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Hot Stuff for Cool People

Reviews, probably some ramblings.  I'm, uh, new on this site.  Bear with me.


Divergent - Veronica Roth I was waaaaay more than pleasantly surprised by this.
I wrote a review for the whole series over on my website. Spoiler free. It's here, on Hot Stuff for Cool People.

China Mountain Zhang

China Mountain Zhang - Maureen F. McHugh Completely different than anything else I've ever read, but totally awesome. My full review is here, on Hot Stuff for Cool People.

The Silver Metal Lover

The Silver Metal Lover - Tanith Lee This was so much more than I expected. I loved it.
My full review is here, on Hot Stuff for Cool People.


Winger - Andrew  Smith Easily... just one of the best, most amazingly well-written books I've ever read. My full review is here, on Hot Stuff for Cool People.


Sinner - Maggie Stiefvater This review was originally posted on Hot Stuff for Cool People.

I don’t think I’ve read anything by Maggie Stiefvater that I didn’t enjoy, but for me, ‘Sinner’ is kind of a masterpiece. It’s similar to her other books‐ fantasy setting, teen characters‐ but it’s different in that, for me at least, it was more about the emotions of the characters, the bonds between them, life in general, than it is about being a werewolf or riding a waterhorse. The great thing is, Maggie is already obviously versed in creating excellent emotions in her characters and displaying them, but in ‘Sinner,’ she lets them be the center of the story.

I didn’t really feel like ‘Sinner’ had a lot of plot, which is… I adore books without plot. I’m not being sarcastic. I don’t really like plot. I like a plot that’s so loose and meandering you have a hard time defining what it is, and that’s what you get here. Cole, the main character, and his love interest, Isabel, were characters in Maggie’s Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, which was good. I liked it, but what I liked the very best about that trilogy was these two side characters‐ Cole and Isabel‐ and how complex and fascinating they were. I loved them, and after reading the end of the trilogy I actually wrote a review about how I hoped that their story would get its own book. And it did!

So. Cole is a werewolf. Isabel isn’t, but she knows about the wolves. And she loves Cole. And he is seriously in love with her. But he was a drug addict (and a rock star) and now he’s trying to not be a drug addict, trying not to be addicted to changing into a werewolf, trying to win Isabel’s trust, and trying to be a rock star, all over again, after losing one of his best friends and his band mate. Meanwhile, Isabel is trying to put her own life back together after the death of her brother and the split in her parent’s marriage. And that’s pretty much it. That’s what’s going on in ‘Sinner.’ (You don’t need to read the rest of the Mercy Falls trilogy to really get into this book, if you don’t want to. But you could.)

So why did I love ‘Sinner’ so much? Well, the first reason is pretty shallow‐ it takes place in L.A., and I just freaking love books that are well‐written and take place there. There’s a magic to that city‐ it’s like a land all of its own, set apart, sparkling, grimy, complex in itself, like a living entity, and if the author manages to capture that in writing, it can really lend itself to telling a story. And Maggie Stiefvater does this. So well. So beautifully. The whole time I was reading this, I was there. In the sun and the city and the sand and the dirty, rock star glamour of it all.

Secondly, I love these characters. I mean, I am in love with them. Cole is… just one of the most interesting, three dimensional characters I’ve read in a long time. He’s broken and sad and his mind is a mess, but he’s good, too, and he loves Isabel, and I never, never had to question that, or question why he loved her. Sometimes it was hard for me to read this book, because the aspects of Cole’s struggle to get back into music and his troubles with addiction were so, so real. It kind of hit home in a lot of ways, and that was uncomfortable. And sometimes Cole frightened me. He made me nervous and angry and I didn’t want to like him, sometimes, but I still loved him. I felt for Isabel, too. (And talk about deep and interesting characters‐ she is so real and alive and I knew her. ) I knew she wanted to trust Cole, and I knew she couldn’t, and I completely understood her struggle.

Even the secondary characters are excellent. Cole’s chauffeur, who he later befriends, offers a lot of depth, as does Cole’s friend and old band mate, his new band mates, and Isabel’s cousin.

This is a fantasy novel, but it isn’t. It’s a teen book, but it isn’t. It’s a romance, but it’s not all about romance. It’s about struggle. It’s about falling in love and trusting people and forming bonds and breaking them. It’s about choosing what you want for yourself. It’s about consequences. It’s about rebuilding. It’s about remembering who you used to be and merging that with who you are now.

It’s beautiful. It’s deep and dark and so real. I feel that Maggie Stiefvater just let herself run wild with this book, just poured whatever she felt needed to be here into this book, and damn anyone who says it needs more action or less action or more emotion or less, or whatever else. It’s honest. It says what it needs to say, and that may not be what everyone’s looking for, may make it hard to fit this into a certain category or genre, but it works because of it. And I love it.

