Monday, December 21, 2015

Review: The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1) by Amy Engel

Title: The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1)
Author: Amy Engel
Published by: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Released: 2014

Summary: A Nuclear War and disease have decimated the Earth. Not long after, survivors have found their way to a town in Missouri, and have named it after the man who discovered it, Westfall. Then the Lattimers show up and the fight for Westfall begins. The founder of Westfall, a man named Westfall, believes in democracy and freedom. Lattimer believes that people should be ruled and not trusted to make decisions for themselves. Two sides form, but Lattimer's side comes out on top. Westfall and his supporters grumble, but don't leave the town and the safety it represents.
Two generations later, the Lattimers still rule the town and make decisions for the residents and how it is run. Every month of  May the daughters of Westfall's supporters are offered in marriage to the sons of Lattimer and his supporters. Boy nor Girl have any decision in the matter of who they will marry.
Today is Ivy Westfall's wedding day, granddaughter of the original Westfall. She is to be wed to Bishop Lattimer, a boy she has been told from birth to hate. Her mission is simple, first she marries Bishop, then she must kill him. Every revolution has to start somewhere. But Ivy's mission gets harder when she realizes Bishop and his family might not be the bad people she was always told about. Ivy now has to decide what to do to save everyone she cares about.
My Thoughts: I was really interested in the book after hearing all the hype surrounding it. It seemed to be a book that came out of nowhere and was a surprise hit. It had a premise that sounded interesting to me and I couldn't wait to read it. I'm happy to report that I really, really enjoyed it. It had all the feels that I wanted and the situation settings that I always love. Anything that's post-apocalyptic, dystopian, and romance is the book for me.
One of my favorite things about this story was the relationship aspect. It wasn't an insta-love, which I was so grateful for. It was actually a relationship that grew as the story progressed and felt really believable. Bishop is just such an awesome, swoon-worthy guy. I'm also always interested in arranged marriage stories. It's such an intriguing concept. There's the fear and nervousness that comes in marrying someone not of your choice or someone you don't even know. Then there is also the curiosity to see how it will work out.
All the gray areas in this book were really interesting too. No character, with the exception of Callie, was all good or all bad. You could see how some of the ideas presented at the time started off good, but how they morphed into unpleasant things and consequences. Ivy is put in a real pickle with what to do. She loves her family and has kind of been brainwashed as to their cause, but then she meets Bishop and sees he is not the enemy her family has led her to believe. In a way, I thought the choice she made was really the only option she had. But something still needs to be done about Callie. Bishop needs to be warned or something.
I would have liked more of a post-apocalyptic feel to it though. The town was so safe that you really didn't get an idea of what was beyond the fence. Hopefully the sequel will be full of that fun stuff.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It just had that kind of feel and writing to it that sucked me in from the first page. I can't wait to see how it continues and how everything gets resolved. This book definitely deserves the hype surround it. It's just fun and romantic.

Enjoyable, but that cliffhanger is a little mean.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Reading Right Now! (#46)

What I'm Reading Right Now! is...

Title: The Book of Ivy (#1)
Author: Amy Engel
I am so close to being done with this. I've probably got around 20 pages left to read.

I had heard about this book sometime either early 2015 or late 2014. It was a surprise hype read. On Goodreads, it has about a 4.24 rating, which is good for any book. I knew I had to read it to see what I thought of it, and also because I'm always drawn in by the hype.
This book is a slight postapocalyptic, slight dystopian, but more romance driven read. About two generations past, the Earth and civilization was destroyed by disease and (maybe) nuclear war. Survivors found their way to Westfall, in the state formerly known as Missouri, and set up a settlement there. Then there was a little bit of a civil war between the founder of Westfall, who was named Westfall, and a man named Lattimer. Westfall wanted a democracy, but Lattimer didn't think society could handle that and wanted a certain group of people to have power and make the decisions. Lattimer won and Westfall had to grumble and accept that even though he founded the town, he wasn't in charge anymore.
Now the town of Westfall has a tradition where the girls whose families followed Westfall are arranged in marriage to the boys of the family who supported Lattimer. At 16 years old, today is the day that Ivy Westfall is set to marry Bishop Lattimer, and in three months, she's supposed to kill him.
Ivy must decide who's more important to her, her family, or Bishop Lattimer and the feelings she's starting to develop for him.
I'm definitely liking this book. I have this weird fascination with the arranged marriage concept, so I'm interested in that part. I really love post-apocalyptic/dystopian tales. And the writing in this book just has that comfort  feel to it. I start reading it and know from the first page that I'm going to enjoy it. I also like how this book has so many gray areas. Most of the characters aren't all bad and most aren't all good. Except for Ivy's sister Callie, I don't like her. I'm also really loving the relationship build up in the story. It's a relationship that's really grown throughout and it's believable because of that. I don't think this book is going to get a 5 star rating from me, but it's definitely going to get a 4. I really am enjoying it.
Since I'm so close to being finished with this book, I have some other ones on the pile to read next.

Title: Saga: Volume 3
Authors: Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Title: Shadowlands (#1)
Author: Kate Brian

So that's what I'm Reading Right Now! and what I hope to read next. If you've read any of these books, let me know what you thought of them.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Review: Once (Eve Trilogy: Book 2) by Anna Carey

Title: Once (Eve Trilogy: Book 2)
Author: Anna Carey
Published by: Harper
Released: 2012

Summary: The second book in the stunning Eve Trilogy takes up right where the first one left off. Eve has made it to Califia, but has had to leave everyone who mattered to her behind. In the girls only refuge of Califia, Eve's true love Caleb is not allowed. When Eve hears a rumor that Caleb is outside in the wilds, hurt and helpless, she decides to leave Califia in order to be with him. Trouble ensues and Eve finds herself captured by New American soldiers and is taken to the King and the City of Sand. While in the City, Eve finds out some shocking secrets from her past and must try to find a way to reunite with Caleb and rescue her friends.
My Thoughts: I really enjoy this series. Anna Carey has delivered a solid sequel to Eve with Once. The Eve Trilogy has quickly jumped my list to favorite dystopian series and I can't wait to find out what happens in the last book Rise! This is one trilogy that I highly recommend picking up and devouring.
This second book was just as enjoyable as the first. It had a very fast, action packed beginning, a kind of slow middle, and a heart breaking end. I really enjoyed being introduced to the King and the City of Sand, and just being introduced to a different part of this New American world. I think Anna Carey did a great job of making our "villains" seem human. It was tough for me to hate anyone in this book. With the City of Sand, the reader can see that the King is trying his best to lead and create a new world, but he doesn't always make the best decisions while doing so. Carey just does a good job of making each character human and not setting them into camps firmly of good or evil. But Carey also shows the importance of choices and the flaws of a society where the well being of some is more important than the well being of all. I just really enjoyed the glimpse into the city. I don't really know what to think of the ending. Definitely heartbreaking, but at the same time, I'm thinking this can't be it.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book and I'm really enjoying this series. Can't wait to see how it all ends in Rise and I hope Eve, Arden, Caleb, Pip, and Ruby all have a happy ending.

Stunning sequel! Can't wait to see how it all ends.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Review: Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Don't Look Back
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by: Hyperion
Released: 2014

Summary: She wakes up with no memory and no idea who she is. Stumbling down a dark road with clothes covered in blood, Sam knows nothing. Sam learns that the night she disappeared, her best friend Cassie did too, but no one has found her yet. Sam is the key to solving the mystery, if only she could remember. 
Sam is a blank slate, she is getting a second chance to live her life. The more Sam learns about herself, the more she hates the girl she used to be. She was mean, feared, and it seems like Cassie was more foe than friend. 
When flashes of memory surface, Sam starts to question if she's really safe or not, if someone is there to make sure she never remembers. Sam must find out what happened that night to Cassie and to herself, before it's too late.
My Thoughts: I was a little nervous going in to this one. Jennifer L. Armentrout is such a beloved author, and my first experience with her work wasn't good. I read and finished her Covenant series this year and really didn't like it. The main character Alex caused me so much hate. So I was nervous going in to this second book by JLA, that I would have the same annoyances and find the same kind of characters. I am so happy to say that those nerves were for nothing. I liked Don't Look Back. I thought it was a compelling, page-turning mystery. Sam as a main character was someone I was okay reading about and being stuck in her head. And I loved the boy candy in this book <3 I'm not completely on the JLA bandwagon yet, but now I'm definitely not as nervous about reading more by her.
I really enjoyed the premise of this book. I love a good mystery/thriller. Something that keeps me flipping pages and trying to figure out who-done-it is always an enjoyable read for me. For the most part, the story sped by. I will say that by the middle of the book, I did suspect someone of the crime and I turned out to be right. So I wasn't shocked by the ending because I kind of figured out who did it.
Samantha was an intriguing character to me. Learning how mean she was before her memory loss and then her being a kind of completely different person after, I don't know if I completely bought into that. I think I just felt kind of ambivalent toward Samantha.
Now Cassie was a really interesting character. I would have loved to experience parts of the story through her eyes. She was pretty messed up, but there was a part of me that could understand her.
And I loved Carson! Such a book boy hottie. From the first scene he's introduced, I knew I would like him. So swoonworthy, and just imagining those eyes!
So yeah, I definitely enjoyed Don't Look Back. It was a very fun, who-done-it mystery. I'm definitely planning on reading more books by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and hopefully I'll find that one book or series by her that I absolutely love. I would definitely recommend Don't Look Back to those looking for a good mystery and a hot book boyfriend.

