28 Sep 2015

Review: Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

Publication: July 7th 2015 by Bloomsbury
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Format: Hardcover, 358 pages
Add this on: Goodreads

Dacia and Lou are cousins and best friends who've never known much about their Romanian heritage. Raised in America, they are on their first ever journey to meet their mysterious Romanian relatives. But as they draw closer to Romania, strange things start happening, and they begin to suspect their family of having some terrible secret- suspicions that in no way prepare them for what they learn when they arrive.

Jessica Day George really seems to write for a younger audience, in a way that doesn't translate well to other age groups.The writing very much feels geared toward a more juvenile audience. There's just something simplistic about the way in which the story is told, which was a bit of a weakness in this case. I'm always hesitant about making a comment like this, because books written for younger audiences can absoloutely be enjoyed by adults- it just depends on the story and how it is told. This story is told in a slightly juvenile way, which reduced my engagement.

Moving on to the story. There isn't anything technically wrong with it, its just not interesting to me personally, I'm not sure why. Dacia and Lou go to meet their Romanian family who are more than a little strange. At first the girls have no idea what is going on, of course, and eventually they uncover their magical legacy. The way this story progressed just... didn't intrigue me, the plot structure just dropped off- the flow of the plot didn't work. Sometimes a weak plot can be pulled along by engaging characters, but that wasn't the case in this story.

The thing with Lou and Dacia is they both go through somewhat rapid character changes, and I found myself slightly left behind by how quickly some of those changes happened. I think the main reason for that was mostly because their most fundamental character traits weren't satisfactorily established. If you're going to have some of a character's traits change that rapidly, you have to have a pre-established basis for the sudden change (ex. their values drive them to react a certain way that would seem contradictory to some of their personality traits), if that makes sense. I also definitely found myself enjoying one character point of view more than the other, which is always a risk in dual POV novels.

All that said, I still enjoyed parts of the novel. There were moments of humour that I found myself really enjoying, and there were some aspects of the girls' characters and journeys that did interest me. It was just that a lot of the story and the storytelling didn't keep me engaged. There was no connection there.

Overall, it was alright as a light read, but wasn't terribly impressive as a book. There was nothing about it that will stand out to me when I look back on books that I read this year.

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I'm a reader and reviewer from Ontario, Canada, which mean that sometimes library trips take place place through a foot or so of snow. I'm going into my third year of university, studying Environmental Sciences, which I juggle with my almost constant reading. I've been blogging at at my own blog since 2012, and I'll be helping Yani out here on Paper Boulevard as a co-blogger.

25 Sep 2015

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Publication: September 1st 2015 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: Kindle Edition, 320 pages
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My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

“Do you ever wonder what your life would be like if you could just change one thing?” he asks.  Nicola Yoon, Everything, Everything ARC

I have to admit that the title of this book is strikingly odd. Why is it Everything, Everything? That, I cannot answer. Every time I read a book, it is part of me to know why it was given such title. But in Everything, Everything, I never knew why. Or is it that this time I never figured it out because I was enormously into the book?

Everything, Everything is about Madeline Whittier. She’s a ‘surpass of the ordinary’. The story just moves freely as if in a stream with her. (This might spoil you so beware.) Maddy wanted to see the world but of course she can’t because of her valued for its uncommonness disease. Her wanting occurred when Olly, the boy next door, and Maddy started to exchanging IMs and. . .

Yoon delivered Everything, Everything to every reader with sincere intentions and strong feelings. Madeline was her model to portray every girl (could be a boy, too) in this world that relationship with parents, especially mothers, is tremendously important and should be with love and understanding. Another character for a typical girl is the daughter of Maddy’s nurse, Carla. Carla experienced sorrows towards her daughter where it does the normal girls do when they turn to wander, overnight and cute boys stage. But Carla still understood her daughter. Maddy didn’t have the understanding her mother needed. (Well, not until . . .) Also, her mother showed selfishness– it’s not what your children needs even if all you think about is for their own good.

What’s more pleasantly entertaining is the illustrations of Everything, Everything. Nicola’s husband David created such distinctive artwork.

Everything, Everything is a book of heartfelt and sympathy–for every member of the family. It may not be the everything for others, but it is to at least.

Interested to read 'Everything, Everything'?
Order at: Book Depository, Amazon, B&N

Source: Publisher via Netgalley · I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content.

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I love to collect soundtracks from books and movies. It's cool to listen to their music and to live with them. Well, only those books and movies that are oh so aplomb to me.

1 Sep 2015

Review: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Publication: July 7th 2015 by NAL
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Format: Kindle Edition, 352 pages
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In a world where the Great Library of Alexandria was not destroyed, the library now rules supreme. Knowledge is both valued and strictly controlled. Jess has been sent to become a Librarian by his family of illegal booksellers, to spy on the library. As he endures the trials that come with becoming a Librarian, he begins to uncover disturbing secrets about the Library itself.

This is the first Rachel Caine novel that I've picked up, and also my first review on Paper Boulevard, so lots of firsts (on second though, perhaps two does not qualify as "lots", but I digress). Let's do this thing.

Jess took time to grow on me, but I found myself enjoying the cast of characters introduced once he got to Alexandria. Candidate Librarians of the Great Library come from all over the world, and are narrowed down from there, so the novel started off with a fairly broad cast of characters, and was narrowed down to focus on a few of them fairly quickly. I'm looking forward to seeing more of them in the next book.

A lot happens in the plot. We see Jess being sent by his family of pretty ruthless black market book sellers to the Library, his grueling training experience, including his first (somewhat unexpected) mission. With so much going on, and the new friendship Jess forms, the romance felt, honestly, rushed and unnecessary. It just didn't feel like there was an actual connection between them, and I can't quite put my finger on why.

I had mixed feelings about the world- on one hand I enjoyed it, on the other, I felt like there were unanswered questions. I imagine some of these will be answered in future novels, but some of the underlying aspects of the world still aren't entirely clear to me. If the Library took over during the time of Ancient Greece, how is the English language dominant, for one thing? How did the Library control effect how the world developed, aside from the obvious? Those questions aside, I'm looking forward to seeing more of this world, and I'm hoping to learn more about how the somewhat magical element works.

Overall, despite some elements that didn't work for me, I still enjoyed this novel, and I'm likely to pick up the sequel when it comes out, with hopes that some of my questions will be answered.

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I'm a reader and reviewer from Ontario, Canada, which mean that sometimes library trips take place place through a foot or so of snow. I'm going into my third year of university, studying Environmental Sciences, which I juggle with my almost constant reading. I've been blogging at at my own blog since 2012, and I'll be helping Yani out here on Paper Boulevard as a co-blogger.
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