Book Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

18285437Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: September 9, 2014

Pages: 416 (Hardcover)

good good

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she’s not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She’s even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won’t risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty…no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time’s running short. Sam must decide who she can trust…and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

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

When I started this book, I really believed that I would hate it. I believed that the main character would be a huge brat and do a shit ton of stupid crap that would irritate me and the romance would suck on a whole new level. I trusted in my knowledge of YA books to know a crappy book when I saw one. But boy, WAS I SURPRISED! Rites of Passage is so solid. It blew my mind, guys. It really did. Like, I was surprised left and right.


The only things that I didn’t like about the book are mostly minor things now that I think about it. The romance, at the very beginning is pretty cliché and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at it and how the author set it up. I would have also liked more information on the dares. It says that Sam never backs down from a dare, (she’s a badass, I’m telling you!) yet there’s only once or twice when a few dares are mentioned. I wanted to know what the first dare was and how it played out and how she became addicted to doing them. In addition, there are two pretty major flaws in the book and they’re related to her family. I wanted to know a lot more about Amos than what’s actually given. There aren’t very many flashbacks about how close they were and how they used to do things. They’re more Sam remembering the day he passed away and I wanted to know about her family as a whole. It’s all after Amos died no past flashbacks about the good ol’ days or when they growing up really. It’s all just lightly touched.

Still, I loved it. I loved almost everything about this Rites of Passage. If I read this book on a school day, I truly believe that I would have read it while I was in class. That’s how addicted I was to this book. The romance that once annoyed me had me squealing. legit SQUEALING (I almost never do this!). The characters are very unique and surprising with their originality and strengths. I believed them all and when their true sides came out I was pretty shocked and happy but also a  little angry. Same especially is a very realistic character that I easily rooted for because she’s so strong when many of us would have broken and gave in to the countless demands that are being shoved at us from every angle. I was soooo tense that last few chapters. I didn’t know what was going to happen which rarely happens in books and that’s why I love it even more. I was so in the dark about it all.

I need more books like this, ones that will leave me wanting more and completely boosting my faith in YA books again. Rites of Passage is that kind of book that makes you want to fight to equality and become a badass. The writing is beyond addicting which really helped in the beginning when I was skeptical about so many things. I recommend this to everyone to read! READ THIS BOOK! YOU WILL LOVE IT!!!!!

4 Dreamy Clouds
4 Dreamy 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: Meridian (Arclight#2) by Josin L. McQuein

17798031Meridian (Arclight#2) by Josin L. McQuein

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Genre: Dystopian and Young Adult

Release Date: May 27, 2014

Pages: 458 (Hardcover)

good good

Marina thought that she had solved all of the Arclight’s mysteries. She had found her own history—that she was one of the Fade, that she never should have been human. She knows that the Fade who surround the Arclight don’t want to be the humans’ enemies at all. She knows that the leader of those inside the Arc, Honoria Whit, never told the whole truth. But there is so much more that Marina is just discovering. There are more survivors out there. Only Marina—and her friends, all of whom have connections to the Fade they’d never known about—can lead her people to them. But there are also darker dangers, things that even the Fade fear. And Marina slowly realizes she may never have been “cured,” after all. The sequel to Arclight, Meridian is an intense, action-packed page-turner about the lines we draw between right and wrong, light and dark . . . and the way nothing is ever that black and white.

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.

opinionAll I can truly say about this book, is: I really hope that there will be another book and I cannot wait for it. It seems weird that I would even enjoy this series as much as I have considering all of the clichés and annoyances it has. But I just can’t get enough of it and it’s mostly because of one of the love interests. He’s actually perfect and amazing and I love him so, so, so much. But as a whole, I was pretty disappointed with this book and I’m hoping that the next one (hopefully) is done a lot better and leaves all the predictability alone.

