Book Review: Sinner

It was the first time I’d really realized I’d lost my soul and that the beauty of not having a soul was that you couldn’t seem to care that you no longer had one.

sinner_maggiestiefvaterTitle: Sinner

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

# of Pages: 357

Published: July 1, 2014

Rating: 3 Hearts

Synopsis:

found.
Cole St. Clair has come to California for one reason: to get back Isabel Culpeper. She fled from his damaged, drained life, and damaged and drained it even more. He doesn’t just want her. He needs her.
lost.
Isabel is trying to build herself a life in Los Angeles. It’s not really working. She can play the game as well as all the other fakes. But what’s the point? What is there to win?
sinner.
Cole and Isabel share a past that never seemed to have a future. They have the power to love each other and the power to tear each other apart. The only thing for certain is that they cannot let go.
[Goodreads]

My Opinion:

Honestly, I didn’t find this book as compelling as the prior three. I started reading it with such high hopes, because Cole and Isabel were my favorite couple in the original trilogy, so I was so excited to read a book dedicated to them. Although there were some scenes that I liked and enjoyed, most weren’t very powerful or creative; I just found it to be a bit cliche.

What I liked:

Cole continues to be my favorite character. He is so sad and broken, but also so witty. I have a soft spot for characters like this.

Isabel and Sophia’s relationship. Isabel was such a snarky character, but her cousin’s patience and love for her went so beyond family duty. I just really liked how they evolved as family members and friends.

Cole’s friendship with Leon. Sometimes Cole was so carefree and unexpected. I really liked how he befriended his driver and how they learned so much from each other.

What I disliked:

The reality show theme throughout. I didn’t not enjoy the fact that Cole had signed on for an awful reality show. The person running the show was so obnoxious and over the top, but I suppose Stiefvater was just trying to go for things clearly L.A.

I felt that Isabel was a bit more whiny and complicated in this one. There were so many times she got upset or angry or sad for no apparent reason or for reasons that didn’t make any sense.

What I thought overall:

So while reading this book, I had Thanksgiving and pre-finals week and so many other things going on that I wasn’t able to document better details on my likes/dislikes, but overall I just didn’t think it was as up to par with the others. I thought it was trying too hard at being L.A.-esque and that got old and boring after awhile. Do I recommend reading it? Yes. I am still glad that I read it, but I thought it could have gone in a better direction. I did like the ending though.

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Book Review: Forever

Mutual, respectful, enduring love is completely attainable as long as you swear you won’t settle for less.

foreverTitle: Forever

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

# of Pages: 388

Published: July 12, 2011

Rating: 4 Hearts

Synopsis:

then.
When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their loved moved from curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.
now.
That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.
forever.
Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment – a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.
 [Goodreads]

My Opinion:

So I have to admit that I didn’t like this one nearly as much as I liked the previous two, but it was a nice ending to a great series. I don’t know what it was about this book, but it just didn’t hold my attention as well as Shiver and Linger, but I was so ready to know how it ended that I breezed through the end.

What I liked:

I would just like to say again that Cole St. Claire stole the show for me. Once he was introduced, he instantly became my favorite! I just love reading his chapters and love his character in general.

“Are you high? Why are you never wearing a shirt?”
“I sleep naked,” Cole said. He put both milk and sugar in my coffee. “As the day goes on, I put on more and more clothing. You should’ve come over an hour ago.”  

The relationship between Cole and Isabel was dynamic from the beginning. Bad broken boy meets sad broken girl equals to perfection.

“Cole,” I said, “do you think I’m lovable?”
“As in ‘cuddly and’?”
“As in ‘able to be loved,’” I said.
Cole’s gaze was unwavering. Just for a moment, I had the strange idea that I could see exactly what he had looked like when he was younger, and exactly what he’d look like when he was older. It was piercing, a secret glimpse of his future.                                                                                                                                                                                   “Maybe,” he said. “But you won’t let anybody try.”

Cole’s voicemails were also just too great. He continuously makes me laugh with the ridiculous crap that he says.
Voicemail #1: “Hi, Isabel Culpeper. I am lying in my bed, looking at the ceiling. I am mostly naked. I am thinking of … your mother. Call me.”

