A Sequel that is Better than the First: Through the Ever Night

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throughtheevernight
Through The Ever Night
Under the Never Sky #2
Veronica Rossi

4stars


 It’s been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don’t take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe’s precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, can their love survive through the ever night?

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It’s not often that the second book is better than the first, but I’m glad to say that this is one of those times.

I enjoyed Under the Never Sky.  After initially being annoyed by Aria, I really liked the characters and the romance. I don’t think I mentioned it in my review, but I really enjoyed that the romance never overwhelmed the actual plot of the book and what these two characters had set out to do.

And Through the Ever Night continues this.  While there was a bit more focus on romance, both Perry and Aria continue to do what needs to be done even if it means they have to be away from each other.

And I LOVED Aria in this book.  Gone is the naive dweller who didn’t understand that sometimes you need to kill the people who are trying to eat you.  She is totally kickass in the sequel. She recognizes the hardships of living outside of a protected pod and she does what she needs to do to survive.

And while Perry did get a teensy bit whiny for a few chapters, I really stood behind him and what he was trying to do for his tribe.  It annoyed me a bit that his people couldn’t recognize what he was doing for them, but eventually they understood.  I think it was actually a pretty good depiction of a young man thrust into power.
And I really, really fell in love with Roar this book.  Such a great secondary character and I’m glad we got to see a lot more of him.

A minor issue I had with the first book is that the pacing was pretty slow.  Yeah it was a survival story with some adventure and romance, but it was pretty slow going until the last 100 pages.  Not so with this book.  I thought the pacing was right on point and I sped through with my reading because I had to find out how it ended.

We also learn a bit more about the catastrophic events that led to the Unity and how certain people came to live in pods while others remained outside.  It’s not particularly groundbreaking or in depth, but it did help satisfy my curiosity about the backstory of this world.

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Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

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Under the Never Sky

Under the Never Sky #1

Veronica Rossi

3.5stars


 

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland–known as The Death Shop–are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild–a savage–and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile–everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

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This was another reread for me, but it was one of the series I set out to finish in 2016. I remember really liking this book the first time, and while my opinion didn’t really change, there were a few things that made me lower the rating from a 4 to a 3.5

Pacing is pretty slow. It didn’t ruin the story, but not much really happens. Within the last 100 pages the story really picks up, which I guess is pretty normal. There isn’t a whole lot of backstory but in this case I don’t think it really ruins the book. Sometime around 300 years ago the “Unity” occurred, which I think involved some sort of catastrophic weather shift that forced people into domes. And after living outside for 300 years, the outsiders also developed genetic mutations, which allow some people’s senses to be extra strong. Although I personally would have enjoyed way more backstory, I think this was pretty sufficient. I do still hope we will learn more in the next two books.

I liked Perry a lot, but Aria annoyed me for 50% of the book. She was just so…I don’t really know. Not immature. Maybe naïve. She is really rude to Perry and continuously calls him a monster and savage even though he keeps saving her life. She is so upset that he killed three men who were going to EAT HER. Come on. Sometimes murder (especially in a wild land where there are no rules and people are going to EAT YOU) is totally and completely justified. I won’t go so far as to say that everything with happens with the Croven’s is totally her fault, but if she had just listened to Perry it probably would have turned out differently.

She gets better about halfway through the book though and by the end I actually really like her so yay for character development.

And I really enjoyed the romance. Once Aria stopped being an asshole I can see why Perry falls for her. Sure it’s bordering on instalove (it’s been less than 2 weeks) I am always a bit quicker to forgive the trope when the couple is involved in a fight for survival. Like, when it’s just the two of you working together, it makes some sense that you would seek comfort with the other one.

Other pluses include an actual mention of Aria’s period (and while I wouldn’t go so far as to call it barbaric, I totally agree that it is bullshit that it has to happen every month) and sex in YA! Yeah it happens off page but they very clearly have sex.  I’m totally for incorporating more sex into YA lit.  I don’t even care if it happens off page.  I just want more sex, especially when the characters do not hold their virginity up on a pedestal as the be all and end all of their worth as women.

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Snowed In Read-A-Thon Reviews

So last Friday, the snow started to fall in Baltimore, and it didn’t stop until Saturday night.  All together we got around 29 inches (a new all time record!)  and I was stuck in my apartment until Tuesday when I finally went back to work.  (There are some sections of the city and out towards the county that still aren’t plowed! The DC-Baltimore area is horrible at handling snow, mainly because we don’t usually get THIS much snow.)

But, I was prepared.  I knew I would be stuck inside so I decided to host my own personal Snowed In Read-a-thon.  I wanted to read 6 books (2/day Friday-Sunday), but by Sunday afternoon and 5 books later, I was pretty burnt out on reading. But still.  5 books in 3 days is still pretty good! So here is another round of mini reviews!

