Gravestone by Travis Thrasher

Young Adult Genre421 pages
Published in 2011 by David C. Cook

Goodreads Summary:

In the latest book in the four-book Solitary Tales, Travis Thrasher once again plunges young adult readers into the dark mysteries of Solitary, North Carolina. At first, Chris Buckley was simply warned. And watched. But as Chris unravels the haunting riddles of quiet Solitary, he finds that much more than the life of a town is at stake. Whether facing a pastor with a house full of skeletons or a cousin he never knew existed, Chris is forced to choose between light and darkness, life and nightmarish death. In this shocking sequel to Solitary, Travis Thrasher masterfully weaves a tale of one high school student thrown into a battle over a town, a secret-and ultimately his own soul.

Review:

This review will be pretty short.

I did not like this book… at all. I had high hopes, because I really enjoyed the first book, Solitary. (My review can be found here: Solitary by Travis Thrasher) But there was just something about this one that just didn’t really work for me. It didn’t grab my attention as much.

I often found myself bored. I had to stop reading quite a lot just so I could take a break and try to regain interest in it.

It still had a bit of the suspense that Solitary had, but it wasn’t as good as I had hoped for. My favorite parts included a new character, Iris. She was so mysterious and I loved the way she approached religion when talking to Chris. I’m not religious AT ALL, but I enjoyed reading those parts. It made me think; it made me feel.

I really can’t think of much else to say. Overall, I was quite disappointed in this book. But I did continue the series! I will have a review of the third book, Temptation, up shortly.

Rating:2.3/5

She Needs to Sort Out Her Priorities!

Last night was beyond terrifying. Ready for story time?

First of all, I live in NE Iowa.

I was talking to my sister on the phone, when all of a sudden the sky was turning super dark. I could tell we were going to be hit by a bad storm, but I was not prepared for how bad it would be. I had to put her on hold while my boyfriend (Phillip) and I shut all windows because it started to get really windy. I got back on the phone with her and within a minute it started pouring.

When I say pouring, I mean we couldn’t see out our windows because it was like the ocean was being drained over our apartment. I knew it was getting REALLY bad, so I told my sister I had to go.

Phillip and I hurried to find our two cats, Bane and Piper. They were freaked out by the loud rain and wind, so they ran under our bed. Then the hail started. We had no basement to seek shelter in, so we locked ourselves in our hallway and grabbed blankets to help protect our bodies.

The hail was intense. I’ve never heard anything like it in my 26 years. It was like thousands of the pitching machines you find at a batting cage pitching baseballs directly at our apartment. The noise was so intimidating. I experience severe anxiety, and I was totally freaked out. But I tried to remain calm for Bane and Piper.

The whole thing lasted about a half hour. When it started to die down I told Phillip to stay with the cats while I investigated. We had some leaking around the windows, all our screens were either blown off or damaged and we have a minor crack in one window. It could have been worse. I heard my landlord (who lives downstairs part-time) outside, so I went downstairs.

I first noticed the bits of hail on the ground. Then I saw glass. I looked over and saw our landlords window broke and his stuff was blown around inside. I went to the side of the building and saw the house two lots over with all its window on the side blown out and the siding dented up. It looked like a machine gun was shot off at it.

Pretty much instantly we had departments from at least four different towns helping homeowners board up their windows. It was amazing to see so many people gathered helping each other.

Today it was confirmed that 70-80% of my towns buildings/homes have some sort of damage. It was also confirmed that there was a EF0 tornado about 3-5 miles east of us. No one was injured or killed.

While we were laying down towels around the windows, we checked our belongings to make sure nothing important got wet. When we reached our spare bedroom/rec room, I looked at my book shelf. I sighed with relief and said, “Thank goodness my books didn’t get wet. I would be crying right now if something happened to them.” My boyfriend stared at me for a moment and then walked out while shaking his head.




RANDOM CONFESSION: I ACTUALLY ENJOY STORMS. I LIKE GOING OUTSIDE DURING A THUNDERSTORM AND WATCHING THE LIGHTNING. HOWEVER, I DO NOT LIKE TORNADO-LIKE WEATHER. THAT’S WHEN MY ANXIETY SHOOTS THROUGH THE ROOF.

A Little Behind.

So, the last time I posted, I listed all the books I brought home from the library. That was about two weeks ago, and I’ve only read three. I tried reading a fourth one, but I got maybe 15 pages in and then I had to stop.

The book was Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas. The book was about two teen pen pals with health issues, which prevents them from ever meeting in real life. The idea was great. The summary caught my interest immediately, but once I started reading, I got super bored… super fast.

Currently, I’m reading Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik. I’ve only read between 10-15 pages so far, but I’m liking it as of now. I’m hoping I’ll have better luck with this book. Once I finish it, I’ll write up a review.