The Book of Knights

The Book of Knights - Yves Meynard This review was originally posted on Hot Stuff for Cool People.

This is a really simple book, stylistically, written in an uncomplicated way that’s reminiscent of fairytales or even children’s fantasy stories, although it’s neither of these things. This is definitely an adult book, and held a lot more emotional impact for me than almost any true fairytale I’ve ever read. Although the writing is straightforward, it’s neat and clean, and the short descriptions are so finely written that every image, scene, and character was crystal clear to me. The adventures that Adelrune undertakes are believable, and, although some mythical things are mentioned, each one feels interesting and new, not as if it’s something that’s been written over and over.

Before I started reading this, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get into the book because I knew there was a weird time skip in Adelrune’s life. But this was handled really well, just like pretty much everything else in the book. It’s just a really lovely, captivating stand‐alone fantasy novel.


Brethren - W.A. Hoffman This review was originally posted on Hot Stuff for Cool People.

I can’t for the life of me remember why it was I wanted to read this book to begin with. Something about it must have struck me, though, because I had it on a list of things to read, and, when I had enough money, decided to buy it. I got it home and still couldn’t remember why I’d wanted it- I usually read fantasy, so this was not really up my alley. And, frankly, after reading the back of the book, I thought it sounded dull. But I had it, so I started in.

Oh. My. God. I am so, so thrilled that I bought and read this. This is definitely one of the finer things I’ve ever read. The writing is so beautiful and thrilling that I was immediately sucked in. The characters are so wonderfully developed, through their actions and the eyes of other characters, that I saw each one as interesting and unique. All of them, including the many supporting characters, are troubled and flawed and so lively and gorgeous. Even the most minor of characters had a distinct, complex personality.

The story of strong yet damaged men, roaming about on the sea, caring for each other, fighting battles, and living as they want to live, is quite captivating and entertaining. What I really loved, though, was the writing. I’m not sure exactly what it was about it except that it was so amazingly good. Each scene was wonderfully touching, or dramatic, or exciting, and exactly the right length. Satisfying, never dragging- this is how the entire book worked. The interactions between the characters were so heartfelt that I would find myself reading a page, then immediately reading it over again. For pages and pages. I raced toward the end of the book, it was so exciting, but I didn’t want to finish it, either.

After I did finish it, I was kind of in a slump. I didn’t want to be anywhere except in that book. I picked up several other books and tried reading them, but nothing (even books that have been highly praised) would measure up to the spectacularness of this story. This is a very unusual state for me, as I read all the time, from one book to the next. I thought I might be ruined, it was so good. And maybe I am. I always hold other books up to this one, and I’ve found very few that measure up.

I Am the Messenger

I Am the Messenger - Markus Zusak Awesome, awesome book. I loved how straightforward it was, how each character was so well thought out... I just really enjoyed the whole thing.
My full review is here, on Hot Stuff for Cool People.

Lemonade Mouth

Lemonade Mouth - Mark Peter Hughes I'm crazy about this book. Doesn't seem to matter at what age I read it, it's always great.
My full review is here, on Hot Stuff for Cool People.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

The Adoration of Jenna Fox - Mary E. Pearson An awesome book that explores every side to a complex question- I loved it. My full review is on Hot Stuff for Cool People.


Gentlemen - Michael Northrop

Fantastic, clean, surprising writing that captures teen relationships and growing up and together and apart. I loved this book, for its amazing premise, but also for the characters and how honestly they were written. My full review is here, on Hot Stuff for Cool People.

How I Live Now

How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff I almost put this down, the writing is so strange in the beginning. But I'm really glad I didn't. I've never read anything else like this. It's so simple and beautiful... I loved it. Completely.
My full review is here, on Hot Stuff for Cool People.

The God Eaters

The God Eaters - Jumping Jack Flash, Jesse Hajicek I loved the characters, loved the world building, loved the pacing- just a great book all around.
My full review is here, on Hot Stuff for Cool People.


Sunshine - Robin McKinley One of those books that I tend to just read over and over... And it's not usually my kind of book, but I really did love it. My full review is here, on Hot Stuff for Cool People.

His Majesty's Dragon

His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik I'm a dragon-crazy person, and this... definitely satisfies, to say the least. I LOVE this series.
My full review is here, on Hot Stuff for Cool People.


Havemercy - Danielle Bennett, Jaida Jones One of my all time favorite books. I loved everything about it- the characters, the plot, the whole world where the story takes place...
My full review is here, on Hot Stuff for Cool People.