Tag Archive | 2012

Book Review: Loss by Jackie Morse Kessler

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Please note this is the third book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series and may contain spoilers.

For my review on the first book Hunger.

For my review on the second book Rage.

Billy Ballard is the one kid at school that everyone either picks on or ignores. You know the kind. He can’t stick up for himself and doesn’t stand out in a good way. Poor Billy. Even the teachers and adults prefer to turn a blind eye. With a mother trying to support him and a grandfather with Alzheimer’s, well, home is no better place than school.

My heart went out to Billy. It seems that everyone nowadays is wrapped up with his or her own troubles and people choose to look the other way than to offer help or assistance. Then the white rider appears and Billy is giving his chance to fight for a life he doesn’t want to continue on with. Pestilence has gone insane and Billy is quested with finding him or taking his place.

This beautiful blend of Billy’s adventure as Pestilence to find the real white rider is a grieving, frightening and heart-beating ride. You feel the anguish; you feel Billy’s despair.

Yet, you want Billy to succeed. For once in his life you want this character to stop hiding against the wall and stand his ground! The character’s evolution will bring you to tears.

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Book Review: Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George

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“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

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“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: Insignia by S. J. Kincaid

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“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: Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy

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I chose to use the Goodread’s book summary – due to the popularity of the Netflix show, I don’t want to give any other information away by mistake:

“The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt ensues—though the authorities aren’t sure if it’s a man they should be looking for.

 Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family—their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel—where, if rumors are true, biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he’s a werewolf. Or perhaps it’s Roman, the son of the late JR Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly control freak of a mother, Olivia.

At once a riveting mystery and a fascinating revelation of the grotesque and the darkness in us all, Hemlock Grove has the architecture and energy to become a classic in its own right—and Brian McGreevy the talent and ambition to enthrall us for years to come.”**

**I don’t really agree with this statement.

My thoughts: I am a HUGE fan of the show. I have really enjoyed seeing the creative differences McGreevy did in transition from book to screen. I do agree with many of the reviews on Goodreads, I felt the show was a lot better than the book.

That aside, the preface was poorly written and McGreevy is a huge one for overwriting. My mind would get frustrated with the lack of punctuation and sentences that didn’t make sense. It seems ideas were all over the place and it was rare for a connection to be made.

However, there were a few gems scattered throughout the chapters. My breath would be caught by descriptions of the moon, or of the gothic beauty of Hemlock Grove. There are many bits in the story that are full of wonder and you can’t help but be sucked into the mystery in this town.

The book left me wanting more answers. It really has the potential to be a great book, but there are many bumps and sidetracks that keep the reader turning pages but we aren’t given any real answers, which is a letdown. The book is just as jumbled as the show. I highly suggest watching it because it’s just such a mess with your head – and addicting to watch! I feel that the book has the better ending, explanation wise, but it is so worth watching too.

Has anyone else jumped on the bandwagon and blown through the Netflix Original Series in three days like me? What do you think about it? Would you consider/have you read the book as well? Please let me know your thoughts, I’m kind of a fangirl about the hot mess!

Book Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

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Please note: This is the second book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and does contain spoilers.

Check out my review for Daughter of Smoke and Bone (1).

Karou has found a way home, but there is nothing left.

Akiva has returned to his flock. Hiding his distraught over losing Karou again, he puts his efforts toward finishing what their love started.

Two sides battle against the other in a different world. Yet Karou is now mixed, she is part of her own world, but she is also of Earth now. The small fact brings new opportunities and worse dangers to her fight.

As each side fights for what they believe is right, how can survival prevail?

I have been hording this book for a while. I knew it wouldn’t disappoint and man, it was just as miraculous as the first book. The blending of fantasy with reality is spectacular, as is the hardship and the grief. Taylor doesn’t hold back and she ploughs full force into this next exciting chapter in her well-crafted series.

If you have read the first book but not this one, DO SO IMMEDIATELY.

I can’t wait for the final book, although I’m sad to say it’s scheduled for publication in 2014, called Dreams of Gods & Monsters.

Book Review: The Girl with Borrowed Wings by Rinsai Rossetti

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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.