Twisty, Turny, and Very Mysterious!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Reading Right Now! (#45)

Title: Tin Star
Author: Cecil Castellucci
I'm about 65% done with this book. It's actually due back at the library tomorrow, so I really need to finish it. I hope that I can do it. I just get distracted by Netflix. My current obsession show is Person of Interest. John is a very attractive older man haha.

I get obsessed with Netflix very easily. There's just something so satisfying about being able to watch episode after episode when I want to. Being able to watch a series through from beginning to end, without having to rush and catch it on TV. But I am a little worried because I've heard the 5th season of Person of Interest is only going to have 13 episodes and it could be in danger of being canceled NOOOOOOO!!! So I'm definitely going to suggest that people watch it. On a similar note, would anyone be interested in posts about Netflix or shows that I'm obsessing over? I'm thinking of filming another Netflix Addiction video for my sad and forgotten youtube channel. I figure, TV is another one of my sad hobbies and I know there are other people that love shows just as much as me.

Sorry for my rambling, I will talk about what I'm Reading Right Now! now. Tin Star is about this girl named Tula Bane(?) who gets beat up and left for dead on a less traveled space station. She is nursed back to health and becomes a trader, living in the underguts of the station. An alien named Heckleck takes her under his vestigial wing (haha I'm so clever and lame) and shows her the ropes of the station and surviving her new situation. Tula is determined to one day find her way off the station and get revenge on the guy who beat her up and left her to die, Brother Blue.

This one is a little weird for me. I'm enjoying it mostly because of how unique it is. In the world of YA, this is a book living in its own corner. I'm interested to see how everything plays out. Tula lives an interesting and lonely life. Her world is just so different from any that I've read before. She's literally the only human on a space station full of different kinds of aliens. I imagine it to kind of be like that famous scene in Star Wars in the bar, so many different creatures residing in one place. So yeah, this book is different, but in a good way.

So that's what I'm Reading Right Now! Tell me what you are reading in the comments below. And if you are watching anything good on Netflix, let me know that too! 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Review: Changeling (Order of Darkness Book 1) by Philippa Gregory

Title: Changeling (Order of Darkness Book 1)
Author: Philippa Gregory
Published by: Simon Pulse
Released: May 2012

Summary: The year is 1453 and Luca Vero receives a strange and interesting assignment. Luca is pulled out of the monastery where he was placed as a young child and taken on a mysterious journey. He fears he is to be punished for heresy against the church, but instead finds himself promoted to a new position as an Inquirer, with the task of inquiring and looking into possible end of time events. His first assignment is to investigate a nunnery where strange things are occurring. Nuns are having visions, sleepwalking, and some are waking up with the marks of the crucifixion upon their bodies.
Lady Isolde has lost her father and instead of inheriting the castle, lands, and taking care of the people like her father promised; she is given the choice to marry an unwanted suitor or give up her worldly ways by becoming the lady Abbess of the nunnery. The nunnery being the better option, Isolde chooses that fate and then the nuns start to go mad around her. 
Luca and Isolde's paths end up crossing as they try to figure out just what is going on in the nunnery.
My Thoughts: I was very curious to see what Philippa Gregory's first Young Adult book was like. I've read at least one of her many adult books, and had found it to be an enjoyable, interesting, and historical read. While I was interested in the story and world of Changeling, I wasn't blown away by it. Changeling didn't feel like a YA story with YA characters, it just felt like another one of her adult books. One thing that kind of annoys me is the thought process that having a character who is 16 or 17 automatically makes it a YA book. YA books have a certain feel to them and Changeling felt very much more adult than it did YA. Also, it was very historical. Now I'm not hating on historical fiction. I'll devour a story set in an interesting past time or place, but in Changeling the history/setting seemed to take center stage while the story and characters kind of took a backseat. Also, the subject matter of monks, nuns, and making vows of celibacy before God are just not subjects that I think appeal to the teen reader. Changeling just felt more adult than teen, with an overbearing presence of history.
I also didn't really connect with these characters. As a reader, I kind of felt removed from them and not really a part of their story. And the relationship between Luca and Isolde seemed questionable, seeing as how he didn't even really like her at first and he's got that vow of celibacy hanging around his neck.
Now, my review isn't all bad. I did find this story to be an enjoyable read. There were some exciting scenes where I had to keep reading just so I could find out what happened. I also enjoyed the character of Frieze. At first I thought he was a little crazy, saying whatever popped into his mind and directing them at his horse, but he grew on me as the story went on. 
I think this series would make a very interesting television show set in medieval times. If the next book in the series shows up at my library, I'd probably pick it up and read it.

