Welcome to yAdult Review, a space where two girls review novels from across the genres, from YA and MG, to fantasy and sci-fi, to historical fiction and mystery, with a sprinkling of non-fiction too. We hope you enjoy your stay here as much as we enjoy ours.

Tag Archives: author: white

18527495In the Shadows Kiersten White & Jim Di Bartolo (Illustrations)
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: ALAMW2014
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

From the remarkable imagination of acclaimed artist Jim Di Bartolo and the exquisite pen of bestselling author Kiersten White comes a spellbinding story of love, mystery, and dark conspiracy, told in an alternating narrative of words and pictures.

Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house. Their father is gone. The woman up the hill may or may not be a witch.

Thomas and Charles are brothers who’ve been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt. They think they can escape from it . . . but they can’t. – Goodreads

Review:

As of writing this, this book is a 2o14 stand out for me. Told via two different mediums, text and illustrations it is genius. Di Bartolo’s illustrations are lush and luxurious and I want more of them. Which is awesome, cause he is good at his job. Tie that in with White’s prose, which I always love, I adored this book. It is not what I would consider a typical “Ashley” book but at the same time, typical Ashley books haven’t been working for me. I DNF 5+ books this month.

What works about this book is the fact that the illustrations and the text are two separate stories. This is not an adult picture book, or even a comic book. You root for the characters in the illustrations, the main characters in the written story, there is evil, romance, there are things I cannot even discuss because HELLO SPOILERS. But it works. The art is also completely luscious which works for this in ARC form and I cannot wait to see it in print form, because the print ARC is that delicious.

The main problem with this book is the fact you cannot actually discuss it without spoiling anything about it. Which, I know #firstworldproblem, but go read this book! ASAP!


12578370Perfect Lies (Mind Games #2) by Kiersten White
Release Date: February 18, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Annie and Fia are ready to fight back.

The sisters have been manipulated and controlled by the Keane Foundation for years, trapped in a never ending battle for survival. Now they have found allies who can help them truly escape. After faking her own death, Annie has joined a group that is plotting to destroy the Foundation. And Fia is working with James Keane to bring his father down from the inside.

But Annie’s visions of the future can’t show her who to trust in the present. And though James is Fia’s first love, Fia knows he’s hiding something. The sisters can rely only on each other – but that may not be enough to save them. – Goodreads

Review:

I happliy reviewed the first book in this series here. Which is why it will come to no surprise when I saw this on Edelweiss I knew I had to read it. This book picks up very quickly after the first one ends. It has the same narrators, Annie and Fia, and has the same dual timeline. While the dual timeline got old for me after awhile, the dual point of view didn’t. I enjoyed Fia’s sarcasm, and Annie continuously being Annie. White even through in a Hunger Games reference which was spot on for this year of pop culture.

There is a heavier mention of boys in this book, with James for Fia and Adam for Annie, but I spent the whole book questioning both of them. Which is weird for me. I tend to trust White’s love interests ASAP, but these two sent off my DANGER WILL ROBINSON vibe for most of the book. Particularly when James called Fia “pet.” It made me shudder, every. single. time. Hint for men out there, call me “Pet” I will bitch face you. Not even lovingly. Just a flat out bitch face.

This story seemed all about Annie and Fia becoming more confident in who they are. Which was a nice change from the first book, where they were clearly, and understandably not sure. This book also showed a side of both characters where it was better to be content with who you are than who you should be.

This book is much, much stronger than the first. There is absolutely no question about that.  I am still a firm believer that this duology should have been one book. It would have worked and flowed easier if it was one book, but it is a solid sequel. I continue to look forward to what White has to bring to the YA table.


terThe Emerald Ring (Cleopatra’s Legacy #1) by Dorine White
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Source: NetGalley
Rating: DNF
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Ordinary tween life turns upside down when Ancient Egypt intrudes on modern middle school life. Twelve year old Sara Guadalupe Bogus reads about adventures, but unexpectedly is drawn into one when a mystical emerald ring that once belonged to Cleopatra becomes stuck on her finger.
A series of burglaries spook Sara’s small Ohio hometown. Concluding that the root of all the crimes is the emerald ring, Sara realizes it’s up to her and her friends, Heidi and African exchange student Kainu, to save the town and protect Cleopatra’s legacy. Filled with magic, the ring thrusts Sara into a world filled with nightmares, allows her to shape shift into an Egyptian cat and battle assassins.

Review:
So it’s a well-known fact that I love middle grade and mythology. Reincarnated gods in the modern world is one of the best ideas ever, in my opinion. I love pretty much all of it. I have to admit though, Egyptology has never been my thing. I like the Greek gods and the Celts. I identify with the Egyptian reverence for the black cat, but otherwise my mythological interest lean more Western. I don’t know if this is why I’ve had a hard time enjoying either Cleopatra book I’ve read this year or what. My main issue with this one is it’s written very immaturely. It’s less middle-grade, more children’s, in my opinion (and yes, there is a difference). So I stopped reading this one at 10%. It wasn’t for me, and reading it was starting to feel like getting teeth pulled. Unfortunately, this one gets added to my DNF pile.


