Wednesday, January 27, 2016

SANDS by Kevin L. Neilson

For nine months of the year, the sands of the Sharani Desert are safe. The genesauri—giant, flying, serpentine monsters who hunt across the desert in enormous packs—lie dormant. The smallest of their kind is able to take down a single man with ease, and the largest is able to swallow entire clans. The people of the desert have always been able to predict the creatures’ appearance, but this year, the genesauri have stopped following the rules. 

When the genesauri suddenly attack her clan, seventeen-year-old Lhaurel draws a sword in her people’s defense—a forbidden practice for women of any clan—and is sentenced to death by her own people. Chained to a rock and left to be eaten by the next wave of genesauri, Lhaurel is rescued by a mysterious, elusive clan said to curse children at a glance, work unexplainable terrors, and disappear into the sands without a trace. 

With the fate of the clans hanging in the balance, Lhaurel discovers she possesses a rare and uncontrollable power—one that will be tested as the next deadly genesauri attack looms on the horizon and the clash between clans grows more inevitable by the hour. 

Sands by Kevin L Neilson is definitely unlike anything I have ever read. It was new, engrossing, and had a different and interesting feel. If I could give it any big overall award, I would for sure label it as unique.
Sands is set in a very interesting setting with a complex, thought out plot. It takes a vivid imagination to think up - or even understand - this one, but the author did a great job of describing it. There were a lot of things that I loved about Sands, and some things that I did not like quite as much - I believe I will try my first “list review” on this one!

  • Lhaurel was an amazing MC. She was strong and independent, even given her background (a clan where women are totally disrespected and treated like trash). I always love a good character that can fight back, and Lhaurel was one of them.
  • As I have already mentioned, I loved the setting. I can honestly say that I have never read a book with a even a similar setting, and (trust me) I’ve read a lot of YA books
  • The genesauri. Dang, those things are scary as heck, but also totally realistic. They’re basically just like dinosaurs on steroids... yeah. Sweet dreams.
  • The light romance put in there. I myself am a romantic, so I appreciated it and found it a lot more believable than the ‘insta-love’ we see so much in Young Adult books today.
  • The world didn’t feel foreign - what I mean to say is, the author was obviously well acquainted with the world that he built and knew it inside and out. He was able to provide good, thoughtful detail to help me know how to navigate its complexities.
  • Plot twists. I love me some plot twists.

  • This one is obviously opinion, but I have never liked having more than two (sometimes I can tolerate three!) points of view. Especially since some of the names sound so foreign to me, I sometimes got lost and it would turn my head around for a few pages before I finally caught on. If you’re good with names, this won’t be a problem for you.
  • There were some minor editing problems. They weren’t so frequent that I was distracted from the story or anything, but they were there.
  • It’s a tad bit slow in the beginning.

Overall, it was a very refreshing read. I personally love finding books that are diverse, so it was very a entertaining and fun ride. I highly recommend for you fantasy lovers (I might even classify some of this as epic fantasy, but that’s my opinion going off again) and anybody who loves a good book that requires you have a brain (we all know those YA books that you could read on 1 hour of sleep and understand completely)
Ending rate, I give it 3.75 stars for the reasons above. Happy Reading! :)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

HOTEL RUBY by Suzanne Young

Stay tonight. Stay forever.

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions—including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn’t have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.

The more Audrey learns about the new people she’s met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s torn in different directions—the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between life in a place that is so much more than it seems…

Welcome to the Ruby.

I’ve always been fascinated with the song “Hotel California” by The Eagles. In seventh grade, my friends and I would debate on what the meaning of the song was and what we thought was really going on at that hotel. That’s why this book was such a perfect match for me. Hotel Ruby is basically Hotel California in YA book form - and it perfectly captures the image.
When The Casella’s decide to stop their road trip momentarily to rest at the Hotel Ruby, everybody is excited. It’s a very beautiful building, they’re treated like kings and queens, and Audrey gets to spend a little more time with her dad before she needs to part with him. But the beauty of the hotel is only a fleeting glimpse before the Hotel’s true colors start to show. Audrey is put on the 13th floor alone, where she beings to see and hear things that aren’t there. She keeps hearing a particular song being played over and over, but she doesn’t know where it’s coming from or even if it’s real or just a figment of imagination. But just when Audrey thinks things couldn’t get any creepier, her brother and dad start to change... her dad keeps insisting that they stay longer and her brother keeps hanging out with this totally wack chick that Audrey can’t seem to persuade him is crazy. All she wants to do is leave, but it seems her dad and her brother want to live at the Hotel.
But when Audrey meets the sexy Elias she starts to think huh... maybe this isn’t so bad after all! But is Elias just another thing to be afraid of?
Hotel Ruby was a bit of an emotional roller coaster, but my favorite part of this book was how much it blew my mind. One of those We Were Liars types that totally messes with you, but you love it because after it’s finished all you can do is stare at the wall and say “Whoa...” over and over. In just a few words: Hotel Ruby is a haunting blend of romance and mind-blowery. And if you love Hotel California, you’ll love this book for sure!