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Review : The Uninvited by Liz Jensen

Posted by on January 7, 2013 3:50 pm in 5 stars reads | 7 comments

the uninvitedThe Uninvited by Liz Jensen
Pages : 320
Genre : Speculative Fiction
Stand Alone
My Rating : 5/5

From the back of the book :

 A seven-year-old girl puts a nail gun to her grandmother’s neck and fires. An isolated incident, say the experts. The experts are wrong. Across the world, children are killing their families. Is violence contagious? As chilling murders by children grip the country, anthropologist Hesketh Lock has his own mystery to solve: a bizarre scandal in the Taiwan timber industry.

Hesketh has never been good at relationships: Asperger’s Syndrome has seen to that. But he does have a talent for spotting behavioral patterns and an outsider’s fascination with group dynamics. Nothing obvious connects Hesketh’s Asian case with the atrocities back home. Or with the increasingly odd behavior of his beloved stepson, Freddy. But when Hesketh’s Taiwan contact dies shockingly and more acts of sabotage and child violence sweep the globe, he is forced to acknowledge possibilities that defy the rational principles on which he has staked his life, his career, and, most devastatingly of all, his role as a father.

My Thoughts :

I very rarely give 5 stars reviews. I can be quite generous with the 4 and 4 and a half stars, but the 5 ones are kept for those very special books that affect me on the long term, make me think, or shake me to my core. The Uninvited certainly deserves all of its stars, and maybe a little more! This is one of those times when I feel my words may fail me.

The first thing to know about The Uninvited is that the book is hard to classify. While it comfortably sits in the broader category of speculative fiction, it gets more difficult to pinpoint its exact place without spoiling anything. Is it horror? Dystopia? Thriller? Philosophical exploration? Maybe a little of everything. Which is part of the book’s appeal, for sure.

Hesketh was such an interesting narrator. I don’t personally know anyone with Asperger, so I can’t say how realistic was this aspect of him; all that I know is that from the start, his tone was different. He fixates on different details, and his emotional disconnect creates a different narrative than we usually see in novels. His interactions with other characters were in turn uncomfortable, entertaining or heartbreaking, and the way his mind worked through the mystery fascinated me.

His narration certainly added to the gloomy, scary, unsettling atmosphere of the story. Two mysteries unexplainably linked to each other in the scariest way. Revelations, twists and horrific scenes that kept me glued to the page. If you’re scared of children, this book will not help you get over your phobia! Children often play scary parts in horror novels and movies; twins, evil clones, haunting ghosts and the like have made numerous appearances in horror fiction over the years, but few have troubled me like Jensen’s little killers.

But the heart of this novel sadly can’t be discussed without spoiling the ending – something I would not want to do here, in this review (but in the comments, sure!) Let’s just say that it left me a bit shaken, terrified, and with a lot to think about.

I will not say anything more. If you are looking for a more revealing review of The Uninvited, take a look at some of the other reviews offered on Goodreads. But I firmly believe this novel is better enjoyed when going in knowing as little as possible. The Uninvited is so unique and original; it is not a novel every reader will enjoy, but it is certainly worth the read.

The Uninvited will be hitting the shelves this Januarry 8th! Make sure to get your copy then. Thanks to Bloomsbury for generously providing a digital copy of The Uninvited.

Review : Indigo Awakening by Jordan Dane

Posted by on January 6, 2013 11:18 am in 2.5 stars reads | 0 comments

indigo awakeningIndigo Awakening by Jordan Dane
Pages : 304
Genre : YA, Fantasy, Supernatural
Series : The Hunted, book 1
My Rating : 2,5/5

What it’s about :

After their parents died, Lucas and Rayne were left in the care of their older sister Mia. But Mia is also a follower of a fanatical church that wants to keep Lucas from the world – at all costs.

When Lucas successfully escapes from the Believers’ care, Raynes wants nothing more than to find him and take care of him. While voices only he can hear call Lucas to them, Rayne gets rescued by a unique boy and his even stranger dog. In their quest for freedom, the two teens discover a world more complex than they could have imagined, filled with unusually talented kids.

