Category: ya lit

They Both Die At The End Book Review

Author: Adam Silvera

Rating: 4/5

Let’s hope I can stop crying enough to write this review. TBDATE is mind-blowing, but also almost harrowing for a YA contemporary. This is the first of Adam SIlvera’s books I’ve read but I’ll be reading ALL of them after this one. I don’t know how, but he was able to balance the scales between heart-warming and heart-breaking flawlessly – I was laughing, crying (with happiness and CRIPPLING SADNESS) and squealing throughout.

The most interesting thing about this novel is that the author decided to take the contemporary route rather than the dystopian adventure it could have been considering the concept. But no – there was no government conspiracy, no rebellion, no discovery of the secrets behind Death-Cast. Instead, it focusses on these two boys living their final day. And it’s beautiful. BUT BE PREPARED TO CRY OKAY.

Something I haven’t seen anyone talk about was how the chapters began when we were reading about a character besides Mateo and Rufus. Each one started with “Death-Cast did not call [insert name], because he/she isn’t dying today,“ and for some reason I really liked that. It was kind of quirky.

This story makes you think too. I’ve found myself trying to work out how Death-Cast works: maybe people only die when they’re called because they think they’re going to anyway?? or maybe it’s a fate reader?? maybe everyone has a set date to die?? maybe it’s rigged and it employs people to kill the call recievers?? Honestly I don’t know, but I kind of like being able to think of theories myself. But, on the other hand, it is awful not being able to know for sure.

A 4/5 from me. The only thing I wanted was a little more depth into the world Mateo and Rufus were living in. We did get quite a bit, but I still had more questions than I wanted by the end.

Crooked Kingdom Book Review

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 5/5

All Six Of Crows fans (like me) who are scared that this sequel won’t live up to the first – you will not be disappointed. I found it difficult to believe Six Of Crows could be matched, let alone beaten! Crooked Kingdom is everything I wanted and more: development of the characters and relationships, twists and turns that are completely unpredictable, emotions sky-high through the whole thing and both a satisfying and heart-breaking ending.

I love the writing style of this duology*. Usually, multiple POV isn’t my thing, but the fact that it’s written in third person rather than first makes it more refined and I would say sophisticated. Leigh Bardugo has expertly chosen which section of the story should come from which character, revealing just enough about what’s going on so that the reader understands and is excited about the events but is still kept guessing. Another thing I thought was achieved really well was the seamless flashbacks throughout the narrative. They were almost rationed throughout the story which made it easier to swallow and intriguing.

And how can I review this book without talking about the characters?! They are all so beautifully flawed and have so much depth and personality. Each complements and clashes with the other stunningly – and you just can’t help but fall in love with them! 

Usually this is the part where I talk about the negatives… But I don’t actually have any! Loved it beyond belief and something I will always remember.

(*I know I talk a lot about the actual writing of books but personally I think that it’s just as important as plot or characters)

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi HeiligRating: ★★★☆☆SynopsisIt…

The Girl
from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Synopsis

It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was
1774, though not for very much longer.

Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their
crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate
ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and
her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times – although
a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix’s father is only interested in
one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her
mother was alive. Something that puts Nix’s existence rather dangerously in
question…

(from Goodreads)

Thoughts

I was really excited to read
this book for the longest time. First of all – time-traveling pirates. That’s
the best thing imaginable. Secondly – the cover is just so incredibly beautiful
(I know, I know, don’t judge a book by its cover), that it drew me in. In the
end the book may not have quite lived up to my expectations, but it was still
an enjoyable read.

The concept of this story is
spectacular and unique. It’s such a cool idea that a person would be able to
navigate to any map, be it real or imaginary. My first thought when the
characters described how they travelled between times was of course: “So if they
had a map of Hogwarts or Narnia, they could just go there?” That made me very
excited. Do you have any idea how often I’ve dreamt of being able to do that?
However, navigating, as they call it, it a bit more complicated. The map has to
be hand drawn and made in the contemporary time, so a map of India in 1774 must
have been drawn in 1774. And in order for them to travel to a mythical or
imaginary land the person who drew the map must believe the place is real. This
makes it sound like mythical maps are extremely rare, but apparently not. On
the ship the crew has a bunch of magical objects from different myths, such as
a bottomless sack from an Irish story and luminescent herring from a
Scandinavian myth explaining the Northern Lights. They even have a crew member
from an imaginary city.

