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The Holders by Julianna Scott
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The Holders

by Julianna Scott

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Originally Reviewed at Witchmag's Boekenplank

What a pleasant surprise this book was. I was intrigued after reading the blurb. What, no book about the chosen one, but his sister? Hmmm that sounds… interesting! It’s going to give a whole new perspective to the story, one that I haven’t got the chance to explore. And it did, but I didn’t expect to like this book that much! It even has a great twist when Becca’s anger flares once again and she decides to throw an ancient artifact at the head of one very annoying person. And after that it kept surprising me more and more. And I found myself liking the story even better^^

This all had to with our main protagonist: Becca. She’s the best. She’s awesome, has a mother instinct where a bear with cubs can say u against. Has a great sense of humor. She can have a temper tantrums, but oddly enough I found those very amusing and it made me love her more. In short: I loved her to death and she made me crack up often. How could I not when she’s comparing herself to a bull, complete with steam and flaring nostrils?

The romance in this book was also wonderful. Even though there is a soul mates concept, it’s not insta love. More like slowly getting to know each other and forming a bond. I have to admit, there were some moments where I thought Becca would do things that would endanger the budding romance, but fortunately she didn’t make the mistake of not speaking up. Or suddenly following her daddies orders ^^ And of course I like her the more for it. Nothing as annoying as two people who are meant to be together but are not because no one is talking… Anyway, even after the big confession they remained as cute as they where before, or even cuter and I hope they’ll always stay the same ^^

Then there’s the world-building. People with “magical” powers gifted by same goddess? Marvelous! Only setback was that mostly men were given these powers and the women who did receive some, are infinitely weaker as the men. My feminist heart did not like that part at all. Fortunately for my sensitive feminist heart there’s a huge turn in the story which made her thump her fist on her chest and say HELL YEAH! I look forward to finding out more about this world, full of people who can read minds, travel through time, move objects and what not. It’s definitely a great place to be ^^

Only reason I couldn’t give this book 5 hearts was because I was not wholly there in the great story that Julianna Scott created. Just like Alex and his illusions, I was still aware of my surroundings. I wasn’t swept away, I wasn’t entranced. Therefore no 5 hearts, but this book is still worthwhile to read!

Conclusion

4 HEARTS. This book took me by surprise. It has everything I love to have in a book: a great and lovable main protagonist who DOESN’T do stupid things. Hart-thumping romance, a good plot and great world-building. If only it could make me forget the world around me completely…. Still a more than worthy read I can recommend to any YA fan out there ^^ ( )
  CarpeLibra | Aug 16, 2015 |
I love the ideas behind a lot of Strange Chemistry books, but when I get round to reading them, it ends up feeling like there's something missing. Maybe it's just that while I enjoy some YA, I tend to be picky, and maybe more critical of it. On the other hand, I do love other Strange Chemistry books fairly uncritically, so I don't know. I mean, on the surface this is right up my alley: female protagonist, Irish setting, comparisons to the basic ideas behind X-Men, family bonds and conflicts... But somehow I never really got hooked.

There are some really great reviews out there for this book, and I'm somewhat inclined to write off my reaction to crankiness or bad timing, and maybe put it aside for later. Given the enormous length of my reading list, and how bad my current ratio is on Netgalley, I can't justify reading the second book when I didn't really enjoy this one. It's not even that there was anything particularly bad about it -- I'm not a fan of the destined love type trope, and I didn't get super invested in the characters, but this isn't a review to say this book is bad. Maybe ultimately just "not for me". ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 16, 2014 |
Originally Reviewed at Witchmag's Boekenplank

*I received a free copy through Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion*

What a pleasant surprise this book was. I was intrigued after reading the blurb. What, no book about the chosen one, but his sister? Hmmm that sounds… interesting! It’s going to give a whole new perspective to the story, one that I haven’t got the chance to explore. And it did, but I didn’t expect to like this book that much! It even has a great twist when Becca’s anger flares once again and she decides to throw an ancient artifact at the head of one very annoying person. And after that it kept surprising me more and more. And I found myself liking the story even better^^

This all had to with our main protagonist: Becca. She’s the best. She’s awesome, has a mother instinct where a bear with cubs can say u against. Has a great sense of humor. She can have a temper tantrums, but oddly enough I found those very amusing and it made me love her more. In short: I loved her to death and she made me crack up often. How could I not when she’s comparing herself to a bull, complete with steam and flaring nostrils?

