Tag Archives: YA Review

Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

7 May

10429092

Book One in the Fire and Thorns Series

Rating: Four out of Five Stars

Oh my little lovely book. You’re just a gem of wonderful aren’t you? Yes, yes you are.

After reading a lot of the reviews of this one, it’s pretty hit or miss with folks. People either love it or hate it. And while the beginning was a bit slow, the personal growth that Elisa experiences is infatuating. Who’d a thunk that being kidnapped would end up with the fat little princess being a warrior queen? A MAGICAL WARRIOR QUEEN! GET SOME!

Ok, but for real. This book was good. The writing and the tone Carson uses is lyrical without being overwhelmingly flowery. I like when author’s really take the time to describe the scene and paint the picture in your head. But sometimes it can get to be so much that I get bored and I forget the dialogue that was happening before we walked into whatever area we are in. This book manages the balance well. It brings you into the world without smothering you with it. And the characters were really well done. They have personalities and quirks and aren’t the cookie cutter YA makeups.

Now I have to be honest here and say I struggled a bit at the beginning of this book. Typically YA princesses are young, thin and pretty. It’s super rare to find a chubby pro-tag in a high fantasy young adult book. So it took me some time to understand the character’s way of thinking about food and herself because quite honestly I couldn’t relate, I didn’t understand. But this different point of view is one of the reasons I really like this book and encourage girls to read it. That typical Barbie doll heroine that thinks she’s ugly because she’s self depreciating won’t be found here. This is a real young girl’s struggle with her weight. And no, the whole book is NOT about how big or skinny she is but it’s a theme that is always underlying the major pieces of this plot and it’s beautiful. It’s a unique perspective that I haven’t read in fantasy before and could really resonate with readers.

Elisa’s weight struggle isn’t the only reason why I like her. Although the fact she takes pride her in mental beauty more than her physical beauty is intriguing. I really enjoyed reading Elisa because she’s, well for lack of a better word, human. And she’s brilliant. She’s the type of person that grows wings when the fire starts. Her realistic adaptability and her desire to be good, do good, make good, is breathtaking to read. Elisa doesn’t go from dowdy second born to sorceress queen in one chapter, its a complete journey, confusing, full of rejection and hurt, and full of her passion to over come. Which she does, but not without sacrifice. And although she encounters a lot of pain, she’s resilient in the fact that she does not break. Elisa is the epitome of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. She’s inspiring.

BTWs – this series has some really good novellas. I encourage you to read them!

Override by Heather Anastasiu

25 Apr

14759331

Book Two in the Glitch Series

Rating: Three out of Five Stars

I am really giddy to write this review.. and its for a very selfish and conceited reason.

I do a handful of To Read Tuesdays posts on my blog http://www.rattlethestars.com about upcoming books and I did one on Override because I really enjoyed Glitch. I talked about why I am excited, what I want to see and what I think will happen in the new book.

Well someone give me a high five because I was soooo right on my predictions. *swish*

So, copying and pasting my three predictions so I have a reference, I shall now commence my review of the book:*PLEASE NOTE THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS*

1.)I think Adrien needs to be captured at some point. Zoe needs some sort of catalyst for her becoming this “leader” he has predicted she becomes. I think he could be it.  Done and done. Adrien DOES get captured, although we don’t find out for a while later how or when, he is taken. But his torture sparks little Miss Lackluster Zoe into womanning up and taking control. And because of her stepping up to help save her “twu wuv”, she gets the general killed and slots herself into becoming a general herself.
2.) Max has to come back into the story. He’s a social climber and although he helped Zoe and Adrien escape, I think the Community will welcome him back with open arms because of his unique glitch. This could also become a crutch for Zoe, she has to battle the fact that she left him there.  Hellooo Max! Welcome back to making Zoe’s life hell! Max DOES go back to the Community and becomes second in command to evil doer #1: Under Secretary of Defense. And then, with him playing face swap with Adrien, totally manipulates everyone. Zoe also thinks she killed Max, poor her, and spends a few weeks in a mopey state mourning him.
3.) I think another boy may come into the picture. Since YAs always like that love triangle and Max is on longer in the picture, is another man going to distract Zoe from the mysterious Mr. Adrien?  We shall see.  So.. this one is kinda not perfectly on point. Because Max really does become the third point again, but he’s Adrien, but he’s NOT Adrien. Huh? Yeah. Let’s just call this one a moot point shall we?

