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Month: February 2016

Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson

The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1)The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Elisa is the divine bearer of the Godstone and owes an act of service to God, whether she wants to or not. There is only one bearer per century, and the job comes with responsibilities no other can understand, the probability of death at a very young age, unique friends (often more false than true), and enemies who want the stone for themselves, even if it means carving it right out of her belly.

As the 2nd princess, and at the age of only 16, she is wed to a foreign king in a strategic alliance. Her new husband, a widower with a 6-year-old son, has only to ensure her safety from those who would hurt the bearer, and in return, he gets additional troops from Elisa’s kingdom. Unfortunately, he is not so adept at keeping Elisa safe, and she is kidnapped by renegades who drag her deep into the dessert on a mission to attempt to save their war-ravaged country.

And that’s just the beginning!

I read book one, for the Truman committee, 5 years ago when it first came out, and I loved it then. However, I never got around to finishing the series, and so much time passed that I couldn’t really remember what happened, which is why I read it again now.

I loved this book just as much, or possibly more, than the first time through. This is an excellent start to a YA fantasy series, and I can’t wait to see what happens in book two.

Pages: 448


 

The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2)The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love it when the second book in a trilogy doesn’t falter, ups the stakes, and makes me fall even more in love with the world and characters, and that is exactly what this book does.

Pages: 432


 

The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns, #3)The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the kind of YA fantasy series that grows better every time you turn the page, until you have reached the end and can’t believe you have to part with the world and characters.

This is such an interesting, enjoyable, creative, and well-written series that I’m going to pick up Walk the Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson next, as I can’t imagine her latest novel won’t also be fantastic.

Pages: 448

PS: There are 3 novellas that go with this trilogy. They all occur prior to book one, but in this instance, I think it is best if you read them after you finish the trilogy and already love the characters, since they provide some more back story for your favorites.

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Fallen Series by Lauren Kate

Fallen (Fallen, #1)Fallen by Lauren Kate
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a decent read that kept me turning the pages. I liked it overall. It’s extremely romance-centric, which normally suits me fine, but I just wished for a tiny bit more in terms of plot, conflict, resolution, and world building.

I went on to read the rest of the series, but if I had to pick among the many series that deal with fallen angels, this would be about halfway down the list. The writing is good, overall. If supernatural romance is high on your list of favorite genres, then you probably won’t want to miss this. If you crave an angel story with a bit more action and serious conflict, choose The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare or Angelfall by Susan Ee.

Pages: 480


 

Torment (Fallen, #2)Torment by Lauren Kate
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This felt a bit repetitive and angsty, and trust me, I’m all about the angst. I guess I feel like this series is dragging things out too much. I kind of wish book one and two had been condensed and combined into one, and I think it would have made a much better start to the series, as a whole.

That being said, I still like enough things about the book to continue on in the series.

Pages: 480


 

Passion (Fallen, #3)Passion by Lauren Kate

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think book three definitely upped the stakes, and I enjoyed it the most so far.

Pages: 448


 

Fallen in Love (Fallen, #3.5)Fallen in Love by Lauren Kate
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a decent novella, and if you are interested in the side characters, you will get to know them a lot better through this novella. It’s very Valentine’s Day specific and shifts between different new and old couples. I like 2 of the stories far better than the other 2. There is an attempt to draw the separate stories together, but it felt a bit jagged for me.

Pages: 224


 

Rapture (Fallen, #4)Rapture by Lauren Kate
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is nothing wrong with this final book. It should have been an exciting conclusion for me, but for some reason, I kind of felt like I wished it would just end already. I think maybe the series, as a whole, drug on for a bit longer than my interest and attention span did.

However, it’s well-written and true to what it is, so someone who absolutely loves romance-centric paranormal reads will probably fare better with this than I did. The plot and conclusion are interesting. I think I just grew a bit tired of the world and how drawn out everything was. I think I needed something more to continue to stay interested through four books, but I am not sure what, exactly.

Pages: 480

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Review: The Recovery

The Recovery
The Recovery by Suzanne Young
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This 2.5 novella isn’t bad, but it’s not necessary. It’s not adding anything to the story line or characters, and it’s not that much fun to read. If you want to watch a character spend more time feeling like a crappy person for past decisions, then go ahead and read it. By the time book two ended, I had seen and heard enough of that already, so this was just excess that didn’t do much for me.

My favorite part was probably the exploration of the growing friendship between James and Realm, which was actually interesting and almost sweet, in the strangest sort of way.

Had the story shown some more character growth, I might have been a bit more interested, but it felt like the story was a lot more of the same stuff I already knew and had already heard. The funny part, is that it deals with a lot of dark, twisty emotions, which normally fascinates me, but this just did not pull me in and felt very repetitive.

Pages: 78

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Review: The Treatment

The Treatment
The Treatment by Suzanne Young
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book two and the final, official book in the series, though there is a short novella that follows, and there are now two books the precede this series.

This was a good finale overall, but I didn’t like it quite as much as book one. I don’t know if it’s just me lately, but I felt like this ending was too abrupt for me. It’s not that the story is short. It’s more about the way it all gets wrapped up. It’s very fast, sudden, and unexpected, and then the story just breezes forward to address people’s lives in the after phase.

I guess I wanted a bit more of a climax, but instead, we reached the point where the peak of the story should exist and there was no big bang. Instead, the story just sheared off from the last high point before the climax, to the falling action that ties up loose ends and finalizes a story. Personally, I wanted a big bang up of a conclusion, with gradually decreasing tension until the story was wrapped up, but this book was missing the high point, which felt like a bit of a letdown after all that reading.

Despite that, I still enjoyed the book and series as a whole.

Pages: 368

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Review: The Program

The Program
The Program by Suzanne Young
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When suicide becomes an epidemic among teenagers, Sloane and James have to play by the unspoken rules, every second, in order to stay out of The Program:

1. Don’t cry. Ever.
2. Feel nothing or at least appear not to have any real or strong emotions.
3. Attend all assigned therapy and say only what is expected, never the truth.
4. Never answer the daily suicide quiz questions truthfully. There’s only one set of right answers, and everybody knows it.

Basically, to survive, teenagers must live in a world of lies, or they will get sent to The Program, which will recondition them by removing their past, including complete memories of people and life events, before returning them to the world empty, numb, and “cured.” When a best friend goes into The Program, a complete stranger comes back out. This is obviously all for the teens benefit, in order to keep them safe from harm and preserve future generations.

I had no idea what this was about when I started reading, and at first I was extremely skeptical. However, this story blew me away. The concept was unexpected, and the way the story unfolds was fascinating. I spent half the book being indignant and the rest of it being stressed out and worried, so it’s the kind of book that demands an emotional investment.

Pages: 432

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Review: Meant to Be

Meant to Be
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is adorable. I mean, come on. It has all the perfect elements:

A class trip to London
+
the rule-bound, grade-obsessed girl gets paired up as a travel buddy with the popular class clown
+
a mysterious, British love interest
+
a whole lot of mistakes and mishaps
+
a story with so much voice that I didn’t want to put it down

= Adorable.

Pages: 304

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Review: Side Effects May Vary

Side Effects May Vary
Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story is emotionally complicated. Alice is diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, and she convinces Harvey, her best friend, who she is also in love with, to help her right all the wrongs before she dies.

However, righting wrongs for Alice is as much about punishing people and getting revenge as it is about giving people or herself hope. In a lot of moments, Alice isn’t a likable character, and she knows it. She is aware that her personality can be harsh or irritating, and her actions can be hurtful. She just doesn’t know how to both be true to herself and be someone more likable. I think it’s this part of the story that I related to the most.

Another thing I really like is that the story shifts POVs throughout, from Alice to Harvey, and the story is told in both THEN and NOW, giving us 4 different perspectives to help pull the story together and explain who Alice and Harvey really are. It shows us who they are both separate and together and also before her diagnosis, during her illness, and then after.

Pages: 352

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