Thursday, December 21, 2017

Talon (Talon, #1)Talon by Julie Kagawa
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ember and Dante are a rare sent of dragon twins. They are hatchlings who are being assimilated to live among the humans. Garrett is a member of the Order of St. George, whose mission it is to hunt and kill all dragons. They meet and have instantaneous forbidden attraction.
Ember doesn't realize she is being trained to be part of the Talon elite group of assassins called Vipers. Once she finds out she begins to question all she knows. Luckily, there is a rogue dragon, Riley, who has been hanging around. Once she finds out Talon's plans for her, she runs to Riley. Riley tries to convince her to run away and become Rogue, and help save other hatchlings from the evil Talon.

I read Firelight by Sophie Jordan a few years ago and was hoping the stories would be different. I guess there is not much you can do with dragons who can become human except have them question their existence and get involved in a love triangle.

While I like the concept of dragons as main characters, I do not think I will be reading the rest of this series.

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Friday, December 15, 2017

To Kill a KingdomTo Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a pretty amazing book! I hardly ever do 5 stars! It is so unique!

Lira is a monstrous siren who has been collecting the heart of the prince for her birthday for the past 17 years. Elian is a prince who would rather be on the sea; he has sworn to kill the siren he calls The Prince's Bane, who killed his best friend.

Lira's cruel, power hungry mother, the Sea Queen, expects all the ocean creatures to bend to her will. Lira tries to make her proud, but fails. The Sea Queen punishes her by turning her human and ordering her to get the Prince's heart.

Elian does not want to be King, he just wants to stay on the sea. He finds Lira in her human form and "saves" her. He hears of a way that he can kill the Pirate's Bane once and for all, and set out on a journey to a different land with Lira attaching herself to the group hoping to solve some problems of her own.

This story is very unique. The storyline flows smoothly, although I found myself reading faster because I wanted to see what was going to happen! The chapters are told from different POV, sometimes Lira and sometime Elian. What I found very intriguing about the writing was that when you started the chapter, you weren't sure whose POV it was, but it didn't matter! It fit either character. The character development was very well done and very believable. I loved how snarky they were with each other.

The writing of this story was amazing! I am looking forward to reading more from Ms. Christo!

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Dare Mighty ThingsDare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book. I loved it!

In the near future, Cassie (nicknamed Lola) is competing to be part of a top secret mission. She has to compete with other young adults to travel to a distant planet. She has always been the top in everything she does, and finds it much harder than she could have ever imagined.

All of the characters are well developed and intriguing. Even the ones I didn't like! The story flows very well. The ending was very much a surprise! It was very unexpected and a little unrealistic, but this is a science fiction novel!

I higly recommend this book and cannot wait for the sequel!!!

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Cemetery BoysThe Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Stephen's mother is in a mental institution and he and his dad have to move back to his dad's old town. They move in with a grandmother, who is rude, uncaring and unforgiving. Seventeen year old Stephen meets the mysterious twins, Devon and Cara on his first night in town. He becomes in enthralled with Cara's beauty and the fact that she likes him back only adds to his "love at first sight". Devon is just as enthralling to Stephen at first. He has that mysterious cool, and he invites Stephen to become a part of his mysterious group of friends. They hang out at the cemetery which they call "The Playground".
There is an old urban legend in Spencer, that a human scarifice to some nightmarish creatures will change the bad luck that has afflicted the town.

This book reminded me a little of The Lost Boys with Devon and his mysterious friends. The story was very quick to read and flowed. It was also a little scary and creepy! (which I love!) I would have like a little more detail on the supernatural side. If you are looking for a quick read that will keep you awake at night, I recommend this book for you.

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All the Bright PlacesAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I feel a little guilty giving this book only 2 stars. I think if I had read it BEFORE I read Holding Up the Universe, I would have rated it higher.

Theodore Finch is obsessed with death, although he has never officially tried to kill himself. Violet has recently lost her sister in an accident from which Violet survived. They meet up in the bell tower at school. Everyone knows that Finch has always been a little different, so even though Finch talks Violet off the ledge, everyone assumes she was the one that talked Finch off the ledge. So begins a friendship. Violet and Theodore work together on a project where they have to explore and get to know Indiana. During their excursions, they get to know each other and grow close.

I felt like the characters were too perfect visions of their mental issues. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but it almost seems like they are both textbook cases of what there issues are. While the story does deal with mental issues, I don't think the characters are believable. The dscriptions of the activites they do were great, but I don't feel like the story flowed.

If you want to read a 5 star Jennifer Niven book, read Holding Up the Universe.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Long Way DownLong Way Down by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Will's brother Shawn was shot and killed yesterday. Today Shawn needs to follow "the rules" and do not cry, don't snitch, and do get revenge. He finds Shawn's gun in his drawer and sets out to do what is expected. But what if he's wrong? During the elevator ride, Will encounters some things that make him question the rules. What if the rules are wrong?
This heartfelt book is beautifully written in verse. The story flows and pulls you in until the very end. The characters are well developed. Not only will fans of Jason Reynolds enjoy this book, but any Young adult book fan will thoroughly enjoy this heartbreaking yet engaging story.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First off, I want to say that I love this cover!
Marguerite's father has recently been killed by someone she used to trust. Her parents have invented a device called Firebird, that is used for interdimensional travel. Marguerite and her parent's trusted assistant, Theo, use the Firebird to try and hunt down the person they think killed her father. The Firebird allows them to inhabit the body of themselves in that dimension. They interact with many different versions of people around them. The story is full of twists, turns, suspense, and surprise.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Locked in TimeLocked in Time by Lois Duncan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nore is visiting her father and and his new wife and family in Louisina for the first time since her mother has died. Her father had suddenly remarried. When Nore gets to the plantation home, there is no phone and very limited electricity. Her new step siblings treat her nice, if not a little strange. Nore starts to realize that all may not be what it seems with her new family and sets out to prove as much to her dad.

I was a huge Lois Duncan fan way back when I was in high school. I think this a good addition to any YA collection. It is like Tuck Everlasting, but a little scarier. I really like how Lois duncan is a pretty timeless writer.

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Naomi and Ely's No Kiss ListNaomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Naomi thinks she is in love with her best friend Ely even though she knows Ely is gay. She is dating Bruce #2 (after using Bruce #1 and leaving him longing for her). Ely kisses Bruce #2 knowing that he is dating Naomi. Bruce #2 realizes he would rather be with Ely than Naomi. Naomi is seemingly ok with Ely kissing Bruce #2, but then gets very upset when she finds out he was hiding in Ely's closet and Ely didn't tell her. Naomi sulks for a really long time and tires dating Bruce #1 again and then starts liking Gabe (#2 on the No Kiss List). In the end, Ely and Naomi realize they can't give up on their best friendship.
I normally like David Levithan books. This book is written from multiple perspectives. That is a tricky thing to do, and this book does it okay. It was not too difficult to figure out whose perspective the chapter was about. That being said, this book was not that great. I think the two main characters were very annoying, belittling and obnoxious. They were very self centered.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

All Rights Reserved (Word$, #1)All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Imagine living in a world where you are charged for every word and gesture because they are copyrighted. In this dystopian novel, once someone turns $15, they have to pay for spoken word, every nod, every scream and every gesture. Speth Jime has always known that the moment she turned 15, she would have to give her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood by choosing brands to align with and support. If not, she risks going into debt for every word she speaks.

Right before she is about to give her Last Day speech, her friend commits suicide rather than having to live under a life of family debt. This makes Speth question the world in which she lives. She chooses not to say anything at all, or make any costly gestures or nods. She still wants to make sure her family is taken care of, and doesn't realize the rebellion that her defiant behavior will cause.

After a terrible attack, she meets Henri and his group. She needs to find out if this is where she belongs, and who she can trust.

This is such an interesting concept. The story is well-written, and the characters are pretty well developed.

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The Empress (The Diabolic #2)The Empress by S.J. Kincaid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Empress is the sequel to The Diabolic. You will definitely want to read The Diabolic first!

This book takes off pretty much where The Diabolic ends. Tyrus is Emperor and Nemesis is going to become Empress. There are many who do not want so see this happen, the strongest opponent being Senator von Pasus.

Tyrus and Nemesis hatch a plan to visit the Sacred City and establish whether it and the Interdict (Supreme Leader) really exist or not. Their plan is successful, and they learn long forgotten secrets and Nemesis granted personhood. They hope this will make people more accepting of her as Empress.

Senator von Pasus has also developed his own plan. Tyrus and Nemesis get caught up in a plan they think they can control, but find out they can't.

There are many twists and turns. The story is engaging. For a sequel, it is very well written and doesn't just feel like a book to get you by until the next one is released. Many questions are resolved and new ones are created.

I highly recommend this book for Science Fiction Dystopian readers!

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Gather the DaughtersGather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed

Gather the Daughters is a disturbing hypnotic novel. It can easily become a companion novel for The Handmaids Tale.

Sometime in the past, a group of men decided to colonize an island and create a new society. They built their society based on fundamental rules and limited knowledge sharing. This novel takes place generations after the founding of this new society and they still follow the fundamental rules. Only certain men, the Wanders who are descendents of the original founders, are allowed to ever leave the island. The daughters of this society are expected to marry and have children after they start their first cycle. Before their first sign of puberty, they are the property of their dads in every way.

In the summer, children who have not yet hit puberty have free reign. It is almost a Lord of the Flies feel. Everything and anything goes; children sleep outside; adults leave food on the porch but are not able to intervene or interact with the children. It is during one summer that something terrible happens. Janey Solomon, a born rebel, tries to seek the truth. She spearheads a semi-rebellion that has devastating consequences.

The story is written from alternating character viewpoints which allows for great character development. The plot is engaging, if not a bit disturbing. I would recommend this for adult or mature readers.

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Genuine FraudGenuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genuine Fraud by e. Lockhart

If you love mysteries this one is for you! It reminds me of ABC show The Catch. It is really hard to write a review of this book without giving away important information, but I will try.

The book starts with Jule in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Jule has not had the easiest life. She becomes friends with wealthy Imogene. Imogene and Jule become fast BFF's. They travel and have a good time. There is intrigue, mistaken identity, romance and suspense.

All of the characters are well developed. The plot moves very fast. It tells the story in reverse order and has many twists and turns. This book was so hard to put down! I read it in one sitting. I declare this a must read for 9th grade and up!

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Wow! 2 Years!

I can't believe that it has been 2 years since I last posted to this blog! I have read quite a few books since then!

I actually participated in a "40 Book Challenge" with some of my friends and have read (or listened to) over 150 books since we started!

I am going into my 4th year as a high school librarian and my 3rd year as a member of the a YART committee- Spirit of Texas High School. It has been a great way to discover some amazing Texas authors.