Book Review: Twisted Fate by Norah Olson

Twisted Fate by Norah Olson

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: January 20, 2015

Pages: 272 (Hardcover)

good good

When Alyson meets Graham Copeland, the new boy next door, she instantly feels like he’s a kindred spirit—shy and awkward like her, someone who has trouble making friends. It’s impossible to resist having a crush on him.

As usual, her sister, Sydney, sees things differently. In Sydney’s mind, Graham’s odd personality and secretive past scream psychopath, not sweetheart. Her gut is telling her to stay away from him, and to protect a love-struck Alyson from her own naïveté. But despite her instincts, Sydney is surprised to realize that a part of her is drawn to Graham, too.

And the more Sydney gets to know him, the more she realizes just how right—and wrong—she is about everything.

The only way to describe this book is with a saying my friend, James says about certain art–It’s a shitty painting with a really nice frame.

The idea for this book is really cool. It’s all mysterious and enticing, however the actual work, is all over the place. There’s insta-love and boring characters that literally have no lives except to hang out with Graham or talk about him. There are sisters that, honest to god, only compare each other and point out how different they are from one another. And on top of that, the writing is so unbelievably bad, half the time, I didn’t know if I was reading the book as things were happening or as the characters reflected back on the shit that just happened. I just didn’t know.

To make matters worse, this book tries so hard. It tries so hard to keep it interesting by changing up the POVs and adding random things here and there as well as adding a strange love triangle. However, despite the really nice frame (idea), a shitty painting will always be a shitty painting.

Bottom line, just skip this one. It’s not worth it.

1.5 Odd Clouds
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Book Review: Meet Me Here by Bryan Bliss

18190738 (1)Meet Me Here by Bryan Bliss

Publisher: GreenWillow Books

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: June 7, 2016

Pages: 464 (Hardcover)

good good

Thomas is supposed to leave for the army in the morning. His father was Army. His brother, Jake, is Army—is a hero, even, with the medals to prove it. Everyone expects Thomas to follow in that fine tradition. But Jake came back from overseas a completely different person, and that has shaken Thomas’s certainty about his own future. And so when his long-estranged friend Mallory suggests one last night of adventure, Thomas takes her up on the distraction. Over the course of this single night, Thomas will lose, find, resolve, doubt, drive, explore, and leap off a bridge. He’ll also face the truth of his brother’s post-traumatic stress disorder and of his own courage. In Bryan Bliss’s deft hands, graduation night becomes a night to find yourself, find each other, find a path, and know that you always have a place—and people—to come back to.

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

opinion

Meet me Here makes me so sad, guys.

And I get it. There’s a lot of shitty things going on. Thomas has a really sad life, his brother is not himself, his parents are abusive, and he has no say in anything. However, that doesn’t mean that by bringing in an old flame will solve his damn problems. This book is just a joke. I just hate how the plot is, the way Mallory randomly shows up in his life. Why? No? Stop? On top of all of this, Bliss has made the story insanely predictable (and I say this while skipping over quite a large chunk of it). By this, I mean that despite the story being about the way Thomas and his brother are different, their relationship is nothing new. The brother is the go-to golden boy who loses all sense of himself. now, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with this, what I am saying is that it is played out and not executed as well as it could be because the only times we really hear of him are when their father comes into play.

I wish I could have liked Meet Me Here but it lacks in every area. The writing is nothing stellar, the character are extremely dull and of the generic kind, and the plot…well what plot is there, really? I mean, nothing matters in this book. Instead, if you’re looking for brother relationships with war themes, I recommend Something like Normal and The Things a Brother Knows. 

One Lonely Cloud
One Lonely Cloud

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: United We Spy (Gallagher Girl#6) by Ally Carter

13580951United We Spy (Gallagher Girl#6) by Ally Carter

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: September 17, 2013

Pages: 296 (Hardcover)

good good

Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever.

opinion

After seven years (that’s right, I started this series when it first came out!) and six books I can say that I am a Gallagher Girl through and through. I have cried with them, fought with them, loved them, and most of all, became them. This has been such a fun ride and most of the characters have grown up and I will miss them all. Even though I was a bit disappointed with this one because of the outcome, I still loved it. Hell, I freaking love this series and it sucks that it’s over but I’ll forever remember my sisters.

A problem that this book has has to be repetition. I got it, they are all spies who go to kick ass school that teaches them how to kill people and steal and pretend and blah blah blah. I got it, I would have appreciated it if this fact wasn’t shoved down my throat every other page.

Ally Carter never fails to reel me in with her amazing writing skills! I swear, I could read her novels all day. The characters, especially the four girls, Cammie, Bex, Liz, and Macy have grown up so much and have changed into very close friends and great spies. There’s a ton of action scenes and suspense throughout the book so I never felt bored while reading and the romance between Cammie and Zach is still very strong and sweet but it has always taken the backseat and in United We Spy it’s no different.

United We Spy is the final book. That’s it. And even though I’m still unsure about how I felt about the ending, this is by far one of the best series I’ve ever been fortunate to read. Like any great series, it seems that you have to stumble upon them rather than look for them. I recommend this series to anyone who loves spy novels and are looking for a wild trip that will make you believe that you can be a spy yourself.

4 Dreamy Clouds
4 Dreamy Clouds

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: Insurgent (Divergent#2) by Veronica Roth

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Insurgent (Divergent#2) by Veronica Roth

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Genre: Dystopian and Young Adult

Release Date: May 1, 2012

Pages: 525 (Hardcover)

good good

One choice can transform you, or destroy you.

Every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves, and herself, while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

opinion

I was not expecting this. Insurgent is good, not as good as the first one but it’s still a nice novel. But it’s so slow, and even during the action packed parts, the writing makes it seem like everything is happening in slow motion or some sort of play that rich people watch. Nothing about it sounds like a young girl struggling with the lines of life and death and where she wants to go. It just sounds so planned out and boring. Hopefully the last one is better.

It seems that every first novel in a series that I loved, the second one I dislike. I notice things that I hadn’t in the first one and one of those reoccurring things is the fact that all of the protagonists are whiny, annoying, greedy, and just asking to be killed. Tris might be the worst so far because in this one, I could barely put up with her. She’s constantly putting herself in danger when everyone tells her not to and it’s just UGH. I also found the ending to be predictable.

I did like, for the most part, the romance and relationship between Tris and Four because it is definitely not lovey-dovey like in the first one. It’s intense and angry and sweet with a few surprises. Even though I didn’t enjoy Tris (fucking idiot that she is), I did enjoy the action scenes and how edgy they are.

What the fuck is this? Honestly, I was expecting something that would be on the same level as Divergent. Maybe I should just stop reading the second book in series because so far I have been nothing but disappointed with them all. Don’t read this one unless you’ve read the first one which I actually enjoyed. Insurgent is just a pile of fuckery, the actual story doesn’t make sense and Tris is..she’s…she’s just there in la la land doing complete non sense for no reason.

2.5 Mess Up Clouds
2.5 Messed Up Clouds

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: Siege and Storm (The Grisha#2) by Leigh Bardugo

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Siege and Storm (The Grisha#2) by Leigh Bardugo 

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Genre: Fantasy and Young Adult

Release Date: June 4, 2013

Pages: 432 (Hardcover)

good good

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

opinion

Oh, man, this novel has done a number on my heart. Although this sequel is by no means better than the original, it has both impressed and disappointed me but I still liked it a lot. The new characters are undeniably loveable and certain situations are more intense than ever.

For some reason, in Shadow and Bone, I never realized just how childish Alina is, instead of growing up and learning from her mistakes and the mistakes of others she just acts even more greedy and self-centred. The middle part is also really boring with only a little bit of action. It’s mostly just planning and the romances building up or breaking down. The ending is a little too tied up nicely also since everyone and everything just so happens to get what they deserve (I’m trying not to give too much away!)

But, oh goodness, do I love some of these new characters! Prince Nikolai is amazing with his sense of humour, he seems so realistic. The relationship between Alina and Mal is again realistic because throughout the story, they show cracks, heartbreak, as well as their love for one another. As always, the writing is beautiful just like in the first one with lovely imagery and realism.

Siege and Storm is still a great story. The problems that I had with it are because of the fact that the flaws that I either overlooked or just didn’t realize are so glaringly obvious in this one. Nonetheless, I recommend this to anyone who has read the first one or like novels with strong heroines (with a tragic flaw) and mythical creatures so enchanting it’s shocking that they’re not real.

3.5 Dreamy Clouds
3.5 Dreamy Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: Stormdancer (Lotus War#1) by Jay Kristoff

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Stormdancer (Lotus War#1) by Jay Kristoff 

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Genre: Fantasy and Young Adult

Release Date: September 18, 2012

Pages: 313 (Hardcover)

good good

A DYING LAND
The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.

AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST
The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

A HIDDEN GIFT
Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

opinion

Wow. I’m utterly blown away with this novel and the rich text that Jay Kristoff has written it in. Buruu is one character that, at many times, holds my attention and puts a smile on my face. This is such a lovely novel that t first, is tough to get into but hard to leave when it’s over.

Stormdancer is written with rich writing and a beautifully done world that I love being in. Unfortunately, the problem with many rich worlds with bounteous description is that the descriptions become irritatingly annoying and I find myself missing simple writing a lot while reading. I’ve never read a novel about Japanese mythology so I find it hard and annoying to have to constantly check out the glossary for every word that I don’t understand (there are many).

Nonetheless, the world building is beautiful, the mythical and majestic Buruu feels more than realistic. Yukiko has an awesome gift that’s different from all the other characters in other books I’ve ever read and although not many people have her gift, I like that she’s not the only one who has it in the story. I also love the relationship between Buruu and Yukiko because it’s well done but I feel like it could have been better since some parts move a little too quickly with their friendship. There’s a lot of action and obstacles that help keep the story interesting and fun.

All in all, this is a great start to a series that I’ll probably read until the very end. And even though most of the characters feel a bit stiff at times, I recommend this to anyone who loves mythology, strong friendships, and a killer heroine.

4 Dreamy Clouds
4 Dreamy Clouds

For quotes from this book, click here.