Wednesday, December 28, 2016

House Arrest by K.A. Holt

House Arrest is a realistic fiction book appropriate for middle grade readers and YA readers about a 12-year-old boy who will do anything to help his brother. Timothy's baby brother (Levi) was born with Subglottic Stenosis that makes him unable to breathe normally. He had to have a tracheotomy done to insert a tube in his neck that goes directly into his windpipe. Unfortunately, germs and all kinds of viruses have the easiest access in the world into Levi's lungs. The medicine and medical bills are very expensive and puts huge financial pressure on their family.

His dad left one day and now the only one supporting the family is Timothy's mom. His mother is exhausted and there is barely enough money for food. Timothy's life was falling apart, and he only wanted to help. One day he saw a wallet lying around. He took it and used a credit card to buy a couple months worth of Levi's medicine. Now he has a year of house arrest and a court-ordered journal to write in where he has to prove that he is sorry for what he did. Throughout the book Timothy must come to realize that there are other ways to help his brother and the difference between right and wrong.

House Arrest was great! The book was written in poetry that made it even better. He even mentioned that one time. It is inspirational with the theme of family and sacrifice. Timothy was willing to do anything to help his brother. His mom wanted to take care of the family at all costs and constantly worked. Timothy wrote at one time that his life was pretty much house arrest anyways. He always stays at home and has to help and take care of Levi. Timothy pretty much gave up his life to help Levi. He also just gave up on school. He claimed that taking care of his brother is more important than doing his homework. The amount of emotion from Timothy was huge. In the beginning he steered away from emotion, but then he gave in and really started writing. The anger at his dad was tremendous.

The internal conflict was huge in the book. On one hand, he knows stealing is wrong. On the other hand, he knows that it would have helped. He was very determined to find help for his brother. There were sweet moments in the book, too. He has a crush on his best friend's sister, Isa. Their relationship was sweet and a little relief from the rest of his problems. House Arrest is a book that readers of all ages can enjoy. I would say that the reading level is middle grade, but the themes and the content can also be for YA readers.

The only thing I did not like was the ending. I need there to be a second book. There has to be! If there is not going to be a second book in the future, then the ending is really bad and shows no character development. It also has the biggest cliffhanger in the world. Now I have to make up my own second book story. That was easy, though. If I wanted to, I could write the whole second book right now.

UPDATE: There now is a sequel! Knockout was published in March 2018- I can't wait to read it!

I recommend that you read this book!

Title: House Arrest
Author: K.A. Holt
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Pages: 304 Pages
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

Zeroes is the first book in a YA science fiction fantasy trilogy. These six teens have powers, and they consider themselves not to be heroes, but zeroes. Nate is Bellwether. He is the leader, and has the ability to change the desire of crowds. Chizara is Crash. She can destroy anything electronic. However, this power hurts her physically when she uses it. Riley is Flicker. She is blind, but she can see the world from other people's eyes. Thibault is Anonymous. Nobody can remember him unless they’re looking at him. Ironically, he is a very memorable character and a huge influence. Kelsie is Mob. She can change the mood of a crowd. It can make them happy and united. However, if her emotions slip, then the crowd can experience fear and anger.

Ethan is Scam. He has another voice that takes over. It knows everything about everyone. It can be effective if he wants something, but it gets him into trouble. Ethan's voice gets him into stealing money, and he goes to a bank to make an account. While he is in there, a bank robber comes in. To save his life, Ethan's voice starts taking. Things quickly get out of hand, and he becomes a huge interest to the police, and the world. The other Zeroes unite to help Ethan despite old rivalry. It turns out that the bank robber's daughter has powers, too, and this could change everything that they have ever known.

I love how much the other Zeroes look out for each other. They put aside everything and made it a top priority to keep Ethan safe. A thing that I loved the most is that unlike most superhero books or books about powers, this focuses on the negatives and the challenges that come with powers, not the benefits. Usually people think that it would be so cool to have powers, but lots of people probably do not understand the responsibility that comes with it.

Thibualt was my favorite character. I do not know how he coped with being forgotten. I would be so upset if people constantly forgot me. I liked how he was just outside the picture, like there and not there at the same time. There was a lot of drama between the characters, and that kind of took away from some of the action. However, I liked having the background knowledge and reading their thoughts about each other. I also really liked Ethan's voice. It was very interesting and entertaining to find out all this knowledge about all the characters, even the very unimportant ones. Some of the information was very funny.

I cannot wait to read the second book, Swarm!

Title: Zeroes
Author: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 546
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: New YA Book Releases in Early 2017

One of the most exciting things about a new year is new books to read! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the Broke and the Bookish blog. If you want to participate, click here. The theme for this week is Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward to for the First Half of 2017.

I really want to read all of these exciting new YA books! This list is a mixture of YA realistic fiction, science fiction, and fantasy. Since I cannot decide which I want to read more, the following are in order by the expected release date, with the earliest listed first.

1. Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos
Expected Publication: January 3rd, 2017
Everything Jackie Stone says and does is on live television, 24 hours a day. Her dad is dying of a brain tumor, and they are on a reality television show called Life and Death

2. The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser
Expected Publication: January 3rd, 2017
The main character in this book, Amy, has the power that I have always wanted- the ability to physically go inside a book and interact with the characters inside!

Expected Publication: January 31st, 2017
I am so excited to read the second book in Soldier Girl! Frangie, Rainy, and Rio are once again on the front lines in battle, this time at Sicily, Italy. Read my review of the first book, Front Lines.

