Author Archives: ariannacatmull

Book Review: The Testing

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

It’s high time that i actually post a review don’t you think? So to get me back in the groove, here’s my review of a (slightly) older book. The third book in this series, Graduation Day, will be coming out later this month on June 17th, so it’s not the newest YA book out, but it’s one that has been in my ever-growing to read pile for a while. So, without further ado, here is my review of The Testing.

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Book: The Testing

Author: Joelle Charbonneau

Genre: YA fiction, dystopia

Series: Yes. This is the first in the Testing series. The second book is already out and titled Independent Study

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

 

I adore dystopia novels, so I pretty much devour any and all that I hear about. However, this book I was a little iffy about, because I heard it closely resembled The Hunger GamesAnd while that series isn’t my favorite book series, or even favorite dystopia, it’s still one that I’ve read and like, not to mention being very well known. Because of that, I really didn’t want to read a copy cat of it. And The Testing wasn’t (Yay!). Yes, kids fight each other and sometimes kill each other. Yes, the government is messed up, and yes there is a little romance (which isn’t the main focus thank you very much). But, that’s really where the similarities end. It’s not a true copy cat and it has its own original concepts that keep it fresh.

The Testing told from the perspective of Cia Vale, a sixteen year old girl, who is about to enter into adulthood. The world was completely devastated by the Seven Stages War, leaving most of it as nothing but a charred wasteland. Because of that, only a select few high school graduates, the cream of the crop as it is, are chosen to participate in The Testing. The results of this determine each participants merit in regards to becoming a university student as well as future job and leadership eligibility.

Being chosen to participate in The Testing is a huge honor. However, strange circumstances surround it. For instance, not everyone returns from it and no one ever really talks about it or even remembers what occurred during the Testing.  The Testing isn’t everything it’s portrayed to be. This becomes evident when Cia’s father, a past participant, tells her to trust no one.

Cia doesn’t take that advice to heart though. She decides to trust and form an alliance of sort with Tomas, a childhood friend who becomes something of a love interest for her during the book. Together, along with a few other participants, they try to survive The Testing that’s rife with deadly tests, betrayal, and participants willing to do anything to become one of the 20 that will pass it, including poisoning and even killing  the others.

That’s where I’ll leave you in regards to the book description. I don’t want to ruin the story be giving too much away because the book has some “What the f***” moments that are truly great and definitely make the book in my opinion.  So, with that said (or written as it would be in this case), time to move on to my thoughts on the book itself.

The book was an easy read. It’s not as dark as it could be considering what occurs in it (or maybe I’m just jaded to the darkness in it). I’m not quite sure if I like that it’s not as dark as it could have been.

The setting for the book was pretty awesome. You get this awesome mixture of high tech and rural/small town community. This juxtaposition of two widely different aspects of life really helps to hone in on the fact that the world as we know it has ended, and it’s slowly being rebuilt using both the old and  the new.

The characters themselves were okay. I think they fell a little flat, but I think that over the course of the two next books, we’ll really see them develop.

The plot of the book is mainly to survive and to really trust no one in this messed up, every man for himself kind of world. As I mentioned briefly before, their is some romance. But it isn’t the main focus. And it’s not added in as an afterthought or as an easy way to get readers. It’s actually nicely done, if a little unrealistic (but then again when isn’t it in regards to YA?).

Overall, I liked this book. It was an interesting read that kept my attention the whole way through. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the second book, and I would recommend this series to my friends. So with that, what were your thoughts on the book? I’d love to hear some other opinions.


Photo Credit –> Cover Picture

 

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Starting Over

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

So it’s been quite a while since I last posted anything on this blog. In fact, it’s been almost a whole year. The reason for that, is due to a complete lack of desire to read anything really and then later due to the hectic last year of college. Yep, you read that I right. I graduated from UNR!!! So now that that’s over and done with, I can actually dedicate some time to this blog. So with that in mind, expect some more updates to be coming your way!


Not Reading

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

So you may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything since the end of May. I’m sorry for that, I truly am. I haven’t been reading lately, so I haven’t been posting. I know I could have at least kept up with upcoming releases and book to movie news, but I haven’t.

For some unknown reason, I have had no desire to have anything to do with books. It’s as if I’ve lost my drive and passion for them or as if I’ve burned myself out in regards to them, and that scares me. Books have been the one constant in my life (as cheesy as that sounds) and having no desire to have anything to do with them is terrifying.

I honestly don’t know what to do. I’ve tried to read books that I was anxious to read before, and I get/feel nothing from doing so, sometimes going so far as to stop reading them altogether (which never happens). I’ve also tried taking a break from them completely, thinking that stress or work, school, and personal issues finally got to me and all I needed to do was chill for a bit before my itch to read came back. Neither have worked.

So now I’m turning to you. Have you ever experienced this? And if so, how did you get past it/overcome it?


Book Review: The Darkest Minds

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

I am extremely sorry that I haven’t posted anything in what seems like forever. Instead of reading my ever-increasing “To Read” pile (I cannot resist visiting the book section in whatever store I go to – even if it’s just groceries), I have been catching up on much-needed sleep, doing neglected house chores, gaming (a lot), and trying to catch up on all my TV shows (I still have 11 episodes of Supernatural to watch). But that ends now. So without further blathering on about why I haven’t posted, here is my review of The Darkest Minds.

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Book: The Darkest Minds

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Genre: YA fiction, dystopia, sci-fi

Series: Yes, this is the first book in the series. The second one, titled Never Fade is scheduled to be published on October 15th of this year.

My Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars

 

 

So as I’ve told you before, I absolutely adore dystopia novels, and this one did not disappoint. The Darkest Minds is told from the perspective of Ruby, a sixteen year old girl who has been in the concentration camp or, as the US government refers to it, a”rehabilitation” camp, Thurmond, for 6 years now. She was put here because, she, like other children in this camp, survived Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurdegeneration, or IAAN for short. This disease killed almost all of the children within the US once they hit puberty, and there was nothing they could do to stop it. The majority of children who had it died, those that survived though developed certain abilities.

The abilities were classified by color. Greens have increased brain power and are seriously smart (computer smart). Blues are telekinetic (they can move things with their mind). Yellows seem to have some control over electricity or electronics. Oranges can influence others to think or feel however they want. Lastly, Reds have pyro-kinesis (the ability to create and control fire).

Because the government feared the children with these abilities they are put into camps where the are made to work and are punished for talking to others, looking at the guards or each other in the eye, and using their abilities either accidentally or on purpose. Originally the camps also had rehabilitation practices to try to get rid of these abilities (including shock therapy) but this didn’t work so now the camps are just holding cells for the kids.

In the meantime, the US has gone to hell (excuse my language).The president has pretty much made himself a dictator, and the country has no money, so there are empty housing developments, tent cities everywhere, and rampant crime since the government can’t afford to pay the police.

So now that you know the backdrop, let’s move onto the plot. Ruby, classified as a green (but who’s really an orange) escapes Thurmond, and later a radical group, ending up with a group of kids which include Zu, Chubs, and Liam. Each of them also has powers. Together they try to discover East River, a camp that is believed to a safe haven for those like themselves.

Okay, so now that the description is out of the way, onto my thoughts on the book. I really liked this book. It’s a lot darker than the YA dystopia books I read (concentration camps for kids anyone?) and I actually like that. The description of Thurmond and what the kids went through there was really well written and thought out. I also liked the road trip portion of the book. It wasn’t all rush-rush-rush here. Instead, it was as if three teenagers and a younger kid were actually on the road, trying to find their way instead of being omnipotent and knew exactly what to do and how to get there.

The characters were okay, the plot and writing style are more the cause of the high rating though. Chubs (the funny sidekick/best friend), Zu (the cute but spunky younger mute girl), and Ruby seemed to have a lot more depth than Liam, but he’s still okay (and not your typical bad boy main guy which made him more interesting in my opinion). The dialog between the characters was funny as all get out and had me laughing out loud at some points (always I plus in my book). And finally, the romance (you had to know there was one). For most of the book, there actually isn’t much of a romance between Ruby and Liam. The plot focuses more on surviving and getting to East River. Towards the end though, the romance becomes more prominent. I actually like this. I enjoy it when the focus is on the plot, and the characters’ romance comes second (a isn’t love/lust at first sight).

