Book Review Round-Up #1

I haven’t been blogging a lot lately, and have pretty much been sticking to Top Ten Tuesday posts and a movie review (for Insurgent), but I have been reading…and since I want to talk about what I’ve been reading, I thought I’d do a few posts where I talk a little about the books I’ve been reading.  This is the first of several review round-ups I’m working on, so enjoy!

Book #1: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Since You've Been Gone CoverFormat/Source: borrowed the e-book from the library

What It’s About: Emily is about to take some risks and have the most unexpected summer ever in this new novel from the bestselling author of Second Chance Summer and Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour.

Before Sloane, Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, and she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—someone who yanks you out of your shell.

But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list with thirteen bizarre tasks that Emily would never try. But what if they can lead her to Sloane

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Wait…what?

Getting through Sloane’s list will mean a lot of firsts, and with a whole summer ahead of her—and with the unexpected help of the handsome Frank Porter—who knows what she’ll find.

Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

What I Thought: Since You’ve Been Gone is an okay book.  It’s definitely a cute book, and I liked seeing Emily get out of her comfort zone.  I wasn’t completely into the book, mostly because who Emily was seemed to be really dependent on Sloane being around, and if Sloane wasn’t around, Emily wasn’t much of anyone.  It really did feel like her entire life and personality and identity revolved around Sloane.  While I can relate to your identity revolving around someone or something, it really felt irritating in this book, especially since she seemed to have latched onto a few different people, only for the something really similar to happen again.  I felt like Sloane was also a really shitty friend, especially with how she just left Emily with no explanation, and just a list of things to do.  Even though her explanation at the end of the book made sense, it was really hard to care, no matter how hard I tried.  The characters weren’t memorable, and I felt like her friendship with Sloane was built up to be bigger and more important than I felt it was.  I think teenage me would have liked it, but for adult me, it was too boring and felt pretty tame.  I did like the random playlists throughout the book, and I wish I had thought to check out some of the songs before I had to return it to the library.  I don’t know that I’d buy it, because it would be silly buying it just for the playlists, but I’d definitely check it out from the library again just for that.

Rating: 2 stars.  It’s cute but Sloane just seemed like an (understandably) not so great person, while Emily seemed really dependent on others for her identity.

Book #2: Huntress by Malinda Lo

Huntress CoverFormat/Source: borrowed the paperback from a friend

What It’s About: Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn’t shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people’s survival hangs in the balance.

To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen. Taisin is a sage, thrumming with magic, and Kaede is of the earth, without a speck of the otherworldly. And yet the two girls’ destinies are drawn together during the mission. As members of their party succumb to unearthly attacks and fairy tricks, the two come to rely on each other and even begin to fall in love. But the Kingdom needs only one huntress to save it, and what it takes could tear Kaede and Taisin apart forever.

The exciting adventure prequel to Malinda Lo’s highly acclaimed novel Ash is overflowing with lush Chinese influences and details inspired by the I Ching, and is filled with action and romance.

What I Thought: I liked Huntress!  I think I would have liked it more if I hadn’t read it at a time when focusing on anything except staring blankly into space.  Timing really is important when it comes to reading, because I felt like nature hanging in the balance really didn’t come through.  I think a few other things didn’t make a lot of sense when I was reading it, but I honestly can’t remember what they are now!  She did create a really interesting world, from what I can remember and after reading Adaptation recently (and really liking that world), I do want to go back and re-read it, since I really do think I read it at the wrong time, and my thoughts on the book suffered because of it.  Anyway, I liked that Kaede and Taisin live in a world where same-sex marriage is rare but also…not a big deal at all, especially when it comes to arranged marriages and marrying for alliances.

Rating: 3 stars.  I liked it and I really wish I had read it at a time when I had more energy to focus on it, because I think I would have like it a lot more.  I’m definitely going to have to re-read it.

Book #3: Waterfall by Lauren Kate

Waterfall CoverSource/Format: e-book from the library

What It’s About: Eureka’s tears have flooded the earth, and now Atlantis is rising, bringing with it its evil king, Atlas. Eureka is the only one who can stop him, but first she must learn how to fight. She travels across the ocean with Cat, her family, and Ander, the gorgeous and mysterious Seedbearer who promises to help her find Solon, an enigmatic lost Seedbearer who knows how to defeat Atlas.

Once on land, Eureka is taunted by gossipwitches, a group of displaced Atlantean sorceresses, and ambushed by locals struggling to survive amid the destruction her tears have wrought. And she feels no closer to facing Atlas or saving the world when Solon lets slip that love is Ander’s weakness, and that any affection he feels toward her makes him age faster.

Trying to make sense of the dark world her sorrow has created, Eureka receives startling insight from an enchanted pond. Her bewildering reflection reveals a soul-crushing secret: if she’s strong enough, Eureka can draw on this knowledge to defeat Atlas—unless her broken heart is just what he needs to fuel his rising kingdom…

In Waterfall, Eureka has the chance to save the world. But she’ll have to give up everything—even love.

What I Thought: To be honest, I remember nothing about Waterfall.  Seriously.  I have it rated 4 stars, and I could not even begin to tell you why.  I really couldn’t.  Obviously, I didn’t love it or anything, and I’m pretty sure that I didn’t like it the way I liked the first book.  Actually…I did like the place where Solon lives- it felt like a really pretty place.  I just wish I had more thoughts!

Rating: 4 stars.  I wish I could remember why.  Maybe I’ll do an updated review on this one if I find myself re-reading it.

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