Book Ramblings

Book Rambling: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (ARC)

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Title: The Girl From Everywhere

Author: Heidi Heilig

Series: The Girl From Everywhere (Book #1)

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Publication: February 16th, 2016

Rating: ★★★★★

 


2016 seems to be the year for time travel and ship books.  We have Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, and Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor.  We also have The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig.

I absolutely loved this book.  It’s a very character driven book and Heilig’s characters are wonderfully developed.  Watching these relationships grow and develop was an amazing experience.  You have father-daughter, friends-to-lovers, and general friendships.  The development of all these relationships was flawless, and I enjoyed the journey.


“Sometimes a person has to let go of something to take hold of something else.”


Readers can tell that Heidi Heilig did a lot of research for this historical fiction novel.  The historical events, folklores, and legends were all very accurately portrayed and explained, and I learned a lot from it!  I definitely appreciate the amount of work that she put into this novel.

This is her debut novel, and it’s an amazing debut novel! She is very talented at telling the story and her sentences are beautifully crafted. I enjoyed the descriptions and the world building.


“‘Love?’ The word was bitter as hemlock. ‘It’s just another addition.'” 


The ending was okay.  I definitely enjoyed the journey more than the destination; it isn’t my favorite ending.  I thought some parts of the ending were a little convenient, and I got confused in some other places.  Overall, it tied up nicely and was more of a nice fizzle than ending with a huge bang.

It is extremely difficult to write a time travel novel, in my opinion, because it is hard to explain whether or not future actions in previous times can change history as a whole, etc.  I think Heidi Heilig did a great job explaining a lot of the technicalities of time travel.  It did get confusing at times but I feel like that is inevitable with this subgenre.


“This is paradise…This is home.” 


#WeNeedDiverseBooks YAY for diverse characters.  If you want a diverse book, this is it! Half-Chinese, Persian, African, Lesbian – you have it all. Diversity is definitely done very well in here.


Thank you NetGalley and Bonnier Publishing for this e-ARC. All opinions are solely my own.

Have you all read this? What did you think? If you haven’t, do you think you’ll pick it up when it’s out? I definitely recommend it!

Also, where can I get a pocket dragon named Swag of my own?

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Book Rambling: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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Title: Red Queen

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Series: Red Queen(Book #1)

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publication: February 10th, 2015

Rating: ★★★★1/4

 


“Rise, red as the dawn.”


I heard a lot of mixed reviews about Red Queen before going into it, so I had very low expectations. However, I was pleasantly surprised.

The main criticism I have heard about this novel is the similarities between it and The Hunger Games and Red Rising. I definitely saw a lot of the similarities.  But, I loved both Hunger Games and Red Rising, and I found that I didn’t really mind the tropes. It was more funny to identify all the references I noticed.


“I told you to hide your heart once. You should have listened.”


My one of my favorite parts of the book was how Victoria Aveyard wrote the romance.  Ladies and Gentleman, this is a romance done correctly. A lot of people hate love triangles, but I actually think this is one of the more successfully executed love polygons. We had a strong, independent woman who stood for her beliefs and didn’t compromise them for any guy.  However, she could fall in love.  Just because there is other stuff going on in you life, doesn’t mean you can’t fall in love. Additionally, there was the perfect balance between our female protagonist’s “greater cause” and her romantic life. She wasn’t obsessing over guys during crucial life-and-death situations, but she wasn’t completely devoid of feelings.


“I see a world on the edge of a blade. Without balance, it will fall.”


I really enjoyed the characters that Aveyard created.  At first, I didn’t really like Mare’s family, but when we met the rest of her characters, I loved the complexity behind each character and was actually able to connect with some of them.

The world building was okay.  It wasn’t very fleshed out, but I liked the magic system (powers) that Aveyard included.  They were really interesting and creative!


 

“In the fairy tales, the poor girl smiles when she becomes a princess. Right now, I don’t know if I’ll ever smile again.”


 

The plot was semi-predictable, but I didn’t predict some of the really big twists that occurred.  The second half of the book hurt my heart, tore it out and ripped it to shreds.  I actually threw my phone across the room (my e-book reader). The novel ended with a perfect set-up for book 2 and conclusion to book 1. I want Glass Sword to come out as soon as possible!


BONUS: 

The lovely Giselle from A Book and A Cup of Coffee  created an amazing music playlist for this novel.  I think everyone should check it out! The 8tracks link is here.

What did you all think about Red Queen? I know there are a lot of differing opinions, so I want to hear them all!

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Book Rambling: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

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Title: The Raven Boys

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Series: Raven Boys (Book #1)

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal/Magic

Publication: September 18th, 2012

Rating: ★★★★3/4

 


“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”


I ADORED THIS BOOK!

The reason I took off 1/4 of a star is because I thought the beginning was a bit slow.  I tried reading this a few months ago and stopped after a few chapters, but I tried again this time through a buddy read with Kate from Kate Reads Lit!  I don’t know about her, but I had a blast buddy reading this with her and being able to freak out and fangirl with her.


“My words are unerring tools of
destruction, and I’ve come unequipped with the ability to disarm them.”


The beginning had a eerie feelings which made me dislike some of the characters.  It was hard for me to connect with the Raven Boys at first.

However, the writing was flawless throughout.  I read Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series, but I think her writing in this book was significantly better than in Shiver.


“It was the way she felt when she looked at the stars.”


Once I got through the first few chapters, the plot rapidly picked up.  There were so many unexpected turns and twists; I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.  I was buddy reading this, but read really far ahead because I couldn’t just stop reading (oops, sorry Kate!)

Although the magic wasn’t my favorite part of the book, this is definitely a character driven story. Stiefvater really makes you fall in love with the characters and creates a marvelous mystery along the way.

It’s worth all the hype and more!


I feel like the last person to read this book, so tell me your thoughts in the comments below!  AND CAN WE JUST DISCUSS RONAN/NOAH/GANSEY/ADAM?!

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Book Rambling: The Prophecy of Shadows by Michelle Madow (ARC)

Book Review

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Title: Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows

Author: Michelle Madow

Series: Elementals (Book #1)

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Publication: January 26th, 2016

Rating: ★★★


Abbreviated Goodreads Summary:

When Nicole Cassidy moves from sunny Georgia to gloomy New England, the last thing she expects is to learn that her homeroom is a cover for a secret coven of witches. Even more surprisingly … she’s apparently a witch herself. 

When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole, Blake, Danielle, and two others in their homeroom are gifted with mysterious powers. But the comet has another effect—it opens the portal to the prison world that has contained the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes and attacks Nicole and Blake, it’s up to them and the others to follow the clues from a cryptic prophecy so that they can save their town … and possibly the world.


 

Non-Spoiler Review:

This books is marketed as a cross between Percy Jackson and the Secret Circle.  I absolutely love Percy Jackson, so I was extremely happy that I was accepted to review a copy of this!

The reason that this book gets a 3 stars from me is probably because of the characters. I thought that the main protagonist, Nicole, was kind of boring.  She has a “chosen one” storyline which I don’t mind, but her as a character was just a little bland.  Also, her romance was very insta-lovey, so beware if you hate that. The insta-love doesn’t bother me too much.  The thing that made me dislike her the most was probably the fact that even through all the challenges and missions the group was trying to solve, Nicole was constantly obsessing over Blake.  For example, it’ll be like “Let’s solve this puzzle. Just kidding, I’m going to stare and think about Blake.” So, she is not my favorite female protagonist.

However, the side characters, Kate and Chris, are my favorite in this novel.  Both of them actually have depth and are more entertaining to read about than Nicole.  Also, the way the author wrote Danielle, as a typical “she’s a b-word; we hate her because she’s dating the hot guy” was a little too cliche for me.  But the side characters were fun to read about for me!

Additionally, a lot of the book was just info-dumping.  We see it with Danielle – we’re more often TOLD that she is terrible rather than shown.  With the magic system in general, we get a lot of info dumped on us rather than exploring how the magic works.  The novel wasn’t very long, so maybe a longer book would have helped with both the worldbuilding and the pacing/convenience.

Overall, I think this novel was a fun and entertaining read.  I liked the Greek mythology elements, and the plot was enjoyable (albeit a little predictable).  If you love YA fantasy and Percy Jackson, I definitely recommend giving it a shot! The different powers were really interesting to read, and I think with more character development further along in the series, I will like the characters more!


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**Thank you NetGalley and Barclay Publicity for giving me a review copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are solely my own.**

 

Book Rambling: Seven Ways We Lie (ARC)

Book Review

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Title: Seven Ways We Lie

Author: Riley Redgate

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Publication: March 8, 2016

Rating: ★★★1/2

 


Goodreads Summary:

Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—whether it’s Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage; or Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.

 


 

Non-Spoiler Review:

When I read the description to this book, it immediately intrigued me. I book based off of the seven deadly sins seems like it has a lot of room for discussion of very real conflicts that people experience. While Riley Redgate did a good job, and it was an engaging read, I thought that at times, everything seemed very exaggerated and overwhelming.

I enjoyed the writing – it was easy, fast paced and fun to read. I know lots of people may dislike the multiple points of view, but I think it was refreshing. At times, I got confused as to which character was speaking, but Redgate did a fantastic job differentiating the voices of the characters. As a big fantasy reader, I had no problem with the multiple points of view.

The plot was interesting enough to keep me going, and I wanted to see the characters discover the different conflicts each had and how they were going to deal with them. However, like I mentioned before, I became a little overwhelming sometimes because it felt like a hodgepodge of everything that could go wrong. On the other hand, Redgate did a great job delivering his message about how everyone has issues that they must deal with, and those issues are real and tough, but no one has the right to judge anyone for that.

Even though it was a little unbelievable, overall, I enjoyed this read! It was a refreshing contemporary read that doesn’t follow the normal YA tropes, and it wasn’t very romance centered. If you are a contemporary lover, I do recommend this!

**Thank you so much Net Galley and Amulet Books for providing me with an ARC copy. All opinions are entirely my own**

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Book Rambling:The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

51j9lzjvw6l-_sy344_bo1204203200_Title: The Winner’s Curse

Author: Marie Rutkoski

Series: The Winner’s Trilogy (Book 1)

Genre: YA Fantasy, Romance, War

Publication: March 4th, 2014

Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Summary:

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love…

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.


Non-Spoiler Review:

I was going back and forth between 4 and 1/2 stars or 5 stars with this novel, but ultimately boosted it up to 5 stars because I really, really enjoyed reading it.

I absolutely adored the characters in this novel.  I think this fantasy book is very character driven (even though the plot is amazing too), and the characters by themselves are wonderful.  I love Kestrel’s intelligence and spunkiness, and I adored how she was an amazing, strong female protagonist without having to devalue her “beauty” or “femininity”.  I loved that she could kickass and look fine at the same time.  Arin is also equally amazing.  He’s a wonderful character who is actually complex, and an awesome love interest for Kestrel.  While individually the characters are great, their dynamic together is even more spectacular.  Also, I loved the novel even more because Kestrel has an awesome female friendship with Jess.

The only thing that the book might be lacking in compared to other fantasy novels is world building, but I actually thought the amount of world building worked really well in this novel.  We got a lot of the different cultures in this book, and there were hints of a lot more to come in future novels. I think it worked well with the plot of the novel, so the world building did not feel like info-dumping.  I also loved the political intrigue and the strategizing in this book.  (I know a lot of people criticize Red Rising by Pierce Brown for all the war strategies, but this book has the perfect balance!)

The plot is also amazing! The twists and turns and different dynamics always kept me on my toes, and I found it very, very hard to put this book down.  I thoroughly enjoyed all the events that occurred and even if my heart broke in some scenes, I still love them!

I recommend this book 100% to anyone who loves YA, who may be new to fantasy or is a fantasy junkie, who loves a good romance, or just anyone in general!

I can’t wait to pick up  The Winner’s Crime (especially after that ending…), but I don’t want to wait until March for the third book.


What did you all think of this novel? If you haven’t read it, do you think you might pick it up?

-A

 

Book Rambling: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

129546201Title: Falling Kingdoms

Author: Morgan Rhodes

Series: The Falling Kingdoms  (Book 1)

Genre: YA Fantasy, Romance, Epic Fantasy

Publication: December 11th, 2012

Rating: ★★★1/2


Goodreads Summary:

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed… and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.


Non-Spoiler Review:

I had been hearing about this series for months before finally picking it up and that may have killed some of the enjoyment for me.  This book was slightly over-hyped in my opinion.  Recently, I have been reading a lot of adult epic fantasy, and that kind of messed with my expectations of a YA fantasy series.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE YA books, especially YA Fantasy (The Grisha trilogy is bae).  However, I thought this book was too fast paced for me.

I didn’t really have time to fully get to know the characters and their relationships with each other.  I understand this is the first book of a 6 book series, but I felt that Rhodes could have done more character development in this novel.  However, she did an amazing job at world building.  The differences between the three countries and the explanation of the magic system were both so descriptive and detailed.  World building was phenomenal!

Also, a slight pet peeve of mine which the fast-pacedness contributed to, there was an insta-love moment in this novel, and the events after the reveal bothered me a bit.  Since it was so fast-paced, I was not really attached to any of the characters.  This book is described as Game of Thrones lite which I completely agree with (and I usually don’t like to compare books).  This means that there is a lot of character death, but since I wasn’t too attached to the characters yet, the deaths didn’t really have that shock factor.

Overall, this is a great YA fantasy series, and I recommend it if you are a newer fantasy reader, or if you want a more accessible, fast fantasy to fly threw.  There is never a boring moment, and I am excited to pick the next book up! Hopefully, I’ll love the characters even more in the sequel.


 

What do you all think about Falling Kingdoms?

Happy Thanksgiving,

A