Tag Archives: ya

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

26 Jun

 

 Unwind

author : neal shusterman

pages : [hardcover] 335

memorable quote : I’d rather be partly great than entirely useless.

favorite character : connor & risa

summary :

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

review :

I’m writing this review after rereading Unwind and realizing that I’d never reviewed it the first time I picked up this novel! Let me tell you first off that this book is very disturbing. Just imagine being afraid that one day your parents think you’re too much trouble to raise and they could easily sign an order that will have you shipped off and taken apart . . . An unwilling organ donor who’s saving lives at the expense of their own because society has deemed them worthless.

Two concepts I found highly intriguing in the book were tithing and storking. A tithe is brought up from birth knowing that they will be unwound when they reach thirteen. Whether because of religious convictions or not, these children are taught that their higher purpose will only be served once they reach a ‘divided state of living’. Storking is when new mothers can leave babies on any doorstep they choose, so long as they are not caught in that act. It’s like a terrible game of finders-keepers because whether or not that family wants the baby, they’re stuck with it when they open the door and find it there. Children are growing up knowing their families didn’t really want them, only to be unwound when they reach the age limit because their families no longer want to look after them.

It’s heartbreaking to hear the different stories the runaways have and why their parents justified what is essentially killing them, only worded differently so that the families feel better about it. Some parents couldn’t decide who should have custody of the child so they decided to have him unwound instead. There were kids with anger management issues or ones with criminal problems, but for every child like that there were several more who had parents who were the problem. Unwind makes you question and wonder whether this process could be justified in any case.

Also spoken about in this book is a past, second Civil War fought over rights to life. Because this is such a big issue in today’s society, it’s not so hard to think that people could go to extremes to protect and project their beliefs. That’s what makes this ultimately a frightening warning.

I’d recommend this book to anyone and I can’t wait to continue this series. It’s horrifying and captivating all at once. On top of that, it’s well-written.

5/5 stars

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

14 Jun

 

The Geography of You and Me

author : jennifer e. smith

pages : [hardcover] 337

memorable quote : But there’s no such thing as a completely fresh start. Everything new arrives on the heels of something old, and every beginning comes at the cost of an ending.

favorite characters : lucy & owen

summary :

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and — finally — a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel shows that the center of the world isn’t necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

review :

This is the first book I’ve read by this author and it certainly makes me want to pick up more written by her. I don’t usually reach for contemporary books so I typically wait to see which novels other people seem to be raving about before I decide to give them a read as well. I’ve heard such great things about Jennifer E. Smith that I picked up The Geography of You and Me as soon as it appeared in my local library. This story definitely gives a unique twist to a long distance love story.

What I found very interesting about this novel was that neither of the characters suffered from the absent or invisible parent syndrome that usually infects YA novels so the teenage characters are essentially able to do whatever they want, which doesn’t often happen in real life. One of my favorite parts of this book was Owen’s relationship with his father. They’re both trying so hard to be there for each other and to make up for the whole in their family that was left behind when Owen’s mother passed away. I also found Lucy’s family dynamic interesting-though it seemed too many of their family problems were solved immediately.

Communicating through postcards was a really cute idea, though I love that the author discussed the complications and pitfalls that come from speaking to another person only through that medium. Through the postcard messages we get to see in the book, it’s easy to see how similar and yet complexly different the two leading characters are.

One thing I really appreciated about this novel was how nothing was instant except that initial attraction. The two needed to fight to see one another again and when they were apart, needed to decide whether it was worth keeping up the lines of communication. After all, they’d barely known each other before they moved apart. I kept second-guessing what might happen with the two of them, which doesn’t happen often with me and contemporary books.

I’d definitely recommend this cute, quick read!

4/5 stars

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

6 Jun
Another gorgeous cover!

Another gorgeous cover!

 

The Summer Prince

author : alaya dawn johnson

pages : [hardcover] 289

memorable quote : The past stands in the path of the future, knowing it will be crushed.

summary :

A heart-stopping story of love, death, technology, and art set amid the tropics of a futuristic Brazil.

