My name is Amanda, I'm 15 years old, and I (obviously) love to read. I mainly read young adult, but I read the occasional adult fiction or middle-grade. I make YouTube videos about books, as well.
When I first heard of What's Left of Me back in September, I knew I was going to love it. The premise captured me right from the beginning. I honestly don't know why I waited so long to purchase the book or to read it. All I know, is that I wish I had read it sooner (Or I guess I'm sort of glad I read it now, because I don't need to wait as long for the second one!).
In an alternate version of our world, two souls are born into each body. One of the two souls becomes dominant while the other becomes recessive. Within a few years, the recessive soul fades away. However, Eva hasn't faded yet, making her and her dominant pair, Addie, a hybrid. Hybrids are threatening to the government, and if they are discovered, they will be taken away to be "fixed."
When I first heard about What's Left of Me being told by the recessive soul, my mind immediately connected it to The Host by Stephenie Meyer. They are VERY different books, but the premises sounded somewhat similar on the surface (Addie and Eva were born together and this is what they have always known, but Melanie's body was invaded by Wanderer). Still, since What's Left of Me sort of made me think of what it might be like to be in Melanie's head in The Host. Having no control over the body you are in and being simply the voice in the back of someone's head.
I really liked Eva as a character, but I thought Addie was annoying at times. I thought she was inconsiderate to Eva's feelings and only thought about herself at certain moments. Eva, however, was a really strong and interesting character that I really liked. I also really liked Lissa and Ryan. Was it only me that didn't really like the dominant souls? I didn't like Devon at all, I thought he was too arrogant. Hally was easier to deal with, though.
The plot was really fast paced as well. By the end, I literally couldn't put the book down. It was captivating. While some truths that were discovered about the governmental system were somewhat predictable, that did not deter from the addictive-ness of the story or the fast pacing.
Overall, I LOVED What's Left of Me, and I can't wait to read the sequel!
Going into Catching Jordan, I didn't know how I would end up feeling about it. It's about Jordan, captain and quarterback of her high school football team - and I know nothing (and have no interest in knowing anything) about football. I had heard some good reviews, and I was in a really contemporary mood, so I decided to give it a shot. And I'm really happy I did.
Jordan was a really likeable character. She's strong, brave, and has her future planned out in front of her. However, throughout the book she made some really stupid decisions and missed some things that were in front of her face the entire time. Overall, though, this made her more realistic in some ways, and I liked that.
I tried to like Ty, I really did. But he was way too controlling for my taste. I liked him at times and wanted to hit him other times. Unfortunately, the times I wanted to hit him outweighed the times I liked him.
...Henry, on the other hand, I liked from the beginning. Even if it was really obvious what he was really thinking, he was an amazing character. He was a great friend to Jordan, and I loved him for that. He was my favorite character in the whole book.
The one thing I was most worried about before starting was football. Like I said, I know nothing about football. But this book was still easily understood. I actually really enjoyed the chapters in which there were practices and games, which really surprised me! I understood everything about the game that was necessary to understand the book. Kenneally made it super simple for even those who aren't sporty at all (me).
Overall, Catching Jordan was a really cute and fun read, and I will definitely be reading the companions! I wouldn't consider it one of my favorite books of all time, but it was really enjoyable and I would recommend it as a fun summery read.
What did I just read, exactly?
Harbinger is a very unique book. I doubt I will ever read a book even remotely similar to this. It's about an academy for the "crazies and delinquents" and it takes place in a dystopian/post-apocolyptic-ish world. Main character Faye is able to read minds upon eye contact and has hallucinations of floods. Every morning, her and her Holbrook Family wake up with their hands dyed brownish red and a creepily familiar drawing on the floor. So...what's going on?
I absolutely LOVED the first half of the book. It was crazy and thrilling and I just needed to know what was causing all of this...weirdness at Holbrook Academy. However, the last 100 pages of Harbinger were super confusing. Honestly, I was lost after chapter 25-ish (out of 36). I understood what was going on, but I didn't really get why. I saw that some other people were super confuzzled also, so I'm happy that I'm not the only one!
Also, their was a major case of insta-love. By the end of the book, Faye mentions that everyone arrived at Holbrook just one week before that point in the story. Two pages later, in the same scene, she mentioned she loved Kel more than she loved life. I liked Kel, really, I did. But Faye and Kel were completely in love after less than two conversations they had in less than a week. I find that not only really unlikely, but really annoying.
Overall, if this book was actually understandable, I probably would have given it 4/5 stars. It seemed like it was going to be a really cool psychological thriller. It probably was for some people (the people who could make sense out of it). I really did enjoy the parts of it that I could understand, but I wish some things were explained a little bit better.
(This review was already posted about a month ago.)
With the movie coming out in November and my friends pushing me to read it, I had high expectations for Ender's Game. It's one of those books that everyone raves about, and I would argue that it has become a sort of modern classic. Whilst reading it at school, I had at least four different people who I don't normally talk to about books tell me how much they love it.
Maybe I was expecting too much from it, or maybe I'm just weird. While I really enjoyed Ender's Game, I didn't love it.
This could be my fault: I was reading it during AP exam week, and had to put off reading time for study time. It took me over a week to finish this average-sized book (and this is coming from someone who ususally reads 2 books a week). Also because of exams, I wasn't fully focused on the book. I was more worried about passing than finishing the current chapter.
In general, Ender's Game was one of the more slowly paced sci-fi books I've read. Yes, there were battles. Yes, there were actual fights. But only a few fights were actually explained in detail. When Ender gets to Battle School and fights with his team in the battleroom, it's really only explained the first time, so the reader could get a grasp of what the fights actually were. I think it might have been better if all or most of the fights were explained in detail instead of simply saying, "We won the next fight, but [insert number here] were damaged..." and things of the like.
Another thing I disliked was the fact that the only character who is consistently in the book was Ender. I really loved Peter, Valentine, Petra, Bean, Dink and so many more, but each of them were only in the book for a few chapters at a time. As Ender moves from one army to the next, characters from the previous army are sort of left behind until they all reunite in the end.
I'm making it sound like I really hated this book. I didn't, I promise. I really loved all of the game simulations and the games themselves. They were so realistic and cool, especially since this book was written so long ago. The desks almost resemble today's tablets (iPad, Kindle Fire...). The characters (while they were in the book) were amazing. The setting, in space, was so interesting and cool! It makes me sort of wish I could live in space (although, on second thought, not really). There were so many things about this book that I loved.
Now, I am quite angry with the publisher or whoever it was who wrote the summary on the back of the book. They completely gave away one of the big spoilers in the ending! I'm not going to say what it was, because spoilers, but if you ever see a copy of this book and you haven't read the book yet, do not read the synopsis. It sort of ruined the ending for me. :(
In general, I really liked Ender's Game. I don't know if or when I will read the rest of the series, because I've heard that the first book is so much better, but this one was definitely a great read. Check it out if you haven't already!
I received this ARC from Harlequin Teen Panel for review.
When I received Ink in the mail, I was super excited. I mean, it's about drawings coming to life -- what could go wrong?
There were so many cliches throughout this book, mainly with the romance. The romance was very reminiscent of Twilight:
-Average girl moves to new town.
-Girl meets Mystery-Boy.
-Girl likes Mystery-Boy, but Mystery-Boy warns that her that he's too dangerous.
-Mystery-Boy is a supernatural being/has a supernatural power
-Girl meets different Nice-Boy who also ends up having some sort of super power/is a supernatural creature.
-Girl and Mystery-Boy fall in love anyway (for no reason at all).
This plot is way too overused - it surprises me that these same plot points get published today, five years after what started it (Twilight). It's not even a good plot! This is what baffles me! It's boring and not good and way overused.
And then there's Katie. Ahh, Katie. I think Katie is probably the most annoying protagonist I have ever read from the perspective of. This was a fairly fast paced book, yet it took me a week to get through. Why? I knew I had to be losing brain cells reading from Katie's POV. She cried seventeen times throughout this 326-page book. Seventeen times. I counted. The majority of the crying scenes were completely unnecessary. NO ONE CRIES THAT MUCH. NO ONE. Besides that, Katie was just plain annoying and I couldn't like her no matter how much I tried. She pretty much stalked Tomo and made REALLY stupid decisions throughout the whole book. I was hoping she would change before the end, but nope.
On top of that, I could find no redeeming factor about Tomohiro. He was a jerk to everyone, despite Katie's insistence. To be completely honest, I don't understand why Katie liked him, even as a friend. I found him to be extremely annoying and not worth the way Katie kept running back to him. He is the type of person that no one wants to be around (at least I wouldn't).
The first time Katie sees Tomo, it's when he's being utterly cruel to his (now ex-) girlfriend Myu. It is found out that Myu broke up with him because he got another girl pregnant. Katie finds a picture that Tomo drew of the pregnant girl, and it moves, so Katie becomes curious. So she decides to stalk the guy who got his not-girlfriend pregnant and who also has been accused of stabbing his best friend in the past. Oh yeah, that's a genius idea right there! She then falls in love with him. For no apparent reason.
This book is so infuriating! It took an idea with such potential and ruined it.
Also, there's a glossary of about 75-100 Japanese words and phrases in the back. I don't know any Japanese whatsoever, and it was very annoying to flip back and forth between the glossary. Most of the words weren't explained when used throughout the book, either!
Speaking of language, how exactly did Katie learn Japanese in five months?? I've been taking Spanish for roughly ten years, and it still is difficult at times to understand my teacher when she's speaking fast. I can't imagine how I would survive living in a Spanish-speaking country after ten years, let alone five months! And correct me if I'm wrong, but Japanese seems way more difficult than Spanish (at least when compared to English!!).
I did, however, really enjoy the artwork done by Petra Dufkova, who also designed the cover. There are multiple drawings throughout, and they were all gorgeous. There were also two mini flipbook-style drawings in the bottom right corners, which were also gorgeous. As much as I loved the artwork, the book isn't getting any extra points rating-wise for it. I'm rating the contents of the book, not the accompanying features. Sorry.
The first chapter of the second book was printed in my ARC. I will not be reading the first chapter, or any part of the second book, ever. I'm glad to be out of this world and never, ever go back.
Before I talk about the actual contents of the book, I want to discuss the cover. Just like the first two in the series, I LOVE how the items surrounding Rhine actually appear and have a significant impact on the story. I love the effort that goes into these covers. BUT... I really hate the background for this one. I like the blue/green cover much better.. In my opinion, the green background looks like the designer or photographer or whoever took the picture in front of a green screen and just didn't change it....
But, this book. THIS BOOK. This post DOES HAVE SPOILERS.
The Characters were as amazing as always. I loved how we saw some of the characters from Fever that we thought wouldn't show up again. It was interesting to see a new and different perspective on some of these characters, and for others, it was nice to just catch up with them. I honestly hated Madame in Fever, but I was wrong about her. I loved her character in this book, and I appreciated every page with her on it. I was probably one of the only people who didn't realize she was Rose's mother before! I knew something was up with her, but I didn't know what..! I also LOVED seeing Lilac again, and Silas, too!
However, it disappointed me that Gabriel wasn't in the book until the last fifty or so pages. I understand why that was done, but I wish it wasn't the case. And by the end, I didn't feel anything at all really towards Gabriel. I read Fever last April, and I guess I just forgot how much I liked Gabriel? I really don't know. While Gabriel was away, I really came to respect Linden. I wasn't his hugest fan throughout the first two books, but I grew to really like him in Sever. I sort of liked him as a character more than Gabriel.
As for new characters, I LOVED REED. He was probably my favorite character in the whole book. He was so quirky and awesome! Another new character I loved was Rowan. I have to admit, I was sort of suspicious of him after finding out he was (sort of) in cahoots with Vaughn, but I loved reading about him! After hearing about him for two and a half full books, I loved seeing what he was actually like in comparison to what Rhine has mentioned.
In the beginning of the book, the plot was sort of slow-going. But about a hundred pages in, I was hooked. I think the book really picked up for me after Cecily's miscarriage. I finished the book within twenty-four hours of me reading that chapter. And the ending!!! For those of you who haven't read/finished it yet.. it will KILL YOU. Well, it killed me. I was confused about a few things that happened in the ending, though.
Some aspects of Sever were really predictable, and others I didn't see coming. The fact that Hawaii/the-rest-of-the-world still exist didn't surprise me at all. I had suspicions about that since it was first mentioned in Wither.
