HI EVERYONE!

It’s been ages since I posted a review here, and I think I can pretty much say that this one is sad and alone and not going to be revived anytime soon. But I have good news! I’ve started a new blog instead, over at http://www.bookycakes.wordpress.com. It’s much simpler- short reviews of both current books and backlist books, and *drumroll* matches your book with the cupcake you should be eating while you read! It’s a lot of fun, a lot of cupcakes, and I’ve been really enjoying this new venture. I hope you’ll wander over and follow me there, too!

 

xoxoxo,

Mikayla

BABY BOOK REVIEW: SWORD AND VERSE

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SUMMARY (goodreads):

Raisa was only a child when she was kidnapped and enslaved in Qilara. Forced to serve in the palace of the King, she’s endured hunger, abuse, and the harrowing fear of discovery. Everyone knows that Raisa is Arnath, but not that she is a Learned One, a part of an Arnath group educated in higher order symbols. In Qilara, this language is so fiercely protected that only the King, the Prince, and Tutors are allowed to know it. So when the current Tutor-in-training is executed for sharing the guarded language with slaves and Raisa is chosen to replace her, Raisa knows that, although she may have a privileged position among slaves, any slipup could mean death.

That would be challenging enough, but training alongside Prince Mati could be her real undoing. And when a romance blossoms between them, she’s suddenly filled with a dangerous hope for something she never before thought possible: more. Then she’s approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slaves—to help liberate the Arnath people. Joining the Resistance could mean freeing her people…but she’d also be aiding in the war against her beloved, an honorable man she knows wants to help the slaves.

Working against the one she loves—and a palace full of deadly political renegades—has some heady consequences. As Raisa struggles with what’s right, she unwittingly uncovers a secret that the Qilarites have long since buried…one that, unlocked, could bring the current world order to its knees.

And Raisa is the one holding the key.

BABY REVIEW:

What a disappointment. I had high hopes for Sword and Verse. The author created a new language just for her book! If you can create a language, you MUST be able to use it, right?

Wrong.

I think she spent a little too much time on linguistics and not enough on her plot. Let me put a disclaimer that I skimmed a LOT of this book, but this was what I got from it:

BEWARE: SPOILERS AHEAD

 

 

Page 20: Raisa is already raised from lowest slave level to Tutor-in-training: training WITH the prince. Yeah, sure. And she avoided execution somehow, which was also unclear. Then there were the names and the places- an info dump if there ever was one. Raisa was the most normal name of any of them. I’m all for creativity, but please don’t give me 15 crazy names of people, places and things in the first 20 pages that I’m supposed to remember.

Page 30: She and the prince, who have never spoken before, ARE IN LOVE. Kissing ALL THE TIME.

Page 50: They sneak off to the library to have sex, and continue to do so several times throughout the book, even after the prince is betrothed to another girl, who’s super nice. Did I mention that she’s fifteen? But she was 14 when this love affair got started, and she barely breaks 16 by the time you actually get to the plot? Unrestrained teenage hormones are obviously a key factor in pushing this plot.

The rest (because after I spent 50 pages flipping through shivers and coos and the laughable idea that the ONLY PRINCE could sneak off so easily, for so long): There’s some kind of revolution, but Raisa is only concerned with how long it is before the prince gets married to the other girl- who is SUPER NICE, as far as I can tell. But it doesn’t seem to matter, because they still sneak off together anyway. Raisa only joins (begrudgingly) when people- important people- get kidnapped. And then there’s hardly any action, just some planning and suddenly, BAM. Raisa is the ruler of the whole place, some kind of priestess that can consult with an oracle and all sorts of random stuff like that. Good grief! A language rebellion wasn’t enough? It’s frustrating because I thought this would be in the vein of The Pledge, by Kimberly Derting, which was a great book about language and class separation. Maybe that was my mistake. But I certainly expected more than this.

I am very, very disappointed in this one. Insta-love, 8000 random characters, NO real action that I could find, and a very sketchy way of trying to have a happy ending. It would have been much more satisfying if there had been any true sacrifice from ANYONE in this book.

WHAT TO WATCH (more spoilers)

There was the bad romance, of course. Lots of not-so-innuendo about what they were doing and how. That permeated the book.

There was some violence, though not nearly as much as expected when you see the word sword in the title and a picture of it on the cover. Isn’t it supposed to be a revolution?

As far as drugs and drinking go, I couldn’t tell you, because I didn’t get that deep into it, to catch those details. The same goes for language, though I think I can safely say that since the author created a language, the curing wouldn’t be what we normally see.

The resolution of the whole affair seemed to rely on her suddenly becoming the magical priestess, something I am so not on board with. Can’t have a happy ending? THAT’S FINE. Don’t add some random plot element at the end so that everything can be hunky-dory.

This book was not for me. I thought it was awful, and yet, it was so hyped! Maybe I’ll write a post up about hype- because this is happening more and more. It’s a travesty, especially when people pre-order books based on some contrived excitement. A synopsis does not a good book make.

A SERIES A MONTH: JANUARY!

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2016 is here! That means it’s time for my first series binge. Up to bat is a series I’ve been meaning to read for years, and haven’t ever gotten to. I’ve been told (by about 80 people now) that it’s great, so without further ado:

 

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I’m really hoping I get off to a great start with these four (and don’t worry, I have the author’s order for the novellas in between!) Happy 2016, everyone!

HIATUS

So, I’m going to call a hiatus until November. I’m in Mexico right now, and I just don’t have the willpower to get myself together to read or write reviews. It’s sad but true. I might be able to cobble some things together every so often, but I’m not going to promise anything. Thanks for understanding, everyone 🙂

THE LIEBSTER AWARD!

OH. EM. GEE

This is so awesome! I’ve never really known what this was all about, and now I do, thanks to the stupendous Laura at Once Upon A Bookshelf! This is an award for blogs with under 200 followers, and the point is to discover new blogs, new opinions, and I’m really excited to answer the questions Laura’s chosen for her 11 nominees. There are a few rules, which are as follows:

  1. Thank and link the blogger who nominated you
  2. Answer their 11 questions
  3. Nominate 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers and link them
  4. Have your nominees answer your 11 questions
  5. Notify nominees through social media

So here I go!

1. Do you have a favourite blogger/youtuber?

I do- my favorite youtuber is actually Tobuscus, who does walkthroughs of video games and some random videos that don’t really do much but make you laugh. He also does ‘Literal Trailers’, in which he sings the literal description of a movie trailer. If I need to cheer up, I watch some Tobuscus.

2. What’s your favourite sweet treat?

Peanut Butter M&Ms. You can’t beat them.

3. Name one big thing you want to achieve in life.

Moving to another country. Preferably European, but maybe Israel or the island where Jurassic Park is.

4. Name a villainous character who you think was just misunderstood.

Wow, that’s a hard one. I think I have to say Loki (because of course) but also Javert from Les Miserables. The poor guy was just trying to do his job, and it drove him to suicide. After a gorgeous song, but still. He didn’t do anything wrong, really.

5. What’s is your biggest fear?

Being trapped one place for too long- for so long I’m unhappy.

6. If you could meet one fictional character, who would it be?

WHY. I can’t even answer this. It’s so hard. But I think….Gosh, I don’t even know. OH. Spiderman. For sure, Spiderman (the Andrew Garfield one. The ‘Amazing’ one. And Gwen Stacey. *the feels*)

7. What is your favourite TV show right now?

   Psych will always be my love, but I’m obsessed with Arrested Development at this moment.

8. Which Disney princess/prince would you be?

Rapunzel. She’s fiery and smart, and she doesn’t need a prince to save her- she can save herself, and then she’ll be in love.

9. Who is the last person you texted?

My friend Maizie. She and I are planning a road trip/moving and we were talking about our plan for when we leave.

10. What film do you really want to see right now?

     JURASSIC WORLD HANDS DOWN OH MY LANTA

11. What is the last thing you ate?

Nachos. Yummy!

NOW, MY NOMINEES

Some of them have already done this, which is fine, I think? But I want them to know that they’re cool.

1. Bookfuls
2. Reading Rachael
3. Manyreads
4. Book Snacks
5. Trey Schnarr Books
6. Dani Reviews Things
7. The Book Boulevard
8. Book Reviews and Stuff
9. Daily Josh
10. Short Story Long
11. Snuggly Nookery

MY 11 QUESTIONS

1. What is your favorite children’s book?
2. Do you listen to anything while you read?
3. What was the best book you read this year?
4. Do you have a favorite place?
5. If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
6. What is your dream vacation?
7. What would your imaginary friend look like?
8. What kind of dinosaur are you?
9. In your opinion, what is the best dancing song?
10. What is your favorite quote from a pop song?
11. Do you sing out loud, in your head, or not at all?

So that’s that! I hope everyone I’ve nominated will be as excited as I am (THANKS LAURA) and I hope that everyone will be happy to discover new gems of blogs in the big blue Internet ocean. Now, I’m off to tell everyone that I nominated that they need to do this! Ciao!

Questions? Comments? Books you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and I’ll be sure to check it out!

THINGS WE KNOW BY HEART

“For so long, I was the one with his heart. I just need to see where it is now.”

OFFICIAL SUMMARY:

When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.

MY THOUGHTS:

Okay, so it was pretty good. I’ve never read a book by Jessi Kirby, and I thought this one sounded like a pretty fluffy, easy read. Well, that part was true. And I did like it, but my feelings didn’t ever go beyond that feeling of ‘I like you as a friend’. I’m not big into sad books, because I pretty much read to escape reality- which, in case you haven’t noticed, is pretty sad. So when there were stretches of book where the main character (the name of whom I could never remember) was in the depths of depression, randomly, I found it hard to relate, and a little bit annoying. What I liked most about this book was the fact that she kept pushing, even when she knew she should let it go- it showed a strength of character that none of her other actions did. She let herself feel again, and told Colton what was going on when she realized that she had to. The whole concept was actually pretty new to me, and I can’t say that the technical aspect wasn’t interesting, but I think it fell flat for me only because I didn’t feel a connection with Quinn, the main character. I felt one with Gran. I felt one with the sister, Ryan. But nothing with Quinn. I found her too indecisive, too scared to do what needed to be done right from the beginning. But then, if she had, it wouldn’t have been a book, would it?

WHAT TO WATCH:

This one wasn’t too bad, for a contemporary YA novel. Usually those are riddled with those ‘things that make you blush’. Although this book had one blush-worthy scene- (they have sex in the back of the car and tops come off before the scene is cut) and a few innuendos, there weren’t any major red flags regarding drugs, language, violence, etc. So there was just that one spot- and I was a little disappointed, because they had only even kissed one time. Seems a little rushed to me. But hey, I’m not the writer, and that’s just my opinion! Tell me what YOU thought of this book!

Questions? Comments? Books you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and I’ll be sure to check it out!

MAGONIA

“I read stuff. Books are not my only friends, but we’re friendly. So there.”

OFFICIAL SUMMARY:

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

MY THOUGHTS:

I really enjoyed this book. The characters were well drawn, the plot was unique, and the pace kept up a good clip. Ms. Headley had an amazing idea, and she carried it out very well.

Aza Ray is an awesome heroine- a lot of them lately have been really frustrating to me, but Aza never got whiny, she didn’t lay around being sad- she took matters into her own hands and went crazy with it! Her audacity and strength, her willingness to go against people she found more powerful that she, it all joined together to make one awesome, powerful girl out of someone who, for most of her life, couldn’t breathe. Her best friend, Jason Kerwin, is also super duper amazing. He’s a fountain of facts and a hacker worthy of one of those spy shows, and I loved all his random knowledge and the interchange between him and Aza. Dai was great, too- just the right amount of swoon and just the right amount of non-love-triangle-ness. I hate love triangles with a passion, and I thought this book’s excellence would be dulled by one- but it wasn’t. Not at all. The singing was a nice touch, though. The secondary characters, including the birds (Especially Caru), were so integral to the plot and so intriguing that even when the action lulled, you got to enjoy the conversations and really getting to know the Rostrae and all their different personalities.

I definitely loved the plot. When I was 13, this was my dream. I wanted to be whisked away by the bird people. This was mostly due to my obsession with the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson, but as I love to sing as well, and having a heartbird to sing with me like Caru would be a totally amazing life. So Magonia really brought it plotwise. I also really liked how the Magonian people had an actual reason for wanting to destroy the humans. I mean, other than ‘we want to live on the earth, bwahaha!’ That’s a little old. I liked, too, that there were explanations for the actions taken. Some action/adventure books just let things happen and you don’t really know what’s going on. With this one, I always knew what was going on, even if I didn’t understand it.

That might have been my only problem with this book- a lot happened in a fairly short novel (only 320 pages) and usually with these kinds of fantasy books, it takes a lot more to get adjusted to the new world’s lingo and way of working. I mean, a bird flew into her mouth and lodged in her lung. That was so, so random, and I didn’t get a great explanation for why that happened until much later. Even though it was kind of confusing, I didn’t fault Maria for it. She made a really cool book out of an awesome idea.

WHAT TO WATCH:

Here’s the best part of this book- there’s nothing to watch for. I mean, I’m sure the more hardcore you are, the more you’d want to be careful of, but I don’t think anything save a brief description of a battle could be considered objectionable. So that’s another A+++ for this one!

Questions? Comments? Books you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and I’ll be sure to check it out!

PLEASE, MR. PANDA

OKAY, SO IT ISN’T A YA BOOK.

This is a picture book I stumbled across at work today (I stumble across a lot of books, but this one caught my eye). I decided to flip through it and see what was up, because I love pandas and I also love doughnuts. Picture books are actually really cool sometimes, and this was one of those times.

This book tells the story of Mr. Panda, a grim-faced bear with doughnuts to offer to the other animals. They have various reactions, but only the lemur says please. That one gets all the doughnuts, because Mr. Panda, as you come to find out, doesn’t like them. I find this to be a very powerful book in its simplicity. The colors aren’t crazy, there’s not a lot going on, but that really lets you focus on the story and leaves you wondering why this panda is offering his food when he turns around and says ‘I changed my mind. You can’t have any’ to most of the creatures he encounters. Why does a panda have a box of doughnuts, anyway? I suppose it’s one of the great mysteries of life.

Whether the author intended it to or not, this book hit me pretty hard with the lesson. It’s a basic lesson, one fewer and fewer children are taught in our generation- manners are not a choice. Mr. Panda left the other animals hanging because when he asks them if they want a doughnut, they demand the colors they want without a second thought. The lemur asks politely and gets the whole box. It also makes another important point- manner may not always be acknowledged, but they are still expected of us. Mr. Panda doesn’t jump around in excitement when the lemur is polite, he just keeps on going. But there’s the point- being polite gets results, even when there’s no recognition for it. Anyway, this was random and unrelated to YA at all, but I’m in love with this book so everyone should read it. Questions? Comments? Books you’d like me to review? Post a comment below and I’ll be sure to check it out!