Second Person Narrative; Realistic Modern YA

We Are the GoldensWe Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was completely blown away by this story. I let this one sit on my shelf for quite a while because it didn’t really seem like the type of book I would read, but once I became desperate I finally read it and loved it! I love the way the author used second person speaking to the reader as if the reader is the narrator’s sister Layla.

The narrator is Nell who loves her sister Layla and always saw herself as the lesser sister.

Nell’s character really spoke to me because I loved my older sister and always felt like I was in her shadow. If I did anything she liked I was “copying” her even if I liked it. too. She was always better than me at most things.

Nell’s narration does ramble a little bit, especially at beginning, but it is interesting and is written how a fourteen year old thinks but in letter format (it has much better grammar and spelling and is much longer than any letter a fourteen year old would ever write), but the narration is still fascinating.

One of the most interesting things was seeing how much a secret stressed Nell. My sister and I share a fair amount, and I can’t imagine what I would do if my sister told me something like Layla told Nell.

I thought the relationships were well handled and the situations realistic. It was a very realistic story in both the setting and the character interactions showing people facing challenges of today’s society.

I loved this story and highly recommend it.

Spoilers contained in the following thoughts: I don’t often do spoilers, but I wanted to comment on two things. Number one, I loved how Nell ended up with Felix. I much prefer a guy friend become a romantic interest to some kind of cute guy she doesn’t really know hooking up with her. Number two, I loved the ending! It made it so that the book was about the stress of keeping the secret, not the blow out from the secret coming out. Its Nell explaining to her sister right before the meeting why she’s going to betray her sister’s trust and spill the secret. I loved how open the ending was left. Its very different from most books that will give you a ton of epilogues so that nothing about the ending is left for interpretation and imagination. I like being able to think about where the book is going. End Spoiler

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Random House Children’s in return for an honest review.

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Not Quite the Geek Book I Thought it Would Be

Doubt (Among Us, #1)Doubt by Anne-Rae Vasquez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this book because I read the word “programmer” in the blurb. Being a computer science major myself and a “geek” myself I love to read sci-fi fantasy books where the main character is a geek, a nerd, or a computer science person. I might just “geek out” a little when reading references to computers and programmers or “geek” pop culture.

All of this being said my geek side was slightly disappointed with the programming and the description of the game. There wasn’t really anything. I think the “Truth Seekers” game was a fantasy virtual reality game… but I’m not really sure. Most of the story was more focused on what was going on in the real world of the book. And, once I got past my minor disappointment that the book didn’t really expand on the virtual world, I found myself really enjoying the story. The plot was interesting and kept me guessing.

The twists in the book were amazing. I was completely caught off guard by the first one, and later ones still managed to surprise me. I found myself really enjoying this book.

I did have trouble figuring out exactly who was the main character at the beginning. That is why I rated this book as only four stars. Once I figured out who the main character was I enjoyed reading her perspective.

And the “geek” in me was satisfied every time a computer was messed with and by the very occupation of the main characters. The main characters are computer programmers after all, and I can’t help but love main characters that are programmers.

This is very much a blend of sci-fi fantasy. It is not for any hardcore science fiction readers as it is much closer to being fantasy set in the modern day world.

I enjoyed the book and recommend it for anyone that likes an modern books with a flair for the paranormal.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and AR Publishing in return for an honest review.

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Deception and Intrigue

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1)The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved the book. The main character was great, and the Mary E. Pearson had me deceived as to which guy was which (when I learned who each guy actually was I was so shocked I went back and re-read the book up to that point). I love it when an author can deceive me.

I normally hate love triangles. They do nothing for me and I just want the girl to pick a guy and stick with him. I actually put off reading the book because the blurb made me think “oh great, another terrible YA love triangle.”

But the book proved me wrong. The author expertly used the two “love interests” to create an interesting plot and to move the story. I don’t want to say much more for fear I will ruin this fun fantasy read.

I highly recommend reading this book, and I suggest not reading the description blurb. It makes the book seem like its going to be a blah and boring romance set in a fantasy world with a spoiled princess who runs away because she isn’t getting her way, but its not.

It’s much more complicated than that. The first two words that come to mind when thinking about this book are intrigue and deception. If you are thinking about reading it and on the fence; read it. You will enjoy this book.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group in return for an honest review.

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Fantastic Fantasy Sequel

Hunted (Dragonlands, #2)Hunted by Megg Jensen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an amazing read! Megg Jensen did a spectacular job on her world building and created a beautiful and dangerous world for her readers to escape to and enjoy in this second book of her Dragonlands series. I loved the world in the first book. I don’t often say this, but I think the second book was even better than the first book. She expanded the world she built in the first book allowing us to see so much more of this detailed world she designed with her amazing imagination.

