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ARC Review: Red by Alyxandra Harvey

Rered coverd by Alyxandra Harvey
Expected publication: March 10th 2015

When I first seen the cover for Red, I was hoping it was a really dark, creepy retelling of Red Riding Hood. It’s not marketed as one but it could pass as for it.

Red is about a girl named Kia, who can start fires with her mind. She’s sent to live with her grandmother after she get in big trouble at school. Her grandma works for a really wealthy family. The estate is large, creepy, and is full of secrets. Kia gets caught up in the middle and chaos ensues.

Red started off so quickly. I thought it would take some time to build up but Alyxandra Harvey drove right into it. I was caught really off guard by how I was just thrust into the story so fast. It took a couple of pages, but I ended up really liking how the book started.

The whole book was pretty fast paced. It’s about 198 pages so there wasn’t a lot of time to slow the plot down. Sometimes I felt like the plot was so fast paced that some things weren’t completely explained. I wanted a little more  explanations and some more details.

The characters were very classically YA characters. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but I wasn’t surprised by them. Kia was a pretty cool character. She spoke her mind and didn’t take any crap. She’s really snarky. Her ability to start fires with her mind is what made her different from other characters in YA. I really liked that part of her and how much she actually tried to control her fires.

Ethan was kinda on the boring side for me. I wasn’t blown way by him but there’s wasn’t anything that I hated about him. He was just a “normal” mysterious, broody male lead in a YA novel. But he wasn’t a complete jerk so I liked that a lot.

Overall, I had a really good time reading this book. It was a fun, quick YA read. I do wish there was a little more explanations and substance to the plot. But I’m a critical reader by nature so if you’re not super critical, I doubt you’ll find any problems with this book. I adore the cover and the overall concept. If you’re looking for a fast read in between “serious” books, I recommend Red.

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Review: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

Seseeker covereker by Arwen Elys Dayton

Published: February 10th 2015

The cover is so beautiful. The synopsis sounds amazing. This book had so much going for it. The second I seen the cover, I knew I would love this book forever and ever. Even the author’s name is amazing and beautiful. Sadly, this book fell so short of my expectations that my hopes and dreams of a beautiful, epic fantasy series is disintegrated.

Seeker is about a girl named Quin Kincaid who has spent year training to become a Seeker. She learns that she’s actually been training to become an assassin.

This whole book was pretty much one big “what?”. I was confused from page one and I never stopped being confused. Heck, I’m still confused.

From the synopsis, I thought this was set in modern day because it says “Quin’s new role will take her around the globe, from a remote estate in Scotland to a bustling, futuristic Hong Kong”. But when I started reading, I thought maybe it was medieval times. But nope, it’s modern day. There was such poor world building and zero description. I had no idea what I was suppose to be envisioning while reading this book. I couldn’t get a clear vision of anything.

And because I couldn’t even get grasp on the world this book was set in, I couldn’t get into the characters.
I thought they seemed a little young and acted like it. I believe the characters are 15 but they seemed a lot younger. There’s a love triangle, which is cliche and way over used in YA, but one of the guys is a cousin to the female protagonist. I felt like he keep trying to justify his feelings for his cousin with all these excuses and it just got weirder and weirder. It was all pretty much young puppy love between all three of them anyway. “I love you” was just thrown around with no thought behind it. It became overused and I didn’t really believe the “love” between the characters.

I really focused on this book for the first 90 pages but because I just couldn’t get a clear vision of anything, I started to speed read and not really take anything in. There was a few points though out that would grab my attention but those moments didn’t last and I went back to being confused.

Overall, extremely poor world building and lack of description completely blew whatever potential this book had. I couldn’t get into it and I felt extremely disappointed. I really wanted to love this book. I still love the cover though.

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ARC Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Aan ember in the ashesn Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

 Expected publication: April 28th 2015

When I first seen the cover of this book, I fell in love. I just adore everything about it! And when the hype around An Ember in the Ashes started to build, I really got excited. I was also a little worried that all the hype and the beautiful cover would get my hopes too high and I’d be let down. However, this book surpassed all my expectations.

An Ember in the Ashes is about an orphan girl trying to save her brother and a soldier fighting for his freedom. Both live under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire.

Right away, I was amazed by the beautiful writing style. Sabaa Tahir has such a unique way for writing. She using words that I’ve never seen used in a book and even a few words I didn’t even know the definition of. I hardly ever (maybe one or two times before) come across words that I’ve never heard of so seeing brand new words really surprised me. And because of that, this wasn’t really a fast read. I had to really focus on reading and not skipping anything. It’s not a bad thing but it was different.

The story is told in the perspectives of the main characters, Laia and Elias. I normally dread dual perspectives but I loved that this book had both characters perspectives. I can’t think of any other book where multiple perspectives was a good thing for me. But Tahir did such an amazing job writing each characters chapters and I loved it.

I thought the character development of the characters were awesome. Laia especially came a long way from the beginning of the book to the end. And one of my favorite things about this book is how diverse the characters are. I don’t think there’s any other characters in YA like them.

Even though this book is around 460 pages, I read it in just three sittings. I couldn’t put it down and had to know what was going to happen next. Towards the middle, I did feel like I was getting no where fast though. I would read for hours but when I looked at the page numbers, I was surprised by how little I had actually read.

I really loved how original and interesting the plot was. It so new and fresh, and really brought a lot of  new elements to the YA genre. And the world building was amazing! My mind is blown by how fantastic the world building was. There was so much detail and creativity.

Overall,  An Ember in the Ashes is one of my favorite books that I’ve read so far this year. I loved everything about this book and even though it’s been a few days since I finished it, I’m still hung up on the characters and the amazing world that Sabba Tahir created. If you’re a fan of high fantasy or just looking for an awesome book, I highly recommend An Ember in the Ashes.

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Review: Soul Crossed by Lisa Gail Green

Soul Crossed (Of Demons and Angels #1)Soul Crossed by Lisa Gail Green

Published February 25th 2015

I knew from the second that I seen the cover of Soul Crossed that I would love this book. I love the colors and the font. It a really pretty cover! However, I didn’t love this book like I thought I would.

Soul Crossed is about a boy named Josh who lived his life  recklessly and wasn’t the nicest person and a girl named Grace who died violently when she was sixteen. When Josh dies he becomes a demon and when Grace dies, she becomes an angel. They both are sent on a mission to claim the soul of a kid named Camden who’s basically the Antichrist.

Soul Crossed started out really great. For the first 14% of the book, I loved it. Green painted a really cool picture of Hell and her writing style is so addicting! I couldn’t put this book down at first. This is such an easy read and I was so curious to see what would happen next.

Sadly, at about 16% into this book, things started to fall apart. The characters weren’t making any sense and the plot crumbled into a muddled mess. Josh was never a likable character but he became a really mean boy. He degraded every female he seen and he was so misogynistic towards Grace. One thing that bugged me a lot he how he would order food for Grace. Like, she would be sitting right there and he would just order without asking what she wanted. As if she couldn’t do it on her own. He would say things like she’s “such a blonde”. Granted, Grace isn’t the smartest character in the world but Josh made it seem like because she’s a girl, she dumb and not worthy.

Grace wasn’t all that great either. She wasn’t a strong female character at all. She was sometimes so dumb and she couldn’t see what was right in front of her face. She wasn’t an empowering female character at all.

The “connection” between Grace and Josh was so stupid.  One page they were just acquaintances and the next page, Grace was in love with him. I’m not even kidding. Green just put in a little “It’s been almost three weeks” and boom. Grace loves Josh.  And there is nothing that Grace talked about loving more than Josh’s looks. No qualities that he had, just his looks. It was pure physical attraction and nothing more.

So much was skipped over and not explained. The plot was perfectly fine for the first %14 and then it was so rushed. The writing started to become like a draft and not the finished book. Nothing was making any sense to me. And by 31%, I was so done with the characters and plot. I was trying to push though to find out how it ended because I was really curious but when Camden became a completely different character out of the blue, I just couldn’t carry on.

Overall, I was disappointed by how this turned out. I really wish the characters had more depth and were better written. I’m still reeling over how Josh ordered for Grace (it really made me angry).  I did love this book for the first 14%, I really did. But it went down hill so suddenly. I’m always looking for great female characters that showcase great qualities and male characters that are empowering to the female counterparts. Grace and Josh just didn’t do any of that.

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Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Published April 15th 2014

I’ve read a couple of Jenny Han’s other books and while I liked them, I wasn’t super excited about them. I was hesitant to read this book because I was so sure it was going to be just okay.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is about a girl named Lara Jean who has loved five boys in her life and wrote each boy a letter about how she felt and hid it in a hat box, and never thought much about them again. But one day Lara Jean’s letters have somehow been mailed and various chaos ensues.

Right away, I noticed how different and awesome the writing style was. It was so interesting and beautiful that I was hooked right away. And by page 50, I was so in love with this book and the characters.

