Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Time I Almost Died

India is a scary place.

I can honestly say that I am uncomfortable walking alone in the streets. If it's because I'm a "foreigner" or because of the growing reputation of India, but I honestly don't feel safe. The stares of everyone, especially men, make me feel like prey, and I feel like I should be ready to run at any moment. I am in no way generalizing the citizens here, merely explaining my thoughts. It may all just be the biased perspective I picked up in America, I couldn't tell you.

Driving in India is equally unsafe. The absence of traffic lights and stop signs creates an environment of chaos, filled with horns, honks, and too-close-for-comfort encounters. On the back of a scooter/motorcycle, there have been one-too-many times where I genuinely thought we were going to crash and die. There have been too many times a car has crossed the yellow lines separating opposite directions of traffic. Just way too many.

A subtle yet prominent distinction of color is also present here. Whether it was purely coincidence or an effect of some previous government instilled social ladder, I don't know. As you go down the social ladder, skin color gets darker. In a place where people share so many of the same customs, beliefs, and traditions, skin color seems inconsequential, but yet again the lighter people are superior. It seems like a universal mindset. Weird. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

India: The Time I Thought About Poverty

The education system here is very... different from the one I'm accustomed to in America. While they claim to shape kids through harsh discipline, evident through the strict uniforms and unnecessary school rules dictating hair style and behavior, the things that actually matter aren't enforced whatsoever.

For example, my cousin practically does double the schoolwork he needs to. Here, they have school, the regular classes during the day within a government-funded building with government-funded teachers. But afterwards they have "class" or known as "tuition" where they relearn everything they learned at school with a different teacher, one who actually teaches. Also they have school on Saturday, and I'm not about that life.

At the end of their 10th and 12th year, they take their "boards", which, from what I gathered, basically determine their future. Based on the grades from these "boards", you essentially pick what field you want to go into. The highest grades give you all the options (art, business, science, etc.), and as your grades get lower, your options decrease. And college is the same way, except without all the essays (the one thing about the Indian education system I wish we had).

Also these government-funded teachers don't care about cheating. People will swap papers during the exam period and copy essays word for word and the teachers don't bat an eye.

Anyways, enough about the school system.

If you haven't been to India, let me tell you something, it is stricken with poverty. People sell balloons and trinkets to make ends meet and even then you can find them settled in their mud shacks on the side of the road. They beg and they plead for money, anything to get some food and water into their and their children's mouths, but no one bats an eye at them, no one even acknowledges their presence.

Today, my mother, probably one of the best people in the world, spent money to give an old man and three children dinner. After everyone else told her no, she still went ahead and did it. And I can't help but wonder whether it was naivety or compassion that drove her to do this. For some reason, we've gotten it into our heads that people in poverty (mainly beggars) are manipulative. That they are trying to get money to spend on pointless things like alcohol. And while for some that is the case, which is extremely sad, it's not the case for all. Some people truly need help. We're just too scared and distrusting to give it to them. But then I have to ask myself, if these people were really in need and wanted to get out of their position, rather than roaming the streets begging for money, shouldn't they be working hard to pull themselves up the ranks? By answering their requests for money, are we, in fact, promoting this lifestyle? 

Monday, December 29, 2014

14 Best Books of 2014

Hey Fantabulous Readers!
It's that time of year again where we count down the best books of 2014. I'm choosing these books out of the 77 books I read this year, not just from the ones that were released, but here we go!
P.S. These decisions were really really REALLY hard to make, so I just went with my gut for most of these. I've reviewed most of these and if you wanna read the review all you have to do is click the title!

14. Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout

13. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

12. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

11. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

10. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

9. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

I don't think this book is so high up because of its content perse, but more so because of the memories associated with it. I had borrowed this book from my friend and somehow our entire class read it and my other friend and I began acting out the book. It was pretty awesome. 

8. A Tragic Heart by S. Elle Cameron

The roller coaster of emotions that this book made me feel is what catapulted it up to the top. This is no classification for this book, it's sad, it's happy, it's really really good. If you do pick it up (which you definitely should), be prepared with a box of tissues. 

