Solstice Review

Title: Solstice
Author: P.J. Hoover
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: Mythology, Dystopian

Blurb: (from goodreads) Piper's world is dying. 

Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.

Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.

An imaginative melding of mythology and dystopia, Solstice is the first YA novel by talented newcomer P. J. Hoover.

Me: Such a different take on the normal dystopian genre...

The Ups: Go look back up at the Genre section again. Yup. You're reading it right. Mythology and dystopia. Is that not amazing or what? Dystopia is something we regard as extremely sci-fi, and churning mythology into that was fascinating. Personally, I am not a fan of mythology. I don't not like it or anything, it's just not one of my favorites. But when I read this book, I felt compelled to indulge deeper into mythology. 

A more personal view on normal reviews, P.J. Hoover is my schoolmate's mom. I've admired her since her first book, The Emerald Tablet, was published, and know her personally and as an author. I have two books signed by her, and have seen her at multiple book festivals. I really enjoyed Solstice because it was her first YA book, and I thought that it was very well woven together. I felt like her writing had progressed, and that was very interesting too. 

As a character, Piper was extremely relatable when she wanted to rebel against her mom and be free from limitations. I really liked how when she discovered her identity, the entire story seemed to piece together. I could see the red herrings planted throughout the book. 

I loved the visual descriptions of the setting. Especially because it was Austin, Texas, I could completely see the heat bubbles, and the domes to keep them out as well.

The romance was wonderful. At first, when she talked about how Shayne felt familiar and how she wanted to be by him forever I thought it was going overboard, but in the end I understood why she felt like that. 

The Downs: I loved every aspect except I feel like it was kind of slow paced in the beginning and too fast at the end. At the beginning, I was kind of confused and slightly wishing for the pace to speed up a bit, but at the end it was like a huge storm of words and ideas and plot twists and sometimes I could literally hear my head clicking and having an "OH so that was it" moment and other times I was just lost in the huge jumble.

I don't know. I think that the general plot could have only been done this way, for her to understand everything at the ending, but I wish it could have been packed together a little better.

Rating: 3 kisses! 

Monday Madness

Mondays after spring break are always terror. So I decided to lift my spirits up with a little bit of Monday Madness!

What I am currently reading: 
It's interesting. It's a fantasy story set in a world I still don't really understand. I have never read any of Tamora Pierce's works before, and it was really hard for me to get into this world of Dogs and Puppies and whatnot. The story is really slooowww so far, but I don't know, it's a nice read while I wait for my books that are on hold in the library.

What I just finished reading:

Reviews of some of these are out!

What I look forward to reading: 
A murder mystery that occurs when Anna's best friend is murdered and she is the main suspect. My really trusted book adviser Jenn told me about it and said it was really good. PS. go look at Jenn's blog.... she's like FAMOUS. 
A horror book where Juliet, the main character must stop her mad father from doing ruthless things. Looks really different.

So YA. Yay, at least this made me feel better! 

Fangirl Review

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell 
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Romance

Blurb: (from goodreads) Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .
But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Me: A really fresh take on teenage romance and first love.

The Ups: Oh my gosh Cath! I think everyone is like this, but I can't enjoy an amazing plot, no matter how well thought it may be if I don't feel for the main character. But Cath was so perfectly flawed to the point where I felt like she was my best friend. I loved the coming of age story and how she felt so confused and lost on where she was going. Just the way she talked was so funny and touching, and the fact that this girl was brave enough to make a romance happen was so heart-warming.
So ya, the romance. Loved it. It wasn't all hot and steamy six-pack abs and model girl. It was very touchingly real. The way Cath was holding back and Levi just stayed there for her was just perfection. Perfection.
I also really enjoyed the whole Simon Snow thing. The whole time I was omg it's like the world and Harry Potter so that was exciting:) Maybe that's just me and my potterheadness. I really felt for her when she felt panicked about Simon Snow ending because that was me with Harry Potter. But anyway I really liked how Rowell put in little"excerpts" from the real Simon Snow books and from Cath's fanfics. 

The Downs: I don't even know. Like at all. The world should have more books like Fangirl. 

Personally I loved this down-to-earth realistic fiction. I've been reading a ton of sci-fi lately and this was such a nice change. 

