Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My 5 Favorite YA Book Series

Alright, so I've decided to list my top five favorite YA book series, not including Harry Potter because, let's face it, that's everyone's favorite book series.  These aren't necessarily in order from most favorite to least favorite.

1. The Lunar Chronicles

I love this series so much! For those that do not know, this series takes your traditional fairy tale characters and puts a futuristic spin on it.  You may be thinking, "well, that sounds kind of stupid," but the stories are completely different from the traditional fairy tale.  The first book introduces us to Cinder, who is a cyborg version of Cinderella, and is also a mechanic.  If that's not awesome enough, the second book introduces Scarlet, a kick-ass teenage Little Red Riding Hood.  The third, Cress, who has an affinity for computers.  Each of them has their own man (I don't know which ship I love more, Cress and Thorne, or Cinder and Kai), but the romance doesn't take away from the great story line.  Basically, these characters band together to fight the evil alien Queen Levana.  There's three books out so far, and I'm dying to read the final book, Winter, which I believe comes out this November.  They're definitely worth checking out!

2. The Mortal Instruments

I think I started reading these maybe four or five years ago, and I was absolutely hooked.  I actually haven't read the last book yet, but I plan to sometime this year.  While I think there wasn't a need to make this series as long as it is, I still really enjoyed it and I became attached to the characters.  It's basically about a girl, Clary, who stumbles into the world of Shadowhunters that fight demons.  As the story progresses, you find that Clary's family is connected to these Shadowhunters.  Of course, there's much more than that, including a few great ships.  I'd say the first three books are fantastic, and the next two are okay.  Like I said, I haven't read the last one, but I'm looking forward to reading it so I can get some closure for this series.

3. The Infernal Devices

I have to say, if I were to pick a favorite out of these favorites, this series might be it.  The Infernal Devices are a kind of prequel to The Mortal Instruments.  The setting is in 1800s England.  It doesn't really matter what order you read these series, but personally I would start with The Mortal Instruments and then go to The Infernal Devices so you can get some of the creative references to the future characters.  I always love me a painful ship - the kind that makes weird dying seal noises come out of me when I read.  Let me tell you, this is a love triangle done right.  I seriously need to reread these sometime, because I need to relive the feels.

4. Uglies

This next series I read when I was in eight grade and had just started delving into the YA genre.  It was my first dystopian series, and I was fascinated with the world created in these books.  I can't remember most of the details, but these books got me reading even more of the YA genre.  These books take place in a futuristic world in which everything is perfect and controlled.  Your considered an "Ugly" until the age of 16, when you get a surgery that makes you a "Pretty." Our main character, Tally (whose name I had to look up because I forgot), is looking forward to the surgery so she can join the Pretties and their party life.  She meets a girl named Shay, who has a much different outlook on life.  After Shay disappears, Tally is sent out into the forest to find her and bring her back, and learns that her life isn't what she thought it was.  I recently checked out the rating on Goodreads, and I was surprised to see them below 4 stars (out of 5).  I think I was in a good age range to read them at the time, because I remember fully enjoying it.

5. The Hunger Games

Now I assume that most of you reading this blog have either already read the books or seen the movies, so I'll spare you the summary.  I also read these around eighth grade, before they got really popular.  Like the Uglies series, I was fascinated by the dystopian world created in this series, as well as the action.  My favorite of the three was the second one, and I'm not 100% sure why, but I think it's because of the action in the arena and the surprise ending.  I  honestly wasn't too impressed with Mockingjay, but I enjoyed the first two books enough to put the series on the list.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

First Post! The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

My first post! Woot! Okay so my blog isn't too hot right now, but this weekend I'll be watching tons of YouTube videos until I figure out how to make my blog look nice.  I guess this will have to do in the meantime.  Now, if you haven't read my About Me page, I'm doing books reviews for the purpose of letting out my inner fangirl and developing my writing skills.

Title: The Darkest Minds
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Released December 18th, 2012
Borrowed From Friend
Rating: 4.5/5.0
Definitely Recommend

Anyway, my first post is about The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, which I just finished reading yesterday.  This is the first book of The Darkest Minds Trilogy.  It's been awhile since I've read a book without constantly looking to see how many pages are left until I finish.  This book was a real escape; the detail and descriptions felt believable.  I found myself looking forward to getting a couple chapters in between classes or whenever I had time to spare when I should have probably been studying.

Spoiler-free Summary

The Darkest Minds takes place in a world where the U.S. has an outbreak of disease among children and young teens.  Most children die from this disease, and the rest develop some crazy powers.  Among them are mind control, telekinesis, the ability to manipulate electricity, and more.  These kids with powers are referred to as Psi. In response, the government creates these kind of concentration camps for them, but propagandize them to give the illusion of helping the Psi kids get cured.  Some parents are so afraid of their kids that they practically ship them off to these camps, while others try to keep their kids, only to have their kids be dragged to them by government officials.

At these camps, the Psi are separated into colors depending on their ability:
Green - Smart, have less dangerous powers.
Blue - Can move things with their mind.
Yellow - Can control electricity
Orange - Control peoples' thoughts, feelings, memories.
Red - I believe they can make things explode or catch fire.  There wasn't too much information about them.

Yellows, Oranges, and Reds are considered the most dangerous.  Our main character is one of the dangerous ones, an Orange.  Now, since I can't seem to summarize without giving away every single detail, here's the Goodreads summary, which is much more concise than mine:
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." She might have survived the mysterious disease that's killed most of America's children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.
When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she's on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her-East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.
When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living. (summary from goodreads)
Spoilers Ahead!
Alright, now to the fangirling part.  First of all, I really enjoyed the tension Ruby was facing on whether or not to reveal that she was an Orange to Chubs, Zu, and Liam.  I always love some good dramatic irony.  It drives me crazy in a good kind of way.  I also loved the slow romance between Liam and Ruby.  Liam is just such a nice character in the sense that he is genuinely good.  However, I feel he was lacking somehow, whether it was background information on him or character development.  Nonetheless, my shipper heart flipped during the scenes between Liam and Ruby esPeCIALLY AT THE END WHEN I NEEDED THE GOOD LORD TO HELP ME THROUGH THE WHOLE MEMORY LOSS THING ASDFG
*breathes into paper bag until passes out*
Now, let's get away from that subject. I just need to say how much I love Chubs.  I think he was my favorite character in this book.  He's the kind of loyal friend I could only wish for, and I felt he was even a deeper character than Liam.  I liked that he has a sense of distrust when he first meets Ruby, and then builds a bond with her that makes me want to cry at the end when my poor Chubs gets shot and taken away.  He better not be dead or I'm going to flip some serious shipoopie.  Also, it was really cute how protective he was of his friends, especially Zu.
With the passion of a thousand suns, I strongly dislike Clancy. I really should have seen it coming that he was a little manipulative you-know-what.  Perhaps it was lingering in the back of my mind whenever Ruby caught him staring at her like a creeper.  I'm looking forward to when his character is taken down.
I realize this review is really jumping all over the place, evidence of my lack of writing skills.  But I digress.  For a dystopian novel, the story was unique.  Some people on Goodreads thought it was boring because the kids were basically wandering without much of a plan.  But to me, this makes it more realistic.  If I were these kids, I probably wouldn't know what to do, and that makes me relate to the characters even better. 
I'm looking forward to seeing Ruby develop her powers and deal emotionally after the thing that I cannot talk about because feels.  I hope she becomes a real badass as she works for the Children's League.  Well, that's the end of my ramblings.  I've already finished the first chapter of the second book, and it's packed with action.  Thanks for reading my review! Until next time...

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