Saturday, May 31, 2014

Book Review: Pretty Sly

TITLE: Pretty Sly
Book 2 in the Pretty Crooked series
AUTHOR: Elisa Ludwig
PUBLISHED: March 18th, 2014
GENRE: Realistic Fiction, Mystery
PREMISE: Willa's mother disappears, causing her to have to go against her parole in order to search for her.
MY REVIEW: Pretty Crooked was a pleasant surprise that I read on a whim when it came out. So I was really looking forward to the sequel. I'm happy to report: it didn't disappoint.
Okay, I will admit, the love triangle was annoying (and not needed) but that's a small irritation in an otherwise enjoyable sequel. This one expands on stuff that was hinted at in the first one and does it wonderfully. It also leaves off at a place that makes you want the next book immediately. Cruel author. Cruel.
I say this was a job well done. If you were like me and found Pretty Crooked to be...well, pretty enjoyable. You'll likely enjoy this one just as much.
WHO SHOULD READ: Pretty Crooked fans, mystery fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five runaway thieves

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Book Review: Vengeance Bound

TITLE: Vengeance Bound
AUTHOR: Justina Ireland
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Mythology referencing
PREMISE: A girl who has to carry out the will of the furies tries to lead a normal life...
MY REVIEW: This one was...interesting. It's one of the few YA books using furies that didn't make me roll my eyes hard so kudos there, author. But like most of these YA books regarding grapples with the concept and tries to hard to make it NOT about furies.
When this book was talking about the morality behind the killing and whether it was justified, I was digging it. But every time it got a little too dark it was as though the author was afraid to scare her audience or something and suddenly it was "look at the cute romance that came out of nowhere and has little to no basis!" Yeah. The dreaded insta-love. When it wasn't going on about that, I found this book interesting. I could have done without the completely unnecessary villifying of Amber as well (seriously, what was the point of that plot? It was gross and not needed).
So...I give the author points for trying to discuss the morality of furies. I just don't really think she went as far as she could have because she focused too much on insta-love and drama. So it wasn't bad...but it could have been better.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Fury, fans of greek mythology
MY RATING: Three out of Five mythology creatures running amok

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Book Review: Half Bad

TITLE: Half Bad
Book 1 in the Half Bad Trilogy
AUTHOR: Sally Green
PUBLISHED: March 4rth, 2014
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Witches/Wizards
PREMISE: In hidden magic world, a boy born to a good witch and a bad warlock survives in a society that hates him...
MY REVIEW: I have really mixed feelings about this. The writing is good, I'll give the author that. It also was a interesting idea to explore.
But...I feel like that's all it was: an interesting idea. I'm not sure if it ever really got off the ground because whenever I go to try and think about the actual details of the world....I draw a blank. In a fantasy setting...that's not good. All I can tell you for sure is that everyone hates Nathan the main character. Because that was drilled into our heads. Over. And. Over. And. Over again. It got to honestly kind of ridiculous levels. I get it author, everyone hates Nathan. Can we move on to the plot please?
There is a plot...of sorts. It's just really slow. That, combined with the constant everyone hating Nathan stuff...kind of made this book a chore for me to get through despite loving the hell out of the writing style. So I say check this one out of the library first, because I think if you like it will honestly come down to personal taste.
WHO SHOULD READ: Urban Fantasy fans, dark Urban fantasy fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five warlocks getting a raw deal

