Source: From the publisher at ALA

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak | Book Review

Posted February 16, 2018 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 8 Comments

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak | Book ReviewThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers on March 14, 2006
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 552
Format: Hardcover
Source: From the publisher at ALA
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5 Stars
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery ...

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

I read this book over the course of almost two years in the hopes that I would not get attached and that I would not cry. I was unsuccessful on both accounts. There’s not much to say, really. It’s a beautiful story that is beautifully told.

The Book Thief, narrated by Death himself, tells the story of Liesel who discovers her very first book at her younger brother’s graveside after being put into foster care by a mother who could no longer take care of her. Her foster father teaches her to read, and she discovers her love of books as the Nazis run rampant through her country, reeking havoc on those just like the Jewish man hiding in her basement. She learns about love, life, and loss.

This book is probably the best book I’ve ever read in terms of writing, message, creativity, and thought. The writing style is immaculate in a way I can’t even explain. Emotions and feelings jump off of the page and into your soul. The story is true and heart wrenching, yet I smiled so many times. Death’s voice is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. He is cynical and caring at the same time, and is more grandfather than Grim Reaper. The characters are perfectly flawed and hopeful.

I think the most wonderful thing about this book is that it has teen appeal as well as adult appeal. We get to watch Liesel grow up, and even though she is younger than most readers, her maturity shines through because of her experiences. She could be 10, 17, 25, or 80 and each reader could identify with her and appreciate her voice. The themes of death, the importance of literature, friendship, family, love, and loss are so beautifully conveyed. It’s such a unique take on the Holocaust, and one that really spoke to me. I can see The Book Thief becoming a classic that is read for generations and generations because it is timeless and beautiful. Even though it is a very heart-wrenching and difficult book to read, I would recommend it to any and every reader. It’s so important that this event in history never be forgotten.


Love, Lucy by April Lindner | Book Review

Posted January 23, 2015 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 6 Comments

Love, Lucy by April Lindner | Book ReviewLove, Lucy by April Lindner
Published by Poppy on January 27, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher at ALA
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5 Stars
While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food...and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her "vacation flirtation." But just because summer is over doesn't mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too.

In this coming-of-age romance, April Lindner perfectly captures the highs and lows of a summer love that might just be meant to last beyond the season.

Love, Lucy is a glorious, wonderful, perfectly fabulous book. I seriously read this book in August, and I have not been able to figure out how to explain my love for it, but I have to!! There was not one thing I didn’t love, so I’m just going to make a little fangirl list of the best things about Love, Lucy before I push you off to buy yourself a copy.

– Love, Lucy took me right back to the magical city of Florence, Italy. Florence is one of my favorite places in the world, and April did it right. She made me want to go back again right now.

– Travel. Come on. Everyone knows that traveling makes you fall in love with the person that you are, and Love, Lucy had everything I could have ever wanted in a travel book.

– Not only is the book about travel, but it encourages travel. It’s an inspiring story that makes you want to make your traveling dreams come true, not to mention it makes you feel like you can do it. Lucy is just a young high school grad, but she did it. And you can too.

– In that same vein, this book is about a girl discovering who she is. I love those kinds of books.

– Lucy happens upon Jesse, a sexy street performer (a musician, holy swoon), and a flirtatious little love-ish thing starts. It’s a perfect romance. Jesse is perfection.

– Love, Lucy is happy. It made me happy. This is what books are supposed to do.

– I was so sad when it was over.

– I might love this more than I love Just One Day, which is a lot, so that’s saying something.

Basically, you need to read this. You need to, your mom needs to (my mom LOVED it), your best friend needs to. And then you all need to go to Florence together so you can see that the magic April Lindner speaks of is real. You need to meet and fall in love with Jesse, and you need to explore the city on the back of his moped. I wish I could go back and read it again for the first time.