I think that McQuein’s biggest struggle with this series apart from how predictable it is, are the character and how lacking most of them seem to be. After I finished reading Arclight, I was expecting the characters to really stand out to me since the awkwardness of being presented a new world was just about over. Yet, they stayed the same, forgettable and not at all moving in any way. The relationship between Marina and Tobin is strained. Whenever they’re together, I felt like McQuein wanted to remind readers that Rue isn’t the only guy in Marina’s life and that she cares about Tobin also (insert extremely awkward and misplaced kissing here). Another horribly done thing in the book is the dual perspective. Some authors can do it, but most can’t and although I could distinctively tell which character’s perspective I was reading from, I didn’t like how useless his voice is. I got close to no information on him or really got inside of his head.

Beside all of that, I did like Meridian. I liked the writing, same as the first one and I love how well McQuein’s attention to detail is. She soothingly puts in a ton of description into things especially the trip to the Cube which I could easily picture in my head. Like I mentioned before, Rue plays a huge part in my rating for this book. His character excels where other do not. I was rooting for him, from cover to cover and I looked forward to his sarcastic-but-not-really manner. His complete devotion to include everyone and respects decisions yet leaves no one behind pulled at my heart and this is why he’s awesome.

Meridian is not as good as it could be but I still liked some things about it. I’m giving it a pretty high rating because of Rue and how much I enjoyed him. It’s like how some people feel about The Real Housewives it’s so dumb but you just love it despite its flaws.

Still, I recommend this book to anyone who has read the first. And if you haven’t read this series yet, but trust my judgement and the fact that I usually don’t take to any love interest, read this series! Rue is too awesome and I love him.

2.5 Mess Up Clouds
2.5 Mess Up Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: The Nightmare Dilemma (The Arkwell Academy#2) by Mindee Arnett

17910091The Nightmare Dilemma (The Arkwell Academy#2) by Mindee Arnett

Publisher: Tor Teen

Genre: Fantasy and Young Adult

Release Date: March 4, 2014

Pages: 384 (Hardcover)

good good

Dusty Everhart might be able to predict the future through the dreams of her crush, Eli Booker, but that doesn’t make her life even remotely easy. When one of her mermaid friends is viciously assaulted and left for dead, and the school’s jokester, Lance Rathbone, is accused of the crime, Dusty’s as shocked as everybody else. Lance needs Dusty to prove his innocence by finding the real attacker, but that’s easier asked than done. Eli’s dreams are no help, more nightmares than prophecies.

To make matters worse, Dusty’s ex-boyfriend has just been acquitted of conspiracy and is now back at school, reminding Dusty of why she fell for him in the first place. The Magi Senate needs Dusty to get close to him, to discover his real motives. But this order infuriates Eli, who has started his own campaign for Dusty’s heart.

As Dusty takes on both cases, she begins to suspect they’re connected to something bigger. And there’s something very wrong with Eli’s dreams, signs that point to a darker plot than they could have ever imagined.

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

opinionWow is the first word that comes to mind when I think about this book. But it’s not the kind of wow that’s like, wow. This book knows how to pack a huge punch. It’s also not that wow that’s like, wow. This book is pretty great. It’s more like:

From boredom. It seems to be an ongoing thing with this series. I liked The Nightmare Affair enough to warrant it three stars but I can’t give this one anything higher than a two because I was so bored out of my mind that I had to stop reading it for two months. Partially because I had exams and family issues but two months is a very long time. There’s just so much wrong with it that I could hardly care.

The story starts off pretty slow and ends pretty tiredly. The reason for this that there’s so much time spent planning and talking and Dusty pretty much going, “who should I like now? Paul? Or Eli? Who? OOOhhhhh! Aaaaaahhhhh!” Adding onto that, the romance is very dulling. Nothing happens with it yet, for some reason, it plays a big part by never-dying down. It’s unnecessary and stupid. Both guys suck. The characters are still not as well-developed as they should be and many events that take place feel far too coincidental and contrived for me to actually believe them every time.

Surprisingly, I did find that I liked a few things like the writing. For the most part, it’s smooth and I hadn’t actually realized the book was going in close to no direction until the middle. Also, at the end, the very (or second) last plot twist, I was not expecting and I liked that Arnett kept me guessing even if it wasn’t for the whole novel.

The Nightmare Dilemma really let me down. I was expecting more since the first book was so entertaining but I didn’t get what I wanted. I only recommend this book to people who have already read the first book and can swallow down the second to hopefully reach better things. However, I do recommend this series to anyone looking for a fun fantasy that’s pretty funny and entertaining (the first book).

2 Boring Clouds
2 Boring Clouds

Book Review: Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson

18632219Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Genre: Fantasy and Young Adult

Release Date: August 5, 2014

Pages: 384 (Hardcover)

good good

A year ago Hurricane Josephine swept through Savannah, Georgia, leaving behind nothing but death and destruction — and taking the life of Dovey’s best friend, Carly. Since that night, Dovey has been in a medicated haze, numb to everything around her.

But recently she’s started to believe she’s seeing things that can’t be real … including Carly at their favorite cafe. Determined to learn the truth, Dovey stops taking her pills. And the world that opens up to her is unlike anything she could have imagined.

As Dovey slips deeper into the shadowy corners of Savannah — where the dark and horrifying secrets lurk — she learns that the storm that destroyed her city and stole her friend was much more than a force of nature. And now the sinister beings truly responsible are out to finish what they started.

Dovey’s running out of time and torn between two paths. Will she trust her childhood friend Baker, who can’t see the threatening darkness but promises to never give up on Dovey and Carly? Or will she plot with the sexy stranger, Isaac, who offers all the answers — for a price? Soon Dovey realizes that the danger closing in has little to do with Carly … and everything to do with Dovey herself.

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

opinion

When I see reviews for Servants of the Storm that use these words or ones like them, I always tilt my head and mentally say,

Because Servants of the Storm is a lot of things but amazing isn’t one them. Instead I would it’s more…confusing and lacking than anything. I went in excited but finished it with, well actually, I liked the ending but for the most part, I was half asleep.

After the initial few chapters, I was expecting the excitement to keep going and for a little bit, it did with Dovey seeing things and everyone telling her to ‘just take the pills’. I got really excited. I was expecting some classic southern mystery with curses and spell and dolls and creepy ass people! It quickly became clear that my wishes would not come true once the love interest goes all gooey-eyed for Dovey. Yes, believe what you will, but there is insta-love in this book. The guy owes her nothing, yet helps her even though he knows he’ll be in major shit and can’t stop staring into her eyes. Actually they can’t stop staring into each others eyes because it’s ‘just too hard to look away’. With that being said, I was not a fan of the romance because it’s really useless. It’s all staring into eyes and Dovey saying every fucking page, “Isaac’s hot” or “He’s so gorgeous I can’t look away,” or even fucking, “He’s so mysterious with the way he looks.” Every. Fucking. Page. Moreover, the characters are just plain bad. They’re forgettable and aside from their annoying phrases, I couldn’t relate to anything about them and found myself indifferent to their fates. Especially Isaac. When first introduced to him, he seems legit, mysterious and odd yet he loses all coolness once he jumps at the chance to help Dovey and tells her everything as well as helps her. The more he talked, the more I wanted to slap him. Another problem I had is with the relationship between Carly and Dovey because it felt contrived and fake to me. There’s hardly any examples or flashbacks to the good times, only small remarks about Carly’s sassy attitude and that’s it. I had a hard time believing that they were ever close. Furthermore, once Dovey is told about this mystical world of demons, she takes it all in stride and doesn’t seem to care. At all. I know that a lot of people believe in this stuff but the fact that Dovey never believed in those things in the first place but doesn’t seem to care or even react or really question all of it annoyed me and I just couldn’t believe it.

Nonetheless, I did like the first few chapters. Settling into this book and its atmosphere, I was expecting something that will leave me with goosebumps and if Dawson kept up the same way with the first few chapters, I think she would have reached there. I also, shockingly, liked the ending even though it’s not the most original, I did like it because it really did fit with the story. But it also fit in Insidious soooo…..

Servants of the Storm starts off pretty great. It’s intense and creepy but quickly falls on its ass and ends up not getting back on its feet. The characters are typical as well as the stupid romance that is completely useless and forced. I was either bored and angry reading most of it. The unrealistic approach to everything left me far beyond disappointed and I don’t recommend this book to anyone unless you’re in the mood for something that’s a bit southern black magic but the tiniest bit of it and don’t mind crappy, pointless things.

