the NerdHerd Reads

Just a self-proclaimed nerd who likes to read and review (mostly YA) books. You can find me on my blog The NerdHerd Reads or on Twitter @nerdherdreads. Might drink too much coffee ;) 

Time Between Us {by Tamara Ireland Stone}

Time Between Us - Tamara Ireland Stone

This review can also be found at the NerdHerd Reads

 

I wanted to flail about this series like everyone else. I really did. But for whatever reason, I just could not get into it. It wasn't bad, but it just wasn't my type of book. It took me a long time to get into it, and even then I was just reading to finish it. Maybe because I had read so much hype about it, my expectations were so high, and when it didn't meet those expectations, I was more disappointed than I would have been.

 

Anna is going on with life, aching for adventure and excitement. She longs to travel the world, but for right now, she is stuck in Chicago. Then, she meets Bennett. A boy who denies seeing her at the track--when she knows it was him--but then reacts so strangely to hearing her name. And eventually, Anna begins to learn his secrets.

 

Bennett isn't from Chicago. He isn't even from 1995. He is from 2012 San Francisco, and he has come back to find his sister, who he lost when he brought her back in time to go to a concert. Except, meeting and falling in love with Anna wasn't part of his plan.

 

Both of these characters seemed to fall flat for me. Anna seemed whiny and annoying, and Bennett wasn't swoony. I know he was for some (read: every other girl except me) but for some reason, I just wasn't feeling it. First off, I didn't quite understand the whole time travel thing. I understood most of it, such as he couldn't go past his lifetime, and he couldn't (or wouldn't) go into the future. But there were some parts that he talked about, such as when he and Anna did try to do-over the day of the accident, that were so complex, and left me confused. Maybe I was just tired, maybe I wasn't paying enough attention, maybe it wasn't actually as complex as I thought it was. I don't know.

 

Also, rules. Bennett has a lot of rules about his time travel, and that's understandable. With something so crazy, there has to be limits. And though Anna called Bennett the hypocrite, I felt that she was the hypocrite. She didn't have respect for his rules. When her friend got into the car accident, she wanted Bennett to go against everything he believed in to do it over. When Bennett did over the robbery at the store so she would be safe, she was okay with it because it was for her benefit. But when Bennett did over their kiss because he didn't want to hurt her with the fact that he had to leave, she was outraged. When Bennett went back in time and gave his father stock tips so they could be rich, she was adamant that it was wrong. And yes, I do agree that maybe that part was wrong, But that was why Bennett had rules. And she completely didn't care.

 

Also, I was unsure as to what was going on, or what the plot was pretty much the whole time. Is he trying to find his sister, or is he trying to find a way to be with Anna? Was there something wrong with his time travel powers or not? (I mean, I know there definitely was at the end, but before that.) I really just didn't know what was going on, except that Anna and Bennett spent pretty much all their time together and blew everyone else off because they loved each other sooo much.

 

Strangely enough, I think I would recommend this book to others. It wasn't my type of book, but if you're the kind of person who likes this type of story, I really think you would love this story. And you could be one of the flailers ;)

 

Legend {by Marie Lu}

Legend - Marie Lu

This review can also be found at the NerdHerd Reads

 

I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did. But I fell in love, and I can't believe it took me as long as it did to read it.

 

Characters:

Day: I really enjoyed Day's character. He was sarcastic, compassionate, caring, and fun. He's been labeled as the Republic's Most Wanted criminal, but that only fuels him. Except, Day never does anything for himself. He is not selfish or greedy, and he never, ever kills. Whatever he does, it is to help his family, help others in the slums, or rebel against the Republic. He cares for Tess like a little sister, and would sacrifice himself to save his family.

June: I liked June. Yes, she is naive. She is arrogant. She's a pawn of the Republic. But she was also young, insecure, and just wanted to please her dead parents and brother. And when she finds out the truth about Day, about the Republic, she doesn't do anything rash. She thinks it through, and very nearly gets away with it perfectly.

Metias: Man, I always wanted a big brother. Yes, I realize that he was only in the story for a short while before he dies, but he was still awesome. It's obvious he loves his little sister and would do anything for her.

Thomas: Okay, he just creeped me out from the beginning. I don't know why or what it was about him, but I just didn't like him. (But, obviously, my instinct about him was right.)

 

Setting:

The Republic. What we get when America goes to war with itself and splits into two. Every child is tested when they are 10 years old. That one person, June, who got a perfect score, is labeled as a prodigy and watched by all. Those who pass the test with high scores go into the military or work for the government. Those who are adequate live in the poor neighborhoods, doing hard labor jobs for minimal pay. And those who fail, like Day, are told that they are being sent to labor camps...except not really. Lu envisioned a futuristic society, and was actually able to pull it off. It was believable, and didn't contradict itself. Lu also didn't make it so complex that the reader had to remember so many things about the government in order for the story to make sense, and that worked in it's favor.

 

Plot:

When Day is accused of murdering June's brother, June is placed in charge of the investigation. But between spending time with Day in the slums, and decoding a message her brother left her, June finds that all is not what is seems with the Republic, or with the people she trusted most, like Thomas and Commander Jamison. Day isn't the criminal the government makes him out to be either. The story is fun, fast-paced, and full of adventure. I didn't really feel any lulls or parts that bored me, which is a problem I have had with a lot of books recently, it seems.

 

Overall:

This book was full of adventure, fast-paced, and enjoyable. I loved it from the start. I would definitely recommend it to fans of dystopian, adventure, or the like. I loved it (did I say that enough?).

 

Source: http://thenerdherdreads.blogspot.com/2013/08/legend-by-marie-lu.html

Shatter Me {by Tahereh Mafi}

Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi

This review also appears on the NerdHerd Reads

 

So I was in a reading slump for awhile, and this book was just what I needed to come out of it. I nearly devoured it in one sitting. Truthfully, I don't even think it's drastically different than most other YA dystopians. But something about this was refreshingly different. It's one of those books that readers love love love, or hate. (Hm, I wonder which side of the spectrum I'm on.)

 

One of the best parts about this book was Mafi's writing style. It was so unique, and really drew you in to the story. The cross-outs were definitely an interesting technique, adding depth to story. She really got into the mind of Juliette, sounding exactly like a teenager would, but also like how an insane (or not-so-insane) person would sound like. The writing really was just beautiful.

 

On a related note, the characters were very well written. At least, Juliette was. She developed throughout the book, and that showed through in how she was written. There wasn't much character development, I felt, with Adam, but he was still swoon-worthy ;) Warren was, in my opinion, the most interesting character. I felt that Mafi wrote his psychopathic personality very well (and I was happy that the novella 1.5, Destroy Me, was written from his perspective so we could see more inside his brain). I found myself harboring a little affection for Kenji, and James was just so cute.

 

The world that this takes place in is not so drastically different from other dystopia novels. Nor was it very well explained. But I was okay with that, as some times I feel novels like this can take up too much time trying to explain the world, and not enough time on what's important. Enough about the Reestablishment was mentioned for the context to make sense, and the rest is promised in book 2. Some don't like that, but for me, it was enough.

 

All around, this was a spectacular book. It was moving, emotional, fast-moving (mostly). It draws the reader into the story from the get-go. It delves into deeper issues without being over-the-top. While this book wasn't perfect, it was close enough.

 

Destroy Me {by Tahereh Mafi}

Destroy Me - Tahereh Mafi

This review can also be found at the NerdHerd Reads

 

A novella from the perspective of the villain? A very interesting twist. And this novella was practically perfect. It allowed us to see things from Warner's perspective, which Mafi did quite well. Warner is obsessed with Juliette, to the point where it is unhealthy and more than a little psychotic. In this novella, we see exactly how much it consumes him, how he feels, what his though processes are like.

 

Unlike Shatter Me, where he was the cold, calculating villain, here we see him as more of a child. And although many people may not want to feel sorry for someone so "evil", we do. We see how he's obsessed with Juliette because he thinks he has found someone like him, someone he thinks can understand him. And that's all he wants, understanding and love. We see how the presence of his father changes him, due to his father's abuse. We see how, in the only way he knows how, Warner has feelings for Juliette.

 

He still is, how shall we say it...crazy. But we begin to realize, maybe that isn't something he can help. Either by birth, or his circumstances, or the abuse, his mental capacity is not equal to "normal" people. Plus, there's the whole deeper question Mafi poses (whether she means to or not) of nature versus nurture, with both Warner and Juliette.

 

For something so short, it was almost like a full story. It was riveting from the start, and will change the way you view the series. If you have a way, I would definitely recommend reading this. It was just that good.

 

Source: http://thenerdherdreads.blogspot.com/2013/08/short-story-sunday-destroy-me.html

Son of Sobek {by Rick Riordan}

The Son of Sobek - Rick Riordan

This review also appears on the NerdHerd Reads

 

As if Carter or Percy by themselves wasn't enough sarcastic humor and witty banter, put them together and you get...even more sarcastic humor and witty banter. I loved the crossover of both of these characters. They live almost in two separate worlds, but it was only a matter of time before they somehow met. Both Carter and Percy are used to being the one in charge, and now, suddenly their turf is being invaded. They have to put aside their distrust of each other to fight next to each other.

 

Like all three series, (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Kane Chronicles, and The Heroes of Olympus) this short story was filled with the humorous though processes and easy banter that make up who Percy and Carter are. It was a fun, easy read. Although it was (too) short, it still held true to who Percy and Carter are. It was filled the kind of sayings that Carter and Percy are known for:

 

"Getting eaten twice in one day would be very embarassing" -Carter

 

"Not exactly my finest tactical move, but having a hippo shoved up your nose must have been sufficiently distracting." -Carter

 

"If nothing else, we would die knowing we had confused this monster many, many times." -Carter

 

And boy, did it leave a lot of questions! The only thing I didn't like was the fact that we didn't get any of the story from Percy's point of view, only Carter's. (Well, that and all the unanswered question!) This is definitely a must-read for any fans of either series.

 

 

Source: http://thenerdherdreads.blogspot.com/2013/08/short-story-sunday-son-of-sobek.html

A Tale of Two Centuries {by Rachel Harris}

A Tale of Two Centuries - Rachel  Harris

This review also appears on the NerdHerd Reads

 

So I have not read the first book in this series, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century. I have wanted to for a while now, but just haven't ever gotten around to it. But when I got this eARC and looked for MSSSC and the library, they didn't have it. Now the author said that this was technically a companion, not a sequel, and could be read without reading the first one, so that's what I did. Therefore, without that first perspective, my review may be slightly different than others'.

 

First off, let it be said that I usually do not like time travel books. I don't know what it is. They just never work out. However, I don't know what it is with this book, but it worked. Not only did it work, but I enjoyed it. A lot.

 

It's been two years, and still Alessandra is trying to get over Cat leaving to go back to her world. When the man she has been seeing in secret and hoped to marry, Matteo, ends up marrying someone else, Less is left shattered. This provides the last straw for Less. Then Reyna, the gypsy girl who was responsible for Cat's journey, sends her to the 21st century for Less's own adventure.

 

Less is not as outspoken as Cat. She is quite, reserved, more concerned with pleasing others. This is not surprising considering the time period she lives in. I enjoyed her transformation from this shy, perfect girl into the courageous and outspoken girl she becomes in the end. The transformation was believable. Less is at that age where she is finding and coming into herself, no matter which century she happens to do that in.

 

I also liked how the author kept Cat as one of the main characters. I don't know her complete story, obviously, but I learned enough to keep my in the loop. The author continues her love story, with Lucas. Cat is still guarded, not wanting to give herself over to the feelings she has for Lucas. But she learns to open herself up, and ends up with her own happy ending.

 

And okay, let's talk about Austin. Totally swoon-worthy. Hidden behind his tough guy exterior, Alessandra and he do not get off to a great start. In fact, Less thinks she can't stand him. But as they both open themselves up to each other, they both begin to find themselves. Less becomes more daring and adventurous, and Austin thaws out. Now, I'm not one for much romance, but I loved Alessandra and Austin.

 

I loved the whole dynamic of this book. A Tale of Two Centuries is such a cute, fun read. Although it does probe into deeper issues, it is still light. I've found that a lot of YA books can be superficial, but this one isn't. Although at first it didn't seem like my kind of book, I loved it. I will definitely be trying to get my hands on My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century. I would definitely recommend this book. And guess what? It comes out today. So go get it ;)

 

I was provided an eARC by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

 

Source: http://thenerdherdreads.blogspot.com/2013/08/a-tale-of-two-centuries-by-rachel-harris.html

UnStrung {by Neal Shusterman}

UnStrung - Neal Shusterman, Michelle Knowlden

This review can also be found on the NerdHerd Reads

 

For something so small, this sure packed a lot into it. This story takes place after Lev leaves Cyrus, before he makes it to the Graveyard. Lev runs while everyone is still distracted by CyFi, and makes it over the wall of a "Rez". Fortunately for him, he makes it to a "Hi-Rez" instead of a "Low-Rez". But Lev is no longer the naive, happy kid he was. He is angry and bitter at the whole world. Here, he meets Wil, whose talent for music can literally heal.

