Monday, December 14, 2015

And it looks like I'm going dark...

Hello everyone! I know it seems like forever since I've posted ANYTHING, and unfortunately it looks like it's going to be just a little bit longer until I'll have time to do a real post. I really hoped that I would have time to do a review on this YA book I read the other day, but it doesn't look like I have the time.

In fact, between finals and the holidays, I don't know if I'll even be able to post anything for the next few weeks.

Thank you so much for bearing with me even during these times when I completely disappear due to the crazy stress of the holidays.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Review: SHADOW SCALE

As the long-awaited sequel to SERAPHINA, a great book I reviewed a few months ago (my review can be found here), I figured that it would be as good as a choice as any for today's review.

Before we begin, I'd like to let you know that during December and early January I will be very busy with my outside-of-the-blog duties. However, I will try to post as much as I can. You can always subscribe emails from The Reader's Perch if you want to make sure that you don't miss any posts! 

As always, sequels have spoilers written all over them, and this post is not different. Nothing major, but if you haven't read SERAPHINA yet, you should skip the two summaries.


I also feel that my mind is a little addled right now, so I apologize in advance for any errors. 




And just to be extra careful...

Warning: there are spoilers for SERAPHINA ahead!

Okay. Back to the fun stuff.

My summary:


War is brewing between the dragons, and Goredd is in the middle of it. Deciding to aid Ardmagar Comonot, the leader of dragonkind, Glisselda, Kiggs, and Phina know an attack on Goredd's capital city is imminent. A way to help Goredd and the Ardmagar has been discovered, but the half-dragons, who are scattered around the continent, are needed to make it work. Phina, who can reach out to the other half-dragons, begins a quest to find the half-dragons and bring them together.

But there are forces working against her: the dragon generals and another half-dragon whose power and unclear loyalties make her dangerous. The journey becomes far more treacherous than originally thought, and Phina is confronted with things she wishes she could ignore. But one thing is becoming far too clear: there are some very difficult questions that need to be answered.

Goodreads says:

Seraphina took the literary world by storm with 8 starred reviews and numerous “Best of” lists. At last, her eagerly awaited sequel has arrived—and with it comes an epic battle between humans and dragons.

The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways. 


As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny? 



My review:
*This also contains some spoilers. No more than the summaries, but be aware!*

Overall, a good book, but it wasn't quite as good as SERAPHINA. A lot of things that made SERAPHINA excellent weren't present. 


Many existing characters did not receive much character development. There are a few exceptions, but overall, little was done in that area. This might be a result of the large number of new characters that are introduced. Another thing I found was the shift in the importance of characters; some major characters in SERAPHINA took on lighter roles and vice versa. 


I did not feel any more satisfied with Abdo and Phina's relationship in this book. However, there were definitely some relationships that were explored and expanded upon in SHADOW SCALE. The addition of many other half-dragons created new relationships as well.


The next thing I am going to address is the plot. SERAPHINA did a great job walking that line of being "intricate" rather than falling into the"confusing" void. SHADOW SCALE didn't do as good of a job. It did a good job of being more "intricate" than "confusing", but there was still a little too much "confusing" in the mix.

I must say that there were certain times I wanted to hug this book simply because the plot was going in a wonderful direction. But there were also times I wanted to shake the book until the plot changed into something else; the way the battle ends was one such instance.


The writing was very good, and I enjoyed the artistic voice. Ms. Hartman has a very beautiful writing style, so it is excellent for those who enjoy a well-written book with a great vocabulary.


This book also came with a cast list and glossary, which I found extremely helpful. If you read this series, do not forget about it!


SHADOW SCALE is a fine book, but it was a tad bit disappointing as a sequel to SERAPHINA.


I would like to apologize for the spoilers crawling everywhere, but really, it was inevitable. Thank you for reading if you've made it this far!

Monday, November 30, 2015

WINNING NaNoWriMo




I know this blog has been really, really quiet over the course of November due to my adventures with NaNoWriMo. I wanted to let you guys know that it all paid off!

After writing close to 12K works last weekend, I was able to hit 50K this morning!

HOPEFULLY I'll be able to start blogging again, but I wanted to share my exciting news with you guys. Have a wonderful evening!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

National Novel Writing Month



That's right! I've decided to FINALLY do National Novel Writing Month!

