Aru Shah and the End of Time – Book Review

Aru Shah and the End of Time

By Roshani Chokshi

Details:


Title: Aru Shah and the End of Time


Author: Roshani Chokshi


Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents


Pub. Date: March 27th, 2018


Synopsis:


Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?


Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with ARC of Aru Shah and the End of Time through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

 

My Review 

            As a kid, I grew up reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Kane Chronicles, The Hero’s of Olympus, and basically any other Rick Riordan novel available to me. From these books sprang my love for all things mythology, and I’m so, so excited about Rick Riordan Presents so future generations can learn all about different mythologies  through characters they will grow to know and love throughout their life times. Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi being the first book by Rick Riordan Presents has me very optimistic about the future of this imprint. 

            Before even entering Aru’s world I loved Chokshi’s writing style from her previous novels, and I knew she would do an absolutely fantastic job. Aru Shah is a twelve year old girl who lives with her mother above the Ancient Indian Art and Culture. She has a bad habit of lying, and ends up getting caught in a web of lies by her three class mates. As a result, she lights the Lamp of Bharata, freezing everyone in time, releasing the Sleeper, and setting Aru off on the adventure of a life time. I don’t really want to say too much about the plot in fear of spoling anything, but it was just so much fun to go on the adventure with Aru, Mini, Boo, and everyone else. It was wonderfully paced, and there was never a dull moment. I really learned so much about Hindu mythology through this novel, and it has even inspired me to go out and do some of my own research to learn some more. 

            What I think really made me enjoy this novel was Aru herself. Chokshi gave her such a fantastic voice and a sense of humor that I found very Percy-esq that made this book just so much more enjoyable. There was a moment in the very beginning of the book where Aru made a reference to the song “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash, and I knew from that moment forward that I absolutely loved her. Overall I think Chokshi did a fantastic job with the novel as a whole, and I can’t wait to see where she goes with the rest of the Pandava Quartet. 

In conclusion, I give Aru Shah and the End of Time four out of five stars for being fun, hilarious, and a great entrance into the Pandava QuartetI highly, highly recommend this for young readers, anyone with any interest in Hindu mythology, and anyone who grew up loving Rick Riordan novels as much as I did.

              

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Furyborn – ARC Review

Furyborn

By Claire Legrand

Details:


Title: Furyborn


Author: Claire Legrand


Page Count: 512


Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire


Pub. Date: May 22nd, 2018


Synopsis:


When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other. (Goodreads Summary)


Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with ARC of Furyborn through Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

My Review 


            I was so sad to see that I had missed receiving an arc of Furyborn in the November ‘Ladies that Slay’ Fairyloot box, but then I was granted an ARC off of Netgalley and all of my sadness was forgotten because I finally had the book in my hands! I didn’t read too much about it before starting because I wanted to be surprised, and I think I have discovered one of my new favorite fantasy novels of all time!

            Legrand does a fantastic job of weaving two stories together in Furyborn–Rielle’s story and Eliana’s story. Though the two take place in different time periods, they are connected in multiple ways which are revealed as the story goes on. Each chapter switches back and forth from Rielle to Eliana, which some people might find annoying, but I was so invested in both story lines that I didn’t mind it at all. It seemed to me, even though the book is over 500 pages, that it is very fast paces and almost every chapter ends on a cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more. There were multiple times throughout Furyborn that I found myself completely caught up in the story, completely oblivious to the outside world. I managed to finish it in one sitting during an 11 hour plane ride, and I could barely notice the crying baby just three rows ahead of me. I thought that the plot itself was brilliant. Rielle is a lady who has grown up in court hiding her powers over pretty much every element from everyone else, until her best friend, the prince, is in danger. After revealing her power, the people are frightened, and she has to prove to them that she is the good queen, the Sun Queen, who has come to help the world. She’s put through a series of trials to prove herself, and in the midst of the difficult physical challenges, she’s going through several things in her personal life–like how to deal with this voice which has appeared in her head and her feelings for the crown prince who just happens to be engaged to one of her other best friends. That’s pretty much all I can say about Rielle’s story without spoiling it. Now, Eliana’s story reminded me somewhat of Celaena/Aelin from the Throne of Glass series. She’s a bounty hunter working for the government, but after her mom gets captured by a mysterious group who’s been kidnapping women and a group of deadly assassins try to recruit her–her life gets turned upside down. Oh, and she also has these powers she can’t explain. I really can’t say too much about her story because then I really would be spoiling it, but I think I liked her story slightly more than Rielle’s because I found it less cliche. 

