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review 2015-09-18 02:43
Mini Review: Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo

Release Date: September 29, 2015
Source: BEA ARC
Published by: Henry Holt

Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo | Goodreads

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

 

My first impression of Six of Crows was that it felt like a much different story from Shadow and Bone. Though they take place in the same world and feature similar elements (i.e. there are some gruesome scenes; the dark themes are still prevalent in SoC), Six of Crows, on the whole, is more character-oriented and driven. Its plot may feel more commercial (i.e. "Game of Thrones"/high fantasy meets "Ocean's Eleven" comparison) than the symbolic light/dark hero's journey of the Grisha trilogy, but it's certainly no less cinematic. Here's where Bardugo's writing shines - and I would prefer, actually, to see this adapted over the Grisha books.

In fact, Six of Crows seems a great improvement on the Grisha trilogy (though those books still remain my favorites). One critique I had seen of the Grisha trilogy, though I did not quite agree with it, had to do with the world-building - Six of Crows is a clear expansion on the world-building of the Grishaverse. These books may take place in the same world, but newcomers need not fear: there is enough detail on the magic to render the Grishaverse comprehensible and not so much that old fans will feel bogged down by details. The details of the world at large paint a vivid atmosphere; it's easy to feel like you're walking beside Kaz and his crew, and things come together in a wonderfully picturesque fashion. This made me wonder if the world was the heart of this novel: the details of Ketterdam and beyond feel well considered in minutiae. Furthermore, the expansion on the magical system established in the Grisha trilogy feels natural -- another detail to make this fantasy world feel real.

Some fantasy novels develop their worlds at the expense of character, plot, and pacing. Not so with Six of Crows - almost every one of the main characters has a PoV, clear backstory, and something they need to change in their lives - which often fuels the tension of this novel, differing and potentially conflicting motivations for their heist. Where other authors might hide the character motivations and make characters feel mysterious (unknowable) for the sake of suspense, Bardugo does not; and instead, plays her characters off one another, having us wait for those defining moments when characters are forced to reckon with each other. Although the main characters have POVs, the book is still plot-oriented mostly. In essence, it captures the same feel of old favorites like Harry Potter, plot-focused but with characters who clearly have their own stories. With all of this in mind, the pacing in the first half is slower to accommodate for us getting to know the characters, but speeds up during their jaunt to the Ice Palace.

If you were unsure or not much a fan of the Grisha books, giving Six of Crows a chance is a wise decision. SoC clearly shows Bardugo's growth as a write and with four starred reviews to boot, it's an exemplary case of YA commercial fantasy done well - and also likely to be well received among Grisha fans. If you liked the Grisha books, you will likely find Six of Crows a cinematically vivid page-turner bursting with sarcastic, witty yet ruthless characters, a motley assortment who will have to make the riskiest theft of their lives but may lose other things in the process. Definitely one of fall's most anticipated YA titles for good reason.

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review 2015-02-02 05:00
I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
I'll Meet You There - Heather Demetrios

e-ARC, 400  pages

Release Date: February 3, 2014

Published by: Henry Holt & Co. 

Stand-alone

Source: Netgalley (A huge thank you to both the publisher and Netgalley. This galley was provided to me in exchange for a just and honest review. I received no type of compensation for getting this galley.)

For fans of: Contemporaries, Diversity, Realistic Fiction, Tear Jerkers, YA, Sparkly Covers, DEAR

 

     If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.
     Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

 

*MY THOUGHTS*

       I know I loved a book when I have to start and stop a review several times and I'm still unsure I've found the right words for it, This is one of those circumstances. I'll Meet You There is a swoony, funny, sarcastic, and just everything you need from a book. 

"Being a Marine isn't the only thing you're good at. Maybe you just don't know your thing yet, you know? I think..." I took a breath "I just think you're selling yourself short.'"