Friday, May 23, 2014

Book Review: Elusion

TITLE: Elusion
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Claudia Gable and Cheryl Klam
PUBLISHED: March 2014
GENRE: Sci-Fi, Dystopian
PREMISE: Regan's father designed/developed Elusion, a now popular virtual reality service. But soon she learns that things are wrong in Elusion...
MY REVIEW: This one is not really a new idea. People have done the virtual reality world that goes wrong idea before (.hack//Sign anyone?). Despite that...I enjoyed it.
Honestly, I'm just pleased that sci-fi is starting to take off in YA. I know I've said it before, but Sci-Fi can use some new blood and more creative ideas. While YA has its issues for sure, one thing its authors aren't afraid to do, that adult authors kind of don't, is that they aren't afraid to break rules in genres and mix it up. It makes for much more interesting scenarios. If you want to know why I read a lot more of YA instead of adult genre fiction (though I do read that too), that's one of the reasons.
So no, this is not a new idea. But the story is still solid. I like the ideas it explores even if it does get a little too caught up in the romance part of it. If you're a fan of light sci-fi, this is a good one.
WHO SHOULD READ: sci-fi fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five video games

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Book Review: Perfect Lies

TITLE: Perfect Lies
Book 2 in the Mind Games series
AUTHOR: Kiersten White
PUBLISHED: February 2014
GENRE: Urban Fantasyish, Mystery
PREMISE: Annie and Fia continue their fight against the Keane organization...
MY REVIEW: I don't have much to say about this one. It was a perfectly decent sequel.
It just didn't blow my mind or anything.
So this review is short and probably not very helpful. I guess I'll just say if you're a fan of Mind Games, read it. If you weren't a fan, don't bother as it's more of the same.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Mind Games
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five action scenes

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Book Review: Fangirl

TITLE: Fangirl
AUTHOR: Rainbow Rowell
CATEGORY: YA (or New Adult in some circles but I'm not getting into that)
GENRE: Realistic Fiction, Romance
PREMISE: Cath goes off to college and experiences all those firsts in college.
MY REVIEW: My descent into becoming a Rainbow Rowell fangirl continues with this book, which I pretty much picked up immediately after reading Eleanor and Park. Because after all, if I liked Eleanor and Park which was a romance that is not usually at all my thing, I was sure to like this which is about well...being a fangirl. Lets face it: I have experience with that ;looks at blog title; ;sips soda;
Luckily, this did not disappoint. I think I related more to this one then Eleanor and Park too. Sadly though, I did not have a roommate in college as awesome as Cath's. But the whole writing fanfiction thing? Yeah. I get that. In fact, I'm writing fanfic now, so I might have projected feelings on this book a little too much. But I suspect that was Rowell's devious plan all along, so job well done.
So basically, the hype around this one is well deserved. I can't wait for whatever Rowell has in store for us next.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Eleanor and Park, fans of John Green, contemporary fiction fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five characters I possibly relate to, way too much

Book Review: The Rules

TITLE: The Rules
Book 1 in the Paper Doll series
AUTHOR: Stacey Kade
GENRE: Sci-Fi, Romance
PREMISE: A girl with strange gifts poses as a normal high school student while on the run from a government facility.
MY REVIEW: First, sorry for my absence. Reading has gotten away from me this month and honestly...I haven't been really motivated to post reviews lately. I don't know what it is. I still love to read and have found some awesome books's just I go to review it and....I just shrug. I'm trying to get out of this rut. I really am. So reviews may be random in the coming months.
So this was one of those series I meant to check out last year but never got around to it. It's by the author of The Ghost and the Goth Trilogy which I loved and highly recommend. This one...was good but had a few issues that made me not like it as much as the Ghost and the Goth. Mainly, my issue was the treatment of the popular girl who was literally every stereotype of the bitchy popular girl (although to her credit, Kade did try to put in there that most of her behavior came from family issues and insecurity). After the fabulousness that was Alona, this girl was kind of a punch in the face. So it had some trope issues in it.
But for the most part, this was a good fun ride. It had a few twists that took it in ways I wasn't expecting and it did have interesting character dynamics going on. It's a solid start to a interesting looking series. The next book is available now.
WHO SHOULD READ: Ghost and the Goth fans, fans of shows like CWs StarCrossed
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five alien girls going to high school (poor things)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Book Review: Eleanor and Park

