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Scott Reads It!

I blog over at Scott Reads It! I'm a reader, a writer, a blogger, and a humanitarian. I'm prone to fanboying about the latest nerdy films and books on a consistent basis! I'm nerdy and I know it.

Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress - Marissa Meyer

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 Cress was one of my most anticipated books of 2014 and so, I did a gleeful dance when it arrived in the mail. I really didn't know how Meyer could top the absolutely amazing Cinder and Scarlet, both of which are two of my all-time favorite books. Cress is definitely Marissa Meyer's best book to date and it upsets me how there is only one more book left in this series (Winter).

Cress, the titular character is probably my favorite character from The Lunar Chronicles at the moment. Cress is nothing like Cinder or Scarlet: she's much more awkward, insecure, and introverted than the two aforementioned characters. Cress has a completely different character than most characters you see in YA; it's rare to see a main character in YA who is extremely reserved and much rather spend time with technology. Not to mention the fact that Cress is a total fangirl for Thorne and she is so freaking adorable! 

Cress is a much longer novel than both Cinder and Scarlet which worried me slightly because I don't have the longest attention span. While reading Cress, I didn't feel like I was reading a book that is nearly 600 pages because I couldn't stop reading. The entire novel moves at a lightening fast speed and there aren't any slow-paced sections in Cress. Marissa Meyer's creative world-building, witty dialogue and extremely lovable characters easily secure Cress a spot on my "Favorites" shelf. 

The romance in Cress is beyond amazing and it's just what fans have been waiting for! In Scarlet, I was disappointed with the lack of Cinder-Kai interactions and I missed everyone's favorite Prince. There is so much more of a focus on Kai in Cress and I loved watching him respond to the entire Levana crisis. I also was a huge fan of Scarlet and Wolf's relationship in Cress and I really hope those two get the happy ending they deserve in Cress. In addition, I was really impressed with the way that Meyer handled the Cress-Thorne romance angle. I really loved seeing Cress's obsession with Thorne turn into a budding romance. 

My love for Cress is absolutely boundless and I am extremely obsessed with this book! Despite the fact that my "to-read" pile is mountainous, I loved Cress so much that I'm thinking of re-reading it soon. Cress is another mesmerizing installment in The Lunar Chronicles and it's heartbreaking that I have to wait so long to read Winter. Cress is one of the best books I've read this year by far, Marissa Meyer outdid herself once again!

Source: http://scottreadsit.blogspot.com/2013/12/cress-by-marissa-meyer-review-giveaway.html

Review: The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness

The Crane Wife - Patrick Ness

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   Patrick Ness is one of my all-time favorite authors and I'm a huge fan of Chaos Walking, A Monster Calls and More Than This. Ness is one of the most talented authors out there and I've even had the pleasure of meeting him earlier this year. It pangs me to say that The Crane Wife isn't up to par with Ness's novels; The Crane Wife is quite mediocre and dull.
 
     The Crane Wife maintains the lyrical, poetic nature of Patrick Ness's writing style, this is one beautifully written novel. Each sentence and metaphor really evoked vivid imagery in my mind, I could definitely see the beautiful artwork that George and Kumiko for myself. The problem is that even though Ness's prose is as refined as ever, it doesn't conjure up the unadulterated emotion and passion that his previous novels were chock full of. There was really nothing to keep me compelled, to make me want to turn the pages because everything felt very blase. 
 
      The Crane Wife isn't a straightforward book, it really attempts to be too mystical and sophisticated. As myths usually do, The Crane Wife is a tale with themes and moral lessons that the author pushes upon the reader. I really don't like when I feel like a book is trying to push themes and ideas on me, especially when I completely disagree with the themes being pushed on me. A book like this should leave readers feeling changed and leave an impact on readers, yet all I felt was disappointed. Ness was trying way too hard to inspire readers with a thought-provoking read, to the point where I felt The Crane Wife came across as pretentious.
 
