Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Title: The Winner's Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Publication: March 4th 2014
Cover Rating: 4/5


It took me a bit of time to get into... Like half the book. It was so slow for me, there was something about the way that it was written that just seemed so freaking formal to me. But then once I got into it, I binge read the rest of the book. I lovveeeddd the scene of the kiss. I was going to delete that last part because I was thinking that it was probably a spoiler but then I was like nope, every book eventually has a kiss in it XD. The ending of the book was particularly intense but at the same time I was like WTF that just doesnt make sense. Like this guy is so into like... killing everyone and then hes like you know what, ill do what you want if you do this one thing. Like REALLY? youre willing to get rid of everything just for that? I thought you were supposed to be super cruel >.> But ttthhheeen I was like okay, it cant be that easy, this guy has to have some super evil plan right? Which is why I need to get the second book now XD

Recommend it?
Yeah, you simply have to give the book a chance

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Author Spotlight: Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Title: Furyborn
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Author: Claire Legrand
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication: May 22nd 2018
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading format: Provided ARC/Owned Hardcover

Furyborn by Claire Legrand is the story of two queens. A Sun Queen and a Blood Queen. One of these Queens will save the world, the other will bring it to its end. The prophecy has no idea when these queens will come, just that they will, and they need to figure out which queen is which so that the queen who will end the world can be killed before the prophecy comes to light.

Each queen that is born will have the power to control all of the elements. When it comes to light that Reille, a friend of the crowned prince, possesses more than one element, she is put to the test to see if she is, in fact, on of the queens. This test will also prove which queen she is. 

The other end of the story is from the point of view of Eliana. She is pretty much an assassin. She takes jokes for money and so that her family is protected. She thinks she is untouchable until the person that is kidnapping women in her city takes her mother. She is hired to find this other assassin but things go wrong and she ends up teaming up with him instead, to find her mother and figure out who is kidnapping all these women and why.

this story is so fun and full of action and lore. It is a little bit much at first but once you wrap your head around everything you will love the book. There are so many aspects to this story and the plot line is so incredible. 

There is something this book had that I really wasn’t expecting and that is time-travel. I am not a big fan of time-travel at all but the author did it very well for this story and it fits in very well with the plot so I didn’t have a hard time with it.

In the end, I greatly enjoyed this entire story. I was a little confused at the beginning with all the back and forth between the storylines. Both main female characters seemed like the same person to me, but there is a really good reason for that and it is definitely explained. I cannot want for the next book in the series to see where it takes these characters.


Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

Monday, July 16, 2018

5 YA Book Recommendations - July 2018

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 9:00 AM 0 comments


Contemporary

Science Fiction

Goodreads | Amazon
Mystery

Fantasy

Horror

Sunday, July 15, 2018

REVIEW: Bright Burns the Night by Sara B. Larson - Paige

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 9:00 AM 2 comments
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free courtesy of KidLitExchange and the publishing company. Thanks! All opinions are my own.
Rating: 
Genre: YA Fantasy/Retelling
Recommended Age: 14+ (slight gore, violence, sexual references)
Pages: 320


Synopsis: 
Ten years ago, King Lorcan of the Dark Kingdom Dorjhalon defeated Queen Evelayn and cut her conduit stone from her. Since then, he has kept her trapped in her swan form. With the loss of balance between Dark and Light, winter has descended and the Draíolon of Éadrolan lose more power every day. But once a year, Lorcan transforms her back to her Draíolon form and offers a truce. And every year Evelayn refuses — for he requires her to Bind herself to him for life.But now, with an Ancient power bearing down upon them, everything may change. Evelayn will learn that the truths she once believed have shattered, and that she may need her enemies even more than her allies. Lorcan and Evelayn become partners in a desperate quest to return the balance of power to Lachalonia. How far will this partnership go? Can friendship — perhaps even love — bloom where hatred has taken root?Sara B. Larson delivers a thrillingly romantic and hauntingly satisfying end to this extraordinary duology.

 

I really need to watch Swan Lake. The ballet can’t be as beautifully tragic as this book right? Anyways, we return where we left off in the first novel of this duology: Evelayn is trapped as a swan doing her swan thing. She actually got a gathering as swans to see her as their queen, which was kinda cool. Anyways, I can’t say anymore because of spoilers but the novel was beautifully well written and it actually feels like you’re in a mid-1500s book. The plot was interesting and the premise was as well.

However, I do have some qualms about this book. The plot was intriguing, but at the end nothing is really solved. It just ends. I’m not sure if there was more to the novel that I’m missing since I only have an arc but the book just ended without a proper ending. The characters weren’t that well developed and the book really failed the Bechdel Test. The female characters, in particular, were lazily written and added nothing to the plot. Even Evelayn, who was my favorite of the previous novel, was severely weakened in this one. The other two females, who had their own strengths, were so weak in comparison to the males of this book. The men in this book basically protected and shielded the females and the book was so tropey that it made me angry. The book didn’t even go back into the swan thing, which I thought was the main point of Swan Lake.

