Wednesday, May 24, 2017

REVIEW: As Red As Blood by Salla Simukka - Valeria

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 12:00 PM 0 comments
Rate:
4/5


Goodreads Description:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for teens—this international bestseller is a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat Nordic noir that chills to the bone, and not just because of the bleak winter setting.

Lumikki Andersson has made it a rule to stay out of things that do not involve her. She knows all too well that trouble comes to those who stick their nose where it doesn’t belong. But Lumikki’s rule is put to the test when she uncovers thousands of washed Euro notes hung to dry in her school’s darkroom and three of her classmates with blood on their hands. Literally.

A web of lies and deception now has Lumikki on the run from those determined to get the money back—no matter the cost. At the center of the chaos: Polar Bear, the mythical drug lord who has managed to remain anonymous despite hosting lavish parties and having a notorious reputation. If Lumikki hopes to make it out alive, she’ll have to uncover the entire operation.

Even the cold Finnish winter can’t hide a culprit determined to stain the streets red.
 


Holy shit guys.
This is a book you either swear by or hate.
I swear by it. The book was fast paced and the type that if it was a movie you would be jumping up and down, chewing your lip and possibly screaming at the screen. There where something that where lacking or where a bit confusing about what exactly was happening but I shall go ahead and blame that to the Finnish to English translation. The main character, Lumikki was a bit hard to like, as much as I like what was going on around, I simply couldn't really root for her. She was the type of character that just appears to try too hard to be relatable.

Recommend it?
Yup 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

REVIEW: The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight - 4 stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 6:30 PM 0 comments
Title: The Outliers
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication: May 3rd 2016
Cover Rating: 5/5

I picked this book up on a whim. The cover seemed sort of mysterious and creepy and I was in the mood for that. I did not, however, read the synopsis before diving in to this book. It wasn't EXACTLY what I was expecting from the cover but it was pretty cool. So if you are looking for a weird, creepy, medical/science thriller book then I would suggest this. It is much more than that, though.

There are CUSS WORDS in this book. And I swear to God it is a relief. After watching a little interview with the author where she said she likes certain cuss words I was expecting it. The cussing didn't really start until 150 pages in but I was laughing. The authors/publishers who say no cuss words in YA books must live under a rock. Teenagers cuss more than any other group I can think of. So I condone the authors writing style and her boldness. Finally! An author who isn't afraid to say fuck.

Wylie... Oh how do I describe Wylie. She is crazy? No. That is too harsh. She is just a girl who lost her mother and happens to have this long list of mental issues that stem from anxiety. With that being said, I thought she would be a somewhat unreliable narrative but she wasn't and I don't like how the book made her out to seem like this certifiably insane person who needs to be hospitalized. She had her moments but in the end you find out why. 

And then we have... crap... what was his name? JASPER! I like that name. I have no idea why I couldn't think of it. But Jasper is Cassie's boyfriend and Wylie wasn't too crazy about them dating because she had heard all this bad crap about him. Well, that will teach you to listen to gossip, now won't it little Ms. Wylie. Jasper is actually a pretty okay guy. He doesn't have the best life. Actually, none of the "main" characters have the best life. But he was loyal and brave and I don't think Cassie deserved him.

For some reason I couldn't picture Cassie. She was sent to fat camp and apparently ended up super skinny but I found myself picturing a bigger girl half the time. I just felt like Cassie wasn't an important character even though the entire book was centered around her situation. Actually, now that I am thinking about it, I couldn't picture anyone. Made the book even more mysterious, I guess. But, after getting to know who Cassie was I was super shocked when she did what she did at the end of the book. I will always wonder if it could have ended differently for her.

I want to touch on the crazy aspect of the book once more. While Wylie and Jasper were driving to find Cassie, Wylie's dad sent her a text saying he called her doctor and they were all out looking for her now. Later on we find out what really went down with that text but the fact that Wylie didn't even think twice about it being her dad that said that was kind of shitty. It meant that she was used to him treating her like she was crazy and she expecting him to be not such a great person. 

After all is said and done I can honestly say that I am glad there will be more books. The ending was the right amount of cliffhanger. Not the kind that makes you want to cry and then you get all slumpy. The kind that you feel like you got good enough answers but still want more. The one big thing I will say is this book is based on empathy. The ability to feel what other people around you are feeling. It was creepy for me because I have that. It isn't something magical or whatever. I just can feel emotions, even though text. It comes in handy but I'm glad it doesn't get me into the situation this book portrays.

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars.



Saturday, May 20, 2017

REVIEW: Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson - Valeria

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 8:39 PM 0 comments
Rate:
3.5/5


Goodreads Description:
After a harrowing journey across the country, Leah Westfall and her friends have finally arrived in California and are ready to make their fortunes in the Gold Rush. Lee has a special advantage over the other new arrivals in California—she has the ability to sense gold, a secret known only by her handsome best friend Jefferson and her murdering uncle Hiram.


