on September 20, 2011
How far would you go to save the person you loved most in the world? And what if he were already...dead?
Wren's boyfriend Danny died in a car accident before she had a chance to say goodbye. In a moment of grief, she brings him back from the dead with a powerful spell. But she soon realizes that the boy brought back is no longer quite the boy she loved.
I was really impressed by many aspects of this novel. From the description, I expected to find a typical YA paranormal romance, but was pleasantly surprised to find that the author spends a great deal of time reflecting on love, loss, grief, and responsibility. She skillfully sketches out the close relationship between Danny and Wren, and specifically shows us what an adorable boyfriend and great person he was. So it's all too easy to feel sympathy for Wren's pain and to understand how her bereavement led her to grasp for such a incredible solution without considering the enormity of the consequences.
Wren is a great character, too, full of complexity and conflict and confusion. She has dyed hair and piercings and a mouthy exterior, but she's also close to her sister, trying to understand her mother and the powers she's inherited, and estranged from her two best friends. The first half of this novel was extremely compelling to me as I was drawn in by Wren's struggle to balance the exhausting demands of her terrible secret with the ties she has to her everyday life, and I felt a great deal of sympathy for the guilt and grief that overwhelms her, as well as a great deal of admiration for the way she accepted responsibility for the choices she had made.
The story started to lose its magic for me, however, as Wren began to neglect Danny more and more. While at first, it seemed understandable that she would simply put him to sleep when she needed to leave because of his increasing awareness and dependence upon her, it began to happen far too much for my comfort, particularly after a certain turning point. (The paranormal aspects of the book are also very slight.) While I wasn't enraged by the presence of Gabriel, the new boy who is attentive towards her, as I think it's a natural progression in life, I don't think that it was necessary to have given him the kind of insight that he had. It didn't really add anything to the story, and made his role both much more and much less important than it needed to be. Had the book focused more on Wren and the importance of learning to let go, reading it would have been a much stronger and much more gut-wrenching experience.
Overall, I liked this book but didn't love it as much as I initially thought I would. The interesting premise and the emotional themes that were introduced in the beginning just weren't explored quite as deeply as I'd hoped they'd be--which is a shame, because with a little more development, this slight book had the potential to transcend the genre and to be something really, really great.
I was drawn in by the unusual cover but ended up delaying reading this after seeing that it was classified as paranormal, which is not my preferred genre. Not that I don't enjoy paranormals; I just tend to like contemporary and historical stories more. But after reading positive reviews from bloggers I didn't expect to like this book, I decided to check it out for myself.
It started out very promisingly with main character Wren so broken after the sudden death of her boyfriend Danny that she calls upon her extraordinary mysterious powers to bring him back to life where she keeps him hidden in her neighbor's garage. For a while, it seems okay. Wren gets Danny before and after school while drifting through the rest of the day in a fog. She has isolated herself from her best friends and her family but at least she has Danny. Except increasingly he is not her Danny but a Danny who is remembering the terrible night of his death and how he no longer belongs with Wren. And then a new guy arrives at school with his own powers and he discovers her secret, prompting her to clean up the gigantic mess she made.
This sounded different and the writing was very smooth and easy. I was able to move through the book fairly quickly. However while the beginning was good, I found myself liking the book less and less. Why? Several things. I was uncomfortable with Wren moving on with mysterious new guy so quickly while still entangled with Danny. It felt like cheating to me as Wren wanted her Danny in addition to this second guy. I also did not like the new guy, who seemed like a very convenient plot device to bring everything to a head while also giving Wren a new love interest.
Then Wren's mysterious powers are inherited from her mother but it is not something that is talked about. She does not call herself a witch although that seems to be the correct descriptor and it is all very hush-hush. I understand that there is a complicated history there but as a reader, I was disappointed with the information I received. The last problem I'll mention was just a general dislike for Wren. Besides what felt like cheating to me, there was just a general selfishness on her part and her overly self-reliant stance. She couldn't really handle everything and her refusal to recognize that drove me up the wall.
Overall: The more time I spent with Wren, the less I liked her although I ended the book with a lot of questions about her powers. Although there is a sequel, I do not anticipate picking it up unless pressured by many rave reviews.
Cover: Seems a little different from the usual (no girl in a pretty dress) and I love the blue-green which is shiny in person but the giant lips are creepy!
on November 7, 2012
All of the women in 17-year-old Wren's family have special powers. When Wren's first love dies in a tragic car accident she, without thinking, casts a spell to bring him back to life. Only what returns is not the warm, carefree, talented and funny Danny who Wren fell in love with. Hidden in Wren's neighbor's attic, this Danny is lost, confused, unfocused, 100% dependent on Wren and his skin is so very cold. Trying to keep her secret has driven a huge wedge between Wren and the other people she loves, namely, her mother and sister and her two best girlfriends. Wren is aware that she made a mistake but doesn't know who to turn to until Gabriel, a new boy in school with powers of his own makes it his business to help her.
