My two best friends and I are extreme book nerds. Especially for YA books. Since we are viewed as weird in the real world, we decided to go to the Internet, where everyone is weird. It has been going pretty well. Our original blog is Crazy for YA
I am very happy to present my stop on the Alchemists of Loom blog tour run by Xpresso Book Tours. I have been a fan of Elise Kova and her other series, Air Awakens, for a while now. So, I jumped on the chance to read this book, as you definitely should too. If you are a fan of fantasy, dragons, and dynamic heroes looking for revenge, then this is the perfect book for you.
Sometimes it can be hard to find presents for the people that you love in your life. Sure, you can always stick a gift card or some cash in an envelope and call it a day, but where is the fun in that? I am of the mentality that every person is unique, so everyone should get a unique and personalized gift.
Click the link to see my recommended gifts for bookworms!
The Sunday Street Team is a group of bloggers led by the marvelous Nori @ ReadWriteLove28 who aim to bring well-deserved attention to new and upcoming books and their authors.
This month's post is featuring Tara Sim and her steampunk debut novel, Timekeeper.
I would recommend Timekeeper to fans of historical fiction and steampunk, especially if you are looking for a new take on the genre. I would also recommend Danny's story to anyone looking for a diverse novel that does not shy away from the tough questions. Even though the middle was a little bit slow, anyone who enjoys a good steampunk will enjoy Timekeeper.
If you want to hear more of my thoughts about the book and enter in the giveaway, then click on the original link.
Over the past year, Kat Ross has become one of my favorite authors. I have devoured three of her books this year, including The Midnight Sea, Blood of the Prophet, and The Daemoniac. All three of them were 5 stars for me, which is incredibly rare for any author, especially one who is so underrated. Ross is my go-to recommendation for those looking for unique fantasy (and historical fiction) books. The Fourth Element series should be on every YA fantasy fan's TBR.
Today, I have the pleasure of fangirling about The Fourth Element Series as well as revealing the breathtaking cover of Queen of Chaos, the last book in the series.
I loved this quote from Spells and Sorcery by S. Usher Evans. If you want to read even more amazing quotes like this, enter my giveaway to win your own copy!
(P.S. There will be spoilers for the Divergent series by Veronica Roth in this discussion. You have officially been warned.)
Perfection is abundant in YA, or at least at first glance, it seems so. There is always the stunningly handsome love interest who is somehow smart, funny, popular, and well, perfect. There is always the "flawed" main character who can ace her classes, fight monsters, all while still getting the boyfriend at the end. Perfection has become a standard in YA, and one of my favorite book series is a major culprit.
I really love this quote from Nemesis by Anna Banks. You can see what I thought of the rest of the book in my review.
I know a lot of bad words. Words that would make your grandmother blush and have your mother wash your mouth out with soap. Words that destroy, devastate, and hurt. Four letter words that cannot be said on television or public radios. Most of us know some, if not all, of these words. They are imbued in our society so that everyone recognizes these words of hatred and pain.
But in the plethora of curses, insults, and swears that exist in our cultures, diverse is not a bad word.
Diverse is a word that uplifts and gives voices to the quiet. It gives hope to the hopeless. It has the power to change the book publishing industry, and hopefully our world, for the better. A single word can make our community better and improve us as readers and people.
There are so many ways that diversity improves our world, and I am not just talking about in literature. Films, music, and every field should be diversified to represent the real people. The world is not full of the same type of people, so why does our media suggest that?
Diversity is a big and heated topic in our community and world right now, and one post and one opinion will not do it enough justice. I plan on writing many more posts to campaign for greater representation for all people in literature through a series of blog posts.
But for now, I have compiled some inspiring tweets, posts, and other resources to show that we are not alone in the fight for diversity.
As heir to a kingdom of floating continents, Kali has spent her life bound by limits—by her duties as a member of the royal family, by a forced betrothal to the son of a nobleman, and by the edge of the only world she’s ever known—a small island hovering above a monster-ridden earth, long since uninhabited by humans. She is the Eternal Flame of Hope for what’s left of mankind, the wick and the wax burning in service for her people, and for their revered Phoenix, whose magic keeps them aloft.
