Showing posts with label donna hosie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label donna hosie. Show all posts

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Recommendation: The Sound of Us - Julie Hammerle: Classical Music, University, and a Mystery






In THE SOUND OF US, Kiki is determined to get into the classical music program of a renowned university.

What intrigued me: A mixture of that gorgeous cover and curiosity about the premise

Fun, relatable, and unique

THE SOUND OF US immediately sucked me in. Hammerle has a fantastically relatable narrative voice that throws you right into the story. I couldn't put this down, every time I tried I kept thinking about Kiki and what would happen next. This is how you make your contemporary pop. THE SOUND OF US amazes with a very simple story that's so fantastically well executed that you just have to continue reading this even if that means you have you stay up past your bedtime. 

One of my biggest worries was that THE SOUND OF US may not be able to translate the magic of Pitch Perfect in a written medium. It's not like you can exactly write down what music sounds like. Egh, you know what I mean. Anyway, I don't know how, but Ms. Hammerle did it. It feels like you're actually hearing the music while reading this. Paired with an unforgettable protagonist, this is just a delight and I'd recommend this to all contemporary lovers!

It plays in your typical university setting, but Hammerle cleverly chooses to only use the university atmosphere and to not give the reader lots and lots of boring class scenes. We learn a lot about the kind of people that go to the university and about Kiki's experiences. Essentially, this is a coming-of-age story, Kiki goes through so much character development in this novel that you can almost say she becomes a whole new person at the end of it. 

Pop culture references and a mystery

THE SOUND OF US is filled with pop culture references of the past two decades, some you'll recognize, some are stand-ins, and it's a delight to read. I especially loved Kiki's tendency to compare every new person she meets to some character from a TV show. Her love for twitter and the fictional TV show Project Earth are only small factors that contribute to making Kiki an insanely relatable character. I rooted for her from the first page. I loved reading about her experience. Hammerle writes about university with pizzazz. She makes it exciting.

What really got me hooked is the mystery of the traitor. I just loved that twist to the story, because on its own the music program storyline is entertaining, but maybe not really enough for a recommendation. Hammerle turns the novel around halfway in and make it read like a fast-paced mystery, while still being true to that university feel that I love so much about the novel. 

Rating:

★★★★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?


THE SOUND OF US has something for everyone - there's romance, there's singing, there are relatable university experiences, and there's a mystery. What more could you want from a contemporary?



Additional Info

Published: June 7th 2016
Pages: 304
Publisher: Entangled
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN: 9781633755031

Synopsis:
"Kiki Nichols might not survive music camp.

She’s put her TV-loving, nerdy self aside for one summer to prove she’s got what it takes: she can be cool enough to make friends, she can earn that music scholarship, and she can get into Krause University’s music program.

Except camp has rigid conduct rules—which means her thrilling late-night jam session with the hot drummer can’t happen again, even though they love all the same TV shows, and fifteen minutes making music with him meant more than every aria she’s ever sung.

But when someone starts snitching on rule breakers and getting them kicked out, music camp turns into survival of the fittest. If Kiki’s going to get that scholarship, her chance to make true friends—and her chance with the drummer guy—might cost her the future she wants more than anything."(Source: Goodreads)

Have you seen Pitch Perfect?

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

[Review] The Devil's Dreamcatcher (The Devil's #2) - Donna Hosie: Time travel, Angels, and Devils





In THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER, Medusa has all forgotten about her adventures with Team DEVIL and gets asked to hunt down someone that stole a priced possession from the devil.

What intrigued me: Loved the first book and HAD to continue. The ending was cruel.

A new narrator

THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER might as well be a stand-alone. Told from Medusa's perspective, we intitially know nothing about what happened in the first book, THE DEVIL'S INTERN, and it's surprisingly easy to read. In the first book I struggled with understanding all the technicalities of this world, and having Medusa suffer from time-travel induced memory loss as she tells the story, is probably the best decision Hosie could have made for the sequel. I absolutely needed to have some concepts explained again, and I can definitely recommend reading this without having read the first novel.

Unfortunately, I absolutely missed Mitchell's narration. Medusa wasn't necessarily my favorite character in the first book, and this didn't change in THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER. Her narration comes across as distant, almost cold and factual, causing the novel to be very plot-driven. Combined with complicated lore, it's dense and complicated to read. 

More lore, please!

What initially drew me in and charmed me about this series was the friendship between the four members of Team DEVIL. Because the sequel focuses very much on the hunt for the Dreamcatcher and adds four characters from Heaven, the friendship part is very much neglected and replaced by narration. 
Generally I feel like THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER could use more emotion, more descriptions, more heartfelt friendship. The characters all slip into the background so the world can be explored. I did enjoy finding out more about the concepts and technicalities of Heaven and Hell though and sucked up every bit of information about the world. Even though I struggled with this very plot-driven, the world remains fascinating and very unique, unlike any other portrayal of the afterlife that I've encountered in novels. I thoroughly enjoyed the time travel aspects, I still am very infatuated with Elinor and Alfarin, and I am very much looking forward to the sequels from their perspective.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER couldn't quite live up to my high expectations because of the excellent predecessor. It is still a compulsively captivating story. I can't wait to find out more and am longing to finally see Heaven up close. I do recommend this series, especially because you can pick up virtually any of the novels and have the same reading experience.


Additional Info

Published: October 1st 2015
Pages: 272 
Publisher: Holiday House
Genre: YA / Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9780823433902

Synopsis:
"Hell is full of thieves. But only one has dared to rob The Devil.

The Devil’s accounting office is hiring an intern, and sixteen-year-old Medusa Pallister wants the job. Badly. Not only would she report to the coolest boss in the Underworld, she’d also be working alongside Mitchell Johnson, who, she’s certain, is the key to solving a mystery that’s been haunting her since her death.

Landing the internship is easy, but answers about her past will have to wait. Medusa has barely made Mitchell’s acquaintance when Hell goes into lockdown. Someone has robbed The Devil of his most precious possession: a dreamcatcher so powerful it could be apocalyptic in the wrong hands.(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite novel featuring the devil?

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

[Review] The Devil's Intern (The Devil's #1) - Donna Hosie: Time-traveling, Devils, and Witty Humor





In THE DEVIL'S INTERN, the devil's intern Mitchell steals a time travel device. Together with his friends, they decide to go back in time to undo their deaths.

What intrigued me: I can't pass up a story that combines the devil and time travel. Who could?

Yes for friendships!

I absolutely love semi-satirical stories about the afterlife. THE DEVIL'S INTERN starts off just like that, the first pages just fly by and I caught myself laughing so hard that I had to put the book down. You'll find a lot of funny jokes in this, but THE DEVIL'S INTERN is so much more than that. 

The story revolves around a group of friends, a 17th century peasant, a Viking, a snarky girl who died in the 60s, and Mitchell, the devil's intern who's up to no good. What I liked most about this is definitely the strong bond these four have. There is no third-wheeling, the characters' friendships feel genuine and I especially truly enjoyed every single scene with the viking Alfarin who just says the most unintentionally funny things. Essentially, this is a very sweet story about friendship. 

Paradoxes and time travel - my head hurts

A huge chunk of the novel is spent time travel and I'm not going to sugarcoat it - it's not easy to get a hang of all those paradoxes. It's undeniably well-done, but I had to reread some paragraphs to really understand what was happening. Time travel is hard to do well, but I think Hosie did a great job at making everything seem plausible and even catching me off guard with a couple of plot twists!

I really feel like the whole novel is pretty well-rounded, every scene is absolutely necessary for the plot, causing this to be very dense reading. It's definitely one of those books that I will reread eventually. 

THE DEVIL'S INTERN is a fast-paced, utterly hilarious and heartwarming novel that will make you long for the sequel. 

Rating:

★★★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

THE DEVIL'S INTERN is a charming urban fantasy story that will make you laugh and cry. Definitely recommending this, I need the sequel right now!



Additional Info

Published: August 1st 2015
Pages: 229
Publisher: Holiday House
Genre: YA / Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9780823434527

Synopsis:
"How did you die?"

It's the most popular question in Hell, and Mitchell Johnson has been answering it ever since he was hit by a bus at age seventeen and inexplicably ended up in the Underworld. Now Mitchell is The Devil's intern in Hell's accounting office. Lately, he's noticed a disturbing trend: the volume of new arrivals is straining Hell's limited resources. Then Mitchell overhears his boss discussing plans to limit newcomers with a legendary time travel mechanism. With a device like that, Mitchell realizes, he could change history and prevent his own death. 

Mitchell's plot goes awry when his three closest friends—Alfarin, the Viking prince; Elinor, from 17th-century London; and Melissa, from 1960s San Francisco—insert themselves into his plans. It soon becomes clear that the fates of all four are entwined in dangerous and unpredictable ways."(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite read set in Hell?

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