        Kumiko. She's the catalyst who radically changes George's life forever and yet, I didn't really like her. I didn't see what George saw in her at all, I wasn't enamored with her enigmatic nature like George was. Ness shrouds Kumiko in a veil of mystery to the point where the reader doesn't really know anything about her life. I found it ridiculous how George changes his whole life for a woman he barely knows--a woman who is keeping secrets from him. George really doesn't give any thought into what falling for Kumiko would mean for him and his family; he falls for her in one second and from that moment on, he's hopelessly in love for some reason I cannot fathom. George's reckless decisions isn't something you would expect from a middle-aged man because George acts like a rash, fickle teenager. I can't muster any sympathy towards two characters whose decisions are too preposterous for me to accept, I wasn't convinced by their relationship in the slightest bit.
 
     I'm not actually familiar with the original myth that inspired this novel, but I easily could discern what route Ness would take with the ending. It was all too predictable and too trite, I knew what would happen at the end even on the first page. I could tell that Ness wanted to make readers feel overcome with emotion with the ending, but all I could manage was an apathetic sigh. I had thought:Maybe Ness will surprise with the ending, perhaps there will be a huge plot twist.I hoped the ending would be a radical improvement over the rest of the book; if any other author had written this book I probably would have abandoned it earlier but I kept reading because Ness had written it.
 
        The Crane Wife isn't what I would expect from Patrick Ness in the slightest bit; his writing style is extremely evident in this book, but the plot, characterization, and pacing in TCW pale in comparison to his previous novels. While I will definitely read any adult novels Ness writes, I have this intense feeling that none of them could ever compare to his YA novels. The Crane Wife is probably one of the most disappointing books I've read this year, it wasn't the novel I had hoped it would be. 

 

Source: http://scottreadsit.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-crane-wife-by-patrick-ness.html

Review: Phoenix Island by John Dixon

Phoenix Island - John  Dixon

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 I'll be honest the main reason I wanted to read Phoenix Island was because I had heard it was the inspiration for CBS's Intelligence. If I hadn't heard about Intelligence, this book probably wouldn't have landed on my radar. Despite the fact that it's been published by an adult imprint (Gallery Books), Phoenix Island is definitely a YA novel. Phoenix Island is just as clever and inventive as The Lord Of The Flies and The Maze Runner; this is one of the most intense dystopians novels I've ever read. 
 
    What makes Phoenix Island so frightening is the fact that the plot events are extremely plausible; I wouldn't be surprised if there is an island in some remote part of the world just like Phoenix Island. Usually sci-fi and dystopian novels don't feel authentic, they usually feel extremely feel far-fetched and unlikely, but Phoenix Island is frighteningly real. 
 
     Though Carl has his fair share of faults, he is a character that I rooted right from the start. I admired Carl's loyalty, ambition, and unrelenting sense of hope throughout this novel. I also loved the way Dixon had written Rivera, Stark, and Ross. Stark is one of the most terrifying and despicable villains I've read about recently; I was worried for Carl's sake whenever he was with Stark. I always love an underdog and so, Ross has to be one of my favorite characters in this novel. Ross might not be as brave or as strong as Carl, but I appreciated his gutsiness. The only character I felt a bit disappointed with was Octavia because I felt like there was so much more to her character than Dixon let on. 
 
   There's no denying that Phoenix Island pays homage to the classic Lord Of The Flies by William Golding and I loved the nods to the everlasting classic. Even though Phoenix Island feels like it's inspired LOTF, PI is an extremely original and intriguing novel. John Dixon has written such an atmospheric novel and he did an excellent job at making the island feel so authentic. Phoenix Island raises so many important questions about good vs. evil, society's treatment of criminals, and power. 
 
      Phoenix Island is extremely well-written and fast-packed making this an extremely enjoyable read. Some components of the plot are on the predictable side, but truthfully it didn't bother me at all. I watched the TV show trailer after finishing this book and it definitely looks as if the adaptation will be very different from it's source material. I'm really hoping that Intelligence lives up to the high standards that John Dixon set with Phoenix Island. 
Source: http://scottreadsit.blogspot.com/2013/12/phoenix-island-by-john-dixon.html

Review: Enders by Lissa Price

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     Starters is one of the best dystopian books ever written and so, Enders had a tough act to follow. I was also a bit worried because it had been so long since I had read Starters (I read it in Feb '12). Enders functions brilliantly as both a sequel and a series conclusion; I'm even 100% convinced that Enders is even better than Starters. I'm really going to miss reading the Starters And Enders series and I know I will be re-reading this series years from now.
 
        Enders is incredibly intense, this sequel took everything I loved about Starters and expanded upon it. I loved watching Callie try to defeat the infamous Old Man and get rid of the chip inside her head. Personally I think the Old Man is even creepier in this book, I didn't even think this was possible. Another aspect of Enders, I really enjoyed was how Price took "body-renting" to a whole new level. The reader really never feels like the coast is clear during Enders because the threat of the Old Man appearing continues to loom. I was absolutely addicted to Enders because I physically and mentally needed to find out how this series would conclude. 
 
            Enders is one of all-time favorite endings to a series and it hit all the right spots. All of my favorite characters received the endings they truly deserved and I really like the note that Price ended on.This is the ending that fans have been waiting to read; Enders is the perfect ending to to an amazing series.  It's really upsetting that I don't have any more Starters books to look forward to in the future, but I am extremely confident that Price's follow-up to Enders will be amazing. Enders was definitely worth the wait and I really was blown away the shocking conclusion! 
Source: http://scottreadsit.blogspot.com/2013/12/enders-by-lissa-price.html

Review: Avalon by Mindee Arnett

Avalon - Mindee Arnett

Check out Scott Reads It!

 

 I really had no idea what to expect from Avalon because it was compared to Firefly and  I hadn't seen the show yet. After watching a few episodes of Firefly, I realized that Avalon's plot is extremely similar to Firefly's and that so many of the characters from Avalon bear an uncanny resemblance to those from Joss Whedon's popular TV show.  I definitely think that fans will enjoy this novel, despite the immense similarities to Firefly.
 
    Avalon starts off strong with an extremely memorable beginning that does a perfect job of introducing our main character, Jeth. The 1st half of Avalon is full of action, humor, and a fun plot-line that kept me really entertained and I was so convinced that Avalon would be a 5 star read or very close to it. Then I started to read the 2nd half and then everything went downhill when a romance was added. 

     The romance in Avalon is poorly done and I wasn't a fan of the whole Sierra-Jeth match up at all. There was zero chemistry between the two and their relationship was an insta-love mess. Mindee Arnett wasn't very subtle in they way she introduced obstacles just to bring the two even closer together. This book would have been so much better if there was no romance at all because the romance just bogged down the plot and made me dread continuing Avalon.

        The 2nd half wasn't terrible, but it really was such a disappointment after the spectacular 1st half. The 2nd half is full of non-stop unpredictable plot twists that were really well-done, but I just couldn't make myself care because I was so annoyed with the direction of the romance. Romance can definitely make or break a book and in this case, the romance didn't really fit in with the plot and was extremely awkward. 

         I'll definitely be reading the sequel to Avalon, in hopes that the romance doesn't overshadow the plot for me. I'm a bit disappointed with Avalon, but it was still entertaining and enjoyable.  Avalon wasn't quite what was I expecting, but was it still a pretty good sci-fi space opera! 
Source: http://scottreadsit.blogspot.com/2013/12/avalon-by-mindee-arnett.html

Review: Warrior by Ellen Oh

Warrior  - Ellen Oh

You can check out my other reviews at Scott Reads It!

   
   Prophecy easily was one of my favorite books of 2013 and I was so excited to read more of Kira's adventures in Warrior. Ellen Oh is such an amazing author (and an extremely epic person), I truly applaud her for making such an engaging fantasy series. Warrior doesn't suffer from 2nd book syndrome even slightly and I really thought that this book was extremely rewarding. 
 
