Golden by Jessi Kirby1
Maid of Secrets by Jennifer Mc...2
The Eternity Cure by Julie Kag...3
Summary: Parker is about to graduate high school. But before that, she needs to give the biggest speech of her life—one that might win her a full ride to Stanford. This shouldn’t be a problem for Parker, who is an excellent student, but an experience of a lifetime gets in the way. Parker discovers the journal of a girl who died ten years ago, and discovers that the girl—Julianna—may not have been everything she appeared to be.
My thoughts: Golden is based upon an extremely inspiring quote by Mary Oliver: “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” The book is all about taking chances and breaking free of your comfort zone. In the right hands, Golden has the power to affect someone—encourage that someone to follow his or her dreams instead of sticking to the status quo. Golden reinforces the idea of “carpe diem” throughout the entire novel, almost to the point of exhaustion. It’s a good message, but the popularity of #YOLO has somewhat desensitized me to the concept of seizing the day.
Another more subtle message within Golden is the idea of romanticizing a person, and how that isn’t necessarily a good thing. Yet in the end, the romantic vision comes to fruition, so perhaps the message cancels itself out.
I’m a huge fan of Jessi Kirby’s other novels, Moonglass and In Honor, so I had high expectations for Golden. What I found lacking in this latest novel was character development. Parker is an anygirl, which is probably somewhat intentional, but regardless she isn’t someone I’ll remember in a few months’ time. Parker’s love interest is hyped up at the beginning of the book (“he’s the boy I’ve had a crush on since the 7th grade”), but his character never developed to the point of this crush being believable. The love interest is cute, but little more than that. (And if you’ve read Kirby’s other books, you’ll know how shocking this is.)
My favorite part of Golden would have to be the integration of poetry. Kirby begins each chapter with an epigraph, and somehow that line or couplet will end up being meaningful within the context of the story. Kirby’s English expertise is showing, and I like it! My second favorite part would definitely be the mystery of Julianna and her journal.
I wouldn’t necessarily say that Golden is the best of Jessi Kirby’s novels, but it’s a solid addition to her repertoire. The message it holds is a good one, and the mystery aspects of the story are well executed. Golden is a quick read.Read More
Summary: Meg is caught stealing by one of the members of the royal court, and is issued an interesting punishment. Because she’s so good at thieving, she’s invited into Queen Elizabeth’s personal group of Maids—five girls who are secretly spies for the crown.
My thoughts: I read Maid of Secrets during midterms, so it kind of served as my respite from studying. Perhaps because of this—or perhaps because the book is genuinely good—I developed quite an affection for it. Probably the latter.
Maid of Secrets is a story of intrigue and mystery, but it still manages to hold on to an aspect of fun. There’s a catty friend, a teasing romance, and many sleights of hand. All of this is done in Jennifer McGowan’s bouncy voice, which is utterly enjoyable.
Maid of Secrets has quite a cast of characters, and all of them get their chance to shine. McGowan has a knack for keeping her characters in balance: we never see too little of the minor characters, and never too much of the love interest. This last point is especially interesting to me: the love interest in Maid of Secrets is flighty and never totally accessible, which is usually the role of a woman in historical novels. I liked this little adjustment to the trope! It kept me on my toes throughout the novel; I could never quite predict what would happen next between the two flirters.
Another notable aspect of Maid of Secrets is that it delves deep into politics, and how important they are to a court like the one Meg is part of. Most historical YA focuses on inner-court problems, but Maid of Secret takes it outside. McGowan connects Meg’s special talent to these politics in an interesting way.
If you’re keen on historical fiction—especially one starring a smart young woman—then take a gander at Maid of Secrets! It’s a good time.Read More
It’s been a while since I’ve participated in a blog tour, so you better bet I went all out!
If you’d like to win a copy of Truth or Dare, you can click here!
About Truth or Dare:
In this highly charged debut thriller, perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars, an innocent game of TRUTH OR DARE spins out of control for three girls who find it’s no longer a party game. It’s do or die.
It all started on a whim: the game was a way for Tenley Reed to reclaim her popularity, a chance for perfect Caitlin “Angel” Thomas to prove she’s more than her Harvard application. Loner Sydney Morgan wasn’t even there; she was hiding behind her camera like usual. But when all three start receiving mysterious dares long after the party has ended, they’re forced to play along—or risk exposing their darkest secrets.
Paranoia builds as each little slip of paper taunts the girls with dares that threaten not just their reputations but also their lives. How far will Tenley, Caitlin and Sydney go to keep the truth from surfacing? And who’s behind this twisted game?
Sequel time! That means no plot synopsis. I’m going to keep this review spoiler-free, so it might be a little bit vague.
The story, for the most part, is very “book two.” The Eternity Cure is that dreaded middle book where not very much happens, and by the time you finish, you feel like you’re back where you started. Sure, there was some great tension and suspense, but when you come down to it, The Eternity Cure is largely filler. There are only a few bits that are actually essential to the series.
That being said, I did enjoy The Eternity Cure. Julie Kagawa’s characters are so lively and fun. The growth that Allie undergoes is truly fabulous. Allie forms a new friend group in this book that totally clicks. The dynamics between the characters are absolutely perfect.
And despite being kind of uneventful, The Eternity Cure still feels worth it. I still felt as if the book was still a good use of my time because I had an enjoyable experience.
If you’ve read The Immortal Rules, definitely give The Eternity Cure a shot. It’s not quite as exciting, but the characters alone are worth it. Though I might recommend waiting until book three is out – there’s a killer cliffhanger at the end!Read More
Summary: At the age of eighteen, all males in the town of Claysoot are Heisted–they’re spirited away by an unknown force. Grey’s older brother is about to turn eighteen, so this means that they need to say their final goodbyes. After a startling secret is uncovered, Grey realizes that there is something behind the Heists–something that can be stopped.
My thoughts: Taken has a great premise: a mysterious force snatches up all boys on their eighteenth birthdays. This alone allows for the development of a society very different from our own. There’s the logistics of continuing the species, the different roles women must step into, grief…the list goes on. But unfortunately, Taken doesn’t take the time to fully develop this world. We get an inkling of it, but soon are thrust into a new, more typically “dystopian” plotline.
That’s the thing about Taken: it’s jam-packed full of stuff to the point of being overwhelming. Sure, this makes for a fast-paced book, but it also makes for one that isn’t easy to remember. There are four parts to Taken, and each could function as its own story arc. But instead of developing each revelation and world to the fullest, Bowman pulls us out of our area of interest and tosses us into another. So for me, Taken felt rushed and non-stop. I loved what Bowman does, in terms of story, but I wish she had given elements of it time to grow.
One of the biggest examples of this is the one-dimensional secondary character—and Taken has a bunch of these. Emma, Grey’s acquaintance, is introduced as stubborn and headstrong, yet pages later is declaring her love for our protagonist. I was left wondering how their relationship developed. Many of the other minor characters, including Grey’s twin brother, were the same way: we are told what kind of person they are, and then they occasionally take an action that helps move the story along. We never get to connect to the minor characters, so Grey is really the only person in the story that is worth caring about.
While I did take issue with the ways in which Taken feels unfocused, on the whole it’s a reasonably enjoyable book. It’s exciting, and while the plot twists aren’t always a surprise, when they are, they’re interesting. If you’re a fan of dystopian fiction, you might try Taken for the world Grey is born into—it’s fresh and fascinating—but you might avoid it for the other aspects of the story, which seem to echo the rebellions of books past.Read More
Sorry I’ve been neglecting this blog! My life has kind of been taken over by school. But I’m still making videos over on my YouTube channel! Here’s a video I uploaded last week, which features some books I enjoyed in April.
I only have two more weeks of class, and then finals! I should be back to posting more regularly during the summer. :)Read More
Summary: This follow-up to Grave Mercy continues the story of the conflict between the sinister d’Albret and the Duchess of Brittany. Dark Triumph focuses on Sybella, one of Death’s handmaidens, who has been sent to spy on d’Albret.
My thoughts: So here’s the thing about Robin LaFevers: I adore her prose, but her stories take forever to get through. Dark Triumph is, like Grave Mercy, a rich but slow-paced novel. It’s the kind of book that’s tough to make yourself to pick up, but once you do, you feel as if you’re reading something classic—something worthwhile.
Sybella is a different kind of character than Ismae, though they both are a bit preoccupied with self-loathing. Sybella is more confident and occasionally a little sassy, which makes her easier to like than her counterpart in Grave Mercy. There isn’t as much of a focus on coming into one’s own, but there is instead a focus on memory and the secrets of one’s past.
One thing that bothered me about Dark Triumph was the fact that LaFevers does quite a lot of telling toward the end of the book. Sybella’s past is a great mystery up until this point, and to have everything spelled out in such a detached manner seems anticlimactic.
On the whole, though, Dark Triumph delivers. The conflict between d’Albret and the Duchess of Brittany finally comes to a head, and it’s interesting to see the different strategies of either party—and how those strategies relate directly to Sybella.Read More
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