Category Archives: Book Review

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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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


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


Book Review: The Boy Recession

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

Time for another review. Don’t worry though, tomorrow’s post won’t be another review. I’m thinking that it’s time to do another post on up-coming releases, so that’s what’s on the agenda.

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Book: The Boy Recession

Author: Flynn Meaney

Genre: YA fiction

Series: No

My Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

 

 

The Boy Recession takes place in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, where the local high school is going through what the girl’s have termed, a “boy recession.” The school, small as it originally was, has lost about 90% of their popular/jock guys. The reason behind this are major budget cuts, that resulted in a pay-cut and a resulting transfer for their football coach as well as cancelling band. The boy, deciding that they would be better off (scholarship-wise) decided to follow the coach or transfer to prep school. This left the high school girls with only the misfit/reject guys that they wouldn’t give the time of day to before.

These remaining guys are now being seriously pursued by the girls. One of these guys is Hunter, Farenbach. He’s a wicked smart, as well as an awesome guitar-player. drummer, singer, and song-writer. Only problem is that he’s a total slacker and seems to have to real passion or desire to do anything with his life. Now, because of the “boy recession” he’s being sought after by girls who are starting to notice his good looks, as well as by the desperate coaches.

The other perspective this book takes the perspective of (other than Hunter) is Kelly Robbins, a junior like Hunter. She’s a really down-to-earth gal, who tends to blend into the background. She’s been friends with Hunter since the third grade (more like acquaintances but whatever). Because she starts teaching third graders how to play instruments with Hunter as volunteer work, she’s spending more and more time with him, and starting to see just how great a guy he is (someone’s got a crush). Only problem is that Hunter is starting to be noticed and pursued by the popular girls and Kelly doesn’t think she stands a chance.

So I’ll leave you there when it comes to the plot line. I don’t want to ruin it for those of you who will read it for yourself. Time to give my honest opinion of the book, and honestly, I really didn’t like it. I so wanted to like it. The premise was interesting, and I thought it would be a light and funny read. Something I desperately needed because of all the stress I’ve been under lately (darn you projects and papers!!!). But no, that most definitely did not happen.

I just couldn’t get past the authors horrible interpretation of high school and the horrible stereotyping that made up this book. The author is young! she should remember what teenagers are like. This took everything to the extreme. Every character was the stereotypical slacker, or slutty popular girl, or pervy guy. It had no originality whatsoever, and was downright insulting at times in regards to how high schoolers think and act. I know there are (maybe) some redeeming qualities to the book, but at the moment, I seriously can’t think of one. So my final thought on the book is ugh, just ugh.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the book though. Comment below and tell me what you thought of the book.

 

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Photo Credit –> Boy Recession cover


Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

So tonight I’m going to be doing another review (shocking, I know). I’m a little late to jump on the bandwagon for reading this book, but this is actually the first I’ve heard of it. I saw the title on another blogger’s post, saying that this was one of their favorite books, so I thought “What the heck” and decided to give it a try.

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Book: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre: YA fiction, contemporary romance

Series: Not necessarily, although characters from Anna and the French Kiss are mentioned in this one (this takes place after A&TFK)

My Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars

 

 

Lola is a seventeen year old high school girl who has a crazy style and dreams of being a designer. And not just any designer, but a costume one – the more sparkly, fun, and wild, the better. She tries to never wear the same outfit twice. She’s living the good life, with her perfect, and not to mention hot, rocker boyfriend, cool parents, and great friends. That is until her old next door neighbors, the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, move back in.

Calliope is an Olympic figure skater and Cricket is a seriously gifted inventor (much like his ancestor Alexander Graham Bell – the inventor of the telephone). They had moved away a couple of years ago to pursue Calliope’s dreams and goals in regards to figure skating. Of course this move occurred right after Lola and Cricket got into a fight (caused by the witchy Calliope) that left Lola heartbroken.

Now that Cricket’s back in town though, he seems to want to start over with Lola (even if it’s just as friends). This causes problems to crop up in Lola’s relationship with her 22-year-old rocker boyfriend, Max, as Lola comes to terms with and decides what to do about, her lifelong feelings for Cricket.

Cute, right? That’s what I thought. That’s about all I thought in regards to the book. It’s a light read, that leaves you feeling all nice and fuzzy inside (kinda how cotton candy does). I’ve actually read quite a number of reviews of this book by other bloggers, and they have nothing but praise for it. Honestly, yes, this is a good book, and yes, I did like it, but I don’t think it deserves that much over-the-top praise. Maybe it’s just me (it probably is).

I will however, give props for Cricket. He is, hands down, my favorite character of the book. He’s just so awkward and shy and just freakin’ adorable. I love that one of the love interests (and the one to win out in the end) is a nerdy and gangly guy and not some stud muffin that’s all muscle or some bad boy. Instead, it’s the endearing boy next door; the nice guy.

So if you want to read this book, I personally would recommend getting it at the bookstore. And I would recommend reading it. Once you do (of if you already have read it) tell me your thoughts. Did you like Cricket? Do you think the book deserves more praise then I’m giving it? I’d love to hear your answers.

