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ivyrosen

ivyrosen

Mortal

A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas Fantastic! I shall review when I have a moment to clear my head and actually pick out the pros and cons, but for now, just know I loved it! Adored it! I want to experience it all over again like it was the first time.
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View on my blog

With all the hype surrounding A Court of Thorns and Roses, I was sure deep in my bones that I was going to dislike it. If you know me, you know I hate unwarranted hype. How wrong I was. Although, due to this unsettling I had, it allowed me to go into this with low expectations. I was prepared for a typical fairytale retelling. Nothing all that special.

And yet, here I sit, my love for this book off the charts.

Also, a secret: I love fae books. I don't have many in my arsenal, but I soak them in when I read them.

The writing of this book is so beautiful. I wish I could do it justice by talking about it, but alas my words are nothing to amount to the great detail that went into every shining sentence that fills the pages of aCoTaR. I have a thing for flowery writing, but don't let me scare you. There is a perfect balance. It's never too much and never too little. Sarah J. Maas found the thin line between "please give me more" and overboard. The fact that this is a retelling hardly seems to matter. The parallels between the original Beauty and the Beast and this are vastly different from each other. I find more similarities with East of the Sun, West of the Moon, in all the best ways possible!

The characters within A Court of Thorns and Roses are all very diverse from each other. Fayre is strong willed and stubborn and a leading heroine that I began to really like. There were moments that had me shaking my head at her actions and her stupidity. She didn't seem to regard other people's advice when it would best benefit her, but she dealt with the consequences. Overall, though, she struck me as someone that thought about others before herself. She was selfless and tried her best to do the right thing and this is something I always appreciate in a main character. As for Tamlin, he embodied the idea of a warrior turned noble. His anger was quick to rise, but under it all, his intentions were pure. He was complex in nature. Any mysteriousness that he had, I don't blame on him. He wasn't allowed to talk about his curse, so it stopped him from saying a lot of things. The other characters were all their own sort. Everyone had their own reasons and motives to drive them. Nobody felt flat.

The love between Fayre and Tamlin was intense, like a blazing fire that was slow to burn. The gradual increase up to their love was fun to read and the way they would slowly reveal to each other parts of themselves was endearing. Through it all, it was obvious that Tamlin wanted what was best for Fayre and did all he could to make her happy and comfortable. I have myself worried that Rhysand was going to be a love interest. I am not going to be happy at that point, if it happens. It will make the love between Tamlin and Fayre seem shallow and the sacrifice that she made all be for nothing.

I honestly appreciated that the "real" plot didn't get speed until about half way through the book. It was supposed to be hidden from Fayre and it wasn't her world to think about. Her resolve to help Tamlin was one of the only reasons she was involved at all. I have to say that I liked the world building as well. There wasn't an information dump thrown at you, for the most part. There were two parts that had my head reeling from everything I was reading, but after reading through it again, I found I comprehended it fairly well. The variety in fae creatures was interesting. Some creatures I recognized from other things I have read or games I have played, which makes me wonder where everyone is getting this information on magical creatures. I want in. (Not that I've looked very hard)

Overall, I would highly recommend this book. Like, you should be reading it right now. I want to reread it already. (sidenote: I painted my nails red in honor of the cover)

TL;DR

Good:
+ Characters!! Very diverse and unique from each other
+ Fairytale retelling w/o falling into the same storyline
+ Beautiful writing
+ Believable love progression
+ Pacing of plot

Bad:
- future book scares me

Final Rating: 5 of 5!!

Angelfall

Angelfall  - Susan Ee View on my blog

Going into this, I wasn't sure what to expect. I have never read an angel book before and, to make matters worse, paranormal books aren't exactly my forte. Although, I have to imagine that the image that the word "angel" brings up isn't exactly what happens to be in Angelfall.

The character of Penryn (whose name I love, btw) is a sharp and snarky girl whose sole thought is the survival of herself and her family, which consists of her crazy mother and her disabled sister, Paige. The fact that her sister is in a worse off state, since she can't walk, weighs heavily on Penryn's mind. She constantly thinks of her sister and what is best for her. When her sister is stolen away by an angel, she vows she will do anything to get her back. This is where Raffe is entered into the mess. A fallen angel whose wings were ripped straight off his back, he has bigger things to worry about than this human girl pestering him about a sister that's probably dead. This noncommittal behavior from Raffe makes it interesting to read. It seems he could leave at any moment. Also, the banter between Penryn and Raffe was fun to read. The love spark between them doesn't happen until pretty late in the book, but I personally could have went without it. It was light, but unnecessary. I am sorry, but I am biased. Some people will love it, but I am not one of those people.

As for Paige, she had a kind of innocent thing going on with her. She didn't have very long to fit in the character building, although I have to say that she survived the angel's experiments at all shows she is much stronger than Penryn seems to give her credit for.

