A Mostly YA Book Review Blog

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 waiting on wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Breaking the Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we can’t wait for!

The book that I can’t wait for this week is. . . .

Ruin and Rising

Ruin and Rising

By: Leigh Bardugo

Publication date: June 17th, 2014

Goodreads/Amazon

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

I tore through the first two books in this series in the last week, and they were so good! Even better than I was expecting, and I had pretty high expectations going in. They even inspired me to make a design board that you can see here. I’m bummed that I’ve missed out on this series for so long, but also excited because my wait for the last one is much shorter. One more month!

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minion sad

This is me. I just finished Siege and Storm and . . . the feels are going to kill me! Luckily for me, it’s only a month until the last book comes out, and I can’t wait. I’m too overwhelmed to write a coherent review right now, but lets just say the first two books get 5 stars from me. I put together some idea boards of what I was imagining while I was reading the books. Enjoy!

PicMonkey Collagesetting

PicMonkey Collagemorovas

PicMonkey Collageclothes

Image Sources

Setting sources clockwise from top left:

1. http://holly-jayne.quazen.com/arts/architecture/10-most-unique-churches-in-the-world/

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Katalnay_gorka_Ekateriny_II_v_parke_Oranienbaum_(Russia).jpg

3. https://www.flickr.com/photos/vamoose627/9248606914/in/set-72157634565927850/

4. Sergiev Posad. https://www.flickr.com/photos/72649331@N00/420771851/

5. http://www.angelfire.com/pa/ImperialRussian/videos/images/287.jpg

6. http://www.incredible-pictures.co/2013/01/church-of-elijah-prophet-in-yaroslavl.html#.U3ugJyhFIUU

Animal sources clockwise from top left:

1. http://www.harmanvisions.com

2. Deviantart – http://nightlyre.deviantart.com/art/Ocean-s-Fury-315552549

3. Source unknown – pinterest -http://www.pinterest.com/pin/180073685075331679/

The clothes sources clockwise from top left:

1. Source unknown – pinterest -http://www.pinterest.com/pin/180073685075331615/

2. http://tsarselo.ru/images/photos/c60be940e6907293e4900262bff02d7e.jpg

3. http://alixofhesse.deviantart.com/art/Grand-Duchess-Anastasia-redo-126473043?q=gallery%253Aalixofhesse%252F4827983&qo=285

4. http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/8015744

5. Etsy – http://www.etsy.com/listing/118538722/70s-vintage-red-and-black-fur-trimmed?utm_source=Pinterest&utm_medium=PageTools&utm_campaign=Share

6. http://www.horse-drawn-carriage-hire.co.uk/

7. http://www.rubylane.com/item/307969-R3135/Victorian-Sun-Burst-Brooch-Pendant

8. http://americanduchess.blogspot.com/2012/02/v44-sacramento-antiques-vintage-haul.html


One of my all time favorite books is Vicious, by V.E. Schwab. She’s been talking about the latest book she’s writing, called A Darker Shade of Magic and it sounds awesome. Last week, she was also able to reveal the cover to everyone and it is gorgeous!! One of those that I would love to hang on the wall. So I thought I’d share it here so you guys can drool over it with me. Unfortunately, it doesn’t release until February 2015 through Tor books but I’m so excited for it. It has magic and parallel universes and London. Eeeek! Can’t wait.

A Darker Shade final for Irene

And from Goodreads:

From V.E. Schwab, the critically acclaimed author of Vicious, comes a new universe of daring adventure, thrilling power, and parallel Londons, beginning with A Darker Shade of Magic.

Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne—a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London…but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, who first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.


Falling by Design

Falling by Design
Valia Lind
Publisher: self published
Date Published: March 12, 2014
Source: Purchased

Goodreads – Amazon

Brooklynn Summers has a plan for her life: graduate from high school, get into a top fashion school, prove to her family that she’s not a failure. She wishes someone in her life understood her need to create because her parents sure don’t support her dreams, her sister hates her, and the deadlines are soon approaching.

Enter Grayson Banks.

There are a few things in life Brooklynn can’t stand: mismatched patterns, cheap polyester, and Grayson. No boy has ever publicly humiliated Brooklynn like Grayson has. When he suddenly moved away in eighth grade, Brooklynn happily wished him good riddance. But on the first day of senior year, Grayson comes back, with his piercing blue eyes and a smile that melts icebergs, he is not exactly the boy Brooklynn remembers. She quickly realizes that Grayson’s intentions have completely shifted, but she’s not sure if she can put their past behind her.

Grayson understands Brooklynn’s creative ambitions and he devises a plan to showcase her work to the world. When the two agree to work together, suddenly, there is more than just fabric paint that’s having a chemical reaction to its environment. Brooklynn cannot help but feel pulled into Grayson’s arms, but memories and misunderstandings surface, putting in danger whatever small comradeship these two childhood enemies have constructed.

Can Brooklynn overcome her own insecurities, finally making her dreams come true? Even a dream she didn’t know she had.

This is a story about a girl with big dreams and a boy who helps her achieve them.

2.5 Stars

My Review

So after saying that I don’t read that many self published books, I seem to have read two in a pretty short period of time. Oops. Anyway, picked this up after seeing a few recommendations about it but just couldn’t get past some of the issues I had with it.

What I Loved

1. Brooklyn, our main character,  is an aspiring fashion designer. She’s dedicated, smart and determined to make it into a good fashion school to follow her dreams.

2. The love interest, Grayson, is actually a great guy. He takes care of his baby brother, volunteers and sticks around for all of Brooklyn’s indecisiveness.

3. I thought this was going to be a case of insta-love, and while there was some pretty unrealistic attraction in the beginning, the romance actually played out pretty slowly.

What Bugged Me

1. There’s nothing about this book that stands out. It’s a pretty straightforward girl sees boy again after a long period of time apart, boy used to be a giant jerk to her but now he loves her. Wow, talk about a run-on sentence. I kept reading it expecting something to happen, but at 90% in I realized, this was it. There’s not really any big conflict that drives the book forward. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of smaller things, but nothing that kept me hanging to see what happened. I pretty much already knew the ending before it happened.

2. The writing style. It’s not bad, but the writing is kind of stilted. Conversations don’t flow naturally, and there are some spelling/editing errors. A lot of what bugged me is the “show vs. tell” problem. A lot of the issues in the book that could have been demonstrated through the actions of the characters were just told to you. And that makes for a pretty dry book to read.

3. The conflicts in the story that Brooklyn addresses are repeated almost word for word throughout the story. Family drama makes up most of it, and you can predict the conversation before it happens. Also, a bigger opportunity for some action later in the book is kind of dropped in with no follow up.

4. Brooklyn is the most indecisive, wishy washy character ever. Grayson goes out of his way to do everything he possibly can to help her, make her trust him, etc. and she just continually pushes him away beyond all logical reasons. It drove me insane!

5. The story ties up neatly with a bow at the end. Conflicts magically resolved, no loose ends! It’s like a fairy tale. Except well, it’s not supposed to be.

6. Minor spoiler ahead —-> At the very end of the book, after pushing Grayson away forever, they kiss once and both immediately start exchanging “I love you’s.” Ugh. Could not have helped ruin the ending for me anymore.

So after writing all that, I realized I should downgrade my rating. I started writing this at a 3 but I’ve moved it to a 2.5. There were just too many things wrong that bugged me to no end.

The Author

Valia Lind

The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave
Rick Yancey
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Date Published: May 27th, 2013
Pages: 480
Source: Purchased

Goodreads – Amazon

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

DNF at 25%

My Review

So. I went into this book knowing it’s not my favorite type of read. I’m generally not a fan of aliens (Jennifer Armentrout’s Lux series being an exception) and I’m not a huge fan of science fiction either. But this one was recommended to me so many times over the last year that I’ve had it on my TBR pile for a while, and I honestly tried to go into it with an open mind.

Cassie is a 16 year old girl who’s survived the first four waves of the alien takeover of Earth. She had been with her family until a few weeks before, and now she’s on the run by herself, trying to stay hidden and alive. I thought I could get into this, I mean the premise is pretty cool, even if it’s been done in various forms plenty of times before. I think I could have gotten more into it if more focus had been on the aliens. In the first quarter of the book though, we just get some pretty bare bones descriptions of what’s been going on.

Cassie’s voice was also hard for to to get into. I don’t like to gender the way a character acts or talks as too feminine or masculine, but I couldn’t identify with her voice as a 16 year old girl. The things she said and the way she spoke were just really distracting. Ex. “I was like, Damn it old man, if you give me that g.d. condescending little pat one more time. . .“. I mean, I just never met anyone who talks or thinks that way, especially in the age range Cassie was supposed to be. The sentence structure was also pretty simplistic and it was a struggle to get through.

At a quarter of the way through the book, I was just bored. I wasn’t really interested in picking it back up, and I’ve decided that if I’m really not that into a book, I’m not going to waste time continuing it. I think this book could appeal to some people, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

 

About the Author

Rick Yancey
Rick is a native Floridian and a graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago. He earned a B.A. in English which he put to use as a field officer for the Internal Revenue Service. Inspired and encouraged by his wife, he decided his degree might also be useful in writing books and in 2004 he began writing full-time.

Since then he has launched two critically acclaimed series: The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, for young readers, and The Highly Effective Detective, for adults. Both books are set in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Rick lived for ten years before returning to Florida.


 waiting on wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Breaking the Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we can’t wait for!

The book that I can’t wait for this week is. . . .

The Fine Art of Pretending

The Fine Art of Pretending

By: Rachel Harris

Publication date: September, 2014

Goodreads/Amazon

According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you’re friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.

I am super excited for this one! I love the idea of trying to find yourself and change how you’re viewed by the world. It’s a theme that pretty much everyone can relate to. And I love Rachel Harris’ books, so absolutely can’t wait until it comes out!


waiting on wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Breaking the Spine that highlights upcoming releases that we can’t wait for!

The book that I can’t wait for this week is. . . .

Talon

From Goodreads

By: Julie Kagawa

Publication date: October 28th, 2014

Goodreads/Amazon

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

DRAGONS!!! So waayyyy back in the day, dragons are what got me started reading. Like really reading; can’t put it down, wandering around the house tripping over things reading. Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series was my first love and I still go back and re-read them occasionally. I’ve been a fan of Julie Kagawa’s for a while as well, I’ve read and really liked her Iron Fey series. If you follow her on twitter, you’ll probably know that she makes these awesome dragon figurines as well. Yes, she is ridiculously multi-talented. So when she announced that she was writing a book about dragons, I was so excited. And after reading the synopsis and seeing the gorgeous cover (don’t you want to touch it?) I just can’t wait until it comes out!