Reading Teen

Two "young adult" moms and their teens chat about books together!

Salvage

Salvage - Alexandra Duncan I seriously loved this book!!!
Sing Sweet Nightingale (The Dream War Saga, Book 1) - Erica Cameron I have to say, I was nervous reading this book. It's exciting to know an author, but it's scary to read their writing for the first time, not knowing if you'll connect with their book! So I was really happy when I started reading SING SWEET NIGHTINGALE and discovered that I liked it a lot!

This story is different than anything I've read before! It was described as Alice in Wonderland meets Beetlejuice and I thought that was a perfect description! It has a dark, cryptic, dreamy feel to it that leaves you unsettled, but wanting more.

description

The dreamworld that Erica Cameron created in SSN was so fascinating. For Mariella, it was filled with beautiful flowers, mountains, willow trees and music. It made me wonder what my dream world would look like. Every night she visits Orane there, where she plays games, sings in her own Opera House, and does lots of kissing. She's in love with Orane, and wants to spend the rest of her life with him, even though the price is that she isn't allowed to utter a word in her real life. This was completely fascinating. Can you imagine, not saying a word to anyone for four years? It was frustrating, watching Mari give up more and more of her life to Orane...but then, in walks Hudson.



I think Hudson was my favorite part of this book. I loved that Erica was able to write from both Mariella's and Hudson's point of view so well. They had completely distinctive voices (Hudson needs his mouth washed out with soap :P) and I never questioned who was narrating. I loved Hudson! He was so incredibly thoughtful, but at the same time, very practical and didn't put up with any crap from anyone. I loved that he was tough with Mari, but at the same time gentle. It was a perfect balance, and their relationship was such a slow burn, and developed really well. It definitely added a layer of tension to the already tension-filled story!

Rarely do I read a book that is so good at fleshing out supporting characters as this one was. I felt like I really knew each and every character in this book! I loved Horrace, Hudson's "adoptive" father, K.T., Mariella's best friend, and Dawn. They were so fun to read, and such amazing and supportive people. (Horrace made me think of Bobby Singer from Supernatural!)

All the little details make this book something even more special; the music, the stones, the descriptions of the dreamworld, the mysteries surrounding why these things were happening, the characters, the world-building, the intensity, Mariella's silence, HUDSON(!!) and on and on. I hope you'll pick up SING SWEET NIGHTINGALE and that you'll enjoy it as much as I did!

Talon

Talon - Julie Kagawa

"But I remember the strange dragon's eyes, the look on his face as he stared it me, the way my blood had warmed at the sight of him. I remembered the heat of his gaze, the instant awakening of something fierce and primal inside me when our eyes met.

The rogue dragon was trouble. Plain and simple.

And I was intrigued."

-Ember from Talon by Julie Kagawa

The Forever Song (Blood of Eden)

The Forever Song - Julie Kagawa "My sword flashed, and he screamed as the gun hit the pavement along with both his arms." kagawa = ruthless!!

Deathsworn

Death Sworn - Leah Cypess I loved this book! LOVED!

Better Off Friends

Better Off Friends - Elizabeth Eulberg 4.5 stars

Andye: I was really excited to get this book! I've enjoyed Elizabeth's books in the past (especially THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB) and I loved the idea of a book all about best friends falling in love, so I couldn't wait to dive in. BETTER OFF FRIENDS was such an adorable story. It really was When Harry Met Sally about teens. I mean, who doesn't love that movie?? Ok...maybe not you, Reagan....since I'm pretty sure it's older than your life.

Reagan: Yeah.... Never heard of that movie. I got into these kinds of books on the way there and back from New York when we were on the panel. I read This Is What Happy Looks Like. Then all in one day I read The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight and Better Off Friends. One thing that I loved about this book was that it started off when they were in 7th grade and ended Junior year. I've never seen anyone do that before and it was really cool.

