The Darkest Minds – Alexandra Bracken

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Synopsis – 

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.

Goodreads Rating – 4.27/5 Stars 

My Review – 

I have been meaning to read this for a very long time. With all the hype surrounding Alexandra Bracken’s books, I had high expectations, but I’m glad to say that the book was even better than expected. The first half of the book did remind me a little bit of ‘The 5th Wave’, however, it was still an incredibly unique and well-written book. 

This book is well paced and highly addictive.  The stellar character development really helped, as we were introduced to a variety of characters with different backgrounds and personalities. I’ve read way too many books where the characters all seem so similar that they just begin to bore me. Bracken created two similar characters, Ruby and Chubs, and took her time building up their friendship. 

Ruby starts off as a scared and weak child who throughout the book grows into someone who is emotionally strong. Rather than relying on others, people start to rely on her to protect them. This is a little bit cliche but it worked well with the plot, so I don’t really have any complaints. Compared to some other female protagonists (America Singer), she didn’t annoy me that much with her fear and ‘self-hate’. 

Liam, Chubs, and Zu were great. They are all so different yet they work well together. We are presented with 3 characters of different ages, abilities, and backgrounds who are working together to stay alive. Liam is incredibly protective and has a heart of gold, which sometimes puts him in harms way. Chubs is smart and strategic but also loyal to the bone. Zu was a refreshing addition to the novel and she reminds us that they really are kids who have been through hell and back. 

There was so much action throughout the book that I just couldn’t put it down. The romance was cute and the ending broke my heart to the point where I’m conflicted about whether or not I want to read the next book ( but I will). My last point would be that Bracken is incredible at writing antagonist in stories. The dark-minded Oranges of the book are portrayed really well ( new American Horror Story season?). 

I would recommend this to everyone! 

My Rating – 4.5/5 Stars 

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

Instagram – Globalbookmania 

Kiatana’s Journey – Natalie Erin

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Synopsis – 

Dragons fly, animals can speak and fairies rule over all in the realm they call the Lands, a place that is both beautiful and dangerous. Only one myth remains…Changers, beasts who can morph into any creature at will, and their Accompanies, the mysterious riders who command them. Chaos begins when a Changer called Ionan and his Accompany Keota crash down from the sky. They are found by two orphan wolf pups searching for their mother, and the fairy Kiatana, owner of the Verinian Forest. Kiatana refuses to trust the handsome stranger, or believe the story about his troubled past, but she soon finds she has bigger problems as a plague begins to spread throughout her land, killing all in sight. With no option Kiatana heads out on a quest with Keota, Ionan, the two wolves and her trusty Pegasus to find a cure before the forest is destroyed forever. But danger has a way of finding her, and Kiatana isn’t sure if she’ll survive the road ahead… 

Goodreads Rating – 4.11/5 Stars 

My Review – 

**Disclaimer: I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review**

Upon reading the blurb of this book I was very interested in the plot. Unfortunately, the first half of the book simply confused and bored me. The main protagonist, Kiatana,didn’t seem to have a personality because her character had so little development from the start of the book. She is supposed to take care of the animals and be a ‘Snow White persona’, however her compassion towards animals seems to be patchy. She acts like a typical teen girl, which is why some of the events that occur throughout the book surprised me a little, but more on that later. 

The Changer/Acompany relationship reminded me of ‘The Golden Compass’.  A human and an animal counterpart are bound to each other from birth. It’s actually an interesting relationship and could have been expanded and explained in more detail, which is was… but only in the last 100 pages of the book.

The plot is actually really interesting. I enjoyed the characters fighting battles, meeting new characters and saving ‘the world’. My main issue with this book… and I will admit that I am incredibly picky in this regard, but the romance drove me mad. It came out of nowhere and everything happened so fast. It was very cliché… girl finds boy annoying and then by the end of the book they are together. However the execution of this was awkward and choppy. 

The second half of the book was really good though, so it raised my overall rating of this book. The characters finally became individuals with their own personalities, emotions and thoughts. I would recommend this book to younger readers. There are underlying themes of this book such as friendship, loyalty and forgiveness that are prominent and are always refreshing to see as they send a good message to the readers. 

Overall, It’s a decent quick read book. 

My rating – 3/5 Stars 

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

Instagram – Globalbookmania 

The 5th Wave – Rick Yancey

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Synopsis – 

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.

Goodreads Rating – 4.16/5 stars 

My Review – 

This was a great book! Personally,  I haven’t read many books concerning alien-invasion, so I didn’t really have expectations in terms of how the aliens would be portrayed. The concept of the aliens having human bodies was interesting ( yes, I know that Stephanie Meyer’s book – The Host has a similar plot). Overall, the book was action packed and entertaining. I was pleasantly surprised by the great character development and the excellent world building, which made the plot seem so realistic, thus making it a fairly popular novel. 


