Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas Review

It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning.

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's been told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.

Guided by his mother's visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.

The Burning Sky—the first book in the Elemental Trilogy—is an electrifying and unforgettable novel of intrigue and adventure.

Check it out on goodreads! 4 stars

I got this book from the library because I got an ARC of the sequel.  And you 100% cannot read the sequel before the first book!! I was a little daunted by the size but before I knew it I was already 50 pages in and then a 100 ;) I could tell from the beginning that it was going to be a great fantasy book.

What I liked:I liked a lot of it. Almost all of it really, even if the world that the author built was confusing at first it was still very interesting and that, along with the characters and a plot that takes off right away got me hooked until I was finished reading. And then I wanted the second book xD The writing is really good and it has the fantasy vibe that makes a fantasy book great. There were a lot of details in the plot that I feel like could be under-appreciated. The way the school was done. The way they had their fairy tale book to train in. The way there was a dragon in the story. The mysteriousness of the enemy. Just so many things added up to a great story. The ending was a bit eh for me but I still tore through it. The book was very exciting and very well done. The characters were beautiful done. Just yea.

What I didn't like so much: The beginning wasn't very confusing, it was more how the Domain was a fantastical land and yet there was still our world (in the late 1800s) that they could still visit. So that was a bit confusing, figuring out the whole situation of what the world was like. I'm still not sure where the Domain is xP The end felt a little disappointing for me. It was still really good, but it was a bit disappointing.

Overall, this is a great book and a really good beginning to what I can already tell will be a wonderful fantasy series. The characters were lovely and I got involved in the story within a couple chapters. I really enjoyed the world, once I got it figured out, and the plot was very good. I would definitely recommend it. I was so glad to have the second book on hand, I wanted more! (It was amazing)

Read my review of the sequel, The Perilous Sea, at The Book Belles!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Update on the 2014 YA Contemporary Challenge

  1. Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens. R
  2. Landline by Rainbow Rowell. NR
  3. What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick. R
  4. Going Rogue by Robin Benway. R
  5. Wicked Little Secrets by Kara Taylor. NR
  6. The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer. R
  7. Take Me On by Katie McGarry.
  8. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins.NR (I have this one and I can't wait to start it)
  9. The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle. R
  10. Solving for Ex by  NR
  11. Royally Lost by  NR
  12.  NR
And the books that I've read/reviewed this month were:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Savage Drift by Emmy Laybourne Review

The stunningly fierce conclusion to Emmy Laybourne's Monument 14trilogy.

The survivors of the Monument 14 have finally made it to the safety of a Canadian refugee camp. Dean and Alex are cautiously starting to hope that a happy ending might be possible.

But for Josie, separated from the group and trapped in a brutal prison camp for exposed Type Os, things have gone from bad to worse. Traumatized by her experiences, she has given up all hope of rescue or safety.

Meanwhile, scared by the government's unusual interest in her pregnancy, Astrid (with her two protectors, Dean and Jake in tow) joins Niko on his desperate quest to be reunited with his lost love Josie.

Author Emmy Laybourne reaches new heights of tension and romance in this action-packed conclusion to the Monument 14 trilogy.

Check it out on Goodreads! 4 stars.

I was excited when I saw this book and I immediately got it from my library, I didn't know that she was going to write a third book. While I really enjoyed (as much as you can enjoy a book where kids are in danger of dying in an apocalyptic world and fending off crazed adults...) the first book the second was a bit disappointing to me. However this book was really good.

What I liked: I loved how it went back and forth between Dean and Josie's POVs, the story flowed really well and both POVs went great with the vibe of the book. Which was definitely apocalyptic and gritty. The cover was absolutely on point and it was great to dive back into the story. I remembered everything I needed to a chapter or so in and there was a nice recap at the beginning that was very useful. It was kind of sad that only half of the kids were really in this book, there were a few more added but Chloe and the twins only had small parts at the beginning of the book :( The plot was very interesting and kept you reading. I still love the idea of people being affected differently because of their blood type. I don't know why, it's just a great way to do it. You also get to see aftermath. There are still many issues with the world but you get to see them start to recover from the catastrophe that struck the country. The characters are going back into the US (leaving a refugee camp in Canada) and trying to rescue Josie. Although this book was kind of dark I didn't find that it really affected me or that it came off as depressing. Probably because the characters leaned on each other and were able to find help. Others may have pieced together part of the ending, but it, was a complete surprise for me and I thought it was a great way to finish up.

What I didn't like as much: I really can't think of anything. The plot was good and made sense and I enjoyed the book a lot. Sure there was a character or two that I found annoying, but they were supposed to be annoying. So yea.

Overall, this was a very interesting book. It was dark and full of the suffering of the world recovering from the chemicals that were released that turned some people into monsters, others into burning flesh, and so on. The characters are raw and vulnerable but strong, because they have to be. The plot was fast paced and had a few surprises as well. Basically I really enjoyed it and thought it was a great dystopian/apocalyptic read. :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Panic by Lauren Oliver Review

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Check it out on Goodreads! 3 stars

What I liked: I liked the vibe half the time, the rest of the time it was a bit dark. I think that everything matched really well the setting, the characters, the games, and the suspense. There were a lot of really tense parts and some really crazy, like insane challenges that they had to do. Panic was interesting and took a bit to figure out exactly what it was, because when it's first introduced isn't explained a whole, you kinda jump in. Then you started learning more about it and's pretty intense. And scary, very scary.  So it definitely keeps you reading. The characters are all very interesting and there are even tigers mixed in at some point ;)

What I didn't like as much: Like I said, it got a bit dark at times. It went past desperate and gritty into the depressing side. I think that the the genre and writing maybe just wasn't the kind I like. I mean the plot was good and my librarian friend loved this book. Lauren Oliver is a great author and I really enjoyed the Delirium series, so I think this is more of a miss for me and less of a miss for the book, because it was still good.

