April 30, 2015

Winger (Winger #1) - Andrew Smith

April 30, 2015
by Andrew Smith
Illustrated by Sam Bosma
Series: Winger #1
Publication: Simon & Schuster on 
Format: Paperback, 464 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Coming of Age, Humor, Sports

Jacket copy:
Ryan Dean West's life is complicated.  He's a fourteen-year-old junior at Pine Mountain, a boarding school for rich kids.  He's stuck rooming with the biggest jerk on the rugby team in the dorm for miscreants and troublemakers.  And he's totally in love with his best friend, Annie, who thinks of him as a little kid.  As Ryan Dean tries to get a handle on school, life, and rugby, he finds himself muddling through a lot of decisions and making some major mistakes along the way.  But nothing can prepare him for what comes next.  And when the unthinkable happens, Ryan Dean has to find a way to hold on to the important things - no matter what.

Winger was the most entertaining book I've read in a long time.  Ryan Dean's personality draws you into the book from page one (as he contemplates life with his head stuck in a toilet).  Always very humorous, author Andrew Smith does not disappoint.

Like many others, I for one love books that take place at boarding school.  With parents out of the question and supervisors not much of a threat, you know these kids are going to be getting themselves into a whole lot of mischief during the semester.  Ryan Dean West was definitely not an exception as for his junior year at Pine Mountain, he found himself living in O-Hall, as the jacket copy describes it, "the dorm for miscreants and troublemakers."

The reader follows along Ryan Dean as he journeys his way through high school, as he constantly struggles with being the "little kid" of the grade.  His age often sets him apart from others, and does so especially when Annie's in the question.  Throughout the story, we get to follow along as Ryan Dean untiringly pursues her.

One of the greatest parts about Winger is that as the reader, you truly feel as if you're inside of Winger's, Ryan Dean's, head.  Author Andrew Smith did not leave a single thought of this fourteen-year-old boy's mind out of the text, so every reader is guaranteed to a good laugh!  I myself burst out in hysterics more than a couple of times.

Another awesome part about Winger was that Ryan Dean West's drawings were included periodically between chapters.  These illustrations, comics, and graphs were all too entertaining to look over and read.  However, be prepared that not all of the story is quite as good-natured and fun as the pages make it seem.

So all in all?  Pick up Winger and you're in for 448 pages of amusing dialogue and entertaining plot all dispersed with the occasional a whole lot of hilarious (sometimes perverted) fourteen-year-old boy thoughts.

April 29, 2015

Ten Facts About Me!

April 29, 2015
Hi everyone!

As you know, I'm new to this whole blogosphere, so in honor of my tenth post on the blog, I thought it would be fun to share ten facts about myself with you all.  Here goes!

1. My favorite book series of all time is (of course) Harry Potter.
2. I only read the Harry Potter Series (for the first time) this year.

I know, I know!  I'm terrible, but don't kill me!  For some reason I chose to abstain from the world's literary obsession way back when in elementary school.  I guess I didn't want to succumb to the trendy, popular reading choice or something.  I don't know.  Point being, I finally read J.K. Rowling's masterpiece and absolutely loved every page written.

3. An item on my bucket list is to someday write and successfully publish my own book.

This has been a dream of mine for quite some time.  I do hope I can make this dream a reality in the near future.

4. I hate running.

Seriously.  I hate it.  You're never going to see me running, but please enjoy this gif of some athletic dogs instead.  They put me to shame.

5. I love water sports.  I swim, paddle, and surf (badly).

I apologize for the quality, but here's a photo of my friend and myself surfing at Queens (Waikiki Beach).

6. I am deathly afraid of cockroaches, and I'm pretty sure I have some sort of "cockroach curse" on me.

(I have so many cockroach horror stories.  More on this later.)

7. In school, Japanese is my least favorite subject.(私は日本語が大きらいですよ!)
Strangely enough, I've always disliked language courses.

8. At the moment, my favorite movie is Interstellar and pretty much all Disney movies (like The Princess Diaries).
My brother dragged the family off to see Interstellar one night in theaters, and I'm so glad he did.  From the beautifully composed music by Hans Zimmer to the insane graphics and storyline, I loved this movie from start to finish!

Over the weekend, ABC Family played The Princess Diaries 1 & 2.

And so the obsession began.

I love you, Nicholas Devereaux!

And hey, I just realized both of my favorite movies at the moment star Anne Hathaway.

9. Well then, I guess my favorite actress is Anne Hathaway!

10. I love cold weather and wearing sweaters.  (I'm really not sure why I live in Hawaii...)

Well, that's me in ten facts!  Thanks for reading everyone.  


April 26, 2015

Open Road Summer - Emery Lord

April 26, 2015
Open Road Summer
by Emery Lord
Series: Standalone
Publication: Bloomsbury on April 15, 2014
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Music, Road Trip

Jacket copy:
Two best friends . . .
Two broken hearts . . .
One summer that will change everything.
After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O'Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind.  Her best friend, country superstar Dee Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own.  Fortunately, Dee's twenty-four-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of breakup ballads and healing.
But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence.  With miles to go before Reagan and Dee are ready to risk their hearts again, this summer will be one to remember.

After hearing high acclaim for Emery Lord's newest novel, The Start of Me and You, published only last month, I decided to first check out her debut novel, Open Road Summer, to get a taste for Lord's writing.

My initial thought was in favor of the whole storyline and idea behind the book - I thought it was cute.  However, as I began to read more, I did feel as if the plot was a bit of a banality.  Unlike the opinion of many Open Road Summer lovers, I wasn't quite as taken with the book.  I did enjoy reading the book and Lord's writing, but rather unfortunately, I could not consider it a favorite read of the year.

Reagan, like all other YA protagonists, isn't anywhere near perfect.  She is a character struggling through her own personal problems and difficult times.  A good portion of the book is focused on Reagan's personal growth and change as a character over a special summer touring the country with her best, superstar friend, Dee.  It was definitely fun to read about the two girls' road trip and to find out more about their friendship, but their relationship did not stand out to me as particularly memorable out of the whole scheme of YA realistic fiction.  And yes, again, I know other readers absolutely adored Reagan and Dee, but I just...didn't.  I'm not exactly sure why either.

As I read on, I believe the plot improved significantly and I enjoyed turning the pages more.  Having said that, I rather did like Matt and Reagan's relationship.  I pretty much always fall for the guy the author intended the reader to, and Matt was no exception.  Well, on the other hand, it is pretty much impossible to not fall for a guitar-strumming, lyric-making, song-singing guy like Matt Finch.  There were a number of sweet Matt and Reagan scenes dispersed throughout the pages, and between all of them, I do believe Lord was able to successfully create a cute YA realistic fiction romance.  So congratulations, author!

Open Road Summer was a cute, easy read for me, but nothing more.  Though I have to say I was expecting a lot more after all the high praise, Open Road Summer was still an enjoyable read, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read Lord's debut novel myself.  I hope I'll be able to get my hands on her second published work, The Start of Me and You, sometime soon!

April 25, 2015

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) - Cassandra Clare

April 25, 2015
City of Bones
by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments (#1)
Publication: Margaret K. McElderry Books on February 19, 2008
Format: Paperback, 485 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Magic, Paranormal, Angels

Jacket copy:
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons.  Then the body disappears into thin air.  It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died.  Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons.  It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk.  Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon.  But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother?  And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight?  The Shadowhunters would like to know . . .

I had no idea what to expect when picking up this book from the library.  Prior to reading, I had heard from both sides of the spectrum: extreme praise or lackluster response.  Well, after reading, I can definitely tell you I'm on the "extreme praise" side of the spectrum, which is why, (though I'm many years late to the "Shadowhunter obsession"), I've decided to write up a review.  Everyone says this, but honestly?  I couldn't stop turning the pages.

Cassandra Clare made this book so easy to love.  Clare's plot is well thought out, creative, intriguing, and EXCITING.  After reading Red Queen and being disappointed plot-wise, I was on the lookout for another action packed book that did not lack in this area.  City of Bones definitely filled this niche for me.  I admire authors whom, like Cassandra Clare, take that extra step when planning out their plots, perfectly weaving in twists and turns to craft stories like no other.  As a reader, I love being surprised by the big plot twists of the story, and City of Bones threw an amazing jaw-dropper I never saw coming. 

You fall into the story almost instantly, however, it does take a couple chapters to acclimate yourself fully.  At first, I wasn't sure what to think of the whole Shadowhunter world, but as the story progresses, the storyline undoubtedly improves, so I implore weary readers to proceed on.

Besides the plot itself, a big plus was Clary's love interest, Jace.  His character added so much to the story, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading his dialogue from the snide remarks to the amusing jabs.  I adored Clare's other characters as well, such as Simon, Alec, Isabelle, and of course, Clary, who were all so full of personality and life.

City of Bones was an unputdownable read!  Immediately after finishing this first book in The Mortal Instruments Series, I started on the second, and in only a couple of days, I successfully plowed through all of the first three.

April 23, 2015

Since You've Been Gone - Morgan Matson

April 23, 2015
Since You've Been Gone
by Morgan Matson
Series: Standalone
Publication: Simon & Schuster on May 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover, 489 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Friendship, Romance, Realistic Fiction

Jacket copy:
It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting.  But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just . . . disappears.  All she leaves behind is a to-do list.
On it, thirteen Sloane inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try.  But what if they could bring her best friend back?
Apple picking at night?  Okay, easy enough.
Dance until dawn?  Sure.  Why not?
Kiss a stranger?  Um . . .
Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list.  Who knows what she'll find?
Go skipping-dipping?  Wait . . . what?

I think it's safe to say I'm pretty much a diehard Morgan Matson fan.  After reading Amy & Roger's Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer, (and loving both), I was on the lookout for her newly published book in 2014, Since You've Been Gone.  And only now, after a year of scrounging around, did I finally get the chance to read it!

Everyone wants a friend like Sloane.  She's spontaneous and fun, stylish, and full of energy.  She's always in center of the spotlight, but Emily doesn't mind - Emily likes it that way.  Over the years Emily's become known to others as something along the lines of "Sloane's shadow."  So when Sloane suddenly disappears from town, it's understandable that Emily feels rather . . . miserable.  Confused.  Lost.  All Sloane left behind for Emily was a list of thirteen things to accomplish over the summer. 

I thought that Sloane's list for Emily was so cute.  Sure, other books have done the whole "bucket list thing," but just by glancing over this one, you know Emily's in for an unforgettable summer.  You soon find out that each item on the list has special meaning for Emily, its recipient.  Each task helps to tackle Emily's fears one-by-one.  For example, number six on the list: Ride a dern horse, ya cowpoke.  For some peculiar reason, Emily is deathly afraid of horses.  This seemingly simple mission takes Emily three visits to the stables until it can finally be officially checked off and accomplished.  Sloane's list shapes Emily's summer as Emily finds herself continually stepping out of her comfort zone and meeting new people.

Though Sloane isn't actually present during the majority of the story, the reader is still able to get to know her.  With flashbacks interlaced throughout, you truly get a feeling for the two girls' friendship starting from the very first day they met.  Friendship is the core of Since You've Been Gone, and I'm sure every reader will love Emily and Sloane's.

And of course, there's that super cute romance that's a must in every Morgan Matson read.  Frank Porter, guys.  You'll love him.

Since You've Been Gone was a fun story about friendship, and though I didn't quite love it as much as Second Chance Summer, it is yet another Morgan Matson book worth reading.  

April 14, 2015

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) - Victoria Aveyard

April 14, 2015
Red Queen
by Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen (#1)
Publication: HarperCollins on February 10, 2015
Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia, Romance

Jacket copy:
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood - those with red and those with silver.  Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods.  Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom.  A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own - an ability she didn't know she had.  Except . . . her blood is red.
To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons.
As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard - the leaders of a Red rebellion.  Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince - and Mare against her own heart.

After hearing so much praise for Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, I finally hunted down this author's debut novel at the public library.  Needless to say, after checking out the book, I stuck my nose in the spine and immediately got cracking to reading on the drive home.

Okay.  Before I get on to the real review, I just have to say this cover is gorgeous!  So very simple but I love it.  A million thumbs up from me. 

The main issue I had with Red Queen was that . . . it didn't feel original.  Sure, I've never read a book about "Reds" and "Silvers," but I felt like a whole lot of the plot overlapped with other popular YA Dystopia novels.  I suppose that it's quite difficult to make up completely original content, so I do understand.  However, at the beginning I felt as if I was reading a retelling of The Hunger Games, and during the middle and towards the end of the book, I felt as if I was reading a mix of The Selection by Kiera Cass and Divergent.  If any of you are devout fans of those series, then perhaps you will enjoy this book more due to the similar plots.  However, I thought of these similarities more as flaws - marks from the creativity factor.  And since the books were so similar, I couldn't help scrutinize the text and compare the plots that more closely.  I mean, as I said, it felt like I read it all before.

Some parts of the plot were cliché.  The big plot twists didn't come as a surprise to me (rather unfortunately.)  

However, the writing was exciting, especially towards the ending.  Overall I still enjoyed the book quite a lot.  The ideas and portions of the book that were completely original, I loved.  Many books talk about bloodlines and half-bloods, but I particularly enjoyed Victoria Aveyard's take with "Reds and "Silvers."  Oh yeah, and the Silvers' abilities were pretty (if you don't mind me saying) kick-butt.  The book was extremely action-packed and kept me intrigued.  I felt that Victoria Aveyard more than made up for the areas of her plot that were lacking.

Unfortunately, I have to admit I was expecting a bit more of Red Queen simply because I've heard so many good things about the book.  But all in all, I was thoroughly entertained and enjoyed the read.  So if you're looking for another YA action-packed novel with similar themes to books like The Hunger Games, The Selection, and Divergent, I'd say go for this one.  If you're a stickler for creativity, you might want to stay away.   

I'll be on the lookout for the sequel!

April 12, 2015

The Last Time We Say Goodbye - Cynthia Hand

April 12, 2015
The Last Time We Say Goodbye
by Cynthia Hand
Series: Standalone
Publication: HarperCollins on February 10, 2015
Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Death, Family

Jacket copy:
There's death all around us.  We just don't pay attention.  Until we do.
The last time Lex was happy, it was before.  When she had a family that was whole.  A boyfriend she loved.  Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment.
Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself.  And it feels like that's all she'll ever be.
As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died.  But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone - a text Tyler sent that could have changed everything.
Lex's brother is gone.  But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on.

What's amazing about this book is how easy it is to fall into.  When I first opened the cover to face page one, I felt as if I somehow already knew Lex and was simply a friend sitting in during one of her therapy sessions.  Throughout the book, Cynthia Hand's writing consistently remained easy to follow, easy to love, and did not disappoint.  The author definitely has a way of spinning her words together, and with such a gift, was able to create a beautiful, contemporary standalone.

For a teenager, for anyone, really, Alexis is dealing with a lot in her life.  There's a weight burdening down on her shoulders that no one should have to deal with: the death of a loved one . . . the suicide of a loved one . . . her brother, Tyler.

Though Tyler is physically gone, his "ghostly" presence is still very much alive and with Lex.  She thinks she's going crazy, seeing flashes of him in the mirror, the corners of her vision, and in her nightly dreams.  The reader gets to know her loved and deeply missed brother, Ty, simply through Lex's memories of him.  Along with Lex, it's hard to believe he's really gone - he's really passed.

Throughout the story, Alexis is trying to come to terms with Tyler's death, trying to believe that time really does heal all.  While Lex is recovering, her life does continue on, no matter how impossible that may seem.  However, other aspects of her life suffers, such as her closest relationships with those she cares about.  People like Steven, a boy she's trying very hard to not be in love with, but quite obviously is.  His character is one that as the reader you can't help but absolutely love.

Now, however beautiful Cynthia Hand's writing was, it didn't quite touch me as it hoped it would.  I think, perhaps, it wasn't the writing or the story that was lacking, it was simply my own personal life and circumstances at moment that couldn't enable me to feel the words exactly as I'd wished to.  Books mean different things to different people depending on where they are in life.  Maybe if I had come across this book at a different time, it would mean so much more.  And unfortunately this is part of the reason why I couldn't quite give the book a five.

I don't usually particularly take interest in "journal entry books," but this one is worth the read.  However sad Lex's terms were, it was great to come along on her journey with her.  It's painful.  It's difficult.  It hurts your heart, but it's written beautifully and will ignite the flame of hope and promise to distinguish some of that aching.

April 11, 2015

Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks #5) - Miranda Kenneally

April 11, 2015
Breathe, Annie, Breathe
by Miranda Kenneally 
Series: Hundred Oaks (#5)
Publication: Sourcebooks Fire on July 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover, 306 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Realistic Fiction

Jacket copy:
Annie hates running.  No matter how far she jogs, she can't escape the guilt that if she hadn't broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive.  So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.
But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined.  Despite her coaching, she's at war with her body, her mind - and her heart.  With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted.  She wants to run into his arms . . . and sprint in the opposite direction.  For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

This was my first time picking up a book from Miranda Kenneally's Hundred Oaks Series, and after reading Breathe, Annie, Breathe, it's quite unfathomable why I haven't read one of her books sooner.

