Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Read This: Blue Lily Lily Blue

Blue Lily Lily Blue
by Maggie Stiefvater

The Goodreads Summary Says:
There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel

I Say:
5 stars
If you only read one October 2014 release, make it this one.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue was my most anticipated read of 2014 and it did not disappoint. Maggie Stiefvater is great at characters, and everyone here is interesting and well developed. From secondary characters like the ladies of 300 Fox Way, to The Gray Man and Gansey's old friend Mallory, the Raven Cycle is full of people I love to read about. Like the first book, this third one spends time with all of the characters, rather than focusing on one or two. After the way The Dream Thieves ended, there is a bit more focus on Blue and her family. But everyone is still present and problematic. There's so much less angst this time around but Blue and her boys struggle with problems supernatural (possibly evil magic caves) and mundane (college applications). Everyone can feel that the search for Glendower is coming closer to an end and no one knows what to do about it. Gansey especially struggles here and it was so interesting to see the cracks in his character coming out. Meanwhile Adam is more self-possessed than he's ever been and I really came to appreciate his character more.

The characters were enough to have me flying through the story but it also has an excellent plot. After finding the cave at the end of the last book, Blue and friends have to decide if/when to enter and what to do with what they find there. They're warned early on that there are three sleepers to be found, and only two should be woken. And then they have to figure out what that means and how to do it. The magic in the series gets more complex and dangerous. (and good) Add on the fact that our main 5 characters all have secrets they're keeping from each other and the tension and suspense go through the roof. Like the other books, this one has an ending that will leave you saying "Wait, what?" and then wanting the next book immediately.

Just So You Know:
I received a free review copy from Scholastic via NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion. Blue Lily Lily Blue will be available Tuesday, October 21! Preorder

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Utah Book Review: Evertrue

Evertrue (Everneath #3)
by Brodi Ashton

The Goodreads Summary Says: **Spoilers for Previous Books**
Now that Nikki has rescued Jack, all she wants is to be with him and graduate high school. But Cole tricked Nikki into feeding off him, and she’s begun the process of turning into an Everliving herself... which means she must feed on a Forfeit soon — or die.

Terrified for her survival, Nikki and Jack begin a desperate attempt to reverse the process using any means possible. Even Cole, who they expected to fight them at every turn, has become an unlikely ally — but how long can it last? Nikki needs to feed on Cole to survive, Cole needs Nikki to gain the throne in the Everneath, Jack needs Nikki because she is everything to him — and together, they must travel back to the Underworld to undo Nikki’s fate and make her mortal once more. But Cole isn’t the only one with plans for Nikki: the Queen has not forgotten Nikki’s treachery, and she wants her destroyed for good. Will Nikki be forced to spend eternity in the Underworld, or does she have what it takes to bring down the Everneath once and for all?

In this stunning conclusion to the Everneath trilogy, Brodi Ashton evokes the resiliency of the human spirit and the indomitable power of true love

I Say:
3.5 stars
This book might be better than 3.5 stars, but I think that's an accurate rating for how much I enjoyed it. I was so intrigued by the premise set up in Everneath, and then I couldn't get enough of the world building and action in Everbound. So my expectations for Evertrue were probably too high (through the roof). And... unfortunately, it didn't meet them. I never realized how important Cole was to the story until Evertrue. He's intersting and plays dirty. I loved how Nikki knew she shouldn't trust him, but found she had to try anyway. Cole, and his anti-hero hijinks, are all the fun of the story. And, through a series of twists, he's not as involved in the plot of Evertrue as he is in the other books. I was so incredibly disappointed by this. I can see how the twists facilitated the plot, but it took all the fun out of the story for me. That constant sense of tension Cole brings was missing, and I found myself flying through pages hoping to get it back.

So instead of the fun of Cole, the book focuses on Nikki and Jack and their hopes of getting Nikki out of what happened at the end of Everbound. For me, the sweet, caring Jack of the first couple books was gone and he was replaced by more a brutish, cartoony character. My heart wasn't with Jack (or Nikki) and it felt like they were going through a checklist of tasks to try to bring the Everneath down. I felt like this big sense of danger, or conflict, was missing. The very end of the story was really enjoyable for me, and the writing there was so good. But I think taking Cole out of the equation the way the author did just made the story a bit of a disappointment on the whole

The Big Three:
Language: a couple profanities
Sex and Stuff: not an issue
Violence: some death and mildly gory scenes

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Utah Book Month Author Spotlight: Elana Johnson & WriteOnCon

I've had the chance to feature local YA author Elana Johnson and her books a couple of times on my blog before, so today I want to highlight something really cool she's involved with: WriteOnCon!

WriteOnCon is a free online writer's conference held each summer. This year's will be held this upcoming Tuesday and Wednesday, August 26-27. Elana is one of seven authors, and several agents, who will participate. They'll be offering critiques on queries, pitches, and first five pages for people who register and post on the WriteOnCon website.

And it's all free!

I wish I were a little further along with my own writing to take advantage of WriteOnCon this year, but hopefully I'll able to participate next summer!

Here's a little more about Elana Johnson, should you come across her at WriteOnCon this week:

About Elana Johnson: 
Elana Johnson’s work, including Possession, Surrender, Abandon, and Regret, published by Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster), is available now everywhere books are sold. Her popular ebook, From the Query to the Call, is also available for download, as well as a Possession short story, Resist. School teacher by day, Query Ninja by night, you can find her online at her personal blog or Twitter. She also co-founded the Query Tracker blog, and contributes to the League of Extraordinary Writers.

Find Elana Online: