My biggest thought about the House of Ivy & Sorrow is that it could have been more. The v...moreThis 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.)(less)
Elusion was a fun adventure but it felt like an introduction to a longer novel instead of the...moreThis 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(less)
I loved Let the Storm Break as much as the first book, Let the Sky Fall. I flew through this...moreThis 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.(less)
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.(less)
I picked up Bowels of Hell right after The Orphanage. What a cliffhanger! I was on the edge o...moreThis 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.(less)
Cruel Beauty was a very dark retelling of Beauty and the Beast that had an unexpected mix of...moreThis 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.(less)
The Shadow Prince felt like a YA version of Percy Jackson. Like Percy Jackson, it's Greek myt...moreThis 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. (less)
I like the survival skills in this series. Reading The Orphanagewas like watching a survival...moreThis 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.(less)
I really struggled with The Chaos of Stars. I adore Kiersten White's Paranormalcy series, but this felt likesomeone found a Egyptian mythology textboo...moreI 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. W...moreAnother 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 to...moreHarken 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 bitte...moreSky 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. (less)
**spoiler alert** The Last Jedi is about Jax, one of the few surviving Jedi from Order 66. Jax is part of a budding rebellious uprising against the Em...more**spoiler alert** The Last Jedi is about Jax, one of the few surviving Jedi from Order 66. Jax is part of a budding rebellious uprising against the Empire called Whiplash and he’s on a secret mission to move a Whiplash leader to safety. This book felt like one of those dreams that no matter how hard you try to run, you’re just not getting anywhere. I felt that way because the writing was either choppy or tended towards info-dumping which slowed down the pace a lot for the first half of the book. It also took me a while to read, but you know me – I can’t quit a story because the ending might be good. Luckily, about half-way through I was right and the plot starts to pick up and get interesting. I enjoyed the ending that was action-packed and full of tension. But I was a little disappointed that in a book called “The Last Jedi” the Jedi doesn’t die at the end. Maybe I’m morbid. I kept thinking “And then he dies. He DIES. When is Vader going to kill him? What kind of book is this?” Also, since my reviews are technically spoiler free, maybe he does die. I’m not telling.
While a lot of the novel felt original, I also saw a lot of tired and over-used story elements from the Star Wars universe. For example, a protocol droid’s head falls off but he won’t stop yapping and oh, look, they are running from Vader’s ship and then they get boarded by him. Although there were some tired plot elements here and there, I really enjoyed learning about the alien race called the Cephalons that could see the future in their own, unique way.
I have a few other small bones to pick. Like a drug that enhances force abilities – really? I don’t buy it. The alien races were hardly described at all. I don’t need a huge description each time someone new enters, but I would like to have a small idea of what they look like.
I know it sounds like I didn’t like this book, but the characters were enjoyable. Geri was an adorable orphan who loves to build droids. And Jax was a very likable main character who grows a lot throughout the story. The humor was very good and even had the classic joke “I have a bad feeling about this.”
Overall, it was an average Star Wars novel that took me a while to get into and felt like it had a lot of recycled story elements. But the ending was a great, action-packed, tension-filled ride that made up for some of it’s faults.
The first half was a charming steam-punk novel with characters that I cared a lot about. The idea of an allergy to magic was very creative. The second...moreThe first half was a charming steam-punk novel with characters that I cared a lot about. The idea of an allergy to magic was very creative. The second half of the novel took a turn and became very dark and sometimes disturbing - more so than I usually enjoy reading about. She's a great writer, and me not liking this books was just a matter of personal taste.(less)
The Urban Hunters is like The Jungle Book set in Aboriginal Australia. When I saw the subtitle, “Billy’s Gotta Find Some Girls,” I knew I had to read...moreThe Urban Hunters is like The Jungle Book set in Aboriginal Australia. When I saw the subtitle, “Billy’s Gotta Find Some Girls,” I knew I had to read it. I was pulled in from the first page by how vivid and visual the writing was. I was immersed in an entirely new and fascinating culture that was shocking, sad, beautiful and amazing. He dedicates this book to his nieces and nephews who “stared wide-eyed as I told them about Billy and Amber’s adventures” and I felt exactly the same way. I’ve never read anything like it. I was grossed out one minute, laughing out loud the next, and completely shocked by the sad and heart-breaking things that can happen to the Aboriginal people. I was a little stunned by how graphic some of it was (think rotting, maggott filled kangaroo type stuff), but I loved this book. Gary Taaffe did an excellent job of entertaining me and at the same time educating me on a different people and their way of life.
