I really enjoyed Ruins, but not as a finale. It just kind of ends without a full resolution. It's not the kind of open ending where you can easily imaI really enjoyed Ruins, but not as a finale. It just kind of ends without a full resolution. It's not the kind of open ending where you can easily imagine what may come next for the characters. Everything is left wide open, and more could have been unfolded, or even an epilogue that takes place a short way into the future. I was really invested in Kira's struggle and I wanted her to save the world! Did she? I have no clue. Maybe.
Ruins is where all of the characters who have been scattered across the country finally come back together and share what they've learned. They combine their knowledge, try to understand it all, and come up with a way to put it to good use. The biggest issue being curing humans from RM and the partials from expiration. I had my suspicions that it was something that simple, but then Kira confirms it with science. Then it becomes a race against the clock and a matter of anyone believing her and putting it into practice.
There are a few new complications and several more characters added in Ruins. While I did enjoy all of this on its own, it was a bit much for a finale. Nothing got its page worth, since this was the end. I really would have liked at least one more book so each of these things could be explored fully. We finally got to see what the real Partials failsafe was suppose to be, but that's really all it was: a reveal. It didn't do much, since everything was already wrapping up. Then there's a mysterious monster warning people that winter is coming! This was the addition I was most interesting in, because more science! Alas, there are no details. Finally, there's the Blood Man, who was super creepy and weird, but I figured him out!
As for the end of Ruins, I was left hanging! I wanted to know more! The final villain is removed, and that was that. There's no follow up at all. Are humans and Partials going to work and live together? How long will the cure for both of them take to kick in? What about the Partials' virus? Will the New York survivors and the Denver survivors merge? Is there anyone else out there? Were there some humans or Partials who decided to keep fighting? Is the cure permanent? What is going on here?!
Clearly I had a lot of questions upon finishing Ruins, which sucks. I suppose it could also be a good thing, since I was invested enough to care about the answers to these questions. But it still sucks that I'll never know!
Fragments is a twisty maze of twistedness! My mind is spinning out of control! What in the world is going on?! This sequel did get off to an extremelyFragments is a twisty maze of twistedness! My mind is spinning out of control! What in the world is going on?! This sequel did get off to an extremely slow and boring start, but once it got going, it just kept going and going and going and going until my brain was mush. Kira is out searching for information on ParaGen, since there has been no success on replicating the cure, and she has no idea what she is. Meanwhile, Marcus is still in East Meadow trying to piece things together there, such as where Nandita went and why. Kira has better luck as she finds a man living alone who happens to have boxes and boxes full of ParaGen documents. Too bad he's missing the most crucial papers; i.e. the cure and how RM works.
The plot of Fragments became more intricate and complex as the book goes on. Once Kira learns something new, fifty more questions are created. Then what she thought was the answer, turned out to be something else. And the only person who can help her is Afa, a computer genius who is convinced he's the last human alive and often reverts to a childlike state. It was hard to coax information out of him, but eventually Kira learns all he knows, and most importantly what he doesn't know and where to find it. This takes her, Afa, and when they appear, Samm and Heron, on a trip across the country. There's all kinds of bizarre and frightening creatures out there, as well as the ruin from the war, making their trip more difficult. But, oh, the answers that they eventually get! Blew my mind!
While most of Fragments is focused on Kira's adventures, Marcus does learn some important information too. He doesn't come up with it on his own, he has to go find someone who he hasn't seen in a long time, Kira's "sister" Ariel. She reveals all kinds of sinister things that happened in Nandita's house, but that leads them closer to the truth, and there's another surprise that I didn't see coming! Nandita is certainly sneaky and smart. There are also a handful of chapters from Haru, which I wasn't that into. One plot twist is revealed, but nothing came of it after that. I'm sure that's being saved for Ruins, but I'm really not a fan of introducing a minor character's POV for a couple of pages just to reveal a plot point.
Fragments was really good! The beginning is a bit of a chore to get through, but it's absolutely worth it! I did work out one piece of the human-Partial puzzle, and felt so proud of myself! Of course, this is like a million piece puzzle of a polar bear in a snow storm, so there's definitely a lot more revealed and left to be revealed!
Popular is the real life, geek to chic tale of one Maya van Wagenen. Right before the start of her last year of middle school, Maya finds a popularityPopular is the real life, geek to chic tale of one Maya van Wagenen. Right before the start of her last year of middle school, Maya finds a popularity guide from 1951 tucked away in a closet. Knowing she has trouble making friends and is an aspiring writer, her mother encourages her to give the advice a try and write about her experiences. Of course, mother knows best, and Maya now has her first published book and she found out what it means to popular. Although it did take on a different definition than she expected it would at the start.
I absolutely adored Popular. I knew it was going to be fun, but I didn't expect it to make me cry! Seriously. Maya's story is so touching, and I felt like I was right there with her at the end. I just could not contain my emotions at her discoveries about herself and those around her. Each month of the school year, Maya would employ the advice given by Betty Cornell in her guide on how to become popular. She starts with the easy stuff first, changing her hair and eating habits. Soon she's trying out makeup, wearing pantyhose and a girdle, then finally she expands her social circle. Yes, some of Betty's tips were completely outdated, but Maya follows it all with grace and humor, despite some negative reactions from her classmates. But she was no longer invisible; people knew who she was, and slowly, but surely Maya noticed others making changes in their own relationships.
I don't want to give too much away. Popular is one book that you really need to experience for yourself. Maya is a wonderful narrator, and I loved how upfront and honest she was about her experiment and her life. No matter how embarrassing or personal, Maya lets us in on every step of her journey from quiet geek to the life of the party (or the 8th grad prom!). There are moments where her journey hits some extremely awkward and even sad moments that feel straight out of fiction, but this is her real life! I'm so happy that I decided to pick up Popular, and definitely think you should too if you're into quirky Non-Fiction, or even Contemporary YA.
Murder Mysteries don't tend to be my thing, but I had heard nothing but good things about Far From You and the GLBT themes definitely called to me. IMurder Mysteries don't tend to be my thing, but I had heard nothing but good things about Far From You and the GLBT themes definitely called to me. I am so glad that I gave it a chance! Sophie witnessed her best friend, Mina, get murdered and everyone is blaming it on her. They say she dragged her out there for a drug deal which went wrong, but Sophie's been clean for six months. Too bad no one believes her after pills are found in her jacket. After a stint in rehab where she has to pretend to be in recovery, she returns home and is dead set on finding her friend's killer. As Sophie puts the clues together, even more of Mina's secrets come to the surface.
Far From You hooked me from the very beginning. It alternates between the present and random points in the past, showing us everything leading up to the night Mina was murdered. But more importantly, it slowly revealed the depths of Sophie and Mina's relationship. It's fairly obvious that something was going on between them, but it certainly didn't come about how I assumed. Their story was heartbreaking! It sucks how one person has to ruin it for everyone, but I totally believed Sophie and Mina's secret. Mina may not have always been the nicest when it came to this situation, but I definitely felt Sophie's love for her! I was much more invested in their doomed romance than I was in the murder.
The murder plot ended up being a double murder mystery to solve, since Mina had been obsessed with a kidnapping from three years prior. She believed the girl was dead and wanted to find out who did it, since the police let the trail go cold. Sophie picks up where she left off despite the danger she knows she's in. She can deal with everyone believing she's still a junkie, but she cannot accept Mina's murderer roaming free. I never figured out who did it, but I also wasn't shocked when it was revealed. In fact, I was pretty underwhelmed by it. It seemed kind of disconnected from everything, and I was hoping for more, I suppose.
In the end, I thought Far From You was wonderful. The mystery was engaging, but for me, the relationship between Mina, Sophie, and Trev (Mina's brother) outshines everything else. My heart ached for them so much! Their emotions were such a mess, and all over the place. And I loved how the author was able to make a bisexual character who didn't come across as wishy-washy or straightwashed. Bravo.
I liked the first book well enough, but really liked the sequel, so I was hoping for an epic finale in Ruin and Rising. Unfortunately, I was left undeI liked the first book well enough, but really liked the sequel, so I was hoping for an epic finale in Ruin and Rising. Unfortunately, I was left underwhelmed. Everything was just too easy, convenient, and predictable. Qualities that are always annoying, but almost unforgivable in a series finale. At the opening, Alina and her allies are at the White Cathedral, but the Apparat makes sure to keep them separated. Alina is mopey and weak without her powers, but this would make for a very boring book, so soon enough there's a fight, break out, and powers are restored. The group heads out to finally track down the Firebird, so that Alina has a hope of defeating the Darkling.
