Book Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

forbidden

PLEASE NOTE: This book deals with the topic of incest and as such may be difficult for some readers.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As de facto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives and the way they understand each other so completely has also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: A love this devastating has no happy ending.

Forbidden is the type of book that it takes balls to write and extraordinary skill to write well. When I first heard the hype surrounding the book I kind of shrugged it off, but my interest was piqued due to the topic. Once I picked up this book though, nothing else mattered, it had all of my attention.

Forbidden is the story of the Whitely family, a family in a situation that too many families face. However, one thing is different, Lochlan and Maya even knowing the possible consequences are in love. The dynamic between the siblings and the situation they are in, it all makes you feel for them.

The entire book is these two teenagers giving everything they have to make sure that their younger siblings have a roof over their head, food in their tummies, and all the things they could need to have as good a life as possible. They deal with all the many facets of parenthood, forgoing their own lives essentially to be the protectors, a role that someone had to step into for their mother. That may not sound like much, but on top of that, Lochlan and Maya are dealing with a whole other beast. Love, for each other.

They know it’s wrong, and they know that there are a thousand horrible things that could happen to the family if anyone found out, but in the end they care for each other and need the support of one another. Then, boom, the end of this book is smacking you in the face and there are FEELS and TEARS. I think I sobbed into this book for a straight 15 to 20 minutes. It was ridiculous. But it was also powerful and it stuck with me and I couldn’t process it or even talk about it for days, because there are no words.

This book is amazing, but so is Tabitha Suzuma. She takes on the topic of this book, heavy duty as it is, and weaves an amazing, unputdownable story. This one could have gone either way, but she brought an eloquence to the table that I haven’t seen in some time. I truly believe that she was brave as all hell to write this story and I am so glad she did. Absolutely pick it up, I know I’ll be looking for more from this author! 5/5 Stars!

ALSO, PLEASE make yourself available for discussion for the young reader in your life who picks this one up!

Book Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers

alienatedSynopsis from Goodreads:

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

I was craving something alien-y, so I decided to pick up Alienated, which I’ve been staring at longingly for some time but just never got around to picking up, and man am I happy I finally read it. This book was everything that I was looking for when I picked it up, it was fun, there were aliens, there was a little romance, and it was an enjoyable and super quick read.

I have to say I really loved the main characters Cara and Aelyx, faults and all. Cara, even though she sometimes let herself get caught up in drama, was was tough, intelligent, independent, and took no crap. Those are the things I look for in female characters, especially in young adult and teen literature. Aelyx on the other hand was a bit rough around the edges, but I loved seeing him grow past his prejudices throughout the story. He did have some great lines throughout the book though, harsh or not.

The only drawback for me in this book was that I felt like there was too much focus on the drama at times. I would have much preferred a deeper look at some of the goings on of the story as opposed to all the teenage folly.

Bottom line, Alienated wasn’t perfect, but it was a damn good read. From page one it caught my attention. It was fun and easy to read and enjoy (obviously as I read it in one sitting) and I would definitely recommend it. 4/5 Stars.

Alienated series:

1. Alienated
1.5. Until Midnight
2. Invaded (Release Date: 2/3/15)

Graphic Novel Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, Leigh Dragoon & Emma Vieceli

vampacademygraphicSynopsis from Goodreads:

After two years on the run, best friends Rose and Lissa are caught and returned to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a private high school for vampires and half-bloods. It’s filled with intrigue, danger—and even romance.

Enter their dark, fascinating world through a new series of 144-page full-color graphic novels. The entire first Vampire Academy novel has been adapted for book one by Leigh Dragoon and overseen by Richelle Mead, while the beautiful art of acclaimed British illustrator Emma Vieceli brings the story to life.

I adore Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series, so it was only a matter of time before I jumped into the graphic novels. Overall, I did enjoy this. It was a super quick sort of read.

The story: I found the story itself to be adapted quite well for this format. I’m very familiar with the story, but if I weren’t I would not have been lost while reading because all of the important things were there. That being said, I did find some of the transitions to be a bit abrupt. It didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book or anything, but it was noticeable while reading.

The art: All in all, I liked the art. There was a lot of detail packed into the drawings, plus I thought that the way it was drawn out fit the feel of the story. My favorite part of the art though is the use of color. In particular, the background colors. The artist used great background color to really set the mood, or feel of each particular part of the story.

Bottom line, I really enjoyed this telling of Vampire Academy. It’s a great way to brush up on the story line of the first book quickly and I’ll definitely be going back for more of the Vampire Academy graphic novels. 4/5 stars.

Book Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

obsidianSynopsis from Goodreads:

Starting over sucks.
When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring… until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.
And then he opened his mouth.
Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something… unexpected happens.
The hot alien living next door marks me.
You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.
If I don’t kill him first, that is.

When I picked up Obsidian, I was really hankering for an alien story and this was one I had seen talked about a lot, that had really good reviews. So, I decided to give it a go, because why not?

Our main characters Katy and Daemon are an interesting mix. I quite liked Katy just because she didn’t put up with Daemon’s shit and generally gave as good as she got. She had her moments of ‘Whaaaaa?’ followed by her moments of acceptance and moving on with how things would have to be and I liked that about her. She’s also a book nerd, so props there.  Daemon on the other hand… Daemon’s kind of annoying. His character is frustrating in the way only the “typical” male could be, but the whole alien thing makes up for some of it.

The characters overall, both Katy and Daemon and the others like Dee, Ash, Katy’s mom and so on were written quite well I thought. They each had their own personality and feel so I could decide to love or hate them as I was reading. Definitely a plus of this book.

The story, aliens hidden here on earth with the help of the government and the secret alien attacks that happen in the dead of night and all that, did keep my interest throughout the book. I liked reading about the Luxen and the Arum and waiting to see what, if any, part the DoD would play in the story. Intrigued I was with that part of Obsidian.

Here’s what I didn’t love about this story. This may be my own problem because Obsidian came after all these other things for me, but as I read I kept seeing bits of other stories in this one. There were things that were reminiscent of Roswell and Twilight and stuff like that. I ignored it for the most part, but to me it was there all the same. Also, I don’t love YA that much anymore. There’s a lot of pettiness and drama that I’ve already lived and am over. I saw some of that pettiness in Obsidian. Again, I tried not to let it get to me, but it was still there.

All in all, I thought Obsidian was a pretty entertaining book. It’s gets my points for sheer enjoyableness alone. Regardless of what annoyed me I still got hooked into the story and liked (or hated) the characters. This book is one I can just shut my brain off and read for fun. 4/4 stars.

The Lux series:

1. Obsidian
2. Onyx
3. Opal
4. Origin
5. Opposition (To be released: Aug 5, 2014)