Wed, September 3, 2014

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas Review

Heir of Fire book cover

Heir of Fire book cover

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)
By Sarah J. Maas
Publication date: Sept. 2, 2014
Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 565 pages
Source: Publisher

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

— Goodreads.com description

Just reading over my notes I scribbled down just after I finished reading:

“Slayed me. SLAYED.”
“Shit got real.”
“I’m so scared!!!”
“This has ruined me for other books.”
“I hate not knowing.”
“SARAH!”

HAAAAA.

Since I finished reading Heir of Fire — and that was WEEKS ago — I have thought of it at least once a day.

Think about that. Okay, sure, I means I’m book crazy and daydream about fictional things far too often. But it also means it was dang good.

It’s the type of book you finish and email your friends about IMMEDIATELY to dissect because you have too many thoughts to keep to yourself. (Thank you Alexa and Erica for being there for me on this one!)

In Heir of Fire, everything gets jumbled up and I can honestly say I have no clue where this series is going to go from here. While that can sometimes be painful for the reader because of the long wait between books, I’m really glad for it because it meant there was a lot of character growth. Did all of said character growth make me happy? Nope. Not remotely. But it’s absolutely good thing in the bigger picture that Sarah is keeping her readers guessing and letting her characters grow up.

There are also plenty of new characters I came to love — I can’t wait to follow them in the books to come.

I really think I could write an essay about this book, but let’s stick to a basic summary: “I loved it. But there wasn’t enough Chaol and it sort of tore my heart out. Everyone has to read it this series now and then talk to me about it in depth.”

Thank goodness I have this blog and book friends to talk with or I would explode. If any of you read this book and need me, I am here for you!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: Uncategorized
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Mon, August 4, 2014

The Bridge from Me to You by Lisa Schroeder Review

The Bridge from Me to You book cover

The Bridge from Me to You book cover

The Bridge from Me to You
By Lisa Schroeder
Publication date: July 29, 2014
Point, 336 pages
Source: Publisher

Lauren has a secret. Colby has a problem. But when they find each other, everything falls into place.

Lauren is the new girl in town with a dark secret. Colby is the football hero with a dream of something more. In alternating chapters, they come together, fall apart, and build something stronger than either of them thought possible–something to truly believe in.

— Goodreads.com description

What I love most about Lisa Schroeder’s books is how wonderfully READABLE they are. Her verse is beautifully written but not overwrought and I just seem to breeze through them.

The Bridge from Me to You was a wonderful book that kept me just enough in the dark about Lauren’s past to be intrigued but not annoyed. I loved Colby’s friendship with Benny and loved Lauren’s extended family — her aunt and uncle and cousins were all so sweet.

The romance was adorable — though Lauren and Colby have an instant attraction, they get to know each other as friends before they take it to the romantic level. It built and it grew until I was really rooting for them.

The character growth is definitely my favorite part of The Bridge from Me to You. Lauren and Colby learn to believe in themselves and follow their hearts in this story, and you can’t help but love that in a good YA. Definitely, definitely, recommended.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: family, friendship, lisa schroeder, romance, Uncategorized, verse
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Thu, June 26, 2014

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel Review

Second Star book cover

Second Star book cover

Second Star
By Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Publication date: May 13, 2014
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 248 pages
Source: Publisher

A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete’s nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she’s falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up–and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

— Goodreads.com description

The feelings I got when I read Second Star certainly matched its oceanside, surfer setting. As a reader, I felt like I was caught in a wave, forced underwater, not knowing which way was up.

What is true? What is real? What is happening here?!

Yup, we’ve got a potentially unreliable narrator in Wendy, which made the vibe of the book very disturbing, mysterious and, well, trippy.

I guess I’d compare it to the feeling I got when I read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, though I didn’t exactly like that story. Maybe it’s something to do with my love of surfer books (aka Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar) but it worked better for me here.

My problem with the book was more related to the Peter Pan references. I mean, clearly it’s a take on the classic: Her name is Wendy Darling, for goodness’ sake. But it was a little too vague of a reference for me; I almost wish the author had left it out altogether and just said Peter Pan “inspired” her rather than using the names so literally. I found it distracting!

A mixed bag for me, I guess. Has anyone else read this one?

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: alyssa b sheinmel, drugs, family, Uncategorized
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Wed, May 21, 2014

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes Review

The Art of Lainey book cover

The Art of Lainey book cover

The Art of Lainey
By Paula Stokes
Publication date: May 20, 2014
HarperTeen, 384 pages
Source: Publisher

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they’re sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few “dates”, it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What’s a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you’re meant to be with if you’re still figuring out the person you’re meant to be?

— Goodreads.com description

I weirdly NEVER get tired of people in books fake dating each other for revenge on other people. And then when, of course, they fall for each other in the process…I LOVE IT. Paula Stokes, you have my attention locked in with that alone.

Sure, I saw how it would all work out. But I enjoyed the journey thoroughly.

Lainey’s a tough cookie. She’s got a BFF I loved (and one I hated, but you know, can’t win ‘em all). She’s sporty — which I love in books and we don’t see often enough. And she has an extremely interesting, different love interest in Micah, which I so appreciated.

I think it would be hard to NOT enjoy The Art of Lainey.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: Bonus factor! Blew my mind when I got to the acknowledgements and realized Paula Stokes = Fiona Paul. Whoa.

Posted by: Anna   •   In: friendship, paula stokes, romance, Uncategorized
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Mon, April 14, 2014

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith Review

The Geography of You and Me book cover

The Geography of You and Me book cover

The Geography of You and Me
By Jennifer E. Smith
Publication date: April 15, 2014
Little, Brown for Young Readers, 352 pages
Source: Publisher

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and — finally — a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel shows that the center of the world isn’t necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

— Goodreads.com description

Here’s what I really enjoy about Jennifer E. Smith: Each of her books has a very different vibe, yet they all have a beautiful sense of thoughtfulness and expanded worldview about them.

This time around, with The Geography of You and Me, I loved how understated and real the story felt, even considering the unlikely “caught in an elevator” scenario. Lucy and Owen’s circumstances might be out of the norm, but their experiences felt very true-to-teenage-life.

I loved the travel aspects — I adore a book that can take me on a mental vacation or so perfectly capture what it is I love about a place I’ve been. And while that was beautifully done here, what really drew me in to The Geography of You and Me was the romance and the family troubles.

Lucy and Owen were faced with tough decisions, distance and wandering hearts. For anyone who has ever gone off to college, moved away, gone through a rough patch with their families or even fallen in love as a teen, these feelings will seem familiar.

Overall, though, like I said: This book is understated. It isn’t loud and it isn’t very fast-paced. I worry some people will expect this book to be “OMG swoony” and will be put off by this, but I think that’s what I loved about it most. That helped the book’s main message come through, and that message (or what I took it to be) was quite beautiful.

In the words of The Apache Relay’s “Home Is Not Places” (which I really think should be this book’s theme song): “Home is not places, it is love.”

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: Uncategorized
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