Saturday, November 30, 2013

Second Chance Summer

11071466Author: Morgan Matson
Release Date:  May 8th, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Genre(s): YA Contemporary
Pages: 468
*Stand alone*
Spoilers are hidden! Highlight the page to see them:) 

Summary (Goodreads):

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.


Review: 
In a word?  Bittersweet.

What I loved most about this book was that it was delightfully deeper than it had initially seemed.  That blurb did NOTHING for this book; it was vague, and it made the book sound like a fluffy cloud of cotton candy.

Was this a fluffy cloud of cotton candy?  No and yes.  

 It was very sweet, but not cutesy sweet.  It was very touching and heartwarming. The second chance part in the blurb was a bit misleading because the second chance the book was talking about did not necessarily mean life (which led to much anguish and tears at the end; I should have known, but I kept holding out for the possibility that there would be a magical cure or something), but it meant a second chance in truly becoming a family before it was too late. I loved all the interactions between Taylor and her family, and I loved how through these small things (like a shared inside joke or watching comets in silence), we were able to see their bond and love strengthening.  There was amazing character growth by Taylor (by everyone actually, but Taylor was the one that stood out the most because she had been affected the most), but it was heartbreaking to know that this growth would not have happened if not for her father’s tragic news.    

This story was so much more than a girl reconnecting with a past love.  It was about family.  It was about getting to truly know your family when it seemed like it was almost too late. Even with all its 468 pages, I felt this book was too short.  I wanted it to last forever because you KNEW what was going to happen at the end.  There was no miracle drug or a magical solution this time.  It was pure life.    

Taylor and Henry’s romance was more of a subplot than anything else. So were the parts where Lucy and Taylor were rekindling their friendship.  I hesitate to use the word subplot, though, because they weren’t really plots.  They were more like quiet scenes of bonding, healing, realizing what it meant to be human, and learning to accept and to give second chances.  

Everything about this book was very subtle.  Thing happened slowly, very realistically, and by the time the book ended, you felt like you’ve grown as well.  There wasn’t really a definite plot; it was heart driven.  I love heart driven novels because they’re so profound, and after you’re done reading, you sit back, and all you can say is “Wow.” 

So now that I've gushed about it, let me address that rating.  It means I loved the book, but I'm probably not going to pick it up again.  There was something about this book that was very final.  I mean, a lot of books are like this, but this book in particular seemed DONE, that if I was to go back and read it again, it wouldn't give me the same emotional impact. Again, you can say that ALL books are like this, but honestly?  Every time I read that scene where Luke dies in The Last Olympian, I feel like I've been stabbed in the gut, and I start BAWLING.  Would I feel like bawling (again) after reading this book again? Hard to say. 

Final thoughts?  It was a beautiful book of family, hope, and second chances, perfect for a one time read during any season. ;)


Thanks for reading!:) 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5   

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Unbreak My Heart

13060734
Author: Melissa C. Walker
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genre(s): YA Contemporary
Pages: 232
*Stand alone*
Spoilers are hidden! Highlight the page to see them:) 

Summary (Goodreads):
Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life. 

Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now. 

Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?

Told in alternating chapters that chronicle the year that broke Clem’s heart and the summer that healed it, Unbreak My Heart is a wonderful dual love story that fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Susane Colasanti will flock to.


Review:
Hey guys!  Sorry I’ve been lagging on the posts again!  I’ve been working hard on my Nanowrimo novel- I’m still a few thousand words behind :( - but I’m getting there! Writeordie.com is super helpful xD. 

In addition to Nanowrimo, this book took me an abnormal time to read because it was so dull.   I was not emotionally involved in it at ALL.

What made the book so dull? Good question.

It wasn’t because this was supposed to one of those “slow stories” (I actually don’t mind slow stories; they’re nice medicine after an intense fantasy book or for a book hangover ;-) ).  It mainly had to do with how little substance there was to this book.  I kept waiting for something to happen or at least a buildup to Clem’s closure with herself, but nothing. ( She did get closure at the end, but it was very abrupt and brushed over.)  I wanted more, and I wanted more of a road to that closure.  There was no build-up. She suddenly decided she’d reached her breaking point, and that was it, after an entire 200-something pages of crying and sulking. To be honest, those flashbacks to her soph. year were the most interesting things about this book- and that’s not saying much.  They were only interesting because there were actually stuff going on.  (A boat seemed like a cool setting, but there was nothing to do on it, and it showed in what Clem and her family did: nothing.  But even if there was nothing happening, the author could have made up for it by describing the scenery or showing the family having beautiful conversations with each other, but that didn’t happen.  I guess it came from Clem being too depressed to notice anything and not wanting anything to do with her family.  That made for a real dull story. )  I suspected the purpose of the flashbacks was to show us the “dynamic and extremely close relationship” between Clem and Amanda, but there was no chemistry. That was THE reason why I was so disconnected from the book: I didn’t care about these characters.  They were all very superficial and not very complex (more on that later).

