Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2015 Contemporary Challenge

Hey guys, I've decided that I'm going to do the contemporary YA challenge again this year.
It's being hosted by The Book Belles, a blog that I coblog on several times a month. It's definitely one worth following. 😉 So if you want to link up, you can by clicking here. Sign ups end within a day or so.
I'm going to be level peony, which means I'm challenging myself to read 11-15 YA contemporary books this year.

And those can be found on my shelf on Goodreads here: 2015 Contemporary YA Challenge
I may change the lineup but those are definitely a few that I will be trying to read in the next few months 😌

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fallins Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes Book Review

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed... and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It's the eve of war.... Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.

Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realise that the heart can be more lethal than the sword....

Published December 2012. First book in the Falling Kingdoms series. Check it out on Goodreads!
5 stars

I've read this book three times and I enjoyed it equally each time. It's what I like to think of as a perfect mix. There's scandal, romance, political struggle, wars, magical elements, and a cast of characters brushing by each other and coming into contact and making alliances or enemies as the book goes on. I love that. Although they're different, I find this series reminds me of Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms series. 

I love the characters. You're given the entire cast at the beginning of the book and a map of the land, Mytica, and as you begin to read you slowly become familiar with them. There are three kingdoms on Mytica and each have their royal family or something akin to it, there's several princesses, a prince, a rebel and so on. They're the primary characters and end up getting their stories tangled together. There are the politics between the kingdoms and then there's the more magical storyline of the Kindred and the Watchers. All in all...the characters are amazing and I love the way that you see them individually at the beginning of the book and then as time goes on they begin to appear into each other worlds.

The writing and the way this book comes together is amazing and I love it. The world-building is wonderful and memorable (although it could just be that after reading this book several time they've sunk in a bit deeper into my memory). The plot is exciting. I'll admit that because this is my third time reading this book I did remember the plot more than I did the second time and that did cause me to get a little bored at points. That's one of the main reasons that I don't reread books very often, however this is a book and series that is worthy of it, I think. It's a very fast paced plot, with lots of different things going on in each kingdom.

Overall, this book was wonderful. I still enjoyed it nearly as much as I did when I read it the first time. I love the multiple kingdoms and characters and I definitely loved the world-building. Basically, if you enjoy fantasy and romance this book is for you. I love this series and can't wait to read the third book, which came out this month. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan Book Review

Though the Greek and Roman crew members of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they're stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it "might" be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea's army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.

Published October 2014. Fifth book in Heroes of Olympus series. Check it out on Goodreads!
5 stars.

Rick Riordan is a very talented author. I've enjoyed the previous books in both Percy Jackson series and the Kane Chronicles too. And this book, the conclusion to the Heroes of Olympus series, was no different.

What I liked: Everything pretty much. The adventure in this book is one of my favorites, 100%. You're going between Leo's ship with the heroes on it like Jason, Piper, Annabeth, Percy, Hazel, and Frank and Reina who has the Mark of Athena (giant athena statue) and is trying to get it to Camp Half-Blood in time to stop a war between the two camps. She has Nico and Coach Hedge with her. So you've got two groups, going against odds that have been set against them from the start.

I feel like the writing was beautifully done. With each page I got more and more into the story and he built up to the ending really well. There was a desperation of the heroes trying to get to where they needed to be and to be ready and you really feel it as the reader. I know I started reading at a much faster pace! ;) I also really liked that we got to know Reina better as she's one of the new characters. There are also a lot of twists with her character, things reappearing from her past. I thought the plot was nicely tied together and it helped to tie up there series as well. I thought the pieces fit together very nicely.

What I didn't like: The last battle seemed to be over too quickly. Yes, the ways they defeated Gaea made sense I suppose, but it still felt like it was over too quickly for everything that had been building up to it. And then with Leo (dodging spoilers here) his end part was a bit weird too. AS far as I can remember the ending was the only thing that I wasn't happy with though.

Overall, it was a nice ending to the Percy Jackson stories. I'm sure it's by no means the end to their adventures, but maybe just an end to the ones we'll hear of. It was an exciting book and one that I read through quite quickly. I thought the plot was good, there were some nice twists and it certainly got very tense towards the end of the book. I didn't like the final battle with Gaea as much, but the rest of the book was wonderful. The characters get chances to shine and it's lovely to see how far they've progressed and matured. And I was very happy with it as the final book.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore Book Review

Pretty and popular track star Marijke Monti is confident about almost everything – she’s got great friends, a great family, and she’s on her way to the State Track Championship. In fact, the only thing Marijke isn’t confident about is her relationship with Tommy Lawson. 

Lily Spencer has spent her entire high school career preparing for the future – she’s participated in every extracurricular activity and volunteer committee she could. But, at home, she watches her mother go on date after date with dud-dudes, still searching for “the one.” Lily realizes that she’s about to graduate and still hasn’t even had a boyfriend. 

While they live on each other’s periphery at school, Lily and Marijke never seemed to have much in common; but, after a coincidental meeting at the movie theater, Lily gets an idea – why can’t life be like a movie? Why can’t they set up their perfect romantic situations, just in time for their senior prom, using movie techniques?

Once the girls come up with the perfect plans, they commit themselves to being secret cohorts and, just like in the movies, drama ensues.

Published July 2014. Check it out on Goodreads!
3 stars

What I liked: The idea for this book was great, two girls wanting to win boys decide to recreate super romantic moments from popular movies and to totally wow the guys with. That made me want to pick up this book. I thought the main characters were lovely and two girls that you can relate to well, one or the other anyway. You have Lilly, who is very smart and driven, but often doesn't get noticed for the work she does because she's shy. But she also has a very quick wit and lots of good comebacks up her sleeve. Marijke is a track star and was one of the popular crowd, but when her boyfriend stepped into the picture and her track schedule picked up she didn't have as much time for hanging out with friends anymore. I liked the fact that neither girl was the super popular girl nor the loser girl that has no friends. You could say that it might be Lily, but I still think she was pretty active in the school and she was definitely pretty cool ;) The romance between Lilly and Joe was super sweet and I liked their story a lot. I wasn't as much of a fan of Marijke's romance, but ah well. It was still alright. If you're a romance movie buff in any sort of way I'm sure you'll enjoy all of the movie references in this book.

What I didn't like: It may have been because I was quite busy when I was reading this book, but I found that I did get a little bored at times. It didn't happen very often and I was quite busy, but still. Also...even at the end I was a little bit unsure of Marijke's relationship. I didn't like her boyfriend, Tommy, that much and even the way Marijke acted around him, the jealousy and distrust wasn't exactly reassuring. So I feel like maybe the author amped up the drama a bit too much. Because in the middle of the book I was rather hoping that Tommy wouldn't be in Marijke's happily ever after. Still, in the end I think that things work out alright and I was able to understand things.

Overall, this is a sweet book and it is pretty lighthearted. I liked the two main characters a lot and felt that they were very relatable. I had mixed feelings about a few of the characters, but I really did like this book. It wasn't a favorite but I did enjoy it and it kept me interested. Also the idea of remaking movie scenes was lovely and one of my favorite parts of the book.

Starting anew

So while I still love this blog and think that I will continue doing the odd post here, I thought that with it being a new year and the fact that I've been wanting to get back into book blogging...well why not create a new blog? It's called Just Another Chapter and I haven't posted anything quite yet. But I'm hoping that it will help me to be more consistent in writing reviews and help me rediscover blogging ^-^ So feel free to check it out as most of my reviews will be on there. Or you can always check out my goodreads :)