In Book 2, Tribal Scarring, it gets a little more serious than Book 1, Four Small Stones. I missed the light-hearted humor of the Book 1. Still, it was a nice contrast to see the dangers of living in the bush in Australia. I definitely felt some culture shock as I was reading about Billy and the rituals he goes through to become a man. The writing was intense and so well done. The author doesn’t spell everything out for you. He lets you discover this new culture on your own which I liked.
In Book 3, Walkabout, Billy goes into the “whitefella” culture for the first time and his culture shock is charming, honest and amusing. I loved the Australian lingo throughout the book. Some of the words I’d never heard before, but it wasn’t too difficult to figure out, like when he slides his “sunnies” (I’d call them sunglasses) to the top of his head. It helped me really get a feel for the culture. The story starts off a bit slow, but picks up with some more great gross-out hunting scenes that I loved from Book 1, but this time there are cute puppies. The humor had me laughing out loud in places, but mostly I felt myself smiling a lot at how innocent Billy is despite being able to hunt and live off of the land on his own at such a young age. Billy is a juxtaposition of seasoned warrior and innocent child that makes him incredibly easy to like. Overall, it was such a fun and entertaining adventure story.
The Gleaning is about a witch and warlock who are supposed to be enemies instead of lovers. Lily and Logan have been raised to fight each other to kee...moreThe Gleaning is about a witch and warlock who are supposed to be enemies instead of lovers. Lily and Logan have been raised to fight each other to keep a balance between their light and dark magic. I loved how this was action-packed right from the start. It picks up right where the last one left off. We get to know the characters a lot more in this book which is something I felt like was missing from the first book. I loved Logan’s back story and I felt it added a lot to his character. The romance in this book was just plain adorable.
I liked the long flashback scene that goes back to the 1800s. Even though it distracted me a little from the plot since I couldn’t see at first how the two were related, I thought it was very entertaining to read. The flashback reminded me a lot of Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare because of the dashing, romantic characters and the setting from the past.
I loved the choices in this book. As you are reading along, you get to make choices as to where you think the plot should go. Both choices had a lot of scenes that were similar even though the plot moves in two directions. I loved them both, but I have a personal favorite (choice 1 if you are wondering!). It was an addicting read with some delightful Alice and Wonderland references. I thought this was a great addition to witch mythology.
This book felt like Harry Potter goes YA. I found some similarities to Harry Potter like the term "You Know Who," and a a restricted library. I liked...moreThis book felt like Harry Potter goes YA. I found some similarities to Harry Potter like the term "You Know Who," and a a restricted library. I liked the magic. Women, or witch's, magic involves beauty, flowers, healing and nature. The men, or warlocks, are their enemies and have "opposite" powers though it doesn't go into a lot of detail what those powers are. It mentions mind reading powers and potions. The kind of stuff Snape would like. The conflict of having men and women being enemies from a curse was pretty cool. This isn't an average ebook - it has choices in it. It's not quite like choose your own adventure because the story line will end up in the same place. There are two choices in the story and when I went back and read the other choice, they eventually meet up at the same place in the story but it flesh's out the characters and their relationships a little more. If I were reading this again, I would probably read both choices and then move on. The characters were okay. They didn't seem very fleshed out, but they didn't bother me either. My favorite part of this book was the really cool conflict and the background behind it. Can't wait to read the next one. Or you could call it Romeo + Juliet meets witches and magic.(less)
The world in Pivot Point seems like the kind of world that Lois Lowry would write about. It seems contemporary but there is a small paranormal twist t...moreThe world in Pivot Point seems like the kind of world that Lois Lowry would write about. It seems contemporary but there is a small paranormal twist to the whole thing. And by paranormal I mean “real” paranormal mind powers and not like werewolves and vampires and crap like that. Everyone has mental abilities and powers in the small world Addie lives in.
