The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

27272506

 

Fleeing an arranged marriage, the young Countess of Rothford assumes her maid, Adelaide’s, identity and joins the Glittering Court. Founded as a matchmaking service, the Glittering Court takes girls from the servant class and trains them to act as ladies. After their training, the girls are taken to the new world, Adoria, where they are contracted into marriage to wealthy businessmen. Though Adelaide knows Adoria will be a far stretch from her illustrious home in Osfrid, she is in no way prepared for the struggles she faces in the wilderness. Between constantly trying to hide her true identity, finding a match, and helping her new friends, Adelaide embarks on the biggest adventure in her life — and she may not survive the experience.

I can’t decide how I feel about this book. Sometimes I think I loved it; sometimes I think it was just ok. My main issues with the piece are the frequent plot holes and the random turns the book takes. For example,  Adelaide is fleeing an arranged marriage. Completely understandable and I’m totally on board. So, her solution is to….join a matchmaking service that will contract her into an arranged marriage. Ok…fuzzy logic. There are some other examples like this, but I don’t want to give away spoilers. However, plot holes aside, this was an entertaining read. Not the BEST book I’ve read, but a decent one. There’s plenty of action, betrayal, intrigue, etc., and it looks like the next book will have a huge secret reveal. 

Rating: 3/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

Advertisements

The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian

24157347

After constant rains and severe storms, Keeley’s small town of Aberdeen is condemned. Due to the extensive flooding and water damage, the government deems it best for the town to be permanently evacuated and turned into a lake. Now, Aberdeen’s residents (most of whom have lived in the town for generations) have to find a new life somewhere else. With everyone’s life in Aberdeen coming to a halt, Keeley decides to take a huge leap. She’s loved a boy since sixth grade, and if she doesn’t go after him now, she never will. So, with her town sinking around her, and citizens scrambling for hope, Keeley makes one last effort to kiss her high school crush.

As I was unimpressed with Vivian’s The List, I didn’t have high hopes for this book. BUT, it was great! I live near areas that have experienced devastating flooding, so the plot was completely believable and topical to me. Also, I liked how the typical high school drama book was mixed with bigger issues like climate change and homeowner’s rights. I will warn you, the main character, Keeley, is the worst. She is selfish, awful, and cares more about a boy and a school dance than her friends. So she may be tough to read. But if you can stand her, the plot is pretty good and I really liked the ending. If you love realistic/romance reads, don’t miss this one!

Rating: 4/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

 

248704

Craig Gilner is determined to follow what he believes is the best path in life: get into the best high school in the city, go to a great college, get a good job, and make money. However, when getting into said high school involves a tremendous amount of pressure and stress, Craig has trouble dealing with the obstacles. Unable to cope with his life’s new course, Craig develops depression, coupled with suicidal thoughts. One night, after a planned suicide attempt, Craig checks himself into a mental ward. There, among adult patients fighting to regain their own mental strength, Craig must re-evaluate his priorities and find a reason to choose life.

If you couldn’t tell from the summary, this one is a HEAVY read. Craig’s battle with depression and suicide can be tough to read at times, so this book wouldn’t be a good pick if you’re looking for a light, fun read. There’s also not a ton of action in the piece. It’s about Craig finding himself and dealing with his problems, so there’s more talking than anything else. However, if you love to read stories of personal struggles, this one may be a great choice. I also appreciated how Craig’s problems started when he was very young. Many adults feel like teenagers don’t have “real” problems, but Craig shows what I think is a very realistic picture of what a teenager’s life might look like.

Rating: 3/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

24885636

The Zeroes, a group of teens born with unexplained special abilities, formed in order to test and hone their unique powers. However, what should have been a band of superhero friends soon turns ugly when the darker side of their powers takes control. After the group splits, one member, Scam, finds himself in a sticky situation. His superpower voice landed him with a bag full of gang money and entangled him in a bank robbery. Will his friends band together again to save him? And what will they do about the new girl Scam meets in the robbery, one with a power none of them has seen before?

