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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Book Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Title: These Broken Stars

Author(s): Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Publication date: December, 2013

Hardcover: 384 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the first installment in a series.  The next novel to come is titled This Shattered World.



How I got this book: Bought

Why I chose this book: When perusing through the bookstore, I noticed this book almost right away.  Not only did it have a beautiful cover, but I also knew it was highly anticipated.  I read the synopsis, got interested, and decided to give it a try. 

Synopsis:

It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 


Review:

I was really interested in all the fantastical and science fiction aspects of this book.  Even though I’ve read so much, I am still impressed by any author (or authors, in this case) that can create this whole new world, where things are so foreign, and make them believable and real to the reader.  And that point, this book definitely hits its target.  Not once did I feel like this world was fake or made up.  It felt so real, like I was there.  Or even more likely, this felt like a novel set in the future, one I might one day get to see.

Now, on with the plot.  I think this novel started a little slow.  With the first half of the book I felt like I was just waiting for something to happen, for there to be some meaning behind the novel.  But I was left waiting, drudging through the pages.  For this, the book had a much slower pace than I would have liked.  In the second half of the novel, things really start to pick up.  That’s how I wish the whole novel had been.  It was just non-stop, one thing happening after the other, and I couldn’t put the book down.  Not to mention that I was very surprised by some of the things that happened in this half of the novel, and was very impressed how the story became this unique, original idea.

Perhaps one of my favorite things about this novel was the characters involved.  With both Lilac and Tarver, I feel like I had a very good idea of who they were, and they stayed consistent throughout the novel.  One problem I see a lot with novels that switch back and forth in points of view, is that both characters end up sounding very similar.  When they sound two similar, then the story becomes bland and just…wrong.  But I always knew who’s mind I was in just by reading. 

While it had its flaws, I did really enjoy reading this story.  I will definitely be keeping my eye out for the sequel this coming year.  I would recommend this book to readers of science fiction most definitely.  The aspects of space travel, multi-dimensions, and foreign planets really keep this novel interesting and fascinating. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Book Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson

Title: Defy

Author: Sara B. Larson

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Publication date: January 7, 2014

Hardcover: 336 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the first installment in a series.

How I got this book: Galley from the publisher.


Why I chose this book: I really like fantasy when they are well down, and so I had some faith that I could get that from this book.  Therefore, I went into this book with both high hopes and high expectations.

Synopsis: 

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king’s army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince’s guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can’t prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she’s sworn to protect?

Review:

As I mentioned earlier, I went into this book with high hopes that I could read a great fantasy and an amazing adventure.  Maybe that was one of the problems that I had, and instead should have gone into this book with no expectations.  I was very disappointed by this book, and I felt that it was way over-hyped.

I want to start first with the characters.  After they were introduced, that was pretty much it.  There was hardy any type of lasting description for them.  I didn’t really know what they looked like, what they were like, or who they were.  So it was hard to really root for anyone in the story.  And this caused even more major problems when it came to relationships between the characters.  We find out that Rylan has been in love with Alexa since he’s met her.  This just seemed so unbelievable to me.  Even more unbelievable was the relationship between Prince Damien and Alexa.  Alexa seems to fall in love with Damian instantly, and I just can’t see why.  She switches between thinking he’s annoying and spoiled, to someone with deeper meaning, without any in-between time.  And the way Damian speaks to Alexa, saying he needs her, he really just sounds like he wants to use her, so I couldn’t trust him at all throughout the very book.  In in the end, I still can’t trust him.

I feel like this book had so much potential.  However, it just fell short, leaving me disappointed.  Out of five stars, I would give this book two.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Book Review: Forever by Karen Ann Hopkins

Title: Forever

Author: Karen Ann Hopkins

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Publication date: January 28, 2014

Softcover: 336 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the last installment in the series.

How I got this book: Galley from the publisher.


Why I chose this book: I’ve read the previous two novels in the series–and the cliffhanger I was left with meant that I had no choice but to read this book.  It’s been a great series so far, and I couldn’t wait to see how it ended.

Synopsis:

All I want is my happily-ever-after.  That’s all I’ve wanted since meeting Noah Miller. 

From the day we met, the world has tried to keep Noah and me from being together, but now that I’m carrying his child, no one will be able to tear us apart. Or so I hope. But Noah and I have made some mistakes along the way, and the consequences are impacting the people we love. Worse, there’s a storm on the horizon, and it’s sure to cause serious devastation. 

If we can get through this, we’ll finally be Rose and Noah—a family, forever.  But first we have to survive the road ahead. And happily-ever-after is a long way off.

Review:

This novel was full of ups and downs that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire novel.  In all seriousness, I couldn’t put this novel down.  I read it all in two sittings, because I just had to know how it was all going to end.  I don’t think it would be ridiculous for me to say that this was Hopkins’s best novel yet. I truly thought it was amazing.  If I had to give it a score out of five stars, it would get five stars without a doubt.

I was worried that I would feel like I would feel like I was missing stuff, because of jump between the two books.  I was glad that this third novel picked up right where the second one left off.  I felt like I was right back in their world, trying to figure out a plan for them to be together at last.

I also really like how there wasn’t a “which boy do I choose?” problem set up, which I was worried about with the romantic involvement with Hunter in the previous novel.  I’m happy that Rose stuck to her guns and knew that Noah was the right guy for her, no matter how charming Hunter could be.

I feel like the novel left us in a good place.  I get a good idea of where the characters end up and how their lives turned out.  I don’t think I’m missing out on anything or have any unanswered questions.  I even got to know the answers to some of the smaller questions I had.  Overall, this has been a great series to read–and I’m really glad I had to the opportunity to read it.  I would recommend this book to anyone.  Even though this book is geared toward more of the YA audience, I can say that people in the older audiences love these books as well.  My own mom has been reading the series, and is eagerly waiting for this last installment to see how it all ends.

I’ll definitely be looking for the next books that Hopkins decides to write.  I can only hope that they are as riveting as this dramatic series.