Atlantia by Ally Condie | Book Review

Posted November 6, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 3 Comments

Atlantia by Ally Condie | Book ReviewAtlantia by Ally Condie
Published by Dutton Juvenile on October 28, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher at ALA
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4 Stars
Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.

I’ve been looking forward to a new novel from Ally Condie for quite some time, so I dove in to Atlantia as soon as I could! It took me a little while to fully immerse myself in the story, but I ended up really liking Atlantia. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I’ve always been a huge fan of books that take place underwater. Atlantia is a beautiful, self-sustaining, world under the sea that actually sounds a lot like Venice, believe it or not. They have canals and gondolas, and the city is colorful with lots of shops and places to visit. There’s a market in the depths of the city, plus an arena for after-curfew swimming competitions (I found the swimming arena rather random and out of place, though.). Basically, the city is unique and very fun to read about.

2. Rio is secretly a siren, who has had to hide her true voice from everyone in order to keep herself safe. Siren voices are very powerful, and can be used as weapons. Sirens are more rare now, which puts Rio in even more danger. When I heard siren, I immediately thought of mermaids. Sirens are human beings with special powers, though. I liked this unique twist!

3. Rio has always wanted to live Above, but when their mother dies she promises her sister, Bay, that she will choose to stay Below during the choosing ceremony (which is very similar to Divergent’s faction choosing ceremony). On the day of choosing, though, Bay announces she is going to the Above. Since only one child from each family can go Above, Rio is stuck and hurt. Alone forever. Rio starts planning her escape, and will stop at nothing to journey to the Above. This is where you see Rio’s stubborn, persistent, dare-devil personality. I really liked her!

4. Obviously, everyone is hiding something. There’s a lot of lying, and it’s hard to know who to trust. Rio’s aunt kind of takes her under her wing and mentors her, but this aunt is shady. Everyone is. And there’s a lot of secrets about Rio, her family, and the politics behind the separation of the Above and the Below. How did these people end up Below? Why is there no traveling between worlds? What’s the point of a city below water?

5. I loved the worldbuilding and Ally’s writing is descriptive and lovely.

6. I was so hoping for more romance between Rio and True.

7. Throughout the entire book I was expecting a sequel, so to find out it’s a standalone was kind of exciting. In a YA world full of trilogies and series, it’s nice to find a standalone. At the same time, though, Atlantia was wrapped up so quickly that I wish we were getting a sequel. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side.

Overall, I really enjoyed Atlantia. I love underwater settings, and Ally’s writing and really enjoyable to read. I’m excited to see what she chooses to do next! I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a good dystopia. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like dystopias are becoming pretty formulaic and predictable. Atlantia is very unique, though, and breathes new life into dystopia.


Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Book Review)

Posted February 14, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 38 Comments

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Book Review)Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Also in this series: Cinder, Cress, Fairest, Winter, Stars Above
Published by Feiwel and Friends on February 5, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Retelling, Romance, Science Fiction, Steampunk
Pages: 454
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher at ALA
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5 Stars
Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

I have been thinking about how much I loved Cinder for over a year now, and Scarlet picks up right where Cinder drops off. The exact day, actually. I loved that! We get to jump right back in and pick up where we were, while learning new things about this crazy world, the Lunars, and our favorite characters!

1. For some reason, I had no idea that Cinder was going to be in this book! I was delighted when I learned what a huge role she was actually going to play in it. And her android, Iko, was there… and we even got some Kai time! Yay! So glad to see them all again. :)

2. It was also so much fun learning about some new characters: Scarlet and Wolf. Scarlet is a strong, confident character who makes a great team mate for Cinder in this ongoing quest against the Lunar Queen. I love the emphasis placed an female heroes in this series. Marissa has created two equally feisty, brave, determined, charismatic, and smart ladies to drive the story on. Wolf is sexy and swoonworthy, and exactly the kind of bad boy this story needed. His sensitive nature and core instincts make him both a ticking time bomb and the most loyal companion you could ask for. Do not get on his bad side, though. Cinder has her own male counterpart, Captain Thorne, and he’s kind of hilarious. I just kept picturing this completely oblivious, clumsy, cocky guy who is always slightly drunk. He lightened things up quite a bit, and also became a character I really loved.