Verdict: This book had so much potential, but in the end, it let me down. It’s still a beautifully well-written book, however.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

REVIEW: Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson - Paige

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Disclaimer: None, I got the audiobook with my own audible credits!
Rating:
Genre: YA Fantasy
Recommended Age: 15+ (death, violence, gore, sexual references)
Pages: 320


Synopsis: 
On her eighteenth birthday, Princess Evelayn of Eadrolan, the Light Kingdom, can finally access the full range of her magical powers. The light looks brighter, the air is sharper, and the energy she can draw when fighting feels almost limitless.

But while her mother, the queen, remains busy at the war front, in the Dark Kingdom of Dorjhalon, the corrupt king is plotting. King Bain wants control of both kingdoms, and his plan will fling Evelayn onto the throne much sooner than she expected.

In order to defeat Bain and his sons, Evelayn will quickly have to come into her ability to shapeshift, and rely on the alluring Lord Tanvir. But not everyone is what they seem, and the balance between the Light and Dark comes at a steep price.


Let’s start this off with this: this was one of the cheesiest YA books I’ve ever read and it had oodles and oodles of YA tropes… but it was actually surprisingly okay. The plot was pretty good and the writing was pretty well done and it did well making the language stick to the time period.

However, as you can see above, I didn’t talk about a lot of the usual things I do. The book was actually a struggle to get through the first 41 chapters. The world building wasn’t there, the characters weren’t developed outside of two of the main characters, and the book was really confusing to follow at times. Things happened or the characters did things that I didn’t understand what for. I was for sure I was going to give the book a 2 star rating until the last chapter. The last chapter surprised me so much with its misdirection and its terror that I had to bump up the score significantly. I’m going to read the sequel based solely on the last chapter. Honestly, that chapter should have come sooner in the novel as the rest of it feels so awful in comparison. I feel that the book is one big prologue to an amazing novel… aka the sequel.

Verdict: Plie your way to the last chapter and then to the sequel.

Friday, July 13, 2018

REVIEW: Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton - Erin

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 9:00 AM 2 comments
36105772Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe
by Preston Norton
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by Disney-Hyperion
ISBN: 9781484790625
ARC

About: 
Cliff Hubbard is a huge loser. Literally. His nickname at Happy Valley High School is Neanderthal because he's so enormous-6'6" and 250 pounds to be exact. He has no one at school and life in his trailer park home has gone from bad to worse ever since his older brother's suicide.

There's no one Cliff hates more than the nauseatingly cool quarterback, Aaron Zimmerman. Then Aaron returns to school after a near-death experience with a bizarre claim: while he was unconscious he saw God, who gave him a list of things to do to make Happy Valley High suck less. And God said there's only one person who can help: Neanderthal.

To his own surprise, Cliff says he's in. As he and Aaron make their way through the List, which involves a vindictive English teacher, a mysterious computer hacker, a decidedly unchristian cult of Jesus Teens, the local drug dealers, and the meanest bully at HVHS--Cliff feels like he's part of something for the first time since losing his brother. But fixing a broken school isn't as simple as it seems, and just when Cliff thinks they've completed the List, he realizes their mission hits closer to home than he ever imagined. (Goodreads)

Rating: 

Review:

I first heard about this book during a Booklist webinar. It interested me so much that I hunted down a ARC copy of it. I definitely was not disappointed.  I loved that even though our main character Cliff’s life is pretty crappy, he still has hope.  He comes close to giving up, but fights through it. His inner dialogue is a perfect mix of sarcasm, geek, and is hysterical. I was rooting for him the whole book. I’m not sure on my own religious stance, but their list of things to do that may or may not have come from God is a perfect plot device. It kept me interested and guessing if and how they might fulfill everything on the list. I loved how characters that I wasn’t a fan of in the beginning were able to evolve and change into better people. I think that teens who read this book will be able to relate to something in it, whether they’re one of the “cool” kids or an “outsider” or one of the many other groups in between. They do touch on “mature” themes such as drinking, drugs, and sex that younger teens might not be ready for yet. This book also discusses the tough subject matter of bullying, suicide and abuse so if those are a trigger for you, you may want to skip this one. 
Image result for bully meme

*To see more of Erin's reviews please click her signature to go to her blog

Thursday, July 12, 2018

REVIEW: Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke - Paige

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 9:00 AM 2 comments
Rating: 

Genre: YA Contemporary
Recommended Age: 15+ (underage alcohol usage, sex, trigger warnings for suicide)
Pages: 416
Disclaimer: I got this book through KidLitExchange. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: 

It’s Kind of a Funny Story meets Daria in the darkly hilarious tale of a teen’s attempt to remake her public image and restore inner peace through reality TV. The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.

Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.

As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win.


I am not a fan of YA Contemporary and honestly, I didn’t remember ordering this book from KLE. So when it arrived I was not excited to read it. Then I read it. The book isn’t a normal contemporary. It’s darkly funny like Daria and the main character feels genuine. The author included some diverse characters in it, including a bisexual best friend and a love interest who suffers from what appears to be suffering from OCD. The main character herself suffers from clinical depression. The plot and pacing are very well done and I loved the diary format of the book. I seem to be loving these of late.

However, I did feel that the book didn’t focus on some of the side characters enough. They aren’t very well developed in comparison to Jane. The father is mentioned to have certain traits and some of the housemates are too, but beyond that, they aren’t very well developed and the ending is a little ambiguous for everyone. While I liked that type of ending, I know a lot of others really won’t.

Verdict: If you like dark humor you’ll love this book.


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