Lee and her friends have the chance to be the most prosperous settlers in California, but Hiram hasn’t given up trying to control Lee and her power. Sabotage and kidnapping are the least of what he’ll do to make sure Lee is his own. His mine is the deepest and darkest in the territory, and there Lee learns the full extent of her magical gift, the worst of her uncle, and the true strength of her friendships. To save everyone, she vows to destroy her uncle and the empire he is building—even at the cost of her own freedom.



The second epic historical fantasy in the Gold Seer trilogy by Rae Carson, the acclaimed author of The Girl of Fire and Thorns.



So as much as I loved Walk On Earth a Stranger, like... A lot, I was disappointed in this one a bit. It kept putting me in a slump for some reason. The pace was steady, maybe even better than the last one and I, for the life of me, could not understand WHY I couldnt get through it!
After having to wait SO long to get my hands on it, THIS happens.
We discover more about what Lee can do and of course we see her being strong AF without her being annoying about it. This is a character to look up to and maybe that is why I love her so much, she knows her limits and fights for her loved ones without being absolutely over-kill martyr about it.
The ending of this book left me confused. In the fact that I know a third one is coming out yet the ending for it left me feeling satisfied with the way things where, there wasnt this gigantic cliff-hanger that left me pulling my hair at the roots.
So I finished and I was like... Well... Do I even need to read the last one? Sure there are a few unanswered questions but nothing that I can't live without.
I guess I will just have to wait and see.

Recommend it?
For the fans of the first one, yeah, I mean, after the last ending, you HAVE to. It's honestly worth it.


Friday, May 19, 2017

My Thoughts: 13 Reasons Why - Episode 1

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 9:26 PM 0 comments

So... I read this book a VERY long time ago. Let me go check my Goodreads to see if I even have it marks as when I read it on there. 

Nope, I don't even have a date on there. Just that it was read. I can say I know it was more than 5 years ago. I found a copy of this book, along with all of John Greens present works and a few other YA authors that write about Manic Pixie Dream Girls and other pointless shit. So, I picked up Thirteen Reasons Why along with Jay Ashers other book about AOL and Facebook. I read it and moved on. It was sad, sure, but it didn't impact me because I HAVE had friends commit suicide. Very close friends. People you would never think would consider taking their lives. It happens every-fucking-day for a multitude of reasons. 

I didn't think I would end up watching the Netflix series. Today, I changed that. I was working on my bookshelves and decided, meh, why not? I am a Young Adult reviewer and blogger so I might as well keep up to date with all things YA. 

So far... It is actually a pretty good representation of the book. The actor playing Clay, is he the dude that played in some R L STINE movie?, I feel, is a great fit. The girl playing Hannah Baker is a good fit too. 

I have heard so many whiny people saying this series is glorifying and romanticizing suicide. I have no idea what series they are watching but that couldn't be further from the truth. This series shows how agonizing it is to lose someone to suicide. It is showing that there are so many levels and reasons that someone would want to end their life because. Nothing is black and white, especially suicide and I think the people who are saying the whole glorifying/romanticizing shit need to reevaluate their definitions of those terms. 

Then, there are the people saying OMG DON'T LET YOUR KIDS WATCH THIS ERRTHESRGAWRGSRTDFERG. Why not? Do people not realize that kids see and hear worse shit that this on the daily? Do parents really have their heads that far up their own asses that they still somehow think the world is good? Life fucking sucks. Let your kids watch this. Do you want them to resent you one day for not letting them watch certain things because you view of the world vs. your childs' view of the world is horrible skewed? I have a fourteen year old niece. I was thirteen when she was born. And I can tell you that NOTHING about school or social life is the same from when I was a teenager to now when my niece is a teenager. There is some horribly gross shit on social media. Teenagers worshiping the kids who did the Columbine Massacre. Posting 'memes' about incest and tons and tons of suicide posts. Every kid now thinks they have anxiety and panic attacks and don't want you assuming their genders. This generation is disgusting. So, please, tell me what this series has that could be remotely worse than what your children see daily? What they participate in daily. I'll be waiting for your reply.

I am off the watch the second episode. But before I go I want to say that only thing that bothers me about this show is the mass usage of smartphones. The book was written in 2007. I graduated in 2007. The first iPhone didn't even come out until mid 2007 and even then, you had to be rich to have one. 


Mini Review: The Heir by Kiera Cass - 3 stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 8:48 PM 0 comments
Title: The Heir
Genre: YA Dystopian Romance
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication: May 5th 2016
Cover Rating: 5/5

Wah wah wah. Me me me. I am sacrificing sooo much so people should kiss my feet. Oh God, Eadlyn is such a whiny little brat. How did America have her? America was a very strong character. But her daughter? Is a very bratty little girl that thinks of herself as the center of the world. 