As with James and Clem, it's the same verdict: no chemistry. Their interactions were boring (all they did was talk and go out on the boat; they didn’t even talk about interesting or deep things), and I really didn’t see what the point was in including James.  He failed as a love interest, so I guess he was supposed to have helped Clem come to closure with herself, but I didn’t see it.  I mean, yes, he told her about his mom, and he was ALWAYS happy (which was actually kinda cute, but even his overwhelming optimism did nothing for the story-but more on that later), but in the end, that was all there was to it.  They really didn’t do anything together except maybe talk, and when they did talk, their conversations were bland and awkward. 

I didn’t hate Clem, but I REALLY didn’t like her because she was so boring.  All she did was sulk and yell at her sweet little sister, who was probably the only redeemable thing about this book. (Her sister was ADORABLE. She was like a mini adult, and her patience and love for Clem was truly amazing.)  Clem had potential to be a snarky/funny teenager, even midst her sulking.  However, she just didn’t cut it- mainly because her snarkiness wasn’t funny but plain old mean.  (She has a legit reason for being so boring/mean/depressed, but there’s no excuse for an absolute lack of personality.)    

If there was one thing I liked about this book (besides her little sister) was how Clem knew that even just flirting and pushing the boundaries between her and Ethan, as well as not doing anything to prevent this from going further, were just as bad as cheating.  I liked how she didn’t just explain it all away by saying they didn’t do anything (physically); she knew what she did was wrong, and she owned up to it.   I also appreciated the emphasis on how everyone makes mistakes, but you learn from them, and life goes on.  What did kind of bother me was the relationship between George and (I almost said Martha! xD)  Ruth.  Okay, fine, in the beginning it was all sweet and dandy, and I was warming up to them.  I still think they were pretty nice people, but what they did (it was implied Ruth stole George away from his first wife)  and how the book showed that it was okay because they were so happily in love really bothered me.  What they did was wrong, and instead of focusing on that, I felt like their actions were covered up with this idea of their passionate love, and because of this love, it was all okay.  (Fine, it was only implied and not for certain. So it isn’t completely fair of me to make this judgment, but I’m still putting it out there.)

James’s unfailing optimism might have been another redeeming point in this book, but that was all there was to him.  He was just really, really, happy.  None of these characters were deep or complex.  We saw different sides of people, but it was all superficial.  They act up every once in a while, and we’re suppose to see that as depth to their character. 

Not buying it.

Final thoughts?  It had potential, but it was too dull for my tastes.

Thanks for reading!


Rating: 1.5 out of 5 


Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Burning Sky

17332556
Author: Sherry Thomas
Release Date: September 17th, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre(s): YA High Fantasy 
Pages: 464
*1st book in series*
(Sorry this post was so late! I meant to have it up on Thursday, but Blogger was acting a little funky, and it wouldn’t let me post until now >.<.)

Spoilers are hidden! Highlight the page to see them:) 



Summary(Goodreads):
Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being 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 greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus 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 Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.
Review:

The action, the characters, the world! Oh my! ;)

The action:
Overall the action in this book is very engaging. There are a few slow bits, but they further the plot, develop the character(s), and/or strengthen the chemistry.  I like how this book solves a part of the problem, but not everything.  There are few things worse than a novel dragging out a plot device or solving things too quickly that there’s not enough stuff for the next book.  This book balances that out perfectly, and it builds anticipation for the next book to boot.

The characters:
The thing that makes this book so great are its characters. The chemistry between the characters is absolutely AMAZING.

 From reading the back cover, I expected a Mary Sue, but that totally isn’t the case.  Yea, Iolanthe is the One.  Okay, she has special magical powers. And alright, she might have a tendency to have just the right skill at just the right time (i.e. she fits in well as a boy because she used to observe these boys who always passed by her window).  So fine, she is a Mary Sue in some aspects. 

