Sunday, 20 May 2018

Midnight at the Electric

Midnight at the Electric

Midnight at the Electric is by Jodi Lynn Anderson.

Kansas, 2065. Adri has secured a slot as a Colonist—one of the lucky few handpicked to live on Mars. But weeks before launch, she discovers the journal of a girl who lived in her house over a hundred years ago, and is immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding her fate. While Adri knows she must focus on the mission ahead, she becomes captivated by a life that’s been lost in time…and how it might be inextricably tied to her own. 

Oklahoma, 1934. Amidst the fear and uncertainty of the Dust Bowl, Catherine fantasizes about her family’s farmhand, and longs for the immortality promised by a professor at a traveling show called the Electric. But as her family’s situation becomes more dire—and the suffocating dust threatens her sister’s life—Catherine must find the courage to sacrifice everything she loves in order to save the one person she loves most. 

England, 1919. In the recovery following the First World War, Lenore struggles with her grief for her brother, a fallen British soldier, and plans to sail to America in pursuit of a childhood friend. But even if she makes it that far, will her friend be the person she remembers, and the one who can bring her back to herself? 

While their stories spans thousands of miles and multiple generations, Lenore, Catherine, and Adri’s fates are entwined.

The Breakdown:
1. I was fascinated with the concept of this book.  Multiple generations of women linked together.  In the end the story fell a little short to me.  By time the book was finished, I felt that overall the Anderson was grasping to tie the characters fate together.

2.  I did like that each of the women was very distinct in their personality, and I liked each of their stories individually.  I think that I liked Lenore's story the best.  Plus, her tie to Catherine was much stronger than Catherine or her tie to Adri's. 

3.  I think my favorite part of Adri's story is her developing relationship with her long lost cousin, Lily.  Despite large age difference, they work out a nice relationship.  I like that Lily accepts Adri for who she is and does not try to change her, but still calls her out when she is being harsh.

4.  While I enjoyed the individual stories of the characters, I felt the overall tie between them was very weak.  When described as fates entwined, I want it to be a very strong connection.

To Read or Not to Read:
Skip

Thursday, 17 May 2018

The Hazel Wood

The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood, #1)

The Hazel Wood is by Melissa Albert and is the first book of a series of the same name.

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

The Breakdown:
1. I was apparently on a creepy book kick because this was the book I picked after Before the Devil Breaks You.  There are some very creepy happenings in this book, and some seriously disturbing characters.

2. I have to be honest, I was not crazy about Alice.  I found her to be very abrasive and at times a little unstable.  I get that as the story progresses, it better explains why she can be like that, but it made it very hard to connect with her as a character.

3. I found Alice and Ellery's relationship to be strange.  At times it felt like Albert was trying to set a romance between them, but they did not seem to have much chemistry.  Other times it felt like a friendship or just two people who needed each other without really liking each other.  I just could not decide where that relationship was suppose to be going.

4. I did like the stories from Hinterland, despite how dark and creepy they are.  It reminded me of the original fairy tales before made kid friendly.  I would love to read a whole book of just those tales.  I also enjoyed the time in Hazel Wood and the secrets that Alice learns about herself and the stories.

To Read or Not to Read:
Read- because I have hopes that as the series continues it will get better.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Before the Devil Breaks You

Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners, #3)

Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray is the third Diviners novel.

New York City.
1927.
Lights are bright.
Jazz is king.
Parties are wild.
And the dead are coming...

After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that early claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough of lies. They're more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward's Island, far from the city's bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten--ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over, and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them fact-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they've ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation--a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves.

The Breakdown:
1. Bray gave me so many feelings in this book.  I went from laughing to crying, and so many, many times, totally creeped out by things in this book.  This definitely has some serious sleep with the lights on moments in this book.  And honestly, the ghost where not the scariest parts of this book, it was often the humans and their deeds that frightened me the most.

2. I love that this book gets deeper in the main characters back stories like Theta and Sam, along with Evie's dreams coming together.  I was especially intrigued by Theta's story.  Her life before New York, and her past coming back to haunt her.

3. I want to take a minute to talk about Jake Marlow, and how much I despise him.  He treats others horribly.  He discredits the Diviners, but also wants to use them for his own nefarious plans.  Oh, and it is definitely a "Make America Great Again" guy who basically whats to get rid of anyone who is not WASP in heritage.

4. I will admit that I find the King of Crows extremely creepy.  It makes it worse when it is revealed early in the book that he is created from humanities worse traits. 

