What I’m Reading: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Young Adult Book Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The Darkest Part of the Forest is a beautifully written (and I mean pink-sunset beautiful) novel about a young girl, her brother, a sword, and a forest full of dark faerie folk.

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Probably my favourite part of this book was that it is a standalone novel. After reading a bunch of trilogies or series, sometimes it is so nice to read a book that is just that, a book. Nothing more expected, no more cliff hangers. Hazel, the main character, is strong and headstrong, and contrast nicely to her gifted brother Ben, who is gay. It was really great to see the loves and lives of Hazel and Ben intertwine. The relationship between the two characters is fully explored and deep with complication, just like sibling relationships often are.

The only thing that sometimes wore on me with this book, was the slow, backstory which cropped up here and there. Sometimes it felt like a bit too much of the story took place in the past, but mostly I did see a place for it. And the writing was so good that it made all of the reading worthwhile.

A solid 4.5/5 Stars.

JEH

What I’m Reading: The Savage Dawn by Melissa Grey

Young Adult Book Review: The Savage Dawn by Melissa Grey

I loved The Girl At Midnight series from the first, and really looked forward to the third book. While I enjoyed the Savage Dawn, I felt like not as much happened as could have, and the characters sat around for a long time thinking about what to do.

But, I did love the way Melissa Grey ended the series. With so many series, I find I’m left unsatisfied, that things could have been done differently (Divergent comes to mind). But this ending I felt was entirely fitting.

For those of you who might have read The Girl At Midnight series yet, maybe because you only read series that are completed, now is a great time to settle down with this story.

4/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: The Death Cure by James Dashner

Young Adult Book Review: The Death Cure by James Dashner

It has taken me a long while to get around to reading the last book of The Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner. This last book in the series definitely kept me on the edge of my seat as I wondered just how Dashner was going to wrap everything up.

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Earlier this week, I posted a review for The Savage Dawn, which is also a last book in a trilogy. I wrote about how that book had an ending that fit, and that I liked. Now, I liked how The Death Cure ended the Maze Runner Trilogy, but I’m not sure I got enough information. At the end of a series, I like to have a good feeling that I know how the main character’s life is going to be, and with The Death Cure, I feel that I don’t really know what Thomas’ life will be. I feel like there could be a whole new series of books.

Now, I know that there is a novella that might fill in some gaps, and I haven’t picked it up. I’ve also read some reviews that say it doesn’t really answer the lingering questions. Overall though, the ending was solid, and hey, some people really like the unknown.

4/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Young Adult Book Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling is one of those books I heard a lot about for a long time before I finally decided to pick it up. Graceling is the story of Katsa, a fun, fearless, kick-butt female hero who reminded me a lot of Aelin from Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass Series. Published in 2008, Graceling came well before Throne of Glass, but came in the same year as The Hunger Games and the now very well known Katniss Everdeen.

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Since I was a child, female hero’s have definitely become stronger, more independent, and just as deadly as any male counterpart. And I love this. Graceling is very much a classically written epic fantasy, with slow moving, but beautiful passages of description, and less dialogue. There are good guys and bad guys and of course a few love interests.

I really enjoyed Graceling, though I felt this book had a good ending, and though there are two more books in the Graceling Realm Series, I don’t feel pressed to pick them up, as the books are about other characters. Sometimes I like this, and other times I fine with one book being just one book.

A solid 4/5 Stars.

JEH

What I’m Reading: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman

Young Adult Book Review: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Starbound Trilogy #2)

Early this year I reviewed These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, book #1 of the Starbound Trilogy. I loved that book, so I wasn’t surprised when I feel right into This Shattered World. The second book of the trilogy has two different main characters, Jubilee and Flynn, but the tension, world, and romance were similar enough that I found the transition easy. Because the mystery is bigger than the characters themselves, it is easy to get hooked.

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I listened to This Shattered World as an audiobook. It was nice that the book was ready by two narrators, one for the part of Flynn, and one for the part of Jubilee. Without two separate narrators, I might not have so easily been able to tell the chapters apart. There’s one more book left in this trilogy, and I imagine I’ll be listening to it soon.

4/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Young Adult Book Review: Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep (Mythos Academy #1)

I recently had the privilege of attending a writing conference, where Jennifer Estep was one of the Key Notes. I had never read anything from her before, and I wanted to be familiar with her work before the conference, so I picked up Touch of Frost, the first book in Estep’s Paranormal Young Adult series, Mythos Academy.

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Now, the Mythos Academy name tells you almost everything you need to know to get started reading Touch of Frost. First, it relies heavily on world mythology; Second, the Gods are back (bad and good), and Third, you’re in for a whole lot of fun. The main character in Touch of Frost is Gwen, who’s a gypsy newly arrived to a school full of warriors, most of which are also blessed with some sort of bonus magical power. Of course, as always happens, things go wrong and Gwen ends up attempting to sort things out.

Touch of Frost was a quick, easy read, set in a world that I would love to live in. There were a few weak elements with the plot, but I could overlook them because the pace was quick, and there was never a slow moment. There are currently six books in the series (apparently #7 is currently only going to be release in Germany. But six books is plenty to keep me reading for a while.

4/5 Stars

JEH

The New Thing I’m Working On: The Torc Progress #2

This past week I was focused on getting Under Jupiter up on the Kindle store. So, for a few days, I stopped writing The Torc. And I missed it! But now that UJ is up, I can get back into writing my new obsession. I’m around 1/3 finished the draft, and while I have a general outline, there are enough places where I can’t wait to be surprised by what the characters do. I’m still really excited by this idea. And I’m also very excited for the cover art. See the tiny preview below.

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This week I’m giving you a preview of the colour scheme being use. I love it. I adore purple. My absolute favourite colour is orange, but purple is a close second. And probably makes for a better cover. Which do you think is better? I remember as a kid that a lot of little girls hated orange. Like made that sour lemon face whenever they were forced to accept orange as the last option (only marker left). But orange reminds me of fruit, flowers and sunsets, all beautiful things. Purple reminds me of flowers too, but also luxurious fabrics and amethyst, one of my favourite stones.

Writing this week is going to be focused on word count. I’ll give you an update regarding my goal tomorrow, and then you’ll know why.

JEH