Stormbreaker Review

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Alex Rider is an orphan who lives with his uncle, so he is shocked when his uncle who was always a very careful driver is killed in a car accident. At the funeral some shady people come, and Alex becomes even more suspicious about how his uncle died. When he goes to the junkyard to view the car that his uncle died in before it is crushed, he almost gets crushed but he clearly sees that his uncle was not killed by a car accident but by gunfire. Bullets pepper the seat that his uncle was sitting in. Soon, Alex Rider is swept into the world of his uncle, the spy.

I love plots like this, with kids being swept into mystery/spy worlds. This was why I loved the 39 clues series, the Infinity Ring Books I read,  and the Spy Kids movies. However, I never even touched this one, and I have no idea why. This book was action packed, and didn’t have any down time. It was a quick and nice read, with a 14 year old yet mature main character. The story takes place in several locations, and all are described in detail so that no one gets lost. I hope to be able to continue reading this series, but I do feel satisfied after reading this one book because it was wrapped up really well in the end. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a new mystery series to read.

Overall Rating: 4/5

The Wizard of Oz Review

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz, #1)

Almost everyone knows the story of the Wizard of Oz. A farm girl from Kansas gets swept up in a cyclone and is transported to a magical world, where she is hailed hero for killing a wicked witch accidentally with her house when she landed. She wants to be able to go home, but she is told that she has to go to the Emerald City and speak to the Wizard of Oz. Along the way she meets a Scarecrow who is looking for brains, a Tin Man who wants a heart, and a Cowardly Lion looking for courage.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I am used to going back to old fairytales and seeing that when the movies were made that the story was toned down a lot. Therefore, the original stories would be violent, and often racist in some way or another, so I would end up disliking it. However, this story was just as pure and innocent as the movie was. I read this before Dorothy must Die to see if there would be any discrepancies between the remake and the original story, and I still found none.  So I recommend this to anyone who wishes to read the Dorothy must die series or who simply wants to read a nice and sweet classic book.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Shadow and Bone Review

Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1)

Alina Starkov is an orphan who grew up with her best friend Mal, and now they are in a kind of camp/army that takes care of them yet moves around a lot. During one particular move, they are attacked by gigantic bird monsters called Volcra, one of their friends is killed, and as Alina is being dragged away by one of them a light fills the camp and the birds stop attacking. In their world, only the Grisha are shown to have powers, but she had never shown powers before this point. Nevertheless, she is swept into the world of Grisha training, meets the mysterious Darkling leader of the Grisha, and begins to question many of the things in her world.

Although the storyline was honestly not that different from many other YA books, I still enjoyed the story overall. This was the first book I had read by Bardugo, and I am pleasantly satisfied by it. The character Alina never seemed to be too whiny, or too stuck on love, making the plot slow, but instead showed strength as her world was flipped upside down. Some people say she was stubborn to a fault, but I actually think that she refused to back down as the Grishas wanted to make her like them and following their rules. The twists in the plot seemed appropriately placed, and it was just a rather smooth ride throughout. I was able to finish the book in one sitting, which pushed me to check out the next books of the series and THEN went to immediately read Six of Crows. Which I then loved just as much. Altogether, I love when authors succeed on their debut book, and this one definitely hit the spot for me. I won’t spoil anything else, if you’re late like me, go read this book!

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

The Valiant Review

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Fallon is in love with her best friend and hopes to be able to marry him after her father allows her to fight in the army like her sister. However, her father calls her on her 17th birthday not to tell her that she is in the army, but to tell her that she has been engaged to her best friend’s brother. She is against the idea, but when her best friend and his brother get into a duel over her, the brother kills Fallon’s lover. She runs away from home, hopefully to find a way to kill the brother, and she is captured by slave traders and along the way is sold to a gladiator fighting ring owned by Julius Caesar. She must make herself stronger than she has ever been in order to win the fights and survive the brutal arena. Along the way, she befriends a slave girl, struggles with her feelings for a Roman Soldier, and learns many of the secrets of the arena.

