Friday, September 20, 2013

Book Review: Twigs by Alison Ashley Formento

Title: Twigs
Author: Alison Ashley Formento
Publisher: F+W/Adams Media
Pages: 272
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 2.5/5

Twigs has always been the shortest one. Born premature, and less than 5 feet tall, Twigs looks like a strong wind could blow her over. But this teensy, tiny heroine has a gallon-sized spirit that won’t bow down to anybody. And she needs it too. Everything in her strange world is changing, and not for the better.

With a drunk father who left the family, a Mom who has a new boyfriend, a sister who’s trying to grow up too fast, and a brother who’s gone missing in Iraq, Twigs needs all the spirit that she can get if she wants to survive this ordeal in one piece.

To be honest, I really did feel for Twigs. I felt bad for everything that was going on in her life, and how tough things were for her. I knew she was having a hard time with coping all of these difficult situations. But, I couldn’t really connect with her. This whole book is about Twigs trying to find her place in the book and while it did provide crucial character insight, all of Twigs’s feelings were muddled up. It was hard to tell what she was really feeling, and that messed up the book for me. One thing I do like about her, is how determined she is. She might not look like the strongest opponent, but Twigs is definitely is more capable  than she appears.

Alison Ashley Formento portrays an 18 year old girl’s complicated life. With college starting in a few days, a boyfriend who’s more than a 100 miles away, and a crazy family, Twigs has definitely got a lot on her mind.

The part I liked the least would probably be the introduction. It was slow, not very interesting and could have been elaborated a bit further to make it more engaging.

Things definitely picked up in the middle of the story where multiple plot lines were introduced and resolved. In fact some of the problems Twigs was facing were interesting, but there were so many of them that at times it got all muddled together.

Also, because of the way the book was written, it seemed as if the book was already finished when it was only halfway done. All of the plot lines had been solved, and then a whole other one was introduced. It basically seemed as if the author was just trying to prolong the ending of the book. The flow was definitely off, and it would have just been better if the author had just cut off the second half of the book. The second half in general was very disappointing.

The conclusion was slightly better than the middle and beginning of the story. Here, there is some action and there is something substantial that I can connect to. The book begins to pick up the pace, and does regain some of the momentum it gained in the middle.

Overall, “Twigs” is a below average book. The main character isn’t too exciting, and the plot lines aren’t all too enticing. I don’t recommend it, unless you especially love books where the protagonist is having to adjust to society.  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Book Review: All Our Yesterdays

Title: All Our Yesterdays
Author: Cristin Terrill
Publisher: Hyperion
Pages: 368
Source: Netgalley/Publisher ARC
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance, Adventure, Action, Time Travelling, Young Adult
Rating: 4.5/5

The world was changed forever, 4 years ago.

Em and Finn, two teenage time travellers, have been held captive in a secret military base for the past 4 months. The only thing keeping them alive is a piece of information their captor, a deranged scientist, desperately needs, a piece of information only these two teenagers know. But everything changes when Em finds a note hidden in her cell. The note says:

“You have to kill him,”

There is no doubt that “him” is their captor, who has created the time machine that has torn the world apart. And Em has to do what the note says. Em and Finn now have a chance to change the terrible world they are living in. Now she and Finn will have to go back in time to the moment when the world’s fate was sealed. Otherwise she will have failed, like the others who were sent back in time before her.

James Shaw, the brother of a famous politician, has always been, well, a tad bit eccentric. A genius in academics, this teen is capable of many things that can change the world. But just when things were going well, James’s life is irreparably damaged when his brother is shot. James isn’t who he was before. He’s changed, and no one knows how to help him. His brother wasn’t the only one who was being hunted, though. Someone is trying to kill James, and his friend Marina will do anything to protect him. She just doesn’t expect that her attackers will reveal a secret that could change the world – a few years too early.

Even though James wasn’t the character who was explained the most, he is my favorite character in this book. After suffering through the traumatizing death of his brother, James has changed and not in a good way. This science prodigy will stop at nothing to find a way to get his brother back, even if it includes flirting with death. But the reason I liked him so much is because his one goal was to make the world a better place. Throughout the whole book, his heart was in the right place, even though some of his actions might speak against that.

This book is just, wow. It is definitely one of my favorite books I have read this year. So to start off with, this isn’t a book I would typically read. I mean, yeah its science fiction, but I’m not always too excited about time traveling. It’s just been done way too many times – in books and movies. But wow, I definitely don’t feel that way about this book. Told from Marina’s and Em’s perspectives, this book is amazing, has lots of action, and is beautifully constructed.

My favorite part – to my surprise – of this book would be the time travelling. And I know I’ve already said this, but WOW. ‘All Our Yesterdays’ definitely wasn’t what I was expecting. The whole time travelling explanation – just amazing. It was written in a captivating way, that I could literally just read over and over again. It made perfect sense, but still was a little confusing. And yes, the explanation I gave is also a bit crazy/confusing, but the time travelling and the theory of the world were just so interesting to read about. That itself made reading this book worth it.