The lush city of Palmares Três shimmers with tech and tradition, with screaming gossip casters and practiced politicians. In the midst of this vibrant metropolis, June Costa creates art that’s sure to make her legendary. But her dreams of fame become something more when she meets Enki, the bold new Summer King. The whole city falls in love with him (including June’s best friend, Gil). But June sees more to Enki than amber eyes and a lethal samba. She sees a fellow artist.

Together, June and Enki will stage explosive, dramatic projects that Palmares Três will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the government’s strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, unfortunately in love with Enki. Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.

Pulsing with the beat of futuristic Brazil, burning with the passions of its characters, and overflowing with ideas, this fiery novel will leave you eager for more from Alaya Dawn Johnson.

review :

The Summer Prince tried to do a lot in such a small amount of pages (not even three hundred!) and it didn’t end up working for me. For starters, the world introduced is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, which is wonderful. Except we readers are thrown into it with no warning and are expected to have a good grasp of that society by the end of the novel. There are so many interesting facts that are thrown in and never properly explained. Apparently everyone in Palmares Tres is genetically modified within the womb to be between certain shades of color, among other things that are never properly explained because I’m fairly certain this is only mentioned once. On top of that, the city is a matriarchal society, one in which no one cares about sexuality and gender roles are almost completely flipped. Which is an amazing, unique concept that is quickly overwhelmed because the author put too much information in such a short span of writing.

I ended the novel still uncertain of whether the king was ritually killed every year or every five years (if someone knows, please explain it to me!) and there were other little details that continued to confuse me. I’m assuming that this is because I might’ve missed something in another round of overwhelming information.

The characters were interesting. I really liked them even though I still felt distant from them, probably because their world was so different from mine and I was constantly reminded of that. I did like the connection that Enki and June had. Some of the scenes were very sweet. Others just kept me wanting to read further so that I could get answers to new questions that arose, either because of this dystopian world or because of the problems Enki and June faced.

While this was a very unique and intriguing book, the information dumps were too overwhelming and not properly explained. There was so much in this book with potential that it was a shame that it wasn’t spread out longer so that I could completely enjoy and sink into the world of The Summer Prince.

3/5 stars

Did Not Finish: The Lost Boys by Lilian Carmine

29 Mar

 

The Lost Boys

author : lilian carmine

pages : [paperback] 522

summary :

An intensely addictive romance novel about girls, ghosts, and forbidden love, ideal for fans of Stephenie Meyer
Fate has brought them together. But will it also keep them apart? Having moved to a strange town, 17-year-old Joey Gray is feeling a little lost, until she meets a cute, mysterious boy near her new home. But there’s a very good reason why Tristan Halloway is always to be found roaming in the local graveyard. Perfect for fans of Stephenie Meyer and Lauren Kate, The Lost Boys is a magical, romantic tale of girl meets ghost.

review :

**I was less than a hundred pages into this when I decided The Lost Boys wasn’t worth my time anymore, thus this will end up being less of a proper review and more an explanation of why I couldn’t put up with the rest of this.**

I rarely mark my books as DNF, especially one like this where I was very happy that my request for this on Netgalley was honored. But perhaps the comparisons to Stephenie Meyer and Lauren Kate should have warned me away. I did enjoy Meyer’s books, more so The Host than anything else, but Lauren Kate wrote Fallen, which was another book I couldn’t get through. Anyway, I usually ignore comparisons to other books and authors because it’s hard to compare these things.

First of all, I was attracted to that gorgeous cover and ended up hoping the title was going to be a Peter Pan reference. No such luck for me but the summary seemed promising, anyway. The problem started with the prose! Every other sentence was an exclamation! I couldn’t tell if Joey was always shouting! Or if she was that enthusiastic! I could get over the quirk of her name, even though everyone in the book needs to comment on it and Joey makes a big deal out of it. But she doesn’t act like a senior in high school. We’re reading this from her perspective and while the exclamation points don’t help, there are also the phrases she uses that seem out of place. Her actions, as well as those of all of the other characters, don’t make any sense.