7. Swimming Through Clouds by Rajdeep Paulus

I met Rajdeep at the YA Book Fest in Pennsylvania and I got the opportunity to review her book, which was amazing! I definitely recommend to anyone looking for a good contemporary. 

6. The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

5. Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

4. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Review to be posted.
I just finished this book a couple of days ago and it was honestly amazing. I'm so glad I decided to join this fandom.

2. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

I know at this point most of you are like *gasp* why isn't it first!? And my reasoning for it being second is because I haven't been with this series for all that long, so while this book was amazing, I read it after it was released and... I'm not sure where I'm going with this. 

1. Undivided by Neal Shushterman

This book is an incredible end to an incredible series. I've been looking forward to reading this for a whole year and it's anticipation and beautiful ending is why it is probably the best book I've read all year.

What were some of your favorites of the year? Let me know in the comments below! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

India: The Time I Started Daily Blogging (Sorta)

Ok, bear with me guys.

I want to try something different. And this may or may not work, but I'm going to experiment with it anyways. So basically, my family and I took a trip to India for pretty much the entire month of January and I really want to document this experience for some reason, so I'm just gonna try blogging about it, writing things that happened every day and thoughts and whatnot. This might be really boring or it might end up really cool I honestly have no idea, but yeah if you guys wanna keep reading that would be cool, and if not that's cool too. I'm still reading (I brought like 4 books here) and I'm still gonna write reviews though they probably won't be up until I get back.

So's day 1?

This isn't the first time I've been to India and it won't be the last, but for some reason this trip feels monumental somehow. Maybe it's the first time I'm paying attention to the things around me, maybe I'm wiser and older and see things differently, I don't know.

India is one of the many places where the driver sits on the right but drives on the left side of the road, something that, as a new driver, really really throws me off. Also, drivers find it appropriate to excessively honk at each other.

"I want to pass you" *honk*
"You're driving too slow" *honk*
"I want to turn." *honk*
"I'm driving." *honk*

The backs of trunks actually say "Horn ok please" like they actually want you to honk at them. What? Also lanes of traffic don't exist. In most places, except maybe the highway, you can drive wherever you want in whichever direction you want. #safety

My experience with bathrooms in India has never been a pleasant one. I remember when toilets weren't a thing and I had to use one of the 'hole-in-ground' toilets. Those were some dark times. Regardless of the actual toilet, Indians also don't use toilet paper. Born and raised in America where toilet paper is abundant in every home and family, this experience is slightly jarring. Thankfully, we typically get temporary portable rolls for our stay but the first couple of days are usually the worst.

I'm going to be completely honest with you. Here I feel as though people see me as the "American spoiled brat." I try not to complain. I try to go along with the traditional Indian lifestyle, but it's the little things that are hard to adapt to. The little things like toilet paper that we've taken for granted. But is it really my fault? The fact that I grew up accustomed to certain things doesn't necessarily make me "spoiled", does it?

While India does have some drawbacks, of course not everything about it is uncomfortable and foreign. For example, the food here is amazing. I'm not sure where Americans got the stereotypes of eating the greasiest and unhealthiest foods because I can tell you for a fact that India fries pretty much everything. But it's still so good. So far today I've just eaten and been contemplative and it only 11 (already a more productive day than I've had in America), let's see where the rest of the day takes us. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Kill Order | James Dashner

The prequel to the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series.

Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.

Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.

Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive

I was actually pleasantly surprised by this book. Before I went into it, one of my friends had warned me of this book, telling me to prepare myself for a huge disappointment, and it was honestly pretty good. I honestly liked it better than The Death Cure. I thought it was really interesting how they finally went back and gave a specific run down on what exactly happened before the Maze. At one point we get to see bits and pieces of different documents from the government and I think we should have had more of that. Those two pages revealed more than a lot of the other book. 

I also wish there was more of a connection between the rest of the series and this book. For a while I actually thought the epilogue had Trina and Mark in it. I thought they were Thomas's parents, which would have been really cool. 

