After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined. – Goodreads
Oh, YA fantasy, you never fail to NOT SURPRISE ME AT ALL. This was recommended to me awhile ago and I couldn’t get into it at the time (burn burnout is LEGIT), but it’s been so long that I figured I’d try again. And I enjoyed it. But I also rolled my eyes the whole time. So the thing with YA, as I’m sure all of you know, is you often have to suspend your disbelief a little. Or a lot. Enough to accept that the most feared assassin in the land is 18 years old and obsessed with fashion. The standard YA protag has dozens of boys after her and some impossible qualities and weird interests. This book is sort of what I imagine is under the definition of “impossible YA.” Celaena is impossible. She’s a character that could not possibly exist, but the world she’s in makes it possible for her to. She’s also apparently Special (some kind of fairy was my guess), and she’s also the Person Who Can Save The World. Well, of course she is. It wouldn’t be fantasy without a one-dimensional Big Bad, an evil force, or something of that nature, going up against an Assassin with a Heart of Gold. Around the three-quarter mark, I lost interest a bit, but that has more to do with me than this book; it happens a lot. But around three-quarters is when the action might have started picking up, and it just…didn’t.
So. I had misgivings about all the tropes in this one, but I still liked it. I liked Celaena because she wasn’t some mousy, timid, doesn’t-know-she’s-beautiful type. She’s vain, mouthy, arrogant, and very very proud of her abilities and status. She has a softer side and a lot of pain and regret, so she’s a somewhat well-rounded character. I also liked Chaol, for reasons mostly unknown, or maybe I just liked him more than I liked Dorian. Hell, I liked Kaltain more than I liked Dorian. Dorian has his own issues, but he’s still about as deep as a mud puddle. I liked the writing and the pacing, even though the book is a little long (and I hear they just get looooonger). I also would have liked to see a little of Celaena actually assassinating people instead of just telling us all about how she used to assassinate people, but this book is not about that, it’s about this weird love triangle, and supposedly it’s about the quest to become Champion, even though we all know right off the bat that Celaena is going to win. In all, I found this one to be pretty standard, typical YA fantasy, which is probably why it’s so popular. The standard formula works and appeals to lots of people. I just wish Celaena could take some pointers from Ismae or Sybella.
I just found this to be SO BORING. It took me almost two months to read and I had to force myself to do it. I got stuck at the three-quarter mark and just couldn’t force myself to finish. I eventually had to quit. I read something like 4 or 5 books in between putting this down and picking it back up. I love fantasy, but I didn’t love this.
Running away from home isn’t as easy as Ren thinks it will be. At least she isn’t running very far-just a few miles to the ghost town of Fortune . . . or Mis-Fortune as everyone else calls it. Mis-Fortune on the Mississippi. Supposedly, there’s an abandoned school on the outskirts with cheap rooms for rent. Ren knows her plan sounds crazy. But with only a few more weeks until Dad comes home from his tour of duty in Afghanistan, she also knows she has to do something drastic so Mom will come to her senses and stop seeing that creep Rick Littleton, the creep she promised she would stop seeing but didn’t, for good.
From the moment she enters the school’s shadowy halls, Ren finds herself drawn into its secrets. Every night old Mrs. Baxter, the landlady, wanders the building on a mysterious quest. What could she be up to? And can Mrs. Baxter’s outlandish plan to transform the gym into a pearl-button museum ever succeed? With a quirky new friend named Hugh at her side, Ren sets out to solve the mystery that could save Fortune from fading away. But what about her family’s future? Can that be saved too?– Goodreads
I feel Finding Fortune could have been really, really good, but it just didn’t work for me. From pacing, to characters, to setting I could not find myself able to get through it. I wanted to know the answers to the questions that had been posed. But after two months of trying to read Finding Fortune I decided it was time to put it aside. I may come back to it later because I was enjoying it. Just not enough.
Star Wars: Episode IV a New Hope: Being the Story of Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and the Rise of the Rebellion (Star Wars Illustrated Novels #1) by Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Disney LucasFilm Press
Source: Audio from library
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound
The galaxy is at war.
Although the Rebel Alliance has won a few battles against the Empire, hope is fading. The Empire is about to unveil the greatest weapon the galaxy has ever seen–the Death Star. The Rebels’ only chance to defeat it now lies in the unlikely hands of a princess, a scoundrel, and a farm boy….– Goodreads
I’m going to say something…taboo. I’m not a big Star Wars person. I know. Sacrilege. How can I live this life. However, this past summer when I had a chance to go to LucasFilms when I was in San Francisco, HECK YES I went. And I got it. I got the love of Star Wars. I also got excited about Alexandra Bracken’s newest book in the universe.
Star Wars: Episode IV a New Hope: Being the Story of Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and the Rise of the Rebellion is a retelling of Episode IV, from four points of view. Where this story shined for me is the fact I listened to this as an audiobook. With two narrators and sound effects I felt like I was there, in the middle of all the action and I wanted more. I think this story will be good for people who are beginners of the series.
