Charlie hates Fielding, and vice versa. What do you even expect? The two have been practicallThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Charlie hates Fielding, and vice versa. What do you even expect? The two have been practically glued at the hip against their will for the last four years as promotion for their popular hit tween TV show Jenna & Jonah’s How to Be a Rock Star. It isn’t until the paparazzi pick up on a vicious rumor about the pair that they are forced to escape to an obscure beach house to ride out the publicity wave. Among the blessed quietness that accompanies obscurity, Charlie and Fielding proceed to discover something surprising: they really don’t know each other at all.
Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance is the type of novel that would correspond to some sort of crème-filled chocolate doughnut in the delightful world of food. It is definitely sweet, but eating too much of it will induce episodes of barfing. While I enjoy this type of bubbly and extremely non-surprising teeny bopper lit, they must be enjoyed in moderation. I mean, just look at the book’s cover. So very pink. Even the book jacket itself resembles some sort of doughnut.
The novel has its fair share of aww moments and some other facepalm ones. Unlike other bubbly novels, the two characters weren’t annoying most of the time, which made reading through this quite a breeze. Charlie and Fielding are quite dense about each other, though. And sometimes you just can’t help yourself from wanting to smack the two atop the head with something heavy, maybe an anvil of some sort.
Jenna & Jonah’s Fauxmance is a great pick for people who find delight in light, fluffy teen lit.
It was definitely the mirror and the earthquake that started it all. One moment, Addie is strThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
It was definitely the mirror and the earthquake that started it all. One moment, Addie is strolling through the crumbling streets and frantic crowds of Seattle; and the next, she is amongst weirdly dressed people who apparently make a habit of injuring each other with bricks. It is in this parallel world that Addie meets Reg and discovers the Jewel, a professional theater and any budding actress’s dream. When she is offered a job as assistant director, Addie makes every effort to return to this old version of Seattle as frequently as possible. When events in each world seem to almost mirror each other, Addie realizes that there is a lot more at stake than her own desires.
I am often weary of time travel books, as it is very easy to butcher them. However, I enjoyed The Jewel and the Key immensely. The fact that I had never heard of the Industrial Workers of the World, an organization central to the novel’s plot, was very surprising considering the long hours I’ve spent in various high school U.S. history classes. The author’s incorporation of history and theatrical arts sets up a great background for the novel.
Also like every other YA story, there is lurrrve. What seems like a love triangle at first quickly becomes more of a line segment or a diatomic covalent molecule (if you are in a particularly chemistry-oriented mood like yours truly). The object of Addie’s affections is young Reg, a flamboyant actor with quite a dramatic personality. Their relationship was adorable, and the conclusion succeeded in stealing a few tears from me. I actually went back and reread the ending a few times after finishing the novel. I guess it can be described as bittersweet without going overboard with cheesiness. Mostly, it was just heartbreaking.
The Jewel and the Key is a quaint historical novel that packs quite a punch. It also contributed to my lack of sleep, as I couldn’t stop myself from reading late into the night instead of sleeping like the rest of the normal human beings in my time zone.
Relic Master Galen Harn and his apprentice Raffi know that all is not well the moment they seThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Relic Master Galen Harn and his apprentice Raffi know that all is not well the moment they set foot in the settlement that had boldly requested their help a few days before. Drawn by curiosity and the possibility of discovering a relic, the pair nevertheless decides to venture into the castle-like fortress that is the settlement’s stronghold and soon come to regret the decision. After an unpleasant meeting with the leader Alberic, Galen and Raffi are off once again -- this time in search of a thieving Sekoi that had ravaged the settlement and the Crow, who, if found, would prove to be very helpful to Galen indeed. Carys, an orphaned girl in search of her father, soon join the group on their journey to the dark city of Tasceron, where both the Sekoi and the Crow were rumored to be found. However, the Watch is always present at every turn; their deception knows no bounds.
Having read and tremendously enjoyed Ms. Fisher’s Incarceron duology, I was, to say the last, excited to get my hands on the Relic Master series. While Incarceron seems to be geared more toward young adults, The Dark City reads more like a middle grade novel to me, albeit an intense and still relatively interesting one.
