Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Dealing With Dragons (The Enchanted Forest Chronicles #1) by Patricia C. Wrede


Page Count: 212
Published on: November 1, 2002

Published by: Books For Young Readers
Genre(s): YA, Fantasy, Children's, Middle Grade, Humor
Source: Hardback
Age Rating: PG

Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon

My Rating: 3.5 stars












Goodreads synopsis:

Cimorene is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboyish, smart - and bored. So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon - and finds the family and excitement she's been looking for.


~~~

Hey guys!

     My friend Donovan lent me a bind up of The Enchanted Forest Chronicles a couple weeks ago, and I pretty much went into it blindly. This book is about a princess who doesn't want to be a princess. She runs away to live with a dragon, and in the process she tries to discourage the knights from "rescuing" her. This is a really funny middle grade fantasy story. The characters were super cute, and and I really liked the way the series was going. Even though the story was really short and definitely written for a younger audience. 
   
      Cimorene was a very engaging and modern character. Her constant goal of being more that she's made out to be was such an admirable trait in a heroine. She was so sassy and hardworking, I really loved her as a character. What really irritated me was how stupid the other human characters were. I didn't like how blindly they followed what everyone else did, but I guess that's just apart of the story. 

      The beginning of the story sucked me in really quickly, but as I got into the middle of the book, I got really frustrated. There wasn't any sense of peril, and the characters were never in any real danger. The magic, world building, and character building was all there, but there wasn't anything dangerous about it that made me rush to find out what happened next. Usually a 200 page book takes me a couple hours, but this book had me going for a couple days. The middle was just very bland, and it didn't hook me much at all. I had to force myself to finish the last 75 pages. The last 25 pages were really gripping, and I really liked how it was ended, but for some reason I had to force myself to finish the middle part. I feel like Wrede could have expanded more on her whole world, and I saw a lot of potential with a larger story. 

     This wasn't a 5 star book for me, but I feel like a 10 year old me would love it. It was pretty entertaining, and the characters were really cute. I don't know if I'll pick up the next three books, I may just ask my friend what happens. I also don't it was what I needed at the moment. I didn't read it because I wanted to at that time. I read it because I felt guilty for not reading my friend's book sooner. I don't like to keep books to long, when people lend them to me. That's not that relevant to the review, but there's my reasoning. 

My Favorite Character: Cimorene
My Least Favorite Character(s): Cimorene's parents and the knights


Happy Reading,
Olivia
~livthebooknerd~


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Playing the Part by Jen Turano


Page Count: 352
Published on: March 1, 2016
Published by: Bethany House
Genre(s): Romance, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction
Source: Provided by Bethany House- Paperback
Age Rating: PG-14

Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon


My Rating: 4.5 stars










Goodreads synopsis:

      Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but is forced to abandon her starring role when a fan's interest turns threatening. Lucinda's widowed friend, Abigail Hart, is delighted at the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta's life and promptly whisks her away to her grandson's estate to hide out.

      Bram Haverstein may appear to simply be a somewhat eccentric gentleman of means, but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there's much more to him than society knows.

      Lucetta, who has no interest in Abigail's matchmaking machinations, has the best intentions of remaining cordial but coolly distant to Bram. But when she can't ignore the strange and mysterious things going on in his house, it'll take more than good intentions to keep her from trying to discover who Bram is behind the part he plays.



~~~

Hey guys!

      Play the Part was sent to me by Bethany House for an honest review. I've been kind of wary to read this book, because just I wasn't sure if it was apart of a series. It just so happens to be the third book in the A Class Of Their Own trilogy. On the bright side, it's a companion trilogy, so all three books are separate stories, but they all connect at the end of the trilogy. I don't think missed much, which is great.

     I really liked this book. The plot was nicely done, the characters were hilarious. Each of the characters were really well thought out, their stories were all really intriguing and their diverse backgrounds are really cool and fun. I really enjoyed Lucetta as a character. She was really strong and independent. She was such a real character, and she was so calm. She wasn't a hysterical or spazzy character, she was such a cool young woman. Bram was such a sweet and chivalrous character. He is definitely one of my favorite book boyfriends. Lucetta and Bram's relationship wasn't love at first sight, but it developed kind of quickly..but it wasn't insta-love... I really did like their relationship, Lucetta was such an independent soul, and her reluctance to admit her budding attraction was really funny to watch. Their encounters were really cute and they made me majorly fangirl. There were so many potential ships in this book, and each one of them was really different, and seeing them fall for each other was really amazing. 

     I WANT TO SEE BRAM'S CASTLE! His castle's description was so spooky and gothic. I just really want to visit his castle and see all that his staff has done to it. It sounded so cool.

      The two things that I was kinda if-y about was that I saw the plot twist coming, and there wasn't nearly enough spiritual content in my opinion. I really wanted a good spiritual lesson, and He was rarely mentioned in this book, and when he was mentioned, it was very brief. It was just not what I expected.

My Ships: Abigail x Archibald, Bram x Lucetta, & Mr. Skulkman x Ruby
My Favorite Character: Bram or Lucetta or Ruby
My Least Favorite Character: Silas

I hope you enjoyed this review!
Happy Reading!
Olivia
~livthebooknerd~



Thursday, March 24, 2016

Lali of the Lill 2 by Adi Mandal


Page Count: 199
Published on: February 14th 2015
Published by: Adi Mandal
Genre(s): YA, Fantasy
Source: Provided by author
Age Rating: PG-13

Where To Find It:
 Goodreads // Amazon  

Twitter: @LaliOfTheLill

My Rating: 2.5 stars








Goodreads synopsis:

Lali is emotionally and physically weak, unfit to be numan. If nothing changes, she could fail in her journey and never find The Lill.

There's only one thing she can do to get the clock of fate ticking in her favor, only it's far more difficult than her mind can comprehend.

Lali feels nothing can break her spirit, until the least of her expectations happens. It only takes one lie to change everything forever.

~~~

Hey guys!

      I was contacted by Adi to read the latest installment in the Lali of the Lill series. I've been corresponding with Adi ever since I read her first book Lali of the Lill: One, and I've been really excited to read the second book. When I read the first book, I was really impressed with the whole concept of the book, and I even told Adi that her book had some potential to become one of the next big things. The problems that I spelled out in my review of the first book {which can be found *here*} unfortunately were not solved in the second book. 

      One of the problems that I had with this book was the the lack of dimensional characters. Each of the characters were very flat, and I couldn't connect with any of them. The lack of description, character building, and world building made this book out to be very confusing. The dialogue between the characters was really awkward, too formal at times, and then would switch to an even more awkward yet more modern way of speaking. Adi's choice of wording was overall just awkward, and the words were usually used wrong. I'm not completely sure of whether or not Adi's first language is English, but from what I got from reading her book. I don't think it is, which would explain how awkward this whole story was. Another problem was that events or minor characters were randomly mentioned throughout, and at random times, and they would just appear out of no where. It was very confusing. Another problem was that the POV would change mid-paragraph or mid-page. It made it awkward to read. When the POV would change from Lali to Theon, the descriptions that Lali would give would be contradicted when Theon would continue narrating. 

      The world, magical concepts, and the characters actions were all very random and not explained very well. Lali's actions and behavior would contridict her behavior towards Theon and the ideas that she insisted that she believed in. For example, Lali kept getting angry when Theon would lie, but she would continually lie to Theon about the weird happenings that would happen to her whenever he wasn't around. She was also really really naive, and then would sob/cry/burst into tears when someone would betray her. Her constant crying would get really annoying, and by the end of the book I was really sick of Lali. I actually almost hated her. I literally wrote in my notes for Lali to "calm down you stupid head". She was way to dramatic, and it got on my nerves...  Her "relationship" with Theon was totally messed up. There wasn't any relationship development, and she's always so trusting, with out any kind of common sense.

     This whole book]was kind of spaz-tastic. I'm not saying this to be mean, but I really don't think Adi's editor did a good enough job; and if her editor only specialized in editing the book in their native language, then I can understand that. :) I think that Adi's books have a tremendous amount of potential and I really hope that the third book is better. 

Happy reading everyone!
Olivia
~livthebooknerd~

@LivTheBookNerd on Books

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir


Page Count: 464
Expected Published: February 9, 2015
Published by: HarperTeen
Genre(s): YA, Romance, Fantasy, Dystopia, Adventure, Science Fiction
Source: Hardback
Age Rating: PG-14

Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon

Twitter@sabaatahir

My Rating: 4.75 stars









Goodreads synopsis:

Laia is a slave.
Elias is a soldier.
Neither is free.

     Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

      It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

     But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

      There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
 



~~~

Hey guys!

      An Ember In The Ashes has been on my TBR list for about 2 months now. My lovely grandma bought me this book for Christmas, and I was so excited to read it. I had heard so much about it on BookTube, and the average rating on Goodreads was really high. I was at first skeptical of reading this book, because it was at first marketed as a standalone, and I am usually wary of fantasy standalones because they are usually done badly. I then learned that Sabaa Tahir planned on releasing a sequel! I was so excited, so that just made me even more excited to read the book.

      The plot of this book was really really intriguing and the whole structure of it was phenomenal. The characters were really well rounded, really different, and really mysterious. You are constantly learning more and more about them as a person, and more about their backstories, and it was just really...amazing! It kept you on your toes, you don't know what's going to happen next. That's the whole mystery of it. The whole idea of the book is really brutal and intense, and the whole world is really unforgiving and raw. 

      I loved the alternative perspectives between Laia and Elias, Elias's perspective was my favorite to read just because he was such a strong character, but he was blatantly flawed. He was a young man who struggled with morals and love and his identity. He wanted freedom, and acceptance. I just loved him as a character. Don't think that I didn't like Laia as a character, but I did prefer Elias. Sometimes I felt like Laia's chapters were kind of slow, but they were still very interesting and compelling. Whenever Elias and Laia interacted with each other, their chemistry was undeniable. I don't know if I would say that I would ship them, because there's kind of a love-square going on throughout the book, but I think that I could maybe decide on a ship when I read the sequel. ;) 

      Sabaa Tahir's writing all throughout the novel was stunningly beautiful. Her overall tone was very raw, yet flowing, and I adored it. The story was addicting, and powerful and I cannot wait to read the sequel, A Torch Against The Night

My Favorite Character: Elias
My Least Favorite Character: The Commander



Happy Reading,
Olivia
~livthebooknerd~





Thursday, March 17, 2016

{Closed Giveaway} Half Bad by Sally Green


Page Count: 394
Published By: January 13, 2015

Published by: Penguin/Speak
Genre(s): YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Source: Paperback
PROVIDED BY PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE
Age Rating: PG-13

Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon

Twitter:

My Rating: 4.75 stars








Goodreads synopsis:

“Highly entertaining and dangerously addictive”— Timemagazine

“A bewitching new thriller.” — The Wall Street Journal


In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and sixteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his seventeenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?

In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.
 



~~~

Hey guys!

      I was contacted by Penguin/Random House to do a special review on Half Bad in order to celebrate the release of the third and final book in the Half Bad Trilogy, Half Lost. I was so excited to be contacted by Penguin, because I've been wanting to read Sally Green's books for a while. Ben from benjaminoftomes on YouTube has been raving about these books for quite a long time, and it's made me really want to read them. There's actually a giveaway that will end on Monday that I regrettably forgot to post when it first started. So here is the link to it!

 Giveaway:

~~~

Praise for HALF LOST, the last book in the trilogy

* “The Half Bad trilogy ends as strongly as it started in this conclusion to one of the finest recent examples of YA fantasy.”- PW 

*    " An immensely satisfying finale of dazzling magic, hard-earned romance, and the tragic realities of war.”– Kirkus

*    "It’s a poignant finale to a trilogy that for readers, for full effect, will need to absorb from its beginning.”– Booklist


Praise for HALF BAD

“Highly entertaining and dangerously addictive.” – TIME Magazine

“Genuinely engaging.”  -The New York Times
This is an enthralling fantasy in the Harry Potter tradition, powered by Nathan’s unique narrative voice.” – TIME.com, Best Books of 2014

“Much more than a book about witches. Her page-turner is a ruminative exploration of the nature of evil.” – The Boston Globe

“What if Harry Potter were never rescued from his uncle’s house?….THAT story would be Half Bad and it’s a KNOCKOUT.” – Justine Magazine

“Have you ever had the thing where you're so absorbed in reading a book that you try to keep reading it while walking around on the street, only to come close to being hit by a bus? I had a bit of that with the new young-adult fantasy novel Half Bad by Sally Green.” – io9

“Both gripping and surprisingly sophisticated” – The AV Club

“Sally Green’s Half Bad is the perfect novel for inspiring one to despise all of humanity or fall onto the ground and weep pathetically. Needless to say, it is an excellent book.” – Tor.com

“It’s refreshing…chances are, readers will want to revisit this world of witchcraft because, well, it's not half bad.” – USA Today online

“With a memorable main character and its themes of good and evil, Green’s book deserves to stand out.” – Bustle.com





~~~

My Review:

      I was at first really skeptical about this book, because the first couple chapters/part was really confusing. I didn't exactly know what was going on, but it was interesting so I kept on reading. I really liked where it was going once I got into the second section of the book. I really enjoyed Sally Green's writing style, and her characters and magical world was so compelling. It reminded me a lot of Harry Potter, and the over all magic system was really interesting. The differences between the black and white witches and the prejudice between them was really interesting. I thought that it was really really well done. 

      I really didn't like the beginning of the book. It was written in second person, and the way that it was started is really confusing. It later makes sense because after the first few chapters, it goes back into the beginning of his life. The beginning of the book starts out when he was a baby, then when was in his teens, then it reverts back to when he was a kid in the second part. It was just very strangely done. Sometimes the writing style felt a bit broken, and the pacing felt a bit off. Those problems alone have caused my rating to go from 5 stars to about 4.75 stars.

      Once I got passed the weird first part, the book was very addicting. Sally Green's characters were very interesting, and the relationships between them were very cool to read about. As Nathan experiences the hardships that the opposing witches send his way, he perseveres through and doesn't give up on his goals. I really liked Sally Green's magical aspects and I really hope that I see more of it in the second and third book. I'm really excited about reading the rest of the books, I really hope that they live up to the hype. I cannot ever compare this book to The Hunger Games, because the only similarity between them are their YA genre status. There isn't much else that is similar.  

       I highly recommend this book. Lovers of Harry Potter, urban fantasy, and witch oriented books will love this book.

My Favorite Character: Nathan
My Least Favorite Character: Annalise

I hope you enjoyed this review!

Happy Reading!
Olivia
~livthebooknerd~
Twitter // Instagram // Tumblr // Goodreads // YouTube // Bloglovin

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Top 5 Wednesday {#12}: Least Favorite Books In Series


Hey guys!

      It's that time again! Once again, it's time for another Top 5 Wednesday! i had looked at the Top 5 Wednesday group on Goodreads, and I had seen that one of the weekly topics to discuss was your least favorite books from series. This took a lot of thought from me on my part, but I've managed to make up a list of 5 books. Here they are!


1. The Kill Order (The Maze Runner#0.5) by James Dashner


One of the first books that I thought of would have to be The Kill Order. If you had read my Maze Runner series review {click here},you would know that I actually really hate this book. The book was made up of maybe 90% action, and 10% story. I was hoping for a story that revolved more on Thomas and Teresa, but there wasn't much to keep my bookish appetite sated. I hope for more when it comes to The Fever Code which will come out in September.

My Rating: 3 stars









2. New Moon (The Twilight Saga #2) by Stephanie Meyer


I've read this book a multiple of times, and it's probably my least favorite of the series. I didn't like Bella or Edward in this book, they were both aggravating, and even thinking of this now...it's aggravating. The Twilight Saga was the first vampire series and Twilight, the first in the series, was the first vampire book I had ever read. These books are very nostalgic for me, and even if I kind of think this addition to the series is bleh, it still holds a very special place in my heart.

My Rating: 3.75 stars ???










3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

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Ok! LET ME EXPLAIN!

The Chamber of Secrets. I absolutely love it! It just happens to be my least favorite of the Potter books...I don't really know why. It's fantastic in every way! It's just my least favorite of the series...I guess that's all I have to say about that.

My Rating: 5 stars











4. Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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So recently, in December, I read Opal for the first time. It had been a year since I had read the first and second books in the Lux series, so I decided to read them again. I read the first and second, and I loved them, as I started Opal...I was getting bored...I was getting slumpy. I decided that I would push through and stop after the third. I was beginning to predict what was going to happen next, and I didn't like it, and I was beginning to hate the book. I know that I will complete the series because there's only 2 books left, but I had decided then that I would put it off so that I could end the year reading something amazing.






5. Peter & the Sword of Mercy (Peter and the Starcatchers #4) by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson 

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As an 11 or 12 year old, I was totally in love with this series, and I had read the first and second books in the series over and over again. I didn't know, at the time, that there were two more installments added to the series (there's now 5 in the series). When I read the fourth, it had been a couple years since the last time than when I read the third. This may have contributed to my negative feelings towards the book, but maybe someday I'll reread the series. 

My Rating: 3 stars









I hope you all enjoyed this addition to LivTheBookNerd's Top 5 Wednesday! I will see you tomorrow with a review of An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, and next Tuesday with a review of Half Bad by Sally Green! See you soon! 

Happy Reading!
Olivia
~livthebooknerd~



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Entwined by Heather Dixon

8428195

Page Count: 
Expected Published: 

Published by: 
Genre(s): YA, Romance, Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling, 
Source: Paperback
Age Rating: PG-13

Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon

Author Profile: [click here]

My Rating: 5 stars








Goodreads synopsis:

    Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it's taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.

    Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.


~~~

Hey guys!

      I first read this book when I was about 14, and in 8th grade. It was one of my all time favorites, and I had never forgotten about it after I graduated from middle school. I received a paperback copy this year for Christmas, and I decided to randomly pick it up after I read The Siren by Kiera Cass {click here for the review}, and I'm so glad that I did! I had forgotten almost all of the little details from Entwined, and reading it again this past month was like reading it for the first time...again...

      Heather Dixon is such a fantastic and skilled writer. Her characters are so beautifully written, and the plot was so intriguing and chilling. The way that Heather Dixon dealt with family, mourning, broken families, and friendship. The relationships between Azalea and her sisters are so heartwarming, and each of their personalities are so different and fun. Though there are 12 sisters, and first time readers would assume that the girls would be hard to tell them apart, but Dixon has made it so that each princesses' name is alphabetical according to their births. The eldest being Azalea, and the youngest being baby Lily. Their relationship is really sweet, and really raw and real. The added magical and fantastical aspects to this novel is absolutely mystifying as well. The magic is simple, yet complex. It reminds me of the stories that were read to me when I was young, and the stories that I continue to read as an (almost) adult.

      The creepy and mysterious Keeper creeped me out from the beginning, and I wondered throughtout the book why the girls did not suspect his motives. His motives are ancient and revolves around the country's history. As the story progresses you, the reader, learns more of their history and it's just wonderfully written. This is one of my all time favorite retellings, and I know that I'll read it again and again and again.

More Awesome Retellings:.

Above are some of my all time favorite fairy-tale retellings. I've read 4/6 of the list, and you can check them out if you search them up in the index on the home page or above. I hope you all enjoyed this review!

Happy Reading!
Olivia
~livthebooknerd~