Fiction Reviews, Netgalley/ARCs, Young Adult books, Young Adult Reveiws

Review: “Denton Little’s Deathdate” by Lance Rubin

*The book was provided free by the publishers though Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Pub. Date: April 14th 2015

4.5 stars of 5 ★★★★★

Death can be weird. What with having to attend your own funeral, having everyone sitting around waiting for you to die, not to mention that sometimes you only get seventeen years, death can be a real downer. For Denton Little, a normal life is all he wants, but because science has provided the world with deathdate prediction technology (which is 99.99% accurate), Denton’s life has always been shadowed by his looming demise. So when the time comes to face the final countdown, Denton accepts his lot and tries to make the best of things.

…but then things start to get weird. Mysterious doctors appear, secrets about his dead mom bubble out, horrible grandpa cops start making trouble, and a weird rash/virus appear on Denton, his girlfriend, his best friend, and his best friend’s sister. The once calm Denton starts to question his serenity about death. Here’s the summary:

Denton Little’s Deathdate takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day they will die. For 17-year-old Denton Little, that’s tomorrow, the day of his senior prom.

Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. First hangover. First sex. First love triangle (as the first sex seems to have happened not with his adoring girlfriend, but with his best friend’s hostile sister. Though he’s not totally sure. See: first hangover.) His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is this what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton’s long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters…. Suddenly Denton’s life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers.

Debut author Lance Rubin takes us on a fast, furious, and outrageously funny ride through the last hours of a teenager’s life as he searches for love, meaning, answers, and (just maybe) a way to live on.

This book was hilarious, entertaining, and interesting. The characters were one dimensional, but the story was very original, and honestly refreshing, because it’s nothing like the other *don’t trust THEM* type books out there. It’s by a male author, so there’s an attempt at making this into a “dude read”. I would definitely recommend this book to lovers of quirky reads.

Fiction, Fiction Reviews, Reviews, Young Adult books, Young Adult Reveiws

Review: “Afterworlds” by Scott Westerfeld

4.5 stars of 5 ★★★★★

At twelve years old, I started to write. I wrote novels, not poems, not diary entries, not short stories. I dreamed big.

To say it is my dream to have a novel published is an understatement. While some teenagers dreamed of being a world-famous actress, supermodel, politician, athlete, whatever, I was dreaming of being the next J.K. Rowling. I wanted people to tattoo my words on their skin. I wanted people to name their children and/or pets after my characters. I wanted worldwide acknowledgement of my writing talent. Why am I writing this in past tense? I still want these things.

In Afterworlds, Darcy Patel gets that dream. She’s a high school senior with million dollar advance on her first novel that she wrote in a month. That’s every young writer’s dream-every writer’s dream.

We follow Darcy on her journey to being published, and we also get to read her evolving masterpiece. As Darcy receives edits, as she learns new words, as people discuss her themes and plot, her novel changes and evolves. Her novel is not something I would have enjoyed reading(because most of the YA tropes were used–probably to make an example of her work compared to the other novel we get to read), but it was still intriguing. It’s really fascinating, and I really enjoyed Darcy’s process to publication in the YA world. Here’s the summary(via Goodreads):

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

If you’re interested in the publishing world, especially Young Adult book publishing, I recommend this book just for the (sometimes) real world publishing insight. Darcy is also an interesting character. While her novel is basically a mad libs version of a YA paranormal romance, her character is diverse and real. I also think it is interesting that Imogen’s book, of which we get to read the first chapter, is not as hyped as Darcy’s novel, but it is the more interesting, and better written of the two. I’d recommend it.

Fiction Reviews, Reviews, Series Reviews, Young Adult books, Young Adult Reveiws

Review: “Throne of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas

4.5 stars of 5 ★★★★★

So you like pretty dresses? Sharp blades? Girl assassins? Corrupt governments? Then gather ’round and I’ll tell you about a tale called Throne of Glass. Here’s the summary:

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

It’s like if you take Arya and Sasha from Game of Thrones and throw them into a less horrible, but still bad world. Celaena’s world and personality reminds me of Kristin Cashore’s main character in Graceling (It’s been like 10 yrs since I read the story so I don’t remember her name). She’s lived a hard life and it’s remarkable in that she is still alive after a year in slavery. She was once the most feared assassin in all the land, and she has been given a chance to put those skills back into use to possibly win her freedom.

The course of the novel takes the reader through various challenges, Celaena facing no real challenges other than a brute named Cain. She trains to defeat him. She becomes friends with her rescuers and other officials of the kingdom. She also becomes helpful on the detective front as well once gruesome murders begin to occur.

It’s really an entertaining read. It would be great for lovers of Game of Thrones, His Fair Assassin series, Kristin Cashore’s work, and Tamora Pierce. It’s got some baby feminist ideals in there too, so that makes it even better. I definitely recommend it.