Aside from Alina's powers immediately being restored, Ruin and Rising does suffer from a lot of convenient events in the face of horrible things. For as much as the characters go through, not much actually happens, which had me bored most of the time. Then something exciting would happen, and I would worry how it was going to pan out, but then it would be fixed, getting back on the boring track. On top of that, most of the book is one giant foreshadowing, so as soon as one twist was revealed, I knew exactly how the book would end! This should not happen! I don't want to spoil anything, but one particular Grisha power is discussed at length, which makes it quite obvious what's to come. I would have rather it be mentioned in passing, and then be surprised! Not beaten over the head with it.
I really don't have anything to say about Ruin and Rising. It was an okay ending to a pretty good series. The final battle wasn't exciting or epic at all. It just kind of happened. Twists weren't really twists. But the epilogue was really cute, even if I guessed that that would happen, too.
I enjoyed Siege and Storm quite a bit more than the first book! It starts off with a bang, and then ends with a boom! At the start, Alina and Mal haveI enjoyed Siege and Storm quite a bit more than the first book! It starts off with a bang, and then ends with a boom! At the start, Alina and Mal have escaped, but it's not too long before old foes catch up with them. Then it's time to hunt the second amplifier! No Grisha is meant to have this amount of power, but Alina knows it's the only way she'll able to save the world from darkness. Power is changing her, and not for the better.
While I loved the opening chapters of Siege and Storm, the middle is super boring. There's some great characterization, but I'm not really a character focused reader, so I found myself wanting more. Alina spends all of her time conflicted with gaining more power, and trying to hold on to herself, the girl who Mal loves. She's also studying Grisha history, the Saints, really anything she can get her hands on hoping to find something that can help. This is all well and good, but didn't hold my interest.
However, once the romance started to creep forward, I found I was completely and totally invested! I was getting noticeably angry at Alina and Mal. At one point I wanted to throw the book, then pick it up and bash Mal's head in, then shove their faces together to kiss! It's so frustrating! Then there's another component added to this love geometry and I was like aahhh! I adore all of the characters separately (Sturmhond!), but I only have room in my heart for Mal and Alina. Even if they made me mad.
The end of Siege and Storm was fantastic! So much tension and action, and I couldn't tell what was going to happen next! It didn't have any of the predictability that Shadow and Bone had for me. I was genuinely surprised at the things happening. I don't know what's to come, but I do know that I need more Darkling and Nikolai!
Inheritance was a wonderful follow up to Adaptation! It picks up immediately where the previous book ended, with Reese and David attempting to revealInheritance was a wonderful follow up to Adaptation! It picks up immediately where the previous book ended, with Reese and David attempting to reveal the truth (as far as they know it) to the public before they're stopped. Soon enough, the Imria are allowed to land their ship on Angel Island where they give a press conference full of lies! They also offer David and Reese lessons on how to properly use their new ability, while the government is desperate to learn this information. They're caught in the middle of an impending war but they don't know who's telling the truth and who's twisting the facts.
There's always something happening in Inheritance. Whether it's the main government conspiracy plot, Imria world building, or just Reese dealing with her feelings for David and Amber. I was never bored and didn't want to put this down. The plot does get a whole lot more complicated before anything is resolved, which at times was confusing. There's too many theories and lies thrown out to sort through, and I think for how contrived things got, it wrapped up too neatly. One moment there's a lot of action and "what's going on" moments, and then it's all over and things are peaceful. I would have liked a bit more of the aftermath of the truth coming out.
My absolute favorite part of Inheritance was learning more about the Imria. Of course, we see in detail how their kind of telepathy works in the lessons provided. But we also learn a lot about their relationships and views on gender and sexuality. This basically came about as an info-dump from Amber, but I didn't mind it since it was so fascinating! The Imria are essentially more enlightened than us humans and don't really think and behave in terms of male and female gender. They do have biological sex, but everyone just expresses themselves in however way they want. Their relationships also tend to be different than ours, and Amber actually proposes one of these relationships to Reese which I adored! I thought it was a perfect fit for them, even if that too, was wrapped up a bit quickly. I would love another series that takes place on Kurra, because the Imria are a super interesting species!
I really enjoyed Inheritance. The ending was rushed, and didn't touch on everything as fully as I would have liked, but I still thought it was a good ending.