 

Shusterman has made a very thorough dystopian world in this series. Here, we also get to see what happened to Native Americans. They live on reservations ("rez"), although some are poor and some are rich (hence, "hi-rez" and "low-rez"). The American Indians, now called ChanceFolk, refused to sign the Unwind Accord, and so do not take place in unwinding or receiving parts. Instead, they have perfected the transfer of animal parts to humans. They take in AWOL Unwinds, like Lev, if their petition to join the tribe is approved.

 

I also enjoyed the new characters. Wil takes Lev under his wing as he shows him around. Wil has a gift for music, one that can affect emotions, or bring emotional healing. He is used all over the rez for his gift, the latest one being his grandfather who wants him to play over his passing. But Wil is tired of this. He wants to go out into the world, to be appreciated for his music, to play in front of crowds and hear applause. (The rez does not believe in applause because of pride and such.)

 

Here, Lev makes the first steps into what could have been a change. But when something happens to Wil--something that also gets Lev's petition to be adopted by the rez denied--Lev not only becomes angry and bitter again, he becomes even more so. This part, and what happens to Wil, will definitely play with your emotions. For a short story, this was actually pretty thorough and moving, something usually lacking in novellas because they are so short. So it was a pleasant surprise that Shusterman actually was able to make this almost as good as a full-length book. This will definitely have you wanting more in the series, if you haven't read UnWholly yet. And if you have, well, you'll still be wanting more.

 

Lev is determined to bring the world down, using his hands. The hands that could not applaud for Wil. And that is the story of how Lev became a clapper.

 

Source: http://thenerdherdreads.blogspot.com/2013/08/short-story-sunday-unstrung.html

Unwind {by Neal Shusterman}

Unwind - Neal Shusterman

This review also appears on the NerdHerd Reads

 

How does one even begin to review such an amazing book? I'm not even exaggerating; this is one of my favorite books ever.

 

Unwind takes place in a futuristic society. But it's still America. This isn't some far off future in some far off land. After the prolife/prochoice war, the two sides came up with a compromise: unwinding. The novel follows three main characters, scheduled for unwinding: Connor, Risa, and Levi. Each have their own unique stories, that meld together. Connor, a "problem" child. Risa, a ward of the state. And Lev, a tithe. Shusterman uses these three to address other, smaller issues, that lead to the big issue.

 

With Connor, he tackles the issue of problem children. So often, society wants to write the bad kids off. There's no hope for them, they'll just end up in jail, they're somebody else's problem, etc. Shusterman delves deeper in his mind, showing us why he is the way he is, what makes him tick. He shows us that maybe the way to deal with these kids isn't to write them off, but to help them, understand them. And in the end, Connor proves everyone wrong, becoming someone I'm sure his parents and teachers never thought he would be.

 

With Risa, he tackles the issue of government institutions. The wards of the state are children just like any other, but they aren't really treated like such. It isn't so much a dig, I don't think, as it is trying to make people aware of the realities. Because even though this may take place in an advanced, future society, the issue is still the same. State homes and orphanages are overrun, underfunded, and not cared for. There are kids like Risa who may be talented, but sometimes it isn't enough. In our world, they get thrown on the street. Risa gets scheduled for unwinding.

 

And with Lev, he tackles the religious aspect. Again, I don't think it was so much saying it's terrible and wrong as it is pointing out the flaws. After all, in the end, Lev did accept God that doesn't believe in unwinding.

 

And of course, the big issue of abortion. Prochoice verses prolife. I mean, it's the whole basis of the book. We're not going to get into a discussion here about it, but he makes some amazing points on the subject.

 

But more than being just political satire, Unwind is just a great story. It's fast-paced, adventurous, even emotional, and has the slightest bit of romance. And unlike most YA books, this is a book both girls and guys can enjoy and love. I know kids who hate reading who read this and loved it.

 

Honestly. I just love this book so much. It's one I'll recommend to anybody, and one I think every teen should read. The second book, UnWholly, was amazing too. It may not be just as good as Unwind, but only because nothing can touch that. The third book, UnSouled, is scheduled to come out this fall. And Shusterman has announced that there is actually going to be a fourth book as well now. UnDivided is scheduled to come out next spring. There is also a novella that comes after Unwind called UnStrung, and it's from Lev's perspective.

 

Source: http://thenerdherdreads.blogspot.com/2013/07/unwind-by-neal-shusterman.html

This Lullaby {by Sarah Dessen}

This Lullaby - Sarah Dessen

This review also appears on the NerdHerdReads

 

A few summers ago, I found Lock and Key at the library. It was my first Sarah Dessen book, and I enjoyed it. We visited my cousins that summer, and my cousin had Along for the Ride and This Lullaby. I read Along for the Ride, and loved it. I read the blurb of This Lullaby and even the first page or so, I think, but for whatever reason, it didn't really capture my attention. And that was that for Sarah Dessen. Until late into the school year or maybe even that next summer. I rediscovered her books, and read all of them. This Lullaby I read last, since in my mind I had already given it a chance. And I loved it. I couldn't figure out why I waited so long to read it, or why I didn't read it the first time around. It became my favorite, although currently it may have to contend with some others for the complete top spot, it is still up there. And that's the story of me and This Lullaby.

 

Remy doesn't believe in love. Seeing her mother going through one marriage after another has made her cynical and jaded, to the point where she has developed the perfect formula for a relationship, never allowing them to stray from her boundaries. Now, the summer after graduation, Remy is preparing for her mother's fifth marriage and counting down the days until she leaves for Stanford. Then, she meets Dexter.

 

One thing I like about all Sarah Dessen books is how they're…normal. As in, these characters deal with your everyday normal teenage issues. They're relatable. Of course, some more than others. Such as, I couldn't really relate to Remy and her friends because I was never the party type. But I can relate to school stress, transitioning from high school to college, etc. Even if you can't relate completely to a character, there always seems to be some part that you can. I mean, I love my fantasy fiction just like the rest of you, but don't tell me there aren't parts where you're like "really? REALLY? This totally cannot happen". But the issues Dessen writes about are relatable. You know they happen, because they happened to you. And, even for a moment, you realize, someone else actually does know what you're going through. Okay, maybe not on a major scale, but they do make you feel better. Because Dessen's main characters have some issues.

 

I liked Remy's character, even with all her flaws. She didn't take anything from anyone. And while I do admit that sometimes her cynicism and crazy strictness was annoying sometimes, you knew where she came from. Her friends, on the other hand, were never really explained. I understand that as minor characters, there isn't enough room to fully explain everything about everyone, but it would have been nice to know where they came from. Jess was explained, and I suppose Lissa didn't really need an explanation. So I guess it's just Chloe I wanted explained. She was just as cynical and jaded as Remy, but while we knew why Remy was the way she was, we never knew about Chloe. Nor was it really explained why she and Jess were always at each others' throats. But that wasn't a big deal. Just something I wonder about.

 

And can we talk about Dexter? Like, sa-woon (All my fellow Dessen fans understand that The Truth About Forever reference). Now, I don't think he's necessarily boyfriend-material for me, but he definitely was lovable. And I love how he didn't let Remy's hard exterior faze him, whittling her down until he saw the girl underneath. I think every girl needs a guy willing to go to such lengths for her. In fact, I think all Dessen boys have given me high standard for my future boyfriend.

 

Another thing I like about Sarah Dessen's novels is family. Whether it be just a mom, divorced parents, or both parents with siblings, family is always a focus. Every teenager goes through periods where they may not get along with their parents, and every family goes through rough patches. She showcases both of these things, but also show how important family is, how important it is to make amends and keep them close, no matter what they've down or what you've gone through. I think this is an important message for teens to know.

 

This book is just a fun read. Although it deals with serious issues that we all face, it does it in a fun and cute way. There were your laughing moments, you're serious moments, and of course, your romance. Must I say it again? I love this book ;)

 

Slight disclaimer: Pretty much anyone I know who reads this as their first Sarah Dessen novel like it okay, but not enough to maybe be so excited to read another Sarah Dessen novel. I have to agree, that if you have never read a Sarah Dessen novel before, this may not be a good first choice. Along for the Ride is my second favorite, and a good one to start with. The Truth About Forever is a close third, and according to a lot of people, a good one to read if it's your first Sarah Dessen novel.

 

 

Source: http://thenerdherdreads.blogspot.com/2013/07/this-lullaby-by-sarah-dessen.html

Distant Waves {by Suzanne Weyn} DNF

Distant Waves: A Novel of the Titanic - Suzanne Weyn

This review can also be found on the NerdHerdReads

 

Chased by their pasts and drawn to a more hopeful future, four sisters embark on the journey of their lives…aboard the Titanic. One is going to have her wedding during the voyage. Another has become involved in a feat of scientific intrigue that has the potential to alter the course of history. All of them feel out of place, and at least one of them will soon find herself out of time.

 

This is the synopsis on the back of the book. I've owned this book for years, picked up for a couple dollars at a used book store, but haven't actually picked it up until now...

