Reviews by Ali

I'm an avid reader of all genres, but primarily young adult fiction. This is my first foray into the world of reviewing and bloging!

Foreplay (The Ivy Chronicles, #1)

Foreplay (The Ivy Chronicles, #1) - Sophie Jordan This what pretty good. I found the first half to be a little repetitive and dull, but the second half got a lot more interesting. Not a huge fan of the ending though- super cheesy.
This was my first venture in "space" books, and I really enjoyed it! ! I found the plot to be very interesting and pretty different from what I've read before. I liked how there were several different layers to the plot at play at the same time. Revis has developed the claustrophobic world of the ship quite well. I found it so mind-boggling to think about being in Amy's situation and I found myself very sympathetic to her feelings and responses to everything going on around her. I also loved the opening chapter- it was sad and emotional and the feeling of hopefulness that her parents had set up a sharp contrast to the later events of the book. If I have any complaints, its that Elder isn't quite as developed as a character as Amy, and I want to know more about him and how he thinks. Also, the answer behind the "murder mystery" aspect was pretty obvious to me a few hundred pages before it was actually revealed.

Cruel Beauty

Cruel Beauty - Rosamund Hodge I really enjoyed this. I am not one that goes for your typical "romance" story, but this had so many more layers than that. Nyx was a fun heroine- she has a little bit of a wicked side that sets her apart. I loved the relationship between her and Ignifex. It was sweet, while never falling into cheesy territory. I did find a lot of the plot (and mythological aspects) to be quite confusing though, particularly around the last 1/4 of the book. It slightly lessened my enjoyment and I may need to go back and do a reread at some point to have a better grasp on just what exactly happened.

Rose Under Fire

Rose Under Fire - Elizabeth Wein Wow. This book was wonderful. If you liked [b:Code Name Verity|11925514|Code Name Verity|Elizabeth Wein|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1388161911s/11925514.jpg|16885788] at all, then you will love this as well. I'd say its slightly better, mainly because I found Rose's narration style to be easier to follow.

The Iron Daughter (Harlequin Teen)

The Iron Daughter - Julie Kagawa Just could not get through this one. Made it about 30%. I thought the first in the series was mediocre but decided to give this one a shot anyway; however this installment was worse and from what I read is overwhelmingly focused on relationship-drama. No thanks.

The Iron King (Harlequin Teen)

The Iron King - Julie Kagawa I didn't have super high expectations for this one, based on others' reviews, so I shouldn't be that surprised. The first few chapters were packed full to bursting with YA high school stereotypes. Once the faery- aspects come into play, things got a little better. The world building and imagery were probably the novel's strongest points and the plot is fast paced and exciting, making this a fairly quick read. However, I felt like it was so action-packed that there was time for little else- for example, important aspects such as character development and relationships are seriously neglected. Meghan is in a new crappy situation literally every single chapter. Meghan herself as a character is kind of bland and irritating. Puck was really annoying, and you can barely feel the "best-friend" relationship that is supposed to be present between he and Meghan. The romance with Ash seemed thrown in at the last minute and is one of the worst cases of insta-love that I've come across. The relationship has hardly any build-up aside from Meghan commenting on how hot Ash is, and then they are suddenly making out and in love. Eye roll. However, I feel like the world that Kagawa has created here has potential. I think I'll give the series one more try to clean up some of the issues in the sequel.

Scarlet

Scarlet - A.C. Gaughen Well that was disappointing. So much potential overshadowed by generic love-triangle drama. It could have been great if the romance was cut and the plot amped up, with more focus on each character's backstory and their (non-romantic) relationships with each other in the "band."

A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness This was a very powerful and beautiful read, and further cemented my love for Patrick Ness as a writer. I love the Chaos Walking series, although this really couldn't be any more different. I can honestly say that it is unique from anything I have read in the past, and reads like a modern fable or fairy tale. It pulled at the heartstrings (hard), but somehow managed to avoid being overly cheesy/ preachy/ etc. The writing was simple but impactful and suited the tone perfectly. Highly highly recommend this to anyone.

Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I (His Fair Assassin Trilogy)

Grave Mercy - Robin LaFevers 3.5 stars.
I absolutely loved the premise of this story. The time period and royal court setting are right up my alley, and of course the premise of assassin nuns is awesome. The first few chapters of this novel are really great, but after that there are long stretches with not much action at all. Maybe it's wrong of me, but I wanted to see a little more assassinating or any type of badassery out of Ismae. The plot took a very long time to unfold. I did like Ismae as a character. She doesn't always make the choices that I wanted her to as a reader, but I did understand her reasoning and how her backround caused her to be the way she was. I didn't mind the romance. I am one to get annoyed when the romance takes over a story that was supposed to be about something else, but I don't feel like that was the case here. There was no insta-love, and the relationship felt authentic to me. It didn't overwhelm the rest of the plot or make me roll my eyes.

