Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mini Reviews: July 2015 Library Haul

I've been complaining about my library not getting new books for quite a while now, so imagine my surprise when I go one day and find not one, not two, but six awesome books from library. My complaining was unwarranted, as it turns out. It just so happens that our librarians had to wait until July to start ordering new books. Oops. So there I was, all excited about my new books. However, I only got to read a few of them before my DW and HP obsessions came upon me, and after that I had to prioritize which books I really wanted to read and then return the rest to the library - it was a sad day. Either way, I figured it'd be easier to review them together since they're all currently occupying the same space in my brain.

by Michael Buckley
Rating: ★★★★
Series: Undertow #1
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance, YA
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 376 pages

As soon as I started reading this I couldn't stop comparing it to that canceled CW show, Star-Crossed. Honestly, I had to keep reminding myself that the book was about people/creatures from the sea and not aliens. While the school setting, romance between characters, and general plot all seemed familiar, I still enjoyed this one immensely. Undertow is one of those rare books where the plot takes precedence over Lyric and Fathom's growing feelings, and for that I was grateful. Even so, it was great seeing Fathom and Lyric's awkward relationship developing, especially taking into account how different they are and how much hatred exists between the two races. What stuck out for me about this book was definitely the end - it was magnificent, epic, I don’t even know which word to use. It had a bit of a finale feel to it, and I love how the fate of several beloved characters was left unexplained; it was a well done cliffhanger. While I wouldn't call this book original by any means, it was still a very fun adventure to read through.

Under A Painted Sky
by Stacey Lee
Rating: ★★★★★
Genre: Historical Fiction, Adventure, Romance
Publication Date: March 17, 2015
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Pages: 384 pages

I'm so mad at myself for waiting so ridiculously long to read this book - it's the best thing ever and you should read it ASAP. Everything I have ever wanted in a Young Adult novel is an aspect of this book in some way or another, and there isn't a single part of the novel I didn't enjoy. The pacing was perfect, the friendship between Annamae and Samantha - who later call themselves Andy and Sammy - is heartwarming, and the romance was freaking perfect. It's one of those rare perfect slow-burn romances, and I ate up every touch and glance between my OTP. I've always had a certain fondness for those books where the main characters go on an "adventure" of sorts, and Andy and Sammy go on an adventure through the west along with some swoon-worthy cowboys I'd go on an adventure with anytime. Add to this the relationship that develops between the lot through the skirmishes and not-so-nice characters the group meets along the way, and you've got yourself nothing short of a perfect book. The only problem is I WANT MORE.

by Maria Dahvana Headley
Series: Magonia #1
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 320 pages

Once upon a time I was excited for this one, but eventually that excitement tricked into something like vague interest. I figured I'd read it since it was a new book and it was in the library, but once I started reading, I was quick to realize it would disappoint me. I know lots of people are big fans of the one, but nothing about it had me interested. It was a good book with a decent plot, but I found it all quite predictable. I saw the "twist" coming since the beginning, and the whole war between the species thing wasn't really my thing (at least not in the circumstances of this book). The plot felt a bit rushed to me, and I feel that the book didn't take the time to build depth to the characters - to me, they remained a bit flat through out the story. The romance didn't sit well with me either, though I will applaud it for the cute, loyal boyfriend. I do hope that he's more important to the plot in the next installment though since he wasn't a major part of Magonia. Personally I think this book could have been a lot better, but it's entirely possible the genre/storyline just wasn't for me.