However right I was about my predictions, I was NOT right to be so excited over the book. The first part of Override drove me bonkers. “What’s that Zoe? You hate yourself and are throwing yourself a pity party? Wow, never seen that before. Now I can relate to you” I’m sorry if that’s mean, but it’s soo hard to read. Those first chapters I was trudging through knee high mediocre writing hoping and praying there was an oasis of good action near the end. Yes, it does pick up. But the depth and the quality and the “uniqueness” of Glitch that infatuated me did not flow into book two. Override was a filler. It seems like this was a “Oh hey I got signed for a trilogy, let’s just write some stuff in until we get to the meat and potatoes in book three”. It was disappointing, to say the least.

Shutdown, me thinks, will be amazing. Now that we’ve gotten all the BS out of the way, we’ve got some awesome plot twists to play with in book three. Bring it on Anastasiu!

To Read Tuesday – The Program

23 Apr

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The Program by Suzanne Young

Series: The Program

Previous Rating: None! Brand new series!

Release Date: April 30, 2013

Why I Am Excited: I’ve never heard of Suzanne Young before but I’m drawn to her because she currently lives in Tempe, AZ which is about 10 mins from me. And I really enjoy reading works from people I can actually visualize when they are writing it… maybe the fact that she lives so close to me makes me drawn to her? Perhaps. But the basis of this book is intrguing. It seems very UnWind meets Beta and Delirium.  You’ve got the dystopian aspect of The UnWind Series in the government’s association with raising children and the Beta/Delirium pull with the brainwashing and memory pulling. Young’s basically using all the ingredients that have worked in the recent past to make a book popular. Whether or not that plan pans out remains to be seen.

What I Hope To See: I kind of feel bad but I am caught up in what I hope I DON’T see in this series. First, no love triangle or InstaLove. Second, no overly dramatic self pitying and depreciating protag. Third, no uhealthy relationship between Sloane and James. If she can pull that off, I think my rating will already be a three based on the concept. I also hope this book doesn’t swing too young, too “let me force this idea down your throat”. I feel like it could get a little naive if she lets it just based on the summary provided but then it also deals with a very serious subject of suicide. *exasperated sigh* I don’t know what I am trying to say here.. basically, if it’s handled delicately, it could be awesome. I also hope she can create a world completely unique. Since Young’s pulling ideas and concepts from a lot of popular well known books, I hope she can can capture a different world within her pages.

My Predictions: As always, it’s difficult to predict anything with a new series but I’ll give it a shot.

  1. Obviously, Sloane has parents that love her and want to protect her. Now this could sway positive or negative. Does she want to keep them happy because they are so devastated by their loss of her brother and she would feel guilty if she messed up too? Or does she genuinely adore her parents and their relationship? This relationship will really define the basics of the book. My thoughts? Option One.
  2. We already have a leading male in the protag’s life: James. It’ll be interesting to see how Young initially describes their relationship. Passionate? Friendly? Adoring? Do they build each other up or beak each other down? I think they will have a positive relationship so we can really sympathize with Sloan throughout the book.
  3. Now we know Sloan will have a “Stick it to the Man” moment at some point in the series. Just like all dystopia’s with government over-lording, our character’s always somehow find themselves in a position to fight back. Now this book is about suicide,  which leads me to believe it’s going to have the more dramatic vibe like UnWind did, or even the uncomfortable discussions like  XVI did. So I am hoping that Young eases us into the plot, really giving us raw character emotion so that we can fly and root alongside Sloan when she undoubtedly will make her stand in the end. Basically, I want to be gripped hard and fast.

Mind Games by Kiersten White

22 Apr

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Book One in the Mind Game Series

Rating: Four out of Five Stars

I had some reservations about this book. Not so much because of what it’s about, more because Keirsten White was writing it. But, thank you Book Gods, my gamble to read this bad boy turned out a winning hand. Now, I will admit, I sound like a totally bitch when I said that. But White’s Paranormalacy series drove me bonkers. As I was reading it, I even went back to see if it was geared towards middle grade and not young adult, but it was def marketed towards YA readers. I mean who names inanimate objects?! You named your tazzer Tazie??

Anywho this is NOT a review about that series but a review about Mind Games. And I am happily reporting, with deep sincerity, that this series is definitely a YA read and a good one at that. White took a step away from the ghostie and goblin side of the paranormal and went down the mind magic path. Sooo much cooler. And more interesting. And different. And wonderful.

White’s whole writing style and profile as an author changed with this book. I was expecting this to still be a little teeny bopper-ish, simply because I was being judgmental, but from the cover to the summary to the subjects discussed, this series is much more advanced. Her characters are so much more developed, the plot is dynamic and intriguing, the switching narratives is engaging and the overall tone and texture of the book is well written. White gets into her characters and deals with very real, very rough and very intense emotions. It’s not frilly like her last series. Her characters are raw and gripping. Well, at least Fia is. Annie is just a selfish bia, but she makes a good contrast to her sister. And I’ve never read an assassin book quite like this. It’s got a modern day Graceling feel to it. And I looooved Graceling.

All that being said, White definitely proved me wrong with this book. She really grew as author in the years between Paranormalacy and Mind Games. The only thing that peeved me with this book is that nothing actually happens in it..? I know that makes zero sense but I could probably write a paragraph and summarizes all the things we learned about our characters. We will have to see how the rest of the series turns out, but this book feels kinda like a prequel rather than the actual first book in the series. We meet our characters, get some background, have a chapter or two of drama and action and then it ends. The constant chapter-long flashbacks kind of restrict us from moving forward with the plot. But that would be my only criticism. Which is pretty awesome for my bitchy, whiny self 😉

Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas

3 Apr

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Book One in the Throne of Glass series

Rating: Four out of Five Stars

This book has a special place in my heart. My blog is named after a quote that’s in this story and I actually stumbled upon the quote before I knew about the book. I read this phrase once and it resonated with me so much, I fell in love with the idea of it.

“You could rattle the stars,” she whispered. “You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most.”

So because I think this is a magnificent quote, of course I had to read the book. And once again, female assassins? Yes please! (For some reason I have read a lot of lady assassin books lately…) And this one is beautiful. It’s rich and luscious with details and the characters are perfect for their positions. The way it’s written, with the three different narrators, adds so much depth and dynamic to the story you sink deeper and deeper into the plot with each POV. I was enthralled by the way everything developed, it was perfectly paced.

Oh and Celaena, our heroine. She’s brilliant. One part Assassin’s creed, one part dazzlingly gorgeous, mixed with a little girly girl love for dresses and jewels and sprinkle in a bit of family drama, unrequited love, and fey heritage? BAM! We’ve got ourselves a winner my friends.

While this book has a decent swoon factor (two tastey men to drool over), gripping action scenes, lots of twists and a captivating premise… the reason why I am NOT giving it 5 stars is because I did have one or two “issues” with the book. Sometimes things got a little far fetched… I never really understood the dynamics between the princess and the would-be mistress of Prince Dorian (she confused me, because she narrates at times but we never get to KNOW her). And then there was the constant alluding to the fact the Celaena is not 100% human. Is that why she’s such a badass? Why she ran away? Why someone taught her to fight? Sooo many unanswered questions! It was a bunch of foreshadowing that I just found annoying. It sets the readers up to ache for the next book, yes, I just think there was a better way to go about divulging those pieces.

But with that being said, this is a hell of a book. Calaena has some AMAZING zingers and one-liners that made me giggle. And she owns the big guys in fights! I think I reread that initial scene when she finally displays he talents four or five times because it was so awesome. Seriously.. female power

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

27 Mar

9565548

Book One in the His Fair Assassins Series

Rating: Four out of Five Stars

This came book came to me in a unique way. I had never heard of it until Amy was freaking out because it was super cheap on Amazon for Kindle. So I glanced at the concept, shrugged and said “eh why not?” and bought it. It sat for a few days on the iPad and the longer it sat waiting to be read the more intrigued I was by the concept. I felt like it was just burning a hole in my electronics just sitting, waiting, wanting to be opened.

So I read it.

As we all know, I am obsessed with early eras. (I have a knack for breaking everything electronic thus I am convinced I was supposed to live in the 1800s before ‘high tech’ happened.) That being said, I haven’t really paid much attention to the 1400s. What’s so interesting about it? It’s right before the most glamorous time period (Yay Tudors!) so it gets overlooked by authors of books because everyone, including myself, is so infatuated with the 1500s and beyond. But, this book was really excellent in capturing, what I feel is, the essence of the country and people during this century and was explained to us in a truly captivating way.

Plus… female assassins? That live in a convent like nuns? Who have attitudes and lusty romances?

Hook. Line. Sinker.

This is a looong book. 500 plus pages! But it flew like I was reading a 200 pager. Ismae is lovely. She’s a feisty, insecure, semi-horny but no idea what it means teenager, that could totally hold her own in a fight against Katniss or June from the Legend series. Talk about a kickass girl fight! Ismae is endearing. She’s had to deal with a lot of shit in her life; abusive father, abusive husband, crazy mother. And yet she overcomes it all and ends up being a wicked killing machine. But although she’s brainwashed for years into thinking one way, she has the courage and strength and, well, faith in humanity I guess, to see what’s real and true. She does struggle, and she does flail a bit figuring out where she stands, but that’s what makes me love her more. She *feels* like normal people do. I think a round of applause should be given to LaFevers for the character development.. it’s really beautiful.

And then the romance… it’s simple. Uncorrupted and sweet. It’s slow moving and innocent. Perfect for the story and the time period and character’s personalities. No InstaLove, no triangle. Just lovely. Lovely.

SO although this book is long, and it’s a bit slow in places, it’s really a great read. This is the kind of book you bring to the beach with you and you read alllll day and when you finally come out of your book coma, you have delish story and an awesome tan.

And the best quote ever… “Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?”

Touche, my friend.

Prodigy by Marie Lu

1 Mar

13414446

Book Two in the Legend Series

Rating: Five out of Five Stars

Oh my lovely little Legend sequel… Marie Lu I just want to give you a big hug! After I punch you for that ending. -_- Not happy about that.

But I will forgive you for breaking my heart because this series completes me. I pre-ordered this book the moment I could on Amazon and I woke up early on the release date so I could read before I went to work. I must tell you, when I opened my iPad and Prodigy was sitting there waiting to be downloaded I swear I could hear the heavens singing to me.

*Halleluiah angels sign on hiiiiIIIIiiiiigh*     

EEEEeeeee trying to tamper down my fangirling so I can write a somewhat coherent review.

Obviously, I loved this book. Legend was one of my favorite books in 2012 and I was sooo excited for the sequel (I had like 3 countdown clocks going.) Day and June are a wonderful mesh of powerful, independent and fierce characters. While they have a lot of similarities in the basic construction and characterization, I feel Lu made them much more separate in Prodigy then she did in Legend, she focused on giving them each their own voice. We are able to get a sense of their differences and their unique backgrounds this time around. It was great to see that Lu didn’t skimp on continuing to develop the two pro-tags in Prodigy because that seems to happen a lot in sequels of dystopias. Authors can get so caught up on world-building and the looming catastrophe that they forget that our peeps need to grow still in the second and third books. So yay for you, Lu!

And just like in Legend, the action and tempo of the story is perfect. Lu has a fantastic balance of inner dialogue, character interaction and fast fight scenes that creates a perfectly leveled plot. While Day bugged the crap out of me for bits during this book, overall I still love these two. June is most perfect badass heroine ever. She’s such a strong female lead and her emotions always match what I would expect from someone like her. ❤ ❤ ❤

SO yes, it’s wonderful. You all should read it. Hello, good bye. The End.

Oh and that bathroom scene…. dayyyuuuuum. I think the movie rating of this book just went up to PG-13 😉

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