            Aside from her wonderful storytelling abilities, Legrand also possesses the ability to create an abundance of characters you just can’t help but care for. The two main characters, Rielle and Eliana, are both bad ass women. There’s a constant juxtaposition between the two, and by switching perspectives each chapter, the reader gets to see how they both react to somewhat similar situations. Rielle has been forced to hide her powers her entire life in fear of what might happen to her if someone was to find out, while Eliana is the famed ‘Dread of Orline,’ a famed assassin who’s just trying to survive and keep her loved ones safe. I found myself enjoying both characters for several different reasons, and I enjoyed both of their characters immensely. Aside from the main characters, Legrand includes a plethora of side characters people are sure to love. My personal favorite is Simon, also known as The Wolf, because he is the perfect companion for Eliana, and, I’m not going to lie, they are one of my new favorite ships. In Rielle’s story, she has two best friends, Ludavine and Audric. I adored Ludavine because I could see a lot of my best friend in her, and Audric was so sweet and truly cared for Rielle. Now, let’s talk about the big, bad Corien. I loved him. I thought the way Legrand introduced him as a voice inside Rielle’s head was wonderful, and he definitely gave me some Darkling vibes which was just the cherry on top. I can’t go into too much detail on the characters in fear of spoiling something for y’all, but just know that each and every one of them is fantastic in their own way.


                In conclusion, I give Furyborn by Claire Legrand five out of five stars for being a refreshing, new fantasy novel everyone is sure to love. I already can’t wait to read the second novel, and the first isn’t even out yet! I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fantasy lover, as well as anyone who is looking to get into fantasy. I can’t wait for everyone to read it–I’m bursting at the seams to discuss it with someone! 

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Sky in the Deep – Spoiler Free ARC Review

Sky in the Deep

By Adrienne Young

 

Details:

Title: Sky in the Deep


Author: Adrienne Young


Date of Publication: April 24th, 2018


Publisher: Wednesday Books

 

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of Sky in the Deep in exchange for my honest feedback.

Summary:

            Seventeen-year-old Eelyn’s world is war. Raised to fight alongside her Aska clansmen in a generations-old blood feud against the Riki, her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.
Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki if she wants to make it back to the fjord after the thaw. But when she begins to see herself in the people she’s been taught to hate, the world Eelyn once knew begins to crumble. And after the village is raided by a ruthless clan many believe to be a myth, Eelyn is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend who has tried more than once to kill her. Together, they must end the blood feud between their clans or watch their people be slaughtered.

A lush, Viking-age inspired fantasy about loyalty, forgiveness, and the definition of family. (Goodreads Summary)

 

My Review 

           As a massive fan of the Vikings TV show as well as the history of the vikings in general, I was looking forward to Sky in the Deep from the moment I read its description on Goodreads, and I did not leave this book disappointed. I managed to finish it in one sitting, and am already dying to get my hands on Young’s next novel.

            I don’t often get to read YA historical fiction/fantasy stories, so I jumped at the chance to get my hands on Sky in the Deep.  Young manages to build a lush, wonderful world while following what we know of the vikings from history. The story itself had me hooked in from the very first moment with an epic battle scene to start the story off. While reading it, each chapter seems to flow into the next, leaving you wanting more until you reach the very end. It’s both brutal and violent, while also managing to be a touching story about family and loyalty. I especially love the description Young includes in her fighting scenes; she never holds anything back and allows for there to be blood and gore. I don’t want to say too much about the plot in fear of spoiling it, but Young does a fantastic job in pacing her story so it doesn’t feel rushed, letting things occur naturally. Sky in the Deep is truly an incredible Viking inspired story that will not only make your pulse race with adrenaline, but also cause you to appreciate those you have in your life.

