Tag Archives: young adult

Waiting on Wednesday
May 28, 2014 posted by Emma

Waiting on Wednesday #81

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

 

The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex, #1)

 

An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.

 

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

Published by Greenwillow Books

To be released on June 10, 2014

Book Reviews
May 23, 2014 posted by Emma

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1)In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assasin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

 

I decided to check out The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson after hearing that this book was the next best historical fantasy series and after also hearing a few comparisons to The Winner’s Curse, which has been my absolute favorite read of 2014 so far. So obviously, I had to give it a chance!

Unfortunately, it ended up not really being my cup of tea. This is such a hard review to do because I’m 100% positive that this book is going to have A TON of fans and that people are going to fall in love with Lia and her story. But I wasn’t one of those people, sadly. I ended up DNF-ing about halfway through, which I hated to do because I could tell it was an awesome story, but there were too many things that bothered me.

I guess for me, the biggest problem that I had was with the main character herself, Lia. She’s a princess and as is expected of her, she’s betrothed to the prince of a neighboring country in order to ensure safety and security for her kingdom (and her loved ones). However, Lia has apparently had enough of living a stifled life, so she decides to leave the prince at the altar and make a run for it with her maid servant to live amongst the commoners. This is hard for me because as a girl living in 2014, I can of course look at Lia’s situation and think, Oh my god, an arranged marriage sounds absolutely awful, I totally get why she ran away. But then thing is…this book ISN’T set in the 21st century. This is in a medieval time when this is a normal thing??? And Lia is the key to securing safety for her people and her family, but she basically just says “eff it!” and runs off in search of a simple life and true love, where she mouths off to random strangers and doesn’t give too much of a crap for how her family is dealing with the aftermath (even her brothers, who she claims to love SO much). I’m going to be honest, it disgusted me a little bit how selfish she was and I had a really hard time empathizing with her when it all blew up in her face. I was just kind of like…how did you not see this coming?

The second issue that I had was the romance. When Lia makes a run for it, two people come after her: the jilted prince she was supposed to marry, and an assassin from a neighboring kingdom ordered to kill her. She naturally goes for one of the guys, and I’m not going to say who but if you’ve read any YA I’m sure you can guess. And I was cool with her choice cause I was kind of digging that guy too, until he basically just loses his head after ONE encounter with her and turns into a sensitive pile of mush. WHICH IS FINE. Except it was totally out of character for this guy and happened waaaay too fast. And from there on, a huge chunk of the book was devoted to her romances with these two guys and not a whole lot else, other than her cheerily slaving away over peasant tasks. The guys were basically obsessed with her and seemed to pop up at literally EVERY opportunity to help her or save her or shoot her brooding looks. They were desperate, basically. And to be honest that’s not really my thing…I prefer a nice, slow build, personally.

HOWEVER, the writing was absolutely beautiful. As much as I wasn’t a fan of the story, I could definitely appreciate how gorgeous of a writer Mary Pearson is, oh my goodness. The scenes were perfectly described and I felt every character’s emotion so vividly. She is incredible and definitely someone to look out for. Even though I didn’t like this book, I’m 100% open to trying a future book.

All in all, I think a lot of people will like this book. If you’re a little (okay, a lot) cynical like me and not into cheesy romance/love triangles, then maybe you won’t. But I don’t think Mary Pearson has to worry cause I’m going to guess most people will eat this up. Definitely check it out!

Pages: 492

Date Published: July 15, 2014

Publisher: Henry Holt

Rating: DNF

Book Reviews
April 27, 2014 posted by Emma

The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) – Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1)It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

 

I picked up The  Bone Season originally because I’d been hearing some good things about it on Tumblr and Goodreads, and wanted to give it a try. Plus that cover is absolutely gorgeous and so intriguing!

The Bone Season is about a girl named Paige, who’s a rare type of clairvoyant in an alternate version of London where voyants are not only despised, but hunted down. She works for a “gang” of secret voyants, doing whatever tasks they ask of her, and manages to stay under the radar. Until one day she’s captured and is transported to a part of the country that she didn’t even know existed. It’s a place where voyants are valued as soldiers, and although she’s little more than a prisoner, at least she’s safe. But things aren’t what they seem, especially with her Rephaite keeper, and Paige soon finds herself in even more danger than she started.

There were parts of this book that I absolutely loved and then parts of it that I wasn’t overly impressed with. I can’t say this one blew me away, but it was definitely an enjoyable read!

For starters, the plot is incredibly unique and keeps you on your toes. The whole concept of the voyants in an alternate London was fascinating, as well as the fact that our heroine was a criminal who could watch her own back. The beginning was a little slow for me, but once Paige was captured and brought to the Rephaite city, things picked up. I loved learning about their secret society, and I loved learning about the Rephaim themselves. The whole thing was just really inventive and different from anything I’ve ever read!

The characters were a little less spectacular. Paige was a decent heroine, but I never was really able to connect with her. She seemed a little cold and distant at times, and all I wanted was to feel a little emotion from her, but it never really happened. Some people will definitely love her, but she wasn’t really my cup of tea. As for Warden, I felt similarly about him. He was mysterious and dangerous, but that’s all he ever was for me. We learned his backstory, but I felt that I never really got to know HIM, if you know what I mean. He seemed kind of flat and just…there.

While this book probably won’t go down as one of my favorites, it’s worth reading just for the world building and fast-paced plot! It’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, that’s for sure.

Pages: 466

Date Published: August 20, 2013

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Book Reviews
April 26, 2014 posted by Emma

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4) – Richelle Mead

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4)Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives.

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure — and re-education — looms larger than ever.

 

Okay, so I’m a huge fan of Richelle Mead. The Vampire Academy series is probably one of my absolute favorite series to ever have existed. And then when I heard that she was writing a spin-off series, obviously I flipped out. I’ve been absolutely loving the Bloodlines series so far, and I’m extremely happy to report that The Fiery Heart definitely doesn’t disappoint.

I wasn’t the hugest fan of Sydney in VA (or really in the beginning of this series either), but she’s 100% converted me. Don’t get me wrong, I love Rose. She’s probably the most badass heroine out there, but the fact that Sydney is so different, and yet still a total badass, makes me really happy. I love that she shows people that you don’t have to beat people up and be an expert at wielding a stake to kick major ass. She shows how strong she is with her intelligence, her logical thinking, her determination, and her loyalty in The Fiery Heart maybe more than ever, and I absolutely LOVE her for that! Her character development has been absolutely insane throughout the course of this series, and I’ve adored every second of it.

Another thing that I loved in this book was her relationship with Adrian. I honestly think that their relationship has got to be one of the healthiest that I’ve seen yet in YA fiction. Neither of them really have their stuff together one hundred percent, but they love each other for it. It’s repeated so many times that they make each other better, they strengthen each other. Their relationship is more than just something fueled on teenage passion and lust. They went from being true, genuine friends to something honestly so beautiful. I love that they’re there for each other for the other person to lean on, while at the same time encouraging them to be the best person they can be. I guess what I’m trying to say is that they believe in each other, and there’s something so mature and honest about that. BUT don’t worry, there’s plenty of steamy, romantic scenes too, thank GOODNESS!

Okay, but here’s the thing, right? There’s something that happens in this book that I can’t really talk about without giving away a huge spoiler. It has to do with something that Adrian did in his past, and I just want to say that I’m really NOT okay with it. A lot of people will be able to gloss over it and say, “Yeah, but he’s changed! He’s not that guy any more!” And I definitely agree that he’s not, but it’s honestly really problematic and something that can’t be overlooked. I’m not saying it changed my opinion of Adrian, but it made me take a solid step back. It just, ugh. Yikes. Gave me a very yucky feeling in my stomach, for sure.

And then the ending?! Oh my goodness, what a cliffhanger. I was absolutely SHOCKED! And I’m so scared for what’s going to happen to Sydney in the next book, oh man. Definitely prepare yourselves for this one, guys, cause it’s a heartbreaker!

All in all, I did really love this book. I thought it was maybe the strongest one yet, and I can’t wait to see what Richelle has in store for the next one!

Check out this series immediately, if you haven’t already!!

Pages: 420

Date Published: November 19, 2013

Publisher: Razorbill

Rating: ★★★★★

Book Reviews
April 20, 2014 posted by Emma

Paper Towns – John Green

Paper TownsQuentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

 

I know it’s already been reviewed, but I figured that in honor of the recent announcement that Paper Towns was going to follow in The Fault In Our Stars‘ footsteps and be made into a movie, it’s about time to put in my two cents!

