Monday, 28 March 2016

Rebel of the Sands

Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands, #1)

Rebel of the Sands is by debut author Alwyn Hamilton and is the beginning of the series of the same name.

She's more gunpowder than girl- and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic.  But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani's counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk.  When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he's the perfect escape route.  But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason.  And she's never have predicted she's fall in love with him... or that he's help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

The Breakdown:
1. I am just going go ahead and say this book was amazing!  I could hardly put it down. It is a wonderful adventure set in fantastic land.  The desert setting, magical creatures, great characters, and a thrilling story,  it all comes together so beautifully in this book.  I cannot wait to see where Hamilton will take this series.

2.  I loved Amani.  She is brave and impulsive, and just a fun character to read.  She finds amazing ways to get herself into trouble, but just as creative ways to get out it.  Despite her upbringing, she is determined that there is a better life than what is Dustwalk, and I love the courage she has to try and find it.  Plus there is amazingly more to her than she even realizes.

3. Jin is quite the enigma of a character.  From the start, there is obviously more to him than he is telling Amani.  I love those little unguarded moments when he lets more slip out than he intends to tell her.  I love the way he is torn between wanting to keep her close and sending her way for her own protection.

4. I have to admit that with in the last year, I have become fascinated by djinn stories, and I enjoyed what Hamilton has done with their story.  The djinni are a god-like immortal creature with immense power, but also become fascinated by the mortals.  I like how she weaves their story into this story, and how it plays a part in the Miraji religion, and the Rebel Prince's goals.

To Read or Not to Read:
Must Read

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Mind Magic

Mind Magic (World of the Lupi, #12)

Mind Magic is the newest book in the Lupi series by Eileen Wilks.

Thanks to the mindspeech lesson's she's receiving from the black dragon, Lily is temporarily benched from Unit Twelve- until her brain acclimates and the risk of total burnout passes.  At least she has her new husband, lupi Rule Turner, to keep her occupied.

But when her mentor calls in a favor and sends Lily to a murder scene, she's suddenly back on active statues- despite the hallucinations she can't keep at bay.  With one touch, Lily knows the man was killed by magic, but her senses don't warn her how far the conspiracy goes...

A shadowy force within the government wants to take Unit Twelve down, and they don't mind killing to achieve their goal.  With none of her usual resources, Lily is up against impossible odds- because with her mind in disarray, she can't trust anything she sees.

The Breakdown:
1. This series is one of my favorites.  I love the characters, the story lines, and magic that are in them. I was excited to see this book get back to Lily and Rule, not that I don't like to stories that revolve around other characters, but Lily and Rule are the ones that started the series.

2. One thing I really enjoyed about this book was that is seemed to focus more on Rule aspect on the story, where Wilks usually focus more on Lily.  I liked getting to see things more from his perspective and how he handles both the man and the wolf dealing with problems.

3. Loved the new character of Demi.  She is interesting, and refreshingly honest.  Her point of view is unique in that she has Aspergers, and sees things differently at times than others.  I hope to see more of her in upcoming stories.

4. This book definitely brought out some interesting revelations about the dragons, and even the who their enemy was.  I can't wait to see where Wilks continues to take this series.

To Read or Not to Read:
Definitely read if you are a fan of the series.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Stars Above

Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles)

Stars Above is a collection of stories from Marissa Meyer set in the world of her Lunar Chronicles.

The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into toe care of Michelle Benoit.

Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may or may not be a glitch...

The Queen's Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we're introduced to the army of Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.

Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving as Rampion spaceship and no-return trip out of Los Angeles.

After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna. 

The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The Princess

The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid," set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles

The Mechanic: We see Kai and Cinder's first meeting from Kai's perspective

Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century...

The Breakdown:
I am going to give a short review of each story, but I am skipping Carswell Guide to Being Lucky, since it was at the end of my copy of Cress, and included in that review.

1. I loved that Meyer gave a more in depth look of Scarlet's grandmother in The Keeper.  She really showed why Scarlet loved her so.  Also it was nice finding out who Scarlet's grandfather was and how she kept Cinder/Princess Selene safe.

2. Glitches shows Cinder's earliest memories, and how she came to be with the Linh's house.  Interesting seeing the family dynamic while Mr. Linh was still alive.  Plus Cinder's reaction to the news of the Plague.

3.  I liked in the Queen's Army that Meyer showed who Wolf was chosen for the program and how he became Alpha.  Also interesting seeing the dynamic with his brother.

4. In After Sunshine Passes By, Meyer presents Cress life living with the other Shell's and why she was chosen to live on the salliete as a spy.  I enjoyed seeing how far Cress has come since that time.

5. In The Princess and The Guard, I loved seeing what made Winter decided not to use her Lunar gift, especially after learning how strong her gift was.  Plus, there was a wonderful moment between her and her father.

6. The Little Android was probably my favorite story, even though only Cinder made a brief appears.  Mech 5.0 or Star as she comes to call herself is a lot like Iko.  She comes to learn what love and friendship is.  The story is both touching and a little sad.

7. The Mechanic was fun because Meyer showed Kai's reaction to meeting Cinder for the first time.  It was cute and sweet, and I liked that he was just as surprised by her as she was by him.

8. Of course, Something Old, Something New was amazing.  It takes place about two years after the coup on Luna, and Meyer catches up on what all the characters have been up to since then.  I love seeing that despite their travels since that they have all remained friends.

To Read or Not to Read:

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Assassin's Heart

Assassin's Heart (Assassin's Heart, #1)

Assassin's Heart by debut author Sarah Ahiers is the first in the series of the same name.