But on the other end of the spectrum, this book did have a couple of faults, one of them being the pace of the book. At times I just felt that some events could go by a lot faster, while at others I felt that there should be more of an explanation. Another thing I didn’t like about this book was how at times the adventure, action and suspense could have been built up a bit more. Sometimes, I knew that what was going on in the book was blood chillingly dangerous, but it didn’t always seem that way when I read it. But otherwise this book is absolutely perfect.

‘All Our Yesterdays’ by Cristin Terrill is a must read. Full of romance, adventure, action and time travelling, this book is definitely one you don’t want to miss if you love reading sci-fi books. Join Em, Marina and the rest of their friends on an adventure that will change the future – that is, if they succeed. Other books in this series includes the sequel, yet unnamed, releasing 2014.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Pages: 404
Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Mystery, Young Adult
Rating: 4.5/5

After slaving in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, young assassin Celaena Sardothien is offered an opportunity she can’t resist. She will have to fight as the Crown Prince’s champion in a competition to determine who will be the King’s assassin, the person who will handle all of the King’s dirty work. If she wins the competition, and serves as assassin for 4 years, she will be free. If she fails, she will be sent to Endovier – with no hope of living through another year.

She will be competing against thieves, murderers, assassins and warriors from across the country – 24 in all, and only one can win. As she assumes a new identity – a lady in the King’s court – she is practically in a new dimension. But things are not what they seem when a competitor is found dead, his innards ripped from his body. And then another competitor followed days later. Celaena will have to figure out who this murderer is, before she is the next one to go.

Celaena is a very fun character to read about. She is fun, witty, and brave, not to mention extremely talented. Facing a situation she would never have thought possible, she is very entertaining and funny. And this heroine is definitely not too ladylike to engage in activities other women would find improper, like sword-fighting and archery. As the story progresses, Celaena is described as a good friend and companion as well as a witty and interesting competitor. This character definitely shows that all men and women should be put at the same level – no matter what they look like.

I loved the idea of this story. First of all, the whole ‘King & Queen’ is a cool medieval look at things – brilliant, and isn’t being used that often nowadays. Now, the competition? Loved it!! The importance this competition had to Celaena’s life – to live or to die, is a common plot but was expressed in a way that it didn’t seem too cliché.

But my favorite part would be that the author didn’t stick with what would have been a predictable plot line – sticking with the competition. Instead, the author went above and beyond and introduced a whole other problem: a murder mystery!!! I really enjoyed that. Now, there were two things to look forward to – the competition and information about the murders.

The part I would have to say was my least favorite would be the love triangle. It just wasn’t portrayed clearly and just flopped. Also, to me it seemed as if it dictated some of the character’s decisions and they acted a bit odd.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and wholeheartedly recommend it to lovers of young adult magical books. This book is simply amazing. The second book of this series, Crown of Midnight just recently published, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Book Review: Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Title: Eragon
Author: Christopher Paolini
Publisher: Knopf
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction
Pages: 497
Rating: 4.5/5

After a series of squeaks, a small dark head poked out of the hole, followed by a weirdly angled body…
  … Standing in front of him, licking off the membrane that encased it, was a dragon.

In the except above, Eragon, a poor farm boy, finds a stone in the Spine, which is a mountain range located near Eragon‘s house. After days of looking at the stone, Eragon realizes that the stone is actually a dragon egg.

This is the summary of the book: Before Eragon was born, there was a boy named Galbatorix. He becomes a dragon rider, which is somebody who tries to keep peace in the world. After going on many adventures, Galbatorix’s dragon dies, which causes him to go insane. Galbatorix takes over and rules over the lands. He kills people and becomes an enemy of the Varden, an organized group  of people who oppose Galbatorix. He kills or imprisons all of the riders, which causes a great need for new riders. This event leads to Eragon finding a bright, blue stone in the Spine. This stone is not an ordinary stone, it is a dragon egg. When the dragon hatches, it is the start of new riders. As Eragon learns more about the riders, he grows stronger. When Galbatorix hears about the new rider; he quickly tells his soldiers to kill Eragon. The soldiers kill all  of Eragon’s family. After Eragon sees what happened, he sets out to kill Galbatorix. Will Eragon be able to survive the threat of Galbatorix?

I liked Eragon for many reasons. My first reason was because Christopher Paolini really hooked me on with the prologue. It interested me. Second of all, Christopher Paolini added a lot of humor. I thought Saphira, Eragon’s dragon was the funniest. I liked when she was being sarcastic with Eragon. That made me laugh out loud. Last of all, I liked the book because it included pronunciations, a glossary, special scenes that were not mentioned in the book, and a sneak peek of Eldest.  My favorite part of the book was when Eragon was pursuing Galbatorix’s soldiers. It was the best part of the book because it included a lot of action and spying. That seemed cool to me. I can’t wait to read the next book, Eldest!

