2 Stars

[ARC Review] Another Day by David Levithan

Another Day (Every Day, #2)Another Day  by David Levithan
Series: Every Day #2
Publication: August 25th 2015 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 300
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Sci-fi/Fantasy???
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

The eagerly anticipated companion to David Levithan’s New York Times bestseller Every Day
In this enthralling companion to his New York Times bestseller Every Day, David Levithan (co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green) tells Rhiannon’s side of the story as she seeks to discover the truth about love and how it can change you.
Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.
Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all.

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[Review] The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

The Walled City

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
Series: None
Publication: November 4th, 2014 by Little Brown Publisher
Number of Pages: 432
Genre: YA, Historical, Fiction
Source: School library
Rating: ★★

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

730. That’s how many days I’ve been trapped.
18. That’s how many days I have left to find a way out.
DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible….
JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister….
MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She’s about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window…..
In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out. (more…)

[ARC Review] Those Girls by Lauren Saft

Those Girls

Those Girls by Lauren Saft
Series:
None
Publication: June 9th, 2015 by Poppy
Number of Pages: 336
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Source: NOVL Newsletter (Thanks~!)
Rating: ★★

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

Some girls will always have your back, and some girls can’t help but stab you in it.
Junior year, the suburbs of Philadelphia. Alex, Mollie and Veronica are those girls: they’re the best of friends and the party girls of the school. But how well does everybody know them–and really, how well do they know one another? Alex is secretly in love with the boy next door and has joined a band–without telling anyone. Mollie suffers from a popular (and possibly sociopathic) boyfriend, as well as a serious mean streak. And Veronica just wants to be loved–literally, figuratively, physically….she’s not particular. Will this be the year that bonds them forever….or tears them apart for good?
Lauren Saft masterfully conveys what goes on in the mind of a teenage girl, and her debut novel is raw, honest, hilarious, and thought-provoking, with a healthy dose of heart. (more…)

[Review] The Complete Maus – Art Spiegelman

The Complete Maus (Maus, #1-2)

Author: Art Spiegelman

Series: Bindup of both volumes

Publication Date: October 1st, 2003

Publisher: Penguin Books

Number of Pages: 296

Genre: Graphic Novels, Historical, Biography

Source: School library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale and Maus II – the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler’s Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival – and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents. A contemporary classic of immeasurable significance. (more…)

[ARC Review] Seeker – Arwen Elys Dayton

Seeker (Seeker, #1)

Author: Arwen Elys Dayton

Series: Seeker #1

Publication Date: February 10th, 2015

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Number of Pages: 448

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Romance

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon


Summary

Quin Kincaid has been put through years of brutal training for what she thinks is the noble purpose of becoming a revered ‘Seeker’.

Only when it’s too late does she discover she will be using her new-found knowledge and training to become an assassin. Quin’s new role will take her around the globe, from a remote estate in Scotland to a bustling, futuristic Hong Kong where the past she thought she had escaped will finally catch up with her. (more…)

[Review] The Rithmatist – Brandon Sanderson

The Rithmatist (Rithmatist, #1)

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Series: Rithmatist #1

Publication Date: May 13th, 2013

Publisher: Tor Teen

Number of Pages: 378

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Sci-fi

Source: School library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.

A New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2013

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[Review] The Ring & The Crown – Melissa de la Cruz

The Ring and the Crown (The Ring and the Crown, #1)

Author: Melissa de la Crus

Series: The Ring & the Crown #1

Publication Date: April 1st, 2014

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Number of Pages: 384

Genre: YA, Historical, Romance, Fantasy

Source: Public library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.

But even with the aid of Emrys’ magic, Eleanor’s extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen’s Guard.

Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie’s face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she’s always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she’s always dreamed of–the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor’s court: trust no one.

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[Review] The Paper Magician – Charlie N. Holmberg

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy, #1)

Author: Charlie N. Holmberg

Series: The Paper Magician Trilogy #1

Publication Date: September 1st, 2014

Publisher: 47North

Number of Pages: 224

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Adventure, Fantasy, Romance

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


 Summary

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

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[Review] Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy

Author: Richelle Mead

Series: Vampire Academy #1

Publication Date: January 1st, 2007

Publisher: Razorbill

Number of Pages: 336

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, YA

Source: Library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

Summary

Prepare to be Tested.
The story that kicked off the international #1 bestselling Vampire Academy series is NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE.
Hit Theaters February 7th, 2014!
St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .
Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

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[Review] The Blood of Olympus – Rick Riordan

The Blood of Olympus

The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5)

Author: Rick Riordan

Publish Date: October 7th, 2014

Series: The Heroes of Olympus #5

Number of Pages: 516

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure

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.


