2018, Books, Favorites, reviews

Arc of a Scythe Trilogy Review

Title: Scythe
Author: Neal Shusterman
Published: 2016
Country: USA
Genre: YA Science Fiction

Synopsis: In a perfect world with no death, some are chosen and trained in the art of taking a life to keep the balance of the world.

Title: Thunderhead
Author: Neal Shusterman
Published: 2018
Country: USA
Genre: YA Science Fiction

Synopsis: Citra and Rowan come to understand the complexity of this world and have their own ideas on how to fix it.

Book #3: COMING SEPTEMBER 2019

There is a ton of political intrigue, mixed with our own history that make this world really interesting and possible. Many questions on what is ethical, how our society might be if we no longer experienced natural death, and how to navigate a society that has seemingly everything, are explored and analyzed.

In book one, we are introduced to Rowan and Citra, two teenagers chosen to become apprentices to Scythe Faraday, in a futuristic and seemingly Utopian world centuries after our time. Having discovered immortality, death is no longer something to fear in this world. This is where the Scythes come in: they are chosen to glean people to keep the population balances through statistics or past events that would have eliminated people via natural selection. However, some don’t follow this rule.

VERDICT ON BOOK #1: I loved this story. The ideas and historical knowledge that appear and are intertwined within the story give it a rich and totally possibly future we could experience, which I think enhances the story and makes it feel that more involved. We deal with love, friendship, loyalty, pain, immortality, ethics and a society trying to make the best of their situation (as well as some of those who take advantage of said situations). Highly recommend!

In book two, we follow multiple points of view – Scythes Anastasia & Curie, Rowan, the Thunderhead, and Grayson, with an additional few sprinkled throughout. We pick up shortly after the end of book 1 and learn more about the world of the Scythes, the workings and thoughts of the Thunderhead and a lot of conspiracies and troubles that plague our main characters. There are tons of plot twists, surprises, great character development and the cliffhanger was intense!! I want to know what happens next, as I have my theories.

VERDICT ON BOOK #2: While I also loved this one, I felt it was a tad bit long and some of the parts were dragging for me. While I understand the need for world building and learning about all of the characters and their impact on the world, there was a few times I was bored and just wanted the story to move along. But overall, I really enjoyed the story and am looking forward to the next book!

There is no cover for book three yet, but I am looking forward to it!

2018, 2019, Books, reading, reviews, TBR

Caraval Trilogy

Author: Stephanie Garber
Title: Caraval
Published: 2017
Country: USA
Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis: Scarlett and her sister Tella are invited to the mysterious Caraval. When Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s leader, Legend, Scarlett soon finds out that Caraval might be more than just a game.

Author: Stephanie Garber
Title: Legendary
Published: 2018
Country: USA
Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis: This time, Tella becomes ensnared in Caraval, making a deal with the evil Prince of Hearts. In order to fulfill her bargain, she must learn Legend’s true identity.

Author: Stephanie Garber
Title: Finale
Published: COMING MAY 2019
Country: USA
Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis: Even though Caraval is over, the game isn’t. Scarlett and Tella must both achieve their goals to save the empire, and their mother.

My thoughts on Caraval: I really enjoyed this book! When it first came out I thought it would only be another Hunger Games knock-off but I was surprised at how much I got into the story and how I wanted Scarlett to solve Caraval and win the game! The characters really developed throughout the whole book and there was plenty of suspense that kept me wondering what will happen next, who is Legend, and what the ending will be!

All images from the amazing https://www.instagram.com/darkandbeautifulart

My thoughts on Legendary: What a disappointment. I hated Tella’s perspective – mainly because she is as annoying in this book as she was in the first one and Scarlett plays only a small part. Additionally, the metaphors were insane in here and way over the top. I get that everything is supposed to be magical and flowery but I was so distracted from the story because of it that I didn’t even finish the book before a month-long trip.

I did like Jacks and his cunning ways and was also a fan of Dante in this one. The story was interesting but I had my issues with it – mainly how dumb Tella is and all the stupid choices she made. Sadly, Scarlett appeared no better in the few scenes we saw her in. However, I did love the reveal of Legend and how it set up for Finale.

My hopes for Finale: Since this is from both Tella and Scarlett’s perspective, it might be ok. I am really hoping the language is changed and the metaphors aren’t as silly and exhausting as in book 2. I wasn’t bothered by it in book 1, so maybe I noticed it more because the story was dumb.

2018, Books, reading, reviews

Midnight at the Electric Review

Title: Midnight at the Electric
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Published: 2017
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Country: US

This book is a multi-perspective with three story lines: Kansas, 2065; Oklahoma, 1934; and England, 1919.

We primarily follow Adri, a young woman in 2065 who is preparing to go to Mars as part of the first wave of colonist. She leaves Miami for Canaan, Kansas to stay with an aunt on her farm that she’s never met and prepares for her journey. She finds a journal from someone named Catherine that lived at the farm in 1934 during the Dust Bowl. She also finds letters from someone named Lenore, dated 1919 and addressed to the farm. As she deals with her final weeks on Earth, she and her Aunt Lily are determined to find out who these people were and piece together their life story.

This was a nice story but nothing mind blowing. Adri is arrogant and unpleasant while Lily is eccentric and very friendly but they get along pretty well. I really liked the idea of the three story lines and how they tied in together though. It was interesting to see them span several generations and coming full circle at the end.

I will say though, the title of the book doesn’t make sense to me since The Electric, part of a traveling carnival that Catherine visits in 1934, is only mentioned in her journal and so i don’t really understand what the point of it was, other than the shattered hope it gave Catherine. Maybe it had to do with the end of her final journal entry? I have no idea but if you think this is about a carnival, it’s not. Which is fine, just had me confused throughout the whole book as I was trying to figure out the point.

2018, Books, reading, reviews

Turtles All the Way Down Review

Author: John Green
Title: Turtles All the Way Down
Published: 2017
Country: USA
Genre: YA Contemporary

Synopsis: Aza, a teenager with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and her friend Daisy, are intent on solving the case for the mysteriously disappeared billionaire, and collect the $100,000 reward. It gets complicated when Davis, the billionaire’s son, and Aza, become romantically involved.

I wasn’t sure if I would like this book to begin with, but then again, I loved The Fault in Our Stars and decided to give it a shot – I am so glad that I did! Aza is a deeply troubled and distraught character but that’s what makes her real. She has real problems and real concerns that arise from every day situations that life throws at her, and her struggle to survive with OCD is as much part of the story as the actual story of finding the missing father. Inspired by John Green’s own OCD experience, it felt very genuine and made the story believable.

I was sucked into the book and spit back out a mess. I felt for Aza – I don’t have OCD but my anxiety made me feel for her. It wasn’t an easy story to read and had some very out of control parts. I felt for her friends Daisy and Davis; I felt for her mom and her counselor who want to help her; and I felt for John Green as he poured so much of his own demons into this book.

If you want something different, something not entirely happy or sad, then pick this one up. But prepare yourself for the feels and then go read The Fault in Our Stars for some more emotional torture!

The book appears to be getting a movie adaptation! Not a ton is known about it yet, but here’s an article: https://variety.com/2019/film/news/hannah-marks-turtles-all-the-way-down-movie-1203105786/

2018, Books, reviews

Far From the Tree Review

Title: Far From the Tree
Published: 2017
Author: Robin Benway
Country: United States
Genres: YA Contemporary

Synopsis: We follow the three stories by three teens who were all given up by their birth mother and find out they are related and form friendships.

Grace is 16 and was adopted as a baby and just gave birth to her own daughter that she gave up for adoption.

Joaquin is 17 and was placed in foster care after he was taken from his mom as a toddler and now lives with a family who want to adopt him.

Maya is 15 and was adopted as a baby right before her adoptive parents found out they were having their own biological child – something she’s struggled with accepting as she grows up.