The crew is able to navigate
to these strange and magical places all thanks to Nix, our main character. The
girl is like a walking encyclopaedia of myth and history. I am myself a big fan
of mythology, but there was still so much mentioned in this book that I had no
idea about. Still, you could keep up with the story without knowing all the
facts beforehand. And for the very curious (like me) there is a handy dandy
author’s note in the back detailing the origins of most of the myths and
objects mentioned in the story.

The story mostly takes place
in Hawaii in the 1800’s. I have always wanted to go to Hawaii, so learning more
about its history was really fascinating. This was a story I had never heard
before in my life. I am starting to realize what an interesting history Hawaii
has, and would really like to learn more.

I found the main character to
be extremely smart, but a bit hard to relate to. She keeps herself at arm’s
length from the other characters, and also from the reader. The rest of the
characters in this story are very diverse, which always makes a story better in
my opinion. The ships motely crew come from all over the world and from all
different times, which makes a very interesting mix.

This is most of all an adventure
story, but from the blurb I thought it would also have quite a bit of romance
in it. I mean, the front reads “A journey through time. A journey to love.”. In
spite of that, I do not think this was a love story at all. Sure, there was
some romantic tension between a few characters, but not at all enough to call
it a romance. This turned out to be the complete opposite of most YA, where
there is usually more romance than you expected. Instead, this book focuses
more on the love within families, which is refreshing.

I really enjoyed this story.
It had plenty of adventure and lots of myth and history. I adore the
time-traveling concept, and I look forward to seeing where the author takes the
story in the next book (I believe this is a duology?). I recommend it to all
history- and mythology nerds out there or to anyone looking for an entertaining
adventure story. Also, how could you say no to time-traveling pirates?

//love from L

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The Selection Book Review

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Author: Kiera Cass

Rating: 5/5

This book took me less than a day to read – utterly addictive! To be brutally honest, it isn’t top quality literature. But it is top quality YA indulgence. It has all the ingredients for a proper YA experience: loveable characters for you to root for, a cheesy love triangle to cause chaos in the fandom, SEQUELS and a balance of corny content and immersive plot. The writing style isn’t incredibly sophisticated, however it’s well paced and very compelling. The author feeds off the reader’s emotions and that makes this novel even more gripping.

I had to give it 5/5, it doesn’t really deserve it but it would break my heart to rate it anything less!

Everything, Everything Book Review

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Author: Nicola Yoon

Rating: 4/5

Beautiful and heart-wrenching story. Like a lot of people, I finally picked this up when the movie was announced, but it had been on my TBR for a while. I finished it in less then 24 hours! Shocking ending, and a stunning journey before it gets there.

I adored the unique format of this book with its IM screens, medical forms, definitions and doodles. This is definitely what I consider to be an indulgent read. But each of these details were balanced out by some beautiful quotes. Often, I would read over them over and over because they were so breath-taking. There were many uses of inspiring figurative language and I loved the metaphors the main character uses to describe her life as well as her relationship with Olly.

However, the problem I had with this novel was that the narration at some points was quite basic. During scenes, Madeline was shown as an intellectual and intelligent character, and a point is made of her impressive and extensive vocabulary. But throughout most of the story-telling, she narrates like a younger child, with the exception of the quotes I mentioned earlier. I just feel like someone as intelligent as her (and someone who reads) would narrate with more impressive word variation. But her figurative language was stunning, and something I felt was very suited to her character.

All in all, 4/5.

The Custard Protocol series by Gail CarrigerThis is a…

The
Custard Protocol series by Gail Carriger

This is a spoiler-free series
review of the first two books in the Custard
Protocol
Series: Prudence and Imprudence. In case you were
wondering/confused.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis

From New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger comes a new novel
in the world of the Parasol Protectorate starring Prudence, the daughter of
Alexia Tarabotti.

When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (Rue to her friends) is given
an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female would under similar
circumstances – names it the Spotted Custard and floats to India in pursuit of
the perfect cup of tea. But India has more than just tea on offer. Rue stumbles
upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier’s wife, and some
awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis and an
embarrassing lack of bloomers, what else is a young lady of good breeding to do
but turn metanatural and find out everyone’s secrets, even thousand-year-old
fuzzy ones?

(from Goodreads)

Thoughts

This is such a funny series.
It takes place during the reign of Queen Victoria, in a steampunk/supernatural world.
This is a parallel universe to our own except with dirigibles or airships
galore and vampires and werewolves living in plain sight in high society. The
vampires live in hives, with one queen and several drones. They have a great
influence in regard to fashion and etiquette. The werewolves live in packs with
an Alpha. They have close ties to the military. Both groups are immortal, can’t
be out in daylight, and have a big role to play in her majesty’s government.
This may seem like quite a complex world to grasp, and it may be so, because
this is the third series Gail Carriger has written about this world. The first
series was the Parasol Protectorate (with
this series main character’s mother as the leading lady) and the second being
the Finishing School series (which
takes place before the events of the first series), which I have read and
reviewed before. You do get the basics of the world in the first book of this
series, but if you would like to completely understand this world you should
read the other two series as well.

The main character Rue is the
daughter of Alexia Tarabotti, the main character from the Parasol Protectorate and Lord Conall Maccon, Alpha to a powerful
werewolf pack. She is also the adoptive daughter of Lord Akeldama, one of the
most influential vampires in England. Confused yet? As far as I understand it,
this arrangement was put into place to make sure Rue would not be partial to
one species of supernatural over the other, because she herself in very
powerful. She is a Metanatural, meaning she can steal the supernatural shape of
anyone she touches, turning herself into a vampire or werewolf while also
nullifying the supernatural person in question into a mortal, for a limited
time. This ability means she gets to live quite a different life from your
normal British aristocratic lady during the Victorian era.

The characters are what makes
this story so entertaining. On her airship Rue assembles a crew with some of
her best friends, the Tunstell twins Primrose and Percy, whose mother is a
vampire queen, and Quesnel Lefoux, slightly irritating and very charming French
engineer. Together the four of them get up to some crazy adventures, but
nothing that can’t be solved with Rue’s special abilities or a nice cup of tea.
Seriously, these people drink tea like it’s the answer to everything. Also,
they of course abide by the proper manners of their time-period. It makes me
want to start drinking tea with my pinkie high up and speak like a proper lady.
It’s hilarious to see how meticulous they are about etiquette and proper dress.
They are a great and quirky group that work of each other beautifully. My only
complaint is that the two ladies are nicknamed Rue and Prim which constantly
makes me think I’m reading the Hunger
Games
.

I liked both books, but I feel
like the second was even better as I had gotten to know the characters and the
world a bit better. I realize this series might not be everyone’s cup of tea
(see what I did there?), but I hope you will still give it a go. It may very
well surprise you. I was not sure about it at first either, but I ended up
loving it. I’m very excited to read the next book in the series when it comes
out (there are two more in the works). It’s such a hilarious read and really
takes your mind of things. It’s light and fluffy and just plain whimsically
funny.

//love from L

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ya-book-reports: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi Part threeof the…

ya-book-reports:

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Part threeof the Shatter Me trilogy. Parts one and two here.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis

Omega Point
has been destroyed. Juliette does not know if her friends or any of the rebels
are still alive. The only thing she knows for sure is that she will no longer
sit by and watch when she has the power to change things. She will do whatever
it takes do bring the Reestablishment down, and she will do it with Warner’s
help. The person she never thought she could trust. The person who saved her
life. If Juliette is to discover the true strength of her gift, she will also
have to face the truth about her feelings.

Thoughts

This was by
far my favourite book of the series. I waited for two book for this to happen,
and I’m so happy we got there: Juliette has finally realized what a badass she
is and it is awesome! She is so sure of herself now, and it makes me so happy
for her. The cross-outs that were so frequent in the first book are all gone by
the end, which really shows her brilliant character development. Another
character who has had some extreme development is Warner. I don’t believe I’ve
ever changed my mind about a character as completely as I have with Warner. It
really shows how important perspectives are for how you view a story. Another
character that I fell in love with in this book is Kenji. At first I just
thought he was the comic relief but in Ignite Me he becomes such an amazing
friend to Juliette. Any scene with him in it made me happy. Now, as you can
probably tell by my ramblings, my favourite part of this book was the
characters. They are all so broken and twisted in so many different ways, and
we get to see them break down and pick themselves back up again, and it’s
really great. I really loved the relationship between Juliette and Warner, as
well. I mean, how can you not! They are adorable and they complement each other
so well. Also, how beautiful is this cover!? It goes so well with the symbolism
of Juliette’s character development. I flew though this book, I loved it even
though the ending was rather abrupt, and it is one of the most interesting
series I’ve read.

//Love from
L

Find it on Goodreads

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ya-book-reports: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi Part two ofthe…

ya-book-reports:

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Part two ofthe Shatter Me series, part one here.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis

At the end
of Shatter Me, Juliette, Adam, James
and Kenji all manage to escape to Omega Point, the rebel base where people with
all kinds of abilities like Juliette’s live together, hiding from the
Reestablishment. In Unravel Me, we pick up with a Juliette who is still afraid
of her own power. She still feels like an outsider. Escaping was supposed to
set her free, but now she has to battle her own demons. She needs to face her
past and learn to control her powers. Most of all, she needs to stop running. Before
it’s too late. Before the war arrives.

Thoughts

Juliette is
still a very problematic character. She is overreacting and shutting other
people out. She has the power to literally crush walls, but she is too afraid
to see it, which is very frustrating. Her relationship with Adam is getting
increasingly unstable, which is not making things easier for her. Thankfully,
she gets some extreme character development, which is one of my favourite
parts. Unravel Me really picked up
about halfway through, when the really exciting things started happening. It
had some great plot twists that left me so incredulous. That’s what really kept
the story going for me, the constant twists and turns and the urge to know what
would happen next. It deals with some pretty deep motives of ethics and morals,
which I was not expecting but loved nonetheless. The best part of this novel,
however, was that it made me realize that villains are often the most
interesting and complex characters. If you read this, I would recommend keeping
the next part of the trilogy, Ignite Me,
close at hand. This ending will leave you desperate to know what will happen
next.

//Love from
L

Find it on Goodreads

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ya-book-reports: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi Rating:…

ya-book-reports:

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis

Juliette hasn’t spoken to another human being in almost a year. She is locked up in an asylum for a crime she did not intend. They locked her up to keep everyone else safe. Juliette’s touch is lethal, and no one knows why. Isolated since childhood, Juliette has never known affection, warmth or any kind of human contact. She has almost lost what little hope she had to begin with, but everything changes when she gets a cellmate. The Reestablishment, who promised everyone to fix this broken world, has plans for her. Plans to utilize her powers as a weapon. But Juliette has plans of her own. Plans to fight back.

Thoughts

I didn’t have very high expectations for this book when I picked it up, but it surely surprised me. Reading it was a thrilling ride and after the first hundred pages I was unable to put it down. Juliette was a really interesting character to me. She has been isolated her entire life and has zero experience of other people, so seeing her respond to the events that take place made this novel even more capturing. Some might say she is overly dramatic and naïve, but I’ll have to put that down to her imprisonment. When you have never felt anything but your own loneliness every experience and emotion is bound to hit you like a tidal wave. In the beginning she is very fragile, but she goes though some serious character development when she discovers the truth about her fatal touch. My favourite part of this book, however, was the prose and the writing style. The whole book is filled with crossed out sentences. These are the things Juliette is trying to stop herself from thinking or saying, and it gives an entirely new perspective of her. The prose reminded me a bit of Matched. It’s very poetic. It takes some getting used to, but it is absolutely beautiful and makes the story flow. Shatter Me is in many ways a dystopia, but it is also very focused on romance. We get to follow the very first relationship Juliette forms, and as it is the first everything is very intense. To me the romance in this novel was not so much about two people, but a portrayal of what it feels like to fall in love for the very first time. The poetic prose really makes these scenes come alive. Juliette’s discovery of the freedom that comes with this love and the strength that comes with her powers really makes this an unforgettable read.

//Love from L

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