Princess Academy

Title: Princess Academy

Author: Shannon Hale

Summary From Goodreads:

Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king’s priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year’s time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king’s ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.

Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.

Personal Review:

Yet another book I hoped to love but the narrator on the audiobook ruined it. Why do female narrators sound so whiny all the time? Because that is what Miri sounded like every time she spoke. A whiny brat.

I know, I know. It isn’t fair to judge this book off the audio and I should take the plot into consideration and all that sort of thing. I wish that it were that easy. But it just isn’t. The audio ruined everything about this book for me and I wasn’t able to view it rationally. I disliked the book so much that I was able to put it down for two months before I finally forced myself to finish it (during the readathon).

I didn’t find Miri to be a likable character. She felt sorry for herself WAY too much. I found the whole idea of quarry-speak to be annoying and stupid. And the love of the mountain is just plain on ridiculous. None of the characters (apart from Britta) were likable. I just didn’t like it.

I am going to leave my review there because I don’t really have anything else to add. I will probably not read the sequel seeing as I didn’t like the first book at all. I will pass it along to my 11 year old sister and hope she appreciates it more than I did.

Rating: 2

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Ready or Not

Title: Ready or Not (All-American Girl #2)

Author: Meg Cabot

Summary From Goodreads:

Top ten things Samantha Madison isn’t ready for: 10. Spending Thanksgiving at Camp David

9. With her boyfriend, the president’s son

8. Who wants to take things to the Next Level

7. Which Sam inadvertently announces live on MTV

6. While discussing the president’s dubious policies on families, morals, and, yes, sex

5. Juggling her new after-school job at Potomac Video

4. Even though she’s already the (unpaid) teen ambassador for the UN

3. Getting accosted because she’s “the redheaded girl who saved the president’s life,” despite her new ebony tresses

2. Dealing with her popular sister Lucy, who for once can’t get the guy she wants

and the number-one thing Sam isn’t ready for?

1. Finding out the hard way that in art class, “life drawing” means “naked people.”

Personal Review:

Full disclaimer – I listened to this book on audio. This is important because I thought that narrator had the most annoying voice in the world so every time Sam “spoke” I wanted to kill her. Whine whine whine. Want some cheese with that whine, Same?

Anyway, this is another book that I really wanted to love but I hated it. I know that a lot of people will put this all down to the sex factor. I won’t lie that that is part of why I hate it. But it isn’t the only reason I hated it.

Narrator: Like I mentioned earlier, the narrator in this book was incredibly annoying. She whined and it just drove me up the wall. It is in moments like this when I remind myself why I am hesitant to listen to audio books. But when you are stuck in the car as much as I am, you are willing to do it.

Samantha: This wasn’t the same Samantha Madison that I remember from All-American Girl. She is extremely judgmental (especially about her sister, Lucy. Does she not remember that at the end of the last novel, Lucy broke up Jack because of how he treated Sam?). She jumps to conclusions all the time. She whines. And she is rude. The way she treats the president is just flat out rude. And to do it on national tv is incredible wrong. She was just altogether unappealing.

Sex: Yes, there is the sex factor. Now while I personally believe in abstinence, I also know and understand that I cannot force my opinion on anyone else. And I am okay with that. Everyone has their agency to choice what they want to do for themselves. But in this book, Cabot pushes her agenda on the reader. And it was sickening. She makes a person feel like it they choose not to have sex until they are married, then they are foolish and stupid.

Now if Cabot was trying to go for the approach to “wait until you are mature and ready” then she failed. The whole novel Sam goes on and on about how she is not ready to have sex yet. Which is quiet a mature decision. Yet when she goes to tell him this, she sees him with his shirt of an all of a sudden, all of that goes out of the window and she “jumps his bones”. She ends up going with a spur of the moment decision instead of what she had decided through out the whole book. In whole, she just proved over and over again in this whole novel how immature she was to be having sex.

And then there is the purity club. Yes, because all people who believe in purity are just like Kris Parks and go around calling other people sluts. That is so real (please read the sarcasm in that). Listen, I have friends who choose to have sex outside of wedlock and friends who choose to wait. It isn’t my place to judge, it is my place to love them for who they are. So I did not appreciate the extreme stereotyping deployed by Cabot.

Ending conclusions:  In short, it is possible that I hated this book so much that I am tempted to not ever read anything by Meg Cabot ever again. It was awful and there were no redeeming qualities. I absolutely loathed it. Which sucks because I liked the first book and this one has essentially ruined it for me. Thanks for nothing, Meg. Would have been better if you had never even written this one.