Think “super friends”, but with completely original superpowers. For example, Scam can use a very persuasive voice without even trying (it literally just flows out of his mouth) and Flicker is blind but can see out of other people’s eyes. It’s so cool. Mix in some friendship drama, a bank robbery, and a couple of rescue missions and you have the plot of this book. Though it took a bit to pick up, this was a great read. The plot moves SO quickly and there are some pretty cool twists at the end. I feel like there are infinite possibilities for future books in this series, so stay tuned if you like this one. I’m definitely excited for the story to continue!

Rating: 4/5 

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

Winter by Marissa Meyer

 

13206900

The conclusion to Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series finds Princess Selene/Cinder and friends scheming their way to Luna to attempt to take Levana’s throne. Frustrated at the lack of control she has on Earth, Levana agrees to host the royal wedding on Luna, where she can manipulate the Earthens and secure her borders as she sees fit. Though Cinder sees the wedding as the perfect (and only) opportunity to infiltrate Luna, the crew’s plans are quickly thwarted by obstacles in the Lunar court. Amid a myriad of captures, betrayals, and death threats, Cinder and Co. must pull together with the people of Luna if they have any chance of victory.

Blerg. I had SUCH high hopes for this book and it turned out to be the weakest in the series. It’s not that the book was bad, but it certainly wasn’t as good as I expected it to be given the strength of the earlier installments. For me, way too much was going on in the story. The book is almost 1,000 pages, and I felt a good 300 or so could have been cut. The same conflicts and situations were occurring over and over again. These were exciting scenarios the first time, but I was tired of them by the third or so repeat. Also, Princess Winter was completely annoying. It may not have helped that I listened to the audiobook version of the novel and the reader did this cloying, saccharine voice for her that just grated on me. Even so, Winter did nothing for me as a character, and, aside from refusing to use her gift, she did nothing for herself either. Don’t get me wrong, this book has some GREAT parts and is a very satisfying, well-thought end to the series. But it’s not the strongest piece at all.

Rating: 3.5/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

20821111

After surviving a devastating fever that swept through her country, Adelina is known as a malfetto. While, in some lands, malfettos are revered for their survival, Adelina and the other malfettos in her country are blamed for the illness. A small portion of the malfettos, the Young Elites, attained powers after the fever passed; this group is ruthlessly hunted by the reigning monarch. Abused by her father because of her status, Adelina hopes that one day she can escape to a land in which she will not be hated. When her father sells her into marriage, Adelina knows it is time to run. During her flight, Adelina learns that she possesses the powers of a Young Elite. She hesitantly works with the elusive group, all the while running from a monarchy who wants her dead, and wondering if she can really trust her new allies.

I was REALLY excited to read this book, but it turned out to be only ok. Don’t get me wrong — it’s not a bad read. It’s just not as great as I’d hoped it would be. I personally thought Adelina’s character was hard to like, and I didn’t get great chemistry between most of the characters. There are some really cool parts, though. Rafaelle and Adelina’s sister are great characters, and it was definitely awesome to read parts of the novel from the view of the villain. The ending is also a huge cliffhanger, and I might be reading the next one to find out what happens. If you’re in the mood for fantasy with a superhero league vibe, this is it.

*YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2015

Rating: 3/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here. 

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

25494343

 

 

Five years after the conclusion of the Clary/Jace saga, Clare continues the Shadowhunters’ story with a now teenage Emma Carstairs and her parabati, Julian. Though it is forbidden, Emma and Julian develop feelings for one another and must hide their love from the Clave. What’s more, grotesque murders are occurring around the city, murders directed at fairies, and ones which the Shadowhunters would rather ignore. But details of the killings remind Emma of her parents’ brutal end, and she cannot help but want to find out more. Together, she and Julian entangle themselves in a deadly, secret investigation, all the while fighting their true feelings for each other.

After having read all of Clare’s other series, I thought I was done with the Shadowhunters for a while. Wrong. Though at first this book just seemed like Clare was trying to recreate the Mortal Instruments, Lady Midnight really did stand up for herself, so to speak. This book has so much action and drama — grisly murders, forbidden love, a ghostly love story, and an epic revenge quest. Plus, I like Emma way more than I ever liked Clary. If you’re a Shadowhunter fan, don’t miss this start of this new series. If you’re not a fan, jump on now!

*YALSA Best Books for Young Adults (Nominee, 2016) 

Rating: 4.5/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.