Monday, June 20, 2016

Review Mash-up! [2]

Author: Erin Morgenstern
Series: N/A
Publisher: Doubleday
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Pages: 512
Format: Paperback
Average Rating: 4.02
My Rating: 5.0

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way--a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a "game" to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. (from Goodreads)
» Review «

Two of my 2016 reading goals were completed by picking up The Night Circus a few months ago. The first was my rereading goal; I had wanted to reread three books this year, and The Night Circus was the final of those three. Go me! The second goal was to listen to an audiobook—something I have never experienced before—and so I decided what better book to listen to than one I have read before and absolutely loved? And so, I borrowed The Night Circus from my local library. Listening to an audiobook is definitely not my favorite way to read. I constantly forgot/never had time to pick it up, and had to renew it twice before I was able to finally finish it in May. I can see where it would be useful during a car ride or while waiting in line somewhere, but I think I will stick to physical books, thanks.

Overall, I found The Night Circus to be just as beautiful, magical and captivating as I did the first time around. The characters and story were so complex; I am absolutely in awe over Erin Morgenstern's ability to weave such a beautiful tale. This book was the one that started my love of circus books and pushed me into trying more adult novels, so it was great to revisit it and reminisce.

I will say that the timeline got a little confusing with the audiobook because you can't flip back to the date like you can while reading the physical book, but I still absolutely loved it and anticipate that I will continue to pick it up every few years for another read.

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 Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #2
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Pages: 437
Format: Hardcover
Average Rating: 4.28
My Rating: 4.0

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams. Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan's secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake. (from Goodreads)

» Review «

I finally finished it, guys! For three months, I had lost the desire to pick this particular book up; not because it was bad or anything, don't get me wrong—it was actually quite good—but because I fell into a horrendous reading slump and had trouble picking up/reading everything.

I did finally finish it in May, however, and it was spectacular. Maggie Stiefvater's writing is brilliant, and I feel like this series will just keep getting better. I love the story and most of the characters though I could not stand Adam. Ronan was someone I was not expecting to like as much as I did/do. I was indifferent toward him in the first book, but I loved his POV in The Dream Thieves. I feel like we're kindred souls, he and I.

The plot was very complex and interesting. Maggie writes in a way that is very metaphorical and flowery; she doesn't really come right out and say stuff, which is fine, but did get a little confusing. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Dream Thieves, despite my three-month break, and cannot wait to pick up book three!

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Author: Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 20, 2015
Pages: 599
Format: Hardcover
Average Rating: 4.30
My Rating: 5.0

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.
(from Goodreads)

» Review «

Oh, man. Where to begin.

Generally, books are told through the POV of a character, which allows the readers to connect to the story through their eyes. Since this book was told through case-files, emails, chats and surveillance footage, I had a very difficult time getting into the story at first. It took about a hundred pages, but after that, I was hooked! I honestly adored every single thing about this book, which is hilarious to me, considering how I used to hate Science Fiction. So many things were happening, which made everything extremely tense and I could not put the book down because the twists and turns kept me turning the pages well into the night.

The two main characters, Ezra and Kady, were great; they were funny, easy to like, and the romantic feelings (or lack of) didn't feel like it was pushy or in-my-face, though it could have easily been overbearing. There were a lot of other characters to keep track of, which became a little confusing at times, but I really enjoyed the individual stories and how they all connected together. I also loved, loved, loved the parts with the AI! Overall, the story was told in a very unique and beautiful way, the writing was great, and I cannot wait to find out what happens next!

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Author: Kass Morgan
Series: The 100 #3
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Pages: 340
Format: Paperback
Average Rating: 3.69
My Rating: 3.0

Weeks after landing on Earth, the Hundred have managed to create a sense of order amidst their wild, chaotic surroundings. But their delicate balance comes crashing down with the arrival of new dropships from space. It’s time for the Hundred to come together and fight for the freedom they’ve found on Earth, or risk losing everything—and everyone—they love. (from Goodreads)

» Review «

I feel like this series had a lot of untapped potential. A consistent complaint of mine was that there was too much romance and far too little action, and that remains true of the third and final book in The 100 series, Homecoming. The ground was left basically unexplored; I would have loved to see more  run-down, crumbling buildings and the other destruction left behind by the cataclysm. Even Mount Weather would have been awesome to explore, but instead we only had brief glimpses of the character's surroundings. Most of the time, the plot focused on the romance, adding arguments and deaths for shock value. As someone who cannot stand Insta!Love and prefers minimal, slow-burning romances, this was not something I was into.

Each of the characters were basically the same person and every single romance was similar. There was no depth for me, nothing to grab a hold of or connect to, which made the reading process very frustrating. Decisions were made that didn't really make any sense, scenes moved too fast, and I was left with a lot of questions. Though this was the final book, I feel like things were left hanging and that we never really got any real, concrete answers. What happens next??  It was not a very strong conclusion at all but, in retrospect, it was better than I thought it would be, considering the first two books. I did still love Bellamy's character and there were moments (mostly involving Bellamy) that elicited a chuckle out of me. I definitely prefer the TV show.

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