I’ve Ended the “End of Days”

I’m sad that there isn’t anymore the the Penryn and the End of Days trilogy. It was so Screenshot 2016-01-16 13.48.10.pngamazing. The message, the characters, the dialogue, the everything. If you recall, I didn’t fall in love with the second book because I missed the Penryn and Raffe moments that were more numerous in Angelfall. That’s probably my favorite part about the story. But once they met up again, the book picked up. So I was looking forward to End of Days, knowing that the Penryn-Raffe team had joined up again. And I was not disappointed.

Penryn’s and Raffe’s relationship continues to develop and bloom throughout the let book. (Yay!) They’re together and making it through the apocalypse. Swoon worthy moments, I’m telling you. When you put the two of them together, you just feel the chemistry fly off the page. Whenever they were split up, I was just thinking “please no.” But they found each other again pretty quickly. Fate/God/destiny must have wanted them to be together.

And we learn more about angel politics and Uriel’s plan and Raffe’s Watchers who were sent to the Pit. The Pit is awful. The angel trials are awful. All things supernatural are barbaric basically. You’d think that a trial would be more civilized, but no. It’s not a human trial, it’s a last-one-standing angel trial.

And Penryn has many more moments of being an awesome/brave/I-can-kick-your-butt-if-I-have-to heroine. With Pooky Bear by her side, of course. She steps up for the Resistance efforts and proves what a being a good person is all about. Even Paige helps the Resistance with her scorpion angel pets. Penryn’s family become important to the story.

I wish there was more. End of Days finished and it was like: That’s it? There must be pages missing. I need more. But it’s over, and I will never forget the angel-apocalyptic tale of Penryn and Raffe. Standing ovation to Susan Ee.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

“World After” Review

World After is the second book in Susan Ee’s Penryn and the End of Days trilogy. This one Screenshot 2016-01-16 13.42.45picks up after Raffe drops Penryn off with the Resistance. Paige becomes more prevalent, Penryn tries to knit her family unit together, and we see more of the humans vs. angels dynamic.

For the majority of the book, like half of it, Raffe isn’t around. There are some memory scenes that have him, but not enough Raffe for my taste. I craved more of him in this book. I was so glad when he finally made an appearance.

I liked seeing the treatment of humans by angels and other people who seem to be on the angels’ side but are really just trying to survive. It had a War of the Worlds feel to it.

Paige. She plays a key role. She actually adds a level of creepiness. You’ll understand once you read it. She definitely isn’t the same little girl we were introduced to at the beginning of the first book.

World After didn’t feel as amazing as the first book, probably due to the lack in Penryn-Raffe interaction which I loved, but it was still very good. I’m already starting the last book. Fingers crossed that that one ends with a bang!

This book gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Fall in Love with “Angelfall”

Man, oh man. “Angelfall,” by Susan Ee, was incredible. I’m stunned. I don’t even want to write this because I want to start reading the next book.

Synopsis: The world is in disarray: gangs by day and angels by night. Both are dangerous enemies. imageHumans are no longer the most advanced creatures–they have been overshadowed by the angels. Penryn, her mother, and her sister must tough it out in this new world. Penryn, loyal to her family, bravely fights to keep them alive, but angels are a force to be reckoned with. Until she meets one angel who is able to overlook their differences. They must team up to get what they each desire and learn to rely on one another. It becomes more than a battle to survive, it becomes a battle to live.

So, very quickly I’ll tell you what I loved. (Just so you know, there aren’t any negative comments coming from me. I have none.)

Penryn (yes, that’s her name and you get used to the uncommon feel of it on your tongue) is skilled in self-defense thanks to her paranoid/psychotic mother. Her mother is freaky, literally crazy, but adds this little shiver down your spine. Whenever her mother is involved, I feel creeped out. But it’s a good thing; it keeps me on my toes and invested in the character. Penryn is devoted to her family (even though in this post-apocalyptic world they’re practically dead weight and she’d be better off on her own) and is Protector #1 of kid-sister Paige. Let’s just say that Penryn has her hands full looking out for Paige throughout the novel. Oh, and Penryn also has great witty comebacks. Love that about her!