TITLE: Eleanor and Park
AUTHOR: Rainbow Rowell
GENRE: Realistic Fiction, Romance
PREMISE: Eleanor starts a new school and meets Park on the bus, starting an unusual relationship along the way...
MY REVIEW: So last year was pretty much the year of Rowell in YA. This book was recommended by John Green and suddenly everyone was talking about her. Then Fangirl was released and she was very quickly everyone's favorite. Reading this, I definitely understand why she became so popular (and I think she would have become popular without John Green's help by the way, I hate the people who are going around saying that).
As I've mentioned several times...I'm not into realistic fiction all that much. So I think the fact that I managed to get into this, says a lot about the book. Honestly? I kind of like Rowell's stuff more than John Green. Sorry, but I do. I'm not trying to start any battle by saying one is better then the other. I just honestly get into her stuff more then I got into Greens. I'm reading Fangirl right now and the feels I'm getting are pretty ridiculous. Hell, the feels I got from this one was pretty ridiculous, but that was because of all the eighties stuff and the nerdy conversations about comics. I kid you not, I also once had a conversation with a guy in high school about the sexism in comics, though in my case it was me trying to point out the sexism in Spider-Man, not X-Men.
So, if you're a realistic fiction fan, I highly recommend this book. Even if you're not, I recommend it because of how much I think people can relate to it in some way.
WHO SHOULD READ: John Green fans, Romance fans, Stephanie Perkins fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five cassette players

Friday, May 9, 2014

Book Review: Dorothy Must Die

TITLE: Dorothy Must Die
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Danielle Paige
PUBLISHED: April 1rst, 2014
GENRE: Fantasy, Retelling/Reimagining
PREMISE: Amy gets caught in a tornado and sent to the land of Oz where it turns out that Dorothy has become a power hungry tyrant...
MY REVIEW: This book was kind of a roller coaster for me. My feelings towards it would go up and down constantly while reading it. I mean that first chapter was kind of cringe inducing for me. It had the stereotypical bitchy popular girl (that also reeked of slut shaming) and the ridiculously bad parenting stuff that has given YA a bad name for years. But...I also kind of understand why it happened. We had to see that Amy's life stunk enough for her to NOT want to go home. But I think you could have done that without slut shaming, just saying.
But after the slightly bad beginning, there is the awesomeness that is Oz. When we get o Oz is when the writer's ability starts to shine. She seriously thought this world through and it was awesome. She gets the whole show and not tell thing. There were complicated characters, and adventure happening all the time. Granted, in between that, we had the totally unnecessary love interests, which is why this book went up and down for me. Most of my glee came from the fab world building and twists that the author put on Oz. That's why I picked it up after all.'s a bit of a mixed bag quality wise. Entertainment wise however, it's pretty damn fun. Makes for a good library read.
WHO SHOULD READ: Once Upon a Time fans, Wizard of Oz fans (who don't take Oz too seriously)
MY RATING: Four out of Five heroines gone evil

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Book Review: Rebel Belle

TITLE: Rebel Belle
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Rachel Hawkins
PUBLISHED: April 8th, 2014
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
PREMISE: Harper gets caught up in mystical shenanigans and winds up having to protect the one guy she can't stand.
MY REVIEW: You know all those UF books where the popular girl gets demonized/slut shamed etc? This book...stomps all over that trope and I love it. Harper is girly. She is popular. She has a boyfriend and that boyfriend is also not demonized or made out to be a jerk just because he's in the way of Harper and the love interest. Can we just...take a moment to appreciate that?
In fact...this book inverts a LOT of the expected Urban Fantasy tropes. The GUY is the chosen one this time around and is the one that has to be protected. In fact...he gets protected by the girly popular girl who is possibly smarter then him. Just...bless this. I love it so hard.
Okay, yes, it does have a lot of usual UF tropes along with the ones it inverts. But it still twists a lot of the expected and does so with Hawkins' trademark humor and snark that made me fall hard for the Hex Hall series (speaking of which, sequel to School Spirits? I need one. Please). If you're one of the ones who are tired of the demonizing of the girly girl that is going on in YA, I strongly suggest you pick this up. Seriously, in one fight, Harper takes down a villain WITH HER HEEL, whilst in her Prom Dress (and after said villain implied she was a bimbo for liking fashion). Don't even try and tell me that's not the best thing ever.
WHO SHOULD READ: Hex Hall fans, Buffy fans, Urban Fantasy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Four pink heels

