Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

81iFWnYVpTLTitle: The Raven Boys
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: YA Paranormal/ Romance
Format: Paperback
Pages: 409
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5 sugar cubes
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Book Depository

Summary: “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. Continue reading

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Review: Ex-Heroes

ex-heroes_clinesTitle: Ex-Heroes
Series: Ex-Heroes, #1
Author: Peter Clines
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Genre: Sci-fi
Format: Paperback
Pages: 310
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4 Sugar Cubes
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Summary: Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap. The Mighty Dragon. They were heroes, using their superhuman abilities to make Los Angeles a better place.

Then the plague of living death spread around the globe. Now, a year later, the heroes struggle to overcome their differences and recover from their own scars as they protect the thousands of survivors huddled in their film-studio-turned-fortress, the Mount.

But the hungry ex-humans are not the only threat the survivors face. Across the city, another group has grown and gained power. Continue reading

Review: The Daylight War

The Daylight War (Demon Cycle, #3)Title: The Daylight War
Series: The Demon Cycle, #3
Author: Peter V. Brett
Publisher: Del Ray
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Pages: 678
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5 Sugar Cubes!
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Summary:
On the night of the new moon, the demons rise in force, seeking the deaths of two men both of whom have the potential to become the fabled Deliverer, the man prophesied to reunite the scattered remnants of humanity in a final push to destroy the demon corelings once and for all. Continue reading

Review: The Year of the Great Seventh (DNF)

Title: The Year of the Great Seventh
Author: Teresa Orts
Publisher: Drayton Press
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 310
Format: ARC
Source: Author
Rating: 0 cubes of sugar (DNF)
Release Date: July 6, 2013
Purchase: Amazon Indiebound

Summary: 
Sophie has always felt out of step—an outsider, even amongst friends in her high school with all the hype about celebrity culture. Her life in L.A. seems to have been already written for her, but when her junior year starts, it all takes a drastic turn. When she crosses paths with the school’s heartthrob, Nate Werner, they fall for each other in a way neither can understand. What they don’t know is that by giving in to their desires, they are unlocking an ancient Egyptian prophecy that threatens to return Earth to the dark ages.

To undo the curse, Nate and Sophie embark on an adventure that takes them across the country. But their quest is not only to save the world as they know it. It is also a fight for their very survival. Behind the scenes, there are those that are counting on them to fail.

(Taken from Goodreads)

Post-“taste” Review: 
Did not finish. Really difficult to get into, even at almost halfway through the book. Apparently the end gets better? The characters drove me nuts.


Review: 
I had really hoped I could get into this one, but in the end I just couldn’t do it. I literally had to put the book down several times and think “What did I just read??” and I only managed to read less than half the book.

Characters are obviously a huge part of books and I just couldn’t relate these characters. From the beginning they just rubbed me the wrong way. The main character, Sophie, is supposed to be the “brainy” one of her group of actress friends. I say brainy because she talks about being a history buff, but I never saw that come into play. She’s supposed to be worrying about her future and applying to colleges, instead she gets embroiled in this awkward “relationship” with a guy she’s only ever admired from afar.

It was so rushed, she goes from “oh, he’s really cute” to “omgwhydoesn’thelikeme??!?” In a very short amount of time. When she gets groped at a party Nate, aforementioned GQ model-esque love interest, flies off the handle (why??) and beats the living snot out of the guy. This is apparently grounds for getting all moony and worried over him and Sophie repeatedly tries to talk to him about it. When she does finally get him to talk he essentially tells her she’s weird and they shouldn’t be seen together. Ever. Que downward spiral into depression. There’s even a point here where she waxes poetic about how she didn’t realize how motivational seeing him at school was for getting up in the morning. Girl! Geez Louise! You’ve talked to him for maybe a total of 20 minutes, this reaction is rather dramatic. They have one of run-in with each other at the movies that ends with him smashing a car window with his arm. So the obvious thing to do is to give the guy with anger issues and elbows of steel a ride home, right? Right. I felt like Sophie spent a lot of time trying to fabricate a relationship with Nate, grasping at air for any way to be around him. Way too desperate.

I can’t say much abut the settings as, appart from Nate’s house, there was little description that my mind could create from.

I’m still tring to figure out why this book has such high ratings on Goodreads. I’m truly baffled. I’m usually pretty forgiving when it comes to errors and quick fixes in books, but this one had my fingers itching for my red pen. Maybe I’ll trying picking it up again later, apparently the second half of the book is where it picks up, but I’m so unsatisfied with the beginning that it may be a hard sell.

