Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meaghan Spooner

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I had just finished checking out a haul of books from the library after my shift and was signing out in the office when the teen librarian and I began chatting. He’s always very curious to see what is on my tbr, so naturally, he wanted to know what books I’d just picked out. One look at These Broken Stars and his eyes lit up. “Christina, you’d better start that early in the day. You won’t be able to put it down.” He said.

Of course, I couldn’t wait until the morning to start it. I ignored the advice, and began reading it late into the night, thinking I’d sample it before bed at least. Well, I fell asleep at 12:30 am “sampling” the novel, and woke up with the book in my arms. I opened my eyes, and guess what I did? I stayed in bed until I finished reading it, looked at the clock; it was nearly noon. Oops!

I think you can tell by now that I really, really enjoyed the book. I’ll tell you why.

TBS is the story of the downfall of a top-of-the-line spaceliner the Icarus. Suddenly, the Icarus is “yanked out of hyperspace” and crashes on a nearby planet, killing everyone on board, seemingly, but Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen. Lilac is the priveleged daughter of the wealthiest man in the universe, while Tarver is a young war hero. The two opposites are forced to battle their new territory together, with all its strange plants, animals and hauntings, in order to survive what could be an eternity alone. Duh duh duh!!!

Holy hell. There is something so beautiful about this book, cover aside. (Don’t worry, I’ll rant about that in the next paragraph.) The plot, the characters, everything. As someone who is a bit squeemish, I also sincerely appreciate how some things were disturbing but without the graphic imagery that books like those in the Across the Universe trilogy supplied. Don’t get me wrong, that trilogy is still one of my all time favorites in the YA sci-fi genre, but I think it’s amazing if a writer can send chills down your spine without forking over all the gruesome details. (I will never forget that scene in Shades of Earth. Ever. Wish I could tell you what I’m thinking of!)

And of course, the showstopper here is the cover. This is hands-down one of my favorite book covers of all time. It’s gorgeous and fits the book perfectly. (*cough*, Half Life of Molly Pierce step up your cover game *cough* *cough*) I mean, I’d get this cover framed and hang it in my room. Seriously. I’m that obsessed with it. (Aka, I am that insane.)

Now, I can’t write this review and not tell you the one thing that bugged me. I honestly hated Lilac for the first quarter of the book. She was just so prissy and annoying. That’s not a fault in the writing, though, since it is part of her characterization and she grows throughout the book. I’m just saying, I could not stand her sometimes. Thank God for Tarver. But no worries, because Lilac comes around. What comes around goes around. Wait no, what am I saying?

I give These Broken Stars a 5/5 stars!

Whether you are a newbie to YA sci-fi or a seasoned sci-fi aficionado, I think you’ll enjoy the unique mystery and romance this book has to offer. And of course, you should all check out Beth Revis’ Across the Universe trilogy, because that is amazingness. (My review is here: http://wp.me/p4MMvX-2c). Seriously I do not know that I could pick one over the other. They may both be sci-fi, but the stories are so different from one another!

And of course, you all remember when I fan-girled over this;

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I’m getting my paws on the sequel for sure. I’ll probably be tweeting my thoughts of it as I read it, so check the post signature for details on where to follow me! (P.S I am finally going to re-link my tumblr to my social media page this week, so get excited for that too!)

So that’s it folks! I know this is a weird time for me to post but I could not wait to get this review out there for you. I’m looking forward to hearing from you guys about TBS, Across The Universe, or any other YA sci-fis you love!!

Follow me @books_palettes for sneak peeks, musings, and more! My avatar image is from “Jen Loves Teaching.”

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Review: In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

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Description from Goodreads

My Thoughts
First off, I’ll tell you that I am no expert on graphic novels and I do not claim to be. I haven’t read a graphic novel in a couple years. But when I saw this at the library, something pulled me to it. I felt that for a minute I was a graphic-novel lover and I NEEDED that book right now.

The next thing that you should know about this graphic novel is that is an extremely quick read, especially since not all the pages have text. It is a hundred and seventy five pages, yes, but I read it in about 15 minutes, if even that. But since reading speeds vary from person to person, I’d say it’ll probably take you from 15-30 minutes.

I enjoyed it but I felt it went a little too fast. The book takes place over a couple of weeks, but it felt like maybe one or two days had passed. Again the entire book can be ready in 15 to 20 minutes depending on your reading speed. I wanted more! It was awesome to see a video game come in book form, and I didn’t understand why it had to be so short! I would’ve loved to meet the teacher in-game, for example.