I realized that while reading this series, I wasn't as into it as I have been into other books. It was a good read, I don't doubt that, but I never really grew emotionally close to any of the characters. I felt no remorse when any of them died, nor did I particularly care about their personal and emotional lives. This could have been for a number of reasons. The first being that I'm so busy with school and work and all of my real world responsibilities that I'm neglecting my book characters, which is a prospect that really frightens me. The second reason could also have been that the book was written in a way to focus more on the plot than the characters, and there's nothing wrong with that. In some cases a fantastic plot is enough to sacrifice the emotions of a few characters. I just think if I had gotten more attached to the characters, this would have been a better read for me. 

Let me know what you guys thought in the comments below! Am I the only one disappointed with this series as a whole?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Death Cure | James Dashner

It’s the end of the line.

WICKED has taken everything from Thomas: his life, his memories, and now his only friends—the Gladers. But it’s finally over. The trials are complete, after one final test.

Will anyone survive?

What WICKED doesn’t know is that Thomas remembers far more than they think. And it’s enough to prove that he can’t believe a word of what they say.

The truth will be terrifying.

Thomas beat the Maze. He survived the Scorch. He’ll risk anything to save his friends. But the truth might be what ends it all. 

The time for lies is over.

I can't express how disappointed I am with this series. While the first and second books set pretty high standards, the third and final book completely fell under what I expected. Although for the other books I did a mostly non-spoiler review, for the concluding book I'm going to go into an in-depth spoiler filled review. If you haven't read the series, I really recommend the first book, but after that, for me at least, the series just went downhill. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Scorch Trials | James Dashner

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. 

Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch. 

There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die.
The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them. 
Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off. 
There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive.

I will admit I didn't like this book as much as the first. I feel like we barely learnt about WICKED and what they're trying to do. There was a constant back and forth between what was real and what was fabricated or acted and at one point I just got confused. 

Like before, the plot was really awesome and intense, however I felt it was just a repeat of the Maze Runner. That's not a bad thing but as the second book in a series, I feel that more of the overall plot should have been built up, not so much the second trial. 

Did anyone else hate Teresa? I'm honestly so done with her. I'm going to be honest and admit that I never really liked her, but in this book she went completely insane. Her actions are contradictory and confusing and while I hope we get a bigger backstory on her, I just want her to go away. 

Even though this story wasn't as great as the last one, there were several things I liked. We're starting to be a sense of the real world outside of these trials, the barren world filled with crazy, disease-ridden people. 

I also loved Thomas in this book. His acts to maneuver out of holding hands and touching people are hilarious. And I admired the fact that he wasn't a love-sick teenage boy (for most of the time) and could think on his feet without being completely forgiving. 

I'm also a huge fan of the epilogues. I love that the end of each book has a small letter from within the WICKED organization. I'm hoping for more of them throughout the book. I think one between each chapter would be really interesting, so we can see WICKED develop with the characters and plot of the story. 

From where this book ends, I feel like The Death Cure is going to be The Maze Runner/ The Scorch Trials all over again, but as the last book in the series, I'm really hoping that we are able to conclude this series well and we learn more about the world and why WICKED is doing all of this. 

If you've read this book, let me know what you think in the comments below! Do you like it better than Maze Runner? 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Fantabulous Event: YA Fest in Princeton

Hey Fantabulous Readers! 

I just wanted to let you guys know about an author signing I'm holding as a fundraiser for my local library! The information is in the flyer below! 

We have seventeen wonderful authors joining us for a book signing and then we're having a few of the authors hold a book panel, hosted by me! So if you live in the area and want to join us, admission is absolutely free and I would love for you guys to come!

And if you don't live in the area, we're also having an online bookfair, where a certain amount of the profits go to my library! So if you were gonna go Christmas shopping online, you can also help out a struggling library! It's a win win situation!

Let's try and get a hash tag going for this event! If you plan on coming to this event, tweet your favorite authors that are coming with the hashtag #princetonYAfest

Some of the attending authors have been featured on this blog and I'm going to add a little piece of their profile from their websites and link them to an interview, if they've done one with me!

1. Rajdeep Paulus 

Rajdeep decided to be a writer during her junior year in high school after her English teacher gave her an “F” but told her she had potential. She studied English Literature at Northwestern University, and she writes masala-marinated, Young Adult Fiction, blogging weekly at InSearchofWaterfalls dot com.

When Paulus is not tapping on her Mac, you can find her dancing with her four princesses, kayaking with her hubs, coaching basketball or eating dark chocolate while sipping a frothy, sugar-free latte. She secretly hopes to one day own a laptop that functions under water! Oops. The secret’s out.

2. S. Elle Cameron

"I’m young, inexperienced, and vulnerable to the world. I’m an open book that no one cares to read so instead I write and hope that someone will read my words. Maybe that person is you……".

Growing up in a suburban area of Long Island, New York, S. Elle Cameron constantly felt like she didn’t belong. She creates characters that people of all ages can relate to. Her first novel, A Tragic Heart is based off of her many struggles and experiences as a teenager and early adult.

Cameron strives to create novels that capture most of her feelings and emotions while also depicting the inner feelings of other teens. She has since written three more novels that will be released to the public in the near future.

3. Janice Bashman 

Janice Gable Bashman is the Bram Stoker nominated author of PREDATOR (Month9Books 2014) and WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE (w/New York Times bestseller Jonathan Maberry)(Citadel Press 2010). She is editor of THE BIG THRILL (the International Thriller Writers' magazine) and has written for Novel & Short Story Writer's Market, Writer's Digest, the Writer, Wild River Review, and many others. Her short fiction has appeared in various anthologies. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Horror Writers Association, and the International Thriller Writers, where she serves on the board of directors as Vice President, Technology.

4. KM Walton 

K.M. Walton is the author of the contemporary young adult novels, CRACKED (2012) and EMPTY (2013). She is represented by Jim McCarthy from Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

K. M. had a gazillion dreams when she was a little girl. Her biggest dream was to be a teacher. Teaching became a reality for K. M. and she taught for twelve glorious years – some of it in Osteen, Florida and most of it in Springfield, Pennsylvania. But, it turns out writing is her favorite thing to do. Even the hard parts – and there are a lot of hard parts.

K.M. Walton also co-authored a book on the teaching of mathematics called TEACHING NUMERACY: 9 Critical Habits to Ignite Mathematical Thinking published by Corwin Press.

5. Charlotte Bennardo 

I'm living one dream; my book, Sirenz, co-authored with best gal pal Natalie Zaman, debuts from Flux in June. I'd like to be able to chase my other dreams where ever they take me, but that's dependent upon money, time, political unrest, contractual agreements, book revisions, if cat will let me, and if I have to make dinner.

6. Alison Formento

Alison Ashley Formento is the author of the young adult novel TWIGS (Merit Press), and award-winning picture books THIS TREE COUNTS!, THIS TREE 1, 2, 3, THESE BEES COUNT!, THESE SEAS COUNT! and THESE ROCKS COUNT! (Albert Whitman & Co.). She's written for The New York TimesParentingThe Writer and several other magazines.

7. Lisa Colozza Cocca

I grew up in upstate New York between Albany and Saratoga. After college, I moved to New Jersey and still live there today. I’ve always worked around books – I was a teacher, I ran a school library, and I’ve written tons and tons of school and library materials. If you’ve been to school in the past decade, there is a good chance you have used something I had a part in making.

As a writer, I’m always keeping my eyes open for new ideas. I love to read and to watch plays and movies. I love to visit gardens, wineries, museums, and pretty much any place I’ve never been before. One of my absolute favorite things to do is to linger over dinner with friends in endless conversation. I’ve closed down many a restaurant!