In terms of the romance… It was rushed and felt awkward. I’m incredibly critical of relationships in YA novels so my opinion may oppose  others. 


As mentioned before, the characters are quite realistic both in their emotions and their actions. They act the way I would If I were confronted with tragic events. Of course, there is a hint of hyperbolism throughout the novel but that is too be expected. It is impressive that Yancey was abe to maintain a sense of humanity whilst creating extraterrestrial characters.

In conclusion, this book may seem quite large but I read it within the span of two days and enjoyed every minute of it. Remember that once you have read it there are another two books in the series and a movie to watch. Happy Reading! 

Be sure to let me know what your opinions are about this book in the comments below!

My Rating 4.5/5 Stars

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

Instagram – Globalbookmania 

 

December TBR

  1. Metamorphosis and other stories – Franz Kafka

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2. The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels

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3. Feed – Mira Grant

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4. The Darkest Minds – Alexandra Bracken ( Yes I’m on the late train with this one, should have read it years ago.)

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5. Kiatana’s Journey – Natalie Erin ( I am reading this because an author sent it to me, but I have been so busy recently that I have barely read half the book even though I started it over a month ago).

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If you have any recommendations for me or have read any of these books and would like to share your opinions, ask me questions or just chat, please comment and I’ll be sure to reply.

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

Instagram – Globalbookmania 

 

 

The Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johansen

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Synopsis – 

An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy.

Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

Long ago, Kelsea’s forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea’s nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen’s Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.

Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen’s vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen’s Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as “the Fetch.”

Kelsea’s quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea’s journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.

Goodreads Rating – 4.02/5 Stars

My Review – 

This book had a slow start and some things didn’t make much sense until much later, which made me a little agitated. That being said, after the first 50-100 pages, I found it impossible to stop reading! I’m looking forward to reading the sequel since I have loads of questions that need answering. I really want to know more about the Sapphire, Kelsea’s parents and the world that this novel is set in.

Kelsea is a surprisingly pleasant character. I’m was relieved that I wasn’t reading about yet another too tough or too sappy teen heroine. She doesn’t always make the right decisions but she accepts defeat with her head held high and treats herself and those around her with a certain level of respect and maturity. In terms of Kelsea’s appearance, she is often described as being plain and a little overweight, which the character herself accepts and forgets, as she realises how awful it is when people are vain and conceited.

Lazarus ( The Mace)  deserves his own paragraph because he really made this book go from being three stars to four. What an incredibly crafted character, full of mischief and secrecy but with incredible loyalty and friendship. There is so much more that I want to know about him and I hope that he remains loyal to Kelsea.

One truly wonderful thing about this novel is that there is no love triangle! There is barely any romance at all… which is actually incredibly refreshing. Lastly, I think I should mention that the reason this book didn’t get five stars was because, in my opinion, the world building needed some serious work. This is supposed to take place in the future, but it feels like it takes place in the Victorian era. Hopefully, it will become clearer in The Invasion of the Tearling.

My Rating – 4/5 stars 

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

Instagram – Globalbookmania 

Hopeless – Colleen Hoover

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Synopsis – 

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

Goodreads Rating – 4,36/5 stars

My Review – * Contains Spoilers*

This is my third Colleen Hoover book and I must say that I am yet too be disappointed because each book seems to be better than the last. I known that many people believe that Colleen Hoover’s books are just cheesy, over dramatised romance novels and I must admit that that too was my initial reaction, however now I can honestly say that each novel has taken me by surprise. 

Yes, they are cheesy in terms of the romances and Hoover likes to go to extreme lengths to describe any sexual moments between the characters, in fact her writing reminds me a little of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s in that sense, however she builds incredible stories surrounding those characters and is able to make her audience see past the stereotypically attractive teens and their mundane lives. 

As some of you may know if you’ve read my previous reviews, I recently read ‘All the Rage’ by Courtney Summers and loved it because it was raw and real. I was not expecting this book to have a similar topic when I started it, I was simply expecting some romance between the broody mysterious guy and the ‘perfect’ girl. 

Sky and Holder were very real and perhaps some may think that they were over dramatised but unless someone has gone through something that traumatic how are we too know what is classed as being overdramatic snd what isn’t… This book was refreshing because it wasn’t simply about the teen romance but the long lost friendship, the harsh reality of ones past, the secrets, the lies and most importantly the fact that whether you are an adult or child, you are still responsible for your actions and it takes great courage to face the people you have wronged and yourself. 

I am excited to read more of Colleen Hoover’s work and see if there are any novels that of hers that I don’t like or whether she is guaranteed a spot on my list of top 10 Authors. 

My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Instagram – Globalbookmania

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

Alien Love Story – A.K.Dawson

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Synopsis – 

Life is a headache for 15-year-old Dan. This isn’t some kind of metaphor. Dan suffers from migraines that make just about everything he does unbearable. Added to that he’s lost almost everyone he cares about. So he feels lonelier than the last puppy in a pet shop.