One thing I really liked about this world was that it seemed very open world, I suppose. If you have ever played Fallout: New Vegas, this is what I mean. The going ons of characters are not directly related to what Penryn is doing. She isn't a part of the resistance that wants to save the world, all she wants is her family. The actions of the other characters do not stop simply because the main character isn't around. The world building was well enough. I felt it was a supple amount and that it can be filled in more in the other books. The plot is quick paced and survival is always a key feature at the back of Penryn's mind. I appreciated this consistence.

The writing is where I have to say the book was lacking for me. It was easy to read, but there was nothing that stood out to be as amazing and unique. I am very picky about that sort of thing, so it's not really the author's fault that I do not like her personal style. Also, there were some moments that had me rolling my eyes. Like, when they go to the angel party and Raffe calls Penryn beautiful. I did enjoy the moments of suspense, though. The emotions of the characters are conveyed very clearly (or not so clearly, if you know what I mean) and they are fluid with the personalities they have.

TL;DR

Good:

+ Characters are great, with awesome side characters
+ Interesting and unique take on angels
+ Very mood heavy
+ Open world
+ Light on the love

Bad:
- Writing is lacking
- Some moments are silly to read

Final Rating: 4 of 5

More Than This

More Than This - Patrick Ness Actual rating: 4.5

Amazing read! I am going to need to time to process that. I don't know if I'll ever truly be prepared to review it, but it might (hopefully) happen.

But, guuhhhhh, Patrick Ness! You are fantastic!

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli It was good, great even. I just don't know how to react to contemporary books. They so aren't my thing. I'll review it later. I need some fantasy for now.

Review at my blog Open the Page

Edit: Alrighty, so I suppose I should talk more about this book. I sorta made it out like I didn't like it, but that's not the case.

Warning: Spoilers and all that jazz

So, to start off, this book was cute and fun. It was light and nothing too, too dramatic was happening. The references to popular culture was nice, although if you somehow didn't get them, then that sucks. The obsession with Oreos was, uhmm, cute. But at the same time, I was like, "Shut up. Oreos aren't that good." I feel like a lot of what I didn't like was because I don't really relate well, while I understand that other people would relate better and enjoy that more than me. I found the reference to anime and manga interesting, but the moment she said Fruits Basket, I was like, "Noooo, not that one!" Which once again makes the relating thing hard. (I'm sorry to anyone I offend b/c I don't like Fruits Baskets and/or Oreos =p)

One thing that bothered me was that Simon didn't know his friends. Is he just a selfish person? I don't understand how they can have a deeper relationship if he doesn't know anything about them. I get that he was trying to make up for that, but still, c'mon Simon. Get with it.

The love interest was obvious enough, but if you just forget about it for a while and try to stop guessing all the time, I think you'll have a better time. It makes the reveal a lot cuter and shocking.

There are things I liked, like that the characters were all different from each other. I think that made them realistic. The little dramas that sprouted up among the friend group. So real. My friends did that all the time. The writing was very appropriate for the voice of Simon. It was very teen-esque.

The relationships between the side characters made for a nice subplot. It wasn't finished off or completed in a full way, which I like. Life doesn't just come to a close, it keeps going on and shaping.

The one major problem I had with the book was that it was too cute and light. It will be easy to forget. I don't think I wanted more, I just don't handle these types of stories well. I like character building and focus on their relationships, so you'd think I'd like this one more. But really, in the end, it wasn't enough for me. I wouldn't stop you from reading it, I would really recommend it. Just bear these things in mind.

Red Queen

Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard Find this here at my blog.

I just... Woah. I don't know where to start. I don't know what gripped me while I was reading this, but I do know that it affected me more than a lot of books have the ability to. A Darker Shade of Magic brought a moisture to my eyes, but it didn't have me gasping or giggling in excitement. I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. Multiple times, my eyes found themselves read lines ahead of my mind, and I'd have to backtrack and sigh at myself in frustration.

*mumbles incoherently*

Warning for Major Spoilers

I really want to jump right in and say that the characters are the strongest part of this book, for me. They have personality, fluctuation, real emotion. And I ate it up.

Mare, our heroine, is a Red. A poor, seemingly normal girl for the Stilts. She steels to help her family get by, counting down the days until she is drafted for the army. But that all changed when she took a tumble into an electric barrier and awakened something dormant inside of her, something only the Silvers were thought to possess. At first, I was rolling my eyes at the prospect of our MC being a specialty; the only one of her kind. Well, it turns out I was mistaken. Gladly, at that. I actually liked Mare (which itself is an oddity) and her ability to overcome her emotions made me proud of her. Being a creature of emotion myself, I know the downfalls that come with it. Mare transforms into Mareena to the best of her ability because it is all she can do to save her life and the lives of her family. She struggles to conform to the Silvers' way of life. But the thing I found myself liking the most about her was how human she seemed. She found herself having a hard time accepting the thought of having to kill people that, previously, she wanted nothing more than to die. Her thoughts and worries plague her consistently. There are other times when her hate consumes her and she urges the pain for them, to see them suffer. Another thing I found very appealing about her is that she kept her love affairs mostly separate from her course of action. She would reprimand herself if she was becoming too love stricken and, a lot of time, deny herself the indulgence. She was at odds with herself over the way she held her feelings towards Cal, which is understandable enough. And Maven. Well, we'll get to him soon.