This will be my first year, and I am really looking forward to it! For those of you who don't know, the goal of National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) is for all those involved to write 50,000 words (which is about the length of a novel) over the course of the month of November. It starts today, and I'm really excited to be a part of it.

I may not be doing very much over here this month. I'll definitely be blogging about by time doing NaNoWriMo, but those posts may be published during December or January, depending on how busy I am.

If you are a NaNoWriMo veteran, I would love to hear about your experience. Please share by emailing me or commenting below!

Here's to a wonderful and productive November!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween. Maybe it's because I get to dress up as my favorite book characters, or my love for autumn, or how much I love seeing all the creative costumes. 

Side note: if you are wearing a book-related costume, please accept every piece of the virtual candy and praise I can throw at you. YOU ARE AMAZING.

I'm allergic to most kinds of candy, so I always donate any leftover candy to our troops overseas. There are some fabulous organizations that use it as part of care packages. If you find yourself receiving far more candy than you'll eat, you might want to see if you can donate your candy.

Remember to have a safe, fun Halloween!


Monday, October 26, 2015

Good News!

I don't have a review for you today, but I do have some wonderful, bookish news!


*drumroll*

--

--

I have MAGNUS CHASE!

I finished QUEEN OF SHADOWS, but I didn't have enough time this weekend to put together a review. But it will come soon! Prepare yourselves!

I started MAGNUS CHASE this morning, and HOPEFULLY *fingers crossed* I'll have it done so I can do it for my MMGM next week!

I'm currently working on adding an FAQ page to The Reader's Perch as well. 

This is sort of an odd post, but I wanted to get you up-to-date on what's currently going on in my life. Have a wonderful day!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Review: THE HEARTBREAKERS

Hello! I hope everyone is having a fabulous day! I'm going to be doing a review on a YA romance novel today.

(source: Goodreads)

Ali Novak's author website can be found right here.

I tried writing a summary, but Goodreads covers everything pretty well, so I'm going to leave my blurb out this time.

Goodreads says:
"When I met Oliver Perry, I had no clue he was the lead singer for The Heartbreakers. And he had no idea that I was the only girl in the world who hated his music."
Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD...for four hours. She's totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she'll never see him again.
Except, Stella's life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song. Because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry – lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life?
But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver — dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band — when her sister could be dying of cancer? 
Ali Novak wrote her debut novel My Life with the Walter Boys when she was just 15 years old, and has since penned her next book, The Heartbreakers. First a hit on the online community Wattpad, her second novel has over 38 million reads and is loved by readers around the world.
My review:

After reading VIP: I'M WITH THE BAND (not a book I loved), I was still in the mood for a book about a boy band. I roamed the shelves of Barnes and Noble for an hour and found this book.

Like most books with pop star and regular girl pairings, suspension of disbelief is a requirement. The situations in THE HEARTBREAKERS weren't too outlandish, but I still found myself a little bit removed from the story due to the never-ending stream of extraordinary circumstances.


THE HEARTBREAKERS did a great job of really showing the pop star lifestyle. It didn't just show the exhilaration that comes with packed arena shows and hordes of fans. THE HEARTBREAKERS also allowed us to peek into the fights between band members and the difficult parts of the music industry that leave artists ripping their hair out in frustration.

Oliver, Alec, Xander, and JJ were all very well developed. I wish there had been more scenes with Xander, but there was a good balance. 

The writing style is fun and definitely addictive. Stella's point of view is extremely well-written. I'm not kidding. The writing is amazing. At parts where the plot seemed thin or the situations were just a little too much of a coincidence, the writing style kept me turning pages. 

I didn't fall in love with the idea of Oliver and Stella as a couple. When they ran into difficulties in their relationship, I didn't feel like they needed to get back together. Even though I liked the characters, I wasn't invested in their relationship. 

Although the book is not explicit, the language contains a lot of cursing and some more mature topics. There is nothing more than what one would hear at a high school, but I think I would only recommend it to eighth graders and high school students.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Regarding New Releases...

Hello! I hope everyone is having a fabulous week! I wanted to give you a brief update regarding what is going on in my life and how it is going to affect The Reader's Perch.

Somehow the must-read-as-soon-as-humanly-possible part of my TBR pile has jumped in size. Combine that with all the work I've been getting, and I'm just not able to stay on top of the new releases. Trust me when I tell you I want to be reading MAGNUS CHASE, CRENSHAW, SIX OF CROWS, and all those other amazing books that arrive every fall. My current schedule is eating up a lot of my reading time, so I may be a little slower than usual when it comes to new books.

Don't worry- I'm still going to be blogging as often as I can! But the books I talk about won't be the most recent releases. If there is a new release that you think I need to read NOW, send me a quick message using the handy form located to the right. Maybe I'll let it jump to the front of the list. :)

Oh, and as a side note: all of the books I mentioned by title are linked to Goodreads so you can check them out! Happy reading!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Review: THE WINNER'S CRIME

Happy Monday! I'm reviewing a book I finished about a week ago. My review for the first book in the series, THE WINNER'S CURSE is right here.

Before I begin, I wanted to let you know that I am a little bit behind. For those of you who don't know, QUEEN OF SHADOWS came out a few weeks ago. It shouldn't surprise you to hear that I'm currently rereading HEIR OF FIRE. I'm a little bit behind, so I'd like to keep The Reader's Perch free from QUEEN OF SHADOWS spoilers for the time being. Thanks! :)


(source: Goodreads)

You can visit Marie Rutkoski's author website using this link.

Because THE WINNER'S CRIME is a sequel, there are some spoilers for THE WINNER'S CURSE. With that in mind, let's begin with the Goodreads perspective:

Goodreads says:

Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement... if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.


My review:

I started (and finished!) THE WINNER'S CRIME shortly after THE WINNER CURSE. I got them at the same time, an action I highly recommend.

I think Kestrel was landlocked in THE WINNER'S CRIME. Due to her situation, she's not able to really do anything. Her chapters focused on her new and old relationships. It was certainly interesting, but I felt like there should have been something more.

On the brighter side, Arin's chapters were wonderful. I like him a lot more than I like Kestrel, and I was happy to see his character grow in importance. Although he fell into the "main character" category, I didn't really feel like he was getting his fair share of the time in the spotlight in THE WINNER'S CURSE. He does a lot more in THE WINNER'S CRIME, and I love how I got to see different sides of him.

There are quite a few new characters and some characters that really blossomed. Kestrel's father played a larger role in this book, and I enjoyed getting to know him.

The characters have higher stakes in THE WINNER'S CRIME, and it really helped fuel the story and make it a little bit bigger than THE WINNER'S CURSE. The story feels larger, and the characters are fighting for more than their own interests.

I don't like it when main characters start inventing modern devices; in fact, it's one of the reasons I'm no longer awaiting the next BROTHERBAND CHRONICLES book with zeal. Arin does construct a modern device in WINNER'S CRIME, and I think that almost singlehandedly dropped the book that half a star.

On an emotional level, this book felt similar to THE WINNER'S CURSE, but not so similar that it was repetitious.

THE WINNER'S CRIME isn't quite as good as the first book, but I still enjoyed it. That's why I'm giving it 3 out of 5 stars.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Review: THE WINNER'S CURSE

Hello! I have a recent YA read to share with you.

(source: Goodreads)

THE WINNER'S CURSE is by Marie Rutkoski. You can check out her author website here.

For those of you who have checked out my Goodreads account in the past six months, you will know that this book has been on my TBR shelf for a loooong time. I'll admit it: the cover, rather than the blurb, caught my eye.

I have already read THE WINNER'S CRIME, so there will be some references (but no spoilers!) regarding the sequel.

My summary:

Kestrel has always been able to see through lies. The daughter of one of the most celebrated Valorian generals, she has lived the upper-class life. Pulled between two unsavory options-- marriage or enlistment-- Kestrel's life is complicated and full of expectations.

Drawn to a slave, she purchases him for an absurd sum. As she grows close to Arin, she begins to second-guess her life and choices. But in a world of silent wars and high stakes, Kestrel learns that everything comes with a price.


Goodreads says:
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love... 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.


My review:

The world is very interesting, and I enjoyed learning about the different cultures. I think more information regarding the punishments for rebels and traitors would have helped raise the stakes for our main characters later in this book and THE WINNER'S CRIME.

I also really liked the writing style and the fact that we get to see both Arin and Kestrel's points of views.

There is a lot of parlor talk and less action than I would have expected. Personally, I enjoy seeing the different interactions, but for readers who are looking for something fast-paced, this isn't a book I would recommend.

Kestrel's "ability" to see through lies and easily find the truth seemed to disappear and reappear throughout the book. I wish it had been used more often.

I felt Arin's character needed more development. I wanted to learn more about Arin's life before the invasion. The reader does get hints in this book and in THE WINNER'S CRIME, but it's not enough for me to feel satisfied. I also think his character could have been more complex if he felt guilt for living when so many died.

Overall, I would give it 3.5 stars

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I hope everyone is having a great week! It has been ridiculously warm for the past few days, so I've been cowering indoors with the AC blasting and lots of borrowed books.

I don't really like setting rules, especially if the activity in question is something similar to blogging. I did decide pretty early on that I wouldn't post any negative posts on this blog. I'll express my reaction to all books on Goodreads, but I like to spend my energy focusing on good books, especially if I'm putting an hour (which is usually how long each post takes me to write and edit) into writing a review.

I want to clarify that negative reviews are different than critical reviews. Let's face it: no book is perfect. Every book is going to have some small flaws, and I'm going to point out the things that bugged me. But I only blog about books that have left me with a favorable impression, so every book I review here is one I've enjoyed.

Unfortunately, that means that sometimes I'll pick up a book on Wednesday with every intention of using it for a Monday post, and I won't enjoy it. In those cases, I just won't have a post. Trust me, it's annoying sometimes, but I want The Reader's Perch to be an overall positive blog.

Now that I'm done with that, it's time to return to the fun stuff: blogging about books! I'm going to have a review ready for you on Monday, so I'll see you then.

Keep reading!

Monday, September 21, 2015

MMGM: THE HYPNOTISTS

That's right! I've finally picked up an MG book, and I'm ready to do a review for you. My review is a little short today because I'm still trying to catch up, but hopefully you enjoy it!


My summary:

Twelve-year-old Jax Opus can use his color-changing eyes to hypnotize. Taken under Dr. Elias Mako's wing, Jax expands his already-powerful talent. But how pure are Mako's intentions? And what exactly is Mako planning for Jax's unique powers?

Goodreads says:

An all-new, mesmerizing adventure from the masterful Gordon Korman!

Jackson Opus has always been persuasive, but he doesn't know that he's descended from the two most powerful hypnotist bloodlines on the planet. He's excited to be accepted into a special program at the Sentia Institute -- but when he realizes he's in over his head, Jackson will have to find a way to use his powers to save his friends, his parents, and his government.

My review:

The plot is simple and reminds me of SHIFT by Kim Curran. However, the simplicity doesn't get in the way of making this story interesting! The characters come across as original, but I didn't feel like there was much development. I hope that we will learn more about the characters in future books.

Korman's society of hypnotists is fascinating. I look forward to learning more about the intricacies of their world and how Jax fits into it. After all, he is in a very special situation. More information about how hypnotism works for a variety of different characters would also be great to see in the sequels. 

I'm excited to read the next book in the series and see how the story progresses. 3.5 stars out of 5.

I'll be reviewing THE WINNER'S CURSE next Monday, so check back to learn about a recent YA read!

See other MMGM reviews on Shannon Messenger's website.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Nothing Today!

I'm afraid that I don't have a review prepared for you today. I was going to do a MMGM, but I'm a bit behind.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Review: THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND

Before we begin, I wanted to send out a big THANK YOU to all of my readers in honor of my hundredth post! You guys are amazing!

*clears throat* Now to the review!

I'm kind of behind when it comes to Kasie West's newest book, THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND. I picked up this beautiful book today and just finished it, so there will be some slight variations due to my mind still being stuck in Gia's world.


(source: Goodreads)


Goodreads tells us:

When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

My review:

As you all know, I love Kasie's romance novels! I've been looking forward to this books since she told me about it in my November 2013 interview with her!

I watched CLUELESS last night for the first time in years, and I found that there are some similarities between the two plots and characters.

I really liked how Gia wasn't the usual popular mean girl. As the reader, I felt loyal to her and stayed on her side, even when her actions were less than commendable. Gia's journey was quite interesting, and I got to see quite a bit of change take place.

Gia shares a strained relationship with Jules, a girl who recently joined their friend group. Jules seems to enjoy vocally sparing with Gia. Claire, who is the close to Jules, drops multiple hints about Jules' rough home life and poor relations with her mother. However, Jules' problems is never explained in more detail, and the reader isn't given a clear reason regarding why she pokes at Gia in the manner that she does. I wish this was explained in greater detail and there was a more definite feelings of closure.

