Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Greg Gaines has made it as a senior in high school.From here on, it should be smooth riding to graduation. All he had to look forward to is hang out with his sort-of-friend Earl to make a final movie, and avoid the discussion of college. It sounds easy– until his mother crashes his plans, and makes him hang out with a classmate who was diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly, Greg’s plan of low-key profile before graduation becomes a long distance dream.

Personal Take: I watched the movie first, and I LOVED it. So much so, that I decided, maybe I should read the book because it’s bound to be more awesome than the movie. Except…I was surprised to find that it wasn’t. Many readers already warned me that I would probably prefer the movie over the book. And while I appreciate that the movie closely at least maintained the spirit of the original story not being a romance story, the characters in the book…could have been more. It seemed that Andrews tried his hardest to make our protagonist Greg such an unlikable character. He is definitely awkward, and his narrative is absolutely hilarious.  But I think towards the end, there was too much emphasis on his apathy, which I found slightly unbelievable. Or maybe he’s too realistic of a character.

Other characters like Earl and Rachel were great to read– Earl especially was amazing. Sickening sometimes, but loved each chapter he was in. The story itself lacked a connection with what Rachel was going through, but keeping observation at high-level was interesting to experience.

Towards the end though, I found that I wasn’t attached to any of the characters, which was a shame because they were so well-written. It was a good read at the end of the day, but I’d still pick the movie over the book for this title.

Audience: Older teens for language and disturbing references.

Rating:

 

Other recommendations: Andrews also authored The Haters and an anthology of new writers Take a Pique.

Review: A Conspiracy of Kings (The Queen’s Thief #4) by Megan Whalen Turner

 

As Attolia accommodates its new king, Sophos, the appointed heir of Sounis, is abducted by an unknown group, instigating a power struggle within the kingdom. As both the King of Attolia and the Queen of Eddis give their all to find their friend while keeping a foreign nation at arms length, they slowly lose hope of ever seeing Sophos again. Lonely and completely anonymous, Sophos is content to leave matters of the kingdom for others to worry about, but the gods have other plans for him.

Personal Take: The above is a crappy summary of the awesomeness I experienced while reading this instalment of the series. Honestly, I’m already in love, but this one just cemented MY LOVE forever. This book was from the point of view of Sophos, one of the characters introduced to readers at the beginning of the series, and what makes A Conspiracy of Kings so amazing is the growth this character goes through. It’s so simple, with a small layer of complicated issues, but it’s perfectly done.

Another reason I loved it, is that Turner gives us a story about two friends, who suddenly grow up with the possibility of being opposing kings (or rather one king and one heir). The friendship that grows among the court politics was so wonderful and beautiful to read.

Events are unpredictable, and it really does remind me of Game of Thrones at times, but more merciful. Turner keeps scraping the surface what her world is really like, and I actually like that she’s revealing it slowly to us. As always, I’m so glad this series is not over, and I can’t wait to read the next books…whenever they’re released!

Audience: There are swear words in this one, so I’d suggest older teens.

Rating: 

5stars

 

Other recommendations: I’ve read and reviewed the previous books in this series: The Thief, The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia.

Review: The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson & the Olympians #4) by Rick Riordan

 

Percy should have known that orientation at the new school would be a disaster, especially when the war between the Titan Lord and the Olympian gods is drawing near. Monsters are stirring all over the world, and minor gods are choosing sides. But before either of the side strikes, Kronos’ army may have found a way to penetrate the enchanted Camp Half Blood– through the mythical Labyrinth. Aware of how vulnerable the demigods are, Percy and his friends have to navigate through the maze and find a way to use it to their advantage. But the labyrinth is alive, and its intentions are terrifyingly sinister.

Personal Take: Oh Percy… What can I say? With each book, I feel so proud of this kid who had such a hard beginning, but grew up to be such a guy, strong but sweet- and still the obstacles get harder.  In this installment, our young hero not only comes close to getting killed like always, but experiences those sweet, subtle and new romances. There’s really nothing to this but to enjoy the ride.

This book was not only a turning point for Percy emotionally, but also in the tone and direction of where his fate might end up. We get to see the real threat of the Titans, and most events here set up for the final showdown in the book. The mythology expands, and more characters are involved, and I can’t imagine the book without them.

I love that, even though not a lot of things get resolved, there’s always a positive spin at the end of each book. It’s a nice balance, and makes me look forward to the last installment.

Audience: Honestly? Everyone. Riordan can be cheeky, which adults can enjoy,  but Percy’s adventures is captivating.

Rating:

4stars

 

Other recommendations: I’ve reviewed The Lightening Thief, The Sea of Monsters, and The Titan’s Curse. I look forward to reading the spin-off Heroes of Olympus. He also has another series called The Kane Chronicles.