 BUT 

What sets her apart is her attitude and overall character (not just the nit-picky parts). She has all this great power and this supposedly great destiny, but she doesn’t want it.   All she wants is to rescue her mentor and go back to her old life.  She doesn’t want to be some great hero; even if the fate of the world rests on her hands, yea, she sort of cares, but she really doesn’t want anything to do with it.  After all, saving the world would almost guarantee her death.  And who wants to die? Even if it’s for the greater good, wouldn’t you hesitate?  She doesn’t blindly accept things just because it seems like the right thing or because she’s the One.  Iolanthe questions and struggles with things (and her internal conflict is very present throughout the novel), she doesn’t think sometimes before she acts, and, most of all, she’s just human.  She gets jealous, she can be a little selfish and petty (not soo much that we want to slap her, but in moderation), and she doesn’t always follow the rules.  That doesn’t sound like a Mary Sue to me.  

And Titus.  Oh, Titus, you little complicated prince, you.   He can, at first, come off as a little too perfect, but he sooo isn’t. Far from it.  On the outside, he’s Mr. Cool, but that image slowly breaks down as the book progresses. He messes up, he lies, he’s manipulative, he’s afraid of failure, and he won’t let anything get in the way of his destiny/fate.  Many of these characteristics do change as the novel goes on, and he is the character that grows the most from beginning to end, from a cold-hearted jerk whose burdened by life to someone who understands that hope is real, and in this aspect, we see exactly how perfect Iolanthe is for him (see below).  

I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll mention it again: this author is a master at chemistry- particularly the chemistry between Iolanthe and Titus.  They are friends (frenemies?) foremost before anything else. Their relationship is so dynamic. They’ve both never truly had a friend where they could just be themselves and confide everything to.  They help each other grow tremendously, and they also bring out the true personalities of each other.  

Their chemistry can’t really be classified solely as a romance because it’s so much deeper and more complicated than that.  Their relationship is romantic, but not until much later does it actually become truly romantic.  (It doesn’t make any sense now, but it will when you read the book. ;) ) It’s actually really complicated- but in a good way.  It gives so much depth to their relationship (and you guys all know how much I love depth!).  It starts off with attraction (it is a bit of an insta-love, but it’s also not- mainly because of the resentment stage), then resentment and attraction, and then finally, a slow build up to the actual confession.   So in a nutshell, they like each other, and they hate each other, but eventually they learn to just really like each other.  (Confusing, right?)

The World:
I love it! The author did a great job of showing us the world rather than bombing us with information.  Even though there are a couple things that were vague, I’m pretty sure it will all be clarified in the next books.   For the first time in a long time, I was actually sucked into this magical world instead of just watching it from the side lines (which is NO FUN).   I especially loved all those Latin spells because I’m taking Latin right now, and some of the words the author used were very poetic.  

Any complaints?  It’s hard to really get into the book in the beginning.  It’s very cryptic, vague, and confusing, but as the book progresses, most (not all) things get clarified.  There are also some events that happen in the book that are way too convenient.  Like the book of prophecies.  The prophecies given to Titus by his mother kind of ruined some parts of the novel because it told us how they were going to react or if this character was going to die, etc.  It takes away the shock of some of the events.   I also have mixed feelings about that Crucible.  It’s very whimsical (I know, I know. A fairytale book where you can battle monsters and die? Well, when you say it like that….), but it also is way too convenient.  The Crucible is basically a walking Wikipedia (I say Wikipedia because it can be revised by people) about EVERYTHING.  But honestly, these are all minor complaints, and the chemistry between Iolanthe and Titus totally makes up for all complaints (and the fact that we’ll be getting a second book!).

Final thoughts:  A fun plot+ a great chemistry= VERY happy reader.

Thanks for reading!:)

Rating: 3 out of 5

  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Chaos of Stars

The Chaos of StarsAuthor: Kiersten White
Release Date: September 10th, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen 
Genre(s): YA Fantasy (Mythology)
Pages: 288
*stand alone*

Spoilers are hidden! Highlight the page to see them:) 


Summary (Goodreads):

Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up.

Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She’s also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can’t be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she’s a mere mortal.

Isadora’s sick of living a life where she’s only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora’s quickly finding that a “normal” life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there’s no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can’t shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all.

Review:

That cover is gorgeous! (*.*) I’m totally star-struck. (Sorry couldn’t resist. xD  But really! That cover is seriously one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve seen all year.  I think it even beats House of Hades’s cover, which, as a diehard Riordan fan, admitting that is a crime punishable by being thrown into Tarturus.)

Now that cover in relation to the content… I think it was wasted on such a mediocre book.   >.<

I have iffy feelings about this book.  It was a nice story, but it wasn’t dazzling (see what I did there xD). A lot of my iffy feelings had to do with the insta-love and the plot itself (more on those later).     

This book was a little slow, and the blurb was definitely misleading. At first I had thought the book was about those ominous dreams the blurb had mentioned, but it was more focused on Isadora’s personal growth and her relationship with her family.  (I guess the “main” plot was about those dreams, but it really took a back seat compared to the focus on Isadora and her growth.)  I wasn’t sure if this lack of plot was a good thing or not because while I liked how the focus on family gave this book more depth than if it had been an “action” type novel, it made the ending so anticlimactic.  The story just died in the end (and no, this is not a spoiler).         

The best way to describe Isadora is to call her… a teen.  She epitomized the stereotypical, raging- hormones teen.  She was sarcastic, a bit of a rebel, very snarky, and irrational. But even with her loud personality, she was a forgettable character.  I can’t call her bland because she was feisty and snarky, but she just wasn’t memorable.  Nothing super special about her; she's just like one of the other hundreds of YA characters floating around in my head. 

How about the love interest, you ask?

 B-Orion-g. (xD Not the best pun, but whateves.  It's still a pun.  Did I mention I love lame puns?)

Even though I did think the connection between him and Isadora’s stars was cute, he wasn’t a good character at all (development wise and romance wise). He was certainly caring, but he was so bland.  Ry was the typical nice guy, and that’s about all I can really say about his personality.  It was also really random to learn those things about Ry’s heritage, and it didn’t make any sense. Just out of the blue, we are told Ry was also the son of Greek gods.  How was this relevant?  I had suspected something was off with Ry- there wasn’t a lot of explanation about him in the beginning- but this was totally random. 

Now onto the plot iffies.

Let’s start with a personal favorite (NOT) of mine:
Insta-love

I’m sorry, but whenever there’s an insta-love involved, and the book is in first person, I’ve decided to assume the worst about the love interest.  (Love is blind, no?)  For all we know, Isadora could be hallucinating (she thinks Egyptian gods are her parents), and he was actually just a figment of her imagination.  After all, he was always staring off into space.  Maybe that was symbolic of her drawing a blank in her mind or something.  I dunno.

 Another plot iffie was the lack of explanation on why Isadora was human. (And Isadora being human was a HUGE thing in this book.) I mean, shouldn’t immortal god+ immortal goddess= immortal child?  That didn’t really compute with me, and as far as I know, this book was a stand alone, so no potential sequel to explain that.

To wrap this review up, it was a nice story- don’t get me wrong. But I’d gone into it expecting- and wanting- a fun and rowdy story about a girl who has to deal with a crazy family of immortal gods (there was a crazy-as in leaps in logic/randomness- and there were gods, but nothing in this book was fun nor rowdy).  Though I did enjoy the little blurbs in the beginning of each chapter talking about the Egyptian gods (as well as Isadora’s snarky little twist to it), I wish there was more Egyptian culture in the book.  I mean, yes Isadora was Egyptian and her family was made up of immortal gods, but that was the extent of Egyptian influence in this book. 


Happy Readings!:) 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5   

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Send Me a Sign

11798085Author: Tiffany Schmidt 
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Walker Childrens  
Genre(s): YA Contemporary
Pages: 384
*stand alone*

Spoilers are hidden! Highlight the page to see them!:)

Summary(Goodreads): Mia is always looking for signs. A sign that she should get serious with her soccer-captain boyfriend. A sign that she’ll get the grades to make it into an Ivy-league school. One sign she didn’t expect to look for was: “Will I survive cancer?” It’s a question her friends would never understand, prompting Mia to keep her illness a secret. The only one who knows is her lifelong best friend, Gyver, who is poised to be so much more. Mia is determined to survive, but when you have so much going your way, there is so much more to lose. From debut author Tiffany Schmidt comes a heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting story of one girl’s search for signs of life in the face of death.