 

The book is absolutely nothing like the description. Nothing. And although the Goodreads description is a little more accurate, it's not by much. I mean, it even says it is "a novel of the Titanic". But it wasn't. Also, there are five sisters. The description says four. (Okay, unless one just didn't embark on the "journey of her life". I didn't finish, so I wouldn't know.)

 

The book is told from the point-of-view of the second daughter, Jane. It starts with some back story, when she a young child, and watching her mother contact a spirit for the first time. Recently widowed and pregnant, the mother moves her four daughters to a place called Spirit Vale, full of spirit mediums, where she can practice her "gift" without being judged. On the way there, they meet the famous Nikola Tesla, when they get caught in an earthquake he created with some machine he built. They continue on their way, but this creates in Jane what is an almost unhealthy obsession with Tesla. For the next ten years, she continues to collect every article, newspaper clipping, and story she can find about Tesla.

 

Her older sister, Mimi, is skeptical of their mother's "abilities". As the story goes on, more and more proof appears that their mother is faking more than is real. Mimi wants to get out of Spirit Vale. Eventually, something happens that triggers the last straw. Jane, wanting to enter a journalist contest, wants to interview Tesla, and they two girls head to New York.

 

This is about where I stopped reading. Now, let's get this straight: the story isn't bad. But it wasn't what I was expecting, and so I got bored. The characters aren't really developed. I have a pretty good sense of Jane and Mimi, but I don't really know the younger three sisters. Historical names-such as Nikola Tesla and John Jacob Astor-are thrown in to make this historical fiction, but it was slightly unorganized. I wasn't ever really sure of the plot, or what was going on, although most of that came from expecting something completely different.

 

The biggest part about this though was the spirit world. Now, I have read my fair share of paranormal. But, and probably because I was raised in a very religious family (and still am), I simply prefer not to read about the spirit world. Ghosts and the like have never been my favorite. So, I was expecting something light and innocent, and it did not turn out that way at all. I felt slightly "tricked" into reading this, as I would not have read it had I known what it was about.

 

I didn't want to give this book an actual rating, because I did not finish. I have read other books by Suzanne Weyn, and enjoyed them. (In fact, I loved Reincarnation so much I read it like four or five times when I was in middle school/beginning of high school.) It wasn't because of the writing, but instead because of content. And it wasn't bad, by any means. It was just misleading, and because it wasn't about what I wanted to read about, I became bored. If the supernatural and spirit world is your thing, then you may love this book.

 

Source: http://thenerdherdreads.blogspot.com/2013/06/distant-waves-novel-of-titanic-by.html

The Goddess Hunt {by Aimee Carter}

The Goddess Hunt - Aimee Carter

This review also appears on the NerdHerdReads

 

Like I said about The Goddess Test, I like the way this series showed the gods and goddesses from a different perspective. In The Goddess Test, they were undercover (so to speak), pretending to be Henry's servants. Once you figure out who is pretending to be who, you can see the different parts of their god(dess)-like nature show through. But in this novella, we know who they are and they're not hiding it. So we also see the mythology-like personalities as well.

 

Kate has passed the test, and now it is time for her six months away from Henry. James is coming with her, and they decide to go to Greece. But James has his own plan- to check up on the Castor and Pollux, who the other gods have been trying to find for centuries. Unknown to Kate, Ava has been keeping tabs on where they are, and alerts Walter/Zeus to where Castor and Pollux are. Kate doesn't know the whole story, and being the new Queen of the Underworld, is the last person Castor and Pollux would trust.

 

Maybe it's because I've read a lot of mythology and just understand that that is the way the gods and goddesses are, but Kate's whole judgmental attitude of Walter and Henry being such terrible people for doing this to them irked me the entire time. Now, I am in no way saying that Walter was correct in tricking the brothers like he did, or that it is right of them to hunt them down when all they want is to be together. And I understand the Kate's whole existence really is to bring a fresh perspective, since she understands what it's like to be human. But her mere 19 years compared to their thousands upon thousands? She has no right to be so judgmental and closed-minded about the situation. Technically, Castor died. Pollux shouldn't get to see him at all, just like any other person's family when they die, and now the three of them are acting like the gods are the bad guys.

 

And they are as well, I get that. I do. I'm not making excuses for them. It's just...Kate, man. Ugh. She really annoys me.

 

Source: http://thenerdherdreads.blogspot.com/2013/06/short-story-sunday-goddess-hunt.html

The Goddess Test {by Aimee Carter}

The Goddess Test - Aimee Carter

This review also appears on the NerdHerdReads

 

I'm a sucker for gorgeous covers.

