Tag Archives: YA fiction

Book Review: The Infernal Devices Series

Books: Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess

Author: Cassandra Clare

Recommend: This series was better than the original three books and I didn’t think that was possible.

Okay, it is no secret that I love everything that I’ve read from this author. Her original series, The Mortal Instruments is one of my favorite YA series I’ve read. This series actually might be better than the original material.

This series centers around Tessa Gray, a girl who has no idea who or what she is when she is taken by the Dark Sisters and forced to use a skill she didn’t even know that she had. it puts her in the path of the shadowhunters as they work together to stop an evil force that the Nephillim alone cannot defeat.

Okay, this has to be with, without a doubt, the best love triangle I have ever seen. In most books we see two guys fighting over one girl. In this one, it is three people who love each other completely but don’t want to hurt anyone in the process and yet Tessa must choose. (I know – spoiler but it’s YA so this plot point is fairly predictable and therefore I don’t feel too bad about it). At the end of the first book, I was certain which way I wanted it to go. By the end of the second, I had completely flipped and by halfway through the third I was so confused that I somehow wanted both to end up with the girl even though it wasn’t possible.

With one of the best book ends I have read in a very long time, this series had me on an emotional roller coaster ride that I never wanted to get off. In fact, I have a serious book hangover from this series. I’m trying to read another book right now and I just can’t seem to get into it and it is all Cassandra Clare’s fault. There is no question that these books will be joining my extensive library the second I have the cash to purchase them.

I will say that while Clare is able to suck me into her world every time I read one of her books, this is not the case for everyone. In fact a couple of my close friends have tried to read her stuff and hated it completely. They simply don’t like her writing style and find that sometimes it can feel like she is trying too hard. So much so that they couldn’t even finish City of Bones. However, I have many other reader friends who love this series as much as I do. In fact, the moment I finished, I had to text one of my friends just to let her know how much I loved it by the time I was done. Definitely a whirlwind that is worth riding.

Also, I just found out that a movie is coming for this series!! I can’t wait 🙂

Final Rating:

Need more than one copy!!

Need more than one copy!!

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Book Review: Rise

Book: Rise

Author: Anna Carey

Recommend: Definitely, but only if you’ve read the first two books in the series.

I had less than an hour to read this one. I saw it on the shelves while wondering Barnes and Noble on a long lunch hour. I picked it up, plopped down at a table and began to race through the book, eagerly devouring the conclusion to one of my favorite trilogies lately.

Eve is a mess after the shooting of Caleb and she is definitely showing it at the beginning of this book. Her hatred of her father and everything he stands for has only grown since she lost Caleb but she goes through the motions – all while secretly planning his assassination all while dealing with her sham of a marriage to Charles. When she find out that she has one last piece of Caleb left, everything changes and she puts her life on the line to stop her father forever.

This one was  a complete roller coaster ride to the end and when you think it’s all over, the author throws you for a welcome tailspin. I think the only thing I would say could be a negative about this book is that the author takes Eve away from the action one too many times. I know why she does it but it almost seems like a cop-out to keep her alive. I would have rather seen her in the middle of the action, continuing to fight and somehow escaping the inevitable. I think it would have made for a more exciting storyline. However, I really liked the fact that she brought back some of the issues from the first book to show that they weren’t forgotten. I also love the fact that she doesn’t make things too easy on Eve. The major complication in this book is almost funny in a way but also very bittersweet for the character, not to mention dangerous. I love the transformation of the character from a girl scared of her own shadow to a leader who seems to be able to overcome almost anything when necessary. A very large change but without losing the heart of the character.

My biggest frustration with this book was the ending. While I loved how she concluded the story, she needed to write about five more pages. It was just plain mean to leave us where she did. I wanted to see the moment she walked into that room! UGH! A few more paragraphs wouldn’t have killed her. Of course I’m among the group who loved the prolonged ending to Return of the King and I wanted just a bit more this book too. When you cut the story just short of a huge payoff for the readers, it’s just frustrating for them. It really didn’t need to be long or dragged out, but it needed to be!

Great end to such a fun series. I’m rather sad that there isn’t another Eve book to wait for.

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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Book Reivew: Monument 14

Book: Monument 14
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Recommend: It was a fun fast read…

I picked this one up recently and was looking through my library pile for something on the shorter side. I wasn’t feeling well and but didn’t quite want to go to bed yet. So I started in on this book and finished it in a couple of hours.

