Book Review: This Savage Song ( Monsters of Verity#1) by Victoria Schwab

26074170This Savage Song ( Monsters of Verity#1) by Victoria Schwab 

Publisher: GreenWillow Books

Genre: Fantasy and Young Adult

Release Date: June 7, 2016

Pages: 464 (Hardcover)

good good

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, GreenWillow Books for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

I’ve read Schwab’s other story, The Archived  and really enjoyed it so I was super pumped to read This Savage Song. But, like, no. So monotone, so unemotional, and just…sad. Pretty much, all I was thinking while reading this was:

 

Nothing matters in the book. And by this, I mean I could not have cared less if the whole city got eaten by monsters. The characters are not well-developed, are extremely flat, and annoying. An example would have to be August himself as he’s supposed to be watching Kate, understanding her tactics, and reporting everything back to his dad yet he doesn’t (or rarely ever does) report a damn thing. He just waits for her to show up. Again,

On top of this, the relationship between Kate and August is so fucking contrived which is pointless Since there is nothing to care about here.

But, I did like the setting. Schwab seems to spend ample amounts of time on world building, which is great because the setting is the best. Monsters! Crawling everywhere! No one is safe. I could completely believe it, feel the atmosphere of the things that go bump in the night, unfortunately, it quickly died because of everything else. Moreover, the only character I actually enjoyed was Ilsa because she is so strange yet cool and AHHH!! Picturing the stars all over her body is just so beautiful and perfect. But then again, maybe I don’t actually like the character, maybe I like the idea of this character. Either way, I’m giving Schwab points for it.

This Savage Song is flat-out a ‘meh’ book. The characters are shit with Leo leading the pack. When he did anything, I took it all in without hesitation or emotion. Moreover, because of this, the plot twists are shit, the writing is okay, and the world is excellent. Although I do recommend this book, I also recommend to go into it with an open mind as you will most likely be let down otherwise.

3 Mediocre Clouds

3 Mediocre Clouds

Book Review: Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

22456945Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Genre:Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: March 3, 2015

Pages: 304 (Hardcover)

good good

Etta is tired of dealing with all of the labels and categories that seem so important to everyone else in her small Nebraska hometown.

Everywhere she turns, someone feels she’s too fringe for the fringe. Not gay enough for the Dykes, her ex-clique, thanks to a recent relationship with a boy; not tiny and white enough for ballet, her first passion; and not sick enough to look anorexic (partially thanks to recovery). Etta doesn’t fit anywhere— until she meets Bianca, the straight, white, Christian, and seriously sick girl in Etta’s therapy group. Both girls are auditioning for Brentwood, a prestigious New York theater academy that is so not Nebraska. Bianca seems like Etta’s salvation, but how can Etta be saved by a girl who needs saving herself?

opinion

I’m in love with Hannah Moskowitz. I love her writing, her characters, the way that I feel like I personally know her solely from reading her books. I feel like she puts a lot of herself into her stories. Not Otherwise Specified isn’t… a bad book by any means. But it is a what the fuck just happened ? kind of book. From the setting to the dialogue, all the way to the fucking cover I just…

I don’t think I ever encountered a book by an author I loved that has had info-dumping, but Not Otherwise Specified has it to the max. I’m not even kidding. Sure there are a lot of witty comments that make some of the several info-dumping parts bearable but just barely. Also, the dialogue is really bad. It’s all cookie cutter edge with ‘he says’ or ‘I say’ ‘she says’. They say a lot of shit, I get it. Now make it interesting by adding actions. And I don’t know if it’s just me but all anyone talks about are eating disorders and theater and a dash of the LGBT community thus making the characters not as fleshed out as I would have liked. I got bored quite easily reading this one because I was waiting for something out of the ordinary. It didn’t really come. Anyway, the relationship between Bianca and Etta is so crazy and unbelievable that I had a hard time taking to it. Bianca barely talks and somehow, she’s clinging to Etta for dear life after like a month? Of course these scenarios happen, but I’m sorry there’s just so much planning that could have made it seem realistic. Bianca has too much to lose (I think) to just allow Etta into her life instantly.