            A badass story has to have some badass characters, and Young certainly delivers in that category. Our main character, Eelyn, is a piece of work and I absolutely love her. She is a fierce warrior who loves ferociously, and will do anything to protect those she loves. I loved how we got to see her develop throughout the story from an Aska who hates the Riki with every fiber of her being, to living and fighting amongst them. Fiske, her love interest, is the strong, silent type. He and Eelyn don’t start off on the right foot, but we see them grow together, bringing out the best in one another. Young did a fantastic job in not letting the romance take over the story. Instead, the romance sneaks up on you when you least expect it, and actually adds to the story as a whole. Aside from the two main characters, there are also several other well written characters with tons of personality such as Inge, Halvard, Runa, Iri, Myra, and so many more! I can’t discuss everything I loved about every single one of them without spoiling things–or making this review about five thousand pages long–but I feel I need to mention how Young doesn’t skip out on the character development of any of the side characters as well. I’ve truly finished this book with several new favorite characters who will stay with me for years to come.

                In conclusion, I give Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young four and a half out of five stars for being an exciting, action packed piece of YA historical fiction, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a new book to read–but especially to anyone who enjoys the history of the vikings. I can’t wait to see what else Adrienne Young comes out with in the future.

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Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy – Book Review

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

By Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Robin Wasserman

WARNING: Spoilers for City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

 

Details:


Title: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy


Author: Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Robin Wasserman 


Page Count: 672


Publisher: Margaret K. McElderly Books

 

 

Summary:

After being stripped of his memories in City of Heavenly Fire, Simon Lewis goes back to being a normal mundane who knows nothing about the hidden world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders he was once a part of. He remembers he was once friends with Clary, and somehow dated Isabelle Lightwood, but has no idea what happened between them all. Every time he faces his old friends, Simon feels as if he’s letting everyone down by not being the man they knew and loved.

With the re-opening of the Shadowhunter Academy, Simon decides throws himself back into the world of demons and monsters by training to become a Shadowhunter in hope of finding himself again. The Academy is basically a functioning ruin with many, many problems as all the new students are bound to discover, but for Simon it is his chance to bring back who he once was. With a mixture of old favorites as well as several new characters, exciting adventures are bound to occur in Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy.

My Review:  

          I was somewhat cautious going into Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy because Cassandra Clare was not the only author, but I must say I was relieved to find that almost every story had a similar voice to Clare’s past works. There were ten stories in total, and I’d be lying if I said I loved them all equally–some were better than others. Each story followed Simon throughout his time at the Academy and built up to the final story with their own separate arcs. I particularly loved how a majority of the stories offered flashbacks to characters that readers previously met in The Infernal Devices. I felt like the anthology really connected and added something to the Shadowhunter world as a whole rather than being a separate, stand alone collection. My personal favorite from the collection is the final story, “Angels Twice Descending”, because I loved how it combined aspects of all of the stories as well as the twist at the end in which Simon must face  a tragedy which follows Clare’s trend of ripping out and stomping on the hearts of all of her readers. I also have to give an honorary mention to “The Whitechapel Field” because it was about Jack the Ripper, a Shadowhunter world version of Jack the Ripper! My least favorite was probably “The Lost Herondale” because I kind of spoiled myself by reading Lady Midnight before Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, which revealed who the lost Herondale is, and it is not as interesting to me as the other stories, but I like how Catarina was more prominent in it than she is in the other stories. I believe all the stories flowed well together, and it really makes me want to read the other Shadowhunter anthology, The Bane Chronicles.

One particular thing I believe the authors of Tales from the Shadowhunter academy did well is blend the old characters with fresh new faces. Sure, I loved how my old favorites like Magnus, Alec, Jace, Izzy, Clary, and etc. showed back up, but I really loved a majority of the new characters introduced to us at the academy. There’s two main groups at the academy: those with shadowhunter blood, and mundanes who are training to be worthy of becoming shadowhunters by drinking from the Mortal Cup. My personal favorites from the mundane group are George Lovelace and Marisol Garza. I loved George from the very first story when he and Simon are freaking out over a rat in their room, and I came to love Marisol throughout the story because I found she had some of the best character development. My favorite from the Shadowhunter group has to be Beatriz Mendoza because, unlike the rest of her group, she does not look down upon downworlders or the mundanes who are at the academy. Instead, she stands behind them and defends them. My least favorite of the new characters has to be Jon Cartwright–not because his character is terribly written–but because he’s pretty much a terrible person until the last two stories. I’m really glad that Clare chose to continue Simon’s story in this anthology because he really got the short end of the stick in City of Heavenly Fire. We get to see the ‘new’ Simon develop throughout the story and go from being confused about his place in the world, to forging his own path without his past holding him back. All in all I was pleased with the characters, both old and new, throughout the novellas, and I can’t wait to see more of them in future novels.

 

               In conclusion, I give Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy four out of five stars for being a delightful addition to The Shadowhunter Chronicles as well as introducing several new characters I have grown to love. I highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Cassandra Clare’s work, as long as they have read the entirety of The Mortal Instruments series as well as The Infernal Devices trilogy.

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Frostblood by Elly Blake – Book Review

Frostblood

By Elly Blake

 Details:


Title: Frostblood


Author: Elly Blake


Page Count: 320


Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

 

 

Summary:

            In a world ruled by a ruthless frost king, Firebloods grow rarer and rarer every day, making Ruby Otrera’s gift extra special. She’s spent her entire life trying to learn how to conceal her powers, but after she is discovered by the king’s men who murder her mother in front of her, Ruby finds herself rotting in prison, waiting for the executioner to take her.

            Rescued by two mysterious Frostbloods, Ruby finds herself thrust into a world where her powers are the key in a rebel plan to overthrow the king and bring the world together again. They train her on how to properly use her powers, and she grows stronger. However, before they deem Ruby ready for her mission, she is once again captured by the king’s men, and forced to compete in the King’s tournament, where she must fight to the death to survive. It’s now up to her alone to destroy the evil man who took everything from her and her people. 

 

My Review:  

           I had Frostblood sitting on my self for quite a while with no real urge to read it, but for some reason I was drawn to it about a week ago, and I was unable to put it down once I picked it up.

         I enjoyed Frostblood and found the story compelling, although a bit cliché. It shares several common elements with books like The Red Queen, Throne of Glass, etc., but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The struggle between two different ‘races,’ the frostbloods and the firebloods in this case, is a bit played out in YA, but I thought that Blake did a fantastic job in providing a history to show what caused animosity between the two groups. I actually believe this helped redeem the story overall. Though the book is rather cliche, there is no denying it is well written and that the cliches such as prophecies and tournaments to become the king’s champion did add something to the story rather than just be there to be there; they helped advance the story towards the climax rather than act as the climax itself. The story itself is very fast paced and easy to follow; the first few chapters had me completely sucked in, and I actually managed to finish Frostblood in one sitting. Even though I found parts of the novel to be very predictable, Blake includes a multitude of plots twists I did not see coming–especially at the end, and if I had any less self control I would have thrown my book across the room. Despite feeling like I’ve already read this book at times, I overall enjoyed the plot and am excited to pick up the next in the series.

            As previously stated, I believe Blake giving a detailed history of Tempesia and its people helps redeem the story from being too cliche. She does a fantastic job in describing the land, the people, and how the country has changed throughout history. One particular thing I enjoyed was when Ruby and Arcus compared the frostblood and fireblood histories of how the war between the two began. It gave an introspective view on how the people view each other which helps the reader understand how deeply the hatred between the two runs. We are also given tales of a frostblood king and a fireblood queen, which shows that despite the hatred, the two can work together and bring peace to the nation. Overall, I believe Blake’s addition of the histories of Tempesia added a certain quality to Frostblood which most YA fantasies lack.

            Without a doubt, the characters are the driving forces of this novel. Ruby, the fierce protagonist, Arcus, the brooding rebel with a secret, Brother Thistle, the kind monk offering her aid and asylum, and King Rasmus, the despicable villain. Admittedly, the characters do follow certain YA tropes, but less so than the story. I found myself truly enjoying Ruby and her spitfire personality. She is not afraid to speak her mind, and finds herself in a dark place after her mother’s murder. She always has a witty comeback, and allows her emotions to run wild. Ruby’s love interest, Arcus, is almost her opposite. Arcus is a brooding frostblood who’s afraid to open up to anyone. While I liked their characters separately, I felt like there relationship followed the trope of hate to love (I found their relationship closely mirrored Aelin and Rowan from Throne of Glass), as well as a little bit of insta-love. Things are made very interesting between the two by Rasmus though after Ruby is taken by the king’s men. Rasmus is the epitome of evil; he lives for chaos and does not care who gets hurt along the way. I found most–if not all–scenes with him very interesting and to be some of my favorites. I think that Blake does a fantastic job with characterization throughout Frostblood despite following some common tropes.

