Books, YA Fiction

Throne Of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas

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Rating: 3.75 stars

“You could rattle the stars,” she whispered. “You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most.”

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

I guess this is another case of “it’s not you, it’s me”. 3.75 stars isn’t entirely bad, but I’ve had high-ish expectations of Throne Of Glass for a while, since I’ve been hearing a lot about it in the YA world as well as Aliza.

Let me begin with saying that Maas is a very talented writer. Her writing was sophisticated, lyrical, and very enrapturing. I wasn’t bored even for a slight moment. I also really liked the fantasy elements and the world-building in this book. I’m a sucker for a medieval-fantasy, and though I haven’t read many of them, I’ve always been interested. The Throne Of Glass world is like any medieval-fantasy, expect that magic is outlawed, and has pretty much vanished. I found this concept really intriguing, since most fantasy worlds nowadays contain a lot of magic or anything supernatural. The disappearance-of-magic paved the way for mystery in the book nicely. Unfortunately, I thought that the fantasy elements and the rest of the story weren’t balanced as well. I can’t say which parts outweighed each other, but they weren’t balanced for sure. I wanted more history of the fae and the disappearance of magic, but all I got was Celaena, Celaena, and more Celaena!

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Books, YA Fiction

The Summer I Turned Pretty, by Jenny Han

Rating: 4 Stars

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer–they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

I’ve been hearing a lot about Jenny Han especially from the books To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and Burn For Burn, which are very popular in the contemporary YA world. So, I decided to pick up her second novel and I was pleasantly rewarded with a story of summer, friendship, and finding yourself.

I thought the overall plot of the story was a little vague, but it eventually summed up to be pretty clear at the end. Han added vital scenes and information at the right points, and that really added a lot of emotion to the story. Han’s writing can get kind of annoying sometimes; she tends to add a quote, and then give a fact about the person saying it, which continues for a few paragraphs. However, the writing is usually brimming with emotions and Han has a specialty of giving the characters life and make them pop out of the page. I found the ending to be a little confusing and unsatisfying, because I wasn’t exactly sure if Belly got what she wanted at the end, but I kind of liked it anyway. The overall message of this book was very realistic; stuff happens and people change. At least, that’s what I got out of it.

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Books

Emmy & Oliver, by Robin Benway

5 stars. This is probably the cutest, nicest book I’ve read in a while. 

The Blurb: Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

I’ve been rating a lot of books 5 stars recently, not because I’m easy to please(which I kind of am) but because I’ve just been reading really good books lately. However, Emmy & Oliver truly touched me, in more ways than one.

First, I’d like to start out by saying that this isn’t entirely a romance novel. The blurb screams romance, but it’s a lot more self-discovery than romance. All the characters, including side characters grow and develop more then they typically do in an typical romance novel, but I’ll get to all that in a minute.

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Books, YA Fiction

End Of Days, by Susan Ee

Rating: 3.75 – 4 stars 

*sighs dramatically*

Summary: End of Days is the explosive conclusion to Susan Ee’s bestselling Penryn & the End of Days trilogy.

After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?

I don’t know what to say. I really don’t. I was never planning to add End Of Days to my pile of “disappointing conclusions”, but look how things worked out! Like Aliza, I practically worshipped Susan Ee. After reading Angelfall, I rambled on and on about it to anyone near me, until I met up with Liz again, and we rambled even more about its epicness. World After was not as good, but still amazing, and that got me even more pumped up for End Of Days. I liked this book, really, but I am somehow still feeling a little disappointed and underwhelmed.

End Of Days starts immediately after World After. The crew’s goal is to get Raffe and Paige fixed up, so before they go to find Doc they find shelter in order to be safe for a few days. The story was captivating enough, everything seemed to make sense. The sad thing is, although the story was engaging… I didn’t really feel anything. In other words, I wanted “the feels”, and I got none. I wanted this book to be brimming with emotion, because Susan Ee writes emotion really well. I’m not the kind of person who likes really emotional love stories, but I wanted something. Remember the ending of Angelfall? Remember when Raffe and Penryn met again in World After? I wanted to feel the same way I felt when reading those moments.

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Books, YA Fiction

An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir

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5 stars. I would rate this more if I could. 🙂

The Blurb: Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

I’ve been holding out on reviewing An Ember in the Ashes because I wanted to keep it all for myself(bwhaha >:)). But it’s an absolutely wonderful book, and definitely deserves to have more people read it.

An Ember in the Ashes is the story of Elias and Laia, two teenagers from completely different sides of the war in this ancient-Rome-like city. If you read the blurb, you’d realize that it sounds a lot like Marie Lu’s Legend, which I loved, but they are not similar in almost any aspect. Yes, both feature a dual-perspective narrative from people of opposite sides, but that’s about where the similarities end. For one, An Ember in the Ashes is a fantasy novel, and the story takes a completely different path.

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Books

New Releases in YA for June 2015

coming-soon Yep, it’s the beginning of the month again, so time for new releases! We have a couple cool new books coming out in the beginning of summer, so get ready for some summer reading!

1. Powerless, by Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs – Coming June 2, 2015

Kenna is tired of being “normal”. The only thing special about her is that she isn’t special at all. Which is frustrating in a world of absolutes. Villains, like the one who killed her father, are bad. Heroes, like her mother and best friend, are good. And Kenna, unlike everyone else around her, is completely ordinary— which she hates. She’s secretly working on an experiment that will land her a place among the Heroes, but when a Villain saves her life during a break-in at her lab, Kenna discovers there’s a whole lot of gray area when it comes to good and evil and who she can trust.. After all…not all strength comes from superpowers.

Sweet! I love characters that live in that gray area between good and evil – this seems like a cool superhero story.

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