I love stories that involve dragons. I love the stories where dragons are evil creatures of destruction and chaos, the stories where they are partners with humans=, and the stories where they are shape-shifters. Megg Jensen’s dragons combine all those elements. Some of the dragons are truly evil beasts and some aren’t. The diversity in the dragons is fascinating and makes it so that each dragon is an interesting character that can be an agent for good or evil, or just a neutral character. A dragons color though does seem to effect their personality a little, but that might simply be because of the limited number of dragons we have met or other extenuating circumstances. Needless to say, I love the dragons in this story. Dragons are amazing, and this story flawlessly envelopes them into the world.

I’ve gone on and on about the world, but I haven’t even gotten to the characters. The characters are great. They are well developed and have issues and complicated love interests that model real life and make the story all the more realistic and a wonderful book to escape to for a couple hours.

And the plot is so much fun! I don’t want to give away too much (because some people might be reading this without having read the first book yet, and if you haven’t read it you should go get a copy and read it), but let’s just say there are some interesting twists and developments. And the ending! I think I might have squealed a little with excitement for the next book when I read that ending.

Overall this was a wonderful second book, and built on the fine foundation of the first book producing an even better second book. I highly recommend this book (and all of Megg Jensen’s books if you haven’t read them yet).

I received an eARC of this book from Megg Jensen in return for my honest review. This is my honest opinion of the book.

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Language As Thick As Mud

The Word ExchangeThe Word Exchange by Alena Graedon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The beginning was very slow and hard to wade through. If I didn’t have a fairly good grasp of the English language and knowledge of latin it would have been even harder to read. As it was I was often stumbling across unfamiliar words. I felt slightly ashamed of myself for using the dictionary I downloaded for my kindle to look up the words because that is the premise of the word exchange, except you have to pay for each word.

I wouldn’t recommend this book to most of my friends because the tough vocabulary really does make it a book you have to work through. The English language falling apart is shown in the writing style of a character keeping a journal throughout the story which also makes this book a very hard read because you have to sit there deciphering the message of the story behind words you can barely understand. It really does show how important language is.

While I loved this book and the interesting (if slightly unrealistic) concepts, the book was very alarmist toward technology and communication devices. I love technology and look forward to a day where we can store excess memories in a computer chip attached to our brain or maybe we might be able to call each other just by thinking it.

Other than my issues with the “language flu” and the large vocabulary this was a really interesting read and I enjoyed it. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t mind wading through the language of the book.

I received a free ARC of this book from NetGalley and Doubleday books in return for an honest review.

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Not As Good As It Looked

Daynight (Daynight, #1)Daynight by Megan Thomason
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I loved the premise. I am a fan of young adult dystopian novels. This one has a fantastical element with the parallel opposite Earth. I love stories about people going through portals from Earth to other worlds.

The story was interesting, and I wanted to enjoy it. I read all the way to the end, and felt disappointed. The main characters ruined the story for me.

I wanted to like Kira. At first I thought I could like her, but the farther I got into the book the less I liked her. She didn’t react to what you expected her to react to, and she was obsessed with every male and they all seemed to love her in return. She was hot and hailed as a future queen of this place.

And the obsession with cleaving and babies! This seventeen year old girl and all the other teenagers around her seem to think of nothing else. And then they go and implant her children in a bunch of other people. You do too much of that and your society has issues with incest.

The writing from three perspectives also bothered me. I like to have one perspective I am reading from. The way the author made the male perspective different was she used it for info dumps and didn’t really show much of what was happening.

Blake was more developed as a character than any of the other characters, but I couldn’t really like him because he came off as a sleeze bag.

Ethan was just kind of there, and though he was yet another hot male pining after the main character, he wasn’t very well developed.

I could see where people would like this book. I loved the concept and I actually enjoyed the plot. I just really couldn’t stand the characters and the romance, and for me that brought the book down from a potential four star book to a two star book.

I received an eARC of this book in the anthology “What Tomorrow May Bring” in return for an honest review.

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A Slow Start

Loki's Wolves (The Blackwell Pages, #1)Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book took me awhile to get into. It might be because I had a lot of programming projects I was working on, but if a book draws me in I normally can’t stop reading till I finish, and the beginning of this book did not draw me in.

Later in the story I did become obsessed, but it took awhile. It reminded me of Riordin’s Percy Jackson series except not quite as good.

The character growth and interactions were well created, and the story line was interesting. It felt like a young adult book with younger characters instead of a children’s book.

I really had trouble deciding how to rate this book. I loved the second half of the book, but had so much trouble starting this book. I decided to give it a 3.5 because I couldn’t decide between a three and a four.

By the end of the book I was curious to see what would happen and mildly tempted to buy the next book.

I would suggest this book to middle school readers that like modern fantasy (readers of Riordin’s Percy Jackson books would love this book).

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in return for an honest review.

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