Review: The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson & The Olympians #3) by Rick Riordan

 

On a mission to bring back two half-bloods, Percy and his friends are attacked by new, stronger monsters, that almost gets them killed. Instead, it gets Annabeth kidnapped. News of the rise of the Titans Army is spreading around and making the Olympian gods uneasy. Then there is the disappearance of one of the goddesses. Percy and his friends at Camp Half-Blood must join forces with the Hunters on a quest to find the missing goddess, and maybe Annabeth. But according to the Oracle, not everyone will make it back alive.

Personal Take: This series gets better with every book! I love how Percy is growing, but is still himself. And as they all grow, things are getting serious around them– the prophecy, and the threat from the Titans. The events throughout the books are interlinked in a way that shows how Percy learns from his younger self and grows to be this somewhat responsible young man. I really don’t want to get into a lot of details without spoiling it too much, but Riordan just blows me away with how well the mythology is written. Most of the time, the events are so unpredictable that you just have to sit back, enjoy and hope that our heroes make out alive.

Just..love it!

Audience: Anyone who enjoys the rush of Greek heroism.

Rating:

4stars

 

Other recommendations: I reviewed The Lightening Thief and The Sea of Monsters. I cannot wait to dive into the rest of this series, and then to the spin-off Heroes of Olympus. He also has another series called the Kane Chronicles.

Review: Carpe Corpus (The Morganville Vampires #6) by Rachel Caine

 

The laws as Morganville knows it has been rewritten when evil vampire lord Mr. Bishop takes over. Claire finds herself on the wrong side against her will, but she knows that even that won’t keep her alive with Mr. Bishop. An underground resistance is about to make its move, and this could break it or make it for the residence of Morganville– because what Mr. Bishop has planned could doom them all.

Personal Take: I’ve been having a love streak with this series so far, but alas, the honeymoon phase is over (temporarily?).  Not to say that I didn’t enjoy the book. I did enjoy it. But there were glaring writing inconsistencies through out. And for some reason, Claire- whom I love because she’s so badass in her tiny way- was so..weird in this one. What made me love her in other books just wasn’t there in this one.

That’s not to say that other characters weren’t great. In fact, I think many of the secondary characters caught my eye, and I just LOVE them.

As for the events, I’m pleased with the progress, but I wanted more. Or at least, I expected more. Caine did what I’m not a fan of– dropping an out of no-where plot line that didn’t fit with the overall event. It confused me a little, and took out the rush of what could’ve been a great climax to this arc.

Despite all that, like I said, I enjoyed the book, and I do want to see what happens next in Morganville.

Audience: Lots of f-bombs in this one, so I suggest older teens/readers.

Rating: 

threestars

 

Other recommendations: Check out my reviews of Glass Houses, The Dead Girls’ Dance, Midnight Alley, Feast of Fools, and Lord of Misrule.

Review: Midnight Alley (Morganville Vampires #3) by Rachel Caine

 

The residents of the Glass House- Claire’s roomies- barely got out of the last scrape with the ruling vampires, and now Claire has made an agreement with the Founder. This means that whatever the vampire Amelie wants, Claire is at her beck and call. Of course, that hardly guarentees Claire’s safety, and the more she learns, the more she looks like a good meal to the bad, mean vamps.

Personal Take: I love how the more I read this series, the more I learn how Morganville works. The characters are solid, so I won’t go into them- though they are a dynamic bunch! Even the bad guys! There are new characters introduced in this book, and it’s almost as if they were always there. What I truly enjoy in these books is seeing how Claire matures and astounds as the plot goes on. Never a dull moment with this girl.

A lot of discoveries were made in this book, but not delved in too deeply, but Caine gives enough to keep readers satisfied and curious (yearning?) for the next book.

Audience: Fans of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series, as well as older teens and adults.

Rating:

4stars

 

Other recommendations: I’ve reviewed Glass Houses and The Dead Girls’ Dance. Other series by Caine is The Weather Warden series, and I think her new series The Revivalist looks great too. Honestly, I’ll probably read anything of hers at this point.

Review: Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect

Personal Take: “…for a true adventure, the proper attire is everything.” The Dessen recipe for a perfect read includes the following; characters with issues, young people navigating the transition to adulthood, and lots and lots of magic. Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite absolute writers. I love that in this book there is a crossover with her much older title “Keeping the Moon” or as it known less commonly “Last Chance Cafe” and I love when she does that because it allows me to check in on characters that I still hold dear to my heart. I loved every second of this book and I didn’t want it to end. The story promises the perfect summer experience, and that promise is delivered with all the carefulness in the world, through words that were put in gestures and symbols, all handled with gentleness and sophistication.

Audience: Young Adult and above.

Rating:

5stars

 

Recommendation: The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti.