Tag: book review

[REVIEW] The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

the sun is also a starSynopsis:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Review:

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon is a sweet book that has been compared to the likes of John Green and Rainbow Rowell. While it is a very sweet book, I did feel like it was unrealistic to the point where the storyline felt inorganic.

To be honest, the book never really pulled me in. Daniel and Natasha were alright characters, not particularly dislikable or unrelatable, but also not particularly likable or relatable, either. They were average. I think that (and the pacing of the story itself) is the reason it took me a longer time to get into the story. I eventually did and I’m glad that I’ve read this book, but I also didn’t feel like there was anything truly ‘standout’ about it. Perhaps I’ve simply outgrown the YA genre, but I felt like a lot of the conversations between Daniel and Natasha were fairly mundane.

I will say, however, that there were a few redeeming characteristics about the book. I liked that the author included tidbits about other characters in the story. In the beginning I didn’t like it as much but as the book went on I definitely saw what the author was trying to achieve with the different interjections. I wish Yoon would’ve done even more with it though, because while some of the interjections were successful, there were others that felt pointless.

I do have qualms about the ending. [SPOILER ALERT!!!] Daniel and Natasha ending up together? Unrealistic. I wish that last bit had been taken out and the book have ended on a bittersweet note. That would’ve given the book a lot more impact, in my opinion. This is definitely what I mean by that the storyline felt inorganic–I get that this is a YA romance, and I get that it’s fiction, but I feel like the “coincidence” factor in this book was so overdone that the romance itself felt like it was forced by the author.

With all of that being said, I offer this book 3.5 stars. I think most people would enjoy it. The writing was good, the plotline was alright, the characters were fine. Honestly, the ending (and Daniel’s poetry, but that’s another topic for another time) is the only part I truly disliked about this book. There was nothing particularly ‘standout’ about this book, but there was also nothing terribly wrong with it. It’s a good, light, read for the beach or for a plane ride. If you’re looking for something with more depth and substance, this is probably not it, but if you enjoy light, fluffy reads, then by all means, this is your book.

3.5/5 stars for this book.

Purchase the book

[REVIEW] The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

51Ovdc5rx9LSynopsis:

Magic, romance, and intrigue combine in this extraordinary novel—the first in the Elemental Trilogy—for fans of Cinda Williams Chima and Kristin Cashore. Publishers Weekly called it “a wonderfully satisfying magical saga” in a starred review, and Kirkus Reviews said it “bids fair to be the next big epic fantasy success.”

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she’s been told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of the Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.

Guided by his mother’s visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.

Review:

My first disclaimer would be that fantasy is not my thing–I really only gave this book a shot because my sister really raved about it. It’s a mix of fantasy, romance, and just a hint of historical fiction (though a part of this book would take place in “real life” London in 1883, that aspect of the setting does not play a big part in the plot. It could have taken place in modern day London and wouldn’t have made much of a difference!).

My first impressions of the book was that it was alright. The back cover had compared The Burning Sky to the likes of the Harry Potter series and I must say that it’s a bit of an ambitious comparison and the book didn’t exactly live up to Harry Potter. For me, the pacing was a little bit slow and for the most part, I didn’t really find this book to be a page turner–I will admit that it was a bit of a struggle to continue to turn the pages. It wasn’t that the story wasn’t good but that it simply lacked a drive that pushes the reader forward.

I will say, however, the book is good in its own rights and that sticking through it ended up being a good decision. The author is a romance/historical romance writer and I feel like it shows in The Burning Sky in both a positive and slightly negative way–I feel like the romance between Iolanthe and Titus was done fairly well, albeit a bit cringe-worthy at times but overall, well thought out with the right mix of chemistry and tension. At the same time, the I wish there was more as far as the fantasy element was concerned. The story-telling could be tightened up a little and Thomas could have done more to drive the plot forward. It was a good story with a good plot, and in the end Thomas did deliver what the synopsis promised, but it lacks a bit of ‘oomph.’

I think one redeeming aspect of the story is that although it is a trilogy, it stands well on its own. Of course, Thomas leaves some loose threads at the end, but the main plot was definitely tied up. There is no frustrating cliffhanger ending and readers who are interested in this world can certainly continue going.

Will I? Most likely not–however that isn’t due to the plot or the writing, but my own general disinterest in reading fantasy novels. I will, however, keep an eye out for this author as there is talent and potential in her books and writing!

4/5 stars for this book.

Purchase the book

[REVIEW] Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

orphan-train-book-coverSynopsis

Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train is an unforgettable story of friendship and second chances that highlights a little-known but historically significant movement in America’s past—and it includes a special PS section for book clubs featuring insights, interviews, and more.

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse…

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life—answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

Review

I enjoyed the historical portion (Vivian’s point of view) much, much more than Molly’s. I thought Vivian was a much more well-rounded, developed, and likable character. While I understand Molly’s struggles/conflicts, I feel like the author could’ve done more to make her more likable. For me, she just felt cliched and perhaps even a little bit whiney (that is not to say I don’t acknowledge her hardships, I just feel that the author could have written Molly in a way that evokes more sympathy)–the goth look and hard exterior that hides and inner softie due to her tumultuous past just felt a little too old.

There was a hint of cliche to Vivian’s storyline as well–without “spoiling” it (though I’m sure it’s not much of a spoiler anyway since you will probably be able to tell for yourself if you do read this book), I knew who Vivian was going to eventually marry extremely early on in the book. While I’m not a huge fan of cliches there are certainly people who are, and at the end of the day it didn’t really make or break the book.

As I have mentioned, my favorite part of the book was the historical portion; to me it’s extremely well crafted and there really wasn’t a moment where I was bored with the author’s description of what Vivian was going through. Vivian was an easy character to stick with and root for and I was definitely fascinated and enraptured in her story. Molly’s was a bit more disappointing/not as interesting, but thankfully it was only a minor part of the book. In my opinion, the book would have been even better if Molly’s portion had been omitted completely.

Overall, a solid four out of five stars for the book. A good storyline, but could be made better, of course, by omitting a somewhat unnecessary element.

Purchase the book

[Review] Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

me before youSynopsis

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living. (more…)

[Review] Someone to Look Up To by Jean Gill

29356792

Synopsis

‘Jean Gill has captured the innermost thoughts of this magnificent animal.’ Les Ingham, Pyr International

By IPPY and Global Ebook Award Winner Jean Gill A dog’s life in the south of France. From puppyhood, Sirius the Pyrenean Mountain Dog has been trying to understand his humans and train them with kindness.

How this led to their divorce he has no idea. More misunderstandings take Sirius to Death Row in an animal shelter, as a so-called dangerous dog learning survival tricks from the other inmates. During the twilight barking, he is shocked to hear his brother’s voice but the bitter-sweet reunion is short-lived. Doggedly, Sirius keeps the faith.

One day, his human will come.

Review

This book, wow. A lot of times I like to stay within my comfort zone of reading YA/Historical Fiction/Realistic Fiction/New Adult novels, because with the limited time I have to read, I want to always pick something that I enjoy, and those are the “tried and true,” genres for me. It’s just much easier to find something I like there. That said, Someone to Look Up To far exceeded my expectations. (more…)