Fire & Flood and Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott

Tella’s older brother is sick and none of the doctors can figure out what’s wrong with him. After being forced to move to Montana with the rest of her family, Tella receives an invitation to compete in the Brimstone Bleed–the winner gets a cure for any disease. Contenders will have to race across four different regions: jungle, desert, sea, and mountain. They will have an animal guide called a Pandora to aid and protect them. The only rule is to make it to base camp before the 14 day limit is up.

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I’ve heard some people say that these books are a cross between “The Hunger Games” and “The Amazing Race”. To them I say, “You’ve obviously never watched ‘The Amazing Race'”. Basically the only similarity to “The Hunger Games” is that the race officials don’t care if people die while out on the course. But the contenders are all different ages, they have these Pandoras with them to help out, they don’t have donors or mentors, and not everybody has to die for there to be a winner. The only similarity to “The Amazing Race” is that it’s a race that changes locations.

With that rant over with…these books are just okay. It’s a really interesting concept and I especially like the detail that Tella is trying to win the cure for her OLDER brother (as opposed to the younger sibling that most dystopian novels favor). Besides that, there’s not very much that I like about Tella. She’s vain and selfish and immature…she kind of bugged me the whole time. I didn’t feel like she grew as a character and let’s be honest, who is really thinking about their glittery closet when they’re in the middle of the desert dying of dehydration??? Her whole relationship with Guy was pretty weird too.  There’s a quote on page 108.

“[Guy’s] face pulls together. I realize it then–he hates me. And not in the way in which I find out later that he actually liked me the whole time.”

Except…he does end up liking her. So in retrospect, this sentence makes zero sense. I actually would have found the book much more interesting if Guy hadn’t liked her. The books had a lot of other inconsistencies as well. In the second book, Olivia refers to something that happened in the jungle leg of the race…SHE WASN’T THERE. That kind of thing just really bugs me. It feels like the writer isn’t being careful.

Overall, the books were just okay. The concept of the race and the whole setup was really promising (even the whole conspiracy theory) and I absolutely LOVED all of the Pandoras. But the human characters just didn’t do it for me. I think there’ll be a third book out sometime, but I’m not sure when. I’ll probably end up reading it.

Overall Rating: 3
Violence: Heavy
Sexual Content: Mild
Language: Moderate (mostly mild, but a few scenes with brief strong language).
Smoking/Drinking: Mild in the first, None in the second.

Liebster Award

LiebsterAward_3lilapplesI have been nominated for the Liebster Award by Emma over at SheReadsBooks. Her blog is definitely worth a look if you’re not already following her!

The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog.
  • Give your readers 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions from the blog who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers to receive this award.
  • Come up with 11 questions for your nominees!

The Facts

1. I’m currently obsessed with button up shirts (so comfy!) and watches (classy and functional!)
2. I graduated in December with a BA in Economics, but I totally would have gone for Library Science if I’d known it was a thing coming out of high school. Alas, I did not.
3. But…I will be applying for grad school this summer and hope to get my Masters in Library Science.
4. I got married when I was (barely) 20. My husband’s name is Jack and he’s wonderful and lets me read as much as I want 🙂
5. My dad is 100% Chinese while my mom is half Panamanian and half White. This resulted in us kids having a variety of fun cultural experiences growing up.
6. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) and I LOVE to answer questions about my religion!
7. I work in HR right now, but my dream is to become a librarian (I know, dream big right?)
8. I love baseball (thanks to my husband). Favorite Teams: Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants
9. I grew up in the Seattle area (thus my affinity towards the Mariners), but I don’t like the Seahawks.
10. I’m the only one in my immediate family (parents and two siblings) who did not choose to attend the University of Washington for college. Instead, I decided to head on down to Utah to go to BYU.
11. I used to be in Elementary Advanced Placement classes. This made me think I was special until I got to junior high and realized that kids from the normal classes could get into honors classes too (and get better grades than me).

The Answers

1. Who are your top 3 favourite authors?
Right now…Sarah Dessen (reminds me of high school), Jennifer E Smith (instaread), and Jane Austen (so classic).

2. What character would you like to have as your Best Friend or Side Kick?
Cath from Fangirl. She’s so normal and fun and a little insecure, but overall just awesome!

3. If you could meet any actor that played a character from a book/s, who would it be?
Emma Watson. She just seems fiery and like an interesting person.

4. If you could choose one author to write the story of your life, who would it be?
Jane Austen. She would definitely make me wittier than I actually am.

5. What was your least favourite book ever?
Oh gosh…basically anything from Sophomore English. One that immediately comes to mind is O Pioneers! by Willa Cather. I’d probably appreciate it now (maybe) but at the time I was bored out of my mind.

6. What is one book that you love, but everyone else on the planet hates?
Lord of the Flies, also from Sophomore English. I don’t think a ton of people hate this book (it is a classic after all), but I don’t think a lot of people like it because it’s not very happy…and at times disturbing.

7. What is your favourite book that is not in the Young Adult genre?
The Monuments Men (you can see my review for it here). I don’t read very much outside of YA, but I loved this book.

8. If you got to play a YA book character in a movie or TV series, who would it be?
Maybe Lara Jean Song from To All the Boys That I’ve Loved Before…there aren’t very many YA books centered around Asian girls (that I’ve read at least).

9. What was the shortest time it took you to read a book?
A few hours. I can generally read a 300 page book in 3-4 hours if I’m really into it and there are no interruptions.

10. Which book do you believe should receive more hype?
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. I thought this book was so great! It’s a fascinating world with interesting characters, but I feel like I rarely see anyone talking about it!

11. What is your all-time favourite standalone novel?
For now…I’d say Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson (review here). I really enjoyed how much the main character grew throughout the book.

The Nominations

I am nominating…
Rachael at Awake and Reading
Jessica at Novel Infatuatus
Anjie at Love Thy Shelf
Erika at Erika the Bibliophile
Once Upon a Bookshelf
BookwurmGirl7 at A Girl With a Book in Her Hands
Check them out everyone! (Sorry, I could only come up with eight!)

The Questions

1. What book do you wish people would just stop talking about?
2. What author (living or dead) do you wish you could meet?
3. If you could only read one series for the rest of your life, what would it be? (Excluding Harry Potter)
4. What is your reading pet peeve? (Something authors do that you hate)
5. What book reminds you the most of your childhood?
6. If you could live in any book world, what would it be? (Again, excluding Harry Potter)
7. What book would you recommend to a non-reader?
8. What book-to-movie (or TV) was the greatest disappointment for you?
9. What was the last book to make you cry?
10. Where is your favorite reading spot?
11. What do you love most about reading?