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way paid for my opinions.*

Review: The Goddess Test

Title: The Goddess Test
Series: Goddess Test #1
Author: Aimée Carter
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Genre: YA Fantasy/Romance
Pages: 293
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5 cubes of sugar!
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository

Summary:
EVERY GIRL WHO HAS TAKEN THE TEST HAS DIED.
NOW IT’S KATE’S TURN.

It’s always been just Kate and her mom–and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won’t live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld–and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he’s crazy–until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she suceeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride and a goddess.
IF SHE FAILS…
(Taken from Goodreads)

Review:
An engaging, interesting, and wholly entertaining new take on Greek Mythology. The Goddess Test is a book I can’t believe I haven’t read before now! Aimée Carter did an excellent job of keeping me guessing, I honestly didn’t expect any of the twists, and boy where they good ones!

The characters were all interesting and very well developed. I found Kate to be a great narrator, despite her rather depressing situation over the last four years of her life. She’s strong and tries to keep a somewhat hopeful outlook on things. Henry, I just wanted to pat the poor boy on his darling head. “Dark and tortured” is an apt description for him and everything that happened in his past with Persephone (if you know Greek Myths this isn’t a spoiler) just had me rooting for him to get together with Kate even more. He was moody and mysterious, but who doesn’t like moody, mysterious guys?!

James, though he’s not around much, was one of my other favorite characters and Ava…well, I found her annoying for most of the book but I find most characters with her personality annoying (don’t worry, she gets better in the end). She’s a really good friend to Kate and for me that was her redeeming quality.

The story itself covers a little over six months and in that time there are quite a few lulls where routine sets in. These lulls were handled well, in terms of writing, and you never get bored. You get just enough information to keep you reading while not giving away too much. That ending! And the council! I didn’t see that one coming! (Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it)

Overall it was a great read that I couldn’t put down (literally) and an interesting modern twist on ancient Greek myths. Definitely pick this one up!

Review: Shadow Divers

Title: Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War 2
Series: Standalone
Author: Robert Kurson
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Adult Nonfiction
Pages: 397
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 cubes of sugar
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository

Summary:
In the tradition of Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm comes a true tale of riveting adventure in which two weekend scuba divers risk everything to solve a great historical mystery–and make history themselves.
For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was more than a sport. Testing themselves against treacherous currents, braving depths that induced hallucinatory effects, navigating through wreckage as perilous as a minefield, they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond, brushing against death more than once in the rusting hulks of sunken ships.
But in the fall of 1991, not even these courageous divers were prepared for what they found 230 feet below the surface, in the frigid Atlantic waters sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey: a World War II German U-boat, its ruined interior a macabre wasteland of twisted metal, tangled wires, and human bones–all buried under decades of accumulated sediment.
No identifying marks were visible on the submarine or the few artifacts brought to the surface. No historian, expert, or government had a clue as to which U-boat the men had found. In fact, the official records all agreed that there simply could not be a sunken U-boat and crew at that location.
Over the next six years, an elite team of divers embarked on a quest to solve the mystery. Some of them would not live to see its end. Chatterton and Kohler, at first bitter rivals, would be drawn into a friendship that deepened to an almost mystical sense of brotherhood with each other and with the drowned U-boat sailors–former enemies of their country. As the men’s marriages frayed under the pressure of a shared obsession, their dives grew more daring, and each realized that he was hunting more than the identities of a lost U-boat and its nameless crew.
Author Robert Kurson’s account of this quest is at once thrilling and emotionally complex, and it is written with a vivid sense of what divers actually experience when they meet the dangers of the ocean’s underworld. The story of Shadow Divers often seems too amazing to be true, but it all happened, two hundred thirty feet down, in the deep blue sea.
(Taken from Goodreads)

Review:

I read this book for a class that I’m taking, so I went into it with no expectations. Regardless of this, I was pleasantly surprised. If you have any interest in shipwrecks or deep sea diving this book was the most informative and interesting book that I have read on the subjects.

Although it’s a non-fiction book the author went about it in a way that doesn’t make it feel like your average non-fiction book (ie. informative, straight forward, and (more often than not) pretty boring). There is plenty of action and interesting bits that it almost felt like reading a Dirk Pitt novel by Clive Cussler (minus the chauvinistic male James Bond-y bits, don’t get me wrong I love those too) The research that Kurson put into this novel is evident in the writing, hundreds of hours of interviews, tours, he even spent a night on The Seeker, the charter boat they use throughout the book, getting thrown from his bunk in the middle of a storm several times. He’s very passionate about this story, equally if not more so than the two main characters, Chatterton and Kohler.

While reading this book, I was talking about it constantly, excited over new developments in the latest chapter I had read, or spouting off facts about what happens to the human body underwater at a depth of 230ft when narrating for my baby niece. Everyone in my family has asked to borrow it! I’d say that speaks for itself.