Review: "I’ll Give You The Sun" by Jandy Nelson

20820994~o~Rating~o~
5 tp

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

~o~Review~o~

“We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.”

I read this book a while ago and I’m ashamed I didn’t read it sooner. It’s easily the most beautiful contemporary novel I have read in a while, second only to A Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

This was actually my second attempt to read it, the first time I put it down because I didn’t think I would like Nelson’s writing style. I was horribly wrong. I loved the way Nelson writes her characters. And her imagery is going to be one of those things where you either love it or hate it. For me, it was the former.

Let’s start with the format. The book alternates between the past and the present which is something I thought would bother me at first, but I ended up loving it.The chapters from Noah’s point of view are in the past while Jude’s chapters are in the present.

Both twins’ stories are compelling. At thirteen years old, Noah wants three things: his mother’s attention, a spot at a very prestigious art institute, and the boy next door. Noah is the odd one out; while his sister is cliff diving and dating, he is drawing and painting. But the twins are best friends, no one understands Noah better than Jude does and vice versa.

“This is what I want: I want to grab my brother’s hand and run back through time, losing years like coats falling from our shoulders.”

Then at sixteen years old, Jude is completely different from the girl we see in Noah’s chapters. Jude is now the odd one out, she is superstitious and a little deluded. The twins are barely speaking to each other. And Jude is the one attending the art institute. After reading the first two chapters and witnessing this horrible shift in their relationship, I had to find out what happens.

These two have made a lot of mistakes. Normally, when a book character does something stupid, I hate them. But the way their every decision was described was very realistic and understandable. Noah and Jude are clearly flawed but that only made me love them more.

“When people fall in love, they burst into flames.”

This was more a story of family than romance but I really enjoyed the romantic aspects too. Noah’s relationship with Brian was one of the best parts of the book (this was also one of the only YA books I’ve read with a LGBTQ+ main character). And though I didn’t like Jude’s love story as much, I thought it was done wonderfully.

This is a great story of family and love and loss. Read it!

Review: "Through the Dark" by Alexandra Bracken

25453426~o~Rating~o~
5 tp

Warning: Through the Dark is a collection of novellas in the Darkest Minds universe. The following contains mild spoilers for the original trilogy.

~o~Review~o~

If I had any doubts before, they’re all gone now. Alexandra Bracken is definitely, doubtlessly, my favorite Young Adult author. Her stories are magnificent, of-course, but it’s her writing that pulls me towards her books. It’s beautiful.

I didn’t really know what to expect with Through the Dark because it’s a collection of novellas. I hadn’t read any of them before but I had heard great things about the first two. And Bracken did it again. I was laughing and sobbing during all three stories. I love the characters, both new and old. And I loved reading about this world again. As with all my favorite books, this ended way too soon.

~o~SPOILER ALERT~o~

In Time: I started to really warm up to Gabe. And I had completely forgotten what happens to him (it’s been a while since I read In the Afterlight), so the ending shocked me. It was horrible! Poor little Zu.

Sparks Rise: I fell in love with Sam all over again. And Lucas was great too. I like him almost as much as Liam (I did say almost). I was so sad at how this ended, I’m glad I was able to move on to the next story quickly.

Through the Dark: My favorite one out of the three. They have a happy ending! I LOVE happy endings! And the old gang was back! Reading about their characters again was like meeting old friends after a long time; it made me really happy. It was also interesting getting to see how the country was doing after In the Afterlight. Not as well as I hoped but I guess you can’t have everything.

 

 

Review: “Winter” by Marissa Meyer

13206900

~o~Rating~o~
5 tp

Warning: this review contains spoilers for the first three books in the Lunar Chronicles series (the first book is called Cinder). Winter is the last book in the series.

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

~o~Review~o~

I started this book the day it came out (first book I ever pre-ordered), and what an awesome decision that was. 823 pages of sheer Wow-ness. I am still unable to form coherent thoughts on this book. It’s over. *sigh* It was just SO GOOD! It had EVERYTHING I hoped for and more.