First off, I want to say that I’m definitely a fan of John Green. TFIOS was probably my favorite book of his, but I’ve mostly enjoyed the rest of the them as well. There’s definitely some huge issues with his books, as well as just the way that the YA community has turned him into a sort of writing-god, but that’s a rant for another time. This is about Paper Towns, which I thoroughly enjoyed (for the most part).

Paper Towns kind of follows in the footsteps of TFIOSLooking for Alaska, and An Abundance of Katherines, in that it follows the story of nerdy, quiet Quentin who is looking for something more than his average life. He’s always been a little in love with the quirky next door neighbor, Margo, and when she climbs through his window one night, he has the adventure of a lifetime. But then she disappears, and with only a few clues to go on, Q embarks on a journey to find Margo (and discover more about himself in the process).

I really did enjoy this book! Q had me laughing quite a bit, and Margo was the kind of girl that I would want to be best friends with. And their friends were just as full of personality and life, which made for a very fun read. There were definitely some parts where I was like…okay…no teenagers I know talk like that (or are that pretentious). BUT sometimes you just have to roll with it and make believe.

The plot was interesting as well, from Q and Margo’s night of adventuring, all the way to the craziness that unfolds as Q gets closer and closer to finding Margo. John Green had me guessing for a lot of it…I honestly had no clue where Margo was, or whether she was even going to be alive or not when Q finally figures out her clues. I won’t say what happens at the end, but I will say that I was mostly satisfied with it and thought it was appropriate, all things considered.

I guess my only complaint lies with the characters themselves. Or more than that, I think it’s the formulaic way that John Green tends to write. I’ve read all of his books now, and to be honest, Margo could’ve just as easily been swapped out by Alaska or one of the Katherines and I probably wouldn’t have even noticed. Same goes with Quentin (/Miles/Colin). It’s all the same story. I’m not saying it’s not a good story! But it’s very similar: a cute, yet decently nerdy and intelligent boy becomes infatuated with a crazy, wonderful girl that doesn’t quite have her life together, and through this he learns about himself. The girls in these books are honestly just plot devices so that the male protag can grow up and figure himself out, and if you’re cool with that, then you’re gonna enjoy John Green’s books a lot! But otherwise, it may bug you like it bugs me.

Anyway, despite my grumbling about the lack of a legit female character and the formulaic-ness to all of John Green’s books, I DID actually enjoy Paper Towns. It was a fun read, and I loved the whole concept of paper towns themselves.

Pick this one up if you’re a John Green fan, or if you’re interested in light (and yet at the same time deep and a little pretentious) contemporary stories!

Pages: 305

Date Published: September 22, 2009

Publisher: Speak

Rating:  ★★★½☆

Book Reviews
April 10, 2014 posted by Emma

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) – Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same.

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

 

Anyone who knows me knows that I became a huuuge fan of this series after recently picking up a copy of The Raven Boys. There’s just so much goodness in these books, I can’t even begin to describe it.

Of course as soon as I finished the first one, I knew I had to get a copy of The Dream Thieves ASAP. This second installment picks up pretty closely after the first one ends, with Blue and the gang still desperately looking for Glendower. However, finding Cabeswater and the ley line changes all of them pretty drastically, and now they have to deal with the aftermath, along with staying alive against some not-so-nice people in search of the same magic that Gansey is looking for.

This book is definitely a little darker in tone than the first, because most of the gang isn’t coping very well with the discovery of the ley line. But now they’ve got bigger things to worry about, with the addition of an even more sinister villain (or is he?) and some new characters as well. I’m not going to lie, the plot definitely confused me (again), but like the first time, I pushed through for the sake of finding out what happens to the characters. There were so many things happening in so many different directions that at times it did feel a bit much, but it ended up being worth the confusion. I loved every single twisted second!

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, it absolutely astounds me how Ms. Stiefvater is able to create a world that’s so implausible and disconnected from our own, and yet so refreshingly real at the same time. Every word, every action, every breath that the characters take feels like they’re actually there with you. Or I guess, like you’re actually there with them. It’s beautiful, it really is.

And speaking of characters, we get to learn even more about the gang in the second book. The Dream Thieves shifts its focus a little, as far as who is doing most of the narrating. In this book, it shifts away from Gansey/Blue and more towards Ronan, which I really enjoyed. He’s such a darkly enigmatic character that it was fascinating (and oh my goodness, so heartbreaking) to learn about his backstory. Watching him struggle with his new abilities was amazing and little bit frightening, especially considering some of the revelations that go along with it. He gets fleshed out a lot more in this second book, and I loved it.

