Sunday, August 23, 2015

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

You know that thing that happens when you throw all your favorite books from widely varying genres into a super-collider and it makes one heck of a brilliant mess?  Wait, that isn't a thing?  Well it should be if this book is that mess.  This novel is part Fault in Our Stars part Girl At Midnight/Smoke & Bone part nothing I have ever read before.  And it's not all wonderful.  A lot of it was confusing (purposefully, I mean the main characters have NO clue whats going on for a majority of the book). The book was also short, for a YA novel, less than 300 pages.  I feel like a little more time could have been spent explaining or filling in HUGE gaps in character development.  It was one of those instances like: "You are special main character.  Oh really?  No, I'm ok, I don't need to be special.  Oh wait, BOOM, I am special.  The end."  It all happens a bit to fast for my liking.  But in all, I did really like this book.  It was definitely a weird mismatch but that worked for it.  And I look forward to more magical world-building in books to come.

Final Recommendations: if you like sick kids, fantastical fantasy, awesome creatures (I mean what could be more awesome/precious than a squallwhale!), star-crossed love, ocd earth boys, shady moms, girls with a destiny

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann

So. Clever.
A. Must. Read.
A. Must. Own.
Painful in its realness.
Teens, Teachers, Moms of girls, Moms who once were girls.
Run. Get it NOW!

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

This is one of those books where the first half deserves one rating while the second gets a slightly higher one.  It started off at a run, throwing the reader into the environment and the characters, but quickly slows to a dead stop.  It's basically beauty and the beast with trolls.  But not like tiny, live under your local bridge-type trolls.  These trolls are basically fairies (I am placing heavy bets on this reveal in coming books) with slight abnormalities cause by years cursed to confinement within a mountain.  The main heroin, Cecile, is very likable.  The relationship between her and the troll prince is intriguing and genuine.  The conflict between full-blooded trolls and half bloods is trying to hard but is well meaning.  I think I will continue the series.

Final Recommendations: if you like magical creatures, kidnappings, strained romantic entanglements, crewel kings, and lots of unanswered secrets

Monday, August 3, 2015

Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier

So this one gets bumped up to 3 stars based mostly on the fact that I loved the Ruby Red Trilogy by the same author.  If you have not read this fun time-traveling saga, lucky you, you can binge-read the entire series (Ruby Red is the 1st one) now.  But, I digress.  Dream a Little Dream wasn't bad.  The main character was likable, the concept was descent (lucid dreams made possible by a potential demonic presence), but I didn't feel as if the plot really went anywhere.  There were no big reveals and by the end, I didn't feel like I understood what was going on any better than when I started the novel?  It also should be stated that the translation (from German) was not as smooth in this novel nor as funny as it was in the Ruby Red series.  I will probably pick up the 2nd book in this series when it comes out, simply to try and figure out what the heck is going on?

Final Recommendations: if you like mystery, dream psychology, high school drama, not super-scary demons, too many hot guys to really remember which is which?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

I have read a few DNF review of this book.  I can see where they were coming from.  The beginning of this novel is shrouded in secrecy, but I think that works to it's advantage as well as the whole point of the magic encompassed in the book (it is by nature, very mysterious to be a seeker).  There is not much by the way of plot in this novel.  But that does not preclude a good rating.  I actually loved this book in both world building, magical concept and the real kicker: character.  I loved the character development in this story and cannot wait to see where they end up in the following books.  They were both realistic and flawed (often difficult to do in magical settings).

Final Recommendations:  if you like unique magical semi-steam-punk settings, a variety of intriguing characters, bad guys who are not entirely bad & good guys who are not entirely good, if you are not totally concerned about plot development

Friday, July 24, 2015

Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

This is the book that would result if "Rich Kids of Beverly Hills" had a baby with "The Divinci Code" and "Mission Impossible."  I know that seems biologically impossible, it is, and in parts this book was impossibly convoluted but, as a whole, it was not entirely unreadable.  For starters, I read a lot of fantasy.  Which is a precursor for "I'll believe anything once."  But even I had a hard time believing a lot of things these rich and powerful kids got away with.  That being said, this was a very action-packed thrill-ride of a book.  It had the swoony romance thing down and some pretty decent twists and turns.  But there will still a lot of things that were left unexplained.  I probably will pick up the second book just to see if many of the unanswered questions are clarified.

Final Recommendations: if you like action & adventure, secret missions, swoony strangers, secret society that can basically do anything they want

The Heir by Kiera Cass

Really, you should not start here if you have not already read the previous installments to Kiera Cass' much beloved Selection Series, as this is basically the same book as the previous 3 but with a new cast of characters.  Cass draws out the seemingly meaningless Selection for Eadlyn Shreave (the daughter of King Maxon and Queen America).  There is a lot of hemming and hawing as Eadlyn wants nothing to do with it.  It does have many of the bright spots that its predecessors possessed: chock full of romance, some silly/funny moments, but it lacks a lot of the endearing moments that we, as the readers were afforded under America's point of view.  Because basically (and I stand by this although many of my middle school girls would disagree), Eadlyn is unlikable.  She is whiny, self-absorbed and pretty clueless in many respects.

Final Recommendations: if you loved the Selection series, bratty princesses, a bit of romance, vague conflicts that go nowhere, world building that is on the fringe, or if you are a 13 year old girl