The romance in this book was also wonderful. Even though there is a soul mates concept, it’s not insta love. More like slowly getting to know each other and forming a bond. I have to admit, there were some moments where I thought Becca would do things that would endanger the budding romance, but fortunately she didn’t make the mistake of not speaking up. Or suddenly following her daddies orders ^^ And of course I like her the more for it. Nothing as annoying as two people who are meant to be together but are not because no one is talking… Anyway, even after the big confession they remained as cute as they where before, or even cuter and I hope they’ll always stay the same ^^

Then there’s the world-building. People with “magical” powers gifted by same goddess? Marvelous! Only setback was that mostly men were given these powers and the women who did receive some, are infinitely weaker as the men. My feminist heart did not like that part at all. Fortunately for my sensitive feminist heart there’s a huge turn in the story which made her thump her fist on her chest and say HELL YEAH! I look forward to finding out more about this world, full of people who can read minds, travel through time, move objects and what not. It’s definitely a great place to be ^^

Only reason I couldn’t give this book 5 hearts was because I was not wholly there in the great story that Julianna Scott created. Just like Alex and his illusions, I was still aware of my surroundings. I wasn’t swept away, I wasn’t entranced. Therefore no 5 hearts, but this book is still worthwhile to read!

Conclusion

4 HEARTS. This book took me by surprise. It has everything I love to have in a book: a great and lovable main protagonist who DOESN’T do stupid things. Hart-thumping romance, a good plot and great world-building. If only it could make me forget the world around me completely…. Still a more than worthy read I can recommend to any YA fan out there ^^ ( )
  Iris-Boekenplank | Dec 22, 2013 |
See the full review at Short & Sweet Reviews.

Here are some things that worked for me:

* The relationship between Alex and Becca. Alex is a nice, sweet, caring guy. No more of this Bad Boy nonsense, Alex is the guy you'd take home to mom and who all of your friends would coo over. If there's a "favorite book boyfriends" question in the Best of 2013 meme at the end of the year, you can bet Alex will most likely be on it. I like the fact that Becca doesn't go from zero to "I can't live without you" upon meeting him. She develops a perfectly normal crush on him, one she spends a lot of time trying to ignore. (Obviously, that doesn't work.) There are some other aspects of their relationship that I'd LOVE to talk about more but they're spoilers.
* Becca's anger at her father Jocelyn, and her over-protectiveness of her brother. It's interesting to watch how both of these things grow and change and mature over the course of the book.
* Becca is a great leading character -- she experiences conflict, she is passionate about things, she has opinions, and she's just starting to try to find herself now after she realizes that she doesn't have to live her life solely for her brother anymore. She's a bit of a tough nut to crack, as she's spent her whole life having to be strong for her brother and mother, so the times when she does allow herself to get close to someone, or express her real emotions, are pretty poignant.

Here are some things that didn't work for me:

* Almost everything is super predictable. I guessed two of the major plot points way before we ever got there in the book. Now, I'm not the most observant reader, I prefer to not try to guess at future developments while reading. So if I guess something quickly and early on, that means it's way obvious, which could be frustrating for readers who are pros at guessing plots.
* A lot of the characters are very one-note. There's the bubbly new best friend, the wise older woman, the funny/quirky bickering sidekick-types, the gruff and unreasonably angry guy, etc. Most of their personalities don't get fleshed out much more than that in this book - I was really hoping for something unexpected where the villain would be someone you didn't expect, but not so much.
* There is SO much telling rather than showing. SO MUCH. It's inevitable, in some ways, as Becca and Ryland are new to this whole universe of Holders so they need to have a lot explained to them, but I found the long info dumps to be the places where I wanted to start skimming, which is bad, because it's all info I probably need to know as a reader in the first place.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and will be checking out future books in the series. It is a mostly clean read, with some profanity, violence, and kissing scenes. ( )
  goorgoahead | Dec 4, 2013 |
This book sat on my NetGalley shelf for quite a while before I read it, and I'm ashamed to admit that it is because the cover didn't do too much for me. Well, that teaches me a lesson because this book was ... yes, I'm going to say it... awesome! I loved the characters, the plot and the setting (gorgeous Ireland!). The writing kept me glued to the page, and although I figured out some plot points, others were a delicious surprise. This was a unique YA paranormal romance book.

I loved the heroine, Becca, for many different reasons - her love for her little brother, her tough and cynical outlook on life, her snarkiness, her need to keep Alex at arm's length until she knows him better, her acceptance of Chloe's overzealous efforts to be friends, and her courage and desire to protect her loved ones. I thought Alex was almost as perfect as a Julianne Donaldson hero. He wasn't a crazed stalker, he didn't pressure Becca at all, he cared about her feelings and didn't try to prove her wrong when he didn't agree, and he took such good care of her little brother. Ryland was adorable, I even appreciated how he wanted to spend time with his new friends instead of his big sister, because it was so nice that he was turning into a normal boy instead of the freak he thought he was. Chloe was so endearing, I wanted to be her friend too. The duelling professors were hysterical, and it was nice to have a grandmotherly presence in Min. It will be interesting to see how the relationship between Becca and her father plays out. I hope they can come together in the next book. The author definitely created interesting characters that you both believe in and like.

Areas of concern: There is quite a bit of cussing (no f-bombs) and some serious kissing in one part. There is some violence and a kidnapping. (view spoiler)

I definitely recommend this one and have ordered 2 copies for my middle school library. Bring on book 2!

http://read-me-maybe.blogspot.com

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC! ( )
  Bduke | Oct 28, 2013 |
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