Friday, February 23, 2018

50/50 Friday (73): First/Last YA Book Read


50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!


Today's Topic: First/Last _____ Book Read (specific genre, etc)
I'll be doing YA books!

First:


Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1

Blurb:
"Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy's mom finds out, she knows it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he'll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods."

Yes, that's right, I was a PJO child and not an HP child!  Truthfully though, my first YA book was either this or The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins but I can't, for the life of me, remember which one I read first.  Of course, you could also say that The Giver is a YA book in which case that would have been my first YA book.  Regardless, the PJO series marked the beginning of my reading career (and the beginning of an era) which is why I'm having such a hard time finishing The Blood of Olympus (the final installment of the Heroes of Olympus series which is a direct spin-off from this series).  I don't want it to come to an end!  Of course, I want to read the other series' that Riordan has started that are also set in the universe so I'm going to have to finish it eventually...


Last:


Standalone to date

Blurb:
"Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

With a forward by Markus Zusak, interviews with Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney, and four-color interior art throughout, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike."


I'm taking a diversity in YA literature class this semester in uni and this is one of the more recent books that we read (the most recent is technically Adult because of content).  The class has been taking up most of my reading time so a lot of what I read is going to be funneled into assignments for that class (which will hopefully mean that I'll incorporate a little more diversity into my reading repertoire!).  Regardless, I loved this book!  I haven't read many (if any) books about/centered around Native Americans so it was really interesting but also really heart-warming too.  I'll be publishing a review ASAP in a roundup with some of the other books I've been reading for the class.


Have you read either of these?  What are the first and last books you read in a specific genre (or other related topic)?  Make a post and link up down below!



Next Week's Topic: Best/Worst Book Read in February

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Review Wednesday: Children of the Morning by Shanna Lauffey


Chronicles of the Harekaiian #2

Blurb:
"The Time Shifters are in danger. Someone wants what they have and are willing to kill if necessary to get it.

Akalya couldn’t hide in the past forever. The time has come to untangle the threads of a conspiracy so sinister that her very life hangs in the balance, as well as the lives of all of her kind.

Compelled by her promise to help Marcus, the half-breed, to learn to control his abilities, Akalya is conflicted by the need to go underground to elude the rich entrepreneur who continues to seek out others of her kind that even Akalya doesn’t know about, and the mysterious researcher working behind the scenes who already came too close to dissecting her best friend.

Akalya cannot leave, but she cannot stay. Most of all she must see that no more of her kind breed mutants like Marcus, who could become a danger to them all."


Review:
Thank you to the author, Shanna Lauffey, for gifting me with a copy of Children of the Morning.  All opinions expressed are my own.

I read the first book in this series a little while ago and I enjoyed this one a little more.  I'm just really getting into this series!  There's still some vagueness like what I mentioned in my first review but it's remarkably better and everything is more distinct.

1.  The characters.  We keep the same cast of characters as in the first book and there aren't any more significant one's added which allowed the author to really dig into the existing character's personalities.  In the first book, they were just barely shaped but in this next installment, they're so much clearer.  I finally began to really understand the main character, Akalya, and her frame of mind.  I find it's best to get to know characters through simply immersing with them in their own story and the author did a fantastic job of doing that with her.  There are passages before the start of each chapter that are in Akalya's voice (first person) which really emphasized her time traveling abilities (they are written as though it's all in the past while currently in the future if that makes any sense) and her personality and also offsets the rest of the book which is in third-person omniscient.  There still remains a bit of shadow and murkiness around the two villain's, though, and their personal motivations.

2.  The plot.  This installment is probably my favorite so far because of much we get to know about Akalya's time shifting abilities and we get to watch her shift through time and distance repeatedly and in quick succession.  The plot is mainly about neutralizing/delaying the threat that the two villain's pose for the Time Shifters (they are capturing them and experimenting on them to gain a better understanding of their abilities and whether it can be taught or transferred to other people).  Once you get used to the constant shifts in time and wrap your brain around what's happening, it's really enjoyable and slightly addicting.  Personally, I haven't read that many books about time or time travel and honestly, it doesn't seem like there are many out there.  Suffice to say, this series is a good addition to the small subgenre.

3.  The romance.  This is one of my favorite parts of the whole book.  Yes, there is romance, but Akalya has lived with suspicion her whole life so consequently, there is no instalove in sight.  It's more of a slow burn romance; one where Akalya wants to learn more about Marcus before getting involved with him, even if she was attracted to him from the very start.  This serves as such a testament to both their character's and speaks to their motivations which I really enjoyed.

The Final Verdict:
While there is still some murkiness present that transferred from the first installment, the romance, character development of the MC, and the plot are all brilliantly executed.
4 stars

Sunday, February 18, 2018

2017 Wrap-Up (yet another year with a reading catastrophe)


Yes, yes I know I'm terribly late with this but better late than never, am I right?  You know those years where you have all the best intentions to fix all the mistakes of the previous year but then it doesn't really work out?  Yeah, that was 2017.  I didn't even get around to posting my resolutions so I don't really have anything to compare myself with.  Mostly, I just know I failed epically at the two challenges I set for myself in the beginning of the year.  But let's stop with all the doom and gloom; the year wasn't all bad.  I had a great rereading stint (even if it meant I wasn't reading new-to-me books...) which was really great and December was an awesome month for reading.  But let me stop talking at you and show you some stats!

Friday, February 16, 2018

50/50 Friday (72): Favorite/Least Favorite Family in a Book


50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!


Today's Topic: Favorite/Least Favorite Family in a Book

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Review Wednesday: In Search of Gods and Heroes by Sammy H.K. Smith


Children of Narowyn #1

Blurb:
"Buried in the scriptures of Ibea lies a story of rivalry, betrayal, stolen love, and the bitter division of the gods into two factions. This rift forced the lesser deities to pledge their divine loyalty either to the shining Eternal Kingdom or the darkness of the Underworld.
When a demon sneaks into the mortal world and murders an innocent girl to get to her sister Chaeli, all pretence of peace between the gods is shattered. For Chaeli is no ordinary mortal, she is a demi-goddess, in hiding for centuries, even from herself. But there are two divine brothers who may have fathered her, and the fate of Ibea rests on the source of her blood.
Chaeli embarks on a journey that tests her heart, her courage, and her humanity. Her only guides are a man who died a thousand years ago in the Dragon Wars, a former assassin for the Underworld, and a changeling who prefers the form of a cat.
The lives of many others – the hideously scarred Anya and her gaoler; the enigmatic and cruel Captain Kerne; the dissolute Prince Dal; and gentle seer Hana – all become entwined. The gods will once more walk the mortal plane spreading love, luck, disease, and despair as they prepare for the final, inevitable battle.
In Search of Gods and Heroes, Book One of Children of Nalowyn, is a true epic of sweeping proportions which becomes progressively darker as the baser side of human nature is explored, the failings and ambitions of the gods is revealed, and lines between sensuality and sadism, love and lust are blurred."


Friday, February 9, 2018

50/50 Friday (71): Favorite/Least Favorite Ships

50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!


Today's Topic: Favorite/Least Favorite Ships

Friday, February 2, 2018

50/50 Friday (70): Best/Worst Book Read in January

50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!


Today's Topic: Best/Worst Book Read in January


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