Andye: YES! I loved that too! I know there are adult books that span many years, but I've never read a YA book that starts out in 7th grade and ends in high school. I love the way that they grew up in this book. They start out so cute, really not having romance on their minds at all, and Elizabeth does a great job of showing how things change as you get older and enter high school.

Reagan: Agreed. You could definitely see more of a change in Levi's personality than Macallan. I loved the idea of best friends falling for each other because in every amazing book, true love comes in the strangest places. That's why best friends are targeted. I also thought it was funny how everyone thought they were together throughout the entire book. ;P

Andye: Yeah, but maybe everyone else saw what they refused to see! That they were MFEO! (Oh...you probably don't know that movie either....) I really loved Levi, but there was one point where I really wanted to punch him in the nose. He was being SO stupid and selfish.

Reagan: Exactly!! He was so cute when he was sensible. One thing I noticed was when things got tough Macallan would cry, and Levi would push her away. It was a pattern of crying, fights, and pushing each other away. Another thing I liked about this book is that it's showing you how disabled people get treated some times. People treat other people cruelly.

Andye: Yeah, I loved Macallan's uncle, but I hated the way that some of Levi's "friends" would make fun of him because of his disability. But I LOVED the way Macallan stood up for him (and others) so fiercely. I totally pictured you in that moment, because I know you'd do the same thing if you heard people being hateful like that!

Reagan: I would do that, but probably harder, and I would have poisoned something he ate. I did love her Uncle Adam he was so nice. My favorite character was Macallan, not because she's the main character, but because of her personality. She was fierce and stood up for what she believed in.

Andye: Yeah, I think she was my favorite character too. She was just so strong and independent, and she was also witty, fun, and loyal to the extreme. Of course I liked Levi too, even though he was a dumb boy sometimes. But their relationship was just so refreshing and awesome, and I just really loved their banter. I love that it's clean, I love that it can appeal to all ages, I love the way it was written, really I just loved this book!

Reagan: I could say lot more but it would spoil the book. So please just read it, when it comes out, of course. I won't say whether or not Levi and Macallan end up together or believe they're Better Off Friends.

The Queen of the Tearling: A Novel (Queen of the Tearling, The)

The Queen of the Tearling - Erika Johansen I wanted to like this book, SO MUCH. Like...you have no IDEA how much I wanted this book to be amazing. I wanted another Seven Realms, or The Queen's Thief, or Lumatere Chronicles, or even The Winner's Curse. Sadly, I didn't get anything close to any of those books. Instead, I got a book that was full of inconsistencies, annoying characters, propaganda, and often just plain boredom.

The story starts off well enough, if you know some of the background. I knew going into the book that it was set in the future, but had reverted back to medieval times. This becomes evident over time, but people may be confused if they don't know that when they start. I enjoyed the beginning, with Kelsea being taken away by the Queen's Guard. Their journey was exciting, and I liked that Kelsea, though naive, was somewhat self-aware, and tried her hardest to be strong, brave, and adaptable. I enjoyed the way the guard slowly changed their opinion about Kelsea, after she proved herself to be different than her mother.

Looking at my goodreads updates, it was about page 79 when I started to get a little annoyed with Kelsea. This was about the time she started fawning all over a man who kidnapped her, beat up her Guard, and threatened to kill her. As a matter of fact, she practically swooned over every man she met. There was no romance AT ALL in the book, yet I still found myself annoyed at the romance. How is that possible? Because Kelsea spent the entire book fantasizing about a man that she knew practically nothing about, who had done nothing but tell her that if she didn't meet his criteria of a good Queen, then he'd track her down and end her. I just can't even.

There were other things that bothered me as well. To name a few:

The Mace was supposed to be this amazing Guard, who had some sort of supernatural ability to suss out people's intentions, yet he was constantly screwing up, letting Kelsea get attacked, again and again, by one of the Guard that he was close to and saw every day. He talked the entire book about how he'd "never let that happen again" or he'd never let so-and-so best him again, yet it happened over and over.

