Thursday, October 10, 2013
Mini reviews: Frozen by Melisa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston, Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles
Frozen (Heart of Dread, Book #1) by Melissa dela Cruz and Michael Johnston
Source: Provided by Putnam Juvenile for my honest review
Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.
At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she's heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.
But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all. ~ Goodreads | Amazon
My thoughts: So much potential but didn’t quite meet it IMO. The post apocalyptic New Vegas setting just can’t be explored to it’s full potential in YA and I kept wondering why this wasn’t an adult novel instead. The kids are so young but already married, leading armies, working the gaming tables but then it stops short of really showing us the grittiness of it all. They talked and acted in their 30’s so I didn't feel like they had lost their childhood. I do understand the “grow up fast” mentality in these circumstances but things just didn’t click. The writing was also a little clunky – the characters inner thoughts vs actions were off. The second half of the book is more fantasy on the high seas (& kind of cool) than dystopian and might appeal to readers who enjoy that with a side of romance.
Wild Cards (Wild Cards #1) by Simone Elkeles
Source: ARC provided by Walker Books for Young Readers via BEA
After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.
Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all? ~ Goodreads | Amazon
My thoughts: Fun story about a bad boy and a driven good girl with football thrown into the mix. Classic Simone Elkeles. Full of angst, a little cheesy, lots of verbal sparring and swoony moments. I have to admit though that I was disappointed at how Ashtyn turned into mush for the hot boy and wasn’t exactly thrilled with the conclusion. I would have liked it if she stood on her own more as she fought to do through the whole book. Perfect Chemistry is still my favorite Simone Elkeles story but if you enjoy her writing you should enjoy this one as well.
If you’re interested in another athletic girl meets bad boy story, I would suggest Out of Play by Nyrae Dawn and Jolene Perry. A little higher on the angst scale but I enjoyed how that heroine’s relationship played out with the boy more in that one.