Other books in this series include:

Fiction Reviews, Reviews, Series Reviews

Review: “The Ghost Road” by Pat Barker

4.5 stars of 5 ★★★★★

I may have mention before(maybe only like 100 times), but I’m a huge history buff with a strong obsession with the Mid 19th century to the Present. I especially love the UK in the 1880s, 1890s, WWI, between wars era, and WWII. In one of my favorite English classes in college (20th Century Brit Lit), I was introduced to the WWI war novel Regeneration by Pat Barker. I loved that book and it is still one of my favorites today. I was excited when my professor told me Regeneration was the beginning of a trilogy, that there were two other novel, The Eye in the Door and The Ghost Road, which won the Man Booker in 1995. I quickly added them to my To-Read List, but college got in the way, so I wasn’t able to read the next book until last year. I was still entranced by the story, so I ordered The Ghost Road for Christmas. I was not disappointed by this last installment. Here’s the summary (via Goodreads):

The final book in the Regeneration Trilogy, and winner of the 1995 Booker Prize

The Ghost Road is the culminating masterpiece of Pat Barker’s towering World War I fiction trilogy. The time of the novel is the closing months of the most senselessly savage of modern conflicts. In France, millions of men engaged in brutal trench warfare are all “ghosts in the making.” In England, psychologist William Rivers, with severe pangs of conscience, treats the mental casualties of the war to make them whole enough to fight again. One of these, Billy Prior, risen to the officer class from the working class, both courageous and sardonic, decides to return to France with his fellow officer, poet Wilfred Owen, to fight a war he no longer believes in. Meanwhile, Rivers, enfevered by influenza, returns in memory to his experience studying a South Pacific tribe whose ethos amounted to a culture of death. Across the gulf between his society and theirs, Rivers begins to form connections that cast new light on his–and our–understanding of war.

Combining poetic intensity with gritty realism, blending biting humor with tragic drama, moving toward a denouement as inevitable as it is devastating, The Ghost Road both encapsulates history and transcends it. It is a modern masterpiece

If you like war fiction, you have to read this series. If you’re interested in the psychological development of the diagnosis of Shell Shock (PTSD), if you are interested in the War Poets,  or in history in general, I recommend this book, this series, and this author wholeheartedly. The only reason I did not give The Ghost Road five stars is because it is not as good as Regeneration, IMHO, and some of the flash-back scenes with Dr. Rivers bored me. It is still an incredible novel, and worth the read.
Extra stuff: Wilfred Owen became a sort-of student( and rumored lover too) of poetry under Siegfried Sassoon at Craiglockhart Hospital and wrote the majority of his poems in a one year period. He is now considered one of, if not the best, War Poet of WWI. Regeneration focuses on WO and SS’s rumored romantic relationship (which I totally believe in) if anyone wants more on that.
Just to rub salt in anyone’s who feels for these two wounds, according to Siegfried’s Journey, “After the Armistice, Sassoon waited in vain for word from Owen, only to be told of his death several months later. The loss grieved Sassoon greatly, and he was never ‘able to accept that disappearance philosophically”(Quote lifted from Wikipedia). EXCUSE ME WHILE I GRIMACE IN PAIN AND GO SHAKE MY FIST AT THE SKY.
Any who, here is one of my favorite’s of Owen’s poetry, “Dulce et Decorum Est”.
“Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Fiction Reviews, Reviews, Series Reviews, Young Adult Reveiws

Review: The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater


Series rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Y’all, this series. It’s good. There characters are so much like (let me break my Harry Potter references out) the Marauders+Lily and it’s just awesome.

The Raven Boys, which is the first in the series, is captivating. I’d been eyeing this series for a while, but the first sentence in TRB completely threw me. It’s something like, “For Blue’s entire life, she has been told that if she kisses her true love, he will die.” That, to me, sounded stupid and I immediately scoffed at the idea of reading the rest of the novel.

This is were having friends who read benefits you.

One of my closest friends read the series, and when asked if it was any good, her eyes got wide and she began to nod. “Yes,” she said quietly. “Yes. It’s so good”

And she was right. It is so good. I flew through the first, second, and third book and am now impatiently waiting for the fourth and final book of the series. It’s scheduled for a 2015 release, which is too damn far away. I need that book.

I’m not summarizing each book(because I can’t do it justice! Just read the books. It’ll take you like three days tops), but I will break down how each character relates to each Marauder because this is my blog and I do what I want (hehe).

Gansey (James Potter)

Ronon Lynch (Sirius Black)

Adam Parrish (Remus Lupin)

Noah Czerny(Peter Pettigrew-before he wins the trophy of worse person ever)

Blue Sargent(Lily Evans)

Read the books and see if I’m wrong. (I’m not.)

If you like psychics, intelligent and kind rich boys, grim boys with astonishing abilities, poor boys with strong work ethics, headstrong girls that actually do things, Welsh history/mythology, ravens, mystery, and leylines, well this is the series for you. It’s entertaining, heartbreaking in spots, and totally a better time waster than whatever else you had planned.