5. There are some serious feels in this book.  I am not ashamed to admit that I cried at least once during my reading.  Also, when I started the book, I did not realize this was not the last book in the series.  I was getting stressed the closer I got to the end and the more I realize that there were not enough pages to wrap up the story.  I am now jonesing (is that still a term people use, or did I really date myself) for the next book.

To Read or Not to Read:
Must Read

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Starfish

Starfish

Starfish is by Akemi Dawn Bowman.

Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

The Breakdown:
1. This book deals with some very heavy subject matters including sexual assault and an emotionally abusive parent.   If you can deal with the heavy subject matter, this is a beautifully written book.  I liked the story and the character development amazing.

2.   Kiko has one best character journeys.  She is the target of much of her mother's abuse and as a young girl was sexually assaulted by her uncle, which her mother refuses to believe.   I am so proud of her when she gets herself free from her mother.  I also like that while she likes a boy, she is determined to make  her own life without him to know that she can rely on herself.

3.   I pretty much adore Kiko's mentor in California.  He is what her parents should have been for her. 

4. I know this has nothing to do with the story, but I am disturbed by the fact that the book is Starfish, and the cover has a jellyfish.

To Read or Not to Read:
Read

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Audiobook: The Bear and the Nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy, #1)

The Bear and the Nightingale is written by Katherine Arden and narrated by Kathleen Gati and is the first book of the Winternight trilogy.

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind--she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed--this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales.

The Breakdown:
1. So this book has a lot of critical acclaim, and I kind of have a love of Russian based or Russian influenced books.  I was disappointed with the book in general.  I book is very slow in building the story.   Plus, I listening on audiobook, I was not impressed with Gati as the narrator.   I found her reading when not doing the characters speaking to be very monotone.

2.  I found the character of Vasilisa to be a little meh.  I had no strong feelings for her either way.  I liked her the most with her interactions with the Winter King.

3. The thing I liked the best about this book is the household spirits and old gods, and the struggle between them and encroaching Christianity into the lives of the people.  I find the old traditions fascinating and the idea that things are lost when a new religion stamps them out.

4. I did enjoy the Winter King the most as a character.  I found him interesting and wished that he was in more of the book.  I especially liked his strange relationship with his horse, and how she seemed to part adviser to him.

5. In the end, I found the book overall boring.  I could not bring myself to really care about the characters and their fates.  I am not even bothering with the rest of the trilogy.

To Read or Not to Read:
Skip this one.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

The Language of Thorns

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (Grisha Verse, #0.5, #2.5, #2.6)

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic is by Leigh Bardugo and is a set of Grishaverse short stories.

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

The Breakdown:
1. So this is actually going to be a fairly short review.  This book is a collection of stories/legends set in the Grisha-verse.  Some of the stories are recognizable in they are tells we have heard a version of before.

2. I think my favorite tale was The Soldier Prince.  It had deep ties to the Nutcracker story, but it did its own thing.  It was a far more interesting progression of the characters that the actually story of the Nutcracker.   I also really enjoyed When Water Sang Fire, which was basically Ursula from The Little Mermaid origin story.

3. One on the best things about this book was the gorgeous artwork that accompanied each story. The artwork starts in the margins of each story, and becomes more elaborate as it progresses and at the end of story has a full spread of the artwork.

To Read or Not to Read:
Read

Monday, 7 May 2018

Batman: Nightwalker

Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons, #2)

Batman: Nightwalker is by Marie Lu and is the second book of the DC icons series.

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.is b

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city's elites are being executed as their mansions' security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family's fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he's forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city's most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce's only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

The Breakdown:
1. I promise I am trying to catch up in my reviews.  This is the second book of DC icons series.  Lu takes Bruce Wayne before he ever becomes The Batman.  She images his introduction to crime fighting in this book.   I love that there are many characters that we have met through the various Batman series that are seen in this book, even if it is not the way we know them in the series.

2.  In this book, Lu proves that Bruce has had a thing for the bad-girls from a young age.  His crush on Madeleine Wallace, one learns, is the first in a long line of bad girls that any fan of Batman knows.  It is interesting to see him shaping his moral compass and drawing lines about which to cross and which to not at his age.  Lu definitely does a great job of showing the Batman that will Bruce will become.

3.  Speaking of Madeleine, she is an intriguing character.  A definite bad girls as she is locked in Arkham for her crimes at a young age.  She is a girl with many secrets, and in a way like Bruce, with her own strange moral compass.

4. There is an interesting story line about the lines between the classes in Gotham and the hypocrites that make them.   I liked the story line and the characters, but I enjoyed first DC icons book, Wonderwoman: Warbringer  by Leigh Bardugo a little more.

To Read or Not to Read:
Read