Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Book Cover of Dorothy Must Die by Danielle PaigeTitle: Dorothy Must Die
Author: Danielle Paige
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Hardcover: 464 pages

Where’d I Get It: Purchased from Barnes & Noble

Synopsis (From Goodreads): I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still the yellow brick road, though—but even that’s crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas.

I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, and I’ve been given a mission:

REMOVE
The Tin Woodman’s heart,
STEAL
The Scarecrow’s brain,
TAKE
The Lion’s courage,

And then—

DOROTHY MUST DIE.

My Thoughts: If you’ve followed Literary Obsession for any length of time, you know I have a love for fairytale retellings.  Even if it’s an author I’m absolutely not interested in, if they publish a fairytale retelling, I’m going to jump on that ship. It’s just a thing.  So, despite being on a buying ban and deciding I wasn’t going to review books anymore and all that fun stuff, when I heard about Dorothy Must Die, I had to have it. I pre-ordered it, read it the day it downloaded onto my Nook, and it’s what thrust me back into the world of book blogging.  It’s just -good-. Danielle Paige’s debut was quite honestly thrilling. I haven’t read a YA book, or a fairytale retelling, or a debut book, or any combination of the above that was so interesting, well written, and engaging as this one was in a long while. Amy was absolutely fascinating as a protagonist and, in my opinion at least, was absolutely relatable to the age group (and older).  She came from a pretty bad life and rises above without being overly dramatic or insanely silly. Again and again the author surprised me with twists and tidbits that made me smile or groan – but you know, in a good way. In general, the writing was crisp and smooth while being easy to follow and not at all dumbed down. Some of the things I did not love as much  all of which made this an entirely pleasant read and one that I’ll likely do again as soon as the sequel comes out.  Now, while I easily enjoy this nearly as much as I enjoyed Wicked, there are some portions that made me cringe. The author seemed to fixate on our antagonist’s sexuality pretty heavily rather than leaning more heavily on other actual evil things. Hopefully there’s less of that in the second book. Honestly, though, aside from that bit – I loved this book. I loveloveloved it. It’s awesome.

If you’re interested in a reimagined version of the world of Oz, go grab this book. Be prepared for nothing to be as you expect it to be if you’re familiar with the original, and come back and let me know if you enjoyed all the little details the author slipped in from the classic story.

Rating: 4.5 of 5

SeriesDorothy Must Die, Book 1 | Second: The Wicked Will Rise (expected publication: 2015) | Third: Untitled (expected publication: 2017)

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Top Ten Tuesday #4

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. 

Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s topic is:

Top Ten… New Series I Want To Start

Oh man… I don’t know! Let’s start scrambling…

  1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – I’ve just heard so many good things. It’s a brick to start, though, so I’m intimidated. So intimidated.
  2. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater – I loved the Shiver series, so I’m intrigued.
  3. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey – I actually have the first two books of this series on my Nook, but I’ve not started it. What’s wrong with me??
  4. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis – I think I own this. Maybe? Hrm. Anyway, I want to read it.
  5. Written in Red by Anne Bishop
  6. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
  7. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

I can’t think of any others at the moment… I believe that’s all the actual known (to me) series that I have on my list… maybe? Who knows!  Anywho, thanks for stopping by to take a peek.

Lovelove,
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Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

Book image of Into the Still Blue by Veronica RossiTitle: Into the Still Blue
Author: Veronica Rossi
Genre: Young Adult Post Apocalyptic/Dystopian
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Hardcover: 392 pages

Where’d I Get It: Purchased from Barnes & Noble

Synopsis (From Goodreads):  The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do—and they are just as determined to stay together.

Within the confines of a cave they’re using as a makeshift refuge, they struggle to reconcile their people, Dwellers and Outsiders, who are united only in their hatred of their desperate situation. Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. Then Roar arrives in a grief-stricken fury, endangering all with his need for revenge.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble an unlikely team for an impossible rescue mission. Cinder isn’t just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival–he’s also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

In this final book in her earth-shattering Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.

My Thoughts: You know… I didm’t want to like this series. I really didn’t. But… yeah, I did. Miss Protagonist went from flakey to only a tiny bit flaky and she proved she had the ability to stand on her own two feet. I love seeing character development over a series – one of my biggest pet peeves is watching characters remain flat and get stale throughout a trilogy; It makes for painful reading.  Rossi managed to keep things fresh, though, and for that reason (and the plot’s fabulous) you should just go buy the books.  I do feel like some of the situations and outcomes were fairly predictable, but I think that’s somewhat of a standard in YA books these days. At the same time, despite the slight predictability, the story wasn’t boring and the author still managed to plop in a few surprises. I -may- actually read this series again, so I’m glad I purchased them instead of borrowing from the library.  Give them a go!