Then there was Kelsea herself. She's supposedly so learned. She spent her entire life being taught lessons, and scouring thousands of books, yet she's never heard a cuss word before? Because there's no cussing in books...

Also, she has a necklace that she's worn her entire life, that kind-of has a mind of it's own. Other people are familiar with the necklace, but when it starts doing strange things, she doesn't question it at all. She never asks anyone about it. I would think, if I had worn a necklace my whole life, that everyone seemed to know about, and it started glowing when I got angry, that I would be like, "Hey! What's up with this glowy necklace thing? Anyone happen to know why it's on fire?" But....apparently not Kelsea.

Then there were the "villains" of the story. I don't know about you, but I find that most people have reasons behind why they've done the bad things they've done in their lives. Other than, they're just evil. The villains in this story were so.....Disney. They're just bad for the sake of having someone for Kelsea to fight. The "Red Queen" was absolutely vile, because she just was. Kelsea's mother was repugnant, because she just was. Kelsea's uncle was completely despicable, because he just was. The only one that had any kind of depth was one of the Gate Guards.

And speaking of gratuitousness. I felt like all the rape and child sacrificing was just in there for shock value. There's a woman who Kelsea finds bound to her uncle by a rope, who has been repeatedly raped, forced to perform horrible sexual acts, and otherwise abused. When Kelsea comes in and "saves the day" this woman changes in an instant. Now she's perfectly happy and teaching the children. Apparently she wasn't too torn up about it.

Then there was the fact that everything was just too easy. Anything bad that happened to Kelsea was just magically resolved, easy peasy. People want to kill her as a baby? No problem, she just hides in a house where nobody comes to find her, even though it would've been easy if they actually tried. She gets attacked by the Caden (who never, ever fail)? No worries, the Fetch shows up just in time. An assassin sneaks in puts a knife to her throat? Oh! Glowy necklace saves the day! The bad guys haul off a batch of people and set them on fire? Glowy necklace to the rescue again. There's a traitor in the Guard? Well, let's just ride that one to the end of the book when suddenly, for no apparent reason, they all just magically figure out who it is. Everything was just WAY too easy.

The thing that bothered me the most, though, and the thing that probably made all the other things stand out even more (because I probably wouldn't be so picky if I wasn't so annoyed), was the blatant political agenda. I wish authors wouldn't try to "teach" political lessons. It comes across forced and incredibly naive. OH JUST FEED AND HOUSE ALL THE POOR PEOPLE! Of course! Why hadn't we thought of that sooner?! Where does the money come from? According to Kelsea..."I'm sure you'll figure it out, Lazarus." There are so many examples of times where Kelsea makes these types of statements, basically bashing certain political views, or religions, but her solutions are so incredibly stupid and unrealistic. I feel like, if she were alive today, she'd just walk into the White House, tell Obama how horrible he is because there are homeless people living in his city, and tell him that if he was a good leader, he would've let them all live in the White House with him. That's how absurd her solutions were. It was so distracting and completely pulled me out of the story. I feel like if this aspect had been left out, or at least wasn't so obviously forced, the other things in the book wouldn't have annoyed me so much.

There were things I liked about the book. I did like the idea of it being set in the future, but reverting to the past, though I'm not sure it was pulled off entirely. I liked the adventure, and I did like the Mace, for all his flaws. Kelsea had moments of likeability and moments of complete annoyance, but she's young, so I guess that can be expected. But she's also incredibly arrogant, which makes it somewhat difficult.

I feel like there is definitely room for Kelsea to grow. I think that the future books could get tremendously better, or horribly worse. I'll probably just wait for everyone's reaction before deciding whether or not I'll read it.

Have you read this book? I'd love to hear your thoughts, good or bad! But for now, I'm just going to go sit in a corner and cry over the loss of my excitement for the Tearling Queen...