 

                In conclusion, I give Frostblood by Elly Blake three and a half out of five stars for being a fun, although somewhat cliche, YA fantasy read. I recommend this to anyone just starting to read YA, or any hardcore YA fans who won’t mind that it shares some common themes with other mainstream YA books.

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Empire of Storms – Book Review

Empire of Storms

By Sarah J. Maas

Details:


Title: Empire of Storms


Author: Sarah J. Maas


Page Count: 693


Publisher: Bloomsbury 

 

 

 

Summary:

Tensions are high in the world of Erila, as war is brewing on the horizon. Aelin Galathynius has begun forming alliances with the former lords of Terrasen and building her army. She is determined to save not only her people, but the man she loves from the evil Valg queen, Maeve.

As the upcoming war comes closer and closer, Aelin is forced to make some desperate, drastic declension, ultimately deciding the fate of her kingdom. In the end, will her sacrifices be enough to save them all?

My Review:  

           Having been a fan of The Throne of Glass series since the very beginning, I expected nothing less than perfection from Empire of Storms, and Mass pulled through once again with another fantastic installment.

            The already long list of character grown in this addition to the series with some fresh new faces, but Maas doesn’t forget about our favorite, original characters. Everyone from Aelin, to Manon, to Dorian, and beyond further develops, and I’ve found myself falling deeper and deeper in love with this set of characters every day. Manon is now officially my favorite, and I find her story so interesting. I love where Maas has taken her story, and I think it is such a good move on her part to put Dorian and Manon together. Aelin is still as problematic as ever, but I grew to respect her more throughout this novel. I still think her relationship with Rowan is a bit annoying and creepy to be honest, but by the time I read that ending I was sobbing for their sakes. There isn’t much more I can say without spoiling the series for those who have not read the series yet, but just know that everything about the characters gets better as the series goes on.

             At almost 700 pages, Empire of Storms is the longest book in the Throne of Glass series, but it moves faster than the rest and is filled to the brim with action packed drama. The tension is tangible throughout the novel with war a war brewing, and I know that all the minor battles described in this book are going to be nothing compared to the full fleged war we expect to come in the sixth installment, but I still can’t help but be impressed with Maas’ ability to go from a romantic scene to one where Aelin is literally ripping off someones head in the span of a few pages without making it feel broken up and disjointed. The different character POVs throughout the story allowed for us readers to experience stuff beyond Aelin, truly opening up the world. I briefly mentioned the ending earlier, and oh my god–THAT was an ending. It caught me off guard, and I’m so mad at Maas for doing that to me, but so happy with how she’s setting up the next book in the series. 

                In conclusion, I give Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas four out of five stars for being another fantastic installment in one of my favorite series of all time, as well as leaving all of us readers on a cliffhanger, setting up the next installment. I highly recommend the Throne of Glass series to anyone who loves fantasy, and hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.

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History is All You Left Me – Book Review

History is All You Left Me

By Adam Silvera

 

Details:

Title: History is All You Left Me

Author: Adam Silvera

Page Count: 320

Publisher: SOHO Teen

Publication Date: January 17th, 2017

 

 

 
Synopsis:  

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life (Goodreads Summary).

My Review:  

           Before reading History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera, I didn’t understand why people enjoy reading books despite knowing they’re sad, but I leave this novel with a whole new perspective.

History is All You Left Me is such beautifully tragic story…and I’m pretty sure it gave me emotional whiplash; I’d go from crying, to laughing, to crying again in a matter of seconds. Silvera does such a fantastic job in using his characters to further the emotions and the narrative of the story, and although the story is meant to be all of the character’s ‘histories,’ I can feel and hear Silvera’s voice through the pages, leading me to believe this story is more personal than he’s letting on.

The characters themselves are real and raw and unafraid to flaunt their flaws. I found myself loving Griffen, Theo, Wade, and Jackson by the end. The main protagonist, Griffen, took me a while to warm up to due to some rather interesting choices he makes, but I ultimately enjoyed how vulnerable he is, and how the entire story is told through his ‘histories’ of his now deceased first love, Theo, and how he is ‘today.’ Silvera writes him as depressed as well as gives him a few little quirks like slight OCD that really make his character all the more real for the reader. Theo is the kind of character that I still have so many questions about despite the story being over because we only learn about him through others’ experiences, and I can’t tell if I enjoy that or not. He’s described as very geeky and the perfect complement, but I can’t help but feel like there’s something important about him that we still don’t know, I felt Jackson is a very interesting character being Theo’s most recent boyfriend, and think he played a big roll in pushing the story forward. Lastly,  Wade is a complete and utter cinnamon bun. He’s not the most important character, but he’s still necessary to the story, and I love how he is so caring and patient and accepting of the fact that his two best friends are in love with each other. History is truly a character driven story at its core, and  I highly doubt it would have come across as impeccably as it does without such string, well written characters.

