I gave this book about 100 pages or 31% before I decided to shelve it for good. It had a lot of potential but it suffered from an aimless plot and anI gave this book about 100 pages or 31% before I decided to shelve it for good. It had a lot of potential but it suffered from an aimless plot and an info-dump of introducing a slew of characters all at once. I already struggle with keeping characters straight so I could tell this just wasn't a book for me....more
The first 82 pages of A Whole New World are extremely similar to the Disney movie, Aladdin. Even for a novelization of a movie, that's pretty unusual.The first 82 pages of A Whole New World are extremely similar to the Disney movie, Aladdin. Even for a novelization of a movie, that's pretty unusual. We get a tiny bit more of Aladdin's backstory but almost all of the dialogue stays the same. On page 82 Jasmine actually goes looking for Aladdin after he's sent to prison. That's new. Took long enough.
When I first saw the tagline "What if Aladdin had never found the lamp?" I thought that Aladdin was going to try and win Jasmine's love with no magic and I was so excited! Since Jafar gets the lamp instead of Aladdin, it takes an oddly dystopian turn with no romance (not excited anymore). The romance was instant and not very developed. The romance had about as much spark as wet fireworks.
The dystopian story line is full of black and white politics. I thought Jafar had interesting motives. He's interested in breaking the Genie's three laws of magic to make everyone love him. Jafar gives out free money to everyone and I'm thinking, "That will cause inflation. Duh." I appreciated when the author showed all the problems that caused. But when Jafar had an army of guards called "Peacekeeping Patrols" that's when I knew that this was Dystopian. (Katniss is coming to stop the Hunger Games any minute Jafar you watch yourself)
The characterization was inconsistent. Aladdin says to Jasmine, "Our upward mobility is strictly limited. (pg 48)." That sounds oddly modern and extremely educated for a street rat. The motives for Aladdin and Jasmine were not explained sometimes. The worst case was when they left the magic carpet behind. They felt bad so I couldn't help wondering, "Then why did they do it?" I have no idea.
The genie is sadly no longer funny. He takes the depressed personality that he has at the end of the original Aladdin movie for the entire book. The genie mentions once that he would maybe like to be freed and it suddenly becomes a huge motivation for Aladdin and Jasmine. I wasn't totally convinced that the Genie even wanted to be free.
The ending is surprisingly similar to the movie. (view spoiler)[ Genie is freed but since he was never friends with Aladdin its actually very depressing. (hide spoiler)]
The writing had a lot of italics going on. It was a little too much for me and I didn't enjoy it....more
I'm surprised how much I liked this book. I was not wild about ALLEGIANT and I didn't think I would be interested to read more about this series. HoneI'm surprised how much I liked this book. I was not wild about ALLEGIANT and I didn't think I would be interested to read more about this series. Honestly, I thought Four was much more interesting to follow than Tris. He's more conflicted and I liked learning his thoughts and motivations. They weren't what I thought they would be. Four's internal voice says "should" a lot and I related to that. Four is more motivated by shame than I realized. I never really related to Tris. Four also feels like an imposter which was fascinating because Tris never sees him that way. My favorite quote from Four was:
"Maybe there is a masochistic streak inside me that uses pain to cope with pain." (pg 164)
Four starts to find himself and realize that there is a third choice that no one has told him about (other than being in a faction or being factionless) and it's to be true to himself despite the rigid system they live in. That's probably the most attractive and inspiring thing about him. He's also kind of snarky which I loved.
Also, the writing is much better than it was in the Divergent series. #justsayin...more
Aspen Everlasting is a fun paranormal romance. This is the perfect fit for young teens as well as adults who want a clean romance that is entertaini
Aspen Everlasting is a fun paranormal romance. This is the perfect fit for young teens as well as adults who want a clean romance that is entertaining to read.
I'm not always a fan of romances because they feel cheesy sometimes, but there was plenty of humor and teasing that kept the cheesiness at bay. This quote is from the beginning where the main character, Aspen, and the childhood friend she is developing a crush on named Nate almost drown. He comes over and hugs her like friends do and he's obviously concerned for her. They're embracing and ... it doesn't go quite the way she imagined.