It’s hard for me to put my intense love for this book into coherent thoughts. I rarely find a book that will stick with me for days after I finish it. Let alone weeks like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has. I was so emotionally invested in this story and the characters. I couldn’t put this book down and I finished it in less than two days. I just love everything about this book. The characters development is great, the plot is so much fun, and the writing is beautiful. This is definitely one of my all time favorites and I can’t recommend this book enough. I’m so excited for the sequel, P.S. I Still Love You, which is set to released on May 26th.

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Review: Let It Go by DC Renee

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00061]Let It Go by DC Renee

Published December 23rd 2014

I was sent this book by the author an exchange for an honest review.

The cover is what really drew me in to this book. It’s different, interesting and I had to know the synopsis. Let It Go is about a guy named Benny who’s had a really troubled past full of gangs and drugs. But he’s trying to put his past behind him and start a better life.

I was so surprised by how much I really liked this book! I wasn’t sure what to expect but after the first two chapters, I was hooked. The characters had quite a bit of depth and were really likable, I thought. Benny really surprised me by how complex and interesting he was.

The plot was interesting and fun. I didn’t find it to be predictable or boring. I had a hard time putting this book down because I was just so curious to see what would happen next.

I did wish it was a little longer though. I know it’s novella but I wish it was a full length book. At times it felt like Benny and Sophie’s relationship was moving a little fast. I wanted a little bit more time for it to grow and develop.

Overall, this was a really fun story. I really wish it was full length because I was so into it at times. If you’re looking for a quick read that’s a refreshing take on New Adult (I think this is NA, I’m not 100% sure), I recommend checking this book out.

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Review: The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan

percy jack book 3

The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3) by Rick Riordan.

Published May 5th 2007

I first started reading this series years ago but for some reason, I never actually completed it. I loved the first book and I loved the second even more. I was a little nervous starting The Titan’s Curse because how could this series get any better?

Book three in the Percy Jackson series starts off with Annabeth, Percy, and Thalia battling a new monster, trying to help new half-bloods. One thing that I love about this series is how strong each book starts off. Always action packed. I do with there was more a recap of the book before though. It’d been awhile since I read book two so I didn’t really remember what was going on.

One of the thing that makes this series stand out so much is the amazing world building. Everything is so well thought out and carefully explained. Each book adds more to the world and more Greek mythology.

I really love the characters in this series. Each book introduces new characters and expands on the old characters. We learn about the main characters with each book and I love how Rick Riordan writes his characters. They’re all different about some how each one of them has redeeming qualities and is so complex. And relatable! Somehow, I feel like I know Percy and his friends. Like if I met them in real life, we would be friends.

The one thing that I didn’t like about this book is sometimes the plot would be so fast paced and exciting that some important parts would be skimmed over. I wanted a little more after math with some events that happened. But that’s just a minor thing.

Overall, I really enjoyed this installment in the Percy Jackson series.  The Sea of Monsters is still my personal favorite but I can’t believe how strong this book is. Most series’ don’t get any better after the first book but this is one of very rare series’ that have.

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Review: A Thousand Pieces Of You

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A Thousand Pieces Of You by Claudia Gray
Published: November 4, 2014

Er Mah Gerd. That’s all I can start with.

So I solely bought A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Grey off the cover. It was just colorful and water colored and the whole London vs Russia reflection caught my eye and I was just like “OOHHH BUY IT, IT’S PRETTY!” As I Do believe most of us who own this book did as well.  But on top of a heartbreakingly beautiful cover, A Thousand Pieces of You has a great plot synopsis that draws you in. And I have definitely seen a ton of people excited about this book and it was just something I couldn’t stay away from for too long.

This story is about a girl names Marguerite who is the kind of black sheep of her family because her parents are physicists and her sister is a brainiac as well but she’s an artist. Don’t let that fool you though, she’s really smart too, just not the same way as her family. Her family is very close knit, her parents and the grad students they work with came up with a Firebird, a contraption that causes parallel dimension jumping. But when Marguerite’s dad get’s murdered and they think it’s one of his grad students, Marguerite takes matters into her own hands trying to catch Paul Markov. Following him from dimension to dimension no matter how different each dimension may be.

So, I loved this book. I love the way it was written, the fast paced movement of everything and all the twists and turns within it. And I feel as though being a graphic artist as well, gave me a small connection to Marguerite that I appreciated.

Although at times I kind of wanted to just slap Marguerite out of slight whiney frustration, this book kind of surprised me towards the end. And the way it all is, you’re pretty much left trying to figure out who’s the murderer until right before the end, or close to it.

I wasn’t too fond of the kind of love triangle going on, I feel like it would’ve been much stronger if it wasn’t there, but I honestly didn’t care about any of that reading the book, it was more of an afterthought because I was so engrossed in just the whole plot and adventure of everything that was happening.
I loved Gray’s writing, which makes me  want to pick up some of her other books, but at the same time, I just want to wait for the sequel to this.  Which is supposed to come out on November 3, 2015. It’s called Ten Thousand Skies Above You which from the cover looks like a London/San Francisco parallel (it’s just as gorgeous as this cover, honestly).

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Review: Blackbird by Anna Carey

blackbird anna carey cover

Blackbird by Anna Carey

Publication Date: September 16th 2014 

I’d heard lots of good things about Anna Carey and her Eve trilogy and while I’ve never gotten around to reading that series, Blackbird caught my eye right away. The cover is really dark and mysterious. The synopsis says “twisty, breathless cat-and-mouse thrill ride” which is perfect for me. I love thrillers and science fiction so this book sounded great for me. I was so excited! Unfortunately, this book ended up being a let down.

Blackbird is about a girl who wakes up in the middle of train tracks and has no idea how she got there or who she is. She has a strange tattoo on her wrist and people are trying to capture her.

What I failed to see in my excitement for this book is that it’s written in second person. I’ve never read a book in second person narrative before so it was complete shock for me. I was so confused by it and I was hoping that just the first chapter was going to be in second person. But no, it’s the whole book. And because of the narrative, I was never able to get into this book. I tried to get past it but I just couldn’t. It was confusing and made it really hard to visualize the story.

The book is marketed as “The Maze Runner series meets Code Name Verity”. I haven’t read Code Name Verity but I couldn’t find any resemblance to The Maze Runner. Blackbird did remind me a little bit of  Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon, which I love.

The plot was pretty fast paced but at times it was so fast, that I couldn’t get a hold on that was going on before something else would happen. And because it’s written in second person, I ended up just being confused.

Overall, I just couldn’t get into this book. The second person narrative wasn’t working at all for me and the whole book pasted by in a dazed because I couldn’t visualize much of anything. I couldn’t get a hold on the characters either because of the narrative.  At times I felt like I could get used to the writing style but it just fell flat. I might try to read this again in a year or two but right now, I just can’t see myself loving this book.

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Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You cover

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Publication Date: December 31st 2012

I’d seen a lot of hype around this book for the past few months and everyone said how great this book is and lots of people told me over and over how much I needed to read this book right away. So I bought the book and it sat on my shelf for only a month or two before I had to see what the hype was all about. I’m so glad that I did.

Me Before You is about a 26 year-old girl named Lou Clark who has worked the same job for years and loves it. One day, she loses her job and has no idea what to do with her life. She ends up getting a job as a caretaker for Will Traynor, who is paralyzed from an accident.

I noticed right away from the first few pages how nicely written this was. It had a really great writing style that was both descriptive but not detail loaded. Moyes sets the scene but doesn’t overload you with details that don’t matter. It took me about 20 pages to really get into the story but once I did, I couldn’t put this book down.

The characters really surprised me with how well written and complex they were. Though out the whole book, I felt as if each character was complete. One of the best aspects of this book for me was how real the characters seemed. They didn’t feel fictional.

The plot, while at times as a little slow, it was never boring. I was so engulfed by the story and the characters that I seldom stopped reading to do anything other than eat and sleep. I didn’t check my phone, I didn’t get on the internet. I just read for two days straight.

This book deals with real events that are extremely relevant. It was very eye-opening to me and really had me thinking late into the night. And while I can’t relate to Will with his disability, I started thinking about what I would do if I was in his place. I mean, I really thought long and hard about it. I thought about what I would do in Lou’s place or Will’s mother’s.

And, sort of off topic, I hate that this book is labeled as “chick lit”. It’s not girly or full of fluff. This book is important to literature and doesn’t cater to any gender. If you’re a reader, this book should be on your TBR, regardless of gender.

Overall, this is such an outstanding book. With complex characters and a beautifully written story line, I couldn’t put this book down. It’s very thought provoking and kept me glued to each page. Very few books will stop me in my tracks and keep me thinking about it days, weeks, or even months after I finish it. But Me Before You did. This book is everything that I look for in a book and then some. I highly recommend Me Before You to everyone.

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