Laurie Faria Stolarz – thegrammariansreviews.com

Deadly Little Lessons by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Camelia’s junior year of high school is finally over…but her troubles aren’t. After she discovers a painful truth about her family, she escapes to a summer arts program in Rhode Island, determined to put family – and boyfriend – dramas behind her.

At the arts school, she gets caught up in the case of Sasha Beckerman, a local girl who’s gone missing. Even though all signs suggest that the teen ran away, Camelia senses otherwise. Eager to help the girl, she launches her own investigation. While reviewing the details online, she stumbles across a blog by someone named Neal Moche, a fellow psychometric. With Ben away, Camelia feels as if she’s found a kindred spirit in Neal. That sense of connection also makes Camelia realize how much she misses Ben, despite being committed to Adam.

But time is running out for Sasha, and Camelia will have to trust her powers more than ever. Will the lessons she has learned give her the strength to save Sasha before it’s too late?

336 pages | Published: December 18, 2012 | Hyperion Books for Children

MY THOUGHTS:

I never really thought this would happen – giving anything in the Touch series less than four stars.  But, I digress.

If anything, read this for the romance.  It’s worth it, I promise.

Buuuuuuut, if you’re looking for more from Camelia, forget about it. This installment begins with a VERY CRUCIAL plot twist, which immediately takes you to the edge of your seat, but just as quickly pushes you back for the long haul.  Camelia doesn’t step up to the plate enough for me.  Again, I was left wishing for more character growth.  We’re given so many details and bits and pieces, but they don’t add up to anything.  She’s like a blank slate. And with the series being this late in the game, my expectations only become higher. And, needless to say, they weren’t fulfilled.

The mystery aspect is, as usual, enticing and invigorating.  It had me scouring each word for clues.  But, again, it takes center stage, rather than Camelia.  I went in hoping for a little bit more from our usual cast, and was sorely disappointed.  A lot of it is repetition, of Camelia trying to make sense of her powers and feelings.  While I understand that this is still a process for her, as the reader I needed more. Or some sort of change.  A different angle.

Just when the story starts getting good and showing signs of progression, it ends.  It’s as if the only real Camelia moments are saved for the beginning and ending.  For me, this is frustrating.  I needed to see the bigger picture, or the purpose of it all, throughout the story.  When everything hit me at the end, I still had unanswered questions and knew the characters no better than I did from when I started.

If these were meant to be purely stand-alone mystery novels, I’d be better able to forgo the lack of character development and interaction.  But they’re not.  Yes, they deal with stand-alone mysteries, but the overall arching plot revolves around Camelia.  And if she’s a dud, her story becomes a dud.

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My Bookmas list: 2012.

Dec
10

10 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Discussion

 

 

 

  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
  • Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder
  • The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  • Deadly Little Lessons by Laurie Faria Stolarz
  • The Essence by Kimberly Derting
  • Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain by Jamie Oliver

Despite making progress in finishing my TBR pile, that’s going to change come the new year. I’m excited to get back into all of these stories! ..Except for the one stand-alone and cook book. Obviously. Speaking of which, cooking is something I also hope to do more of come the new year.

What about you?

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Armchair BEA: Best of 2012

Jun
05

23 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized

best of 2012

My favorite book of 2012:

 

 

Without a doubt, my favorite of this year so far is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. No other read has been so heartfelt, quirky and enjoyable. If you haven’t read this and you’re a fan of YA contemporary, I highly recommend it. And even if you’re not a fan of contemporary, I still recommend it. It’s that good. Really.

 

 

 

Books being promoted at BEA that I hope will end up among my favorites for the year:

I honestly don’t know what books are being promoted at BEA, so I’m just going to show some general upcoming releases I’m excited to see!

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

An all-day scavenger hunt in the name of eternal small-town glory

With only a week until graduation, there’s one last thing Mary and her friends must do together: participate in the Oyster Point High Official Unofficial Senior Week Scavenger Hunt. And Mary is determined to win.

Mary lost her spot at Georgetown to self-professed “it” bully Jake Barbone, and she’s not about to lose again. But everyone is racing for the finish line with complicated motives, and the team’s all-night adventure becomes all-night drama as shifting alliances, flared tempers, and crushing crushes take over. As the items and points pile up, Mary and her team must reinvent their strategy-and themselves-in order to win.

 

Camelia Hammond’s trying junior year of high school is finally over…but her troubles aren’t. After she discovers a painful truth about her family, she escapes to a summer arts program in Rhode Island. Determined to put family – and boyfriend – drama behind her, she throws herself into her artwork.

At the arts school, she gets caught up in the case of Sasha Beckerman, a local girl who is missing. Even though all signs suggest that the teen ran away, Camelia senses otherwise. Eager to help the girl, she launches her own investigation. She finds a blog by someone named Neal Moche, a psychometric who might have clues to Sasha’s whereabouts. There is something familiar about Neal, and Camelia realizes how much she misses Ben, despite being committed to Adam.

But time is running out for Sasha, and Camelia will have to trust her powers if she’s to save her. Will the lessons Camelia has learned in the past give her the strength to do so?

What books are you excited for?

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Deadly Little Voices by Laurie Faria Stolarz

High school junior Camelia thought her powers of psychometry only gave her the ability to sense the future through touch. But now she’s started to hear voices. Mean voices. Berating her, telling her how ugly she is, and that she’d be better off dead. It’s a troubling development that has Camelia terrified for her mental stability, especially since her deranged aunt with a suicidal history has just moved into the family house. More torturing, ex-boyfriend Ben, who has similar psychometric abilities, has been spending more time with their classmate Alejandra.

With the line between right and wrong fraying, Camelia turns to pottery to get a grasp on her emotions. She begins sculpting a beautiful figure skater, only to receive frightening premonitions that someone’s in danger. But who is the victim? And how can Camelia help them when she is on the brink of losing her own sanity?

MY THOUGHTS:

I love the Touch series. Contemporary horrors/thrillers are just my thing.

BUT… being the fourth book in this series, I expected Deadly Little Voices to give me a little bit more satisfaction than it did. This isn’t to say that it’s unsatisfying, because it is. It’s just that I’ve come to expect a bit more action, rather than stalling, from this series. The plot is always chilling and exciting, keeping me hooked and guessing from page one. But the whole situation between Camelia and Ben and Adam just makes me want to rip my hair out. I can’t even begin to explain how frustrating yet lackluster it is. You can tell there’s tension – in fact, it’s all up in your face. And so you wait. And you wait. And you wait. And then the tension explodes! ….And then two seconds later it dissipates. I think this is supposed to be some sort of love triangle, but I’ve honestly got no clue now.

I could go on and on about that horrific ending.

Okay, I’m exaggerating. But it really worked me up. You’ll know what I mean when you get to it.

As far as other characters are concerned, I was so happy to see Aunt Alexia’s involvement grow! Kimmie and Wes open up a bit more as well. Yet, there’s still more to them that we’re not quite getting, and again, it’s just making me frustrated. When I’m four books into a series, I want information. Progression. Interest. The constant pulling from all sides of the involved parties is waning.

Something’s gotta give, and it’s not me.

Hopefully everything will come together in Deadly Little Lessons.

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In My Mailbox (25).

Jan
01

5 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

Deadly Little Voices by Laurie Faria Stolarz.

I’m a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuge fan of the Touch series and anything written by Stolarz, so I was ecstatic when I went to B&N and found this on the shelf.
Side note: Happy New Year! Hope your 2012 book hauls are even better than the ones in 2011!

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REVIEW! Deadly Little Games.

Jan
21

4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book reviews, Four Stars

Deadly Little Games
Laurie Faria Stolarz

FROM THE COVER:

Camelia and Ben have discovered a powerful bond: They both possess the power of psychometry, the ability to sense things through touch. For Ben, the gift is a frightening liability. When he senses a strong threat or betrayal, he risks losing control and hurting people. Camelia’s gift is more mysterious. When she works with clay, her hands sculpt messages her mind doesn’t yet comprehend.

Before either teen has a chance to fully grasp these abilities, an unresolved family tragedy resurfaces in Camelia’s life, irrevocably changing everything she cares about…

My rating: 4 stars.
MY THOUGHTS:
So good! A bit like the first and second installments, but not boringly so. There’s clear development.?
Camelia’s more stubborn than ever, which is at times both annoying and frustrating. How many bad decisions does it take to realize you need to do things differently? Nevertheless she comes to better terms with her psychometry and learns from it. Ben remains the same: mysterious and incredibly sweet. I can’t say I was a fan of Adam’s return and inclusion, mainly because he just seems to be trying too hard to be nice and that makes him appear fake and transparent as a character. However, I really liked Camelia’s parents and her friends, Kimmie and Wes. Her parents, although minor in their roles, developed some, especially her dad. Wes and Kimmie were just hilarious; their dialogue is very witty and sharp, which lightens the darker tones of the novel. Still, I wish something more would happen with them. They deserve more credit.
Another nice addition was Camelia’s aunt, Alexia, who made an actual appearance in this installment. She doesn’t have a huge part, but an important one nonetheless. I look forward to her progression and growth in the upcoming book, Deadly Little Voices (due out next Fall!).
The writing itself was nothing exceptional. The plot was a bit unsatisfying. What made it great were the characters.

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In My Mailbox (5).

Jan
02

6 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

This meme originates over at The Story Siren.