Cal, the crown prince of the Silver kingdom, was like a walking contradiction. He would say one thing, have such a forlorn way of it, seem like he regretted the way things are; but he didn't try to stop them, he just let it happen around him. He reminds me of the way a lot of first world people are. He was bred to believe Reds to be below him, and while he mostly had an air of "that's such a shame" he didn't compromise this. Cal was never spurred to action in a way that would compromise his traditions or status. And for all his pity towards the Reds, he still upheld his duty to his kingdom before that. He would willingly kill them without a thought. His loyalty was unwavering. Well, almost. He had his moments of fault, like all humans do. And his feelings for Mare made his weak. It caused a ripple in his once steadfast ideology, one that would bring about ruin. I feel that his true might was seen when he was fighting. His fire blazed brightly (literally) and shone with his true calling: to fight, to dominate, and burn. He had such a collected facade, but when his true self would break through he was passionate and unstoppable.

And I guess that leaves us with Maven. I don't really want to talk about it, but it's unavoidable. Maven is the younger brother of Cal, the youngest prince, and the shadow of the flame. I feel in love with his character. He was kind and gentle, somehow still brave in his moments of fear. He seemed to have a true resolve to help the Reds. He joined with their resistance, the Scarlet Guard, and his intentions seemed pure. His feelings seemed so genuine. But then, it happened and it was all torn away. All his intentions became clear. I wanted to cry. Through the eyes of Mare, I had come to adore Maven, and when she was crushed, I was crushed. I personally felt betrayed. It means something to me when I can feel that. It was like Frozen all over again. His bitterness to being cast aside as the younger prince, someone that would never become someone worthwhile in the eyes of his father, had turned him into a cruel boy. His jealousy, while childish, is not infallible. His reasoning makes sense. He feels forgotten and left behind, and with the help of his mother driving him, he fixes it in a way that he is more adapt at. He fights with his mind, not his body. His hesitance to just destroy everything he built with Mare was intriguing, and the flashes of the Maven I came to love made everything so much worse. Even if he held some semblance of emotion for Mare, it could never be the same. In the end, he really was a coward.

Moving on before I get emotional...

The plot is a straight forward sort of resistance type. One group is being domineered by another, more powerful group. The MC is enlisted in the resistance and they help them to make a statement. It's nothing really that special, but the character are what give the story uniqueness. There is also a magic system, which came as a surprise to me. I suppose somehow I forgot about it when I actually started the book. It was interesting. There are the elemental types (fire, water, air, ect.) and then there are types that can invade your mind, types that can force you to do things against your will, types that can bend light, among others. I can't explain them all, but even though there are a lot, I found it easy to keep track of them. The book doesn't overwhelm you with them, reminding you what the type in subject is when necessary.

The world building is nice. There wasn't a lot thrown at me with this either, which is a good thing in most cases. From what I understand, the world was rebuilt from some sort of past, so this society can technically be classified as dystopian. Mare is taught things over a period of time, which allows the reader more insight to the world. I never did figure out where they are located, but when the name Caesar popped up, I had a few thoughts. The hierarchy between the Reds and the Silvers is what consisted of a lot of it, with descriptions of the living areas of each being prominent. I'd like to see more of this in the sequel to come, and I know I won't be disappointed.

The writing was captivating. I couldn't stop reading (except for the moments when my exasperation got out of hand and I had to walk around) and I devoured the story. In the beginning, I was complaining that the book was nothing special. And really, I still hold onto some of those feelings. Some things feel recycled, but I can overlook this. But at some point, something changed within me and I stopped trying to judge the book and allowed myself to enjoy it. It was really relieving and after that, everything excited me. I really got immersed in the story, which I can say hasn't happened for a long time. I appreciate that the love wasn't front and center at all moments. I didn't order a romance book with a side of uprising and I was happy with what I got. There was a bit of this feeling of Mare being put in the cross-hairs of Maven, Cal, and her friend, Kilorn. But, in the end, I felt that it was never really over emphasized, especially by Mare herself. She never broke out into monologue of how beautiful *insert boy* was, which makes me breathe a sigh of relief. The pacing was good, nothing ever seemed too slow at moments when it shouldn't be. The ending is fast paced and enticing with good resolution and set up well to flow into a sequel. I did get the feeling that everything was going to be okay by the end, but a lot more people died than I thought would.

TL;DR

Good:
+ Characters to the MAX
+ Nice story progression
+ Colorful magic system
+ Love story doesn't subtract from plot
+ 'DAT ENDING!

Bad:
- World Building could be better
- Common plot lines

Final Rating: 4.5 of 5

An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes - Sabaa Tahir This review is also available here on my blog Open the Page

Warning: Spoilers, probably. You have been warned.