Rating: 4 of 5

SeriesUnder the Never Sky, Book 3 | First: Under the Never Sky | Second: Through the Ever Night

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Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Book cover of Black Ice by Becca FitzpatrickTitle: Black Ice
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 07, 2014
Hardcover: 400 pages
Series: No

Where’d I Get It: For review from the publisher

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Sometimes danger is hard to see… until it’s too late.

Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn’t prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage.

In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain. As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there… and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target.

But nothing is as it seems in the mountains, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally?

My Thoughts: Once again, I’ve had to take a while after reading this to really gather my thoughts about it. Initially, one or two or three pages in, I was docking stars every word. I was down to around negative five before it switched over into the actual meat of the book and got marginally better.  This is a thriller/mystery that is a little less thrilling and slightly less mysterious than I’d have liked.  Britt made me want to groan probably around every other page, because her taste in men is unhealthy at best. This is yet another YA novel where the parents are nonexistent and the kids are just absolute morons.  That said – our protag did eventually put her big girl panties on and stepped up, sort of… A little? Well, anyway, she got less annoying.

The author’s writing is lovely, but the plot just lacked something. That, combined with a weak protagonist who had Bella Syndrome in the extreme (and a weird case of Stockholm Syndrome, on top of it), made me glad this is a stand alone and not the start of a series.  All in all, it was a moderately enjoyable evening’s read – it kept me engaged enough to keep the pages turning, but I didn’t love it.

Rating: 3 of 5

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Annd…apparently there’s a book trailer? I’m taking no credit here, obviously, this was produced by or done by or set up by … well, whatever … Simon & Schuster.  I’m just sharing, because sharing is caring!

 

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Book Cover of Through the Ever Night by Veronica RossiTitle: Through the Ever Night
Author: Veronica Rossi
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: January 08, 2013
Hardcover: 352 pages

Where’d I Get It: Borrowed from the Library/Purchased from B&N

Synopsis (From Goodreads): It’s been months since Aria learned of her mother’s death.

Months since Perry became Blood Lord of the Tides, and months since Aria last saw him.

Now Aria and Perry are about to be reunited. It’s a moment they’ve been longing for with countless expectations. And it’s a moment that lives up to all of them. At least, at first.

Then it slips away. The Tides don’t take kindly to former Dwellers like Aria. And the tribe is swirling out of Perry’s control. With the Aether storms worsening every day, the only remaining hope for peace and safety is the Still Blue. But does this haven truly exist?

Threatened by false friends and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and sci-fi elements to create a captivating adventure-and a love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

My Thoughts: I’ve had to have a long moment to reflect on this book and now that I’m sitting down to write the review, I still don’t know if I’m going to be able to adequately express exactly what it is that I love, and hate, about the book. Firstly, it does not suffer from middle book syndrome. Rossi has made clear effort here to make sure the middle child of the series is not left floundering in missing details and superfluous nonsense. Kudos to her for that. Aria and Perry are slightly more relatable through this portion of the series, yet though I now feel like they mesh a little more freely together, the beginnings of their relationship seemed so forcefully shoved down the readers throats that I have a hard time letting that go. I do love that we get some insight into some other relationships in the books – both romantic and otherwise. The entire cast feels more ‘real’ now than they did in the first book.  All in all, this is a fabulous continuation of the series and I would have to say that this is a genuinely better book than the first one. I can only hope that number three continues that trend.

Rating: 4 of 5

SeriesUnder the Never Sky, Book 2 | First: Under the Never Sky | Third: Into the Still Blue (Review Forthcoming)

Doomed by Tracy Deeds

Book Cover of Doomed by Tracy DeebsTitle: Doomed
Author: Tracy Deeds
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic
Publisher: Walker Children’s
Publication Date: January 08, 2013
Hardcover: 480 pages

Where’d I Get It: Purchased from B&N

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Beat the game. Save the world.

Pandora’s an average teen, glued to her cell phone and laptop, until the day her long-lost father sends her a link to a mysterious site featuring photos of her as a child. Curious, Pandora enters the site, unwittingly unleashing a global computer virus that plunges the whole world into panic: suddenly, there’s no Internet. No cell phones. No traffic lights, hospitals or law enforcement. Only Pandora’s Box, a virtual-reality game created by Pandora’s father, remains up and running. Together with her neighbors, gorgeous stepbrothers Eli and Theo, Pandora must follow the photographs from her childhood in an attempt to beat the game and track down her father—and rescue the world. Part The Matrix, part retelling of the Pandora myth, Doomed has something for gaming fans, dystopian fans, and romance fans alike.