When a woman’s body is found in a Portland park, suspicion falls on an awkward kid who lives only a hundred feet away, a teen who collects knives, loves first-person shooter video games, and obsessively doodles violent scenes in his school notebooks. Nick Walker goes from being a member of Portland’s Search and Rescue team to the prime suspect in a murder, his very interest in SAR seen as proof of his fascination with violence. How is this even possible? And can Alexis and Ruby find a way to help clear Nick’s name before it’s too late?
April Henry weaves another page-turning, high stakes mystery in Book 2 of the Point Last Seen series. – Goodreads
One of my favorite books of 2014, was The Body in the Woods, however Blood Will Tell was not one of my favorites of 2015. Unfortunately the love and appeal of the series that Henry had suck me into this series did not carry through this book for me. Blood Will Tell actually fell extremely flat. From the multiple POVs, to the story line, I unfortunately stopped caring. I was actually planning on finishing it, but I put it down and never remembered to pick it back up. I may pick it up again, but it won’t be anytime soon. I am interested in what happens to Nick, and probably wouldn’t have minded if this whole book was from his point of view, that may have helped the pacing for me.
Fans of John Green and Matthew Quick: Get ready to die laughing.
“Denton Little’s Deathdate” takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day on which they will die. For Denton, that’s in just two days–the day of his senior prom.
Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. First hangover. First sex. First love triangle–as the first sex seems to have happened not with his adoring girlfriend, but with his best friend’s hostile sister. (Though he’s not totally sure–see, first hangover.) His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is “this” what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton’s long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters. . . . Suddenly Denton’s life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers.
Debut author Lance Rubin takes us on a fast, furious, and outrageously funny ride through the last hours of a teenager’s life as he searches for love, meaning, answers, and (just maybe) a way to live on. – Goodreads
I’m not sure why I put this on hold at the library but I believe if I would have read the blurb I probably would not have put it on hold. The whole “fans of John Green” generally puts me off. Sad but true. And there was nothing wrong with this particular book; however, it is very clearly not an Ashley novel. It is an interesting concept though, what would you do if you knew what day you were going to die? Would that change anything?
As an audiobook this was fascinating because so many parts are painfully awkward and actually listening to them was painful, which made the book and the soon to be death…real. While I did enjoy Denton’s friendships, particularly with his BFF Paolo, I just was not overly drawn into the story. From the purple mark that was covering Denton and his friends, to the fact I ended the book with more questions than answers. That being said, the friendship between Denton and Paolo was so painfully real that I would love to have more of them.
Part Hitchcock, part Hinton, this first-ever stand-alone novel from Heather Brewer, New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series, uses classic horror elements to tell a darkly funny coming-of-age story about the dangerous power of belief and the cost of blind loyalty.
When Stephen’s dad says they’re moving, Stephen knows it’s pointless to argue. They’re broke from paying Mom’s hospital bills, and now the only option left is to live with Stephen’s grandmother in Spencer, a backward small town that’s like something out of The Twilight Zone. Population: 814.
Stephen’s summer starts looking up when he meets punk girl Cara and her charismatic twin brother, Devon. With Cara, he feels safe and understood—and yeah, okay, she’s totally hot. In Devon and his group, he sees a chance at making real friends. Only, as the summer presses on, and harmless nights hanging out in the cemetery take a darker turn, Stephen starts to suspect that Devon is less a friend than a leader. And he might be leading them to a very sinister end. . . . – Goodreads
The Cemetery Boys is my first Heather Brewer novel and unfortunately while I believe every book has a reader, I am not this books reader. I am also in a mood where I don’t like any book. But that is my own thing I’m dealing with. The Cemetery Boys is the story of Stephen, a boy who just had to move to a random, small town that no one lives in (really, population is 814..or now 816.) Stephen makes it very clear that it is a backwards town and he feels very uncomfortable there, which I understood because reading about the town made me extremely uncomfortable.
But that uncomfortable town, and Stephen’s backstory explain why Stephen makes a lot of the choices that he chooses. He really is just trying to survive, even if that is making obvious poor life choices. He’s still a teenagers and teenagers make poor life choices. Hell, adults make poor life choices. It’s a good book and extremely relate-able, it just didn’t work for me.
Posted by ashley in Book Review Tags: 2 star, 3 star, audiobook, author: brewer, author: henry, dnf, genre: contemporary, genre: mystery, genre: young adult, mini review, publisher: harperteen, publisher: henry holt
Isa, Xavi, Peter, and Finn know that a job at the high-end Waterside Cafe isn’t just about waiting tables. It’s about the gossip, the hook-ups, the after-hours parties and, most of all, it’s about Tips.
Tips–the high-stakes game based on dares. Whoever completes the most dares wins the collected money. A sum that could change a wasted summer into a Summer to Remember.
Isa is the new girl with an embarrassing secret, and as long as she stays on top of her game, she sees no reason why anyone could ever find out.
Xavi will do anything for the money…absolutely anything.
Peter, Xavi’s stepbrother, has been in love with her for years, and he thinks the game is the perfect time to confess his feelings.
Finn is in the game just for the thrill. He has enough tips coming in to keep him happy…even if those tips come with some conditions.
From seduction to stealing to threats, the dares are a complete free-for-all, and only the best can win.
The sophisticated Waterside Cafe is anything but classy behind the scenes…and things are about to get dirty. – Goodreads
After Hours is the story of Isa, Xavi, Peter and Finn who all work at the Waterside Cafe and partake in an after hours game called Tips. And that is where After Hours falls flat for me. Kennedy really never went deep into what Tips is about, while the blurb lead me to believe that After Hours was going to be about Tips it wasn’t. It was about the four characters. I do not mind a character driven novel, not at all; I LOVE THEM! however, because the flap jacket lead me to believe that After Hours was going to be about tips was a bit of a disappointment.
What also didn’t work for me was the multiple POVs. I never was able to get a feel on the characters and quickly they all started to blend together, even though all four characters have extremely different diverse backgrounds.
I wanted to enjoy After Hours, really I did, but After Hours fell extremely flat for me. I feel with the multiple point of views I should have been able to get a better handle on the characters, but I never did. They all blurred together for me and reminded me why I do not enjoy multiple POVs and at 37% I decided to finally quit because I really did have enough.
Dream a Little Dream (Silber #1) by Kerstin Gier
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Source: ARC provided by publisher! (Thank you!!)
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound
Mysterious doors with lizard-head knobs. Talking stone statues. A crazy girl with a hatchet. Yep, Liv’s dreams have been pretty weird lately. Especially this one where she’s in a graveyard at night, watching four boys perform dark magic rituals. The really weird thing is that Liv recognizes the boys in her dream. They’re classmates from her new school in London, the school where’s she’s starting over because her mom has moved them to a new country (again). But they seem to know things about her in real life that they couldn’t possibly know, which is mystifying. Then again, Liv could never resist a good mystery. . . . – Goodreads
While I haven’t read Gier’s other series, I was fascinated about this book after I read the blurb. Mysterious doors. Talking statues. Crazy girls with hatchets. Sign me up! Because Gier had to spend a bit of time world building, I got bored quickly. I put this book down with the plan to pick it back up a little bit later and I never came back to it. Months later when I was checking goodreads, I knew if I went back to it I would have to start from the beginning and I don’t have time for that sadly.
Quinn is looking forward to her senior year at Poe University. She has big plans to hang out with her best friend, flirt with a certain boy genius, party at her favorite dive bar and figure out what she’s going to do after graduation with her not-so-useful art major. But that’s before she meets Luke, a hot townie who’s moved back home to help take care of his dying sister. And it’s before a weird epidemic sweeps across campus, mysteriously turning people’s eyes purple.
Is it an odd side effect from a new party drug?
Is it a rogue virus developed in a campus lab?
Is it the mark of the devil?
Soon the town starts blaming the university and the student religious group becomes frighteningly aggressive in their on-campus accusations. Quinn and Luke are caught in the middle—until a tragic accident forces Luke to reveal the one part of himself he’s kept carefully hidden. That he’s so much more than the happy-go-lucky boy next door Quinn had believed him to be isn’t a surprise…but this truth might be too dangerous for her to handle – Goodreads
Nope. Nope. Nooooope. This didn’t work for me on page 1 and 30 pages later it still made me rage. I have no regrets stopping this.
Review: I tried to pick it up a few times and every time I just could not find myself to care. There are too many books in the world for me to read/care about. This was not one of them.
Review: Never jumped off the page and excited me. It annoyed me more than anything. I may go back and pick it up in the future, but at the moment with my long TBR pile there are too many books out there.
Review: I made it to 12% and was bored out of my mind. Maybe it’s wrong book, wrong time. I may come back to it later. But there were so many side stories it was hard to stay concentrated.
In a weird turn of event, I started to DNF books this year. Because of that, I am going to do a round up this month, because maybe you read one and enjoyed one and could tell me WHAT DID I MISSSS?!
Reason: DNF at page 121.
I was bored and stopped caring. While the tagline had me excited, the actual book did not. I would think of coming back to the book; however, right now, I was bored out of my mind and had no interest in continuing on.
Reason: DNF at page 111.
The writing never worked for me and that made it hard for me to get into the story. I have no problems admitting that I would have bought this book based on the cover, but man did the story bore me. Gillies created realistic characters who acted like teenagers but that also made me hate them because she had them talk in phrases that no teenager uses. By page 111 I had to put the book down and move on. Old Ashley would have continued on, but I no longer could. I then skimmed to the end and continued to hate my life because seriously that was the ending? NO. NO. NO.
(I understand the ending fits with the story and what Gillies may have been trying to prove, but I was not in the mood for it. Not one bit.)
The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike #1) by Robert Galbraith
Release Date: April 30th 2013
Publisher: Mullholland Books
I wanted to enjoy this book. I enjoy mysteries. The story sounded good to me. But after listening to 3/15 tracks I was bored out of my mind and didn’t even care to try and catch up.
Posted by ashley in Book Review Tags: author: galbraith, author: gillies, author: lloyd-jones, dnf, genre: contemporary, genre: paranormal, genre: romance, genre: young adult, publisher: farrar straus giroux, publisher: little brown byr, publisher: mullholland