I still have five other books I need to read from the library. I was hoping to have more books read already, but I’ve been pretty busy the past week. It happens. Currently, I’m trying to decide whether I want to get back to reading or if maybe I should find something to eat. Oh, the many choices I must make. *sigh*

Here’s a random picture of what’s happening next to me. TOO MUCH CUTENESS! The gray one is Bane (my baby boy) and the calico is Piper (AKA “Derp”).

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RANDOM CONFESSION: MY CATS ARE MY EVERYTHING. THEY’RE THE EQUIVALENT OF HUMAN CHILDREN, THOUGH I DON’T HAVE ANY OF THOSE. ALSO, I LIKE PUTTING BOW TIES ON BANE. =^.^=

King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

Young Adult Genre528 pages
Published in 2017 by HarperTeen

Goodreads Summary:

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

Review:

THIS BOOK! It’s everything.

I was pretty upset at the end of Glass Sword when Mare was captured by Maven. I think we [the readers] all were. But let me tell you something; it was worth it. Yeah, I said it. I’m glad she got captured and made a prisoner.

I don’t mean for it to sound so harsh, but honestly, if Mare hadn’t been captured, we wouldn’t have been able to see all the character development that happens throughout King’s Cage.

Mare kind of breaks down and then builds herself back up. As horrible as it sounds, I loved seeing her devolve into this weak girl because that’s exactly what should happen to someone in her situation. Aveyard didn’t sugarcoat the conditions which Mare lived in while being kept a prisoner. It made it realistic. I also liked watching Mare learn more about her ability. Her use of lightning is more powerful than she realized, and it was cool seeing what she’s really capable of.

Cal didn’t change as much, but he finally starts to open up. That’s something I’ve been waiting for. His time from Mare has really made him face how he feels about her and it gets you right in the feels. *SPOILER* When they are reunited it totally shows how much they really care for each other. That was something that was lacking in Red Queen and Glass Sword, even though the readers already knew. Then at the end, he pissed me off so much. (Just wait and see!)

I saved Maven for last , because OH, MAVEN! He’s the fragile bad boy that I just can’t resist. You’re supposed to hate him, and I get that. But I just can’t do it. In this book, we get to see the real Maven. He is so beyond lost, and he losing a grip on things. I just feel so bad for him, and I want to hug him so tightly. Don’t get me wrong, he is evil. He’s done horrible things, but learning about his past and what his mother did to him, makes it impossible for me to hate him.

In the second book, we got to meet a whole new breed of people: Red-and-Silver, “Newbloods”. In King’s Cage, Newbloods continue to be found and they are now working together, better than before, to take down Maven and his prejudiced government. It was fun seeing more abilities that haven’t been shown yet.

I loved King’s Cage. I initially thought this was the last book, until I read the end. It was heartbreaking and so aggravating. MEN! Am I right, girls? *sigh* But anyway, there is in fact one more book left in the series that is due to be released next year. I can’t wait. If the last three books are any indication of what is to be expected of the fourth installment, I know I won’t be disappointed.

Rating: 4.8/5

My reviews for the first two books can be found here: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Young Adult Genre264 pages
Published in 2015 by Scholastic Press

Goodreads Summary:

Callum Hunt’s summer break isn’t like other kids’. His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. His father suspects him of being secretly evil. And, of course, most kids aren’t heading back to the magical world of the Magisterium in the fall.

It’s not easy for Call . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc.

Call escapes to the Magisterium — but things only intensify there. The Alkahest — a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic — has been stolen. And in their search to discover the culprit, Call and his friends Aaron and Tamara awaken the attention of some very dangerous foes — and get closer to an even more dangerous truth.

As the mysteries of the Magisterium deepen and widen, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare take readers on an extraordinary journey through one boy’s conflict — and a whole world’s fate.

Review:

The Copper Gauntlet is book two in the Magisterium series. I have read the first one, The Iron Trial, and I loved it. I have not done a review for The Iron Trial, but I hailed it as the next Harry Potter.

Yes, that is right, I am comparing it to Harry Potter, but not as you may assume. Both involve magic, but the magic in the Magisterium series is very different. The reason I say it’s the next Harry Potter is because we follow a trio that is just as lovable and adventurous as the Golden Trio from Harry Potter. The story is pure magic in itself, and I think it could get the same commercial success.

That is as far as I’ll go for comparing the two.

The second book was just as good as the first one. At least, from what I can remember of it. I read it back when it first came out in 2014, and I have been waiting the second book to come to my library. Finally, after continuously requesting it, I was able to check it out, and finished it in one sitting.