4. At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson
Expected Publication: February 7th, 2017
Tommy and Ozzie have been best friends since second grade, and suddenly Tommy disappears from everyone's memory, except for Ozzie! Ozzie's theory: the universe is shrinking.

5. The Football Girl by Thatcher Heldring
Expected Publication: April 4th, 2017
This book is about what happens to a girl's life when Tessa decides to try out for the football team instead of the cross-country team.

6. Perfect (Flawed #2) by Cecelia Ahern
Expected Publication: April 4th, 2017
Perfect is the second book in the Flawed series where everyone has to be perfect, and those who aren't are branded flawed. In the second book, Celestine continues to fight for rights and equality. Read my review of the first book in this series.

7. Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
Expected Publication: April 4th, 2017
Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis that was once a colony of Earth, but now it is at war for its independence. After a surprise attack, Noemi gets stranded in space on an abandoned ship.

  8. Dreamfall by Amy Plum
Expected Publication: May 2nd, 2017
Cata Cordova's insomnia is so severe that she agrees to take part in an experiment, but while the procedure is happening, a malfunction occurs in the equipment. She, along with the six other patients, are stuck in a dreamworld with all their worst fears, and the only way to wake up is to face them.

9. Cold Summer by Gwen Cole
Expected Publication: May 2nd, 2017
Teenager Kale Jackson has time traveling powers, but he can't control them. He accidentally goes to WW2, where he is a soldier fighting. The next day he is back in his life, but he has been given PTSD, and there is a history article that states his name as one of the casualties of the war.

10. The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig
Expected Publication: May 2nd, 2017
Ginny Moon is a teenager with autism who has just been given an amazing foster home. However, she does not understand why she can't be with her birth mom. The story shows the thoughts and confusion of a girl who just wants her real mom and a normal life. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Bluescreen (Mirador Book 1) by Dan Wells

Bluescreen is the first book in the YA dystopian series, Mirador. In Los Angeles in the year 2050, the world is controlled by robots, and almost everyone has a djinni. A djinni is basically a chip that is implanted in your head. Imagine putting the smartest computer in the world inside your brain. That's basically what it is, and for the people who have it, being online is their life. They can literally "plug in" to a virtual world and be anything they want. The problem? Privacy is a thing of the past, and everyone can find out anything, especially if they can code. 

Marisa Carneseca is a genius coder. She can hack basically anything, and get anything that she wants. Normally, she is just a normal girl who helps out in her family's restaurant and goes to school and hangs out with her friends online. Everything changes when her friend Anja gets her hands on a new drug called Bluescreen. It plugs into your djinni, and gives you a temporary "high". The problem is that then the user passes out and then sleepwalks for 10 minutes. When Marisa investigates the code written for it, she finds a secret that lands herself in a conspiracy that threatens everyone in the world, and she knows that she has to stop it.
I think that the year this book takes place is very unrealistic. 2050 is only 34 years later than we are currently, and to have robots and chips to implant in your head and all this technology would be pretty impossible to happen in that amount of time. In the book the cars are basically the same as what we have here. In a world with robots and virtual worlds they still have normal cars. Somehow I find that strange.

Also, the language was hard to understand. Not in the sense of reading level, but so much information is just thrown at the reader that it is hard to understand. There were so many names of things that I kept having to stop and try to remember what it is. No background information is given about anything, and a reader has to constantly infer. The characters are not very memorable. There is so much technology that it completely takes away from who the people actually are. I just read the book, and when I think of the characters, I literally have to think for a few seconds to remember who they are. That should not happen! 

However, there were a lot of things in the book that I love! For one, the cover. The cover gives a really cool look into the story. The character on the cover is Marisa, because of the robotic arm that she got after a car accident. One can obviously tell how she is feeling, and if you look closely, you can see streaks of electricity on the buildings and in the air in the background. The detail on her clothes and on the buildings is really quite amazing. 

The pace and plot were how every writer should write their books. The pace was perfect. It escalated in the right moments and deescalated where it should have. Right were I would go "wait, what???" Then it would actually slow down for a page so the reader can process what happened. There were a lot of twists that I never saw coming, especially with the different characters being evil or good. The sense of betrayal was convincing and fit in perfectly. 

The book also teaches how dangerous technology and social media can be. Everything can be tracked and you cannot delete every trace of what you post or take it back. What you post on chat rooms, anything can still be seen and traced and hacked. The book was basically a very escalated version of what can happen, and gives a painful reminder about what coders can really do. 

The setting was incredible, and I was able to follow and picture all of the settings. They went a lot of places, and I vividly remember every single one. The ending was a cliffhanger and it was not. It was in the fact that it left room for another book (which is coming) but it still gives an ending to the book and leaves the adventure with a satisfying ending.

I am quite torn about his book, so I will recommend it and readers can judge for themselves. The second book, Ones and Zeroes, will be published on February 14, 2017. I will be reading it!

Title: Bluescreen (Mirador Book 1)
Author: Dan Wells
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Pages: 352 pages
Series: Yes, book 1
Rating: 3 Stars

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Halo Sun by Christy A. Campbell

I received A Halo Sun for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. A Halo Sun is the sequel to The Sharing Moon, and it is a unique mix of YA realistic fiction and fantasy. Damian Cass was left to burn in a fire set by his dad. Damian did not want to die, and is in the In Between. When the Messenger sends him back with another chance, he ends up trading places with his father. Now he is alive, and his father is dead.