This book was probably the most fast paced out of the four. There weren’t any slow moments. None! Books like this is why the term page-turner was invented. Winter is definitely a page-turner.

Princess Winter’s character is fantastic (she reminded me of Luna Lovegood). Winter has gone crazy (she is always hallucinating) because she refuses to use her Lunar gift, which is unusual for Lunars. But she is also intelligent, more than people realize. And beautiful of-course which is why Levana made her scar herself when she was younger.

Every character has their own unique story. Marissa Meyer is one of the few YA authors who can pull off having several main characters and not force a few of them into the background (*cough* *cough* Blood of Olympus *cough* *cough*). Every character played a special role and helped in some way.

The relationship between the characters feel very real. Every pairing in this series is perfection. I completely fell in love with the relationship of Winter and Jacin. All the different friendship dynamics are also genuine; it’s clear that they truly are a group of friends who love and support each other no matter how difficult life gets.

This is an awesome ending to an awesome series and it won’t disappoint.

~o~SPOILER ALERT~o~

The following is just a series of random thoughts I have about this book or the series in general:

Kai PROPOSED! HE PROPOSED! Well… kind of. He asked if Cinder would one day consider being empress which to my Kaider mind is a legitimate proposal.

The friendship between Scarlet and Winter was really nice. It felt more real than Scarlet and Cinder’s friendship at-least; I can’t remember those two ever bonding much. But then again, they have been slightly busy.

Scarlet and Wolf are FINALLY reunited!! Seems like forever.

But I would be lying if I said I loved everything about this book. The one thing I was confused about is Wolf. They supposedly enhanced him but I really saw no difference between his new form vs his previous form excluding physical features. I guess that might be the point Meyer was making about his love for Scarlet being stronger than whatever they did to him but it wasn’t explained very well.

I’m still confused on how Iko can love. I get that she has a faulty personality chip but how do you program a robot to feel emotion? I don’t remember if there was an explanation. Or maybe this is just way over my head.

There are so many parts I loved though, they easily trump the few parts I didn’t. This review nowhere summarizes all my thoughts for this wonderful book.

Review: “The Rose Society” by Marie Lu

~o~Rating~o~
5 tp

Warning: This is the second book in the Young Elites series. The following contains spoilers for the first book, The Young Elites.

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she flees Kenettra with her sister to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good when her very existence depends on darkness?

Bestselling author Marie Lu delivers another heart-pounding adventure in this exhilarating sequel to The Young Elites.

~o~Review~o~

“The irony of life is that those who wear masks often tell us more truths than those with open faces.”

With authors like Marie Lu, who has written one of my favorite Young Adult series (Legend trilogy), I tend to let my expectations soar. With one of their series on my I-will-recommend-this-book-to-everyone shelf, I don’t even consider that they might be letting me down. With Marie Lu at-least, that is not the case. The Rose Society is the perfect sequel. If you thought The Young Elites was dark, Rose Society is going to be a big (and hopefully pleasant) surprise. Adelina is no doubt the most morally ambiguous YA protagonist I have read about.

This book introduces some new characters and old characters reappear. The characters, old and new alike, are developed in a very believable way. Adelina’s personality deteriorates so quickly, it’s hard to root for her. Teren, who may or not be the book’s villain (I’m actually not quite sure), is definitely Adelina’s villain but even his character has a rich backstory. The Daggers, who are supposedly the “heroes”, are not always very heroic in what they do (but their intention is the most good out of the three sides). Basically, everyone’s evil and should die (yes, I’m joking).

As dark and disturbing as this was, it felt like a very quick read. (It’s always funny how I just make the time to read when I really like a book, shoving aside all schoolwork. Probably not the best idea…).

This book was great This review no where near describes how much I loved it. Go read it!

~o~SPOILER ALERT~o~

I was fully expecting Maeve to bring Enzo back after that little glimpse of her in the first book. I don’t know how I feel about that yet… I didn’t like Enzo in the first one but his character certainly got more interesting.

I wanted more Raffaelle in the book. He’s such a complicated and intriguing character; I was a little disappointed he didn’t have more chapters. Teren’s point of view was also very interesting. His “godly mission” to destroy all malfettos is completely delusional but fascinating.

In the end, I think it will be Violetta who takes away Adelina’s power. It’s clear she will never be satisfied. For the first time, I really want a main character dead.

I am VERY excited for the next book. But I have a feeling I’ll have to wait another year.

Review: "In the Afterlight" by Alexandra Bracken

~o~Rating~o~
5 tp

Warning: In The Afterlight is the third and final book in the Darkest Minds series.

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

Ruby can’t look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government’s attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America’s children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the “rehabilitation camps” housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

~o~Review~o~

You know those book series where you get to the last book and there are so many different characters that authors shove some of them aside to better fit their plot? Or just make them do things completely out of character and so against their personalities that you start to wonder whether or not you’re reading a fanfiction? Or that feeling you get when you finish the series and there are way too many questions left unanswered that you feel like it cannot possibly be the last book? If you’re worried about any of that from happening in this book, take a deep breath and let it out because this book was ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!

I didn’t think it would be possible for Bracken to pull off this ending with all these characters still intact and wholly themselves but she does and she does it well. This was exactly the book I needed to restore my faith in trilogies. I fell in love with these characters and I wanted to see them thrive and they did. Everyone played their own part whether it was big or small.

I was scared of my expectations for this book because I expected greatness but Alexander Bracken (as usual) did not disappoint. If you haven’t read it yet, do it now!

~o~SPOILER ALERT~o~

First, let’s start off with the negatives. Some people were complaining about how the book was slow and dragging towards the middle (which is true) but I felt like the book needed it. Never Fade was very action packed with only a few moments where the characters actually got to relax and plan their next step which is exactly what happened in this book. These characters needed a little break from all the fighting anyway and it gave time for a lot of character development.

The only parts I didn’t like (or more, the parts that frustrated me) were the ones with Ruby completely cutting Liam off. She kept going off to Cole (who is actually pretty cool) without giving Liam a reasonable enough explanation. I was yelling at her in my mind throughout the whole ordeal, seriously Ruby, COMMUNICATE! I felt so bad for poor Liam! Also the fact that Cole didn’t tell Liam about him being a Red until almost the end was so annoying! It could have really improved their relationship and Liam would have definitely understood Cole’s need for secrecy.

Ruby developed so much as a character. She is very different than she was in the beginning of the first book completely terrified by herself; I loved seeing how confident she became and how in control of her power she was at the end. I was actually glad when she decided to go back to Thurmond, I thought she needed that closure and she probably thought so herself. The books started with her being taken to Thurmond and ended with her going back to get everyone out (that right there is great planning). I was also so overjoyed to see Sam again! Ruby fixed her mind and she remembered Ruby and it was just so sweet! And she found her grandma! Or rather her grandmother and parents found her; it was a great reunion!

And let’s just say Vida and Chubs is PERFECT! I totally saw it coming in Never Fade! I think I love them more than Liam and Ruby. The scene where Vida gives Chubs his glasses all fixed up, it was adorable!

The reunion with Zu! I was wishing so hard they would find Zu and they did. When Ruby first saw her and was describing how weak she looked, I almost cried. Sweet little Zu, they shouldn’t have let her go in the first place! And the interview she gave with Alice was marvelous. She spoke! She SPOKE! (And Vida was the one who encouraged her)! I cried; I really did.

Like I said before, Cole’s pretty cool and I do like him but if any main characters had to die, I’m kind of glad it was him. I am way too attached to the other characters to handle their deaths.

