Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Pocket Book Reviews {December 2015} & Giveaway

I read 11 books this month! I also read 82 freaking books this year! My original reading goal was 45 books, so I surpassed my goal by A LOT! Go me! Unfortunately, I can only show you two of the books I read because I got almost all of them as ebooks, which is good for the lack of space in my room, but it also means I can't show you all pretty books. 

Camp Midnight*
 (4 out of 5)

By Steven T. Seagle and Jason KatzensteinReluctant Skye is accidentally sent to the wrong summer camp. Not wanting to please her step monster, Skye is dead-set on not fitting in. Turns out, she doesn't fit in because everyone there is a monster. 

I thought the story was really fun and didn't take itself too seriously. Skye is relatable and kind of a bad-ass for a kid. I'm a huge fan of the colorful and super saturated style of artwork. I think it really works well for this comic. I really enjoyed this. (*I got this book via NetGalley.)

The 5th Wave 
 (4 out of 5)

By Rick YanceyOn a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see and who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. 

I listened to the audiobook of The 5th Wave and loved it. The two voice actors are fantastic, so I would recommend giving this a listen. The book itself was realistic (for an alien invasion), horrifying, and hopeful. It kept me on my toes. I was a little disappointed that for most of the book Cassie was hiding out in a house, but despite that all of the character's stories were exciting and intriguing. 

How to Be Brave*
 (3 out of 5)

By E. Katherine Kottaras; Reeling from her mother's death, Georgia has a choice: become lost in her own pain, or enjoy life right now, while she still can. She decides to start really living for the first time and makes a list of fifteen ways to be brave - all the things she's wanted to do but never had the courage to try.

A bucket list. Friends. A nice boy. It sounds liek the start of a really cute book, and it is. The main character Georgia is sweet and artistic and a free thinker and I liked reading from her point of view, but the first half of the book was too predictable and cookie cutter. I liked the idea of the bucket list, but the items on it were too conventional. I wanted them to be more fun and unique. I think the book really hit its stride at the halfway point. It became less about the bucket list and more about Georgia and her believable friendships with her friends. I also loved the poems throughout the story. (*I got this book via NetGalley.)

 (4 out of 5)

By Robin McKinley; When Beauty's father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will. Her father protests that he will not let her go, but she answers, "Cannot a Beast be tamed?"

I love Beauty and the Beast retellings! This one is reminiscent of the Disney movie with some unique changes (invisible servants, a castle that can only be found when lost, and more magic). I loved getting to know Beauty a lot more since 40% of the book follows Beauty before she meets the Beast, but of course I enjoyed the parts with Beauty and the Beast the best. However, I wish there were more scenes of them interacting and I wish the end didn't feel so rushed. 

Winter (Lunar Chronicles #4) 
 (5 out of 5)

By Marissa Meyer; Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

OH EM GEE! I can't even with this book. It is 800 pages of adventure and emotion and fighting and romance and revolution and all sorts of awesome. My favorite character is Cinder (she's so sassy!), so it was so exciting to see her revolution against Levana and to see how all of the characters individual stories all came together. I'm so sad this series is over because it's amazing!

Percy Jackson The Lightning Theif & Sea of Monsters 
 (3 out of 5) /  (4 out of 5)

By Rick Riordan; When Percy's mom finds out, she knows it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he'll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea.

I listened to the first two books because I've been wanting to read the Percy Jackson books for a while now. Yes, they're middle grade books, but the idea of Greek Gods and demigods in the modern world really appealed to me. The first two books are cheeky and fun, and even though Percy is the main character Annabeth totally steals the show with her intelligence and poise.  

Once Upon A [Stolen] Time**
 (2 out of 5)

By Samreen Ahsan; In 2015, Myra Farrow is obsessed with medieval castles, especially the mysterious Hue Castle. Unknown to Myra, her soul is bound to Hue Castle by blood and sorcery. In 1415, Edward Hue, the last of the Hue royal bloodline, has never stood in the sunshine or held a living flower. Cursed from birth to live in darkness and bring death to all he touches, he is at the mercy of his cruel, tyrannical father.

I had high hopes for this book after reading the premise, but I was unfortunately let down. To be honest, this book feels like a first draft. The characters aren't fleshed out and there's more telling than showing. The only character that felt real was Edward, whereas Myra annoyed the hell out of me; she was like a rag doll that everyone threw around. She didn't do anything for herself and always had to get permission to do anything, despite being an adult, which was so so so aggravating and not believable. Pass on this book. (*I got this book for free. All opinions are my own.)

The Private Eye*
 (4 out of 5)

By Brian K. Vaugh and Marcos Martin; The digital cloud “burst” and exposed all of our worst secrets and in the future everyone wears costumes and has a secret identity. Following an unlicensed P.I. who is thrust into the most important case of his life, this sci-fi mystery explores the nature of privacy with frightening prescience.

What a cool concept and a remarkable story! I was fascinated by the whole thing: the premise, the characters, the art, and the themes. What if people were so scared of others finding out their secrets that they wore disguises in public? The idea could be over the top, but it's done realistically. Our culture morphed into this out of fear and fear is a powerful motivator. I wasn't sure what to expect plot-wise, but I was pleasantly surprised by its complexity. Overall it's fun, thought-provoking, and cool! (*I got this book via NetGalley.)

Sleeping Giants*
 (4 out of 5)

By Sylvain Neuval; A girl in South Dakota falls through the earth and lands on the palm of a giant metal hand. Now she is a top-level physicist leading a team of people to understand exactly what that hand is, where it came from, and what it portends for humanity. It's told exclusively through transcriptions of interviews conducted by a mysterious and unnamed character. 

If you fell into a giant metal hand that had been buried underneath the earth for thousands of years wouldn't you want to know how it got there? Talk about a fascinating story with flawed, resilient characters that are constantly put in tough situations. It does take some getting used to reading interview transcripts and it puts up a wall between the reader and the characters because we aren't in their head, but it was still an engrossing story. (*I got this book via NetGalley.)

H8 Society: How An Atomic Fart Saved The World**
 (2 out of 5)

Written by Bill Sienkiewicz; A dystopian town. Two rival teen gangs. A secret society that wants to take over the world. A group of teens must deal with the repercussions of unexpected physical transformations after an incident. 

Yes, the title is weird, but I really wanted to like it since it's not just a book, but a "post-digital adventure" with 26 indie songs and graphics. I think the idea is really cool, but it fell flat for me because it felt too disjointed. The story is reminiscent of West Side Story, which I found interesting, but the omniscient point of view made it hard to connect to any of the characters on a deep level. Plus, they all felt like caricatures and I didn't really care about any of them. And I just didn't understand how an explosion caused these kids to look like their video game counterparts at all. 

International giveaway to win Winter by Marissa Meyeter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

What did you read this month? 

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