Welcome to yAdult Review, a space where two girls review novels from across the genres, from YA and MG, to fantasy and sci-fi, to historical fiction and mystery, with a sprinkling of non-fiction too. We hope you enjoy your stay here as much as we enjoy ours.

Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom


22701879Not If I See You First 
by Eric Lindstrom
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Publisher: Poppy
Source: NOVL newsletter
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

The Rules:

Don’t deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.

Don’t help me unless I ask. Otherwise you’re just getting in my way or bothering me.

Don’t be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I’m just like you only smarter.

Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there’s only one way to react—shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that’s right, her eyes don’t work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened—both with Scott, and her dad—the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.

Combining a fiercely engaging voice with true heart, debut author Erid Lindstrom’s Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.  – Goodreads

Review:

Parker is my favorite type of character: snarky, takes no shit, she’s outspoken, she’s often selfish and she happens to be blind. Parker hates when people considers her the blind one, even though she doesn’t go out of her way to hide the fact that she’s blind. By wearing scarves over her eyes she draws attention to it, but loves to make a fashion statement.

I’m struck by the oddness of how this outing is so ordinary and yet so remarkable. I see friends every day, and we talk and text a lot outside of school — through mostly Sarah and I — but we hardly go out to do anything. — page 123

What I love about Parker is she is not the “typical” likeable character. And while I could go on a rant about likeable characters that tends to come out around my friend Aaron, the thing is, Parker is awesome mostly because she’s not likeable. I know a lot of people who loathe Parker because she’s not what they were expecting. Parker breaks a lot of molds, who happens to be blind.

Something’s shaking loose inside me. I feel angry but definitely sad that Sarah and I aren’t as close as I thought…–page 163

What’s also important about Not If I See You First is the fact it’s not a romance. There is romance in the story, but it’s more about growing up, learning to really listen and my favorite thing: diverse! female! friendships

It hits me, clear as ice-cold water how for three months I’ve had almost no physical contact with anyone — page 149

Throughout this book I had those high school feelings and I loved that. I felt that Lindstrom really understood high school emotions and how complex high school can be. It’s nice that the focus wasn’t about a blind girl, it was about a selfish teenager who happens to be blind. My heart went out to Parker throughout this novel.  Her parents are both gone, she’s living with her aunt, uncle and two cousins, she’s lost and confused and by the end of Not If I See You First she finds out she wasn’t really ever listening either. Throughout Not If I See You First, Lindstrom covers a wide range of emotions and topics that has me excited to see what comes from him next.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

keeperThrone of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Library
Rating: DNF
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined. – Goodreads

Review:
Oh, YA fantasy, you never fail to NOT SURPRISE ME AT ALL. This was recommended to me awhile ago and I couldn’t get into it at the time (burn burnout is LEGIT), but it’s been so long that I figured I’d try again. And I enjoyed it. But I also rolled my eyes the whole time. So the thing with YA, as I’m sure all of you know, is you often have to suspend your disbelief a little. Or a lot. Enough to accept that the most feared assassin in the land is 18 years old and obsessed with fashion. The standard YA protag has dozens of boys after her and some impossible qualities and weird interests. This book is sort of what I imagine is under the definition of “impossible YA.” Celaena is impossible. She’s a character that could not possibly exist, but the world she’s in makes it possible for her to. She’s also apparently Special (some kind of fairy was my guess), and she’s also the Person Who Can Save The World. Well, of course she is. It wouldn’t be fantasy without a one-dimensional Big Bad, an evil force, or something of that nature, going up against an Assassin with a Heart of Gold. Around the three-quarter mark, I lost interest a bit, but that has more to do with me than this book; it happens a lot. But around three-quarters is when the action might have started picking up, and it just…didn’t.

So. I had misgivings about all the tropes in this one, but I still liked it. I liked Celaena because she wasn’t some mousy, timid, doesn’t-know-she’s-beautiful type. She’s vain, mouthy, arrogant, and very very proud of her abilities and status. She has a softer side and a lot of pain and regret, so she’s a somewhat well-rounded character. I also liked Chaol, for reasons mostly unknown, or maybe I just liked him more than I liked Dorian. Hell, I liked Kaltain more than I liked Dorian. Dorian has his own issues, but he’s still about as deep as a mud puddle. I liked the writing and the pacing, even though the book is a little long (and I hear they just get looooonger). I also would have liked to see a little of Celaena actually assassinating people instead of just telling us all about how she used to assassinate people, but this book is not about that, it’s about this weird love triangle, and supposedly it’s about the quest to become Champion, even though we all know right off the bat that Celaena is going to win. In all, I found this one to be pretty standard, typical YA fantasy, which is probably why it’s so popular. The standard formula works and appeals to lots of people. I just wish Celaena could take some pointers from Ismae or Sybella.

I just found this to be SO BORING. It took me almost two months to read and I had to force myself to do it. I got stuck at the three-quarter mark and just couldn’t force myself to finish. I eventually had to quit. I read something like 4 or 5 books in between putting this down and picking it back up. I love fantasy, but I didn’t love this.