12578305The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
Release Date:September 10, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: ALA 2013
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up.

Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She’s also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can’t be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she’s a mere mortal.

Isadora’s sick of living a life where she’s only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora’s quickly finding that a “normal” life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there’s no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can’t shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all.– Goodreads

Review:
Let’s get this out of the way. Isadora is not a nice person. It is hard to relate to her and want to read about her because she is that much of a strong, stubborn, mean girl. Her parents barely know she’s around, she doesn’t relate to anyone she lives with, she takes this out on everyone. White created a mean girl. A well fleshed-out mean girl, but for part for the book you will want to shake her. Particularly when Isadora uses gems such as “Whore-us” for Horus, and talks about how his wife, Hathor, is essentially a drunken floozy.

Here’s the thing. Hathor is the Goddess of beer and sex.  I have problems calling anyone a drunken floozy, but if one is the goddess of beer and sex, I bet that you’re going to like, and even enjoy, BEER AND SEX. Crazy, I know.

This made it harder for me to enjoy Isadora, because she was overly juvenile at points. Yes, her parents barely acknowledged her in her giant family, and that is going to hurt, but there comes an age when you realize that and adapt to become a better, stronger person. Then she gets shipped to her brother’s, and at the airport she judges everyone for essentially having no culture and being superficial. Yes. Judging isn’t superficial at all (and this is coming from someone who enjoys people watching).

While there is the background of Egypt, most of the novel takes place in San Diego, CA where Isadora finds a group of friends and learns that her brother has been keeping secrets of his own. All of them grew on me, I enjoyed the story and the characters, and wanted more. What I didn’t enjoy was this novel built up to a great climax scene…that never happened.

The big scene never happened and all the questions I had through the book weren’t answered. I understand all books don’t come with a neat happy bow ending all the time, but with this being a stand alone I was hoping for that BIG scene. I was hoping for answers on how two Gods had a human child every 20 years. While I did enjoy the novel, and I’m glad to see White has strengthened her writing, I was still disappointed by my unanswered questions.


Top Ten Tuesday is a new thing we are trying at yAdultReview, because, well why not? Plus, we know Ashley loves her some lists, and Tina just likes Ashley being happy, so ta-da!  For our blog generally Ashley will be number 1-5, and Tina will be 6-10. (Tina would like to make it known that as Queen of Angst, this one was really hard.)

In the words of The Broke and the Bookish who host the feature:

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

  1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Oh Stephanie Perkins you own my fluffy heart. Which I know198838 pains Tina because Tina doesn’t do fluff at all in comparison to me. But Stephanie is my go to person for happy fluffy thing. Plus she was super nice in person which made me love her books even more.
  2. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. Another fluffy find. Evie is so much fun! And snarky! And a fan of pink (which okay, I’m not) but it still an over all good read.
  3. Chowder by Peter Brown. You all should be really happy that I didn’t list all of mine as picture books. Picture books hold a special place in my heart from childhood, to children books I devoured when I worked at a public library and I couldn’t put them down. This is a more recent picture book that is beyond perfect.
  4. Trial by Journal by Kate Klise. I know. I know, I’ve mentioned this book before, but I still love and adore it. It is one of my favorite middle grade books.
  5. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Yes. The movie wasn’t remotely perfect. But to me, the book is. It’s so nice and happy and a classic retelling.
  6. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. I loved this novel so much more than is characteristic of me, because Evie was badass and funny and the Fae were sufficiently creepy, and Raquel had all her different sighs. Loved this one.
  7. Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman. Snarky historical fiction following around a girl who repeatedly sabotages her father’s attempts to marry her off? Perfect! This one is middle-grade, and I loved it so when I was growing up.
  8. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I hate fluff and romance for the sake of romance and a plot driven solely by romance, and I have my issues with Perkins’ novels, but they always make me feel good at the end.
  9. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. I love Percy Jackson. I credit him with getting me into the YA of now. There are trials in the Percy Jackson novels, but the original five are more funny than anything else, and watching Percy stumble his way through being a child of Poseidon is always a fun experience for me.
  10. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I am a Sherlock Holmes fangirl. I love RDJ’s Sherlock, I love Laurie R. King’s Sherlock, and I love the original the most. The mysteries aren’t always tied up with a perfect bow, but they help me escape for awhile into a simpler time in England with Watson and the intrepid detective.

Top Ten Tuesday is a new thing we are trying at yAdultReview, because, well why not? Plus, we know Ashley loves her some lists, and Tina just likes Ashley being happy, so ta-da!  For our blog generally Ashley will be number 1-5, and Tina will be 6-10.