Raffe is also good with the comebacks. He’s Mr. Angel. Actual angel. And the two come together forming an unnatural (angels and humans are enemies) team. Raffe needs something, Penryn needs something, and they figure it’s best to help each other out. He can help her and she can help him, so why not? He’s a bit aloof in the beginning, but he gradually opens up to Penryn. You just can’t help but feel sorry  for the poor guy, even Penryn gives into sympathetic feelings. I couldn’t help loving this character.

Throw in some evil angels, desperate, scared, starving people, a will to survive, freaky experimental creatures, and you’ve got yourself this AMAZING story.

5 out of 5 stars. No question.

I’m Dying, Mara Dyer

Disclaimer: I’m a big baby. “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer,” by Michelle Hodkin, Screenshot 2016-01-16 13.39.46thoroughly creeped me out. Not my usual cup of tea. If I saw the trailer for this as a movie, I’d probably stay far away so I would avoid having nightmares.

I don’t want to go into the details but let’s just say it’s psychotic. Mara has problems.

I did, however, really like the dialogue. The characters felt really. Not to mention that the majority of the book took place in Miami- where I’m from, so I recognized and could see the places they went to. And there’s a little tidbit about a Cuban restaurant that made me giggle. Anyway, Mara has a spitfire way of speaking. I like her. The back and forth between her and Noah/Daniel/Jamie was written wonderfully. Kudos to Michelle. Toward the end there was a fun little twist.

I’d like to see where they take that, but I’m not sure I’ll read the next one. I’m frightened of being scarred for life. If you’re into the creeptastic, by all means go for it.

Due to my particular tastes, I have to give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Unbelievable. Underrated. Unaccomplishments and Epic Disasters.

I just finished The Unfortunate Fairy Tale series by Chanda Hahn. A Screenshot 2016-01-05 20.11.07decided to check the first book out, “UnEnchanted,” from the library after going through my Goodreads to-be-read list. I had added it a long time ago and thought it was about time I picked it up. I didn’t realize this until I finished it, but the book is self-published. All of them are. I kept wanting to know who the publisher was because there were SO MANY mistakes that a copy editor/line editor should have picked up. That explained the rough-draft-ness of the books. I tried to ignore it throughout the rest of the series. I’m a stickler so that had really gotten under my skin.

Continuing with problems: the secondary characters felt a bit cliche. Ahem, Savannah White. And Nan, Mina’s supposed best friend, just seemed mean at first. Like, “Mina get a cellphone already.” Ummm, she couldn’t afford one. Way to remind her how broke her family was. She rounded out a bit more later on, but I really could care less about Nan. Her only redeeming quality was the fact that she shared a closeness with Charlie. Then, there were things that were brought up out of the blue like she had figured something out a while ago and forgot to tell the readers when she first knew. Like Fae. That word randomly showed up. Where did you learn that Mina? She said it like it was common sense. It’s not. And the whole Story web. Same thing. She brought it up, basically saying she figured it out, but we’re with her through her thought process so why didn’t we hear about it sooner?

Now for the good stuff: After finishing the first book I thought, This is a great concept. Let’s see what comes next. So I kept going and I was really glad. The magic/fairy tale-ness was perfect. The plot worked out wonderfully. The Fae’s world was super cool. And Jared: I swoon when he has his moments. Chanda did a number on my heart making me feel super conflicted/confused about Jared and Teague. Everything else is boring compared to the Teague storyline. He’s so complicated. Now that’s a rounded character. Mina, of course, was rounded as well. Sometimes I come across a book where the heroine just bugs me, but not Mina. She felt so real and her bravery and loyalty to her family made me cheer her on big time.

The second and third books were by far my favorite. So, if you pick up “UnEnchanted,” don’t give up on it. The storyline really shines.

Rating only the first book, it gets 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Ahhhhhdieh

I have binge read quite a few YA books lately, and The Wrath and the Dawn, by Renee The Wrath and the DawnAhdieh, has been the best I’ve read this summer break. For three reasons:

1) The protagonist. Shahrzad aka Shazi. Her nickname alone is one letter off from my name. I would stare at “Shazi” and I could imagine the “z” becoming an “r.” So, I’m almost the main character. And who wouldn’t want to be her? She’s like a witty Mulan and Katniss. (She actually reminded me of Meira from “Snow Like Ashes.”) Shazi can cut deep with weapons and words. Her dialogue is on point and she’s overall a strong heroine. From the beginning, I could feel how brave and smart she was, a little rash in her decisions, but still very clever.

