The Whimsical Mama

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Non-Contemporary Young Adult Beach Reads June 20, 2016

Filed under: Books — Maura @ 12:01 am
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When I read Jamie’s post about non-contemporary young adult beach reads, I knew it was the perfect post for me to share my own recommendations. I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary reads. I do recommend Emery Lord and Jennifer Echols though if you are looking for good contemporary authors.

These are all quick reads. They aren’t heavily detailed in world building (no Tolkien style writing here!) but the character development is great.

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  1. The Wrath and the Dawn is a delicious quick historical fantasy. This is a retelling of Arabian Nights and Renee Ahdieh is a brilliant story teller. Just make sure you take the sequel, The Rose and the Dagger, with you!

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2. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a little heavier on the world building, but this trilogy is still a fantastic read. It’s always great to read about a badass girl who can take care of herself! Plus there’s a super steamy romance that’s perfect for beach reading. Don’t forget to take along The Winner’s Crime and The Winner’s Kiss.

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3. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. In my opinion, The Infernal Devices is the superior series in Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter realm. On audio or physical reading, this trilogy is a fantastic quick binge.

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4. Legend by Marie Lu. This was actually a beach read for me a few summers ago. I devoured Legend and Prodigy at the beach and it left me panting for Champion. This dystopian is a brilliant page turner.

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5. A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano is a middle grade novel, but that doesn’t take anything away from its brilliance. I devoured this read in one sitting, even though it wasn’t at the beach, but at home. I do think this would be a quick beach read though!

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6. The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter. I’m always a glutton for a good read involving Greek mythology. This series by Aimee Carter is a super quick binge that’s light, dark, and romantic all in one!

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7. Die for Me by Amy Plum. A swoony Frenchman? Yes, please! I adore Paris, so even visiting through reading is great. Throw in relaxing by the ocean and it’s PERFECTION.

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8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. While I still need to read the last book, this is a fantastic fantasy. Plus it’ll make you want to ditch the beach and head to Prague!

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9. Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz. Yep. Melissa de la Cruz’s drama filled series with fallen angels as vampires series makes the list. The fantasy aspect is light and almost contemporary in presentation, it makes it a great, light beachy read.

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10. Waterfell by Amalie Howard. Alien mermaids? Colour me intrigued! What makes this such a great read for the beach is that it takes place at the beach! This is a light world building fantasy as it mostly takes place in San Diego. The realm of Waterfell is a super interesting idea though. Make sure you have Oceanborn to read too!

What are some of your favourite non-contemporary beach reads? Keep an eye out the next few weeks for more beach reading recommendations!

 

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*Review* Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston May 11, 2014

***As always mild spoilers may follow***

Rating:3 stars
Pub date:17 September 2013
Publisher:Putnam Juvenile
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Dystopian, Paranormal
Format:personal copy, hardcover, signed; ARC obtained from ARCycling
Status:Book one of the Heart of Dread series

Summary:

From New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston comes this remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.

Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.

At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she’s heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.

But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.

My thoughts:

I have to take a moment and marvel that there is finally a Melissa de la Cruz book that didn’t wow me. I went in knowing it wasn’t received at well as other things she’s written, but c’mon. It’s by Melissa freaking de la Cruz. I had hopes that it was a fluke. I don’t know what it was, but whatever it was, I don’t know what happened with this book.

I was so excited for a new Melissa de la Cruz series. I bought a signed copy as a Happy Birthday to me present. The whole idea of Frozen intrigued me. Everything’s FROZEN. Ice age-esque. So. Excited. Finally, I decided to read it. I found out my library had it on audiobook so I decided it’d be a good listen while I do things around the house book. Nope.

The action in the beginning had me listening to sections a few times and checking my physical book. There’s so much info dumped at a time. I’m still not sure if I caught everything or not.

I was hoping the characters would redeem it. Nope. Reading or listening, I really couldn’t get into the two POV characters of Nat and Wes. I honestly didn’t care about them and would frequently have to replay or reread sections because I would zone out.

It also felt way too much like Under the Never Sky. I didn’t like how Into the Still Blue went and Frozen really felt like an alternate version in a way. Maybe if I’d read this first, my feelings would be swapped. Either way, I was distracted by that though a lot, too.

Some parts screamed Melissa de la Cruz wrote this and once I started noticing that, I started looking out for parts to mentally scream to myself “YAY! She totally wrote this part and I can tell it!” While it’s neat that I can hear her writing voice, it’s also annoying because it should be a seamless transition and one style shouldn’t over power the other. I know he’s helped her on other works, but I’ve never felt a voice struggle like I did in Frozen. Now, don’t get me wrong. Melissa can write a killer romance scene and I enjoyed those. But, they weren’t enough to redeem the suck.

If I gave up on books more easily than I do, I might have bailed. My love for Melissa de la Cruz kept me in til the end, but also distracted me. Now that I know what to expect, I’ll probably reread it. Hopefully without the distractions it will be a lot better. I’ll still definitely read Stolen when it comes out later this year. I’m interested enough in the story to at least give it a shot!

About the authors:

 

 

Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.

She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.

 

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*Review* Champion by Marie Lu December 15, 2013

Rating:  5 stars
Pub date: 5 November 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: hardcover, library copy
Status: Book 3 of the Legend series

Summary:

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

My thoughts:

Champion picks back up several months after the end of Prodigy. Day and June haven’t seen each other and Day is keeping a HUGE secret. They occasionally talk, but it’s not very frequent. Day is enjoying his time with Eden, who is recovering from the experiments that have been done on him. Day is undergoing treatment and suffering from violent headaches. June is training as Princeps-Elect under Anden with two others.

Things hit the fan (as should be expected) and things keep building and building. I thought it was well done. The action building was enough to keep you reading, but wasn’t so over the top that it was unrealistic for the Republic. One thing is for certain. It’s certainly full of all sorts of feels.

Day’s condition is slaying. The last few years of my great-grandfather’s life, I watched as the tall, strong, invincible man wither away to nothing. All I could do was watch. I really feel for June having to do the same as Day weakens. Watching someone wither is not a fun thing at all.

June continued to amaze me. She’s wicked smart and logical, but is also emotional and able to connect with people. She remains strong every step of the way even though she has ample opportunity to crumple under stress, grief, guilt, etc. She keeps it together and realises her true purpose along the way. She’s definitely a great role model for guys and girls alike. The ultimate choice she makes is one of the bravest things I have ever seen. I don’t even want to contemplate what I would do in the same situation.

Anden really grows as a character and it makes me happy. He has such responsibility thrown on him and he handles it with grace. The Senate thinks he’s incapable due to his youth, and he strives to prove them wrong. His country is under threat and he weighs every option carefully.

Ollie. Oh, Ollie. I love that dog. Ollie is the perfect companion. (:

As sad as I am that this wonderful trilogy is over, I am happy with the ending. Things were summed up nicely and even though somethings are left up to the reader to read between the lines, I am content. The epilogue was great. I think great things are in store for those who survive (no spoilers, I promise!). The fallout from June’s big choice is nicely done. One thing I wish there had been more of was Antarctica. That was definitely a nice and interesting glimpse into somewhere other than the Republic and Colonies.

On another note, Punk loved the few chapters I read to him. Naptime starts curled up in mama and daddy’s bed, curled up with mama, and asking mama to read to him. (: He’s been bringing me a book I’ve been reading or my kindle as his selection. You would think a 2 year old would bring bright and flashy kids’ books, but nope – he’s bringing mama HER books. Making a point to read in front of the kiddos is really making an impact. (:

 

 
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