bookcents

book reviews for the thrifty soul

Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Despite what the title indicates this book is not your average Love-At-First-Sight YA novel.  It has substance–a great story filled with unique and realistic characters.

It’s a Library It! rating not because I don’t love it (I really, really do), but because I don’t feel any burning need to reread it.  It’s a story that I’ll remember, quite possibly forever, because it was fun and sweet and filled to the brim with average, real world problems.

The story begins with Hadley missing her flight to London to attend her father’s wedding to the woman Hadley’s never met. Her father, who is rather estranged from Hadley, is a professor at Oxford.  He left to teach as a visiting professor for a semester and never came back, leaving Hadley filled with bitter feelings toward Charlotte, his fiancee.

It doesn’t help that her mother has had a difficult time moving on–even though she tells Hadley their divorce was for the best.  We can see the way her divorce broke Hadley’s mother as well as how she’s trying to put herself back together.

So needless to say, she’s not exactly thrilled to be flying all the way to London and missing her flight is the last thing she wanted to deal with. But if she’d been just four minutes earlier, she’d never met Oliver.  A native Londoner, he’s charming, clever, and a Yale undergrad–combined with his accent he’s basically perfect.  (Insert swoon here!) Read more…

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Rating: BUY IT!

Cinder is everything you could ever want from a post-war apocalyptic/dystopian futuristic sci-fi fairytale retelling.

I have to admit, I fell in love with this book from the instant I heard about the premise. I love fairy tales and their rewrites, so that was already a selling point.  But when I found out that this Cinderella is a cyborg, and her best friend is an android? I’m pretty sure I had to be pulled off of the ceiling.

How on earth can all these different “genres” mesh together smoothly? Therein lies the true masterpiece of Cinder.  All the elements of the historic story are updated to match the futuristic setting while still retaining the essential nature of the tale.

The characters were easily the best part of Cinder.  Each one had a life of his or her own and was truly fascinating.  Cinder was far from her Disney counterpart: rather than cleaning around the house, Cinder is a genius mechanic.  And, not to knock the Disney version (even if not my favorite, I still squealed like a little girl when I got to take my picture with Cinderella at Disney World), but Cinder doesn’t need a fairy godmother to help her kick ass! Read more…

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

I cannot express how much I adored reading this book. I want to glue Cate and Finn’s hands together so they can never be apart. I want to tear the Brotherhood apart and save all the girls they’ve hurt.

And I want the sequel NOW.

Jessica Spotswood written The Book–as in The Book I Didn’t Know I’d Been Waiting to Read.  The one I stayed up all night to finish and the one that made me want to start back on page one the moment I hit the end.  It was that good.

The world she’s but diverges from our own only a little.  Witches used to exist freely in society, in fact they basically had control over everything.  People loved the witches, respected the Daughters of Persephone–until they found out about mind magic. That’s when the burnings and witch hunts started.  But 120 years later, the hunts still haven’t stopped.  Girls are being sent to labor ships and the Harwood mental asylum without a trial–though having one wouldn’t help them.

The Brotherhood lives in fear of witches rising up and overthrowing them.  Brainwashed by the Brothers’ prurient preaching, society lives in fear too–both of the Brothers and of witches.

The Cahill girls are hiding in plain sight.  Cate, Maura, and Tess are all witches.  Their father’s taken a back seat in the parenting department, spending more and more time traveling for business and heaping more responsibility on Cate.  The problem is Cate’s turning seventeen soon. And at seventeen you either get married or join the Sisterhood–the female annex of the Brothers.

Hiding her magic in the Sisterhood is not an option for Cate.  She has to stay to protect her sisters from the Brother’s spying.  But she’s running out of time to find a husband, and the fact the Cahill girls have lived reclusively since their mother’s death isn’t helping. Read more…

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Rating: BUY IT!

Most likely, you already know what you are going to think about this book. Have you read Cassandra Clare’s other books, especially Clockwork Angel, and loved them? Then you will love Clockwork Prince. Did you hate all her other books? Then why are you even considering buying it?

That said, my feelings about Clockwork Prince are strong, perhaps as strong as any I have felt in all of Cassie’s books (and if you’ve read them, you know there are a lot of feelings).

A warning here: If you have not read Clockwork Angel, you probably shouldn’t read this review. Also, get thee to a bookstore and buy it, read it, then come back to see what you missed.

Clockwork Angel left us with a lot of questions: Where is Mortmain and how does he have this knowledge and power? What is Tessa? And the biggest question of all: What on earth is happening with Will?

Okay, I’m a little biased on that last question.

In Clockwork Prince, we finally get some answers, and then we get a few more questions. Read more…

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).

And now….ONWARDS TO THE REVIEW!

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 RIGHT NOW.

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

OHMIGOD!

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!

Hi!

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!

Sincerely,

Two Fabulously Broke Nerdy Girls

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