I don’t know what it is about me and the Ancient Roman historical fiction stories. Fallon’s character is a strong girl who knows that she wants to be in the army, but also hopes that she will be able to marry her best friend before she leaves for war. She wants to follow in her dead sister’s footsteps and be a hero to her country before she has to settle down, but she needs her father’s permission to do so. Even when she is in danger and is taken by slavers, she doesn’t settle down and simply accept her fate. She fights to the last breath, and then gets accepted to a gladiator ring where she gets to hone her fighting skills. Although there is romance in the story, it does not overpower the plot, and it does not diminish Fallon’s character in any way. The story was pretty well balanced, only in the middle did it seem like it dragged for a short time. Then it sped back up again and I was happy. Overall, an entertaining, quick, and full read.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Thieves of Ostia Review

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Flavia lives in ancient Rome, and she is thriving in her world. One day when she is running from the neighborhood dogs, she befriends a boy named Jonathan who is asthmatic. Soon after, she sees a girl her age that is being sold as a slave, and after her father buys the girl she befriends her and realizes that the girl does not speak any Latin besides the words she needs to know to serve her master. Then the three meet an orphaned boy who cannot speak named Lupus, and they befriend him as well. When Jonathan’s dog is killed along with other neighborhood dogs, the four kids want to solve the crime and stop more of the dogs from being murdered.

This was a creative historical fiction mystery novel. It kind of reminds me of an “A-Z mysteries” that takes place in Ancient Rome, but it is still a lot more detailed and is definitely for older readers as the dogs’ murders are a tad graphic. Flavia has a lot of spunk, and is a resourceful young lady as she leads her and her friends into solving the mystery. I felt a connection to all of the kids although they were all 10 years of age and younger, and each of them had their own personality past the physical and language barriers. Although everything might not be historically accurate, it was still a very entertaining story and I would definitely recommend it for middle grade readers.

Overall Rating: 5/5

The White Aura Review

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Scott Tabors is 20 years old, a college student, and a sorcerer. Sorcerers are known to be able to find their soulmate, and then they will be happy with that person for the rest of their life. Basically, Twilight imprinting. But his specific sorcerer family has been cursed that if they come into direct physical contact with their soulmate before the soulmate is 18, the soulmate will die on their 18th birthday. This will in turn, emotionally destroy the sorcerer as they lose their soulmate. Scott’s soulmate is 17 year old Olivia Whitehead.

Olivia has been having dreams about a sexy man who comes to visit her and makes out with her on occasion. She feels like he is real, but a boy at school has started showing interest in her so she want to focus her attentions on him. However, something is strange about the boy at school.

This story was pretty predictable. It wasn’t exactly like Twilight, but the “love” seemed like imprinting with a side of forbidden love. Olivia was an annoying character for like 80% of the book, but she did get a little better by the end of the book. Since this book is a series, I could give it the benefit of the doubt and say that she was just going to get better over the course of the series, but I highly doubt that she is. I don’t know how the dreams didn’t count as contact for Scott, but apparently it doesn’t. His character isn’t bad, but it isn’t particularly good. The side characters aren’t that great either, so the storyline was just pretty average.

Overall Rating: 2/5

Linger Review

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Grace and Sam are back together, but Grace has been stricken with a strange illness that feels sometimes as if she has a fever, but sometimes as if she has an extreme flu. She doesn’t know what the illness means, maybe she has a a severe flu, but she is worried that it means that being in the hot car after she was bitten by the wolves at a young age didn’t make her immune to changing as she thought she was. Sam is worried that either the illness or the potential changing will take Grace away from him forever.

Cole is a famous musician in a band, and he has a wide variety of issues from drugs, to depression, to falling out with his friends and bandmates. When he is turned, he doesn’t know what to expect, but he finds that the act of turning gives him some mental solace.

