Category Archives: Reviews

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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10194157The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.

I read Shadow and Bone for the fantasy unit in my YA II class. I’ve never read a fantasy book so I was pretty hesitant with reading this book. It actually took my a couple weeks longer to finish than everyone else but when I did finish it, it was because I couldn’t stop reading it and not because I had to.

I think that the number one thing that bothered me about this book is the made up words. Since it’s a made up world with magic and what-not I understand that the words aren’t going to be real but I would at least like to be able to pronounce the names. I had to mumble through almost every made up word because it wasn’t even worth it to try to sound it out. I also was never really able to sort through all the different social classes that the book had. Through most of the book I found myself just reading it to get it over with and never really trying to understand it.

I started to really like Shadow and Bone at the end when it turned into a love story. I won’t say who the love interest is between because I guess it could kind of ruin the story even though some people might find it kind of obvious. There were so many scenes that I kept re-reading because it was as beautiful as any other love story and for a minute I could enjoy the book without the whole fantasy side of it.

Overall I did like this book. Even though it’s never something I would’ve picked out for myself I think others would really enjoy it. It ended in a way that I don’t feel compelled to read the rest of the series which in a way made me happy. You can only handle so many cliff hangers.

stars_4

 

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

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bloodredSummary: Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That’s fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba’s world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she’s a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction.

I read Blood Red Road for the dystopian unit in my YA II class. There were three different books to choose from but since I had already read the other two I was kind of stuck with this one. But out of the three, this one has ended up being my favorite!

Blood Red Road has a strong main character and also strong supporting characters. Saba is on a journey to find her twin brother, Lugh, along with a group of people who she cannot seem to shake. Despite her many attempts to get them to leave her alone so she can continue the journey on her own, she fails.

Two of my favorite characters are Emmi and Jack. Emmi is Saba’s younger sister and Saba hates her. She blames her for things that are not Emmi’s fault and she has never forgiven her for the whole nine-years of her life. Emmi is constantly proving Saba wrong and is a very smart, young girl. She has been paying more attention than Saba has realized and her knowledge helped save them many times. Jack is impossible not to love. He is sarcastic and funny and charming. He drives Saba crazy but she always finds herself having to make herself annoyed by him because even she falls for his charm every once in a while. Many times he had me smiling because of a snarky remark or some other kind of funny comeback. Saba always says that he makes a fool of her.

There were only a few problems that I had with this book. First, the way it was written was kind of annoying. There is a lack of punctuation throughout and the characters talk with an accent and the author wrote it so the reader would read it in that accent. Throughout the book I noticed the accents kind of die down, which is understandable because it is such a  long book and I can see how that would be hard to keep up on. Another thing that bothered me was Saba. She constantly was complaining about something or yelling and someone and she did the same things over and over again expecting new results. She does it so often that you already know how the “scene” is going to play out because it’s happened so many times before.

Other than those two things this book is really good. There is action, romance and humor. I think it would be enjoyed amongst all guys and girls of all ages even though its told from a young girl’s perspective because it’s such a high-pace, action filled book. Readers who enjoyed The Hunger Games would enjoyed Blood Red Road as well.

stars-5-0

Epic Fail by Claire Lazebnik

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Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnikSummary: At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Case in point:

– As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school–not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects.
– As the daughter of the new principal, Elise Benton isn’t exactly on everyone’s must-sit-next-to-at-lunch list.

When Elise’s beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince’s best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl on campus. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long.

When I first saw the book the book Epic Fail I was kind of hesitant. The cover looks a little cheesy so I didn’t know what I would think. Let me say that I am so glad I decided to read it! Immediately after finishing it I wanted to keep reading more about Elise and Derek! (Quick note: I really don’t understand why they chose this for the title of the book. I wish they would’ve done a cute twist on the title Pride and Prejudice or at least something that explained the book a little better. I just didn’t find it very fitting.)

Epic Fail is a classic-retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I haven’t read that book but I’ve seen the movie so I was able to make the comparison between all the characters. Claire Lazebnik did a great job of recreating modern versions of the characters in Pride and Prejudice. I was so annoyed by Elise’s mom and sisters throughout the book but that is exactly how it is in Pride and Prejudice, so I guess that goal was accomplished very nicely.

Derek is a complete jerk at first and I really don’t understand why all the girls were obsessed with him. The whole time I pictured him as Edward Cullen from Twilight. So quiet and mysterious. But he wasn’t even just that. Girls would be all over him and he’d be straight up rude to them so honestly I don’t get why they all were so attracted to him (besides the obvious: his parents being famous). But once he started trying to open up to Elise and try to win her over, he really won me over. He was a really great character and I loved that he chose Elise to go after instead of all the cliché popular girls.

Elise was a really good character too but sometimes she’s just too much. She’s so doubtful and way to proud (ha ha). Derek will be sincere with her or say one thing wrong and she’s just done. Like I already mentioned her family kind of drives me crazy. Her older sister, Juliana, is likeable because she is so sweet and caring but I swear her younger sisters were not brought up in the same household. They’re crazy and embarrassing and have no common sense. While their mother is crazy, she still is a little bit smarter than they are.

This book, while a little predictable, was a delightfully good read. It was a quick read filled with humor and romance and will satisfy any girl’s love for a love story. I wouldn’t recommend this book to a boy who was interested in reading for fun but I think some guys could appreciate the parallels to Pride and Prejudice.

stars_4

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

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10637766Summary: WHEN SILENCE IS ALL THAT’S LEFT, CAN THE TRUTH FINALLY BE HEARD?

Nora Grey can’t remember the past five months of her life. After the initial shock of waking up in a cemetery and being told that she has been missing for weeks – with no one knowing where she was or who she was with – she tried to get her life back on track. Go to school, hang out with her best friend, Vee, and dodge mom’s creepy new boyfriend.

But there is this voice in the back of her head, an idea that she can almost reach out and touch. Visions of angel wings and unearthly creatures that have nothing to do with the life she knows.

And this unshakable feeling that a part of her is missing.

Then Nora crosses paths with a sexy stranger, whom she feels a mesmerizing connection to. He seems to hold all the answers…and her heart. Every minute she spends with him grows more and more intense until she realizes she could be falling in love. Again.

I finished the second book in the series, Crescendo, about two years ago so it took me a little while to get myself back on track with the story. There was one thing I’d forgotten that I quickly picked back up on though. And that is how annoying Nora is. She always complains about everything and the whole time I was reading I was just waiting for her to go off again. Aside from that slight annoyance I really enjoyed the book.

Not only did I appreciate the sarcasm that is not often found in books but I also really enjoyed the romance of the story.Patch is not your average love interest but he’s one of my favorite characters. Honestly he’s probably the only character I like. The others are either sketchy, weird, annoying or have some other bad trait. Maybe it’s just me, but Patch makes the book what it is. He is not only romantic and loving but he also adds darkness and mystery to the book.

Silence was filled with action that had me bouncing my leg with anxiety. While this book is paranormal I don’t think the genre is the reason I enjoyed it. I haven’t been in a paranormal-book-reading mood as of late so I was more focused on the relationship part of the story instead of the whole fallen angel thing that I just wasn’t into. I’ve been feeling burnt out on series lately, preferring to read about many different characters rather than the same over and over. Even though I liked the book, I think I would’ve enjoyed it more had I read it at a different point in time.

I would recommend this book to both guys and girls and especially those who enjoy Twilight by Stephenie Meyers. I think anyone who reads this would agree that this is the fallen angel version of Twilight.

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

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Sustealingmmary via Goodreads: Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan’s Hundred Oaks High.

Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.

Now Parker wants a new life.

So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty?

But how far is too far before she loses herself completely?.

Stealing Parker will forever be an all time favorite.

It is one of those books that you cannot put down and you love it and you love that you love it but really don’t know how to explain why to anyone else. Well, I’ll try.

Parker shows us the ugly side of high school. While at first she is living the life as Miss Popular, her life is on a sudden downward spiral. She is shunned by her friends and her church all the while her family is falling apart. She starts to lose herself and is having a hard time finding her way back. Besides her best friend, Drew, and an ever-present ‘friend’ that keeps popping up, Parker is putting her life back together all on her own.

When Parker meets Brian it is inevitable that he falls for him. He is older, good-looking, and plays baseball. Oh, and he’s the baseball coach. It’s kind of a sick twist on forbidden love. Brian starts out sweet but becomes a little bit creepy. He is so protective over Parker (which is a super annoying trait) and they aren’t even in an established relationship! Age difference isn’t always that big of a deal but because of him working for the school, I think that they take it too far. I realize that Parker is drawn to this older man but sometimes she doesn’t use her brain while in public…

It is Parker’s other love interest that makes things good. is kind of expected in an unexpected way if I can say that. Like of course she would fall for him. But wow, really, she fell for him? Read it to find out what I mean 🙂

Parker is a really strong character. She takes care of her dad, brother, and herself. Even though she allows herself to break down when she is alone, she puts up a tough front for her family. She is also extremely competitive and smart. She’s athletic and pretty. She’s stylish and kind. Do you get it yet? She’s perfect. But she isn’t treated like she is and she doesn’t feel like she is. Though she will act differently for those around her, Parker is very honest with the reader. She is down-to-earth and as cheesy as this sounds, she’s real. She can’t help but be herself.

In Stealing Parker we get an inside look on what it is like to be judged. Parker is a sweet and funny relatable girl who I can’t help but love while her classmates can’t help but hate. You will enjoy watch Parker grow up from her break downs and attempt to put the true Parker Shelton back together.

Catching Jordan was my first Miranda Kenneally experience, and Stealing Parker will not be my last!

stars-5-0

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

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Summary: Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.Unwind

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.

In my YA II class at school we’re doing genre studies. The first genre we are doing is Science Fiction. The cool thing about this class is that we get to choose from a few different books. I chose Unwind because it sounded like a fresh topic and a lot of books these days seem to be much too similar.

From the very beginning of the book I was annoyed. The point of view changes throughout the whole story, but never in first person. Why even bother changing from person to person if you don’t even get to read the story from their actual perspective? The other girls I discussed this book with agreed with this as well.

Things that impress me in a book are when they can emotionally affect me. The last couple chapters stuck with me well after I had finished reading it. One chapter in particular made me sick to my stomach. This book can also be classified and dystopian and most dystopian make my mind reel. That trend did not stop here. I’ve yet to read of a dystopic world that has made positive advancements in humanity. The things that the world has come to in Unwind makes me want to drop to my knees and pray for our futures. It frightens me just imagining being in the positions that these charters are in.

Even though the POV situation bothered me throughout the whole book, I still would give this book a high rating and recommend it to many people. Both guys and girls alike will enjoy this read and there are many twist and turns that will keep you turning the page.

stars_4

 

Friday Read- Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

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Summary: “Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances… a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.
So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life… and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.
It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last…”

So I’m kinda cheating by counting this one, but hey I did finish it on Friday! I started this about a week ago for my book club and finally was able to sit down and finish it.

Warning: My reviews may contain spoilers. Nothing major but a few minor things that aren’t revealed right away. Beware!

This book had me instantly hooked. It’s a really cute story and has great characters. Hudson is extremely creative with cupcakes, all of which I would LOVE to eat. Her younger brother, whose name I’ve forgotten because she always calls him Bug! Bug seems like he’d be so cute. He’s young but is very smart and invents and creates new things. He is way beyond his years. Her best friend Dani is cool too but she bothered me a lot. Her character is probably my only complaint in this book. They’re constantly bickering. Towards the end it seems like every time Hudson does something it sets her off.

There’s quite a bit of boy drama and it’s hard to choose whose side to be on. If you’ve already read this, who did you like best?? Both treated her so well, it’d suck being her. There’s a lot of other guys in the book as well who are on the school’s hockey team. They’re all really funny and seem like fun high schoolers to be around. They tease her and end up quite brotherly.

Her relationship with her parents is so wacky. She doesn’t communicate with her mom well and doesn’t communicate with her at all. These relationships are very hard on her and a struggle throughout the book. Because of the situation she is in with them, she is forced to grow up quickly; working at the family diner, taking care of her brother and even has to help with bills!

This book shows a slight glimpse of the journey of a young, confused girl who is trying her best to keep it all together. recommended for girls with the warning that things to get sappy at times. But also a few doses of exciting sports!

4/5 Stars