The world-building present in The Dark City is subtle and yet comprehensive. The use of magic by Galen and Raffi, while not extensively clarified, was explained enough to be understandable and not overwhelming. The cast of characters were quite darling, also, with their own little quirks and secrets. Even though the plot tended to drag noticeably in the beginning and middle parts of the novel, I think the ending was a success overall.
Book one of the Relic Master series, The Dark City will appeal to middle grade fantasy lovers and readers who are willing to plunge into the fantastical world of the magic-wielding Order and the seemingly omniscient Watch.
Koumail knows exactly who he is: Blaise Fortune, undisputable and abandoned-through-a-train-aThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Koumail knows exactly who he is: Blaise Fortune, undisputable and abandoned-through-a-train-accident French boy. Even as the seven-year-old flees the collapsing Soviet Union with Gloria, his beloved mother figure, Koumail knows that there will always be a safe haven for the faux mother-son duo in France. It turns out to be a journey fraught with hard work and starvation, doubt and heartbreak. Through it all, Koumail merely has to recite one sentence -- just one -- to make sure he still has the strength to continue. My name is Blaise Fortune and I am a citizen of the French Republic. It’s the pure and simple truth. Or is it?
Wow, A Time of Miracles is a little 200+ page novel that packs quite a punch. Translated from French, this story is told as an extended flashback laced with intricate details and told in flowing prose. Originally, the synopsis failed to impress me, and I started this book with a feeling of dread, often reminding myself of the fact that I could simply write a scathing review to vent my feelings afterward. Well, I apologize profusely to this book. To put it simply: I was blown away. This is just a simple story of a boy and a woman, escaping oppression and searching for freedom. And yet, it was also emotional and gripping all at once. Ms. Bondoux definitely succeeded in drawing out the reader’s sympathy for the two characters.
And Koumail, oh Koumail -- funny, sweet, and fiercely protective of Gloria. It isn’t possible for someone to not like this little boy. He entertains with his antics, his blind faith, and the three true loves he meets on their short journey. Even while Koumail’s begging in front of a random restaurant in the icy coldness, he’s still alight with hope.
A Time of Miracles is a surprisingly moving historical novel. It is one of those books you close with a quiet sigh.
Orphaned at a young age, Grace and Lily Parkes barely scrape by living off of the revenuThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Orphaned at a young age, Grace and Lily Parkes barely scrape by living off of the revenue from their watercress-selling operation. When Grace -- barely sixteen herself -- gives birth to a stillborn baby boy, she embarks on a train ride that causes her to crash head-on into two individuals who ultimately come to define the sisters’ messy future. And what a messy future it is, for the entirety of legal London is abuzz over Grace and Lily, two oblivious heiresses to a huge fortune left by their deceased father. A desperate race for the money ensues as the affluent families in London begin to plot for ways to take advantage of the Parkes sisters, and the trusting girls step right into these well-woven traps. Eventually, a boy will rescue one girl, and she will stop at nothing until her sister is by her side once again.
Fallen Grace is one of those novels you chew through slowly because of its meticulously and beautifully described setting. Ms. Hooper delivers a stunning portrayal of 17th century England, complete with opulent characters and an abundance of child beggars; even the King and Queen make a random appearance. However, the plot turned out to be rather slow in the beginning. I kept waiting for the pacing to pick up: it never did. The entire book felt like an easy rambling walk -- unhurried and enjoyable, until you get bored and decide to run like a maniac and feel the wind in your hair instead.
A nicely written novel nevertheless, Fallen Grace will appeal to avid readers of historical fiction.
An article recently came out in the Wall Street Journal that generated quite a buzz in the yoThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
An article recently came out in the Wall Street Journal that generated quite a buzz in the young adult book community. It basically slanders every YA novel out there that is “dark” by their standards and indirectly blames the books for familiarizing and possibly prompting trauma, violence, and profanity within the average teen. Shine received an honorary place in the article and was complained about quite a bit. So, dear Ms. Gurdon, author of said article, I am a teenager. I have read Shine, among tons of other “dark” novels. Do I now feel the inclination to begin stimulating the nearest meth business or sexually assaulting my classmates? No. No, I don’t. Not at all.
