Thursday, July 24, 2014

Days of Blood and Starlight

Title: Days of Blood and Starlight - Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2
Author: Laini Taylor
Rating: 3/5
Age Group: YA/Adult

GoodReads RunDown: Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a

different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Review: This was a difficult read - physically painful at times. Taylor is a wordsmith but her stories aren't always my favorite. The way Taylor can craft a sentence, her ability to create like a master but in an unconventional world is something I adore. All that is to say that while I love Taylor's work, her storytelling often times bothers me and Days of Blood and Starlight is the perfect example of this.

Do these seem a bit dramatic? Yes? Well, they match the book perfectly. UGH! Why didn't certain people get it earlier? I mean, yes, I know why we had to drag out a certain bastard's life but oh my gosh! It could have had less screen time. Maybe that's my biggest conflict - Taylor drags everything out to this point where my stomach starts to hurt and I'm sooo over it that if I were reading the text instead of listening I would skim the hell out of it. In fact, I'm probably going to read the third book instead of listening to it so I can get through it faster.

Yes, the characters are great. They are so well written that within moments you either love them or hate them but always there is a strong emotion. Which is sometimes difficult because you also never know who is going to die and who is going to be resurrected - no one is safe. NO ONE I TELL YOU! That's fairly stressful for me. I'm not always one for books that are so intense I keep reading because I NEED to see what happens instead of reading because I enjoy every moment. AND THAT is the biggest reason this gets 3 out of 5 stars. I didn't enjoy this book as much as I had a deep need to read it.

Why the low rating? Why a weak little 3 out of 5 stars when this book shines so brightly? Let me show you some of my GoodReads status updates to give you a hint:

06/26 marked as: currently-reading
06/26 "Beautifully written but giving me a stomach to listen to. I'm torn. The writing is so wonderful but the story is making feel ill and I'm getting little to no enjoyment from it...part of me doesn't even want to finish."
07/09 "NOT GIVING UP!! Beautifully written with no end in sight. Glad the third book is out because this reads like there will be no closure until the next book."
07/12 "UGH!!! KILLING ME!!!!!!!!!!!" 

That may sound silly but so be it. I don't always have to enjoy the journey either. There are many novels I read that are action packed and dark and it's all about how quickly I can turn the pages. I just didn't feel as good chasing the action through this book. Too many times Karou didn't stand up for herself or there were chapters upon chapters of new characters that were there just to show how horrible the war was. Let me tell you, I know. I know the war was horrible and gut destroying and nightmare inducing. Those chapters got too intense for me sometimes though. LET ME SLEEP!!!

SO, I'm reading the third book now. Reading, not listening, and hopefully I'll love it as much as I did the first and not feel ill throughout the entire thing as I did through this one.

How did you do through this book? Am I the only emotional train wreck out there?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sky Chasers 1 Review

Title: Glow - Sky Chasers 1
Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Rating: 3/5
Age Group: YA

GoodReads Rundown: What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.

Review: This book might be getting a rough shake from me here because I'm still in a bit of  book funk and I'm not a fan of love triangles.

I'm in a space mood so I was pretty excited about this book. Waverly lives on a massive ship with farms and animals and jungles - how cool is that?! They are on their way to settle New Earth when their sister ship comes into view. The ship should be years ahead of them but for some reason it slowed and wants to meet up with our heroes.All hell breaks loose when the New Horizon boards the Empyrean.

This is a really well written book - the only thing YA about it is that the characters are young. The issues they deal with, the writing style, everything else is more adult in nature. Recently I read Salvage and the taglines said it was a YA Handmaid's Tale. That was a lie but this, Glow, is defiantly a YA, modern Handmaid's Tale. That's huge too. I'm in love with Atwood and to say this book was similar is major. Ryan's writing has that haunting quality. She has the ability to take the horrible, nightmare to the edge without going over and being totally traumatizing.

The characters are interesting but not overly compelling. I liked that Waverly was strong and fought back but wasn't like a superhero. She was a very real hero, her actions those I could see most people taking. Most of the girls were real like that. Sammy and Felicity were equally compelling and strong but not unrealistically so.

The boy on the other hand, they were well written but not as compelling or realistic. I mean, they weren't unrealistic but they felt more typical book character. You know what I mean? Many characters are great and I love and adore them but I often find myself wishing they would do something different because what they do seems to so absurd or whatever. The guys are more typical teenagers and, while written, just aren't as compelling.

