Monday, February 29, 2016

Book Review: The Last Place On Earth

The Last Place On Earth by Carol Snow

Released: February 23, 2016
Read: February 2016
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. 
Format: ARC, 298 pages
Series: Stand-alone
Source: own

Description on Goodreads:

    Henry Hawking is sixteen years old, brilliant, funny, and sly--and now he's missing. But no one seems worried except his best friend, Daisy Cruz, who knows that Henry's security-obsessed parents would never leave town without taking proper precautions. And Henry would never go away without saying good-bye.
    Daisy considers all the obvious explanations for Henry's disappearance (federal witness protection program, alien abduction) before breaking into Henry's house. In his room, she finds a note that pleads, SAVE ME.
    Desperate to find Henry, Daisy follows his trail deep into the California wilderness. What she finds there makes her wonder if she ever knew Henry at all . . . and if the world as she knows it will ever be the same.


    When I picked up The Last Place On Earth at McNally Robinson, I had never heard about it before and that shocked me. Until I realized it was a contemporary novel. Contemporary novels are not my favourite, I prefer thrillers and fantasy, but this one had more of an apocalyptic feel to it. 
    Even with the mysterious twist, the book had dull characters, a semi-dull plot and a definitely dull ending. The style of writing was quite boring and sounded almost robotic when I read it in my head.
    A few scenes did stand out from the murkiness though. Like when Daisy found out what was actually going on and when she plays Truth or Dare. These were quite interesting because I couldn't figure out what was going to happen next; they weren't predictable. Also the second scene involved Kyle, the bad boy surviver with a soft spot for his family. He was charming, kind (only to those he liked) and kind of peculiar. But he had a good heart and knew what he wanted out of life.
    I didn't enjoy this read that much, but that doesn't mean others shouldn't try it.

Favourite Quotes: 

  • "In front of us, the ocean breathed in and out, maintaining the rhythm it had established long before humanity even existed. The ocean would always be here, even when we were not."
  • "Wow, in just a couple of weeks, I had gone from being an interloper to the weakest link. That was what I called progress."
  • "Family first, family second, family third."

Rating: 4/10

Recommended if you like: mysteries, friendship, small romances,  weird twists on contemporary novels

Keep flipping pages,


Friday, February 26, 2016

Book Review: Legacy of Kings

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

Released: August 18th, 2015
Read: January, 2016
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: Hardcover, 428 pages
Series: Book #1 in Blood of Gods and Royals

Description from GoodReads: Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.
   Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to a newcomer…
   Katerina must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But she doesn’t account for her first love…
   Jacob will go to unthinkable lengths to win Katerina, even if it means having to compete for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince.
   And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet betrothed, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Review: Do you ever read books that entwine characters so perfectly well at just the right point in the plot line? This is one of those books. Although, at the beginning it won't look this way, so stick with it.
   An issue I had with Katerina, was that at times, her motives seemed mixed, or that she didn't seem to be going for her goals. For about a quarter of the book, both her and Jacob were barely mentioned, taking a back seat to Alexander, Hephaestion, and Cyn (who plays a more important role than Jacob and still isn't mentioned in the description).
  This isn't so much a problem, but some parts of the book can get kind of dark, or creepy. Not I-can't-sleep-at-night-creepy, but people-will-think-I'm-creepy-if-they-see-me-reading-this-creepy. Without any real spoilers, there's snakes and sacrifices.

Quotable Quotes:
"Weakness, he has learned, isn't in the arm or the leg or the back. Weakness is in the mind."
"Because sometimes it doesn’t help to chase after the thing you want. No. Sometimes you have to wait, however long it takes, until what you want most comes to you."

Rating: 8/10 

Read if You Liked: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Game of Thrones, Phillipa Gregory books

Optimistically yours, Ola <3

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What About Wednesday: Retold Fairytales

Hey everyone! Today we share with you our favourite remakes, rewrites, and redone fairytales! This ranges from subtle retellings to specific retellings and it's one of our favourite genres. Here we go!

Mari's Picks:
1. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
2. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
3. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ola's Picks:
1. Cloaked by Alex Flinn
2. Entwined by Heather Dixon
3. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Lauren's Picks:
1. Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
3. Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

Hope you all have a fantastical week!
XOXO The Autumn Bookshelf!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Book Review: Burning Glass

Taken from Goodreads

Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie

Release Date: March 1. 2016
Read: February 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Paperback ARC, 512 pages

Description from Goodreads:
Sonya was born with the rare gift to feel what those around her feel—both physically and emotionally—a gift she’s kept hidden from the empire for seventeen long years. After a reckless mistake wipes out all the other girls with similar abilities, Sonya is hauled off to the palace and forced to serve the emperor as his sovereign Auraseer.
Tasked with sensing the intentions of would-be assassins, Sonya is under constant pressure to protect the emperor. One mistake, one small failure, will cost her own life and the lives of the few people left in the world who still trust her.

