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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Empress of a Thousand Skies

Empress of a Thousand Skies
Written by Rhoda Belleza
Published by Razorbill

It had been a long time since I had found a decent book to read. There had been many new authors attempting to write amazing stories, but some ended up, in my opinion, with unrealistic romances, weak plot lines, and characters that just weren't believable. As someone who enjoys writing, I know that it is hard build the characters and plot into a complex, great story. Just when I had realized that I couldn't find I good book, I had stumbled across Empress of a Thousand Skies. I started it, not really expecting to like it, but soon, I couldn't stop reading the book.

Empress of a Thousand Skies was an interesting and enjoyable book. While the plot was not entirely unique, the story was not as predictable as one might expect. Yes, there were some obvious clich├ęs and it seemed to have been written for a certain age group, rather than being universal. However, the characters were intriguing and the setting was impressive. The author was able to portray the characters in such a way that caused the reader to sympathize with them. I also enjoyed the diversity of the characters. They were all from different planets and were subjected to stereotypes. The plot was written around an captivating concept that not many authors choose to write about. While I usually don't enjoy books that go back and forth between two separate characters, Belleza made it work out okay in the end. I did not enjoy everything about this book, though. It was strange that the two main characters had never really crossed paths in the book, and were both extremely different. The transitions between characters were not very smooth, either. While the readers were able to sympathize with the characters, it is hard to relate to them as their situations are so difficult to compare with real-life situations. At the beginning of the book, it was easy to get lost in the foriegn words of different planets and the odd people of the government. Belleza could have expanded her book much more in order to fully develop the plot, characters, setting, and much more. I look forward to the sequel book she writing.

I would compare this book to a soup. Everything is blended well and the "flavors" mostly go together. There are garnishes that complement the finished product, and the use of "spices" enhances the base flavors. There may be a few parts that are not mixed in well, and a few ingredients that not everyone enjoys "eating" in their "soup". And some people just don't like soup. Some people need more "seasoning" in their soup, and some people need less. It all depends on what the preferences of the person who "eats" it are. Overall, I would guess that most people would "eat" it again. Personally, I would read this book again, and I would give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
If you want to know more about Empress of a Thousand Skies or the author, visit her website at http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/2135166/rhoda-belleza

~Erin


Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Baby

The Baby
by Lisa Drakeford

The Baby by Lisa Drakeford is a well-written piece about a high school girl and her four friends. She did not know that she was pregnant, and has to give birth in the middle of her best friend's house party. This book gives teens a good glimpse into what their future would look like if anything were to happen to them regarding high school pregnancy. This book uses multiple voices in a shifting point of view in five different sections. The five sections are titled by the characters names to let you know which life you are going to get a peek into.
This book, while it has it's crazy baby plot, the other plots are super cute such as the pursuit for friendship, the pursuit for a partner, and, in some ways, the pursuit for truth. This book could be viewed as a health video in some ways, but compared to it, it's SO much BETTER. Depending on a video, the book is not corny or cheesy, and when it get too intense, you can put it down and pick it up later, and when you pick it up later, read at your own pace. A health video, depending on the video, is cheesy and corny and NOT well written.

If this book were a food, it would be watermelon and feta cheese. The watermelon, which is really yummy but can get everywhere really fast and then start to stick even quicker, is like the main plot with the baby being a serious issue. The feta cheese, which adds flavor to the already good watermelon, is like the mini plots because they are the toppers on the baby plot.

I really have to give this book a five out of five stars and a recommendation for the Teen's Top Ten because of its great execution of describing the teen mom life, and my information is based off of totally awkward health videos. I should mention that the ending should have deducted a fraction of a star because it left a cliffhanger, but it's all the more reason to add, even though it's not possible, another star. It also makes me want Lisa Drakeford to write another one. Oh, I looked her up online and coming up this year is a book called The Crash that I really want to read when it comes out because it looks so amazing, and I love books! If you think that you might love this book as much as I do, check her out at  https://www.chickenhousebooks.com/authors/lisa-drakeford/

             ~Libby

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Entangled and the Splintered Trilogy

Ensnared and the Splintered Trilogy
by A.G. Howard

Ensnared is the conclusion to the Splintered series, a series that is, essentially, a spinoff of Alice in Wonderland. I started following this series right after it came out, and it is honestly one of my favorite book series- ever.

Alyssa is a descendant of Alice, and is afflicted by a strange issue- she heard the plants and insects talk to her. Her mom had the same thing, and everyone thinks that she is crazy- but Alyssa finds out differently. On her journey(s), she has to fix Alice's mistakes, defeat an evil queen, and a lot more. This series is packed with adventure, romance, and an incredible plot. This book, Ensnared, is the conclusion to this series.
I, personally, was worried that this series would fall flat on the second book and the third (like so many others have done in the past). However, it surprised me by continuing to be amazing all of the way through; a very rare thing for a trilogy to do. This book was a fantastic conclusion to the trilogy. Without giving too many spoilers, I just have to say that I was scared the love interests would get messed up in the end- but A.G. Howard came up with the perfect conclusion that satisfied this worry without ruining the series for me. I was even more pleased when the romance did not take over the entire plot, because I have always been... well, not the biggest fan of romance. This series has just enough romance to add to the plot, but not too much to make the book focus on it.

This series is simply amazing- one of the best I've read in a long time. I highly suggest it to anyone who may ask (and have done so on numerous occasions). If you are interested in Wonderland, spinoffs of famous tales, romance, or just reading an amazing book, find this one! It is AMAZING!!!

If I was to relate this book to a food, it would be Altoids. "Whaattttt?" is what you are probably thinking right now... here's why Altoids are the perfect food to represent this book; in my house, Altoids are not just an after-meal breath freshener. They are a snack. We can eat a box of Altoids and enjoy it. You can never eat too many, and they taste good no matter what. You don't feel bad after you eat a ton of them either... they are like the infinity snack that you can just. keep. eating. This series is like that- you can keep reading it and never get sick of it. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.
For those of you who are like "Cool, I'm in!"or "I want to find out more about this supercool author", you can check her out at http://www.aghoward.com/
If you are someone who is interested in the idea of reading a spinoff of a classic tale, A.G. Howard also recently released a spinoff of The Phantom of the Opera, so if that peaks your interest more than Wonderland, check it out! You can find information on this book, called Roseblood, at the website cited above.

I contributed towards another blog post in 2014 about trilogies that do not get worse in the middle and actually deliver to the reader (I used this trilogy as an example). If you want to read more about this, you can find the post at http://www.yalsa.ala.org/thehub/2014/10/27/notes-from-a-teens-top-ten-book-club-book-group-participant-series-that-deliver/#more-11408

Enjoy reading!
         -Lucy

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