Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity #1)

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Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)

Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called “a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel” in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.”

-Taken from Goodreads

I love historical fiction as a genre, no matter the historical setting, and I have a strong interest in military history, particularly World Wars I and II. That being said, I felt that this book fell a little flat for me. I was expecting more from a book with such a hype.

The way this book was built made it clear that we weren’t seeing the whole scene. The setup for a twist was obvious from the start, and then, when that twist happened, my reaction was ‘Wait, is that it? Is that all of it?’. It was not as momentous as the setup led me to believe, and that frustrated me quite a bit. You see, I only kept reading in the hopes that the twist would be worth my while. It wasn’t.

Verity, our title character, annoyed me. I didn’t see what the point was to what she was doing. All that information that is given just went over my head. While reading, I was going, ‘Okay, but why are you telling me this?’. <spoiler> You see, there are many, many, many things that are quite specific to England. Therefore, if you’re not British, you’ll miss what the character is actually doing. </spoiler>.

At around 60%, there is a change in POV, that is quite an improvement. The reprieve was temporary for me, however. I found myself just skipping the pages to get to the end. And the end, when it finally came, was not as momentous as I thought it would be.

This is not, to sum it up, a WWII book that I would recommend.

This Shattered World (Starbound #2)

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This Shattered World (Starbound, #2)

The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war.

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.”

– Taken from Goodreads

First off, that is one gorgeous cover! It’s still the first week of the year and we already have a serious contender for most beautiful cover of 2015! I love how it reflects the characters background, with Jubilee actually dressed in spacial military garb and Flynn wearing an outfit that has seen better days and also carrying a weapon. I also love the colors and the title typography (not sure how I feel about the authors’ typography).

While this shares a plot arc with its predecessor, These Broken Stars, this is set in a completely different environment, with a different set of characters, and a different subplot. That said, I did miss some sort of recap from the first book, considering it came out a year ago and over 200 books were read between them. On the other hand, I do realize, given that this is about different characters etc., how hard it would be.

My memories from These Broken Stars are a little (okay, a lot) fuzzy, but I seem to remember it having more romance than this one. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I missed it, as Flynn and Lee have loads of chemistry together. A very positive thing here was the absence of a love triangle and of insta-love. In fact, there was a quote that I absolutely loved and that shows the lack of insta-love here:

“I don’t have the luxury of dealing with his hormones -or mine, for that matter. What, did he think I was just going to melt into his arms? Start a tragic and dramatic tale of star-crossed lovers on a war-torn planet?”

While there was a slight shortage of romance, there was plenty of action. There was double-crossing, scapegoating, chases, kidnappings… Again, because I didn’t remember much of the first book, the plot wasn’t easy to figure out beforehand. So, if you want to keep things mysterious for this book, don’t go digging for a recap of These Broken Stars.

In terms of characters, I felt they were very nicely done. Lee was a strong heroine, of Asian descent, and she knew what it meant to be a part of a military organization, and reading her struggle with that was really nice. While Lee was world-weary and pragmatic, Flynn was more of a dreamer, a talker.

I was, for some unfathomable reason, expecting this to end in a more dramatic note. Then again, the main characters do not have the political significance of Lilac, from the first book. But I still felt it missed some sort of bang at the end.

Now I have to wait until December (Patience is not one of the many virtues that I possess *ahem*) for the end of this trilogy. Given what we have learned so far, it should be a blast!

365 Days Of YA Challenge!

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Somehow (sorry, don’t really remember how), this showed up on my Twitter:

365 Days of YA: A 2015 Reading Calendar! [INFOGRAPHIC]

(taken from here: http://www.epicreads.com/blog/365-days-of-ya-a-2015-reading-calendar-infographic/)

What is it? Well, it’s a YA book calendar. There are seasonal suggestions, weekly series suggestions and daily suggestions. Seriously, it’s staggering. And the amount of work that must’ve gone into it it’s likely massive. I mean, thinking up of 365 different YA books? Nope, not easy.

Then, twittering around, I found a fellow blogger (Literary Kate) that came up with the idea of turning this into a challenge! Brilliant!

So, the challenge (found here: http://literarykate.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/365-days-of-ya-reading-challenge/), means that I have to, every month, set up a TBR made up of books that appear in the book calendar.

For January, my TBR is:

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)

Illusions of Fate

I Was Here

Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)

Trust Me, I'm Lying (Trust Me, #1)

2014 In Numbers

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Okay, so 2014 is officially over. This means I can take a look at some numbers…

This year, I’ve read 211 books in total, and that number can be broken down into:

54 stand alones
71 series started (oh boy… The sequels are going to kill me! Just kidding, just kidding)
83 sequels

(And no, those numbers do not add to 211. Why? Well, because there were 3 non-fiction books thrown in the mix as well.)

While I’ve started 71 series, I’ve finished at least 25 series, which is not too shabby, methinks.

The books that really stood out for me this year were:

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)

Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1)

Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #3)

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha, #3)

Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming