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: True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

24485772True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: June 7, 2016

Pages: 336 (Hardcover)

good good

If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree guy.

But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world–letters he never intends to send–he spills the truth: he’s trying hard, but he just isn’t into Theresa. It’s a boy who lingers in his thoughts.

He feels trapped by his parents, his teammates, and the lies they’ve helped him tell, and he has no idea how to escape. Is he destined to live a life of fiction?

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.

opinion

I’m really glad this got to be one of my first summer reads. It’s fairly light yet a solid novel. With great characters and a steady plot, Kenneth Logan delivers a lovely coming of age story. Although I didn’t absolutely love James, the secondary characters are the ones who really had me. Derek, Hawken, Topher, and the parents. They kept me lightly on my toes by not being the predictable supporting characters that I assumed they would be and I really enjoyed that.

Despite the high rating I’m giving it, there are some flaws. One of them being the intense info-dumping in the very beginning. During the first chapter, readers are handed an essay long description on characters that have yet been introduced. A prime example of this is with Theresa, where James explains their long history and feelings. This could have been easily handled with showing us the friction of their relationship rather than telling us because I started to quickly lose interest. The book, for that matter, is mostly telling rather than showing like from the letters and how James writes them to how he speaks and thinks of his friends. Instead of being put in his shoes, understanding his pain and struggle, I just felt as if I was reading a very personal, extremely distant essay (sorry for the contradiction but it’s the only way I could really explain it. Like a cold ‘I love you’). The whole book is surrounded by the letters and how they make him feel and transform him as a person but I felt this part of the novel was poorly executed because I couldn’t connect with it as I was being told about it instead of showed it. More is written about the letter than what is actually in them. Which is really sad as the letters are his way of expressing himself.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed True Letter from a Fictional Life. it’s straightforward plot wise, it contains plenty of twists, and holds some sad truths about the world we live in. I’m glad Logan made the characters different, especially with Derek because of course there are more issues outside of the LGBT community and just even shining a small light on those issues like race and religion is always appreciated. Moreover, I still liked the idea of writing letters, as a strong believer in this approach to dealing with anger (I’ve been writing letters to people since I was in grade two, I swear) I could connect with where James was coming from. looking past all of the telling and lengthy explanations, the writing itself is quite smooth. It’s easy to lose yourself in the story and keep on reading until everything gets resolved.

You should read this. It’s not a heavy book, definitely finish it within a day, no more than a week. The writing style although not unique, has a one-of-a-kind approach to a popular topic and I loved reading about it. There’s more to this novel than what one read will tell you.

4 Dreamy Clouds

Book Review: Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

23315831

Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: June 23, 2015

Pages: 352 (Hardcover)

good good

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

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

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

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

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

opinion

I actually don’t know what to say about this one. It’s not a bad novel, it’s just…childish. Or at least it is during the beginning. Emmy and Oliver’s relationship has this huge ten-year gap because Oliver’s kidnapping and I think this is why I had such a hard time liking the story. Since he left when they were still little children, it just picks up where they left off. It’s all, “Emmy does this” and, “Oliver does that.” If stuff like this doesn’t bother you, it’s actually a great novel that’s very sweet, however if it does, maybe just skim until the middle.

Or even skim the first chapter because it’s the summary only more in-depth. Oliver left, there was a note, Emmy misses him. And although the story is Emmy’s, I feel like there should have been more to it. Like, Oliver talks about his life, about what he did during those years however, it’s hard to truly picture it since he only says snippets and then that’s it. I did feel for him and his pain however, I wanted to know more so that I could relate more to him. Also, the blow-ups that happen between Oliver and his mother happen too quickly. As a person who has gone through bad shit and seen my friends go through bad shit, parents just aren’t that quick to ground people over small things. Another thing that’s lacking is the town. Like, what town? There is no town. I didn’t get the small feeling of people watching his every move, the ‘think this way,’ or anything. It just fades into the background so whenever Emmy mentions something about their town, it’s always confusing because WHAT TOWN IS THERE?!