Simply the way that the story was structured reminds me of how young writers, maybe teenagers, often start out, with simplistic prose and unnatural dialogue and actions. These are the things that are supposed to be improved upon to be made into a publishable book. Not this. I can’t believe that this is an actual book and I can’t believe that it’s supposed to be made into a trilogy. I do not recommend you try out The Lost Boys.

1/5 stars

Books to Movies: City of Bones

14 Feb

City of Bones isn’t one of my favorite books but I think it’s a very interesting series with so many interesting aspects that could easily be made into a big cinematic experience. Clary and Jace are good characters and their relationship is definitely a complicated one. Of course, I was really interested in seeing what they’d do about that cliffhanger ending that could possibly turn away audiences if a second movie was ever in the works. Now that I’ve seen the first movie, I’m not so sure I want to see City of Ashes made in this same way.

From the beginning I had my doubts. Book to movie adaptations have been really hit or miss lately. I’ve come to terms with the fact that a lot of different changes are going to come in these movies and perhaps some things will be added in. But when it comes to City of Bones things got ridiculous pretty fast. Things that couldn’t possibly have happened in the books, that were never in the world-building that came with the creatures, Shadow Hunters, and everything in between, were thrown into this movie. Sometimes I just found myself staring at the screen wondering why someone thought it’d be okay to completely redo the lore like that.

Jamie Campbell Bower wasn’t and never will be my Jace. He’s supposed to be the most attractive guy around and know it; that’s one of the important aspects of his character. Bower doesn’t do that for me. At least he didn’t have to try to perfect an accent for this role; I’m still unsure why they suddenly decided all of the Shadow Hunters had to have accents. It was odd and didn’t do anything for me.

I really liked Simon, Robert Sheehan, partly because I’ve seen him in other things and already knew that he’d be able to take on this role. I wish that more of him had been shown and know that if they ever did make the second book into a movie, they’d definitely be able to capitalize on his abilities.

And Lily Collins as Clary ended up being disappointing as well. I tried so hard before the film as released to be impartial about the decision to cast her and ended up failing. I never felt like I could relate or empathize with her in the movie. Part of it was the writing, I must admit. It seems like the writers of this movie liked forcing the characters to make improbably dumb decisions. (Let’s temporarily freeze a herd of monsters and walk delicately through them instead of killing them!) But Collins wasn’t Clary. She was more like a diluted, distorted version of her.

If you’re a fan and tempted to watch this adaptation like I was, I suggest saving yourself the time and assuming this will be as disappointing as it looks to be. I didn’t even enjoy the score and that’s something I usually don’t even need to think about while watching a movie unless it’s so awesome it demands notice. This one seemed to have misplaced itself at all the wrong moments and favored cheesy pop songs to ruin scenes from the book. Despite a few good action sequences, a few scenes I’d really wanted to see come to life, and Robert Sheehan, I say you should let this movie pass on quietly and hope that eventually they’ll try to redo this.

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

18 Jan

Lost Voices

Lost Voices #1

author : sarah porter

pages : [hardcover] 291

memorable quote: I think at first I wanted to kill all of them. Everyone. Because if there were no people left alive, then I’d never have to love one of them again.

summary

What happens to the girls nobody sees—the ones who are ignored, mistreated, hidden away? The girls nobody hears when they cry for help?
Fourteen-year-old Luce is one of those lost girls. After her father vanishes in a storm at sea, she is stuck in a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village with her alcoholic uncle. When her uncle crosses an unspeakable line, Luce reaches the depths of despair. Abandoned on the cliffs near her home, she expects to die when she tumbles to the icy, churning waves below. Instead, she undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid.
A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in—all of them, like her, lost girls who surrendered their humanity in the darkest moments of their lives. The mermaids are beautiful, free, and ageless, and Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: they feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks.
Luce’s own talent at singing captures the attention of the tribe’s queen, the fierce and elegant Catarina, and Luce soon finds herself pressured to join in committing mass murder. Luce’s struggle to retain her inner humanity puts her at odds with her friends; even worse, Catarina seems to regard Luce as a potential rival. But the appearance of a devious new mermaid brings a real threat to Catarina’s leadership and endangers the very existence of the tribe. Can Luce find the courage to challenge the newcomer, even at the risk of becoming rejected and alone once again?
Lost Voices is a captivating and wildly original tale about finding a voice, the healing power of friendship, and the strength it takes to forgive.

review:

I’ve been looking for a really good mermaid book to read for a while and I don’t think that I found it in Lost Voices.

I’ve always been fascinated with mermaids. Whether they’re cute and helpful or deadly and love drowning people, it’s interesting to read about them. Authors can take any approach they want with the mythology and this one was lacking for me. I was interested in Luce and her transformation but there were too many instances where it felt like I was reading about high school drama among mermaids. Sure, I think the oldest of them appears to be sixteen but there are some who have been living decades longer. I don’t think that just because appearances don’t change they wouldn’t have learned anything, like how to settle petty differences, stick together, make sure that no one gets left out where they might die.

There’s a part of me that really wants to continue with these books to see what happens. I want to know where Luce will end up, if she matures, if the mermaids will ever pay attention to the larvae and stop the orcas from eating them. But my library doesn’t have the next book and I don’t really plan on paying to continue this series. Book one was enjoyable to read but ending up dragging at the end. When I stopped to look back on what I read I realized I kept on hoping that things would clear up and something more substantial would happen with the plot.

I guess the thing that bothered me most about this book was that Porter decided to go with mermaids that kill people. That’s fine. What isn’t is that it seems like these girls are only doing it for fun, for no good reason, and they’ll do so even when it endangers themselves and the existence of mermaids everywhere.

If you’re looking for a great mermaid read, I’d say maybe look elsewhere and pick this up if you have nothing else to do and are looking for an easy read.

2/5 stars

If you like this book you might also like Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings or Lies Beneath

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

14 Jan

Of Beast and Beauty

author : stacey jay

pages : [hardcover] 391

memorable quote And what good is a voice when so few will listen?

favorite characters : isra & gem

summary :

In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

review :

I love twisted fairy tales and I was really interested in this one because it also had dystopian elements and took place on another planet! The fairy tale qualities of the story actually ended up blending with the sci-fi in an interesting mixture I never would have guessed would hook me in. There were so many things going on with this plot that it became anything but a predictable fairy tale.

First of all, the summary says that Isra’s city treats the Banished as ‘second-class’. That’s an understatement when they’re all rounded up and shoved into a camp at the edge of the dome and treated like animals-and much worse than animals should ever be treated-for the rest of their short lives. If that’s what they do to their so-called citizens then it’s easy to imagine the terrible things they might do to the Monstrous outside the dome who are trying to get in. The Monstrous are starving and desperate, looking for answers that will help them survive. Isra needs to find out what are lies and what is true about these creatures before its too late and both sides destroy each other.

I have to say the creepiest part of this story was that Isra was raised to be a human sacrifice. Knowing what kept their city going to me was a lot worse than much of the bloodshed and fighting that went on throughout the novel. It isn’t the forefront during most of the plot but it affects everything Isra is and everything she does. Another creepy element was Bo. At first I was afraid he’d turn things into a love triangle but no, that guy really had a twisted mind.

There were some plot twists in here that I never really expected and as the novel progressed, I just had to keep reading because I never knew what could happen next. Both of them characters were so well-written and at the end I still had no answer as to who was supposed to be Beauty and who was the Beast. Both had good and bad traits and it wasn’t all about appearances.

I really enjoyed this book and it surprised me in so many ways. It’s a quick and memorable read that I’ll recommend to anybody.

4/5 stars

Indelible by Dawn Metcalf

9 Nov

Indelible

author : dawn metcalf

pages : [paperback] 384

favorite character : ink

summary :

Some things are permanent.

Indelible.

And they cannot be changed back.

Joy Malone learns this the night she sees a stranger with all-black eyes across a crowded room—right before the mystery boy tries to cut out her eye. Instead, the wound accidentally marks her as property of Indelible Ink, and this dangerous mistake thrusts Joy into an incomprehensible world—a world of monsters at the window, glowing girls on the doorstep, and a life that will never be the same.

