Review: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

18196040730. That’s how many days I’ve been trapped.
18. That’s how many days I have left to find a way out.

DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible….

JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister….

MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She’s about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window…..

In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out.

PUBLISHER: Little, Brown

PAGES: 432

~*~*~*~*~

I was pretty much desperate for a good read when I randomly downloaded this book from my library. I don’t even think I ever read the book blurb–so this was a bit of a stretch.

I’m a big fan of diverse YA fiction, but I encounter it so infrequently that this book surprised me at first. Set in China, the characters have distinctly Chinese names and the setting of the Walled City was an actual location in Hong Kong once upon a time called Kowloon Walled City.

walledDoes that not look like the perfect setting for a Dystopian novel? Continue reading

Review: Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood

25463009Three royal houses ruling three interplanetary systems are on the brink of collapse, and they must either ally together or tear each other apart in order for their people to survive.

Asa is the youngest daughter of the house of Fane, which has been fighting a devastating food and energy crisis for far too long. She thinks she can save her family’s livelihood by posing as her oldest sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the throne of the house of Westlet. The appearance of her mother, a traitor who defected to the house of Galton, adds fuel to the fire, while Asa also tries to save her sister Wren’s life . . . possibly from the hands of their own father.

But as Asa and Eagle forge a genuine bond, will secrets from the past and the urgent needs of their people in the present keep them divided?

Author Tessa Elwood’s debut series is an epic romance at heart, set against a mine field of political machinations, space adventure, and deep-seeded family loyalties.

PUBLISHER: Running Press Kids

PAGES: 304

Will Be Released: December 8, 2015

~*~*~*~*~

A huge thanks to the Running Press Kids and to Tessa Elwood for a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

To be completely honest, I requested this book awhile ago on Netgalley and I just found it on my Kindle. I had completely forgotten I had requested it–I’ve taken a rather long break from book blogging due to finals and stress levels–but, I decided to take a chance on this one.

About eight paragraphs in, I almost gave up on this book. Terrible, right? I don’t have a very high tolerance for choppy, flowery writing. Instead, I urged myself on to continue reading this novel. While I’m glad that I did finish this novel, I have several major problems with this novel. Continue reading

Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

11988046Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

PUBLISHER: HarperTeen

PAGES: 343

~*~*~*~*~

I read this book on a plane to Dallas and finished it in roughly 24 hours. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that two of the most important factors of a novel are the writing and the plot. If the plot is amazing, I can often disregard poor writing. If the writing is amazing, I can often disregard the poor plot. Continue reading

Waiting on Wednesday #18

img-thing-pink2Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I think we’ve all wondered (at some point) what happened to Aurora after waking up from her long, deep sleep. Obviously, things couldn’t go back to normal. Why didn’t Disney address this?

We’re in luck, though! A wonderful human being named Rhiannon Thomas did the world a good deed by writing a sequel of sorts to the lovely (albeit a bit creepy) tale of Sleeping Beauty. Yay, Rhiannon Thomas! Three cheers for Rhiannon Thomas!

Three Key Words for This Week’s WoW: Retellings, Princes, Chaos (mmmhmmm)

Continue reading

Review: Magnolia by Kristi Cook

16059149In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.

PUBLISHER: Simon and Shuster

PAGES: 336

~*~*~*~*~

I went to Powell’s during the past 3-day-weekend and limited myself to a book budget of $15. I happened to go over by one dollar, but, really, if you know me, it could have been much worse. Leaving $16 poorer is the best of all possible Powell’s scenarios. Truly.

I haven’t read a book set in the South for some while, and I’m always up for a good YA romance. Magnolia has been on my TBR for some time. While this plot was a bit too unrealistic for my tastes (two kids being left alone right before a gigantic storm? I don’t know about that), it was still a fun read. Continue reading

Review: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

MMD+final+cover+hi-resSixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.

PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray

PAGES: 420

~*~*~*~*~

Walked into the library. This book caught my eye. Recognized that several of my book blogging peers had read this book. Read the blurb. Gaped at the beautiful cover. Checked this book out.

I didn’t used to check Goodreads before checking a book out at the library, but I’ve become a Goodreads fanatic since becoming a book blogger. People seemed torn about this book, and I inevitably find myself torn at the end, like everyone else. Continue reading

Review: This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki

18465566Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It’s their getaway, their refuge. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It’s a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

In This One Summer two stellar creators redefine the teen graphic novel. Cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, the team behind Skim, have collaborated on this gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about a girl on the cusp of her teen age—a story of renewal and revelation.

PUBLISHER: First Second

PAGES: 320

~*~*~*~*~

I won this book through Goodreads’ First Reads program! Yay!

This was my first graphic novel. I don’t know why, but I’ve just never gravitated towards graphic novels! It’s such a novel idea, though, and I feel as if I’m going to read more graphic novels in the future. Continue reading