Rating: 0.5

All-American Girl

Title: All-American Girl

Author: Meg Cabot

Summary From Goodreads:

TOP TEN REASONS
why Samantha Madison feels like her life might just be over:

10. Her big sister is the most popular girl in school

9. Her little sister is a certified genius

8. She’s in love with her big sister’s boyfriend

7. She got caught selling celebrity portraits in school

6. And now she’s being forced to take art classes

5. She’s just saved the President of the United States from an assassination attempt

4. So the whole world thinks she is a hero

3. Even though Sam knows she is far, far from being a hero

2. And now she’s been appointed teen ambassador to the UN

And the #1 reason
Sam’s life is utterly and completely over?

1.The President’s son just might be in love with her.

Personal Review:

I read this book for the first time when I was in High School. I got all nostalgic this past month and I wanted to reread it. I remembered it be a light story that was just an easy read. And that certainly proved to be true when I reread it this time.

Essentially, Samantha Madison is just an ordinary who happened to be at the right play at the right time (or was it the wrong place at the right time?) and saved the president. And she gets thrown together with the presidents son, David. Problem is, Samantha is in love with her older sisters boyfriend.

There isn’t much to say about this book except that if you want a short cute romance, this is your read. You will fall in love with Sam and David as Sam and David fall in love with each other.

Rating: 3.5

Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2)

Title: Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2)

Author: Laini Taylor

Summary From Goodreads:

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Personal Review:

This isn’t going to be a long review because I don’t think I can read it without majorly spoiling it.

This one keeps you guessing. Who is good? Who is bad? Is there a good and a bad or is that only an illusion? Can you forgive someone who does the unforgivable? How do you move on with your life when the one you trusted and loved the most destroyed the everything else you loved… everyone else you love? Can you ever forgive that person?

Karou deals with all of that and more in Days of Blood & Starlight. Her world was torn apart at the end of the previous book. Everything she thought she knew was wrong. Everyone she loved gone. And Akiva was to blame. So she tries to move on with her life the best she could. But those she choose to align herself with turned out to not be who she thought they were. HOW COULD ONE AUTHOR CAUSE SO MUCH EMOTIONS IN ME!!!

I literally spent the majority of the book refusing to forgive Akiva for doing what he did (if you read Daughter of Smoke and Bones you will know what I mean). The only real happy spots were with Zuzana. I love that girl! I was happy to still see her at the end. Happy she should be in the next book.

And, true to form, at the end of this novel, everything changed all over again. If you are not reading this, YOU NEED TO READ IT!

Rating: 5

Glow (Sky Chasers #1)

Title: Glow (Sky Chasers #1)

Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan

Summary From Goodreads:

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you’d been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth’s collapse, the ship’s crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader’s efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don’t know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them…

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he’s the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren’t all from the outside.

Personal Review:

Oh how I wanted to love this book. The premise was great. I don’t read many space stories so it wouldn’t have been something I had read tons of. The beginning started out so great. The girls are captured. The parents are all pretty much dead. The boys are left to fend for themselves and have to try to rescue the girls. And that is where it all went wrong. Let’s Break it down:

Religion: Full disclaimer – I am a religious person. I go to church on Sundays. I read my Scriptures daily (or at least try to). I went to Christian school with Christian teachers and Christian friends. So it bothers me to NO END how much Ryan made all religious people look crazy. The religion that they subscribed to in this novel is something that I would say 95% of religious people would NEVER NEVER agree to. Every time religion was brought up in this novel, I cringed. Other non-religious books bring it up without it have to be like a knife in the cut every time it is mentioned. For the record, it was a major turn off.

Characters: I loved Kieran (though not necessarily the religious aspect as you could see he was starting to go the crazy route). Out of the three main characters, he is the one I thought was the most stable. He showed some leadership capabilities which, if it hadn’t been undermined by other characters, could have helped out in the situation. Seth was a nightmare. I mean he was evil to the core. I hated every single thing about him. I have nothing else to say about him. Waverly was, in my opinion, an idiot. I hate it when author’s make girls unnecessarily aggressive, like that is the only way you can be a strong female character. I can sympathize that her eggs were taken from her without her permission. That was absolutely reprehensible. But I understand why it was done. And in a situation like they are in, re-population is absolutely necessary. When you are moving to a planet and starting a new world their, you have to have people to populate said planet. I don’t know if Waverly was just too stupid to understand that or what her deal was.

Love Triangle: This is the stupidest part. Why does Waverly care about Seth at all? He is the biggest jerk to ever grace a love triangle in a YA book. I hate him. But, honestly, I don’t think that Waverly is good enough for Kieran. She treats him like crap. I know this won’t be a popular opinion because a lot of reviews I read had people loving Waverly. But I really did not like her.

Sequel: Will I read the second book? Probably. I checked it out of the library. I want to know what happens. Still, I am not impressed.

Rating: 3