Addie is faced with a choice of continuing to live where everyone has mental abilities or living in the “normal” world. You get to see each of the choices play out in alternating chapters. It was absolutely fascinating to read.
This whole book was written with a lot of personality. I liked the dictionary definitions at the beginning of each chapter. They were funny, witty and gave clues to which reality the chapter was about. I’m convinced that Kasie West is a genius. She doesn’t just tell two completely different versions of the future – she intertwines them in very clever ways. I couldn’t put this book down all the way until the perfect, heart-wrenching ending.
The characters were all very well done. Her best friend, Laila, is snarky but likable. And Addie is my definition of a hero – brave, honest, and willing to sacrifice to keep the ones she loves safe.
Do not read this book alone – you will want someone to talk to after you are done with it. Witty, perfect, awesome – a must read. My only complaint – I have to wait for book two.
I loved the glossary in this book. I know that sounds weird, but let me explain. The author, Gary, talks about how there’s a “rule” in writing that yo...moreI loved the glossary in this book. I know that sounds weird, but let me explain. The author, Gary, talks about how there’s a “rule” in writing that you shouldn’t use colloquialisms and you should change the spelling to suit whatever country you’re selling it in. Gary says the heck with that because he thinks readers are smart – give them a glossary so they can learn and be entertained. I agree 100% (why didn’t Harry Potter do this!). The Australian flavor of this book is immensely entertaining. As a non-Australian, it’s pretty easy to follow the slang throughout the story after briefly reading through the glossary. (And even if you don’t read the glossary, the important words are explained in the story so you won’t be lost.)
We get to see more of Billy and Amber’s adventures in Budgie Smugglers. Billy is a boy from the Australian bush and Amber is a city girl that Billy meets. This book was just as laugh out loud funny as the first three books in this series. It was charming yet brutally honest and raw at the same time. The contrast between the two is so interesting. Like Billy talking about eating kangaroo pups and Amber being horrified by it. Then Billy explained it was to keep his grandfather fat so he can stay warm in the extreme conditions of living in the bush. See! They ate baby kangaroos and it’s disturbing and cute at the same time. And there were just enough gross-out scenes to make you squeal. Billy roasting a cat in a straight-forward way made me squirm. It was awesome. No way would I ever want to see Billy cook something, but I love reading about it in all it’s gory detailed glory. Billy slowly learning about girls and falling in love for the first time in his innocent way was just plain adorable. I can’t get enough of these characters and their adventures.
Shayla Witherwood was like Bewitched goes to high school, but she’s a half-fairy instead of a witch. I got the Bewtiched vibe because Shayla would use...moreShayla Witherwood was like Bewitched goes to high school, but she’s a half-fairy instead of a witch. I got the Bewtiched vibe because Shayla would use her fairy powers for very small, every day things like the witch Samantha would. It was a cute, fun, and sweet tale about a girl trying to fit in. As the story goes on, there are a few small twists and and it was fun to see her learn more about who she is. The voice and writing were enjoyable, but the foreshadowing was a little heavy-handed for my taste. Sometimes it seemed like Shayla was a kind of dense, but overall she was a very adorable and relatable character. I thought her best friend had a lot of personality and was fun to read about. The boy Shayla has a crush seemed like he had kind of a flat personality.
I really enjoyed the shout-out to the Lagoon Amusement park in Utah (which I’ve been to several times). Overall it was a fun, clean read about the sweet and magical fairies you think about when you’re young.
The writing was good, the characters were interesting but the content was a little graphic for my taste. There are a few quite violent scenes and a di...moreThe writing was good, the characters were interesting but the content was a little graphic for my taste. There are a few quite violent scenes and a disturbing sex scene. (less)
Fables of the Flag is about a boy, Jack, who travels back in time and meets a young Benjamin Franklin. The story was cute, but I was not a big fan of...moreFables of the Flag is about a boy, Jack, who travels back in time and meets a young Benjamin Franklin. The story was cute, but I was not a big fan of the writing. It felt like too much telling and not enough showing. Some things weren’t fleshed out like they could of been like why Ralphie is even friends with Jack if he is always getting him in trouble. The dialogue felt awkward and the plot was a little too convenient sometimes. There wasn’t a ton of historical facts in this book, but I did like that the story kind of sets up how Benjamin Franklin got the idea for his famous kite experiment. Overall, I think kids might like this book as a way to learn more about American history and become more interested in it.