Since I’ve read Ms. Myracle’s Internet Girls series prior to Shine, I simply dismissed her as a frivolous author. Well, all my expectations disappeared down the drain as I read the first page, which featured a newspaper clipping detailing the attack of a gay teen in the tiny town of Black Creek. The novel goes on to describe the protagonist’s search for the truth about what really happened to the teen, an old childhood friend named Patrick.
Ms. Myracle’s writing created a sort of thick and somber atmosphere throughout the book, which was appropriate given the gravity of the topic. Her characters are easy to sympathize for, and the mystery involved was not overly obvious or completely impossible to solve. A multitude of touchy subjects were tackled and handled delicately. Overall, I enjoyed Shine a lot more than I’d originally thought I would.
Even with all the hate and despair in the story, I finished the novel with a feeling of hope. Yes, WSJ article, maybe it wasn’t a happily ever after, maybe the characters experienced things no one should go through. But there is hope and healing everywhere if you look hard enough.
Book Source: ARC from Abrams Books via NetGalley...more
Since the Rose accident, Sydney has been branded as a disgrace in the Alchemist community. WhThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Since the Rose accident, Sydney has been branded as a disgrace in the Alchemist community. When Keith -- that arrogant jerk -- shows up with a method for her to redeem herself, Sydney jumps at the chance. The pair is sent to California as guardians for Jill, the Moroi princess who has recently suffered and barely survived a brutal attack. Posing as students in an obscure private school in Palm Springs should be an easy task. However, a chain of events have already been set into motion at this sunny “haven,” and the Alchemist-vampire posse is right in the middle of it.
Perhaps I’ve been subconsciously persuaded by the scathing Bloodlines reviews out there. Or maybe I just felt like Last Sacrifice was the conclusion of Vampire Academy, and spin-offs wouldn’t do the original series justice. I have no idea.
But Bloodlines failed to impress me as much as its predecessors did.
You notice right away that the Alchemist Sydney, who has now inherited the important job as narrator, lacks the sarcasm and attitude that characterizes Rose. This naturally causes the reading to seem a bit dryer and less humorous. I’m being petty here, as the character Sydney is supposed to be serious and obedient, but this little observation did contribute to a lower rating than the standard 4-stars I’ve been giving the rest of the Vampire Academy series. It’s hard not comparing the two.
Even with a different set of main characters -- aside from Adrian -- Ms. Mead still manages to stun with wonderfully done plot twists. I admit: I was cocky and seriously thought I had the entire plot figured out about a quarter through the book. Never have I been more wrong, and I apologize to Ms. Mead for underestimating her. I thought the novel did start out a bit slowly and ended up putting it down multiple times in the beginning. I was hooked eventually.
Although Bloodlines is a teeny step below the rest of the Vampire Academy series, it is worth reading for the thrilling conclusion. Old fans will be glad to see Adrian back in their lives, too (I know I was).
What invariably happens when I plump down with a John Green or David Levithan book in my handThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
What invariably happens when I plump down with a John Green or David Levithan book in my hands: chuckle chuckle... giggle giggle snort... BUAHAHAHA choke cough cough...
So yes, this is why I avoid reading funny books in public. My personal sound effects would probably scare away people within a 3 mile radius or something. A teenager with a laughter-inducing book is quite a frightening combo.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson is centered around two seemingly different boys with the same name whose lives become intertwined when they accidentally meet inside a questionable institution for minors. Green's Will Grayson is my favorite type of nerd. He accepts his parents advice about life in general, is in love with obscure bands like Neutral Milk Hotel, and has the tendency to describe his love life with scientific paradoxes like Schroedinger's cat. Levithan's will grayson (no capitals), on the other hand, doesn't particularly care about anything (except maybe Isaac), hangs out with emotionally deficient computer programming geeks, and is still striving to discover a niche in the overwhelming existence that is life.
The truly amazing thing about realistic fiction is, obviously, its relatability. Sometimes I feel like the paranormal/fantasy YA I read sacrifice character depth and development for things like descriptions of magic or, oh I don't know, the history of the shapeshifter bunny rabbits. Will Grayson, Will Grayson contains a fantastic set of characters, each with their own happiness and woes. And that is why I adored this book. It felt real, surprisingly real. I will definitely be looking into the realistic fiction genre.
