Ash Princess, by Laura Sebastian

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Ash Princess, written by Laura Sebastian, is the first in a trilogy. It follows Princess Theodosia, who is a prisoner of the Kalovaxian court after her home kingdom of Astrea was invaded. From the beginning, Ash Princess was an unoriginal, cliché-filled fantasy. There were certain elements I enjoyed, which I’ll discuss after I list the bad.

A few days before I read Ash Princess, I read a book called Amber & Dusk by Lyra Selene, which I’ll be reviewing soon. When I think back to Ash Princess, I find myself mixing both books together, which isn’t a good thing because the goal is to write an original book, especially in an industry where the majority of YA fantasy tends to surround a strong female lead in a kingdom and trying to defeat the ruler. You could compare the plot to almost any young adult fantasy book because it follows the same layout. One of the largest similarities I found was when Theodosia was being whipped, she repeated her full name over and over, which was almost exactly what happened in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, a much more popular series. As a young adult writer, I would assume the first thing you would do would be read the most popular books in the genre you’re writing so you can try and be as original as possible. This author either read the books and decided that the similarity wasn’t too close, or she never read them and just so happened to write a very similar scene. This really stuck out to me because the Throne of Glass series is eight books long (including the novella), therefore being reminded of a specific scene is not a good thing.

The author chose to include a love triangle in this book, and not a subtle kind like in Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas, or Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi. The subtle ones are when there are two characters that the main character finds attractive, but she only focuses on one at a certain time, which makes it seem like less of a love triangle, hence, less frustrating. In this book. Theodosia chose to be romantically involved with them both at the same time. She would kiss one and then kiss the other, which angered me and made me dislike the lead character more. To continue, the romances moved much too fast for the time the characters spent together. The only relationship that was believable was the friendship between Theodosia and Crescentia, a girl who has her sights set on marrying the crown prince. Their friendship is believable and developed naturally throughout the book.

This story would have been saved had the male characters been developed more. She had a strange relationship with a boy from her childhood who managed to survive the mass murder of her people and showed up in the palace with a small rebel team. His name was Blaise, which I had to look back at the book to find despite him being the main love interest (I think?) in the book. They hardly had any time to flesh out a romance or relationship of any kind, therefore the reader had to rely on a relationship they had built ten years prior, which isn’t believable because people change and grow a lot in that time.

My favorite character was the crown Prince Søren, who really got beat up throughout the book physically and emotionally. He showed real emotion, which was good, but I found myself wanting to read the whole book from his perspective, which would have been a much more interesting and original book.

I did enjoy how diverse the cast was; the main character is from Astrea where everyone has darker skin. There were some similarities with history, and I think she tried to make connections to slavery but there wasn’t much of a point to it as the idea wasn’t fleshed out. The plot twist was something I saw coming and I found myself groaning in wait for the characters to execute their plans.

If you don’t mind the similarities to other books (maybe you haven’t read much YA fantasy), I would still suggest you skip this series and find another. I would rate this book 4/10 dragons and I will not be reading the sequel.

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Charming Academy Series (book 1) – Review

 

 

The Charming Academy Series is written by Jessica L. Elliott, and consists of six books, including Charming Academy, Finding Prince Charming, Prince Charming’s Search, Becoming Prince Charming, The Ultimate Prince Charming, and Prince Charming’s Quest. Yes, that is a lot of Prince Charmings. I know.

The first book, Charming Academy, is the beginning. As the title suggests, this is at an academy for young princes who are on their path to become a Prince Charming. In this fairy tale reproduction, the name “Prince Charming” is more than a name, it is an honorary title that the young men receive after completing their quest. Yes, that is not very detailed, but you can’t expect me to give everything away right now, can you?

Our main character is a young prince named Lucian. He is mainly the character followed throughout the first book, and the following books are centered around each other main character’s quest after schooling. Now to the actual book.

A little organizational information that you will learn in the book, but I can’t very well explain without describing a little (Don’t worry, I won’t give away anything super important): Prince Charming Academy for Boys is a school that works in association with Fair Damsels Academy for Young Ladies. Lucian is enrolled at the boys’ school to begin his schooling and preparation for his quest which will take place at the end of his sixth year.

Within his education, he learns about all the things a prince must do on a typical quest. He learns to fight dragons and about spell breaking, the ins and outs of hunting and survival, languages of dragons and mermaids along with his normal math, science, and language arts classes. He and his friends must overcome the challenges of being teenage boys, learning to get along with their princesses, schoolwork, and staying on the right side of the witches in charge of punishment at the school. With magic surrounding them, they must prepare as best they can to make a wonderful fairy tale out of their quest.

The Charming Academy Series is a retelling of some of our most well-known and loved fairy tales, including Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, the Princess and the Frog, and many others. I greatly enjoyed the series, as I love fantasy. The books show both the prince and princess’ views of a fairytale, with plenty of humor, challenges, and romance to keep the story rolling. I think it is a very good series for middle school kids, because of the interesting tale, the age of the characters, and length. The series shows all of the adventure that is sometimes skipped in retelling. This is so much more than the common “a beautiful princess was locked in a tower and waited and waited for a long time till her Prince Charming rode in on a majestic horse and saved her with true love’s kiss the end.” It includes everything needed to be sweet and adventurous at the same time, with lots of entertainment as the characters and their growth as individuals as well.

I do have to admit that while this series is one of my favorite reading pastime series, it does get a little boring sometimes. The plot will drag or get repetitive sometimes, which is understandable, and I also think that the copies I have at least are her rougher versions. I don’t know if the author has had more edits and publication recently, but my copies of the series do have some grammatical and spelling errors, and the detail is sometimes far too much or little given in some sections, in my opinion of course. As frustrated as I get by these errors sometimes, I also appreciate them greatly, because I think it shows that the author did not necessarily write the series to be pretty and perfect and sell for lots all over the world, but really so that she could share the basics of the fairy tales she so loved as a child that she worked to make “cool enough” for her brother (this is how the series was first created, her brother told her that fairy tales were for girls and she set out to change that). It shows that she really just wanted to share her stories. To be completely honest, the books are rather unpolished. But they are lots of fun to read as the normal fairy tales we all know take a new perspective.

To kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

I currently am reading To kill a Mockingbird in my Eighth grade E.L.A class. I have recently read part one. The start of the book made me think the book was going to be some kind of horror story, but then it started to talk about what I wanted to read. This book is about a normal, white family during the Great Depression in Alabama. Little tomboy girl, Scout, likes to act and think like a man, like her older brother Jem, a cunning, brave, charming young lad. Their father, Atticus Finch, is a calm, soft- hearted lawyer who does his job and takes responsibility for his kids. Their small county of Maycomb, which is very old, struggles with racism, which is very severe at this time. I feel sympathetic for the people in Maycomb because no one really gets along with one another, it is very lonely there. I think of the people who dealt with things like racism and the depression are heroes because they have represented strength and have taught us all lessons. At least Scout and Jem have friends. Their good friend Dill Harris from Meridian, Mississippi, visits them often and keeps them from dying of boredom. Maycomb is also very dull. I can see what Harper Lee was talking about when she describes Alabama in this book. As I mentioned before, Maycomb is very racist. Maycomb is segregated by race, and when Atticus defends a black man named Tom Robinson, he is looked down upon by the town. Things get very rough for the Finches as they are judged and intimidated by other people. I would recommend this book to any teen or adult who likes to read about the time of the Great Depression.

Wildcard, by Marie Lu

 

Wildcard by Marie Lu

Wildcard, written by Marie Lu, is the sequel and finale to Warcross. Unfortunately, I can’t give many details on the content of Wildcard because it would spoil everything, however, I can tell you about Warcross. Emika Chen is the main character, and in this futuristic world a system called the neurolink, which is essentially a pair of contacts, connects its wearer to a virtual reality version of their own world. This was invented by Hideo Tanaka, along with a virtual reality game called Warcross, which holds tournaments annually with the best Warcross players around. Emika gets thrown into this world after meeting with Hideo and the story continues with unexpected twists and turns.

I read Warcross at a time when I wasn’t really reading, but its plot intrigued me and after testing out the first few pages, I flew through the rest of the book. It is nice that there are only two books because it wraps the story up neatly while keeping it fast-paced and full of necessary details. Lu creates a very dynamic world that was more developed than I could have hoped for. The way she explains the neurolink and how the reader discovers its abilities throughout both books is flawless and detailed. The effort Lu put into making the neurolink as fleshed out as possible without confusing the reader, along with her wonderful descriptions of setting showed the reader how passionate she is and how carefully thought out the duology was.

Lu is an amazing storyteller; her plot is unique and the way the story played out is incomparable as far as I’ve read. After the twists in Warcross, I felt as though I knew what was going to happen throughout Wildcard, but to my grateful surprise, I was wrong. Every time you think you know what’s going to happen, some new information appears and the whole goal changes, which is amazing storytelling in my own opinion. Keeping fresh ideas and fooling the reader makes them feel the same emotions as the characters do at that moment, rather than having the reader wait for the character to find out what they already knew.

All the characters were lovable and unique in their own ways, with lots of diversity. I was able to connect to the characters and feel for them as much in these two books as I would in a longer series, which I applaud Lu for. I would recommend this book for anyone from 12 and up as there aren’t many graphic scenes, the book is fast-paced, and neither book is very long, with around 400 pages for both.

This duology amazed me in another unexpected way because it focused on ethical and moral dilemmas that I, unfortunately, can’t talk about in detail without spoiling the first book. It focuses on the fear of death and hard choices for the benefit of society, along with how to deal with people you love when they make questionable choices.

I would rate Warcross and Wildcard a 10/10 each, for the amazing plot, scenery, and character development that should pose as an example to new authors wanting to create something unorthodox in the young adult book community.

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Just Listen book cover

Margaret A. Edward award winning author Sarah Dessen published yet another captivating romance book, Just Listen. Consisting of three hundred seventy one pages of exhilarating and emotional events, this book is beyond fabulous. All happening in the town of Lakeview, TX, Annabel Greene used to have it all – her popular best friend, Sophia, a flawless family, and nothing to hide. But that all came crashing down when Annabel gets caught with her best friend’s boyfriend in a room half-naked. As Sophia takes Will’s side of the story, Annabel’s devastated. Meanwhile, Annabel’s sister, Whitney, is suffering from a hidden eating disorder, which puts pressure on Annabel’s home life. Desperate to talk to someone, Owen Armstrong is there. As Owen shows her another way of overcoming her sadness with music, Annabel and Owen relationship grows. Read more to find out!

Rating : 10

I would  this book a 8/10  which is still good but this book was super scattered. From one thing to another, things could get a little overwhelming when reading this book. So I suggest if u do read it, to make sure u have enough time to spend. Overall, Just Listen will knock you off the ground with  every amazing and exhilarating sentence.

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys (Book Review)

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How many of you like horror stories, the kind that keep you thinking for hours, or up at night pondering what exactly is under your bed?

Then this book is for you. Each one of the tales in this short story collection takes an idea from a classic novel, song, or movie and updates it in a modern setting. Part of the fun of the book is trying to figure out what the authors were drawing from when they wrote their stories.

You’ll meet Marnie, a studious but unpopular girl that the clique has dubbed Marnie Monster. But then Damien, the fascinatingly mysterious new boy, takes an interest in her after she expresses sympathy for Frankenstein’s monster in English class. But who is Damien really, and what does he want?

Then there’s Cassidy, a young woman who adored Alice in Wonderland as a child. Follow her story through parallel child and teenage experiences as she tells us about her relationship with the March Hare, a mysterious being who lives in the woods near her town.

Lest you think that all our stories revolve around girls, let me introduce you to some of our monster boys. Like Wolfboy, a young man who manages his sleepless nights by endlessly texting young women he’s met online, much to the consternation of his very conservative mother. Or Richard, a boy haunted by the closet in his bedroom that won’t ever seem to open. Or will it?

Looking for some delicious chills and thrills? Then give Slasher Girls and Monster Boys a try.

Fablehaven 5 – Review

 

Fablehaven – Keys to the Demon Prison, by Brandon Mull, is the fifth and final book in the Fablehaven series

This is it, folks, the last book in the Fablehaven series, tied for first on my favorites in the series. I’ll be honest, this and the third are my first place winners, then the fourth is my second favorite, and the first and second are my third, but not necessarily my least favorites. Even though that is technically what the not top favorites means. Oh well. You all know what I mean. Hopefully.

*For the last time this series, SPOILERS MAY DWELL WITHIN. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Dun dun dun.*

Alright, the end is coming. As Kendra and Seth prepare for what they hope will not mean the end of the world, they realize that they really are among the only ones who can save this. After facing heartbreaking betrayals and emotional trauma, and time after time again escaped certain death, these two incredible kids are up against what they hoped they wouldn’t have to face. But the Sphinx has the artifacts, the power, the minions, and, as if that wasn’t enough, their parents. The Zzyzx’s opening seems eminent and the only way that they can seem to save the world now is to prepare to keep the demons in, even if it means war. Racing around the world, Kendra and Seth try to intercept the artifacts and gather allies, bargaining for knowledge and searching for weapons. They have their fairykind and shadowcharmer abilities, but fighting the Sphinx never has been and never will be easy, so all they can do is prepare as well they can and hope that all will end well.

This was the last book in the Fablehaven series and I was pretty sad, wanting to know more and have more adventures with Kendra and Seth, though I knew they deserved a break from the constant near death experiences. But, I am so happy, because Brandon Mull has started a second series about them, its called Dragonwatch and I will write reviews on those books too. I recommend both of these series all the way, for fantasy lovers who love action and build up and magical creatures.

I would give this book a 4.9 / 5, I love it, it is a great end to the series while still allowing Mull a way to add to it indirectly, and is a very good blend of action and sentiment and humor and romance and teasing all the way through.