Monday, August 4, 2014

Review: Six Strings by Jen Sanya Williamson


Review: Six Strings by Jen Sanya Williamson
Genre: YA
Warnings: None
Buy:
Amazon

Summary: Riley Witt is running out of time. Battling Alzheimer’s disease, Riley’s grandmother Mary suffers from memory loss, mood swings, and a tendency to wander off. As senior year approaches, Riley has to face the reality that the one person she depends on most is slowly fading. Making matters worse, when Mary does remember the past, she tells tales of time travel and visions. As Mary’s version of the past gets more confused, Riley knows they are running out of time together. But when Riley discovers a guitar belonging to a famous rock star at Mary’s house, the truth behind the crazy tales finally comes out. SIX STRINGS tells the story of Riley’s journey back to 1973 where she enters a world of music, long-lost family, and first love. Her adventure is all about discovering her past, understanding her present, and figuring out how to step into her future.

Review:

If it hadn’t been brought to my attention, I probably would’ve never found this book. Before I read it, I hadn’t heard much about it, but the premise still intrigued me. Time travel stories can be really good! The book follows Riley, a rising senior who has to deal with her grandmother’s advancing Alzheimer’s. But in her moments of lucidity, she tells Riley about time travel. It’s her figuring all this new information out and discovering secrets and battling demons, all while still managing to fit a little lovin’ in the process.

This is a super quick read, as the page count only tallies up to ~215 pages. But it feels like much less than that because it’s very fast paced and fun. The author did a really great job in condensing the story to a point in which there was little to no fluff—this story got right to the thick of it. The whole time you’re reading you keep guessing what’s gonna happen or how things are going to turn out for the characters. The world was very nicely fleshed out and didn’t leave gaps for me: it was nice and solid. The music aspect in the story was something new to me, since I’m not much of an instrument player, myself. However, despite that difference, I found it easy to like and connect with all the characters in the story. (Also, who wouldn’t want a Lucas in their life?)

This is one of those fast reads that you can fly through and that leave you feeling nice and warm inside. Since this is volume one, I’m sure that the upcoming volumes will be just as promising. If you’re looking for a different but still feel-good contemporary, you should check this out!

I gave this book 3.75/5 stars on goodreads

I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review: Eve & Adam by Michael Grant


Review: Eve & Adam by Michael Grant
Genre: YA
Warnings: Some mature themes
Buy:
Amazon

Summary: In the beginning, there was an apple―
And then there was a car crash, a horrible injury, and a hospital. But before Evening Spiker's head clears a strange boy named Solo is rushing her to her mother’s research facility. There, under the best care available, Eve is left alone to heal.
Just when Eve thinks she will die―not from her injuries, but from boredom—her mother gives her a special project: Create the perfect boy.
Using an amazingly detailed simulation, Eve starts building a boy from the ground up. Eve is creating Adam. And he will be just perfect . . . won’t he?


Review:

This book was great. It follows the two voices of Evening and Solo, two unlikely partners who end up discovering more about their reality than they ever thought possible.

I really liked this book because it blended together contemporary and sci-fi in a really nice way. And although the plot is interesting enough, it’s the characters that truly make this book what it is. Eve and Solo are witty, funny, and enjoyable. Their voices are friendly and snarky in a really good way—the kind of way that just keeps you wanting to read more about them. This book never reached a slow point, at least not for me, as I read it in one sitting (it’s only 290 pages, after all).

If you’re looking for a quick, fast-paced read, I would totally recommend this.

I gave this book 4/5 stars on goodreads.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA
Warnings: Some mature themes
Buy:
Amazon
Summary: Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Review:

I’d been hearing a lot of hype surrounding this book for a really long time, and it was just a matter of when I was going to give in and buy it. Thankfully, I bought it off bookoutlet and though it took me some time to get to it…it was totally worth it.

This book follows Alina Starkov, a girl by any means ordinary, who lives in the war-stricken country of Ravka, which is divided into two by a slice of darkness where feral creatures lurk called the Shadow Fold.
Alina is then trained to become a Grisha, and she soon discovers that not everything is what it seems.