 

I'm also a huge sucker for Greco-Roman mythology. No seriously, for reals. I took all the way to Latin IV in high school because of it. Percy Jackson and the Olympians is one of my all-time favorite series. So when I saw this Persephone-inspired story, I immediately knew I had to read it. It was actually on my list for a while, back before I had a Goodreads, and my to-read lists were on pieces of paper scattered around my room (lol). I finally read it sometime last year, but I reread it last week in preparation to read the third one. I ended up reading the entire series in about a week, including in-between novellas.

 

Kate Winters is an 18-year-old girl who is just trying to take care of her dying mother. Her mom's last wish is to move to her hometown, so they pack up and move to Eden, a small town in the middle of nowhere. There, Kate meets James, the loner dork, and Ava, the jealous Queen B. Ava invites her to a party, but it turns out to be a prank--a prank that goes terribly, terribly wrong. Ava takes her to the Eden Manor, and then tries to leave her there, swimming away. But instead of swimming away, she hits her head on a rock. Then, a mysterious guy shows up, claiming he can heal Ava, and asks what Kate will do in return. When Kate says she would do anything, he asks her if she has read the Persephone story, gives her until the solstice, and brings Ava back from the dead.

 

Kate thinks nothing of this weird encounter, thinking she has imagined the whole crazy thing, until solstice, when the mysterious guy, Henry, comes knocking on her door. She refuses to go with him, and the next day, Ava dies. She heads back to Eden Manor. There, Henry tells her the ultimate plot twist: he is actually Hades, god of the Underworld, and is looking for a bride. If she passes 7 tests, she will become his bride and queen of the underworld. If she doesn't succeed--or dies, like the 11 girls before her-- Henry will fade away and someone else will take his place as god of the Underworld.

 

Like I said, I enjoy mythology, so I enjoyed seeing the different gods and goddesses from a different point of view. The story was well-written and fun to read. It kept you engaged the whole time. You get caught up in the story, wanting to figure out the mystery of who is killing the girls as well. Finding out which servant is which god is surprising, as well as the plot twist at the end of who is actually killing the girls.

 

The only bad part was Kate's whining about how Henry doesn't show her love the way she wants. I mean, he has been single for a thousand years, and before that, he was with Persephone for a millenia. That's not something one forgets easily, and her mere 18 years can't wrap her mind around that. But other than that, it was a really good book.

 

Source: http://thenerdherdreads.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-goddess-test-by-aimee-carter.html

Winter's Passage {by Julie Kagawa}

Winter's Passage - Julie Kagawa

This review also appears on The NerdHerd Reads

 

I think I was very disappointed with this one because I was expecting it to be in Ash's point of view, and it wasn't. It was in Meghan's. I feel like that defeats the purpose. I mean, you've got your main books from the point of view of one character, usually in first person. So novellas are a chance to get the point of view of another character. Meghan's already got three books from her point of view; why does she need a novella as well?

Because of that, this was just a story. A story I could have done without. I feel there was no point. This could have been added to the end of the first book, or the beginning of the second. Heck, it just could not have happened at all and I would not feel like I was missing out on anything.

 

 

I will admit, Meghan annoyed me while reading The Iron Fey series. And this novella did not introduce any new conflicts. It's the same conflicts that she whines about for three books. I love Ash, but he's part of the Unseelie court. I don't care what anyone says, I'm still human. I know Ash loves me but how can he turn into a cold, unfeeling person? Blah blah blah.

 

 

It wasn't terrible or anything, but it wasn't really good either. If you haven't read it yet, I wouldn't recommend it. It just didn't seem worth my time. And while I don't think it deserves three stars, I can't justify giving it two either. It's more like 2.3 stars.

 

Source: http://thenerdherdreads.blogspot.com/2013/07/short-story-sunday-winter-passage.html

Spirit {by Brigid Kemmerer}

Spirit - Brigid Kemmerer

This review also appears on the NerdHerdReads

 

Unlike some others, I never hated Hunter, but I never quite liked him either. He just wasn't my type of guy. He was sort of mysterious, as we never really undersold him or knew where he was coming from, until this book. And while he still isn't my favorite, I do like him a lot more.

 

The budding bromance between him and Gabriel has obviously come to an end with the revelation at the end of Spark. With the problems at home with his grandpa and mom, Hunter is alone. Then Kate comes along, and he doesn't feel so alone.

