A Song For Julia (Thompson Sisters #1)

Standard

A Song for Julia (Thompson Sisters, #1)

Everyone should have something to rebel against.

Crank Wilson left his South Boston home at sixteen to start a punk band and burn out his rage at the world. Six years later, he’s still at odds with his father, a Boston cop, and doesn’t ever speak to his mother. The only relationship that really matters is with his younger brother, but watching out for Sean can be a full-time job. The one thing Crank wants in life is to be left the hell alone to write his music and drive his band to success.

Julia Thompson left a secret behind in Beijing that exploded into scandal in Washington, DC, threatening her father’s career and dominating her family’s life. Now, in her senior year at Harvard, she’s haunted by a voice from her past and refuses to ever lose control of her emotions again, especially when it comes to a guy.

When Julia and Crank meet at an anti-war protest in Washington in the fall of 2002, the connection between them is so powerful it threatens to tear everything apart.”

-Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16066588-a-song-for-julia?bf=1000&from_search=true)

This was a nice way to recover from the last book I read. While not a book that blew me away, it didn’t have me rolling my eyes every couple chapters. In typical New Adult fashion, this book deals with troubled characters.

Julia has a dark past that still haunts her, thanks mostly to her mother. The fact that she has survived to events of years before with absolutely no help or understanding from her family is staggering. Crank also has some issues. However, I didn’t feel as sorry for him as I did for Julia. When it came to him, I was more interested in seeing more of his brother, Sean. You see, Sean has Asperger. While I know next to nothing about Asperger, I know that living with Aspie’s can be a challenge. And I thought that all the scenes with Sean were beautifully done. There were some that almost had me crying, and that’s pretty rare for me.

Plotwise, however, it was a different story. At points, it felt a little like the plot was running in circles: Julia running all the time and Crank trying to get closer to her. Throw in some shouting matches between Julia and her mother and that’s the plot, mostly. The resolution of her conflict with her mother was a relief, but it felt a little too easy. I somehow don’t think that years of bitterness can be erased by one single outburst.

I’ll keep reading this series, as it was a good, distracting read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Advertisements

Wake (Watersong #1)

Standard

Wake (Watersong #1)

“Fall under the spell of Wake—the first book in an achingly beautiful new series by celebrated author Amanda Hocking—and lose yourself to the Watersong.

Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They’re the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone’s attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs. She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group.

Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door. He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back. Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever. She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove. They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price. And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10586539-wake?bf=1000&from_search=true)

This book begins with a very creepy scene which, at the same time, made me curious to keep reading. However, this book couldn’t really hold my interest. The characters weren’t really developed, and the plot was not that compelling either.

Gemma, the main character, was not able to make me empathize with her. I couldn’t really care whether she lived or died. Harper, her older sister, was another shallow character, in my opinion. Because the girls didn’t exactly have a mother, Harper ended up taking on that role. This could’ve been nicely explored, but, instead, Harper keeps freaking out for every little thing, which was really annoying.

Plotwise, it was nothing to write home about. The thing with mermaids books is that the existence of mermaids has to be well explained. In this case, the author made a choice that didn’t go down too well with me. Moreover, I didn’t appreciate the information dump halfway through the book, and I have some doubts regarding the mythology (especially towards the later books in the series, I did peek at some reviews).

I  finished this book a few days ago, but only today was I able to sit down and write the review. Because there wasn’t anything memorable about this book, I don’t have much to write about it. This is a series that I don’t plan on finishing, as neither the characters nor the plot compel me to keep reading it.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3)

Standard

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3)

“It’s springtime at St. Vladimir’s Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn’t been feeling quite right. She’s having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all… might be seeing ghosts.

As Rose questions her sanity, new complications arise. Lissa has begun experimenting with her magic once more, their enemy Victor Dashkov might be set free, and Rose’s forbidden relationship with Dimitri is starting to heat up again. But when a deadly threat no one saw coming changes their entire world, Rose must put her own life on the line – and choose between the two people she loves most.”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2802316-shadow-kiss?bf=1000&from_search=true)

It’s been nearly a week since I finished this book, and I still don’t know what to write about it. I had been composing this review in my mind while I was reading, but when the ending came, it was blown to smithereens.