Voicemail #6: “So, yeah, I’m sorry. That last message went a little pear-shaped. You like that expression? Sam said it the other day. Hey, try this theory on for size: I think he’s a dead British housewife reincarnated into a Beatle’s body. You know, I used to know this band that put on fake British accents for their shows. Boy, did they suck, aside from being assholes. I can’t remember their name now. I’m either getting senile or I’ve done enough to my brain that stuff’s falling out. Not so fair of me to make this one-sided, is it? I’m always talking about myself in these things. So, how are you, Isabel Rosemary Culpeper? Smile lately? Hot Toddies. That was the name of the band. The Hot Toddies.”    

Voicemail #20: “I wish you’d answer.”

What I disliked:

The parents again. Grace’s parents have serious issues on how to raise a child. I think that the way Grace reacts is totally and completely justified. As for Isabel’s parents… I feel like it is reasonable that they would be at wits end due to the loss of their son, but I think that her father takes his hatred for the wolves a bit excessive.

What I thought overall:

Although I didn’t love it as much as I loved the first two, it was a good ending. I don’t want to spoil it, but I will just say that I approve of the ending. I am sad the series is over, but I am so so stoked to read the Cole spin-off. It was a fantastic series and I am so glad I was able to read it. Do I recommend reading it? Yes.

Book Review: Linger

I could not stop myself from exploding, but I could at least learn to contain the fallout.

linger_maggiestiefvaterTitle: Linger

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

# of Pages: 360

Published: July 13, 2010

Rating: 5 Hearts

Synopsis:

the longing.
Once Grace and Sam have found each other, they know they must fight to stay together. For Sam, this means a reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace, it means facing a future that is less and less certain.
the loss.
Into their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing their life of a wolf while denying the ties of being human.
the linger.
For Grace, Sam, and Cole, life is a constant struggle between two forces – wolf and human – with love baring its two sides as well. It is harrowing and euphoric, freeing and entrapping, enticing and alarming. As their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But will it be enough?
[Goodreads]

My Opinion:

Oh my goodness, I have no words!! I haven’t been this hooked on a book series in a long time. I just have this need to find out how it ends. I wasn’t able to get the last book the other day, so I have to wait, but I am dying to know! I am so attached to the characters and the storyline. I haven’t read a book that fast in awhile, but I just can’t get enough. Incredible!

What I liked:

It was such a nice surprise to find that Isabel was transformed into more of a main character. She wasn’t my favorite in the first book, but I really liked how she grew and changed through the death of her brother. As the story continues, you get more of an inside look at her life and why she is the way she is… I just really feel for her now; she is so sad and tries to be so tough. One of her better qualities is that she has more attitude than she knows what to do with; it is amusing. “When I say panini here, everyone says bless you.”

The new budding friendship between Isabel and Grace was so refreshing and fun. They have started to bond, if you will, through the events at the end of the last book and I love seeing realistic growth in characters. I really liked how close they get and how real they are with each other. Grace to Isabel-“That’s positively morbid- even for you.” “Bite me,” I [Isabel] replied. “You need therapy.” But she said it lightly.

The fact that Sam is a musician is a bit cliche, but it works for his character. I wasn’t super impressed by that aspect in the first book, but I really liked his lyrics throughout this novel. Specifically:

“Is it still a secret if nobody cares/if having the knowledge in no way impairs/your living – and feeling – the way that you breathe/knowing the things that you know about me -“

“One thousand ways to say good-bye/One thousand ways to cry/One thousand ways to hang your hat before you go outside/I say good-bye good-bye good-bye/I shout it out so loud/’Cause the next time that I find my voice I might not remember how.”

Although Rachel is a minor character who doesn’t appear that much, I really like her, because I can relate to her. She is just so out-there, spunky, and original. I find her funny as well with her always referring to Sam as The Boy. “Kissing in front of the loveless is an act of cruelty.”

