Announcement: Moving

Hi again!

For all new content, make sure you subscribe over at my new site for notifications of new posts! I won’t be posting any new content on this page anymore, and I’ll probably be pulling it down soon. I hope to see you all over there!

Thank you!!

http://subtitled-abookblog.com/blog

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New Site: Subtitled

Well, you all might have noticed a little bit of a lag over here the last few weeks/days… That’s because I’ve been slaving on moving everything over to my new site:

http://subtitled-abookblog.com/blog/

Which I am so, so, so excited about!! I won’t be posting on this one anymore. I’m sad to see it go, but I’m looking forward to the new one. Feel free to join me over there! I’ll be doing much the same thing, so please please keep up the funnnn with me!

 

Review: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

9520360 The Son of Neptune (#2 of 5) by Rick Riordan

Published Year: 2011
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 5 stars

Book 1: The Lost Hero

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

Percy is confused. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn’t know much more than his name. His brain fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa told him he is a demigod and trained him to fight with the pen/sword in his pocket. Somehow Percy manages to make it to a camp for half-bloods, despite the fact that he has to keep killing monsters along the way. But the camp doesn’t ring any bells with him. The only thing he can recall from his past is another name: Annabeth

Hazel is supposed to be dead. When she lived before, she didn’t do a very good job of it. Sure, she was an obedient daughter, even when her mother was possessed by greed. But that was the problem — when the Voice took over her mother and commanded Hazel to use her “gift” for an evil purpose, Hazel couldn’t say no. Now because of her mistake, the future of the world is at risk. Hazel wished she could ride away from it all on the stallion that appears in her dreams.

Frank is a klutz. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes and can be anything he wants to be, but he doesn’t see it. He doesn’t even know who his father is. He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery — although not good enough to win camp war games. His bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially infront of Hazel, his closest friend at camp. He trusts her completely — enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart.

Beginning at the “other” camp for half-bloods and extending as far as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment of the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and features other remarkable creatures, all destined to play a part in the Prophesy of Seven.”

We’re back with Percy. I kind of had to give it a 5 star. Not that I didn’t like Jason and Piper and Leo — and now that I’m further in the series which, confession time, I already am further along — I totally love these three. But you just can’t beat Percy. He’s the original. It’s like spinning off Harry Potter, and trying to convince me someone is better than HP. You literally just wouldn’t win that argument.

Anyway, on to The Son of Neptune… Totally did not expect a six month time warp. Almost cussed out loud at RR for that one. Can’t call it a cliffy since it was like page one when that June first announcement slapped me in the face, but I was extremely unhappy with that tidbit of information! But he was back. And he was back with his same sense of humor, although lack of memory, and quirky asides, and it was (mostly) wonderful with a side dish of monster.

Percy pops up six months later with his memory wiped with only one name: Annabeth. (Won’t lie to you, totally swooned over that. I’m a total Percabeth shipper). And he ends up fighting his way to the “other” camp — Jason’s camp, where he teams up with Frank and Hazel. Hazel has a pretty interesting/cool backstory that I wasn’t expecting, and Frank actually ends up being a wild card too.

We definitely start getting more insight into the two camps and what that will mean for the future of the demigods. I really, really liked this book, even though Percy was not with his usual team (I mean why break a good thing RR? Percy and Annabeth and Grover are like the dream team!), Frank and Hazel were pretty sweet, I’ll admit.

5 out of 5 stars.

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Review: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

7736182The Lost Hero (#1 of 5) by Rick Riordan

Published Year: 2010
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 4 stars

Jason has a problem.
He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper, and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly?

Piper has a secret.
Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare about his being in trouble. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits during the school trip, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out.

Leo has a way with tools.
When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about, and some camper who;s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god. Does this have anything to do with Jason’s amnesia, or the fact that Leo keeps seeing ghosts?”

Well guys, GUESS WHAT YEAR IT WAS PUBLISHED IN?! 2010!! YEP THAT’S RIGHT!

I’ve been putting it off (since 2010 obvi) due to RR’s evil tendency to hideous cliffhangers. This is your warning. He loves cliffhangers. Loves them. And this one is no exception. Excellent cliffy at the end. Straight to book two for me!

We have an entirely new set of characters! I honestly was skeptical because I am Percabeth through and through and I was not ready to switch to new characters. I didn’t want to, at all. But RR seemed to be prepared for those thoughts and loyalties. The feel of this book is just different.

Jason doesn’t feel like Percy and he doesn’t try to win you over like Percy does. He’s not funny and quirky. He’s straightforward and he wants what he wants. It’s entirely different and it was really quick to adjust to. I was actually surprised how quickly I was able to adjust. Piper was great too; I was 100% not ready to like a daughter of Aphrodite. Not that I had anything against them, but I had innate prejudices apparently. And she blew them all away. Team Piper. Also, Leo man! He was fantastic too. They were all fantastic basically. In typical RR fashion. He knows how to do multiple characters well, can’t fault him on that.

Actually this was just a book full of surprises. I think that’s my review in a sense. Just be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. Not in a like TWIST HERE, TWIST THERE kind of way, but a like, wasn’t really expecting that and I liked it way.

4 out of 5 stars.

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Review: Mansfield Park and Mummies

7089277Mansfield Park and Mummies by Jane Austen and Vera Nazarian

Published Year: 2010
Genre: Historical Fantasy
My Rating: 3.5 stars

“MANSFIELD PARK AND MUMMIES: Monster Mayhem, Matrimony, Ancient Curses, True Love, and Other Dire Delights Spinsterhood or Mummification!

Ancient Egypt infiltrates Regency England in this elegant, hilarious, witty, insane, and unexpectedly romantic monster parody of Jane Austen’s classic novel.

Our gentle yet indomitable heroine Fanny Price must hold steadfast not only against the seductive charms of Henry Crawford but also an Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh!

Meanwhile, the indubitably handsome and kind hero Edmund attempts Exorcisms… Miss Crawford vamps out… Aunt Norris channels her inner werewolf… The Mummy-mesmerized Lady Bertram collects Egyptian artifacts…

There can be no doubt that Mansfield Park has become a battleground for the forces of Ancient Evil and Regency True Love!

“Gentle Reader — this Delightful Edition includes Scholarly Footnotes and Appendices.”

I’ll start with a confession: I’m one of the few Jane Austenites that actually likes the character of Fanny Price. I think I can actually feel the gasp from everyone through my computer. I know that’s rare, but I just don’t hate her. Sorry not sorry.

Anyway, even for the majority of the world who feels differently than me, this story might appeal to them because all of VN’s inserts subtly insert a more powerful and headstrong Fanny. A Fanny more along the lines of a Lizzy, you might say. She stands up for herself and she doesn’t let the mummies get away with it… but as VN’s commonly says, I’m getting ahead of myself.

This was obviously a parody read, and if you’re a purist, you won’t like it. It’s as simple as that. Of course, if you’re a purist, you won’t like most parodies, or retellings, or movies adaptations, and are doomed to reread the same book endless times. Which is fine, more power to you. VN new the original quite well and was able to weave the supernatural (mummies, werewolves and vampires, oh my) into it pretty seamlessly from what I’ve read of the other parodies, in comparison. It still obviously stuck out like a sore thumb, let’s be real, but in terms of flow with the plot, it wasn’t quite as disjointed as some of the others.

Most of the characters are true to the original Jane Austen story, so I won’t try to give them too colorful a critique here. VN does take a few of them and make them a bit supernatural (three guesses who and the first two don’t count!), and she only inserts one completely new character (cough, mummy, cough) into the narrative.

I didn’t particularly enjoy the footnote commentary; I thought they were kind of childish and ruined the Jane Austen parts of the story. However, it was a parody so I can’t really complain about humor, now can I?

Overall, I enjoyed it! It was definitely a really long read and I don’t know that I’ll be able to put myself through reading it again, because adding to Jane Austen is no joke. But if you like this Jane Austen + monster trend and feel like giving Fanny Price a chance, give this one a chance!

3.5 out of 5 stars.

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ARC Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

20983362Passenger (#1 of ?) by Alexandra Bracken

Published Year: 2016
Genre: YA Science Fiction
My Rating: 4 stars

passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever”

This was such a good read! It took me a little bit to really get into it, and that font drove me up the wall! (It was all wavy, I guess to be like the ocean? But omg I could not make myself focus on it. Drove me nuts). Also, not a fan of the blurb — much, too much.

Once I got into it though, it was so good. I loved all the settings and the details. AB did such a phenomenal job describing all the different sites! Ah, loved that aspect. Usually, with time travel, I’m a little thrown off by it and I don’t enjoy being bogged down in the details of which era I’m in and how different it is blah blah. AB handled this beautifully.

Etta, the main character, knows nothing about time travel before the night of her violin concert, and she’s rather abruptly thrown into the middle of an all out conspiracy. Thanks, mom. Nicholas, partner in crime, knows a little more about time travel but is in general at a disadvantage across all centuries, but still manages to be pretty awesome despite it all and leaps head first after Etta into said conspiracy. Rose, Etta’s mom, does a spectacular job of being sneaky and stealthy and explaining zilch, but painting some fab clues to said conspiracy. Helpful, but not real high up on the character development.

REAL intriguing twist at the end though, sign me up for book 2. Because that cliffhanger was very hingey and I’m a little on the edge of my seat now.

4 out of 5 stars.

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I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Joyride by Anna Banks

22718685Joyride by Anna Banks

Published: 2015
Genre: YA Contemporary
My Rating: 2 stars

“A popular guy and a shy girl with a secret become unlikely accomplices for midnight pranking, and are soon in over their heads—with the law and with each other—in this sparkling standalone from NYT-bestselling author Anna Banks.

It’s been years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. She lives with her brother, studies hard, and works at a convenience store to contribute to getting her parents back from Mexico.

Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He dated popular blondes and had fun with his older sister, Amber. But now Amber’s dead, and Arden blames his father, the town sheriff who wouldn’t acknowledge Amber’s mental illness. Arden refuses to fulfill whatever his conservative father expects.

All Carly wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects. All Arden wants is to NOT do what his family expects. When their paths cross, they each realize they’ve been living according to others. Carly and Arden’s journey toward their true hearts—and one another—is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh.”

This book was mostly okay. It didn’t really hold my interest though. I had to force myself to keep coming back to it. I had some sort of block against finishing it.

Carly Vega is presented as a shy girl in the premise. Which I usually like shy heroines. Carly Vega is not a shy heroine. She’s sassy and forceful and not afraid to stand up for herself but she’s all about trying to fly under the radar for her own reasons. Vastly different than being shy. Two completely different things. The person who wrote that summary was really off, and not only about her description…

Arden Moss, on the other hand, goes around confronting his family members for not accepting his sister Amber’s death in a healthy way, but it takes him 80% of the book to acknowledge that his way wasn’t healthy either. The description of him in the book is just “rebellious teen” and yes he’s rebellious teen but it goes more affluenza than the root of the problem. Which leads us to Sheriff Moss.

I’m not even sure where to begin with this character (caricature if I’m being honest). He largely exists in this story to keep the protagonists apart and to make their lives as close to a living hell as physically possible. Literally he serves no other purpose. He has no other personality traits or character growth. Zip. Nada. He was just “bad”. As a villain, he sucked basically.

That ending? Don’t even get me started. No closure. All drama building and building just poofs into thin air. And boom happily ever after. You’ve gotta be kidding me.

There were things I did like about this book. AB tackled the portrayal of an immigrant family and the prejudices they have to face, and that’s not an easy thing. Carly and Arden did not have this insta-love/attraction you’re the one that I want moment (no offense, Danny), which I totally appreciated. They were basically BFFs first, which was really refreshing.

Overall, I stand by what I said at the beginning, this book was mostly okay. There were things I liked and things I didn’t. Unfortunately there were just more things I didn’t like about it.

2 out of 5 stars.

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Review: The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

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The Infinite Sea (#2 of 3) by Rick Yancey

Published: 2014
Genre: Apocalyptic
My Rating: 2.5 stars

“How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.”

So. RY lost me a bit with this one. I mean, it’s clearly second-book-itis (I have serious issues with almost all second books in series, it’s a thing. One day I’ll have a full-on ranty post about it. Today is not that day), but RY, come on man! What happened here!?!

This book was primarily from Ringer’s POV. And Ringer did nothing –absolutely nothing for me — as a character. I wanted her POV over asap, and then I find out her POV is like 70% of the thing. I was not happy I tell you, not happy. If you liked Ringer in the first book, then you’ll probably enjoy getting this basically entire book of hers, but I, however, was not a fan. I wanted Cassie, Evan, Ben, Sam, basically anyone that wasn’t Ringer.

There also wasn’t much of a plot to this book… Depending on whose POV we were currently in, it was basically I must find him/her… With nothing really else going on. No other guidelines, no other plan, not even a known location or surety of survival. I was very frustrated. Also, one more symbolic reference to a “sea” or an overwhelming number of “rats” was going to have me throwing my Kindle, I swear.

I will keep going with the series, because I can’t not keep going with the series. But my feelings have severely shifted from excitement to dread. I don’t know what RY is going to do with this now, and I don’t have high hopes. I’m actually leaning towards the cover my eyes and peek through my fingers mode and hope it isn’t as terrible as it seems…

2.5 out of 5 stars.

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Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

16101128The 5th Wave (#1 of 3) by Rick Yancey

Published: 2013
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic
My Rating: 4 stars

“After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.”

My first review of the new year! (It’s not from 2010, and based on how this book went, the second one won’t be either because I’m going to need to read book #2 ASAP… Don’t worry, 2010 you’ll get your due, eventually!).

So, I’m not really sure why I’ve been putting off reading this book. Because it’s right up my alley, 100%. I had absolutely no valid reason for not reading it, but apparently it took me seeing the movie preview (which was FANTASTIC) before the last Hunger Games movie to convince me pick it up. And guys, I WASN’T DISAPPOINTED. I mean it’s been so long since I wasn’t disappointed, that I’m really surprised right now. I’m not sure if my positive impressions of this book are based on the fact that I’m so surprised or if I genuinely liked it. Jk. I genuinely liked it. Don’t worry.

The main character, Cassie, is fierce. I don’t have another word to describe her. A post description for her might be “a little crazy”, but it’s a crazy driven by fear. She doesn’t know who to trust and all she wants is her brother Sam back. Can’t say I blame you Cass. I’ll tell you what I didn’t trust. I didn’t trust a single character in this book except for Cassie. She was the only one I trusted. The rest of them — nuh uh, I wouldn’t touch ’em with a 10 foot pole. That isn’t to say I didn’t love the other characters (I mean — Sammy? Come on, that’s tugging my Supernatural heartstrings), but I didn’t trust the bugger. Nope. I actually loved all the main characters/narrators, but I didn’t know who was what or anything. It kept me SO on edge!

I’m a little miffed with the ending, though. I feel like during the last 10% to 15%, RY just started wrapping things up quickly and was like, I’ll handle this later. And maybe this plot will get picked up later or maybe not, ha ha ha. You don’t know! Infinite sea reference here and here, oh and another here. Story line drop and boom, weird dramatic ending with no closure. I needed some closure, dangit!

(I have obviously already downloaded The Infinite Sea).

So, there are definitely some comparisons to Stephenie Meyer’s The Host… If you liked The Host but found it lacking, then this series will probably be for you. The aliens function pretty identically on a fundamental level, but I would argue that this novel is so much more apocalyptic while The Host stays firmly in fantasy romance.

4 out of 5 stars.

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Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

16278318Armada by Ernest Cline

Published: 2015
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 3 Stars

“Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.”

(I cut a lot out of Goodreads’ summary, you know how I feel when there’s too much summary. If you want the rest, feel free to click the cover. It’ll take you to Goodreads.)

I don’t know where to start! (Literally, I’ve typed 5 sentences and erased them. It could be the exhaustion creeping in; it’s late right now in case you were wondering, but it could be the book. You never know). I liked this book; I did. But I wanted to love it. I wanted to feel the same sense of obsession that I did (do, let’s be honest) that I felt about Ready Player One, and unfortunately, I just don’t. Maybe if I had read this one first, it might have stood a chance. But I didn’t, and it doesn’t hold a candle to the RPO experience. Moving on now.

Zack, as a character, has some issues. Specifically, anger issues. I don’t really feel like these are ever addressed or really appropriately handled in the novel. I mean, yes, there was a pretty dramatic turn of events, and his personal issues were pretty minor compared to what was happening. But if EC is going to make them that important at the beginning, then these issues either need to play a significant role or they need to be resolved. Neither of these things happened. Zack definitely had some character growth, don’t get me wrong; and I also enjoyed his character, but I just felt it to be a little lacking in this area.

The plot was also a little, I’m not sure how to phrase this, hollow? I’ll go with hollow. Ready Player One had such a dense and rich backstory that EC could immediately pull from and I could really sense the lack of that in this novel. Zack, from the get go, had no idea what was going on, and frequently lamented this fact. You were figuring things out as he was figuring things out, and it made it less rich, for lack of a better word. (Waxing poetic done now, kthx)

I do really enjoy all the pop culture references in EC’s writing style. I always take a moment and give myself a little pat on the back when I understand one in the wild. Yep. True Story.

Overall, I was looking for an opportunity to relive Ready Player One, and that’s where I made my mistake. If I had just tried to experience Armada on its own or even read it first, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more. As it was, I tried to make comparisons, and it, of course, came up short (no one can compare, sorry Charlie). Nonetheless, I did still enjoy Armada (woo, point to EC!) despite all this. So if you pick it up, make sure you erase RPO from your mind and give this one the benefit of the doubt.

3 out of 5 stars.

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