As with most of Kasie's books to date, this is a love story. The guy, whose name I will not share because of a spoiler-y reason and will therefore call FIB, is very well done. Tall with "dreamy" blue eyes, FIB plays his part very well. He is an actor, and I wish that I could have seen more of his acting, perhaps watching him preform in a show rather than just him practicing.

THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND is more complex than Kasie's other books. The relationships are constantly in flux, and it feels as if the book's characters have their own lives, existing and living even when they aren't in the spotlight. The characters really power the plot and bring it to new places. Unfortunately, some of the characters are a little annoying at points.

I would definitely recommend it to people who are looking for a sweet love story.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review: ASSASSIN'S BLADE

It's been a while since I've posted, but I'm finally getting back into it with Sarah J. Maas' ASSASSIN'S BLADE.

I've done a reviews on the other three books in the THRONE OF GLASS series. This book a collection of five novellas. I usually don't review novellas. However, I thought it would allow readers of the other books to decide if they wanted to invest in this additional book.

Before we begin, I want to let you know that I am going to be slow on email replies for the next few weeks. I will try to continue to blog. Thank you for understanding!


(Source: Goodreads)

All of Sarah's covers are amazing, but I think this one may be my personal favorite. 

I will skip doing my own summary because Goodreads and my review both do a good job summarizing the novellas.

Goodreads says:

Contains all five novellas.

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

My review:

This book contains the following stories: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, The Assassin and the Healer, The Assassin and the Desert, The Assassin and the Underworld, and The Assassin and the Empire.

The stories reference each other and line up quite nicely, so you won't feel disjoined when moving from one to the next. My personal favorite is The Assassin and the Desert. Unlike some of the other stories, it had a complete story that introduced and solved a single conflict. The characters in this particular piece are very well done. 

I also enjoyed The Assassin and the Healer. Its tone and purpose is different from the other novellas, but I think that it gives incredible insight on Celaena's character. 

The Assassin and the Underworld and The Assassin and the Empire both feature Sam, who is mentioned in THRONE OF GLASS and throughout the series. From glancing at some of the other Goodreads reviews and listening to other fans, I have learned that Sam is a favorite. I did not fall in love with him the way other fans did, so that may be why I didn't find these novellas as interesting. 

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord was, to be honest, unremarkable. It gave us an introduction to Sam and some of the other assassins, but the story itself felt like it was just there to give us a chance to get to know Sam and his relationship with our heroine. All the same, it is Sarah J. Maas, so I do tend to have expectations that may or may not be fair.

THE ASSASSIN'S BLADE does a great job giving background on some of the things Celaena mentions but never explains in the series. There is one very juicy piece of information hidden in the pages: the identity of the person who betrayed her.

I really enjoyed ASSASSIN'S BLADE and the insight it gave me on Celaena. I recommend reading it after THRONE OF GLASS because it does spoil some of the tension. 

4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, August 24, 2015

It's Been A Long Time...

Hello! I'm sorry it's been such a long time since I've posted! I have a few books that I am planning on reviewing soon, so I promise that there will be some new stuff soon!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Introduction to Writing Tips

I tend to pick up on a few things that are done well or things that bug me while reading. I figured that I would share a few of my discoveries with you.

Without further ado...


Maybe it was just a coincidence, but I picked up two recently-published YA books in a row that had Looney Tunes references. In my experience, Looney Tunes are no longer mainstream material for teenagers or children. Figurative language says a lot about a character's past experiences, interests, and setting. Using Looney Tunes in figurative language suggests that a character either lives in a different time period or has an interest in older television cartoons.

I'm not saying that one should never use references to outdated material. One just needs to pay attention to the tone that it sets and what it says about a character before deciding if it is the right thing for one's story.

If you do choose to use a Looney Tunes reference- or any outdated reference- make sure that it means something to your story.

Hopefully that helps! Keep writing!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Nothing Today!

Hello! I picked up an MG book with the intent of reviewing to today a part of MMGM, but I didn't like it. So, why spotlight a book that I didn't enjoy?

I'm reading another MG right now. Hopefully I'll have a MMGM next week!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Review: SERAPHINA

When I visited a bookstore and asked for a recommendation from a staff member, this was one of the many they gave me. I had forgotten about it completely until another person recommended it to me. Figuring I had little to lose, I got it. And I was not disappointed.


My summary:

Warning! Minor spoilers ahead, but spoilers they are.

You have been warned.
---

The kingdom of Goredd and the dragons have not fought for forty years after a truce between their people was signed. But humans are untrusting of the dragons, and conflict between the two species continues to brew. And Seraphina, who bears the nickname Phina, finds herself in the middle of it. Half dragon, she is considered an abomination by both dragons and humans. Working to solve the mystery of a price's death, Phina learns that there is more at stake than she originally believed.
---

And...no more spoilers! Phew!

Goodreads says:

In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, "Some of the most interesting dragons I've read in fantasy."

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.


Review:

I love a good romance novel just as much as the next person, but sometimes I get sick of how YA always seems to mean romance. I'm always looking for YA books with strong plots that don't revolve around a relationship or the conflicts the relationship creates, so SERAPHINA got major points for that. I feel the need for there to be more books like this one, and if you know of a good YA book like that, PLEASE send the title my way.

The first thing I am going to address is the plot. SERAPHINA has an intricate plot, but it doesn't feel cumbersome. Sometimes books with complex plots can be hard to follow (especially if you are reading it whenever you catch little snippets of time), and I was pleased that SERAPHINA did not find itself in that group. The ending genuinely surprised me, something that does not often happen. Many of today's books follow the same plot recipe, and once you read enough books, it can be difficult to find a book that falls outside of that recipe. I can't say SERAPHINA uses a completely different blueprint, but Hartman puts her own twist on it, effectively concocting incredible plot twists.

Another thing I enjoyed about SERAPHINA was the incredible world building. The dragons' richly crafted society made story that much better. It helps to root the reader in Phina's world and understand the conflict on a deeper level.

I found the characters to be well-developed. I love the dragons, especially Phina's uncle Orma.

Most of the characters' relationships in SERAPHINA are well-developed. I did feel that Phina's relationship with Abdo required a little bit more development. It seemed sudden and a tad unrealistic, but isn't too big of a flaw considering how awesome SERAPHINA is.

My copy of SERAPHINA came with a glossary and character list. I believe they are included in every copy of the book, but my copy has other extras. The glossary and character list are extremely helpful if you use them. I would recommend skimming the glossary before reading the book.

An excellent book, SERAPHINA deserves every bit of praise I've given it and then a little more. If you are looking for a good YA book, read it! If you need more encouragement, just check my "Awesome Book" page. After reading this, I felt the need to add it there. Yes, it's that good.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Another Missed Post

I'm sorry. I've failed once again.

The past week has been crazy, so I'm sorry that I've been so bad with keeping up. Thanks for understanding!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Nothing Today!

Hello!

I'm sorry, but I don't have a review for you today. HOWEVER, I am actively looking for book recommendations, so please feel free to comment below with a recommendation! Everything and anything YA or MG would be great.

Have a great Monday!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: GEEK GIRL

I just got home from a very busy weekend trip. I wanted to post something, so I decided to do another recent YA read. My brain is a little fried, so please excuse any mistakes.



I'm far too tired to consider doing a summary of my own today. 

Goodreads says: 

Harriet Manners knows a lot of things. 

She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a "jiffy" lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn't quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she's spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves. 


As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did. 


And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?



Review:

I found this book to be a tad outlandish, but I don't know much about the modeling industry, so it may just be my outside view of business. According to the author biography, Holly Smale became a model as a teenager, so I'm going to trust her on that part of this story.

The writing style is the best part of this book. Harriet has such a fun voice, and I love how Harriet used interesting facts to tie together her feelings and events.

All of Smale's characters are fun and interesting. Toby's obsession with Harriet makes his character quirky, and Wilbur has a way of dominating every scene. I do feel that the characters' lives tend to revolve around Harriet, and that makes them a tad unrealistic.

The plot keeps you guessing, and you are always looking forward the next chapter.

I found Harriet's motivation and resulting actions unlikely. Becoming a model just so she could become "cool" is a drastic step, and Harriet seems too level-headed to make such a rash decision.

I didn't check the facts in GEEK GIRL to make sure they were correct. However, I did find a few pieces of false information.

GEEK GIRL has me hooked, and I know that I'm definitely going to pick up the next book. It's an enjoyable read.

I think GEEK GIRL somewhere between 3. 5 and 4 stars. Maybe a 3.8 or so?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Review: THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT

Good morning! I hope you're ready for some YA fun. Jenn Marie Thorne's debut novel, THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT, is in the spotlight today!


I'm not going to do a summary of THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT, but Goodreads has us covered!

Goodreads says:

Fans of Sarah Dessen and Huntley Fitzpatrick will enjoy this smart debut young adult novel, equal parts My Life Next Door and The Princess Diaries—plus a dash of Aaron Sorkin.

Kate Quinn’s mom died last year, leaving Kate parentless and reeling. So when the unexpected shows up in her living room, Kate must confront another reality she never thought possible—or thought of at all. Kate does have a father. He’s a powerful politician. And he’s running for U.S. President. Suddenly, Kate’s moving in with a family she never knew she had, joining a campaign in support of a man she hardly knows, and falling for a rebellious boy who may not have the purest motives. This is Kate’s new life. But who is Kate? When what she truly believes flies in the face of the campaign’s talking points, she must decide. Does she turn to the family she barely knows, the boy she knows but doesn’t necessarily trust, or face a third, even scarier option?

Set against a backdrop of politics, family, and first love, this is a story of personal responsibility, complicated romance, and trying to discover who you are even as everyone tells you who you should be.


My review:

I really enjoyed THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT. The journey felt real, even though Kate's situation is a little outlandish. I ended the book wanting more of Kate's story; it's so well-written and enjoyable that I didn't want it to end!

Kate is such an awesome character. While she is independent, strong, and quirky, Kate also foes through powerlessness. I can see some readers labeling her as whiney or useless, but I found that she is neither. Rather, she is human, and her humanity is what made her stand out as a richly created character.

I loved the plot. It moves quickly, and there always seems to be something happening. The fast pace kept me engaged. I felt like it also made me feel like I was experiencing the hectic campaign with Kate.

I enjoyed the romance, but it was also a little outlandish. I don't want to spoil anything, but I did find it to add to the story. Sometimes romance can get in the way of the plot, but Thorne allowed no such thing to happen in THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT.

If you are willing to overlook the outlandish features of this book, you will find it to be absolutely stunning. THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT is a wonderful story.

I really want to give it five stars, but because of the nature of the story, I'm going to go with 4.8 stars out of 5.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: SILVER IN THE BLOOD

I've returned to share a recent YA read with you!

I borrowed an early copy of this book from a friend, so please keep that in mind when reading this review!



I am a casual fan of Jessica Day George. I really enjoyed DRAGON SLIPPERS, but I had trouble with WEDNESDAYS IN THE TOWER. I didn't realize SILVER IN THE BLOOD was by Jessica until I was about halfway through.

There are a few spoilers in both summaries. Nothing more than one would find on the book's jacket, but I thought you deserved a warning.

My summary:

Hailing from some of the most fashionable and well-known families in New York, socialites Dacia and Lou are excited to travel Europe. But Europe is very different than the parties and Parisian gowns they imagined. There's an odd man trailing Lou, and Dacia, facing consequences for her shenanigans in London, is stuck in Romania alone and happens to be quite bored.

But they go from the frying pan into the fire. Confronted with a dark family secret, Lou and Dacia are thrown into a dangerous plot that screams treason and murder. Together, the cousins battle their own family in a desperate attempt to discover a different future for themselves.

Goodreads says:

New York Times bestselling author brings dark secrets to life in a lush new YA perfect for fans of Libba Bray or Cassandra Clare.

Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate . . . or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.


With a gorgeous Romanian setting, stunning Parisian gowns, and dark brooding young men, readers will be swept up by this epic adventure of two girls in a battle for their lives. 



My review:

I have not personally been to Romania or researched the 1890s in great detail, so I can't judge Jessica's accuracy in either area. However, I can say that this is novel has a perfect amount of both mystery and adventure. The writing style complements the attitude of the time. There are a lot of little details that add a lot to the story.

The plot is very interesting. It did take a while for the family secret to be revealed. This pacing allowed the mystery to be revealed at the right pace, but it also made the beginning a little boring. However, once you reach page 173 or so, the story picks up the pace and becomes a whirlwind.

I wish I could have seen more of Radu, their cousin. He was an interesting character, but I don't feel like all of his qualities added up.

There are letters, diary entries, and similar materials before each chapter. As most of the book is told from third person, these works allow for a first person perspective. However, I found most of them a little boring and a drag on the story. A few added to the story, but I found that they tended to hurt more than help.

Although SILVER IN THE BLOOD is not steampunk, I would recommend it to fans of Gail Carriger's Finishing School series, especially if one particularly enjoyed WAISTCOATS & WEAPONRY.

Once you get through the slow start, SILVER IN THE BLOOD is a wonderful book filled with intricate characters, excellent plotting, and a wonderful adventure.

4 stars out of 5.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Quick Review: CATCH A FALLING STAR

Hello! I know I promised to try and do more MG books, but I wanted to share a great YA novel. I decided to try the quick review format. Feel free to tell me what you think of quick reviews in the comments.

Title: CATCH A FALLING STAR

Author: Kim Culbertson

Cover:


Goodreads says:

A deliciously charming novel about finding true love . . . and yourself.

Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned PR mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Carter's town becomes a giant glittery set and, much to her annoyance, everyone is starry-eyed for Adam. Carter seems to be the only girl not falling all over herself to get a glimpse of him. Which apparently makes her perfect for the secret offer of a lifetime: playing the role of Adam's girlfriend while he's in town, to improve his public image, in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Her family really needs the money and so Carters agrees. But it turns out Adam isn't at all who she thought he was. As they grow closer, their relationship walks a blurry line between what's real and what's fake, and Carter must open her eyes to the scariest of unexplored worlds - her future. Can Carter figure out what she wants out of life AND get the guy? Or are there no Hollywood endings in real life?

Favorite character: A difficult question to answer. I would have to pick Carter or Adam.

My review:

The light tone, snide comments, and plethora of references made this book an amusing read. Carter made a great protagonist, and I enjoyed her unique perspective. Culbertson did a great job of weaving in lessons and creating three-dimensional characters. Like most books with a similar plot, CATCH A FALLING STAR bordered on unrealistic and didn't have many major surprises waiting for readers. However, the plot isn't the meat of the book; it's the interactions between the characters that make this book wonderful. A great summer read!

Starred review: 4/5

Recommended for: Kasie West fans who enjoy humor and a sweet love story

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Another Trip to the Library

Good evening, dear reader. This post is a tad more personal than the normal "library adventure." You see, lately I've been having trouble finding the book.

Maybe you have had a similar experience. You pick up plenty of books, but none of them are able to hold your attention for long. You want only novels from a very thin slice of a single genre, and nothing else will do. I don't know what this disease is called, but I do know that I have caught it.

In order to find a book that would satisfy my need, I went to the library. The disappointing MG section repelled me, so I floated over to the YA section. I spent a blissful half hour searching for the book. Although I didn't find it, I was able to snare a few other YA novels in the same genre. Hopefully they will help cure me.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Review: MESSENGER OF FEAR

Good morning to my fellow early birds! I have a book I'd like to share with you.


This wonderful book is by Michael Grant.

I got MESSENGER OF FEAR from the library, so I no longer have it with me. Therefore, I do not feel like I should write a summary. However, Goodreads has something to tell us...

I remembered my name – Mara. But, standing in that ghostly place, faced with the solemn young man in the black coat with silver skulls for buttons, I could recall nothing else about myself.

And then the games began.

The Messenger sees the darkness in young hearts, and the damage it inflicts upon the world. If they go unpunished, he offers the wicked a game. Win, and they can go free. Lose, and they will live out their greatest fear. 

But what does any of this have to do with Mara? She is about to find out. 


My thoughts:

Like I AM NUMBER FOUR, I picked up this book because the storyline intrigued me. It was spooky but not overly so, and I loved what I had learned about the Messenger from the inside flap.

The plot did take a different path than I expected, but I still enjoyed it. I didn't actually predict the ending, although it does seem a little obvious when I think back. All the same, the ending was very interesting, and I think it added to Mara's character quite a bit.

There is a lot of imagery, which I liked. It added to the sense that Mara wasn't human and she was seeing everything differently.

It did, however, lack that extra layer of emotion that makes a good book magical. I saw the scenes as I read them, but I didn't feel like I was a part of them.

The writing style felt a little odd at some points, but I found it consistent. I personally consider an inconsistent writing voice the stuff of nightmares, so I was very glad that Grant didn't wander from the voice he set in the beginning.

Near the end of the book, I got a small peak at the force behind all of the supernatural characters. I felt that there is enough to understand the story, but my own curiosity wanted more. It might be explained in future books when the plot calls for increased explanation.

MESSENGER OF FEAR is a great book, but it isn't extraordinary. If it sounds interesting, I would definitely pick it up, but if it doesn't intrigue you, there are other books that might be a better choice.

4 out of 5 stars.