I've Read These Books:
#25 - Epic

Novel by Conor Kostick

Published 2007

Genre - Science  Fiction / Fantasy / Futuristic / Video Games / Alternate Reality / Fiction

396 pages

Violence is banned throughout the world where Erik lives. Instead of physical brawls, all quarrels are dealt with and MMORPG game, Epic.  If you advance in the game, you advance in reality as well. 

After Erik’s parents are unfairly ruled by the Powers That Be within the game, he and his friends decide to stand up to them.  However, the power-hungry authorities utilize their plentiful resources and will stop at nothing to stop them. 


I have been neglecting this blog since school started, and I feel horrible about it. I unfortunately haven’t been reading as much as I would have liked, but I have put away about 10 books since I read this back in August. Or July. It’s been so long I can’t remember…

From what I can remember, however, is that I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me loads of 1/2 Prince, a Taiwanese comic/novel that I /adore/ to pieces.  

Epic was a lovely mix of fantasy, suspense, flashbacks, and technical computer talk.  The plotline was fabulous, although a bit confusing at times.  Character development for the female characters could have been better, but I’m not complaining.  Overall a wonderful read that I would read again, if my to read list wasn’t nine miles long…

Also, for some reason it really irked me that Erik went and blew all his newly gained fortune on frivolous things. I was so annoyed reading it. 

#24 - Sisters of Glass

 

Novel by Stephanie Hemphill 

Published 2012


Genre - Verse /  Historical fiction / Romance / Young Adult / Sisters / Forbidden Love

160 pages - one night

Daughter of an esteemed family of Venetian glassblowers, Maria longs to be a glass blower herself. Instead, she is being married off, as it is her dying father’s wish, despite her being the younger sister.  She strongly believes her older sister, Giovanna, should be the one to marry - she is, after all, prettier, more graceful, and everyone loves her. 

To further complicate Maria’s feelings towards being married off, a new glassblower comes to help with the family business… a new glassblower that Maria is drawn too, and falls helplessly in love with. 


I first picked up this book due to the cover (I’m horrible I know- judging books by their covers), and the inside flap had me hooked - Venetian Italy, glassblowers, romance, set in the 1500s… 

Well, when I opened and started the book, it was another story.

I almost cried and threw the book across the room when I realized it was in verse. I personally do /not/ enjoy books in verse - I find them hard to follow and a lot more purple prose than actual plot.

I had read another book in verse last year, Seeing Emily by Joyce Lee Wong, and more or less was able to follow what was happening and the relations between the characters. Sisters of Glass however… not so much.  

While the idea behind the book was great, the outcome left a lot to be desired. The verse was painfully hard to follow, and I gave up trying to figure out who was who and just went with it.  There was hardly any romance, and then it did happen, it happened very late in the story. The setting was nice however; Venetian Italy in the 1500s, looking for a husband…

Unfortunately, around page 30 this book began to feel like a chore rather than enjoyment. As I’m the type of person who can’t /not/ finish a book (unless it’s really so horrible I can’t go on), I pushed on and finished this book that night.  

#23 - The Dashwood Sister’s Secrets of Love



Novel by Rosie Rushton 

Influenced/inspired/based on Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen 

Published 2006

Genre - Romance / Beach reads / Chick Lit / Young Adult / Realistic Fiction 
336 pages - over 2 days


The Dashwood sister’s are used to a life of luxury in their beloved Holly House in Sussex, even though their father has left them for another woman, a real trophy wife.  He continues to dote upon his daughters, and paying all their and their mother’s bills. When he unexpectedly suffers from a heart attack and dies, it is revealed that he was deep in debt, and signed over Holly House to his wife, Pandora. 

With no home to their name, the sister’s and their mother are forced to move to an old cottage in Norfolk. There, the sister’s deal with their new life, and new loves.  Ellie, the oldest and responsible one, falling for Blake, Pandora’s (unavailble) nephew.  Abby, the middle and switching boyfriends every few days type of girl, troubles herself with ignoring the advances of a hot drummer who she’s promised to get for her friend. And Georgie, the youngest, never really interested in boys until one notices her. 