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is my review for The Heir.

Overall, ever though Eadlyn made me want to kick puppies, I gave the book 3/5 stars.









Thursday, May 18, 2017

REVIEW: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness & Siobhan Dowd - 4.5/5 stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 12:00 PM 0 comments
Title: A Monster Calls
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Author: Patrick Ness and Siobhan Down(Adapted from her original idea)
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication: August 2nd 2016(this edition)
Cover Rating: 3/5


Let's start this review with a little bit of honesty. Does that sound good? Okay.

I never thought I would read A Monster Calls. I have owned 4 or 5 different copies over the years. Recently, I picked up the paperback movie edition from Wal-Mart. It was super late and I was just looking for something to bring my Goodreads Challenge up. I didn't end up reading it until now, which happens to be almost 3 months later. If it wasn't for me watching a YouTube reading wrap-up video and hearing someone say it made her cry silent tears, I probably never would have picked this book up. But, I did. And I am so thankful. This book was beautiful and sad and so painful. The ending tore my heart out. The ending is on of my biggest fears. I know everyone eventually dies but it is still my fear.

So let's talk about the book rather than how the book ripped my heart out.

Conor is the main character. He is a 13 year old boy that is dealing with his mother having cancer. He cooks, cleans, does the chores and goes to school where he is bullied. He leads a pretty hard life.

Then we have the giant tree on the movie cover of this book. What do you think the tree has to do with the book? Well, read it and find out! Hahaha.

So then we have Conor's father, who left them for some chick in the USA. His grandmother, mothers mom, who seems like this very horrible tyrant type woman. Lily, who used to be his childhood friend until she betrayed him. And finally we have his "school life".

I treat his school life as a person or entity because it is so overbearing. Conor gets ignored, bullied, pitied and many other horrible acts. Most of these acts are because of his mothers cancer. I have no idea what would possess someone to be horrible to a person because their parent has a life threatening illness. But this book was set "across the pond", so not in the USA, so maybe stuff is different there.

Regardless of his school life, he has to face the his mother might not be here much longer. Because of this, someone appears in his life asking him for the truth. The truth being a nightmare he has been having. In the end of the book everything becomes clear and it is so heartbreaking. You might hope for one thing to happen but still want something else to happen. Just because you think something bad, doesn't make you a terrible person. We are all human and we make mistakes. In Conor's situations, he had to tell the truth of his dream, it might not have been exactly what he wanted, but it was one of many truths he had inside of him.

Sadly, the book did not make me cry, and that is what I was looking for. It was so sad and I did find myself with a quivering lower lip, but no tears.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

REVIEW: All The Forever Things by Jolene Perry

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 12:00 PM 0 comments
Title: All the Forever Things
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary - Tough Subjects
Author: Jolene Perry
Publisher: Albert Whitman
Publication: April 1st 2017
Cover Rating: 3/5

Guys... It finally happened? After years and years of reading books and not crying... THIS BOOK BROKE ME! Yup, broke me, nasty sniffling and tears and everything.

I wanted to start this review by saying that Jolene Perry is one of my favorite authors. I found her book, The Summer I Found You, on NetGalley and requested it. I got approved but ended up NOT reading the book because I fell behind with deadlines. So a few months later a friend read that very same book and told me what it was about and I decided I HAD to read it. So, I read it. And ever since then I haven't stopped reading her books. They are all hard hitting, quick reads that leave me emotional but they also have such a deeper meaning about how we as humans should be. So, yes, this review might be extremely biased. BUT the author won my heart fair and square.

All the Forever Things is unlike any book this author has written before. It still has the love story and the emotional turmoil but the characters felt a lot more real to me. I think I connected with this book more because it is centered around life and death and those are two things everyone has to deal with in this life whether we want to or not.

Gabe is the daughter of funeral directors. That sounds ring right? Well, they actually LIVE in the funeral home her parents direct in. It is a family business. So Gabe hasn't exactly had the best life because obviously people need to tease someone for being different. So Gabe has her best friend, Bree and that is about it. She does help her parents with the funeral stuff, as does Bree. I think the only thing I didn't really like about Gabe was the fact that she was way too timid. She pretty much hid behind her black clothes all because some dickhead called her Wednesday Addams.

And.... that dickhead ends up asking Bree out and Bree is all overjoyed and crap while Gabe just stands in the background wondering what she could have possibly done to warrant her best friend making google eyes at Bryce AKA, hottest guy at school AKA, douche-bag that called her Wednesday Addams and ruined a precious moment for her when she was younger.

Gabe cannot seem to let go of this grudge she holds against Bryce. Then again, Bryce wasn't earning any brownie points for growing up. He still teased Gabe and Bree just let it happen. That is exactly when I started HATING Bree and started calling Bryce a fuck-boy. Yep. It happened. I have officially used the term "fuck-boy" in a review. I get a medal for that, right?