25%

     Skylar is not your typical girl from Creek View. She has an actual chance of getting out. (Without becoming pregnant first.) Try as she might to stay out of trouble, it still found her. In the form of a Marine. Josh is back in Creek View after his tour in Afghanistan and and everything is different. Especially him. As the summer goes by, both Skylar and Josh see what's really important to them. 

"...it's okay to be proud of yourself, Josh."

32%

     I loved all "the feels" this book brought on. I laughed out loud, I cried, I got mad, I felt EVERYTHING while reading this. I was fully immersed in this story. Enough to cry real tears and talk back to the book like Skylar would jump from the pages and do what I told her. 

"you can't have the light without the dark, right? Maybe our darkness was necessary for other people to see their light.'"

43%

     I also loved the beautiful, lyrical way this story was written. Although the main character of this story is Skylar, there are some chapters from Josh's POV that are super intense and give us a look into his feelings. Though they sometimes hurt to read, I loved that Demetrios gave us that glimpse at Josh. This way we were able to see why he did what he did although we may not have agreed with it. Yes Skylar may have been the MC, but my favorite voice of the story was Josh's.

"What am I supposed to do when I'm bad for the one good thing in my life?'"

65%

     As far as Josh and Skylar together there were so many hick-ups but I rooted for them the entire way. Both Josh and Skylar needed someone to be loved by and I wanted them to find it in each other. There were many times I was upset that they didn't do what I wanted them to, but at the same time, I understood. But trust me, the times they finally get it right, it was electrifying. Josh is seriously swoony and he and Skylar together captured my heart. 

"Love is medicine and dreams are oxygen.'"

-Acknowledgements

     Heather Demetrios is quickly becoming one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. She dares to write outside the box, from teens with huge families that make it to television to teen amputated war veterans. Her writing swept me away to the trailer park in Creek View and even though Skylar was so intent on leaving, I didn't want to. 

Overall, I give this

 
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review 2014-09-01 10:20
NICOLE'S REVIEW: Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
The Kiss of Deception - Mary E. Pearson

Lia flees on her wedding day with a bundle of stolen documents and her maid. She doesn't want to have any part in the arranged marriage she's forced into and throws duty aside in favor of her freedom. But Lia never really thought of the consequences that would surely follow her shunning of an arranged marriage with a possible political ally and she's going to have to man up and figure out how to fix the mess she's created. Runaway princesses, assassins, princes and a war that's just waiting to happen.

 

When I first started the book I was like well, okay. I can't begin to understand the pressure that comes along with an arranged marriage so let's give Lia the benefit of the doubt. It's not hard to imagine yearning for a life elsewhere when you're forced into marrying someone you've never met. It was kind of annoying that she'd shirk duty over the chance of finding love but hey, I'm not going to judge. Much. 


Things started to get annoying when the love triangle was introduced. Enter Rafe and Kaden. One's a prince and the other assassin. Lia doesn't know who they are and assumes that one is a merchant and the other a fisherman (if I'm not mistaken). She spends an inordinate amount of time brooding over which boy she wanted and this goes on for around half of the book. Dances, boys, working at the inn, boys, getting attacked by a bounty hunter, more problems with boys. Ugh. She spends a lot of time complaining about being loved and wanting to love and finding love. Please. Stop. 


Also might I add that Lia is kind of an idiot? When she manages to meet up with her brother and he tells her of the trouble brewing between Morrighan and Dalbreck and the marauders who want to conquer the two kingdoms she responds with surprise. SURPRISE. I mean did she not stop and think that maybe there was a reason for the political marriage? That maybe it was a way to get two kingdoms who were at odds with each other to form an alliance against the invaders? I mean Lia! Come on! And all for what? An imagined love? 


Thankfully, somewhere along the latter half of the book Lia grows a spine, realizes that she's a princess and she has duties to her people and her kingdom and finally -FINALLY- gets with the program. Better late than never. This is where things also started to get exciting and it got back to being FANTASY. Because really mooning over boys and watching them wrestle on logs over mud was kind of boring (and stuff like that doesn't only happen in fantasy books). I wanted action and angst and epic battles and magic! Maybe there wasn't exactly much of an epic battle but at least the latter part of the book rekindled my faith in the story with the twists and turns it took and that ending! Mmmmm.


