Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Bella-fication of Today's YA Heroines

* This post is brought to you by boredom and a nasty amount of pink eye. Enjoy!

Let's be honest, here. A vast majority of today's YA paranormal novels wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Twilight. Stephenie Meyer created a slavering monster about five times the size of Alaska when she wrote her incredibly popular vampire series. Now, I'm not saying ALL of these paranormals you see littering book stores today wouldn't be here if Meyer hadn't dreamed up Edward Cullen or Bella Swan, but a lot of them probably wouldn't have made it to publishing.

Vampires, werewolves, faeries, and zombies are the new "It" things. The things that everyone writes about or produces a movie about. Why? Well, the market for all things supernatural is freaking huge right about now and we have Twilight to thank for that. There have been plenty of amazing paranormal authors before Meyer and there will be plenty after her. The question that a great many people have asked themselves over the past couple years is "why?" What makes the series so explosively popular?

Monday, November 29, 2010

What I'm Reading - Nov. 29, 2010

I've this horrible habit of reading one too many books at a time. I buy a few and BAM! the books I requested from the library are in a day after. I don't know how I manage this, but it seems to happen every single time. In fact, it just happened again today! Anyway, just in case you're curious (you must be if you're reading this), here are the books on my list:

Corny title? Yes. I do like the cover, though. It even matches with my blog.
Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it. That doesn't mean that she's averse to breaking a rule or two.

But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian's basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents' murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.

But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she's shaped?

Oooh, intrigue, am I right? Just got this one from the library. I was looking on GoodReads at some of the reviews and...a lot of people dislike this one. That only makes me want to read it more.

Next on my list is an adult novel involving some faeries:

Toby Daye-a half-human, half-fae changeling-has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating to a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world had other ideas...

Now her liege, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills, has asked Toby to go to the Country of Tamed Lightening to make sure all is well with his niece, Countess January O'Leary. It seems like a simple enough assignment-until Toby discovers that someone has begun murdering people close to January, and that if the killer isn't stopped, January may be the next victim.

Disclaimer: I'm not big on faeries nor am I a fan of detective/crime novels. I can, however, make an exception for Seanan McGuire's October Daye series. They books are pretty great, if I do say so myself. All I can say is that we need MOAR TYBALT! Always more Tybalt.

Lastly, we have this gem:

Look, more tilty-faced angst!

Cheerleader Isobel has been partnered with goth Varen for a report on Edgar Allan Poe. Unfortunately, this does not sit well with her jock boyfriend Brad, who makes sure to let Varen know who’s boss. Realizing that Brad might not be all she thought he was, Isobel dumps him. Rumors immediately begin circulating that she is in love with Varen, and things heat up while the two are researching their project and Isobel peeks into Varen’s private journal. Suddenly, Isobel is haunted by the ghouls, ghosts, and creepy creatures that inhabit Varen’s dreamworld. Now that she has become a part of this world, Isobel must find a way out, and a way to save Varen. The first (and only) kiss between Isobel and Varen doesn’t happen until 400 pages in, and teens might not buy the romance. They might also balk at the length; the story feels as if it needed only half the pages. Still, there are some memorable characters from the slightly-creepy dreamworld, and many Poe references throughout.

Yeah, I was extremely skeptical about this at first because it seemed kind of contrived and boring. Goth boy meets preppy girl! Heheeee! Despite my misgivings, the book has been getting some glowing reviews at places like GoodReads and Amazon.

Reviews for these books may or may not be up eventually! We'll just have to see if I can stomach any of them.

- Melanie.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

I totally thought this book was about faeries because of the cover. Obviously, someone didn't read the tagline first.

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer is a good novel. I'll just say that right now, right at the beginning. It's a good novel. A rare thing in today's young adult market, if you ask me. That being said, it isn't perfect by any means. I have my complaints about it, but I'll save those for later. For right now, I think I should tell you what the book is about, hm?

Calla Tor is eighteen years old. Calla Tor is a werewolf (I don't care what the book says, she's a werewolf). Calla Tor is going to get married come October, 31. Calla Tor saves a human boy from a bear in the first chapter. Calla Tor just got herself in some deep shit. Yes, when she saves the boy from the bear, all of her problems start to begin.

Calla lives in a strict, rigid society where her every move is policed and where humans are nothing but pawns to her much more powerful family. She's a Guardian, a creature sworn to protect the world from the Searchers, "evil"...people. I never really developed a full understanding on all of the mythology, so you're going to have to bear with me.

Anyway, all of the Guardians' lives are ruled by Keepers, people who come even before the alphas of the packs. Speaking of packs, there are three of them in Nightshade. We have the Nightshades and the Banes, two appropriately sort of "rival" packs living in Vail, Colorado. The third pack, which we later find out is going to be named Haldis, after the cave the pack is supposed to protect, will be formed once Calla is united with the young alpha of the Bane pack, Renier.

Yeah. Can you see where this is going? Eventually, we find out the human boy's name. Shay. Shay has a thing of Calla. Ren has a thing for Calla. Calla has thing for both of them that only gets worse as the novel progresses. Action happens. Romance happens. Stuff happens that I don't want to tell you about because I don't want to spoil the entire book for you! ANYWAY, onto the actual review:

I liked Nightshade. I swear, I really did. The writing was nice, but there were a few glaring faults in it. For example, there's a lot of overusing here. Lots of "hooked fingers" and "cutting smiles" and "melting" and all that. Too much, if you ask me. There's way too many people beckoning with "hooked hands." Last time I checked, I wasn't reading Peter Pan. Other than those occasional annoyances, I didn't find much wrong with the writing.

The plot is rather interesting, too. I'm a sucker for werewolves (obviously) and it included a lot of pagan-esque mythology I can appreciate in any book. There are couple things that really stuck out to me, though. In a bad way. First of all, Calla accuses her mother of being a whore because she let this really skeevy alpha of another pack touch her and shit. Calla's mother explained her reasonings, and, while she might have been able to react to the situation a bit better, that does not warrant Calla calling her a whore. Kids these days. Jeesh.

Secondly, Ren and Calla's relationship was forced and a little weird. Sure, they knew that they'd have to end up together in the long run, because the Keepers really seem to love arranged marriages (for reasons you will find out near the end of the book). There was this one part, though, that made me cringe. Ren and Calla get into this huge fight (as wolves) and Ren pins her down and bites her and shit and Ren's all: "I'm sorry I had to hurt you, but you made me do it!" Uh, nice way to be a creepy abuser, Ren. Calla really doesn't do much about it, either. She's all: I'M SORRY! And that's the end of that. Made my feminist heart ache with sadness and a bit of rage.


Anyway, the book was strong, yes. There are a few weaknesses and cringe-worthy moments here and there. Character development was kind of lacking with most of the minor characters. The whole love triangle thing is getting incredibly tired, but I'm hoping it will resolve itself in the next book (which is called Wolfbane by the way). It's a good book, a good effort, with just a few missteps along the way.

My advice to Ms. Cremer? Quit making Ren creepily aggressive, develop your characters more, and STOP IT WITH ALL THE HOOKED FINGERS ALREADY.

Thanks for reading!

- Melanie.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Welcome, welcome!

Welcome, one and all to my new book review blog! Rhyming totally unintended. Anyway, Bewere The Books has stemmed from my love of young adult novels and the paranormal. As we all know (unless you've been living underneath a rock for the past three years), there's been a massive boom in supernatural books marketed toward the teen audience.

I, Melanie Winter, am taking on the seemingly insurmountable task of reading all of these paranormal and/or supernatural YA novels. Will I encounter a lot of steaming piles of crap? Probably. Will I, every once in a blue moon, read something amazing? For sanity's sake, I hope so.

If you, dear reader, decide to take this journey with me, that'd be awesome. If not, that's fine too. I'll just be talking to myself on the internet, and, well, that's just fine.

Unhealthy, maybe, but fine.

A review of Andrea Cremer's Nightshade should be up soon!

- Melanie