Was this the moment I had waited for? Nate was going to kiss me. I could tell by his eyes that his gratitude for my survival would bring his lips to mine. My heartbeat sped up with . . .
“You look terrible,” he said.
Okay. Moment gone.
-Kindle Locations 160-162
Ha ha! Makes me laugh every time I read it.
I've known the author, Kathryn, for a couple of years now. She was a book blogger before she became an author and that's how I met her. Among book bloggers the line, "The breath I DIDN'T know I was holding" is a well known cliche that they love to point out because how can you not know something like that? So when I read the following line in Aspen Everlasting, I could see her experience as a book blogger shining through.
The breath I was holding released through my mouth.
-Kindle location 11
Thank you for not using cliches!
My curiosity was peaked as the hidden paranormal world started to unfold. It reminded me of the King Arthur type of fairies that hide in the woods and capture men. They live forever, are dangerous, and can't always be trusted. I loved the way Kathryn made the fairy world her own by having good fairies that had given up the immortality as well as the more traditional evil fairies.
One of the most unique things about Aspen Everlasting is the relationship Aspen has with her siblings. Her siblings - Ash and Willow - are an important part in the story line and they are good friends. It was nice to read about functional family relationships. There's some tension with the parents that was realistic. I liked how much the parents were involved in the story. It was nice to see that even though they loved each other and got along, they still had to work through things with each other.
Red's Untold Tale does have the background story that we missed in the TV show. That being said, not much actually happens in this background story.
Red's Untold Tale does have the background story that we missed in the TV show. That being said, not much actually happens in this background story. We get to see Red interact more with Granny and Peter. But in the story, Peter and Red haven't developed a relationship yet and Red's relationship with Granny is pretty much the same as the bits we saw in the TV show. Long story short - it is background story, but that doesn't mean anything new or relevant actually happened. I was kind of disappointed by that. Most of the other background stories for the characters gave insight to their motives and feelings. I didn't feel like this story did either.
The plot felt ominous while I was reading it but only because I know what happens to Red. The end was incredibly frustrating. The end felt like a "To be continued...on the TV show. Go watch it." Here's why: Red starts a quest that she doesn't finish. Red's quest is to get an ingredients to cure her Grandmother's pain during the Wolfstime. She spends a lot of time getting the potion ingredients except for the last ingredient. She doesn't even start looking for it. I really wanted her to finish that stupid quest. Otherwise, why start it? And it's not a quest that ever comes up on the show (so far anyway. Red has barely showed up this season and I guess it's still possible.) If this quest for curing her Granny comes up in the TV show and actually finishes, then I would recommend this book a lot more. As it stands, the ending was abrupt and didn't completely tie up. The ending was so loose tying everything together that if it was tying my shoes, they would have fallen off a hundred pages ago.
Even if I didn't love the plot, I did love the writing. It was very well written for a TV show companion novel. I loved that it was told in flashbacks. It so fit the Once Upon a Time style! There were lots of quotes that I found funny or charming. Here's my favorite quote from Granny:
If it's in your power to make it perfect, you should never settle for anything less.
-Wendy Toliver, Red's Untold Tale pg 9
I say "Amen" to Granny for that.
And here's my favorite quote from Red:
Everyone knew that trolls were worse cooks than ogres--or even royal princesses, for that matter.
-Wendy Toliver, Red's Untold Tale pg 13
That might be my favorite quote from a book, ever.
Something else that showed up in the book that was totally Once Upon a Time's style was Red talking about a fairy tale Granny used to tell her about an elephant with big ears and a feather. Easter eggs like that are what makes Once Upon a Time so great and I was delighted to see something like that in the book.
The one thing that you might find new about Red are her dreams that foreshadow her turning into a wolf. When Red is trying to figure out her dreams, she talks to an old wizard. The old wizard describes how we are our truest selves when we dream. I thought that was beautiful. The old wizard does talk about how he knew her mother and the cross that she wears was her mother's. The cross is supposed to help her understand her dreams. I don't think that it does. This information came at the very end and I still don't know for sure if it is exactly new or that interesting.