What I believe truly sets History is All You Left Me apart from other contemporaries is that it’s such a wonderful representation of the LGBT community and it deals with grief in such a unique and interesting way. It doesn’t play to any stereotypes or feel forced, which helps readers outside of the community understand and develop there own feelings. In terms of grief, most contemporaries like to keep a lighthearted feeling thought a novel, but Silvera is unafraid to dive deep and make the reader hurt. I just found History to be such a unique and delightful change from normal contemporaries, and am glad to have finally read it.

In conclusion, I give History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera four out of five stars for being beautifully written, unafraid to test the boundaries of YA contemporaries, and a wonderful representation of the LGBT community. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a diverse read or anyone who’s looking to have a good, ugly cry.

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Renegades by Marissa Meyer – ARC Review

Renegades

By Marissa Meyer

 

Details:


Title: Renegades


Author: Marissa Meyer


Page Count: 576


Publisher: Feiwel & Friends


Pub. Date: November 7th, 2017



Synopsis:


Secret Identities.
Extraordinary Powers.
She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

 

My Review:  

Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with ARC of Renegades through Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

            With a vague synopsis that didn’t give me much aside from Sky High (an old Disney channel original movie) vibes, I didn’t know quite what I was in for when I started reading Renegades, but I put my faith in Marissa Meyer’s very capable hands, and I shall never doubt her skills again.

            I can’t say too much about the plot since this is an ARC review and I don’t want to spoil anything, but it was very well written, action packed, and unpredictable. It’s one of those stories that begins in the middle of the action–literally starting in an assassination attempt–and I think it works very well for Renegades because it sets the pace for the rest of the story. The first few chapters read slightly slower than the rest of the book, but from the moment Nova decides that she is going to act as a double agent for the Anarchists by entering the trials to become a Renegade, I found myself sucked in and unable to put it down, constantly being hit with twists and turns as soon as I started to believe I had figured it out. I must say that the plot twist at the end truly shocked me, and I can’t believe I have to wait so long to see what happens next!

            Meyer’s vivid descriptions throughout the novel really help to transport the reader into the world of Renegades and Anarchists. She not only gives a fantastic visual description of Gatlon City including everything from the Renegades’ headquarters, to the Anarchists’ subway tunnels, to every individual street vendor’s cart and product which makes the city come alive in our minds, but also describes the city’s rich history with the Age of Anarchy and the Battle for Gatlon which allows us to truly feel and sense the tension and uneasiness present in the city. The only thing I wish she had included more of was the history of how prodigies came to be because I thought that their powers were one of the coolest aspects in the story, and she could have expanded more on them.

            There is an expansive list of characters in Renegades which is already hard to keep track of, but with many of them being either superheroes or villains, a lot of them have aliases which makes it even more difficult! For the first few chapters I found myself unable to tell who was who or who had what powers, but eventually got the hang of it. I really enjoyed Nova and Adrian, the two main characters, and thought that Meyer did a good job in giving them interesting backstories which connected to their internal drives. Nova is an Anarchist who wants to destroy the renegades because of what they did to her uncle and possesses the power to put anyone she touches to sleep, and Adrian is a Renegade who wants to find the Anarchists responsible for murdering his mother and has the ability to make anything he draws come to life. Of course there is a bit of romance between the two of them, but it isn’t instalove, and I really enjoyed the way Meyer incorporated it into the story as to make it not feel forced. The POV switches between them throughout the story, giving the reader the point of view of both an Anarchist and a Renegade, allowing them to decide which side they believe to be in the wrong. Aside from the main characters I must say I found the rest to be a bit lacking. Some of them had half-decent back stories and character development, as if some were just lost or forgotten along the way. I did enjoy the Anarchist entourage of Ingrid, Lyon, Phobia, and Honey–I just wish there was more of them, and as for the Renegades, I felt that a few of the characters were present only for their powers. Overall, I believe Meyer did a good job with her characters.

