Thursday, February 13, 2014

Review: These Broken Stars

Title: These Broken Stars
Author: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: December 10th 2013
Pages: 374
Genre: YA
Source: Purchased
My Rating: 3 Starfish

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it
.- Summary and cover image from Goodreads

I read many glowing reviews about this book and decided it was about time I read it myself. I didn't like it as much as I had hoped I would, but it wasn't so bad that I couldn't get through it.

Plot: The plot was fairly fast-paced and interesting. I don't usually read science fiction novels, but I was surprised at how easily I got sucked into this one. A lot was happening at the beginning, and then it took on a more steady (not necessarily slow) pace. I liked the character growth, and I was so happy that it wasn't another insta-love story. The suspense built up to crazy proportions and I was completely wigging out when it all came to a head. I wasn't expecting there to be "other life forms", and though I don't usually go for that sort of thing, I thought it was pretty cool.

Setting: The beginning takes place on a massive spaceship that's ripped from hyperspace and sent crashing into an unknown planet. This planet has giant cat-like beasts and strange supernatural things going on with it that add to its overall creepiness. I was simultaneously in love and freaked out with the setting.

Shock Factors: I was surprised several times...I don't know that I would say I was shocked. The ending was definitely well-played and the authors did a wonderful job creating suspense.

Tarver: He started off not really liking Lilac (and vice-versa), but gradually fell in love with her over time. He was brave, strong, smart, and determined. Most girls swoon over him, but I never took a real liking to him. It was kind of hard to get into the love story part of it since I didn't care for Tarver that much, but I thought he played the hero part well.

Lilac: Lilac was even harder for me to get into. She was really irritating at the start of it all, but she did change and she was much more likeable at the end of the book. She wasn't all that smart as far as common sense goes, but she did know her way around the engineering stuff (her father constructed all of his ships and she loved learning about it). I loved that she became completely selfless towards the end and tried to save Tarver several times. It showed how much she genuinely loved him.

Just a little thing I have to add about the characters: I liked the villain's complexity. It always fascinates me when there is a villain who does the most grotesque things, but then shows sincere love and affection towards another character. I really wanted to get inside his head just to see what was going on up there. I think authors should write more books from a villain's perspective.

Strengths: The plot was easy to get into and keep interested in. The slow growing love as opposed to unrealistic insta-love was refreshing. I liked that I couldn't predict the outcome of the story.

Weaknesses: It just wasn't my cup of tea. I know a lot of people like it, but it just wasn't engaging enough for me to become a fan.

I think science fiction and romance lovers should give this book a try. Just because I thought it lacked pizazz, doesn't mean that you will too.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Top ten books that will make you swoon!
It was a hard decision, but I narrowed it down to ten books that, I think, bring swoon to a whole new

 1. The Brides of Gallatin County Trilogy. There are five reasons why you should read these books: Hank, Nick, Dave, Simon, & Cubby. Enough said.
2. Wildflower Bride. Wade is cuter than all get out!
3. Catching Fire. Peeta says some of the most swoon worthy lines to Katniss, such as, "I just want to spend every possible minute of the rest of my life with you". *Dies* 
4. Little Women. I love Laurie in the first half of this book. He's the sweetest thing ever!
5. Emma. Mr. Knightley. What more could a girl possibly want?
6. That Boy. I swooned SO hard over Danny Diamond! I mean, his name says it all. Honestly, he's too sexy for this list.
7. The Selection. Who doesn't like an adorable prince? Are ya with me Disney fans?
8. Redeeming Love. The characters themselves aren't that swoon worthy, but the storyline is so romantic, I couldn't resist putting it on the list.
9. Unravel Me. If only chapter 62 could be combined with a shower scene...
10. Blueberry Surprise. Not many people have heard about this one, but it's short and sweet and has one of the most swoontastic fictional men I've ever read about!
There you have it! Is there a book on my list that you would have chosen? Or is there one that you think should have made the list? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Review: The Scorch Trials

Title: The Scorch Trials
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: October 12th 2010
Pages: 360
Genre: YA
Source: Purchased
My Rating: 4 Starfish

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.

In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety . . . until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.

Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated—and with it, order—and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim . . . and meal.

The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Thomas can only wonder—does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?-
Summary and cover image from Goodreads.

The Scorch Trials is the perfect sequel to The Maze Runner. I loved this book, though not as much as the first one, but it was good for the middle book of a trilogy. No second-book-syndrome here! (Or whatever it’s called)

Plot: The plot was great! James Dashner managed to fit zombie-like people into the story and still kept it from being too over-the-top. New characters were introduced that added on to the suspense. I love storylines where characters come in and you can’t trust anybody, so then you’re guessing the whole time and trying to figure everyone out. The plot was just as puzzling as the original and I honestly had no idea what was coming next.

Setting: While there was no maze in this book, the author chose, instead, to show us more of what the actual world looked like. The whole planet is basically cooking from the sun. Everyone is being infected with “the flare”, a disease caused by the sun flares that causes everybody to slowly lose their minds. They then turn into brainless cannibals. Even though the Gladers were out in the real world, Wicked was still watching and testing them.

Shock Factors: There were a lot of intense and surprising scenes. After you’ve read the first book, you start to pick up on how Wicked works, so there’s not very much that can actually “shock” you. Is it unpredictable? Yes. Edge-of-your-seat suspenseful? Of course. But mind-blowing craziness? Not so much.

Thomas: Thomas has a strange personality type. I’m still not sure what to think about him. He’s still pretty brave and is a lot smarter than I gave him credit for.

Newt: Love him. Love him. Love him. A loyal friend is always someone worth admiring.

Minho: Still my favorite character. Still as sassy as ever. Still doesn’t know when to shut up. He got the group into a lot of tight spots, but his stupidity is hilarious. He is definitely the braun over brains kind of guy.

Teresa and Brenda: Love triangles are no stranger to YA. I was actually surprised that the Maze Runner didn’t have one. But now I see that it was held off until the sequel. Brenda was pretty tough and nice for the most part. Teresa made a huge sacrifice for Thomas’s sake, and I really liked her for it (though most people felt like she betrayed him, I felt like she did what was best for him).

Strengths: Getting to see what the world was like, as opposed to hearing about it in the Maze, was nice. BROMANCE! Need I say more?   

Weaknesses: The love triangle was lacking in the love department, but that’s because Thomas is such a weird character. The trials weren’t as cool as the maze trials in the first book, but they had to escape the maze sooner or later, so I can understand that.

I give this book 4 starfish. An excellent follow up to the first one. I recommend it to everyone.