But one day he sees a mysterious girl digging in the rubbish bins behind his house. Just by being near her, he finds that all his pain goes away. So he wants to see her again, of course. And get to know her. But she’s a bit strange. And her big eyes make her look, well, like an alien.

Does she really exist? Or is she just a figment of an overactive, under-loved imagination?

Goodreads Rating –  3,64/5 Stars

My Review – 

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

I want to start of with the fact that I was expecting this book to be for a younger audience based on the cheesy title and the childish cover, however once I started reading it, I realised that it is certainly intended for a teen audience primarily due to the large amount of sexual references (non graphic). I have to admit that I found this rather refreshing, as many authors try to downplay the heightened hormones of teenagers, however I think that it was a useful tool in creating the confused and traumatized character of Dan. 

I thought that the romance was out of the blue, and not really all that romantic but simply awkward which is why it took me a while to get through this book because I just couldn’t connect with the characters as their relationship was so unnatural, but then again we are talking about a human and an alien so perhaps that is too be expected. 

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the book and found it amusing and entertaining, however the second half was a tad confusing and it seemed like this novel has a lot of potential to be excellent but that it has just been a little rushed. I adored the secondary characters of Gran and Tony and thought they added a sense of reality to the story. 

Of Course this book also deals with the topic matter of death and as an audience we feel sorry for Dan, however I think that the theme of loss could have been explored in more detail however I did enjoy the fact that as an audience we were forced to question Dan’s sanity. Overall, this was a quick and entertaining read. 

My Rating – 3/5 stars 

Instagram – Globalbookmania 

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

All the Rage – Courtney Summers

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Synopsis – 

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

Goodreads Rating – 3,84/5  Stars

My Review – 

When I first heard of this book I thought that it would be similar to “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson, but thankfully that didn’t put me off picking this up and giving it go. I was pleasantly surprised by this book as the author managed to find a fine line between providing the readers with a tragic and heavy tale and something entertaining and that we can all relate too as YA readers. 

The topic of rape is common in many novels nowadays however the victims usually come from terrible families and have another 100 things that makes their life miserable that the story just becomes so depressing that I tend to lose interest. 

Now within this novel, our protagonist – Romy, is living with her mother and her boyfriend, who are both lovely characters and so incredibly supportive of her. Of course within this book there is also an element of romance which softens the situation and reminds us as readers that there is a bright future available for the victims of rape, like Romy. Even though the author portrays her as feeling all alone, we are constantly reminded of the fact that she isn’t, which refreshing. 

The writing was beautiful if not a little graphic at times. It was almost poetic which made it easy to imagine this issue in such a small town somewhere in the US. This book shows us that sometimes adults act worse than kids do, and that even though you leave high school, the system tends to stick when living in small town. One family may have all the power, and it doesn’t take much to plot people against each other. 

My Rating – 4,5/5 Stars 

Instagram – Globalbookmania 

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

The Iron Trial – Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

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Goodreads Synopsis –

Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst – and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .

Goodreads Rating – 3,93/5 stars

My Review –

I must admit that I went into this book thinking that it would be childish and boring, however I was pleasantly surprised. In my opinion the cover isn’t great and makes the book seem very juvenile, however upon reading it I believe that it is a good YA novel. Cassandra Clare and Holly Black are yet to disappoint me.

Call, the main character was unique which made him interesting and likeable, which seems rare nowadays with YA as the male protagonist are always “perfect” and frankly quite annoying, but our protagonist is complex and weird which makes him intriguing.

The book was fast paced and contrary to what some may say I was surprised by the ending and the little twist in the plot. Some may say that the entire book was very predictable, however I didn’t see it that way and really enjoyed it.

In terms of friendships, I was pleased that there were no love triangles (yay!), and that romance wasn’t a key part of the boom at all, but it looked more at friendship and how characters with very different personalities were able to put their differences and parents beliefs aside and become friends. It some small way the book did remind me of the Percy Jackson series, just because of the awesome friendships within that series and the well paced character development throughout the series.

My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Gooreads – Katerina Turner 

Instagram – Globalbookmania 

 

Paranomalcy – Kiersten White

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Goodreads Synopsis – 

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

Goodreads Rating – 3,92/5 Stars

My Review – 

When I first picked up this book I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised. Usually when I read books with teen protagonists they are always incredibly whiny and cocky, but Evie was actually a decent and realistic sixteen year old.

It was an incredibly fact paced and entertaining book that didn’t take much thought or concentration and is probably targeted at a middle grade audience. The plot line was interesting as was the world building as it was unique but not overly complex however I do think that some things could have been better explained ( for example the faeries), but overall It was well written. 

Of course there is a love triangle but that is too be expected of most YA books, however I must say that it was a weak triangle… in the sense that from the start you know exactly who the Evie will end up with, which makes the other guy a nuisance. 

My Rating – 3,5/5 Stars 

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

Instagram – Globalbookmania