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.
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