Wednesday, October 16, 2013

reviews: GRACELING by Kristin Cashore // BAD TASTE IN BOYS by Carrie Harris

Welcome to the first Pick It For Me review post!

Last week, I wrote this post asking for help getting out of a reading slump. Since there was a tie, I read both books - and they were both pretty darn good!  Since they were so enjoyable, I decided to try this out as a weekly feature. My reviews are posted below. Beneath that, I have posted some choices for next week. The winning choice will be reviewed next Saturday!


GRACELING by Kristin Cashore
Series: The Seven Kingdoms #1
HMH: Harcourt
Released: October 1, 2008
Source: Bookstore
Page Count: 370

Rating: Loved it!

His eyes, Katsa had never seen such eyes. One was silver, and the other, gold. They glowed in his sun-darkened eyes face, uneven, and strange. She was surprised that they hadn't shone in the darkness of their first meeting. They didn't seem human . . . 

Then he raised his eyebrows a hair, and his mouth shifted into the hint of a smirk. He nodded at her, just barely, and it released her from her spell.

Cocky, she thought. Cocky and arrogant, this one, and that was all there was to make of him. Whatever game he was playing, if he expected her to join him he would be disappointed.

In a world where people born with an extreme skill - called a Grace - are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, Kind of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.

When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace - or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

My Thoughts

Lah from Lazy Girl Reads and Nomes from inkcrush both recommended Graceling. Thank you, Nomes, for the warning that the beginning was a little slow! It really helped to know that things would be picking up as I trudged through the beginning. The first few chapters were interesting, even if they were a little slow, but by the middle of Part 1 I was hooked!

Graceling is not at all what I expected. I usually find fantasy books to be quite boring, as the characters usually fit into typical societal molds, and that's not exactly exciting to read about. Katsa, however, was a surprisingly sympathetic character, and Po was even more likable. If I ever make a list of my favorite male protagonists, Po will definitely make the cut! Additionally, I loved the fight scenes between Katsa and Po. I started taking karate lessons when I was seven years old (and continued all the way up until age eighteen, when I couldn't put off getting my own class, at which point I left because I am a terrible teacher!), so those scenes were incredibly enjoyable to read! I felt like the story was more about the characters and their adventures, trials, and tribulations rather than a society-based fantasy that has too much emphasis on regular day-to-day life, which was probably why I liked this book when most others I haven't even been able to finish. The revelations at the end of the book are a little bittersweet, but I liked that there is a definite air of hope for the second book. Overall, this was a great read!

I will definitely be picking up Fire to read soon.


BAD TASTE IN BOYS by Carrie Harris
Series: Kate Grable #1
Random House: Delacorte Press
Released: July 12, 2011
Source: Bookstore
Page Count: 201

Rating: Really liked it! 


Super-smartie Kate Grable gets to play doctor, helping out her high school football team. Not only will the experience look good on her college apps, she gets to be thisclose to her quarterback crush, Aaron. Then something disturbing happens. Kate finds out that the coach has given the team steroids. Except . . . the vials she finds don't exactly contain steroids. Whatever's in them is turning how gridiron hunks into mindless, flesh-eating . . . zombies.

Unless she finds an antidote, no one is safe. Not Aaron, not Kate's brother, not her best friend . . . not even Kate.





My Thoughts

Nomes from inkcrush and Chandra from Unabridged Bookshelf both voted for Bad Taste in Boys because they had heard good things about it. Well, they heard right! BTiB is a cute, smart, quick read populated with great, easy to relate to characters. The back cover text describes the story fairly well, so I won't bother going into the story here. I will, however, tell you what I liked and didn't like about BTiB.

Honestly, the best part about BTiB is the characters. Kate, especially. I loved that she had such drive. It feels like a lot of teenage female characters, especially in paranormal stories, tend to be complacent with their lot in life after they get with their crush, but Kate is ambitious, and I don't see her letting go of her dreams. She is really a breath of fresh air. Her crush, Aaron, is not the least bit douchebaggy like some of the jocks I knew in high school; to the contrary, he seems like a genuinely nice guy. Things seemed to  move a little fast with Kate and Adam, as he hadn't seemed to notice her before. However, I think part of that may have been simple ignorance on Kate's part, as Adam had probably noticed her more than she realized. I loved Kate's brother, Jonah, the best. He is adorable! He kind of reminds me of one of my brothers, because he can be annoying as all get out and completely impossible to understand, but then he does something sweet and selfless and you just want to hug him.

My only complaint is how short the story is. BTiB clocks in at just 201 pages. The plot wasn't rushed, per se, but I wished that it had been a little more fleshed out. (Zombie pun not intended!) Things moved along so quickly that I sometimes had a hard time believing that they would progress at such a rate; plot holes abound, and that took away some of the enjoyment for me and ultimately lowered my final rating.

Next week's selections:

I'm a little over paranormal books for the moment - I've been reading them all semester for my Vampires, Wizards, and Superheroes class. I need something totally different. How about . . . dystopian? Here are some books on my shelf that I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I am looking forward to hearing what you have to say about these books!

1. Exodus by Julie Bertagna
2. The Declaration by Gemma Malley
3. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
4. Divergent by Veronica Roth
5. Unwind by Neal Shusterman


  1. We'll have to wait and see, but I am expecting Divergent to be the winner this week. Everyone who's read it seems to love it!

  2. oh, i know, how HOT IS PO? despite the ridiculous sounding name, LOL.

    I found Fire hard to get into as well (although, fantasy is not my fave genre, so maybe that's why? in the end i still liked it (even though it doesn't have Po ;))