1.5 Odd Clouds
1.5 Odd Clouds

Book Review: The Young World by Chris Weitz

13590919The Young World by Chris Weitz

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre: Dystopian and Young Adult

Release Date: July 29, 2014

Pages: 384 (Hardcover)

good good

After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he’s secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind.

The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park…and discovers truths they could never have imagined.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Little, Brown 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

It seems that dystopian novels are booming and taking over the YA world. What’s sad about this is that the take over doesn’t seem to be slowing down by much. The Young World as a whole, is predictable as well as typical. However, shocking as it is, I had a bit of fun reading it. But only Jefferson’s chapters.

The reason why I only liked Jefferson’s chapters is because Donna consistently gave me headaches with all of her info-dumping about meaningless shit and utter annoyance. I just don’t understand how she can be a badass yet an extremely ditzy person also. Adding onto that, the characters in general could have been a lot better developed. They’re all the same, unoriginal and typical from other dystopian books. Also, they’re all teenagers yet they act like they’re ten with all of their bickering. Moving on, the romance between Jefferson and Donna is so contrived. Even though it doesn’t take over the story, it’s still boring and unneccessary.

Despite all of this, I did like Jefferson’s perspective because they’re a lot different from Donna’s as well as the writing is smoother and realistic.

The Young World is surprisingly an entertaining read despite the fact that it’s pretty much your typical dystopian book. However I would only recommend this one to people who absolutely love dystopian stories and forever will for the rest of their lives.

2 Clouds
2 Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

18170549The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

Publisher: Scribner

Genre: Essays, Fiction, and Non-Fiction

Release Date: April 8, 2014

Pages: 240 (Hardcover)

good good

 Marina Keegan’s star was on the rise when she graduated magna cum laude from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash.

As her family, friends, and classmates, deep in grief, joined to create a memorial service for Marina, her unforgettable last essay for the Yale Daily News, “The Opposite of Loneliness,” went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. She had struck a chord.

Even though she was just twenty-two when she died, Marina left behind a rich, expansive trove of prose that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty, and possibility of her generation. The Opposite of Loneliness is an assemblage of Marina’s essays and stories that, like The Last Lecture, articulates the universal struggle that all of us face as we figure out what we aspire to be and how we can harness our talents to make an impact on the world.

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

opinion

When I was sent a copy of this book for review, I’ll admit, I was nervous. I never never read anything that isn’t young adult and fiction because I find it either too hard to relate to or too boring (History has never been a strong class for me). But I took a plunge and even though it took me forever and a year to finally finish it, I’m glad to that I did. It’s a moving art piece and even more so on their own. However, with each different section, I found my interest waning and waning until I had a hard time paying attention.

The book I believe is sectioned off into three pieces: Essays, fiction, and non-fiction. My attention started decreasing during the fiction part. I found Winter Break cute but completely pointless. When I finished the story, I was scratching my head trying to figure out why the fuck I cared about some girl and her long distance relationship and her parents not being in love. I didn’t care because nothing made it stand out to me which I found happens a lot in her short stories and more specifically, her characters. The characters throughout her stories are all right but I couldn’t  actually connect with them. They fell flat for me and I was quite disappointed by it. Moreover, for some reason, non fiction and I don’t click whatsoever so I had the hardest time getting through that part oh her book.

In addition to all of that, I did enjoy the essays and most of the fiction. There’s just something about her writing style that’s both enchanting and interesting that I couldn’t get enough of. I also liked how Keegan uses different formats and techniques to tell her stories from young adults to seniors and from a regular to emails. Her characters do have different lives and I enjoyed the diversity that she brought to them. Another thing that I enjoyed is the light humour that presents itself in a few stories to make things less serious.

The Opposite of Loneliness is an enjoyable read. There’s at least one story or essay that speaks to each reader. I recommend this one to anyone looking for something new to read and is willing to step out of their comfort zone for the first time. Although the characters are quite unique there are a bit underdeveloped but I liked how different each story is. I know I enjoyed it and I’m a little less terrified of stepping out of my comfort zone now.

3.5 Dreamy Clouds
3.5 Dreamy Clouds