But Emmy & Oliver is a sweet novel. The characters are strong and witty, especially Drew who honestly killed me every time he opens his mouth. The relationship between Emmy and Oliver is cute. It’s more of a friendship than anything else and I enjoyed reading about it. I also liked the relationship between Oliver and his father. It’s not your typical one, it’s a strange and realistic relation between two people who need time to figure out their feelings. I got that and I loved it. One of the best relationships ever. The small in between chapters that tell of secrets and memories between Emmy and Oliver also helps paint the picture of how close these two were when they were younger. It put me in a memory of my own childhood where I would always make up weird sayings that only my friends and I understood. Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t think any of us actually knew what we were saying to each other but we still understood, deep down.

Would I recommend this book? Yes I would because it’s focused on more than just romance and I love that about books. Although the execution at times is sloppy and annoying, it does get its footing and tells an amazing story about time. So, yeah. Go pick this one up it’s cute and sad and summer friendly.

3.5 Interesting Clouds

3.5 Interesting Clouds

Book review: No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss

22403036No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Genre:Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: February 24, 2015

Pages: 272 (Hardcover)

good good

Abigail’s parents have made mistake after mistake, and now they’ve lost everything. She’s left to decide: Does she still believe in them? Or is it time to believe in herself? Fans of Sara Zarr, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell will connect with this moving debut.

Abigail doesn’t know how her dad found Brother John. Maybe it was the billboards. Or the radio. What she does know is that he never should have made that first donation. Or the next, or the next. Her parents shouldn’t have sold their house. Or packed Abigail and her twin brother, Aaron, into their old van to drive across the country to San Francisco, to be there with Brother John for the “end of the world.” Because of course the end didn’t come. And now they’re living in their van. And Aaron’s disappearing to who-knows-where every night. Their family is falling apart. All Abigail wants is to hold them together, to get them back to the place where things were right. But maybe it’s too big a task for one teenage girl.

opinionLook, let’s just get straight to the point. Was I made by the end of this book? Not quite. Did I still have a lot of questions, like how some loser conned more than two dozen people into giving him pretty much everything? Fuck yes. But more than that, I was disappointed. I felt so underwhelmed by every aspect of No Parking at the End Times, even during the parts where there should have been a lot of religious insight,fuck, any kind of insight, I got nothing. You’re better off skimming a pamphlet on the ‘New World’ rather than read this book.

Why? Because nothing happens. And when something does happen, it’s 77% into the book, where no shits are given anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good build-up, leaving room for nothing but suspense however this is ridiculous. And when you pair a boring book and awkward writing that’s full of unnecessary words, well, the outcome isn’t pretty. Moreover, for a novel that has so much on the Now, there’s almost nothing on the Then part. The book is mostly surrounded on the decisions that Abigail’s father has made and still making, how his mistakes have caused the family to lose greatly. So when I was reading and found close to nothing, honest to God, nothing on what made him switch gears and decide to listen to Brother John, I couldn’t help but scream. Adding onto this, the characters aren’t fleshed out. Abigail, I could understand for the most part because I could relate to her but only to a point. Halfway done, I stopped caring about her as well as the other characters. They just don’t stick out, especially Brother John, who is supposed to be this magnificent man sent down from God. Obviously he’s not but I did not see the appeal of him. He always gave generic answers, didn’t read any fucking verses from the Bible despite always having it on hand, and all around, didn’t even act like he was really into it. As a con artist you have to at least fake to have your heart in it, this guy gave no fucks. Now, does that sound like a man two relatively responsible adults with two children would give everything to? It doesn’t to me, I still don’t understand where Bliss was going with him.

Nonetheless, there are some mediocre things that I didn’t mind. One of them being the Before chapters albeit short and mostly pointless because they tell only snippets of what happened, of how they got to California rather than giving the whole picture.

No Parking at the End Times might have been great since most books about the Rapture don’t really go into after the ‘event’, only about two weeks later. What made me even more disappointed is the fact that the beginning is so good. Like, guys, it’s so good. It’s intense, mysterious, and exciting. I was giddy with pleasure (that died like two or three chapters later). Would I recommend this novel? No, like I said before, I got more information from a pamphlet, hell, even the damn internet than I did on the actual Rapture, or on anything religious. This should tell you something about how badly this book is written when I have to complain multiple times about the religion aspect of it. And I don’t even like religion.

1.5 Odd Clouds

1.5 Odd 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: Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick

20306810Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: September 9, 2014

Pages: 224 (Hardcover)

good good

In the next seventy-two hours, Kenna may lose everything—her friends, her freedom, and maybe even herself. One kiss of the blade was all it took to get her sent to the psych ward for seventy-two hours. There she will face her addiction to cutting, though the outcome is far from certain.

When fifteen-year-old Kenna is found cutting herself in the school bathroom, she is sent to a facility for mandatory psychiatric watch. There, Kenna meets other kids like her—her roommate, Donya, who’s there for her fifth time; the birdlike Skylar; and Jag, a boy cute enough to make her forget her problems . . . for a moment.

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.

opinion

I will always love short books because they can be read in an a short matter of time, like this, Kiss of  Broken Glass which only took my an hour to read. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that just because a book is short, doesn’t mean it’s any good.

The big problem, I believe is the way mental illness is shown in the book. I understand that not everyone is perfect and some people do think that cutting is ‘the coolest thing ever’ but I wanted the main character to actually change and learn her lesson instead of being a dumbass which she is from beginning to end. On top of this, the writing is stiff and I didn’t give two shits about any of the characters because of their one-sidedness.

The only upside is that I like that the book is in verse.

Kiss of Broken Glass is a really short book with boring characters, a typical atmosphere, and stiff writing. Since there’s not much time to add depth to the story, everything I read just felt like one huge info-dump. I don’t recommend unless you are in desperate need for something short.

1.5 Odd Clouds

1.5 Odd Clouds

Book Review: In the After (In the After#1) by Demitria Lunetta

12157407In the After (In the After#1) by Demitria Lunetta

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Dystopian and Young Adult

Release Date: June 25, 2013

Pages: 455 (Hardcover)

good good

They hear the most silent of footsteps.

They are faster than anything you’ve ever seen.
And They won’t stop chasing you…until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

opinion

In the After is your typical dystopian read. There’s the corrupt government, the almost destroyed world, and then the survivors trying to take down the government/fight. However, with that being said, I actually enjoyed this book. Lunetta brings in a refreshing look and style to the things by forcing a love interest down until the very end and focusing as much time and effort into the main goal: survival. I had a lot of fun reading this action-packed story and can’t wait for the next one.

Unfortunately, there are a few mishaps along the way. There’s a lot of information given during despite it being really important, I felt that it could have been placed in a better place rather than shoved in the beginning. Also, the whole aliens thing is predictable, I knew right from the start and I would have loved it if Lunetta could have add more mystery to this part of the book.

Still, the setting and mood is perfectly described for the Before part of the book. The relationship between Baby and Amy is great, it’s complex and realistic and I loved reading about how protective Amy is of her. Adding onto this, the characters are well-developed, especially Baby because of how different and strange she is. From day one, she knew the rules and obediently followed them. That still boggles my mind! Parts with the present and past and the memories had my full attention because they’re so unique and different.

I’m not exactly sure what I was getting into when I first picked this one up. I was praying that it wouldn’t be a typical Dystopian read. And albeit it is, it’s so much more than that also, it’s a refreshing look at Dystopian which I never knew could happen because they all seem to be about the same thing. Nonetheless, I recommend this read to everyone because it’s different and it’s action-packed and suspenseful.

4 Dreamy Clouds

4 Dreamy Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click, here.