Overall, I liked this book a good deal, but it didn't quite live up to my high initial expectations. Looking forward to seeing what the sequel has in store!

Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly - Trilogy)

Something Strange and Deadly - Susan Dennard I'm glad I got this on my Kindle and not a hard copy because that cover is horrendous. Anyway, I did find this book enjoyable. I'm on a historical fiction kick lately so that 1876 setting was right up my alley. I also liked the use of zombies, although they are more like Inferi in the Harry Potter series than "The Walking Dead"- type of zombies. However, it felt as if something was missing and it wasn't quite as strong of a debut as it could be. I wish that there had been more backstory to Elijah and Eleanor's relationship and that the secondary characters had been more developed (Joseph, Jie, etc). As I have seen others mention, the plot was pretty predictable. I guessed the necromancer's identity fairly early (although there was another character who I thought was a pretty suspicious candidate as well). It was a good (but not great) read and I'll probably check out the sequel at some point.

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1)

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1) - Susan Ee Unfortunately for me, this book was just mediocre. I can't really even put my finger on exactly what exactly I liked or didn't like, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I expected and it didn't hold my attention. One thing I can specify is that although Penryn's whole purpose in the novel is trying to find her sister, we're given very little insight into their relationship. I think that if some more anecdote's from their past together had been included I would have cared more about her rescue mission. As it was we only had small details, and at one point Paige is described as "dali-lama" like and the reader has no clue why. I just didn't care the way the author intended.

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle)

The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater Loved this the whole way through- would have been 5 stars if not for the ending.

The End Games

The End Games - T. Michael Martin 3.5 stars
The End Games follows 16-year-old Michael and his 5-year-old brother Patrick as they make their way to safety during a zombie apocalypse. I was initially drawn to this book because I am really enjoying the zombie theme cropping up in books, TV, and movies recently (I love the Walking Dead!), and this novel is set in my wonderful home state of West Virginia. WV, and really most American regions outside of NY or CA seem to be pretty underrepresented in literature. I will say that the depiction of the rural, southern coal towns was pretty true to life (for better or worse) but does not represent the entire state.

By far, the strongest part of this novel for me was the relationship between Patrick and Michael. Michael is constantly trying to protect his brother from the new world they’re in a goes to great lengths to do so. The relationship and sibling-bond between them was really sweet. However, other characters were not nearly as developed. The biggest problem was with Captain Jopek. Without getting too spoiler-y, there are some things that he does that just leave me scratching me head, asking “Why?”. There is no background into his character to explain why he would do certain things or how it would benefit him or anyone else. Also, it should be noted that there is some romance in the book, but it is well done and not overwhelming.

Another issue that kept this from being a higher star read for me was the plot itself. The most interesting part was the very beginning before (It happens early enough, I don’t think I’m giving anything away here by saying) before they reach the Charleston safe zone. After that point, I wasn’t quite as interested and it felt a little more generic with some random antagonistic actions from Jopek thrown in.
Overall, I do think that while it wasn’t perfect for me, The End Games was a solid read. I’d recommend it to anyone who is interested in the zombie genre or a good brother story.

Requiem (Delirium)

Requiem - Lauren Oliver I was feeling like this was around 4 stars the whole time, up until the ending. It was way too open-ended for my liking. I mean this was the finale of a trilogy! Where's the resolution? If Lauren Oliver said she was writing a fourth book I wouldn't be surprised.

Horns

Horns - Joe Hill In the first few chapters, this book had me hooked. The premise itself is I found really interesting and super unique. It is crazy to watch Ig discovery his new horn-powers and the scandalous things that people confess to him. However, the plot does have to move on from crazy confessions, and this middle section of the book is where I found it to be weaker. It took me ages to read the middle half of the book. Some of the flashback chapters ( while obviously necessary for the story) were dull. The "reveal" moments for some of the plot points seemed a little strangely organized to me. This book could at times dive into the very disturbing- I'm looking at you Lee! Overall, what I am left with most after reading this book is frustration... Ig's backstory shows us that he really was just a normal, nice guy who always wanted the best for his loved ones, and in the present he is hated by nearly everyone and to top it off he is slowly and irreversibly turning into a demon.

Days of Blood & Starlight

Days of Blood & Starlight - Laini Taylor Really glad I decided to give this one a shot even after my mediocre feelings towards Smoke & Bone. In book one, I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the writing, but the further along I read the more eyeroll-inducing the romance became for me. This book, however, has all the great atmosphere and beautiful prose with a much more manageable amount of romance plus a violent and brutal war. It hardly felt like a 500+ page novel. Can't wait for the next one!

Currently reading

Ashen Winter
Mike Mullin
Progress: 225/567 pages
To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee Lee