Category Archives: young adult

Mini Review: Legacy Lost (Of Poseidon #0.5) by Anna Banks

Legacy Lost by Anna Banks
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Release date: May 22, 2012
Source: Purchased
Series: Of Poseidon #0.5

He is a mer-prince, she is the mermaid princess that his family orders him to marry so that their kingdoms unite. Grom dreads this arrangement, until he meets Nalia — both beautiful and smart, she’s everything he ever wanted. But just when their connection grows deeper, tragedy strikes. Legacy Lost is a prequel story to Anna Banks’ debut novel, OF POSEIDON.


This is just a short quickie review. I’ve never actually been a huge fan of short stories/novellas, and don’t ask me why because I do not know. I’m slowly being won over to them though because they are a great way to give you information that doesn’t necessarily fit into the original story.
Throughout the entire time almost of reading Of Poseidon I’d wished for a little more information about the relationship between Grom and Nalia, what had happened before the explosion, and the aftermath. Not necessarily every single detail of course, but information than we’re given in the parent story. Legacy Lost did not disappoint me. I loved watching the dislike between them grow to like and respect.
Now what I want to know though is what reasons Nalia had for leaving after that explosion, and making everyone think she was dead. There’s one obvious reason that anyone who’s read this or Of Poseidon can think of, but I’d like to think there’s more to it than that. With the way Of Poseidon ended though, I know my questions will be answered in book two, Of Triton. Too bad we have to wait a year to read it.

Review: Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1) by Anna Banks

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release date: May 22, 2012
Source: Library
Series: Of Poseidon #1

I hadn’t really heard much about this book before I read it, nor had I sought out any reviews. I don’t think I’d even read the flap until I was a few chapters in, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with this book. I was pleasantly surprised, and I definitely enjoyed Of Poseidon.
I love mermaid stories, and I absolutely love it when I find one that does things a bit different than what you’re expecting. These mermaids can change into human form on their own, though they aren’t supposed to since contact with humans is forbidden. They can all sense each other to some degree, though there are a select few that can sense better than others. They’re divided into two kingdoms, one descended from Poseidon, and one from Triton. We all know who Poseidon is, but my knowledge of Triton is confined to Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I’ll be googling him here pretty soon just so I can a somewhat better grasp on the mythology of this book.
I loved all the characters in Of Poseidon, even Galen’s snarky sister Rayna. It takes a little while to warm up to Rayna though, but once you do you’ll love her. Toraf, Galen’s best friend and Rayna’s boyfriend/mate, was a fun character to follow. Everyone felt distinctly different from everyone else, their own personalities clearly developed. I felt like I was with these people, not just reading about them. I wasn’t really impressed by Galen’s older brother Grom though. I felt like he should’ve sided with Galen in the end because of them being family, but there were things unsaid on Galen’s side that did make it hard. I was hoping for more information on the Grom and Nalia storyline, but it wasn’t a focus in Of Poseidon. Their story is briefly covered in the short story prequel Legacy Lost.
I got this book from the library, but I will definitely be acquiring my own copy so that I can reread this while waiting for the next book. And let me warn you guys, there’s something big revealed at the end, and it’s a huge cliffhanger. When I got to that last chapter and I realized what was happening I was like “OH MY GOD YOU CANNOT END THIS BOOK HERE. NO NO NO NO NO!” Needless to say this a series I’ll be continuing. If you love mermaid stories, read it. Even if you don’t, give it a try. It’s definitely one of the best I’ve read.