Overall, I liked this book. I did. There were a lot of interesting aspects to it and to the characters. It had a very gritty vibe to it, desperate sometimes as most of the characters weren't very well off. And this was definitely an exciting book. However I didn't always feel like I connected very well to the characters and it was also a bit dark or depressing in some spots. So I liked it, but I liked the Delirium series better and didn't quite get into the book as much as I had hoped I would.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What I thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

From the acclaimed author of My Life Next Door comes a swoony summertime romance full of expectation and regret, humor and hard questions.

Gwen Castle has never so badly wanted to say good-bye to her island home till now: the summer her Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, takes a job there as the local yard boy. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.

A magnetic, push-you-pull-me romance with depth, this is for fans of Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Deb Caletti.

Check it out on Goodreads! 3 stars

I really enjoyed Huntley Fitzpatrick's debut novel, My Life Next Door, it was light in some parts, dramatic in others, there were some surprises, and there were great characters. This book was a deeper and had a different vibe than the first book. That's not to say that it wasn't good, I just didn't feel like I got as into this one. The first book had some really great characters. While in this one there were only a hand-full that I really liked. Gwen's little brother was really sweet as was the lady she sits with. Her brother was nice, Cassidy was nice as well and he was so cute with Gwen's younger brother. From what I remember he and Gwen's romance was nice enough. I just found that Gwen's secret and BIG mistake were a little confusing/annoying. The plot was nice enough, not amazing or anything but still good. There were some good scenes and the author had some really nice settings, it was set by the ocean :) But I felt like I didn't connect with it very well and it wasn't as enjoyable as the first book was.
Overall, there were some things I liked and some things that were disappointing. I think this book just mainly didn't strike me as much as the first book did and was a bit disappointing after the first book. I still liked it, I liked the writing style, the setting, and several of the characters. And I will definitely still read the next book she publishes :)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt Review

Sixteen-year-old Holly wants to remember her Grandpa forever, but she’d rather forget what he left her in his will: his wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Whatever happened to gold watches, savings bonds, or some normal inheritance?

And then there's Grandpa's letter. Not only is Holly running the business with her recently divorced parents, but she needs to make some serious money—fast. Grandpa also insists Holly reach out to Dax, the grandson of her family's mortal enemy and owner of the cheesy chapel next door. No matter how cute Dax is, Holly needs to stay focused: on her group of guy friends, her disjointed family, work, school and... Dax. No wait, not Dax.

Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there's a wedding chapel to save.

Check it out on goodreads! 3 stars

I think Lindsey Leavitt is a great author and I've read several of her books before and really enjoyed them. This one let me down a bit though. Despite the cute cover and how much I liked her previous books. I felt this one was a little lacking.

What I liked: The romance started off cute, I think that the characters were done well. I liked Holly's brother, his character was very interesting. There was a Romeo and Juliet feel to Holly's relationship with Dax. The author takes you to some cool places in Vegas and I thought the descriptions of it were very good and made me want to go experience what the characters were experiencing. The idea of rival chapels was a very interesting one and I did like it. I thought that the relationship Holly talks about having with her grandfather was very sweet and lovely.

What I didn't like as much: The ending felt really off for me. Without giving too much away, it felt like everything Holly was working for fell through. And that's what her grandfather was trying to teach her, etc etc. And she seemed to just take it without much emotion or any response. I don't know. To me the message the author was trying to teach or have Holly learn was confusing and didn't have much of a point. I also found myself at a point where I didn't understand what Holly feeling and saying and where the romance got annoying too. When I finished the book I didn't feel like I enjoyed it that much or that I understood what the last third was about. The plot was alright in some spots but the ending really let me down.

Overall, I liked most of the characters and felt like they and the setting were done well. However when it came to the plot and the last third of the book I didn't really get it and I felt like it was a little all over the place. It could be I just didn't understand it, but I felt disappointed when I finished the book.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen Review

No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.

Until Claire meets Luke.

But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.

With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.

In her moving debut, Rachael Allen brilliantly captures the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and the difficulties of trying to find love in high school. Fans of Sarah Ockler, Susane Colasanti, and Stephanie Perkins will fall head over heels for this addictive, heartfelt, and often hilarious modern love story.

Check it out on goodreads! 2 stars.

While I thought this book looked interesting at first, I was a bit disappointed when I actually picked it up and read it. It's got a cute cover, the synopsis draws you in...but then it just fell a bit flat for me.

What I liked: The writing was pretty smooth and the book was easy to read. I can't say that it was super super interesting but it flowed well. I liked the relationship between Megan and Claire. It was generally sweet, except for a few times when it was obvious they shouldn't be mad at each other. I thought that the home situation with Claire's family was done pretty well. It was moving.

What I didn't like so much: I thought that the plot was a bit silly in some ways. Not to mention I guessed who she would end up (sort of) with at the end. The main love interest, Luke, was so annoying. It was only a few chapters in that I started to get sick of his presence and the trouble he was bringing. I get that it was in his character to bring some fights in between the girls, but I just found it annoying.

Overall, this was an okay book. There were a few things I liked and it was a pretty easy read. I just felt annoyed with this book as a whole. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for a romance. I don't know, but while it was okay and did have some good elements, I didn't really enjoy it.