In the words of The Broke and the Bookish who host the feature:

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

  1. The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot. I have been a big fan of Meg Cabot for as long as I can remember. This YA series of her is an amazing YA series that is often overlooked by people. The story of Suze is just *sigh* it’s bittersweet, heartbreaking, but perfect all at the same time.
  2. Trial by Journal by Kate Klise. I love and adore this grade/middle school book. Told from the point of ajournal student who is forced to serve on a jury with drawings and story telling. The book made me have a strong middle grade period of reading that has been recently reignited. 
  3. Holes by Louis Sachar. Sachar has always held a special spot of my childhood. I remember going to the library and gobbling up all the books that he had wrote. This being one that I most remember of course.
  4. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. This is one of the first books I remember my mom and dad reading to me before bed, which is probably why I hold these so special to my heart.
  5. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. As a child who grew up in Wisconsin these books were part of my childhood. To say that is actually a bit of an understatement. These books were my childhood. I knew them backwards and forwards. I saw them acted out 100s of times and they are still one of my favorite series.
  6. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I love Jane Austen, but I don’t love Pride and Prejudice. It’s my least favorite of her novels. I just never liked Lizzie Bennet OR Darcy. They drove me equally crazy. Elinor Dashwood, on the other hand, was so nice to read about. Sensible, long-suffering, selfless, Elinor is just the best. She deals so well with Marianne’s flightiness, and Edward’s seeming rejection of Elinor is dealt with with a lot of grace. I was really happy for her at the end. There is, of course, a moral to the story, as there is with all Austen novels, and the way she skewers regency society is just the best.
  7. The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier. Back before I discovered YA (or before it became a thing, I guess), I read mostly fantasy and historical fiction. Tracy Chevalier has never let me down once, but this one is definitely my favorite of her offerings. She weaves the history and the story so well, it’s hard to believe it didn’t actually happen that way. The fact that the artist is called “des Innocents” when he is really anything but was hilarious to me. And the way she described the weaver’s craft was fascinating. This is the only book by Chevalier that I don’t own. I should get on that.
  8. Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop. Really, the whole Black Jewels trilogy (there are something like 10 47956books in the series now, but the original trilogy is the best). I realize now that it’s basically a paranormal romance novel, but back when I first read this as a sophomore in high school, it was racy and erotic and almost real. The sexism in Terreille, the broken down matriarchal society,  rang true to me in a big way. There are also rapes and horrible maiming, and Anne Bishop does such a good job giving those two horrible things their due. Her worldbuilding is fantastic. There’s more to this trilogy than romance.
  9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Really, what can I say about this that hasn’t already been said (or that I myself haven’t already said)? Suzanne Collins does such a good job mixing different elements of society and morals in this tale, and her worldbuilding is also great. Katniss is one of my favorite heroines. Collins can write such good doubtful heroine, and the horror that I felt reading about Katniss’s first turn in the area is something that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I remember leaving this novel shipping Katniss and Gale. Oh, how things change!
  10. Wake by Lisa McMann. I don’t think a list of books can go by on this blog without the mention of Lisa McMann. This was the first book I ever read by her, and I loved it to death. Janie Hannagan is badass, capable, and heartbreaking all at once. She is one of the strongest YA heroines I have ever read about. And Cabel’s life is just as hard, and he is just as emotionally bruised. I loved their interactions, how they navigated this unknown world of friendship and attraction, and how the backdrop of their lower-class status lent itself to their characters and impressions. Still my favorite Lisa McMann novel to date.

mindgamesMind Games (Mind Games #1) by Kiersten White
Release Date: February 19, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways… or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost. – Goodreads

Review:
Oh this book. As soon as I received this ARC I debated between losing my mind and trying to not get my hopes up. I loved and adored White’s Paranormalcy series. The voice in that series was witty and snarky and spot on, to me. I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews on Mind Games but I heard it was darker, a different side of White. After reading it, I can tell you, I had nothing to fear.

Yes, Mind Games is darker, and completely different than Paranormalcy but at the heart of it, it is still White and her writing. Mind Games is the story of Fia and Annie, sisters who couldn’t be completely different from each other. Fia’s instincts are always right and Annie, is blind, yet is often gripped by visions that control her life the same way Fia’s instincts control her. This book is told from the point of view of both sisters, and is told from the past and the present. While it sounds confusing, and for a bit it is, it works. It works extremely well for this book, by the end everything ties together with just enough hanging that makes you want the second novel now.

While I would have loved and adored to find out more about the espionage school, I was so caught up in Fia and Annie that I didn’t mind. I spent most of the book going back and forth on who annoyed me more in the book, but if anything that is a testament to White’s writing of a sisterly relationship. Family relationships are never Leave it to Beaver perfect and while using dual point of view White illustrates that while the sisters are often mad and frustrated at each other, at the end of the day they love each other and no one knows them better then each other.

At 250 pages this is an extremely quick read and while the end is the perfect ending for this novel, you will want the second one to see what happens next.