Tag Archives: YA Novel

Angelfall by Susan Ee

5 Dec

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Penryn and the End of Days Book One

Rating: A Million Stars out of 5!! (ok ok Five out of Five Stars)

HOLY SWEET BABY JESUS!

I need to catch my breath after this book. I feel like I just got done running a marathon of greatness and wonderfulness and every other positive descriptive words you would like to include. This book.. it’s just so… freaking amazing… I can’t even….

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So I have used this quote before “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it” – William Styron, Conversations with William Styron but I have never felt it ring so true than with this book. Susan Ee shoots a shot gun in the first chapter and doesn’t slow down the entire book. It’s insanely well written, captivating, fast paced and brilliant.

The main character, Penryn, is so kick ass. Like, Uma Thurman Kill Bill status. But it’s not surreal! Sometimes I see awesome females and go “yeah right so would not happen in real life.” But Ee takes the time to explain WHY Penryn is so f88cking awesome and it makes me relate to her (even though I can’t hurt a fly) in such a personal way. Her tie to her sister and mother are perfectly described and when she becomes brutal and ruthless, I like it because I would do the same thing to save my family. Penryn’s relationship with Raffe is also well founded, no cup of instant love my friends!

This story is unique and different than anything I have read. It takes your typical angel/demon stories and injects it with Hulk juice. It’s a gripping tale that will have you enthralled the moment you open the book until the second you close it. Be prepared to not work or sleep or eat or shower while reading it because you will not want to put Angelfall down.

To Read Tuesday – up and coming reads!

4 Dec

I want to give a huge thank you to everyone out there who read my first two chapters last week. I received some GREAT feedback and look forward to going back and editing a few things. I was super nervous about going “public” with it but I couldn’t ask for better readers than you guys or more support! Keep emailing me at smcampbell07@hotmail.com!

Ok on to the real post!

As I assume you’ve realized by now, I am a geek. There is a glaring neon arrow that points to me and says “BOOK NERD”. I spend more money on books than I do on clothes and booze, and as a 23 year old I feel that is quite the accomplishment! I am so into all things books I actually have a list of book releases pinned onto my calendar at work. 12

Overkill? HECK NO! I am a proud book nerd and I wear my geekdom like it’s a badge on honor. My work bestie and book soul mate Amy gave me the suggestion to write a once a week blog about those book that are coming out soon that I am super duper stoked for!

Thus, To-Read Tuesdays have commenced! Chea!

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Prodigy by Marie Lu

Series: Legend Book Two

Previous Rating: Legend (book one in the series) 5 out of 5 stars.

Release Date: January 29, 2013

Why I am Excited: I adored Legend. It was a fast paced and thrilling book. I connected with both characters and enjoyed reading the story through both of their preservatives. Lu got dinged on having her characters be to similar by reviewers but I praise her for it. While no, there is not as much diversity between narrations, it did give the readers a better sense of how different life is in this world based on birthrights. The world was created thoroughly and because we experienced two different view points with June and Day, we really got a chance to see and know the dystopian society. Legend left on such a twist in the plot I have been aching for almost a year to read this book.

What I Hope To See: *CONTAINS SPOILERS* If you haven’t read book one, LOOK AWAY! Now that both June and Day are fully developed as characters, I hope Lu starts to create obvious separation between them. June = female Day =male.  You can still have a strong heroine without making her all pigtails and prom dresses! With that being said, I hope June doesn’t become TOO much a girly lovesick teenager. She can have emotions, but they need to rule her the same way they ruled her in Legend. I hope that now that they have busted out of the Republic, they don’t automatically get pampered and pushed into a leadership role with the Patriots purely because they have insider information. Yes, they are both insanely badass, but I would like to see some kind of development where they have to prove themselves worthy to lead type of a thing.

My Predictions: it’s been almost a year since I have read Legend but based purely on what the summary says about book two, here are my thoughts:

  1. June and Day’s relationship: I think it’s going to be one of those awkward relationships where neither one of them fully trust the other and they don’t know exactly how to interact with each other. Issues? Complication? Oh yes please.
  2. June is going to have a thing for the new Elector. If memory serves, June met him in Book One and he wasn’t half bad. I think this will cause a lot of friction between June and Day.
  3. Someone needs to die. Either Day’s brother or someone else important to the main characters but someone needs to die in order for a vengeful attack to be made.

“Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.” Marie Lu, Legend

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

3 Dec

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Book Two of the Seven Realms Series

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Be prepared for another one of my swoonfests here because

I LOVE CINDA WILLIAMS CHIMA.

She is one of those authors I want to watch write the outline of her book so I can just view art as it’s being created. I want her to be my coach at world building and character creation. And when some day I write my own book, she will be atop my greatest inspirations along with J.K. Rowling, Christopher Paolini and Kristin Cashore. I just want to crawl into her imagination and live there for a while. Oh wait… that’s what I do when I read her books….

Alright, so steering off the path of my lady crush, this is another incredible book by Chima. The world is tangible and real and the characters are relatable and lovely. I was disappointed that Amon didn’t get to narrate like he did in book one because  is such a dynamic character and offers a very different viewpoint then Han and Raisa. It makes the story much more rounded and complete in my mind. I also would have loved to have experienced his feelings toward his forced but not forced relationship. Although we can experience his feeling towards the situation through Raisa, I would have liked Amon to have more of a presence in this book.

Han has officially become my fantasy boyfriend. The whole bad-boy-gone-good-but-kick-ass thing is my ultimate dream man. He’s like the Edward to my Bella and the Jace to my Clary. *sigh* I just love him and love Raisa/Han make-out scenes. (I did warn you about swoon-festing right?) Raisa, like always, does female heroines proud. She’s smart and feisty and yet still a girl. She reminds me a lot of Hermione: totally badass and yet still unarguably female.

Well done, Master Chima. I would recommend this series to everyone. Romance, magic, action, passion and just a damn good story? No one could pass this baby up.

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

28 Nov

Rating: Three out of Five Stars

This was a very interesting book for me. I am usually a trilogy and series reader because I feel like a complete story can’t be told in 300 pages (unless I am in the mood for a fluff book). This book proved that while it CAN be done to a certain extent, the story is just not as engaging as it could be.

Scarlet is a wonderful retelling of Robin Hood. You can still see the “historical” storyline but it gives a dynamic perspective of the story from another person. Well imagined, my friend! The only thing that strikes me as overpowering was the foreshadowing. To write a good story of course foreshadowing is needed, but there is a time and place and a LIMIT. I enjoy quiet hints and and slight teasing of things to come. But these clues were blaring neon signs in a bar. In a way, it made the story seem naive, the finesse was missing.

Regardless of the writing flaws, the plot was fun. It was fast paced and dramatic, even if it stretched reality a bit. I did enjoy Scarlet. She’s a spunky fierce heroine with pink power ranger skills. It was exciting to read her and get to know her a little. Her emotions are a bit skewed and rollercoastered a lot but the action in the book made up for the slower parts. I wish that we could have seen a little more of the relationships between the boys and Scar, but with a one book story, it’s difficult to create more than one fully developed character.

The ending did leave a door open for a sequel, which I would jump on the chance to read. They already have romance, action, a villain, a love triangle… the bones of a great series is there and I hope that Gaughen writes another!

 

Tithe by Holly Black

15 Nov

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Book One of The Modern Tales of Faerie

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

I was really excited to read this book. I love stories about the fey and I had heard Holly Black was a Great in the YA world. I love her essays and reviews of other YA books so I thought this would be an instant favorite of mine. Let’s just say…that wasn’t the case.

I was so confused throughout this book. The story jumped around much I felt like I was on a literary trampoline. I just plowed through it so I could get to the end where maybe all the random BS in the plot would make sense. The storyline and thought process of the main characters as well as their narration was so disjointed that a majority of the time I was so baffled I had reread paragraphs over and over again just to follow the conversation. The characters made assumptions and decisions that the reader didn’t/couldn’t understand because there was nothing that led up to the conversation. It was just BAM “I love him” BAM “I will take on a Queen” BAM “Now I am scared and confused.” It was an insanely frustrating read and in my opinion, poorly written. (I do refuse to give this book only one star though because I am hooked just enough to read the second book. Maybe it’s more because I want Black to redeem herself or maybe it’s because I like the story? Not too sure. But I think option A.)

Kaye is a teenaged high school dropout. Roiben is a good faery forced to go bad. And then they fall in love… *sigh*. NOT. This romance is so unnatural in the way it developed I was uncomfortable with it. There were sparks of connections I clung to but overall the relationship was…. creepy? Creepy, unrealistic, sorta like the weird pedophile thing going on. And yes, I will go to the pedophile route because Black doesn’t ever give us an understanding of Roiben’s age vs. actions vs. understanding. So all I can think of is “Dude you are like 300 years old going after a baby foul mouthed 16 year. Gross.” I don’t understand why YA authors feel the need to create that heart-stopping-instant-love-at-first-sight crap. It’s an plot piece that’s hard to control and keep balanced because when it’s insta-love, readers can never feel a true connection or understand it. Add on that none of the characters were fully developed, none had ANY sense of human emotions or self preservation and you got yourself recipe for disaster.

As I said before, I was not impressed. But I am hoping that this was just a warm up and that Holly Black will bounce back with a second book that my WSOD meter will like better. I looooved Holly Black’s short pieces, I really hope that I just read this in the wrong mood.

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

12 Nov

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Book One of the Glitch Series

Rating: Four out of 4 Stars

I adored this book. And the more I step away from it and let it process, the more I find myself thinking about it. Although originally I gave it three stars, any book that keeps me thinking about it days after I have finished it gets bumped up to the next level.

Let me preface this review by saying that I do understand the negative comments about this book. And having read the reviews before I read the story I was almost going to pass this book by. But I am sooo glad I didn’t. Here are my two issues:

1.) Glitch is obviously a debut author’s book and not a seasoned writer’s work. We can see evidence of a newbies writing throughout the story. The most obvious places to me was when Anastasiu described to character movements. She wouldn’t fully describe a scene and so when she would have a character do some action, you where thrown out of the story. For example, Zoe and Adrien would climb onto the bed but she wouldn’t say they laid down or sat up so you couldn’t fully create the picture in your mind. But then she would say “Zoe leaned forward and put her hands on her knees”. And you would have to now rework the picture of the scene in your head to put Zoe in a position that would allow her to do that action. While the overall story was thought out, there are general techniques that Anastasiu will need to work on in the next book.

2.) Anastasiu took on a huge task writing an character that doesn’t have emotions. After all, books are based on a characters emotions! The problem was that you need descriptive words you get from having emotions to create a fluid and beautiful story. So sometimes Zoe would describe pictures or people using words like “warmth” and “compassion” when she really shouldn’t have any understanding of warmth or compassion if she doesn’t understand emotions right? Right.

So those two glaring negatives aside, I did enjoy this book and look forward to Book Numero Dos. The issues of the book were very technical and show the authors youth in writing. But I did think the way she wrote Zoe’s relationship with Max and Adrien was well done. Anastasiu definitely captured how confusing emotions are and how much we feel effects how we act. I enjoyed being apart of Zoe’s journey of emotional discovery, it was realistic. I thoroughly enjoyed the dynamics between Max and Zoe. I realize this relationship has been criticized immensely, but in my opinion it was SO TRUE! And bravo for not creating a weak character who DOES have a morsel self respect. I liked how we finally have a female character who does have morals, even if she doesn’t understand where they come from.

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

7 Nov

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Book One of Seven Realms Series

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I read The Heir Chronicles in one week flat so when I was bopping around Goodreads one afternoon at work and found out she had another series, I. Was. Pumped. And now after reading the first book in the Seven Realms series, I am happy to say it’s even better than the Heir books.

The Demon King (which is a badass title, btw) instantly captures your imagination. I love a book that comes out swinging without confusing the crap out of you with way too many details. The story starts out slower initially but the world she creates within the first couple chapters is like a picture being painted before your eyes. Even now, books later, I can still put a pen to paper and draw all Seven Realms, the city, the clan, everything. The world she creates is so real and tangible I feel as though I could get on a plane and fly to it.

One of my favorite things about Chima’s writing is her ability to create realistic characters. And she never just creates one, she creates two or three or four and each one has depth and a true and separate personality. I hate when authors have changing POVs and yet only fully develop the one or two main character’s emotions. But from Han and Raisa to Amon and Bird, Chima’s gives each one motivations, fears, dreams, and worries. The diversity of characters leads to a much more colorful and captivating story because the plot never becomes bland or stagnant. They each have their own prospective (usually very different) that gives the reader multiple view points so they can understand all aspects of issues and problems. Hell, she even makes you feel pity for asshole Micah at one point when she spent the whole book making you hate him!

The way she ends her books is another gush point of mine. She doesn’t leave you dangling on the edge of a cliff hanger but makes you salivate for another bit of the story. She peaks the story with enough time for you to calm your breath without wrapping up loose ends. She tidies up the story just enough to not make you mad at her for ending the book (you know what I mean by this I’m sure). It’s truly an art.

Simply put, read this book. If you like fantasy and want a vacation from the real world, this is a great getaway.

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater

6 Nov

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(Books of a Faerie Two)

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

After reading Lament, I wasn’t necessarily running to the library to rent Ballad. But after reading Ballad, I wanted hightail my faerie-loving-ass to the book store to buy the third book in the series. (Which was going to do until I found out book three is not yet published -_-)

Anyways, I think Stiefvater had a nice warm up with Lament and hit her stride with Ballad. Dee annoyed me in Lament with her star-struck teenage love and I was worried that the story would continue down that road in book two. But alas! I was wrong. And I am very happy to be proven wrong.

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie is written in James’s perspective. I find James much more realistic and down to earth than Dee. I want to be friends with James. I want to play music with James. And I think Nuala is a bad ass, despite her need to wring humans dry in order to survive. They both have feelings that we can relate to. It’s not the punch-drunk-shot-gun love that Dee and Luke have in Lament, it’s true feelings. And the best part is, we get to watch those develop! In a natural and uncreepy way. James is a good guy with a great talent, and his lust to be better doesn’t outweigh his sense of reality. I like that he actually learned from his experiences in Lament (i.e. faeries are evil and manipulative) and doesn’t bow down to Nuala automatically. I also like how Nuala changes. She goes from evil-doer to real-person compassionate. But it’s not a switch, it’s a process. Stiefvater takes the time to actually build a story and create a realistic situation this time and I couldn’t help but root for James and Nuala. Because I felt like this time (thank goodness), I got a chance to know and understand them. I could relate to them. It was awesome.

If you like fairies but thought Lament was shallow, trust me when I say book two is leaps and bounds better than book one. It’s definitely worth the read.

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