The book is geared more towards middle schoolers, but I thoroughly enjoyed it as an adult and I loved every moment. Each character is different and while their personalities would seem to clash, they work together very well.

I really like Calls’ character because he truly is an underdog. He scored poorly while testing for the entrance exam and he has a physical disability that he does not let get in the way. He has a lot of secrets that he has bottled up, and he’s really struggling with that, especially when his best friends are concerned.

I think this would be a great book for kids to read with their parents. If you or someone you know liked Harry Potter or even the Percy Jackson series, then I’m sure you’d like this too. A third book was released last year, and I’m hoping I won’t have to wait too long before getting my hands on it.

Rating: 3.8/5

Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly

Young Adult Genre432 pages
Published in 2015 by HarperCollins Children’s Books

Goodreads Summary:

The city of Bryre suffers under the magic of an evil wizard. Because of his curse, girls sicken and disappear without a trace, and Bryre’s inhabitants live in fear. No one is allowed outside after dark.

Yet night is the only time that Kymera can enter this dangerous city, for she must not be seen by humans. Her father says they would not understand her wings, the bolts in her neck, or her spiky tail—they would kill her. They would not understand that she was created for a purpose: to rescue the girls of Bryre.

Despite her caution, a boy named Ren sees Kym and begins to leave a perfect red rose for her every evening. As they become friends, Kym learns that Ren knows about the missing girls, the wizard, and the evil magic that haunts Bryre.

And what he knows will change Kym’s life.

Review:

Before I get into my review, I want it known that Monstrous is targeted more towards middle school aged kids. Despite that, it can be enjoyed by all ages.

The story follows a girl named Kym who is so unique. She is a Chimera. So many people compare the book to Frankenstein, but I don’t think that’s the best comparison, though it can be used. When I was talking to my boyfriend about it, I told him it was Nina’s story line from Full Metal Alchemist meets Anastasia. Once I explained everything, he said he agreed.

The language is pretty basic, which is why it’s great for middle school kids. The story itself, has some dark elements, but it fits perfectly with what you’d expect from a classic fairy tale.

It was fast paced and all the characters where great. My biggest complaint though is the predictability. Pretty much from the beginning, I knew where the story was heading. Unfortunately, yes unfortunately, the very end was completely unexpected. I can deal with the predictability, and the way the story progressed. I actually liked the story, but the end just didn’t sit right with me. I actually hated it, to be honest.

I know this review isn’t the best, and it’s so wishy-washy. I’m finding it so hard to review it. I guess all I can say is to give it a try. I think the idea is great, but maybe the execution wasn’t the best.

Rating: 3/5

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Young Adult Genre425 pages
Published in 2013 by Feiwel and Friends

Goodreads Summary:

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Review:

This is the second book in The Lunar Chronicles. I have already posted a review for the first book, Cinder; and if you read it, you’ll know that I really enjoyed the book. Scarlet was just as good, if not better. I really liked seeing more of the world, and meeting new characters.

I was wary about the addition of new characters, especially because they were characters from a completely different fairy tale compared to Cinders’ origin story: Cinderella. But they fit in perfectly, which shows Meyers’ writing and storytelling abilities. I was thoroughly impressed.

The new take on Little Red Riding Hood was so interesting. Making the Big Bad Wolf a human, was ingenious. He’s exactly the kind of character I fall for. The rugged, awkward, strong, protective but also silent-type, is my favorite kind of male character. He has this odd kind of sex appeal, which was confusing for me, because this guy is supposed to be the bad guy from L.R.R.H. But it totally worked.

Scarlet was an improvement from Little Red, who is not as brave as Scarlet, in my opinion. Scarlet is fearless. When her grandmother goes missing, she never stops looking for clues and even when the police deem the case closed, she continues her search. Her determination and strength is admirable. As I was reading, I felt like I was feeling what Scarlet was feeling, particularly when it came to her feelings about Wolf.

Cinder returns, and has a new companion, “Captain” Carswell Thorne. Cinder is on the run and is searching for answers about her past. Taking Thorne along for the ride is hilarious. He’s everything a comic relief character is supposed to be. His cocky charisma and bantering with Cinder makes the book have some much needed lightheartedness.

If you’ve read Cinder, but not Scarlet, READ IT! It’s totally worth it. I can’t wait to get the third book in the series. I’ve only ever heard good things about the series, and I definitely agree so far.

Rating:4.2/5

I Need Supervision

Today is Wednesday. Many call it hump-day or just Wednesday, but for me, it is Library Day! Which is the most dangerous day of the week… mainly for my boyfriend who waits in the car while I: spend a lot of time browsing; stacking books to take home; and chatting up the librarians.

