APL's Teen Space

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo

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The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for (Goodreads).


First off I just want to say how much I love the world that Leigh Bardugo has created. Days after reading these books, I still find myself wrapped up in the enchantment of the world. Although not all that glitters in this world is not gold,.
Besides the dynamics of the fictional world, Bardugo does an amazing job of developing her characters. Each one has their own tangable personality. She especially does an amazing job with humor in this last installment. Really. 
The whole love square with Alina, Mal, Nikolai, and the Darkling isn’t overpowering, and honestly is barely there in some aspects, but it doesn’t take away from the story. 
There are heart warming moments, as well as heart stopping moments. This last installment will not disappoint long time fans.

Skin and Bones by Sherry Shahan

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Sixteen-year-old Jack, nicknamed “Bones,” won’t eat. His roommate in the eating disorder ward has the opposite problem and proudly goes by the nickname “Lard.” They become friends despite Bones’s initial reluctance. When Bones meets Alice, a dangerously thin dancer who loves to break the rules, he lets his guard down even more. Soon Bones is so obsessed with Alice that he’s willing to risk everything-even his recovery (Amazon).


This book was not what was I expecting. That’s not an all together bad thing or good thing.
Bones and friends were likable enough characters, but it seemed like the adult characters in this book were way too detached from what was going on, Especially considering the circumstances. 
That being said, the fact that Bones and his friends could move around so freely in such a facility was a bit worrying. Especially considering the types of things that were going on.
I am happy that Shahan wrote this book though, because it does bring to light the fact that eating disorders in males is real
Although parts of the story didn’t seem too well thought out, Shahan does effectively (to an extent)  bring awareness to the disorders featured in the novel.

“Coral and Bone” by Tiffany Daune

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Fifteen-year-old Halen knows there is more to the world than most people see. She saw her dad attacked by mermaids, but her mom said it was the result of the fright when she was nine, and her imagination. But that doesn’t explain why Halen is supersensitive to sound to the point that she wears earplugs at all times. Or how it is that she can shatter a windshield with just her thoughts. When she learns that the ones she loves and trusts have lied to her all her life, she has to decide whether to help them or walk away. Tiffany Daune has put a refreshing spin on mermaids, sirens and shapeshifters. Well-written, it has fast-paced action. The tension between characters and their emotions was realistic and believable. Part paranormal romance, save the worlds, and social expectations; Halen has to decide which truth is true and what her part will be in saving life as she knows it. I cn’t wait to read what happens in book 2.

The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

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Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash.

Some work at the mall.

Becca Williamson breaks up couples.

Becca knows from experience the damage that love can do. After all, it was so-called love that turned Huxley from her childhood best friend into a social-world dictator, and love that left Becca’s older sister devastated at the altar. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, Becca strikes back—for just one hundred dollars via PayPal, she will trick and manipulate any couple’s relationship into smithereens. And with relationship zombies overrunning her school and treating single girls as if they’re second-class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even Becca’s best friend, Val, has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.

One night, Becca receives a mysterious offer to break up the most popular couple in school: Huxley and raw football team’s star player, Steve. To succeed, she’ll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date—starting rumors, sabotaging cell phones, breaking into cars…not to mention sneaking back into Huxley’s good graces. All while fending off the inappropriate feelings she may or may not be having for Val’s new boyfriend.

No one said being the Break-Up Artist would be easy.


Philip Siegel’s take on teenage romance is refreshing and hilarious.
Sure some of the ideas seem far fetched, but from my point of view, there not all out there (i.e. relationship zombies).


It’s quirky, funny, and an all around good read.


OVERALL RATING: 4/5

Killer Instinct by S.E.Green

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She’s not evil, but she has certain… urges.

Lane is a typical teenager. Loving family. Good grades. Afterschool job at the local animal hospital. Martial arts enthusiast. But her secret obsession is studying serial killers. She understands them, knows what makes them tick.

Why?

Because she might be one herself.

Lane channels her dark impulses by hunting criminals—delivering justice when the law fails. The vigilantism stops shy of murder. But with each visceral rush the line of self-control blurs.
And then a young preschool teacher goes missing. Only to return… in parts.

When Lane excitedly gets involved in the hunt for “the Decapitator,” the vicious serial murderer that has come to her hometown, she gets dangerously caught up in a web of lies about her birth dad and her own dark past. And once the Decapitator contacts Lane directly, Lane knows she is no longer invisible or safe. Now she needs to use her unique talents to find the true killer’s identity before she—or someone she loves—becomes the next victim…


What initially drew me to this book was that the synopsis sorta kinda reminded me of Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers.

Killer Instinct is no where near the same level as that. 


Lane is basically a copy-and-paste character, like the author just looked up traits of a serial killer and described her as such, except Lane’s no where near as clever as she thinks she is. Almost every aspect of the story is disconnected from everything else, like, no offense, Green didn’t even bother trying to build the world around her main character. You can’t have a detached main character and then detached her from her surroundings because then the reader simply won’t be attached to your story.


Simply put, Killer Instinct is a waste of time, unless you want to pick apart an entire story, and still find yourself disappointed in the end.

OVERALL RATING: 1/5

 

Champion (Legend #3) by Marie Lu

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He is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.

Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position.

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything.

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.


I’m not even going to lie; I got a little teary at the end.
Marie Lu has done an amazing job with the entire Legend trilogy, and her epic conclusion does not disappoint. 
In fact she exceeded my expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The pace was absolutely perfect, as well as the characters and their developments. The ending was by far one of the best endings to a series/trilogy that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading: sad, bittersweet, but always with that dash of hope. 


Marie Lu is a champion!


OVERALL RATING: 5/5

Book – Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols

perfect coupleHarper, ever the good girl, is school photographer and is dating the yearbook editor. Her parents are going through a nasty divorce and her mom wants Harper to skip college and help her run the B&B. Her last two boyfriends turned out to both be gay ans had only dated Harper because they wanted a cover and she knows how to keep a secret. Brody is Quarterback of the football team. He is outgoing and basically everything Harper is not, so when the school votes them the”perfect couple that never was” these two start to see each other in a different light.

A big thank you to Edelweiss.com for the advance e-copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Honestly I’m not a huge fan of chick lit, but this series has pulled me in. I read these books within a few days at the most.  The characters are never quite what you expect. For instance I never thought Harper’s dad would be like he was. The story is light and airy and makes you smile at times plus it deals with a lot of the issues that kids face that nobody really talks to them about. While I like the covers of these books, I wish they matched their actual superlative photos. Plus I really with we got to see the story from the guys point of view as well. Overall this is a fantastic series and I can’t wait to read more!

The Final Descent (The Monstrumologist #4) by Rick Yancey

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Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop have encountered many horrors together—but can Will endure a monstrumological terror without his mentor?

Will Henry has been through more that seems possible for a boy of fourteen. He’s been on the brink of death on more than one occasion, he has gazed into hell—and hell has stared back at him, and known his face. But through it all, Dr. Warthrop has been at his side.

When Dr. Warthrop fears that Will’s loyalties may be shifting, he turns on Will with a fury, determined to reclaim his young apprentice’s devotion. And so Will must face one of the most horrific creatures of his monstrumology career—and he must face it alone.

Over the course of one day, Will’s life—and Pellinor Warthrop’s destiny—will lie in balance. In the terrifying depths of the Monstrumarium, they will face a monster more terrible than any they could have imagined—and their fates will be decided.


First off, let me start by saying that Rick Yancey is one of my favorite authors. He’s an excellent story teller. But as far as this ending, I’m a bit disappointed.
I felt a little robbed at the end of this, and the fact that this is the absolute end of the Monstrumologist is heartbreaking.
I just want to clarify that I’m disappointed with the ending, but not with the book as a whole. Overall, Yancey does an amazing job of developing the character of Will Henry, as well as Dr. Warthrop, and showing readers that sometimes the scariest, most gruesome monsters are the ones inside humans.


These are the secrets.
 
I was not disappointed with the story at all. Just the ending. The end of the end.

OVERALL RATING: 4.2/5

Awake at Dawn (Shadow Falls #2) by C.C. Hunter

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Step into the world of Shadow Falls, a camp that helps teens tap into their special…talents. Once you visit, you’ll never forget it—and you’ll never, ever be the same.

From the moment Kylie Galen arrived at Shadow Falls Camp, she’s had one burning question: What am I? Surrounded by vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, fairies and witches, Kylie longs to figure out her own supernatural identity…and what her burgeoning powers mean. And now she’ll need them more than ever, because she’s being haunted by a new spirit who insists that someone Kylie knows—and loves—will die before the end of the summer. If only she knew who she was supposed to save. And how…

But giving Kylie the most trouble is her aching heart. Gorgeous werewolf Lucas left camp with another girl, but he’s still visiting Kylie in her dreams. And Derek, a sexy half Fae who’s always been there for her when she needed him, is pushing to get more serious—and growing impatient, especially when Lucas returns. Kylie knows she needs to decide between the boys, and it’s tearing her up inside.

Yet romance will have to wait, because something from the dark side of the supernatural world is hiding in Shadow Falls. It’s about to threaten everything she holds dear…and bring her closer to her destiny. (Goodreads).


It took me quite awhile to finish the book. Three days to be exact, and that’s above average for me. In a bad way. The magical mystery of Kylie’s identity has worn off in Awake at Dawn, and I was  left with the feeling that at this point, maybe there wasn’t much to talk about in order for the continuation of the plot. So, we’re led in circles: What am I? What does the ghost want? I like Derek, but I don’t. I like Lucas, but I don’t. What am I? It got old very quickly and I struggled to pull through the second half of the book. And in the end I was left with more questions, and disappointed. 


OVERALL RATING: 3/5

Book – Meant to be by Lauren Morrill

meant to beJulia is on a trip to England with several of her classmates, none of them her friends. Known as “book licker” to most of the students going with her she is still looking forward to the trip since it is where her parents honeymooned. But the drama all starts on the plane when Jason suggests that she and him joined the mile high club as she comes back from the bathroom after trying to get gum out of her hair. Then they are paired as “buddies” for the duration of the trip. With the constant rule breaker as her buddy Julia has to find a way to survive the week. She agrees to go to a house party with him only because she is supposed to keep an eye out for her buddy, but while there she ends up letting loose and drinking more then she probably should. In the morning she remembers having talked to several guys and giving them her number so when one guy starts messaging her she needs help. She remembers telling them she was a model and Alter-Julia from the party is a rule breaker, something the real Julia is not. So Jason and Julia make a deal. Julia will write the refection papers if Jason helps her with finding the mysterious guy on the phone. But as the week goes on Julia starts to question what she knows about MTB (Meant to be). She always believed her MTB was Mark, the boy who pretend married her when they were five. But with phone boy calling her and Jason showing sides of himself that she had never noticed she starts to wonder.

I thought this was a cute chick lit book. It made me wonder why the author didn’t delve deeper into Julia’s parents relationship. From what I was understanding they argued a lot, but I only got that from one small blurb in the book. Everything else was all peaches and cream between them.  Jason is the type of person that I would have slapped at the beginning of the book and I was much like Julia growing up. I would have demanded a different partner when I got stuck with him or found someone to switch partners with me.  I don’t see how Julia wasn’t able to know what Mark was like. High school gossip gets around and she has a perfect Gossip queen right there on the trip with her. I was so excited to finish this story that I stopped listening to the audio and picked up the actual book so that I could finish it over lunch. Its a fun and funny read if you are looking for a little romance and a lot of drama.