The best thing about this book was that it didn’t read just like every other teen dystopian novel out there. First of all, we see the disaster. We aren’t looking at society many years later. Second, there is nothing paranormal about this one. Hurray. Don’t get me wrong, I love my paranormal fiction but it was nice to read something without it. I also found the plot refreshing in some ways. These teens were far from perfect and it confronted issues like drinking, drug abuse and teen pregnancy.

I will say that some of this book was rather predictable because well, this was a zombie apocalypse without the zombies. This author seemed to want to write a zombie book minus zombies which she did, rather effectively but some of the plot points were painfully obvious. That being said, there were somethings that I didn’t see coming – at all, which kept me reading despite some of the issues. There is one twist in the story as well that simply made me want to crawl through the covers and kill one of the characters. If the characters in the book hadn’t done it for me I would have been furious. I would definitely say that this is TRULY a teen book and not one to be read by someone who is not yet a teenager. Some of the plot points are intended for a more mature audience.

Overall it was a fun read. Not one I’ll be adding to my collection but one that I wouldn’t mind reading the sequel to if I get the chance.

Final Rating:

Get it used...

Get it used…

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Book Review: The Fault in our Stars

Book: The Fault in our Stars
Author: John Green
Recommend: Most definitely… a must read book.

I’ve heard a lot about this book. Those of you who read my blog often know that I tend to avoid books with tons of hype until much later. This is another example of this but I finally picked this one up. I wish I would have picked this one up sooner. I read this book in one sitting simply because I couldn’t put it down.

First of all, this book comes from Hazel’s point of view and is written by a male author. Often, this doesn’t go well. However this guy somehow seemed to figure out how to write a teenage girl in a way that was believable. She is a wonderful character and learns so much through the course of this book. Augustus is also wonderful and flawed. Then there is the whole thing with the author of her favorite book. The symbolism that the author uses with the author character is wonderful.

The only somewhat negative piece of this book is that while some of the plot lines are necessary, in some places the plot line feels a bit cheesy. There I said it. I know this won’t necessarily be the popular view on this book but I pretty much knew how it was going to end long before we got there. I think the author of her favorite book, Peter Van Houten was the most original part of the storyline. The whole way things turned out, while sad was extremely predictable. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved it, I just wish the author had done something a bit more interesting with the ending.

Overall a wonderful read and not one to be missed. This is not your typical teen fiction.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Once

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Book: Once

Author: Anna Carey

Recommend: It went a different direction than I expected but definitely a good read!

The second book in the Eve trilogy, this picks up right where Eve left off and then twists the plot in a direction I don’t think anyone saw coming. It was refreshing to see a young adult author take a book exactly where the reader wasn’t expecting it to go! Caleb‘s life is hanging by a thread again, we finally find out exactly who Moss is and Eve is placed into a crazy situation that is very shocking.

This book was a great read. I love being surprised by a plot and this one definitely did it. By the end of the book though, as a reader, I have a certain distrust of the author and so when she claimed that someone was dead, I just can’t bring myself to believe her. This series is really so well written and engaging. I can’t imagine many people not enjoying this series.

You can find my review of the first book here. I can’t wait for the conclusion to this intense trilogy!

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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Book Review: Article 5

Fiction - February 08

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Book: Article 5

Author: Kristen Simmons

Recommend: It was an interesting read. Not at all what I expected.

I saw this one a few months ago. It was on my massive list of books to read. I thought the concept was interesting. What if having a child out-of-wedlock was illegal? What if breaking a statute meant that you would disappear? What if the government was run by a moral code and one religion? That is the questions the author poses. What would the extreme case look like?

I really enjoyed the story line. What I didn’t like was the completely negative spin it took on traditional values and Christianity. The author seemed to think that having morality regulated would turn into something horrible. While anything can be taken too far, I think that the author forgets that the ideology in the book seems to be based on Biblical ideals and core of the Bible is God’s love for the people He created. The author seems to think that a world run by Christianity would be a world full of unfair rules and regulations and that the slightest thing would be met with extreme consequence. A world run by true Christian values would be one of love, caring, sacrifice and mercy, not violence and hatred. A situation similar to the book occurred a month or so ago in Mali (Couple given 100 lashes after child born out of wedlock) but it wasn’t Christians, it was under Islamic extremist rule.