I don't like doing synopsis type things, so let's get on with the review. =p

This book was one I went into expecting to despise. Which, in itself, is easy to overcome. When I went through a few people's reviews I started to worry that the hype was just hype and the book was passable. But I decided to read it anyway and I'm glad I did. I really am.

The action scenes are lovely! The author seemed to know what she was doing when she wrote them. They are fluid and a good length. And the world in which the characters find themselves is very appealing to read about. The details and lore of it aren't thrown at you right in the beginning, but gradually pieced together as the book progresses. And yet, I still have a complaint. While the people around them are given in detail, I don't like the lack of detail about their surroundings. I have no clue what the place looks like other than that it is a desert. I have to guess it is Roman-esque just based off of the way the lore defines the Martials, but I feel as though I was never actually told in a good description what the school looks like. Maybe I read it and just forgot and if so, I'm sorry. Please correct my mistake. I hate to be so picky, but it's just in a fantasy book I need to be told these sorts of things to build the idea of the world in my mind. I need to be able to envision where the characters are. Also, I know that the world is supposed to be a harsh place to live, but the constant use of rape as a conflict kinda bothered me. I understand that it happens and that it's scary, but reusing it over and over makes people uncomfortable (not me, really, but people). I don't think it should have been used to emphasis how pretty Laia was, for another thing.

The characters are interesting to me. Elias is a compassionate thing, having to hide his feelings behind a (heh) mask when the world in which he is raised expects him to have no regrets. Loyalty through and through to the Empire. He dislikes that even his best friends seem to have no feelings towards the Scholars, who they are taught to look down upon. He doesn't understand how people can be so cruel and he doesn't want to be the type of person he is basically forced to be. I also like that it is shown that he has this thing called hormones because it is just human to me. His feelings toward Helene, his best friend, were not clear sighted. I do wish that he had more of an idea of his own thoughts, but his fickleness makes him human. His desire to not interrupt his comfortable relationship with her bothered me, but I understand. Taking a leap is a hard thing to do when you have a previous friendship. If you don't work out, you lose so much more than if you had just stayed as friends. I think it's ironic, though, that in the long run Elias is selfish. He constantly thought about his own happiness and freedom. When it boils down to it, he was going to kill Helene.

The other MC, Laia, was a bit more on the dull side for me. Even so, I enjoyed reading her parts (surprising) and once she started to overcome her fear, it became easier to deal with. I honestly appreciated the fact that it took Laia so long to be able to get on with her spying. She was afraid for her life: a coward, and it showed. She was trying to become someone stronger and the road to strength doesn't come in a day. She sort of used other people as a crutch and her reliance on her brother shows this, but her resilience to become stronger pays off in the end. It just makes sense to me. When she realized that her shortcomings were harming the Resistance, she decided to try harder and put herself in more danger to get results. Being surrounded by the people that bare scars of their experiences in the same position as you, I'd think you'd be afraid of acting out. I don't like that people discredit the differences between people. Not everyone is as emotionally strong as others may be. What takes someone days to master, it could take someone else years.

Another important character was Helene. I really liked the way she was written, even if I didn't personally care for her. She was strong and adhered to the rules, in a way that kept from her potential by her loyalty to the Empire. Her love for Elias was subtle, for the most part, but definitely important. The best part I saw from her was when she told Elias that it was hard to love him. It hurts me that her love for him can't be pure and unhindered, that it has to be dampened by their situation and the fact that Elias doesn't love her back. I don't expect Elias to be forced into loving her, although his attraction to her is evident. It's just a shame, really. Her reluctance to defy the rules is shown all through out her character. They matter to her more than anything. So when she ignores them for Elias, it says a lot about her.

I saw that a lot of people were complaining about the love square thing that was going on, and while I see where they are coming from, I don't exactly agree. I thought that the love spark between Elias and Laia was unnecessary, yes; it needs to be explored and expanded upon to be believable. But the other interests (Keenan and Helene) were validated. Elias was trying his best to not destroy his relationship with Helene, but the interest was still there. He, like always, was masking ('dat pun again) his feelings. Laia, on the other hand, was trying to latch onto someone that felt safe. And Keenan was the closest thing she was getting to comfort. I do hope that the relationship between Laia and Keenan dissolves, though. There is room for so much more than we are getting and I hate for all the character to be wasted on shallow love interests.

The ending had a lot of unresolved questions and there is no way this book is a stand alone, even if it was advertised as such to me.

Overall, I'd say the book is good. It could use improvement, but I am fine without it. The characters are all very different and I liked the way the plot advanced into what it did. I expect good things from the sequel, if it gets picked up by the publisher.

TL;DR

Good:
+ Characters/Character Growth
+ World
+ Action

Bad:
- Lack of detail
- Use of conflict (aka rape)
- Love mess

Final Rating: 4 of 5

Snow Like Ashes

Snow Like Ashes - Sara Raasch Warning: Contains spoilers and some badly veiled ranting

Well, after all that reading, I am left feeling... kind of discontented. Everything seemed to build to this beautiful breaking point, then when the actual act of resolve happened, it was over in a breeze. It felt like it never happened. I read it a few times over, making sure I didn't miss something. But no, there was nothing more.

