Category Archives: Young Adult
Author: Pippa DaCosta
Genre: Teens & YA, Sci Fi & Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Publishing date: May 7th, 2015
Purchase Link: amazon.co.uk
Synopsis: From the moment Alina touches London’s hottest fae superstar, breaking one of the laws founded to protect all of her kind, her fate – and the fae – close in.
Below ground, the fae High Queen plots to claim the city as her own and places her pawns, ready for the battle to come. A battle she cannot lose, but for one small problem – Alina. There are four ancient keepers powerful enough to keep the queen in her prison. Three are dead. One remains … And to fight back, Alina risks sacrificing everything she has come to love.
I’m going to jump right in and say it, this book was a huge disappointment. This is a book I was really looking forward to read, the plot sounded interesting, the cover was gorgeous. But upon reading the pages, the story just fell flat.
Instead of a love triangle, we got a love quadruple (if that’s even a thing), as if love triangles aren’t hard enough to pull off without too much jibber jabber. It is okay that a book needs drama, and romance is an important factor in YA-fiction, but enough is enough.
At several point it felt like the plot was hand-fed to me, expect you reader to be intelligent, don’t treat them as if they are stupid. The “big reveal” was revealed to the reader long before it was written in plain words.
The strongest point with this book was the plot, which by all means felt like a fresh breath in a otherwise swamped area. The plot was just executed poorly and with too much going on around it.
Series: Scholars and Sorcery #1)
Author: Eleanor Beresford
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: KoR Cubed
Publishing date: January 10th, 2015
Synopsis: Charley’s final year at Fernleigh Manor is complicated by a runaway pegasus, unwanted Games Captainship, a dangerous new rival and, most of all, falling head over heels in love with another girl. What is a reluctant Senior Prefect to do?
A magical YA school story with a sapphic twist, the first in the Scholars and Sorcery series of lesbian YA fantasies.
First off I don’t understand the need to label every books featuring a gay characters as a LGBT (or GLBT). We should stop alienate these kind of books if we really want equality.
The book however, felt a little like starting in the middle of a series that somehow tries to be Harry Potter just with a all-girl school. The writing style was elegant, but the story just felt too plain and simplistic. It starts off with the main character as a graduate student, and her breaking school rules. The concept of the whole world did just not agree with me, I felt like I was questioning everything. Eg. why would the school permit students to bring their Pegasuses with them, and then deny them to go to the stable and see them etc. I’m not too familiar with the boarding school concept in general, but it just felt like it went back to centuries and I did not grasp what and where this world is.
On a positive note, I did really like the cover.
Series: The Sidhe #2
Author: Cindy Cipriano
Genre: YA, Sci Fi & Fantasy
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Publishing date: June 9th, 2015
Purchase Link: Amazon.co.uk
Synopsis: For Calum Ranson, seventh grade brings changes in his relationship with his parents and his friends, and a confrontation with his bully. Calum’s talents have also developed to a level unheard of in the Sidhe world, and he surprises everyone when he cleverly catches the person responsible for casting Finley out from the Otherworld.
When Calum goes against everything he knows is right, he makes a choice that may cost him his friendship with Laurel. An old friend steps in, but her mysterious ways leave Calum questioning her motivation.
Irish mythology is much complimented in this story, and it is because of the overtone of mythology that I was interested in reading this story. This book is a second book in a series, and it did not read well as a stand alone novel, but I have decided to not let that cloud my opinion of the book.
The characters were well written and came alive on the page, they were interesting even though I knew little of their background. The themes of the story were clear: friendship and loyalty, and the story was well crafted around them.
Even though “The Choice” is the second book in a series, it did easily explain the Sidhe’s world with its rules and limitations, so it was easy to get into the story and understand the realm.
As an overall, “the choice” had a good and entertaining story, which was well written with a fastidious attention to details, but the fantasy elements could have been stronger.
Author: Jane Cable
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Romance
Publishing date: April 28th, 2015
Purchase Link: Amazon.co.uk
Synopsis: In the summer of 1986 Robin and Izzie hold hands under The Faerie Tree and wish for a future together. Within hours tragedy rips their dreams apart.
In the winter of 2006, each carrying their own burden of grief, they stumble back into each other’s lives and try to create a second chance. But why are their memories of 1986 so different? And which one of them is right?
This was a book I was excited to read, mostly because the description said that the author was heavily influenced by paganism. However the element of paganism is somewhat lacking in the book, there is some of it but nowhere near as much as I was expecting when I read about it.
It is a typical “second chance” love-story, and it did not intrigue me as much as I would have liked. Though it is sweet and sad, it failed to engage my interest. In the end I just skimmed through the pages.
Series: The Selection #1
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: Teens & YA, Dystopian
Publisher: HarperCollins UK, Children’s
Publishing date: June 7th, 2012
Purchase Link: Amazon.co.uk
Synopsis: It’s the chance of a lifetime and 17-year-old America Singer should feel lucky. She has been chosen for The Selection, a reality TV lottery in which the special few compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon’s love. And the prince takes a special interest in her, much to the outrage of the others.
Rivalry within The Selection is fierce and not all of the girls are prepared to play by the rules. But what they don’t know is that America has a secret – one which could throw the whole competition… and change her life forever.
