary people alike.

But it is also the coming of age of Peter, and the conflict he finds himself wrapped up in. The brilliant but stubborn and not always honest Gutenberg demands his unconditional loyalty, but he also feels loyal towards his foster father Johann Fust, who is Gutenberg’s main financier. And then there is his inner turmoil, originally being trained as a scribe and now working on the ‘darkest art’ of printing – some say this ‘art’ is an invention of the Devil to desecrate holy scripture as copied manually.

Of course a love story is also thrown in for good measure, but it is not the main plot of the story. And that is not a complaint.

You Review: The latest releases, reviewed by ABC customers.

You Review: Messenger of Fear – Michael Grant

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Reviewed by Mandy Fisher

Mara wakes up surrounded by a strange mist with no memories.  She meets a strange young man who calls himself Messenger of Fear and she’s supposed to be his apprentice. They move through time and space, observing people who need punishment for crimes of wickedness, bullying and thoughtless teenage cruelty, when human law isn’t enough. They give the people a choice: play a game the horrific Game Master devised, or face your biggest fear. If the players win the game, they go free – though they’ll be changed by the experience of the game. If they lose, they must face their biggest fear anyway.

Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant is about the good and the evil in humans and the thin line between the two, the cruelty people choose to inflict on others and how they justify it in their heads. It shows the hard reality of today’s world, but also a scary new fictional world. Real life problems are mixed with fiction and I really loved that.

There are three subplots and I felt so sad reading them. My heart broke a little, especially with Samantha’s story. The three plots are very different, but they’re all involved in the same terrifying situation. Messenger paid all of them a visit, but everything else was anything but similar. This book has important lessons about life and the biggest lesson is that you should be careful of the way you act. Unless you want a visit from the Messenger of Fear and you don’t want that, trust me.

I really enjoyed reading this book, the plot twist at the end was very interesting and I didn’t see it coming. I did felt like this book was more like an exploration of an idea than a story, but it’s the beginning of a series, so this book was a good introduction and I’m very curious about the rest of the series. I’d love to know more about the other characters like Daniel, I feel like he’s got a lot going on that we didn’t see.  This horror book will make you think.

You Review: The latest releases, reviewed by ABC customers.

Follow Mandy’s further reading exploits on her colourful blog!

There is an ebook of Messenger of Fear available here, and there are ebooks of his previous books, too: Gone, Hunger, Lies, Plague, Fear, Light, The Call, The Trap, The Key, The Power, BZRK: Origins (ONLY as ebook), BZRK, BZRK: Reloaded, BZRK: Apocalypse, and Eve & Adam.