Firstly, the plot. A nice basis. A kingdom of Winter taken over by Spring. An orphaned girl turned queen and the venture to saving her countrymen. Nothing too elaborate. Nothing too out of the ordinary as far as fantasy novels go.

Next we have the characters. I'm just going to say that the character of Meira wasn't one of my favorites to ever be conjured by an author. Her personality seemed to fluctuate and lose parts and gain others sporadically, as if the author couldn't decide if she wanted a fierce girl or a blushing damsel. So she simply combined them when she wanted. It was a bit ridiculous. And Meira was so indecisive. She would make a life changing revelation on one page and then change her mind the next. Then she'd go into all this speak of selfishness and how she should work on that, promises of not being selfish anymore, and then going on and being completely selfish. Not exactly the kind of queen I would want. I'm not trying to be harsh, but the development could have been a bit more clear. Sir's character was the most well rounded and realistic. His struggles were clear and able to be empathized with.

Then we have the love interests. I don't mind love triangles, for the most part. But this one felt so forced. Theron was a lovely prince, very just and supportive and all around likable. I'd say he was my favorite because that's just how likable he was. But I could see how people would be able to dislike him for being so likable. There's nothing wrong with him. His only fault is that he has little interest in being king, which isn't really a fault at all. It's more of an endearing point. The other boy was Mather, the childhood friend of Meira. From the beginning her interest in him was apparent. In my opinion, it was too much, but I suppose if you have nothing to do all day other than spar with your male counterpart that happens to be your age, it's hard to not fall for him. But it would seem that the boys' personalities would warp when in each others presence to conform to the needs of the author, the same as with Meira.

Nearly every other character was bland. I didn't care about a single one of them. Not a one. Not the poor Winterians slaving away in work camps and not the group of refuges. They could have all died and I wouldn't have cared because none of them were developed to the point in which I cared.

The lore was meh. It was all unrealistic with everything that happened being chalked up to magic. "Oh, I saved that guy? How?" Magic. "But... That doesn't make sen-" Magic. We don't know the limits of the magic, all we know is that it is magic and magic is magic. Also, why do all the people from certain Seasons have the same color scheme? Do they not breed with people from the other kingdoms? Why do the Conduit's only affect the people of their respective kingdom? Why are there four kingdoms of Seasons that each get a season for all time while the Rhythm kingdoms get four cycling seasons? How do the people in Winter get food? They can't grow things, can they? It doesn't make any sense to me. But I suppose, uhm, magic?

The writing was simple. Nothing too great about it. The symbolism was thrown in your face a million times and it got old. I get the spring was in darkness, okay? Please stop telling me every time you move throughout the castle.

Overall, I can't really remember what I liked about this book. I didn't feel any heartwarming feelings. I didn't feel much of anything other than annoyance at the conveniences that kept falling upon the characters. If I had to sum it all up into one word, I'd say: bland. It needed some seasoning! (the irony doesn't fall on me) But it has the right kind of structure and workings of a good book.

Final Rating: 3 of 5

A Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic - Victoria Schwab Warning: Spoilers!

Alrighty, let's start this review!

In the long run, I really liked the concept that this book was trying to convey. The idea of 4 different worlds very, very different from each other, like blocks placed next to each other. Something out of the ordinary to me. Which is a great thing! There's Red London, a world enamored in magic. Magic is the way of life, really. Then there is Grey London, and like the name suggests, they have a duller way of life. (aka the way we are) The magic has gone and become something of myths and legends. On the other hand (how many hands do humans have again?), White London is bleeding itself dry over magic. They want more and will do anything to have it. And of course, there is Black London. A place nobody ventures since the doors to it are sealed, and probably wouldn't even if they could. The magic there became corrupt and took over. Not exactly a friendly place.

As for the characters, there are our MCs, Kell and Lila. Let's make it clear at the start, Kell was wonderful to me and Lila was...lacking. Kell has a depth of emotion and this was made clear during his chapters. And Lila, although she has the potential, she felt very boring to me. I understand that her life was hard and she never complained about it. In a way, she embraced it and loathed those with more than her that took it for granted. There were moments I liked her and what she stood for. But there were other moments (far more numerous) when I disliked her. She's headstrong and strong willed, but for being a thief --someone that has to think of their every action-- she didn't think of what she was doing and frankly I don't know how she survived as long as she did.

As for Kell, besides the overused trope of how blatantly special he is, I liked him. I may just have a bias for male MCs, but I preferred his chapters as I begrudgingly read through Lila's. He has compassion and loyalty, even with his doubts and feelings of being an object to the crown. His feelings towards his brother, Rhy, were very strong and he would do anything for him, I'm sure. In my mind, his love potential towards Rhy is far above that of his with Lila, if there is going to be any at all. I don't think I'm imagining it and I really hope that I'm not. I'd love to see him struggle through the process of his feelings for his step-brother far more than I'd like to see him fall for Lila. Anywho, that aside, Kell was willing to sacrifice his life for his world. He didn't think of how to get around this, he simply accepted that it would be the easiest way of saving them. Very noble of him. I'd have liked to be able to feel where his loyalty towards his world came from, but I guess when you know what the other options are, you'd want Red London over anything else.