Friday

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A Wicked Thing

A Wicked Thing #1

Rhiannon Thomas

3stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


 

I had a hard time deciding how to rate this one. I finished this book in one sitting, but the pacing was pretty slow and not much actually happened. Usually when in doubt, I go with 3 stars.

I liked Aurora as a character and how Thomas updated this fairy tale. Sleeping Beauty isn’t my favorite (probably because I’ve really only seen the Disney version where she has like 7 lines), but Thomas made it more interesting.

Aurora doesn’t need or want to be saved and when she awakens to find a strange guy in her room kissing her she is appalled and creeped out.  She learns that her entire family is dead, and that the kingdom has fallen into hard times. She discovers that everyone wants to use her to their own ends and that she isn’t really safe anywhere.  There are  3 men, all who can offer her different things, but she doesn’t really like any of the choices so it’s not really technically a love square.

There is a sequel, so the book kind of just ends without that much of a climax. Well, to me anyway.  I’m sure other people would disagree, but I thought the ending was a bit weak.I liked the book, and I plan on continuing the series, but it was just kind of anti-climatic.   Even this mini review is hard to write, so I’m just going to stop.

*This book counts towards the Rock my TBR Challenge and the Fairytale Retelling challenge

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How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True

by Sarah Strohmeyer

1star

Goodreads


This might be the dumbest book I have ever read.  I hated it.

Maybe I could have enjoyed this more if the Fairyland Theme Park hadn’t existed in the same world as Disney. I mean you are seriously  trying to tell me that a British Duke would go to a knock off amusement park in New Jersey over the real thing in California/FLorida?  NEW JERSEY?? (No offense to anyone from Jersey. I’m from NY, so you know, I’m an asshole.) Or try to say that Disney was lame competition for Fairyland? GET OUT OF HERE. You ruined it for me with that.

Also this book was WAY too juvenile. People who send their kids to fairyland camp so that they can become Prince and Princesses at Fairyland? I don’t think so. I shouldn’t have to suspend my disbelief more in a realistic fiction book more than a fantasy.  Nope. sorry.  I’m sure I would have enjoyed this more if I hadn’t been younger or obsessed with Disney World.

*This book counts towards the Rock My TBR Challenge

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Saturday

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Tell me Again how a Crush Should Feel

Sara Farizan

2.5stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


I liked this book, but it wasn’t amazing or anything and that makes me sad.  I wanted it to be great. The writing was pretty simple which isn’t always a bad thing, but I just couldn’t connect with it.

I mean this book has a lot going for it.  It’s about a Persian lesbian.  Not only are there not enough F/F YA books, but I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with a Persian MC.  There was so much other diversity as well, and it didn’t come off as tokenized either.  There was even a Jew, and it is so hard for me to find Jewish characters. Yeah, she was a side character, but I still really liked her.

But something just stopped me from loving it.  It was probably the writing style as I had no major problems with Leila.  I wish I could have loved this, but it definitely wasn’t a bad book.  If you are looking for more F/F YA or a Persian MC with actual Persian culture within the book, this is a great book.

**This book counts towards the Rock my TBR challenge

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Jack: The True Story of Jack & The Beanstalk

Liesl Shurtliff

3stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


This one was very cute.  I had previously read Rump by the same author, and while I enjoyed it, I definitely think I enjoyed this one more.  I don’t really remember much of what happened in Rump,  but some of the characters are present or mentioned within this book, which is always one of my favorite things.  You don’t have to have read Rump first, but it is always nice to start at the beginning.

I think this is perfect for the younger set of Middle Grade readers who are interested in fairy tales. I liked how there were a bunch of allusions to other fairytales/folktales, such as Tom Thumb, Thumbelina, the woman who lived in a shoe and others.    I also really liked how the author tied together the “worlds” of her two books.  I’m glad I finally got around to reading this and I’m looking forward to reading Red soon.

**This book counts towards COYER, the NG & EW  & Fairytale Retelling challenge.

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Sunday

thegirlwhofell1

 

The Girl Who Fell

Shannon M Parker

I have a full review coming for this one since it was one of my most anticipated 2016 releases.  Stay tuned for it.

A Pleasant Surprise: Review of Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

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Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy #1

Richelle Mead

2007

3.5stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and the Strigoi are always close by.

Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever.


 

I’m not exactly sure why I had Vampire Academy on my “Nope” shelf. Maybe it had something to do with reviews, or the fact that people say the series goes downhill, but I had resolved not to read it. That is, until now. I meant to read one “Nope” selection each month, but as soon as I finished Beautiful Creatures, I knew I had to give another one a chance. I wasn’t a fan of BC, but I’m happy to say that this challenge hasn’t been a complete failure yet. I really did enjoy Vampire Academy.

For the most part, I really did love Rose. Besides her hang up on being labeled a slut and how she treated Mia, she was a pretty awesome character. I guess when it comes down to it I like really sassy characters, but also some pretty rude ones. Maybe it’s just after a sea of Mary Sue’s who are super sweet, it’s refreshing to find female who isn’t afraid to be a bitch some times. And I say that with complete and total respect. Bitches really do get shit done.

Lissa, on the other hand, wasn’t my favorite. For the majority of the book she was pretty boring and way too safe. Towards the end I started to enjoy her more, but then again it just goes to show that I enjoy characters that have a bit of darkness inside of them. Hell, while watching the Vampire Diaries I completely hated Stefan until he went ripper on everyone. Team Damon all the way (also, case where the TV show is about 5000x better than the books). Anyway, back to Vampire Academy.

For the first time in awhile I actually liked both the love interests (for Rose and Lissa; no love triangle in sight…yet). Well, if you could really call Dmitri a love interest. I mean, I was a bit weirded out by the age difference between Dmitri and Rose, but probably more so with myself because I was totally behind it.

This was definitely one of the better vampire books I’ve read. I loved the world Mead created, even if I think the Moroi are a bit lame with their “only use magic for good” and “no compulsion” rules. I definitely think that the rest of the series will be testing that so I’m excited to move on the second book eventually. But I loved the different classes of vampires and the vampire royalty aspect. It reminded me a lot of The Southern Vampire Mysteries (True Blood) that I really enjoyed for the first few books (and seasons).

I totally guessed the ending, but it doesn’t bother me that much. Overall, I was extremely pleased with how this book turned out.

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Why I didn’t want to read it:      I don’t remember. Probably reviews.

Why I changed my mind:    General interest in the series

Do I regret reading it?:    Not at all!

Will I continue the series?:    Definitely

A Somewhat Disappointing Finale: Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan

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Unmade

The Lynburn Legacy #3

Sarah Rees Brennan

2014

3stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


 

Kami has lost the boy she loves, is tied to a boy she does not, and faces an enemy more powerful than ever before. With Jared missing for months and presumed dead, Kami must rely on her new magical link with Ash for the strength to face the evil spreading through her town.

Rob Lynburn is now the master of Sorry-in-the-Vale, and he demands a death. Kami will use every tool at her disposal to stop him. Together with Rusty, Angela, and Holly, she uncovers a secret that might be the key to saving the town. But with knowledge comes responsibility – and a painful choice. A choice that will risk not only Kami’s life, but also the lives of those she loves most.

Set against a centuries-old legacy of blood, power, and vengeance, the truth does not seem like much of a weapon. But it is all Kami has.


This isn’t going to be a very long review. Mainly because it took me so long to read that I don’t really remember that much of what happened in the beginning. And that probably isn’t a good sign.

I am sad to say that this series went downhill from where it started. Not so much that I didn’t like the books, I just didn’t love them the way I did the first. Kami was still amazing (as the majoirty of the characters still were. I especially enjoyed the banter between Lillian Lynburn and Jon Glass), and I really did enjoy the ending, but the middle really forced my opinion. I was much more aware of the failures of Brennan’s writing, and the pace was a bit too slow and the relationship drama was over the top. JUST BE HONEST WHEN YOU TALK TO EACH OTHER. STOP BEING SO GOD DAMN MOPEY.

At the same time, a lot of what happened was a too convenient for me.  There were multiple times where the characters were pretty much about to die and then miraculously they were saved! Once would have been fine, but it happened 3 or 4 times.

Plus, I’m kind of really angry over a certain aspect of the plot. I get it, but I don’t have to be happy about it.

In the end I’m going to give it 3 stars, even thought it took me over a week to read and I didn’t particularly enjoy the majority of this book. I just can’t bring myself to give a series that started off so well anything less than 3 stars. I just wished it had remained at the same level of awesomeness that was Unspoken.

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Drowning in Books | Rock My TBR

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I love finding new challenges that already fit with my 2016 reading goals!! Why not link up and make new friends for something I was already going to do anyway?

I own SO many books that I haven’t read. Every year they sit on my shelf while they are overlooked for newer and shiner reads and that’s just wrong.  So I’m super happy to join the 2016 Rock My TBR Challenge hosted by Sarah K at The YA Book Traveler.

OPEN TO ALL READERS! Whether you’re a reader, a blogger, a booktuber, a bookstagramer let’s all have fun and rock out those TBRs together! We all love books and let’s encourage one another.

The Challenge:

  • To read a minimum of 1 book per month you already own (published book). This challenge is totally what YOU make of it! You can do 5 books a month, 10, WHATEVER! Anything you accomplish is fantastic. This challenge is really what you make of it.