In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price.  As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trustd in the strength of her Family.  Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames.  The Da Vias, the Saldanas' biggest enemy, must be responsible- and Lea should have seen it coming.  But her secret relationship with the Da Via's son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct- and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

Racked with guilt and shattered over Val's probably betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.

The Breakdown:
1.  One of the first things I liked about this book is the world that Ahiers has built in it.  The cities feel old world Italian, and the pantheon of gods is intriguing.  Plus, how she deals with death and afterlife in the story is intriguing to me, being reborn to a better life, or becoming an angry ghost. The way she describes the ghost had me both terrified of them and feeling sorry for them. And the interesting concept that assassination is a legal, even holy thing, where people hire Clippers to kill their enemies, loved ones in pain, or even themselves.

2.  Lea's character went through some interesting struggles.  First, she is guilt ridden, believing that her actions with Val are a big reason her family is dead.  She is struggles with controlling her anger, at times she lashes out at those trying to help.  She also finds herself developing feelings for Alessio, Les, as the book progresses. She is a complicated character and that makes her fun to read.

3. Les makes an interesting companion to Lea.  He afraid of being alone, and wants be like her, a Clipper.  He is also terribly kind despite how the world has treated him. He is good for Lea because he is loyal and would never betray her.

4. I loved how this story played out, and how the gods of this world came into play in it.  I, also, love that Lea learns that family is more important than revenge.  I thought that Ahiers tied up things nicely at the end, so it will be interesting to see where this series goes.

To Read or Not to Read:

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The Shadow Queen

The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire, #1)

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine is the first book of her Ravenspire series.

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 orges, 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 drwan 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.

The Breakdown:
1.  I am totally in love with the way Redwine re-imagined Snow White's story in this book.  It may be my new favorite re-imagined fairytale.  The story was fantastic. The characters were amazing.  I hardly wanted to put down this book from beginning to end.

2. Lorelai is a strong, smart, and brave heroine.  I love the way her mind worked, always seeing the outcomes of her plans and choosing the best path.  Plus she is so kind and compassionate.  Several times it would have been easier for her to abandon Kol, or kill him, she instead chose to save him and in turn made him stronger for it.

3. Speaking of Kol, how could you not love him. He is prankster that has been thrust into a role he never thought he would need to fill, but despite that, he works hard to do what is best for his kingdom.  It is adorable that at times he does not even realize what a great leader he is, and how he is already inspiring his people.

4. Oh, and Irina is definitely a villain that I love to hate.  The things she does to gain control of Ravenspire and why she did it makes her the perfect foil for Lorelai.

5. This books was great.  There are some real heart-wrenching moments, and there are some wonderful heart melting moments.  I can't wait to see what happens in the next book, personally hope it has to do with the orges, and who gave them magic.

To Read or Not to Read:
Must Read

Saturday, 12 March 2016

A Study in Charlotte

A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes, #1)

A Study in Charlotte by debut author Brittany Cavallaro is the first book of her Charlotte Holmes series.

The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father.  But that's not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective's great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock's genius but his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it is safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there's a tense energy between them, ans they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.  But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped  straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Homes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance, Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names.  But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe- and only people they can trust are each other.

The Breakdown:
1. I really enjoyed Cavallaro's new spin on Watson and Holmes' story. It combined two of my favorite genres YA fiction and mystery.  I love that it used the old Sherlock Holmes stories in mysteries tying the old and new together.

2.  Enjoyed both the characters of Jamie and Charlotte.  In each I could see a little of ancestors, but they were also their own person and not cookie cutter Holmes and Watson. I loved that their first true meeting was so incredibly awkward. Two people who grew up knowing their family legacies, but it seemed neither really knew who to react to the other in their meeting.

3. Cavallaro provides an excellent cast of supporting characters for Jamie and Charlotte.  I particularly loved Lena, Charlotte's roommate, she is a little wild but very loyal to Charlotte it would seem.  I was also fond of Jamie's father.  He provided an interesting look into Jamie, with his desire to both re-contact with his son and to watch Charlotte and Jamie work on the murder.

4. Of course, what is a Holmes without a Moriarty.  Their families have a long, complicated history, and nothing is more complicated than Charlotte's personal history with them.  On top of the murder to solve, there is mystery of what exactly happened between Charlotte and August Moriarty.

5. This book was great mystery that kept me guessing, and I cannot wait to see where Cavallaro is going to take the series and the characters.

To Read or Not to Read:

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Glass Sword

Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)

Glass Sword is the sequel to Victoria's Aveyard's Red Queen.

Mare Barrow's blood is red- the color of common fold- but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince- the friend- who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The Breakdown:
1. This is one of my most anticipated books of the year, and wow, oh wow, did have Aveyard kill it with her sophomore novel. She picks up right were Red Queen left off, and gets right back into the action.  I loved the many of the new characters that Aveyard introduces, and the quest for the others like Mare, or the newbloods, keeps the book fast paced.

2.  In this book, it was interesting the see how the events of Red Queen have weighed upon Mare, and how she handles others looking to her as a leader.  She is struggling with her conscious and responsibilities thrust upon her.  I have to admit there were times that I did not like Mare as much, but I understand why she made those decisions.

3.  One of the most fascinating things for me is seeing how Maven both despises and wants Mare.  Even though he is not as prominent in person in this book, his presence and actions drive much of Mare's actions.  At one point, he even brands her so that she will know that she is his.  With the ending, it will be interesting to see what his next moves will be.

4.  Like in the Red Queen, Aveyard is going to break your heart a few times. Plus the ending, OMG, I am still reeling from it a little.  I am ready for the next book, like yesterday.

To Read or Not to Read:
Must Read