8. Yvonne Ventresca 

Before becoming a children’s writer, Yvonne Ventresca wrote computer programs and taught others how to use technology. Now she happily spends her days writing stories instead of code, and passing on technology tips to writers. Yvonne’s the author of the young adult novel Pandemic, available in May 2014 from Sky Pony Press. In Pandemic, a teen struggles to survive not only a deadly outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons. Yvonne’s other writing credits include two nonfiction books for kids, Avril Lavigne (a biography of the singer) and Publishing (about careers in the field) along with various articles for teens and adults.

9. Imani Dunning 

Imani Dunning is an entrepreneur from New York City who endeavors to change the world one young person and one performing arts opportunity at a time. Her life’s goal is to walk alongside others, encourage them, and inspire them to push themselves towards their purpose.
She believes the most efficient way to push others towards their purpose is to walk in your own purpose, taking full advantage of your own gifts and talents. Thus she embraces her talents which include writing. Thus far she has been published with Conscious MagazineChelsea Krost, and Women’s Elevation Magazine. She can be found frequenting  Lead With Giants Twitter-Chats about entrepreneurship and how to better serve people.
She relishes the opportunity to change lives through the arts and divine appointments! It is an honor.

10. Heather Demetrios 

When she's not traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, Heather Demetrios lives with her husband in New York City. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls the East Coast home. Heather is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real, which Publisher's Weekly calls “[An] addictive yet thoughtful debut” about reality TV stardom. She is the author of EXQUISITE CAPTIVE, a smoldering fantasy about jinn in Los Angeles and what Kirkus called in its starred review "an intoxicating, richly realized realm of magic, politics, spirituality and history" (#1 in the DARK CARAVAN CYCLE). She is also the author of the upcoming I’ll Meet You There (Winter 2015). I’ll Meet You There is a love story about a young combat veteran and a girl trapped in their small town, both struggling to escape the war at home. Heather is the founder of Live Your What, an organization dedicated to fostering passion in people of all ages and creating writing opportunities for underserved youth. She is proud to have an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. You can always find her on Twitter (@HDemetrios), ogling the military dogs she wants to adopt (but can’t because her NYC apartment is way too small).

11. Rosemary Dibattista 

A Jersey girl born and bred, national bestselling author Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves as the setting for much of her work. The atmosphere of the Jersey shore is present in the details, whether it’s the smell of the sea, the sound of a Springsteen song, or the taste of Kohr’s custard from the boardwalk. And no summer is complete unless she has sand in her shoes.
Her series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, is informed by her deep appreciation for good food, her pride in her heritage, and her love of classic mysteries, from Nancy Drew to Miss Marple. Her debut novel, Murder and Marinara, was named a Best Cozy of 2013 by Suspense Magazine and was a finalist for a 2014 Daphne Du Maurier Award. An English teacher by day and novelist by night, Rosie also writes women’s fiction as Rosemary DiBattista. She still lives in her home state with her husband and her youngest son.

12. Amy Ewing

Amy Ewing is the young adult author of The Jewel, the first in a trilogy from HarperTeen, coming out September 2014.

She grew up in a small town outside Boston, where her librarian mother instilled a deep love of reading at a young age. Amy moved to New York City in 2000 to study theater at New York University. Unfortunately, her acting career didn’t quite pan out. She worked in restaurants, as an administrative assistant, a nanny, and a sales representative for a wine distributor before the lack of creativity in her life drove her to begin writing.

Amy received her MFA in Creative Writing for Children from The New School, where she was lucky enough to meet a fabulous community of YA writers who keep her sane on a daily basis. She lives in Harlem, where she spends her days writing, eating cheese, and occasionally binge watching The Vampire Diaries.

13. Joanna Swank

Writing is an outlet to get the clutter of ideas out of my head. I often think if I stopped writing I would run out of space in my head to learn.

In 2011 I started the series Anyone Can Be a Novelist to help other aspiring authors fulfill their dreams. This has been a successful series and has even spurred a college course

As a marketer by trade and talent I have a knack for coming up with unique ways to promote my books. I am also a judge for several writing competitions.

My Published Works Include:
Thorne – A family tragedy that is twisted and full of love 
Anyone Can Be a Novelist – The popular lecture and college series 
Swank Poetry - An eclectic assembly of poems

14. Nicole Zoltack 

Nicole Zoltack loves to write fantasy/paranormal, romances, horror, and historical, for all ages. When she isn't writing about girls wanting to be knights, talking unicorns, and zombies, she spends time with her loving family. She loves to ride horses (pretending they're unicorns, of course!) and going to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, dressed in period garb. Her current favorite TV show is The Vampire Diaries.

15. Cate Price 

Cate Price is a regular sight on the streets of her home town walking her two amazing rescue dogs, and enjoys gardening, antiquing, and cooking with friends. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America.

Writing this series proved to be rather a dangerous project, because while researching auction houses, she also became addicted to bidding on box lots. GOING THROUGH THE NOTIONS and A DOLLHOUSE TO DIE FOR are the first and second books in the Deadly Notions mystery series, and Cate is hard at work on the third, LIE OF THE NEEDLE.

16. Rachelle Burk

17. William Brazzel 

For the last 30 years William Brazzel has dreamed of writing a science fiction novel; something different but entertaining. Unfortunately, time was his enemy. Raising a family and running a full time business provided no time for self indulgence such as writing. Finally, facing retirement, William was able to create his first novel, "The Seventh Holy Man." He believes that all science fiction and non-science fiction readers will thoroughly enjoy this first novel. Currently, William is researching and writing his next novel which promises to be truly engaging and different. As he describes his goal, my main reason for writing is to entertain my readers.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Maze Runner | James Dashner

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

I know I'm a bit late to the Maze Runner party, however I will admit I was a bit nervous to read this book. When popular hype starts surrounding a book (movies being made, merchandise being sold, etc.), the book sometimes disappoints (Ex. Twilight, Mockingjay, etc.). But the driving factor for me reading this book was that I really really wanted to watch Dylan O'Brien in the movie and I can't watch movies without reading the book. 

And so it began, I picked it up, started reading. It was a bit hard to get into since I was suffering from post-percabeth depression after the Blood of Olympus, but once I finally did, it was honestly amazing. 

The best part of this book was without a doubt the plot. The entire plot was completely action-packed, filled with mysteries and plot-twists the entire way through. The world that James Dashner has built is just so interesting. At first it began to seem like a hunger games situation, but as we learn more and more about the plot and the purpose, the story seems to take a different route altogether. 

I wasn't a huge fan of the characters, mainly Teresa. While the boys would troop together and work together to solve every obstacle that comes their way, Teresa honestly didn't really serve a purpose. I'm sure she must have a bigger part in the other books but in this one she was just sitting in a cell the whole time or sorta flirting with Thomas. Of course she was the "most beautiful girl he's ever seen" and "he couldn't take his mind off of her". Her whole presence just seemed too cliche and I wasn't a huge fan. 

As book one in the series, I think this book did an overall great job of setting up the world but also introducing a bigger plot towards the end of the book. Something bigger than them and the Glade. Not at all a slow read, I would recommend this to dystopian lovers, anyone who liked the Hunger Games or Divergent should definitely read this book! 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Blood of Olympus | Rick Riordan

Though the Greek and Roman crew members of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they're stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it "might" be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea's army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.

Words cannot explain how incredibly disappointed I am with this book. Everything about this book was not what I expected. Parts of it were written poorly, unnecessary parts were added and necessary perspectives were taken out. Certain parts felt rushed and the only thing I thought that kept this book together at all was the bits of humor scattered throughout. Other than that, the ending was nothing like the Last Olympian and for someone whose been with the series and the characters for the past six years, this was not how I wanted the series to end. 

Spoiler-Filled Review

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Undivided | Neal Shusterman

Teens control the fate of America in the fourth and final book in the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman.

Proactive Citizenry, the company that created Cam from the parts of unwound teens, has a plan: to mass produce rewound teens like Cam for military purposes. And below the surface of that horror lies another shocking level of intrigue: Proactive Citizenry has been suppressing technology that could make unwinding completely unnecessary. As Conner, Risa, and Lev uncover these startling secrets, enraged teens begin to march on Washington to demand justice and a better future.

But more trouble is brewing. Starkey’s group of storked teens is growing more powerful and militant with each new recruit. And if they have their way, they’ll burn the harvest camps to the ground and put every adult in them before a firing squad—which could destroy any chance America has for a peaceful future.

One of the many things I learned from this book are there are more than two sides to every war. We typically see war as a team vs. team thing, but it's so much more than that. Every individual, every group views the war differently and in order to come to an agreement, there's so much compromise. As the fourth and final book of the Unwind Dystology, Neal Shusterman does a fantastic job of wrapping up the fate of each character, while still presenting a fast-paced storyline. 

I'll admit,a year ago, when I read Unsouled, I didn't know there would be a fourth book, and I was a bit upset that the series wasn't coming to a close. But after reading this fantastic conclusion, I'm so glad this got its own book. If you haven't read the Unwind Dystology I highly recommend it. In addition to entertaining the typical dystopian audience, I feel like it hits some crucial points that our society still has yet to figure out. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Atancia | Wren Figueiro

After watching a young boy die, college freshman Atancia Clark begins to have panic attacks. Her heart flutters, her breath catches and she can’t control her emotions the way she always has. She wants to be strong, but lately she just hasn’t been living up to her own expectations. When she meets Ben Althaus, her breath starts catching for entirely different reasons. He helps Atancia discover the cause for her odd emotional reactions and the history she thought was lost when her mother left her. Atancia has power beyond that of an average girl, and Ben is by no means ordinary. He wants to help her hone her talents, but her focus is threatened by life-altering events. Thrust into a world where existence has a new meaning, Atancia’s lack of clarity could lead her down a destructive path. 

Atancia is a paranormal romance novel for young adults. It is the first book of The Durand Duology.

One thing I really want to highlight is the importance of a good cover. Unfortunately I don't love this cover and I think it really takes away from the story. A frequent saying is 'don't judge a book by its cover' and while that does hold true, there are so many books in the world, one of the factors inevitably becomes how good it looks from the outside. This cover feels haphazardly put together, and I feel like there are so many more ideas for it. For example, something having to do with energy could be on the cover, anything but this. 


Going into the plot and story line of the book, I thought this book closely resembled Twilight. I liked the entire premise of the book, including the whole species of Durand and the way they function. I just wish the world had been more developed and more happened within the book, because I felt like throughout the whole five hundred page book, the pace of the book is fairly slow and slightly boring. I thought the plot was picking up when Atty started to look for her mother, but as soon as Ben came into the picture she basically stopped looking and just followed him around. I understand that a lot of this book was going into training Atty and introducing this world, but I feel like too much of the book was spent describing her everyday life and not enough of it went into the seemingly dangerous plot. Several subplots were mentioned within the book but never fully explored, I'm hoping they're mentioned later in the series because otherwise they seemed out of place. 

Honestly, the characters were just meh. I didn't feel myself relating too closely or getting too attached to any of them. Atty reminded me a bit too much like Bella, too dependent and needy. Ben creeped me out a bit, as did the rest of his family. All except for maybe Matt, he seemed relatively normal. Looking back on it, there weren't all that many characters in the book, since we spent so much of the time focused on Atty and her daily routine, I feel as though we missed some foundation to this new species. 

Another thing I realized I didn't like because of this book. Older men with younger women. It happened in Carrie Lofty's Blue Notes and also in this one. Something about a an older man with a college student really makes me feel creeped out, which is probably why for most of the book I shipped Matt and Atty together instead of Ben and Atty. 

As much as I wish that there was more in this book, I do like where this book ended because it really makes me want to read the second book and learn where all of this is going. I think if you like Twilight, this is definitely a book you may like, it's a fairly slow read, but I'm hoping that it picks up in the next book. 

If you've read this book and want to discuss certain parts of it, let me know in the comments below!