Review: Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross
Publisher: Egmont USA
Release date: April 10, 2012
Source: Purchased
Rating: Four Stars

Going into this book, I’d read very few, if any, reviews. But I had somehow seen this being compared to that Once Upon a Time show on ABC which looks like a fun show to watch. I must get around to seeing it someday. But I love fairy-tale retellings, and this was a slam dunk book for me. I loved it.
I grew up with the Disney versions of these tales, as I’m sure many of you did. I’ve never gotten around to reading the original tales though, mostly because they’re darker than their Disney counterparts. But some of these tales don’t have happy endings, and I was introduced to that in Kill Me Softly. Like with Bluebeard’s tale, which I’d never actually heard of so I looked it up on Wikipedia. What frustrated me about this tale and it’s importance is that Mira reacted like she thought this person had a choice in what was happening later on near the end, when in reality he didn’t. He was cursed, and had to follow that curse. But then again, he was less forthcoming than the other guy with the same curse, so he can still be seen as a villain. Still, I prefer one over the other, and wasn’t entirely pleased about who she ends up with, even though I do like him too. That may just be me though.
I loved seeing how Sarah was interpreting these curses and enchantments in modern day settings. It was very imaginative and really helped develop these secondary characters. If this becomes a series, which I can see possibilities for, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing everyone again, and hopefully seeing more of their day to day lives in this fairy tale town.

Review: Arise (Hereafter #2) By Tara Hudson

Arise by Tara Hudson
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: June 5, 2012
Source: Purchased
Series: Hereafter #2

I absolutely adored Hereafter. I totally meant to reread it before reading Arise, but lately with blogging I’ve felt the pressure to read quickly and not focus on rereading things. But honestly, I need to let that go. Especially since rereading books in series as a new one comes out helps keep things fresh and makes the newest book more enjoyable. I honestly think Arise suffered from me not rereading Hereafter.
I love Amelia and Josh as much as I did after finishing Hereafter, but this book just wasn’t keeping me hooked and I don’t honestly know why. Tara’s writing was as beautiful as ever and great at describing things in such a way that I still felt a part of the story and not like I was being told about it. I did enjoy the setting being moved to New Orleans and the addition of voodoo. That definitely makes things more interesting, especially with what happens to Amelia because of it. It may have just been the pacing I guess. Some parts seemed slow while others I was tearing through pages. I actually felt ambivalent about most of the new additions in terms of characters, just because I didn’t really feel like they were being developed. Just placed in there to move the story along.
All in all, still a great sequel to Hereafter and I’m most definitely looking forward to the next book. But I definitely suggest rereading Hereafter if it’s been a while.

Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release date: June 5, 2012
Source: Library
Series: Monument 14#1

So I have kind of a funny story that goes along with this book. I checked it out from the library on July 20, day 1 of my ten day vacation from work. It’s a hot and humid day, and because of the humidity I knew it was likely that we’d have some kind of storm. Just as I was walking into Walmart with my mom for lunch at the Subway inside there was already rain coming down fairly hard outside. I brought in Monument 14 to read while we ate. Now, Monument 14 gets started with the end of the world things right away with a huge hailstorm at the very beginning. Then the kids get trapped in this supermart store, and I’m currently eating in a supermart store with my own storm going on outside. Plus, the lights in Walmart were flickering. CREEPY. Needless to say, I was kind of paranoid for an hour or two after that.
Anyways, that attests to Emmy Laybourne’s writing, because she was very good at describing stuff in such a way that my own surroundings helped add to the atmosphere of the book. It’s not very often I get a reading experience like this one, and while it was creepy in the extreme it was also fun. I then proceeded to ignore the book for a week or so though, until I no longer had this lingering sense of doom hanging over me. Overall I really enjoyed this book. The story is definitely intriguing and I’m amazed at the strength these kids had to keep going, even when everything in their life has completely turned around.
I only had two issues with this book. It’s told from Dean’s point of view, from his journal I would assume given the way it’s written. All of the other characters had distinct personalities, but Dean kind of felt bland. Like there wasn’t really that much to him, just no personality really. The other issue was that I would have liked a little bit more information on what was going on in the rest of the country, in addition to their day to day lives surviving in a Greenway. We got a little bit of info at the beginning, but then didn’t get anything else until the end of the book.
I would definitely recommend this for those who love disaster/post apocalyptic stories. While the pacing can drag at times, this definitely paints a grim picture of what could be a possibility in our future. Just make sure to read it when you have good weather!

Review: Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn

Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn
Published: Viking Children’s Books (Penguin)
Released: June 14, 2012
Source: Purchased

This was a fun read, especially while on vacation. I love Japan and almost anything to do with Japan, though I’ve never once visited. I’ve been looking forward to reading this book ever since I discovered it a couple months ago, and I was not disappointed.
I always love these whodunit mysteries that always leave you guessing. You think it’s character A because it’s so obviously character A, and yet you question your guess because that’s TOO obvious. I’m always unsure of my guesses because of this, and maybe that just highlights a character flaw about myself, but I can’t be the only one like that. Everytime Violet latched on to a new suspect I was like OF COURSE! How could it not be them?! Only to find out, well yeah that’s why it couldn’t have been them… Some people might get frustrated with those kinds of stories but I love them. In the end I wasn’t really all that surprised by one of the involved suspects, but I was just a touch disappointed because I’d liked what we see early on of that character.
Violet has to be one of my favorite characters of all time. She’s just so real. Bursting with ideas, but also the insecurity that virtually everyone deals with at that age. She’s very creative and artistic. I love how she’s drawing her own manga and using that as an outlet for figuring out her ideas on the case. I also love how she uses kimono fabrics to create scarves. Absolutely adore that. All the secondary characters are great as well, and I would have liked to have seen more of Edge, even though romance isn’t really the focus of the book. I’m just a romantic, what can I say? The only thing that marred this book in any way for me was how readily the FBI were taking tips from a teen. That seems a tad bit unrealistic, but then again what do I know? Anything is possible.

Review: Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson

Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Release date: June 12, 2012
Source: Purchased
Series: Flirting in Italian #1

I could not put this book down. I was in love with Flirting in Italian.Years ago I took a People to People student ambassador trip to three European countries, and Italy was one of them. This book makes me want to go back so much.
Lauren Henderson does a great job of writing young sexy Italian men. I couldn’t get enough of Luca. Especially the interactions between Luca and Violet. There was insta-attraction, which I think is better than insta-love. And it felt realistic since every time Violet is talking to herself in her mind about Luca, it was the exact same way I’ve done with boys I was into in the past. If for nothing else, read this book because of Luca. He’s too sexy a character to pass up.
The other characters in this book were done well too. I liked how it seemed the four girls might not get along at first, and were then given a common enemy. It would’ve been nice to explore why Elisa is the way she is though, and maybe see all of them start to get along, but that could happen in the next book. I was surprised at what was revealed about Catia, Elisa’s mom. Scenes with Leonardo and Andrea were few, but they were fun ones to read and I hope to see more of those two.
The story was great. Except for a few too many inner dialogues for Violet, the story moves along nicely and is well written. The only thing I was disappointed about was not learning more about Violet and that painting of the girl she looks like. But from the way the book ends it looks like that will explored in the next one, so it wasn’t a huge issue. Especially since there were plenty of sexy Italian boys.
Flirting in Italian is a fantastic summer read and will definitely make you want to go to Italy for your own adventure. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book coming out in 2013.

Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release date: June 12, 2012
Source: Purchased

The only book by Jane Austen that I’ve actually read was Pride and Prejudice, after watching the A&E version with Colin Firth in fifth grade, so it was so long ago I don’t even compare anymore. With Persuasion, obviously I’ve never read the book, but I’ve seen the movie starring Ciaran Hinds, so there were comparisons between that and For Darkness Shows the Stars. Thankfully not many, since this book holds it’s own and only draws inspiration, and doesn’t copy. 
Overall I liked all the characters very much. The captains were interesting, as were the admiral and his wife. I would say that I would’ve liked to have seen the admiral, but we didn’t get much exposure of him throughout the story. He took a backseat to his wife and captains. I was very impressed by Elliot’s sister Tatiana, and definitely less so with the father and cousin Benedict of course. There were times when Elliot seemed extremely dense, more so than the story really required, and that was frustrating at times, especially when things are being spoken of quite clearly by the other party.
The story itself was very interesting. I would have liked more details about the world itself and not just the divide between the Reduced and the Luddites. More explanation about the Reduction would’ve been nice, and how the Reduction led to the Reduced besides humanity being arrogant. The one thing I felt weird about while reading was that they were made to seem as though they weren’t actually human, and that just didn’t sit well with me. It seemed like more than just them being from different social classes. Like slavery, but worse in a way, if that makes any sense at all. That was the only thing I didn’t like.
All in all, this was definitely one of my most anticipated novels of this year, just because it was inspired by a work of Jane Austen’s. I was definitely not disappointed with the overall book and would recommend it to those who love post-apocalyptic and dystopians combined, as well as fans of anything Austen related.

Review: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Dial
Release date: May 1, 2012
Source: Purchased
Series: Graceling Realm

I’m not gonna lie, it’s been a few years since I read either Graceling or Fire. And since I have so many books I want to read, re-reading books is no longer a priority when new sequels come out, unfortunately. Maybe if I had reread Graceling, and even maybe Fire, I might have loved Bitterblue. As it was though, I only liked it. Fair warning, this review does contain spoilers, so if you have not read it yet, please do not highlight the next paragraph. It has been whited out so that you will not be spoiled.
I felt like there was a love triangle, only a weird one. Bitterblue was obviously attracted to Sapphire, but was anyone else rooting for Giddon? Because I sure was. Even if that age gap of only 8 years, they were pretty much able to be honest with each other about everything, even if Giddon had to wait until after doing something to be honest about it. And they obviously cared for one another. As much as I liked Sapphire, and I did, I am team Giddon all the way.
Other than that though, the story was interesting, if a bit dull and dragging at times. This book is huge, and crams so much into it. But still parts drag here and there. But when it’s revealed what is happening, it’s horrifying how deep Leck’s control is, even years after he is gone. If you just stop and think, you are disgusted at what’s happening, but heartbroken for these people at the same time, because it’s not really their fault.
At the end, I have to say my first thought was “I’VE DONE IT!” I’ve completed this monster of a book. Goodreads informs me that it is the longest I have read so far this year, shoving Insurgent out of that spot. I was glad to visit this world again, and would definitely love a sequel to Bitterblue detailing what happens in her 20s maybe, when she has a few more years added on to her reign. Just maybe not quite this size.

Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release date: April 3, 2012
Source: Purchased
Series: His Fair Assassin #1

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

I have never had a 500+ page book read so fast. This book was a masterpiece. T he only thing I didn’t like about it was that we didn’t get to see Sybella and Annith hardly at all, but I think that’s because each of them will have their own book in the series. Robin LeFevers’ Grave Mercy is for young adults what Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series is for adults. Deeply cunning, pieced together masterfully. I could not put this book down.

The people in this book were astounding. Gavriel Duval is one of the most yummy male characters in books today. I loved how there was instant animosity between him and Ismae, and then they grew slowly to have feelings for each other. Ismae was awesome as well. Strong and definitely able to think for herself, I love what she chooses it in the end. I would have loved to have seen more of Gavriel’s men, de Lornay and Beast because they made every part they were in fun to read. I love when supporting characters are just as developed as main characters and they definitely added to the enjoyment of this book.

The first chapter or two probably my least favorite, but necessary in setting up this story. After that though once this beast of a book gets moving, it doesn’t stop. Despite how big it is, it never once slowed or got boring. In fact I wouldn’t have minded it being just a tad bit bigger if we could have had more romantic scenes between Ismae and Gavriel. The story itself is just mindblowingly good. It always amazes me when I read stories with such deep laid conspiracies, and I’m never able to figure them out until thing are revealed. I like when I can’t figure it out, though some people might be able to predict what will happen.

Grave Mercy is pretty much perfect, for me. This is definitely taking the spot for favorite read of 2012 so far. If you like historical fiction in general, but loved the original Kushiel trilogy by Jacqueline Carey, Grave Mercy is definitely for you.