Overall this is an okay book. The events are sometimes the stuff of my nightmares and her characters pretty good, but the writing is strong and her discussion of religion interesting. Though, if I'm being totally honest with myself, I'm not likely to read the next books in large part because of the religious discussion - I'm just a bit tapped out on that at the moment. I hear there is a great twist at the end of series so one day I might check it out but for now I'm not interested in finishing the trilogy.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Free Listens Week 10

We're getting near the end but here are week 10s free listens!

Finally, the girls get a moment - Sherlock Holmes' sister Enola Holmes is the star of the contemporary novel.

Sisters and brothers, always competing - the free classic is a tale of Sherlock Holmes.
So head over to SYNC YA for your free downloads!!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Woven - almost here but while we wait...

Remember all that drama over the conservative, Mormon publishers dropping a book because one of the authors is gay?

Yeah, I remember it too. SO outrageous.

The good news - fans and people who knew nothing about the authors or the book previously got angry and drew tons of attention to the situation. All that attention most likely helped the book find a home at Scholastic - a much larger house. 

Woven will be out in January and I am already scheming on how to get an arc. SO EXCITING! 

I'm so excited. The story sounds amazing and now there is a great cover to go with it!!! Feast your eyes on this!

Empowering young adults

This week SYNC YA is giving away two more amazing titles. I'm really excited about these two because CLAUDETTE COLVIN: Twice Toward Justice is the powerful story of a young black girl who, before Rosa Park, sat for her people, for her rights.

So often people forget how important young adults are. When the world changes for the better, when true progress is made, it is not because of the wars of old, faceless leaders. No, change comes from the sweat crusted on the backs of young people and women. Change is rocked by older sisters and fostered by big brothers. The United States of America is a free nation because the sacrifices of the our founding mothers - the women who said they would make the country run without the taxed goods of England. The women and children who worked long into the night and before the sun rose over the fields.

Who sat in the seats in diners while people abused them? Young people. Who carries the burdens, the mistakes we adults make? Our children, our young people. It is only through them that things are made right, that the world turns into something different. They hold the dreams and ideals we pass to them and we must do everything we can to empower them, support them, show them how powerful they really are.

SYNC YA's picks this week are beautiful reminds of the power of the young adults, of women, of the real makers of a new world.

Go listen. Go be reminded. Go listen.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A classic with a twist - this week's free audiobooks

It's that time again! SYNC YA gives us two new audiobooks for listening enjoyment. How much do you love the spread of great literature and fun new classics?

This week (by the way, it's like Christmas ever week during the summer, isn't it?!) we get the awesome Peter and the Starcatchers and Torn from Troy. I'm most excited about Peter as I've had this book on my list for a while never gotten around to it. PLUS, yes, this is maybe the best part - it's read the great Jim Dale!! He's the awesome voice who brought you the American Harry Potter series. Yup. The one and only. He also read The Night Circus. So brilliant.

Gotta' admit, Torn from Troy looks pretty good too. Perfect young adventure lovers and maybe a few reluctant readers (my nephew for example).

Filling in the gaps, fleshing out the shelves

My new job is awesome. When I'm at work it's all about the kids - the entire time I'm there I help kids find books, make buttons, use the 3D printer, and more. It's great. Recently, a new element has been added to my list - fix our series problems.

Our library is really bad at series. We might have the first four and the last two but are missing the middle books. Sometimes we have the last two but not the first two. There is also my favorite, we have the first book, the third book, and the sixth book (which is not the last book) and that's it. 

SOOOO, here is the list of series I'm checking and filling. Are there any series I should add to this list? Things our library MUST have?

Fiction Series
Denim Diaries
Gilda Joyce
Bad Girls Don’t Die
The Alchemyst
Chronicles of Vladimir Todd
The Princess Diaries
The Hobbit
The Last Apprentice
Maximum Ride
Ranger’s Apprentice
Theodore Boone
Emily the Strange
Gone (or A Gone Novel)
The Angel Experiments
Princess Academy
The Golden Compass
Alex Rider
Artemis Fowl
Gossip Girl
Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events
Jacob Wonderbar
Dork Diaries
Lorien Legacies (I am Number Four by Septimus Heap)
Vampire Diaries
The Warriors
Harry Potter
Percy Jackson (The Olympians)

Graphic Novel Series
The Warriors Graphic Novels
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Graphic Novels
Attack On Titan
Dylan Dog
Senestro’s War
The Last Man
The Killing Joke (Batman)
Long Halloween (Batman)
Magi Nation
Deltora Quest (The Graphic Novels, not the regular novels)
Mind the Gap