“The Sweet Dead Life”—A Book Review

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The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble is a “YA mystery,” but I definitely feel this one is geared more toward middle schoolers (even if it does drop the “F Bomb” a few times).

Jenna’s dad disappeared when she was nine, her brother smokes too much pot, and her mom has basically checked out. But what’s even worse? Jenna is pretty sure that she is dying. She pukes too much, has weird headaches, passes out at random, and has bright green pee.

One fateful night, as Jenna’s brother Casey rushes her to the ER after she collapses, he ends up crashing their tiny Prius. When Jenna finally comes to in the hospital, she discovers two things: 1) Someone has been poisoning her beloved boots that she wears every single day. 2) Her brother looks good. Too good. The stoner gut and greasy hair have miraculously been replaced by rock hard abs and perfect movie star waves. 

With Jenna’s brother sent back to Earth to be her guardian angel, the sibling duo band together to solve not one, but two mysteries: who has been poisoning Jenna (and possibly her mother, too) and what happened to her dad all those years ago? Did he really leave them, or was something more sinister at play?

This book definitely had some great snark, but all in all I feel it was a little lack luster. Perhaps this is because the main character is in eighth grade, but the whole time I just kept thinking what idiots they were. The mystery really wasn’t all that mysterious, and the book read really slow. It took me a week to finish, because I just wasn’t interested :\

I give this tale 2 out of 5 stars.

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“Death and the Girl Next Door”—A Book Review

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Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones was a surprisingly entertaining read.

The plot is pretty much ridiculous, but the writing is very smart. The wit and humor in this book had me laughing out loud on nearly every page.

Lorelei’s parents disappeared ten years ago, and she has been living with her grandparents ever since, in the small town of Riley’s Switch, New Mexico. With her (also incredibly short) best friends, Brooklyn and Glitch, life isn’t completely horrible. At least her band of misfits keep her entertained.

Oh yeah, and Lorelei sometimes has visions when she touches someone. While at their favorite coffee shop hangout one day, Lorelei accidentally touches a stranger’s arm on the way to the bathroom and has the most bizarre vision ever—one that involves said gorgeous stranger battling a beast-monster.

And to top of the weird vision, her classmate since kindergarten, Cameron, has taken to stalking her. Like really stalking her, lurking outside of her house all night and whatnot. And when the gorgeous new stranger shows up at their school as a new student, it appears that Cameron has a bone to pick with him. The new guy, Jared, is interested in Lorelei and Cameron is determined not to let him get anywhere near her.

Sounds like your typical teenage love triangle novel right? Wrong.

Turns out Jared is some kind of Reaper and comes to Earth to collect souls…or something like that. And Cameron is some kind of not-quite-entirely-human being, hell bent on not letting Jared take Lorelei.

Like I said, the plot isn’t really all that great, but the fun and quippy dialogue more than makes up for it. It at least amused me enough to want to read the sequel. All in all, I give this book three out of five stars.

 

Here is a steamy scene to tantalize your taste buds:

 “And Jared’s hand on my back pulled me closer, molded me to him. The kiss deepened. He slid his tongue along my mouth, and I parted my lips to let him enter. When his tongue slipped inside, a tingling sensation raced through me. It pooled deep in my abdomen, liquid and hot.

He pulled me tighter and walked me back to a wall, pushed me against it and pressed into me. His body, solid and strong, felt like molten steel against mine. His lungs labored as he explored my mouth with his tongue. I savored his taste, sweet like candy.

Bracing one hand against the wall, he tore away from the kiss. But he didn’t let me go. Instead, he placed his forehead on the wall beside me, panting, his muscles constricted as if in pain. “I’m sorry,” he said, his voice husky and soft.”

“Daughter of Smoke and Bone” — A Book Rant

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Okay, my first book rant. Here it goes…brace yourselves.

Before I commit to reading or buying a book, I always check out the reader reviews. Every review I read for Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor said this book was phenomenal. I mean, people RAVED over it, saying things like, “Absolutely Perfect,” “Breathtaking and Heartbreaking,” and “Exceeded Expectations.” This seems to be the opinion of the masses.

What’s the truth about this novel (and its sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight)? Total crap. This series is horrible and extremely anomalous and hard to get through. I tend to devour books in a matter of days (if not hours), but both books in this series took me TWO WEEKS to finish.

To back up my claims of the horridness of this series, let me paint you a picture… Karou, a girl with blue hair, that grows that way out of her head (I’m not going to lie, that part is pretty cool), is an art student in Prague and has a knack for drawing portraits of odd looking creatures and monsters. Doesn’t sound so awful yet…but wait! The monsters that Karou draws—Brimstone; a “man” with a ram’s head, lion haunches, raptor feet, and crocodile eyes; Issa a lady with a snake tail, the hood and fangs of a cobra, clothing herself with snakes;  Yarsi, appearing to be completely human, but for the parrot beak on her face—are her family, the only family she has ever known.

Weird right? And the strangeness doesn’t stop there…Brimstone (her father figure) has Karou go on errands, going through portals and traveling all over the world to collect teeth. That’s right, TEETH. Human teeth and animal teeth, alike. What does he need teeth for you ask? YOU DON’T FIND OUT UNTIL ALMOST THE END! And worse, Karou hardly even questions what he uses these teeth for…she’s just a selfish girl who brings them to him because he grants her simple wishes (such as magically “knowing” a different language, making an ex’s family jewels itch during a nude modeling session for her art class, and her blue hair) in exchange for the service.

Oh, and of course, there’s also a ridiculously gorgeous angel that Karou falls for, who is going around the world marking the portals that she uses to travel with a black handprint, assigning them for destruction. And, predictably, Karou (who is supposedly human) and Akiva (the seraphim) are forbidden to be together, thus making Akiva’s siblings (Hazael and Liraz) set out on a personal mission to destroy Karou.

All in all, this book (and its sequel) are just weird. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all about weird…I live for reading about the strange and supernatural, but Daughter of Smoke and Bone just takes weird to a whole new level—and not a good one. Just trying to keep all of the different chimera creatures straight is enough to give you a headache. And once you finally start to figure out what the hell is actually going on and things start getting explained (somewhat), the book ends!

Now, I have to admit, I was intrigued enough to read the sequel , Days of Blood and Starlight, just because the first book ended on such a cliffhanger. But you can be certain that I will not be reading the third and final book in the series. I just don’t care that much. The series is weird (in a bad way) and boring and tedious. Don’t waste your time!