He arrives with no memories and lands in a psychiatric hospital, and hears his father's voice in the back of his head. He has to live with a mother he never knew and a past that is just as horrible as his real one. He is always angry and upset, but one person can change that. Aurora is set on making Damian more happy and open about himself. She has the same secrets as him, and they bond over time.

I liked A Halo Sun more than The Sharing Moon, mostly because of Damian. I liked the choice of Damian as the main character! We saw a tiny bit of him in the first book, and I like that readers can find out more about him. His emotions were very real, and I could connect a lot with him. The amnesia was more visible in A Halo Sun, and that helped the character development. He developed tremendously over the book. There was less romance than in the first one, and A Halo Sun is more about emotion and character development.

There was a lot more about Damian in the book than there was of Aurora, and I unfortunately could not connect with her. Aurora was distant, but she was the ray of sunshine that helped Damian overcome what happened in his past. The plot was great, and there was a very steady climb to the climax, which I loved! The Sharing Moon did not have as much as a build to the climax. Peter, the therapist, was very strange. There is a mystery left at the end of the book about him, and I can still keep guessing!

The writing style was the same as the first book- amazing! I could still believe every word that was written, and readers can dive into the book and be an eye-witness to all the excitement! I enjoyed that the book started at the hospital, and it made me instantly hooked.

I recommend that you read this book!

Title: A Halo Sun
Author: Christy A. Campbell
Publisher: CreateSpace, Inc. and Lightning Source, Inc.
Pages: 308 Pages
Series: Yes, Book 2 of 2
Rating: 5 Stars

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Sharing Moon by Christy A. Campbell

I received The Sharing Moon for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. The Sharing Moon is a unique mix of YA realistic fiction and fantasy, and has a sequel. Elijah Solomon died. He lost all of his memories and is a lost soul in the In Between. The Messenger sends Elijah back to a different reality without his memories to change the life of a girl. Seraphina Adams lost her father and lives with her mother, who does not really care about her. She finds it extremely hard to trust anyone and be happy, but Elijah makes it easy. Both of them have to eventually face their past, but they can do it together.

Elijah is almost too perfect. He is a beam of light and pure goodness. Seraphina is the darkness, the one who is insecure with a really hard past and likes to give up. They balance each other out, and they were meant to be. I liked the mystery of the Messenger. I kept trying to picture this mysterious character that can leave notes whenever and wherever. Elijah's dreams were very engaging. I loved his amnesia, and it was incredible to watch him begin to regain his memory.

The book tackled some important issues and everything felt real, like it was all happening right in front of me. I could feel the emotions of the characters while I was reading, even though the characters do not exist in real life.  There was way more thoughts and actions than dialogue, and I felt that was a wise choice.

I liked that the characters called their parents by their first names. It made them feel like real people, and that they had a purpose. In a lot of books I read, the parents and adults are just figures in the background, but in The Sharing Moon the parents were real characters that had big impacts. All the characters held a significance, even if they were little background characters.

The only thing that I would change if I was the author would be to make a more distinct difference between reality and the dreams. Sometimes I had to go back and think whether or not a scene was a dream. There was a little too much romance for my liking, but there was not anything inappropriate.

I recommend that you read this book! I cannot wait to read the second book, A Halo Sun, which I have also received for free from Christy A. Campbell.

Title: The Sharing Moon
Author: Christy A. Campbell
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 318 Pages
Series: Yes, Book 1 of 2
Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Bad Decisions Playlist by Michael Rubens

The Bad Decisions Playlist is a YA realistic fiction book about chasing your dreams and making good choices. Austin Methune has always wanted to be just like Shane Tucker, a famous musician. Ironically, Shane shows up and announces that he is Austin's father. They are alike in more ways than one. They both have a bad history of doing stupid things and being irresponsible.

Austin hopes that with Shane around then he can have the chance to turn around his life and help make his dreams of music come true. That opportunity shows up a lot sooner than he thought, but only the second part. The first part, turning around his life? Not so much. It turns out that being famous has more responsibilities than he thought- and full of decisions for him to screw up. 

Austin's character was very isolated and I could not connect with him. He was a little too far away for my reach. He was a horrible friend and as much as he knew it, he did not want to change. He did not realize that there are consequences for your actions, and he wanted to grow up too fast. I would have liked to see more emotions from Austin. I wanted to yell at him for how careless he was being. I also did not enjoy the amount of romance. I felt that some of the scenes were a little too detailed, and steered away the focus. Speaking of the focus, I really liked the music! I thought the lyrics were really good.

The inspiration piece of the story is the difference of dreams and reality. Sometimes, you have to put aside your dream and do the essential stuff to get there in the first place. Austin wanted to jump ahead. Unfortunately, that happened for him. Shane was a huge influence on Austin. Shane was everything that Austin wanted to be, at least, all that Austin saw. He was so caught up in hope that he did not see the heartbreaking truth in who he was and why he really cared about Austin. The book teaches about focusing on reality and not getting carried away by hopes and dreams.

I recommend that you read this book.

Title: The Bad Decisions Playlist
Author: Michael Rubens
Publisher: Clarion Books
Pages: 304 Pages
Series: No
Rating: 3 Stars

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Lodestar (Keeper of the Lost Cities Book 5) by Shannon Messenger

I was literally jumping for joy when I received Lodestar, the fifth book in the middle grade fantasy series Keeper of the Lost Cities! I have been eagerly waiting for a year for the release of this next installment in my all-time favorite series!