2) The story. While reading it, I felt that Renee drew inspiration from Aladdin, Bluebeard, and Beauty and the Beast. There’s a mix of everything I like: magic, romance, action, and storytelling. Yes, you read that last one correctly. There are stories within the story. The tales are seamlessly interwoven into the plot and made to reflect the kingdom’s culture, and these stories mirror what happens within the main storyline. I recently took a folktale class and I learned how important the old tales are; how much influence they have on current stories. I mean, without them there would be no Disney. It was nice to see this appreciation and recognition for the building blocks of storytelling. Also, there were unanswered questions that gradually became clear, but while reading I didn’t feel confused. I knew what was happening and that more pieces would fall into place. It was like most of the middle of the puzzle was complete and all that was needed were the edges. The picture is clear, but there’s something missing that would make it perfect.

3) Culture. The clothes, makeup, and hair were described beautifully. Don’t even get me started about the food. There were whole paragraphs just dedicated to illustrating what was on Shazi’s plate. Warning: Do not read this book on an empty stomach. And the words themselves. You’ll notice a glossary in the back. You can pretty much figure out the words on context alone, but it adds this Middle Eastern flair to the book that makes it different from your usual YA books.

Renee gets an A from me on this book. (I’m glad Lauren DeStefano praised the work so much and intimidated her Twitter followers into reading this fabulous book.)

I’m going to say this book ranked as 4.8 out of 5 stars on my scale because there were some slow moments that I wanted to pass through.

How Peculiar

Let’s talk about Ransom Riggs’s “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” I felt like IScreenshot 2016-01-16 13.35.00 judged this book very harshly because 1)My sister raved about it and 2)Ransom is Tahereh Mafi’s husband so by association he must be wonderful. (The Shatter Me series is still, by far, my favorite.)

I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t completely in love with the book. For starters, it took about 100 pages for me to actually get into the book and want to continue reading. That’s a while in book time. Speaking of time, the explanation for how time/aging works in the books confused me. It went over my head and I just had to ignore it. It could’ve just been me being stupid though. And for some reason I kept mixing up the “children.” I needed to go back to see who did what, except for Howard and Emma. There was also mention of small children compared to the big kids so I imagined the home had a bunch of children running about. But at the end, the boats had only the main children who were mentioned before, so I was wondering what happened to the other kids. Did they die? Were there even other kids to begin with? The last thing that I thought was weird was how Jacob decided to keep his distance from Emma due to the whole Emma-Grandfather relationship, but he changed his mind like two seconds later. Really?

Okay, I’m done with the criticizing. Of course, Ransom’s book is known for its use of old photographs. That was cool when I saw how he drew inspiration from them and incorporated them seamlessly into the story. The actual peculiarities that the children had were really cool. He had the usual superpowers that we all know (e.g. invisibility, strength) but he created some new ones, like the guy with the bees.

As far as characters go, Emma is the best of the children. She’s really the only one readers get to know well because of her relationship (which gradually becomes better and better at just the right pace) with Jacob. Her charm and wit are wonderful. I loved when we first met her.  I really liked Grandpa Portman, too. I wish there had been more of him in the book.

The time loop itself was written about very nicely. I liked how peaceful the home was there in contrast to when Jacob first finds the home on the island. And seeing when and how the loops started over added to the coolness of the loop. Learning about how the time affects the children in the loop was heartbreaking. It sucks for them living in there, since they don’t really have a say in the matter of coming and going like Jacob.

The action toward the end: Yay! I love when books are all upbeat and the characters are in fight or flight mode. It makes for a very intense and entertaining read.

I’m not dying to read the next book–it can wait–but I am looking forward to what comes next. Now that the introductions are out of the way, I think I’ll be able to get into the next one more than the first.

Ransom gets 3.8 out of 5 stars from me.