I also think that there is a huge structural flaw with Article 5 of the statues. I think the idea that someone would be condemned for being a single parent doesn’t make sense with the structure she has created. If the whole idea is to promote traditional values, there still would be single parents, even if children weren’t born out-of-wedlock. What about widows/widowers? What about cases of rape? What about cases of abandonment? It’s just not solid enough to make sense to anyone reasonable.

While this was a fun fast-paced thrill ride, I think the author is trying to push her agenda through an engaging story.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: Leviathan

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Book: Leviathan

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Recommend: Definitely!

This is my first introduction to Scott Westerfeld and I can’t wait to read more. Leviathan was even better than I thought it would be. A big fan of steampunk, this book was a huge hit with me.

To say that Deryn is a hug tomboy would be a large understatement. When she decides to disguise herself as a boy and enter the military so that she can fly, she knows it is a huge risk but decides that it is worth the risk. Everything seems to go well for her until they crash and a mysterious boy comes to rescue her. When her loyality is divided and it either her kingdom or the safety of the boy who saved her life, which will she choose?

Okay, this is some of the most inventive steampunk I’ve run across. The writing is great, fast and entertaining. At first I didn’t think I would enjoy the illustrations but after a while it was a help to envision some of the more bizarre things described in the book and they didn’t happen so frequently that they were a distraction. First time I’ve ever really seen full out illustrations be truly helpful to the story telling.

If I had to come up with some kind of criticism for this book it is that Deryn is just a bit too convincing as a boy. You don’t really see her struggle to maintain her lie very often. I think the conflict that should be here hasn’t really shown up and I hope that Deryn becomes a bit more realistic in the second book.

This book was great and I can’t wait to read the next book in this wonderful trilogy!

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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Book Review: Legend

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Book: Legend

Author: Marie Lu

Recommend: A strong start to what could be a great series 🙂

I’ve seen this one a few times. I’ve almost bought it twice. Honestly, the cover just didn’t do it for me and that was the deciding factor in previous attempts. Sad but true. Then I heard that the author got the idea while reading Les Miserables. She was contemplating the relationship between Jean Valjean and Jauvert when she wondered what a more modern version might look like. If I had to pick one book to be my favorite, Les Miserables is it, so when I heard that the idea came from it, I requested the book immediately. I’m so glad I did and wished that I hadn’t been turned off by artwork. When they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, that is very true in this case.

Day is the most hunted criminal in the republic. A rebel who begins by wanting to protect his family has never killed, until the death of June’s brother. June is the brilliant military prodigy, left alone in the world when Day murders her brother. She graduates early and is immediately placed on Day’s cause, chasing him down through the streets of Los Angeles. When June stumbles into the truth, nothing will be the same again.

Okay the parallels to Les Miserables are definitely there, but not so much that they would seem obvious to most readers. Day of course, is Jean Valjean, June is our Jauvert with a feminine twist. While the surface of the story is different the characters are still motivated by the same things. Day is almost the perfect Valjean. He protects his family by becoming a criminal, saves a little girl’s life, he is poor and has a reduced level of citizenship because of it, he saves the life of his hunter, and is given a punishment far too harsh for his crimes. June is mostly like Jauvert but there are a few twists simply because she is female. This has created some of the most complex YA characters I have ever read.

I do actually have one negative for this book. While I love the fact that it is written in dual first person, I don’t like that the author/publisher/editor or whoever decided to print everything Day has to say in gold. It made half the book a real strain on my eyes. I think that when I add this to my collection, I’ll be getting the eBook so I won’t have to fight that.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Prodigy, which hits shelves in January of 2013.  I could just gush for ages on this one, but instead I’ll say, go get the book already!\

Final Rating:

Need more than one copy!!

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Book Review: M is for Magic

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Book: M is for Magic

Author: Neil Gaiman

Recommend: An amusing read  by a great fantasy author.

I’m a big fan of the work of Neil Gaiman so when I found this book of his short stories, I snatched it up. While I didn’t love every single story, most of them were really good.

This book is a collection of shorter works, which is always something I really enjoy reading. Short stories are typically extremely well written and can be a lot more imaginative than longer fiction can be. I think my favorite of this set was a crime story using the characters from nursery rhymes. It was so tongue in cheek but the characters took themselves seriously enough that it remained hilarious instead of coming across as hokey.

The seed of what would become The Graveyard Book is also included in this collection as well as a few others which were all fun to read.

Definitely worth the read if you like his other work. If you’ve never read something by him before, start with Neverwhere before getting into his short stories.

Final Rating:

Get it used…

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