Rose was still the strong girl I’ve come to wish was my friend. She stands up for herself (maybe a little too much at times) and she has to manage the bond she has with Lissa. Let me tell you, that bond is more and more troublesome. As for the other characters, they are also very enjoyable, especially Christian and Dimitri. Lissa is a little more laid back, not as likely to engage in banter as the other two.

As for the plot, it is, once again, full of action. There is not a dull moment in Rose’s life. The Strigoi are a constant threat, she is trying to learn more about the bond she shares with Lissa. Oh, and I can’t forget about Dimitri. While the focus of the series has not been on the romance between them (which I really like, as I don’t like it when the romance seizes control of all the other plot elements), this book was almost begging for it. And I absolutely loved seeing the romantic scenes between Dimitri and Rose, especially toward the end.

In fact, it were those scenes that made me feel hopeful that this book was going to end in a good way. But then, my hopes were completely blown up and I couldn’t really believe what I was reading. I’d say it was almost cruel for the author to do what she did. Thankfully, the book is already out (in fact, the whole series), which means I don’t have to wait to learn what happens after that heartbreaking end. I don’t usually cry while reading, but the ending of Shadow Kiss had me close to tears.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles #1)

Standard

Perfect Ruin (Internment Chronicles, #1)

“On the floating city of Internment, you can be anything you dream, unless you approach the edge. Morgan Stockhour knows getting too close can lead to madness, like her older brother Len, a Jumper. She takes solace in her best friend Pen, and in Basil, the boy she’s engaged to marry. When she investigates the first murder in a generation, she meets Judas. The suspect was betrothed to the victim, but Morgan believes he is innocent. Nothing can prepare Morgan for the secrets she will find – or whom she will lose.”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18076780-perfect-ruin?bf=1000&from_search=true)

This was the first book I read by Lauren DeStefano, even though Wither has been sitting on my want-to-read shelf for ages (Can’t get my hands on a copy…). The first and foremost thing on my mind when I finished this book was that the world building was a bit confusing. That, I’ve been told, is a common trait in her DeStefano’s books.

In my opinion, the world building could have been better. I was left wondering how their world came to be (and no, religious explanations just don’t cut it with me). Besides that, there were several issues and questions raised that, in my opinion, didn’t receive the attention they deserved. One of them: why are Jumpers thought to be so dangerous?

Because I was distracted trying to figure out the world building, I didn’t give much attention to the characters and the plot. What I can say is that Morgan, the main character, is not the most interesting heroine out there. She seems to be stuck in a cycle of worrying about other people and their problems and then switching to worrying that she might be going insane that I wasn’t able to really get to know her. What are her aspirations, for instance? I have no clue… To be honest, the most fascinating character was Pen, Morgan’s best friend.

As for the plot, it moved at an okay speed. It didn’t make me sit on the edge of my seat, but it didn’t make me flinch either. It did make me suspect that the whole thing is actually an experiment. If that suspicion is confirmed in the next book, I might consider dropping the series, depending on how it’s done.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

The Program (The Program #1)

Standard

The Program (The Program, #1)

In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.”

-Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11366397-the-program?bf=1000&from_search=true)

The Program had been sitting for months in my TBR shelf before I finally picked up. On the one hand, I mentally kicked myself for taking so long to get to it. On the other hand, I was happy that I took so long to read it, as the sequel will be released soon.

This book has a very interesting premise, as suicide has apparently become an epidemic among teenagers. This leads to a society where crying is not a good thing, and parents are ever watchful of their children’s behavior. If a teenager exhibits a suspect behavior, he is sent to the Program, where he will be cured. What I did miss here was some sort of elaboration on the epidemic. If crying and attempts to commit suicide are symptoms, what causes them? Is it a virus? Or what? I just found it a bit lacking to have a disease and a treatment, but not have the underlying cause of it. I hope the cause is explained in the sequel.

