Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Problem With Forever is a ya realistic fiction book. Growing up, the home Mallory ("Mouse") Dodge had was filled with abuse. Every day consisted of hiding in her closet, always trying to avoid the wrath of her foster parents. She learned always to stay silent. The one person that made her feel safe was Rider Stark, her foster brother. He would do anything to protect her, regardless of the consequences. Because of Rider, Mallory was able to get a second chance at life. Four years after she escaped the nightmare, she is ready to go to a public high school for senior year. The last thing she expects is to run into Rider on her first day, the first time seeing him in four years.

They realize that the connection they shared in childhood never went away. The more time they spend together, the more Mallory realizes she is not the only one battling scars. As she watches his life spiral out of control, she must find the strength to speak.

This was a gripping tale that was hard for me to put down! Mistakenly, I decided to read it before I went to bed. (Not to mention, this is not exactly a bedtime story.) Halfway through, I had to stop and go to sleep, and I was not happy. Not only did I end up stopping at the worst possible time, but it was really hard to fall asleep because I couldn't stop thinking about the book! Thankfully, the wait was worthwhile because the second half was even better than the first!

Similar to Stronger Than You Know and SpeakThe Problem With Forever is inspiring and heartfelt. It teaches that no matter what, you have the power to change your life. Even in the face of darkness, you can choose to heal and survive. "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." This book inspires and empowers others to stand up and change their life. I enjoyed going on the journey and seeing how Mallory and Rider's childhood influenced who they became.

I highly recommend that you read this book! I am excited to read another book of the author's, If There's No Tomorrow, that was published in September 2017.

Title: The Problem With Forever
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 474 Pages
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Talisman of El (T.O.E. Trilogy Book 1) by Al Stone

The Talisman of El is the first YA fantasy book in the T.O.E. trilogy. The author sent me this book to review. Charlie Blake has had a tough life. Both his parents have died, and he is starting a new school. He is also not your average 14 year old; he can predict death in his dreams. The night before his father died, he dreamt it. Four years later to that day, he dreams of another death.

Things take an even stranger turn when he meets the boy whose father died in that dream, Derekin. It soon becomes very clear that Charlie does not belong in this world. He belongs in Arcadia, a dimension in the center of the Earth; he belongs with the angels. He embarks to Arcadia in a mission to find out the truth about who he really is.

This fun book combines many myths into one, including werewolves, angels, demons, Greek God/Goddesses, and reincarnation. It uses lots of illusions such as the Garden Of Eden. The author managed to combine all of these and more into one comprehensive, rounded tale. Be sure to suspend your disbelief, though!

The imagery was out of this world, and I loved viewing the surface of the Earth, as well as a dimension within it. All the characters had distinct personalities and were extremely relatable. From the first sentence of the Prologue, I was instantly hooked into Charlie and his epic expedition of self-discovery. I connected with him easily and all of his obstacles seemed very realistic. I cannot wait to watch him grow.

The Talisman of El also contains lessons and themes of what a family is, and shows the importance of friendship. The light, frequent humor added tremendous value, and I laughed out loud quite a few times. The pacing shifted frequently and accurately conveyed the mood of that section. This book is a real conversation-starter, and leaves readers with lots to think about, including interpreting the incredible cover!

I highly recommend that you read this book, and I cannot wait to read the next book in this trilogy, Blackout!

Title: The Talisman of El
Author: Al Stone
Publisher: Centrinian Publishing Ltd
Pages: 398 Pages
Series: Yes, Book 1 of 3
Rating: 5 Stars

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Safest Lies by Megan Miranda

The Safest Lies is a YA realistic fiction book about fear and strength. 17 years ago, Kelsey's mother was kidnapped. She barely escaped alive. Her kidnapper also got her pregnant, so she escaped with his baby inside her. 17 years later, she has still never set foot outside the house, afraid that he will come back for her and her daughter, Kelsey. Kelsey's life is ruled by fear, and she knows to not draw attention to herself for her safety. That goes out the window when she has a car accident and drives off a cliff.

Newspapers and reporters cover the story of how a classmate rescued her. A few days later, she realizes her mother was right to worry- she disappears. And soon Kelsey realizes that they are coming for her, too. In order to survive, she has to uncover the truth about who she is, and what really happened to her mother 17 years ago.

After I read it, I read the book again, because it was so good! The Safest Lies may be over 350 pages, but the print is big, and it really was a quick, fascinating read. "On the edge of my seat" doesn't even begin to describe how suspenseful and thrilling this book is. It is very memorable, and raises a lot of questions to think about. Not to mention the romance, which was a nice twist.