I suppose since I mentioned him Rhy should be on here as well. He is the prince of Red London and a very likable and charming person. It's made very clear that he has a wide taste in his sexual life. He wasn't seen that much, and if I have one gripe, it would be that I'd like to see more character relations. I was merely told that Kell and Rhy have a strong relationship, but I didn't see it. I'd love to develop a stronger sense of their bonds.

The main villains of this book were bland to me. They seemed ambitious and mean for no reason other than power. And while I'm sure that there are people like that (I'm looking at you GoT), I'd still like depth. Background. Something! For instance, what was done with Holland, who seemed to suffer through his entrapment and made me pity him. He wasn't flat. He had character, and though his motives were hard to understand that made him all the more enticing to read about.

The world building is lovely and enticing. I loved the sharp contrasts between the worlds and their people. Although it took me a while to wrap my head around the different worlds, I understood by the time I needed to. Schwab has a wondrous way with words and I applaud her. I also like how the different worlds have their own languages. It helps deepen the lore. I was left guessing at the cultural influences used for each world, but I can't quite figure it out. I assumed some sort of Scandinavian for White London, though. The plot was fast paced and so much happened! It would be hard for me to explain all the different points in a few words. A big thing for me was that the romance was left to a minimal. It was barely there and it wasn't lingered over. And that means so much to me.

Something else lacking for me was the fight scene between the villains and our MCs. It felt like it was over far too quickly and easily.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed ADSoM! There were some elements missing, but not many. I try to not critic a book too harshly, as many times, there is no flawless book. I base a lot of my review on how the book made me feel and this one was easy to get lost in. Also, I haven't mentioned, but look at that cover! It's fantastic!

Final Rating: 4.5 of 5

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - Benjamin Alire Sáenz Warning: Spoilers ahead. Like, for sure.

To start off, I need to get it out in the open that I seriously loved the way this book was written. The dialogue took over a lot of the characters interactions, leaving some room for personal interpretation during scenes. I can understand how this could be unlikable to some, but my personal preferences make it a good point.

The characters: Ari is a very fleshed out character. In some ways he reminds me of Holden from Catcher in the Rye. (please don't hate me) His uncertainty is powerful to read, the changing ways he views his parents, and the way he obsesses over certain things. Dante, on the other hand, is a ball of energy. Always the one that branches out and explores. At first I thought that his character was more 2D than Ari's, but after I rethought it I realized that he had his own struggles. His discomfort at being what he is, he doesn't really accept himself. He is an emotional creature and I can empathize with this.

I love that the characters actually have a relationship with their parental figures. In too many books, the parents are skipped over and the importance of the internal functions between parent and child are lost. Not only that, but the parents all had their own personalities and pasts and problems. They felt real.

The plot: I understand that there isn't one, in a traditional sense. This I don't mind. In fact, I encourage it because I am that kind of person. I don't really read to get somewhere, I read to enjoy the characters. I want to feel them and their emotions. I could read a whole book dedicated to the details of someone's home so long as you can feel the attachment and stories.

The writing: Beautiful! Simple, but sometimes it would hit me hard. I loved that small hints would be included where Ari would feel something more towards Dante. Subtle, but necessary and not overly obvious. The lack of romance in general is pleasing to me. I mean, I love fluff and all, but it's so refreshing to feel the characters beyond just "I love this person." More raw emotion with proof of their uncertainty and wavering thoughts, that's what I want. And this book did it.

The downfalls:
• The cliche of the conflict. When Dante is beaten up for kissing a boy. I understand, I really do. But it also feels like a cop out and I feel cheated.
• I felt that Ari accepted very quickly that he is in love with Dante after his parents told him that. I mean, yes it was obvious that he was, but I also thought he would have a harder time taking that in. It was all this build up to it and maybe I would have preferred not to have a definite love relationship. Either that or show more of his confusion towards his feelings for Dante. I don't know, maybe I'm asking for too much.

Overall: I really enjoyed this book. A hard 4 on the scale. This coming to terms sort of thing is something I really enjoy, a delving into the life of the character. It's a whimsical sort of thing and one that I enjoy immensely. It was a quick read and one I'd suggest to most people.

Final Rating: 4 of 5

The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger This book is not what I expected when I dove into it. What I thought I was getting into was a whiny teenage over reaction. And while all of that is true, there is so much more to be said. Holden is not simply a boy that doesn't understand. He sees things with a deeper meaning. In many respects, he is a very emotional boy. His adventures are crazy, to say the least. But then, Holden doesn't seem to be the most stable minded person. He is angsty all across the board. Many people say they dislike his character, putting him off as complaining too much. In my opinion, it is tolerable. In fact, I even find it amusing. I would even go so far as to say that all of Holden's complaining is heartwarming, in some regards.
I would urge people to give this book a chance. I went into it expecting to dislike it and I was pleasantly surprised to find it to be the opposite.

