Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Evertrue by Brodi Ashton

Summary (from Goodreads):
Now that Nikki has rescued Jack, all she wants is to be with him and graduate high school. But Cole tricked Nikki into feeding off him, and she’s begun the process of turning into an Everliving herself... which means she must feed on a Forfeit soon — or die.

Terrified for her survival, Nikki and Jack begin a desperate attempt to reverse the process using any means possible. Even Cole, who they expected to fight them at every turn, has become an unlikely ally — but how long can it last? Nikki needs to feed on Cole to survive, Cole needs Nikki to gain the throne in the Everneath, Jack needs Nikki because she is everything to him — and together, they must travel back to the Underworld to undo Nikki’s fate and make her mortal once more. But Cole isn’t the only one with plans for Nikki: the Queen has not forgotten Nikki’s treachery, and she wants her destroyed for good. Will Nikki be forced to spend eternity in the Underworld, or does she have what it takes to bring down the Everneath once and for all?

In this stunning conclusion to the Everneath trilogy, Brodi Ashton evokes the resiliency of the human spirit and the indomitable power of true love.
So, this is a little harsh, but I kind of wish Ashton created a stand-alone with the first one. I loved book 1. I was blown away by the world-building, the incredibly unique take on a well known myth, and the depth of the characters. Book 2 was a little bit of a let-down. It seemed to be way more focused on the romance, then on the unique plot. And I think my major disappointment in it, thinking back now, is that Nikki finally got a chance to be the hero and do the rescuing of her soul mate –but she was kind of weak, and not hero enough for me.
Then this book happens, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to read it. But, book 2 had a great ending. An ending that seriously led me to believe that Nikki was actually ready to be more than her normal, rather subservient self. She was finally ready to take on the Everneath and all it entailed. However, yet another plot device comes to play that makes Nikki weak again…
Now, she’s becoming an Everliving, and is dependent on Cole (again) for survival. She literally needs to kiss Cole (the wrong end of the love triangle) every day to survive. And Jack (the right end of the love triangle) has to put up with it because he wants her alive long enough to defeat the Everneath. All these scenes made me physically roll my eyes.
I only now just realized what my biggest problem with the book is; I never ended up caring much for Nikki. There was nothing interesting about her since book 1. I had empathy for her in book 1 because of all the pain, death, and betrayal she went though. But without all the things to feel bad for her for, she’s not that interesting. She doesn’t seem to have any interests or hobbies and she doesn’t seem to care for much of anything but her boyfriend.
The other thing this book didn’t have going for it, were the a-typical plot devices. Cole lost his memories. Jack and Cole had a lot of testosterone flare ups. There were wanted posters of Cole and his band. Nikki and Jack (like in the other books) could always find Cole by easily going online and finding where his band was playing. There’s the convenient scholarly character who has bonus information about things he doesn’t even literally believe in. Also, if you’ve read the book, did anyone else not get the whole King-Sized bed incident???
On the other hand, I didn’t straight-out hate the book. I did finally get to see more details and more history of the Everneath. I found the Shade network to be fascinating. I found the queen to be super interesting. I even liked getting to know one of Cole’s closest friends.
I wish this last installment could have made Nikki stronger (and not as dependent on guys). I also wish that I liked Nikki more and that she had more to her than the boys in her life. I wish there was less love triangle romance and more story. And I wish the story wasn’t quite so familiar. I do give this author mad props for an excellent first book and some seriously amazing world-building. This last book and series just weren’t for me. I give it a 5/10.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Good Week in Books (80)

I had another great book week. I received one finished book for review (Thank you, Hyperion!). And I purchased two books. One is actually a book I already have an eBook version of, but it’s my friend’s book and as soon as I saw it available in paperback I ordered a copy. Rebecca, if you’re reading this, know that I am so proud of you! I’ll be reviewing your book soon.

Endless by Kate Brian
Inertia by Rebecca Schwartz
Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
How was your week in books?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Summary (from Goodreads):
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.
This was another book that wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I knew I’d be sucked right into Oliver’s writing. And I was. I guess I was picturing Panic to be more digital…I don’t know why. Nothing said that the game wouldn’t be as it was.
I read the book in one day. It was super suspenseful. It kind of read like a YA version of Fear Factor. The game, Panic, was sort of like the ultimate game of truth or dare, minus the truth aspect. And the teens participating had to do seriously dangerous, and scary things like break into the house of the known town drunk who shoots anyone and anything that happens upon his property. There’s guns, high heights, speeding cars, fires, and so many other adrenaline powered activities the teens have to do to stay in the running for the big cash prize. Not all the teen survive.
I found each scene that involved the game Panic to be nail-bitingly suspenseful. I had to know who would go on. I liked that the four main characters were all so different, though I kind of wished they weren’t all quite so screwed up. Dodge has a permanently injured sister, who’s in a wheelchair because of Panic. Heather has an addict mother and a little sister that depends upon her. Nat thinks she has to sell herself to become an actress. And Bishop has some mighty guilt for some seriously crazy stuff on his shoulders.
I like that this book has so many facets to it. It goes from Fear Factor to some serious topics. The book deals with teen homelessness, break-ups, drinking, and revenge. And each character brings their own elements to the story and the game. Sometimes it was hard to cheer one particular character on because I felt for them all –particularly Heather and Dodge.
I’m not quire sure I bought the whole everyone adding a dollar a day to the pot thing. Seriously, some of these characters were way under the poverty line. How were they adding a dollar a day to the Panic pot? Also, Heather and Bishop’s relationship kind of confused me. What happened Freshman year that was never addressed? And why did it take them so long? And why couldn’t Heather figure out something about Bishop that Dodge (the newest friend of the group) could?
All in all, the suspense in this one was killer. The characters were interesting. And I liked how each character brought something different to the overall game and story. I don’t think everything added up for me though. And I kind of wish there was more resolution for a certain main character’s actions. I give it an 8/10. And I’m looking forward to reading more of what Lauren Oliver has to say.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Summary (from Goodreads):
In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more?
In Brandon Sanderson's intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage - Allomancy, a magic of the metals.
So, this is kind of my second adult book reviewed this month! What is going on with me? However, there are two main characters in this book and one is a teenager. So, a lot of this kind of read like a really well put together, incredibly well written YA novel. Also, I had to review this; I just had to. It is probably going down as one of my all time favorite fantasies. Seriously, it is up there with Tamora Pierce, Kristina Cashore, and Mercedes Lackey. This book just blew me away!
Why haven’t more YA fans read this? Seriously, if you are a YA reader that likes fantasy at all, this is a must. A must. It was fantasy, but it was also kind of a dystopia, and kind of a super hero book. There’s an evil dictator that the main characters risk their lives to revolt against. There’s crazy, awesome super powers that revolve around metals. There’s some of the most outrageously awesome characters. There’s thieving crews, revenge missions, battles, balls, magic/metal training, prison escapes, betrayals, class battles, created religions, spying, murder, and pretty much all of anything that could possibly be adventurous and interesting.
I absolutely loved the relationship between the two main characters. And oh my goodness it was awesome to have the two main points of views not be between love interests! Kelsier played more of a mentor type father figure to Vin, and I loved this. It was so wonderful to watch Vin grow from a terrified street urchin to a powerful mistborn. And Kelsier was like a mixture of Aladdin, Robin Hood, and King Arthur all rolled into one. But, add serious levels of vanity. These characters were complex and more interesting than characters I have read in any book in a long time. And even the side characters just kept becoming more and more interesting as the story went on.
There’s also a book within the book that’s also beyond interesting, and I think will have to come into play later in the series. But more than anything, Sanderson created this world that’s unlike anything I’ve read before. The hierarchies in government and alomancy (metal usage) were so genius. And I know I’m not adequately describing how awesome the story is, and it sounds like it would be super complicated, but it wasn’t. Sanderson’s descriptive style expands on all things that would be complicated and paints a picture for anyone to be able to see.
I did kind of predict one aspect to the ending, a big aspect…However, there were so many small things I had no idea were coming. There’s one roof-top battle that had me going “Woa,” out loud. And some of the plot twists were so good, that even though I called some of them, I was still beyond impressed at the author’s ability to fit it all together. The plot twists had to happen because everything was so planned out and I couldn’t have seen things going down in any other way.
So I feel like I’m fangirling/gushing over this book too much. I don’t really have anything negative to say. I’m super glad I bought the box-set of this series because I will be needing to get into book 2 soon. I give this a 10/10. And I really recommend this to any and all fantasy fans.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (100)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger (11/4/14):

Description on Goodreads:
Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style--with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what--or who--they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all.

Gather your poison, steel tipped quill, and the rest of your school supplies and join Mademoiselle Geraldine's proper young killing machines in the third rousing installment in the New York Times bestselling Finishing School Series by steampunk author, Gail Carriger.
Why I’m Waiting:
I absolutely love this series. These books are smart, hilarious, steampunk-ish, action-packed, mysterious, and full of romantic potential. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one. I just adored book 1 and book 2. And the plot in this one sounds like it might be the best yet.
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Summary (from Goodreads):
In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.
Wow. This book was awesome. I’ve been meaning to read this one for some time. It’s on my 2014 challenge list. And I was reminded of my need to read it several times this year. This book has been in the news for being banned (this year). And then the author was on the Colbert Report not too long ago. And I guess I took this all to mean I better bring this up on my TBR pile. And I’m so glad I did.
I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting. But what I got was a book that both had me laughing out loud, and shedding a few tears. This is the ultimate underdog kind of book. And I love books where I’m meant to cheer on the underdog (that’s kind of why I watched the show, Glee, for so long).
I loved getting to see inside a reservation. I found Junior’s life to be both tragic and fascinating. The poor kid never had anything easy. When he leaves his rez to get better schooling, he’s ostracized at home for being a traitor. At his school, he stands out for not looking like anyone else. He hitchhikes on a regular basis, has been the long-lasting punching bag for various bullies on the rez, and to top it all off, Junior also has a medical condition. Is he not the ultimate underdog material?
The book deals with some intense subjects like alcoholism, racism, death, grief, depression, bulling, violence, poverty, and a little gambling. But it’s not overtly about any of these things. The book is more about Junior coming to terms with who he is, about growing up. Through it all are some funny comic-style illustrations and plenty of dark humor.
I liked that this book dealt with hard topics like racism in a sort of off-hand way. Never did it feel like I was being preached to. And at the same time, I loved watching certain characters grow, and become less ignorant.
The book was rather empowering too. It took serious courage for Junior to realize when he did that he had to leave. Junior knew that he wanted more than what his family had and that what the world was willing to give him. And I feel like that’s what the book was mainly about: realizing what you want and going after it (no matter how hard life gets).
I read this book in one sitting, not something I tend to do with contemporaries. I loved the characters. I loved getting to see inside a reservation. I found the humor to be awesome. I liked that serious issues were discussed without making the book just a serious issues book. I loved cheering for the lonely underdog. And I can’t really come up with anything negative to say. I give it a 10/10.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Good Week in Books (79)

I had a nice, little book week. My library’s annual book sale started up again, and the first day of it’s opening is always just for library staff and volunteers. I decided to not go to it last year, but I couldn’t stay away this year. I got 3 new books (all for five dollars)! And then my wonderful library staff and I were invited to a blueberry farm! So I came home this weekend with books and blueberries. What can be better?

Eona by Alison Goodman
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
On the Count of Three by Maureen Johnson
How was your week in books?