Posted in YA Book Reviews

Fighting Fate

 

Fighting Fate by Shaila Patel, Book 2 in the Soulmated Series

Rating: 5 stars

 

I received a copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review. I have not been paid for my opinions, these opinions are my own. This review may contain minor spoilers

 

Every now and then, a series pops into my life and leaves me wrecked. Soulmated is such a fantastic series. The first book, Soulmated (you can check out my review here) left me in need for book 2 immediately. Alas, I had to wait AN ENTIRE YEAR before Fighting Fate arrived in my email. Just like in Soulmated, I am left with this high from the unique and original story line, and now I am dropping, and the crash is going to hurt knowing I have to wait another year to read book 3.

In Fighting Fate, we pick up where Soulmated left off. The joining that did not quite happen because of Liam’s fear of injuring Lucky, which resulted in Liam breaking up with her while he tried to figure out how to join without killing her, and left them both catastrophically wrecked for weeks. Their waves of emotions were so savage they barely slept, they could not breathe while away from each other, Lucky lost weight because she could not eat. As a reader, you feel their pain. You have been there, you have experienced that loss at some point in your life that leaves a hole in your soul that you cannot figure out how to fill back in. In some cases, we get better, use some duct tape to close the wound, and move forward with our lives. In other cases, the hole gets bigger, and consumes us more until we can no longer breathe. We have to decide if we will drown, or find that strength to keep fighting the waves before they take you under. This is what Liam and Lucky had to decide. They decided to keep fighting, to fill that hole together. They were faced with many adversaries, and many challenges are faced that will either make them stronger, or break them apart.

This book had so many twists. At one point, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. My chest began hurting, I felt physically ill. Shaila Patel has a way to keep you hooked from the first page, all the way until the end, and then leaves you full and empty all at the same time. It has been a long time since I have been so hooked into what I was reading that I could barely breathe. I caught myself several times holding my breath, trying to get through. Trying to ride this ride with Liam and Lucky.

This is such a wonderful series, that I highly recommend. If you would listen to at least ONE book recommendation from me, this series would be the one you should pick up next. This series is so original and a breath of fresh air to the YA genre. You will not be disappointed. I can promise you that.

Posted in YA Book Reviews

The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Rating: 5 stars

 

First let me say, I love Holly Black. She is absolutely, a wonderful writer. I can never get enough Holly Black. She is one of the few authors that I do not have to read the description of the book, I will just read it and know I will like it. No matter what. The Cruel Prince is no different.

I received the OwlCrate special edition, which is why my book looks different than the originals that came out.

The Cruel Prince is about Jude, a human, whose mother and father were  murdered and she was drug back to Faeire by her half-sister’s Fae father, General Madoc. There he raised Jude, her twin sister Taryn, and her half-Sister Vivienne.

Because General Madoc was Gentry, Jude was taught in school with other Gentry Fae kids. They did not like Jude and Taryn. Jude would not take it, though Taryn would be submissive because she wanted to be a wife. Jude wanted to be a knight, and trained heavily with General Madoc, who would not permit her to try out for knighthood. Prince Cardan, who is the cruel prince, is very mean to Jude. He torments her, and she fights and pushes back. His torment pushes Jude to began scheming, and making her own plans for her future, not caring if she dies, as she lost her fear along time ago. This makes her almost reckless, but as she goes with the flow, she grows.

There is so much intrigue, betrayal, and attitude in this book. I sucked it down whole and could not get enough. I found myself unable to breathe at times because of what was happening. This book captivated me around chapter 4 or 5 and sucked me in that I read into the wee hours of the night, devouring over half of the book. It was bittersweet to let go of at the end, I do not want to wait a year for the sequel to come out.

Do read this book. It is high fantasy at its finest. Black’s writing style is so fluid and easy to follow. My chest was pounding throughout the story. Go read it!

Posted in YA Book Reviews

Submerging

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Submerging by C.S. Johnson, narrated by Nicholas Sanister

Rating: 4 stars

Narrator Rating: 2 stars

 

I received a copy of Submerging in exchange for my honest review.

 Submerging is the third book in the Starlight Chronicles by C.S. Johnson. This is the story where Dinger a lot of his memories back and is able to see who he was before he fell, and find out why he fell. There is still a lot of mystery around Starry Knight. I still try to sort out who it might be, though I have some suspicions.

I did enjoy this story, and I am growing more fond of Dinger in all of his assholiness, however, I still have some concerns about him. In general, the series has been good, and Dinger’s personality (though annoying) is essential. As the reader continues through the story, the reasons for his personality start making more sense. If I can be honest, I wish his parents knew he was. It also sucks that he has to literally drop everything (leave a date, leave class, not show up for practice) whenever anything happens and calls him to battle.

This story has many underlying religious elements. Normally I wouldn’t complain so much, but I felt it was too overdone. I am hoping it is not so much in the other stories in my continuation through the series. I am not religious, however, I have read many Christian Fiction books and they are okay and do not overdo certain concepts. Here, it felt like everything was thrown at the reader, and it felt constant, and it was exhausting. (For the record, I respect other people’s beliefs). The first two books, the religious elements were hidden between the lines, which made it more enjoyable.

As with Calling, the narrator is meh. The audio editing is bad. When he makes mistakes, there are silent pauses and you can here him say “oh” and he rereads the section again like he lost where he was. He again did this several times. I usually do not condone the changing of narrators in series, but, I would stand behind a change in this narrator 10000000000%.

I look forward to the ultimate finale of the series. I have a hard time not knowing what is going to happen. With the rate things are going, it is hard as the reader to believe it will end, and the town will have a reprieve. It feels like the town may have to have Wingdinger and Starry Knight to protect them for the rest of eternity at this point. There is a lot of action and there are hardly any points in which the story feels slow.

Posted in YA Book Reviews

Calling

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Calling by C.S. Johnson, Narrated by Nicholas Santasier

Rating: 5 stars

Narrator Rating: 2 stars

 

I was given a copy of Calling in audio format in exchange for my honest review.

Calling is the second installment in the Starlight Chronicles. It continues to follow Dinger as he decides to “quit” being a starlight defender.  Being a defender became too much for him. He struggles with balancing a new girlfriend, school, swimming, his friends, and even his mom trying to sue Starry Night and Wingdinger on behalf of the city. As events unfold, Dinger slowly starts regretting his decision. Some of his cockiness starts to dissipate, even though he is still highly arrogant. I look forward to his continued growth in becoming an actual likable character. Even though I do not currently like him, his character traits are vital to the story so it works out and continues to be enjoyable. I really liked that this story took to the theme of what happens when people become jealous and the monsters they become. I am curious if Dinger has always been so narcissistic or at what point did it happen in his life where he felt so entitled.

I reviewed book one from an ebook format. This is the first book in the series I have reviewed as the audio version. I do not like the narrator. His voices all sound the same so sometimes it is hard to know who is talking. Also, the editing on this audio was not the greatest. There were several parts where the narrator stopped reading and picked up again, like he had lost his place. He also stumbled on a couple of sentences/words. I would listen to the story in parts, because it takes a little while to get used to the narration style. I will continue to review the books in this series for the audio format, but I can’t guarantee I will continue to listen to the narrator in future books. I feel I am being over generous for the narrator’s rating. I hope as he gets more comfortable in the story line, it becomes better. But also, in his defense, the editing is the fault of whomever is in charge for cutting out those bits and pieces where there are pauses or mistakes that are supposed to help the story flow smoothly. That is why I gave the generous 2. I can’t fault someone for making a mistake in the narration, when whomever edits is supposed to cut those parts out.

Even though I enjoyed the books, I think the narrator may be a miss for some people. That is why I give a narrator rating as well. The story was great, fast paced, never dull, and action packed. It is uniquely original in a sea full of the same styles of stories.

I look forward to watching the chemistry between Starry Night and Wingdinger unfold. I have my guesses of who Starry Night is, and am anxiously waiting until her identity is revealed. I have a sneaky suspicion that Dinger is not going to be too thrilled. I wont give away who I think it is, because I think readers and listeners should make their guesses themselves, because it is highly entertaining!! I also hope that there is more development in the Seven Deadly Sinisters and Orpheus. They are very intriguing and I look forward to learning more of their back story (hopefully) throughout the series.

 

 

Posted in YA Book Reviews

Slumbering

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Slumbering by C.S. Johnson

Rating 5 stars

I received a copy of Slumbering in exchange for an honest review.

Slumbering is an uniquely, original, YA epic fantasy about a teenage boy that learns he was once a warrior for a Star Prince and at some point was sent to earth where he became human until his powers unlocked. As such, this story is about his “acceptance ” of responsibility for his role to fight off evil demons and protect his friends and community (the latter more so out of obligation than desire).

Even though I have given the book 5 stars, I absolutely cannot stand Hamilton Dinger. He makes the story hard to get into because he is so narcissistic it makes the story as a whole almost unbearable. Dinger thinks he is God’s gift to humanity (even though he would not agree that he was God’s gift…just a gift to everyone through nature ). So why the 5 stars? Because I couldn’t put it down and I found myself secretly hoping he gets it together and stops being such an asshat.

The book is a fairly quick read and flows well. It is also a completely original epic fantasy YA, which is hard to come by these days. It offers a unique story that is intriguing and will spark curiosity for the rest of the series and intrigue as to how this war will ultimately go down.

As much as I can’t stand Dinger, I am hoping he has a lot of character development that makes him a more likable super hero. It is entirely unfortunate that a jerk like him gets something so awesome and he continues to be arrogant. We all know what happens to arrogant superheroes.

The bulk of this story is to set up the characters in the story line, introduce some of the demons and what their end game is, as well as, portray Dinger as a jerk. Honestly, I don’t feel sorry for anything that happens to Dinger.

If you are curious about this book and would be interested in reading it for yourself (which I recommend) you can check it out: Amazon

Keep posted as I am currently listening to the next installment of the story!

Posted in YA Book Reviews

Geekerella

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Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

 

Geekerella is a modern-day Cinderella fairytale featuring Danielle, or Ella, who resides with her “stepmonster” and evil twin step-sisters. This book has everything from teen heart throbs, bloggers, CONS, witchy evil characters who are mean, and moments that touch the reader’s heart.

The great thing about this book is the total geekiness/fandom the story provides. First, it is a retelling of Cinderella. Ella does everything in the house, while trying to retain memories of her deceased parents. Ella tries to actively keep their memory alive, while the Stepmonster tries desperately to squash it out of Ella like some fly buzzing around a summer cake. Second, it has a mysterious budding friendship between Ella and THE Darien Freeman, who in this story, is kind of a big deal. Ella cannot stand that Mr. Heartthrob with insured abs is cast as the lead character in Starfield, Carmindor. She rants and raves about it on her blog…needless to say…Darien actually texts Ella thinking she is her father and the two have a budding friendship, with developing feelings. And the kicker… he has no clue she is THE Reblegunner blogger squashing his name in this role, and she has no clue he is Darien Freeman.

Of course, there are twists, and turns, and Ella goes to the ball, and then is grounded until death. But the adventures are fun and it turns into being a cute story that leaves the reader with feelings of joy and delight.

This story is an easy read, the whole book flew by pretty quickly. I like when books are just easy. Having said that, I wish there were a bit more challenges for Ella to overcome. Sure, glass slippers, and hopelessly devoted Carmindors are searching the States for Ella to confess their young love to, but I wish some of the interactions between “Stepmonster”, Catherine, and Ella were more indicative of the crap relationship enslaving Ella. Sure, Catherine is a witch with a capital B, but Ella was a spitfire and sometimes talked back. So I wanted MORE to go down between the two of them. Also, the last chapter or two, just breezed by eight months later…and I wish that was also a bit more dramatic than what it is lead to believe. The book follows the POV of Darien and Ella, and sometimes it focused too much on the little things, so when the drama did happen, it fizzled pretty quickly and didn’t pack quite the punch it could have. BUT. It was still a cute story, and I am still giving a decent rating. It was still entertaining, and one part in particular really had me teary. And when a book makes me cry, it gets a higher rating. We all need an ugly cry from time to time.

Finally, I loved what the book means for nerd girls. Ella was this nerdy girl who really thought she was a nobody throughout the ENTIRE story. It took all of her challenges she did go through like befriending a moody coworker, helping create a cosplay costume, dealing with stepmonster and the evil twins, introducing others to the glory of Starfield, and making unconventional friends from the stars. In Darien’s case, he sometimes came off whiney and I am not sure why it took him so long to take a stand. I felt that the drama between him and Brian could have been better written because it read weird. But I liked Darien. Closet geek. Those are the best.

And remember, look to the stars. Aim. Ignite.

Posted in YA Book Reviews

Untamed

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Untamed by Madeline Dyer

Rating: 5 Stars

 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. These are opinions are my own and I have not been paid for them.

Untamed was an interesting read. Not necessarily a bad kind of interesting, I am giving it 5 stars, but very interesting. It was a very unique take on a dark dystopian, especially when it is getting harder to be original in the dystopian genre.

The story is a fast read, and predictable for many aspects (I do not think this is necessarily a bad thing, because when other’s find out, it is pretty spectacular). Untamed has violent, graphic material, so if you do not like books in the YA genre that have death, killing, etc, in it, then this book may not be for you.

Seven is an Untamed. She feels, thinks, and sees untainted, unlike the Enhanced who only feel positive emotions and are supposed to be the top of the life chain as superior beings. An unfortunate event results in Seven’s capture and change to an Enhanced. She is however rescued from the Enhanced compound by her village, however many are disgusted because she is no longer untamed. While sleeping in her family’s hut, she dreams of a series of events and a bison in the sky. This indicates she is a Seer, which earns more leers and distrust from the village. The Enhanced come searching for Seven because she is a strong Seer and want her on their side. This sets of the whirlwind of adventures for Seven and some of her untamed village. 

As a note, I would advise against developing any attachments to any characters, as many die. This book is well developed with a clear plot line. The end left me curious about what will happen in book 2. The characters are enjoyable and easy to connect to. Seven is in an interesting situation where she is not quite enhanced yet no longer fully untamed. Eventually, she has to pick a side…which one will it be?

This book can easily be read in a day. It keeps the reader sucked in and is pretty fast paced from the very beginning. I look forward to continuing with Seven’s journey in future books. I am glad to have had the opportunity to read Untamed as it was very enjoyable and well worth the read.