I liked this book but I didn't love it. I was mostly vested in what happened to Danny because from the flashbacks, he seemed like such a good guy and it pained me to see him so lost and confused. I felt like some of the other characters could have been further fleshed out, especially Gabriel. I didn't really feel the chemistry between Gabriel and Wren. I felt like a lot of plot lines did not scratch past the surface. For example, I wished there was more of an explanation as to why the women in Wren's family had these special powers. And where Gabriel got his power. And the author raised the subject of Wren's father but didn't really develop it. Finally, while I thought some of the writing was beautiful, I thought the author over did it with some of the descriptions, especially, when it came to how things smelled. I guess I am not nearly as aware of smell as Wren and I rolled my eyes quite a few times at some of the descriptions, "smells like graveyard", "smells like boy sweat", "smells like cotton" - what does cotton smell like? I liked Wren's inner debates with herself as to what she was feeling and what she thought she should be feeling and I liked the ending.
In sum, the book held my attention and I enjoyed the premise but I would have liked to see it further developed.
on August 30, 2012
From beginning to end. I cried from beginning to end. Not that this story is a complete sob novel (though, for me it obviously was) it just really touched me in many mysterious ways. I loved how this was a coming-of-age novel mixed with the average paranormal/supernatural. The take on zombies, as the author also explains, is very different. There's no eating of brains, but just a very cold, confused and aggressive version of the person it used to be. Anyways, I connected with Wren (MC) and the story on many different level, and sometimes I didn't connect at all. Cold Kiss will probably be remembered for the writing the most, I believe. The monologue has a way of bringing tears to a pessimist's eyes. And while it worked so well for this novel, it didn't click for me sometimes, and I'll tell you why. But I literally finished Cold Kiss in a day, as it was very short, and it somewhat left me with some questions. I would have liked to have known more about Wren and Gabriel's abilities and powers and the connection they shared. Why didn't Wren ever question Gabriel about any this?
Monologue, for me, has to be curt -- but not too short -- and lengthy, but not too long. It must be meaningful. I can't say how many times Wren's monologue has digressed to something totally off topic in the middle of a crisis. It's quite annoying, and yet understanding. She's going through a trauma as great as losing her first and only love, but can't we at least stay on topic? I quite fancied Danny, if I do say so myself, so it broke my heart to find out that he is quite, well, dead the entire book. Though, I do wish Garvy had given more depth to his character. He seemed like the everyday teenager, but I just couldn't fall for him--which is a problem. The way Garvey then takes the climax and seeks a resolution in it bothered me. The ending was too short and abrupt, made it seem so easy-peasy, when it shouldn't have been. The climax, for lack of better words, was disappointing.
I will say, though, even through all the negatives, this is a book worth the read/buy. As a reviewer, I tend to pick stories apart, but if you really just read for the heck of reading and ignore the negatives, Garvy really did do something great with Cold Kiss.
on September 4, 2012
Umm, why would the summary give spoilers about the book if the first part of the book is supposed to be a mystery between Wren and Danny? Otherwise, the book is quite good. A bit young, but I am reading in a YA genre. Wren is a great character, and Danny is well-written: a bit spooky and sooo attached to Wren. Great new dynamic that I haven't read yet. The guilt Wren feels is well-done and the story is fairly well-flowing. It feel a bit rushed at the end, but it makes sense- supposed to be the climax. Which, truthfully, was a bit lackluster. But I still enjoyed the book, the idea of it is great, and the characters are all pretty much believable. I will definitely try another book from Amy Garvey.
on June 10, 2012
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales
Quick & Dirty: This novel has a new take on zombies and forces the reader to see all sides of love -- as well as what it can cost, but unfortunately lacks tension or a good climax.
Opening Sentence: I wasn't thinking of falling in love the day I met Danny Greer
Wren uses her secret magic powers to bring her first love back from the dead. After Danny died in a car crash she started researching some spells and actually pulled it off. So not only does Wren now have an undead boyfriend to keep a secret, but she's way more powerful than she thought. Let me start out by saying that I like the living Danny. From Wren's memories of him and comparing the old Danny to his new zombie counterpart, he seems like he used to be a great boyfriend. It's really sad when Wren remembers when he used to be alive, because even though Danny isn't your typical zombie -- he has the full gambit of emotions, for one thing, he's still cold. But undead Danny needs Wren for everything, his dependence on her means not only that her grades are dropping but she's neglecting her family and friends. Enter Gabriel, the new, gorgeous student who can't seem to stop staring at Wren. He can feel her power -- both the fact that she's powerful and that she's hiding something. With his help Wren learns what needs to be done to undo undead Danny.
Garvey really connects the reader to Wren's emotions. Her narrative voice is really sad and heartbreaking. It also overwhelms the plot. To the point where the story was dragging under the weight of this depression. The book devolves into a diary of her rants, which is not only painful to the reader but inhibits any character development. Getting her to let go of Danny was hard, but a big part of the problem was that it's clear the author was already planning for a sequel. I understand that she blames herself for bringing Danny back, but there was so much more going on in this story that Garvey should've been exploring. Like why the women in her family have magic and why Wren is so powerful and why her mom won't discuss magic no matter how much Wren needs her guidance. Those were really important questions to me that never got answered.