Isabelle is mourning the loss of her brother, and she is having to deal with her troubled family life. However, when the new wolf Cole comes into town, she wonders if her life might take a turn for the better.

Okay, so I know that I railed on Shiver and said that I disliked it. I didn’t like the main characters any more in this book than I did the last, but I absolutely loved learning about Cole and Isabelle. They were both just so, unique and interesting. Cole is a troubled character, but I liked to hear about the change actually helping someone in some ways rather than just being an annoyance. It created a different point of view for the story. I loved how Isabelle continued to help the wolves and her new friend Grace even though technically the wolves were the reason her brother died. However, she did not become bitter and try to kill them, but tried to understand things from their point of view and help them in any way she can so that more don’t end up like her brother.

I definitely liked this book more than the previous book, and while I felt a tad more connected to Grace I just felt no more connection with Sam. But what saved this book for me were the stories of Isabelle and Cole. Hopefully in the next book in the series will have more stories with these characters.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Carve The Mark Review

CARVE THE MARK by Veronica Roth - on sale January 17, 2017

Cyra grew up with her older brother, her tyrant father, and her loving mother. When she is young, she gets the power to cause people pain. When her brother comes into power, he uses her power to torture and gain information out of people. She hates that she is exploited like this, but there is nowhere for her to go. Her gift leaves her with chronic pain that periodically intensifies every time she has to use her gift, so she constantly lives throughout different waves of pain.

Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle, and his power is to interrupt the “current” or basically silence someone’s powers (like the Silencers from Red Queen). Because Cyra is such a useful asset to her brother, her brother assigns Akos to help her with her pain. At first, he is against the idea of helping the person who has probably caused the most physical pain in the kingdom. But eventually when the two end up having to spend more time together, they both realize things about themselves, their kingdoms, and each other that they had never known before.

Okay let me address one  thing first. I have heard many people who have read this book quote the (blogger?) Justina Ireland when she wrote a review (that seems to have been taken down?) of this book saying that it was racist because of the stereotypical tropes within it. For example, Cyra and her people are considered “savages”, when they speak their language sounds harsh to foreigners, they cut themselves for “traditions”, and they are considered “evil”. So these seem to be quite a few things that have either been said/known about Native Americans or people from different countries of Africa for very many years, and so many people thought that it was wrong for all these things to be used for the characteristics of the evil group of the book.

I have to say that I agree, the choices were in very poor taste, but I am very torn about how this will affect my view of the book itself. Minus all of the poor choice of evil characteristics in the book, I quite enjoyed the storyline and I fell in love with both characters. I read it in one afternoon, and it felt to me as if I was falling in love with another Divergent Trilogy. If I overlooked all of those things, this book would probably receive 5/5 stars for me. Many people on goodreads say that they couldn’t understand why someone could enjoy such a story, but I honestly liked it.

Cyra was such a unique and interesting character to me. She suffers a lot throughout the book, but she was determined to not be dependent on anyone and not to break down. She is considered to be the worst person because she has to make people feel pain for her brother, but she too struggles with the stress of having a broken family and her chronic pain. Akos isn’t that special to be honest. He’s just kinda there. But he helps Cyra and he’s cute so that makes him important.

Overall, I am really torn between giving this book the rating that the story deserves, and giving the story the rating that the trope deserves. But in order to stop these tropes from being used, use of them at all has to be discouraged. So I will rate it according to the tropes.

Overall Rating: 2.5/5

Me Before You Review

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Louisa is the only member of her family who has a stable job. Her mother takes care of her deteriorating grandfather, her father is in danger of being laid off of his job, and her sister has a child and is going to school. When Louisa’s current place of work is shut down, she knows that she needs to find another job and fast. She finds an ad for a caretaker for a disabled man, and in her desperation Louisa applies for the job and receives it.