Salt (Salt, #1)

Salt (Salt, #1) - Danielle Ellison Review to come (Reagan)

Cruel Beauty

Cruel Beauty - Rosamund Hodge Sadly this just couldn't hold my interest enough to finish right now. It's not bad, I'm just not connecting right now.

Uninvited

Uninvited - Sophie Jordan Part Gattaca, part Point of No Return (Nikita), part Divergent.

I really enjoyed this book. Sophie Jordan is one of my favorite authors to read. I loved her Firelight series so much, and was really happy that I found this book just as good.

Davy was a fantastic female character, full of personality, incredibly smart, and quick to evolve to her ever-changing, and horrifying surroundings.

The world-building was written in a way that you could feel the way society was crumbling, without it getting bogged down in details. I especially loved the different letters/articles/messages/etc that were placed between the chapters, talking about different events that were occurring around the country. It added an element of intensity to the story.

This book did have a little too much "alpha male" for my comfort, but overall I still really liked the romance. There was one part where Sean thinks he should "show" Davy what can happen to her if she's not careful, and that rubbed me the wrong way. So...I'm pretending that didn't happen. Otherwise, the tension was awesome between Davy and Sean. I love how protective he is of her, and visa versa.

The Uninvited was a quick and easy read, I liked it a lot and can't wait to find out what happens next. Especially since it kind of just ends in the middle of the story.

The Unbound: An Archived Novel (Archived, The)

The Unbound - Victoria Schwab Beautiful and brilliant! Loved every minute!!

Untitled (Pivot Point, #2)

Untitled (Pivot Point, #2) - Kasie West 4.5 stars

Seriously. Just awesome. I'm buying everything Kasie West writes.

Split Second had a different feel to it than Pivot Point, but it was still almost as good as the first book, which was one of my favorite reads last year. Kasie West does an incredible job of sucking you into her stories, writing about complex issues and situations, while at the same time, keeping things simple.

I loved reading from Laila's viewpoint (as well as Addie's) this time around. She had such a different voice and perspective. I love her attitude, her strength, and her loyalty. She had every reason to let her life spiral out of control, with her completely screwed up father, but she doesn't. She takes charge of her life and turns it into something good. Her romantic relationship was exciting to read, and so different from the sweet romance that Addie found in the last book. I loved it! And the way she loves her brother and Addie, and looks out for them, is awesome!

It was really interesting to see the way Addie had to start over in her relationship with Trevor in this book. In a way I wish there had been a little more relationship development between them, but it was still really good. ("Tell me three things.") It was fantastic falling in love with them all over again.

There are a few things I wish had been a little more resolved, like things with The Compound, with Addie's powers and Laila's father and brother. I feel like there were a lot of "bigger picture" storylines that were brought up but not fully explored. So I'm really hoping this duology turns into a trilogy. I mean, really, WE NEED MORE TREVOR (yep, Connor too!!)

One of the things I love best about these books is how they're able to appeal to all ages. I'm 37 years old, my older daughter is 19, and my younger daughter is 13, and we all love Kasie's writing. I have no doubt that when I give the books to my 60 year old mother, she will love them too! How many authors have managed that? And everyone I talk to has loved these books as much as we do! Well done, Kasie West. Well done! I can't wait to see what you have for us next!

Untitled (The Ascendance Trilogy, #3)

Untitled (The Ascendance Trilogy, #3) - Jennifer A. Nielsen Where's the 6th star?! So good! I can't believe it's over.

-Reagan (13)

Archetype

Archetype - M.D. Waters 4.5 Stars

At a Glance:

This science-fiction/romance/dystopian/mystery novel was full of everything that I love in a book. The plot twists truly had my jaw dropping, the romance had me confused and swoony at the same time, and the writing kept me loving this book from beginning to end.

Wow! What a whirlwind!

A side-note:

I came across this book pretty much by accident. I was browsing the teen/YA section at STRAND and saw this book. I thought I remembered Hannah (Irish Banana) saying that she really loved it, and it didn't come out until Feb, so I bought it. Needless to say, this book was not shelved properly (*waves to chapter 16* O_O ), but I'm so glad that STRAND made this happy mistake.

Cover:

I like the cover a lot, especially now that I've read it, and it has meaning. In person it's really shiny, so there's that.

Action:

The beginning of the story doesn't have a whole lot of action, except for the few dreams that Emma is having. But the end? Yeah. My heart was racing, all the things were happening, my heart was exploding. It was pretty intense, and I absolutely loved it!

Romance:

This was one of the most bizarre books for me as far as the romance goes. I knew from the synopsis that there was something off about Declan, so I just could never trust him. BUT, I still found myself....feeling like Emma did about him. And in the end, I'm glad that the author was able to do that, because things weren't what I thought. Then there's the addition of mystery man, Noah. I just wanted them to meet and run off into the sunset together...but of course things aren't that easy. Needless to say, things get super steamy (OH YEAH! NOT A TEEN BOOK :P ) and my feelings were just all twisty. It was kind of awesome.

Heroine:

Emma was an interesting heroine because half the book she had no idea who she was, or what was going on in her life. I think I would have liked it if she had taken a little more initiative sooner, trying to learn about her past, but that's just because I wanted to KNOW, and I'm impatient. Once she starts to uncover her past, I really like the glimpses into who she is. I have a feeling she's going to be a force to be reckoned with in the next book!

Hero:

Who is the hero? Who is the villain? I'm still not even sure. I love complex characters. I love villains who have good in them, and heroes who have a little bad. When you find yourself sympathizing with the one you're supposed to hate, and wanting the punch the one you're supposed to love, you know it's a good story!

Favorite Supporting Character:

That's going to have to be Foster. I adore his personality! I love it when there's a strong male/female friendship. I hope we get to see more of him in book 2.

Something I loved:

I didn't know anything about ARCHETYPE when I picked it up, so I had no expectations. When I first started reading, I told my friend that sometimes you can just tell on the second page that you're going to connect with the writing, and I definitely did.

Something(s) I hated:

There wasn't anything I hated. I think the middle might have moved a little slowly, which some might have a problem with, but I was never bored. I think that has to do with liking the writing so much.

Cliffhanger?

Uh...yeah. Talk about ripping my heart out then leaving me hanging! And that epilogue???

Would I recommend it?

Yes, most definitely (but not to young teens).

Will I buy/keep it?

YES! I already bought it, and it'll find a permanent home on my keeper shelf.

Book Doppelgangers:

Wither by Lauren DeStefano, The Host by Stephenie Meyer, Crewel by Gennifer Albin


I can't wait for PROTOTYPE!

-Andye
ReadingTeen.net

Vengeance

Vengeance - Megan Miranda Vengeance is the sequel to Megan Miranda's book Fracture. While it is helpful to have read the earlier book, there is enough of the story in this book to let a new reader know what has happened. The previous book was told from Delaney Maxwell's perspective while this one is told from Decker's. Delaney has survived a fall through the ice and a week in a coma. This tragedy was followed by the death of a classmate and another acquaintance. Now everyone in town is wondering if Falcon Lake is cursed and what part Delaney's survival is playing in all this. Decker is Delaney's next-door neighbor and boyfriend. He loves and understands Delaney but when tragedy strikes his family he struggles to accept Delaney's part in it.

This book is part romance and part psychological thriller. Is Falcon Lake trying to pull this group of friends back into the water or is there a more human answer? I liked this book as much as I did the first one (which was a lot). The characters are believable and likeable. The story involves high school kids as well as their families and it held my interest from start to finish.

If you haven't read this series yet, I highly recommend it!

-Janeth

Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends, #1)

Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends, #1) - Kelley Armstrong This sounds right up my alley!

Currently reading

Dreams of Gods & Monsters
Laini Taylor
Progress: 8 %
Dorothy Must Die
Danielle Paige
The Forever Song
Julie Kagawa
Indelible
Dawn Metcalf