Black City

Black City - Elizabeth  Richards Actual 3.5 rating.

There are numerous reasons as to why I read this book, the main one being that I envied all the people that had read it and raved about it. I had to get my hands on it! So after the first failed attempt at Sam's due to a pre-shelving incident, I got it a few days after the release date. My sister was even nice enough to buy it for me.

Black City is a mesmerizing story about Natalie Buchanan and Ash Fisher. There meeting was an unlikely one, yet for them it was the beginning of something to be desired.
Natalie's family had once lived in Black City, during a time when her father was still alive. After his death they moved to a richer city. Due to her mother's job they return to Black City. In those first few days back, Natalie has a chance encounter with Ash. They meet for the first time under a bridge as he is dealing Haze, a potent drug that comes from the venom of Darklings. It was here, under that bridge that their story began.

Natalie and Ash are both very interesting characters. I was not at all surprised that Natalie was not a stuck up character, even with her rich status. She is actually easy to relate to, as well. She reacts to situations normally.
Ash is a half-blood, or a human-Darkling offspring. For this reason, he is often ridiculed and looked down upon. It is almost too easy to sympathize with him. In a way, it reflects the way of society today and how race carves out people's opinions of others. Due to the alternating points of views, both Natalie and Ash are well shaped characters. The style casts a better look into each characters thoughts and values.

Beetle and Day are what I consider major-minor characters. They are the best friends of Ash and Natalie respectively. Beetle is addicted to Haze and is part of an organization called Humans for Unity, which fights to eliminate the segregation of humans and Darklings. To me, Beetle was just kinda there. You know Ash and Beetle are best friends, but you didn't get the interactions. The opposite can be said about Natalie and Day. The relationship building between is there and it makes sense. Day is a smart girl, but she is on the poorer side, meaning she will have to work incredibly hard to get anywhere on intelligence alone. She is also very opinionated. She feels strongly and expresses her feelings fairly clear. On criticism I have is that sometimes her actions don't seem to match up with her character. For example, Day would tease Natalie about liking Ash, but then when they got together, she was personally offended. It made no sense at all. I like that she felt betrayed, as it fits her personality, but I hate that she was a hypocrite about it.

The plot takes you on a nice ride that keeps you turning the pages. I think I only got bored once during the whole course of the story, but it wasn't long lasting and the next chapter staved it off. K enjoyed the interactions and the twists. I have very few problems with the book, but the ones that I do have can be a major make or break.

For one, the love between Natalie and Ash struck me as fast paced. It was going good at first, then it was like someone stepped on the gas pedal at a caution light. That deserves a warning! They seemed to be weary of each other to begin with, then Ash has a sudden revelation and decides that he wants her. Natalie had little qualms to that little tidbit. After that, the love takes an even faster pace. At times, it seemed as though Ash forgot about Natalie when they weren't together, then other times he wouldn't stop thinking about her. Confusing, really. Also, there is this part about Blood Mates that seems like an excuse to me. The funniest part about that once Ash explains it to Natalie, she know the rituals and seems to understand what's going on. Personally, I don't think she does know.

Overall, I liked the book. To me, the flaws can be overlooked. I figured, seeing as this is a review, I still needed to call them to attention. Even so, I plan on reading the second book and encourage everyone to give this one a try.

The Iron King

The Iron King - Julie Kagawa Originally posted on my blog Open the Page.

The cover of the book is what drew me in. I didn't know what it was about, but I didn't care. Only when I began to read it did I realize that it was about Fey, or a being having or displaying an otherworldly, magical, or fairylike aspect or quality (FreeDictionary.com). I don't know what I was thinking, but it wasn't that. I had never read a book about Fey before, and I wasn't sure that I wanted to. Yet, I still ventured on.

The Iron King is about a girl named Meghan Chase, and she is in for some real surprises in the book. When she was young, her father suddenly disappeared without a trace. One day he was there, then "poof!" he was gone. In light of that, her mother decided that it was time to move. She got remarried to a man named Luke and they had a son, Ethan, together.
For some reason, people are always forgetting about Meghan. Everyone, except for Robbie, her best friend. On her birthday, her younger brother is stolen from their house, and after a few secrets are revealed, Meghan decides to venture into the Nevernever (the Fey world) and rescue him. With the help of Robbie, of course.

To start out, I thought Meghan was an "okay" main character. I felt that she didn't do much, though this is redeemed by the fact that she didn't know how to. After getting Puck to take her into the Nevernever, and going on a wild chase, she meets up with a cat named Grimalkin.
I'd like to criticize one thing. Puck is named for a character from A Midsummer's Dream. I wish this were explained further, as I have never read it before. I hate when books make big references, then don't explain them. Subtle ones I don't mind, but ones where it is explained as being a reference, I hate.