1453, here I come.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Review: Reawakened (Reawakened #1) by Colleen Houck

Title: Reawakened (Reawakened #1)
Author: Colleen Houck
Published by: Delacorte Press
Released: August 2015

Summary: Lilliana Young leads a sheltered and privileged life. She gets the best grades, wears the best clothes, and lives in a fancy penthouse. Her parents expect her to act according to her station and live a life that won't embarrass them. Lily is mostly fine with these expectations. She never knew she wanted a grand adventure until the day she witnesses a mummy coming to life at the museum. The mummy's name is Amon and he has been charged with keeping the world safe from the god of chaos, Seth. But this raising is different from Amon's others, he's missing something vital, something only Lily can provide. Lily is whisked away with Amon in an ultimate quest to keep the world safe for the next 1,000 years.
My Thoughts: I was pretty excited to see this new release on my library's shelf. I'd heard the buzz about Reawakened on GoodReads, and was excited to read something by Colleen Houck. And the book is just beautiful to look at. It has a fantastic cover design and carries on those beautiful design elements in the inside as well. So, I was pumped to love this book, then I started reading it, reality hit, and I figured out that I didn't like the story inside at all. I pretty much didn't like the story from page one. It was very disappointing because I wanted to like it, but for reasons I will explain, I just couldn't. Now, I'm a little scared to read other books by Colleen Houck because I'm afraid I won't like them either.
The very first and most important reason I didn't like this book was because of the main character Lilliana Young. Boy was she awful. From the first page, it was pretty evident that she was a snob who thought a whole lot of herself. She was rich, she only wore the nicest clothes, and she had a tendency to look down on people she thought were beneath her. For example, in the first chapter she sees a cute boy, then glances at his hair and clothes and dismisses him as not worth her time. Lily is also a bit of a loner, but she can really only blame that on herself. I mean, she even looks down on people within her own circle. When Lily is making fun of her "friends" while eating lunch with them, I just thought she was mean. I need to be given a reason to think people are awful and while I couldn't see that reason for her friends, I could definitely see it for Lily.
Even when Lily is swept away with Amon, I still couldn't stand her. Her sense of self-importance is still going strong and it's funny because the only real reason she's brought along is because she's the first human Amon encounters (more on that bit later). She also made all these stupid references to Amon that he wouldn't understand. He's been mummified for 1,000 years, he's not gonna have any idea who Indiana Jones or Sigmund Freud is. Just stop Lily, I need you to stop.
Now as for Amon, while I didn't hate him as much as Lily, I didn't really like him that much either. He's kind of a dull, robotic character. I was in no danger of having a book boy crush on him. I mean, his first real strike was attaching himself like a human parasite to Lily. He was literally living off her life energy. She wasn't special, she was just the first human he saw. I just didn't think that was a very noble or chivalrous thing to do. And I mean Lily was an idiot for not being more angry about the fact he was using her like that.
My last main problem with the book was the romance. Ughh, just ughh. I mean, here's Lily throwing herself at Amon, he's obviously not interested, but she just won't give up. She's not lacking in self-confidence, because she says all the time how pretty she is. But I mean, if Amon doesn't want to kiss you, then just accept it, and don't keep trying or making innuendos. I just didn't feel the romantic spark, all I really felt were Lily's neediness and delusions. I mean, it could be argued that romance happened at the end, but by the time it got there, I was so over it.  And how is a romance realistically going to happen when he preforms this ceremony and is then mummified for another 1,000 years? Just dumb, really dumb.
Also, I felt the pace of this book was kind of slow. It seemed to take forever for Amon to find his brothers and wake them. I'm not sure I even care to see where this series goes next.
So, I did not like this book at all. It was a struggle for me to get through. Lily is one of the most annoying, self-important, stupid characters that I've read in a while. I feel no connection to her and could care less whether she winds up happy. The romance was bleh, not buying it. Any guy that's using your life energy without asking is not a guy to swoon over. I am not a fan of this tale. If you like this book, just know I'm not putting you down for it. Everyone has their own opinion and different books speak to different people. These are my honest thoughts and my honest review.

Nope, not for me.