{Review} Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14
by Emmy Laybourne
Series: Monument 14 #1
Published: June 5th 2012
Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)
ISBN: 0312569033 (ISBN13: 9780312569037)
Pages: 294
Source: Bought Myself
Reading Level: 16 and up
Shelf Award: AMAZING!, Favorite!
Rating:  5 Stars

Buy It:Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Goodreads Summary:

Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.

Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.

But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.

My Thoughts:

Cover Love:  This cover didn’t originally grab my eye. But after reading the book it makes a lot more sense! While reading I kept going back to look at it. I really illustrates the story well!

Review:

There is just so much I want to say about Monument 14. I randomly picked it up and before you know it I was submerged in the story! I read the first few chapters so quickly. I had meant to only read a few pages to get the general feel of it since it had been sitting on my shelf for a year! I didn’t read it for many reasons but first was because it seemed a bit juvenile what with kids taking care of kids. It was a bit too reminiscent of Lord Of The Flies, which I read twice and never enjoyed… WRONG! I was so wrong! It was NOTHING like Lord Of The Flies! Second reason why I didn’t read it was because it had a Male protagonist and POV. I’ve never been able to truly connect with Male protagonists/POVs (save for Harry Potter). Well I was wrong again!

The story might be told by Dean but it is the story of all 14 kids stuck in a Greenway! There are many controversial issues being talked about in the book but I can’t divulge them for risk of spoiling the book for you all! I loved the down right organized chaos and mayhem. I thought the children handled themselves exceptionally. Their adventure was not without some truly gory and horrifying times. I loved the harshness of the story, how it truly read like a retelling of some truly horrible global event. The author really hashed out every little detail of her story and gave us a compelling story about survival and human nature! It was easy to see how usually clique-y teenagers would come together as a whole (not without problems if I may say so.) and survive a truly horrible ordeal. The pacing was perfect! enough to keep you on your toes all the time but slow enough to give the reader time to think about what he/she is reading and speculate on the events within the book!

The secondary character did not feel secondary at all. I loved them all! They all had believable personalities and flaws. Niko, Josie and Max were my favorite characters. Also it was obvious that the older kids were teenagers who were also dealing with typical teenager issues. This book was just as much plot driven as it was character driven. I constantly wanted to know more about the disaster and those kids.  There was of course some romance. But it was truly minimal. there was a small hint of a love triangle (which formed for all the wrong reasons… Ahem.. vindictiveness) but the book really focused of the 14 kids stuck in a Greenway and the way they coped with the disaster and the hopes they had to finding their families.

Bottom Line:

This is the kind of YA I want to read more of! I never want this series to end. EVER!

Recommended for:

Anyone who loves a tale of adventures in the toughest of situation! Honestly, I recommend it to everyone!

{Review} When We Wake by Karen Healey

When We Wake
by Karen Healey
Series: When We Wake #1
Published: March 5th 2013
Publisher: Little Brown
ISBN: 031620076X (ISBN13: 9780316200769)
Pages: 296
Source: Library book!
Reading Level: 15 and up
Shelf Award: Quick Read!
Rating:  3 Stars

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Goodreads Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027—she’s happiest when playing the guitar, she’s falling in love for the first time, and she’s joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.

But on what should have been the best day of Tegan’s life, she dies—and wakes up a hundred years later, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.

The future isn’t all she had hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better world?

Award-winning author Karen Healey has created a haunting, cautionary tale of an inspiring protagonist living in a not-so-distant future that could easily be our own.

My Thoughts:

Cover Love:  The cover is different than what you usually see. It is simple and uncomplicated. I did not squee over the cover but it also didn’t make me not want to read the book.

Review:

I traveled while reading this book! Set in Australia, our main character, Teagan Oglietti, lives a normal life and is in love for the first time. And at that point in the book her love is requited. There is some sort of weird love triangle that isn’t really a love triangle. Mostly it’s the main character, still in love with the boyfriend from her first lifetime but that doesn’t keep her from falling in love quickly enough in her second lifetime. Anyways… Romance wise, I didn’t feel much chemistry with said love interest (which I will not mention). What I felt Teagan was TRULY passionately in love with was music. Mainly The Beatles. Healey (the author) made it easy to be transported by The Beatles’ music. I even went on YouTube and listened to them as I read the book. Reading this book was very ambient.

Teagan is our narrator and her voice stands out. Along with the “music” of the book, it was Teagan’s voice which I liked most while reading the book. She really is a strong heroine, she doesn’t dwell and dawdle and waste too much time mourning her past life.  She is strong, decisive and obstinate!Oh and she is also a free-runner! Dayum, that is so cool! She was reminiscent of Divergent’s Tris without being copy pasted. Really just reminiscent.

World building was one of the book’s downfall… It was generic and plain for the most part. The author gave us enough details to imagine the general view of the world in the 22nd century. The world is polluted and nearly everyone is a vegetarian… Yeah, why? I am still not sure about that. We are also presented too many “political” and religious groups, government conspiracies (of course, what’s a dystopia without government conspiracies) and lot’s of journalism. Yup, That. There is also an elite school Teagan attends that offers it’s students, well, majors. They specialize in a certain fields. I’m sure you can guess which is Teagan’s. (Guess away in the comments! I’d like to see who’s right)

Second downfall was that the book felt preachy… At some point I felt like I was reading long pamphlets about pollution, global warming, immigration, racism, discrimination, LGBT rights (there’s a big-ish twist concerning that one. I WAS surprised),and even eating meat. Ugh.

Teagan’s friends (aka secondary characters) were very interesting and very involved in the story. There were lots of twists, including them that I never saw coming.

Bottom Line:

It was a well rounded book with a strong heroine and even through what annoyed me, I still read the book in less than 24 hours. I call that a good enough win to recommend that you borrow it from your library and come back to tell me about it.

Recommended for:

Readers who like a strong heroine and dystopian novels.

{Review} City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster


City of a Thousand Dolls
by Miriam Forster
Series: Bhinian Empire #1
Published: February 5th 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
ISBN: 0062121308 (ISBN13: 9780062121301)
Pages: 359
Source: Bought Myself
Reading Level: 13 and up
Shelf Award: Pretty Cover
Rating:  3 Stars

Goodreads Summary:

Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.

Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life.

My Thoughts:

Cover Love:  The cover is beautiful! You get a sense of mystery and fantasy! It’s a great attention grabber!

Review:

I have been on a fantasy kick ever since I read The Girl Of Fire and Thorns (SO GOOD) and I thought this would be a perfect fit! It mentions assassins! And I love me some assasins! And an abilities to talk to cats! Awesome right?
Well, no. I ended up disappointed.  Upon reading I found myself picturing Nisha as a thirteen year old and not the 16 year old she was depicted as even despite the kissing scenes. Speaking of depiction…She wasn’t described much at all… All I really had to go on was the darkened image of the girl holding swords on the cover and so that really didn’t help in my connecting with the Main character. And where were the assassins!? I kept waiting and waiting for them to be introduced! I feel like the idea was great but the execution was lacking. I really liked the idea of having girls be trained in different houses according to their affinities. The House of Flowers trained girls to be Nobles, The House of music, The House of Pleasure, The House of Jade trains scholars/healers/etc, House of Combat, The House of Beauty. But it wasn’t enough to make the book extraordinary.

Also, the plot felt very mish-mashed. And her going about finding the murderer seems too messy. She seems aimless and desperate. Granted, she has good reason to be desperate. If the author intended to pass Nisha as a desperate heroine she succeeded.
However, what did keep me from marking this as a DNF and enjoying it in the end was the world building and the constant hinting at secrets concerning Nisha! I really enjoyed the imagery and just HAD TO find out what was so special about Nisha. Also the secondary characters like Jerrit, Nisha’s cat companion, was a plus I enjoyed. Their dialogue was sweet and funny!
There are a few parts where we see that she could REALLY give her enemies THE HURT but I felt myself wanting for more. Had the couple kissing scens been taken out, this book would have been a much better Middle Grade book. I wish I had loved it more. Nothing really stood out for me. Which is a shame. I love fantasy and I LOVE assassins!

Bottom Line:

This book would have done better as a Middle Grade book had the author removed the few kissing scenes and one or two gory instances.
Reading this book felt like the author first wrote the middle and the end then tried attach a middle to it. It felt disconnected. I am sad I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped.

Recommended for:

Someone who wants an easy read. I guess…

{Review} For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows The Stars
by Diana Peterfreund
Series: For Darkness Shows The Stars
Published: June 12th 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
ISBN: 0062006142 (ISBN13: 9780062006141)
Pages: 402
Source: Bought Myself
Reading Level: 16 and up
Shelf Award: Original, 2013 Favorites
Rating:  5 Stars

Goodreads Summary:

It’s been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot’s estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth–an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret–one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she’s lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s PersuasionFor Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

My Thoughts:

Cover Love:  The cover was the original reason why I wanted this book! I am a BIG cover lover and this is so pretty a starry and perfect!

Review:

Now, I have not read any of Jane Austen’s novels. Please don’t shoot me. However I know of them and all their wonder. Let me just say that reading For Darkness Shows The Stars made me want to read the entire Jane Austen collection.
The book begins in a world where the world’s population has been mostly eradicated by genetic manipulations gone wrong.
Our main character is Elliot and she (yes it is a girl name Elliot. And I dig it.) is quite the dutiful farmer. She holds her family’s land together while her father and sister cavort around and spend money carelessly.
And that is one thing I loved about about the book! Elliot is by far one bad ass heroine. Not in the same way as Tris or Katniss, no, Elliot is devoted, loving and srong. She doesn’t kick butt, although if she had to she might. But she is the kind of girl who will sacrifice her own happiness for the good of others. It was easy to connect with her, to feel her pains, joys, confusion.
The plot is split between her relationship with Kai and her trying to keep both hers and her father’s land alive. Neither overshadowed the other. It was the perfect balance between love and duty.
Now her father and sister… Oh… They can be downright cruel. Which really added to the quality this book! Tatiana is spoiled and their father is just, well I have no words. You’ll have to read it. But his cruelty scared and angered me. And Benedict! So many evil villains here!
There is a big element of science fiction also but if I go into it any further I will spoil it. The discovery of it kind of came as a surprise. I definitely had an “OH MY GOSH” moment.
Kai. Well he had his dreamy moments yes. But I appreciated how the book focused on Elliot and her dilemmas. How far would she go to ensure the farm’s survival and the people working there? THAT is what I loved reading about.
All in all; I felt so much reading this book. So much good, some sadness, some fear.

Bottom Line:

This was a pretty fast read. I loved the atmosphere of the book. I felt embraced by it while reading! And I find myself impatient to read about Elliot and Kai’s next adventures… However, book two features new characters in Across a Star-Swept Sea. Maybe one day!

Recommended for:

If you want a book that questions societal classes, the moralities of science and genetic manipulation, Love VS Duty and God VS Science as well as a well rounded story, a compelling heroine and a “Will they? Won’t they” type romance, this book is for you!

{Review} The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Seriously Amazing

Seriously Amazing

The Girl of Fire and Thorns
by Rae Carson
Series: The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Published: September 20th 2011
Publisher: Greenwillow
ISBN: 0062026488 (ISBN13: 9780062026484)
Pages: 424
Source: Bought Myself
Reading Level: 16 and up
Shelf Award: Original, 2012 Favorites
Rating:  5 Stars (and then some)

Goodreads Summary:

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

My Thoughts:

Cover Love: It isn’t an exceptional cover but who needs a pretty cover when the words inside are so exceptional? I do love the Godstone on the cover however!

Review:

LOVE AT FIRST PAGE!!BAM! Floored. Totally blindsided! I have to say I did NOT expect to fall so deeply in love (and awe) with this book. I felt like I went back in the less complicated time of my youth where fantasy books were almost exclusively what I read. And I have fallen back in love with the genre. It was as multifaceted a piece of art as a Godstone, which in the book means whoever the bearer is, will have an exceptional although tragic destiny.

Well the first surprise came on the very first page of the book where Elisa is trying out her wedding dress. YES! A wedding dress! I don’t know why exactly but that is when I decided it was going to be a good book. Then the reading goes on and you are taken on a journey of, not only an exceptionally visual story, but of self discovery, coming of age and empowerment from Elisa. I don’t remember a heroine that impressed me as much as Elisa did, I was so proud of her and how she became a woman who loved herself. Her development is subtle yet incredibly substantial. And it doesn’t happen overnight. Her transformation is still in progress as the book ends.

There are some major events that happen, 2 in particular I did not see coming so I had to re-read the scene. At first I was angry with the author but I am sure she had reasons.

Bottom Line:

Simply put: a work of art. Will I read The Crown of Embers? OH HELLS YEAH!

Recommended for:

Readers who love a perfectly rounded story with characters to fall in love with and set in a fantastic world!