The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic Press on September 17th 2013
Genres: YA Contemporary, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal Romance
The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!
Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…
I had every intention of doing a video review for The Dream Thieves after I read it but then got nervous, since it was so close to the release of The Raven King, that I would get spoiled for later books in the series. Whether blatant spoiling or simply from people dropping subtle hints about later developments I’d be speculating about in my review… So I put it off.
I’ve already done a video review on The Raven Cycle here, and a lot of my thoughts remain the same for The Dream Thieves. The world feels magical and dark, and that atmosphere carries into everything about the reading experience. I actually liked this book far more than the first one, one of the main reasons most likely being that it was less scary for me. I walk a fine line with these books and they can creep me out at times, so I feel I have to be on guard and can’t fully connect with the story. Since The Dream Thieves takes a bit of a break from the main plot, it allowed me to connect a bit more. That may either be a plus or a minus for some people, as I know some reviewers hated that it strayed from the main plot too much. I personally liked a lot of the back story we got on various characters, and delving more into dream magic and it’s ramifications. I also found the villain enigmatic yet tragic, and the entire tone of this installment is something I wish we’d be getting more of. But sadly, for me, we will be returning to the main plot in the next book. And I’ll return to being on edge.
This second book stays true to the tone of the overall story, and the deep focus on this band of characters and their relationships. Fans of the series will enjoy this book, even if it meanders a bit more than some may like.
Everbound (Everneath, #2) by Brodi Ashton
Published by Balzer + Bray on December 23rd 2013
Genres: YA Contemporary, YA Fantasy
Two months ago, the Tunnels of the underworld came for Nikki Beckett. That night, Nikki's boyfriend, Jack, made the ultimate sacrifice. All Nikki wants is to save Jack before it's too late. All Cole wants is to find his queen - and he thinks Nikki is the one. Both determined, both desperate, Nikki and Cole form a tense alliance, leading them on a dangerous journey to The Heart of The Everneath.
Everbound is the second book in the Everneath trilogy, which was marketed as a Hades and Persephone retelling. I already have a review here of the first book, Everneath, stating how that was not the case.
Everbound continues in the same vein as the first book. The reader gets a tad more information about the world, but not much. The writing is still very simple, and easy to read. I enjoyed this one slightly more, as the characters get to visit the Everneath, and trips to the underworld are always a good time in my opinion. But the plague of the fake love triangle continues, and it continues to be useless. As I said in my review of the first book, this isn’t a real love triangle as it’s not as if both love interests have an equal chance. The protagonist has made it very clear from the beginning who she wants to be with. So dangling the other love interest in front of readers as if there is a possibility she is going to choose him…..is a joke. And a waste of a subplot.
Like I said in the first review, I will finish out this series as it is marketed as a Hades and Persephone retelling and one of my goals is to read and review all of the well known titles that are supposed to be Hades and Persephone retellings, but this is not necessarily something I would recommend.
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on May 15th 2014
Genres: YA Contemporary
a novel about the L.A. film scene and unexpected love
Everything Leads to You follows an up and coming set designer in LA who uncovers a mystery while at an estate sale for a deceased Hollywood star. This ends up taking her on a scavenger hunt where she meets an array of people, one of which is a girl she falls in love with.
I was surprised by the mystery element to this story. While the mystery is not sinister in nature, it did keep me intrigued about the outcome throughout the story. The love story shared the spotlight with the mystery element, which I wasn’t expecting. I was expecting contemporary fluff the entire time, so this was a pleasant surprise.
I loved the set design element that was worked in. I never knew anything about set design before, and now I find myself noticing things while watching TV or movies, so that was a neat side effect.
I enjoyed the romance in this story. The main character has been out for a while before the story starts, so this is not her first relationship. While coming out stories are important, it was refreshing that this was not one. I found the story to be very cute and realistic. The romantic scenes focused on consent, and the difference between being in love with a fantasy vs. being in love with the actual person.
Overall, I enjoyed this story and the writing. I look forward to reading more from Nina LaCour.
Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Poppy on September 1st 2015
Genres: YA Contemporary
On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan have only one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night leads them to family and friends, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?
Charming, bittersweet, and full of wisdom and heart, this irresistible novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that arise when life and love lead in different directions.
I picked up an ARC of this book at Book Expo American 2015.
I was surprised by now much I ended up enjoying this book. I went into it with very low expectations, expecting only fluff, and got so much more from this.
Clare and Aiden as characters felt very real to me. Their story is one that is echoed around the world by many different couples as they decide what to do about their relationship as they go down different paths after high school. Although not every couple has the dramatic last minute “road trip of our relationship” night, that is what made this book fun. And the night was still not all together unrealistic!
Clare and Aiden’s problems rang true. There were moments that both made me nostalgic and made my stomach drop because I either experienced something similar or knew someone else that did during that crucial crossroads moment after high school. My only complaint was that the side characters were a bit two dimensional. There was potential there for them to be fleshed out more. But I went into this book knowing it was going to be completely about the relationship, so I didn’t mind much.
I also found the ending to be very satisfying. With books set around this time in a teenagers life, it can be common to have a vague outcome. This book tied up all the loose ends, which I was grateful for.
Overall, I think this is a very underrated contemporary that will ring true to a lot of people who have experienced the confusing and exciting time between high school and college.