Review: Dream a Little Dream

Title: Dream a Little Dream (Silver#1) 21469090

Author: Kerstin Gier

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Publication Date: April 14, 2015

Summary: Mysterious doors with lizard-head knobs. Talking stone statues. A crazy girl with a hatchet. Yes, Liv’s dreams have been pretty weird lately. Especially this one where she’s in a graveyard at night, watching four boys conduct dark magic rituals.

The strangest part is that Liv recognizes the boys in her dream. They’re classmates from her new school in London, the school where she’s starting over because her mom has moved them to a new country (again). But what’s really scaring Liv is that the dream boys seem to know things about her in real life, things they couldn’t possibly know—unless they actuallyare in her dreams? Luckily, Liv could never resist a good mystery, and all four of those boys are pretty cute…

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Dream a Little Dream starts of kind of slow, following sassy Liv and her little sister Mia as they move to London and start over with a new school. Not only a new school, but potentially a new family as her mother reveals that she is dating a professor with two kids. Though Liv is tired of moving, there are a few perks about their new life; mostly the intriguing new mystery that presents itself. Not to mention the professor’s hot son and his three equally hot friends. The only problem is that Liv starts having really weird dreams including the four hottest boys at her school, and it seems that her dreams are real.

The main thing that I enjoyed about this book were the fun dream aspects. I loved seeing all of the ways that different people dreamed and what it said about them. The idea in this book, of being able to walk through other’s dreams, is such a fun idea and I thought that the author did a really good job of making the dream scenes funny but insightful. The author also used the idea of doors to other people’s dreams actually being doors and with that, people can put locks and defenses on their doors to keep other’s out. I thought that was a fun way to say something about a person, by how their door looked and what sort of defenses they put up. I kind of wish that Liv had done more snooping through people’s dream, but I felt like we unfortunately didn’t get much dream time through the book, something that was my favorite part and I would have liked to see more of.

I also liked Liv as a main character, I thought she was fun and clever and I loved her constant desire to solve mystery. And I liked her relationship with her sister, the way that they were so familiar and played off of each other’s jokes and snark constantly made me laugh. Liv though, was constantly a weird blend of responsible and irresponsible, which drove me a little crazy. There were times when she would really think things through or make notes and charts, and I would be impressed with how levelheaded she was being about the situation. Then there were times where she would just act so stupid and jump into a situation without thinking. I wish her character would have been a little bit more consistent in her decision making.

My main complaint about this book was that it really felt awkward at times and the writing wasn’t my favorite. The pacing was off sometimes, randomly jumping around without warning and I had to go back sometimes to figure out what day or time we had jumped to because it was so abrupt. Then the writing just felt weird and choppy, which was really off putting. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about the writing just constantly struck me as strange. I’ve never read any of Kerstin Gier’s other books so I’m not sure if it’s just her writing style or this book in particular.

Unfortunately when it comes to this book, I can’t help but compare this group of boys to the boys from The Raven Boys and these boys pale in comparison. One of the things I absolutely love about the boys in The Raven Boys was the relationship they all have with each other and how they just felt so real. This book is definitely lacking those aspect, you never really feel like you get to know any of the boys on a personal level except for Henry, but that’s mostly because he’s the love interest so he gets more page time. Speaking of love, the romance in this book was another thing that felt pretty bland. Although I like Liv and Henry both as characters, I just was’t buying the romance between them. The banter between the two was great and I liked the similarities between them, but I still don’t believe that two people can fall in love so quick.

Overall, Dream a Little Dream has some really fun aspects, with the witty banter between characters and the interesting dream exploration. However, it was hard to actually get into the story with the awkward writing and not connecting with any of the secondary characters. Despite the slow start though, once the story get’s going, the mystery keeps you entertained and I found that I wanted to learn a lot more about the dreams and the demon that was in the middle of everything. The ending was definitely anti-climactic and felt a little random, but there were enough mysteries left unexplained to keep you intrigued and waiting for the next book.

RATING: 

May New Releases

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: This book is definitely my most anticipated book this month, as well as one of my most anticipated of the year. The Throne of Glass series is one of my favorite series right now, so I have complete faith that Sarah J. Maas is going to have an amazing start to a new series. The fact that this book has faeries and aspects of Beauty and the Beast only makes it sound ten times better. I honestly can’t wait to read this book, I know I’m going to absolutely love it.

The Cage by Megan Shepherd: I’m really intrigued by the idea of this book. A mixture of teenagers being held captive in an alien zoo? Uhm, can you repeat that? But seriously, I’m not even sure where this book it going but I’m itchin’ to find out. I really enjoyed Megan Shepherd’s other series, The Madman’s Daughter, so I’m hoping she delivers another unique and gritty story. I am a little nervous however, because this book sounds like it’s going to be a little romance heavy.

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge: That cover. That summary. *sigh* I think I might be in love. One of my favorite things to read is a well written fairy tale retelling and this one has caught my attention because it sounds so interesting. I love the idea of this book having elements of Little Red Riding Hood because that’s one fairy tale that usually doesn’t get much action, so I can’t wait to see how it’s incorporated into this story. And to top it all off, the main character Rachelle, sounds like a bit of a monster slaying bad ass which gets me so pumped for some girl power.

Velvet by Temple West: Okay, so I’ll admit that it was originally the cover that drew me into this book. Then once I read the summary, I groaned internally and put it out of my mind. Another cliche YA vampire book? No thanks, I will definitely pass. But then, to my shock, it started getting five star reviews. As I looked into this strange phenomenon, I found that people are really enjoying this book. Apparently it has an abundance of witty banter (something I can never resist), fun characters, a steamy romance, and surprisingly good lore. Who would have guessed?

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The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: Everything about this book sounds so amazing. I love the idea of a twist on A Thousand and One Nights where the murderous husband isn’t all that he seems. Our heroine is going to have to be very clever and keep her wits about her in order to survive night after night, then use every chance she gets to figure out the mystery of how all the girls are dying. I just hope that the romance doesn’t overshadow the opportunity for a great story.

The Artisans by Julie Reece: While this cover definitely seems a little bland, the story sounds interesting enough to make up for it. The Artisans is another Beauty and the Beast retelling, but set in modern day with a paranormal twist. I’m really excited to read a retelling that focuses more on the horror aspect when most of the time, it’s the romance that gets all of the attention. My only concern is whether this book is going to stand out among all of the fairy tale retellings that have been coming out recently.

The Novice by Taran Matharu: I can sum up the reason I’m excited for this book in one word; battlemages. Oh, and demons. But mostly battlemages. Seriously, I absolutely love magic but one of my favorite things is duels and battles between magic wielders. While there is nothing wrong with a traditional battle with swords, the unpredictability of a battle involving magic makes it so much more exciting. But on top of a world with battlemages, we also get a main character with the ability to summon demons. This book has so much potential, I might die of anticipation.

Charmed by Michelle Krys: This is the sequel to Hexed, a book that I read last year and the thing is, I absolutely hated it. So why am I putting the second book on this list? Well that’s a great question guys, and to be honest, I’m not really sure. I saw that this book was coming out and suddenly had the urge to re-read Hexed. You know how sometimes you want to watch a really horrible movie, like a Syfy channel original movie, and you know it’s going to suck beyond words, but you get a weird sense of comfort out of watching it? That what this book feels like to me. Sometimes I want to curl up with a book that’s so bad, it’s funny, and just giggle my way through the pages of horrible dialogue and teenage drama.

There are definitely a few winners coming out in May and I can’t wait to get my hands on them. What new releases are you guys looking forward to reading next month?

Review: Snow Like Ashes

Title: Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) 17399160

Author: Sarah Raasch

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Publication Date: October 14, 2014

Summary: A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

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I’ve been putting this book off for a while, mostly because it sounded pretty cliche and predictable. I finally decided to give it a chance and hoped that I would get an action packed, well written fantasy book with a strong heroine. Unfortunately this book ended up being more like the opposite.

My main problem with this book was the unfortunate excuse of a heroine known as Meira. Prone to making poor decisions and not thinking things through, Meira is that sort of girl you just want to smack some sense into, basically every single time she makes a decision. She just doesn’t bother thinking things through or being logical about anything, instead acting like a big whiny baby and pitching a fit every time something doesn’t go her way. I can respect someone who stands up for themselves and doesn’t want to get pushed around, but Meira constantly acts hypocritical, talking about how she only wants to help her people, then making selfish decisions that she doesn’t bother thinking out. And on top of that, I just found her to be straight up unlikable. Just something about her constantly made me grind my teeth, which is typically not a good reaction to have about the main character.

Another thing I had a problem with was the world itself. While I’ll admit that I’m definitely not an expert by any means, logically this world does not make sense to me. There are four pieces of land along the bottom of the continent, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring, from left to right. And each piece of land has weather and landscape that fits it’s name. And that just logically doesn’t make sense to me. Now I get that this is a fantasy book so it doesn’t necessarily have to be realistic, but if you are going to do something like this, I feel like there needs to be a reason behind it. I know it sounds kind of silly, but it honestly just constantly bothered me when they would cross from somewhere like Spring where it’s warm and flowery, over to Winter where it would freezing and snowy. On top of that, I didn’t like the cliche names the author gave everything. For example, the capital of Winter is Jannuari and the capital of Autumn is Oktuber. Definitely not the most original or creative of names.

However, there were a few aspects of this book that I did enjoy, mainly the magic system. I was intrigued by the way that magic works in this world, but I wish we had gotten more information on it. Now I have to admit, I was skim reading through some parts so I might have missed some stuff, but I would have liked to get a bit more history like on how magic was discovered and how people learned to utilize it. I liked the idea of conduits and the Decay, both of which really interested me, and both of which I want to learn more about.

The other good thing about this book was that can honestly say it wasn’t as predictable as I had feared. Sure, the occasional thing went as expected, but when the story line started heating up, I didn’t know what direction it would go in. Though I didn’t really care about the story enough to try and guess what was going to happen next, the fact that I didn’t automatically know was an unexpected surprise.

Ultimately this book ended up being rather unmemorable and didn’t really stand out among lots of the other YA fantasy books I’ve read so far this year. With a heroine that I heavily disliked, lack of connection with any of the secondary characters, and an illogically world, the emotion I felt most while reading this book was annoyance. Oh, and I forgot to mention that there’s a love triangle on top of everything else. Woo hoo. While some aspects of the world were interesting enough, it was tough for the book to keep my attention and I found myself not particularly caring what happened to the characters.

RATING: 

Review: The Fifth Wave

Title: The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave #1) 16101128

Author: Rick Yancey

Publisher:  G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: May 7, 2013

Summary:

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

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I’m just going to start this review off by saying that damn, that beginning kicked some serious butt. This book had one of the most intriguing beginnings I’ve read in a long time and it really pulled me into this book. I loved the eerie, post-apocalyptic vibe going on at the start, where even though you don’t really know what’s going on or how the world got to this point, it really just gives you a cold shiver down your spine and a sense of apprehension. And maybe the start was just so good that my expectations were too high for the rest of the book.

Ultimately my problem with this book ended up being the middle chunk, which I had a really hard time getting into. At this point in time, Cassie encounters Evan Walker and then it turns into a sort of romantic drama. Obviously it wasn’t all just about the romance, there was other stuff going on, but the romantic aspect itself held little interest to me. I’m a huge fan on The Walking Dead and one of the things I really enjoy about it is the post apocalyptic setting and seeing what the world has become. I was really wanting those elements in this book, hoping that Cassie would meet up with a group of other survivors and they would have to fight to stay alive against the invading aliens. The beginning was perfect set up for that, but when she meets Evan and they start playing house, it feels really disconnected from what’s actually going on in the world.

In this middle part, we also get introduced to the other main character, Zombie, who was taken to a military base that’s still operational and gets trained as a soldier to fight against the alien invasion. While I did find the training aspect interesting and I liked seeing what the government was doing to fight against the aliens, I found the characters to be rather boring. I did grow to live Zombie for the last part of the book, but when he is first introduced, I found him to be a bit bland with the whole golden boy, savior of the weak thing he had going. Also the alternating points of view really slowed down the story for me, especially since I wasn’t particularly interested in the military stuff for Cassie snuggling up to Evan.

I did enjoy the last part of the book though, when Cassie and Evan decide to actually start doing some stuff and Zombie and his team start getting some action. I like the fact that this book really sort of does mind tricks where you aren’t sure if things are how they seem or not or who you should trust, so it constantly keeps you on edge and trying to figure out who’s telling the truth. The ending of this book was really intense and full of suspenseful moments and I loved seeing things finally coming together and starting to connect. That’s the thing I like about books like this with multiple points of view, that you know things are going to end up connecting in some way, you just don’t know how. And I actually really like the way the author brought our characters together in the end, even if it was a little too much of a coincidence.

Cassie was the character that really carried this book for me. Although I didn’t agree with all of the decisions she makes, I really respect someone like her with such determination to live, even when most people would have given up. I admired the spunk and steel that she has, even when she isn’t feeling confident or strong. But mostly I really enjoyed her internal dialogue, sharing her story and battling to learn to trust and to not give up hope. She felt like a very real character to me and I never had that feeling like she was trying to be a bad-ass or forcing the emotions she was feeling.

Ultimately I ended up really loving the concept and beginning of this book, but I went off in a direction that I wasn’t expecting and I didn’t really enjoy. However, I liked where the author ended up going with the relationship between Cassie and Evan, as well as the military base and what they were doing. Aliens aren’t something I read about often but I never realized how terrifying the possibility of alien attack was until I read this book and saw all the ways we could be wiped off of the planet. It was horrifying and unsettling, but I found myself weirdly fascinated with the idea. I just wish the book had focused more on how the world is now and learning to survive in it. The ending was still great though and left you feeling both anxious and excited to see where the next book goes.

RATING: