Monday, June 30, 2014

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielson

Title: The False Prince
Author: Jennifer A. Nieson
Source: Library
Rating: 4 Stars
In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together. - Summary from Goodreads

Where to start with this review? I don’t even know. I guess I’ll begin by saying that Sarah has been telling me that I needed to read this book for a while now and she was right. I really liked it
One of the best things about this book is Sage’s attitude. He’s got plenty of it. It makes for a great main character and keeps things interesting, it also gets Sage into plenty of trouble.  Although his attitude is the best thing about the book I was annoyed every now and then because while he had plenty of confidence, he wasn’t really putting any work into the basic things that was needed for him to become the prince. It was like he was relying on his own personality to win it.

Since the boys are all competing for the same position, and there are no prizes for second place, there isn’t close relationships there. Sometimes it seems like they seem to get along, but at the next moment they assume they’re going to get stabbed in the back. There’s no one that Sage can trust except for maybe Mott, and even he has to take orders from Connor. Sage is pretty much on his own and the book is his one-man-show, but he has the personality to carry it.

Although this book is a Middle Grade book it is as dark as one would expect a Young Adult book to be. The plot was fantastic and near the end I was demanding answers from Sarah in incomplete sentences, she just pulled her own book over her face and told me to keep reading. This book managed to shock me and that alone would have made me fall in love with it.

Overall this is a great book that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end, whether you’re experiencing it by reading, listening, or both like me.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Of Neptune (Syrena Legacy #3) by Anna Banks

Title: Of Neptune (The Syrena Legacy #3)
Author: Anna Banks
Source: Library
Ratings: 3.5 Stars
Emma and Galen’s kingdom and their love is threatened by long-lost Syrena in the brilliant conclusion to Anna Banks bestselling trilogy.

Emma, half human and half Syrena, and her Syrena love, Galen, need time together alone. Away from the kingdoms of Poseidon and Triton. Emma’s grandfather, the Poseidon king, suggests the two visit a small town called Neptune.

Neptune is home to both Syrena and Half-Breeds alike. But Emma and Galen didn’t sign up to be peacemakers between the ocean and the land-dwelling, freshwater Syrena. They didn’t bargain for meeting a charming Half-Breed named Reed, who can barely disguise his feelings for Emma. And they especially didn’t expect to find themselves in the middle of a power struggle that threatens not only their love but their ocean kingdoms.

In this stunning conclusion to her bestselling Syrena Legacy, Anna Banks thrills fans with more action and romance than ever. -Summary from Goodreads

Sarah’s Review

            Ohmyfreakingosh! Another end to a great series is here and, while I can’t say it was my favorite of the series, ohmysweetness it was delightful!

One of the things I love most about this series is it’s quirkiness in both the language and the characters. While there is some serious action and subjects covered the author was still able to keep the lightheartedness that was in her previous two books. Something that I also loved was how Emma and Galen wanted to stay true to their plan of waiting until they were mated to do any of the real fun stuff. You don’t see that in most books and I love that the author put it in.

The book pulled me in right at the beginning when the Poseidon King tells Emma about a mysterious town called Neptune that she should check out but doesn’t tell her why. I felt it lost some steam, however, in the middle. Many of the side characters I loved from the previous books weren’t there and the two main characters seem to spend a lot of time apart. I missed a lot of the bickering that was ever present in the earlier books and Emma telling Galen where he could go stick his fin. The new guy Reed was cool half the time but other times he appeared almost stalkery. Although I blame that on him being a Syrena (half-breed) male who just needs someone like Emma to give him a whack on the head every now and then.

Despite all that the last quarter of the book makes up for most of that. It’s a great ending and the epilogue is so sweet it’s like eating candy!

Christina’s Review

            Many people were surprised when they heard there was going to be a 3rd book because it seemed like everything was tied up at the end of the 2nd one, but overall I am happy that this book ended the series. At first I wasn’t so sure, I was having trouble getting into the book and was skeptical, but eventually it pulled me in despite my less than enthusiastic attitude.

This book had plenty of drama ana made you question what the truth is and who is on which side. It also includes a love triangle, which I was a bit annoyed with, but it wasn’t that bad.

One of the best things about this series is how I’ll be reading it and everything is normal and then one of the characters will say something so strange it will make me laugh. Emma is such a fun character who can make any reader laugh and is so awkward it’s relatable. This was far from my favorite book in the series, but it was the perfect end to the series.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
Sarah's Choice
The Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus #5) by Rick Riordan
Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they're stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it "might" be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea's army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over. -Summary from Goodreads
The final book in the Heroes of Olympus series is 4 months away and I'm super excited! I love the characters in this series (well, at least the Greek and I can't wait to see what happens to them in the end! I want more PERCYBETH!!!!

Christina's Choice
Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1) by Heather Demetrios
Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light. -Summary from Goodreads
I love the idea of Jinni and it's not something that's done often in YA, the only ones that come to mind are As You Wish by Jackson Pearce and The Secret of Ka by Christopher Pike. I'm fascinated by how dark stories with genies can be, how dangerous a simple wish can be. It will also be cool to see the difference between the Jinni world and earth, and how drama from one world could cross into the other. Ooh, the possibilities!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

WARNING! This review contains a minor spoiler for the Veronica Mars Movie.

Title: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line
Author: Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: March 25, 2014
Rating: 4 Stars 
The first book in an original mystery series featuring twenty-eight-year-old Veronica Mars, back in action after the events of Veronica Mars: The Movie. With the help of old friends—Logan Echolls, Mac Mackenzie, Wallace Fennel, and even Dick Casablancas—Veronica is ready to take on Neptune’s darkest cases with her trademark sass and smarts. - Summary from Goodreads
     I didn’t have very high expectations for this book. Usually when a story goes from screen to page it’s never as good as its original. I saw that this book had some pretty good reviews and since I love the series I decided to check it out. This book is great. It’s like I can really hear the voices of the characters when I’m reading it which, to me, is especially important.

     This book takes place after the movie and follows Veronica Mars working as a PI back in Neptune. So far she hasn’t had much luck when it comes to business, but then she gets a high paying gig to find a missing girl. The old characters still make appearances but they don’t spend so much time on them that it feels unreal or neglects the story. The plot is the main priority of this novel; it isn’t just about getting the characters back together.

     I’m not sure how this would do as a stand-alone. It has a great plot and keeps you guessing, but if you haven’t watched the series or movie it will be like reading a sequel before the first book because of all the backstory of the characters and the connections they have. The book does explain things, but not so much that it’s annoying. Fans of the show who haven't seen the movie should avoid this book to avoid spoilers.

     The story kept me on the edge of my seat and wondering “who-dun-it” until the very end. It’s a great continuation of the series. I hope there are many more Veronica Mars books to come.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Crushing on the Mother's BF in YA Lit.

          Many people wonder why adults read YA books. Every new YA movie brings out more articles arguing for or against this topic. In my personal opinion it’s because they are more interesting and better written than most of the adult books that I’ve tried. I’m 25 and the YA world didn’t even start getting interesting until after I graduated high school, which is really disappointing especially when you consider some of the swoon worthy male characters. Where were Peeta Mellark and Percy Jackson when I was that age?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

 Sarah's Pick
Silver Shadow's (Bloodlines #5) by Richelle Mead 
In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.
Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.
For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.-
Summary from Goodreads
I just finished the VA books at the end of last year and was putting off reading Bloodlines even though I had heard great things about it because I wasn't sure about Sydney as a main character. Then I got the first book at the library booksale and it was SO PRETTY that I just had to read it. I was hooked. A few weeks later I'm finishing Fiery Heart and am on the edge of my seat to find out what happens next.

 Christina's Pick
 Sinner (Wolves of Mercy Falls) by Maggie Stiefvater
Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved?-Summary from Goodreads
Every Shiver fan has been waiting for this book since Forever (yes, that was a pun), but it wasn't until recently that we actually knew we would get it.
I made the mistake of reading the excerpt and
hungry for this book ever since. Plus I went to California a couple of weeks ago and I'm looking for a book that can bring back that feeling of the California sunshine.

Top Ten Summer TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Sarah's List
1) Of Neptune (The Syrena Legacy #3)  by Anna Banks
I was a little unsure about this because I think the author wrapped up Of Triton so well but after reading the summary I am definitely interested.

2) Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends #1) by Kelley Armstrong
I love books about sisters! Can't wait to read this one!

3) Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo
 The last book was such a cliff hanger! How is this trilogy going to end!

4)Raging Star (Dustlands #3) by Moira Young
I read Blood Red Road when it first came out and I've been eagerly anticipating every book in the trilogy since! I've already heard the ending is amazing and heart wrenching. I can't wait to read!!!

5) Silver Shadows (Bloodlines #5) by Richelle Mead
 I finally picked up this series in April and quickly read through the first four. The Fiery Heart cliff-hanger was a killer! Can't wait to see what's going to happen!

6) The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave) by Rick Yancey
7) In the After (In the After #1) by Demitria Lunetta
8) Across the Universe (Across the Universe #1) by Beth Revis
9) The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
10) The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

Christina's List
1) Bleak House by Charles Dickens
2) Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
3) Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead
4) Queens Consort: England's Medieval Queens by Lisa Hilton
5) The False Prince by Jennifer Nielson
6) Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
7) The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
8) Of Neptune by Anna Banks
9) Lady Susan by Jane Austen
10) National Velvet by Enid Bagnold

Monday, June 16, 2014

In the Shadows by Kiersten White & Jim Di Bartolo

Title: In the Shadows
Author: Kiersten White
Artist: Jim Di Bartolo
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: April 29, 2014

Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house. Their father is gone. The woman up the hill may or may not be a witch.

Thomas and Charles are brothers who’ve been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt. They think they can escape from it . . . but they can’t.
- Summary from Goodreads.

The written story is interjected with intervals of pictures which tell a different story. Is there any dialogue in these pictures?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Feature and Follow (1)

This is a meme hosted by Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read.  It's a blog hop to help expand your readership.

This Weeks Question:

Armchair Travel! Tell us about your favorite book in a setting you’d like to visit (a real place for this question).

Christina's Answer: I adore Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. For the past couple of years around spring break I find myself being pulled towards it inexplicably despite not being a fan of contemporaries. This novel really paints a picture of what it’s like to be a foreigner in France: the struggle of not speaking the language, the beauty of the landmarks, the difference in the culture. I love experiencing Paris through the pages of this book.

Sarah's Answer: Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter is one of my favorite books right now. I have read it four times in a four month period, something I NEVER do. One of the cool things about it is that the main character travels to Rome and Ireland. Two places I would very much like to see for their natural beauty, architecture and history. The character doesn’t spend much time there but the book makes it real easy to imagine the setting.