The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

The Chaos of Stars

author : kiersten white

pages : [hardcover] 277

memorable quote I do believe in fate and destiny, but I also believe we are only fated to do the things that we’d choose anyway.

favorite character : ry

summary :

Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of Paranormalcy, is back with The Chaos of Stars—an enchanting novel set in Egypt and San Diego that captures the magic of first love and the eternally complicated truth about family.

Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up—which comes with the territory when you’re the human daughter of the ancient Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. Isadora is tired of living with crazy relatives who think she’s only worthy of a passing glance—so when she gets the chance to move to California with her brother, she jumps on it. But her new life comes with plenty of its own dramatic—and dangerous—complications . . . and Isadora quickly learns there’s no such thing as a clean break from family.

Blending Ally Carter’s humor and the romance of Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly, The Chaos of Stars takes readers on an unforgettable journey halfway across the world and back, and proves there’s no place like home.

review :

If there’s anything I can’t resist it’s a book that says it references mythology. The Chaos of Stars tells the tale of children of gods, but not one like those seen out there in the industry today. These kids have no powers, no destiny, no immortality. Imagine how it would be, a human living among the immortal and powerful gods. That’s Isadora’s life and she’s tired of it. As soon as she found out that her parents weren’t willing to save her, allowing her to not only die a mortal death but to decorate her tomb, she tries to cut herself off from her family.

Unfortunately for her, the gods don’t want her to get away so easily. Her mother remains controlling and something dark, evil, and able to kill a god is lurking in Isadora’s dreams.

This story was fairly simple. I knew going in that it was a standalone, which was kind of shocking to me because most books today have a million installments and the plot here moves slow. I mean, slow. So much happens in the last twenty pages of the book because of that molasses buildup. In the beginning, I enjoyed it. I wanted to get to know Isadora’s home life and what the Egyptian gods were like in their ‘modern’ forms, in relation to her. Learning more about Egyptian mythology (with snarky quips from Isadora about how these myths lend to the modern day) was a lot of fun. But as soon as she got to America, I didn’t see the need for anything but speed.

Despite how much the mythology and the way gods were portrayed captured my interest, the book was painfully predictable. I’m not entirely sure if any of it was really supposed to be a plot twist. Well, there was an attempt for a red herring, which didn’t quite work, and another ‘twist’ about her relationship with one of her friends that Isadora found out about oh, thirty pages from the end, and I called from the very moment she met this kid.

Still, I enjoy Kiersten White’s writing. I loved her Paranormalcy trilogy and while this definitely wasn’t a favorite for me, I’ll read more by her. Next time, though, I’ll be checking it out of the library.

Mythology: 100%
Writing: 70%
Characters: 80%
Action: 65%
Plot: 70%
Overall: 77%

3/5 stars

Prodigy by Marie Lu


Legend #2
Book 1: Legend

author : marie lu

pages : [hardcover] 371

memorable quote He is beauty, inside and out.
He is the silver lining in a world of darkness.

favorite character : day

summary :

Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

review :

I have a feeling that this is a trilogy that only keeps getting better. While it isn’t one of my favorites (and I wanted so badly to love it!) these books have some great elements that I think everyone should take a look at. I love a book that makes you think.

For instance, just as soon as you’re sure you have it all figured out in Prodigy . . . something comes along and blows it all away. In an amazingly realistic sense. It’s hard to pinpoint who, exactly, is the bad guy here because everyone has their different motivations, their evils and kindnesses, and there are so many agendas going on that it’s difficult for June and Day to know who their real allies are. Apart from each other, of course. The way their relationship progressed was pretty sweet, too.

Again, I just have a problem with the writing style. I’m unsure of whether it’s Marie Lu or simply the way she crafted these books. I’m tempted to continue following her writing even after I finish Champion because she has amazing ideas and I WANT to be able to enjoy them more.

Something I really did love? The action. Yes, these books are perfect for people looking for an adrenaline rush–and if you need nothing else, I’m certain you’ll love them. There’s never a dull moment here because even when the characters are resting, it’s usually only because they’ve discovered a new and terrible plot twist that’s about to make a whole other mess come down on them.

 Day is still my favorite character to read because, come on, who doesn’t prefer the rebellious badass. I love June for who she is, the strength she has, and the beautifully sharp mind she’s got . . . but there’s just something about vigilante justice that’s that much cooler.

While these aren’t my favorite books, I’ll recommend that others at least give them a go. I know there are others out there who’ll love them more than me!

Writing: 55%
Characters: 80%
Romance: 60%
Action: 100%
Plot: 70%
Overall: 73%

3/5 stars

Kisses and Curses (Short Story Collection)

Kisses and Curses

edited by : lauren burniac

pages : [paperback] 400

featuring : marissa meyer, leigh bardugo, marie rutkoski, and many more!

summary :

A fabulous collection of short stories from your favorite Fierce Reads authors, perfect for fans and new readers!

Beloved of readers and booksellers, our Fierce Reads program has garnered tons of enthusiastic fans since its inauguration in 2012. Now, the authors you know and love are coming together in one book! With standalone short stories from a handpicked set of FR authors, this fabulous collection will include a mix of original content and popular favorites, and will often feature characters or worlds from existing Fierce Reads books. Extended, personal introductions from each author will make this a must-buy for fans as well as a fantastic portal for engaging new readers with the program. With a wide range of genres and subject matter, there will be something here for everyone!

review :

I LOVE short story collections! I grabbed up this one as soon as I spotted it in the store because it had Marissa Meyer, Leigh Bardugo, and Marie Rutkoski included. Three of my favorite authors! I immediately sat down to read this and hit an unfortunate snag. Although all of these short stories can, technically, be read on their own, all except one are inspired by these authors’ well-known series. This is less annoying when, as in the authors I mentioned above, I knew the context these stories were going into and could enjoy the extra insight into the characters or world these little bits provided. For other stories that I haven’t yet had the chance to get to the series . . . It was frustrating. These snippets would rarely have a conclusion and in one instance I couldn’t even read the story because I was warned it would spoil the book. Who knows if I’ve managed to spoil something else for myself already?

I wouldn’t say there was any one story in this I didn’t like. Overall, the writing was pretty solid (after I got over the whole blow about none of the stories being original). The one unique story was told in a twitter exchange between two authors, which was a surprisingly entertaining way to read the unconventional Sasquatch love story. If that isn’t enough to convince you to try this collection, I don’t know what else could.

I had to rate this collection lower than I wanted to (because I LOVE these authors and know that there are other favorites in here just waiting to be discovered when I actually read the series’ I just spoiled). The stories weren’t satisfying on my own. I feel like they would have been better suited in their own domain rather than this bind-up. Hopefully, I won’t get tricked into a collection like this again.

3/5 stars

One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart

One Thing Stolen

author : beth kephart [also wrote going over]

pages : [hardcover] 272

favorite character : nadia

summary :

Something is not right with Nadia Cara. She’s become a thief. She has secrets she can’t tell. And when she tries to speak, the words seem far away. In Florence, Italy, with her epicurean brother, professor father, and mother who helps at-risk teens, Nadia finds herself trapped by her own obsessions and following the trail of an elusive Italian boy whom no one but herself has seen. While her father researches a flood that nearly destroyed Florence in 1966, Nadia wonders if she herself can be rescued—or will she disappear?

Set against the backdrop of a glimmering city, One Thing Stolen is an exploration of obsession, art, and a rare neurological disorder. It is about language and beauty, imagining and knowing, and the deep salvation of love.

review :

I was so interested in reading this book because I really like Kephart’s writing style. I’ve also read her novel Going Over and while it isn’t a favorite of mine, I do love her writing. I think I feel similarly about One Thing Stolen — though this is a story that is going to haunt my thoughts for a little while now that I’ve finished it. One Thing Stolen is told in three parts, each featuring a different point of view and Kephart flawlessly changes her style and tone to reflect each narrator.

This book is unique (at least to my reading experience) in that it deals with a teenager facing a neurological disorder, possibly a type of dementia. Although many of the books I’ve read lately have spoken about mental illness, that has tended toward OCD and schizophrenia. Nadia suffers from something we typically only think of the elderly facing and she’s so incredibly young. I think it’s so important that books like this continue to be written because the more these diseases are spoken about, the more people in general will understand them as well as the people who suffer through them daily.

Nadia is the first narrator to the story (I won’t spoil who the others are) and her thoughts are chaotic to say the least. She’s an unreliable narrator and she can’t make sense of things for herself so she’s constantly pleading for the reader to understand it all for her. She can understand words but finds it nearly impossible to communicate anything about herself. Being trapped like that is unimaginable, utterly terrifying, and as the story continues you’re fully immersed in Nadia’s world and trying to pick it apart alongside her.

Unfortunately, for all that I loved about this book, there were parts that just didn’t work for me. I wasn’t feeling that spark in the narrative that would compel me to continue reading when I finished each chapter. There is a love interest that, well, didn’t interest me too much. Several things are introduced that seem like they should be major parts of the book that are never fully acted upon.

Although I think that many people may enjoy this book, it simply wasn’t for me.

3/5 stars

Schizo by Nic Sheff


author : nic sheff

pages :  [hardcover] 272

favorite characters : janey, miles

summary :

The fascinating, shocking, and ultimately quite hopeful story of one teen’s downward spiral into mental illness by the bestselling author of Tweak.

Miles is the ultimate unreliable narrator—a teen recovering from a schizophrenic breakdown who believes he is getting better . . . when in reality he is growing worse.

Driven to the point of obsession to find his missing younger brother, Teddy, and wrapped up in a romance that may or may not be the real thing, Miles is forever chasing shadows. As Miles feels his world closing around him, he struggles to keep it open, but what you think you know about his world is actually a blur of gray, and the sharp focus of reality proves startling.

Written by the New York Times bestselling author of Tweak, Schizo is the fascinating, and ultimately quite hopeful, story of one teen’s downward spiral into mental illness as he chases the clues to a missing brother. Perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and It’s Kind of a Funny Story.

review :

A good, quick read that speaks deeply about mental illness and how today’s teens deal with it but not one of my favorites.

Maybe I would have enjoyed this book far more if I hadn’t just read Made You Up by Francesca Zappia—another YA novel about schizophrenia that I LOVED. Obviously every person who suffers from mental illness is different and I’m glad that there are more characters in YA now who live with these diseases, but these two books shared so many similarities that it was hard for me not to find big plot points in Schizo more predictable than I might have if I hadn’t read similar books so close to one another.

Miles is an interesting character. He knows that he suffers from schizophrenia but blames himself for terrible things that happen during his outbreaks and has himself now on a self-destructive path because of the guilt he harbors. This fluctuates throughout the novel as like everyone Miles has his ups and downs, though because of his illness his tend to be more extreme and dangerous to himself and others. I also maybe judged him a little because he seems to chain smoke cigarettes and, y’know, today you see a lot less people doing that kind of thing because we kind of know the consequences of that.

Even so, I didn’t really feel connected to him, perhaps because the writing style for this didn’t really work for me. Almost every chapter ended with Miles’ thoughts spiraling in on themselves and the way they were crafted, repetitively, was a fascinating insight into his thoughts but also not very interesting to read over and over again.

Overall I think that there are many who will enjoy this book and it’s something important to have in the YA genre when there aren’t many books that seriously deal with mental illness as a main portion of the book.  While I did like the other book that I read more, I think I would have liked Schizo even better if I’d spaced these reads further apart.

3/5 stars

All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

All These Things I’ve Done

author : gabrielle zevin

Pages : [hardcover] 354

memorable quote I did learn something about insanity while I was down there. People go crazy, not because they are crazy, but because it’s the best available option at the time.

summary :

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city’s most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.’s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she’s to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight–at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.

Engrossing and suspenseful, All These Things I’ve Done is an utterly unique, unputdownable read that blends both the familiar and the fantastic.


I love Gabrielle Zevin and I’ve been waiting so long to start this new series. It finally came out as an ebook for a good deal so of course I had to get it to try it out. I was a little unsure about the concept of the novel, not the least because to me it seems incredibly unbelievable. Chocolate could not ever be banned. Can you imagine the revolts that would happen? A revolution I would totally take part in because chocolate is way too good to let it go forever!

My opinion of this book oscillated a few times throughout the novel. Most of the writing was disappointing, verging to extremely corny in some moments. For example, at one point in the book Win calls Annie “lass” for no particular reason (and this repeats a few other times throughout the book) when he’s not Scottish, which to me would be the only justification for it. Maybe a Scottish grandfather, seeing as they’re in America. His reasoning for it was something like saying it felt like the word fit her. No, it just ended up sounding condescending and like a bad attempt to get a cute pet name for her.

Then there would be surprisingly badass plot points that would pick up my interest again and kept me reading the entire novel. I’m not sure if that’s enough to keep me through the whole series; if anything, I’ll borrow the next book from a library, not purchase it myself. Or I’ll find someone who’s already read it to tell me all about it.

While there are a few loose ends I’m curious about, I’m not invested enough in the novel or characters to recommend this to anyone. Now I’m realizing why I waited so long to try out this series.

3/5 stars

Vesper by Jeff Sampson


author : jeff sampson

pages : [hardcover] 288

memorable quote My idea of a fun night was diving into a massive pile of To Be Read pile of books stacked near my dresser… I was the girl who loved everything geeky.

summary :

Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely—something not human?

As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want?

review :

I’ve had this ebook on my TBR shelf for a long while after winning it in a contest–not because I was always putting it off, but because there are always other books for me to read. Well, I finally got around to reading Vesper–not realizing that it was the beginning of what I think is a series, possibly a trilogy–and didn’t enjoy this novel enough to consider reading further into these books.

Honestly, I feel like there was a potentially awesome concept, but one that I didn’t see until possibly the last ten pages of the book. The rest dragged on to a conclusion that would have been thrilling if I’d been excited for it. Instead, throughout most of the book, I was confused. Emily was haunted by her alter ego who wants to dress revealingly and party every night, for some reason. It was kind of a terrifying concept to me, because what would you do if every night you became a different person and had to deal with those consequences in the morning? I feel like that could have been more fully explored. Again, her parents seem to be mostly absent in this, and completely mindless of her breaking the rules every night. We really only consistently see her best friend reacting to Emily’s changes . . . and even then she has a different response each night, and not in an evolving/maturing way, either, only in a sporadic mess.

I gave this book one star for the interesting conclusion and the chance that future books could be much more intriguing and action-packed, though I don’t have enough time to invest more in this series on the chance that it could thrive. Another star because there was just enough intrigue to keep me going through the book. But I didn’t find the characters very interesting–Emily, when she was supposedly ‘geeky’, simply seemed like a ‘geeky’ stereotype, and then the stereotype of a party girl when her alter ego came out–nor were they particularly memorable. I’d suggest giving this book a pass.

2/5 stars