3. I enjoyed the balance of humorous dialogue and serious, sometimes heartbreaking moments. Scarlet’s banter with Wolf was utterly charming, while her discussions with her grandmother pulled at the heartstrings.

4. This is not your typical book 2 of a series, where nothing important happens. Scarlet has SO much going on! There’s space flights, running from the law, romance, Lunar attacks, kidnapping, fights, and NEWS. So much news!

5. Yet again, the world building is immaculate. Last time, Beijing. This time, Paris. Yes, people. Paris in the future is amazing.

Overall, Scarlet is just as wonderful and captivating as Cinder. Clearly, Marissa is not a one hit wonder. I can’t wait for the next book!


Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally (Book Review)

Posted September 14, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 4 Comments

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally (Book Review)Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #2
Also in this series: Racing Savannah
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on October 1, 2012
Pages: 242
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher at ALA
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2 Stars
Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.

Now Parker wants a new life.

So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty?

But how far is too far before she loses herself completely?

*NOTE: I read this book without reading its companion, Catching Jordan,  and was totally fine. There were no spoilers or confusing moments. Jordan and Sam do get mentioned, but it’s minimal.

I witnessed all the raving reviews for Miranda’s Catching Jordan, and was very excited to find this companion novel at ALA. I got to meet Miranda, who is extremely nice and fun to chat with. I wish I loved her book as much as I loved her, but that’s ok. I always worry that, after meeting an author, if I do not end up liking their book that it will make them feel like I did not like them. That’s totally not it. The author is great. I just did not like the book, and I’m really sad it turned out that way. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. It is brought up many times in this book that Parker is a good Christian girl. Religion is actually a very big theme in the book. Since I am also a good Christian girl, it bothered me how many times Parker went against her beliefs, and then got upset that her prayers were not being answered. She wasn’t even trying. And it’s not that I mind that she went against her beliefs. I totally get the whole “question your religion” thing. It happens a lot with everyone. It bothered me that she continually did it, though, and then got mad at others for her choices. I’m not going to go deeper into this point, just because I don’t want to spawn a religious discussion or anything.

2. I didn’t like Parker very much. Of course, a part of that is because of my first point, but I also because she came off as being a broken individual with no real desire to put the effort into piecing herself back together. There was a lot of moping and continuous bad decisions that ended up making her feel worse about herself. PLUS to compensate for her mother becoming a lesbian, Parker has decided to create a reputation for herself that marks her as a slut who “hooks up” with everyone. She’s not a strong character, and she’s not even one that young girls can look up to.

3. Brian, the assistant coach that Parker has a thing for, is completely unlikeable. I get that he’s attractive, and that getting attention for an older man is appealing and exciting. But he’s going against school rules to be with Parker, plus he is walking a very thin line legally as well. And for nothing. He’s totally using her, and she’s totally letting him. You can tell that very early on, so don’t worry. I haven’t spoiled anything. Really, this whole storyline just bugged me. I understand that age does not always matter, but when you’re dealing with the LAW and you’ve got an adult and a minor, it’s just not something I enjoy reading about.

4. I liked the supporting characters on the baseball team, and her best friend Drew. Corndog/Will (the third side in this semi love triangle) is really sweet I absolutely loved him from the very beginning.

5. I appreciated that this book tackled some heavy issues, like homosexuality. I enjoyed watching Parker and her family go through the healing process, and I really liked Parker’s mom.

6. This book is too graphic for younger readers. There were some pretty steamy scenes that I wish had been watered down more. (I mean, we read about specific body parts and descriptions of what those body parts are up to.)

Overall, the elements of this story just did not gel with me. There were so many names and things going on all over the place. I didn’t really like either of the main characters, and the supporting ones were not given a ton of attention. When all was said and done, I wasn’t even very satisfied with the ending. It was very anti-climactic. I wanted to love this one a lot. I really did. I’m still intrigued by all the hype surrounding Catching Jordan, so hopefully I enjoy that one more. :)


Hidden by Sophie Jordan (Mini Book Review)

Posted September 5, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 1 Comment

Hidden by Sophie Jordan (Mini Book Review)Hidden by Sophie Jordan
Series: Firelight #3
Also in this series: Firelight
Published by HarperTEEN on September 11, 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 260
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher at ALA
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3.5 Stars
Jacinda was supposed to bond with Cassian, the "prince" of their pride. But she resisted long before she fell in love with Will—a human and, worse, a hunter. When she ran away with Will, it ended in disaster, with Cassian's sister, Miram, captured. Weighed down by guilt, Jacinda knows she must rescue her to set things right. Yet to do so she will have to venture deep into the heart of enemy territory.

The only way Jacinda can reach Miram is by posing as a prisoner herself, though once she assumes that disguise, things quickly spiral out of her control. As she learns more about her captors, she realizes that even if Will and Cassian can carry out their part of the plan, there's no guarantee they'll all make it out alive. But what Jacinda never could have foreseen is that escaping would be only the beginning....

You know… I’m not sure I’ve ever read a concluding book in a trilogy and ended up really loving that book. The first book leaves you in love, because it’s the first book and that one is always the best. The second book is always a bridge to book 3, and I don’t know about you, but I always find myself not really knowing what to think of it. I always close book #2 with hope that book #3 will blow me away. It doesn’t always end up that way, though. Usually, things get wrapped up too easily or people end up with the wrong people, or people die/get hurt/change. Sadly, Hidden did not check off all the boxes on my list of wishes and hopes for the ending of the Firelight series, and I was left with empty feelings. I just felt “meh” about it. Perhaps my hopes were just too high.

Now, I’m not saying the book was bad at all! It was adventurous and suspenseful, and I really enjoyed it. New characters were introduced and old characters were expounded upon. I really enjoyed reading about the time Jacinda spent as a prisoner in the facility where draki are tested and researched. It was exciting and extremely interesting. During her time there, I got to meet draki from other clans and learn more about the species. The love between Jacinda and Will felt forced and unbelievable, and I don’t think I felt that way with the other books. Then again, I’ve always been team Cassian.

The writing was done very well, and I did enjoy the story. It just didn’t end the way I would have hoped, but trilogies/series rarely ever do. I’m definitely SO glad I got the opportunity to read this book early, though, and am definitely glad I read this conclusion to the trilogy.


Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff that Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams (Book Review)

Posted August 23, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 7 Comments

Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff that Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams (Book Review)Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff that Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on August 21, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher at ALA
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5 Stars
Can a spot on a teen reality show really lead to a scholarship at an elite cooking school AND a summer romance?

Sixteen-year-old Sophie Nicolaides was practically raised in the kitchen of her family’s Italian-Greek restaurant, Taverna Ristorante. When her best friend, Alex, tries to convince her to audition for a new reality show, Teen Test Kitchen, Sophie is reluctant. But the prize includes a full scholarship to one of America's finest culinary schools and a summer in Napa, California, not to mention fame.

Once on-set, Sophie immediately finds herself in the thick of the drama—including a secret burn book, cutthroat celebrity judges, and a very cute French chef. Sophie must figure out a way to survive all the heat and still stay true to herself. A terrific YA offering--fresh, fun, and sprinkled with romance.

