A Real Life Dystopian: Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee

28818317Publisher: Amulet Books

Publication Date: September 13th, 2016

Series: N/A

Genre: Memoir, YA

Rating: 3.5/5

This was a flawed but interesting read. North Korea, as put by the author, is a real life dystopian. Sungju Lee provides a fascinating experience as he becomes disillusionment with the North Korean society when his family moves from the nation’s capital among society’s elite. It’s a shocking tale for both reader and writer alike as he goes from assuming everyone in Korea is well-fed and taken care of to becoming homeless and starving, where every day becomes a fight to obtain even life’s most basic necessities.

This book made me want to learn more about North Korea. I didn’t realize that Kim Jong-un was basically regarded as a deity or just how badly disparaged society is there. I don’t even know if you can travel to Korea from the US or if it is embargoed like Cuba.

On the flip side though, I did find the title and initial summary a bit misleading. It led me to assumed that the story would include more details on the actual escape from North Korea to China. And the presentation at times made me question the writer’s credibility. I have no doubt that while it is an accurate depiction in general, there seemed to be an awful lot of minute detail for every aspect of the book to have actually happened. I doubt, especially when living in such destitute conditions, that the author can recall all these small events and conversations as perfectly as is presented. Those were my two issues with the book from a critical standpoint.

Overall though, a harrowing and thought-provoking read that will increase your appreciation for the blessings in your life.

Where Have I Been? / Ice, Ice Baby: Frostblood by Elly Blake

Here I am. I am indeed well and alive. Thanks, Daley Downing, for reaching out and checking up on me. I’m sorry I haven’t been around for anyone that missed me. I needed a break. I didn’t know I needed a break nor did I intend on taking one. It just sort of happened.

A couple things led to that.

For one, I’ve been busy with a new business venture that I’m super excited about. I’ll give you details on that later.

I realized I had worn myself out. I was losing track of why I started this book in the first place. Instead of writing and reading for the sake of my love of books, I’d become a bit too consumed with deadlines, obtaining ARCs, cranking out reviews, and reading for others more than for myself. I was losing sight of why I enjoyed reading and blogging in the first place.Obviously, those things can be important but they had overtaken my life to a point where I wasn’t enjoying myself, and I’m not enjoying reading than what is the point?

Basically, I felt like I was losing my personality and becoming a review robot.

And I’d rather write less and be awesome.

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SO! I will keep blogging and reviewing but expect some changes! A few things I’d like to do differently are more concise reviews. I was reading Kirkus Reviews lately, you know the ones that are always on the Praise section on the back of your book, and I realized that they are incredibly and wonderfully short! They don’t dance around their opinion. They use precise language to make their point and are done with it. I’d like my reviews to be more like that so I don’t dread writing them.

Second, I was manic about making sure I wrote Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the very least sometimes more. While I think consistency is important, I have a one-year-old that needs my time and attention. So from now on, expect a post on Monday. If I write more than that, great. If I don’t, then oh well. That’s the consistency I can offer at this point in my life.

Hopefully though, if I’m writing shorter reviews for the most part, it won’t be such a chore to write a post multiple times a week.

I hope you understand and that this won’t dissuade you from keeping up with me! But if it does, I totally understand…sort of. Kind of. Okay not really because I’m awesome, darn it!

With further ado, here is my review of the upcoming book Frostblood, which is to be released in January 2017!

27827203Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: January 17th, 2017

Series: Frostblood Sage, #1

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Rating: 4/5

Ruby is a Fireblood, born in a kingdom ruled by the powerful Frost King, who has decreed an end to her kind. After she is imprisoned and her mother killed by his soldiers, she heartily agrees to an opportunity to kill the king, even if it means learning to take control of her unpredictable and dangerous powers after years of suppressing them.

Frostblood reads like an early Sarah J. Maas novel though with more grit and less fluff. The world building was superb, complete, and made a wonderful backdrop for our characters. It was easy to imagine the Frost King’s palace, icicles and all, as though you were actually there.

I though that Ruby and Arcann where fairly well-developed, though they could’ve been pushed a bit further and it may have been more interesting for their romance to be drawn out. However, I still enjoyed them as characters. Both are sassy and strong while still being flawed and having believable likability.  What I really would’ve liked to see though was more development of the secondary characters. I was quite sad that Rasmus, the Frost King, was so one-dimensional as I personally found him to be incredibly interesting and would’ve enjoyed learning more about it. The priests as well were a bit lackluster.

Overall though, a great first novel which gives readers a good glimpse at Elly Blake’s potential.

Ignite the Shadows by Ingrid Seymour

25903205Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: October 22, 2015

Series: Ignite the Shadows, #1

Genre: Science Fiction, YA

Rating: 3/5

I was given a copy of Ignite the Shadows in exchange for a review in prep for the upcoming sequel. I liked it. I wouldn’t call it particularly memorable, especially within the saturated genre of science fiction. I was excited to read it though as it’s set in my hometown of Seattle. The plot strongly reminded me of the Deaths of Tao as the two contain mainly similar elements: an unsuspecting hero, aliens that live inside the brain, two opposing groups trying to control the world using humans as their vessels, the evil group infiltrating governments and positions of power.

But that being said, I would be interested in reading a sequel. There was a great twist at the end, that left me going what, no! The book can’t be ending here!

I do like endings that leave me flabbergasted.

The book is definitely action packed and fast paced, beginning with a motorcycle chase as Xave and Marci spy on Clark’s dealings with a mysterious group called IgNiTe. For me, the book was almost too fast paced. I was just plopped right in without any clue what was going on and little exposition. In fact, I’d say most of the book went from 0 to 90 in seconds.

Our narrator, Marci, is spunky but impulsive. She read like a real teenager to me: snarky, over-the-top, and a bit bratty. But I appreciated that. I get sick of YA teenage characters that don’t act like teenagers at all. I could also understand where her frustration often rooted from, which helped me empathize with her.

I’m not really into sentient alien stories, but I will say the aliens in this story were pretty darn creepy. I don’t do tentacles. Bleh!

The thing about this book that didn’t jive with me was the so-called science used to explain the abilities of the aliens and certain characters. It didn’t sound real to me at all and broke my suspension of belief. It’s a problem I often come across in science fiction that completely jars me out of the story. I wish authors felt less of a need to explain every nuance in these instances.

Overall though, if you enjoy fast paced action books with a strong heroine and a little dash of romance (perfect amount in my opinion), then this is a read for you.

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Magicians and Axe Murderers: The Chronicles of Alice by Christina Henry

Wow. I almost don’t even know where to begin. This retelling of Alice in Wonderland is one crazy, dark, wild ride. And I loved every minute of it. Even the parts that made me squirm. Continue reading “Magicians and Axe Murderers: The Chronicles of Alice by Christina Henry”

Why is Neverland Full of Hippies?: Never Ever by Sara Saedi

22840374Publisher: Viking Books

Publication Date: June 21st, 2016

Series: Never Ever, #1

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Rating: 2/5

Never Ever is a contemporary re-telling of Peter Pan. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take this book seriously, and me not liking something Peter Pan-related is just unheard of. It goes against the very core of my being. Continue reading “Why is Neverland Full of Hippies?: Never Ever by Sara Saedi”

Book Signing with Kiersten White

Hello, my lovelies! Happy Monday! How are all of you? Let’s chat.

On Saturday, I was fortunate enough to meet the lovely Kiersten White, who graced us with her magnanimous presence in celebration of the recent release of her book, And I Darken (which you can read my review of here)And I Darken is my top book of the year so far, so if you haven’t read it, please go out and get a copy of it. I love this book with my whole heart.

And meeting the author was such a delight! Continue reading “Book Signing with Kiersten White”

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

If you love this book, you might not want to read ahead. A lot of unpopular opinions are about to spew from my lips…er fingers.

16034235Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Publication Date: August 7th, 2012

Series: Throne of Glass, #2

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Rating: 2/5

It all starts with the cover. At first glance, you see it, and you’re blown away. It looks so bad-ass and awesome! But then you look closer, and you realize it’s actually ridiculous. How can anyone possibly fight with all that long hair flying everywhere?

tog reviewAnd don’t even get me started on those pants. They look great…till you realize that if this was real life, her pants would be falling off her butt, they’re slung so low! I can’t even look at them.

Girl, your pants are falling off!

And this is where my eye rolling began. Continue reading “Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas”