Posted in YA Book Reviews

Mirrored by Alex Flinn

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Mirrored by Alex Flinn

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

Mirrored marks my final Retelling in the Retellings challenge I participated in this year. It has been fun. And I met the challenge goal of 12 retellings since January 1, 2016!!

Mirrored is the retelling of Snow White and her evil, wicked Step Mother. This book as the fairest of them all (Celiene), the wicked stepmother who is uber jealous (Violet), Kendra (from the book Beastly), various dwarves (including Jorge–pronounced George, Stacey, and Goose), the prince (British rock star named Jonah Prince), and a mango (instead of an apple…because they live in Florida).

I gave it only 4.5 stars because I felt like there was so much build up, creating the story and back drop, that by the time the “Big Kiss” happens, it was not as spectacular as it could have been. The whole situation felt awkward and forced. I also feel that the last few chapters were just kind of “bleh.” I was hoping for just as much excitement in the end as the story had at the beginning.

Either way, this story was wonderful. It is the 3rd book in the series. I didn’t read the second book, but it appears they can be read out of order. There was one comment regarding Beastly that threw me off. Kendra mentions the boy she turned into a beast during a conversation with a young Violet in the 1980s….but Beastly was more recent…they had technology such as Instant Messenger and cell phones, that it would be impossible in a LOT of ways that Beastly occurred before 1985. I am still trying to wrap my hand around it.

Posted in Uncategorized, YA Book Reviews

Three Dark Crowns

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Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Goodreads Rating 4 stars

Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

 

Three Dark Crowns was the book included in September’s OwlCrate box.

This book started very slow. I almost gave up on it a couple of times, eventually I read the last 3 chapters and it helped me continue going. The book does pick up, but to far close to the end of the story.

Three Dark Crowns is the story of triplet princesses who at a certain age are split from each other and brought to an area of Fennbrin to study a special talent, with these three princesses those talents are elemental, naturalist, and poison. Every generation produces triplet princesses to be trained and bred for the Beltane. At this Beltane, each princess has to show off her talent to the people. The next day, the three have to set forth and try to kill each other until one princess remains, becoming the queen.

Each princess has her own trials and tribulations. The chapters surrounding The Beltane were the most exciting. It had the most action, the  most betrayal, and the most Oh My God! moments. It ended in a cliffhanger. You have been warned.

The last few chapters and the cliffhanger are really what sold me on this series being promising. I am looking forward to this series and will definitely continue on.  The going comment in reviews is “it is slow, but keep going because it gets better.” Let me tell you…it gets WAY better!!!

Posted in YA Book Reviews

Stealing Snow

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Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige, Narrated by Bailey Carr

Goodreads Rating: 2 stars

Narrator Rating: 3.5 Stars

 

Going into this book, I had mixed hopes. I had high hopes that it would be a fantastically interesting story and be different than Dorothy Must Die series. I was mistaken.

This story starts out with Snow being in a mental institution. She has a lot of inner conflict, and is a whiny baby. Seriously. Plus…3 love interests. Seriously?  Three. She came into Algid after a boy from the hospital she was at, a boy she loved more than anything. Then, after she met Kai, she wanted him. They shared a kiss together, she freaked out a bit. She kept thinking about that kiss, and Bale (the first boy). Then after she left the River Witch she got to know Jagger, of the Robbers, better she started thinking about him romantically, while thinking about Bale and Kai. It got really disturbing. It felt like I was reading or was a part of a drama queen teen’s day dream because she is bored with her life and wants to think it would be more exciting if she was the Ice Queen.

The story eventually got interesting at the end. I think if you removed Snow’s character entirely, the story would have been much better. That is very sad. I will probably eventually continue on with the series as it comes out, but it just did not excite me.

I wish my review could be more positive, so I will end on some good notes. The Narrator worked, even though i feel some of the male characters sounded a little similar. I thought the  narrator’s voice sounded childish to fit the character of Snow. (That is a positive…it worked, I believed she was Snow). The excitement at the end was good. Honestly, I am waiting for the shoe to drop that when the series is over, Snow is going to wake up as if the whole series was a dream, and be right back in the insane asylum.

Posted in YA Book Reviews

Lock and Mori

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Lock and Mori by Heather W. Petty

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars

 

I started reading this book in March, and finally finished today, October 1, 2016. I had a lot of hopes for this book, and have been wanting to read it for a while. The story was slow for more than 100 pages out of a 245 page book. The last 100 pages of the book really sucked me in though, and that is why I gave this book 3 stars overall for the rating.