Puck was an interesting character, and the kind of boy that I like: he is goofy with a bit of seriousness that doesn't always show. It reminds me of Naruto and I love Naruto! Actually, Puck, Meghan, and Ash all reminded me of Naruto characters. Which can be a bad thing in some retrospect, but I liked it. It was kinda like reading a fanfiction.

Grimalkin was a character that I loved and he was such a cat! Literally! But, I think that the cat attitude was down pact. He did things that benefited or amused him. I was starting to think that he wasn't, but in the end, it seemed like he still was. In a way, I'm glad to see one character not change themselves too much because of the main character.

The last character to mention is Ash. He is son of Mab, the Winter Queen, and reflects that himself. He is cold and as deadly as the icy land he lives in. I don't want to give too much away, but just know that he has a warm streak.

As the plot progressed, I found that Meghan was still not doing anything particularly useful, except making goo-goo eyes at Ash. She made the wrong decisions and got others around her hurt. I was tired of everyone sacrificing themselves for her sake. It got old fast. The romance is another thing I can't decide about. I don't know if I like it or not. Everything about it was slow and minuet, which is good, up until something actually happened with it, then it seemed to go too fast. Then again, maybe I'm reading it wrong.

Even so, I had no problems getting to the end of the book. It was a fast read and an enjoyable one. I'm planning on getting the second book, actually. I would probably even read it again. I definitely recommend it to anyone that likes magical creatures.

Mystic City

Mystic City - Theo Lawrence 3.5 out of 5
In a post-apocalyptic Manhattan, two feuding families rule: the Rose's and the Foster's. Aria Rose, daughter to a high ranking official, has an easy life. Yet, even so, it feels empty. That is where Thomas is concerned. His life is one very opposite to her's, and that draws her in.
The writing of Lawrence is lovely and well done. There isn't too much happening at once and it is all very understandable. The characters have a very classic Romeo and Juliet feel to them. There isn't all that much to say about it. It is a very standard story. The difference comes in with the usage of magic. The story is added to with this feature.

The Lover's Dictionary

The Lover's Dictionary - David Levithan I liked the book and the way it was woven together through definitions. It's different.

I only gave the book 3 stars, because it did not meet up with my expectations, and I was disappointed. I enjoyed it in the beginning, if only because I was excited about what could happen. I put the book down for a while after that, and when I came back to it, I just didn't have that enthusiasm that I had before. I felt like I was slugging through it, and I was happy when it was over.
Also, the main character started to repeat himself, and I felt that was a bit like cheating. I also understand that he was emotional when writing the definitions, but I still felt cheated.

But, on the good side, the descriptions of how the narrator was feeling, and the wording in general, was marvelous! I could relate to how he felt at times, and that made me sympathize with him.

Still, I love David Levithan, and I would gladly buy a physical copy of this book, if only for the wonderful cover.

Pandemonium

Pandemonium - Lauren Oliver Originally posted at my blog, Open the Page, here.
I expected great things from this book, great thing indeed. Was I satisfied? To an extent. The potential to make a great trilogy is within Oliver's reach. Hopefully, and I have a great amount of hope and clarity, she won't mess it up.

The story starts off where Delirium left off, with a slight time skip. Lena is now on the outside, in the Wilds, and it's a harder life than she thought it would be. She struggles at first, but gains her footing in no time. She has trouble copping with her memories of Alex and Hana and her old life.

Lena is our main character. She is the one that faces struggles head on. In Delirium, I have to admit, I thought she was a bit lackluster. But in Pandemonium, I was so happy with her. She did things that I liked, things that made me proud of her. She changes in realistic ways and grows. In the first book, it seemed a bit unrealistic that Lena could change so drastically, morphing into something that she is not. This book changes that around, taking what she turned into and making her grow more slowly. For this, I applaud Oliver.

Julian is another major character. Let me just say that I absolutely love him! I like him more than Alex. Where as Alex is a perfect guy, I think that he feels flat when compared to Julian. Julian has his own pros, but he also has cons, and that's what I love about him. He is naive and sheltered, as most are in their society, but also curious.

The plot takes many twists and turns throughout the story. As I read, I gasped and grumbled. There was so much going on, but I'm not complaining. Though, I am complaining about one thing: the structure of the book. Pandemonium is broken up into alternating "Now" and "Then" sections. I absolutely loved the "Now" parts! It's just the "Then" moments that I have issues with. The flow of the book is jerky because of this. At times, I felt like just skipping the "Then" sections. I mean, you go from and action scene to a dull scene about them trekking through the woods. It really ruined the moment for me.

Besides that, I can't complain. The book really delivered for me, yet still left me hanging. The ending was obvious, but I didn't care, as it was a good set up for the next book. I would recommend this to anyone that likes Dystopian books. The series is fantastic, and though it has it flaws, it is still a satisfying read.

Across the Universe

Across the Universe - Beth Revis Even though I found the mystery pretty obvious, I still really like the story. The characters are believable in their circumstances, and likable. The story ends well, and I can't wait to read the squeal.