Wow, where to begin. This book was so much more than I expected it to be. I went into this book seeing a gorgeous cover and a tagline that was somewhat a washed up crossover between Wither (By Lauren DeStefano) and The Hunger Games. When I started reading I could not put it down, and I put off reading it to the last possible moment, now I wish I started sooner.
The story of America is a gritty story of a poor girl thrown into a world of luxury. From Rags to riches. Her ability to be honest and genuine wins her Prince Maxon’s affection. Through her outspokenness and sometimes plain rudeness, there is a character who feels real. Another thing I really appreciated with this book is that the “love-triangle” is very downplayed (because I loathe love triangles).
America’s struggle is more about moving on from her first love and falling in love with Maxon. This get’s more complicated when her former love ends up being a guard at the palace. But because both the romances are built in a slow pace, the triangle become more realistic and reliable. In some way it is a futuristic Cinderella-story with a twist.
For future installments I hope the story of how the world evolved will come into view. Also the question of who the rebels are and what they want, remain unanswered, but hopefully the future books will answer these questions.
It’s years since this series was first published, and I sincerely regret not getting into these books sooner.
Series: Teardrop #2
Author: Lauren Kate
Publisher: Random House UK Children’s
Publishing date: May 7th, 2015
Purchase Link: Amazon.co.uk
Synopsis: Eureka’s tears have flooded the earth and now Atlantis is rising, along with its evil king, Atlas. Eureka is the only one who can stop him – but first she must learn how to fight.
I was very excited about reading Waterfall. Previously I’ve read Fallen by Lauren Kate and I did really like her style of writing. All though it is clearly stated in Waterfalls description that it is a second book in a series, I took a chance on reading it. And I did find it rather confusing. It was very hard to get a set picture of the environment they were in, they were swimming in one moment, climbing in the next and so on. It could have been made cleared when, how and why the environment around them were changing. Maybe a more descriptive language would have helped the reader through the transitions of different environments. The whole experience has some sort of Wonderlandish overtones, but in order for them to enthrall the reader they should have been clearer.
The name of the main character, Eureka, is very distracting. Her name pops out on the page, not in a good way. It is a sort of extravagant word/name that’s very eye-catching and creates an annoyance.
Another thing I didn’t care for was the love triangle, Eureka seemed to just shift between who she loved for no apparent reason at all. And as I am opposed to love triangles to begin with, I felt that this was something that could be cut as it did not give the story anything.
The story featured a lot of fantastic element, witches and prophecies among others, and they kind of flooded the story more than the water did. I wish it had been more focused on a few elements rather than bringing in so many.
It does feature quite a few quot worthy parts that are just beautiful and heart-achingly true:
“Letting go of someone you loved wasn’t hard. There was no word for what it was, because even if you didn’t let them go they were still gone.” pp.21
In the end, what kept me reading through this book was Lauren Kate’s simplistic writing style. Her style of writing is easy to read, which again makes her books very quick reads. In the future I will keep checking out Lauren Kate’s books, but I do not think I will venture into more books in the Teardrop-series.
Series: The Thorn Chronicles #1
Author: Kimberly Loth
Publisher: Independent (CreateSpace)
Publishing date: May 1st, 2914
Purchase Link: Amazon.co.cuk
Synopsis: Trapped in a dark cult, sixteen-year-old Naomi Aren has lived a quiet, albeit unhappy, life nestled deep in the hills of the Ozarks. With uncut hair, denim skirts, and only roses for friends, Naomi seldom questions why her life is different from other kids at school. Until the day her abusive father, who is also the cult’s leader, announces her wedding. Naomi must marry Dwayne Yerdin, a bully who reeks of sweat and manure and is the only one person who scares her worse than her father. Then she meets Kai, the mysterious boy who brings her exotic new roses and stolen midnight kisses.
I did have mixed expectations for this book. Whenever a book deals with cult life and takes up the theme of cults in our modern society I am always hesitant to pick up the book. The first few chapters were slow and the world was not properly established, in a way that imposed Naomi’s confusion on to the reader. It could be a good or a bad thing, and at certain points I was tempted to put the book down.
What kept me reading was the small snippets at the beginning of each chapter. A retrospective Naomi described each following chapter through the use of roses. It was done in a very beautiful and poetic way. They indulged my interest long enough for the plot to dawn and for Naomi to grow on me so that I stuck with the book to the very end.
After reading about 25% of the book, the story starts to make sense, and the red thread is visible leading the reader to pick up the pieces of the puzzle. Sometime’s Naomi is a bit slow to piece things together, but that helps to give her a more humane quality. She makes mistakes.
Through I am not completely sold on the love triangle (personally I do not like love triangles). Her love for Kai seems to be more an overreacting to a damsel in distress scenario, while her compassion for Puck seems more sentience and is much better developed. And honestly, Puck seems to have her best interests in mind too.
Ruth was a character I appreciated, and -SPOILER ALLERT– because of her death I wish that she had a bigger significance. A well-timed death is something I always appreciate, but Ruth’s death seems a bit in vain, it didn’t have enough flare around it. SPOILER DONE.
While reading the book I tried to anticipate the end, and I thought I had it all figured out, but then plot twist. The small twist towards the end was a pleasant surprise I appreciated very much. In retrospect it gave the whole story a kind of edge it needed. One more thing I appreciated very much; the book did not end on a cliffhanger, it could very well stand as a standalone book: well done!