She first dreads the job because Will, the quadriplegic that she is taking care of is dull, mean, and quite morbid. She doesn’t think that she could ever possibly enjoy taking care of him. However, soon Will starts warming up to her, she learns more about his life before his crippling accident, and she starts to see him as more of the man that he used to be: successful, ambitious, and a model son. When his family comes to visit, she learns the horrifying secret that Will wants to go to an assisted suicide center. Louisa plans to make the possible last 6 months of his life the best 6 months of his life and change his mind.

Let me just say for starters that this book did not make me cry. Like at all. I didn’t even tear up. I loved the story and enjoyed it immensely, but I just didn’t feel that emotional pull. So this won’t be a gushing review of how much I cried while reading it and how I just felt for the characters. Nope, not any of that.

Anyways, I DID enjoy this book. I enjoyed both of the character’s backstories equally, and I read this book all in one sitting just so I could find out all of the character’s deep, dark, secrets (muah ha ha ha). All jokes aside, the character creation for this book was just amazing. I felt that about 80% of the characters could actually be real people, as if they were stepping off of the page. The one person that I didn’t feel this way about was Louisa’s boyfriend throughout the story. I just felt like he was silly and pretty unrealistic. Everyone else though was spot on.

I loved Louisa’s selflessness and courage to even create a plan to keep a suicidal man from killing himself. She kept creating activities and bringing an entirely new life to an otherwise sad story. I wish I had known her when she was a teen, she seems like a person who would be a great friend. I also love Will. Although he is very depressed for a lot of the book, it is interesting to see a side to how people react when everything is taken away from them. People complain that the book is written in the fashion of “You have a crippling accident, there’s nothing left for you until some special ‘functional’ person comes into your life.” I think that this shows what can be a very real reaction to getting into an accident. Usually we hear about the success stories, the people who have horrible diseases and decide to do good deeds and be happy until they naturally pass away. However, this can also be a very real reaction for a person, to just want to end it because they can’t do anything for themselves anymore. And I feel that this book addresses this side of the issue perfectly.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

#AVeryPotterSummer Readalong!/ Summer Series Announcements

I just found out that ReadByZoe on booktube is hosting a goodreads summer readalong of the Harry Potter Series! I haven’t reread the Harry Potter series in its entirety in AGES. Literally, I think the last time I read the 7th book was in….2011 when I WAS 11 and some of it probably went over my head because I was so young. Now, I am planning on following along with this readalong (Although I am about 2 books behind) and I will follow it through to the end.

I also decided that since it is basically summer and after Sunday I will basically be doing no more work for the next 2 weeks of school, why not create my list of series that I want to finish this summer! I will be reading a bunch of stand-alones and series that I cannot finish because I don’t own/can’t buy, but these are the series that I plan on DEFINITELY finishing.

Divergent Trilogy (Reread)

The Fifth Wave Trilogy

Hunger Games Trilogy (Reread)

Harry Potter Series (Reread)

The Lord of the Rings

Dorothy Must Die

The Lunar Chronicles

The 39 Clues & Cahills Vs. Vespers & Unstoppable (Reread)

The Wolves Of Mercy Falls

The Selection

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Daughter Of Smoke & Bone Trilogy

The Zom-B Chronicles

The Mortal Instruments & The Infernal Devices

Septimus Heap

The KingKiller Chronicle

The Outlander Series

Percy Jackson and the Olympians & The Heroes of Olympus

The Kane Chronicles (Reread)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Pecuiliar Children

His Dark Materials

The Inheritance Cycle

Five Kingdoms

Beyonders 

Fablehaven

The Vampire Academy

Throne of Glass

A Court Thorns and Roses Trilogy

Chronicles of Narnia Series

AND FINALLY…

The Grisha Trilogy!

That is a pretty tall order for one summer, but I think I can do it. It will be my own personal challenge. After my birthday, I might even make an update post once I get my new books. But for now, this is it. See ya!