My ThoughtsWell, then. I’m struggling to find something cheery and positive to say about this one, but honestly… I just didn’t like it.  I did finish it, which is saying something, but I don’t feel very excited about that fact.  While the protagonist wasn’t a simpering wallflower good-for-nothing, she did as per usual have a heavy reliance on two uber-smart, uber-strong, awesomely adorable teen boys who just happened to be perfectly placed as her neighbors and brilliantly able to help her out through the trials and tribulations that were thrown in her face.  The sad part is, the plot could have been awesome… the basic idea of it is really interesting, but the execution felt hurried and far, far too focused on the big burly boys who were there to save our pitiful (yet not quite as pitiful as Twilight’s Bella!) damsel in distress. There’s a few video game fight scenes that fell so flat I wanted to bonk my forehead against the table, and the repetitive nature of each “boss” fight was agonizing.  Go ahead and pick it up from the library. It won’t hurt you to read it, but I doubt you’ll be enthralled enough to hope for a sequel.

Rating: 2 of 5

Watermelon by Marian Keyes

Book Cover of Watermelon by Marian KeyesTitle: Watermelon
Author: Marian Keyes
Genre: Chick Lit/Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 23, 2007 (Originally published 1998)
Paperback: 432 pages

Where’d I Get It: Purchased from B&N

Synopsis (From Goodreads):  Claire has everything she ever wanted: a husband she adores, a great apartment, a good job. Then, on the day she gives birth to their first baby, James informs her that he’s leaving her. Claire is left with a newborn daughter, a broken heart, and a postpartum body that she can hardly bear to look at.

She decides to go home to Dublin. And there, sheltered by the love of a quirky family, she gets better. So much so, in fact, that when James slithers back into her life, he’s in for a bit of a surprise.

My ThoughtsWe all know I mostly read YA, so I’m not exactly sure why I even bought this book. It was probably the pregnant lady on the front, and/or the really pretty green lawn. I love both of those things. Babies and lawns are awesome. Anyway!

While I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and definitely laughed through some parts and absolutely felt connected with our protagonist, it left me feeling like most Chick Lit does – like I haven’t really read anything substantial or that stimulated my imagination. You have a woman who has man trouble. Without giving away the entire plot of the book, if you’ve ever read a romance novel involving one woman and two love interests, you’ve probably read most of this. That said… the writing style was awesome. There’s witty bantering conversation and there’s grammatical awesomeness with very few stilted sentences that make you want to claw your eyes out.  Or at least, none that I noticed. So, while the plot left me a bit “meh”, the author managed to keep me interested to the end, anyway.  If you want a light, slightly funny, moderately uplifting (in parts!) beach read, this is a good one to add to your tote.

Rating: 3 of 5

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle HodkinTitle: The Evolution of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books
Publication Date: October 29, 2013
Hardcover: 544 pages

Where’d I Get It: For review from the publisher.

Synopsis (From Goodreads): The truth about Mara Dyer’s dangerous and mysterious abilities continues to unravel in this gripping sequel to the thrilling “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.” One week after Mara walked into a police station in Miami at the close of “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer,” she has been committed to psychiatric treatment for what her parents believe was a mental breakdown. But what seems like a hallucination to everyone else is a chilling reality for Mara. Someone from her past has discovered her strange, deeply disturbing secret and that someone wants her to pay. But when no one believes the truth, Mara is totally helpless. The only person on her side is Noah Shaw, as sexy and handsome as he is loyal and cunning. Noah is the only person who can help Mara–as long as he doesn’t get himself killed in the process.

My Thoughts: I really, really enjoyed The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the first book in this series. I just as thoroughly enjoyed The Evolution of Mara Dyer. Now, I have to admit, I read this book back in 2012… and forgot to post the review because life got super craaaaazy super fast for a while there. So, I reread the book, and I enjoyed it just as much this time as I did the first time.

Seriously, you need to read this series. The third (and final?) book comes out in November and I cannot wait to get my greedy little hands on it. The same things apply to Evolution as I said about Unbecoming… the story is fresh, the characters are easy to empathize with, and it’s just well written. Go buy it. I’m sure enough that you’ll like it that you can just skip the library and grab a copy of your own – you’ll be wanting to reread it anyway!

Rating: 4.5 of 5

Series: Mara Dyer, Book 2 | First: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer | Third: The Retribution of Mara Dyer (To Be Released: November 4, 2014)