Monday, March 30, 2015

YA Book Club Review: Red Queen

For the latest YA Book Club, we read Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Having read it, I'd describe it as X-Men meets The Hunger Games. And I would say it's far more dystopian than it is fantasy.

Summary (from Goodreads):

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win? 

Spoilers in white--so highlight to read them.

Not your typical fantasy:
 The setting for this story felt new and different. We had magic and a king and all the things you typically associate with fantasy, but we also had electricity. That one fact gave Red Queen a different feel from the various fantasies I've read.

The magic in Red Queen also had its own sort of spin. A lot of it was element-based (think Shadow and Bone), but not all of it. The Silvers had a host of different powers more along the lines of X-Men.

Spoilery Ponderings So let's talk about the end. Well, I'll try not to talk to much about the end, because if for some reason the white text didn't come through, I don't want to spoil it--but oh my gosh! I did not see it coming at all.

I was a big Maven fan from the beginning, but I'm one of those people who trusts way too easily (of course, if you betray me I'll only hold it against you forever). Did not see the twist coming. At all.

I liked that Mare didn't choose one brother over the other in the end, but that twist does leave us with a new love triangle for the next book. If I'm honest, I'm not a big fan of either of our options.

As far as that other reveal at the end in the train--you know the one I'm talking about--I did see that one coming, but I'm super happy about it!

kthxbai From what I read, the initial draft had a lot of words that had to be cut. The story felt a little rushed to me (but I read it all in a that could be me), and I really wanted more details. But, if you like fantasy with more of a sci-fi/dystopian feel (which isn't really my thing) check it out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bad Ass Books: Ensnared

This week I wrapped up the Splintered trilogy by A.G. Howard. This series was one of my absolute favorites--from the world to the characters to the love triangle, totally worth a read. I was nervous to finish it, but I wasn't disappointed. Far from it.

I've opted not to include a summary because I don't want to spoil the previous two books--but you can check the Splintered review (linked above) to learn more. But in a nutshell, it's an Alice in Wonderland inspired series, but like you've never really imagined it, featuring Alice Liddell's ancestor, Alyssa Gardner.

Why I Read It: I started the Splintered series as a part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge. It was by far one of my favorite books that year, so, of course, I kept up with it. I had to know how it ended--where our love triangle would go, what would happen in Wonderland, all of it.

ZOMG Yes! The way that A.G. Howard wrapped up this love story was perfect. She left me wanting for nothing. Alyssa grew so much through this series, and it was evident in the ending. Sorry--can't say more than that.

This book made me root for Jeb, which surprised me, because I was so frustrated with him at the end of Unhinged (book two). Of course, I'm still a bigger fan of Morpheus. What can I say? I like a little darkness.

Speaking of which, the way that darkness was portrayed in this series was one of my favorite parts. A.G. Howard claims it as a part of Alyssa, so it's not something you can just push away. You have to confront it head on, which she did in the story.

kthxbai: I can't wait for Untamed to come out, because it's going to give us a little bit more of what happened after the story wrapped up, which I found myself craving. Always a sign of a good book. Check this series out if you like darker fantasies rife with madness.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Writer Recharge: Wrap-up

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in this year's Writer Recharge, and thanks to my lovely co-hosts:  Katy UppermanAlison MillerElodie Nowodazkij, and Sara Biren (who led the way)!

I hope you all had an incredibly productive February (and a fun one, too!). I went into the month with some pretty specific goals about one WIP and came out with a completely new idea--which I'm pretty excited about.

Of course, a month-long writing adventure wouldn't be complete without a care package. If you blogged or participated on Twitter with #WriterRecharge, you'll be entered! The winner will be drawn on Friday, March 6.

Write/Revise: I'd like to make it halfway through this ghost story I keep talking about. 
This story ended up going on hold (I got close to my goal) and I'm now working on something else!

Read/RereadIf I Stay.  & Vivian Apple at the End of the World 
This goal is complete! I finished Dark Places on Friday to round out my month.

Stretch: I have a goal in mind for this that I can't share right now.
Not complete, but I have a longer time for this--made a lot of progress this month!

Self:  I want to do yoga 4 out of 5 weekdays 
Two days on average. I didn't make the progress here I wanted this month--which means I need to kick it into gear in March!

Connect: I'll be reading chapters for a writing friend who's getting ready for submission. 
Goal complete!

Fun: I want to get at least one pedicure this month. This sort of fits the self goal, too, but still.

If you're providing wrap-up, be sure to post a link on Sara's blog!