Sophie and her friends have been allowed back in the Lost Cities, but nobody is safe. The Neverseen are planning something really big, and keep hurting more and more people and animals that are close to her. The only clues are from a friend who is infiltrating the Neverseen, and a symbol that even Sophie and Dex have trouble translating. When the Neverseen cross one of the biggest lines ever, and the possibility of war getting closer and closer, Sophie knows that she must act quickly.

One of my favorite things in the book was the telepathic conversations between Sophie and Keefe. Some of them went a couple pages in length at a time, and it helped to seal the gaps made by Keefe not being there. I really loved that even though the interactions with them are telepathic, this helped me connect with Keefe more in this book than the previous books.

Lodestar is the longest book in the series so far, and filled with a lot of events. There were so many things constantly happening! However, there was not an obvious difference between the small events and the bigger, main events. The only thing I would change if I was Shannon Messenger is to create a bigger distinction between the smaller events and the huge, earthshaking main events.

I am so upset about the character that died!!! I know it had to happen, but I really wish it was not this really important character. I understand why he/she died, but I wished I could reach my hand into the book and shake the character or do CPR to save his or her life. However, it takes a really amazing author to make a reader feel that way about a character. I honestly felt my eyes tear up a little bit.

The award for the author who writes the best cliffhangers in the whole world is Shannon Messenger! I always thought that the cliffhangers in the other books in this series were phenomenal, but, this one was spectacular! I need the sixth book right now! Oh, by the way, Shannon Messenger recently announced that there will be two more books!!! They will be released in Fall 2017 and Fall 2018.

I highly recommend that you read this book!

Read my reviews of the other books in this series:

Title: Lodestar (Keeper of the Lost Cities Book 5)
Author: Shannon Messenger
Publisher: Aladdin
Pages: 688
Series: Yes, Book 5
Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

The Accident Season is a unique cross between YA realistic fiction and fantasy. Every October, Cara and her family become very accident-prone. Some years are worse than others, like the time when her father died, and sometimes it is just cuts and bruises. This accident season when Cara, Sam and Bea are 17, it is going to be horrible. This time, Cara has had enough, and is beginning to ask why these things are happening. However, the answers are dangerous, were never meant to be uncovered, and lead to a dark family history and the real truth about a loved one's death.

The fantasy part was confusing. It was not explained enough for a reader to understand the meaning. This is more of a book to read for the adventure and the mystery, and to connect with the characters. Trying to understand and asking a lot of questions kind of ruins the book. While I wish that there was more of an explanation, I think that the style was done on purpose.

The story was intriguing and had a great pace. It was the appropriate length, and I loved the length of the chapters, not too long, not too short. I really like the three sentences on the cover. They summed up the idea pretty well. I loved the part about "we stay alive." That was an awesome message. The cover is very attractive, and I loved it right away, especially the color scheme.

I loved the accidents! They were funny and unpredictable. Some of the accidents were worse than others, but some of them were funny. One example is that in anger, Bea throws her phone at a shelf, and the shelf collapses into the wall and then goes through the wall and falls on Cara. Some of the accidents were so extreme. I liked that.

A lot of times when there is a group of three friends, there is a third wheel. This was not like that. They were all equally friends for the most part. Cara wanted what was best for her siblings, and was not afraid to find the answers to protect them. Bea relied on magic and her cards to give her advice and see the future. I liked how Cara and Sam tried to help her stop. Bea was going through a tough time, and I loved how Sam and Cara tried to protect her.

I recommend that you read this book!

Title: The Accident Season
Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Pages: 280
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, October 28, 2016

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak is an inspirational YA book about speaking up for yourself and finding your voice. When Melinda starts Merryweather High School, she is alone and an instant outcast. On the last day of summer, she called the police on the biggest party ever. Nobody knows why she called the police except her. Since she has not told anybody what really happened, nobody will talk to her, and Melinda barely talks at all.

She goes through her freshman year hiding behind silence and the comfort of a hidden janitor's closet. Her grades are worse than ever, and her teachers do not like her. The only thing she likes is art. In art, she can express herself without saying a word. An art project helps her face what really happened at the party, and maybe speak up. 

This book is pretty popular, and I had been meaning to read it for a long time, but I never got around to it. I wish I had read it sooner! I loved Melinda. She was an easy character to connect to, and the book was like reading the thoughts inside her head. There were so many details and explanations for things.

I liked the format of the dialogue in the book. Most of the dialogue was like a play, and was like lines in a script. What I liked was that there were no quotation marks. While that is not how you normally are supposed to write dialogue, it really worked for the book. I think that it relates to a theme of silence about not having them. It would have been cool to see them being used at the end, to symbolize her speaking.

Melinda's parents were constantly mad at her and yelling to her about her grades. I wish just once the mother would ask if she was okay. Geez lady, your daughter stops speaking and you do not ask what is wrong? That made me mad at the parents, but in a way that was a really good thing. I really love characters that make you feel a certain way about them, especially anger.

The one thing that annoyed me was that the huge event where she finally can speak up was too short. I felt like the book should have been longer. The pace was strange. It moved too fast and too slow at the same time. This made it a really interesting book to pay attention to, as I suspect that the pace was strategic. A lot of things in the book seemed carefully planned.

I recommend that you read this book!

Title: Speak
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher: Puffin
Pages: 198
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Believe by Sarah Aronson

Believe is a YA realistic fiction book with a touch of fantasy about having the power to heal others. Janine is one of the most famous people in the world. When Janine was six, she visited Jerusalem. She was the only survivor of a suicide bombing that killed both her parents and dozens and dozens of others. Dave Armstrong pulled her out of the rubble and claimed to have "found God" while holding her damaged hands. 

Ten years later, she still avoids the paparazzi and refuses to speak to them, especially Dave Armstrong, and especially on the tenth anniversary of the bombing. When her friend Abe was hit by a car, he almost died, until she laid her hands on him. A boy who was paralyzed could suddenly walk again after holding her hands. Janine is now said to have healing powers.

Believe was one of the most uninteresting books I have ever read. The pace was very slow and there was not much action. I wanted to stop reading so badly. It is ironic that the book is called believe when the book is very unbelievable. It was all very exaggerated and extreme.

The characters did not have many feelings and were just average. There was nothing special or unique about any of them except for Janine. Really, the only thing special about her is that she was the only survivor of a bombing, and some supposed healing abilities. Janine was very unsympathetic. She always thought about herself and did not really care for others. She was not a complex character. She did not really develop or learn a lesson along the way.

Another thing I did not like was that the majority of the book went on and on about religion and God. The main theme was about having faith in God. I was very surprised about how much religion was involved, and it took away from the "magical powers" of her hands. Speaking of the "magical powers," it was not really clear whether or not she actually has any, and there was not much detail. I only read the book for the element of her healing powers, and it was a huge disappointment.

I do not recommend that you read this book.

Title: Believe
Author: Sarah Aronson
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Pages: 290 Pages
Series: No
Rating: 1 Star

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Front Lines (Soldier Girl Book 1) by Michael Grant

The author of the dystopian series Gone is back with a new YA historical fiction trilogy, Soldier Girl. In Front Lines, the first book in this trilogy, it is WWII, but not as students would learn in history class. Women and girls are not cooking and cleaning while the men fight. In Michael Grant's version, women and girls get to fight alongside men in the fight against Hitler. After Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, America joins the war against Hitler. Michael Grant creates an alternate reality of the war in which women could be drafted. 

Three brave girls decide to enlist in the war. Rio Richlin enlists because she wants to do her part and avenge her sister's death in the war. Frangie Marr, who is African American, enlists to help her family pay bills, and she wants to become a medic. Rainy Schulterman, who is Jewish, enlists because she wants to get rid of Hitler and stop what is happening to her family. While they are on their separate paths, all three of them will come together in the Battle of Kasserine Pass. 

I like that while the details and the main topic that women could fight was made up, the places and the Battle of Kasserine Pass are real. I also got to learn more about the war and what it was like. There is a lot of background information provided. The details were really outstanding in the fact that most of them are correct, like the military terms and the names of the boats. There is a bibliography in the back of the book with many sources in it. I liked that amount of credibility, and I did not expect to see one. 

The characters were great! The style about switching perspectives was the same as Grant's style in the Gone series. I really liked how the characters crossed paths, even though they were working in different areas. Frangie was my favorite character. I think she deserved a whole book. Rio had most of the chapters, but she was also the most influenced. She had a key part on the battlefield, and I loved her emotions about firing the rifle. Rainy was very helpful in her intelligence unit, and there were some scenes that I really liked about her. There were other strong characters as well, such as Jenou. She was basically Rio's sidekick. I liked that she brought humor to the book.

Michael Grant is one of my favorite authors, as he wrote the Gone series. He can write fantasy and science fiction just as well as he can write historical fiction. I do not read historical fiction that often, but the fact that Grant wrote it made it more appealing. While the majority of Front Lines is about the war, he also tackles issues of racism and sexism. Frangie wanted to be a medic, and most of her prospective was about the challenge of being a women, and on top of it all, being African American. She handled the criticism well, as did the other girls about their gender and race. 

I did not enjoy the fact that America lost this battle. I think that for a book like this with female empowerment and such inspiration it was not the best choice to put in the book a losing battle. I also did not like that not many events happened in the book. I think that there should have been more battles mentioned than the Battle of Kasserine Pass. Most of the events went on a little longer than was needed, but since this is a trilogy, I understand why.  
I recommend you read Front Lines. I cannot wait to read the sequel, Silver Stars, which comes out on January 31, 2017!

Michael Grant is also the author of the Gone series, which I highly recommend for YA dystopian fans. Read my review of the first book in the Gone series. I am also thrilled to know that Grant is coming out with a 7th book in the Gone series, Monster, set 4 years in the future.

Title: Front Lines (Soldier Girl Book 1)
Author: Michael Grant
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 576 Pages
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, October 7, 2016

Series Review: Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum

Revolution 19 is a YA dystopian trilogy about robots enslaving the human race. Twenty years ago, the robots designed to fight in the battlefields became smarter than the humans and wanted peace instead of war. They imprisoned the humans in cities and controlled them and their environment by re-educating them to be perfect.

In the first book, Revolution 19, Nick, Kevin, and Cass lived in a Freepost outside of the city and were safe. Then, Kevin finds a piece of the robots' technology that leads the bots right to them. The three siblings survive. Hoping that their family was taken in for re-education, they sneak into the city to try to save their parents.

In the second book, Fugitive X, the siblings are separated. Cass is taken back to the city for re-education and finds her real birth parents. Kevin is taken to a secret location of rebels and learns about Dr. Winston, the man who invented the robots. Nick joins a different group of rebels and reunites with Farryn and Lexi. In the final book, City 1, the final battle between bots and humans takes place. The leader plans on destroying the robots along with the brainwashed people, and Nick, Kevin, and Cass risk their lives to save their family and friends back in the city.