Bloodrose is easily the best of the trilogy. I firmly liked it, with some reservations. It picks up immediately where Wolfsbane ended, with Calla goinBloodrose is easily the best of the trilogy. I firmly liked it, with some reservations. It picks up immediately where Wolfsbane ended, with Calla going back for Ren. Getting him to go with her is easier than I thought it was going to be, but that allowed the plot to get rolling. The Searchers and Shay need to get the rest of the swords so they finish this war once and for all. It's dangerous and exciting! Then it's time for battle against the Keepers.
I did really enjoy most of Bloodrose, but I'll start with what I didn't. The first was that it got repetitive toward the middle. Shay needs three more pieces to complete the cross, and each voyage had the same formula. They come up with a plan, arrive, but then something doesn't go according to plan. They find the piece, and something scary and unbeatable attacks, but they magically defeat it. Adne has to open an emergency portal, and someone gets gravely injured, but is instantly healed once they're home. It was fun the first time, but I didn't want to read the same scenario three times. The locations were definitely interesting though.
Another thing that bothered me about Bloodrose was the location of the war. The Rift where they need to trap Bosque is...at Bosque's house! That is pretty stupid. Sure, it makes defending the place easier for him, but it also puts him right there! Come on! He might as well have just jumped in himself!
My favorite part of Bloodrose was the twist at the end. I didn't see it coming, and I thought it was a really good one. The author really took a risk with that, since it's a kind of bittersweet conclusion rather than a happy ending. I was afraid there would be some kind of cop-out to make it the happily ever after, but there wasn't. I found it very fitting to the story. Although, speaking of cop-outs, I did find one of the deaths to be too convenient rather than sad.
In the end, I really liked Bloodrose. The series isn't making it on any of my favorites list, but this ending was still really good.
Wolfsbane is an alright sequel. It's not terrible, but it's not particularly good either. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as Nightshade, although it dWolfsbane is an alright sequel. It's not terrible, but it's not particularly good either. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as Nightshade, although it did have fewer problems. This picks up about a week later with Calla held by the Searchers. She learns that they're not the bad guys she's always been lead to believe. She works with them on a plan to rescue her pack in order to build up some fighters for the impending war. Meanwhile, Shay is learning all about his heritage, not all of which is pleasant.
I had two main issues with Wolfsbane. The first being that the first half of the book is boring. There's a lot of info-dumping and plotting. I thought I would like learning more about the true history of Guardians and Keepers, but there's just a lot at once, and most of it wasn't that interesting. The second was that there were way too many characters. We're introduced to a bunch of Searchers, and I couldn't keep them all straight. Monroe, Ethan, Silas, and Connor were all interchangeable to me. The only one that stood out was Adne, probably because of her weird name, but also because of her being a Weaver. That was actually pretty awesome, except for the whole rhythmic gymnastic thing.
The plot of Wolfsbane was actually pretty good once it got going. It was tense, since I was never sure who would make it and who would actually stick with Calla. The scene with Ren did make me sad. I'm definitely not on his team, but that part still gave me a little kick in the emotions. Of course, Calla and Shay are a huge part of everything. They make out all the time, while she feels guilty over Ren. I kind of wanted to slap her, since she flip-flopped so much, but not really about who she wanted to be with, just what she wanted to do about her feelings.
Wolfsbane was good as far as sequels go. It didn't feel like filler for the most part and there's some actual plot progression. I'm just not all that invested in what's happening.
I liked Nightshade, but I also kind of didn't. I found the premise interesting and the plot engaging, but everything else came across as just silly. CI liked Nightshade, but I also kind of didn't. I found the premise interesting and the plot engaging, but everything else came across as just silly. Calla is preparing for her union to Ren, and the formation of their new pack. While out in the woods, she stumbles upon a human being mauled by a bear. The Guardians are not suppose to get involved in human affairs, but she saves him, and doesn't think she'll see him again. Come Monday, there's a new student, and of course, it's him. Shay may seem like a normal human, but Calla and Ren are asked to protect him. For what, who knows, until Calla and Shay team up to do some research on her history.
I was quite confused at the beginning of Nightshade. We're just thrust into this world with names and labels thrown around, but with no explanation. Guardians, Keepers, and Searchers! Oh my! I had no clue what any of these were, and assumed they were just different groups of werewolves. Well, they're not. There are a couple of info-dumps disguised as conversations, which I ended up being thankful for. It took too long to get to them, but at least I knew the differences between the groups before the end. Although, I'm still not sure what Searchers are exactly, and I have no clue why the Guardians serve the Keepers, but that seems to be a main mystery in the plot. So I'm definitely eager to read more about that. However, the way shifting works is quite ludicrous. Something about parallel dimensions, so they can be human and wolf at the same time, which explains why their clothes don't disappear. Sorry, but that's dumb.
While I liked the tensions and secrets between these three groups, I didn't enjoy the werewolf world at all. It's very sexist and disgusting, for no reason other than that's how it's always been done. Shay actually points this out a few times to Calla and asks her why she just goes along with everything without question, but she's stuck on the "that's just how it is" setting. She's about to be mated to Ren, who is a big jerk, and most of time it's obvious that she barely tolerates him and only for her pack's sake. Her mother is obsessed with "finesse" and dressing Calla up and preparing her to be a bride. Calla has to remain pure for her union, while Ren is expected to run around screwing anything on two legs. Even the Guardians' "masters" are super sexed up, but their partners aren't exactly willing. It's just gross all around.
Aside from uncovering all kinds of lies the Guardians have been told, Nightshade focuses heavily on the love triangle, which is kind of not a love triangle. Like I already mentioned, Calla is essentially engaged to Ren (since they were babies), but she's not that into him. He seems to really like her, even though at times, he's a jerk. I absolutely hated how he kept trying to pressure her into sex, but I'm proud of Calla for saying no despite all of the raging hormones. Shay is kinda of sweet, but I do think he's a bit awestruck by Calla, but at least he's a guy of her choosing. I'm hoping she picks him.
In the end, I kind of like Nightshade. I'm a sucker for all things paranormal, so I was drawn in by this world that seems to be falling into chaos. Many things were problematic, but I've read worse.
How to Say Goodbye in Robot is adorable, different, and cracked my heart. It didn't quite break it, but it would have if the ending had gone in the diHow to Say Goodbye in Robot is adorable, different, and cracked my heart. It didn't quite break it, but it would have if the ending had gone in the direction I feared it would. But it didn't, so my heart is aching, but in tact. It's all about Bea, whose family has just moved at the start of her senior year. Bea is quirky, but not exactly an outsider, so she's welcomed by the girls at her new school. However, it's Johan--nicknamed Ghost Boy--who becomes her newest and only friend. No one bothers with him, and he doesn't bother with anyone, but he and Bea bond over death and radio.
I adored Bea and her slightly morbid hobbies. She creates death fantasies to help her sleep, and occasionally stages gruesome movie scenes with her mother to photograph. Kind of weird, but I found her interests believable rather than forced in order to make her quirky and interesting. It's her preoccupation with death which gets Johan to introduce her to a late night radio show, where the callers all believe in ghosts. In fact, there's snippets of the radio calls in How to Say Goodbye in Robot and I loved that! I felt like I was listening right there with Bea and getting to know all its eccentric listeners. It was a lot of fun! The radio listeners also wound up playing as amazing supports to Bea and Jonah when things get bad.
While I absolutely loved How to Say Goodbye in Robot for focusing on a purely platonic boy-girl friendship which never turned romantic, I was a bit thrown off by how quickly it happened. Jonah at first shows no interest in making friends, despite telling Bea about the radio show. Then all of a sudden they're attached at the hip and are closer than close. I felt like I missed a pivotal moment, since Jonah went from "leave me alone" to "never leave me!" in no time. But I enjoyed their friendship so much! They are adorable! And then Jonah gets some news. Very, very shocking, life altering news and Bea is beyond supportive! This is also when my heart started crumbling, because, aahhh! Emotions!
How to Say Goodbye in Robot is primarily about Bea and Jonah, and how Bea helps Jonah with his...mission (I don't want to give it away!), but it also shows how Bea and her mom relate, and fail to relate after the move. It is Bea's mother who calls her a robot for not being emotional, while her mother is an emotional wreck. She seems very imbalanced and spends a lot of the book sick, which made my mind immediately jump to pregnancy! Then as things get worse: cancer! But it's neither of those things. It's something far more common, which I'm surprised isn't dealt with more in fiction. I'm glad it was addressed, but I was left underwhelmed by this plot thread, since Jonah's struggles are much more emotional.
In the end, I did love How to Say Goodbye in Robot. It covers one full year of Bea starting over, but keeping to who she is. How she made friends with the friendless boy and tried to help make his dreams come true. That sounds very cheesy, but it's anything but, I promise! It's sooo amazing!