Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cover Reveals

I’m not sure if this will become a regular feature on my blog, since I don’t really follow when covers are revealed. But if some interesting ones show up, I’ll post them here. Most of the ones in this post were revealed in the past few weeks (I think.) So, without further ado, here they are!

 Boundless (Unearthly #3) by Cynthia Hand
I loooove the font type on these covers. I kind of like the pink too. I do wish 
there was more variation with what the model was doing. In every cover, she's
dramatically looking the same dress, too.

 Everbound (Everneath #2) by Brodi Ashton
I love this cover as much as I love Everneath's. I love the font type. I love the way her dress and the clouds kind of merge together. I might just be looking at it wrong, but it looks like they changed the model. She's very pretty, but in my opinion, I might have liked it a tad better if they'd kept the same model for consistency. But I still love this cover.

Requiem (Delirium trilogy #3) by Lauren Oliver
I really like the three covers in this series. I love the font type; it's simple and eye-catching.
I wish they hadn't made the model's face so...big though. She's pretty, but something about her
whole face is kind of...overpowering, almost. Still, it's a nice cover.

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer
Yay! I really like this cover. I like that, while it's still simple, it's a little more graphic
than Cinder's cover. *squeals*

Sever (The Chemical Garden trilogy #3) by Lauren DeStefano
Okay, the model is very pretty and I like her pose. The objects surrounding her seem a bit...random. But WHAT were they thinking with this color scheme? Puke green and yellow? I don't like the green, since it looks like a green screen. The yellow would be nice with any other color. So, yeah, this is one bad color combination.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Divergent by Veronica Roth

**Quick note: I am now following all my followers’ blogs.**

Anyway. Now for the review.

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris, and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together, they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes-fascinating, sometimes-exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret: one she’s kept hidden from everyone, because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly-perfect society, she also learns that her secret might be what helps her save those she loves . . . or it might be what destroys her.

(summary from the author’s Website)


This book was getting a ton of hype. There were over 1,000 reviews on Amazon and it seemed to be getting a lot of positive reviews. “Best thing since The Hunger Games!” So, I finally bought it. Was it a good book? Yes, I enjoyed it? Was it as good as The Hunger Games? Well, no. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad book!

My major problem with Divergent was the world-building. While it wasn’t necessarily flat or unoriginal, it lacked logic and we had a limited view of the world. The idea was original: I liked the idea of the factions. However, in my opinion, it lacked certain logic. We never get a good explanation as to how the world ended up this way. (Or maybe we did and I just don’t remember.) And I honestly can’t imagine society ever saying, “Pick one virtue/personality trait and commit yourself to live it every day.” While it’s true people may have a more dominant personality trait, I can’t ever see people being able to say, “I’m going to be peaceful and friendly for the rest of my life!” Going over my own personality, I saw a couple factions I could have fit into.

Which brings me to my next point. Why is being “Divergent” so rare? Why is it so special? Although, by the end of the novel, more characters were revealed to be Divergent. Another problem I had: If being Divergent is such a threat to the government, how has this government survived so long with so many Divergents running around?

I also wish we could have gotten more of a view of the world, besides being limited to seeing a future Chicago. Is the rest of the world split into five factions? At least with other dystopia books (like Hunger Games or Matched or Delirium), you know that the whole country is under this government.

So, I wish the world-building had been a little more logical and we could have gotten to see more than future Chicago.

That said, I enjoyed the rest of the book.

Tris was a character I liked. She took some warming up to, since at first, she’s sort of a “stiff” character (Pun semi-intended.) However, as the book went on, I came to like her character very much. She was very well-rounded, making mistakes, but also regretting them.

Debating how I feel about Four. He’s certainly an interesting character. But he had his moments where he came across as rather flat and I’m not sure how I feel about him overall. Interesting, but also sometimes flat and hard to like, if that makes sense.

Speaking of them, their romance felt a tad forced. I’m glad Roth decided not to do a love triangle (*gag*). While Four and Tris had some sweet, romantic moments, it still felt a little forced. Tris had a crush on Four, and it seemed realistic, but the next thing you know, they were (very) quickly falling in love and Four is revealing all this stuff about himself. Definitely a bit of insta-love going on here.

The secondary characters, like Will, Christina, and Al, were all likable. I do wish we’d gotten some more character development for them though. They were all likable characters, but they could have been more well-rounded.

The plot felt a little lost at first. It did take a while for me to figure out just what, exactly, the main conflict was (yes, there was Tris’s initiation, but it didn’t feel like an immediate conflict.) However, it was still exciting enough to make you want to keep reading. While I couldn’t discern an conflict, Roth wrote many exciting scenes that made me want to keep reading.

I feel like I’m being too harsh on this book. I really did enjoy it. Maybe I was being too critical because of all the hype it’s been getting. Divergent is a good book. It’s worthy of its hype. Roth has crafted a good book, especially considering how young she was when she wrote it (22 or 23. While not a teen author, that’s still very young and I was impressed with her writing.)

Divergent is a good dystopia whose main problem is semi-illogical worldbuilding. Other than that, it was a book I really liked and I will be reading the sequel, Insurgent.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Returning home from the war, young Galen finds work with his mother’s family in the royal gardens. There he learns that the king’s twelve daughters have a secret: every night they dance their shoes to tatters, but no one knows how or why. When prince after prince tries and fails to find the answer, and the family is haunted by accusations of witchcraft, Galen decides to help. Armed with a pair of silver knitting needles and an invisibility cloak given to him by a strange old woman, he follows the princesses and unlocks the secret of their curse.

I think I started this book, then kind of forgot about it and was distracted by another book. I was in a book slump and saw this on my shelf and thought, “Hey, why not?”

I enjoyed Princess of the Midnight Ball. It was a light, easy read and fairly short; about 300 pages, I think.

I liked Rose and Galen, the main characters. While their characters never really developed, they were still likable characters.

However, the book does suffer from vastly underdeveloped characters. Since this is a retelling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”, naturally, there are twelve sisters. Rose, the oldest, was the only sister who really got any character development. Lily and Jonquil, the next two oldest, got some character development, but that was it. We only learned about most of the other characters through what the author told us: “At fourteen, Violet was a prodigy at playing the pianoforte and had the voice of an angel.” And that would be the only character development we ever got of that character. One sister, if I remember correctly, was only mentioned once in one sentence. It was something like: “Peony, Poppy, and Lilac piled into the boat.” (Not a direct quote) And that was the only time Lilac was ever mentioned. So, while the leads were likable, there were also nine underdeveloped characters.

My other complaint is that the prose was occasionally awkward. Like the sentence, “He was so very much not happy.” This wasn’t a major problem, but when there was awkward writing, it could pull me out of the story.

The plot moved at a swift pace, which I liked. The chapters were short and it was easy to keep on reading. I actually liked that the book wasn’t long, since the book never wandered or felt lost. I appreciated that.

I also really liked the setting of this book. While most fairy-tale retellings are set in Ye Olde Medieval Tymes, this book was more based off 1700s-1800s Europe. I thought Westfalin was an interesting setting, although, since the book was pretty short, it didn’t get too in-depth on the setting, if that makes sense.

Overall, Princess of the Midnight Ball was a light read and an interesting retelling of “Twelve Dancing Princesses.” If you’re looking for a fluffier read or a nice fairy-tale retelling, I’d recommend this book.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Happy 4th of July!

Today, I’ll be reviewing The Splendor Falls, by Rosemary Clement-Moore.
 Sylvie Davis is a ballerina who can’t dance. A broken leg ended her career, but Sylvie’s pain runs deeper. What broke her heart was her father’s death, and what’s breaking her spirit is her mother’s remarriage—a union that’s only driven an even deeper wedge into their already tenuous relationship.

Uprooting her from her Manhattan apartment and shipping her to Alabama is her mother’s solution for Sylvie’s unhappiness. Her father’s cousin is restoring a family home in a town rich with her family’s history. And that’s where things start to get shady. As it turns out, her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys that she can’t stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, seems to be perfect in every way. But Rhys—a handsome, mysterious foreign guest of her cousin’s—has a hold on her that she doesn’t quite understand.

Then she starts seeing things. Sylvie’s lost nearly everything—is she starting to lose her mind as well?

Now, I’m not the world’s biggest fan of paranormal books. But this book looked interesting and I thought it’d be good. Ghosts, a haunted family past, an ex-ballerina, it all sounded very interesting.

Unfortunately, I was left with a rather boring book.

At 513 pages, this book is pretty long, especially for a YA book. The book dragged on and on. There wasn’t enough of a story to warrant five hundred pages. There was major filler in this book. At least 150 pages could have been trimmed out of this book and the story could still be retained. Too much focus was spent on pedestrian things that did nothing to move the story along. I swear, if I read about Sylvie’s dog, Gigi, taking a “whizz” one more time, I was going to throw the book against the wall.

Much of the paranormal aspect of the story was lost to the excessive filler. It could have been interesting, but I feel like it was overpowered by the padding. Something important would be revealed…oh Sylvie is talking to Rhys about something with no relevance to the plot and Gigi is peeing again. ‘Kay, great. Can we get back to the actual story now, please? I’ve been good! I just want to know about the mysteries surrounding Sylvie’s family! There was definitely an interesting idea showing, but it was buried under all that darn filler!

I didn’t really care about any of the characters. Sylvie was perhaps one of the most obnoxious, ungrateful protagonists I’ve ever read about. I understand that she’d broken her leg and had to drop out of the ballet company and that her dad was dead and her mom had gotten remarried. Yes, it was a reason to complain. But she took it to an extreme. She whined about everything. She was flat-out rude to her family that she was staying with. I wanted to get into the book and slap her.

Rhys was a cliché hot guy and I never really got much of a feel for his character. He felt flat. Shawn didn’t really play as big of a role as the back cover summary played him out to be, so I didn’t really get much of a feel for his character, either. Gigi the dog became a more interesting character that Shawn and Rhys!

Overall, The Splendor Falls was a novel that had an interesting idea going for it, but suffered from too much filler and unnecessary details and flat, boring characters.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

First post/Introduction

Hello there!

My name is Kumakani (well, not really). I read a lot of YA books, so I decided to start a book review blog. I also have another blog, which is mostly my random thoughts. If you’re interested in following, here’s the link:

Like I said before, this is mostly going to be my book review blog, although I might occasionally post something random.


I do my reviews in 1-5 star scale, like on I rarely give a book a half-star review (ie. 1.5 stars or something like that.) Here’s what my ratings mean:

1-STAR: Absolutely terrible. I would not recommend this book to anyone. Why is this book even a book? Don’t read it.

2-STAR: Pretty bad. Not mind-meltingly horrible, but I wouldn’t recommend it. There may have been one or two things that saved it from a 1-star rating.

3-STAR: It was okay. There were some things that worked for me, but other aspects of the book were disappointing. You might like it, but if it doesn’t look interesting, give it a pass.

4-STAR: I enjoyed it. There might have been a few things that stopped me from giving it a 5-star review, but overall, I really liked this book. Recommended.

5-STAR: Amazing! Fantastic! Go read it now! Highly recommended.

I will say, I tend to be very critical in my reviews. Even if a book was well-written and enjoyable and anyone else would give it five stars, I’ll give it four. So, what may be three-stars for me, might be four-stars for another person.

I read a lot of fantasy YA, so most of the books I review will be fantasy. I read some dystopia and occasionally read paranormal. I’m not really big on contemporary/romance YA books, so I rarely, if ever, review those.

Some reviews posted here may have also been posted to my other blog.

I think that pretty much covers it. *nods*

Oh, and if you ever have any book recommendations, shoot ‘em to me in the comments!