book reviews for the thrifty soul

Archive for the month “November, 2011”

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

The Pledge takes place in the nation of Ludania, which is fairly clearly a post-fall-of-modern-society country, but aside from that remains essentially timeless. The society is divided into a traditional caste system, but the castes are kept entirely distinct by language – each caste has its own language, and to acknowledge the language of a higher caste than your own can be deadly. The story centers around Charlie, a girl in the merchant class, who has a secret: she can understand all languages.

The first half of The Pledge focuses on building the world and characters, with the biggest issue being Charlie’s struggles to hide her secret talent.  Although I enjoyed getting to know the characters (the relationship between Charlie and her little sister being one of my favorites), the first half felt a bit slow, with some fairly obvious hints at the plot to come, but no actual advancement.

In the second half, however, we are met with bursts of action and revelations. Although the action sequences were dramatic and invigorating, sometimes it felt like the overall plot could have used a bit more drive. In addition, many of these plot twists and revealed secrets were somewhat predictable. However, that didn’t mean I didn’t still enjoy those twists nonetheless. Read more…


Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

Daring to be different, aren’t I? This one is planted firmly in the LIBRARY IT category, ladies and gentlemen.

I know what you’re thinking.

“Emmy, Ender’s Game was one of my favorite books!”

It’s one of mine too, so I feel your pain.   But trust me, this isn’t a book you’re going to want to reread. (Except when you get confused later.) Orson’s attempts to draw out The Mystery (i.e. time travel) AS LONG AS POSSIBLE gets SUPER ANNOYING.

But I think you’re supposed to be confused.  Or I hope you are.  Because I’m still confused.

Pathfinder is the beginning of Orson’s newest Serpent World series for YA readers.  Though the summary of this first book reads like one for a fantasy novel, the story stays true to the author’s sci fi leanings.

I felt like half of this book was a quest to confuse the reader, and the rest of it was the character plot.  So as much as I really hated the time travel confusion, I adore the fact there is time travel–because the plot it creates is totally brilliant. Read more…

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

I’m going to preface this review by saying this is 100% a BUY IT! book.

“But Rachel,” you might say. “I thought you were trying to help us save money! All you’re doing is telling us to go buy lots of books!”

Yes, dear reader, this is true.

We have only just begun, so we’re currently reviewing books that we’ve read within the past year and want to talk about. And let’s face it – the books that stick with us are the ones we loved loved loved!

But never fear…as books continue to be released, a greater variety of reviews shall come (and remember, just because we say to BUY IT! doesn’t mean you can’t decide that a book isn’t for you or you’re a-okay with getting it from the library).


When I first heard about Girl of Fire and Thorns, I was so excited. I love finding great fantasy worlds in YA books, and Girl of Fire and Thorns did not disappoint. The world Rae Carson built was absolutely incredible. Beyond just the physical aspects of the world, Rae did a fantastic job of creating an entire culture. A lot of the culture was based around Spanish themes, but not so much so that it felt like the book was just stealing from our world to make its own. Read more…

Divergent by Veronica Roth


Buy it, build an altar to it, and worship Veronica Roth’s breakout novel. (While praying the new one comes out sooner than expected.)

There isn’t a single thing in this story that I don’t love.  Well actually, I wish it hadn’t ended, but that’s about it.

Divergent takes a twist on the new dystopian fad hitting the YA genre by setting it in a city that’s recognizable–barely.

We have all the hallmarks of today’s Chicago (my hometown) but none of the functionality.  The L (elevated train, for you non-locals) can’t stop, cars can’t drive on the broken roads, and the people are divided into factions.

Candor (honesty), Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peacefulness), or Erudite (intelligence) are the only options these teenagers have once they turn 16.

Tris begins the story in Abnegation, but when she chooses to join the Dauntless she is forever split from her family. (It’s one thing to say you’re brave, but quite another to actually be brave.) We see quite clearly the difficulty of not only being brave all the time but the danger of the faction-split society.

The story focuses a LOT on the trials the new initiates have to pass to be a Dauntless. They’re nerve-racking, both mentally and physically, and so diverse that you can’t even guess what the next one’s going to be.  And many of the kids can’t handle it. Read more…

The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter


No, really.  Besides BUY IT RIGHT NOW is all Rachel and I can think to say.  We really really really like this book.  Maybe it’s the mythology side of things or Aimée’s cool heroine or having a hero that is a total badass (and hot and sexy and Iwannamarryhimrightnow(dibs)).

Whatever it is, Aimée’s got it going on.

The Goddess Test is the start of the trilogy (and we can’t wait for the rest of it!).  It’s character driven–but not excessively so.  We spent the whole read desperately wanting to hang out with Henry (and just plain wanting him).  Well, Henry and hoping Kate’s mom never dies.

The story’s heavy on the relationships between the characters which helps generate conflict (high school mythological drama? check!), keep the reader engaged and move the plot forward.  And what a plot…

Neither of us could put the book down after starting it – you know those books you read in a day, even when you have a bunch of other stuff you should be doing? This is one of those books. The plot is equal parts romance, adventure, mystery, and challenge that keeps you on your toes.

Not to mention the guessing. Guessing what will happen, guessing what the tests are, and the best part of all, guessing which character corresponds to which Greek god! Read more…

The Sense Behind Bookcents

Hello, you!

Yes, you!

You there reading this right now!


Welcome to bookcents, a YA book blog designed especially for the thrifty book lover.

We’re two college students who love YA books, but know how hard it can be to manage your money. We’re going to read books and review them here, with a 3-tiered rating system designed to help you save your pennies:

BUY IT! – These are our favorite books, the ones we’re glad to spend our money on – and you should be too.

LIBRARY IT! – These books are worth a read, but wait and get them from the library instead.

SKIP IT! – We don’t expect to use this very often, but these books just plain aren’t worth your time.

We’re excited to get started, and we hope you’re excited to stalk us!


Two Fabulously Broke Nerdy Girls

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