Revolution 19 was my favorite of the three books. The plot was intriguing and suspenseful. The motive was the most obvious, and they all worked toward the same goal, not like the third book. I liked how Lexi bravely took them in. The robots were cool, and I liked how whenever they spoke, the book showed it in bold all caps. Kevin was my favorite character. He was the smart one with technology. He played a vital role in the first book, and I liked that. He was also funny.

In Fugitive X , the three kids are separated. The bond between them is inseparable. The whole time the three of them wanted to be with each other. I liked that. With them separate, they had to rely on themselves to solve problems. This strengthened them and their bond. Cass and Farryn were adorable. Their touch of romance was the right amount in each situation. I loved how Farryn was the heroic hero, saving Cass. Cass was strong and brave. After being in re-education and having to come out of it and remember, it took a toll on her mind and body, but she kept going. That is my favorite type of character.

City 1 was my least favorite. All the characters had different motives and goals, so it was kind of confusing. The ending was decent, and it wrapped up the story nicely.

I recommend that you read this series!

Title: Revolution 19
Author: Gregg Rosenblum
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 266
Series: Yes
Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, September 30, 2016

Faceless by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Faceless is an extremely inspirational realistic fiction YA book about discrimination and beauty. It teaches about being comfortable with who you are. Maisie woke up in a hospital. The doctors put her in a medically induced coma for the past couple weeks to spare her the pain of her injuries.

While Maisie was running through her neighborhood, it started to rain. Lightning hit a power line and the power line fell on her. A neighbor immediately ran out with a fire extinguisher, but it was too late for part of her body. Electrical fires spread faster than any other. She had burns all over the left side of her body, and the fire destroyed her nose, cheeks and chin.

She is lucky to qualify for a face transplant. Her parents think it is the chance for her to have a normal life, but Maisie cannot think anything other than the fact that she is wearing what belongs to somebody else, and that she is very ugly. None of her friends are the same, and neither is her boyfriend. People do not understand or recognize her. What's worse, neither does Maisie.

Maisie was a very connectable character. Discrimination and judging are things that happen regularly, and one can understand how the character is feeling. There was a lot of emotion, and I was impressed at how many thoughts and feelings there were in the book. There is a touch of romance. It is not huge, and it was understandable. While Chirag made some bad decisions and judged her a little bit, his feelings were acceptable. He was actually a great character. Chirag was one of the most perfect boyfriends you could ask for, but he was peer pressured.

This is probably the most inspirational book I have ever read! Faceless went deep into the issues that teens face. A major theme is that what is on the inside is more important than what is on the outside, and also that you should not judge a book by its cover. When Maisie went out in public or at school, people automatically treated her differently, and everyone stared and whispered. She did not always deal with it in the best way, but I admire how she got through everything. Those around her regarded her differently and judged her based on her scars. It is important to know that the person inside can be completely different from what is on the outside.

It is also important to take care of yourself, regardless of if you like the consequences or the side effects. Maisie made a bad decision, and it is important to note that you have to listen to your doctor, or at least tell the truth. Honesty was a big factor in the book. Faceless showed that honesty really is the best policy, even if the truth hurts. The details and descriptions of the hospital were really awesome, and I felt like I was there at her hospital bed, seeing everything she did.

I highly recommend that you read this book!

Title: Faceless
Author: Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 352 Pages
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Want to Read This Fall

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the Broke and the Bookish blog. If you want to participate, click here. The theme for this week is Books On My Fall TBR List. (TBR is to be read). I cannot wait to look for these at my library! The following books are in order of priority. All are young adult books, except for the middle grade Keeper of the Lost Cities.

1. Lodestar (Keeper of the Lost Cities Book 5) by Shannon Messenger

Lodestar is the fifth book in my all-time favorite series, Keeper of the Lost Cities! It comes out on November 1st, 2016, and I will be buying it!

2. Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Chelsea can't keep secrets, and after sharing one to many, she decides to be silent and never talk as a way to learn to keep her mouth shut.

3. Relativity by Cristin Bishara

If Ruby could have anything, it would be to change time, but she always thought that was impossible. She finds a tree that is a doorway to parallel universes, and Ruby will do anything to find the perfect universe.

4. Fate of Flames (Effigies Book 1) by Sarah Raughley

Made from nightmares, Phantoms terrorize New York, and at the same time, four girls called Effigies are given the power to control one of the elements. After the technology fails that held the Phantoms back for a while, four new Effigies are thrown into battle to save New York.

5. After Eden by Helen Douglas

Ryan Westland looks normal, but doesn't remember pizza or other normal things. When Eden finds a book written in the future in Ryan's room, Eden discovers that she ruined everything.

6.  My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody

Brooklyn cannot remember the last good decision she ever made. She gives up deciding and lets others decide for her by starting a blog.

7. Overpowered  by Mark H. Kruger

Barrington is supposed to be the safest city in the world. It was, until a bright green light appears. The light eliminates all the birds and stops all electricity. It also gave Nica and her friends superpowers.

8. Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke

Every time someone makes a choice, a new parallel world is created. Del, as a walker, can travel through the universes, and her job is to keep the worlds in peace.

9. Extraction by Stephanie Diaz

When somebody is 16, they qualify for the Extraction testing to see who deserves to live inside the safe core of Kiel, and who is not worthy and lives on the toxic surface of the planet. 

10. Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones

When the MK virus spread like a plague across the planet, a shot was created to stop this disease, but it gave an unexpected side effect of superpowers. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Rescued by Eliot Schrefer

Rescued is a YA realistic fiction book about animal rights and endangered animals. When John was a kid, his dad stole an orangutan from his homeland, Sumatra, to be his pet. Raja and John were inseparable for years, but now John is 16, and his parents are divorced. Raja lives with his dad, and John lives with his mom. John has not seen Raja or his dad for years, but now his dad can't take care of Raja anymore.