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Book Review: Death Sworn

TITLE: Death Sworn
Book 1 in new series
AUTHOR: Leah Cypess
PUBLISHED: March 4rth
GENRE: Fantasy, Mystery
PREMISE: A girl who is losing her magic gets sent to a assassin's school where the tutors of magic are being killed one by one...
MY REVIEW: Cypess is one of those authors who does lovely lovely world building. She explains her world beautifully and not via info dump after info dump. In short she gets that her readers aren't stupid and expects that you can keep up. This is so nice to see sometimes.
Now as for the book itself...this story will probably only appeal to those that love the court intrigue sort of thing. Yes, there is romance, but it's...complicated and not simple. So I personally, loved the hell out of this (even if I did sort of wonder where all the other female characters were. Literally, there were only TWO). The mystery was wonderfully done and the reveal at the end was a great lead in to make me want to pick up the next book.
If you're a Game of Thrones fans looking for court intrigue books that aren't centered around love triangles of doom, I highly recommend this one.
WHO SHOULD READ: Leah Cypess fans, Game of Thrones fans, Graceling fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five mages

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Book Review: Into the Still Blue

TITLE: Into the Still Blue
Book 3 in the Under the Never Sky Trilogy
AUTHOR: Veronica Rossi
PUBLISHED: January 28th, 2014
GENRE: Dystopian/Sci-fi
PREMISE: Aria and Perry race against time to save their people...
MY REVIEW: This review is going to be short because honestly...there's not much to say about this one.
It did its job as an ending to a trilogy. It brought things to a logical and satisfying conclusion. There weren't very many surprises to be honest. It was a very...neat ending if you will. Doesn't mean it was a BAD ending it just...wasn't very surprising if you happen to read a lot of dystopian YA trilogies which well...I do.
So...not a bad book. Not a bad overall trilogy. It just never really seemed to push the envelope, aside from the second book which I felt really pushed the character of Aria really well. Luckily, this didn't take all that wonderful development for Aria and chuck it out the window. So overall this was a satisfying end.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the first two books, dystopian fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five domes
RATING FOR TRILOGY: Four out of Five

Book Review: Champion

TITLE: Champion
Book 3 in the Legend Trilogy
AUTHOR: Marie Lu
PUBLISHED: December 2013
GENRE: Dystopian
PREMISE: Day and June fight for the future of their country.
MY REVIEW: THIS is how you end a trilogy. I loathe doing that comparison thing people like to do with stuff because I think it's unfair to compare books that are usually trying to accomplish different things. However, I just read Allegiant and I can't help but compare that unsatisfying ending with this very satisfying ending and well...I think the fact that I'm highly satisfied with this ending, while I'm still trying to figure out what that ending to Divergent even was,l says enough.
Everything was brought to a head here and it is done wonderfully. We get to see consequences of actions, we get to see how far these characters have come, and hey look, a love triangle that's NOT ANNOYING. Granted, it was kind of unnecessary as most love triangles are, but at least I saw why it developed and the series didn't waste all my time with it because the characters all had way more important things to worry about like the future of the Republic.
Overall a satisfying, if a bit bittersweet, of an ending that is actually very fitting for this series. Legend may not be the loudest dystopian ever or even the most original dystopian, but it definitely is memorable and well done. I look forward to whatever Marie Lu has in store for us next.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Legend and Prodigy, dystopian fans, Hunger Games fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five