Short and Sweet Version Slow-burning romance. Fun, modern retelling of Greek myths. Epic, cliff-hanger ending. Twists. Famous rock star father so Short and Sweet Version Slow-burning romance. Fun, modern retelling of Greek myths. Epic, cliff-hanger ending. Twists. Famous rock star father sold your soul. All the things you need for the perfect novel to lose yourself in for a while. Jessica Thinks Too Much Version (view spoiler)[
The parental dynamics in the book are refreshing. There are no clueless, barely existent parents that act unrealistically. Oh no. The parents in this book CAUSE the problems by selling their children's souls. That understandably gives Daphne, the main character, some trust issues. Daphne's dad, Joe, made a deal with the devil and deeply regrets it. I liked Joe because he genuinely tries to become a better person. One of the most tender and emotional moments is when they finally mend their relationship.
I liked the pace of Daphne and Haden's relationship. It was beautiful, deep, and slow-burning. Since they hadn't just gotten together and made out really fast in the first book, their relationship still had somewhere to go in this book. I didn't feel like their relationship was being artificially sabotaged for "reasons." Daphne not admitting her love for Haden was heart-breaking but it I bought it. She says that it's because the future is in uproar and I guess that's true, but with her character I felt like it had more to do with her trust and abandonment issues from her dad. She has a plan for the future and a guy is not supposed to be in it because she wants to be independent. I was biting my nails because I could totally understand where she was coming from but I know she's going to realize the error of her ways but will it be too late?!?!
My favorite twist at the end - and there were a lot of them so don't worry I won't tell them all - was finding out that her uncle is Cupid/Eros. I really didn't see it coming, but then it made me smile when I thought about the fact that he loves Valentine's Day and works at a flower shop. Maybe that's a little obvious foreshadowing, but I was so focused on her mom being Demeter that I forgot to think about who her uncle would be. I also probably let it slide a little since I love Valentine's Day and I'm in the minority like he was. Anyway. His arrows were awesome! Who knew Cupid could kick butt! He was like a guy Katniss with arrows of evil and love. Such an unexpectedly cool character.
The cliffhanger. All I have to say is that if book 3 wasn't happening I would be extremely upset. Angry. That's quite the mess they got into by the end. I loved how Daphne kind of mirrored Orpheus's story but the genders were swapped. The Persephone myth was woven in as well with a little reference to Cupid and Psyche. So much awesome mythology to geek out over and I loved it!
The fantasy world that Snow Like Ashes is set in is the best and worst thing about this book.This book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
The fantasy world that Snow Like Ashes is set in is the best and worst thing about this book. The idea of seasons being a kingdom is pretty cool. Some kingdoms have one season all the time and some kingdoms have all four seasons every year. The Season Kingdoms and the "Rhythm" Kingdoms don't like each other. That's a lot of kingdoms and weather to keep track of, which is where the love/hate relationship comes in. The world is interesting and complex but difficult to figure out which made the narrative prone to info dumping at times. Thankfully, the kingdoms and their cities had obvious names to help me out. I liked the play on the names of calendar months for the capital cities - Jannuari, Abril, Oktuber, and Juli. But going for the obvious made it feel a little cliche. The people in the Autumn Kingdom had a Native American ethnicity. The people of the Winter Kingdom had all white hair and blue eyes. It's fun and cheesy at the same time and I still can not figure out how I feel about it.
The magic system grew on me. I did not like it at first. From a logical standpoint, it seemed completely stupid to have magic reside in an object that can easily be stolen (see also: the entire conflict of this novel). I wanted to tell the whole Winter Kingdom, "Duh. That's obviously a stupid idea." Many, many chapters later it's explained why magic only resides in objects and I changed my mind about not liking it. The nature of evil is portrayed through magic as feeding on itself and being about a choice between good and evil. It was actually pretty interesting. Although, there was one scene at the beginning that seemed like it was supposed to have a lot of shock value but since the rules of magic hadn't been explained yet, I was not impressed.
The writing wasn't the best I've read. It had a few cliche sayings that pulled me out of the story and would sometimes tell me things I had already figured out. Villain motivation is very important to me. This villain fell into the category of wanting more power for no particular reason. That is probably the least interesting motivation that a villain can have. I mean, at least have a reason for all this power. Maybe he's always wanted all the things because he never had the things. Please. Something. I kept wondering through the whole book what it was that he wanted. They just called him "evil" the whole time.
Meira is a strong, spunky female lead. I liked her character and reading about her. She wants to be a soldier, not a princess. As much as I liked Meira though, I loved Theron. I thought he was the best character in the book. He was so far from cliche that I don't think Theron and cliche have ever met. Theron says my favorite quote from the entire book:
"There will always be a THEY in your new life, Meira. THEY make decisions; THEY mold your future. The trick is to find a way to still be YOU through it all."
-Sara Raasch, Snow Like Ashes (Chapter 14)
Overall, this was a good epic fantasy with an interesting world (once I figured it out) full of fun characters but had a few too many cliche moments for me to completely love it.
Content warning: some violence that is mildly graphic...more
After reading the acknowledgements by the author, I could see the Into the Woods inspiration.This book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
After reading the acknowledgements by the author, I could see the Into the Woods inspiration. Stray follows the sappy fairy tale stereotype and gives it a darker undertone especially about it's control towards women. If you kept Cinderella almost the same but made it slightly darker with forbidden magic you might have something like Stray.
This fairy tale was all about controlling women and how they aren't valued in this world even though they are technically powerful. I know it was supposed to be a satire but sometimes it was difficult to read about the extreme rules for them all towards the goal of getting married. The girls act ridiculous and when one of them eats before going to a ball I couldn't get the image of Scarlet O'Hara reluctantly stuffing her face and wondering why you have to be so ridiculous just to catch a husband.
The world building just wasn't very strong. While I liked the plot, it felt hard to imagine the world because it was a little confusing. The biggest problem for me, though, was the question of why these girls would even put up with all these crazy restrictions or where they came from in the first place. That thought pulled me out of the story a lot because it was never really answered very well.
The writing was ok for the most part. A few cheesy lines here and there with the cliche "breath she didn't know she was holding." I'm so glad she figured it out in time or she might have died. And my favorite "Suddenly" was in there more than I prefer. But it had some good writing too. Just not terribly consistent. I liked the characters and their relationships. The villain gives speeches about having fun with the poor, powerless protagonist and it made me roll my eyes.
I didn't like the beginning. It throws me into an action scene right away but I'm not sure why I should care yet. I'm not a fan of when authors do that.
And to be very, very nitpicky - she doesn't use the term "artless" like I'm used to Jane Austen using it and it irked me.
Overall, it was a different take on fairy tales that had an interesting plot but the world building wasn't my favorite....more
My biggest thought about the House of Ivy & Sorrow is that it could have been more. TheThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
My biggest thought about the House of Ivy & Sorrow is that it could have been more. The voice was there, but it didn't come out as much as it could have. The conflict definitely needed more to it. Even with a twist, the conflict came with an explanation already just based on how the world works and it made it hard for me to stay connected to the story. I almost didn't finish this one because about a third of the way through I didn't feel like I would learn anything new about the conflict. To be honest, I didn't learn anything new about the conflict at the end. It came out like I thought it would. But the way it was resolved was interesting. I liked that the resolution came from the girls and their friendship. Girl power!
I liked the magic and the characters in this book. The idea of magic coming from places was creative. The character Nana was one of my favorites. She had the strongest personality in the book and I enjoyed reading about her. The love interest seemed a little boring at first, but he came with an interesting twist of his own. The romance was a little cheesy for my taste, but it was still cute for the most part.
I didn't enjoy the writing. There were a few cliche moments, but luckily it didn't go to the extreme or I would have definitely chucked this book across the room. The dialogue was interesting, but I found that the main character said "No" a lot, in big long strings, when things didn't go her way. Maybe it's a little much to expect someone to realistically be eloquent in moments of stress. I don't know.
I was disappointed, to say the least, when I found out the villain's motivation. I think this goes along with the weak conflict. The villain and conflict just needed to be turned up a notch and it would have been awesome! And then the villain had to go and be all tacky. He was cheesy enough to make me cringe a little. If only he had a mustache to twirl....
Overall, the magic and characters were good but without a strong conflict or interesting villain motivation this book just didn't keep my interest.
Content warning: a few brief kissing scenes and pain used for magic that is mildly disturbing (e.g. pulling out fingernails and teeth etc.)...more
Elusion was a fun adventure but it felt like an introduction to a longer novel instead of theThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
Elusion was a fun adventure but it felt like an introduction to a longer novel instead of the first book in a series. I liked that it took the time to set up the world and characters, but I don't like it when the first book in a series doesn't resolve anything at all. I didn't see any story arc that was just for this book. I read this on my kindle and I was expecting to turn the page and see "Part 2" or something like that. I was shocked that it was over in the "That's it?" kind of way. There is a plot twist at the end but I kind of saw it coming. Part of my disappointment of the abrupt ending was that I felt like things had just gotten started and suddenly the book was over.
The world in this novel is very interesting, especially the virtual reality element. It was easy to imagine the "Elusion" or the virtual reality world. It was vivid, interesting, and almost magical. I liked the blending or illusion and reality and the crazy, unexpected things that happened because of it. Virtual reality was presented in a way that I haven't read before. It discussed having technology connected directly to your brain and brought up the themes of addiction. What if technology is physically addicting? At what point does technology start making our life worse rather than better?
The characters were confusing to me. Regan is the main character and she has two "friends" name Josh and Patrick (I say "friends" because they are guys and this is a YA novel so....yeah. I think you know what happens as well as I do). On the one hand, I liked how distinct Josh and Patrick's personalities were. But on the other hand I didn't like that both of them did some majorly untrustworthy things for kind of lame or even unexplained reasons. I liked Regan. She was a sweet, sad, and likable girl though I don't understand how she saw either of the boys as remotely trustworthy.
Overall, it was a fun adventure set in a interesting and magical virtual world but I felt like it was more of an introduction to a longer story than a novel.
Content warning: mild swearing and a few make out scenes...more
I loved Let the Storm Break as much as the first book, Let the Sky Fall. I flew through thisThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
I loved Let the Storm Break as much as the first book, Let the Sky Fall. I flew through this whole book so fast that I hardly took any notes. Being that immersed in a story is a lot of fun but it makes for crappy reviews. I'm going to try to think of more to say than "asdjfkl it's so awesome go read it."
Vane is such a great character and I love his sense of humor. He's cracking jokes about Legolas that no one gets and I love it. He has this sarcasm and blunt honesty that make him so much fun to read about. Vane feels like a realistic teen. He's got this immature streak that I find so funny.
So there are "relationship issues" like there are in many second novels that have romance. But I thought it was very well done because it was more about each of them working out their own things and not just trying to tear apart the relationship that was just made for the sake of conflict. I hope that makes sense without spoiling it.
The power of the winds coming from their songs that only sylphs can sing is one of my favorite things about the world building in this series. It's just beautiful and simple.
One of the things I did not like about the first book was the lack of an interesting villain motivation. This book shed some more light on the villain. The villain just got upgraded from "I want to take over the world for no reason" to "Mad Scientist" and I found it very interesting.
Overall, this book has great romance, funny and realistic characters, and a beautifully simple world.
Content warning: kissing scenes and a few immature jokes about things like farts and boobs....more
The first thing that The Secret Diamond Sisters reminded me of was the song Royals by Lorde. The idea of criticizing the insanely rich but wanting to live that life at the same time was really present in The Secret Diamond Sisters. My favorite of the three sisters was Courtney who was ambitious, hard working, and really wanted to go to an Ivy League school. When she finds out that her dad is a billionaire, she resents it a little and feels like all her hard work at coffee shops was worthless. I thought it was a wonderful and honest reaction. Although I think it's easy to imagine that having lots of money suddenly would be fabulous (and one of her other sisters does feel this way), Courtney's reaction really stuck with me.