OMG, can I just say that Cole and Isabel are just perfect!!!!! I have totally and completely fallen in love with their relationship. Even though they are an official thing, I just find myself anticipating the next time they interact. With him trying to be the cool, confident guy and her trying to be the tough-as-nail girl equals to the best conversations. I just think they even each other out and I can’t wait to see what is in the future for them.

I wasn’t expecting to like Cole from the beginning of the novel or from the synopsis on the back, but after a couple chapters I wanted to find out more about him. I am extremely interested in more of his past with his band and his father, but I am sure more of that is to come. I find him as literary crush material as well. I have a thing for emotionally challenged guys. “…a totally swoonworthy, but jerkish werewolf…”

What I disliked:

This is extremely minor, but I am a firm believer that picking a college based on a boy/girl is ridiculous and I felt that whenever that was brought up, it slightly encouraged this notion. This aspect just made it seem slightly Twilight-esque; which so far I had liked the series due to the fact it was pretty different from Twilight.

The parents, of both Grace and Isabel and Sam and Cole. Pretty much all of the parents in this series were dysfunctional and ridiculous. Girl in the Pages brought up the fact that Stiefvater writes a realistic view of teenagers and their parents and I do agree, but gee Grace’s parents need to let up. I completely agree with Grace’s viewpoint- they have been absentee until this point… get a grip.

What I thought overall:

Again, oh my goodness! I am just so impressed by this series. I didn’t think I would like it, because it was about werewolves, but it is about so much more. It is written so fluidly and has characters that I either swoon over or relate to. So good. Can’t wait to read the last book. Do I recommend reading it? Yes

Book Review: Shiver

Some days seem to fit together like a stained glass window. A hundred little pieces of different color and mood that, when combined, create a complete picture.

shiver_maggiestiefvaterTitle: Shiver

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

# of Pages: 390

Published: June 1, 2010

Rating: 5 Hearts

Synopsis:

the cold.
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn’t know why.
the heat.
Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace…until now.
the shiver.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it’s spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human–and Grace must fight to keep him–even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.
 [Goodreads]

My Opinion:

I honestly have no words to describe this book. It was wonderful and an absolute joy to read!! I had seen the series around, but only decided to read them, because I joined a Read-A-Long. There was a whole ten days set aside to read this book and I finished it in four. I wasn’t sure what to think about the book at first with it being about werewolves… it seemed a bit too Twilight, but it was nothing along those lines at all.

What I liked:

The male lead, Sam. He was such a refreshing character. Lately, the books I read have had such strong, obsessive, dominant male characters, but Sam Roth, although a werewolf, was so vulnerable and sweet. I wouldn’t say he wasn’t strong (he was a freaking wolf!), but he was tender, thoughtful, and liked to read books. Definitely my new literary crush. “I had planned a thousand different versions of this scene in my head, but now that the moment had come, I didn’t know what to do.”

The recognition that the main female character’s obsession with the wolves was unhealthy. This may seem like a strange thing for me to mention, but I felt that one of the greatest things about this book (in comparison to Twilight) was that, yes, Grace had a weird thing for the wolves that lived in the woods behind her house, but the author made sure to have her friends mention that it was odd and unhealthy. Of course, later on you learn why, but I liked how it didn’t encourage the behavior.

The author’s take on werewolves was so interesting and unlike any I had read before. I don’t want to ruin too much, but to have their changing be due to weather instead of just whenever they want made for a great story and causing them to have an “expiration date” added a nice touch as well.

It is rare when I like the female lead of a book. I normally always fall for the guy, but I liked Grace. She had a pleasant personality and didn’t do anything that made me hate her. “Her eyes flicked over the shelves, seeking possibilities for escape.” Maybe I liked her, because I could see a little bit of myself in her. Not only did she like to read, but she was also an introvert. “We’re introverts. We like doing nothing together. All talk, no action.”

What I disliked:

In complete honesty, I enjoyed this book so much and I didn’t write down nor can I think of a single thing that I disliked about this book.

What I thought overall:

This book was fantastic. It was a quick read, but it was so well written. Some of the sentences, I had to read more than once, because they were just so good. The characters were so real and likable; I couldn’t find anything about it to rant about. I can’t wait to start the sequel! Do I recommend reading it? Yes.