Well since Bree got her man, what does Gabe get? Oh, don't you worry. Her present comes in the form of an extremely tall new guy that wears plaid and bowties and drives his dads car. Trust me, he is better than I make him sound. I promise! But you will have to read the book to see what I mean.

I truly loved this book beyond words. I really loved Gabe and Hartman. They were perfect. He definitely sounded like my kind of guy. You know... If I was still in high school. I would be all over that! Just kidding...or am i? Gabe was a little bit of a chicken though. Seeing all the dead people that come into her home and hearing about the ways people die, she has kind of become weird about everything. She doesn't want to drive and only trusts certain people to drive her. But that same fear is what has been holding her back from really living her life. A lot of us can relate to that, I bet.

If there was one thing to take away from this book it would be... the grass isn't always greener (or the coffin isn't always better) on the other side. You might think your family is icky or horrible or too protective but I bet there is someone you know who envies your life with your family. And then that person sees you as ungrateful even though in your eyes your parents really are horrible. Everyone views situations differently. No one ever sees the same thing or reacts the same way. This... this right here, is WHY the world is so imperfect. People believe the way they view life is the right way. It isn't the right way and it isn't the wrong way. We are all very different and need to learn to accept that and start listening more to other people. No, you don't have to change your view on life, but you do need to learn to see things from other perspectives in order to understand how to be a better person.

By the end of the book I was left with a beehive of emotions and I just kept saying "Oh no she didn't!!" about the major plot point at the end. I knew something bad was going to happen. I mean come on, something bad HAS GOT TO HAPPEN, right? Yup, I was right. Just not exactly what I was expecting or, more like, WHO I was expecting.

Overall, I have the book 5/5 stars.



Thursday, May 11, 2017

REVIEW: Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith - 3.5 stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 12:00 PM 0 comments
Title: Windfall
Genre: Contemporary YA
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Delecorte Press
Publication: May 2nd 2017 
Cover Rating:  3/5

What would you do with a million dollars? What about 53 million dollars? I would spend 3 million on a huge piece of land. Build a dream house, build a few other houses for my parents and sister, maybe my in-laws if I'm feeling extra nice. I would then buy every young adult book that comes out and never have to unhaul any of them because I ran out of room. The other 50 million? No idea, but I'd find causes and things to donate to. Maybe go back to school. It all sounds so lovely. So what would you get? And remember, don't let the money go to your head. Money has the ability to tear the world apart and it's not even remotely worth it.

- Plot:
If I had to give a quick synopsis for this book it would probably be...

Girl loses both parents, tragically, thirteen months apart. Girl goes to love with aunt and uncle. Girl becomes best friends with her cousin and his friend. Girl ends up with extremely stereotypical crush on her best guy friend. Girl buys best guy friend a lottery ticket for his 18th birthday. Guy wins the lottery with said ticket. Guy kisses girl and everything gets strained. Girl then had to decide who she is and If everything she's ever done had something to do with what she wants or what her parents would have wanted. Is she trying to follow her own dreams or is she just continuing get parents dreams? Do SHE want to go to Stanford or does she want to go because because her mother never got to go?

Then there is the other side of the story, Teddy. He ended up with a large sum of money from the lottery that came from a ticket Alice bought for his birthday and throughout the story we have to see what he ends up doing with the winnings whether it's good or bad or or whatever. But because of him winning people start using him for trips and food and whatever else pops up. Then his father magically reappears. The same father who drained the family bank account and all their savings just to gamble. Teddy is so gullible and doesn't believe his father has come back because he won the lottery. So he has a lot of choices to make.

I am no stranger to bad luck. So I could connect with two of the main characters pretty well on that front. The story is supposed to give hope and good morals but it's really no deeper than that. It was just a run-of-the-mill contemporary. If you are looking for a deep contemporary Young Adult book, then this probably isn't the book for you. 

Characters:
I touched on connecting with two of the characters in the plot section. The two characters being Teddy and Alice. I connected with Alice more because even with her horrible luck, she still finds a way to be a good person and I like to think that is how I have been my entire life. Alice lost both of her parents 13 months apart so she is living with her aunt and uncle and her cousin, Leo. Through living with her relatives she meets her best friend Teddy. So, 9 years after losing her parents, Alice has a pretty close circle.

Let's talk about Teddy. I did not like him. Whether he had won the lottery or not, I still would not have liked him. I understand his dad is a shit stain on the underpants of society and that, RIGHT THERE, should have been reason enough for Teddy to A) not trust his father ever again and B) be a little more grateful for the life his mother was able to provide for him after said shit stain screwed the family over. But nooo. He just had to be an ass-taco. He did end up doing great things with his winnings but I still just didn't get good vibes from him. He was just a very lost kid who gave his dad too many chances.

I liked Leo enough. He was art college bound after high school and with as much as him going to art college was brought up, we never got to 'see' any of his work. So, Leo was pretty much just a side character with a quick background to be used as plot fodder, even though he was in every scene and aspect of Alice's life.

There was also another love interest. I actually liked him. He was sweet and kind and I think him and Alice would have been such a great pair if only Alice could have pulled her head out of Teddy's ads for one second.

Along the lines of diversity, there was a gay character. There was a female character. And that's about it. I don't believe anything was mentioned about ethnicity.

World building:
There was no real world building needed as the book was a contemporary and took place in Chicago. -

The ending of the book was rather beautiful and I can say I was kind of surprised. With the way money tears people apart I expected the book to end badly. But I was pleasantly surprised and okay with the outcome. The book wasn't fantastic or anything but it had a lot of good morals and feel-good parts so that bumped up my rating a tad.

Overall I gave the book 3.5/5 stars.


Monday, May 8, 2017

REVIEW: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas - 4.5 stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 8:49 PM 0 comments
Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Genre: Fantasy
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children
Publication: May 2nd 2017
Cover Rating: 5/5

I was scared to read WAR. I heard a bunch of things about how the sex scenes were going to be pornographic and more abundant than in MAF. I am painfully shy when it comes to reading or watching sex scenes in books and movies. I have to put the book down or hide my eyes. LUCKILY, the pornographic predictions were unfounded. I really enjoyed the book and this one has gotten the highest rating out of all three.

Plot:
Please keep in mind that I did skip the sex scenes. Reading them plainly written makes me squirm but reading them the way SJM writes them just makes me feel dirty and wrong. I loved the relationship between Rhys and Feyre at the beginning, but there are places and times to fuck like rabbits and in a tent on a fucking battlefield is NOT ONE OF THEM.  Their relationship is purely physical  and I really don't see them surviving in any other environment where they have to act normal and not run off to mountain cabins to fuck fuck fuck. Mind you, they were not the only couple to fuck on the battlefield. It was like everyone was thinking HEY, One last HOOHAH for the road since we might die and never get to give in to carnal urges ever again. UGH.

Aside from the sex, the main plot of this book is... well... WAR. But we don't get to see the actual war for a while. This book, just like the previous one, had way too much filler. I enjoyed the things that had to do with the plot such as preparing for the war and trying to figure out what they can do to retrieve THE Cauldron. But other than that? It was a book about trying to get Elain, Feyre;s youngest sister, to stop being a zombie, trying to get Nesta to stop being such a raging bitch and almost losing members of the inner circle multiple times.

No one dies. Not really anyway. But the one person/creature that does die really hit me. I didn't expect to be that emotional over it. Oh, wait, okay so someone else died that was kind of a big deal. Not bookwise, but for Feyre. It sucks that he died but I was so shocked about what he did at the end and I feel like his life was a noble sacrifice. He had to of known he was going to die but he did it anyway. And the one person he mainly did it for, still turned her head and treated him like crap until he died. So after 3 books of hating her, she is still my most hated character and my feelings about her never swayed. But... This probably belongs in the Characters area but it was more plot than anything.

Characters:
While I have disliked Tamlin for a while, I realized that the Spring Court is all about appearance and that makes the court appear very weak and vapid. Meanwhile, the Night Court is all action and logic. Tamlin never thought anything through before he acted upon it. Rhys on the other hand made plans and talked with his Inner Circle and did what was right for his people. I hardly heard anything about the constituents of the Spring Court. In Thorns and Roses, Tamlin was made to appear kind and good to his people but I never really saw any examples. Everything Tamlin did was either for himself, Feyre or to show off his power. It's very eye opening now that I have seen this. When I was reading Thorns and Roses I told my friend I hate Lucien and Rhys and I hope Rhys dies. Now my opinions are vastly swayed just as they were with Warner and Adam in the Shatter Me series.

One thing I found myself doing while reading this book is trying to make some of the faces that are so often referred to. The sneers and baring of teeth. I tried and felt inherently stupid. So much so that after a while I starting picturing everyone in this book sort of looking like this....


There was a lot of character development. I think EVERY character changed in some way throughout the book. Elain being the most changed. There were also a lot of new characters thrown into the mix. Lords and Ladies from the other courts. People who already had a past with our main characters so I would love to read some backstory on all of them. It is always kind of weird when you meet new characters but they already have a history with the main character that you don't get to see. So maybe the next few books will really give us some back story for everyone. A girl can hope, right?


World Building:
There wasn't much world building in this book because it was already set up in the two previous books. We did, however, get to travel through some courts and meet new people. The courts we traveled through weren't really explored much but if I had to pick, I would love to explore the courts for Nightmares, Dawn and Day. Those three seem the most exciting to me.