      Kira seems to attract trouble wherever she seems to step, and yet, she's one of my favorite heroines. Kira is extremely self-sacrificing and selfless; she always puts the Prince and Jaewon's safety first. Not to mention the fact that Kira is a total kick-butt heroine whose skills never cease to surprise him. There were so many moments where I just wanted to give Kira a huge hug for my own sake, Oh better not mess with Kira because that would break my heart into two. Kira has gone through so many hoops and obstacles that I truly believe she deserves a happy ending in King.
 
         Oh my dragons. Warrior is full of non-stop, fast-paced action scenes that were brilliantly written and I was so immersed in the world of the Seven Kingdoms. There is so much depth to the world of the Seven Kingdoms and I really enjoyed watching Oh explores so many new layers to this enticing world. I was completely addicted to Warrior to the point where by the time I reached the last portion of the book, I was filled with sadness because it hit me that I'm going to have to wait so long to read King, the final installment in The Dragon King Chronicles. The ending of Warrior was definitely the highlight of the book for me and it was absolutely epic. I desperately need King in my hands right now and I'm not ashamed to admit that I will resort to groveling if it means I can read it early! 
 
            Ellen Oh is a master at writing fantasy novels that are compulsively readable and brilliantly executed. Warrior is a strong sequel that maintains everything I loved about book #1 and also introduces so many wildly original concepts. It's truly upsetting that there is only one book left in The Dragon King Chronicles and I really don't want to say goodbye to these characters anytime soon. 
Source: http://scottreadsit.blogspot.com/2013/12/warrior-by-ellen-oh.html

Reading Progress - 33%

Under a Silent Moon - Elizabeth Haynes

This book is so terribly boring. If I hadn't love Into The Darkest Corner, I would have DNFed this ages ago. I think I'm giving it a few more pages and then I'm calling it quits.

A Fairly Original Dystopian Novel

Pawn  - Aimee Carter

Check out Scott Reads It for reviews, giveaways & more bookish wonders!

 
Thank you to HarlequinTeen for providing me with an advanced copy of Pawn in exchange for a honest review.
 
   Pawn has one of the greatest concepts I've seen in the YA dystopian market recently. What if you had the chance to literally become someone else? Kitty has the opportunity to become Masked into Lila Hart, but this operation comes with dire consequences. I really applaud Aimme Carter for coming up with such a brilliant premise and delivering such a addicting novel.
 
   Before I could fully enjoy Pawn, I was hung up on minor details that really distracted the heck out of me while reading. First of all, I wasn't a fan of the name Kitty because it just felt wrong to have a character with such a ridiculous name. The name Kitty definitely grew on me and by the end, I think it definitely fit her personality and character arc. Another initial qualm I had was with Kitty's poor, first impression on the reader. I was annoyed by Kitty's angsty interactions with Benjy which really rubbed me the wrong way.
 
      I was so put off by those mostly negligible details that I really didn't feel like I could continue reading Pawn. Luckily, my read-along buddies pressured me to continue reading and I have to say that Pawn was definitely worth reading in the end. Once I overlooked the science of being Masked and my first impression of Kitty, I really started to enjoy reading Pawn. 
 
       The first section of Pawn was such a struggle to get through, but I definitely devoured the rest of the book in a frenzy. I would tell myself just to read a few more pages and then I would end up reading chapters and chapters of the book. There were so many plot twists and surprises that I didn't predict and Carter threw in so many curve balls to keep the plot extremely interesting. Especially as readers start to reach the last portion of Pawn, it seems that nearly every chapter has an extremely shocking plot twist.
 
         The world-building in Pawn isn't as in-depth as I would like, but I have a feeling Carter will expand upon the world in future installments in this series. I was definitely impressed for the most part with the world Carter created in this book because it was extremely atypical. Though the whole exam that determines societal rank is nothing new (see Legend, The Testing and countless other titles) Carter put a nice spin on the idea to make this one standout from the crowd. 
 