Rating: BMS... 6 kisses out of 5!

Gated Review

Title: Gated
Author: Amy Christine Parker
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Sci-Fi, Contemporary

Blurb: (from goodreads) A fast-paced, nerve-fraying contemporary thriller that questions loyalties and twists truths.

Appearances can be deceiving.

In the Community, life seems perfect. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pioneer invited Lyla’s family to join his group and escape the evil in the world. They were happy to be chosen, happy to move away from New York and start over in such an idyllic gated community. Now seventeen, Lyla knows that Pioneer is more than just their charismatic leader, he is their prophet . . . but his visions have grown dark.

Lyla is a loyal member of the Community, but a chance encounter with an outsider boy has her questioning Pioneer, the Community—everything. And if there’s one thing not allowed in the Community, it’s doubt. Her family and friends are certain in their belief. Lyla wishes she could feel the same. As Pioneer begins to manipulate his flock toward disaster, the question remains: Will Lyla follow them over the edge?

From the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand why anyone would join a cult. But Gated tells the story of the Community from the inside looking out, and from behind the gates things are not quite so simple. Amy Christine Parker’s beautiful writing creates a chilling, utterly unique YA story. Perfect for fans of creepy thrillers and contemporary fiction alike.

Me: A story set in the current time period, it weaves together a dystopian feel along with the events that are happening now.

The Ups: What's really interesting about this book is that as you're reading it and it talks about current events, you can almost imagine walking out of your town and finding this cult right there. I think that's what really great about contemporary fiction. So the entire time I was reading this I was constantly thinking about how cool it would be if the Community really existed and people came into the local Walmart and they were talking about the end of the world and stuff. I really liked the viewpoint of Lyla as well, because even though I knew it was set in the current time period and that the outside world was fine, I really felt like Lyla wasn't safe outside. Pioneer was such a great character as well, with a lot of depth and personality to him. The book incorporated dictatorship into it as well and I loved the relationship between Pioneer and Lyla.

The Downs: I feel like it was really fast-paced, and although I enjoyed that, the bonds between Lyla and her family and her friends weren't developed enough for me to feel the panic when she got separated from her family. Also it was really hard for me to picture the Silo- but really that's about it.

A very enjoyable book:) Excited for Astray coming out in Oct. 2014!

Rating: 4 kisses out of 5!

Cinder Review

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fairytale Retelling

Blurb: (from goodreads) Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Me: I can't even begin to explain how well thought out this book was. A round of applause for Marissa!

The Ups: I love love love the entire cyborg + human + android world they live in. Meyer did a wonderful job of describing and explaining the new world and I felt like I could picture it. It was a wonderful job of weaving in Cinderella with essential sci-fi elements, like cyborgs and plagues. I also loved the Lunar alien-people capable of magic. The way it transitioned from Cinder and Kai's story was gorgeously done as well. 

The Downs: The only bad thing I can think of is that it was predictable. I think that was just me and my overthinking mind, but I felt like from the start I knew what was going to happen at the end. I've read too many books-AHHH!

So pumped for Scarlet!

Rating: 5 kisses out of 5!


So yes I am back! Sorry I was out for quite a while. But here's some stuff you can look forward to.

Reviews of:

So ya, excited! YAY!

Shiver Review

Title: Shiver
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal-ish

Blurb: (from goodreads) For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, fore

Me:  Werewolves. Wolf-humans that supposedly turn at the full moon. Oh wait- never mind, they turn at winter!
The Ups: To me, the idea of werewolves turning according to the temperature was fascinating. It was a really fresh look on werewolves and how they can stay human for half of the year and 
 then have to turn into a wolf. The story was very intriguing, especially the idea of only being able to shift back to a human for a certain amount of time. I liked the connection between Grace and the wolves before she found Sam as well. 

The Downs: First off, the different voices. Aargh! They weren't much different, and Sam was too vulnerable. Yes, we all love compassionate, serious guys. If only they existed! Sam was almost unrealistically sensitive and you couldn't tell the difference of the two characters throughout the book. 
      I also felt like the ending (don't worry won't spoil) was not very well thought out and something that was just carelessly thrown in to solve the problem. 

I feel like I am not going to reach for the sequel. 
Rating: 2 kisses out of 5!