Book Review: Shards & Ashes by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong

Shards and AshesBook Review: Shards & Ashes by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong

This collection of beautifully written dystopian short stories includes a variety of my favorite authors. Some of the stories are added snips from their other worlds, while some are completely different creative works. Each story is unique and wonderful, and that doesn’t always happen in a short story collection. My favorite was “Hearken” by Veronica Roth, but I had to struggle to choose a favorite.

On a personal note, I love how many new short story collections have been coming out lately. I know in my library we have a shortage of quality short stories. This is one I will be purchasing for my library.

Quote from “Necklace of Raindrops” on living life:

Let me give you this one gift. Let me tell you what I have learned.

Don’t be afraid to live.

Your life will be long, but it won’t be life.

Recommended Grades: 8 and up
Genre: Dystopian Short Stories
Overall Opinion:  Above Average
Source: Book

Book Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

youngelitesWhen disease sweeps the land, it leaves behind in its wake a group of people marked from the disease. Some of these are have special abilities that resulted after their recovery. These become the Young Elites; a group of citizens rising against the unfair treatment of those seen as imperfect by the current leadership. Adelina joins the Elites after accidentally causing the death of her father. She knows that discovery is only one heartbeat away; but then again, so is freedom.

I loved this book but the ending seemed to resolve too quickly.. I’m sure all of it will make sense when I read the next book. There was just all this masterful story telling going on and then the bow seemed a little too neat. Knowing what happened in the first book though, I’m sure that bow will unravel pretty quickly in the next book. Okay, I’ll hold off on judgement until I read the next book.

Quotes

On sisters

“All of a sudden I understand my sister better. I always thought of her as the sweet naive one, but perhaps she wore her sweetness and naivety as a shield. Perhaps she always knew exactly what she was doing. Unlike me, who always pushed people away, she protected herself by making people like her.”

Eye vs eyes-interesting how much saying things like “closed her eye” (she only has one) stuck out. It was a constant reminder of how the disease changed Adelina.

Just a great sentence
“Then she laughs. It is a bright ringing sound; the laugh of someone who is loved.”

Recommended Grades: 8 and up
Genre: Dystopian
Overall Opinion:  Average
Source: Book

Book Review: Graduation Day by Author

graduationdayBook Review: Graduation Day by Author

With memories returning from the Testing, Cia and Thomas are determined to get to the truth behind what the government is really doing. The tough part comes in knowing who to trust along the way because sometimes enemies are friends, and friends act like enemies. Cia struggles with how far she should go in an effort to end the corruption.

The conclusion to The Testing series is nonstop from start to finish. I actually am torn as to whether I liked this book or book one better because of all the great character struggles and the dynamic plot in this book. There are a lot of really intense scenes that had me asking myself what I would do in that situation. I didn’t always like Cia in this book, and I think that is important because she didn’t always like herself either.

Quote

“I study the anguish and resolve on his face. I have seen the same expression in my reflector. It is the look of a person who has come to a crossroads and chosen the more difficult path.”

Recommended Grade: 7-12
Genre: Dystopian
Overall Opinion: Recommended
Source: Book

Book Review: Independent Study by Author

indepstudyBook Review: Independent Study by Author

Cia has survived the testing, but she quickly learns that the challenges have only begun. She has no memories of her testing, but she senses that something isn’t quite right. When she starts to investigate, things get even more complicated and she is no longer sure if she can trust the boy she thought she loved…or anyone else for that matter.

Augh, I read book two and three back to back so I’m confusing the plots and reviews in my mind. This was a solid book two. Typically book twos are a little bit of a filler between two books, but this one did a great job of keeping me interested and actually developing the plot.

Quote

My arms ache to reach out for him, to soothe the pain and grieve with him for the loss of a friend. But I don’t know how to cross the divide our secrets have built between us.”

Recommended Grade: 7-12
Genre: Dystopian
Overall Opinion: Average
Source: eBook

Book Review: The One by Kiera Cass

theoneBook Review: The One by Kiera Cass

The Selection is coming to an end. Maxim has narrowed down the candidates and America has finally decided what guy she loves. Saying a big thank you on that one. Book two frustrated me because she waffled around so much. I found myself wanting to shake her and say, “MAKE A DECISION!” But of course it was a book, and that isn’t possible. Book three has none of the same indecision. She finally admits where her heart lies; and so does Maxim, but you’ll have to read the book to find out who they each pick.

Well, when I read this book I was super excited because I thought it was the end. Every review says the conclusion to the series. Don’t get me wrong…LOVE the series, just sometimes I’m ready for some resolution. And there is a ton of that, BUT…there is another book coming people (just in case you didn’t know)!

Quote on character that I wish my junior high kids would practice…okay that adults I know would practice.

“It really doesn’t matter how you feel about your character; it just matters what you do with it.”

Recommended Grade: 7-12
Genre: Dystopian
Overall Opinion: Recommended
Source: Book

Book Review: The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

darkBook Review: The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

Book three is initially primarily about Annah and how she survived without Elias. When Gabry and Catcher arrives the plight of the city forces them into surrendering into a well protected Sanctuary that might not be as safe as they hoped.

SOOOO I will not spill the beans, but I thought the ending of this book was well done. I certainly didn’t expect it to end quite that way. Again, this novel has good characters but also the other characters we love from the first two books. The time gap between books two and three is very small. Have it ready though when you finish book two.

Quote

No quotes here but not because there weren’t any. It was just because I finished book two and started book three late one night and zoomed through it. I can remember all these great scenes, but not any particular lines.

Recommended Grade: 8-12
Genre: Zombie/Dystopian
Overall Opinion: Recommended
Source: eBook

P.S. READ THE SERIES! And did anyone notice how I timed this perfectly for Halloween week. It was an accident. 🙂

Book Review: Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

deadtossedBook Review: Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Gabry has only ever known life in the lighthouse by the ocean. Sure there are mudo (unconsecrated), but only when the tide washes them onto the shore. Until the night they cross over the barrier and a catastrophe takes the one person she thinks she can actually love…or does it?

Sooo, this hasn’t happened to me, I don’t think ever, but I actually love the second book in this series more than the other two. I think you will notice that when you see all of the quotes. The wordsmithing going on in this novel was exceptional and I absolutely loved the plot. We still got to know what happened to Mary, but it wasn’t all about her. This is so much more than a zombie book. It is a book about life and how you find your way.

Quotes-and seriously don’t laugh…I left off some.

“And I realize that maybe this is the one thing that will always pull the people of my world together. The more we lose, the more we become the survivors.”

“I hold my breath, waiting for her touch to bring me comfort. And then I realize that that’s been my problem all along. Not only wanting comfort and security and safety, but looking to others to find it when I need to find it inside myself.”

“I realize that life is risks. It’s acknowledging the past but looking forward. It’s taking a chance that we will make mistakes but believing that we all deserve to be forgiven.”

“If I knew the sound of someone breaking this would be it.”

AND my favorite mother/daughter conversation I’ve read in a while…in fact I had to text it to my mom because this is so us (not the fear of leaving your mom surrounded by zombies part):

    “What am I supposed to do?” I ask, my voice small and scared.

     She places her hands on my cheeks. I think of all the moments in my life that we’ve stood alone together, just the two of us against the world. Of how much of our life that we’ve shared. And yet I feel as though this divide has opened between us, a gulf showing me just how much of her I didn’t know.

                I always thought of her as my mother and not as a woman who used to be a girl like me.

       “You stay safe,” she finally says. “You love. You survive. You laugh and cry and struggle and sometimes you fail and sometimes you succeed. You push.” She smiles, her voice watery. “And you always remember that your mother loves you.”

Recommended Grade: 8-12
Genre: Zombie/Dystopian
Overall Opinion: Highly Recommended
Source: eBook