This was fantastic. The world-building was excellent, the characters were great, and the plot was amazing. But for the first half of the book, we trudge on as the action rarely picks up. It was mostly an information dump about the world, and how Alina struggles to fit in it. However, as the second half of the book progresses, the action gets more and more intense until it comes to an incredible head. Overall, I think this is a really, really great series and I look forward to continue on with Siege and Storm very soon.

I gave this book 4/5 stars on goodreads.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Review: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare


Review: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA
Warnings: Some mature themes
Buy:
Amazon

Summary: To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters—never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City—whatever the cost?

Review:

In the third installment of TMI, everyone travels to Idris, the home of the Shadowhunters. Jace repeatedly tries to convince Clary to stay away from Alicante, the Glass City, and to stay behind in New York. But, as our favorite infuriatingly stubborn heroine would have it, she doesn’t listen to Jace and goes to Alicante anyway. An incredibly complex web of events creates chaos, and now it’s up to the Shadowhunters and Downworlders to band together against Valentine.

I knew going into this series that this was the original end to TMI. Cassandra Clare then decided to add three more installments to the series—a second trilogy, if you will—which became City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, and City of Heavenly Fire. Before I continue on with the second trilogy, I am interested in giving The Infernal Devices a shot first. Truth be told, this is a painstakingly long series, 9 books in total if you count TID, all over 500 pages each. I always need to take a break in between books, just so I can go into the story feeling like it’s a fresh start. Because, if I’m speaking honestly, I always need to take a little break from these characters.

The story in City of Glass is nothing short of compelling—I did read this in two days. It was engaging, frustrating, exciting, and a whole range of things more at the same time. The cast was as lovely as usual; my love for Isabelle, Alec, and Magnus continues only to grow and never dwindles. Clary, was, as usual, difficult, and so was Jace, though I observe he’s a bit more tolerable in this book. Simon is learning to be his own self and I love it, which is a giant leap from the scared puppy he was in City of Bones.

I feel that the only thing lacking in this first TMI trilogy is a solid villain. Valentine is the central villain through all three books, but he was…bland to me. Every villain in every book has delusions of grandeur and perpetually calm dispositions. But I wish the villain in this trilogy would’ve had dimension, something to make him human. We learn absolutely nothing about his past—what made him the way he was, why he did the things he did, or hell, why he wanted what he wanted. We didn’t have insight, which is my one major flaw of this trilogy.

Overall though, I did enjoy it immensely and look forward to continue on with the series.

I gave this book 4/5 stars on goodreads.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare


Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA
Warnings: Some mature themes
Buy:
Amazon

Summary: Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go—especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil—and also her father.
To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings—and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

Review:

In my venture to plow through The Mortal Instruments, I continued with the second book in the six-part series. In this installment, the cast is dealing with the aftermath of finding out that Valentine is not only Clary’s father, but also Jace’s. In an effort to shove her feelings for Jace down as much as she can, Clary attempts having a romantic relationship with Simon, which, in my opinion, backfires immensely. Their relationship was awkward and unsure, like they were stumbling through the motions. In short, Clary and Jace are trying to deal with the fact that they can’t have feelings for each other—no matter what.

(Some spoilers ahead)

I’ve always struggled with Clary as a protagonist—she’s impulsive and, quite frankly, blindly irrational sometimes. She makes decisions without any forethought or afterthought, for that matter, and as much as the reader knows that she loves Jace, Simon, etc., it’s hard to ignore the fact that sometimes this same love drives her to choices that potentially puts those same people in jeopardy, as ironic as that is. Something I didn’t quite understand the purpose of in this book was Simon becoming a vampire. I think it was a completely unnecessary plot device. In the grand scheme of things, what could have been Cassandra Clare’s intention with this? Officially make him part of the Shadow world? Was that it? I’m not sure, but I hope I find out more as the series progresses.

I think I speak for most people that have read this particular book that the tension between Clary and Jace is somewhat disturbing. This is addressed by them several times throughout the story, but not once did it ever make me not cringe.

As much as I have pointed out this book’s misgivings, I did enjoy it. I find that this series is just fun to read, it’s action-packed and witty, so you’re never bored for long stretches of time.

I gave this book 4/5 stars on goodreads.