Review:
After brooding over this book for a day or two, I’ve decided to give it a rating of 2.  I usually don’t like to give the rating in the beginning, but after reading over this review, it seemed like I gave this book a 0 -which will never happen unless I hated a book so much I tore it in half (this has yet to happen, and I doubt  it’ll ever happen (books are expensive!)).  

So.

It seems like lately I’ve been getting frustrated with all the books I read.  I’m not usually this nit-picky.  (Really!) I didn’t hate this book, but I was definitely annoyed with it.   My main problem was the characters and all the other drama besides Mia’s cancer (I mean, it’s inevitable to have drama when cancer is involved, but I felt like all this extra stuff overshadowed Mia’s cancer and drew the focus away from it).  It was making me stressed out- I can imagine how much worse it must have been for Mia.

Character-wise I hated everyone (okay maybe not everyone- I liked Mrs. Russo and felt only slight frustration towards Mia, but otherwise I did hate everyone else).   They were all self-centered jerks, from Mia’s mom to her friends to Gyver to Ryan.  I found myself getter more annoyed as the book went on, and by the time I finished, instead of fuzzy feelings for Mia (ahhh they’ve reached a resolution! Group hug!), I wanted to chuck this book across the room.   (Call me heartless- I don’t care.)  Besides the jerkish attitudes of all her family and friends, I hated how in the end everything was resolved so quickly and neatly.  They were all like, “Sorry, I think I was wrong, but you have to understand, it was you not me,” and Mia was like, “Okay, I forgive you! I love you all!”  What?  (Mia wasn’t perfect, and some of the stuff she did was questionable/annoying- her habit of picking out signs is NOT a part of this; I’ll talk about that later-, but c’mon! It was not just her fault too.  Besides, she had cancer and had to deal with chemo- which, goes without saying, is TERRIBLE.  Cut her some slack- the poor girl needs it.) I understand a lot of the characters have bad attitudes because that was their way of dealing with the cancer and Mia’s secrecy, but in the end, instead of having apologies and healing, everything was skimmed over and neatly packaged. 

Instead of an in depth description of why I hated all the characters, I’ll give you a little blurb about my thoughts on them:

Mia:  She was okay.  I was a little frustrated with her for keeping her cancer a secret because it caused all this drama, but I understand why Mia did it though- too complicated to really get into it, but it was SO  MUCH MORE than her thinking her friends wouldn’t understand- so it wasn’t that big of a deal. What I really hated was how Mia just skimmed over things. (Like after the explosion with her mom, I was cheering for her; but then afterwards, cheering turned to booing when they both acted like nothing happened, and it wasn’t really mentioned again.  I really wanted Mia to press the issue, but apparently she didn’t hear me, even though I was practically all up in her business.)  Her quirkiness was enduring, and I enjoyed the scenes where Mia stopped to pick out signs (except for that part with the psychic and the tarot cards; that was creepy).  Even though I personally am not superstitious at all, I related with these scenes because don’t we all sometimes just want a sign?  A sign that things will get better, a sign that this won’t- or maybe will- last forever?  I know I do.  (Life would be so much easier if God would just point out the right way with rainbows lol. ) 

Ryan:  He was a jerk in the beginning, but became sweeter at the end.  I didn’t think it made up for what he said in the beginning though because it looked like he meant it all the way through…

Gyver:  Hello there, Mr. Bipolar.

Mia’s Mom:  She was so mean! Insensitive! I don’t care that that was her way of dealing with the cancer! It was not about her! It was about MIA! Mia, her daughter who was getting so much stress from her and from the cancer!  (Okay, I’ll admit Mia’s mom does change a teeny bit in the end, but that was too late in the game for me.   And though some part of me appreciated her sort of trying, her effort was infinitesimal. )   

Mia’s Dad:  Not as prominent in the book as Mom, so no real opinion about him other than wanting him to really stick up for Mia to her mom. (He did eventually, but it wasn’t as satisfying because that too was just mentioned and skipped over.  It didn’t really do anything to change the relationship between Mia and her mother.)

Mrs. Russo:  She was more motherly to Mia than her own mother.  She was my favorite character, and she gave great advice that everyone chose to ignore.

Mia’s friends:  They were very shallow and very mean/inconsiderate.  I strongly disliked them (hate was way too overused in this review… it was time for a word change!:))

As mentioned before, the book as a whole had so much drama.  I thought this book would focus solely on Mia’s cancer, how she dealt with it, her struggles, etc- and it did but not solely.  Besides the lies and the Gyver/Ryan thing and her mom, I felt like I was the one who was suffocating from all this stuff in the book.   