One note critique; it says on the top of the front cover (cut off above), that it’s a “graphic novel for gamer girls of all ages.” However, that very statement, though meant to be a complement, probably turns off a lot of guys who may have thought of reading it. Boys and girls can and should totally read the same books, but what guy wants to walk around with a book that basically has a “girl alert” label on it?

The Verdict
– Awesome idea and illustrations from an amazing author and illustrator, but it left me wanting more. The story was good, so why limit it? I hope Doctorow will write more graphic novels in the future.

– This is a nice read for boring car rides or to cure any “book hangovers” you may have!

I give this one 3/5 stars!

P.S You may have noticed I have switched to a different uploading schedule. Before, I was posting every day, or as many days a week as possible. However, most posts were not reviews. I am trying to strike a balance between reviews and posts where you can get to know me better as a blogger and a person! Thanks for your patience and understanding! Blogging can be difficult; sometimes you feel like you are talking to a wall! Please don’t be a wall! 🙂

Review: Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

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Fasten your seat belts for this wild read. (Pun totally intended!)

Disclaimer: I did read an advanced readers copy of this book however I received this at a book event in September, after the book was published.

Short and Sweet Summary:
Leila is on a road trip to the Northern Lights, all by herself. But along the way, she makes friends, has her heart broken, and has a hell of a lot of fun. The book is divided into sections based on who Leila meets, and chapters within these sections.

So basically, all you can expect from this book is to have fun.

And boy,  did it deliver.

I felt like I was on a road trip. My life is pretty boring, which is probably why I read books. But my life didn’t feel boring when I read this. I felt like a wild teenager on a road trip that I won’t get in trouble for since I wasn’t actually on it. Leila and her road trip adventures are a ton of fun, and honestly a breath of fresh air. Leila is encouraging and all about living the moment. Don’t wait to get the guy/girl; life is too short.

Don’t be mistaken; this is no meaningless road trip. This is a road trip about finding yourself and making both a physical and mental journey from start to finish. Along the way, Leila changes the lives of random strangers, and each stranger makes an impact on her too.You can really see this book has a lot of meaning to the author.

However, I do have a couple critiques.
Why do none of the parents in this book care about anything, aside from the teens eventually returning home!?! For example, Leila’s parents? Hudson’s Dad?

But hey, if parents got involved, this book wouldn’t exist and I want this book to exist!

Bonus points for the book having one of the cutest book covers of 2014. I mean actually, I gave my mom a hearty speech about how in a dream world I’d have the book cover framed or displayed it’s that beautiful. (I swear I’m normal!) The postcards between sections are also an adorable touch! Aesthetically, this YA novel is nearly perfect.

Thanks, Adi; now I want to take a road trip too!
(But realistically, next stop, the library!!)

I give Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid a 4.5/5 stars for being a fun, feel-good read that still managed to have meaning.

Review: Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

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Image from Goodreads

My Synopsis
In this charming coming-of-age story, Willow Chance finds that she is a unique individual. In fact, her school counselor Dell dubs her a “genius.” But one day, she discovers both her parents have died in a car accident while she is in school and her life turns upside down. In this story of friendship and new beginnings, Willow begins to start her new life with a new family while awaiting the ultimate custody decision.

7 Things you should know about this book:
– 7 is a really important number to Willow!
– At 370 pages and some change, it isn’t the shortest book around, but it is certainly a page-turner.
– You may start to want to learn Vietnamese after reading this book!
– Willow may be a genius, but the book is written in simple, easy-to-read language
– This book is not inappropriate by any means so even younger teens could read it. However, I think adults would enjoy this too.
– The book is narrated in the first person, but Willow is so observant it seems almost like third person at times,
– The author is actually a movie director!

What I didn’t love?
– The ending was satisfying and surprising, but I didn’t know how well-thought out the explanation for the decision was. I’ll leave it at that.
– Not that much stuff happens outside of what I described in the synopsis, but that’s not to be unexpected from a realistic fiction YA novel.

7 words I’d use to describe this book
– heartwarming
– realistic
– charming
– funny
– coming-of-age
– original
– unexpected

It’s officially fall here in my neck of the woods, which means the temperature has been dropping! (The car actually feels like an icebox in the morning! Brr!) Who doesn’t need a heartwarming book and a heartwarming hot chocolate during this time of year? 😉

It would have been cute if this was my 7th review but fortunately I’m past that benchmark!