Now, Joy must pretend to be Ink’s chosen one—his helper, his love, his something for the foreseeable future…and failure to be convincing means a painful death for them both. Swept into a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor and revenge, Joy discovers that sometimes, there are no mistakes.

Somewhere between reality and myth lies…

THE TWIXT

review :

I really loved the concept of this book! Fantastic creatures, invisible to most people, have always been a favorite of mine. Maybe because it’s fun to dream there are fantastical things out there that only certain people can see so that’s why most people’s lives are normal. Indelible has a nice little twist because there are two creatures Joy has most contact with-Ink and Inq-are unlike any others I’ve read about so I couldn’t stop myself from reading on and finding out more about them.

Unfortunately, as the main character and the reader’s point of view, Joy really disappointed me. She needed to find her own strength, yes, but I feel like half of the book had horrible things happening to her and other people saving her from them. While the ways in which this was happening were incredibly interesting at first, as time went on I started to wonder just how she was still alive . . .

But! I liked almost every other character and with the development I’ve seen in Joy, if I read the sequel I think I’ll like it a lot more. Although I can’t say I didn’t enjoy reading this book and I also can’t say why this would need a sequel. I honestly thought that it was a stand alone until I looked it up on Goodreads.

I know it’ll turn people off from the book because most people need a great main character to get them through, but with the plotline, creatures, great world building, and general intrigue I was able to generally enjoy this. I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys interesting plots and well-defined and captivating secondary characters.

3.5/5 stars

If you like this book, you might also like Wicked Lovely or The Iron King.

READ TYGER, TYGER FREE THIS WEEK!

30 Oct

Hello friends! If you’ve been following me long enough you’ll probably know that one of my all-time favorite book series is the Goblin Wars by Kersten Hamilton! These books have everything in them that you could ever want. Seriously. Great characters, an awesome love interest, quests, adventure, amazing settings, Irish legends . . .  Gah, I don’t think I can gush about it enough! But do you want to hear what’s even better about it now?!

TYGER, TYGER the first book in the series is free as an ebook this week! It’s the Book of the Week at Apple so you can download it for free here! Or get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

Seriously, you should read this anytime at any price because it’s worth it . . . but for free? Snap this one up while you have the chance!

Still not sure? Check out my review of Tyger, Tyger and the next two books in the trilogy: In the Forests of the Night and
When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears.

Speechless by Hannah Harrington

18 Oct

Speechless

author : hannah harrington

pages : [paperback] 288

memorable quote : Hate is… It’s too easy. Love. Love takes courage.

favorite characters :asha & sam

summary :

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there’s strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself

review :

This book wasn’t what I expected. At some points it was slow and frustrating but, overall, I think that I came out of it feeling better for what I’d read about. It was interesting and took a different take on all of the difference characters throughout the novel.

Chelsea used to be one of the popular girls, the mean girls, until she made a very good decision that made all of her so-called friends hate her and now she’s ostracized at school. At first I was like everyone else, thinking that her vow of silence was a selfish and stupid decision. But the more I saw characters pushing her to stop, the more I could see how her strength was growing and taking her down a path she might never have started otherwise. Surprisingly, she was becoming a better person.

Several times in her reflections on her past life, I realized that Chelsea is one of those people I and I’m sure most other people detest. She changed herself completely to get in good with the popular girls and doesn’t even realize how much of an affect that’s had on her until she does something that ends her relationship with all of those terrible people. While I like knowing that people can change and there’s always a reason why someone might be acting cruel or rude, some parts of the book didn’t sit as well with me because I couldn’t relate to the people portrayed.

I think that this book has a good message and would be enjoyed by many people but I also feel like it was lacking somewhat to me. The plotline was very predictable so I had the feeling that I could skip a lot and still know what was going to happen. There were no real plot twists, which I tend to look for in contemporary literature. Maybe it was because Chelsea was having one-sided conversations with everyone but with most of the characters I felt a kind of disconnect.

This is a good, quick read, but isn’t one of my favorites.

3/5 stars

If you liked this book, you might also like Absent or One Moment

buy the book : amazon

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