Overall, I gave it a 2 because I did finish it (I suffered, but I did finish it).   I’ve kept in mind that this was the author’s debut novel, and despite everything, this book did have great potential.  I’ll, as always, be waiting for her next books, which hopefully (and probably) will be much better than this one.

Thanks for reading!:)  

Rating: 2 out of 5




Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Requiem


 Requiem (Delirium, #3)
Author: Lauren Oliver 
Release Date: March 5th, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books 
Genre(s): YA Dystopia  
Pages: 391
*3rd and final book of a series*


Read this review only if you’ve read the previous two books! I've covered up the spoilers for Requiem ONLY. (Highlight the page to see them:))

Summary (Goodreads): They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

Review: 
In a word? Disappointing.
  
It wasn't like I had very high expectations for this book (learned my lesson on that!... Sort of xD), but still.   Delirium was good, Pandemonium was okay, but this book...

To put it simply, the third book had way too much stuff in it to be put into the second novel (but I think Oliver could and should have done that, instead of writing a third book), but way too little substance to be a whole book.  Does that make sense? It's a weird little sentence, but that's the best I can do to describe this book.  It had way too much stuff, but it had little substance.  (You'll understand if you choose to pick up the book. Whether I recommend you do or not... eh.  More on that later.) 

So. Alex.   

In a sentence? I didn't like him.
In a short paragraph?   Alex is back, and he’s changed- sort of.  If changing means his actions used to make sense before but now they don’t make any sense at all, then he’s changed a lot.  Otherwise, I guess he’s pretty much the same Alex, even if he seems different. 

Confused yet? 
Me too.

Now the deal with Lena. 

I loved her in Delirium, started to feel a slight animosity toward her in Pandemonium, and hated her in Requiem.  She did absolutely nothing in this book- wait I take that back.  She narrated to us what other people are doing.  (That’s something, right?)  Requiem’s Lena was totally different than the Lena from the previous two books, and I hated her wishy washiness. What happened to that strong, confident girl?  (It seems she disappeared during the time it took to release this book.) Even though it was clear from the beginning which guy she was going to choose in the end (Alex or Julian), I didn’t like how she was stringing the other guy (who she CLEARLY wasn’t going to choose) along.  I understood she needed someone to lean on at that time, but she could have been straight up honest with that guy, and, given his personality, I was pretty sure he would have understood.  

Julian was eh in this book as well.  I never really liked him nor hated him (though I did think he was a bit creepy in the previous book…).  Even though he was a nice guy (maybe too nice?), he was very bland.  He didn’t really do anything interesting in the book either. 

The love triangle aspect was weak.  I usually don't like love triangles (this opinion changes by my mood, but in general, it's a dislike), but if done well, I'm all for it.  Here, it seemed like a last minute thing, and it was obvious from the start who she was going to pick in the end.  (Calling it a love triangle would be pushing it, actually. )

Hana was an okay character.  She was interesting certainly (after all, we get to see what's going through a brain of the cured), and out of all the characters, she was the most fully developed.  Even so, her chapters were just as boring as Lena’s; Hana did do something- more than what Lena did- but it was very dragged out.  Her ending, as well as Lena’s, was left open-ended, and though that ending was a nice touch (it's very hopeful), it wasn’t quite nice enough to redeem the book. 

As for the style: 
I didn’t like how there were two people narrating this book (Hana and Lena).  Except in rare cases (Unwind and Flipped), I hate reading in this style because, often, the two or three people narrating sound exactly the same (such was the case here).  And that switch between the chapters messed me up.  It wasn’t like we were seeing the same situation in two points of view; we were seeing completely different things in two points of view.  As soon as I would sort of understand where one chapter was going, the book would switch to the other girl.  I always had to go back and forth, and that was a bit annoying. 

Final thoughts?  It was overall disappointing, nothing really redeemable about this book.  The only thing that sort of got me was when a certain character died, but even then, I was so detached from the book emotionally, my reaction wasn't that strong. I recommend it for die-hard fans, but even then eh.  You might think it’s good but I doubt it would be an "awesome."

Happy reading!:)

Rating: 1.5 out of 5


Monday, November 4, 2013

Camp Boyfriend


16409311
Author: J.K. Rock
Release Date: July 2nd, 2013 
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary 
Genre(s): YA Contemporary 
Pages: 324
*stand alone (although there is a companion novel)*

~Spoilers are hidden! Highlight the page to see them:)~ 

Summary (Goodreads): 
The summer of her dreams is about to get a reality check.

They said it couldn't be done, but geeky sophomore Lauren Carlson transformed herself into a popular girl after moving to a new school halfway across the country. Amazing what losing her braces and going out for cheerleading will do. Only trouble is, the popular crowd is wearing on Lauren's nerves and she can't wait to return to summer camp where she's valued for her brain instead of her handsprings. She misses her old friends and most of all, her long time camp-only boyfriend, Seth. This year she intends to upgrade their relationship to year-round status once she's broken up with her new, jock boyfriend, Matt. He doesn't even begin to know the real her, a girl fascinated by the night sky who dreams of discovering new planets and galaxies.

But Matt isn't giving her up without a fight. As he makes his case to stay together, Lauren begins to realize his feelings run deeper than she ever would have guessed. What if the guy she thought she was meant to be with forever isn't really The One? Returning to Camp Juniper Point was supposed to ground her uprooted life, but she's more adrift than ever. Everything feels different and soon Lauren's friends are turning on her and both guys question what she really wants. As summer tensions escalate, Lauren wonders if she's changed more than she thought. Will her first big discovery be herself?


Review: 
In a word: Intense (LOL)

To be honest, I thought this book would be a light and fluffy read, something to make me feel nostalgic for the days of summer past.  And it was that- and so much more.  I don’t know if it was because I’d been emotionally strung (that House of Hades omg) when I read Camp Boyfriend, but I found it surprisingly intense.  (Don’t get me wrong- there were parts that were pretty cute and fluffy, but overall, it was much deeper than my initial impressions.)

Let’s start with Lauren. 

I loved her self discovery throughout the book and the awesome message on how being true to yourself doesn’t mean just picking one thing (like a geek or a cheerleader), but being true to all sides of yourself.  She was a likeable character, very realistic and relatable, and that made her a great (and funny!) narrator.  She was just like any other girl, with regular teen problems, and the authors did an awesome job capturing that. 

For some reason, I didn’t swoon over Matt and Seth like I thought I would. (I blame House of Hades. Bob! Scion! Calypso!- but that’s for another review xD). Like Lauren, I was going back and forth between both guys, and even close to the end, I couldn’t tell who she would choose. It could have gone either way.  (At the start, I had been rooting for Seth.  Why?  Matt gave a really bad first impression (he made up for it later, and we see he’s complex character as well), but at the start, I thought Seth would be Lauren’s guy.  (That was of course until he took off and left Lauren alone.))

I loved that Lauren’s choice surprised me.  One of the things that really stood out to me about this book was the unpredictable nature of it.  NO ONE was as they seemed, and it was very refreshing to see massive character development in ALL the characters (not just the main ones). 

Another thing I liked about this book  was Seth’s and Matt’s lack of perfection. The way Lauren painted both of them, one was seen as the better guy (because she has an obvious bias toward Seth in the beginning- not a spoiler, it’s on the back of the book) and one was seen as eh.  As the book progresses, we see that neither one of them is quite who everyone thinks they are.  Both the boys had lots of depth to them, more so with Matt I thought (but I’ve heard the prequel Camp Kiss showed a lot more of Seth), and that was one of the reasons why it was hard to see which guy Lauren was going to choose.   And that process of choosing between Seth and Matt was INTENSE.  (At least for me….xD). 

Final thoughts?  I loved how the authors showed depth in all their characters and the importance of breaking stereotypes. This was shown the best with Seth and Matt and also with Lauren’s quirky friends.  They were cute in the beginning, but as the book went along, they showed their true colors, and NO ONE IS WHAT THEY SEEM.   (Remember that;))

Happy Readings!:)

Rating: 3 out of 5



Sunday, November 3, 2013

NaNoWriMo!!



Hi guys!:) 
Kyendwarrior here.  

It's that time of year again- that time where we can tell who the writers are by the massive amounts of coffee they drink (my Starbucks bill speaks for itself), how they crazily mumble to themselves about dropping people off cliffs (it's a legit subject! It keeps readers interested...right?) , and how they run like their pants are on fire to their computers/journals and start stomping on the keyboard (no comment): NANOWRIMO! ;) 

Crazy word, eh?

 It stands for National Novel Writing Month.  What you do is you set a goal for yourself of some number of words (I'm in the Youth Writing Program, so we get to control our word count, but if you go with the regular NaNoWriMo, it's automatically 50,000 words), and you just write, write, write during the month of November.  I found out about NaNoWrimo just last year, but apparently if you reach your goal of 50,000 words or whatever, you can send it in, and they'll send it back to you as a paperback for free!  

Wicked cool ;)

So drop by and check it out! (And don't forget to say hi @ kyendwarrior !) 

Happy writing! :)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Touch of Power


10445208
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Release Date: December 20th, 2011
Publisher: Mira
Genre(s): YA Fantasy
Pages: 390
*1st of series*

~Spoilers are hidden! Highlight the page to see them:)~ 

Summary (Goodreads):
Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life...

Review: 
This book was interesting, certainly.  I love Maria Snyder (Poison Study was awesome!), but that ending (among other things, but mainly the ending) was what made this just a 3 star read.  

Let’s start with the characters.

 I felt Kerrick and Avry could be synonymous for Valek and Yelena (as well as Janco/Ari and the Monkey twins, but to be honest, I didn’t realize this until my friend pointed it out) .  Maybe it was just me, but I saw a lot of parallels (character-wise and relationship-wise) between them (like the age thing and the I-didn’t-really-give-you-hints-that-I-liked-you-but-I-suddenly-do thing).  At times I felt like Yelena could be narrating this because she and Avery were SO similar.  

Romance-wise the book was eh (it’s similar to Poison Study), but that wasn’t the point of the book, so it didn’t really bother me.  The world building’s a little shaky (we don’t get much description about the other types of magicians), but I’m sure the author will clarify all that up in the following books.   

Romance aside, what I really loved about this entire book was Avry and her boys (I need to think of a cute name for them.  Avry and her puppies? It’s lame, but I think it works lol).  Her relationship with them and the relationships among the puppies (xD) was the adorabliest thing ever!  From Poppa Bear to the Twin Monkey to Flea (</3), they slowly broke down Avry’s defenses and eventually became one big family. (Of course, until the author decided to FOR NO GOOD REASON SLAUGHTER SWEETIE PIE FLEA. But ya know, it’s all good …)  It was so sweet to see the bonds they formed and all their interactions, and you really feel for these people who’ve lost so much and yet remain so optimistic (except for Kerrick. I don’t think that guy has an optimistic bone in his body-which of course makes him the perfect foil for Belen. XD) 

I’m not going to spend much time on the villains, except to say I love the depth Snyder gave them.  They all had their motives, their good sides and bad, and it was satisfying to see villains who were portrayed as people with multiple sides.  (Yes, even creepy-psychotic Tohon.)

Okay now onto the bad bits. (I use the term “bad” loosely because the only “bad” was really the ending.  Everything else was just a little annoying, but not necessarily bad.  Just minor qualms.)

Though I admired Avry’s compassion for the people, I thought it was weird that she didn’t once complain about having to take on the diseases.  Scars as a symbol of pride were not weird at all, but the way she willingly took on the diseases without having even one selfish thought was really weird.  I mean, it was nice and all that she was so compassionate about people, and I get it would be annoying if she complained about it every single time, but I felt if she had been even a teensy bit resentful, it would have added more depth to her character.  Another qualm (I love that word!) was how deals/ contracts were made so easily and so peacefully. Avry agreed to the terms readily, it seems, and those deals ended with her staying with the villain (!). 

And finally that ending. 

I hate Deus ex Machinas (my list of pet peeves when it comes to books just keeps growing lol).  No matter how dire a situation is, no matter how much I want the ending to be happy, I believe it’s always  best to end the story in a realistic manner (as realistic it gets in a fantasy world) and keep the flow, rather than pull a Deus ex Machina.  Besides the non-realistic thing (which is usually really flexible in fantasy, but still), it was too neat, too convenient.  It made the book anti-climatic, and ultimately, this turned me off from reading the rest of the series.  I’m just not really anticipating the next books in this series anymore.  (I will, of course, still read Snyder's other books, and maybe in the future I might pick this series up again, but for now...)  

Final thoughts?  It was a good read, but the ending fell flat, as well as a few qualms about similar characters. 

Thanks for reading!
 Rating: 3 out of 5