Deadly Little Games by Laurie Faria Stolarz.
Going Bovine by Libba Bray.

So happy to finally have Deadly Little Games! December 28th couldn’t come soon enough! Not sure I’m going to bump this to the top of my reading pile, though, even though I desperately want to.

Going Bovine seems like it’s going to be great, too. I finally picked it up, thanks to Nafiza and her awesome review.

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW! Laurie Faria Stolarz: Sequels.

Dec
06

3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

Sequels are all over the YA book circuit, and the numbers are still growing.  It’s difficult to find new, stand-alone novels. From Paranormal Romance to Contemporary fiction to Fantasy, sequels keep popping up.

Why?

I know the release dates definitely keep readers hanging on to specific series.  There’s excitement in knowing you’ll get to read what’s going to happen next, even if the last installment left you hanging and frustrated.

But are they always necessary? Do authors plan them in advance, or do they just develop in time?

One sequel that’s being released December 28th that I know I can’t wait for is Deadly Little Games, by Laurie Faria Stolarz. I know others can’t wait, either. It’s been featured all over blogs in Waiting on Wednesday posts.

But, here’s a little something to ease the wait: a brief interview featuring Laurie Stolarz!

?In your experience, is writing the sequel more challenging than writing the first of a series?

Each book presents its own challenges. I feel like in a sequel a writer knows his or her characters more which makes them easier to write. But, you also need to catch new readers up to the present action by summarizing what happened in the first book. And you never want that summary to feel repetitious or dull in any way. And, often when you’re three or four books into a series, you find yourself summarizing all that past action. Doing so in an interesting way can be quite a challenge.

Do you begin writing knowing that your idea is going to have sequels, or do the sequels develop later?

Yes, each book I write has the potential for a sequel. I know that from the start.

In Deadly Little Lies, you further explore Ben’s gift of psychometry. Is it difficult to explain the condition? Is there still more for readers to learn about Ben’s ability? It seems as though Ben still has more to learn about it.

Yes, there’s definitely still more to learn about Ben’s ability. Ben has more to learn about it, and Camelia is just beginning to understand her power as well.

What about Camelia’s aunt, Alexia?  Why include her voice in the sequel, but not the first?  How did you make that decision?

When I first started the series I wasn’t sure how much of a role Alexia would play, but as I got more into her story, I thought it was well worth exploring, especially because it’s part of Camelia’s growth.  Alexia’s story grows bigger in Deadly Little Games and Deadly Little Voices (the scariest book in the series so far – due out next fall).

?Many thanks to Ms. Stolarz for answering my questions!
Check out her website!
?So what do you think – especially those that have read Deadly Little Secret and/or Deadly Little Lies? Any thoughts on Ben and Alexia? Personally, I love both characters. Ben is wonderfully mysterious and his psychometry condition is so fascinating that I did a little of my own research on it! And I like that Alexia is playing a bigger role. I can tell that she’s going to play a big part in Camelia’s life, and possibly influence or help her.
If you haven’t checked out Deadly Little Secret or Deadly Little Lies, what are you waiting for? You can check out my review of Deadly Little Secret here.

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REVIEW! White Is for Magic.

Oct
24

4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book reviews, Four Stars

White Is for Magic
Laurie Faria Stolarz

FROM THE COVER:

“I’m watching you…”



One year later. It’s happening again. Seventeen-year-old Stacey Brown is having nightmares – creepy dreams haunted by the ghosts of people who have been brutally murdered.


It’s her senior year at boarding school, and what Stacey really should be focusing on are her classes and getting into college – not to mention the rocky path her love life has been taking lately.


But even if she could ignore the dreams, Stacey can’t ignore the strange letters that she’s been receiving. No return address, no signature – and the same cryptic messages she’s been hearing in her nightmares.


What’s worse is that she’s not the only one having weird dreams. Jacob, a transfer student, claims that he’s been having nightly premonitions of Stacey’s death for months, dreams so realistic that he transferred schools to find her and stop the killer. It doesn’t help that she’s starting to have feelings for him even though she already has a boyfriend. But can she trust Jacob? Or will both their darkest dreams come true?

My rating: 4 stars.?
MY THOUGHTS:
A wholesome horror/thriller/romance novel. Stolarz incorporates the right amount of spook with the right amount of buildup.

At times her descriptions are eerily lovely, other times they’re lacking. The language itself isn’t what makes this story, it’s the plot. The characters are nice, but nothing about them necessarily “sticks out.” Stacey is pretty average – aside from having realistic nightmares. Jacob is sweet, cute and everything you’d want your boyfriend to be, but his characterization/personality pretty much stops there. Still, they’re not impersonal. I was able to connect to them both in different ways, but especially to Jacob.

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