From the very first page, the book is relatable to the reader.  I love how easy it is to connect with a realistic fiction novel as this one.  Annie hates running.  (And girl, Annie, I'm with you on that one.)  Yet, the book begins with Annie chugging along on a five mile run as a part of the marathon training program she's a part of, slowly but surely making her way to the finish line - one stride at a time.  

It's in this first chapter that we are first introduced to Jeremiah, the younger brother of Annie's running coach.  From this very first meeting, you already begin to fall for Jeremiah's fun and lovable character.  As I was reading their exchange, I couldn't help but smile to myself.  The dialogue all felt so very real and authentic.

Annie is a great main character.  She's firmly made up her mind to run the Music City Marathon her late boyfriend didn't have the chance to finish himself.  I love how determined she stays throughout the entire book even though she hates running.  I admire Annie's character; I would never be able to set my mind to running every week, working towards running the full twenty-something miles on marathon day.  And Annie isn't exactly someone you would call privileged: for all her life she's had to work for what she wants, working tirelessly at a local restaurant in town to save up money for college.  The marathon became yet another goal of Annie's to aspire for.

Along Annie's journey, she creates some much needed friendships while training with the other marathoners.  Besides Jeremiah, there's Liza, a lawyer who just moved into town, who quickly becomes a great supportive figure in Annie's life.  In a way, Liza and the marathoners become something of a second family to Annie.  And as a reader, I loved how I was able to get to know some of the other runners along with Annie, each one adding to the story.

However of course, my favorite relationship had to be Annie and Jeremiah's.  Guys, it's cute.  They're cute.  I'll say that much.  But like any other relationship, it's not all a cakewalk.  Annie's still getting over a lost loved one, and Jeremiah, the adrenaline junkie, has a few problems of his own.  It's great to see them both grow throughout the story and finally, eventually, find each other in the end.

Give Breathe, Annie, Breathe a chance.  If you've read another book in the Hundred Oaks Series and loved it, this fifth book will not disappoint.  And if this is your first time picking up one in the series, as was mine, I think you'll love it all the same.  You definitely don't need to read the other Hundred Oaks books to enjoy this one, though I'll be picking up another sometime soon.

April 10, 2015

The Program (The Program #1) - Suzanne Young

April 10, 2015
The Program
by Suzanne Young
Series: The Program (#1)
Publication: Simon Pulse on April 30, 2013
Format: Paperback, 405 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Mental Illness, Dystopia, Romance

Jacket copy:
Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone.  
With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment.  Sloane's parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they'll do anything to keep her alive.  She also knows that everyone who's been through The Program returns as a blank slate.  Because their depression is gone - but so are their memories.
Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can.  The only person Sloane can be herself with is James.  He's promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything.  But despite the promises they made to each other, it's getting harder to hide the truth.  They are both growing weaker.  
Depression is settling in. 

When I took a visit to Barnes and Noble the other day, The Program Series by Suzanne Young was being heavily advertised on shelves.  As I now know, her second book in the series, The Treatment, had just been released in paperback the previous month.  I, however, did not read the first book, The Program, and so, wanting to judge the book for myself, bought a copy to take home.

By now, I'm sure the majority of you YA book lovers have already read this book.  For those like me who haven't, hopefully my book review will be able to help you decide for yourself whether or not you want to add The Program to your shelf.

I think what makes prospective readers a bit hesitant to pick up The Program is due to the fact that the storyline circles around depression.  I for one, didn't necessarily want to immerse myself in a depressed dystopian society for a couple of hours.

Be prepared: this book is no "buttercream roses and pink frosting," so do take heed from the jacket copy.  The world Sloane lives in is sickeningly flawed and absolutely terrifying.  Though the text may be quite disturbing at times, the storyline always keeps readers captivated and absorbed.  And if you're one of those hesitant to pick up your own copy, I say just go for it.  You'll be continually engrossed.

Something about the plot that was a bit different from the norm in YA novels was the romance factor.  Unlike the majority of YA novels in which a vital part of the storyline is about meeting someone and falling in love, from page one in The Program, Sloane is already wholly in love with James.  This only makes the book all the more despairing when both Sloane and James are thrown into The Program themselves, and for this reason, I felt it worked well for the storyline.

The reader goes on a frightening emotional roller coaster with Sloane as she tries in all her capability to fight against "the cure."  As the story goes on, the reader is slowly exposed to memory after memory of Sloane's, and though James is not present during Sloane's "treatment," the reader fully falls in love with him through her memory.  What's quite ironic about this, is that while the reader is gaining Sloane's memories, she is gradually losing them one by one.

All in all?  Read The Program.  The plot is riveting, the characters and their relationships are spun together skillfully, and though the story revolves around depression, the "darkness" only helps to emphasize the "light" and to spark hope in the reader.  

Now having read The Program, I have still to determine whether I want to pursue the next installment in the series, The Treatment.  As much as I enjoyed this first book, I have my reservations about continuing on to book two.

April 8, 2015

Frostfire (Kanin Chronicles #1) - Amanda Hocking

April 8, 2015

by Amanda Hocking
Series: Kanin Chronicles (#1)
Publication: St. Martin's Griffin on January 6, 2015
Format: Paperback, 321 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Romance

Jacket copy:
Bryn Aven has never fit into Kanin society.  Her blond hair and blue eyes set her apart as an outsider - a half-blood unable to hold a respectable rank.  But she's determined to prove herself as a loyal protector of the kingdom she loves.  her dream is to become a member of the King's elite guard, and she's not going to let anything stand in her way . . . not even her growing feelings for her boss, Ridley Dresden.  A relationship between them is strictly forbidden, but Bryn can't fight her attraction to him.  And she's beginning to think he feels it, too.
Meanwhile, there's an attack on the kingdom - one that will test Bryn's strength like never before.  Finally, she has the chance to confront Konstantin Black, the traitor who tried to kill her father years ago.  It's up to Bryn to put a stop to him before he strikes again.  But is she willing to risk everything to protect a kingdom that doesn't accept her for who she really is?  And when her mission brings her closer to Ridley, will she be able to deny her heart?

So, after hearing quite a lot about this book and seeing it on multiple reading lists, I decided to get my own copy at Barnes & Noble the other day.  I think what really allured me into buying it (well, actually my mom bought it for me - thanks, mom!) was the gorgeous cover.  I'm sorry, I know how the saying goes, but I'm a sucker for pretty covers . . . we all are.  

At first, diving into the realm of Kanin was a bit confusing for me.  Only after reading the book did I find out it was a spin off of Amanda Hocking's popular Trylle Trilogy.  Unfortunately, I never read the series, and so it took me some time to get used to the storyline and setting.  However, I made a stop at the library today and just so happened to come across the entire trilogy - all three books in one!  I had to check it out.

After getting used to Kanin and the vocabulary that came along with it (changelings, Skojare, Omte, Vittra, etc.) I tried to focus on the storyline, but I didn't feel as if there really was one.  I mean, Bryn, the main character, spends the majority of the storyline hunting down the mysterious character Konstantin Black, who attempted to murder her father a few years back.  However, the reader never really gets to find out the driving force behind Konstantin's actions.  I suppose the reason will be slowly unraveled over the course of the series, but I feel as if Frostfire didn't have enough content in it.  When I flipped to the final page of the book, I couldn't believe it!  I thought for sure something would happen.  I felt as if there were no climax or ending.

Besides the mystery of Konstantin Black, another main storyline that runs throughout is the relationship between Bryn and Bryn's love interest, Ridley Dresden.  Again, this was another area of the book that I felt was missing content.  Ridley came across to the reader as an interesting character, however, the reader never had the chance to really fall in love with him with Bryn.  I hope that in the following books of the Kanin Chronicles, the author will further develop not only her storyline, but also her characters more.

Even still, with the lacking portions of the book accounted for, the main plot interested me as it was different and new.  And so, even though Frostfire did not live up to my standards as a book, I will give the world of Kanin another chance.  I plan to read the next installment in the series, and hopefully, I, as a reader, will receive more out of the chronicles.  Perhaps I was unable to fully immerse myself in Frostfire since I did not previously read the Trylle Trilogy.  Although, once I finish the trilogy, I will be sure to write a review on the blog to share how it went.

Frostfire wasn't all disappointing, and for that reason, I believe it deserves a peach rating of three.

A Little Hello


I'm Julia Anne, and welcome to my blog, Peach Print.

I've always loved reading and writing, and so I decided to create a book review blog which would enable me to do both in one online space.

This blog was originally created for my school Quality Project, which I'll be working on for the next couple of months.  If you're interested more about what exactly such a project entails, please take a quick peek at my About Page.

Peach Print book reviews will focus mainly on Young Adult Literature as such is my usual fare.  However, I do plan to create other posts which will diverge slightly from routine.

As always, thank you for reading.  I do hope to see you all around sometime soon on the blog.

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