Sherlock and Mori are in high school, and they meet for the first time at a crime scene in Regent’s Park. From there, they go on an adventure trying to solve the murder, which turns into a string of murders. On this adventure, Mori learns the history of her mother’s past while trying to deal with an abusive father who is a DS on the police force in London.

I wasn’t a fan of Mori’s character, but I LOVED Sherlock. I thought his character sketch was well written. Mori was very secretive, and tried to keep everyone, especially Sherlock, out of knowing her life and what was going on. She was very sneaky, and tried to do things that she could have gotten hurt or killed

I loved the last 100 pages of the book. They were fast paced, gripping, and heart wrenching. If you pick this book up, just hang in there. The first half of the story is really slow but gets better.

Posted in YA Book Reviews

Everland

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Goodreads Rating: 2 stars

I received a copy of Everland in the May Owl Crate. This story is a steampunk retelling of Peter Pan. I started reading it in May, and literally finished it on September 22nd. This story held so much promise. I love the story of Peter Pan, and this story fell short and could not keep my interest peaked.

Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer (Captain Hook) is ordered by his mother, Queen of Germany, to bomb London, providing specific locations to drop the bombs. In doing so, a deadly virus call the Hologia Virus is released killing almost all of the adult population, and almost all of the female child population. There is one girl who is immune, Gwen Darling, who has been taking care of her two siblings, Joanna and Michael Darling. One night, Joanna is kidnapped by Hook and his men to bring to the Professor in hopes of creating a cure. Gwen and Mikey meet Peter, and the spunky Bella (who has mechanical wings) and are brought back to the Lost City where the rest of the Lost Boys are held. Peter, Gwen, and a few other Lost Boys prepare to go into Buckingham Palace in order to find Joanna, but there are a few twists and turns along the way.

This story seems like it would be interesting, however, execution fell short and the majority of the story was spent in the Lost City with minimal milestones accomplished. As far as Steampunk, aside for a few elements, I didn’t feel it really qualified as a steampunk novel. It had the wings Bella wore, clockwork tattoo on Peter, and some airships, but other than that, there just wasn’t much. I wished there was more clockwork, and it may have come across stronger if the description had been more detailed.

I still gave it 2 stars for the rating because it was original and I haven’t come across many retellings of Peter Pan. I just wished it was stronger.

Posted in YA Book Reviews

The Wrath and the Dawn

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Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

 

I read The Wrath and The Dawn after I read A Thousand Nights. Both books have made me want to read Arabian Nights, of which, I bought the Barnes and Nobles Classics Edition (it is a difficult read).  I still feel that, like A Thousand Nights, this book just did not do any justice. I was just as disappointed. Everyone seemed to LOVE this book, and I struggled through it.

The positive to this book, is I liked the love story. I also liked the play out of the curse. I thought it did have the upper hand compared to A Thousand Nights but I still didn’t get why everyone has been so obsessed with it. I look forward to reading how the love story progresses.

I liked that it had some action, conflict, and violence on top of the underlying story. I do think the author was able to portray why it was such a big deal Shahrzad remained alive, and her fear of when her time would come. I also liked the attempt that were being made on her life. I think it was interesting she was fine with dying for her purpose, but I liked that when the time was coming, and the attempts were made, she started feeling a bit differently.

Overall, I liked the writing style of the author. I felt this book had a lot of promise, and feel maybe the author had to cut out some scenes so the book wasn’t super long. I wished there was more emphasis on the story telling aspect and include a few more stories than it did.

Posted in YA Book Reviews

Fairy, Texas

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Fairy, Texas by Margo Bond Collins and Narrated by Melissa Moran

 

Rating: 4

Narrator Rating: 4.5

I was given a copy of this audiobook free through Audiobook Boom in exchange for my honest review.

It has taken me a little while to get to this book. It was provided free to me for an honest review. I am a little sad I put it off for as long as I did. To tell you the truth, I am not sure what feelings I had going into this book. I was prepared for maybe it not to be so good. Here is why, lately, I have been getting some not so great free audiobooks. Either the story is falling short, the narrator was all wrong, or even the audio quality was not so great. These are the 3 areas that make audiobooks so iffy for some stories. So let me sum it up, the story was good, the narrator was good, and the quality was good.

As far as the story line, this book is original. I thought the characters were pretty good, though some aspects of the story line may need some tweaking (I feel, without giving any spoilers, the Main Event could have been a bit more clear or explained; also there are times I really didn’t seem to follow because explanations were provided adequately to Laney). I thought there were some areas that could have used a little more “umph,” for example, the kisses or the friendships Laney  was establishing (I thought she had anyways, but it didn’t always portray or come off that way, which I think was the point but not always clear). I did like that the main character Laney took everything that was thrown with her in stride. I felt the relationship between Laney and her new step sister was a little over dramatic and over the top. I may not be the best person to respond on that due to not having experienced a step sibling, but it felt really forced. I feel there were some vital bits of info that was left out of the story, but I am hoping it is in the next book. So why did I give it 4 stars? I REALLY found myself enjoying the story brought to life through the narrator. She was really great. I loved the Texas accents. Sometimes the male voices kind of blurred together, but other than that I really enjoyed it. I found myself looking if book 2 was already released (it is not ,on audible anyways).

I do recommend this book. So if you are looking for a quick listen, and want something original, and a new spin on things Fairy, then I do suggest this book. I am looking forward to, hopefully, getting more into this Ether, and learning more about this whole other species living right in the midst of a tiny Texas town!

Posted in YA Book Reviews

The Last Boy and Girl in the World

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The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian, narrated by Jorjeana Marie

Goodreads Rating: 2 stars

Narrator Rating: 5 stars

 

I semi enjoyed  The List by Siobhan Vivian, so when this book came out, I decided to give it a go. I was severely disappointed for all the same reasons I was bummed by The List.

The narrator brought to life Keely’s massive annoying character sketch. The story ended much the same way The List did, and seemed to have all the same issues. This story is supposed to be about a city that is about to be flooded out, and these group of friends having the times of their lives before everyone goes a separate way. The way the story starts, at the end, made me think other events were going to happen. I didn’t expect who the Last Boy would be.

Every group of friends in high school had the Keely and Jesse type. The types that jokes too much because they don’t want to have anything other than superficial conversation. Keely just really made the whole book horrible. This book had a lot of promise and intrigue, and it did not deliver. I had to force myself to listen and finish the book.

Jorjeana Marie’s narration style really elevated this book. She really, truly, brought to life Keely’s annoying personality and quirks. I actually felt bad for Keely. Not because of everything that happened, but because she was totally oblivious to how her personality was being perceived.

Overall, The Last Boy and Girl in the World has the typical story-line that you find in YA, only it really falls short. I had to force myself to finish. I typically will not finish a book if I have to force myself. I was really disappointed. I felt like I was truly back in high school, but not any of the pleasant feelings associated with it.

In playing devil’s advocate, I know that every story is supposed to have struggle for the main character. This story has plenty of struggle, however, it took too long to get to the point, the end seemed to take longer than was necessary, and Keely was too whiny and annoying. This is not a book i would recommend. At all. i do, however, recommend the narrator. i have heard her in other stories and she is fantastic. I am just sorry she was connected to a book that failed the way it did.

Posted in YA Book Reviews

Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

There is a lot of hype surrounding Sarah J. Maas’ series, Throne of Glass, and I was oddly disappointed. I enjoyed the book, but I kept finding myself waiting for that OMG moment that seems to have so many readers sucked into the story line, but it never came.

I did like Celaena’s overall personality and disposition. I also liked seeing the growth from the time she was removed from the death camp, until the end of the story. I like that she grew to CARE and recognize she had a makeshift family, even if it meant the horror it did.

The reason this story is only 3 stars for me is 1) I have read more intriguing stories in this realm of YA and even Fantasy; 2) There are very specific scenes in the book that built and built and then just faltered and did not live up to what should have been. I am sorry, but an intense fight scene in which souls from the In-Between should have lasted more than 2ish pages and should have had more details, before and after. I felt that way about that entire scene as a whole. I know some of the unanswered questions will be answered later, and I will eventually get to those books, but a lot of incidents/feelings/interactions were rushed and more information/feelings could have been put into the situation for the reader to get more from it.

I wish I felt the way everyone else did, but this is one hype that I felt was overhyped.

Posted in YA Book Reviews

The Wicked Will Rise

The Wicked Will Rise

The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars

First, let me explain, that I think 3 stars is being pretty generous. I have had a lot of hope for this series, I really have. My issue with this story, is similar to my issues with Dorothy Must Die, in that a LOT of information was given, and none of it was necessary. In fact, this book was 293 pages of What the hell?, and felt pointless.

This review is going to be super short. Like, so short it is less than 200 words short. I want to not give any spoilers, even though there aren’t really any spoilers to give. However, of all the ways I could have predicted this book ending, how it ended, was not even on the radar. I am really not sure where this story is going. It is not that I want a predictable story, but these stories goes from point A to point Z and not hit any points in between. I cannot remember the last time I felt this confused and this frustrated from reading a book or series. I feel it held a lot of promise, but somewhere it is just not connecting.