Tag Archives: am reading

Book Review: The Rithmatist (Rithmatist, #1)

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Author: Brandon Sanderson

Genre: YA

Summary: More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings — merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing — kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery — one that will change Rithmatics — and their world — forever.

Review: Brandon Sanderson is known for his world building, and he does not disappoint in his first YA novel! Sanderson is a master of pacing, so don’t be worried about getting overwhelmed in this world he has created. Sanderson slowly introduces readers to the world of Rithmatists, Rithamtics, and Chalklings. It’s a fun ride, with a murder-mystery intertwined as well!

Sanderson has added steampunk elements to the twenty-first century, along with a sort of magic. Rithmatists are able to draw–with chalk–cirlces, lines, and pictures that come to life. Wild chalkings are those chalk creatures that are untamed and are wreaking havoc on the United Isles. Oh yeah, Sanderson splits the States into Isles! 

Joel, a non-Rithmatist, is obsessed with Rithmatics and finds himself in the center of a murder-mystery invovling Rithmatist students from his school. Melody, a Rithmatist who’d rather being drawing unicorns, also finds herself in the center of things, alongside Joel.

This is the first novel in a new series, so the pacing is nice and slow. However, the tension is kept high with the disappearance of students and new teacher who stirs the campus into a frenzy.

Recommendation: Read!

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Book Review: Relativity

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Author: Cristin Bishara

Genre: YA

Summary: If Ruby Wright could have her way, her dad would never have met and married her stepmother Willow, her best friend George would be more than a friend, and her mom would still be alive. Ruby knows wishes can’t come true; some things just can’t be undone. Then she discovers a tree in the middle of an Ohio cornfield with a wormhole to nine alternative realities. 

Suddenly, Ruby can access completely different realities, each containing variations of her life—if things had gone differently at key moments. The windshield wiper missing her mother’s throat…her big brother surviving his ill-fated birth…her father never having met Willow. Her ideal world—one with everything and everyone she wants most—could be within reach. But is there such a thing as a perfect world? What is Ruby willing to give up to find out?

Review: Bishara has done an excellent job intertwining science and YA! There is plenty of math and string theory in this book, but you never feel bogged down with information.

It’s a slightly heart-wrenching read, at least for me. Ruby is forced to move from her home and best friend, halfway across the US to live with a stepmother and stepsister (who makes it clear that she hates her). Ruby focuses on her loss. The loss of her mother at age four, the loss of her best friend (and love interest), the loss of everything she knows and loves. 

I’ve been there. I’m sure plenty of readers have, in some way or another. So what does Ruby do when she finds a way to jump planes of parallel universes? She searches for the perfect one, of course!

Bishara keeps the focus tight, which in turn keeps the tension high. The emotional arc is beautifully done, as is the characterization. This is a short read, but I felt connected with Ruby.

Recommendation: READ!!

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Book Review: Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3)

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Author: Veronica Rossi

Genre: YA

Summary: The earth-shattering conclusion to Veronica Rossi’s “masterpiece” Under the Never Sky trilogy and sequel to the New York Times bestsellingThrough the Ever Night (Examiner.com).

Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it’s time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won’t even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn’t just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he’s also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

In this final book in her stunning Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.

Review: Rossi is great with tension! 

Of course, this is the last book in a trilogy, so naturally it is full of tension. But Rossi doesn’t leave you there. She keeps the tension high with Roar and how he’s dealing with what happened (I refuse to be spoilery for those who aren’t up to speed!) 

She also throws in a lot of tension with Aria and her health (again, non-spoilery!)

Overall, this book was nothing but suspense and tension. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time! Right up until the last page!

Recommendation: READ!! Read NOW!

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Book Review: The Moon and More

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Author: Sarah Dessen

Genre: YA

Summary: Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo’s sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline’s mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he’s convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she’s going?

Sarah Dessen’s devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer.

Review: Dessen has a magical way of writing a true teenage girl. Every. Single. Time. And they’re always different. Emaline, the heroine of this novel, is just as authentic.

I loved the way Dessen built Emaline’s love of her small town. As a “small town girl in the middle of nowhere”, it has taken a few years and lots of nostalgia to appreciate and even love living in a small town. Seeing Emaline defend her hometown to the big “city clickers” was refreshing.

Dessen also does a great job setting up this view between the vacationers and the townies of “us” and “them”. Emaline has to decide which part of “us” and which part of “them” she wants to be part of. I also loved the tension that Dessen created between Emaline and her father. 

Recommendation: READ!! Read NOW!

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Book Review: Forever…

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Author: Judy Blume

Genre: YA

Summary: Katherine and Michael meet at a New Year’s Eve party. They’re attracted to each other, they grow to love each other. And once they’ve decided their love is forever, they make love.

It’s the beginning of an intense and exclusive relationship, with a future all planned. Until Katherine’s parents insist that she and Michael put their love to the test with a summer apart…

“Forever” is written for an older age group than Judy Blume’s other novels for children. It caused a storm of controversy when it was first published because of its explicit sexual content. 

It was a book ahead of its time – and remains, after thirty years in print, a teenage best-seller. America’s No. 1 children’s author has written some of the best books of our time about real-life issues – family stress and pressures, what happens when your parents divorce, the problems of growing up and sexual awakening, bereavement – with insight, sensitivity and honesty.

The response of readers all around the world continues to make her one of the best-loved writers ever published.

Review: Now, I’ve got to say, I think I missed the Judy Blume phase. I can read this book and, as a writer, tell you that it’s great! It’s absolutely wonderful…for a certain age.

This is the type of book that began the YA genre and what also made the majority of society think that YA was for 13 year girls getting their period and wanting to sleep around with boys.

While the writer in me can see how well crafted this book is, the book reviewer in me can only say that it’s good for a certain age. It is definitely not a cross-over book. 

Recommendation: Buy for the right person, and it is wonderful! Read as a writer, and it is wonderful!

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