                In conclusion, I give Renegades by Marissa Meyer four out of five stars for being a fantastic, action-packed start to a new series, and I highly suggest it to anyone who’s a fan of YA, but especially to fans of D.C., Marvel, and superheroes in general. Also, there’s a pre-order promotion going on, so if you send in proof of your pre-order to the publisher HERE you can get either a Renegade or Anarchist button pack–and you get to pick! 

 

If you would like to pre-order Renegades

Book Depository

Barnes and Nobles

Amazon

-CG

 

Mini Reviews – Volume One

Hey guys! I thought since I don’t always have time to write full length reviews for every book I read and I have some books that I just didn’t write enough notes on for a full length review, that I’d start a series on my blog where I post little mini reviews for books I’ve recently read. Here’s volume one of my mini reviews–I hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of each of these books by the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

SynopsisA magically inspiring tale of a man who is reincarnated through many lifetimes so that he can be with his one true love: Death herself.

What if you could live forever—but without your one true love? Reincarnation Blues is the story of a man who has been reincarnated nearly 10,000 times, in search of the secret to immortality so that he can be with his beloved, the incarnation of Death. Neil Gaiman meets Kurt Vonnegut in this darkly whimsical, hilariously profound, and wildly imaginative comedy of the secrets of life and love. Transporting us from ancient India to outer space to Renaissance Italy to the present day, is a journey through time, space, and the human heart.

My ThoughtsJust from reading the summary of Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore, I could tell it was going to be a story unlike any other I’d read before, and it did not disappoint. We, the readers, get to experience all of Milo’s 9,995 lives on his quest for perfections, and the variety of fuck ups that occur along the way. I especially loved how the stories of his lives weren’t told in chronological order and differed in length, although I did find some to drag on longer then others. The book itself has a very unique sense of humor in the writing, and I think Poore does a fantastic job of expressing that humor through Milo and creating a character that every reader can come to love and feel sympathy for. I also thought that the romance between Milo and Death–I mean Suzie–was really unique in the way that they’ve been together for several thousand years, but are only able to be with each other in between Milo’s lives. All in all I give Reincarnation Blues four out of five stars for being fun, quirky, and unique, but also slow at times. I highly recommend Reincarnation Blues to fans of sci-fi and fantasy who are looking for something fresh and new and exciting. (PS: Do you see how gorgeous that cover is?!)

The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin

Synopsis:Danielle effed up. Big time. 

Danielle’s plans for the future were all figured out… until she failed senior English and her single college acceptance was rescinded. Determined to get her life back on track, Danielle enrolls in her hometown community college with a plan: pass English and get back into Ohio State—and her mother’s good graces. Romance isn’t on her radar… until she reconnects with her childhood crush and golden boy next door, Luke. 

Between family drama, first love and finding her own way, Danielle can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed. Thankfully she has her friendship with the snarky and frustratingly attractive Porter, her coworker at the campus bookstore, to push her to experience new things and help keep her afloat.
One thing’s for sure: This time, failure’s not an option.

My Thoughts: Maggie Ann Martin does a fantastic job of including all the the classic YA contemporary romance cliches that we’ve all come to know in love in The Big F, but altering them ever so slightly to give it a completely different feel from most other YA high school romances. The closest thing that I feel I can compare it to is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell because both Daniella and Kath are college freshmen, but thats pretty much where the similarities end. It was such a fun, quick read that I highly enjoyed–I especially loved the theme of failure and how it doesn’t mean the end of the world. The story itself was intriguing, but it was the characters who truly brought the story to life for me. Dani being fresh out of high school instead of 16 or 17 was what really made this story unique for me. The way Martin wrote her was so realistic, and I found myself connecting to her trough out the story. Luke is the classic, adorable boy next door, and I loved him to pieces. I liked how the boy next door cliche wasn’t the main focus of the story, but rather a tool used to push along the main plot. Zoe is one of the greatest best friends a girl can have, and I honestly wish that I could reach through the pages and pull her into my life to help me out during times of crisis. Porter reminds me so much of a lot of my guy friends who constantly like to push my buttons, but are always sweet and charming when they need to be–and I absolutely loved him! Martin did a fantastic job in writing relatable characters who develop well throughout the story, and find a special place in the reader’s heart. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin, and give it four out of five stars. I recommend this book to any high school junior or senior who’s worried about the future, or anyone who wants a fresh take on the classic YA romance.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Synopsis: Moxie girls fight back!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.
Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