In the end, the book was good. If I ignored all the things that irritated me, I was fine. I would have really loved more action and less plot filling but you get what you get and nothing will change that. I can't wait for the next three books to see what and who they are about. I am really hoping for a prequel about the first war.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.





Sunday, May 7, 2017

REVIEW: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas - 4 stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 12:00 PM 0 comments
Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Genre: Fantasy
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children
Publication: May 3rd 2016
Cover Rating: 5/5

Directly after reading A Court of Thorns and Roses I picked up A Court of Mist and Fury so I wouldn't forget any of the things I learned in the first book. I really enjoy reading books in a series back to back because it leaves less room for forgetting and I am less likely to have to go back to reread the first book just so I can continue with the series and that always ends up wasting time I normally don't have.

Please be aware, that this is a review for a second book in the series so there will be spoilers for the first book. Please do not read this review if you have not read A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Plot: 
This being the second book is a series means the plot is supposed to move forward, leading up to the end result. I feel like this book was a lot of filler. Yes, we get to see a lot of new characters and  quite a few plot points from book one have been uprooted and turned around, but I really felt the the majority of this book was just filler. 

Normally, I consider filler to be some form of world building. But this kind of filler wasn't very productive to me. I still loved the book and enjoyed the characters but I would have loved to see a little bit more productivity with the story. 

The book was basically just HEY we have a war coming, we have to prepare and go on these long adventures to find these items that are supposed to save us but end up damning us even more. It's a good plot, a good story line, but I just felt like it was lacking. 

Oh, and the sex in the book, yeah, completely NOT Young Adult appropriate. I am twenty-eight and I had to put the book down and walk away a few times. 

Characters:
This book is very character driven. That might be why it is lacking so bad with the plot. The characters do make up for some of the plot-lacking but they can't do everything on their own.

ACOMAF changed a lot of my allegiances. I hated Lucien and Rhys in the first book. I liked Tamlin in the first book. Now, I hate Tamlin, love Rhys and Lucien was really growing on me. 

I still hated Feyre's family. Nesta being the main target of my loathing. She was just such a horrible excuse for a human being. I can understand being guarded but Nesta was something way beyond that. Elain was sweet and Nesta sheltered her a little too much. Their father wasn't really in the picture but Nesta made sure it was known how she felt about him.

We are introduced to an entirely different level of characters in this book. We get to know Rhys and through that we get to know his Inner Circle. The people he trusts the most with his life and the lives of his people. The characters from the Inner Circle consist of Mor(Rhys cousin and 3rd in command), Cassian, Amren(2nd in command and something not of this world) and Azriel. Normally, when an author introduces side characters maybe one of them has a big role in the main characters story, not all of them. But the author made it so ALL of these characters are crucial to the story and you can't help but having some form of emotional connection to them.

World Building:
Oh, man. I really did enjoy the world building. I think that is my favorite part of these books. The Spring Court sounds lovely, or course, but I really don't think it can even compare to what I was introduced to in the Night Court. I might be biased, though. I really love anything that has to with stars, celestial bodies and galaxies. But the way the author described the Night Court was good enough to the point where I could picture it rather clearly and I love when an author can do that.

We got to see a few other courts/territories in the fae realm and it was all just very vivid. I think I would love to see these books be turned into movies just so I can see how other people may have envisioned the courts. 

Wrap-Up:
God, the ending of this book was ridiculous. I couldn't imagine being a person who read ACOMAF the day it came out and then had to wait and entire year  to get answers. The ending wasn't just a cliff hangar. It was the mother of all cliff hangars. 

Tamlin is a fuck. There is no better word for him. Lucien, ehhh, I don't really think he is as bad as the author portrays him at the end of the book. I feel like he is inherently good, he just needs to be separated from Tamlin. Especially since the way Tamlin seems to deal with things not going his way by going way out in left field and pulling some crazy shit out of his ass. The crazy shit being he sides with the WRONG side of this war just so he could make deal with the big guy to get Feyre back. Not once did he think that HEY maybe Feyre really doesn't love me. HEY maybe I am a giant douchebag for locking someone I supposedly loved in my house while I went out and did things I didn't think she was strong enough to handle. And HEY maybe I should have let Feyre make her own choices instead of being a complete and total lunatic and trying to hide her away. Because obviously locking her away worked soooo well the first time, lets try that again! What could possibly go wrong? Hmmm. Oopsie, I may have helped start a war that could end my people. Oh well, at least I got Feyre back.

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars.





Saturday, May 6, 2017

REVIEW: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - 4 stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 5:00 PM 0 comments
Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Genre: Fantasy
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication: May 5th 2015
Cover Rating: 5/5


For me, the Sarah J. Maas books have always been on the back burner. I kept telling myself I was waiting for the last books to come out then I would marathon each series. But then a book signing happening. It would be weird to go to a single author book signing without having read any of their books, right? So, I had to read the Court books and I am so glad I did.

A little back story from the book. This world Feyre and the Fae inhabit happens to be the world 500 years after a huge war that took away human slaves from their Fae captors. This war ended up creating a huge wall that seperated the Fae from the humans. So the humans thought they were safe. Turns out, they were very wrong and the Fae were still in control. But the Fae are also dealing with a very crappy situation of their own. They, too, are enslaved.

We are introduced to Feyre. She is a hunter, but only because she has to be in order to keep her lazy, shitty family alive. I can honestly say that I have never hated a family in a book more than I hated Feyre's sisters and father. Because of her shitty family, Feyre ends up killing a wolf that turned out to be Fae, thus activating a treaty between the humans and the fae. And this is where the Beauty and the Beast retelling aspects start to come into place.

Enter Tamlin. The wolf Feyre killed ended up being from Tamlin's court, the spring court to be more precise,and because of that he is the one who has to go over the wall to retrieve Feyre so she can be a prisoner for the crimes committed. But there is something off with the Spring Court. Everyone is wearing some form of animal mask due to a curse(Beauty and the Beast). Tamlin doesn't really like this situation, he is , in fact, rather pissy about the whole thing, or so he made it seem. So he tells Feyre she can do whatever she wants on his property and his weird behavior slowly turns into him being overly nice to her and stuff ends up happening. 

Then we have Lucien. I hated this little brat so badly. He was originally from the autumn court but because of his shitty family he ended up with Tamlin. 

So, blah  blah blah, stuff happens and everyone ends up on the wrong side of a 50 year enslavement. Tamlin had 50 years to save himself and his people but he couldn't do it. 

In the end, this one tiny, insignificant human girl ends up being the salvation for all of the Fae. She ends up defeating the one person who was controlling ALL of them and because of that, a new war might be starting.

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

BIRTHDAY REVIEW: Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray - 5 Stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 12:00 AM 0 comments
Title: Defy the Stars
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: Little Brown
Publication: April 4th 2017
Cover Rating: 100/5

Claudia Gray is one of my top three favorite authors. She was actually my first ever favorite Young Adult author. I found a copy of one of her books at a local thrift store during the huge vampire phase the world was going through and I fell in love with her work. This book was no exception.

Characters:
This book had a ton of characters. We have Noemi, she is a young Genesis soldier who is supposed to risk her life for the safety of her planet. Then we have Abel. He is an enemy mech-droid for the Earth army that is set on destroying the people of Genesis so that they may inhabit the planet because the people of earth killed their own. Those are our main characters. The story is told back and forth from their perspectives. 

Then we have a ton of side characters that are mostly important to drive the plot home. I think the most prominent of these characters was probably Virginia. She helped the main characters reach their overall goal and was in more than one scene.

Plot:
The book is centralized around a few planets and a rather large war that is destroying the galaxy. Earth is the bad guy, or so it would appear. Genesis is a planet where everything is clean and they don't use a lot of machinery and if something isn't broken then they keep it and don't both with upgrading their technology. This has proved to be rather bad with Earth attacking them in an attempt to take over the planet and move the inhabitants there. Without newer and higher tech gear, Genesis is pretty much just buying time. 

On the other side of the war is Earth. They have an army of mech droids they send to fight the people of Genesis. These mechs are very deadly against the dwindling forces of Genesis. Abel is, technically, a part of these mech droids. He was stranded 30 years ago near Genesis. His crew and maker abandoned the ship and Abel was left there to rot. But he didn't rot, as mechs have a very long lifespan, but being alone for 30 years has some pretty crappy effects on a person or, in this case, a mech-droid.

After Noemi and Abel's stories become entwined the plot shifts a little to a mission to stop the war. We go on this adventure with them to try and get supplies needed to destroy something that would, ultimately, help Genesis with the war and survival of their people.

So, the plot of the book is war. 

World Building:
I really enjoyed the world the author made for us. I normally don't like Sci-Fi settings but considering she is a favorite author of mine, I had to, at least, give it a try. I was afraid it was going to be very Star-Trekky and I would hate it. But, Luckily, the only REAL Sci-Fi aspect of the book is the fact that it took place in space and a few other planets. Then you have the whole Mech-Army situation. The whole book had a kind of Avengers feel to it with the mechs. But I ended up really enjoying the entire book. 

The world building was fine, yes, but I did have a few issues with picturing certain things. I couldn't really grasp the layout of the ship Abel was stranded in and that kind of sucked considering that was the main point where most of the story took place. But other than that, I really loved some of the images I had swarming in my head. I really would have loved to see more of the Earth from the book, though. 

The ending just killed my soul entirely. You know how people sometimes talk about being at a funeral and instead of crying they want to laugh hysterically? That is how I felt when the book ended.  ABEL!!! I know there will be more books but still. I needed them to be together. I NEEDED IT. And now I get to sit here for another year and be sad. BUT, this book will get reread a bunch of times, just like the authors Firebird trilogy. -swoon-

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.



Friday, April 21, 2017

As I Read Review: Hunted by Meagan Spooner - 3 Stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 11:00 AM 0 comments
Title: Hunted
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Author: Meagan Spooner
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication: March 14th 2017
Cover Rating: 5/5

April 4th 2017

1:31pm - pg 48:
So this book is supposed to be a Beauty and the Beast retelling. So I'm guessing Solmir might be the books version of Gaston. But Solmir isn't disgusting and he doesn't treat Yeva/Beauty as a stupid girl. Maybe this is role reversal. Will I hate Beast?

1:53pm - pg 86:
The father better be okay... also, I do like Solmir but there is a small part of me that feels like he is too desperate.

I really like the creepy Beast parts at the beginning of each chapter. But he isn't a normal version of the Beast. He has multiple people inside of him like Legion. We are many.

2:05pm - pg 94:
Interesting... very interesting. I can't wait to find out exactly what curse this specific beast is under.
I also can't help but wonder if Solmir is involved or at least a part, whether he knows it or not.

2:12pm - pg 105:
I loved the stories Yeva started to tell. I can really see the parts that are retelling.
I'm also finding it weird that it was expected that someone would rescue Beauty. Maybe that is how the Beast viewed women. A man has to come and save a beauty.

This version of the retelling is definitely making me think of Beastly by Alex Flynn. The way Beast reacts to anyone seeing him reminds me of how the guy in Beastly reacted. But this beast, his reaction might be more that just his looks. Maybe it is part of the curse? We shall see.

2:19pm - pg 119:
Ha! That is right Mr. Beast. That is what you fricken get for assuming a man had to save a woman!
The stories seem to be this tales version of the books that were so prominent for the original versions.
I am at the part where the beast starts to shift his feelings.
And I am really interested in this whole Firebird thing. It is a very interesting story.

April 5th 2017

9:41am - Page 200:
Okay so after stopping last night and starting again today... UGH! The dog!!! Really?!?! You don't do that crap. Haven't you see movies where that crap happens? People don't like it. I know it survived but still.

ALSO... My blogger app didn't save like 4 update so I am over here all angry and annoyed. Blah!!

11:14am -pg 255:
OH NO SHE DIDN'T. Revenge is such an ugly thing and I wish she wouldn't have done that.

11:19am - pg 261:
Ahhh now its becoming very Beauty and the Beasty.

Omfg I bet you anything this son of a b***h married one of the other girls.... I just feel like he did. Ugh

Uh huh. You better not have dude. Glad I was wrong.

OH NEVERMIND!!! You asshat. I shouldn't be mad because she wasn't that upset but still, what a fricken asshat. Gross!!

11:31am - pg 275:
Hmmmmmm

FINISHED REVIEW:

Alrighty then. I finished it. I didn't really find much wrong with it other than the fact that I have heard this story told in about fifty other Young Adult fantasy books.

Girl. Small town in some kingdom. Some archaic, small town hive mind bullcrap about women needing to be quiet, uneducated and proper. And that women aren't worth anything if they are unwed or without child. Blah Blah blah blah blah. Then this one specific girl defies all odds and she wants to be a hunter or a assassin or some other crazy thing women aren't allowed to be. The girl is always a badass, always trying to avenge or get revenge. Girl meets guy. Girl and guy have feelings for each other, usually instantly, and it's ALWAYS either forbidden or unwholesome for their love to exist. Sound like anything you've read lately?

The book, however, was actually fairly unique is its representation of Beauty any Beast.

I can't be too harsh on this book though as Beauty and the Beast retelling always touch a soft spot in my heart and this particular story wasn't as horribly sexist as most of its brethren. BUT THAT ENDING pissed me right the hell off. This is a standalone book, if I'm not mistaken, and the ending just happened. One minute there was some form of action or plot and then BAM everything was okay and they lived Happily Ever After. That's it. Beauty had apparently gotten over her father's loss completely and broke a curse that didn't seem to make a lot of sense, magically. So yeah, that ending was rushed and doesn't even seem to fit with the book in terms of giving answers irs driving me crazy. And not good crazy, either. The best way I can describe the ending is.... have you ever watched a horror movie that came on normal cable television? Well the sex scenes and certain crap is edited out to allow for commercials and to fit it into and certainly time slot. I feel like the ending was edited out and the replacement was horrible.

I was very hasty with giving the book 5/5 stars because its a Beauty and the Beast retelling. So I am biased because that is my favorite story of all time. But after sitting on it for a while I realized the book wasn't that special. It wasn't a BAD book. It just wasn't unique, at all. Imagine watching your favorite show or movie over and over again. You still love it but it's the same thing over and over so you know what you are going to get. Except imagine going in each time expecting a different outcome.

So, I had to downgrade the rating to 3/5 stars.



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