         I have no idea how Pawn stacks up against The Goddess Test novels because I have yet to read them, but after reading Pawn, I definitely want to move up the series on my "to read list". Carter has considerable writing abilities and I can easily why The Goddess Test books have become so renowned. Pawn has proven to me that Carter can write an extremely addicting book with tons of plot twists to keep readers on the edge of their seat. 

Review: The House Of Hades by Rick Riordan

The House of Hades - Rick Riordan
This review can be found at Scott Reads It!
 
Note: A finished copy was provided to me by Disney-Hyperion in exchange for a honest review of this title. 

 Rick Riordan is one of the reasons that I became an avid reader years ago, discovering The Lightning Thief at a local library was an everlasting treasure. I may have changed as a person in that time period, but my love for Riordan's books hasn't waned one bit. In fact, I believe The House Of Hades is Rick Riordan's best book to date and that Riordan's incredible writing abilities are furthered with each successive book. Riordan knows what his fans want to read and The House Of Hades reiterates that idea again and again.

 
     The House Of Hades succeeded at showing me how much Percy and Annabeth have grown since they first met at Camp Half Blood. Unlike the previous installments in The Heroes Of Olympus, The House Of Hades is a complete throwback to the original Percy Jackson series. In their years at Camp Half Blood, Percy and Annabeth banished many of their foes to Tartarus by slaying them. It was really interesting to see Percabeth interact with familiar faces from previous books in such a hostile environment. There is a huge focus on past foes, I really wished I had re-read the original series before reading HoH. 
 
      I applaud Riordan for making such a bold decision to transport our favorite couple, Percy and Annabeth to Tartarus. This was such a risky move on his part because there are so many ways in which this could have went wrong. Needless to say, Riordan recreates Tartarus in such a terrifying manner and proves how skilled of a writer he is. Having the book take place in Tartarus was a perfect way to show how much Percy and Annabeth's relationship has matured. There are tons of perfect, heartwarming interactions between the duo that readers will swoon over. It's really easy to see why fans are heads over heels for Percabeth because they are simply perfect for each other. 
 
       I strongly believe that The House Of Hades has the strongest character development that I've seen recently. In previous books, I really liked Hazel, Frank, Leo, Piper and Jason but I didn't fall for them like I had with most of Riordan's other beloved characters. I really never felt so strongly towards such a large ensemble of characters. I empathized with each and every one of the characters in HoH, even Coach Hedge (which is an incredible feat). I really appreciated how Nico became a major player in this book, in my review of Mark Of Athena I complained about the lack of his presence. The "Nico" chapters were heartbreaking, touching, and absolutely groundbreaking. I loved seeing a completely new layer of Nico, I need more of Nico in Blood Of Olympus.
 
       Though HoH is nearly 600 pages, I zoomed through the book much quicker than I thought I would. Riordan really knows how to engross readers with humorous, witty dialogue. I have never laughed so much while reading a fantasy novel. There is an endless abundance of action scenes and tension throughout HoH that will keep readers turning the pages. I am so glad that we have another Heroes Of Olympus book coming out next year because I'm not ready to say goodbye to this series.
 
    House Of Hades is definitely my favorite Riordan book so far and I really look forward to seeing how Riordan tackles Norse mythology next. My love for House Of Hades is truly boundless, this is one of the best books of 2013 by far. For all those who have never read a Riordan book, you are missing out on some of the best middle grade books ever written. 

 

 
Reblogged from Susana "Lost in Fantasy Land":

Requiem - Lauren Oliver

Publication Date: 03/05/13 

Publisher: HarperCollins 

Source: ARC via Edelweiss 

Rating: 1.5 Stars

Purchase: Amazon / The Book Depository

(All purchases help support my blog)

 

     Lauren Oliver is one of those authors who I will read LITERALLY anything she writes, it doesn't matter what the subject is. Oliver has this raw, beautiful ability to create such lyrical, unparalleled prose and Requiem is no exception. Despite my complete adoration for Oliver's writing, I had been extremely nervous about reading Requiem because the reviews have been less than stellar. I wasn't a huge fan of Delirium, but by the middle of Pandemonium, I was completely infected with deliria nervosa for this series. Though the Delirium series isn't the best, I didn't want Requiem to tarnish my view of the series.

 

       To be honest, I'm not a huge supporter of Oliver's decision to break this book up into both Lena and Hana's point-of-views. Hana's point of view was interesting, but I really felt like it took away something from the bigger picture. I know Oliver wanted readers to see how essential love is in life, but we never really see how love affects Lena. 

 

       Considering the Delirium Trilogy is all about love, why is Lena's romances such a negligible part of the story. Why is Alex barely apart of this story and why does he barely interact with Lena? Even Lena's so-called romance with Julian takes the backseat for Hana's point of view and story. I honestly would rather have read about either Alex or Julian than read about Hana who was concentrated on too much in this book. 

 

      You can read the rest of my review, over at Scott Reads It!

 

Reality Boy - A.S. King
Purchase: Amazon
(All Purchases Help Support My Blog!)
Publication Date: 10/22/13
Publisher: Little Brown For Younger Readers
Source: ARC via NetGalley
 
Thank you to LB for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for a honest review.
 
     Reality Boy is an extremely important story that accurately shows how fake "reality tv" can really be and how demeaning reality tv can be. How much of reality tv is real? Are we inhumane for being entertained by watching peoples' lives crumble into pieces? In this age of photoshop and Jersey Shore, it's becoming even harder to distinguish between reality and fantasy, how much of what we view is true and genuine? 
 
     Gerald is a protagonist that was hard to relate to for most of the novel; he used to excrete feces all over the house to anger family members. In addition, to his "feces" problem, Gerald has also bitten peoples' faces in his life. I understand why Gerald is so messed up, but I really feel like Gerald should have risen above his situation much earlier than he did. We are not our parents, we are not our siblings, each person is their own individual and so, I think Gerald shouldn't have let his family get to him so much. You can't really justify excreting into someone's shoes, no matter how messed up you are. It's just nasty and dehumanizing to the point where I felt Gerald was better than that. How can I relate to someone nicknamed "The Crapper"? Even if there were similarities between Gerald and I, his issues overshadowed any mutual traits we share.
 
To read more of my review, check out Scott Reads It!
After Eden - Helen  Douglas
Publication Date: 11/05/13
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
(All purchases help support my blog!)
Pages: 288

 

Thank you to Bloomsbury for providing me w/ an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. 
 
    Sometimes book blurbs reveal way too little to the reader and the reader really has no idea what to expect from the book. Then there are books like After Eden, where you read the description and you have the entire plot mapped out clearly for the reader. I really feel as if the blurb for After Eden revealed way too much and that it should have been more ambiguous and enigmatic. There's really no fun in reading a book where the reader knows almost every plot element and there is little to be revealed.
 
     After Eden is a quick, light read that I was immediately drawn into because of it's easy, accessible plot. Though it's about time travel, After Eden isn't overly scientific, complicated, and difficult to comprehend. After Eden is fun and fluffy, but I really don't think it's for science fiction aficionados because everything is extremely simplistic and pretty basic. There's truly nothing new in After Eden and it basically follows the basic plot outlines of most YA books. 

 

  We have the mysterious bad boy who comes to town and of course rumors circulate in this small town. Everyone wants to know who he is, why is he here, and if he'll go out with them. Obviously, this guy is drop dead handsome and insanely attractive because what YA male character isn't. Since this is a YA book, there are clearly more popular and attractive characters than our protagonist who are all vying for the attention of Ryan. 

 

 

Read more of this review at Scott Reads It!

Pumpkin Carvings Inspired by Books

Reblogged from Bookish Quotes:

Harry Potter

 

Frankenstein

 

Gone with the wind

 

The Hunger Games

 

Twilight

 

Harry Potter

 

The Lord of The Rings

 

Source: http://www.abookloversdiary.com/2012/10/20-pumpkin-carvings-inspired-by-books.html

Reading Progress

Reality Boy - A.S. King

95%: After reading ten thousand feces jokes, I'm finally almost done with this one!

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