Still, this is Hannah Moskowitz and after a while, the random-all-over-the-place-but-not-really-I-don’t-know writing didn’t stand out so much to me. In addition to this, Etta is such a handful, not only for the secondary characters but for readers as well but I liked her for the most part. She’s loud, confused, happy, and pissed off. I liked her because of how strong she is and how strong she makes the other characters. The struggle that goes on in the story is so true.  She tries so hard to work on herself, so hard to get her old friends back, to get healthy, to get in really that I felt for her. It’s so hard to really ‘fit’ in somewhere and I felt as if Etta is the memory for all of us, because I’m sure that everyone has felt like a sore thumb at least once in their life.

Let me say it again: I love Hannah Moskowitz and I believe that this love for her has made me second guess my thoughts on the book. I really want to believe that I got a faulty copy because it just didn’t work for me. Especially the cover, just looking at it makes me mad not because of the person on it, but just the fact that the publisher probably paid a lot of money for something that looks thrown together in ten minutes. It’s poorly photoshoped, poorly lighted, and just all around, poor colour choices. I know for a fact, they could have done better. But anyway, yes, I think I would still recommend it solely because it is Hannah Moskowitz and she’s awesome but Not Otherwise Specified is not that great. It’s a solid, ‘meh’ book with ‘meh’ characters and a ‘meh’ setting.

3 Mediocre Clouds

3 Mediocre Clouds

Book Review: Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

19367070Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Fantasy and Young Adult

Release Date: September 9, 2014

Pages: 275 (Hardcover)

good good

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HarperTeen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinionAfter finishing Kiersten White’s Mind Games series, I can say that she has a strange style It’s at first, really fucking annoying but starts to grow on you. And after reading, Illusions of Fate I say that this roller coaster of annoyance is a good thing because despite hating the beginning of her novels, I always come to enjoy them even if it’s a little which is what happened with this book. It’s all over the place but works itself out. It’s a solid ‘meh’ type of book.

I wanted a more believable world from White. The book and characters get boring fairly quickly in the story because nothing happens but planning for this and that. Also, the reaction Jessamin has when she finds out Eleanor and Finn can practice magic is so unbelievable it’s almost funny. Adding onto this, like I said before, the characters a bit boring. I wanted Jessamin to be a badass instead of only dipping her toe in the water that is badassness. She lets Finn do everything rather than doing it for herself. Moreover, the ending where Downpike explains everything felt forced and not something that would actually happen.

Still, the slow burn romance is actually really well done. As far as characters go, Eleanor is by far my favourite with her sassy tone. And of course the twists in the book are great, White doesn’t tell everything and I liked this because it’s on little things and  I barely suspected a thing.

Illusions of Fate is a solid book. All of my blogger friends like it as well. I wouldn’t say it’s amazing or inspirational but it’s something. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves gothic like stories with magic and evil guys.

3 Mediocre Clouds

3 Mediocre Clouds

Book Review: This is How it Ends by Jen Nadol

20759561This is How it Ends by Jen Nadol

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: October 7, 2014

Pages: 320 (Hardcover)

good good

 If you could see the future, would you want to? After the disturbing visions Riley and his friends see turn out to be more than hallucinations, fate takes a dangerous twist in this dark and suspenseful page-turner.

Riley and his friends are gearing up for their senior year by spending one last night hanging out in the woods, drinking a few beers, and playing Truth or Dare. But what starts out as a good time turns sinister when they find a mysterious pair of binoculars. Those who dare to look through them see strange visions, which they brush off as hallucinations. Why else would Riley see himself in bed with his best friend’s girlfriend—a girl he’s had a secret crush on for years?

In the weeks that follow, the visions begin to come true…including a gruesome murder. One of Riley’s closest friends is now the prime suspect. But who is the murderer? Have Riley and his friends really seen the future through those mysterious binoculars? And what if they are powerless to change the course of events?

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Not a bad book at all! I really liked it, especially because of the characters that are well-developed. All in all, great start however, it could have been better if the story was scarier.

This is How it Ends is described as a suspenseful thriller with a bit of mystery. It’s supposed to be scarier, not romantic. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the story, it’s great and really held my attention but I was expecting something other than what I got. Adding onto this, I wanted more, I wanted the woods to be freakier instead of just there. I wanted the relationship between Riley and Trip also. They’re friends, best friends and I never really got the feel for it. The explanation for the binoculars is really bad and felt rushed. Nadol has a knack for putting things in a fresh light but not when it comes down to the ending.

Despite those things, I loved the writing. It’s fresh and smooth and goes well with Riley’s character. Moreover, Riley himself, is a great character that I could easily connect with. All of the other characters are well planned and thought out too. The visions are also cool! They could have been a bit creepier but I loved them. They’re all different and mysterious, Nadol keeps the readers in the dark especially when it comes to one of the characters.

This is How it Ends is pretty awesome. The characters and setting are well described and I could picture it all. However, and this might not be the author’s fault, the pitch to readers is all wrong and I have to deduct points because of that. Still, I recommend this book to anyone looking for something to read and love realistic characters.

3.5 Interesting Clouds

3.5 Interesting Clouds

Book Review: Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

17460553Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: August 26, 2014

Pages: 560 (Hardcover)

good good

“There is no God, no benevolent ruler of the earth, no omnipotent grand poobah of countless universes. Because if there was…my little brother would still be fishing or playing basketball instead of fertilizing cemetery vegetation.”

Matthew Turner doesn’t have faith in anything.

Not in family—his is a shambles after his younger brother was bullied into suicide. Not in so-called friends who turn their backs when things get tough. Not in some all-powerful creator who lets too much bad stuff happen. And certainly not in some “It Gets Better” psychobabble.

No matter what his girlfriend Hayden says about faith and forgiveness, there’s no way Matt’s letting go of blame. He’s decided to “live large and go out with a huge bang,” and whatever happens, happens. But when a horrific event plunges Matt into a dark, silent place, he hears a rumble…a rumble that wakes him up, calling everything he’s ever disbelieved into question.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Margaret K. McElderry Books for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinionEllen Hopkins is honestly, one of my favourite authors and whenever she comes out with a new book I get so fucking excited. And believe me, I was extremely excited for Rumble despite the religion aspect of it because I knew that Hopkins would deliver it in a way that would make sense and not feel like something was being shoved down my throat. However, what I wasn’t expecting was the complete lack of intensity and emotion that all of her other novels held. For most of it I was bored out of my mind skimming the pages full of Matt’s relationship with Hayden.

Matt is so whiny. Compared to Four from Allegiant, he’s better but not by much. All that seems to take up his time is Hayden and how touch and go it is. If she doesn’t want to hang out with him he gets mad. If she doesn’t kiss him back as passionately as he wants her to, he gets mad. If she makes a new friend or goes to her church group, he gets mad. If she doesn’t text, he gets mad. Pretty much Matt gets mad at just about everything that Hayden does and then complains about it and then rushes to say, “I’m sorry. I love you. You’re amazing.” After the first few times I let it go. Around page 300 I had enough of this bullshit. I wanted there to be more mention on Luke and the relationship they had together. From what is mentioned about him is great, well described and heartfelt but it’s not enough to actually make me believe it as much as I wanted to. Another thing that I disliked is the way Matt’s thoughts start to change in the end. It happens at the very end and I was so mad about this. If the event happened sooner in the book, it would have been perfect, Matt would be able to experience something that isn’t anger and belief that there is no God. I wished it happened sooner.

Nonetheless, whenever Matt is not complaining about Hayden, there are a few good things going on. Like I mentioned before, the parts about Luke and his struggle as well as Matt’s struggles with it are fairly well done. I also liked the religion part of the book because it’s well down without feeling like I was being drowned in it. I also liked Matt as a character whenever he’s not fuming over Hayden. He’s well-developed otherwise, with strong traits and a troubling past. I enjoyed reading his story (and his story alone) because it’s quite relatable. Everyone experiences regret and I liked how Hopkins did this.

Rumble could have been so much better. Ellen Hopkins hasn’t been one to surround readers with too much romance before but with this one, you can smell it from a mile away. I hated this part of the book which is why I’m giving it a low rating. Despite this though, I still recommend this to people who like Ellen Hopkins and have enjoyed her previous books. Just beware of the romance and how much of the book it actually takes up.

3 Mediocre Clouds

3 Mediocre Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Hepperman

20483085Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Hepperman

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Genre:Fantasy and Poetry

Release Date: September 23, 2014

Pages: 128 (Hardcover)

good good

Every little girl goes through her princess phase, whether she wants to be Snow White or Cinderella, Belle or Ariel. But then we grow up. And life is not a fairy tale.