I loved how much faith Kelsey had in her mother. Regardless of what police think happened, she is confident that the kidnappers came back for them. She is brave and courageous, and did not want to put her friends in danger. The mystery was captivating and intense. I loved trying to guess the truth. I also liked how there were multiple climaxes. The plot was like one domino falling after another. Just one bad situation after another. With all the dots to connect, I was impressed how they all came together in the end.

The concept was interesting, too. Is fear genetically passed down in DNA or is it only environmental? If you spend all your life around someone who is afraid, do you become afraid of the same thing? The study of how fear evolves was a main point of the book, which provoked my curiosity. I loved getting to know Kelsey, and following her journey of discovery.

I highly recommend that you read this book!

Title: The Safest Lies
Author: Megan Miranda
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 368
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Children of Eden by Joey Graceffa

Children of Eden is a YA dystopian book about the aftermath of a global disaster. When Earth's global warming reached a breaking point, scientists figured out a way to make the atmosphere cooler. The problem was when the artificial atmosphere clashed with the sun's radiation, it released a cascade effect that wiped out almost all plants and animals. Luckily, Aaron Al-Baz designed EcoPanopticon, a computer program that hacked all technology and redirected it to healing Earth. The rest of humanity has to wait thousands of years in Eden before the robots can fix everything.

With limited resources, families are only allowed to have one child. Rowan is an illegal second child; her mother had twins. For sixteen years, she has been hidden away. She is more desperate than ever to see more of Eden, and recklessly escapes, resulting in a tragedy that puts her on the run.

I found the book tough to get into, mostly due to the lack of imagery and development. Instead of show and tell, Children of Eden was almost all tell and no show. Reading the book, I was hit with a ton of information at once. Reading in-between the lines was a lost cause, and all the holes in the plot did not help. The society is so complicated that a majority of the book is just explaining, which made it feel less eventful. I feel like the book was going in a lot of different directions. I think that the author tried to cram in too many ideas at once to wrap my head around. For this book to really be developed with all of his ideas, Children of Eden would have to be way longer.

The characters' development felt forced. They were whatever they needed to be in the moment. Instead of letting Rowan grow, she was molded into something different almost every chapter, which makes her feel dull and unrealistic to the readers. It also really bugged me that they made up new curse words, such as "bik." No other words changed, so it feels strange.

While there were some nice twists here and there, there is nothing super special or unique about this book. I really wanted to love it, but it was the nitty-gritty details that really jumped out. Because I looked at this from a reviewing standpoint, I found more things wrong than other people might.

However, I enjoyed the ending! I think the ending was the best part. Overall, Children of Eden got better the more I read it. Even though I had a lot of problems with Children of Eden, I did not hate it. I do want to know what happens next, so I will read the second book, Elites of Eden, which came out on October 3, 2017. (Besides, I believe in second chances.)

I do not recommend this book.

Title: Children of Eden
Author: Joey Graceffa
Publisher: Atria/Keywords Press
Pages: 278
Series: Yes, Book 1 of 2
Rating: 2 Stars

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Hands of Ruin (Book 1) by Dylan Lee Peters

The Hands of Ruin is a YA scifi/fantasy book sent to me by the author. In a futuristic society, social classes are divided into different counties, all separated by huge walls. After Zigmund and Zerah's parents died, they are sent to live in a rich community with their uncle Rainart. Quickly the twins realize that their uncle is not what they thought. He possesses a type of dust called zulis that can give people magical powers from a planet called Ferren.

While Zerah learns to use her newfound powers, Ferren is facing a major and unusual threat- dark butterflies that completely destroy with a touch. Chapters alternate between the stories of Ferren and Earth.

The two stories don't overlap until the end but are equally fascinating. The imagery was out of this world and crystal-clear. Both worlds and their characters were thoroughly developed and diverse. The background knowledge was immense, leading to complete understanding of the plot and setting. The premise of the butterflies was unique, and I have never read anything like it! The tone changes frequently and keeps the reader's emotions on edge. The book ended with a major cliffhanger that topples both worlds, and I was sad when it ended!

I highly recommend that you read this book! I can't wait to find out what happens in the next book, The Hands of Ruin (Book 2)

Title: The Hands of Ruin Book 1
Author: Dylan Lee Peters
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Pages: 171 Pages
Series: Yes, Book 1 of 2
Rating: 5 Stars
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