Review

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW

I’ll put this out there right now. Please don’t kill me for it.

I finished this series only for Nico.

In my honest opinion, the first series far outshines the spin-off. For one, the characters and writing were both better in the Percy Jackson series than in this one.

So now, The Blood of Olympus.

I felt like the characters were different. This might be due to my foray into YA more than Middle Grade in the past year, but this time around, I felt like they were much more childish and out of character than I remember them being. Leo’s humor was much more obnoxious (to the point that it wasn’t funny) than I personally remembered. I felt like their characters were so unlike what I remembered them being. And Nico. Although I loved finally getting to read his POV, I couldn’t help but feel like his personality was originally portrayed as being so much more complicated than it ended up being. On top of this, he kept teasing us and saying that there were characters that were going to die and we all kept bracing ourselves for the heartbreak we’d feel when one character died. We were all expecting to cry and feel the pain BECAUSE of what happened in The Last Olympian. We expected sacrifice and pain.

I got none of that.

Riordan killed off none of the seven. Leo “died” but drank the potion. His sacrifice was supposedly “noble” and enabled him to be able to return to Calypso, but as a friend, shouldn’t he at least give his pals back at Camp Half-Blood a heads up?

But honestly, this wasn’t the most prominent issue it had.

The Blood of Olympus was very very dull. It takes forever for them to get into the battles and all of the individual problems. I’m pretty sure the only thing that kept me reading were Nico’s POVs. The buildup is so big that the payoff is disappointing. Obviously we knew that Gaea was going to be raised. If not, then the big battle would not have happened. But the way that Gaea was raised, due to Percy’s nosebleed, was so anticlimatic. The entire book was anticlimatic. I was expecting something like The Last Olympian, a great long book all about the battles and desperation of war. I was not happy with the one to three chapters, from like THREE POVs, out of all of the ones in the book. The entire book felt rushed and like a cop-out compared to what everybody in the fandom had been expecting.

Speaking of which, that ending was so not okay. There was literally no falling action that showed what happened after the battle. I mean, yay for summarizing everything, but I would sincerely like to know what the characters do. Some of them had great endings, but the rest? Not so much. What happens to Percabeth? What happens to Hazel? What about Frank? Please tell me.

I understand the appeal of a dramatic ending but this is the LAST book. I need some closure.

I also had a problem with the writing. It read like a fanfiction in some places and it felt like there had been no planning. Personally, when I try to write stuff that has many characters I do try to get a description of what every person is doing, but sometimes, it just ends up being tedious. In The Blood of Olympus, every single character’s actions during a battle were described in great detail. I love having the ability to visualize everything, but in this case, I felt like it detracted from my overall enjoyment of that particular scene and ruined the feeling of the battle.

If you don’t get what I’m talking about, here is my lovely demonstration.

The giants were coming. The ground shook as they rose from their positions and advanced on the demigods.
Frank (insert action and something to do with an animal transformation)
Percy (insert lengthy action and reasons why this POV thinks he is amazing)
Annabeth (insert action something about her fierce eyes and dagger)
Leo (insert action about tools)
Nico (insert something about dark shadows and skeletons)
Jason (insert action and something about power of Zeus)

Continue that for every single character in that battle and you get a good idea of what the scene ends up looking like.

Nico’s ending is fabulous. A little OOC, but I really liked that Riordan gave him a happy ending.

Now I’m always refreshing the Solangelo tag on Archive of Our Own and Fanfiction.net

Leo’s ending is also great but I didn’t like how the book cut off right after it. I wanted to see him return to Camp Half-Blood and have a similar return to how Percy came back in Battle of the Labyrinth. Either way, he and Calypso are so adorable together.

If there is any indication of the quality of this book, it’s that my ten-year-old brother didn’t get through half of it because he was bored.

2/5 Stars