Tag Archive | 12+

Book Review: Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George

Edge of Nowhere Cover

Screen shot 2013-12-11 at 22.33.00

“Whidbey Island may be only a ferry ride from Seattle, but it’s a world apart. When Becca King arrives there, she doesn’t suspect the island will become her home for the next four years. Put at risk by her ability to hear “whispers”–the thoughts of others–Becca is on the run from her stepfather, whose criminal activities she has discovered. Stranded and alone, Becca is soon befriended by Derric, a Ugandon orphan adopted by a local family; Seth, a kindhearted musician and high school dropout; Debbie, a recovering alcoholic who takes her in; and Diana, with whom Becca shares a mysterious psychic connection.

This compelling coming-of-age story, the first of an ongoing sequence of books set on Whidbey Island, has elements of mystery, the paranormal, and romance. Elizabeth George, bestselling author of the Inspector Lynley crime novels, brings her elegant style, intricate plotting, incisive characterization, and top-notch storytelling to her first book for teens.”

What I See: This is FANTASTIC! Well written, expertically executed and an engaging story that isn’t based on romance! No! This girl with spunk is on the run and to see her grow as she starts over on her own on Wimbey Island is standout.

It’s smart; it’s witty and clings the reader through every page. George has constructed a fabulous story line and I have no idea what to expect for the sequel, but look very much forward to it!


Book Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection

Screen shot 2013-11-21 at 21.11.35

“For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.”

What I see: I. Loved. THIS. BOOK! I could not. PUT. IT. DOWN! 

I am slightly ashamed about that sentence, but there is something about this first in a series. There is a feeling of desperation, for the lower casts in the society. I loved reading about how the ranks of people operated. However, everything about this story, the dystopia setting, the terrible love triangle, the fact it is so like The Bachelor, I shouldn’t have loved this as much as I did. I should hate it, everything about it is so entirely cliche. The love interests are horrible. The Prince is unreliable and Aspen is a child. America knows nothing of love and is a insecure teenager, as one would be during a war and living in poverty. 

But I still loved it. Breezed through in two days. The atmosphere about the castle, the stories behind the other girls in the competition. The fact that there is a ridiculous competition at all, there is a spark to this book and I adored it. 

I feel the author gave enough details but not all the information to keep me intrigued, which I think is hard to do because it’s pretty obvious how the first book ends. Still, I loved each page except for the ending. I am not blind to the annoying factors in the story too, how it’s flawed with it’s too easy plot points or cliche characters. I saw it all and still loved it. It is a book that has everything I hate about YA, and yet I was eager to get back to each chapter for more. 

It’s pure YA fluff and I love it. But that is all it is, there isn’t anything long with standing. I’m hungry for more and can’t wait to get through the second and third book (once it’s published), but I doubt it will have the shiny magical touch the first book captured. Much like The Hunger Games and going to the Capital, The Selection takes one from the bottom and brings them to the top. What it is about books that begin in the dark and move to the light that are so interesting? 

Plus the cover is amazing! Beautiful, engaging and full of wonder! For dystopian YA, this is one of my favorites for the year!


Book Review: Vortex by S. J. Kincaid

Vortex cover

Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 21.30.07

Please note this is the second book in the Insignia series and does contain spoilers.

For my review on the first book, Insignia.

“The impossible was just the beginning. Now in their second year as superhuman government weapons-in-training at the Pentagonal Spire, Tom Raines and his friends are mid-level cadets in the elite combat corps known as the Intrasolar Forces. But as training intensifies and a moment arrives that could make or break his entire career, Tom’s loyalties are again put to the test.

Encouraged to betray his ideals and friendships for the sake of his country, Tom is convinced there must be another way. And the more aware he becomes of the corruption surrounding him, the more determined he becomes to fight it, even if he sabotages his own future in the process. 

Drawn into a power struggle more dramatic than he has ever faced before, Tom stays a hyperintelligent step ahead of everyone, like the exceptional gamer he is—or so he believes. But when he learns that he and his friends have unwittingly made the most grievous error imaginable, Tom must find a way to outwit an enemy so nefarious that victory seems hopeless. Will his idealism and bravado cost him everything—and everyone that matters to him?

Filled with action and intelligence, camaraderie and humor, the second book in S.J. Kincaid’s futuristic World War III Insignia trilogy continues to explore fascinating and timely questions about power, politics, technology, loyalty, and friendship.”

