Reviews, YA Historical, YA Sci Fi

Book Review: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1)

GoodReads Summary:

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.

My Review:

When I first started The Girl From Everywhere, I was really worried it was going to be so similar to other time-travel novels I have read.  Specifically, Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. So I went into this novel with low expectations, not really sure I would like what I found. And I have to say I was extremely wrong! Which, in this case, feels amazing.

Heidi Heilig tells a very original, profound story.She grew up in Hawaii and took the tales and folk lore she learned and wrapped them into an adventure full of beauty and paradise. Also, Heilig’s idea of time travel, using maps of different places and times is quite imaginative. I haven’t read a story where that is how time is traveled by.

Nix, the main character, was born in Hawaii, but after her mother dies, her father takes her aboard his ship. This is where she lives for 16 years. Nix, her dad, and their crew travel to different continents through time. All the while, her father is in search of a particular map, to take him back to the time before Nix’s mother died. And this is how the story twists and turns, in search of a map.

The relationship Heilig presents between Nix and Slate (her father) is one that is truthful, distant, and full of regret. She regards him with distance. She is resentful of his dependence on her because she is the “expert” with maps. And she is fearful that when he finds the map, her life will change for the worse. He wants to go back to before her mother passed away, therefore changing her current life. Will she become a different person? Or will she disappear all together? And it is very clear that Slate doesn’t think about the consequences of his actions. He is very narrow minded.

The events that take place over the course of The Girl From Everywhere really show character growth. Not only from Nix, but from her father as well as crewmate Kashmir. Kashmir is an interesting character, with a very unique background. The relationship between him and Nix is full of tension. There were moments when, had Nix said something, their friendship could have moved to be more. But because she is fretful of her father’s plan, and her own longing to escape Slate, she keeps Kashmir as a distance as well. She is mostly worried about losing him, and becoming her father. She is witness to what happens when you lose the love of your life.

The Girl From Everywhere is refreshing and envisioning. I thoroughly enjoyed the intertwining relationships between all the characters.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Reviews, ya romance

Book Review: The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry

The Love That Split the World

GoodReads Summary:

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

Review:

The Love That Split The World is an enchanting read about young love and time travel. Natalie can see two different versions of her hometown, Union, and meets an intriguing guy, Beau, when she slips into the alternate town. Her grandmother, a “spirit”, tells her at the beginning of the book that she has three months to save “him”, but Natalie doesn’t know who “he” is. She spends the summer trying to discover who this guy she is supposed to save is, but also who she is and what she wants.

I found this book to be very interesting. There are stories within the overarching story itself. These stories come from old Native American tales passed down through generations, but also stories out of the bible. For Natalie, these stories have meaning because she is part Native American. Natalie is a complex character trying to find out who she is and where she fits in with the world. Since she is adopted, and one half Native American, she finds it difficult to determine where she fits in. When she meets Beau, who is an equally complex character, she is certain she has found someone who understands her circumstances because he is having a difficult time determining where he fits into the world as well.

Grandmother is a curious character. She tells stories that you don’t fully understand until the moment the Natalie understands them. She is an odd duck, only appearing to Natalie during the nighttime speaking in riddles.

Beau is my favorite character. He is chivalrous and benevolent. He is, generally,always there for Natalie when she needs him the most. And the bond that is formed between them is unbreakable.

Emily Henry’s writing is wonderful. I loved her use of the story within a narrative. As a reader, we are being told that these tales are important to the character in her quest to save a boy and discover herself. They play a major part in the plot and are a kind of foreshadowing, though at the time of reading them I didn’t know what they were foreshadowing.

I enjoyed the book, but I am not a fan of the ending. I was left with questions and wasn’t fulfilled. I need closure from my characters.

**SPOILERS** Don’t read below this point if you haven’t read! **SPOILERS**

If you have finished The Love That Split The World, great! I truly did love this book, HOWEVER, I did not love the ending. I was left with so many freaking questions and it made me angry (Veronica heard all about how angry it made me).

The second to last chapter leaves us with Natalie making the choice to try and change history, the accident’s that left both her and Beau dead in their own worlds. GREAT! I love that idea. However, the last chapter is another story, telling us how a girl had never met a boy but she had missed him. I get the continuity with the story, and metaphorically, we can draw our own conclusions- Natalie succeeded in saving them both and they live happily ever after. I am not one to assume these things. I enjoy solid closure. I like to know FOR CERTAIN that she changes their timelines and they end up together.

