Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Midnight at the Electric
by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publication Date: June 13th 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Find This Book: Midnight at the Electric
Rating: 5/5

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

I’d been in a bit of a reading slump the last year or so because of academics taking up most of my free time and me wanting to hang out with friends and watch movies with the little left over time that I had. This book is definitely a cure for reading slumps! I’ve been reading it over the past couple days and every time I set it down I was itching to pick it back up again. I had my doubts at first as to how this book was going to have well developed characters, a plot, and three POV’s while still being as short as it is. All I can say is that it must be magic.

The novel starts of with Adri’s POV. She’s from 2065 and is going to MARS. Holy cow! I thought that future Jodi painted for me cool, frightening, and realistic. There’s some political/social commentary about the generations before her ruining the planet and the waterline rising aka the destruction of the coast. That is something I can get behind in my YA. Heck Yes to the woke AF authors who are using their writing platform to subliminally send messages. We also have Katherine in the Dust Bowl as a POV and Lenore in England during The Great War. Adri is piecing together their past lives while also working out her own. How their story lines mingle and interconnect was so creative, it honestly felt like a historical fiction novel rather than 100% made up plot. The journal and letters just felt so realistic even though we were only reading one side of a conversation. This book was everything I needed and more.

This book was so wholesome and refreshing. Seriously- it was like a breath of fresh air. When I received this book from Ebony over at HarperTeen I thought I recognized the author name. Turns out I was given a previous work of hers (Peaches) by an elementary school teacher of mine. She gets sent free books to potentially add to her classroom and gave me a pile when I last volunteered with her for the Kids Literary Quiz. Anyway, I hadn’t gotten around to that pile of books yet and knew nothing about Jodi Lynn Anderson’s writing style going in to this novel. I was pleasantly surprised! This book struck an emotional chord with me. I can’t say I’ve experienced anything like what these various women are going through, but while reading so many lines just rang true for me. I can’t remember the last time a book had made me feel this way.

Some beautiful gems from the last end of the book when I finally started writing this down (out of context, SPOILER FREE, quotes):

“So many lights you’d think we were living in a constellation”

“I think the rest of the world is not as cold and lonely a place as you think. At least I have to hope.”

“She thought of all the things she’d forgotten to be scared of.”

That last one really rang true for me. How many times have I signed up for things and panicked at the last possible second? All of the possible ways that something can go wrong suddenly fly into your head, even when you thought you were sure about something. My first time on an airplane, driving my car, heck even meeting teachers and classmates for the first time! So the message I got from the book was that you’re as strong as you need to be, and you’ll be brave enough to get through what you’re facing. If none of this makes you want to go read this book, I don’t know what else to say to convince you to be honest. I think over my 20 years on earth I can count on one hand how many books have made me cry. This wasn’t one of them, but it was pretty dang close. I almost cried over a tortoise. A TORTOISE. This is a must-read.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday #8

Top Five Most Anticipated Books for the Second Half of 2017

1. Warcross by Marie Lu

Marie Lu is absolutely one of my favorite authors. She is one of the only people to ever make me cry (that Champion ending though- *tears up just thinking about it*). Her books have never let me down and always soared above my expectations. Making Adelina Amouteru the main character and also the ‘bad guy’ of the series was so cool to read and was so well done! Anyways, I frickin LOVE Marie Lu’s writing and this is my most anticipated book of 2017- let alone just the second half of it!
September 12th 2017

The cover looks super cool, I’m digging the Norse Mythology, Riordan’s got a diverse set of characters- what’s not to love? I am SO excited for more Magnus, Samirah, Alex, Hearthstone, and Blitzen. They are so brave and funny and the best part is none of the characters feel stereotyped! No helpless YA heroines or Broody YA heroes to be found in this series and it is just so wholesome you guys. I will always buy Rick Riordan’s books. He has had me hooked since I discovered The Lighting Thief in 4th grade!
 October 3rd 2017

I discovered this book via the free sample excerpt online (which you can find here) It’s historical fiction- one of my favorite genres.  The cover is super cute, the characters seem super cute and the BEST PART is that Henry is queer. Praise be! There is some bisexual rep in the YA world! This is the kinda stuff I wish was normal when I was a kid so heck to the yeah I’m excited and anticipating it’s release now!
June 20th 2017

4. The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

I love mythology and folkore (part of my attraction to Riordan books and my English major) so of course I am waiting as patiently as possible for this romance bildungsroman that is steeped in Indian folklore. I only know about India and its folklore through my academics and can’t wait to change up the context with a YA novel and an #ownvoices author!
 July 18th 2017

5. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

Again, I am always a slut for mythology, folklore, and fairytales. I also love reading the story from a ‘different’ perspective such as from the villain’s POV. It looks like I will be getting BOTH of these lovely things within this novel. It’s an origin/retelling of Snow White’s Evil Queen set in an East-Asian inspired fantasy kingdom. Giving me a more relatable take on the villain and taking something hella white and diversifying it? Sign me the heck up!!!
 October 10th 2017

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Stone Secrets by Jordan Scott

Stone Secrets
by Jordan Scott
Publication Date: May 4th 2013
Publisher: Ravendahl Publications, Inc.
Source: Author
Find This Book: Stone Secrets
Rating: 3/5

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I absolutely adored the concept of this book when it was offered to me, and unfortunately I suck at focusing on ebooks which is why this review has come a couple years after I was originally given I copy. I apologize profusely! When I got an ereader for my birthday this Wednesday, I easily finished the book in a couple days! The writing was a little awkward in some parts, mostly with the family talking to each other, but over all there were not too many errors. I personally wouldn’t call my siblings “Brother” or “Sister”. I’d probably call Kaia ‘Kai’ and Aiden “Addi” or something like that. Cute nicknames! I also thought calling their father by his first name was a little weird? And there were a couple times in the beginning of the book when the father called Kaia sister when she is his daughter (though this is an older version of the book and perhaps has been edited since 2013).

So this book is about a Celtic family (Kaia and Aiden who share POV’s) and their fantasy adventure in Ireland. I don’t know too much about Celtic culture or the Druids, so it was super cool to read about it. I feel like it’s not a popular topic. This was certainly the first time I had encountered it in my readings. I do wish there had been more world/mythology build/explaining in that regard because I didn’t know too much about it. Seers, Bards, Finn and Aiden’s weird ‘force’ abilities, Kendra’s ability to travel to the underworld, the feud between the druids and the knights- all that could have been better explained I think. The action-packed approach was cool, but left me with too many unanswered questions in my opinion.

It was also not quite clear why the bad guy was the bad guy in my opinion. He was part of the druids and his ‘turning to the dark side’ wasn’t really shown or explained? Kaia (the main character) just magically knew that this person wasn’t on their side anymore? I was totally confused why she was running away from them for awhile until they later clearly chose the Knights side of the fight.

There was a lot of magic and island-hopping in this book which was pretty cool. It just felt a bit rushed and underdeveloped. Again, not a lot of world building in the description area which I think would have been a nice touch. All in all, this had a lot of potential- but I was a bit disappointed with the end result. The book could have gone so much deeper (and maybe the other books in the series do) but this just left me wishing for what it could have been!