Because the book is written in first person, it was a bit frustrating at times to watch Sloane change because her memories were being wiped out. It made complete sense, that’s not the problem, but I found myself wanting to yell at her not to do something or trust someone. There were also some revelations at the very end that shocked me (should have seen the signs, though).

The world building felt a bit terrifying, thanks to the whole “if you cry, that means you’re sick” thing. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think I would have been flagged and sent to the Program. Not to mention how daunting is the possibility of having your memories erased, without even really realizing it. I’d say that, as far as dystopias go, this is the most scary I’ve read in a while. It is scary not because it incites fear, but because it deals with the erasure of something that helps makes us who we are: our memories, our past.

I am definitely going to read the next book when it comes out, in the hopes that it doesn’t turn into a wreck.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Scarlet (Scarlet #1)

Standard

Scarlet (Scarlet, #1)

“Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11983940-scarlet?bf=1000&from_search=true)

This lives up to its ratings in my opinion. I’m not overly fond of retellings, but this one was a happy exception to the rule. I’ve had this book for forever, but I needed a challenge to make me read it. It always makes me kick myself a bit when I realize I could have read a good book much sooner, but that’s life.

I have to confess that, at first, I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d like it. Not because of the plot or the characters, but because of the writing style. You see, the author made a risky choice to tell this story through the POV of a character that doesn’t speak proper Enligsh. This means that the text doesn’t follow the grammar rules. But after a few pages, that didn’t bother me anymore.

Scarlet is a very strong heroine. She has a secret past, one that is slowly revealed throughout the book, and that molded her character. She also hides the fact that she is a girl, which leads to some funny scenes. As for the other characters, I liked Much the best, as he is strong in his own way.

I didn’t care much for the love triangle, as it didn’t make me torn. Scarlet belongs with Robin and that’s it. It was a bit frustrating, though, to see that the love triangle remained unresolved far longer than it needed to, but it didn’t distract me too much.

As for the villain, I’d really like to know more about him. Is there a reason for his evilness or he was just born this way (no pun intended). It’s just that I love bad guys, but he is not that loveable, even I have to admit it.

All in all, it was a surprisingly good read, full of action, not a lot of romance, and nice characters. I am definitely going to read the sequel, but I don’t know when yet.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Into The Still Blue (Under The Never Sky #3)

Standard

Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky, #3)

“The earth-shattering conclusion to Veronica Rossi’s “masterpiece” Under the Never Sky trilogy and sequel to the New York Times bestselling Through the Ever Night (Examiner.com).

Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it’s time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won’t even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn’t just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he’s also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

In this final book in her stunning Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14288998-into-the-still-blue?bf=1000&from_search=true)

Whenever I get to the last book in a dystopian series, I prepare myself for disappointment. I’ve read so many dystopian series that started out great and then ended in a complete wreck, that I’ve learned to not have high expectations for their endings. It was with this spirit that I started Into The Still Blue.

I was not disappointed, for a change. The only bad thing I could find with the ending was the fact that we don’t get to see how the characters have adapted. In other words, we don’t get to see the future, even if it’s only a couple months later. But this issue with the end is nearly universal in dystopian series, and it’s something that I really wish an author would tackle. Usually, dystopian series end with a drastic change be it in setting, be it in society. And I think it would be really interesting to see how the characters have settled in the new context.

Apart from that, I thought it was a really good ending to the series. It didn’t lose focus and it didn’t stray too far from the original premise, as I’ve seen happen with other final books in dystopian series. I really enjoyed the fact that we got to see more of Perry and Aria together, after their being apart for most of the second book. It was also full of action, with believable plot twists (the most shocking came at around 40%, and it made for a bittersweet end).

I particularly loved the interactions between Sloane and Roar. The two of them made for some very funny moments, especially after the 50% mark.

There is no word yet on a new book by Veronica Rossi, but I’ll be watching for it!

Rating: 4 out of 5