 

Hunter has trust issues. Instilled into him by his dad, it's a hard thing to forget. Which may not have been a terribly bad thing, seeing as how Kate wasn't all she seemed to be. However, it gets in the way of his relationship with the Merricks, as he is unable to realize that they truly do want to help him, no strings attached. These trust issues cause him to make decisions that ended disastrously, and could have been avoided.

 

And as if I needed another reason to confirm Michael was my favorite, the way he took Hunter under his wing and gave him a place to stay and gave him work was awesome, showing a different side to the jerk he usually is.

 

And let's not forget Kemmerer's ability to tell an amazing story. Not only was it told extremely well, but it held some unusual and unexpected plot twists. It was an amazing book that will keep you hooked the entire time.

 

I will admit, I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did. So I was pleasantly surprised. I would definitely recommend reading this series if you haven't already. It is seriously amazing.

 

Source: http://thenerdherdreads.blogspot.com/2013/05/spirit-by-brigid-kemmerer.html

Breathless {by Brigid Kemmerer}

Breathless - Brigid Kemmerer

This review also appears on the NerdHerdReads

 

Nick Merrick. The quiet one, especially compared to his hot-headed twin, Gabriel. Although we're getting to learn about him in bits and pieces, I feel that we still don't really know Nick. So this novella was a nice little way to tide us over as we wait for his full-length book.

 

This was a quick, light read. We get some insight into Nick and his feelings: he just wants to go to college, he doesn't like to fight, and he isn't quite sure what to make of his girlfriend, Quinn. Not going to lie, Quinn just kind of annoyed me. But being the kind and caring person Nick is, he puts up with her, being pretty much the perfect boyfriend ever.

 

And we all know about perfect boyfriends…

 

Now I know I'm not the only one who didn't pick up any hints in the previous books. And I'm pretty sure everyone already knows what I'm talking about from the description and other people talking about it. But just in case it is a spoiler for anyone, I won't say anything. Let's just say Nick is having some thoughts that he doesn't know how to deal with…

 

I also would like to give props to Brigid Kemmerer for choosing what is a difficult and controversial subject. She isn't afraid to talk about it and bring it out into the open. I can't wait to see what Nick's full length book will bring on this subject.

 

 

Source: http://thenerdherdreads.blogspot.com/2013/06/short-story-sunday-breathless.html

Birthmarked {by Caragh M. O'Brien}

Birthmarked - Caragh M. O'Brien

This review also appears on the NerdHerd Reads

 

This was an interesting book. Gaia, sixteen and with one side of her face burned, is in training to be a midwife like her mother. The first three babies born from each midwife are "advanced" inside the wall, to the Enclave, where they become the children of the elite society. The people outside the wall live in poverty. But everything is not as it seems with the Enclave. When Gaia's parents are arrested for seemingly no reason, Gaia bravely sneaks inside the wall to find out what is real and what is not with the Enclave.

 

Gaia was a likeable character for me. She wasn't like other heroines in dystopian novels. I've read a lot of dystopian, being so popular right now, and I don't often like the girls. But Gaia was realistic. She was scared, she just wanted her parents back, she followed her heart, albeit impulsively. She saw something wrong and wanted to fix it.

 

Another thing I liked was the fact that there wasn't an actual romance until the second book. Now, the rest of you may be asking "what is wrong with you? That's what makes a book worth reading!" But often in dystopian novels, I find that the heroine isn't trying to change society because it's wrong. She is trying to change it because she realizes it's wrong because society won't let her be with the one she "loves". (Matched, and Delirium are examples. No offense to the books, I liked them enough.) But Gaia is trying to change the Enclave because she legitimately finds it wrong. True, I suppose she didn't think so until her parents were arrested, but she was having thoughts before then.

 

I also find, in some instances, that a romance takes away from the point. A dystopian novel should be more than a love story. Ever read a book, and the main characters are running from something or someone and then they decide that this is the perfect time to confess their love and make out and you're just screaming at them because they're like, 3 second away from dying or being captured? (And then that something happens and you're just like I told you so) There was a scene like that in this book. I was convinced that at any moment they were going to do the same thing, and everything would be for naught because they would just be caught and did. But it didn't happen. They kept running because they kept their priorities straight. And as strange as I may be, that made me happy.

 

I think all that was just to say that these characters had common sense. Which is something I find lacking in characters nowadays. I enjoyed the series a lot more than I thought I would. I read all three within a few days, and would definitely recommend it.

 

 

Source: http://thenerdherdreads.blogspot.com/2013/05/birthmarked-by-caragh-m-o.html