The Forsaken is about an orphan girl who has to pass a test like everyone at her age that determines if she is prone to crime. If she fails, she will...moreThe Forsaken is about an orphan girl who has to pass a test like everyone at her age that determines if she is prone to crime. If she fails, she will be shipped off to a prison island. One thing I noticed about this book was the little things that made me think of me of other science fiction novels (in an interesting and not copy-cat way). The start of the book really reminded of the movie Minority Report with Tom Cruise. There are machines that remind me a little of War of The Worlds. And there was just a little dash of Divergent and The Maze Runner.
This is one of those books that takes a while to get into. It felt oddly slow at first even though lots of things are happening. I didn’t like the main character, Alenna, at first, but she gets more personality as the story goes on. There were a few plot elements that didn’t get explained all the way. One example is that two opposing gangs from the island decided to work together for reasons that made no sense to me. I noticed that a lot of the time there are questions kind of presented to you like it was trying to make me wonder about certain things. I really like to come to those kinds of questions on my own. The ending really picked up and caught my interest. The story closes in a satisfying way with no big cliff hanger, but there are missions left to be accomplished.
Overall, it was a good dystopian that had me entertained, especially towards the end, but I found too many things spelled out for me and some plot points not explained all the way.
Taken reminded me a little of The Maze Runner - they both had this engrossing quest for answers. The plot delivers on answering a lot of the questions...moreTaken reminded me a little of The Maze Runner - they both had this engrossing quest for answers. The plot delivers on answering a lot of the questions that come up. The story moves quickly and kept me glued to the pages. The interesting world was the strongest part of this book. But, sadly there were a few things that kept me from really loving it.
I have mixed feelings about the plot. I loved how it was so fast-paced and surprised me once or twice, even if it had a few minor plot holes. I like fast moving plots in books, but I think this was a rare example of the plot moving too fast. It's amazing the amount of ground this 360 page novel covers. Since so much is happening, there is a lot of "monologuing" if you will (to use a term from The Incredibles). Instead of getting to experience the newly discovered layers of this world, the characters would often have mini-speeches explaining the newest development. Then the characters would immediately act on the new revelations. It made for an addicting and zippy plot, but I found myself missing the fleshed-out little details that would have made the world rich and believable. Sometimes things felt over-explained and sometimes the characters are running for their lives when they feel the need to monologue something new and explain the world a little more. I wanted to strangle all of them and remind them that they should be running for their lives. If this book would have taken it's time with building the world naturally and not skipped over so many details, it would have been an incredible book instead of just an average one. The matriarchal society structure that Gray grew up in was so interesting. I so wish that it had gone into more detail about the society!
The main character Gray was so likable at the beginning, but I felt his character progressed into kind of an unforgiving jerk. There were a few cute, romantic moments at the beginning - like them talking about wanting to be like the birds - that were so adorable. But I found the way the love triangle unfolded to be very unappealing. It's possible that I have a gender bias that love triangles are okay for girls and not boys, but I still felt this "love triangle" was more like unfairly dragging two girls along. Another reason I felt Gray was a jerk was when he has to make decisions through the story that could potentially hurt those he cares about, he completely justifies his actions without some much-needed honest indecision. It gave me the impression that he didn't care as much as he said he did.
I didn't like some of the language used in the writing. There are a few descriptions of his chest "heaving" when he's attracted to a girl. Gross. And the word "slatings" for dates? That's such a bizarre phrase. The word pairing used later on in the book was much better.
Overall, it had a fast-paced action filled plot that was addicting to read, but it was at the expense of building a fleshed-out world. This book started out so strong at the beginning and sadly fizzles out towards the end.