This is why a star was knocked off for me.

**End Spoilers***

Rating: 4 out of 5

Reviews, YA Fantasy, ya romance

Book Review: Winter & The Lunar Chronicles By Marissa Meyer

Goodreads summary:

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

review:

Since this is a review of the last book in The Lunar Chronicles series. Short reviews for the first three books are first, followed by the review for Winter.

Cinder:

I liked the introduction to the main character Cinder. She does get on my nerves, but her family was so much worse. I love that she is a cyborg. Iko is so feisty. Oh Kai, what a dream boat! I love that she and Kai have a connection right away. Dr. Erland is mysterious. And I kept thinking Konn Torin worked for Queen Lavana.

3 OUT OF 5

SCARLET:

This is my favorite book of the series. I connected to Scarlet on a psychological level. She just wants to find her grand-mere and run her farm. And Wolf- ugh love him. Their chemistry is everything a relationship should be. We get a lot of Scarlet’s point of view, which is a nice break from Cinder. Captain Carswell Thorne- YUMMY! He can be my captain any day. Lots of character growth from all the characters- it was needed immensely. Except Cinder made alllllll the wrong decisions.

5 OUT OF 5

Cress:

I did enjoy Cress but not as much as I enjoyed Scarlet. I figured out who Cress was at the beginning and where she fit in with the group. She annoyed me a lot because all of her experiences were so “oh it’s so beautiful” or she was scared the whole time. I feel that some of the descriptions could’ve been taken out. I skipped some pages of Cress’ because it was too much. We got a lot of reading time with other characters which I loved! Also, how all the characters end up together is just too convenient. Cinder wasn’t as annoying as she was in Scarlet but her decisions, which have annoyed me from the beginning, don’t get any better.

4 OUT OF 5

WINTER:

It. Was. Too. Long. My ebook was 1,169 pages. Hard copy is about 800 pages. And the length wouldn’t bother me so much if there weren’t many scenes that felt unnecessary. I don’t need to be told that Winter is crazy. Over. And over. And over again. Yeah, I get that Levana wants to kill Cinder. How many times do we have to watch her try and fail? The constant dividing and bring back together of Scarlet, Kai, Iko, Wolf, Cinder, Cress, Thorne, Winter, and Jacin was just too much. Also the final scene between Cinder and Levana- it took too long. I was so excited to start this book but by the end I was just like “is this over yet?”. I will concede that there were moments where my heart hurt and I was worried about the love the author created- whether these couples would end up together or if someone would die.

It didn’t end how I pictured it. My ideal ending would have been Scarlet abdicating the throne, Winter getting an implant to help with her Lunar Gift and becoming Queen- the people loved her so much. Cinder would then have gone back to the Commonwealth and married Kai and become Empress. It. Just. Makes. Sense.

I liked Winter but it could have been better. Bright side- everyone get some kind of happy ending.

2.5 OUT OF 5

OVERALL:

It was a different take on Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White. I love the futuristic and sci-fi elements. I want to be a cyborg now. I want hover-pods. I want to live on the moon. I want to find an alpha mate like Wolf. Scarlet was my favorite character. She didn’t make stupid decisions like Cinder. She wasn’t afraid all the time like Cress. And she wasn’t crazy like Winter. She was independent and a great leader. She thought about her actions before taking action.

3.5 OUT OF 5

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Reviews, YA Sci Fi

Book Review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

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Goodreads Summary:

Incapable. Awkward. Artless. That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: She wants to fail. Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, where they live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her dad’s jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because tonight, they’ll come for her.

Crewel is the first book in Gennifer Albin’s gripping young adult series.

My Initial Thoughts:

I’d never heard of Ms. Gennifer Albin which nowadays is probably a good thing for authors. It’s rare when you’re a blogger and you NOTHING about the author. News travels fast in this industry.

Review:

(Warning: This entire review may feel discombobulated, but forgive me for giving you such quality. I don’t think I can make I more coherent one though. This book just left me…. *mind blown*)

Woah… this was an intense book. It’s been at least a little over a week since I finished it and I still can’t fully digest it. The world Ms. Albin created is so different yet it almost seems plausible that it messes with your head so much that you’re left stupidly smiling yet utterly confused. Confused in a good way though.