And Clancy. Stupid, idiotic, manipulative, devil child Clancy. Ruby really should have known better than to believe he was under control and would just sit in a cell doing nothing. Come on Ruby! Learn! It’s Clancy freaking Gray! When did he ever sit around and do nothing!? Of course he had a plan! I would have been surprised if he didn’t. BUT learning more about his past, I did feel the tiniest bit of sympathy for him.

Which brings me to Nico. I was VERY VERY VERY mad at him in the last book because of poor Jude. In the Afterlight made me start to love him though. He believed in Clancy, he knew him before he went all psychotic power-hungry teenage Voldemort. Nico loved him and love clouds judgments. I liked how in the end Nico went and started yelling at Clancy and I got all hopeful because Clancy seemed like he was going to listen. I think he might have if his stupid mother hadn’t burst in. Mother Gray! Couldn’t you wait another minute?

Ruby wiping Clancy’s memory was an act of mercy. That was a good thing and it probably saved a lot of people from falling in the other end of his manipulations.

The last scene where they were coming out of Thurmond was EPIC! Absolutely, positively AMAZING! How the thousand of kids got out of camp and the parents came out (go Liam’s idea!) and the soldiers stood down. *satisfied sigh* It was good. Just so good.

And Chubs. Oh my goodness, Chubs! He was great at the meeting at the end arguing about the Psi-kids’ rights. I was so proud!

Overall, this was the best ending of a series I have read in YEARS. Maybe since Harry Potter. Bracken’s writing is so elaborate and beautiful it’s hard not to love these books. I cannot wait until she publishes something else because I will definitely be reading them.

Review: "The Darkest Minds" by Alexandra Bracken

10576365  
~o~Rating~o~

5 tp

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.

~o~Review~o~

I read this a few months ago and I am still obsessing over it. The Darkest Minds was absolutely amazing! I loved the story, the world building and the character development. This is a difficult book for me to review because it was the writing that caught my attention so much more than the story. Alexandra Bracken is a wonderful and truly gifted writer. I liked how she didn’t give us all the details at once but rather left clues for us to piece together. The plot twists were very well done and enough of a surprise to wow the readers.

I loved reading this book from Ruby’s perspective because I feel like she is a very strong character. At-first she is unsure of herself, she is still coping with accidentally causing the memory loss of her parents and her friend Sam. It takes her quite a while to become comfortable with the others (Liam, Chubs and Zu) but she does.

Liam is now definitely in my top 5 favorite YA male characters list. He is so sweet! I think him and Ruby make a very good team.

And I was a bit wary of Chubs at-first, but he turned out to be completely and utterly AWESOME! He is probably my favorite character. I loved his sense of humor and how he slowly became accustomed to Ruby. He turned out to be a very good friend.

So many things happened in this book but still I thought it was way too short. This isn’t a very thorough review but if you haven’t read it yet, go read it right now!

~o~SPOILER ALERT~o~

The ending scene made me so mad! Ruby just had to go and be all noble! It was very unexpected; I was shocked. Thankfully, I was able to start on Never Fade (the sequel to The Darkest Minds) right away.

 

Review: "Ender’s Game" by Orson Scott Card

375802~o~Rating~o~
5 tp

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

Andrew “Ender” Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. The result of genetic experimentation, Ender may be the military genius Earth desperately needs in a war against an alien enemy seeking to destroy all human life. The only way to find out is to throw Ender into ever harsher training, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when it begins. He will grow up fast.

But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. While Peter was too uncontrollably violent, Valentine very nearly lacks the capability for violence altogether. Neither was found suitable for the military’s purpose. But they are driven by their jealousy of Ender, and by their inbred drive for power. Peter seeks to control the political process, to become a ruler. Valentine’s abilities turn more toward the subtle control of the beliefs of commoner and elite alike, through powerfully convincing essays. Hiding their youth and identities behind the anonymity of the computer networks, these two begin working together to shape the destiny of Earth-an Earth that has no future at all if their brother Ender fails.

~o~Review~o~

Ender’s Game is one of the few books I have read multiple times. It is one of my all time favorite books. Ender Wiggin is a very strong character. At the mere age of six, he had been through so much. Every time I read this book, it makes me cry.

Ender is an outcast from the day he was born because he was a Third. The government only allowed families to have two children, but because his parents had two exceptionally smart children who couldn’t be admitted to Battle School for their personalities, they decided to allow them to have a third child. Ender is sought out by school bullies; he is tortured by his brother, Peter and his parents don’t really understand him. The only person he loves dearly is his sister kind and caring sister Valentine. He is taken away from his family when they decide he is perfect for Battle School.

Ender is isolated in Battle School on purpose by the instructors. Every time he made friends, he was taken away from them. And the one time he decided to give up completely, they used his sister against him.

~o~SPOILER ALERT~o~

The ending was devastating. They told him he was actually doing a stimulation when he was actually controlling a battleship. He had to endure so much and now he had to live with knowing he was responsible for wiping out an entire species.

At-first I was confused when he finds an alien in his “Game” world. But I liked how it represented hope for him; finding a place for the Buggers to establish another home would give him a chance to redeem himself.

Review: "Cress" by Marissa Meyer

13206828~o~Rating~o~

5 tp

Warning: Cress is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series. This review contains spoilers for the first two books.

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

Even in the future. there are damsels in distress…

In the third installment of the Lunar chronicles, Cress, having risked everything to warn Cinder of Queen Levana’s evil plan, has a slight problem. She’s been imprisoned on a satellite since childhood and has only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress a great hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress involving Cinder, Captain Thorne, Scarlet, and Wolf goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes as a high price. Meanwhile, Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

~o~Review~o~

With each installment in the Lunar Chronicles, I feel like the books get better and better. Cress was absolutely marvelous! I love Marissa Meyer’s world building and how she wove these unrelated fairy-tales together. All the characters have their own identity, and I love how I can understand them perfectly. Often times when authors introduce too many main characters, some of them lack personality which was never the case with these books. I think the pacing was perfect too. The characters are still getting to know each other and trying to find their own little place in the team.

Cress is the new member of the team of misfits. She has been stuck in an satellite for years working as the programmer/hacker of Luna. The only visitor she gets is Queen Levana’s thaumaturge Sybil Mira. We find out that she has been the one hiding Cinder’s ship all this time from radars so neither Earthens nor Lunars could find her. I thought Cress was a wonderful addition to the group! And of-course I loved the scenes with her and Thorne!

~o~SPOILER ALERT~o~

I LOVED how in the beginning you see everyone inside the Rampion coming together and working together in spite of all their differences. They all have a major part to play and I love that they are cooperating with each other. Scarlet and Wolf are so cute!

I felt so bad for Cress at times! Especially with her and Thorne being stuck in the desert. I was scared out of my life when I read Thorne was blind after the satellite crash. Here’s to hoping his eyes go back to normal.

Cinder and Kai. THEY’RE FINALLY TOGETHER. Both of them have been through SO much! Cinder thinks she’s turning into Levana because she used her powers to first torture Mira and then make her step-mom feel guilty; that made me so sad for some reason. And Kai is trying to be a good leader, but so much was resting on his shoulder. I liked how in the end of the book after Cinder told Kai she was Princess Selene, Kai asked Cinder to tell him anything else she was hiding. She tells him she isn’t able to cry and you could tell how that fact bothered her so much. Oh, poor Cinder. That was one of those times where you just want to jump into the books and give the character a big hug.

Wolf was completely lost. Other than Scarlet, I think he suffered the most throughout the book. First the love of his life gets kidnapped by Lunatic Lunars and then he’s basically used as a pawn first by Mira and then Cinder. I hope he’s reunited with Scarlet soon.

There wasn’t nearly enough Scarlet but we did get a pretty good description of Luna. I am super excited to get to know Winter. She seems so intriguing.  Why do I have to wait so long for Winter?!?!