Have you read Counting by 7s? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!

Follow me @books_palettes for sneak peeks, musings, and more! My avatar image is from “Jen Loves Teaching.”

Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

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Remember my book haul from a couple weeks ago? I figured it was about time to tell you what I thought of The Falconer by Elizabeth May!

(By the way, this is an advanced readers copy but this book was published in May. I got this book at a book signing event two weeks ago.)

My Summary
Most royal daughters have pretty much the same lives; they dance at the royal balls, get dressed up, maintain a good reputation.  Aileana does all these things- except maybe that last part. She’s rich, beautiful, smart and witty. But once her mother died, her reputation shattered to pieces. She’s not just gifted at stunning, she’s a gifted murderer. Everyone thinks she killed her mother, but maybe she is fighting for a higher cause.

Although this book is pretty dark, it is pretty funny. How could you not laugh at a honey-loving pixie named Derrick and his interactions with Fae and Aileana? He’s like Winnie the Pooh meets a faery meets Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles!

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Notice I said faery. These are not cutesy pastel fairies. These are evil and murderous fae that stop at nothing to tear humans apart. That’s nice. But Aileana will stop at nothing to take them down before they take her.

This book is kind of like a buffet; it has a little of everything. It takes place in 1800s Scotland, it has romance, the supernatural,  elements of steampunk, mystery and action…. This book could please so many people.

So now you must be wondering, did I like it?
It was epic and fantastic and riveting and ah… I had suspenseful music in my head building up to that last sentence. Violent, yes. Do I love violent? No. But I loved the book.

I will admit this is my first steampunk YA and also my first YA historical novel in a while. Usually, I steer away from historical fiction since it tends to be a little boring and difficult to grasp, at least for me. I like to relate to books and a lot of times I have felt quite distanced from historical characters. However, this was not the case here. It felt almost modern in a sense- it was obviously not modern, but I felt like I really understood this life of Aileana’s, even though it is 1800’s Scotland.

I’d like to see a movie out of this one. Sure, it’d be disturbing due to the Fae but it’d be so so amazing!

So there you have it! Did you read it? Do you want to be a Falconer? Let me know in the comments below!!

Follow me @books_palettes for sneak peeks, musings, and more! My avatar image is from “Jen Loves Teaching.”

Favorite YA Book Characters

I could talk all day about favorite books, but what about favorite characters? Even a “bad” book could have an awesome character.

In no particular order, here some of my favorite book characters.

1. Thorne from Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Thorne is hilarious. The book isn’t particularly humorous but Marissa Meyer had a lot of fun with this character’s personality and it really made the already amazing book. Thorne also appears again in Cress!

2. Ash and Puck from the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa
I read this series a few years ago, but if you need proof of the fact I liked Ash so much, I put a team Ash poster up in my room and I never took down. (I forgot it was there, ha!)

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Wallpaper from juliekagawa.blogspot.com

I’m trying to decide if that quote is utterly adorable or incredibly creepy… Probably both.

3.  Amy from the Across the Universe series
Everything about this series was awesome, but especially Amy. She fought for what was right and knew exactly what she wanted. Sigh, I miss that trilogy.

4. Derrick from The Falconer by Elizabeth May
This little guy may be small but he’s got a big personality and a Winner the Pooh-esque love for honey. LOVE.

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Gif from Julep.com

5. Tessa from Impostor by Suzanne Winnacker
Wouldn’t it be so cool to have Tessa’s DNA mimicking abilities? Then again, a world with people like that would be pretty scary.

What are your favorite YA book characters? Let me know in the comments below!!

Follow me @books_palettes for sneak peeks, musings, and more! My avatar image is from “Jen Loves Teaching.”

Creepy Books?!?

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After sitting in the library for hours taking a practice exam, I was finally able to actually look at the books! (Hurray!!)

Here are three books my friend and I found…
Which, somehow, are all incredibly creepy sounding.

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Description screenshots from Goodreads!

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Random fact about me: I play clarinet. When I read this description I was thinking HOLY MAGICAL CLARINET that’s awesome…

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My friend flipped out when she saw this one! She thought it sounded so good that she checked it out on the spot.

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This book so much like Pretty Little Liars- which I don’t love- but it sounds really good anyway.

Have you read any of these books? Do they intrigue you? Let me know in the comments below!

Follow me @books_palettes for sneak peeks, musings, and more! My avatar image is from “Jen Loves Teaching.”