The entire book is in Adelice’s point of view and in a short amount of time in the beginning we come in contact with so many characters that at first it’s a little overwhelming. At a certain point you feel like there is a love triangle coming on and you groan to yourself, but trust me, it’s not a love triangle and it get’s better once you figure out what’s really going on. muahahahhaha

This is 100% a young adult science fiction novel. I don’t even think we find out what year it is so I can’t even say it has a little bit of dystopian in the mix at this point, but I can assure you that we will know by the end of the second book (or at least I hope we do).

What I really liked about this book was the entire concept of weaving. In Crewel, you can weave something in or out of existence. Very few are those that have that gift. The main character is one of those few that can weave and what is so amazing about her is that she can weave without having to use the special weaving board provided by Arras (whom is the country/government).

This is a pretty solid first book in the series and I cannot wait to pick up the second book. 🙂

Rating: 4/5

Reviews, ya contemporary, YA Dystopian, YA Paranormal

Mini Book Reviews #1

I’m starting a new series on here which I’m calling Mini-Reviews. Clever name right? Yeah, I know. I’m a genius. (The sarcasm is so strong.) The reason I’m starting this new series is because there are some books that I’ve read that I have things to say about them, but not enough to dedicate an entire post on them. Each Mini Review post will have 3 mini reviews. Here we go!

Mini Book Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

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Kayla over at The Thousand Lives almost threw the book at me and said READ IT! I, like the good best friend that I am (see what I did there) did, and let me tell you I’m glad she said I had to read this book. I fell in love with summer again. The last time I was in love with summer was the year 2012. I truly cannot believe this is Emery Lord’s debut novel. The writing is impeccable and wonderful. I loved the main characters voice and the sass, oh my, I freaking loved the sass. Also, Matthew is the perfect boyfriend. Can he be real, please? If you are looking for a heart-clenching [in a good way] summer contemporary, then this is the book for you. 100% recommend this book to anyone.

Rating: 5/5

Mini Book Review: Coldest Girl in ColdTown by Holly Black

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Vampires + Holly Black = perfection. What amazes me about this book is that it is a stand alone. I had never read a book that can build a new world, has all of the background information, action, plot twists, and just everything that we crave that is normally given to us in trilogies and series, in ONE book. Yes, you read that correctly. Holly Black does it all with one book. The ending satisfied me. This book does vampires justice and makes me sigh happily. These vampires can beat the crap out of any sparkly vampire’s butt.

Rating: 5/5

Mini Book Review: Altered by Jennifer Rush

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I saw polandbananasbooks book talk of Altered a long time ago and have been wanting to read it since. I went over to Kayla’s one day and saw that she had it in her possession. I of course begged her to let me take it home with me and she did. This book was not what I was expecting, and boy it was wonderful. I screamed, I jumped, and it stressed the heck out of me. The twists, the action, the science fiction nerdy-ness of it, I loved it all!

Rating: 4/5

Reviews, YA Sci Fi

Book Review: Unraveling (Unraveling #1) by Elizabeth Norris

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Goodreads Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Janelle Tenner is used to having a lot of responsibility. She balances working as a lifeguard in San Diego with an intense academic schedule. Janelle’s mother is bipolar, and her dad is a workaholic FBI agent, which means Janelle also has to look out for her younger brother, Jared.

And that was before she died…and is brought back to life by Ben Michaels, a mysterious, alluring loner from her high school. When she discovers a strange clock that seems to be counting down to the earth’s destruction, Janelle learns she has twenty-four days to figure out how to stop the clock and save the planet.

What I Like:

I started reading this book assuming it was more contemporary or murder mystery. I didn’t understand why it was in the adventure/fatansy/sci fi section at Barnes and Nobles until things started getting freaky. It is because of the vague assumptions I made about the content inside this book that made it ten times better for me. I loved the roller-coaster feeling I had the whole time I was reading it. It got nerdy, it got very science fiction on me, and I loved it. The first thirty pages were amazing. It set the tone for the rest of the book. Elizabeth Norris is a talented writer.

I really liked the main character Janelle because she took the attention of herself. The first half of the book we really got to understand and know the secondary characters and even though the story is being told through Janelle, like I said before, she took the attention of herself and it really helped with the character development. I know that may sound weird, but trust me on this.

I liked the plot and the world Ms. Norris created. The story freaked me out a little bit because it is set in today’s world and the things that happened could very well happen today. Ms. Norris knows how to mess with your mind.

What I Dislike:

I have zero negative comments about this book.

Overall:

I loved Unraveling. The characters, the world, the plot, I loved it all. I highly recommend this to anyone.

Rating: 5/5