Tag Archives: fiction

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

 


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: 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: Doomed

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

Time for another review! Now I know you can’t really guess this from the past books I’ve reviewed, but I absolutely love dystopian novels right now. i am so happy that they’re becoming somewhat of a fad right now. So with that in mind, time to review one of the newest YA dystopian books.

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Book: Doomed

Author: Tracy Deebs

Genre: YA fiction, sci-fi, dystopia

Series: Yes, 1st book in the Pandora Books series

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

So the tagline of Doomed is Beat the game. Save the world. And that is exactly what Pandora, the main (chick) protagonist of the book has to do alongside her classmates Eli and Theo, the incredibly sexy new-ish guys at school that just happen to be stepbrothers.The gane that has to be beat is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game) called Pandora’s Box. The game is set in the future where the world is in ruin thanks to how we’ve treated it.

The games as been altered by the same man who created a worm/computer virus that took down pretty much everything electronic across the world: the internet, cell phones, lights, traffic signals, everything. This same man unleashed the virus by hiding them within 12 pictures that he had his daughter, Pandora, unknowingly open. These pictures, along with letters, were sent to Pandora on her seventeenth birthday after 10-12 years off being absent. These pictures are the clues to winning the game and saving the world.

There quest to beat the game takes them on a road trip across the country. Where the trio is chased by “alphabet soup” (i.e. every security department acronym in the country such as the FBI). And all this has to be done before the world goes up in nuclear flames at the end of the countdown of ten days.

So I’ll leave you guys with that in regard to the description. I don’t want to give too much away. I loved the idea and the plot of this book. I mean first of all, it’s a dystopia novel. But it’s also more than that. It has Greek mythology weaved within in it in a very awesome way. The characters, while they could use some more development, are (somewhat) real with flaws and strengths. I say somewhat because, come on, guys like Eli and Theo, totally not real, and especially not in high school. It also brings up environmental issues, but in such a way that you’re not pressured to believe one way or another. It’s not trying to persuade you to believe as they (the author) do. And finally, the romance (you knew there was going to be one with a chick and two guys as the main characters) is pretty well done. As with the characters, it could use more development, but I feel it was a nice add-on to the main focus, which was Pandora, Eli, and Theo saving the world.

My only concern with the book is that while I was looking into the author, I found out that the book is actually one in a series. With the way it ended, I don’t see how it can really continue on with the same level of excitement and adventure.

I’ll leave you guys now, and ask you to read the book for yourself, and then tell me what you thought of it.

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Photo Credit — Doomed


Book Review: Opal

Hey Fellow Book Lovers,

So here’s my review of the newest book in the Lux series. And just a heads up, my next post won’t be a review. Instead, it’ll be some information about books coming out soon, and a few new movies that are based on books. Happy reading!

Book: Opal

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Series: Yes, this is book 3 of the Lux series (book 1 is Obsidian and book 2 is Onyx)

My Rating: 4 stars

Alrighty guys. Just fair warning for you, this review will more than likely contain spoiler alerts for the first two books. It’s kind of impossible for me to discuss the third one without mentioning something that went down in the first two books, so you’ve been warned. Also, if you haven’t read the first two books, Obsidian and Onyx, I highly recommend that you do so. They are great reads.

So, Opal starts off right where Onyx let off. Dawson Black is back, and changed, Daedalus and the Department of Defense are still things to be worried about, Adam is dead,  and Katy has alien powers thanks to Daemon. And last but not least, Katy and Daemon are finally together.

So, Dawson is back (like I mentioned) and a bit intense. We’re talking more intense than Daemon was in the first book. I mean he threw a guy through a freaking window (and also killed him) using his alien light/energy powers just because he (the thrown dude) was casing Katy’s house and possibly the Black’s place! Katy is the only one that seems to get through to him and is slowly bringing him back to who he was before his capture and torture by the DOD and Daedalus.

In this book, we find out exactly what Katy has become (a hybrid) and why the government wants them so much as well as how far they are willing to go to get what they want. Blake returns, and the team works with him to rescue Bethany from the evil clutches of Daedalus. Also, Dee has turned cold and a lil’ witchy with a b; blaming Katy for Adam’s death.

That’s all the info I’m giving you on the plot/happenings of this book. I don’t want to ruin it for you. Just know, the end? It’s a major cliff-hanger. And I mean major. I was seriously like, “WTF is this the end? Are you serious right now? You’re gonna leave me right here!?!”

As always, I admire and am in awe of Ms. Armentrout’s writing style. Her characters are flawed, making them that much more real (you know, if aliens made of light/energy lived here on earth). They are also so very witty and sarcastic, that they will have you laughing out loud at their comebacks and smart-ass retorts.  You can’t help but fall in love with the characters and experience all that they do right alongside them. The emotions, not to mention the passion between Daemon and Katy, jumps right off the pages. And finally, the action and adventure that are prominent throughout the book keep you turning pages until the very end.

So go out and buy this series if you haven’t already. You will love it, I know I do.


Book Review: Obsidian

Hey Fellow Book Lovers,

Time for another book review. Just so you know, I’m probably going to try out a few different formats for these until I find one I really like.

Book: Obsidian

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Series: Yes, This is book 1 of the Lux Series

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

First off, this isn’t my first time reading his book. In fact, it’s my third and this book came out in May of 2012. That just goes to show you how much I love it.

The book starts off with the main protagonist, Katy, moves to “West ‘By God’ Virginia” (as she likes to call it) from Florida, in her senior year of high school. Right next door to her live the Black twins, Dee and Daemon, who just so happen to be out of this world. Literally. They are aliens, called Luxen, who are hiding out here on Earth, with the permission of the US government of course, from their race’s evil counterpart,the Arum.

Katy and Dee quickly become friends, no thanks to Dee’s ridiculously hot, but total jerkwad brother, Daemon, who tries to push Katy away from them every chance he gets. Daemon and Katy seem to rub each other the wrong way almost every time they’re together, but that doesn’t stop the chemistry between the two. And, oh man, what chemistry. Lesa, a classmate of the three mentioned above, described it best by saying “Holy Hawt Chemistry, Batman!” These two seem to practically combust if together too long as seen in the hot as all heck make-out scenes they share.

Along with developing relationships with the Black twins, Katy also helps fight off the Arum that came to town upon noticing the trace she had, no thanks to Daemon and his alien powers. She gets hurt, multiple times, almost killed once, but never gives up or into the bad guys. You just have to admire a girl with fight in her like that. Nore does she ever lose her spunky spirit (Her sarcastic and clever quips throughout the book had me laughing out loud at times).

The end, well, I’m not going to spoil it for those of you who haven’t read it, but man oh man. It’s got a twist that makes you hunger for the second one to find out what’s going to happen and if Katy and Daemon are ever going to get together (For Daemon’s point of view of the last chapter you can visit Jennifer Armentrout’s Scribd account).

So check out this book. It’s amazing! The girls in here are opinionated and smart, not to mention stubborn while the guys are hot, funny, and a little bit bad. The combination of these awesome characters and an amazing plot (these aren’t your usual aliens) that has just the right amount of suspense and action, will make you not want to be the book down until you’ve devoured it whole.

Comment below and tell me what you thought of the book or which review format you like better. Happy reading!