Off on a random tangent: I'm going to start using andbutso in my daily speech, just to confuse the unfortunate individuals I happen to be communicating with.
Various predicaments have presented themselves to Zara since the death of her stepfatherThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Various predicaments have presented themselves to Zara since the death of her stepfather and the unwilling move to Bedford, Maine that followed. There is, of course, the whole pixie situation, but now Nick, her boyfriend and warrior werewolf, is gone, too. Zara, heartbroken and determined, allows the pixie king Astley to transform her into a pixie herself as a last resort to aid in the quest to retrieve Nick. The problem is: the only leads they have are the words of a disdainful Valkyrie and the existence of a mythical place -- Valhalla, said to be the ruling place of the Norse god, Odin. As Zara and the crew continue to search for more clues, evil pixies led by the newly appearing king, Frank, are kidnapping boys left and right. Zara, now the Queen of King Astley, also faces entirely new problems as her relationship with Astley and the trust of her friends are brought into jeopardy by these recent turn of events. However, Zara is nothing if not stubborn, and she will not rest until Nick is safely returned to Bedford.
As I read each of the Need books one after the other, the growth of the author was especially evident. Descriptions of the background and setup of each place, which were lacking in the first two books of this series, are found embedded throughout Entice, creating an even more realistic world for the reader. I adore the steadily increasing plot complications, too. A series that started out with a relatively simple concept -- eliminate the evil pixies and their violent ways -- has successfully morphed into an intense story involving mythical places and the existence of benevolence in an initially evil species.
Young adult books nowadays all seem to contain the classic love triangle scenario, and this book is not an exception. There does seem to be an almost two-dimensional quality to Zara and Nick’s relationship, though. Why are they even in love? I suppose there was a time limit on the development of their relationship since Nick was whisked away to Valhalla so soon after the series started. On the other hand, the author did a great job with Zara and Astley, whose relationship is multi-faceted and angst-filled enough to keep me interested. It also seems obvious who Zara will choose at the end, if one were to observe the popular trend followed by other YA novels. But who knows? Maybe Carrie Jones will spring out a surprise for us at the end of the series.
Entice is packed with action and is easily my favorite book out of the Need series so far. I will be looking forward to the next installment of the series.
I think it's been about five minutes since I read the last word of Battle Royale. My heart isThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
I think it's been about five minutes since I read the last word of Battle Royale. My heart is still pounding abnormally fast, and every few seconds, I have to take a break from typing to watch the French countryside rushing by outside the train window instead.* The view is strangely soothing, and I definitely need some calming right now.
So. Battle Royale. Was. Epic. Dare I say it? It was better than The Hunger Games, and The Hunger Games is one of my favorites. Both have similar settings: a dystopian government that forces children into an arena and makes them kill each other off one by one. But Battle Royale ended up as the more striking, more intense, of the two. The novel grabbed me, strapped me to a poodle, and threw me off a cliff. How does a poodle save a person from a fall off a cliff, you may ask. It doesn't. That's why I kind of feel like an insignificant smudge on the ground right now.
Unlike The Hunger Games, which focuses only on Katniss's narrative, Battle Royale jumps around from one student to another. I didn't find that disorienting or discontinuous. The skipping around revealed quite a lot about each participant of the Program, as the government calls this bloodbath. Such intricate lines bind all the classmates together, and it's so saddening to watch it all fall apart. There are love interests and friendships and histories and their own survival to consider as the 15-year-olds wander around an island with machine guns, scared out of their wits. What a story Takami-san has dreamt up. What a story.
And the ending, too. Wow, if you thought The Hunger Games's ending was jarring, you will be totally unprepared for Battle Royale's. Takami-san wrote it with the flare of a pro, although I kind of want to punch him now...
The only thing I disliked were the gory scenes. Battle Royale was a lot more graphic than I'd imagined. So instead of puking up the contents of my stomach, I just skipped the paragraphs describing blood and bashed-in brains. The human imagination is always a lot more vivid than a movie scene. Normally, that's a good thing, but now, not so much.
I would say that I'm now a fangirl of Battle Royale, but given the book's subject matter, I don't think that'd be entirely appropriate. Apparently, Takami-san is writing (or has already written) a second novel. I must hunt it down.
Fang has left, and Max, hurt and bewildered, has no idea how to function anymore. She knows tThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Fang has left, and Max, hurt and bewildered, has no idea how to function anymore. She knows that the world still needs saving -- that life is bigger than the two of them -- but it is one thing to say it and another to believe it. When the deserter, he-whose-name-must-never-be-mentioned, fires a call their way out of the blue, Max, Dylan, and the gang is dragged into yet another plot for world domination -- or in this case, mass destruction. The Doomsday Group has suddenly sprung up out of nowhere. With its hypnotic figurehead, the DG is gaining followers fast. After witnessing a group rally, the two groups led by Max and Fang journey to the DG’s headquarters in an attempt to crush the cult right at its roots. Never underestimate a group of crazed and fanatical humans, even if they aren’t genetically enhanced, even if they aren’t the future of mankind, as the DG have started to call Max and her little group. The future of mankind, huh? That is quite a title.
Followers of the Maximum Ride series have come a long way, from Max’s first discovery of her real identity to the various times her gang has successfully thwarted a crazed scientist or politician of some sort. Angel, this newest installment of the series, brings forth with it yet another villain to eradicate, which makes it feel as if the former books of the series don’t matter at all plot-wise. At least Max hasn't lost her sarcastic touch and gangstah attitude. The addition of Dylan, the new gorgeous bird-mutant guy, creates -- yes, you guessed it -- a love triangle. Really, Mr. Patterson, I expected more of you. Maximum Ride started out as a fresh new series and has now been reduced to just another teen paranormal novel -- in terms of characterization, at least.
While the plot of this book grabbed the reader’s attention, there was not much depth. Even so, I could not resist reading the novel in one sitting so I suppose I shouldn’t be complaining. I did feel like Mr. Patterson was making too much of an effort to sound like a teen girl, though. Yes, Max is fifteen, but like, teen girls don’t like, OMG, add in a “like” every few letters when they like, talk, you know? I was fifteen just four months ago. Trust me; I know what I’m talking about.
Despite all that, Maximum Ride is addictive and a very fun read. I know it seems as if I butchered every aspect of Angel, but still, I will not hesitate to obtain a copy of the next book in the series when it becomes published. We have a weird relationship, Max and I.
Escape: the one thing Finn, Keiro, and Attia have yearned for since the beginning. Finn -- thThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Escape: the one thing Finn, Keiro, and Attia have yearned for since the beginning. Finn -- the lucky one, the one of royal blood -- now has it in his clutches and yet yearns for the soothing feeling of content. Outside is not the pretty paradise it’s supposed to be. Still plagued by doubts about himself and those around him, Finn, the long-lost prince, must rescue his oath brother Keiro and manage to ascend the throne that is rightfully his by birthright. As he struggles with messy court politics, Incarceron is making its own plans. It will do anything for freedom, for a glimpse of the Outside that its escaped son Sapphique has described. Sapphique: the implanter of dreams, the owner of the Glove, the answer to all this strife?
This book begins right after the conclusion of Incarceron. And although I found the first book to be a little slow pace-wise, Sapphique is action-packed from beginning to end and is definitely a step-up from Incarceron. I originally thought that the story couldn’t be extended that much further, as Incarceron already had a solid ending, albeit with some strings left untied. Well, I was completely mistaken. Sapphique is the book that ends the story and brings all the characters to some kind of peace, one way or another.
Unlike some other reviewers, I adored these characters as well. They love each other; they hate each other. They build their relationships upon jealousy and selfish desires, trust and self-sacrificing love. Their ultimate ambitions are obvious. Or are they…?
There will be no third installment, and I applaud Ms. Fisher for not dragging out the series like countless other authors. Sapphique is a satisfying ending to a unique series. It has a certain... finality to it.
Tidbit of random: Whilst reading Incarceron back in 2010, I had no idea the word incarcerate had a meaning or even existed. It wasn’t until the criminal justice unit in US Government this semester that I realized. Imagine my surprise...!