Now I like Gabriel, but I'm not sure his character was really necessary. Not that Wren doesn't deserve to have another love interest, just that Gabriel's insights didn't add anything to the story. Their relationship made me uncomfortable when Wren began to neglect Danny more and more, particularly when our characters reach a certain point. I wish this book had focused on letting go after grieving and didn't try to add in these other elements. The love interest was forced and this book would have been heart-wrenching without him.
I will say that bad decisions can lead to great stories, and Cold Kiss had that potential. Wren clearly never saw Practical Magic or she would've known bringing back loved ones never ends well.
The Cold Kiss Series:
1. Cold Kiss
2. Glass Heart
FTC Advisory: Harper Teen provided me with a copy of Cold Kiss. No goody bags, sponsorships, "material connections," or bribes were exchanged for my review.
on August 29, 2012
Interesting idea but the plot fell a little flat for me. I was also turned off by the number of typos in this book. There were many letters missing, incorrect punctuation, etc. Still enjoyed it, just wish I could have enjoyed it more.Sweet Mercy's Top 5 Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
on June 10, 2013
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Valerie
Cold Kiss is gorgeous. It's dark and emotional and heartbreakingly beautiful. It's a story about zombies and death. It's about regret and making mistakes and trying to fix them before it's too late. It's funny and snarky and totally cool, but I just couldn't connect with it.
When Wren's boyfriend dies in a car accident, it totally breaks Wren. So she turns to her powers and brings him back to life. At least she tries to. Instead she ends up with this zombie-like creature who's nothing like the old Danny she knew. This Danny, if you can still call him that, has no heartbeat and gives cold kisses (hence the title) and has to be hidden from plain sight. Yeah, so as you can guess, Wren has to try to do something and undo what she did.
The whole idea of Cold Kiss is awesome. Zombies? Epic! Trying to kill or get rid of your dead boyfriend? Totally cool! A snarky protagonist? Amazing! But that's just the idea. In the end, the book falls short. The snarky protagonist ends up shutting everyone out and not doing anything fun to read about. The zombie isn't this evil mastermind with a plan to rule the world. The "killing" is more like chanting a spell in the graveyard and hoping that it works. In other words, there's almost no action. It's more about realizing that you have to fix your mistake no matter how much you put it off.
However, I did love Amy Garvey's writing style. It's deep, poetic and utterly engrossing. It's moving and beautiful and awesome! It makes you forget that you had to do your homework and instead gets you reading another fifty pages or more. And in my case, it totally made me forget about my ideas of how the story should go. Yeah, I totally love the writing!
If you like stories about remorse and regret and love mixed in with a touch of dead boyfriends, you should totally read this book. Even if you don't really do romance, you should definitely try Cold Kiss out. While it might be lacking in the action department, it totally makes up for it with the poetic writing and the awesome title!
I mean, who can pass up a character named Wren?
This review and more at openbooksociety dot com
on December 7, 2012
Wren loses her first love in a drunk driving accident, and is understandably distraught. Because she has hidden powers her mother won't acknowledge and because she is steeped in grief Wren does the unthinkable, she brings her boyfriend Danny back from the grave. Danny is hidden in her neighbor's garage and as Wren tries to protect her secret, she starts losing control of her life.
Danny begins to become more like a cold-sleepwalking zombie everyday and Wren is beginning to realize the depth of her mistake. As Wren is able to understand and resolve her grief, a new boy enters the school and awakens in her a sense of hope.
Cold Kiss comes highly recommended by many book bloggers and deals with some tough issues like death, grief and drunk driving. Yet the plot is slow moving, the characters were underdeveloped and full of stifling emotion and it took me months to finish this book when I thought it would be a quick read. The cover is appealing, the premise interesting and yet it was just mediocre. So frustrating.
Do you ever feel like there is something wrong with you because you didn't "love" a book that everyone else seems to adore? Well, I stuck with Cold Kiss and gave it my best shot but in the end, as I turned the last page, I was thankful it was over. Then I thought, why does everyone like this book so much? I just don't get it.
Well, each reader is unique and brings to the reading experience their own emotions, experiences and perspectives. Sometimes you find a book that appeals to your senses and you know as you turn the very last page that it was right for you. Cold Kiss was not right for me.
on September 2, 2014
I felt this story moved really fast. I liked that. The way Amy wrote the main characters dead/undead boyfriend was really haunting and chilling nearly to the point I was going to abandon the book it was so creepy. I have to say I was really dissapointed with the ending though it was rushed and I would have liked to see the spell of releasing him. That was what this whole story was leading up to and to not give that to the reader was just really not fair. It felt like a tease. I also felt the main character was kinda mean when it really wasn't called for and that was a bit of a thorn in my side. Other than those two points it was a good book and I look forward to reading the next book.