His dad sends Raja to the only place that will take him, Friendlyland. When John researches, he discovers that they have a history of abuse and neglect. John sneaks into the place and gets Raja back. Eventually when he realizes that Raja is not rightfully his, he will do everything he can to send Raja back to his home in Sumatra where he belongs.

The connection between Raja and John is one of a kind. John considers him his brother. Raja clings to John and loves him. They even have their own language. The only thing that I did not like was that John seemed too mature to be 16, and that his parents did not seem to be assertive and were too carefree.

John had a lot of self-conflict. He loves Raja, but deep down he knew that he was not his to keep. I like that he fought for animal rights. This book is inspirational in showing how animals deserve rights, and that they do not deserve to be abused or taken advantage of. Rescued also shows the importance of protecting animal habitats and that animals have feelings, too.

I recommend that you read this book! Eliot Schrefer has written two other good animal books that I have reviewed.

Click here to read my review of Endangered.

Click here to read my review of Threatened.

Title: Rescued
Author: Eliot Schrefer
Publisher:  Scholastic Press
Pages: 272 Pages
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Calamity (The Reckoners Book 3) by Brandon Sanderson

Calamity is the final book in the science fiction fantasy trilogy, The Reckoners. When Calamity appeared in the sky, the Epics were born. After Steelheart killed his father, David joined the Reckoners. After a tragedy with Obliteration, Regalia has turned his friend into an enemy. David knew Prof’s secret and protected it, knowing that his friend could fight off the darkness. Unfortunately, battling Obliteration was too much for him, and he gave in to his Epic destiny. David is determined to get his friend back and defeat Calamity or he will die trying.

David's metaphors and similes were still hilarious and lightened up the mood of the book. The romance between David and Megan was just the right amount, not too lovey-dovey and not too boring. I liked exploring what Megan could do with her powers. I thought the settings were cool. There was a whole city made of salt!

Knighthawk was a very interesting character. He was cool, a spy helping from afar. It was kind of creepy that he was spying on their text messages, but it was helpful. His name is really interesting itself, and it fits who he is.

The ending of a series is very important to me, as it wraps up the series. However, Calamity has one of the least explained endings I have ever read! The epilogue should not even have existed, and the thing with David's dad leaves me very confused, and it pretty much destroys the whole point of the series. This was so extreme that I am labeling it as a 3-star book because of the ending.

Out of the three books, Calamity was my least favorite, but I recommend that you read this series. I am still glad that I own all three books!

Read my review of the first book in this series, Steelheart.

Read my review of the second book in this series, Firefight.

Title: Calamity
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 421
Series: Yes, Book 3
Rating: 3 Stars

Friday, September 16, 2016

Dualed by Elsie Chapman

Dualed is the first of two dystopian YA books. Everyone that lives in Kersh is protected from the outside world where countless wars are being fought. However, you have to be worthy of getting that protection. Everyone has a twin (an Alt) that is raised by a different family. Once they get their assignment from The Board (their government), they have 31 days to fight each other, and prove their worth by ending their Alt's life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer's whole family was unworthy. She is determined to be worthy. However, when she makes a mistake that costs her friend's life, she is no longer positive she is the best version of herself.

I bought this book because it sounded interesting, and I have not read many books about twins or genetic alternates. The setting illustration on the cover of the book is great. I like the angle of her hair, which shows that she is running. I like that West is hesitant to defeat her Alt. In this bizarre society, it was refreshing to see that she was still human and appreciated life.

However, I felt that this book is missing something. I wanted there to be more of a fight, more action when West actually faced her. The other events are big and full of detail and excitement, and I was disappointed in how it worked out.

I recommend that you read Dualed, and I am excited to read the next book, Divided! I'm glad I purchased it.

Title: Dualed
Author: Elsie Chapman
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 292
Series: Yes, Book 1 of 2
Rating: 4 Stars

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

Flawed is the first of two YA dystopian books about a society where you are expected to be perfect, and one girl who decides to speak up. Celestine North is perfect. She is flawless. In her society, it is decided that in order to have a perfect society, everyone must be perfect. If you are not, then you are branded flawed, and get a burned imprint of a F inside a circle in the specific spot that represents your mistake.

She is flawless, until one day when she makes a decision to break the law and help a flawed person, a man who was sick and forgot his inhaler that day. He obviously needed help, and Celestine decided that regardless of a mistake that he made, he was still human. When she helped the man into a seat and called for help, she was arrested. Celestine was branded six times, the new record, when the last one was only three. Celestine must decide once and for all whose side she is on and what her beliefs are.

Her incident that labeled her flawed reminded me of Rosa Parks, when she refused to give up her seat on the bus. The rules for flawed people are pretty similar to those back in 1955 with segregation and discrimination of different races, except in this book it was perfect people and people that have made mistakes. Celestine realized that the flawed are still human beings. She was willing to risk everything in her life to help the man on the bus. This made this book very inspirational, encouraging others to stand up when something is not right. It also taught that it is hard to be perfect, and that you don't have to be, even if others do not like it.

There was a lot of internal conflict about what is right and humane. All her life, Celestine had looked down on the flawed, until she became one. The author was great at expressing the stress that comes along with trying to be perfect. The world and setting was very interesting and brought light to the fact that discrimination exists today all around us, even for not being perfect.

I highly recommend that you read this book!

Title: Flawed
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 336
Series: Yes
Rating: 5 Stars

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Icons and Idols by Margaret Stohl

Icons is a YA dystopian book, and Idols is its sequel. One day, the hearts of most humans stopped and all electricity was gone. Earth lost the war that they did not even know they were fighting. Connected underground, the Icons stop people's hearts if they get too close, all except the Icon children. 

Dol, Carson, Ro and Tima are the Icon children. They were created to withstand the Icon's power and save the world. They each have special powers. Dol is a Weeper, Ro is a Rager, Carson is a Lover, and Tima is a Freak. Dol feels sadness strongly and is slightly telepathic. Ro feels rage strongly and can channel his anger to give him super strength, and can set things on fire. Carson is sympathetic and overly nice. Tima can make people scared of her and create force fields. 

The pace of both books were slow and uneventful. The important events were drawn out and very long. What is supposed to be the climax is not really climatic at all. Both books should really only be 200 pages, not 400 pages.

Their powers are pretty much the only thing I liked. I liked how Dol was telepathic, and I also liked what Ro could do when he was angry. I wanted more powers from the characters. Ro and Tima are the only ones with real abilities. I do not like that they call Tima a Freak. That is an insult, and I am not happy at all with the choice to use that to describe her powers.

Icons and Idols are confusing. At the end of every chapter, there are notes of background knowledge, but definitely not enough. Readers are never told what an Icon is, where it came from, or given any description of how there are still people alive in the Embassy. I don't really get the whole point of the books. 

The first 100 pages or so of the first book, Icons, was great. Then it just went downhill and lost my interest. In the second book, I considered quitting the book several times, and it took a lot of patience to keep reading. The endings of both books were random.

I do not recommend Icons or Idols!

Title: Icons and Idols
Author: Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 428 Pages
Series: Yes
Rating: 1 Star

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Dystopian Books for High Schoolers

This week's theme for Top Ten Tuesday is Back to School Freebie. I chose to write about one of my favorite genres by doing Ten Dystopian Books for High Schoolers. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the Broke and the Bookish blog. For more information, click here.

Dystopian is when something or someone threatens the human race. For example, an asteroid hitting Earth, or a breakout of a horrible disease. The following YA books are listed in random order and link to my reviews. All of these books are the first book in a series.

Life is calm and normal in Pemberwick Island until the starting football player, Marty Wiggins, drops dead after a game because he overdosed on a crystal called the Ruby, which makes you stronger and faster. Not soon after, SYLO, claiming to be part of the U.S. military, shows up and quarantines and cuts off the island from the rest of the world, saying that a deadly virus is going around. But there is more to the story, and Tucker, Tori, and Quinn must discover why they are really here.

After the Seven Stages War, parts of the world are destroyed. The problems now rest on the next generation. In order to make sure that the next leaders don't make the same mistakes, the government created The Testing to evaluate what leaders they can become. Cia is very excited when she finds out she is one of the four Testing candidates from her small colony of Five Lakes. Then her dad tells her some news about it. He advises Cia to not trust anyone, and to be very careful. After arriving, Cia realizes that she is in more trouble than she thought.

The oxygen levels in Earth drastically lowered after the government cut down a lot of trees to make room for farmland. Global warming just made matters worse for Earth. A company called Breathe figured out how to manufacture air and put the survivors in a glass dome. Other than that dome, the world has no air. Three teens leave the dome with two days of oxygen and learn the secrets of Breathe.

Jem has a secret. Ever since she was very young, whenever she looks into someone's eyes, she sees a number. That number is the date they are going to die. While waiting in line to ride a Ferris wheel, she notices that everyone around her has the same number, and that was the date of that day! Terrorists attack London. Jem barely manages to get them away in time. She is forced to break her own rule and tell Spider about the numbers.

Juliette has a power that can kill. Whenever she touches someone, she causes them excruciating pain. Juliette has not made contact with anyone in 264 days. The last time she did, she accidentally killed a little boy, and was sent to jail. Warner, the leader of the Reestablishment, has his eyes set on Juliette, and wants her as his weapon to stop the reestablishment.

Cassie calls the aliens "Others." They have been attacking Earth in waves. In the first wave, they stopped technology. In the second wave, they caused tsunamis. In the third wave, they used birds to spread an advanced form of Ebola. In the fourth wave, it was discovered that the Others could go inside humans and control them. As the fifth wave approaches, the Others take all the remaining children to a military compound. Cassie's younger brother, Sammy, was taken as well. Cassie promised to come after him. She will do anything to keep her promise and rescue Sammy.

The honeybee population was the cause of a horrible disease. The government tried to make a cure. But instead the vaccination turned people into ferocious, deadly beasts. Fiona has ten legs on her spider, which should make her the most dangerous, but she is normal.

It was just a usual day in Eden Mills for Adam Daley until the power went out. At first, it was just thought of as a standard thing that would resolve itself. However, it soon became clear that the problem was much more severe. Everything relying on computers was useless, including cars, airplanes, phones, appliances, and water filtration.

In the blink of an eye, everyone 15 or older vanishes into thin air, along with phone signals, internet, and anyway to get help. A barrier is surrounding the teens and there is no way to get through. On top of that, some people get powers that lead to power conflict.

 500 vertexes open around the world, telling everyone on Earth that they are from the year 2359 in an alternate dimension. They say that a comet is on a collision course with Earth, and their only hope is to step into a vertex to an alternate dimension.
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