Review: Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined

Review: Everything Beautiful is Not RuinedTitle: Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined
Author: Danielle Young-Ullman
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 21, 2017

four-stars
Summary (from Goodreads):

Wild meets The Breakfast Club in this story of a girl who must survive an extreme wilderness experience to prove to her mother that she has the strength to pursue her dreams.

Then
Ingrid traveled all over Europe with her opera star mother, Margot-Sophia. Life was beautiful and bright, and every day soared with music.

Now
Ingrid is on a summertime wilderness survival trek for at-risk teens: addicts, runaways, and her. She’s fighting to survive crushing humiliations, physical challenges that push her to her limits, and mind games that threaten to break her.

Then
When the curtain fell on Margot-Sophia’s singing career, they buried the past and settled into a small, painfully normal life. But Ingrid longed to let the music soar again. She wanted it so much that, for a while, nothing else mattered.

Now
Ingrid is never going to make it through this summer if she can’t figure out why she’s here . . . and why the music really stopped.

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❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃

Review

Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined by Danielle Young-Ullman is a book about a camping trip. It also has some backstory woven in throughout the story. The supporting characters are all so developed and have such complex stories. The main character is also smart, strong, and musically talented. This book does not disappoint. Continue reading

Review: Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

Review: Fate of Flames by Sarah RaughleyTitle: Fate of Flames (Effigies #1)
Author: Sarah Raughley
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: November 22, 2016

three-stars
Summary (from Goodreads):

Years ago, everything changed. Phantoms, massive beasts of nightmare, began terrorizing the world. At the same time four girls, the Effigies, appeared, each with the unique power to control a classical element. Since then, they have protected the world from the Phantoms. At the death of one Effigy, another is chosen, pulled from her normal life into the never-ending battle.

When Maia unexpectedly becomes the next Fire Effigy, she resists her new calling. A quiet girl with few friends and almost no family, she was much happier to admire the Effigies from afar. Never did she imagine having to master her ability to control fire, to protect innocent citizens from the Phantoms, or to try bringing together the other three Effigies.

But with the arrival of the mysterious Saul—a man who seems to be able to control the Phantoms using the same cosmic power previously only granted to four girls at a time—Maia and the other Effigies must learn to work together in a world where their celebrity is more important than their heroism.

But the secrets Saul has, and the power he possesses, might be more than even they can handle…

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❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃

Review

Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley is unlike anything I’ve read before. This book is about a group of girls who fight phantoms to save the world. The main character goes from fangirl to fighter, even if it takes time. However, the story was pretty slow and there were a few parts that seemed dry, affecting my overall enjoyment. Continue reading

Review: The Swan Riders by Erin Bow

Review: The Swan Riders by Erin BowTitle: The Swan Riders (Prisoner's of Peace #2)
Author: Erin Bow
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: September 20, 2016

three-stars
Summary (from Goodreads):

Greta Stuart had always known her future: die young. She was her country's crown princess, and also its hostage, destined to be the first casualty in an inevitable war. But when the war came it broke all the rules, and Greta forged a different path.

She is no longer princess. No longer hostage. No longer human. Greta Stuart has become an AI.

If she can survive the transition, Greta will earn a place alongside Talis, the AI who rules the world. Talis is a big believer in peace through superior firepower. But some problems are too personal to obliterate from orbit, and for those there are the Swan Riders: a small band of humans who serve the AIs as part army, part cult.

Now two of the Swan Riders are escorting Talis and Greta across post-apocalyptic Saskatchewan. But Greta’s fate has stirred her nation into open rebellion, and the dry grassland may hide insurgents who want to rescue her – or see her killed. Including Elian, the boy she saved—the boy who wants to change the world, with a knife if necessary. Even the infinitely loyal Swan Riders may not be everything they seem.

Greta’s fate—and the fate of her world—are balanced on the edge of a knife in this smart, sly, electrifying adventure.

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❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃

Review

The Swan Riders by Erin Bow is an interesting sequel to The Scorpion Rules.The villain has a bigger part in the story and there are so many Canadian references. Greta is still such an amazing character, even if she is no longer human. Despite all this, I had some problems with the pacing of the book, and didn’t enjoy as much as I could have.

The Swan Riders is so different from the first book, The Scorpion Rules. Talis, who is kind of the villain, has a much bigger role. Throughout the book, the reader really gets to know him and see him in a different way. Greta also isn’t a prisoner anymore and gets to travel to Saskatchewan. I loved how the book is set in a real place, but modified a little bit. There are so many Canadian references (hat tip to Gordon Lightfoot the horse) which I really enjoyed catching as I read.

Greta has really changed since The Scorpion Rules. She is still the same clever girl as before, but no longer a human. Greta has become an AI and must lose all her memories as part of the transition. She is so determined to keep her memories, even though it’s dangerous, and I really admired that about her. Greta is also bisexual, which I loved, even though her girlfriend isn’t in the book as much.

Although The Swan Riders has so many amazing components, I found the plot to be very slow at times. Certain scenes dragged on, and by the end of the book, I ended up losing interest. On the contrary, other scenes moved too quickly and I ended up really confused. It was hard to enjoy the book when I wasn’t entirely sure what was happening all the time, and I really wish I could have enjoyed it more than I did.

The Swan Riders is a sci-fi book that is very different from the first story. I really enjoyed Greta’s character and the concept of the AIs. I loved so much about the book, but the pacing really bothered me. However, I would still recommend this book to those who have read and enjoyed the first book.

About Erin Bow

Erin Bow

Erin Bow is the author of The Scorpion Rules, which received three starred reviews and was a Kirkus ReviewsBest Book of the Year and it’s sequel, The Swan Riders, which received two starred reviews. She also wrote the acclaimed Russian-flavored fantasy Plain Kate, which received two starred reviews and was a YALSA Best Book of the Year, and the terrifying YA ghost story Sorrow’s Knot, which received five starred reviews and was a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year.