Overall, I really enjoyed the book, and I can’t want until the second one comes out this fall. I definitely recommend you read it, but be warned there is a twist/cliff-hanger at the end!

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Photo Credit –> Cover Picture


Sorry!

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

 

I am extremely sorry that I haven’t posted anything in over a week now. It’s crunch time at school, so I have fifty million reports, papers, and presentations that I have to write and prepare for. This means little to no sleep for the now zombified me, as well as very little reading (because even in all this crazy-ness I can’t stop reading completely).

I should have something up (more than likely a review) in a couple of weeks once all the crazy-ness starts to taper off.  So until then, happy reading!


Book Review: Storm Glass

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

Review time! I’m amazed I’ve had time to finish a book though. It’s crunch time in school as we’re down to the last week and a half of classes before finals. And boy am I feeling the stress. Enough about that though. Let’s get to the review.

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Book: Storm Glass

Author: Maria V. Snyder

Genre: YA fiction, fantasy

Series: Yes, first in the Glass trilogy. This trilogy takes place after Ms. Snyder’s Study trilogy

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Storm Glass (and the other two books in the trilogy) is told from the perspective of Opal Cowen. Opal is a young woman who is both a glassmaker and a magician-in-training. Her magical power is unique though, causing her all kinds of problems at the magical training school as well as causing her tp be a one-trick pony, who’s only good for making glass figurines used for communicating long distance (this is a time/world without electricity, cars, phones, etc.).

Becuase of her affinity with glass, she has been tasked to help out the Stormdancer clan. Their glass orbs are shattering, causing the storms caught within them to be released, resulting in the deaths of their most powerful magicians. Opal needs to find out why this is happening, who is causing it, and try to fix it, all before the storm season starts and whole towns are lost.

But of course the mission goes awry (what kind of story would it be if everything went smoothly), and Opal discovers a new kind of magic within herself that it both awe-inspiring and frightening. She has to learn how to control these powers in order to save her own life as well as those she loves.

Okay, so to be totally honest, I have read this book about four times already. What can I say, I really like this trilogy, as well as the one that took place before this. I love the world that Ms. Snyder creates. It’s so vivid and complete. It has its ups and its downs, it good points and its bad. The characters are the same way (which you all know is something I’m a stickler about).

Another plus is that, while the book does have romance (hello sexy Kade), it’s not the main focus. Instead the whole adventure and saving the world is the main focus of the book (hallelujah).

So read it. I dare ya.

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Photo Credit –> Storm Glass


Upcoming YA Book Releases (April-May)

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

In my last post, I told you that I was thinking that it’s about time for me to do another post on books that are coming out the end of this month and next month. These of course won’t be all of the releases scheduled for this time, just ones that I (and people I know) are most looking forward to. Oh, one last thing before we get started. In order to save your scrolling finger, I’ve added links to the Goodreads description for each book instead of including it in the post.

 

15768191 Sweet Peril  (the Sweet Trilogy #2) by Wendy Higgins

To Be Released: 4-30

11366397The Program by Suzanne Young

To Be Released: 4-30

12399857The Ward by Jordana Frankel

To Be Released: 4-30

16043626The Last Academy by Anne Applegate

To be Released: 4-30

15790886The Originals by Cat Patrick

To Be Released: 5-7

13228537The End Games by T. Michael Martin

To Be Released: 5-7

13721337Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield

To Be Released: 5-7

11861715Icons by Margaret Stohl

To Be Released: 5-7

12700337If I Should Die (Revenants #3) by Amy Plum

To Be Released: 5-7

16101128The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

To Be Released: 5-7

12439061Mystic (Soul Seekers #3) by Alyson Noel

To Be Released: 5-7

16240750The Dark Shore (Atlanteans #2) by Kevin Emerson

To Be Released: 5-21

Out of these, I am most looking forward to Sweet Peril, The End Games, and The 5th Wave. Comment below and tell me what new release you’re most looking forward to!

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Photo Credit –> Sweet Peril The Program – The Ward The Boyfriend App The Last Academy The Originals The End Games Chantress Icons If I Should Die The 5th Wave Mystic The Dark Shore