Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale - Holly Black

Kaye is a sixteen year old high school dropout who works and takes care of her mother instead of it being the other way around.  They end up moving in, temporarily that is until her mother shacks up with another loser, with her grandmother.  Strange things start happening and she finds herself in the middle of a war between faeries.  She  believes in her faery friends but never thought she could be one. 

Tithe starts out painfully slow but gets better as you continue to read.  This book is just okay for me and I can't say that I loved it.  Like my complaint for previous books reviewed here, I liked the idea but felt like it wasn't executed as well as it could have been.  I get that Kaye is a troubled teen but at times it felt like I couldn't relate to her and it felt forced. The one thing about her character that I did like was her cleverness and I felt that added a lot to the story. Some of the conversations  between the characters seemed very awkwardly worded.  Because of the style of writing, I would have liked to see more of what was going on with Corny (hate that name!) and Roiben OR from Kaye's first person perspective.  Roiben was my favorite character but I don't feel like I know that much about him.  

Thank goodness that the ending picked up and made the  book somewhat worthwhile.  I did like that the story seemed modern and the imagery was good.  Although I liked the ending, it felt rushed and I would have liked it to wrap up better. This is the first book in a series and  this did leave me curious about what could happen in the next book, so will read it and again  get it from the library.  

3 out of 5 STARS

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Evermore - Alyson Noël

A girl named Ever suffers a tragic loss with the death of her family and is sent to live with her rich Aunt.  Soon after, she begins to know what people are thinking, see people's auras, and know their life story by touching.  She considers herself a freak and only wears hoodies (with the hood up) and drowns out people's thoughts with blasting her iPod.
Damen is gorgeous, charming, and mysterious.  Every girl in school has a crush on him but when he starts focusing all of his attention on Ever, everyone is confused including Ever herself. He seems to be able to read her mind and is able to calm down the voices just by being close to her.  Will he help change life  for Ever? (sorry I had to do it!) 

This book is okay.  The characters were okay.  However, I loved the concept behind the book better than the execution of it.  The main character, Ever, is easy to relate to especially if you have suffered the loss of a family member(s).  I liked that she can see the auras around people and I haven't seen that before but I think it could have been used a little more.  I don't like her name at all and I don't understand why she was named that.  

Riley, her sister, who is a ghost is my favorite character because she adds comedic relief to the story.  I just have one question that  I wish were answered, if she can see and talk to her ghost of a sister then can she see and interact with other ghosts?   IF she can, then I really wish that was explored more as well. 

Damen, the mysterious, is okay.  He was not my favorite and I did not fall in love with him even at the end of the book.  I did like his story after it was finally explained at the end.  Throughout the book, he was a little too much of a mystery. I knew he would be a good guy but at times I questioned his motives.  

Evermore didn't blow me away at all but I liked the concept of the immortals.  I didn't connect with the characters and I didn't feel they were as believable as they could have been.  At times, it felt like this book was just like most of the others in this genre; it needs a little more originality.  Parts of the book dragged on but it had moments that were good.  I wouldn't say it's a page turner.  Will I read the next book in this series?  Maybe, but if I do I will be getting it from the library. 

3.5 out of 5 STARS

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Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater

Grace grew up with wolves living in the woods behind her house.  One yellowed-eyed wolf catches her eye ... she considers him "her wolf."  When she meets a boy with the same yellow eyes she wants desperately for him to be her wolf but she knows that is impossible ... or is it? 

Sam is a werewolf who has watched Grace from afar for most of his life.  After changing back to his human form, for what may be his last time, he finally meets her.  He has to stay warm in the mist of the coming winter or he will change back and lose Grace and his humanity forever.

This is a beautifully written love story.  It made me remember the first time I was in love and this story just makes you feel good.  I wasn't completely blown away and part of the story dragged unnecessarily. At times, Sam and Grace were so lovey-dovey and cute that it almost made me sick. But, I loved the concept and the execution was okay though the writing was great.  It alternated between Grace and Sam's perspective, but I felt like I knew Sam more than Grace.  When I started reading this book, I thought that I would have a better feel for Grace than Sam but the reverse happened.  Overall, I liked the book and would recommend it to fans of the Twilight Saga though I wouldn't say it was better than Twilight. I will definitely read the sequel: Linger. 

4 out of 5 STARS

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The Help - Kathryn Stockett

The Help is a book set in the 1960's and is told from three different perspectives: a white woman Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan and two black maids Aibileen and Minny.  It is set in Jackson, Mississippi during the time when the Civil Rights Movement was starting to take off and I really appreciated the real life references to history; mentioned is JFK assassination and MLK Jr. march plus more.  Skeeter is a recent graduate out of Ole Miss and wants to be a writer, Aibileen is a black maid who has raised  white babies for most of her life, and Minny is a short, dark, sass-talking maid who is the best cook in Mississippi. These three very different women will risk everything to try and make a difference in a time where racism and segregation is the norm.    

I was nervous about reading this book since I am a young African American woman and I heard it was written  by a white woman.  I wasn't sure if it would be good or feel authentic with her writing from a black person's perspective.  In no hurry to get this book, I put the audio book on hold at the library and waited. After I finished listening to it, I was surprised by how much I really enjoyed the book.  It was very well-written and I felt like I was transported to this time period.  This is the first audio book that have listened to all the way through and it was very well done; the actors made the characters come to life. I don't know if I would have gotten the same feeling from this book had I read it like I do all of the other books. I loved how the author captures the emotions of all three women. There were times when I laughed out loud and time where I wanted to cry and be angry.  I feel like I know each of the women personally and in the end I was crossing my fingers for a happy ending. I was surprised how much I related to some of the characters now because I think that racism is still an issue it's just a lot more subtle than it used to be.  I think this is a great book for anyone to read no matter what race you identify with.  I highly recommend this book even if fiction is not your genre.   

5 out of 5 STARS 

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