Saturday, 26 December 2015

The Book of Ivy and The Revolution of Ivy By Amy Engel


Series: The Book of Ivy Duology

The Book of Ivy- November 4th 2014 by Entangled Teen
The Revolution of Ivy- November 3rd 2015 by Entangled Teen

Goodreads summary of The Book of Ivy:
After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual. 

This year, it is my turn. 

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power. 

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

My thoughts: ( spoiler free):
(Sorry this is so short but it's the holidays and I don't have much time but I wanted to review these books while they were fresh in my mind!)

I haven't hear much about these books which is crazy because they're really really good. Well I think so anyway!

I have not read a dystopian in ages and this is just what I needed to get me back into him the genre. If your sick of drawn out trilogy's than this duology is for you. It's such an easy read that captivated me from the first page. I read them each in a sitting! I think the two books could have been one they were so short. I preferred the first book but really enjoyed both.

My favourite character was definitely Bishop, the presidents son. I loved any scene with Bishop. He is such a kind, supportive, caring person. Bishop is literally the perfect guy. But I really wanted to see some flaws to make him seem more realistic. I also like him because he really helped Ivy to grow as a character.

Ivy's character development over the two books was perfectly paced. She isn't badass like some dystopian protagonists but she is still a very fun character to read about. My only problem with Ivy was I didn't agree with all of her decisions and at time she could be very outspoken and reckless.

Bishop and Ivy's relationship was great. I was so happy that there wasn't any intalove. And because there was no love triangle to make everything more complicated we could focus more time on developing their relationship.

The world building was good. The history of Westfall is explained very clearly in the first book. The world outside Westfall was explored more in the second book which I was very excited to learn about. The world building is simple but enough information was given to satisfy me.

There's nothing complicated or overly complex and that's what I loved about Ivy's story. Engel manages to engage readers without boring them with lengthy paragraphs of explanation that usually confuses readers. Her writing is simple and effective.

My ratings:
The Book Of Ivy- 4 stars
The Revolution of Ivy- 4 stars

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Soundless by Richelle Mead

Publication: 10th November 2015 by Razorbill 

GoodReads Summary:
From Richelle Mead, the #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, comes a breathtaking new fantasy steeped in Chinese folklore. 

For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom. 

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever...

My thoughts: (Spoiler free)
Soundless is my least favourite of Meads books to date. That being said I still liked  it. I have heard people say that Soundless is boring and I completely disagree. It was a quick read that I flew through. It held my attention the whole time. My rating isn't higher because it just didn't blow me away.

I had high expectations and unfortunately they weren't met. I thought there would be a lot more fantasy elements than there was. I was looking forward to learn loads about Chinese folklore but there was hardly anything. It was subtly there but not as much as I would have liked.

I was also excited to meet more of Meads characters because she always has fantastic complex characters. However I didn't connect with any of them in Soundless. I found this weird considering how much characters from Meads other books mean to me. Fei was likeable but nothing about her made her stand out in the ever growing sea of YA female protagonists. She felt very flat to me.

Fei's relationship with her sister seemed a bit strange to me. I might have read it wrong but I'm pretty sure  Fei is the younger of the two. But she seemed to take all responsibility for caring for Zhang Jing. Fei acts as if she is the older of the two.

I thought it was very interesting reading about a whole village that can't hear. It was interesting how they used different ways to communicate, like by signing and through painting.

The romance between Fei and Li Wei was a sweet love story but it wasn't anything memorable.

There were a few parts that I liked such as when they begin their journey down the cliffs and the last few chapters.

All in all I didn't feel like I was reading a Richelle Mead book. It lacked the complex characters, the humour and fun her other YA novels have.

My rating: 3 out of 5.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Secrets in Phoenix by Grabriella Lepore

Publication: October 13th 2015 by Oftomes Publishing

Goodreads summary:
When Sophie Ballester and her twin brothers Sam and Todd are uprooted from their home and sent to a remote boarding school run by their Great Aunt Ness, they stumble upon a hidden room that holds a secret—a secret that will change everything. 

The people of Phoenix Holt are not what they seem. 

In fact, nothing is.

My thoughts: (spoiler free)
Secrets in Phoenix is a very short quick read that is immensely enjoyable. It was very interesting and held my attention the whole time I was reading. Captivating and intriguing with a mix of magic, this book was such a fun read.

I'm not one to really pick up fantasy paranormal standalones but after reading this one I'd like to read some more. I've always thought you can't develop a fantasy world properly in one book so I was pleasantly surprised to find Gabriella Lepore did an excellent job of it in Secrets in Phoenix.

I loved the setting. I felt like the writing was very descriptive and I had a good sense of where the story was taking place and had strong pictures in my head of how the setting looked.

Sophie is likeable character. Usually 15 year old protagonists can be annoying and make stupid decisions that make readers want to tear their hair out; but Sophie is not one of those protagonists. She is smart, caring and selfless.

One of my favourite aspects of the story was how Lepore explores the sibling relationship between Sophie, Sam and Todd. I think she portrayed the relationship very realistically  and strong sibling relationships isn't something I see a lot of in YA.

I do think some things were a bit predictable but there was definitely some twists and turns here and that surprised me.

Secrets in Phoenix has a satisfying ending but I felt it was a bit rushed and I would have liken a bit more explanation at the end. 

I enjoyed my time reading Secrets in Phoenix and will definitely be picking up more by Lepore!

My rating:4 stars out of 5!

* I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher Oftomes Publishing. All opinions are my own.*