But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, her feelings easily usurped, and she sometimes can’t decipher when other people’s impulses end and her own begin. In a palace full of warring emotions and looming darkness, Sonya fears that the biggest danger to the empire may be herself.
As she struggles to wrangle her abilities, Sonya seeks refuge in her tenuous alliances with the volatile Emperor Valko and his idealistic younger brother, Anton, the crown prince. But when threats of revolution pit the two brothers against each other, Sonya must choose which brother to trust—and which to betray.


This book started with a lot of promise. It had a cool plot, and an amazing premise. I picked it, because I was aching for another YA Fantasy book. It sounded like it would be a wonderful book. Not really. I had mixed feelings about the book, with some elements being awesome, and some simply lacking. Although most of the book was wonderful, I had problems with the main character (and her love interests). Sonya was meant to be the strong female lead, who defied the Emperor while dealing with some terrifying memories from her past. However, she came across whiny and annoying. Her sexual tension with the Emperor was far too much, and the love triangle with his brother was simply overkill. I kept reading because I loved the power that she had, and it was such a cool world. I felt as if the ending was predictable, but at least it had ended on a high note. I’m not sure if you can write any books after this one, because everything was wrapped in a bow.  Even though it wasn’t my favorite, it’s a great read if you need a fast plot and a quick read. 

Favorite Quotes:
“I'm not a mirror. And I don't break like glass.” 
― Kathryn PurdieBurning Glass

6.5/10 Stars

Recommended for people who enjoy: romance, action, adventure, magic

Happy Reading,

Friday, February 19, 2016

Book Review: the Shadow Queen

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine 

Released: February 23, 2016
Read: February 2016
Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Format: ARC, 400 pages
Series: Book #1 in the Defiance series

Description on Goodreads:
    Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.
    In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.
    But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

    When I first saw the cover of the Shadow Queen, I knew I was going to love it. I always get swept away in fairy tale remakes, but this one was different from the others. In other remakes I've read, like Dark Shimmer and A Kiss In Time, the main plot was largely unlike the original plot of the fairy tale. The Shadow Queen's plot was almost bang on, other than the dwarfs and the minor factor of the dragons.
    I felt that having more than one kingdom in the story was very realistic. Of course there wouldn't be just one kingdom! It would be foolish to think otherwise. The ties between Ravenspire and Eldr were perfectly crafted. Eldr was desperate and needed help with the Ogre War, and Ravenspire was going through a depression thanks to the 'flawless' queen. The connecting piece between both problems was Queen Irina, who needed a huntsman to take care of her Lorelai issue. And with that, a deal was struck between the King of Eldr and Queen Irina, setting the stage for the rest of the story.
    Lorelai and Leo, also known as the Royal Rogues, were written exceptionally to fit their role as siblings. They seldom fought, which I guess is normal for them, and teased each other mercilessly. There was certainly a balance between them; Lorelai was way more strict and always serious, while Leo was outgoing and dramatic. He had flair while she wished she did. Although their personalities were the polar opposite of each other, they looked exactly alike. With their pale complexions, bold brown eyes and ebony hair, they could pass as twins if Leo was older. They are easily the most interesting and fun siblings I've ever read about.
    Now on to the scaly side of things. If Kol wasn't fictional and went to a normal, non-dragon high school, he'd be the prankster/jock type. He'd be the one flirting with all the girls but never having a girlfriend, and the one pissing off all the teachers. Being a prince, he could get away with all of it, but not as a king. At the beginning of the novel, he was forced to accept the weight of the crumbling Eldr and to bear the loss of his family. For the young prankster that he has always been, that's a lot of responsibility. This weight he bore showed in all of his decisions and every action he made. When he flew to Irina and offered to help Ravenspire's people, his motives were clear. And when he tried sneaking off and leaving his friends behind where it was safe, you could see where his loyalties lied. Kol didn't really think about what risks he put himself in, he just did what needed to be done to help those he loved.
    Overall, the Shadow Queen is a very compelling read that leads you on a journey where magic strives, ogres conquer, and dragons are nicer than you would think. I am definitely going to read the next book in the Defiance series when it releases.

Favourite Quotes:

  • "You don't go into battle because you're sure of victory. You go into battle because it's the right thing to do." 
  • "We could just head to the capital now and yell, 'Surprise, you slimy coward! We're not dead, but you're about to be!' and then you can turn her into a pile of fungus."
  • "You two display such a staggering lack of imagination, it's a wonder I survive."
  • "The only people who aren't prey are those smart enough and strong enough to become the predator."
  • "A warrior doesn't focus on the odds stacked against her. She focuses on her heart, on her will to face the evil in her world and defeat it, and then she finds a way to do it."
  • "I believe in you, and I've fought for you, because in a world full of people who crumble before an evil too terrifying to comprehend, you put up your fists and fight."

Rating: 9/10

Recommended if you like: Fairy tales, Snow White, books about overthrowing a king/queen, revenge/vengeance, Alex Flinn novels, adventure, romance, fierce female leads

Keep flipping pages,

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Doppelgänger Duels: Divergent vs the Hunger games

Hey, everyone!
   I'm sure every major book nerd out there has noticed that some books are a lot alike. Well, we have too. So we decided to dedicate a segment to book twins, or doppelgängers. Anyways, there are some more famous duplicates, and then there are the ones that are rarely noticed. We're going to try listing from both categories as much as we can. First things, first. Our first post is going to be an obvious one:


Divergent vs. the Hunger Games

   Both set in dystopian worlds, Divergent and the Hunger Games have the same plot. The main female character has been used, or attempted to be killed, and must now overthrow her government to make their land safe again and to finally end their battling. In Divergent, Tris must take down Jeanine Matthews with the rebellion, while in the Hunger games Katniss has to kill President Snow, with her rebellion.
   Starting to sound like the same book? No? I haven't even started ranting about the factions/districts yet. Really, there's not much that can be said. They're the same thing, as easy as that. One of the only differences is that there are five factions while there are thirteen districts. Also, the factions and districts represent different things. The factions represent personality traits: Intelligence, Bravery,
Honesty,  Selflessness and Kindness. The Districts represent specific industries like electronics, fishing, electrical power, lumber, transportation, agriculture and mining.
   Another similarity is their personality and the fact that Tris and Katniss both make sacrifices for their family. In Divergent (the series in general), Tris consistently does whatever she thinks is right (even if it hurts Tobias) in order to help her friends and her family. She risks her life whenever needed, and is kinda reckless about it.
Katniss is partly the same way. She strategizes the best way to help her people and her family, then acts on it, even if her life is in the balance.
    And then there are the differences...
   Katniss Everdeen volunteers for the Hunger Games after her sister is picked. She must outwit and outlive all the other contestants in order to return to her family and get back to the life she was living. Tris Prior chooses to leave her family behind and find her true self. She is also tested, through the Initiation, but she does this for herself and not for her family.
  Then there's the economical point of view. The people living in futuristic Chicago get to choose their role in society: either to be a teacher or work for the police force. They get to pick what they want to do and who they want to be. Meanwhile in Panem, the civilians are forced to do the job allotted to their district: work in a field or a mine. This is an enormous difference! Where would you rather live: in the semi-free Chicago or in the communist Panem?

So that's that! Stay updated for the next Doppelgänger Duel!!


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What About Wednesday: Lovey-Dovey Books

   Hey everyone! In time for Valentine's Day, we've decided to share our favourite romance novels, so you can share it with your loved one, or enjoy them by yourself (like we will).  Let us know which you agree or disagree with, and which you'd add!

Mari's Picks:
1. The Fault in our Stars by John Green
2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
3. Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Ola's Picks:
1. Blackheart by Nicole Castroman
2. Entwined by Heather Dixon
3. The Selection by Kiera Cass

Lauren's Picks:
1. A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn
2. The Host by Stephanie Meyer
3. The Heir by Kiera Cass

   Have a good Valentine's Day from the Autumn Bookshelf!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review: H.E.A.R.


H.E.A.R by Robin Epstein

Release Date: December 29th, 2015
Read: January 2016
Publisher: Soho Teen
Format: Paperback ARC, 272 pages 

Description from Goodreads:
Expelled from high school months shy of graduation—her acceptance to Columbia revoked due to vigilante justice gone awry—Kassandra Black is sent to work in her great-uncle Brian’s lab at Henley University. She’s helping with his HEAR (Henley Engineering Anomalies Research) program, and hopefully getting him to put in a good word for her to attend Henley instead. She’s got to go somewhere, after all.But as she gets to know the other HEAR students, it becomes clear that she overlooked the “Anomalies” part of their acronym—these kids are here to help Brian run experiments that gauge ESP capacity. They’ve each been selected and recruited, including, to her astonishment, Kass herself. But ESP? She doesn’t buy any of it. And even if it were real, she definitely isn’t psychic.Yet with each new test, she finds herself more frightened. Kass really can communicate telepathically; she can even glimpse the future. When one of her fellow HEAR students is murdered, Kass must try to forget everything she knows about herself and her family and learn to trust those who share her remarkable gift.

What really got me into this book was the main character. Kassandra is strong, and doesn't care what anyone thinks of her. I loved the growth of her powers, and it feels realistic (well as realistic as supernatural powers can be!). I loved that she did what she wanted, when she wanted, and said what she wanted. She is the type of girl everyone wants to know, and everyone wants to be. This book was a refreshing break from the normal dystopian/supernatural genre. It wasn't just about saving the world. It had a deeper story line and plot to it. I really liked getting to know the other recruits of the program. It was almost like X-Men or something. It even had the history to it, about shady ex-colleagues and an untrustworthy government agency. Everyone's power was unique to them, and their character development was interesting, and never dull. Of course the romance between two of the characters (won't say which ones, spoilers!) is a great addition to the story, and adds depth to the characters involved. One of the best parts of the story was the twist at the end. It came out of nowhere, and finished the story perfectly! I can't wait to get my hands on book number two!

Favorite Quote: "Keep my mind open. Keep an open mind. How hard could it be?" -H.E.A.R. by Robin Epstein

Rating: 8/10 Stars

Recommended for people who enjoy: scifi, adventure, romance, strong female leads

Happy Reading,