Today I brought EIGHT books home. I have a problem, but I’m not ashamed. My boyfriend likes that I read, he’s a reader himself, but he’s says I’m a bit out of control. I’m totally okay with that. He has also mentioned that maybe I need a chaperone while I visit the library. He has yet to volunteer for the job. Perhaps he believes it’s a lost cause? Honestly though, I’ve brought more home than what I did today… Still not seeing the problem.

Here’s my haul for the day (I will list them alphabetically by author. The picture is not represented as such):

cds

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas
Gravestone (book 2 of The Solitary Tales) by Travis Thrasher
Temptation (book 3 of The Solitary Tales) by Travis Thrasher
Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff

I hope to review all of them. That’s the plan anyway. I’ve only heard of Gravestone and Temptation, and that’s because I just read the first book in the series, Solitary. (My review of that can be found here: Solitary by Travis Thrasher) I really hope all these books are as good as they seem. I always read the inner flap and/or back before taking a book home.

Has anyone read any of these books?




Random confession: Sometimes I read the last page of a book before I even start. It has always been a mistake, but I can’t help myself sometimes. It’s horrible, I know.

Solitary by Travis Thrasher

Young Adult Genre400 pages
Published in 2010 by David C. Cook

Goodreads Summary:

This first book in the Solitary Tales suspense series from Travis Thrasher reminds teen readers that darkness cloaks both danger and redemption. When Chris Buckley moves to Solitary, North Carolina, he faces the reality of his parents’ divorce, a school full of nameless faces-and the mysterious Jocelyn Evans. Chris soon learns that Jocelyn and her town have deep-and terrifying-secrets. As he slowly begins to understand the horror, the question becomes whether he can save Jocelyn in time. Solitary will take readers from the cold halls of high school to the dark rooms of an abandoned cabin-and remind us of what it means to believe in what you cannot see.In his debut novel for teens, Travis Thrasher furthers his reputation of having the writing ability to scare the wits out of his audience while challenging them.

Review:

I’ve been putting off reading this book for well over two years. I really can’t tell you why, though. I’ve read the inner flap summary so many times at my library, and I always just put it back on the shelf. But something in me finally decided to just give it a go. I am so NOT disappointed. Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down.

The town, Solitary, is beyond mysterious. Everyone is so secretive and having everyone tell Chris he shouldn’t be there was confusing. The entire time I was reading, I was trying to figure out what was going on; why is everyone so tense? At first I thought the mystery evolved only around Jocelyn, but it’s everyone in town.

Solitary is not just a young adult book; it’s a suspenseful thriller. I was reading the book mostly at night, so I was really on edge. I get jumpy easily, and this book had me jumping at every little creak in my apartment. It’s not really scary or gory by any means, but the story has so many unknowns, and that is what makes the reader anxious.

I felt really bad for Chris because Jocelyn kept giving him mixed signals. It was like he was a rag doll being whipped around. When she finally gets a grip and gives into her feelings, it seems like everything will be okay.

I don’t want to post a spoiler, so all I will say is: I hated the ending. The book was great, but the ending just killed me. I was almost in tears. I mean, this was book one of four! How could Thrasher end the book like that? Sorry. If you haven’t read the book yet, please don’t ignore this book like I did. It really is worth it. If you have read it, do you agree? I just can’t get past this feeling. I plan on picking up the second book from the library on Wednesday. A review on that should be up in a week or so.

Rating: 3.8/5

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Young Adult Genre444 pages
Published in 2016 by HarperTeen

Goodreads Summary:

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

Review:

So, in this book (the second in the Red Queen series), we get to follow Mare during her search for others like herself. Since Mare thought she was the only Red-and-Silver person, it’s really cool to meet the new characters that belong to this rare group. Throughout the book you get to visit more locations and learn about the world Mare lives in. It’s certainly bigger than it seems in the first book.

Watching Mare and Cals relationship form was interesting; definitely not a typical romance. I liked how Mares family is more involved in this book, especially her brother Shade. His character is like any older brother, which is endearing and entertaining. This book has more romance play out than the first book and there’s a lot more death.

Throughout the book, Mare struggles with what is right and wrong. Often times, she seems to do the wrong thing, but with the right intentions; and does the right thing with questionable motives. Her character really starts evolve and dissolve while searching for these “Newbloods”. As I said before, I liked the new characters, which shows a whole new range of abilities; abilities that not even the Silvers have.

Overall, I really liked this one. I personally liked it better than the first book and would hope that people read it after reading Red Queen. It has a lot of action and keeps the reader from wanting to put it down. The end has a cliffhanger, so you’ll want to read the third book as soon as possible. Thankfully the third book, Kings Cage, is available, and I will post a review on it soon.
Rating 4.5/5