I’m somewhat ashamed to say I read this, and remembered it enough to review it. It’s one of those quick summer reads, almost like a teenage girl version of those trashy romance novels you always see your mother reading.  

This book was /really/ predictable, but who hasn’t read some version of this story? While it had me guessing a little in a few places, overall you knew just who was going to end up with who. 

Still, not a bad book, but not one with an incredible plot or character development. This is an afternoon at the beach read.  

#22 - Pretties




Novel by Scott Westerfeld

Book 2 in his series

Published 2005

Genre - Dystopian Society / Science Fiction / Identity / Humanity / Young Adult Fiction

370 pages - over several days 


Tally has become pretty, solely for the purpose of testing a drug made by the Smokies - one that will remove the lesions in all prettie’s brains. When people turn ‘pretty,’ lesions are put into their brains to keep them simple minded and, well, dumb.  However, now that Tally’s pretty, so is her brain, and getting a way for her to take the pills is no easy feat.  

During a party, where Tally is voted into the ‘Crims,’ clique (led by Zane; he’s important - remember him), she finds herself being stalked by what appears to be a member of Special Circumstances. As Tally can only remember her life as an Ugly in patches, she’s shocked to realize that the person who’s stalking her is Croy, a member of the Smoke. He tells her he has something for her, but she has to find it at a later date in a certain place. 

After the party, Tally begins to, well, hook up with Zane.  Apparently, Zane once knew Croy and had plans to run away to the Smoke, but chickened out at the last second.  He agrees to accompany Tally to get whatever it is Croy hid for her.

Once the pair locate and reach the place indicated, Tally finds a letter she wrote to herself as an Ugly, explaining about the pills and lesions. Enclosed with the letter were two pills, each of them taking one.  



I would continue writing my summary but I’d give too much of the book away and I personally hate that.  I like the just-enough-to-get-you-interested summaries. 

Now then.  I whipped through Uglies in few long sessions (over several days though), and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this sequel.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned my thoughts on sequels before… how some are really good and a continuation of the story, and others are ‘hey lets make more money off this idea.’

This was a continuation book.  It picked off from the cliffhanger in the first book, and after several plot twists and developments, leaves you on another one.

 I’m a third of the way through Specials (the third book) and will review it soon.  

#21 - Uglies

Novel by Scott Westerfeld

Book 1 in his series

Published 2005

Genre - Dystopian Society / Science Fiction / Identity / Humanity / Young Adult Fiction

425 pages - over 5 days?

300 years in our planet’s future, the government provides everything. Everything including a life-changing operation at age 16 that turns you ‘pretty.’ Or at least the biological standard of beauty. Once the operation has occurred, they are taken across the river which divides the ‘pretties,’ and the ‘uglies.’  This is just the first of three operations - uglies (unchanged teens) to pretties (young adults) to middlies (adults with a job) and middlies to crumblies (the elderly). 

Tally, whose best friend Peris was just turned pretty, is now all alone in Uglyville, eagerly anticipating her operation. She sneaks into New Pretty Town (where all the new pretties live) to find Peris.  After doing so, she meets Shay, another ugly sneaking around New Pretty Town.  They quickly befriend each other, and Shay trusts Tally enough to tell her about her thoughts of rebellion against the operation, and about the Smoke - a place where uglies can live and stay uglies, and begs Tally to come with her. Tally shrugs these ideas off, but is forced to deal with them once Shay runs away to the Smoke.  She’s devastated, but begins to get over it once she remembers that she can still turn pretty - the thing everyone wants.  

On her 16th birthday, instead of being taken to the operation, she’s taken to Special Circumstances where she meets Dr. Cable - who has an interesting offer for her:  find Shay and the smoke and reveal them to Special Circumstances and then turn pretty, or remain ugly forever. Tally is forced to choose between friendship and beauty.

After reading Westerfeld’s Leviathan series (which I adored beyond recognition), I figured his previous books couldn’t be all bad. And they weren’t. I love the whole dystopian theme.. that sort of ‘this could really happen,’ theme that makes you sit back and wonder about society.  Again, his character development is fantastic, the way Tally moves from a self-centered wanting-to-be-pretty to something almost content with being ugly is wonderful, and the way he leaves us with a cliffhanger is stupendous.  And the fact that the second book is more of a continuation of the story, rather then a ‘lets go and make more money off of this world and characters I’ve already created,’ sequel.  Mr. Westerfeld never disappoints. I eagerly await to get my hands on the rest of his Uglies books.

#20 - Wither

Novel by Lauren DeStefano

Published 2011

Genre - Dystopian / Science Fiction / Future / Young Adult / Romance / Kidnapping / Marriage

368 pages - 2 days

In the near future, genealogists and scientists alike have played around with human genetics so much that they have cured us of all diseases and defects. Not without a price however: males only live to age 25, and females only to age 20.  Because of this, girls (as soon as they’re old enough to bear children), are married off to keep the population up.  Gatherers will often kidnap girls and sell them to wealthy aristocrats.

16 year-old Rhine, living alone with her twin brother in Manhatten, gets captured (along with two others) by the Gatherers and sold to Linden Ashby, in Florida.   Despite the comfortable life Rhine’s obtained at the Ashby manor, she is far from happy. Her only desire is to escape and return to her brother.

Linden’s current wife, Rose has reached the age of 20. She and Linden were childhood sweethearts, and genuinely in love. They even had a child together… or they tried. Linden’s father, Vaughn is mentally insane with a need to find a cure for the lifespan virus. He continually takes the bodies of Linden’s past wives (and even children) to dissect in his basement, while giving his son urns with their so-called ashes to burn.

Rhine befriends her servant, Gabriel, and acts like a good wife in front of Linden and his father.  She eventually is titled ‘First Wife,’ which gives her special access to the outside gardens, and is taken with Linden to social events. Despite Linden’s genuine love for her, all she wants is to escape.



This book. It was amazing. I would have kept going and described the whole book with lots of intricate back stories for all the stories, describing everything and anything that happened in it. But I will refrain, as to not  spoil it for anyone who wants and has not read it.

The fact that this /could/ happen was really disturbing, and alluring at the same time. It had just enough of the themes of all those predictable romance themed books I devour, and enough of that really good Hunger Games type thing that I just adored this book to pieces. Some author’s writing styles I really don’t’ like, or are mediocre, but DeStefano’s was fabulous. The character development was fabbu, and you just felt so bad for Linden as he was so innocent and babies.

I impatiently await to get my hands on the second and third books.

#19 - Artemis Fowl

Novel by Eion Colfer 

First book in his Artemis Fowl series 

Published 2001 

Genre - Young Adult / Children’s Literature / Fantasy / Faeries / Juvenile 

280 pages - over several days 

Artemis Fowl the Second is the twelve year-old son of the criminal, Artemis Fowl the First.  Through extensive research, Artemis believes he’s proved the existence of fairies.  Together Artemis and his butler, Butler, gather leads which eventually takes them to a copy of the Book of the People, written in Gnommish - the language of fairies. 

Meanwhile, a fairy captain of the Lower Elements Police, Holly Short, is taking care of a troll issue, using the last of her magic.  Because of this, she gets captured by Artemis and Butler… which causes a near war between the fairies and Artemis - them trying to rescue their captain, and the others trying to obtain gold. 

Ugh, Artemis Fowl. Notice the incredibly short summary - usually meaning I didn’t enjoy the book.  I actually never would have read these, had I not made a deal with my cousin to read them… in exchange for her to read the Leviathan series.  Thankfully she let me back out of deal.. so long as I read Ender’s Game. 

Anyway, this book. It seemed really juvenile, and I didn’t like Colfer’s writing style. It seemed too sarcastic and ugh I just didn’t like it.  Plus all I could see was Ciel and Sebastian going after fairies… like a bad filler episode. 

#18 - The Floating Island

Novel by Elizabeth Haydon 

Illustrations by Brett Helquist

First book in her The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme series. 

Published 2006

Genre - Fantasy / Science Fiction / Children’s Literature / Speculative Fiction / Young Adult / Adventure 

368 pages - over one week

Charles Magnus Ven Polypheme, simply known as Ven, is the youngest of thirteen children in his family of famous shipwrights. Unlike the rest of his family, he doesn’t aspire to build ships, but rather to sail off to far away places on them. On his fiftieth birthday (roughly age 12 or 13 in human years), he gets the chance he wanted, when he was chosen to direct the sailing Inspection of his father’s newest ship. 

However, during the Inspection, the ship gets attacked by fire pirates - resulting in Ven having to blow up the entire ship to save themselves.  He gets rescued by a passing ship after several days floating adrift.  The ship is on it’s way to the Island of Serendair, and the attack and rescue aren’t entirely unconnected, unbeknownst to Ven. 
The captain of the ship is desperately searching for the Floating Island, the only place where the Water of Life can be found. Ven is unknowingly being used to call this mystical island- as his race from the earth is mixed with the other elements to call the island from it’s slumber. 

After being let ashore, Ven, thinking his journey is over, is sent to the Crossroad’s Inn, where his journey is just beginning. Ghosts, thieves, albatrosses, and audiences with the King, are just some of the themes that follow in the rest of the story by Elizabeth Haydon. 

Good lord that summary is long. I swear I didn’t intend that; and I didn’t even go over a quarter of the book! 

I read these books back when I was… 12 I believe. I thought they were fantastic, although a tiny bit hard to follow. Must have been my 12 year-oldness. Four years later, I revisited them. Now they seem a tiny bit juvenile, but still really good.  The way Haydon writes is fabulous and vivid… and the illustrations don’t hurt. 

I loved all the little mini plots that seem to be happening - like the merrow and her want for Ven to get gills cut into his neck so he can tour the ocean with her, or the King’s real intentions for offering Ven a job, and how Ida turned up. I plan to reread the next two books, but they’re fairly low on my to-read list. Still, if you’re looking for a quick little fantasy book /not/ about elves or faeries with long, unpronounceable made up names - this is the perfect fit. 

#17 - Goliath

Novel by Scott Westerfeld (author of the Uglies series)

Illustrated by Keith Thompson

Book 3 in the Levianthan trilogy

Published 2011

Genre - Steampunk / Action / Historical Fiction / Invention / Fantasy / Young Adult

543 pages; over three days

The adventure of Prince Aleksander of Hohenburg and Deryn Sharp (girl posing as a boy to serve in the British Air Force) reaches its climax in the final book of Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series.  They reach the US, where the final leg of their journey takes place.  On board is a mysterious contraption, created by a certain Mr. Tesla, who is in the process of creating a ‘death ray,’ in which to end the war… or all of life.

Alek and Deryn’s relationship thickens as Alek is forced to relay all his family secrets (including being the legal heir to the throne) to a nosy reporter to stop publications of Deryn’s true identity.

I finished this ages ago, back during my home-from-school-sick episode, but only managed to review it now… a little awkward as I’ve finished another book and a half since.

Anyway.

Oh good lord this series. <3 I adored everything about it; especially the way the books picked off from one another… like they were each a section of one story, and not just a continuation of a set of ideas. Lots of feels for the Alek/Deryn pairing. OTP right there.  I really liked how they brought the Americans into it, and the freedom for women factor.  Asldkfja; all the feels in general for this series. 

I loved all the dramatic, really in depth themes it had. I’m probably getting repetitive now, this being the third and all, but I just loved it so much.  The plot points, character development, historical themes (finding all the people you learn about in history books brought to life was fantastic), and I look forward to reading more of Westerfeld’s work, as well as probably doing an awful lot of fanart towards Deryn and Alek.

#16 - Behemoth

Novel by Scott Westerfeld (author of the Uglies series)

Illustrated by Keith Thompson

Book 2 in the Levianthan series

Published 2010

Genre - Steampunk / Action / Historical Fiction / Invention / Fantasy / Young Adult

496 pages; over two days

The Behemoth is a fierce creature belonging to the British Navy… it will be necessary if the Darwinists hope to overthrow the Clankers in the current war.

Prince Aleksander and his men successfully merge their Clanker engines onto the Darwinists airship, the Leviathan, enabling them to continue their mission to the Ottoman Empire, where the hope to win over the Sultan with a gift of a most unique beastie. They expect to be treated like saviors for rescuing their ship, but are treated more like prisoners of war.  Alek and a few of his men manage to escape when they reach Istanbul, hoping to disappear and elude the Germans.

Deryn Sharp (posing as a boy to be allowed in the British Air Service) gets sent on her own mission into Istanbul - there she meets up with Alek to help him gather new allies and skills to overcome their next battle.

By staying home sick (something I never do) I managed to read most of this book in one go- and I must say it was as fabulous as the first. Generally I’m a little afraid of sequels, as they don’t usually live up to the first book; but Bethemoth showed me otherwise. It was just as dynamic and daring as Leviathan, maybe even more so.  The further development of Deryn and Alek’s relationship has me hoping they’ll get married - new otp anyone?
And the little perspicacious loris - good lord it’s so cute. I love how it bonds with both Alek and Deryn… and keeps relaying ‘Mr. Sharp,’ all the time.  Bovril knows what’s up.
I got my hands on the third book, Goliath, and I eagerly await to finish this epic tale of the wayward Austrian Prince and a girl disguising herself as a boy to live her dream.
#15 - Leviathan

Novel by Scott Westerfeld (author of the Uglies series)

Illustrated by Keith Thompson

Published 2009

Genre - Steampunk / Action / Historical Fiction / Invention / Fantasy / Young Adult

448 pages; over four day

Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan is set in 1914, and the whole world is divided into three factions: Clankers (those that rely on machines), Darwinists (those that rely on animals), and Neutral sides.  War is imminent between the two sides… Such a war that two fifteen year-old children get caught up in.

Prince Aleksander Ferdinand of Hapsburg, prince of Austria-Hungary (Clankers) is awoken by his fencing instructor, Count Volgar, telling him that his parents, the current rulers, have been assassinated. He, Volgar, and several other tutors (including the master of mechaniks) must flee the country to avoid Alek’s death as well.  

Meanwhile, Deryn Sharp, a fifteen year-old girl is disguising herself as a boy (under the name Dylan) in order to serve in the British Air Force (Darwinists).  She finds herself aboard the Leviathan, an airship made entirely of created creatures (known as ‘beasties’)… heading towards the Ottoman Empire (neutral territory).

Alek and his wayward men make their way to Switzerland… right near where the Leviathan crashes. Against Count Volgar’s judgment, Alek brings them medicine and supplies; saving Deyrn from frostbite. The two rival sides have to work together in order to get the huge ship back in the air… and survive an attack from German airships.

I adore this book. It’s a wonderful twist of all the things I love in books - thrilling and interesting plot line (with loads of twists), main characters engulfed in secrets that must stay hidden to ensure their survival, wonderful setting with detailed descriptions, and more than fabulous illustrations to help along with mental images.

I haven’t read any of Westerfeld’s previous books, so this was my first experience with his writing. And I must say, this writing style is wonderful; the way he describes this steampunk world and differentiates the two rival sides not only by speech but way of thinking is seemingly effortless.

And I always like seeing a strong, female lead. Particularly those that must change their outward appearance to be male to live their dream.

I’m roughly a third of the way done with the second book in his series, Behemoth, and it too is just as wonderful as the first book.

#14 - Ariel

Novel by Grace Tiffany

Published 2005

Genre - Fiction / Shakespeare / Young Adult / Modern Re-tellings

232 pages; over four days

A modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Grace Tiffany’s novel Ariel tells the story of an island in the Bermuda triangle which is inhabitated by a beautiful and magical creature/spirit which sprung from the mind of a shipwrecked sailor, Jasper.  The spirit dubs herself Ariel, and rules over her half of this isle.  She dreams of the sailor from the east that will one day help her rule all of it.  When Prospero and his young daughter, Miranda, wash up on her island she soon entices him with her dreams and visions of conquest.  

I would continue my summary, but I feel it would give away the entirety of the story… not that it’s unknown to too many people, having been based off the Tempest.

I myself have not yet read this Shakespeare tale, but am somewhat familiar with the story.   While this adaptation was a bit slow in parts, it was easy to follow and enticing. The character development is interesting, and you’re never quite sure which is the “good,” side. 

Have you read Graceling by Kristin Cashore? Best YA book I've ever read.

I known of Graceling for years, and heard lots of wonderful things about it. I somehow always put it in that ‘generic YA fantasy book’ section in the back of my brain.  However, due to your referral, I picked it up at my library today. :) I’ll post a review of it soon!

#13 - The Juliet Club

Novel by Suzanne Harper

Published 2008

Genre - Romance / Travel /Young Adult / Fiction / Shakespeare

Similar to: 13 Little Blue Envelopes

402 pages; over three days

Kate Sanderson, forever scorned by love, believes that she will control her own destiny in terms of reason and rationality.  As luck would have it, fate has its own ideas.  After winning a writing contest, Kate obtains a summer study abroad in Verona, Italy, centered around Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.  To her surprise, she, two other Americans, and three Italians (also in this seminar), will be study one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays as volunteers at the Juliet Club, where they answer letters sent in by lovelorn people throughout the world. Kate will face a challenge to stick to her philosophy of controlling her own destiny in Italy; especially against Giacomo, the ever-so-charming Italian boy that all the girls want. 

This book. All the feelings. As predictable as it was, I really enjoyed it. I really enjoy what I call ‘summer’ books… basically those cute little predictable love stories that actually have stories behind them. There was a huge amount of Shakespeare and quotes from his plays, which was incredibly educating and entertaining. The character development from Kate was fabulous, and I loved the little switching back to her two friends as they had a bet on whether or not Kate would fall in love. 

Overall, a wonderful book that will complete any library.

#12 - Scorpia Rising

Novel by Anthony Horowitz

The 9th and final book in his teenage spy series, the Alex Rider adventures.

Published 2011

Genre - Sci-Fi / Young Adult / Fiction / Action / Spy

402 pages; 4 days

Working (against his will) for the British Intelligence Agency, MI6, teenage spy Alex Rider encountered countless foes, most of which he managed to defeat.  However, one organization in particular, Scorpia, won’t back down.  Being beaten twice before by this fourteen-year-old spy, they hatch a plan to lure Alex into a trap to dispose of him, and to bring their intelligence agency crashing down.

I would type more in the description, but I feel I’d be giving too much away, haha.

I’ve loved the Alex Rider books since I was about 10 or 11, and, of course, forgot most of everything that happened in the 5-6 years since then. I reread all the books to get ‘uptodate’ when this 9th installment was released last year.

I must say. I did not expect the bit with Smithers. That blew my mind. I think I actually had to set the book down and just sit in a fetal position trying to make sense of the fact that my whole experience with these books had been a lie.

Anyway, this was yet another wonderful installment of a wonderful series that I believe I’ll continue enjoying for a good long while. :-)