But don’t worry Gansey and Blue fans! They’re still present, just slightly less so. They’re just as bicker-y and snarky as the first book, except this time with a little more romance. As someone who loves the two of them together (sorry, Adam!), I enjoyed watching the slow build of their relationship as they became closer. But at the same time, her romantic entanglements are a little sad to watch, because you just know that someone’s going to get hurt.

Which brings me to Adam. Oh, Adam. He’s such a sweet, insecure guy, and I love him to death. But a definite darker side comes out in this book. Admittedly a huge chunk of it has to do with the effects of the ley line, but to what extent, I don’t know. Either way, if in the last book he was heading towards the edge of the precipice, in this book he’s teetering at the very tip. I’m so worried for this character, guys! He’s so unstable and unpredictable, and reading from his point of view feels like reading about a ticking time bomb, just waiting to explode. Definitely excited (and wary) to see what happens with him in the third book.

All in all, this book absolutely rocked just as much as the first one! Anyone who’s a fan of kickass heroines, slow-building romance, urban magic, and beautiful writing has GOT to check The Raven Cycle series out. Or really just if you like reading at all, check it out!

Go get your copies, this one’s a must read!

 

Pages: 439

Date Published: September 17, 2013

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Rating: ★★★★★

Book Reviews
March 31, 2014 posted by Emma

Death Sworn (Death Sworn #1) – Leah Cypess

Death Sworn (Death Sworn, #1)When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.

But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.

 

Death Sworn by Leah Cypess tells the story of Ileni, a young sorceress who once was the most powerful in all of the Renegai, but has begun to slowly lose her powers. Deemed somewhat useless by her society, she is sent to become the new magic tutor for a clan of assassins that live deep within the cavernous mountains of God-knows-where. Her goal is to find out what happened to the last two tutors before her time runs out, and despite the trauma of losing, essentially, her identity in the form of magic, she’s determined that only her own death will stop her from solving the mystery.

I think the best way to sum up my feelings about Death Sworn is ‘hmmm’. I’m kind of conflicted, because this is one of those books where 75% of it was fascinating and suspenseful, but it then kind of takes a nosedive in the last quarter. I did enjoy it, don’t get me wrong, but I wish that it could’ve finished off what started as a very strong run a little stronger.

Not a whole lot happens in the plot itself, which takes place entirely within the labyrinth of caves where the assassins live and train. I mean, stuff happens. And it’s definitely exciting and full of action! But sometimes it felt a little less like a complete story arc and more like a bunch of disjointed events as Ileni struggles to stay alive among the assassins from day to day. Still, it was interesting enough, and I devoured the book pretty quickly. Plus, when the killer was finally revealed, I’m happy to say that I definitely didn’t see it coming!

The characters themselves were decent, but nothing special. Ileni was most definitely a very strong girl, both mentally and physically. She did whine a lot, but to me it felt less like whining and more like a young person going through the traumatizing experience of losing something that was once a part of her soul and identity. Still, there were times when I wished she would maybe just…not lament over it quite as much? And on top of that, she could be SO fickle, oh my goodness. I couldn’t even count how many times she went back and forth between being certain that Sorin was going to kill her and being certain that he’d never touch a hair on her head. Ditto between having a death wish and not caring whether she lived or died, and deciding to seize the day and live life to the fullest. Also I still wasn’t sure at the end whether she was still in love with Terris, the guy she leaves behind, or not?? His entire role in the story felt a bit useless and unnecessary, honestly.

As a male lead, Sorin was okay, but I couldn’t help but feel that their romance seemed a bit sudden in some parts. There’s definitely no insta-love or anything like that, but the shift from “We are enemies, though admittedly I am starting to care for you” to “You are a babe, let’s make out” seemed a bit quick. And then ugh, don’t even talk to me about his character development. I had so much hope! He started off as a killer with zero remorse or feelings, and it was so sweet watching him gradually start to think for himself and open up with Ileni…but then the ending happened and I just…ugh. I liked him, don’t get me wrong, but there were a few parts when I wanted to bash my head into the wall.

All in all, my feelings are pretty mixed about this one. I think it definitely is worth a read, just because the world-building is pretty awesome and it’s full of enough fast-paced action that you’ll get sucked in pretty quickly, but it probably won’t be going into my favorites list.

Pages: 352

Date of Publication: March 4, 2014

Publisher: Greenwillow

Rating: ★★★½☆