The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal & Scoundrel #1) by Sarah MacLean


25120151The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal & Scoundrel #1)
by Sarah MacLean
Date: December 29, 2015
Publisher: Avon
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Lady Sophie’s Society Splash

When Sophie, the least interesting of the Talbot sisters, lands her philandering brother-in-law backside-first in a goldfish pond in front of all society, she becomes the target of very public aristocratic scorn. Her only choice is to flee London, vowing to start a new life far from the aristocracy. Unfortunately, the carriage in which she stows away isn’t saving her from ruin . . . it’s filled with it.

Rogue’s Reign of Ravishment!

Kingscote, “King,” the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, resulting in a reputation far worse than the truth, a general sense that he’s more pretty face than proper gentleman, and an irate summons home to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the journey becomes anything but boring.

War? Or More?

He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, making opposites altogether too attractive . . .

– Goodreads

Review:

On the way to Boston this year, for ALAMW, I finished a handful of books and started and finished one. This would be the one that I inhaled this book so quickly. MacLean reminded with with The Rogue Not Taken why I fell in love with historical romance novels. I denied this genre for so long and MacLean was one of the first I fell in love with and this reminded me why.

The Rogue Not Taken is the story of Sophie who is trying to ignore and run away from her real life and King is her knight in shining armor — who doesn’t want to be one. King had some hardships in life and he’s fine with the way life is. His mother is gone. His father is an asshole. King is fine with the way things are.

“You brought Lady Sophie to anger me. So I gave you what you wished. Because it is easier to be the man you wish me to be than the man I wish to attempt to be.” — 94%

The problem is once their paths crossed they can’t stop crossing. He can’t saving her and she can’t stop being a damsel in distress. What I loved though was MacLean wrote a story where Sophie didn’t want to be in distress. Sophie was pretty independant for her time and did what she could. That being said, she fell in love with King. She didn’t want to. King was not the man she imagined for herself, but he was perfect for her.

“And she knew, this place, this man — he would always be home.” –78%

As much as Sophie didn’t want to be the damsel, King didn’t want to do any saving. He was enjoying his bachelor life and didn’t want a Sophie. What he didn’t know, of course, is that he needed a Sophie. What MacLean did was create an adorable story that I cannot wait to read again and see them in the rest of the Scandal & Scoundrel series.

All Broke Down (Rusk University #2) by Cora Carmack


20525621All Broke Down (Rusk University #2)
by Cora Carmack
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Source: Audio from library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star (3.5)
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

In life, you can’t only fight for what you believe in . . .sometimes you have to fight for what you love

Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.

Environmental issues, civil rights, education—you name it, she’s probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail for a few hours, she meets Silas Moore. He’s in for a different kind of fighting. And though he’s arrogant and not at all her type, she can’t help being fascinated with him.

Yet another lost cause.

Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it’s trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He’s met girls like her before—fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn’t think he’s broken, and he definitely doesn’t need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about, his spot on the Rusk University football team.

Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.

Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all. . – Goodreads

Review:

Silas didn’t have an easy life. He hasn’t seen his mother in 8 years and when he did see his mother it was always questionable if there would be a bed for him to sleep on. This is why when he sees his mother, he goes to a bar itching for a fight. In the first book in the Rusk University series, we learn that Silas is a bit of an asshole. If he wasn’t a bit of an asshole, he would have never met Dylan.

Dylan is a do-gooder with a heart of gold that just wants to be seen. What the two have in common is they want a steady safe place in the world. To feel loved for being themselves. The thing is Carmack wrote All Broke Down and used very little to no tropes and it was glorious. Silas was an asshole in All Lined Up he could have easily been one here, but instead he was humanized and I enjoyed that evolution.

Silas always feels like a fuck up. His past. His present. His future. And Dylan makes him feel like a fuck up. The problem is Dylan didn’t mean to, Dylan’s brain just doesn’t stop thinking. Silas’ brain does the same thing, but in a completely different way. He’s hidden his past from everyone and he fears what this means for his future. He fears being a fuck up but while fearing that, he fucks up. A lot. Silas has not much going for him, all he has is the team and he’s on the verge of fucking that up too.

Dylan doesn’t want to be a fuck up either. As an adopted child, she fears that they will regret adopting her and she worries about that. This was the first Carmack book that I’ve read that I really got into and the one I really had problems putting down or stopping (since I was listening to it as an audiobook). I was also intrigued how Carmack ended the book because she showed she doesn’t hide away from important issues.

Decked with Holly by Marni Bates

13188003Decked with Holly by Marni Bates
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: K-Teen
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Smartly blending of-the-moment pop culture references and timeless themes, Bates follows her YA debut, “Awkward”, with a hilarious, over-the-top adventure about a teen girl who becomes the fake girlfriend of a cute rock star.

Taking a Christmas cruise with her two cousins from hell isn’t Holly’s idea of a good time. And when seasickness forces her into an open suite, she’s pepper-sprayed by a gorgeous guy called Nick. But when Holly makes her exit, she’s greeted by a horde of screaming teenage fans. Because Nick happens to be Dominic Wyatt, drummer for one of the hottest bands in America. Suddenly rumours are swirling and Holly’s face is plastered all over the Internet. The band can’t risk a scandal destroying their family-friendly image, so Dominic convinces Holly to be his fake girlfriend – just for two weeks. How bad could it be to be “fauxmantically” involved with a cute rock star? She’s about to find out…– Goodreads

Review:

I adored this book. I went into it with no expectations and finished it with heart eyes. And who doesn’t enjoy heart eyes? That being said, it is not perfect. Decked with Holly is not even close to a perfect book, but I still enjoyed it.

Decked with Holly is the story of Holly, and yes, that is really her name. Holly, who is full of YA tropes, but still adorable, snarky and clumsy. She has an awesome BFF, a fairly awesome grandfather, and a fairly low self-esteem due to the rest of her annoying family. Her aunt and cousins deserved a good slap in the face, that while sadly never happened, this reader was hoping for.

The counterpart to Holly is Nick, a rockstar who wants a break from his real life. Nick is a musician who needs a break. He’s overworked and just wants a pause button on his life. What Nick doesn’t expect is to take a cruise and meet Holly. Holly and Nick seem to have a mutual use for each other and since Holly can act on a dime they slowly become friends.

What I wouldn’t have minded more of what the Christmas aspect. I understand why Bates didn’t go that route since Holly hates her name, but I wouldn’t have minded more Christmas, personality. This is the perfect three star book. It’s not going to be an award winner. But it was light, fluffy and an escape from the world, which I desperately needed at the time and you know what? There is nothing wrong with that!

Towering by Alex Flinn


15806868Towering
 by Alex Flinn
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: e-book from library
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

High in my tower I sit. I watch the birds fly below, the clouds float above, and the tall green forest stretch to places I might never see.

Mama, who isn’t my mother, has kept me hidden away for many years. My only companions, besides Mama, are my books—great adventures, mysteries, and romances that I long to make my reality. But I know that no one will come to save me—my life is not a fairy tale after all.

Well, at least no one has come so far. Recently, my hair has started to grow rapidly and it’s now long enough to reach the bottom of the tower from my window. I’ve also had the strangest dreams of a beautiful green-eyed man.

When Mama isn’t around, I plan my escape, even if it’s just for a little while. There’s something—maybe someone—waiting for me out there and it won’t find me if I’m trapped here Towering above it all. – Goodreads

Review:

I am here for your YA fairytale re-tellings. Give me all of them! This is why I was so excited to read Towering by Alex Flinn. Told in multiple POVs Towering is the story of, Rachel, who is stuck in a tower, Wyatt who is dealing with his own demons and Danielle’s diary entries. From Long Island, Wyatt is forced to move up north, to live in a small no-named town and live, with who we are lead to believe, is the town crazy, Ms. Greenwood. It’s a dark and drafty old house and the first thing he sees is a ghost.

You came here to get away from your problems, but instead, you’re stuck with an old lady and her long-dead ghosts” — pg 57, ebook

And that’s when we find out Wyatt’s demon is the fact that his best friend has recently died. His best friend has recently died and now he’s stuck in a home with, currently, no working wi-fi and cell reception. Wyatt isn’t too sure if he’s better off here.

“If you’re not the hero, does that make you a villain?” — pg 175, ebook

To be honest, there was nothing overly exciting about this book. What kept me hanging on was ultimately how the three POVs looped and weaved together. What ultimately happened was one of my least favorite YA tropes–instalove. (YAY!)

“I loved him. Though we had barely met, there was some power greater than me, greater than all, that bound him to me” — pg 260, ebook.

Ultimately this book fell flat for me. I wanted to love it. But in the end it was to convoluted for me to buy into the plot line, or the love story.

Soundless by Richelle Mead


24751478Soundless
by Richelle Mead
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Publisher:  Razorbill
Source: ALA2015
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

In a village without sound…

For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.

One girl hears a call to action…

Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Sound becomes her weapon.

She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever…

And unlocks a power that will save her people. – Goodreads

Review:

I did not know it was possible to be so underwhelmed by a book and I was. There was nothing special or spectacular about this book. I thought it would be nice to read a Mead book outside of the Vampire Academy world, but reading Soundless made me think maybe I should just stay inside the Vampire Academy world.

In the Soundless world there are three classes: the miners, the artists, the beggers. That’s it. Everyone falls into one of these three categories. In reality, everyone falls into one of the first two categories and as soon as someone goes blind, they become beggers. Everyone is also deaf, they have no idea how they lost their ability to hear, but it is what everyone knows.

I also am not sure why in Soundless there is a such a focus on Asian culture in the beginning of this novel because it doesn’t come up ever again. Soundless was dry and bland. There was no humor. There was no character development, or world building. I had come to expect more from Mead and this makes me wonder about those expectations.

 


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