My Thoughts :

Ive always had a thing for psychic kids and superpowers. I love the X-Men and love books with a similar theme, which is why I was very intrigued by Indigo Awakening‘s premise.

The book definitely has all the elements to create a suspenseful story filled with action and intrigue. Rayne and Lucas are likable, and their sister-brother bond only strengthens this feeling. It is easy to care for them and what happens to them as the story moves on. I also found the romance not to be too heavy. Sure, Rayne and Gabriel’s connection is quickly established, but they take some time getting to know each other – especially considering Gabriel’s big secrets.

I’ll admit there were a few too many point of views for my taste. I would have preferred for the author to stick with the two main characters, with maybe an extra one or two. But whenever the narration skipped to the bad guys’ side, I wasn’t much interested. I couldn’t care for them, and only wanted to get back to following Rayne and Lucas (or maybe, exceptionally, Mia).

It didn’t help that I found the villains to be a tad too villainy, and the good peeps to be a bit too good. In other words, I found the characterization was a bit too black and white for my taste. That’s just me though; I know many readers like the darkness versus light stories, and sometimes I do too; it just happened not to work too well for me this time around.

I enjoyed the story and its many twists though. And while I mentioned not liking the numerous point of views, I can say that it definitely helped to build up the tension. It kept me on my toes, wanting to know what happened to other characters, or how they would react when their stories converge.

All in all, Indigo Awakening was an okay read. I liked that the author got her inspiration from an existing theory (that of Indigo Children), but made it her own. There are so many possibilities in this story, so many ways it could go! It’s a rich premise that could develop into a very interesting series. Indigo Awakening had its faults, but I am sure many readers will enjoy the adventure.

Series reading order :

  1. Indigo Awakening
  2. Crystal Storm (coming in 2013)


Similar Reading

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

The Summoning is the first in The Darkest Powers trilogy, a series I really enjoyed. It is also an adventure with kids with superpowers, and people experimenting on them, wanting to control them. This one also has a paranormal touch. Kelley Armstrong is a strong writer in her genre, and I would recommend her books to fans of the theme in a heartbeat!

Thanks to Harlequin Teen for generously providing a digital copy of Indigo Awakening.

Comic : My 2013 Resolution

Posted by on January 4, 2013 1:18 pm in My work | 21 comments

BD34

I’ve never been good at resolutions.






The 2012 recap : the best of the best!

Posted by on January 1, 2013 11:31 am in Book talk | 10 comments

HAPPY NEW YEAR READERS! 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

2012 has come to a close, and of course this means it’s time for another of those “Best of” lists!

2012 was a great reading year for me. Not in terms of quantity (although yes, I did read a lot more than expected), but in terms of quality. There were still a few rotten apples in the mix, but overall I have become better in dropping a book when I’m not into it.

This means it also was extremely difficult to put together a “best of 2012” list! There were so many good books I would have wanted to feature, which is why I added an extra category at the end.

Titles link either to review or to Goodreads when the reviews still has to be written. Here we go!

Best of 2012 :

best2012_4The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson : If I had to remember only one reading experience for 2012, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series would probably be it. He excelled in every aspect : complex characters, complex worldbuilding, complex plot. Can you tell I love complexity? All of this was written as an enthralling story I absolutely adored. Thinking about the ending still gives me the chills. I just know these will be reread in a not so distant future!

Best Women’s Fiction :

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I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella : Sophie Kinsella always excels in stand alone novels, in my opinion, and her 2012 publication was no different. Sweet, light and entertaining, it’s a novel I would recommend for any reader looking for a good and heartwarming reading time!

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple : This was fresh, fun, but also heartwarming. There’s the mystery of Bernadette’s disappearance, of course, but it’s much more about her character and her story. Loved it!

Best Apocalypses

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The Stand by Stephen King : Epic. Complex. Scary. This is Stephen King’s masterpiece, I believe, and his talent really shows in this phenomenal novel. The uncut edition was well worth the read!

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa : This vampire YA novel has been met with some very different opinions; I, for one, firmly stand in the “loved it” category. It’s not yet the return of the really mean vampires YA fictions has been needing, but it’s close enough. Action packed, interesting world building, it was definitely a page turner! (review to come, hopefully soon!)

Best Mysteries

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn : I’m pretty sure this one isn’t featuring on only one list this year! This captivating mystery is sure

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes : Less complex than Gone Girl, Into the Darkest Corner still offers some

Best Graphic Novel :

relish

Relish : My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley : It has been really painful for me to keep my review for a day closer to publication date, because I absolutely loved this book! I found some of my childhood memories through Knisley’s own; I laughed; I made note of the recipes. Come April 2nd, I hope I’ll be getting my own paper copy of this fabulous book!

Best YA Heartbreaks :

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green : This one was such a weird experience for me that I had a hard time deciding whether I loved it or only thought it was okay – which is why my review is still unwritten. But in the end, thinking back on it, I realized I really liked it. Sometimes, the greatest reading experiences aren’t ones of immediate love; this was one of these.

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand : Cynthia Hand not only wrote one of the few YA angels books I have loved, she also wrote a surprisingly emotional reading experience. YA paranormal stories are usually more about action, plot twists and love triangles; while Hallowed still had some of these elements, it was definitely different. It’s also one of the very few times where an author got me to change my mind about a love triangle. Ha! Good thing the conclusion is coming soon!

Best Audiobooks :

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Stardust by Neil Gaiman : Written and read by Neil Gaiman. Really, it couldn’t get any better!

Cleopatra’s Moon by Vivky Alvear Shecter : A beautiful YA historical fiction novel. The romance is a much smaller element than the book’s summary might lead you to believe; it is much more about the history and the characters’ tragic story.

Best Speculative Fiction :

best2012_6

The Uninvited by Liz Jensen : I consider myself very lucky that I got to read a galley of this mind-blowing novel! It was a unique experience that still haunts me, even a few weeks after reading it. Sadly I can’t express why I enjoyed it so much yet, as I have yet to write the review for it. The book will be available on the shelves on January 8th; keep an eye out for my review around publication date!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline : This was some of the most fun I have had this year. Reading Ready Player One was like watching a good and entertaining action movie!

Honorable YA Dystopian mentions :

These YA Dystopias didn’t quite make it to the top of the “best of 2012” list, but they provided tons of entertainment per page! I would happily recommend every one of them to readers looking for an engrossing page-turner!

best2012_9

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi : This one started a bit off for me, but turned out in a captivating, dystopian adventure!

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin : A bit different from the other dystopias featured here as it takes place in Victorian era – without trying too hard to create a steampunkesque atmosphere. It was excellent!

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows : Not only did I enjoy the story (despite the forced romance), I also loved how it raised questions of gender and identity.

Thumped by Megan McCafferty : Even though the second book wasn’t as great as the first one, this satire definitely deserves more recognition.

Legend by Marie Lu :  While it wasn’t out-of-this-world original, it had a nice dual narration, romance without a love triangle and an exciting adventure.

* * *

Reading Goals for 2013 :

Read 100 books : This was my goal this year, and I really surpassed it with 150! Sure, this included many children books, audiobook and graphic novels, but still, it was a great number. 100 is a good average of what I have been reading for years though, so this sounds like a reasonable enough goal. I’d rather read less, but better books!

Read more in French : Every year I plan to read more in my first language, and 2012 was the first year I actually did good on this promise. I have great hopes I can do so in 2013, too!

Make time for audiobooks : I discovered audiobooks this year and absolutely loved it; it’s important for me to make time for them in 2013, too.

Get that TBR pile smaller : Heh!  A little bit of delusional goals couldn’t hurt, right?

What were some of your favorite books in 2012? Do you have any reading goals for 2013?