Review | The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Young Elites
Title: The Young Elites
Series: The Young Elites #1
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 07, 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 355

Blurb from Goodreads:

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

My Thoughts-01

Here’s a confession. I don’t have a big shelf. So when a book doesn’t live up to my expectations I get rid of them by selling them off at half their original price. Why keep a book that I don’t intend to reread when I could pass it to others who might actually love it? But this book? This book has earned it’s place in my shelf and it’s definitely not leaving any time soon.

Everyone has darkness inside them, however hidden.

The Young Elites is one of the darkest book I’ve ever come across. There is a sense of honesty in the pain, the struggles, and the hate that emanates from the characters. It felt real and palpable. The plot held my attention all the way through. It’s very original and it rolled out in such a striking way—from the blood fever that killed thousands, to the idea of malfettos who are disowned by their families and hated by society because of the strange, inexplicable, powers they acquired after coming out of the blood-fever alive. Malfettos are seen as abomination and are unjustly executed because of it. But a few of them choose to fight back and they call themselves the Young Elites. Read More »

Review | One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

one-of-us-is-lying
Title: One of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: Delacorte Press
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Type: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery & Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 361

Blurb from Goodreads:

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

My Thoughts-01

What good is a mystery/thriller if you’re not suspecting your favorite character and pretty much everyone mentioned in the book? Brace yourselves YA and mystery fans because One of Us Is Lying is a book set to mess with your brain a little bit and have you guessing all the way to the very end. It’s a very well put together book with a well-constructed storyline and cleverly plotted mystery. I bet many readers won’t guess this right. I’ve had over a dozen speculations about whodunit and who’s the exceptionally skilled liar among the characters. Still, I wasn’t able to hit the bull’s eye in the end.

The mystery was quite intriguing. Four outstanding students quickly turned murder suspects after a fellow student, Simon Kelleher, died in front of them during detention. Simon was widely hated though—being the administrator of a gossip app that has already managed to ruin lives by sharing people’s deepest secrets to the public. Simon’s killer could be anyone from school. And despite being good students it turns out that Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, and Nate had secrets to keep and each had a potential motive for killing Simon. Well, I think the lesson from this story is—if you’re smart enough to develop an app, make it something helpful instead of something meant to bring people down so you don’t end up being so alone and hated by everyone to the point that they would wish you were dead.Read More »

Review | The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Type: Standalone
Genre: Adventure, Historical Fiction, LGBT+, Young Adult
Pages: 513

Blurb from Goodreads:

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

My Thoughts-01

Finally! Finally, a YA book I could shamelessly give my five star rating to! Because here’s a book that hits all the right notes. Everything came to me as a brilliant surprise. I guess it help that I didn’t read the blurb or any reviews before going into this book. I just checked its average rating and it was high enough that I decided to go for it. Which is a damn good decision, I think. There’s always an added magic to reading a book with completely no hint of what it offers. Just like the characters, I’m oblivious to what would happen next and somehow that gives a “part of the gang” vibes. Like I’m in this adventure with them and knowing only the things they knew. Of course I’m only speaking based on my experience but if you do want to go into this blind, stop reading this now because I’ll be gushing about this book in the next minutes.

Love may be a grand thing, but goddamn if it doesn’t take up more than its fair share of space inside a man.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is everything I could ask for in a historical fiction. It is adventure-filled. It is populated with very diverse characters. It talks about diverse subjects. There’s also a tiny speck of magic in it. And it is abso-bloody-lutely rib-tickling! This one is oozing with humor. The last time a book has made me laugh like this was My Lady Jane and it felt like ages ago. It doesn’t often happen that a book finds and tickles my funny bone but this one did! By far this is the best read I’ve had for 2017. This is the book to beat, YA! Read More »

Review | When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

when-dimple-met-rishi
Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Imprint: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Type: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 380

Blurb from Goodreads:

The rom-com that everyone’s talking about! Eleanor & Park meets Bollywood in this hilarious and heartfelt novel about two Indian-American teens whose parents conspire to arrange their marriage.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

My Thoughts-01

Let me summarize my experience with this book in a few words. This book was like looking at a fancy cake you’ve been waiting to devour for days. And when you finally get to eat it, you find that the cake’s base was tasteless and the frosting was too sweet that it makes you want to gag. But you eat it anyway because you effing paid for it!

I could end my review right there but I was way too disappointed with this book that I couldn’t just keep quiet. I thought this was going to be an amazing read—like, off the charts kind of amazing—given its catchy premise and all those four and five star ratings. But my feelings for this book quickly changed from intrigued to disinterested until I finally don’t care.

The representation of some of the Indian traditions was the only thing that’s noteworthy about this book and one that I really appreciate. We don’t usually get Indian leads in this genre so this book was somewhat refreshing in a way. I may have huge issues here but I love how the author used this book as a platform where she introduced Indian culture to the world through its readers. Not only that, this also promotes their language as the characters sometimes switches from English to their native tongue. I can see how proud the author is of her roots! Read More »

Review | The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

lovely20reckless

Title: The Lovely Reckless
Author: Kami Garcia
Publisher: Macmillan
Imprint: Imprint
Release Date: October 04, 2016
Type: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 374

Blurb from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

My Thoughts-01

Last year I remember this book flooding my Goodreads feed and attached to it were amazing five star ratings. So I promised myself not to let this just pass me by. This is the first time I’m reading anything from Kami Garcia. Maybe I should have picked her other works first before picking this up. Because this, I didn’t fully enjoyed. There was nothing special in this book, sadly. If anything, this felt like a collection of all clichés known to this kind of genre.