When Kali falls off the edge of her kingdom and miraculously survives, she is shocked to discover there are still humans on the earth. Determined to get home, Kali entrusts a rugged monster-hunter named Griffin to guide her across a world overrun by chimera, storm dragons, basilisks, and other terrifying beasts. But the more time she spends on earth, the more dark truths she begins to uncover about her home in the sky, and the more resolute she is to start burning for herself.
Have you read Heir to the Sky? Do you like romance with your adventure/survival stories? Have you ever read any books that "fell flat"? Do you appreciate my self-restraint of only using one pun?
Top Ten Tuesday is a list based meme hosted by the wonderful ladies at The Broke and the Bookish.
This week's Top Ten Tuesday was open-ended, so we here at Crazy for YA decided to take it in a direction we find is rare in YA--to outer space! Because interplanetary exploration is slightly rare in YA novels these days, we may have recommended slightly fewer than 10 books this week, but all of our recommendations feature some of the most unique YA settings out there.
It is not a secret that I am a huge fan of BBC's cult favorite TV show, Doctor Who. I love the atmosphere of the extraordinary and mysterious that the show perfectly maintains. The Doctor's adventures are the perfect mixture of aliens, time travel, and the impossible. The TV show is honestly one of the most unique things I have ever experienced.
Likewise, Jackaby is one of the most unique books I have read in a long time. I mean, it is not often that I use fantasy and mystery as tags for the same post. And its similarities to Doctor Who do not stop there.
1. The main character is an aloof, mysterious, frustrating, yet terribly entertaining, man.
There are seemingly inginite parallels between the Doctor and Jackaby. They are both socially awkward. They both know a lot about the secret workings of the world. In Jackaby's case this means the supernatural, such as fairies and werewolves. They also dress similarly (David Tennant's trench coat = Jackaby's over-sixed coat). I mean, Jackaby's hideous knitted hat is the equivalent of Matt Smith's horrendous fez.
Unfortunately, I have the same problem with Jackaby that I occasionally have with the Doctor-- a superiority complex. Jackaby treats those around him as inferiors who cannot possibly help him in the investigation. Whenever he bothers to talk to his assistant, Abigail, it is mostly to criticize and condescend. But he gets away with it because he is just "socially awkward" and someone as brilliant as him cannot bother with things like manners and feelings. While Jackaby did have his good moments, I could not get myself to adore him like Abigail did.
2. The narrator is the underappreciated companion to the aforementioned genius.
Abigail is a spunky girl whose only goal in life seems to be to impress her new boss (which sounds a lot like Martha with the Tenth Doctor). She seemed too much like a feeble shadow of Jackaby for me to properly respect her. It does not help that whenever she tried to accomplish something, he berated her and tried to "determine her worth."
If you need any more convincing, Abigail is from Britain, where most of the Doctor Who series is centered around.
3. The plot is bigger on the inside.
Jackaby started as a seemingly simple murder mystery. I was intrigued with the premise, but not particularly impressed until the fantasy elements started peek through. I loved the stories and mythologies that were seamlessly incorporated into the plot. The mystery and suspense beautifully elevated to a full hunt for a supernatural serial killer. There were even a few magical twists and turns that surprised me.
Jackaby is seriously similar to my beloved Doctor Who in many ways. The concoction of the supernatural and occult with mystery was reminiscent of the Doctor's mix of science fiction and suspense. The characters are like reflections of each other (when it's time to find a 13th Doctor, Jackaby would make a great candidate).
While I adored the fantasy and mystery elements of Jackaby that reminded me of my favorite TV show, the characters left me wanting something more.
Have you read Jackaby? Do you like the idea of fantasy and mystery combined? Are you a fan of Doctor Who? If so, who is your favorite Doctor and companion? (Mine are David Tennant and Rose!)
This review was originally posted on my main blog, Crazy for YA. I post all kinds of bookish reviews, discussions, and ramblings over there with a healthy does of fun.
Thanks to the outstanding Carlisa @ Confessions of Carlisa for nominating me for this award. You can see her post here(with a wonderful story about a brave mountain goat named Billy). If a that does not catch your eye, you should check out her blog for the amazing reviews, discussions, and my personal favorite, Fairytale Fridays!
To get back on topic, here are the rules for this tag:
1. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you (the aforementioned Carlisa and her awesomeness).
2. Answer the seven questions.
3. Frame seven questions for your nominees.
4. Nominate seven(ish) deserving bloggers for the award.
Now for the questions that Carlisa borrowed from Ali @ The Bander Blog.
This is a weekly list meme hosted by the wonderful bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish.
Max here! This week's top ten Tuesday is an interesting one. Today, we're discussing some of our favorite hidden gems--specifically, books that have under 2,000 ratings on Goodreads. This week's topic really provides an opportunity to discuss some books that are just as great as those that receive tons of hype, but don't really get much attention when they're published.
I started my Goodreads account many, many moons ago. This was before I decided to start a book blog. Before I got a Twitter account. Before Divergent was published and the world went dystopian crazy. Before I knew the dangers of accumulating a massive TBR pile.
Once I got over the novelty of a website solely for book lovers like myself, I decided to start adding books to my shelves, mostly my to-be-read shelf. I quickly learned how to use Goodreads nefarious recommended reads feature, as well as the thousands of interesting lists in the listopia page. I added anything and everything that even sounded remotely exciting to me in the first few weeks on Goodreads. And I am currently paying the consequences.
I currently have shelves full of physical books that have been on my TBR for years and do not even get me started on my digital ebook shelves *cringe*.
I have finally admitted to myself that my TBR is a bit out of control (which is the first step to recovery, right? At least I hope...). I started to tackle the source of the issue: my Goodreads to-be-read list.
Even though Under the Trees is not the most unique book in the world. The politics were thrown aside for the romance, but I think that the characters redeemed the plot somewhat.
That being said, the characters were the highlight of the novel. This is a very character-centered novel, which I normally do not have any qualms about. Unfortunately, I found myself wanting a much bigger picture of the world that Araya and Thor lived in besides the trees they were hiding in. I wanted more of the political intrigue that was hinted at, but never elaborated on. I want to know why the kingdoms were even fighting in the first place. Without knowing the full story behind the feud, it was extremely difficult to involve myself in the story.
Unfortunately, I do not think that a book can survive on its characters alone. It's like trying to eat a PB&J sandwich without the peanut butter or eating cereal without milk. There has to be something for the characters to do, for them to think about, and to fight for. Most of the time, this is revealed in the plot, which was definitely lacking in Under the Trees.
I just wished there was more of a plot besides forbidden love. There was so much potential for a heavier plot, but I felt that all of the politics was thrown together and stuffed at me instead of developed. There were a couple of incidents that came at me with no warning, so I was not prepared to digest it. Araya's family dynamic, especially her brother's story and the reason behind his shocking actions at the end of the novel, should have been explained more in context of the story instead of just serving as shock value.
On the other hand, I did find myself enjoying the growing relationship between Araya and Thor. At first it seemed a little insta-lovey, but it definitely redeemed itself at the end. They worked so well together and I loved how their relationship grew instead of stagnating.
The ending was absolute perfection, in my expert reader opinion. It did not exactly wrap everything up with a pretty bow, which I really loved. It was realistic and believable. Most of all, it gave me hope. It showed that Araya and Thor still had things to work on, but they were willing to put in the work. To me, that is an important theme that is not normally touched upon in YA novels now. Couples just kind of get together and stay together by chance or luck, without really having to work for anything. But, I am glad to say that Under the Trees avoided the relationship complacency very well.
Under the Trees is more of a fluffy romance featuring a bad case of forbidden love than the novel of political intrigue mixed with romance that I was expecting. Personally, I like an even mix of character romance and action-filled plot, but Under the Trees definitely favored romance. I really wanted more from the plot and the politics.
I would recommend it if you are looked for a light, mind-numbing romance with a cute prince, but I would avoid it if you are looking for anything more.
This review and a ton of other bookish discussions, tours, and fun can be found on my original blog, Crazy for YA.