Friday, November 29, 2013

Cracked / Eliza Crewe

Cracked by Eliza Crewe
[Published November 5th 2013 by Strange Chemistry]
★★★★.5

Yes.

That.

Give me some more of that kind of young adult. Meda has a completely unique voice and its consistent throughout. She's just got the best inner dialogue and it hooked on it from page one with a deliciously dark opening scene that just promised this was going to be a good one.

Oh. And it was.

The supporting characters are likable too, I didn't find myself overly annoyed with anyone (though I did brace myself, I thought initially when Jo was introduced it was going to be another love triangle with the book constantly bashing the "other girl". But no such thing occurred and I am grateful.) Actually, the fact that there is no element of romance for the main character made me like it more (though if there was a sequel, I would not mind some Meda/Armand, for suuuuure. Sign me up).

It is a bit predictable though, once things get going. Because... you know what she's going to choose. What else would she choose? You just know. So I would not call this book surprising, but come on, it's enjoyable, well written, and its not following the same trampled path of every YA author out there.

Give it a go!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Through the Ever Night / Veronica Rossi

 Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
[
Published January 8th 2013 by HarperCollins]
★★.5


Well. That was a disappointment.
My copy of the book is 341 pages long, and I feel like nothing much happened. This book felt like filler. It felt like omg this has to be a trilogy because trilogies are all the rage. That's what this book felt like.

This book could have been summed up in much less pages, and without trying to introduce all the romance drama which I found myself more annoyed with than anything. Though I must say it would have been far more interesting if Liv had fallen in love with Sable, for real instead of just pretending for the sake of the Tides. I don't know. I would have been more impressed if it actually hadn't been a farce all along.

And the introduction of Kirra, just to stir up drama on the Tides end and make it more interesting? Ugh. Basically to make the filler happen.

I am so, so disappointed. I loved the first book. Loved it. And now I find myself questioning even that--would I like that book as much if I read it now?

So, I still have Into the Still Blue to read and I think I'm going to put it off for awhile. :/

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lesser Creatures / Peter Giglio

Lesser Creatures by Peter Giglio
[Expected publication: December 3, 2013 by Dark Fuse] 
★★★

 Lesser Creatures has an interesting take on the whole zombie lore. Without spoiling too much, essentially the zombies, or as they call them "second-lifers" are not vicious, just mindless. They really like whiskey and fast food. But for some reason, whomever kills these second lifers, dies themselves. They call it "the curse". And this curse has some interesting side effects for the second-lifers as well.

 I really like the descriptions of the second-lifers. Like when Eric goes to see his grandparents, and in first part where Monika is standing in line for fast food. The main downside to this book is at the end, I was still asking, "but why?" There just isn't much closure. Stuff happens, but there's little to no explanation for it. What's up with Glory? What's up with Steven? Is Steven actually magical? If so, how? Why did Eric forgive Monika instantly for what she did?

 I mean, a big part of this book uses love as a motivation and an explanation, but being left with so many questions... I guess its supposed to be an "open ending" but in the end, I'm just confused and a bit disappointed.

 I received a free copy via netgalley in exchange for a review. Thank you!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cloak and Dagger / Nenia Campbell

Cloak and Dagger by Nenia Campbell
Published October 24th 2012
★★★★★


The five-star review is purely my recognition of how much I enjoyed this book. It's got some problems. There are a few errors, nothing too terrible. A word was missing in a sentence, a couple times. There are some spots I got confused. Yep, I thought the two pages of thoughts while they were escaping the prison was a little out of place. It's definitely not for the lighthearted, and its got a lot of questionable, dark subjects and situations going on here (including, at best, dubious consent). But I am fascinated. 

The characterization of Michael is really one to applaud at. His character is kept consistent throughout, and he really is a bad boy. To the core. This doesn't really change too much through the novel. Its just something you have to accept from the get-go. He's a criminal after all, there's no other way to slice it. 

Christina is okay. She gets a 3 star from me. Mostly I just feel bad for her. She was a little too hysterical for my liking, but whenever I felt myself getting annoyed I'd step back a little and think about exactly what was happening to her. The answer? A lot. I think we can afford to cut her some slack to be a little hysterical and, yeah, a little stupid. I'm really not sure I'd have done half as well.

I like what we get to see of the workings of IMA. Its scary and a little creepy to think about, an organization being that powerful and that dangerous existing, especially with people like Michael and Adrian. 

Adrian was written very well. The characters were all written very well, they were just so real. And I think that's what I really love about this book, despite all the nastiness abound. It's real, it's raw, and it's unapologetic.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

These Broken Stars / Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
4.5/5

This book is spectacular. It reminds me of what I liked about Shadowfell and Raven Flight by Juliet Marillier--I just like survival in YA. Trekking across dangerous terrain, unsure of your safety and survival. Its just excellent. I loved the whole "going mad" part too. Her distress at possibly losing it was palpable. 

The only part I didn't like too much was the part where they first landed on the planet. It seemed as though Lilac was a little more bitchy at this point than she really needed to be to get stubbornness and fear across to the reader, and I don't know, Tarver's reaction to it seemed very much exaggerated in light of their personalities later in the book. But perhaps they can be forgiven under the circumstances, but I still feel like that part didn't fit. I don't know what it is about it, but it just didn't fit with the flow of the rest of the story.

Let's talk about that crash--what a crash. I loved the scene of it crashing, and I loved the scene of the two of them watching it fall to the planet. Her expertise with electrics was refreshing to read. I thought the romance was well done, and not too rushed. There isn't insta-love here, which is always a gem in YA.

In conclusion, if you enjoy survival stories like I do, you will enjoy this one. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Stung by Bethany Wiggins

Stung by Bethany Wiggins
[Expected publication: April 2nd 2013 by Walker Childrens]
★★★★

I really enjoyed the fact that we get to learn about what happened to the world along with the main character. Fiona doesn't remember anything about what happened to the world, and we don't know anything about it either. This way, instead of having the main character have paragraphs of exposition we get to learn about it in a natural way--watching Fiona's experiences and the short, simple explanations given by other characters.

I also like the tie-in to current events. With the population of bees decreasing this seems like a plausable future outcome. A lot of dystopians rely on the idea that its a different time period therefore anything is possible.

The romance is well written and nice, but nothing too special about it. The end was kind of boring and felt rather anti-climatic and kind of sudden. All I could think is "really? that's it?"

It's pretty good though. Recommended for fans of dystopians and post-apocalyptic YA.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Murmurings by Carly Anne West

The Murmurings by Carly Anne West
[Expected publication: March 5th 2013 by Simon Pulse]
[384 pages]
★★★★
The Murmurings has all the elements for quality creepfest: an original, creepy as hell creature from beyond the grave; a creepy doctor driven by his own obsession; and a conspiracy just below the surface.

Sophie is a pretty average teenager--despite the fact that her sister had schizophrenia and was recently found dead. To cope, her mom turned to alcoholism and Sophie is ostracized by her peers. To make things worse, Sophie can hear these whispers, murmurings really, just beside her ear that she can't quite make out--all the symptoms that drove her sister insane and landed her in the mental facility Oakside. Or did it? Was her sister telling the truth?

There is some pretty good quality romance but the romance does take a backseat the the plot. Evan is a likable love interest, I love his sweetness and insecurity. I wouldn't delve into this for the love story though, there is so much here far more worthy than the love story. The plot is the golden goose. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Notes from Ghost Town by Kate Ellison

Notes from Ghost Town by Kate Ellison
[Published February 12th by EgmontUSA]
[336 pages]


This is hard to review because I don't feel like I connected very well with Olivia. This is a very sad story, and I didn't feel very sad watching her anguish. On the other hand, I thought her pain and confusion was very well done. Being torn between Stern--the dead boy she loved and Austen, a living breathing boy was very realistic. Her struggle to accept her father's new bride-to-be is also very understandable and realistic.

I think overall this is a decent mystery novel. I didn't expect what happened at the end. I am a bit disappointed there was nothing much creepy. Ghost stories should always be creepy! But this wasn't a ghost story. Not really. And this part of the novel was never really explained. Was it Olivia imagining things? Was Stern really visiting her and leading her towards the truth? Olivia doesn't figure it out and neither does the reader.

The writing is good, the storyline is significantly engaging. I don't usually reading YA like this and I enjoyed it, even if there were times I dreaded going back to it. I think it deserves 4 stars.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
[Expected publication: February 12th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books]
[447 pages]

 
This is a hard book to rate, because for most of the book I was at a solid, mediocre 3 stars. But in light of the ending and the book as a whole in retrospect, I feel as though it deserves another star despite my disappointment that it didn't live up to the creep factor I had been hoping desperately for (there's definitely a significant lack of creep in YA). But looking around that bias I do think it's a decent mystery novel, just nothing to make my skin crawl or my spine tingle.

I think it you're looking for something for a little different and you don't mind reading a lot of ballet scenes (stunning scenes really, but I've always been interested in ballet, so I'm speaking from bias) then this will be a good book for you. And really, the ballet scenes were my favorite part--especially the end. The detail and everything was just perfect.

But the day-to-day school life did get marginally annoying and boring, Vanessa's circular logic was tiring. There wasn't nearly as much self doubt as I would have suspected. She makes feeling like you're going crazy to be a pretty mundane experience.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Children of No One by Nicole Cushing


Children of No One by Nicole Cushing
[expected publication: March 26th 2013 by Darkfuse]
[49 pages]


This isn't really what I expected. I expected it to focus much more on the labyrinth and the children--instead we get some sort of short story about two crazy dudes trying to get the title of King Crazy. I don't know, it was just so meh. There was a lot of potential here, so much to see with the children and the maze. Despite my disappointment it IS well written. There's enough weird things going on to keep you on your toes.

The ending was pretty good as far as the endings go (I like the boy thinking himself as a prophet, etc). Its worth the read, being only 49 pages, but don't expect a whole lot here if you're in it for the creep factor or the maze.

2013 Challenges - To be updated!

1/4 books
Books 450 pages or more > Level: The Chubby Chunkster


0/10 books
Nonfiction, Non-Memoir > Level: Diploma


6/50 books
Library Books > Level: Just Insert the IV


5/18 books
Dystopia > Level: Revolutionary


13/75 books
ebooks > Level: Hard Drive


would you like a progress bar? here's a tutorial @ The Book Vixen.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

And All the Stars by Andrea Höst

And All the Stars by Andrea Höst
[Published September 30th, 2012 by Andrea Höst. 204 pages.] 


Review: It's so hard not to give this five stars for the ending alone, but in the middle there was a time in which I grew bored and felt myself not wanting to read it as much as I had in the beginning. Thus the four star rating. Once I got through that snag though, everything happened in brilliant quick succession and I don't regret it for a minute.

This is a breath of fresh air in a highly saturated genre. Höst twisted it and gave it a unique spin. It's worth the read, even if you're just sick of post-apocalyptic stories--here's one that takes place in the heat of it.

That last part of the book sucked me in so completely, I swear the last time I looked at the clock it was ten, and when I finally resurfaced, dazed, it was midnight. Thank you Andrea Höst, for a dazzling trip.