Have you ever been on a strict diet and then all of a sudden decide that you need to chill out and eat a little comfort food, or else you just might go crazy? Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff is my comfort food. This book is exactly what I needed to make me smile. It was an adorable, quick read with such a unique sounding storyline that I knew I would love it. And honestly, it had me at the title. I gobbled this book up like I did the delectable pizza I had in Siena, Italy this past May. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I’m kind of a reality TV junkie. I love all of it. The drama, the excitement, the fact that I’m watching real people rather than polished actors. When I read about this book, I knew we’d make a great pair. It embodies all that is reality TV, but also gives you a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes happenings that we all know hold more truth than the show itself. The idea behind the book is so fresh and unique to me. Reality TV meets young adult novel. I’m all for it!

2. The characters are all so likeable. We’ve got Sophie, the main girl, who is this sweet thing with broad hips and a love of food and her foodie family. I love her family. They’re right out of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and I loved that. Her best friend, Alex, being the true friend that he is, has her back and gets her on the show with a little coaxing and many pep talks. The contestants on the show (two of which become Sophie’s best friends) all fill a very specific role for a very specific character. You know how reality TV is. You’ve got the sweetheart, the villain, the brooding anti-social, etc. I really enjoyed them all, especially when they stirred up drama. The judges were all the sterotypical, dramatic judges you see on TV, and we even had Tommy who is the spitting image of The Chairman on Iron Chef. And then… there’s the hot French guy who, off camera, has Sophie swooning and daydreaming. The cast of characters was a winner in my book!

3. The FOOD. Oh my! I loved reading all the yummy-sounding descriptions of the dishes that the contestants made. Each week they were on the show focused on different genres, if you will, of food. There was a Latin week, an Asian one, a French one, a Mediterranean one, and a Pastry one. This book made me so hungry! Of course, the author included some of the recipes for these meals and desserts, so if you feel the need to satisfy any resulting cravings, you’re encouraged to do so.

4. I was worried about whether or not I would believe the excitement of the kitchen during competition time, but I did! I got really excited and read faster. It was like reading an episode of Iron Chef. I really enjoyed it.

5. The romance was minimal, but there. I really enjoyed the small glimmers of romance, but appreciated that they were not the focus of the story.

6. I also appreciated that the book was not predictable. It was not perfectly wrapped up into the obvious conclusion. It made things more realistic for me.

Overall, Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff that Made Me Famous was stinkin’ cute. It was quick, light, happy, sweet, and savory. I loved the idea, and the execution was done really well. The writing was witty, and the characters were all loveable. I’d recommend this to anyone who needs a little comfort food in their life.


The Raft by S.A. Bodeen (Book Review)

Posted August 20, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 4 Comments

The Raft by S.A. Bodeen (Book Review)The Raft by S.A. Bodeen
Published by Feiwel and Friends on August 21, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Survival
Pages: 231
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher at ALA
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1.5 Stars
Robie is an experienced traveler. She’s taken the flight from Honolulu to the Midway Atoll, a group of Pacific islands where her parents live, many times. When she has to get to Midway in a hurry after a visit with her aunt in Hawaii, she gets on the next cargo flight at the last minute. She knows the pilot, but on this flight, there’s a new co-pilot named Max. All systems are go until a storm hits during the flight. The only passenger, Robie doesn’t panic until the engine suddenly cuts out and Max shouts at her to put on a life jacket. They are over miles of Pacific Ocean. She sees Max struggle with a raft.

And then . . . she’s in the water. Fighting for her life. Max pulls her onto the raft, and that’s when the real terror begins. They have no water. Their only food is a bag of Skittles. There are sharks. There is an island. But there’s no sign of help on the way.

Ever since I read Hatchet by Gary Paulsen in elementary school, I’ve been captivated by survival stories on TV, in movies, and in books. And there are so many of them! Lost, Survivor, Terra Nova, Castaway, On the Island, etc. I could go on and on. It’s fascinating what we humans will do in order to survive. When I saw The Raft on a table at ALA, I knew it had to come home with me. I was excited to be able to devour another exciting story of survival. Sadly, this book was very lackluster for me. I just didn’t enjoy it. I did not find it as believable as I have other versions of a similar story. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The bulk of the book takes place on a raft in the middle of the ocean. Obviously, not a lot can happen on a raft. That’s exactly what we were given: not a lot. Of course, this is incredibly realistic. I mean… I know that real life is not like Lost, where supernatural things are happening all the time. At the same time, though, I would have enjoyed a little more action to break the monotony of the happenings in the raft. I got bored.

2. The setting = a raft. Let me just say that the author did not paint any images in my mind that looked like anything more exciting than a yellow raft in the middle of a bunch of water. But really, how could she? Sometimes it rained. Sometimes it was sunny. It got dark, and then it got light again. There’s just not a lot you can do with that.

3. Because the book is so short and takes place in such a small amount of time, we don’t get to learn a lot about Robie or Max. And those are really the only two characters that are mentioned across more than 2-3 pages. There’s no character development, no relationship, no nothing.

4. There was a little suspense every now and then, but it could have been so much more. I felt like the writing style took away from the possibilities that could have been there in the more tense moments. The writing was very staccato, with short, blunt sentences and very few long, flowing sentences. Perhaps this was the author’s goal: to create a feeling of tenseness with sequences of multiple short sentences. I just didn’t feel it, though.

5. The emotion did not seem real to me. This book is full of hard and/or sad moments, and Robie was completely flat and emotionless. I mean, if I were there I would have been crying and panicking and really freaking out. She seemed totally removed from the situation, even though she was in the very center of it.

6. A small twist happens that kind of makes you go, “Oh… ok. That kind of makes a little more sense.” But really, I was just ready to be done at that point. I didn’t even like the twist, but at least it made sense. Meh.

Overall, I think the story is what I had a problem with. Not the author. I have a feeling I would enjoy other works of hers. It takes a lot for a survival story to grab me and really pull me in. When I read a book, I’m looking for more than just a picture of reality. I loved the idea, but I was hoping more would be done with the execution to make it exciting, while still being somewhat realistic.


Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Mini Book Review)

Posted August 17, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 8 Comments

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Mini Book Review)Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Also in this series: Crown of Midnight
Published by Bloomsbury Children's on August 7, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 404
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher at ALA
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4.5 Stars
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Let this be known… Throne of Glass is my very first high fantasy! After meeting Sarah at ALA, I came home really excited to read it. She’s so nice, and I had fun chatting with her. And seriously? Epic fantasy? Wow! I’m becoming so versatile that I’m surprising myself! I’m totally a convert to the genre, though, and I think this was a great way for me to enter in. I’m loving the glass castle, deadly secrets, hardcore assassin vibe happening with this book, and I can’t wait to see where this series goes.

I really loved the story, and all the elements that went with it: magic, romance, suspense, politics, mystery, a glass castle, an assassin, hidden identities, mythology, fairies, demons, crazy creatures, fight scenes, secret passageways, a handsome prince, a mysterious captain of the guards, a love triangle, pretty dresses, a masquerade ball, a princess from another land, a fight for survival, an amulet, a freezing winter, portals to another world, and scheming, all wrapped up into an exciting package with beautiful writing.

Celaena is awesome. She’s extremely dynamic and exciting, not to mention mysterious. She’s like this wolf in sheep’s clothing, and I loved watching her surprise people. Oh, and she loves candy. Like, a lot. Actually, she loves all food. It’s a unique trait that we don’t see very often in young adult fiction. She also has the ability to really soften people up with her charm, especially Captain Chaol, who wanted to dislike her but ended up really enjoying her company. And then there’s Dorian, who turned into a puddle of mush around her. The love triangle with these three was so much fun, and I had a really hard time deciding on which guy I liked the best.

Really, this book had everything I could ask for, and I loved the glimpse I got into this magical world. I’m left a little speechless, which is why my review is so short. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this author, and the Throne of Glass series. Oh, and now I’m off to get the 4 prequels to this book that were released before its publication date.

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