Cruelties come not just from wicked stepmothers, but also from ourselves. There are expectations, pressures, judgment, and criticism. Self-doubt and self-confidence. But there are also friends, and sisters, and a whole hell of a lot of power there for the taking. In fifty poems, Christine Heppermann confronts society head on. Using fairy tale characters and tropes, Poisoned Apples explores how girls are taught to think about themselves, their bodies, and their friends. The poems range from contemporary retellings to first-person accounts set within the original tales, and from deadly funny to deadly serious. Complemented throughout with black-and-white photographs from up-and-coming artists, this is a stunning and sophisticated book to be treasured, shared, and paged through again and again.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Greenwillow Books for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinionPoems are awesome and I love seeing them more and more in the novels I read. Poisoned Apples has a story that will connect with most people. I really liked some of the poems, especially the ones that are modernized retellings of some very classic tales like Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and The Beauty and the Beast. Overall, a fun, very short read that takes no time to finish at all.

Although for the most part, I liked this book, I didn’t like how random it is between the good parts. Some of them are very short and about nothing more than, like, Abercrombie or something. Adding onto that, in the middle, the book starts to dwindle down and I found myself skimming through some of them to get to the better, retellings parts.

Poisoned Apples is a short read. I breezed right through it in less than an hour. From the stories that I did enjoy, I liked them also because of their freakiness and the art work that goes with them. The hands acting like trees and water and whatnot is very cool and caught my attention.

I understand that some people believe that life is a fairy tale but I loved how Hepperman decided to make these retellings as realistic as possible and adding in problems that many people face today. I recommend this one to anyone looking to read either some short poems or fairy tales.

3 Clouds

3 Clouds

Book Review: Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

17924987Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: June 17, 2014

Pages: 368 (Hardcover)

good good

When the picture tells the story…

Senior year is almost over, and Jamie Peterson has a big problem. Not college—that’s all set. Not prom—he’ll find a date somehow. No, it’s the worst problem of all: he’s fallen for his best friend.

As much as Jamie tries to keep it under wraps, everyone seems to know where his affections lie, and the giggling girls in art class are determined to help Jamie get together with Mason. But Jamie isn’t sure if that’s what he wants—because as much as Jamie would like to come clean to Mason, what if the truth ruins everything? What if there are no more road trips, taco dinners, or movie nights? Does he dare risk a childhood friendship for romance?

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Katherine Tegen Books for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Everyone has a weak spot for a certain genre of books. While my ‘me’ books are realistic with teens that have serious, life threatening problems, I have an unbelievable weak spot for GLBT, more specifically gay boys. I don’t even fucking know why or how this came to be but it is what it is. Anyway, moving onto the book, Fan Art is a hit or miss type of book. It’s cute and light, with some deep undertones however, it’s also judgemental and stereotypical. For me, this story was a miss that was almost a hit.

I’ll start the bad stuff off with the representation of the GLBT community. The stereotypes of what makes a gay boy gay is horrible. I was angry with the way that Jamie thinks that since he never played with dolls, never played dress up, and plays sports that it’s crazy that he turned out gay. Another thing that I disliked about Fan Art is the school part of it all.  I get that it’s all about the art but Jamie gets a scholarship to play music at a university yet there is close to no music explained in the whole book. I’m a band kid, I was excited once he mentioned he’s in band but it’s not properly explained how he practices and lets the music take hold of him. It’s just straightforward boring. The relationship between Jamie and Mason was also a problem for me because it feels a bit contrived at many times. Readers are told they’re extremely close but for a lot of the novel, I didn’t feel it since there aren’t enough flashbacks and such to support their relationship.

My relationship with Jamie is a love/hate one. I hated how harsh and stupid he is but I loved how awkward and nervous he is. He remind me of myself and I could relate to his situation because it happened to myself. I was screaming, laughing, and all around flipping out whenever something happened between Jamie and Mason. I just couldn’t stop myself. The writing is smooth and relaxed, I found myself reading instead of studying for my exams many times. Adding on to all of that, I loved that Tregay decided to add in the art works that are featured in Gumshoe. The poems and visual art pieces make the story more unique.

Fan Art is not a book for everyone. Although it is light, it has a few problems and some of them are offensive. However, I found some things to be enjoyable, like the romance and the characters despite them being undeveloped. I recommend this to anyone looking for a story to pass the time and enjoy fun albeit underdeveloped characters, art, and don’t mind a typical love story.

3 Clouds

3 Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.