Category: Young Adult

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Cruel Beauty, along with having a absolutely phenomenal cover, is a mixed bag of many things. Start with Beauty and the Beast, throw in some Rumplestiltskin, some Greek mythology, and alternate world, and you’ve got this book.

When I read the pitch for this book, a twist on a Beauty and the Beast where Beauty is an assassin? Umm…yes please. This, however, isn’t really what I got.

The concept behind this book is awesome, but overall, I came out of the book wanting more than what I got. The pacing of the book, while great, left me little time to connect to and bond with the characters. I felt like I missed a lot of the relationship development, and so what might have been a stunning emotional payoff in the end, was just okay. Usually I’m all for fast pacing in books, but in this one, I just wanted things to slow down, take a little more time, linger here and there.

One of the other things that struck me was simply how much was packed into this book. As you can see in the things I listed above, this book has a lot going on. Tons of separate elements. Because of that, in my opinion, some things just got a little lost.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a good book, and given the task at hand it is well executed. However, after I put the book down I was left wishing somethings had been more deeply explored, and that the lens had been just a narrowed. Regardless, I think that Ms. Hodge is a very good writer, and I look forward to seeing more from her in the future.

Review: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, called “a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love.”

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.

The Shatter Me series is perfect for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu. Tahereh Mafi has created a captivating and original story that combines the best of dystopian and paranormal, and was praised by Publishers Weekly as “a gripping read from an author who’s not afraid to take risks.” Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and satisfying end.

So, Ignite me is one those books this year that gave everyone A LOT OF FEELS, and not all of the feels were good ones. As with any ending to a series, there are those that love, those that hate, and those that are in the middle.

I find myself falling with those in the middle. Although Juliet’s ending isn’t the ending I necessarily wanted, I very much understood her choices. I thought her character development and ownership in this book were stellar compared to where we found her in book one. Remember all the scratches marks words strikeouts she had to use to get her thoughts across? I appreciate the ending. An ending that isn’t true to the character really isn’t a good one.

For those of you familiar with the ‘teams’ in the Shatter Me series, I’m not going to spoil you on the result. However, I will say that I was on the losing side of that battle and I’m still okay with it.

Another thing I found myself liking about this book was that, even though the arc of the story has ended, there is obviously so much more to the story. The world is just on the brink of change. There will be more battles, there will be more happiness, there will be more loss. However, the characters embarking on that journey aren’t the ones we know. They are new people forged by the story that we witnessed, ready to continue on. That I think, is my favorite part of it. It is both an ending and a beginning.

Review: Infinite by Jodi Meadows

DESTRUCTION
The Year of Souls begins with an earthquake—an alarming rumble from deep within the earth—and it’s only the first of greater dangers to come. The Range caldera is preparing to erupt. Ana knows that as Soul Night approaches, everything near Heart will be at risk.

FLIGHT
Ana’s exile is frightening, but it may also be fortuitous, especially if she can convince her friends to flee Heart and Range with her. They’ll go north, seeking answers and allies to stop Janan’s ascension. And with any luck, the newsouls will be safe from harm’s reach.

CHOICE
The oldsouls might have forgotten the choice they made to give themselves limitless lifetimes, but Ana knows the true cost of reincarnation. What she doesn’t know is whether she’ll have the chance to finish this one sweet life with Sam, especially if she returns to Heart to stop Janan once and for all.

With gorgeous romance and thrilling action, the final book in the Incarnate trilogy offers a brilliant conclusion to the compelling questions of this fascinating world, where one new girl is the key to the lives of millions.

This is going to be really hard to do without spoilers!

I will start by saying that Infinite was a beautiful book, and definitely the end that this series deserved.

What Asunder expanded in terms of Ana’s independence and growth, Infinite lets loose in an avalanche. In this book we see Ana’s true strength and courage, as she makes decisions no one else can or will make. Despite opposition and doubt from even those closest to her, Ana does incredible things. I very much enjoyed the final piece of her character arc.

In Sam too, we see growth. One of my favorite things to see in books is the development of relationships after commitment, and Infinite definitely gave me that. While seeing a different side of Sam–both strong and broken–not everything is always sunshine and roses all the time, but that is life. I’m a big fan of Sam, and his unending loyalty.

One of the things I particularly enjoyed about Infinite, was it’s clues. Jodi has been dropping clues about the finale of this book since the very beginning, and I didn’t even realize it until a little way in. Well done, my friend. (hint, the cover of this book is very important)

All in all I think Infinite is a very solid and satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, and anyone who enjoyed the first two books will be far from disappointed. Also, the last line of the book is awesome!

Review: Asunder by Jodi Meadows

DARKSOULS
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

SHADOWS
Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

LOVE
Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.

In this second book in the Newsoul trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been procrastinating about reading Asunder. I wish I hadn’t. I read it in twenty-four hours, and I am so ready for Infinite.

Asunder picks up where Incarnate ended. The city of Heart is recovering from Templedark, where more than 70 of the city’s constantly reincarnating souls were killed, never to return. Now, with more Newsouls on the way, and the Sylph acting stranger than ever, tensions are understandably high.

While Incarnate introduced to Ana, Sam, and the fantastically diverse and creepy world of Range and Heart, Asunder expands. Without getting spoilery, (because WOAH so many things happen!) the mysteries that are introduced in book one begin to unravel. It’s like Incarnate dipped a toe in a puddle, and now we’re knee deep splashing around in said puddle.

However, possibly the thing I loved the most was the character development. We get to see Ana really come into her own as a person, Sam at both his strongest and weakest, and their growth and struggle as a couple. In fact, I thought there was major growth for all the characters, including some new additions to the cast.

Along with the shocking revelations that come for all the characters, the stakes that were already high got higher. If you haven’t read this one get on it–Infinite is out now and you don’t want to miss it!

Blog Tour: Parched by Georgia Clark

parchedblogtour

As part of Mundie Girls Blog Tours, we have the pleasure of having Georgia Clark, author of Parched, on the blog today to talk a little bit about her book and about the research behind writing sci-fi stories! To learn more about Parched and the author, keep reading after the post!

How to Research A Sci-Fi Novel (if You Know Nothing About Robots) By Georgia Clark

I did a ridiculous amount of research for my second novel, Parched. So much so that when compiling it all for this guest blog post, I found myself wondering 1. I am crazy and 2. If knowing it was going to take as much time as it did, if I’d do it all again. (Answers are ‘yes’ and ‘yes’).

My jumping off point for Parched was this: a girl in love with a robot. What did I know about robots? Well, I’d seen Bladerunner a few dozen times…?

It didn’t take long for me to realize that a robot is a non-sentient being. Unless I wanted to get readers to care about a girl falling for something with the emotional intelligence of a toaster, what I wanted was AI. Artificial Intelligence. I wanted to create something that could feel. Essentially, a cyborg. So I began researching that. Read more

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