The street racing idea was a refreshing touch though. It’s something I don’t usually see in YA books and I enjoyed reading about it. But the rest of the book was so average for me. The storyline was pretty common and basic. I’ve seen it used a hundred times in a hundred different books. It simply lacked the substance that could make it stand-out. Read More »

Review | Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

cover-for-everything-everythingTitle: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: Delacorte Press for Young Readers
Release Date: September 01, 2015
Type: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 310

Blurb from Goodreads:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

My Thoughts-01

I have high expectations from Everything, Everything. First, those high ratings and awesome reviews. Then there’s that eye candy cover. Followed by a unique and catchy premise! This book wasn’t bad but I wasn’t over the moon with it either. I think the idea was great and having a protagonist with SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency)—an illness that I didn’t know anything about—makes it an even more intriguing read for me. The ending felt like a cop-out though, and I wasn’t very satisfied with it.

“Life is a gift. Don’t forget to live it.”

Yoon’s writing was lovable as ever. It has the same charm and smooth flow that I saw and loved in The Sun Is Also A Star. Hers is the kind of writing style that will make you fly through the pages without even noticing that you did. The short chapters really worked for me. It felt like the book is giving us a story using only a few words but without losing the weight of the message that it’s trying to convey—that love is a wonderful thing that could ignite hope, but at the same time, it could also drive a person to do stupid things. Read More »

Review | Hunted by Meagan Spooner

y314
Title: Hunted
Author: Meagan Spooner
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: HarperTeen
Release Date: March 14, 2017
Type: Standalone
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Pages: 374

Blurb from Goodreads:

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

My Thoughts-01

And here’s yet another of my highly anticipated retelling that just turned out to be such a disappointment. Hunted has the finest ingredients for a retelling—Beauty and the Beast mixed with a number of interesting Russian tales—but still it lacked flavor. The whole thing was quite dull. Its characters were flat. The world was even flatter. The plot sticks very closely to the Beauty and the Beast story. And because I prefer my retellings to venture a bit further from the original tale, I didn’t find this very interesting. It simply lacked the twists and the pull to make it different from the original. And it was so slow, I was bored to tears.

I usually don’t have problems with slow-paced books as long as their reason for being slow is:

A.) It is trying to build a solid world for me to enjoy.
B.) It is focused on giving depth to the characters to make me want to care for them.

This book did none of those. The world-building was so vague but I don’t think it’s with the writing because I quite liked Spooner’s writing style. I think it wouldn’t be hard to picture a world with her writing if only there were enough details given for me to visualize. There isn’t much detail with regards to the world in this book except that it snowed a lot and that our main protagonist, Yeva, used to live in luxury with her family and later moved to a cabin in the woods after her father’s downfall. Then there’s the Beast who lives in a crumbling castle in the middle of the woods. I’m assuming that this castle is somehow warded by magic because it’s so hard to find but… so easy to find? Okay, hell, that was confusing. But that’s it for world-building. Read More »

Review | The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid

Diabolic
Title: The Diabolic
Series: The Diabolic #1
Author: S. J. Kincaid
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: November 01, 2016
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 416

Blurb from Goodreads:

Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire…

My Thoughts-01

Let’s talk about this beast of a book that is The Diabolic. This is my first encounter with S. J. Kincaid’s writing and the first thing I could think of after reading this is that it’s good… and it’s brutal! Anyway I loved it. This book presents a battle between cunning minds, backstabbing royalties, and dark machinations. This gripping futuristic story had me holding my breath for most part of the book! All of Kincaid’s characters were very calculating and dangerous and I love how each of them tries to outsmart the others throughout the book, making this more than just interesting—it’s gritty and nail-biting too.

Despite having a slow start, I found a lot of things to love in this book. The characters were masterfully crafted. The world-building was enthralling. Even the complicated political maneuverings will draw you into the story. Then there’s the series of plot twists that were so cleverly placed—some of it I saw coming, some had unexpectedly surprised me. But what I really love on top of all is the idea of a humanoid protagonist designed to be lethal for the sole purpose of protecting the one person they were scientifically bonded with. Read More »

Review | History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

History Is All You Left Me

Title: History Is All You Left Me
Author: Adam Silvera
Publisher: Soho Press, Inc.
Imprint: Soho Teen
Release Date: January 17, 2017
Type: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, LGBT+, Young Adult
Pages: 294

Blurb from Goodreads:

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

My Thoughts-01

Poignant, emotional, honest, and raw. History Is All You Left Me is every bit as brilliant and as touching as Adam Silvera’s debut novel, More Happy Than Not. It had me staying late at night reading, had me reaching for some tissue, and had me believing in the power of hope. It’s a heartbreaking story that is brilliantly delivered as it delve into the complicated matters of the heart, the beauty of love and friendship, the deep sadness that comes with loss and grief, and the process of moving on.

Adam Silvera is one of the new voices in YA and has quickly become an author that you can count on for a good story. He knows how to pack a punch in his books and I’m just totally floored by them. He makes fiction seem so real that it draws real emotions from the reader without being manipulative. I’m not even a big fan of sad stories but there’s rare magic in Silvera’s writing style that I can’t seem to get enough of and it keeps me glued to the story. That and his unique realistic tales made his books stand out in YA contemporary, which is not an easy thing to do. Read More »