What I see: Hmmmmmm, I really enjoyed the first book, but that new feeling has rubbed off and I feel this sequel kind of coasted through. It was enjoyable, there were a few major things that happened, but I didn’t find it as gripping as the first.

In not so many words, it’s kind of a YA Ender’s Game version of Harry Potter. I don’t want to discredit the book at all, I did like it and was surprised by some of the turn of events, but first book kind of hit everything really hard and now there’s not too much more to expand on. I want the focus to be drawn back and I’m hoping that will occur in the third and final book, that’s currently untitled. 

Book Review: Insignia by S. J. Kincaid

Insignia cover

Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 21.21.55

“The earth is in the middle of WWIII in Insignia, the first entry in S.J. Kincaid’s fast-paced sci-fi adventure trilogy. The planet’s natural resources are almost gone, and the war is being fought to control the assets of the solar system. The enemy is winning.

The salvation may be Tom Raines. Tom doesn’t seem like a hero. He’s a short fourteen-year-old with bad skin. But he has the virtual-reality gaming skills that make him a phenom behind the controls of the battle drones.

As a new member of the Intrasolar Forces, Tom’s life completely changes. Suddenly, he’s someone important. He has new opportunities, friends, and a shot at having a girlfriend. But there’s a price to pay…”

What I see: This is another fantastic example of why male YA leads get all the fun and interesting stories! From the first page you’re sucked straight into the story and totally on Tom’s side. There is some romance, but I love how Insignia makes practicality of it. It’s like biology attraction. Absolutely fantastic. 

Great premise, interesting story, and relevant issues for the future of the world. Is it kind of a knock off of Ender’s Game? I haven’t read it, but all signs point to yes! Nevertheless, since I don’t have firsthand experience, I can only express how wonderfully written Insignia is!

I loved it and can’t wait to read more!

Book Review: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 21.04.48

Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 21.04.01

“Tally Youngblood is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait for the operation that turns everyone from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to party. But new friend Shay would rather hoverboard to “the Smoke” and be free. Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn’t very pretty. The “Special Circumstances” authority Dr Cable offers Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.”

What I see: I know this series has been around for a while and I’ve wanted to read it for ages. It. Did. Not. Disappoint! The tone, the language, the idea is so forceful that the reader instantly believes Tally’s way of life. I loved it. From the first chapter you dive in and hang on page after page! Fun fact: It’s set in futuristic Seattle! What?!

It’s fast paced, different and engaging. However, there is so much more than just this idea of ‘being pretty’. I feel there’s a lot of depth to this superficial idea of making everyone pretty, although I’m aware this is not an original idea, but it’s well written and I have high hopes for this series.

The only downfall? The romance bit, (of course). It’s calculated, a bit clunky and expected, but does it help the book sell? Probably. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. Everything else is brilliant though. I really want to see what a ‘pretty’ looks like too. I get the feeling they’re kind of like Brats dolls.

Can you imagine? 

Book Review: The Girl with Borrowed Wings by Rinsai Rossetti

Wings cover

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 14.38.46

What would you do if you believed that love was a weakness?

Frenenqer Paje was created by her father. Everything she does and who she must become is destined by his vision of her.

Yet, she feels the beat of wings under her shoulder blades, aching to burst free from her cage whilst flying away to worlds unknown.

One day when at the markets of the Middle East, Freneqer rescues a cat near death.

This cat is not an ordinary cat at all.

Together, Freneqer and Sangris – a Free Person, a shapeshifter, a boy, journey around the world and inside themselves.

When one has their life cast for them, is it possible to break free?

I really enjoyed this story. It’s definitely off the beaten path and there needs to be more YA like this. Exploring other cultures and creating stories about growing up that teens of all races can relate too.

What a refreshing read with a main character that isn’t Caucasian! Finally a setting where English isn’t the main language! It’s written beautifully and true of the surrounding cultures. At times it can be harsh but this is not America and it’s brilliant to read about how other families function.

It’s such a touching love story, and doesn’t relate at all to traditional YA. The emotions are real and genuine. You feel the characters learning from one another. Not lusting after each other, but developing feelings based on similarities and longing for a true place to call home. As it’s also a standalone and quite short, it’ll make you thirsty and feeling the pulsing sun through your modest clothing.