I recommend that you definitely read this book. I guarantee that you will enjoy it!

Eragon is the first book in the Inheritance series. Not only is Eragon a best selling book, it is a 2006 movie.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Book Review: Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Title: Outpost
Author: Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 317
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: 5/5

Deuce, along with her friends Fade, Stalker and Tegan have reached Salvation. They are safe. For now, anyways. But things are very different from how they were in the enclave, especially the way she is being treated by others.

Once thought of as an adult in the underground Enclave, here she is considered as  just another kid who needs to grow up. And it isn’t as if she’s going to fit in anytime soon with her unladylike manners. If that isn’t enough, things between her and Fade have changed. He’s more aloof and distant now, and Deuce just doesn’t know what happened between the two of them.

The only thing Deuce can do to make herself feel at home again is to sign up for the summer patrols, to make sure the planters can grow crops without being attacked by the Freaks. But to everyone’s dismay, the Freaks have grown smarter and are changing their ways of life. Their goal of killing humans hasn’t changed though, and Salvation is on the brink of destruction. The town has almost given up hope, but a girl like Deuce may just reverse the tide of hopelessness.

My favorite thing about Deuce is that she isn’t some helpless damsel in distress. Instead, she’s a kick-butt Huntress who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. She’s strong, courageous, and selfless. Another thing I like about Deuce is that she isn’t one to let men/boys put her down because she’s a girl. She’s got a backbone, something that made it even more interesting to learn about things from her point of view.

I just want to point one thing out. I don’t usually rate books 5 out of 5 stars. And I have never rated both a book and its sequel 5 out of 5 stars. In my mind this book has made history. So just from that, you should be able to tell that this series is simply amazing.

I liked how the book was written. It wasn’t all what was happening right then and there. Instead, there were some flashbacks that helped express the emotions Deuce was feeling. It was an interesting way to convey emotions, one that isn’t seen often.

Now, to the other great thing about this book: the action. This book definitely isn’t one to just put in half of the details and just ignore the rest. No, this book gives all the details:  a 100%. And just from that, you are Deuce. Not that whole, you feel like you’re with Deuce or you feel like Deuce. This is the real thing, and is definitely something that most other books don’t have.

I know a lot of people don’t like having romance in the books they read, especially love triangles. Well, I’m here to tell you that if there is any book you have to read that has romance in it, read this one. The whole book isn’t stuffed with romance, which is a definite plus side, but there are parts that let you know there is a love plot.

Overall, I have to say I loved this book. It left me itching for the next book of this series. Outpost is definitely in my top 5 favorite books. This book is for people who love dystopian, young adult, or romance books. I recommend reading Outpost if you are 12+ years old. Other books in this series includes Enclave and Horde, which is releasing October, 2013.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Book Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Title: Enclave
Author: Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 259
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: 5/5

Deuce lives underground, in the enclave  - a community where so few children make it to the age of 15, they are just called a number. It is a world where monsters called Freaks roam the underground tunnels, a place where when a child reaches the age of 15, they must decide if they want to be a Hunter, Breeder or Builder. Deuce always wanted to be a Huntress, and now, she is.

But, being a Huntress isn’t everything Deuce thought it would be. First of all, she’s paired up with a brooding Hunter, a social outcast who lived for years alone in the tunnels where the monsters called Freaks live. And second, she realizes that the people who lead her community might be lying about, well, everything. Deuce has to save her community, but is it too late to try?

I liked learning about the enclave from Deuce’s point of view. She isn’t like the others – hard and cold-hearted. A commendable quality of Deuce’s would be her selflessness: she’s the type of person who will help another, even if it is dangerous to do so. Besides that, Deuce is funny, dangerous and interesting to read about. As she realizes the truth of the twisted world she lives in, this heroine is quick to act and always thinks of others before herself.

To me, this story is definitely unique. Yeah, there are stories of people living underground or secluded from others. And, there are other books that have monstrous creatures that the main characters must fight off. But this one is different, because of how the story progressed.

There was no time to get used to the world in which Deuce lived; instead, the story immediately became action-packed and adventurous, instantly immersing me in the story, something that was a change from a bunch of other books I’ve recently read. But my favorite part would be the action scenes. These parts of the story were poetry. They were beautiful to read and were very entertaining.

And the love triangle was perfect too. Honestly, now days I’ve realized that some books would be absolutely perfect if they didn’t have a love triangle. Perfect. And that’s why this book is so amazing: because the love triangle didn’t make the book drag. In fact, it made the book even more interesting than it would have been without it.

Overall, I have to say I loved this book. Full of spunk, action and lots of danger, this book is definitely one of the all time greats. I definitely recommend this book to people who love dystopian books. Other books in this series include Outpost and the upcoming book Horde which is releasing in October, 2013.
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