But Linden's and Vaughn's death, and Rowan's involvement with Vaughn completely threw me off!Linden's death just...wow. I was sort of confused, though, as to exactly how he died? I mean, he was injured from the plane, but that's all it really says. I wish we knew what had actually physically happened to him.
I KNEW Cecily had it in her to kill Vaughn! I LOVED that scene! Never would have expected Madame to encourage it though. Cecily actually grew to be one of my favorite characters in this book. In Wither and Fever (not as much in Fever), I found her somewhat annoying, but the conclusion to the series made me really respect her. She was amazing.
Another thing that confused me was the cure. How does the cure work? How did Vaughn figure it out? The whole series talks about Rhine and Rowan's heterochromia having something to do with it, but we never get an explanation as to how the cure works. That was the thing that confused me the most. Vaughn's just like, "I figured it out! You're cured!" and that's all we know about it. If this was included in the book, my rating might have gone up to 4.5 stars. I had thought that that would be the climax: finding out exactly what they could do to prevent the virus.... I don't know....
So yeah. I loved this book infinitely more than I loved the first two. DEFINITELY read the concluding book in this trilogy regardless of your thoughts on the rest of the series!
(spoilers for the first two books throughout entire review; spoilers for Shades of Earth later on)
I read both Across the Universe and A Million Suns in early 2012, and I absolutely loved them. They were the first sci-fi books I had ever read, and I (obviously) was eagerly anticipating this final book in the series. It definitely did not disappoint. It lived up to and exceeded my expectations.
Both Amy and Elder grew a lot as both individuals and as a couple throughout the course of this book. Amy was so strong in this book. She realized that secrets were being kept from her and risked her life to figure them out. She also risked her life for the sake of the lives of everyone else in their colony. Elder was torn between giving up his leadership to Amy's father, Colonel Martin, and keeping in control of his "shipborn" people. Elder really was a leader to his people, due to the fact that the shipborns did not trust the Earthborns.
Speaking of, I loved the conflict between the shipborns and the Earthborns. I thought the whole thing was very interesting how although they all had a common purpose, they disagreed on how to go about pretty much anything.
As for new characters, I loved seeing Amy's parents (although her father was quite annoying at times). Her mom was amazing. Other favorites of mine were Emma and Chris.
The world building was phenomenal. Beth Revis literally created an entire new planet and it was believable, which I didn't think it was going to be. The pteros and aliens and everything were all awesome.
So, overall, this book was freaking AMAZING. Just read it. And don't be surprised when a lot of people die. Because they do.
SPOILERS FOR SHADES OF EARTH AHEAD:
There were some things that were quite predictable (to me, at least). The fact that there was another colony before them was super obvious to me. I mean, they were in space for five hundred years, two hundred years behind schedule. I had predicted that Sol-Earth had found a faster method to take people to space and that there was another colony quite before Amy and Elder did.
Another prediction of mine (this one is only partially correct) was that the genius aliens weren't aliens at all -- the killings were from some internal force. I had also made another prediction that the original colony hadn't completely died out. These two kind of combined together (Chris). I was honestly surprised that I had guessed two major things (partially) correct from this book. (I was also quite proud of myself). I did not have any idea about the genetic modification or how Phydus got to Centauri-Earth, or rather how ti got to Godspeed, so that was a complete surprise to me.
And I SWEAR I ACTUALLY THOUGHT ELDER WAS DEAD AND I WOULD HAVE LIKE MURDERED BETH REVIS I WOULD HAVE HUNTED HER DOWN AND KILLED HER. Okay, maybe not that extreme, but I would have been pretty mad. I mean, what book kills of the main male character (besides books about diseases and stuff)? Like I said in my reaction right after I had finished, if the last chapter didn't exist I wouldn't have been happy.
One more thing that isn't really a spoiler, but there were some really cheesy lines in there that I actually laughed out loud to. For example, the chapter after Amy and Elder... well, you know... Amy says something along the lines of "The night was cold, but I was able to relish the warm memories I just made." It wasn't exactly that (I'm too lazy to actually grab the book right now), but you get the point. It was SO cheesy and I didn't think it was necessary.
That is all.