Book Review: Lost Stars – Lisa Selin Davis

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Title: Lost Stars (2016)
Author: Lisa Selin Davis
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 272 pages
Release Date: October 16, 2016
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Goodreads Description

In the aftermath of her older sister’s death, sixteen-year-old Carrie is taken under the wings of her sister’s friends, and finds herself forsaking the science nerds of her former life and slipping into a daze of cheap beer and recreational drugs. Carrie – a talented guitar player and obsessive tracker of the coming Vira comet – is partying hard and fooling around with boys she doesn’t even like, even though she’s desperate for a boyfriend.

Her mother, enveloped by grief at the loss of her eldest child, has retreated to a monastery in the Catskills that requires a vow of silence. With her family splintered apart, Carrie is overcome at times by uncontrollable rages and her father decides to send her to a boot camp for wayward teens. Compounding the shame, and to her horror, she is forced to wear work boots and a hard hat – boy poison.

Then she meets Dean, a fellow musician and refugee from his own dark past. Throughout the summer Carrie learns more about Dean, about her sister’s death, about her own family’s past, and about herself…as well as about the Bee Gees, disco and the difference between wood and sheet-rock screws. Through love, music and her precious comet – and no small help from Lou Reed – Carrie fumbles her way through the complex web of tragedies and misunderstandings, to the heart of who she is and who she wants to be.

Review

Despite the really beautiful cover and the potentially heartbreaking premise, Lost Stars did not engage me at all. I actually picked it up multiple times over a number of weeks, waiting for that moment of utter attention to strike, but after perhaps the fifth time I just gave up because it just never happened. Had this not been a review book, unfortunately, I probably would’ve DNFed it pretty early on.

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Book Review: The Serpent King – Jeff Zentner

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Title: The Serpent King (2016)
Author: Jeff Zentner
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 384 pages
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

The only antidote to all this venom is his friendship with fellow outcasts Travis and Lydia. But as they are starting their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. Dill’s only escapes are his music and his secret feelings for Lydia neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, he must cope with another ending one that will rock his life to the core.

Review

I’ve seen this book around ages ago but never really planned to read it until I saw Marie’s review and knew, without a doubt, that I had to pick it up. A quiet, hopeful contemporary with distinct characters is right up my alley, so I got the book as soon as I could and started reading right then and there. Instantly, I was sucked into the story.

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Book Review: Scythe – Neal Shusterman

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Title: Scythe (2016)
Series: Arc of a Scythe – Book 1
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian Fiction
Extent: 448 pages
Release Date: November 22, 2016
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed (“gleaned”) by professional reapers (“scythes”). Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythe’s apprentices, and—despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation—they must learn the art of killing and come to understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice. And when it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to glean the loser, Citra and Rowan are pitted against one another in a fight for their lives.

Review

So, funny story: I started writing this review quite a few weeks after finishing it, fully intending to give it a half-star lower than what I ended up, and as I was writing, I realised just how much I really enjoyed this book. The flaws I thought were flaws began to minimise, while things I loved expanded and took centre stage. Somehow, Scythe is the book I always wanted to read but never knew I wanted to read. Interesting, isn’t it, how a book can do that to you? 🤔

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Book Review: Twisted Palace – Erin Watt

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Title: Twisted Palace (2016)
Series: The Royals – Book 3
Author: Erin Watt (Elle Kennedy, Jen Frederick)
Publisher: Everafter Romance
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 370 pages
Release Date: October 17, 2016
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

Ella Harper has met every challenge that life has thrown her way. She’s tough, resilient, and willing to do whatever it takes to defend the people she loves, but the challenge of a long-lost father and a boyfriend whose life is on the line might be too much for even Ella to overcome.

Reed Royal has a quick temper and even faster fists. But his tendency to meet every obstacle with violence has finally caught up with him. If he wants to save himself and the girl he loves, he’ll need to rise above his tortured past and tarnished reputation.

No one believes Ella can survive the Royals. Everyone is sure Reed will destroy them all. They may be right.

With everything and everyone conspiring to keep them apart, Ella and Reed must find a way to beat the law, save their families, and unravel all the secrets in their Twisted Palace.

Review

So… The Royals is one of those New Adult series that I actually follow quite closely. I read the first two books in two days, thought they were super addictive, and couldn’t wait to get into this one, especially because of that deadly cliffhanger at the end of Broken Prince. This review will contain spoilers for both Paper Princess and Broken Prince, so please tread with caution. 🙂

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Book Review: The Diabolic – S. J. Kincaid

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Title: The Diabolic (2016)
Author: S. J. Kincaid
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Extent: 416 pages
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

Review

The Diabolic is the story of Nemesis, an artificial creature created specifically to the person she is chemically bonded with. Her entire life is devoted to Sidonia, a senator’s daughter, and when she has to impersonate Sidonia as the Emperor’s hostage to protect her, she does so completely willingly, even knowing that she might be walking straight into her death.

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