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Photo Credit –> Lola cover

 


Book Review: Frost

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

Time for another review. And just FYI, I’ve actually read all three of the books that are out in the Frost Chronicles, but this is probably the only review I’m going to do on them. Just know that my feelings have stayed consistent, if not increased in regards to the books. So without further ado…

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Book: Frost

Author: Kate Avery Ellison

Genre: YA fiction

Series: Yes, this is the first book in the Frost Chronicles (Thorns is the second and Weavers is the third)

My Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

 

Frost tells the story of Lia Weaver, the main protagonist. Her parents were recently killed, leaving her in charge of her family’s farm as well as her crippled twin brother and perpetual day-dreamer younger sister. She is trying to survive and protect her siblings in an icy world where monsters, called Watchers, roam the surrounding forest at night and one small misstep could mean the separation of her family, or worse, death.

Enter Gabe. He’s what her people call a Farther; someone who comes from a technological world/society that lies beyond the Frost. These people are supposed to be ruthless and cruel, wanting nothing more but to conquer all that they can. Gabe is also a fugitive and on the run from his own people.

Upon the pleading (major puppy dog eyes and heaps of guilt were used) of her sister, Lia helps Gabe, treating his wounds, and hiding him both from the Farthers and her own people. It’s during this time that Lia comes to know Gabe and see past the stereotypes placed upon his people to the intelligent and trusting guy he really is. She also starts to fall in love with him (don’t worry, it’s mutual).

However, not everything is going so smoothly (when does it ever?). The Watchers are becoming more and more aggressive and coming closer and closer to her farm and the town. Not to mention the Farther soldiers that are searching for Gabe and appear to be settling into Lia’s town for the long haul. In order to protect her family and truly help Gabe escape, Lia has to find a secret organization called the Thorns. Doing this though, could put herself in even more danger.

Sounds good right? Well don’t worry, this time it really is. I absolutely loved the world that Ms. Ellison has created. It’s both beautiful and haunting, and keeps you guessing up until the very end. I initially got this book because it seemed like an interesting premiss and I wasn’t expecting too much from it. I thought that I would just read it in between classes or something. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I started it one night before bed. The next day I went and bought the second book because I had to know what would happen.

You may be wondering why then, isn’t the rating higher? The truth is that while the setting, premise and suspense in the book is truly awe-inspiringly amazing, the character depth of this first book (it improves in the second and third ones) falls a little short. I wasn’t as attached to the characters as I usually am, and that drew away from the book as a whole (not too badly though as noted by my previously mentioned devouring of the series).

So with that in mind, go read it for yourself! It’s an awesome book, and I’d loved to hear your thoughts on it.

 

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Photo Credit –> Frost cover


Book Review: Freak of Nature

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

 

Time for another book review. I know I’ve mentioned a couple of times before how busy I’ve been, and how I haven’t had as much time to read as I want to and have been going through some serious withdrawal, so you might be wondering then how the  heck I read a whole book in one day when my life is so hectic. the answer is simple. I stayed up until 3 in the morning to finish it, when I had to get up at 7 for work (I do not recommend doing that btw). So, without further ado, here is the review of the books that made me into a zombie for the day.

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Book: Freak of Nature

Author: Julia Crane

Genre: YA science fiction

Series: Yes, first in the IFICS series

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

 

 

Freak of Nature is told from the perspective of Kaitlyn, and occasionally from Lucas. Kaitlyn was involved in a horrible incident that led to her supposed death, but because she had decided to donate her body to science, she’s created into a cyborg. The experiment was meant to leave her with no memories or emotions. Little do the scientists know though, that she does have her emotions, although somewhat muted. She also has a reoccurring dream of someone from her past. She has to keep this hidden though, because if this is revealed, her project might be deemed a failure, and she would be terminated. Hiding her emotions becomes more and more difficult as Kaitlyn finds herself falling for one of the scientists, Lucas.

Now Lucas is a boy genius. He’s in his early 20’s (I can’t remember his exact age) and a brilliant scientist. However, he feels extremely guilty over turning Kaitlyn from the vibrant young woman she used to be into an unemotional cyborg; a science project if you will. It’s because of this that he eventually comes to discover that Kaitlyn can actually feel, and has her own thoughts and emotions. While trying to help Kaitlyn recover her memories, he begins to fall for her.

The book, is about Kaitlyn struggling to come find her place and acceptance between the human and computer worlds with the help of Lucas, before the time for her runs out.

As you might be able to tell from thew cover picture and my last book review, I’ve been into books about cyborgs recently, so when I saw this book and all the good reviews of it, I was all for it. However, I couldn’t get as drawn into the book, the characters, and the storyline. It’s because of that that I gave the lower rating. I really don’t know why I couldn’t get drawn into it either. the storyline was interesting, the characters were awesome, and the romance between Kaitlyn and Lucas was sweet without being sickening and over the top. I blame it on sleep deprivation.

Comment and tell me what you though of it.

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Photo Credit –> Freak of Nature cover