There wasn't really an overall conflict in the story. It goes from one drama to the next and focuses more on the characters and their relationships with people than a strong plot. Not that that's a bad thing, but I do wish there had been a little more driving the story. It's implied that there are secrets the sisters need to find out and even though we do find out a few, I was honestly expecting a little more about their past and some mystery to find out more to move the story forward. The things that happen to the sisters are interesting and I did find it entertaining, but the story just kind of ends with no real resolution.
I thought all of the characters, especially the sisters, were very well-rounded and interesting. My only complaint was that they seemed to act too adult for teenagers. They drank a lot like it wasn't illegal or like it didn't even really have consequences, they went to night clubs etc. Maybe that's how it really is in Las Vegas with everything focused on being an adult, but I still found it kind of weird.
Overall, if you like a story with lots of scandal and drama with interesting characters then this one is for you. Content warning: a lot of teen drinking, language, and a make-out scene that turns inappropriate....more
I picked up Bowels of Hell right after The Orphanage. What a cliffhanger! I was on the edgeThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
I picked up Bowels of Hell right after The Orphanage. What a cliffhanger! I was on the edge of my seat wondering how Billy and Amber would get out of this mess. The reaction of the orphans when they see that Amber and Billy are missing was really poignant to me.
I loved getting to know more of Amber's backstory in this one. And there's such a cute moment between Billy and Amber when Billy is just in awe of something she has done. I like how their relationship is developing. They have such great chemistry together and yet they argue about things that girls and boys often do. I just find them endearing.
Billy, an Aboriginal Australian boy, is very non-judgmental even when he has culture shock and just can't understand something. I was touched by how unselfish Billy is. When Billy is faced with death, all he thinks about is his clan and how they won't be able to pass on their traditions. Billy is a joy to read about and so easy to like.
Overall, I really enjoyed learning more about the characters and seeing their relationship grow. I can't wait to see where the story goes next!
Content warning: graphic descriptions of survival skills and a discussion among the boys about circumcision....more
Cruel Beauty was a very dark retelling of Beauty and the Beast that had an unexpected mix ofThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
Cruel Beauty was a very dark retelling of Beauty and the Beast that had an unexpected mix of Greek Mythology. The story opens on a very stiff and formal life for the main character Nyx like a dark version of Downton Abbey. Then we get a nice, long lecture on How This World Works that I found hard to get through.
I was entertained by the story but I really didn't like the cop-out device of Nyx having "no choice" to create these dramatic situations. Nyx is engaged to a demon since birth because her father made a bargain and now she has no choice but to marry him. This bothers me for two reason. 1. It takes away the self-sacrifice element of Beauty and the Beast that I love but, more importantly, think was the main point of the fairy tale. 2. Her dad is an idiot. And 3 -- okay apparently there are more than reasons why this bothers me -- she doesn't "have" to do anything. It made the main character seem very passive about her life. She was very negative and spiteful all the time. I didn't like her all that much, which is fine, but if she's going to be unlikable then at least make me understand why she did things. I never understood why she did things.
I did like the quest of trying to find the demon's name which was one of the few elements remaining from the original fairy tale. The castle was a wonderful adventure full of strange rooms like something out of Alice in Wonderland.
I won't spoil the ending, but I didn't like it. I felt like the ending did not have anything to do with what they had been doing for almost the whole novel. I felt like we spent the whole novel doing one thing and she suddenly decides to change course and last minute do something very drastic. And as the books comes to a close, I felt like the characters were so completely different that they weren't even the same characters anymore. They felt like strangers and I didn't care all that much what happened to them.
Overall, it was too dark of a fairy tale retelling with poor world building and unlikable characters that just wasn't for me even though I did like the Greek Mythology element of the story. Content warning: quite a bit of dark innuendo (that is thankfully not very graphic) about a girl trying to seduce a demon which I found mildly disturbing....more
The Shadow Prince felt like a YA version of Percy Jackson. Like Percy Jackson, it's Greek myThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
The Shadow Prince felt like a YA version of Percy Jackson. Like Percy Jackson, it's Greek mythology that asks the question, "What would the Greek Gods be like if they were around today?" It also does an awesome job of making a Greek myth modern. This retelling of the Persephone myth uses a different version that shows Persephone making her own choices and having power because of it. I love how the traditional version of Persephone is questioned and suggests it was turned into a cautionary tale to keep girls from wandering away from home. There were so many fun allusions to Greek mythology (Apollo Canyon, Ellis Fields, Olympus Hills and my favorite - Pomegranate lip gloss).
First of all - yay for this being set in my home state of Utah! I was a little apprehensive at first of the start of the novel. The set up was very predictable. Luckily it got better as it went along. All the theories I came up with ended up being wrong which I loved.
Man I loved these characters. Haden is one emotionally stifled and impulsive dude who, as Daphne puts it, "sometimes talks like Thor." Haden is such a sad character. I'm drawn to sad characters like I am to sad stories. There's something beautiful about sadness. Daphne was very likable too. She has a passionate love of music, cares so much for her family, and is willing to do whatever it takes to make her own dreams come true. Their romance was off the charts.
Overall, this was a great mythology retelling that the author made her own with characters that I loved. ...more
I like the survival skills in this series. Reading The Orphanage was like watching a survivaThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
I like the survival skills in this series. Reading The Orphanage was like watching a survival reality show but it's not quite as gross since I was reading it. I feel like I learn something with every new book in this series. I kind of wonder if I really could cook a rat now after watching billy do it a few times.
Billy has such interesting knowledge that we ignore for the most part. Billy says a few times that raw meat is better for you. I balked at first, but it is true. We don't eat raw meat because of bacteria problems that arose from us not killing and eating our own food right away. Billy also has a charming way of viewing people and their spirits and seeing how they are alike. It makes him easy to like back.
The Orphanage was interrupted a lot with character introductions and setting descriptions which slowed the story down a little for me. The new characters from the orphanage were cute and likable. It was adorable how the kids from the orphanage thought everything in the forest was poisonous but when Billy shows them that it's not, they ran around like crazy eating and eating like all kids do. They raised a lot of interesting questions that I want answered like what happened to the orphanage and how they ended up on their own.
The way the dogs were described as having thoughts and feelings was so cool. It gave them a lot of personality and made them so fun to read about.
Overall, another great survival story with Billy and Amber that had some minor info-dumping but nothing too bad.
Content warning: graphic descriptions of cooking dogs whole and some mild swearing....more
I really struggled with The Chaos of Stars. I adore Kiersten White's Paranormalcy series, but this felt like someone found a Egyptian mythology textbI really struggled with The Chaos of Stars. I adore Kiersten White's Paranormalcy series, but this felt like someone found a Egyptian mythology textbook and stuck in a teenage girl. I mean, I liked the mythology stories and I did learn a little bit about them, but it did not feel updated or interpreted in any way. The Egyptian myths are completely unchanged all the way down to the god's appearances. Because of that I felt like I was reading an explanation of mythology instead of a modern narrative.
The dysfunction of what the gods would be like as a family was kind of amusing. At the same time, since the gods looked the same as they do in their mythological stories, it was really hard for me to imagine them actually sitting around the breakfast table. The plot jumped around a lot since the story would go from memories, mythology stories at the beginning of each chapter, and bad dreams the main character, Isadora, would have. The conflict through the story depends a lot on dark dreams that she has and it was not enough to keep my interest. Without a good conflict the story really started to drag.
The writing is very much the funny and quirky stuff that I remember from Paranormalcy. I could see Kiersten's writing style come through. Sadly, the writing came across as very fluffy and superficial since I didn't find any depth to the story to balance out all the quirk. I really wanted something bittersweet or sad to help me really connect with the story like there was in Paranormalcy.
All the swear words had been replaced with "floods" and "chaos" which were used a lot and it started to get on my nerves towards the end. Not that there needed to be swearing, but a bigger variety of words would have been nice.
The romance was cute but cheesy. Their connection was very dependent on fate and their love being written in the stars etc. Still, there were a few moments that I said, "Awwww." I found the characters hard to connect to and visualize. It was hardest for me to connect with Isadora because I really didn't get why she had an issue with her mother. It was hard for me to visualize the setting, too. I've even been to Balboa Park a few times. I love it there and I still couldn't picture what it looked like from the descriptions. At least, I'm pretty sure it was set in Balboa Park...
Overall, it was mostly cliche, predictable, and very convenient, too. I felt relieved that it had ended and I could move on to something else.
Another fun short story in the Urban Hunters series. I really liked how we got to learn a little more about Billy and Amber and their personalities. WAnother fun short story in the Urban Hunters series. I really liked how we got to learn a little more about Billy and Amber and their personalities. We get to see their relationship grow in little, adorable ways. But I really struggled with the conflict in this one. It just didn’t feel real to me that an adult, no matter how angry, would actually try to physically harm young kids. I mean it was cool that we got to see Amber and Billy take care of themselves, but if I’m supposed to see this guy as a sympathetic character afterwords, it just didn’t work for me. But way to go girl power for Amber! And there was some great humor at the end.
Overall, there’s some cute moments at the beginning and fun humor at the end, but the conflict just didn’t work for me this time.
Harken was like X-men meets National Treasure. Very creative. I liked the suspenseful plot with a supernatural twist. The writing had a nice voice toHarken was like X-men meets National Treasure. Very creative. I liked the suspenseful plot with a supernatural twist. The writing had a nice voice to it. It was funny and witty. I really enjoyed the quest that Michael goes on for the truth. The way Michael had to figure out and follow obscure clues all over the place is what reminded me of National Treasure and I thought it was a lot of fun. And the conflict was great. The author was not afraid to suggest the worst that could happen…and then make it happen. I liked how the conspiracy theory was unique and kind of epic. I thought all the characters had great, fleshed-out personalities but my favorite was Michael’s little sister Alli. Oh Alli, you are the cutest fake princess-eating zombie ever. Michael has a great relationship with her that was adorable to read.
My only complaint about this book was that I felt like I was walking knee-deep through a lot of details and words that didn’t need to be there. For as much action and plot as this book had in it, I was surprised at how I felt bogged down while I was reading it sometimes. It got to the point that I dreaded going into a new room because that is when the author tended to info-dump the most. Does it really matter how many skylights there are in the big airplane hanger with 5 silver cars?
Overall, I thought it had a really creative plot and wonderful characters, but it got slowed down by being over-detailed sometimes.
Sky on Fire was definitely more intense than the first book in this series and there was a lot less humor. I mean, there was plenty of snark and bitteSky on Fire was definitely more intense than the first book in this series and there was a lot less humor. I mean, there was plenty of snark and bitterness coming from Alex that was kind of funny, but for the most part it was one non-stop nail-biter. It felt like I was really living through the end of the world because of the little practical details like how they could eat with gas masks on, how they would deal with the chemicals in the air etc. And as I’m living this experience with the characters, I’m crossing my fingers that the worst won’t happen. But of course it does like something from your nightmares.
The writing felt like reading a movie script (which I think really worked for this story). The plot is driven a lot by the dialogue of the characters. I love the characters. They have very distinct personalities that makes this story all the more chilling because I really care about all of them – even that bratty girl. Part of what makes this book truly terrifying for me was the fact that the end of the world is being shown through the eyes of kids. Max (who is one of my favorite characters) is a young boy who brings toy cars with him on the road to probable death and is playing with them and making car noises. Like my boys do daily. That little detail brought the story very close to home for me. Don’t cry, don’t cry.
The one thing that didn’t work for me was Josie’s story line. I found it to be too out-of-tune with the world that the author created for me to believe it. What happens to Josie just felt a little too convenient. It’s not a major part of the story line, so it didn’t bother me too much.
The ending felt strange to me. The story felt like it could be finished after this book. There’s really only one storyline left open and I wonder if it’s enough to keep the whole next book going. I’m stil going to read the next one because I’m curious what could happen next. If anyone can pull it off, it’s Emmy!
Overall, this was a book that I couldn’t put down ( I read it in one day). It was intense and chilling with characters that I loved.
I received this book for review from the publisher, Macmillan, in exchange for an honest review. I was not told what to say, I was not paid to write this review and all the opinions expressed are my own. I read an Advanced Reading Copy for this review. ...more