Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The Thing with Feathers

The Thing with Feathers

The Thing with Feathers is by debut author McCall Hoyle.

Emilie Day believes in playing it safe: she’s homeschooled, her best friend is her seizure dog, and she’s probably the only girl on the Outer Banks of North Carolina who can’t swim.

Then Emilie’s mom enrolls her in public school, and Emilie goes from studying at home in her pj’s to halls full of strangers. To make matters worse, Emilie is paired with starting point guard Chatham York for a major research project on Emily Dickinson. She should be ecstatic when Chatham shows interest, but she has a problem. She hasn’t told anyone about her epilepsy.

Emilie lives in fear her recently adjusted meds will fail and she’ll seize at school. Eventually, the worst happens, and she must decide whether to withdraw to safety or follow a dead poet’s advice and “dwell in possibility.” 

The Breakdown:
1.  Hoyle's debut book deals with being different, and wanting to fit in, which is a problem that faces many people.  Emilie different is she has epilepsy, and starting at a new school she does not want to be known as the seizure girl.  Hoyle, also, deals with grief and learning to move on and opening up and face new things. 

2. Emilie is an extreme introvert.  She is afraid of having a seizure in front of others, that along with the loss of her father from cancer puts her in a bit of a tail spin.   She definitely pulls off moody teenager very well at times.  I enjoyed seeing Emilie grow as a person.  She slowly learns to make friends, sees that not everyone is what they seem, and try new things.   I liked that by the end, she does not let her epilepsy define her as a person.

3.  I enjoyed both the characters of Chatham and Ayla.  Both were important to Emilie is her journey of self discovery.  Ayla shows that she can be accepted for who she is. That friendship is an important part of life.  Chatham teaches that is good to try new things and the importance of being honest with each other.

4. Overall, I enjoyed the story and characters, but I felt that the big epilepsy reveal Emilie's classmates was predictable.  My other complaint is that Cindy's, the neighbor girl, story did not really do much for the story.  It felt like it just did not belong.

To Read or Not to Read:
Read

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo is the first of the DC Icons series.

Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together.

Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

The Breakdown:
1. DC Icons is a genius move by DC.  It is a series written by different best-selling YA novelist, and they kick it off with a bang with Leigh Bardugo doing Wonder Woman.  I love Bardugo's writing, and I love what she has done for Wonder Woman.  It is amazing how she takes a well established character and makes it her own, and still keeps with her true to the ideas from the comics. I really adore what she has done with how Amazons are created and the legend of Helen of Troy.

2.   I adore the fact that Bardugo made this story more focused on friendship and sisterhood between the characters.  Yes, there were some romantic undertones at times, but that was not the focus of the story.  I really enjoyed watching Diana and Alia build a friendship.

3.  Speaking of Diana and Alia, I love that they are both strong female characters. Diana in both the traditional sense of the word and she also has a strong heart.   Her determination to both save Alia and the world is amazing.   The Alias is super smart, loyal, and brave.  She wants to do what it takes to prevent the wars she would cause as the Warbringer.  The courage it takes her to face this, and accepted it makes her more amazing than Diana in many ways.

4.  Holy Cow!  The twist that Bardugo throws at the end was amazing and I so did not see that coming.  Made me love the story even more.  I am excited to see where the other authors take the next stories in this universe.

To Read or Not to Read:
Must Read

Sunday, 8 October 2017

The Ship Beyond Time

The Ship Beyond Time (The Girl From Everywhere, #2)

The Ship Beyond Time by Heilig is the second book of her Girl From Everywhere series.

Some things should not be stolen.

After what seems like a lifetime of following her father across the globe and through the centuries, Nix has finally taken the helm of their time-traveling ship. Her future—and the horizon—is bright.

Until she learns she is destined to lose the one she loves. To end up like her father: alone, heartbroken.

Unable to face losing Kashmir—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—Nix sails her crew to a mythical utopia to meet a man who promises he can teach her how to manipulate time, to change history. But no place is perfect, not even paradise. And everything is constantly changing on this utopian island, including reality itself.

If Nix can read the ever-shifting tides, perhaps she will finally harness her abilities. Perhaps she can control her destiny, too.

Or perhaps her time will finally run out.

The Breakdown:
1.  I enjoy this series partly because it is like a blend of pirates and Doctor Who.   I love the concept that as long as you have a map and the map maker believed in the place, you could go there.  Plus in this book, the crew of the Temptation meets another Navigator, and begs the question is it really possible to alter history or does it find a way to happen.

2.  I loved Kashmir's chapters the most in this book.  I found myself wishing that he got more of them.  Plus, he poses an interesting question of himself.  Since he is from a mythical land, is he really himself or an idea that Nix brought to life. There are definitely some deep thinking moments in this book.

3.  Nix, herself, presents interesting character development.  She finds out just how much she is like her father in pursuit of saving the one she loves. 

4. There are some interesting plot twist in this book, and finding that the words of a predicted future are not always what is expected.  I enjoyed the ending of this book, but it does leaving me wondering if this is the end of the series or will there be another book.

To Read or Not to Read:
Read

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is by Becky Albertalli.

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

The Breakdown:
1.  I will admit that I read Albertalli's second book, The Upside of Unrequited,  before this book and the books have a loose connection. I enjoyed this book, but not as much as the The Upside of Unreqiuted.  Her characters are quirky and realistic.  I feel like their problems are problems that real people have.

2. Simon is pretty adorable.  I would definitely want him as a friend.  His love of Harry Potter and Oreos totally won my heart. His struggle with his crush on Blue, and wanting to meet him, and worried how he will react is a problem anyone can relate to whether gay or straight.  I can definitely relate to how his parents makes a big deal out every mile stone in their children's lives.  It both sweet and horrifyingly embarrassing.

3.  I admittedly vacillate between hating Martin, the guy blackmailing him, and feeling sorry for him.  He is obviously awkward and wants to figure out how to approach his crush, but he goes about it all wrong.

4.  I do not know if this is what Albertalli intended but I figured out fairly early Blue's identity based on something that happened in Simon's English class.  Also for me, I thought it was weird that everyone's older sibling seemed to be going to college out of state.  Okay, Abby's brother made sense because she moved from D.C. But the others did not, being from Georgia myself, most people stay in state due tuition and Hope scholarships.

To Read or Not to Read:
Read

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Tower of Dawn

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass, #6)

Tower of Dawn is the newest book is Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass series.

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent's mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

The Breakdown:
1.  This book takes place at the same time as Empire of Storms,  and is Chaol and Nesryn's story during this time.  I will freely admit that I was feeling a little Chaol hate after Queen of Shadows, but this book made me fall in love with him all over again.  Plus, I loved getting to finally see the Southern Continent and learn about it.

2.  I love that Maas brings back Yrene Towers from The Assassin and the Healer story.  And I simply adored Yrene.  She was strong and smart, and did not take any of Chaol's crap and made him face his demons.  Watching her and Chaol's love story develop was fantastic, from animosity to tentative friendship to love.  Her defense to Chaol to Hasar, one of the princesses of the Southern Continent, was probably my favorite scene of the book.

3.  I am so glad Nesryn got her own story in this book.  I enjoyed her character in Queen of Shadows, and seeing her further developed made me like her even more. Her relationship with Sartaq was fun to watch.  The prince, who seems to have quite the crush on her from the beginning, is definitely a good match for her.

4. Holy Cow, the information that Maas dropped in this book pretty much blew my mind.   I may or may not have dropped my book when I read that part.  Oh, and the last chapter just killed me.  Here is to hoping the year goes by quickly so I can read the next book soon.

To Read or Not to Read:
Must Read

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Audiobook: In the Afterlight

In The Afterlight (The Darkest Minds, #3)

In the Afterlight is written by Alexandra Bracken and narrator by Amy McFadden is the final book of the The Darkest Minds trilogy.

Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds. 

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

The Breakdown:
1.  I have loved listening to this series from beginning to end.  The McFadden is an amazing narrator.  I enjoyed Brackens characters and storyline so much.  I like that her characters have realistic flaws.  The story is engaging and I never felt like it was dragging, which I have found to be a problem in many final books in a series.

2.  I think one of the best things about this book is the progression in Ruby and Liam's relationship.  While there were many times I just wanted to shake them for their secrets.  I like that they slow learn how to be with each other, especially after Ruby had erased Liam's memories of her before.

3.  The feels in this book where probably the most intense of the series.  There were multiple times where I got teary eyed.  Probably none more that when Ruby, Liam, and Chubbs were re-united with Zu.

4.  I want to take a moment to express my loathing of Clancy.  He is such a manipulative prick.  I get that he is angry at what was done to him, which was admittedly horrible, but he hurts others who had nothing to do with it to get what he wants.  I just want to punch him in the face so many times.

5.  I thought the ending was perfect for this series.  It did not solve all the worlds problems, which would have been unrealistic, it was great a showing the steps being taken to correcting the issues.

To Read or Not to Read:
Must Read

Friday, 15 September 2017

The Savage Dawn

The Savage Dawn (The Girl at Midnight, #3)

The Savage Dawn by Melissa Grey is the final book of The Girl at Midnight Series.

The war between light and dark has begun. The sides have been chosen and the battle lines drawn.

After awakening the firebird, Echo is now the only one with the power to face the darkness she unwittingly unleashed upon the world…right into the waiting hands of Tanith, the new Dragon Prince. Tanith has one goal in mind: destroy her enemies, raze their lands, and reign supreme in a new era where the Drakharin are almighty and the Avicen are nothing but a memory.

The war that has been brewing for centuries is finally imminent. But the scales are tipped. Echo might hold the power to face the darkness within the Dragon Prince, but she has far to go to master it. And now she’s plagued by uncertainty. Is she strong enough to stare into the face of evil and not lose herself in its depths?

The war has begun, and there is no looking back. There are only two outcomes possible: triumph or death.

The Breakdown:
1.  I was so excited for the final book of this series.  I wanted to see how Grey dealt with the ideas of light and dark in a battle.  It was definitely interesting to watch how Echo and Tanith made their moves in this book, but I was disappointed with the ending in general.

2.  I found it fascinating and horrifying seeing Tanith's consumption by the kucedra.  While she was never a likable character, and had harshness to her.  The kucedra really makes her lose herself to madness, and become horrifying monster.

3.  I have to say the couple I definitely ship the hardest in this book is Dorian and Jasper.  I love them together, and I definitely squeezed my book in delight when they had their break through relationship moment.  I was happy with how their story concluded.

4. So now back to my disappointment in the story.  I felt that Grey left some pretty big issues unresolved.  My biggest complaint is Helios and Ivy's story.  It just felt like she presents this big issue and never comes back and finishes it. Plus, I was just not a fan of the ending in general.  I was like seriously that is it.

To Read or Not to Read:
Read, despite the ending.