My ThoughtsI will admit that going into Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu, I didn’t really know what it was going to be about and I didn’t think I would like it, but after finishing it I want to go up to every other girl in my high school and force them to read it so they can feel as empowered as I did directly after finishing it. Moxie is the story of a girl named Vivian who is done with the sexist way of thinking that her town runs on, so she creates a zine after being inspired by her mom’s old things and basically starts a revolution. I absolutely love Vivian, and how realistic she is compared to other main characters of YA contemporaries. She’s passionate and zealous and perfect to lead the feminist uprising at her high school. I liked her love interest, Seth, and I thought that the addition of romance was fun to read, but I don’t believe it was necessary. It neither added nor took away from the plot as a whole. Moxie also rape/sexual assault which I feel like is seen as a taboo subject in YA literature, so I’m glad Mathieu included it. Overall I give Moxie 4.5 out of 5 stars for being full of such great and important messages such as fighting against injustice, girls helping girls, feminism, and so many more. I believe that this is such an important novel that women of all ages, but especially younger girls, should read to feel empowered and like a boss.

So these are all of my mini reviews I have for y’all at the moment. If you have any thoughts on these books or book suggestions please feel free to leave them in the comments–I’d love to talk about books with you!

-CG

Pretty Girl-13 Book Review

Pretty Girl-13

By Liz Coley

 Synopsis:          
      Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing and powerful psychological thriller about a girl who must piece together the story of her kidnapping and captivity and then piece together her own identity.                 
        When thirteen-year-old Angela Gracie Chapman looks in the mirror, someone else looks back–a thin, pale stranger, a sixteen-year-old with haunted eyes. Angie has no memory of the past three years, years in which she was lost to the authorities, lost to her family and friends, lost even to herself. Where has she been, who has been living her life, and what is hiding behind the terrible blankness? There are secrets you can’t even tell yourself.
 With a tremendous amount of courage and support from unexpected friends, Angie embarks on a journey into the darkest corners of her mind. As she unearths more and more about her past, she         discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: when you remember things you wish you could forget,    do you destroy the people responsible, or is there another way to feel whole again?                            
      Liz Coley’s alarming and fascinating psychological mystery is a disturbing—and ultimately            empowering—page turner about accepting our whole selves, and the healing power of courage,          hope, and love.   (Goodreads Summary)                                                                                                  
 
My Review:      
       Pretty Girl-13 is based around a young girl named Angie who, at the age of 13, is kidnapped at a Girl Scout camping trip, and is held hostage, until she returns to her home three years later with no memory of happened. In her mind she is still 13 and not a day has passed since her Girl Scout camping trip. All she knows is that one moment she was going to the bathroom in the woods, and the next thing she remembers she is limping down her street as she makes her way back home.
      Returning home is difficult for Angie, her friends are in a different grade than he, and they have changed in the time she was gone, making it harder for her to return to her normal, it also seems like her parents had given up on her, and she finds out that during the three years she was abducted she was physically and sexually abused, which caused her brain to split up into several different personalities as a defensive mechanism, which is known as Disassociate Identity Disorder (aka Multiple Personality Disorder.)
 
      Ok, this book was both fascinating and disturbing. As Angie’s altars (alternate personalities)  began to show up I found myself more and more intrigued, but I also found that is was more difficult to read, because every time a new alter was discovered and treated, Angie would discover more about what happened to her in the three years that she was gone, and even discover some dark things from her childhood. I also felt like whenever the altars would tell their accounts of what happened in the three years they were abducted it was more personal, and therefore more emotional, and those bit were some of the best parts of the book.
      This book is very dark and filled with topics such as child abuse and sexual assault, so I suggest that if you don’t like these topics, or they are triggering to you, not to read this book. But if you’re into dark, twisted stuff this book is right up your alley.
     I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars because I felt that because it was told in third person, I wasn’t able to feel very connected to Angie, and that if it was written in first the author would have been able to make it easier for the reader to connect with and truly feel what Angie was going through. Also, I felt like some of the subplots weren’t needed, especially the ones that involved typical high school drama, and that they took away from the importance of the real issues at hand.But all in all, this book is a fantastic read that you will be unable to put down once you pick it up.
If you want to purchase Pretty Girl-13:

-CG