The underlying plot of family, love, friendship and trust are well developed and the story definitely tugs at your heartstrings. I enjoyed the story and although it did not make me cry (like it did for my buddy reading partner), I can imagine that anyone who’s grown up outside of a “typical” family ideal could find themselves in any of the characters and be profoundly impacted by the stories. 

Each story sheds light on the different life paths these three kids are on and how they interconnect once they meet. The book alternates between each of their viewpoints and does a good job of letting the reader into the mind of each teen and how they are struggling or dealing with situations based on their own experiences.

It wasn’t a mind blowing story for me and I don’t think I’ll remember it in the future, but it’s still a decent YA contemporary. I didn’t care for some of the writing style and the characters but I think that’s more personal preference than anything the author did wrong. Contemporaries, especially YA, are not my jam, so I am not surprised I wasn’t blown away by this.

2018, Books

Best of 2018

2018 was not a great reading year for me. Out of the 55 books I read, I only loved 9 (and one of those was a reread!) Let’s hope that 2019 fares better for me in both book choices, and reading enjoyment! Hope you all had a good reading year and Happy New Year!!

Warcross/Wildcard Duology: I read Warcross last year and LOVED it. Wildcard was one of my most anticipated of 2018 and it did not disappoint! I reread the first one, which was good to bring me back into the story and reintroduce me to all of the characters. I thought they were both really good and would love to see more of this world in the future.

The Lost for Words Bookshop: This was such a lovely story but it’s hard to describe. I laughed, I’m sure I cried, and I still think about it, even though I read it in June. I read the arc and am so glad I did.

The Penelopiad: I love Greek mythology and Margaret Atwood is a great story teller. This was for my Women in Arts & Literature class and I am so glad I read it! As far as retellings go, I am so on board of reading about minor or forgotten characters and will likely read more in 2019!

Ruin and Rising (Grisha Trilogy Book 3): This was the third book I read in 2018 and I am soooo excited for the Nikolai Duology! I definitely loved the entire trilogy and will be rereading these and starting the Six of Crows Duology before delving back in to see my favorite character in the newest novel. This world is so much fun and I really enjoyed this one.

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe Book 1): I absolutely love this world. While I also enjoyed Thunderhead (Book 2) and can’t wait for Book 3 to release in 2019, this will probably remain my favorite. It was unique and interesting and I was at the edge of my seat the entire time. I listened to the audio book of this one and the narrator did a great job building the suspense. I can’t wait to see how it ends!

Throne of Glass/Crown of Midnight/Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass Series, Books 1, 2, and prequel): I have a love-hate relationship with these books. The writing is nothing spectacular; Celeana is insufferable and annoying; and there are so many overused terms/phrases that drive me crazy. However, the story is highly entertaining and the world is so interesting. It’s definitely akin to Game of Thrones, so don’t be fooled, it’s not original. But it’s got great political intrigue, mythology, and world building that I enjoy so although they aren’t any literary phenomenon or masterpiece, they still do their job of entertaining me and I am finishing the series in 2019 (currently on Empire of Storms (Book 5)).

I am looking forward to seeing what books will be my favorite in 2019!

2018, Books

2018 Bookish Wrap Up

2018 Wrap Up

Alright friends, I don’t think I will be finishing another book before the end of the year (I am just starting Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas and it’s nearly 700 pages) so here is my wrap up! I will post stats in another post because I haven’t finished them. 

Overall, it wasn’t an awful year but most of what I read I just “liked” and not “loved,” which was a bummer. I’ve read 61 books, according to my Goodreads but you will only see the ones I read and not textbooks from my classes, because, well, they are boring. I did include some of the supplemental readings we read though, like The House on Mango Street, The Penelopiad, and No Place to Hide because I actually rated them and I might’ve picked them up outside of class. 

I will include reviews for most of these in the coming weeks that will go beyond my Goodreads thoughts and be more in depth, if you’re interested. 

I look forward to 2019 and some of the reading I can get around to, even though I have another full load of school work looming over me. However, I think I can manage my time a little better and be less overwhelmed than I was this semester. 

Stay tuned for the reviews and the stats! Also, check out my TBR for 2019 relating to series I want to continue or complete.