Review: Uprising by Jessica Therrien

Title: Uprising
Author: Jessica Therien
Publication date: October 2, 2015
Series: Children of the Gods
Number of pages: 388
Synopsis: Elyse has done everything she can to protect her friends from The Council’s reach. As long as they believe she’s dead, she has time to rest and train for war. And war is inevitable.

When Kara arrives with the news that Anna and Chloe have been captured, Elyse is faced with the realization that no one is safe until The Council is stopped and Christoph is destroyed. She doesn’t need a prophecy to tell her to lead an army. Christoph has done the one thing that ensures she’ll fight to the death. He’s threatened the people she loves.

It will take more than the words of an oracle to help them fight against the most powerful Descendant alive. To break The Council’s oppression and rise up against a plot so many years in the making, Elyse will need to get dangerously close to her enemy. So close, in fact, she may not survive.

Uprising by Jessica Therrien
**I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author, publisher and YABound Book Tours for this opportunity).**

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

After reading Opression I was so thrilled to be able to continue straight away with the series! I really enjoyed this book, though I still prefer the first. Much like the first book, this one had Elyse as a strong, kickass character, but I wish there had been more action all the time. I understand why the first book lacked in action at times, but this one seemed to move too slowly sometimes and made me miss the action. However, the book had plenty of action by chapter seven and kept it going right through the end.

This book definitely expanded the politics of the descendants and the reasoning behind the council and Elise’s fight for freedom. It developed some of the council members more thoroughly and presented reasoning behind their actions.

Lastly, I really liked how this book flowed seamlessly from the first and portrayed real life. It kept all of the emotions appropriate to each situation and they were definitely raw and real. I could imagine myself doing, saying, and feeling the same way as Elyse and some of the other characters. The book was also a nice lead-in to the third book!

Overall, I really enjoyed Uprising but did miss some of the action from the first book. I definitely enjoyed the plot and character development in this book and can’t wait to continue with the series!


Review: Oppression by Jessica Therrien

Oppression by Jessica Therrien

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I love books with a mythical twist to them, but I especially love Greek myths. When I saw the synopsis to Oppression I was immediately hooked. I’m so glad that another Greek myth book was written, but this book was more than that. The book definitely brought out some new aspects and twists to the Greek myth. Moreover, it had a diverse cast of amazing and relatable characters.

First, Oppression was completely different from other Greek myth books I’ve read. It kept most aspects of the myths while twisting some in a very different and innovative way.

Next, the book has an awesome cast of characters. Elyse, the main character is one of the most kickass heroines I’ve seen for quite some time. She knew what she wanted and although she had to get used to a new world, she knew who she was as a person and she knew that she had to find her way in this new world. Despite being new and getting used to this new world, she kept going forward even though various people were against her.

William was the other main character and he was so sweet! He wasn’t the bad guy girls usually fall for–such a cliché–but was instead more of the boy next door. Like Elyse, William knew who he was and how he wanted to change their world. William befriended, and soon fell in love with Elyse. However, unlike most novels where the heroine waits for the guy to save her, Elyse was her own person and she didn’t let anything or anyone dictate what she did. William was more of a guiding figure who followed Elyse and showed her things about the world she’d been introduced to. Lastly, the romance in this book was a slow evolving romance and I absolutely love how it didn’t take center stage. Instead, it evolved as Elyse found out more about the world she’d been introduced to and her role in it.

The rest of the characters in this book were as diverse and unique as Elyse and William. Each character had his or her own unique personality and power, and each character had a purpose that moved the story forward.

Overall, I really enjoyed Oppression and would recommend it to those who like Greek myths and those who like a slow, sweet romance.

Review: Ella Enchanted by Gayle Carson Levigne

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I went into this book with a vague idea it was a retelling of Cinderella but not much else. I’d also watched the movie–well, not really, just bits and pieces–and knew Ella had to obey every command she was given.

When I started the book, I wanted to stop reading because I wasn’t captured by the narration. However, I’ve never read a retelling and thought a short retelling of Cinderella would be perfect to wet my feet. I’m so glad I read this book, but do wish it had been longer.

Ella was an extremely likable character with lots of spunk and free will despite her gift which was actually a curse. Even though she was cursed with obedience, Ella never let it get her down for long. Not even her mother’s death–which she grieved and whom apart from Mandy, the cook, knew about her curse–kept her docile and helpless. To me, this was one of the most admirable qualities in Ella because most fairy tales depict helpless girls who are waiting for a prince to gallop in and save them.

Next is Ella’s unending kindness. Throughout the story, Ella was kind to everyone she met even when they were horrible to her. Sure, she would try and find loopholes in their commands, but her disobedience was never malicious or harmful. For a person to display such kindness in the face of cruel people is again admirable and further enhances Ella’s free will. Instead of finding malicious loopholes, Ella use the little free will she had to find loopholes that would not harm anyone and were little in the grand scheme of things.

However, the thing I liked about this book was how different it is from most fairytales. As I already said, Ella was unlike most girls because she took initiative and acted for herself. Secondly, and probably most important, I loved how the book didn’t hinder on the young maiden waiting/needing the true love of a prince. Even in the end, the book never once hindered on a prince’s true love.

Overall, I really enjoyed Ella Enchanted and found it completely unique from any other fairytale. The only thing I was left wanting was for a longer book.

Review: The Witness by Nora Roberts

The Witness by Nora Roberts
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Let me start off by saying how happy I am to have picked up this book. Not only was it completely different from what I usually read, but it was just so refreshing and definitely what I needed. I really enjoyed a lot about this book–the characters, writing style, and shifts in point of view. If you have any suggestions, please, please, please let me know!

I really enjoyed how Roberts began creating every character slowly and kept adding to their personality, and to some extent, their appearance. Each character was unique and well-developed. The main character, Elizabeth, was especially well-written and I loved seeing her grow into her own person.

All of the events in the novel were deliberate and I enjoyed seeing how they tied up and connected with each other. Seeing how each event shaped the characters and led to their interactions with one another was wonderful as I felt I saw exactly how characters’ actions led to events that led to more action.

At the same time, I kind of wished that the book had moved a little faster in parts. It didn’t drag much, but I did feel that some of the descriptions were just too much.

On the other hand, I really liked how Roberts flawlessly incorporated shifting points of view into the novel. I feel that reading the book through multiple perspectives let me better see all of the characters’ development. Having those multiple points of view let me have a glimpse into different thought processes and see characters through each different narrator’s eyes.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Witness and would highly recommend it. Again, if you know of any novels like it, please let me know.

SST 3 – Review: What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

What You Left Behindby Jessica Verdi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**I received a copy of this book on a read to review basis. Thanks to Nori from the Sunday street team and the publishers.**

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a completely different experience for me as I don’t think I’ve read a book with a single teen dad taking care of his baby. Usually, I’ve read books with moms left by their boyfriends and how they cope/struggle to care for the baby.

I think what I liked most about this book was just reading it from the perspective of the dad. I enjoyed reading all of Ryden’s struggles with the baby and how he coped. Seeing how he was affected by Meg’s death and how he struggled because he missed her and wished she could help him with the baby.

I also really liked the family aspect of the book. Seeing the relationship between Ryden and his mom was amazing. I liked how the mom was always there and supported/guided Ryden when he felt like a failure. While the mom could be funny at times, I liked how she was serious and helped put things in perspective for Ryden. At the same time, I liked how she was never rude or condescending about the fact he had a baby.

Overall, I really enjoyed What You Left Behind and would definitely read it again to reread all the funny moments and because I just really liked Ryden’s voice. I would highly recommend this to anyone because it deals with some serious issues–cancer, grieving, parenthood–that were well-written and made Ryden as a character easier to connect with. Lastly, if you know of any other books dealing with parenthood from the guy’s perspective, shoot them my way!!

Review: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Publication date: June 4, 2015

Number of pages: 385

Synopsis: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.

An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Being a big fan of some of Sophie Kinsella’s other works, I was really excited to see her take not only on YA, but also on mental illness. I thought she dealt with the subject of mental illness in a new and refreshing way. As for her first YA novel, I thought it was really well-written and developed.

While the book focused on Audrey and her anxiety/depression, I really enjoyed the light-hearted and humorous tone Kinsella used throughout. I was pleased that the tone didn’t–at least for me–take away from the serious nature of the topics. I felt that the writing style let me connect and understand Audrey and her family life without taking away from the fact that Audrey was dealing with anxiety and depression. Even though there was humor throughout most of the book, there were serious bits that mixed in wih the humor, really brought to light Audrey’s struggles.

I also really enjoyed the family focus of the novel. I always like seeing families present in all books, but YA especially, and I liked how each character had his/her own personality. I really enjoyed seeing all of the families quirks and seeing how each character grew. Plus, wasn’t Felix just the cutest?

Lastly, I can’t express how much I liked the writing style! I thought that having portions of the book written as though from a camera view was genius! I’d love to see more of this in books so if you have any suggestions, throw them out.

Overall, I really enjoyed Finding Audrey and thought it dealt with serious issues in a light-hearted way that didn’t take away from the severity. I thought it was a great YA debut for Kinsella and would definitely read more of her YA stuff if she writes more.

Review: Sleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham

Sleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham
Publication date: January 1, 2015

Number of pages: 304

Synopsis: Chloe needs a holiday. She’s sick of making wedding dresses, her partner Philip has troubles at work, the whole family wants a break. Her wealthy friend Gerard has offered the loan of his luxury villa in Spain – perfect.

Hugh is not a happy man. His immaculate wife Amanda seems more interested in her new kitchen than in him, and he works so hard to pay for it, he barely has time for his children. Maybe he’ll have a chance to bond with them on holiday. His old friend Gerard has lent them a luxury villa in Spain – perfect.

Both families arrive at the villa and realise the awful truth – Gerard has double-booked. What no-one else realises is that Chloe and Hugh have a history, and as tensions rise within the two families, old passions resurface. It seems that Gerard’s ‘accidental’ double booking may not be an accident after all…

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When I picked up this book, I was expecting a fun, light read. Sadly, I got a very confusing book with characters and a story I couldn’t connect with. Well, at the end, I thought I was understanding the characters, but turns out I couldn’t.

I really didn’t like the main characters or way of writing/narration. At times it seemed as though the author was trying too hard to make things funny/serious/whatever. Sure, there were definitely some funny moments, but not enough to keep me interested. Also, some of the turns the book took were completely out of left field. (That’s the expression, right?)

Anyway, I did really like the incorporation of two very different families. Having them run into, and then share a house was interesting as it showed the complete differences in families and made the situation more comical.

Overall, I really did not like Sleeping Arrangements as the characters and story were totally confusing. That said, I would recommend it to people who like a family-centered, light comeedic read.

Review: Fire by Kristen Cashore

Fire by Kristin Cashore
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I’m not really sure how to classify this book, so I guess I’ll call it a companion novel. I really liked the story as a whole and enjoyed meeting a new cast of characters and learning more about King Lek from Graceling! Yes, the story did shed more light on Lek, but the focus was on a completely new and different cast of characters which I grew to love.

With this book, Cashore invented a new world–in a matter of speaking–with people and animals known as monsters for their odd coloring. Also, the book didn’t take place in the land of the seven kingdoms, but in the Dells.

I really enjoyed seeing the world building and loved the fact that Cashore was able to create another world while tying it back to the world of Graceling. Again, I liked how the world building was gradual and how information wasn’t dumped all at once. Also, the character development was really there and I liked being able to see how each character played an important role in the story.

However,, I felt that some of the character development was not as extreme or well-defined as it was in Graceling. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it, but I would have liked to see more development.

Next, some of the plot twists in this book were not really all that shocking to me and I was kind of disappointed. I thought that some of the twits were obvious and overdramatized to make them more surprising. That said, they didn’t really annoy me much and I understood their placement in the story.

Lastly, I can’t get over the characters! Each and every character was well-written and had his/her own personality. I really enjoyed seeing how relationships between characters formed and developed as the story went on.

Overall, Fire was an amazing novel with a grea cast of characters that I loved reading about. Plus, there was a totally swoon-worthy guy in there, am I right? I’m right. However, I would have liked a little more fast pace and character development.

Review: What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I was really eager to finally get to this book as I’ve been wanting to read it for quite some time. I’m really glad I finally read it as Fitzpatrick’s sequel to My Life Next Door comes out in August and I’m caught up with her books. However, (please don’t kill me for this) I didn’t like What I Thought Was True as I did her first book. There wasn’t anything wrong with the book or anything, but I just had a hard time connecting with the characters and the story. I want to get what I didn’t like out of the way so I can gush on what I DID like.

First, I really had a hard time connecting with the story. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood for it or something, but I felt that this book was slow-paced with not much going on. I would have liked a little more action or development in the beginning.

Second, I had a very hard time connecting with the characters. I felt that they were a little flat at the beginning and I would have liked to see more of their personalities. As the book progressed, I could connect a little more, but it was still hard and I was expecting more.

On the other hand, I absolutely love how Huntley Fitzpatrick included Gwenn’s family in the story. It’s always refreshing to read about families in YA lit and I love how I can count on Fitzpatrick to include them. Each character in the family did have his/her personality even if I couldn’t connect, and it was interesting to see how each character eventually grew. It was also interesting to see what life on an island is like. Seeing peoples attitudes toward each other was also interesting as the island was a summer getaway for the people on land.

I also liked seeing how Fitzpatrick included a character with an intellectual disability into her book. I’ve been craving a book with a character like this and seeing how she didn’t make him weird or awkward was just amazing. However, I have to say that I LOVE how she gave Gwen’s brother his own personality and didn’t just cookie cut him into the stereotypical image of someone with a learning disability.

Overall, What I Thought Was True was a good book with an interesting plot and characters, but I had trouble connecting with the characters. That said, I’m definitely reading any of the author’s other works–sequels or not.

Review: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
As many of you know by now, I absolutely adore Sarah Dessen and her writing. Needless to say, when Saint Anything came out on May 5, I HAD to have it! Anyway, I accidentally bought it on kindle and a few days later my #OTSPSecretSister sent me a physical copy! Can I just say, best sis ever! I like the fact that I have both formats as I am able to read the book whenever and wherever I want without ruining the physical copy. Also, I can get the book signed and add it to my Dessen collection. You probably didn’t want to read all that so I’ll get on to the part you care about: the review.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I had the opportunity to read the sneak peek of the book via NetGalley before the book released, and I was hooked within those first four chapters. What I really liked about this book was the descriptive writing style and the fact that Dessen didn’t just focus on Sydney’s present situation, but she also gave background that made the situation clear and outlined exactly WHY Sydney’s brother Peyton was favored. I really liked getting a glimpse into the family dynamics and being able to see how the family was when Sydney and Peyton were younger and compare/contrast that with the current family dynamic. I have to say, I also liked seeing the parents’ role in the novel. While I really disliked the mom, I thought she had some character growth by the end of the novel. Also, I didn’t like the dad because of reasons except that I don’t feel he had as much character growth and would have wished a little more character development in him.

I really liked the character growth Sydney, Peyton and some friends she makes at Seaside Pizza, Layla and Mac go through in the book. At first, Sydney feels alone because she’s the only one that seems to care about David, the kid her brother ran over. However, as the book progresses, Sydney is able to come to therms with what happened and she definitely stops feeling so guilty and invisible.

Along with this, I really like how relatable Dessen makes the book to girls who aren’t in Sydney’s situation. Even though I am not going through the same thing as Sydney is, I can definitely relate to her in that I have too felt invisible so many times in life. For me it’s because I have a disability and feel that people talk down to me and think I’m not as smart/capable/insert adjective as them and so they treat me differently or ignore me. For Sydney, it was having a brother whose shadow she was always in. Sydney felt invisible because her brother was good looking and charismatic in elementary school. Later, she felt invisible because her brothers court appointments and jail sentence always took attention away from her. I really liked how Dessen developed a story that I could relate to and how she intricately wove lessons of friendship and love into the story.

Next, I like how the story follows a similar theme as some of her other stories in that the seasons play a major role. As the book begins, it is summer going into fall. By the end, it is spring. These seasons have symbols of being something that leads to death/decay/hard times and a new beginning respectively.

Lastly, I really liked the darker aspect of this novel. To me, the book definitely felt a whole lot more intense than previous books not only because of the subject matter, but also the tone Sydney had. It was definitely something new and I really liked how Dessen just worked with everything and it didn’t feel forced or as if someone else had written it. Even though it was a darker subject matter, I think Dessen handled it with her classic style but she definitely added some new aspects.

Overall, Saint Anything was a much darker read than Sarah Dessen’s previous novels. I would definitely recommend this to anyone as it brings up many thought-provoking questions. I’d suggest that anyone, whether you like Dessen’s other novels or not, read this book!