Wednesday, October 6, 2010

YA books by LDS authors

I'm always interested in YA books by LDS authors. First off, they're usually very clean and I always appreciate finding books like that. Most of these books are piggybacking on Stephenie Meyer's success with Twilight, but I have to admit that that fact doesn't bother me much. If Twilight is going to make publishing companies give books written by LDS people more attention that's fine with me. :D If you liked Twilight these are books I'd recommend.

Paranormalcy just came out (I think last week). I was first in line for it at the library so I got it pretty quickly. Kiersten White has a very vivid and entertaining writing voice. It was such a fun read. This is not a vampire or werewolf book, and in fact rather gleefully makes fun of some of the stereotypical aspects of those overdone characters. Paranormalcy is completely original and I was engrossed by it. It's about a regular human girl named Evie who works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, keeping paranormals under control (using her special ability to see through their glamours). Of course, everything turns to havoc as a mysterious power is killing all paranormals, and Evie herself discovers that she's not as normal as she once thought. There were lots of surprises in this book, and I really love it when I can't predict a plot. Definitely high marks for Paranormalcy and Kiersten White. I'll be waiting for her next book.

Spells is the sequel to Wings, which I really liked. It's very fun YA lit and there's a lot of mythology, magic, and faeries involved. I think Spells is more mature than Wings, but I still think the series is not as intense or interesting as I'd like it to be. It seems to rely too heavily on its romance to drive the plot, and I always get irritated when love triangles get dragged on too long. This book definitely suffers from that. Just my opinion. I really wanted to see Laurel develop her faerie powers, but that subplot wasn't given much attention. Overall, I was disappointed, but I still plan on reading the final book in the series whenever it comes out.

The Dark Divine has nothing to do with bare legs wrapped in purple tulle! Just saying. From reading author blogs I've learned that a lot of authors are very irritated by the fact that they have no control over what goes on their covers. That's completely up to publishing companies and how they want to advertise your book. It's quite obvious what kind of audience The Dark Divine is being marketed towards. I can guarantee you that this is a very clean book, though. Unfortunately, this is also a werewolf book. I didn't realize that fact until I was too far in to want to put it down. I'm just sick to death of werewolves and vampires. There were some original touches, and I liked the story and setting well enough. The book is about a girl named Grace Divine, whose father is a pastor. I thought bringing in some Christian touches made the book extra interesting. The story is a little dark in places, but nothing that bothered me. I probably enjoyed reading it more than Spells, even if it was a werewolf book.

YA books by my favorite YA authors

I really enjoyed Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study, but Inside Out is a dystopian novel (think Hunger Games), not a fantasy, so I wasn't sure if I would like it. I did. This is a very interesting book with a bit of a mind-blowing ending. I totally did not predict it and wasn't expecting it. That's always a pleasant surprise. :D The pacing was good, the plot was interesting, the romance was clean... overall definitely a book I'd recommend.

I was a little disappointed with The Reluctant Heiress, if you recall, but I couldn't help going out and finding another Eva Ibbotson novel. I love her writing and her settings are always spectacular. This novel didn't disappoint in those area. The plot was more original, too, so that was an improvement over The Reluctant Heiress. The only reason I was a bit frustrated with this book is that it wasn't quite as squeaky clean in the romance department as her others. There's a plot twist toward the end that I thought was incredibly irritating and frustrating and almost ruined the whole book for me. All in all, it was good, but with reservations.

Death Comes For the Archbishop

And, as I'd say every time I flopped on the couch to try and finish this book, "It's not nearly coming fast enough!!"

This is a slow book. A strange book. It doesn't have a plot or a story arc. It's the tale of a man's life as a Bishop for the Catholic church in New Mexico, right after it becomes a part of America. Now, I didn't hate this book, I just thought it was a bit boring at times. Cather's writing is beautiful. Her descriptions are truly breathtaking at times. I appreciated the book much more after finishing it and studying it in class. There's some fabulous symbology and some very interesting themes to explore in this book. But, I can't say that I will be eager to return to it soon.

39 Clues Wrap-Up

Finished the series! Wohoo! And I really love the way they ended. Yeah, maybe I was able to predict some of the ending (like 6 books ago) but there were a few good surprises. And naturally it sets up a whole other series at the end. I think this is a fun series and I love that the ending brought it to England and had a lot to do with Shakespeare. I think these books are so educational and my kids will definitely be reading them, although not for a few years. They can get pretty intense, so I'd say upper elementary school/middle school ages would like it best, but of course, always depending on the individual child.

It was a fun journey, and it was a nice change to have 10 books come out in such a short amount of time. The author switches were well done, so in some books a style difference wasn't even detectable. I wish they'd all been written by Rick Riordan, but he's a busy guy. His new book The Lost Hero is coming out next week (new Camp Half-Blood series! Hooray for Greek Mythology!!!) and I'm looking forward to that.