I'd have given this book a higher rating if the first half was as exciting as the second but I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series. Hopefully it gets better and Lia puts away boys for a moment and focuses on saving her kingdom first. What's the use of boys if you're all dead.

Source: thetwinsread.blogspot.com/2014/09/nicoles-review-novel-nails-17-kiss-of.html
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review 2014-03-09 16:36
Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Hardcover, 404 pages

Release Date: February 4, 2014

Published by: Hanry Holt & Co. (BYR)

Stand-alone

Source: Own

For fans of: Contemporary, Hot Literary Guys, GLBTQ, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Sparkly Covers, YA

 

     Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show's cancellation, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it's about to fall apart . . . because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™'s mom and the show's producers won't let her quit and soon the life that she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.

 

 

*MY THOUGHTS*

 

     In my family there's mostly girls. From me, to my sisters, to my cousins, to my cousin's children. And to make it even worse we're all exactly seven years apart. (It's a little weird lol) And trust me, we couldn't be more different if we tried. I used to think that with all our personalities and girlie meltdowns life couldn't get any worse. But then, I read this. And now, let me just say.... THANK GOODNESS FOR MY FAMILY. 

 

      Bonnie™ Chloe is from a family of 13 children. To add to the chaos, her huge family stars in its own reality tv show. Of course this means there is no such thing as privacy in thier home. (This is where I started feeling thankful for my family.) Everything Chloe does is scrutinized and it's unfair. Chloe is a teen that never gets to be a teen and constantly gets reminded of the worst time in her life. As soon as she begins to feel the slightest bit normal, her world is turned upside down again. No one understands why she doesn't want her most private moments filmed for the world to see. No one understands that all she wanted was some things to herself. It's such  unfortunate situation. 

 

     But even though no one else is listening, there is someone who sees how unhappy she is. Patrick. And let me tell you, ladies and gentleman, he is way too perfect. Everything he does centers around Chloe. Normally, I'd be all for that, but their relationship was a little intense for them to be in high school. But, no judgement because there are high school sweethearts out there in the world. I'm actually thankful she had him to go to because she really had it rough. She really deserved to get her happily ever after. Both her and her brother.

 

     What I loved most about the book was the characters. For there to be 13 children, 3 parents, 2 boyfriends, 2 BFF's, about 3-4 camera/production people, and countless paparazzi, none of them felt flat to me.It really seemed like everyone had a purpose. Yes it was a bit chaotic, but look at the type of story this it. There was no way it wouldn't be... My favorite character was Benny. I liked the MC, but Benny was such a strong character. In the way he handled some things I was a little reminded of myself and I had to go back and evaluate some things. 

 

     It's funny, I put this book on my TBR because of its bright, beautiful cover. I wasn't really expecting the inside pages to affect me like they did. Demetrios' writing style sucked me in completely. I felt all types of emotions while reading this. I swooned, laughed, and even got a little misty eyed! (That scene with the boyfriend shirt?! Yeahhhh...) 

 

     From the amazing characters, to the chaos that is her family, to the emotional wild ride I was on while reading this, I enjoyed every bit of it. So much so I stayed up until 5 am finishing it (ON THE DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME DAY SO I HAD ALREADY LOST AN HOUR OF SLEEP MIND YOU!) and I don't regret it. Now I'm just a little shocked that this is a debut. 

 

Overall, I give this

 

 

 

 

 

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url 2013-11-08 22:06
Book Review & Giveaway: Uncrashable Dakota by Andy Marino
Uncrashable Dakota - Andy Marino

Giving away my ARC of this novel, which has a middle grade / younger reaches of YA steampunk titanic in the sky vibe & is being released on November 12, 2013.

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