Wednesday, 27 December 2017
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling is the second book the Harry Potter series.
The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.
And strike it does. For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockhart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls' bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny. But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone, or something, starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects: Harry Potter himself?
When I picked up my copy of this book to read, and homemade birthday card fell out. I had forgotten I received this as a gift in high school from a friend for my birthday. I have to admit, this is probably my least favorite book of the series. It is by no means a bad book, but I just enjoy the rest of the series more. As with the previous Harry Potter post, there maybe spoilers.
I love the introduction to Lucius Malfoy, and it shows exactly where Draco gets his entitlement from. He is definitely a character that I love to hate. Speaking of new characters in this book, I find Lockhart fascinating. I feel like we have all known that person who thinks they know better than anyone else, but in reality has no clue what they are doing. A man that never admits guilt for his mistakes. I think one of my favorite scenes is where he is trying to heal Harry in after Quidditch match where his arm is broken, and removes all the bones. When pointed out that he removed the bones, he is like well it is not broken anymore.
I just want to take a minute to talk about the creepiness that is Tom Riddle. I get that he is Voldemort, but to know that he was so evil at that young of an age is terrifying. Then I wonder, because he stopped the attacks and framed Hagrid so they would not close the school and he was asking to stay during summer break, did the then headmaster grant him permission to stay the break? And we know that he was already gathering followers while in school, why did he not convince one of them to let him spend the break with them?
For me, the most surprising thing for me was what Dumbledore taught while just a teacher at Hogwarts. He was the Transfigurations teacher. I honestly, knowing how much Voldemort feared him, would have pegged him for a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher if not for this book.
To Read or Not to Read:
Friday, 22 December 2017
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling is the first book of the Harry Potter series.
Harry Potter's life is miserable. His parents are dead and he's stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he's a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.
Though Harry's first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it's his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.
I am going to do this breakdown a little different than normal. I figure if you read this blog, you have probably read Harry Potter, so I am instead going to talk about my love of the story and things I forgot since I last read it and questions I still have. Oh, and there maybe spoilers, so if you haven't read don't read this.
I was inspired to do this re-read of the series because I have been listening to the Witch Please podcast, which you can check out here: http://ohwitchplease.ca/ or on your favorite podcast listening app. They host Marcelle and Hannah do a feminist reading to the series and re-watch of the movies. In short, it is fantastic and at times hilarious.
So yes, you did read right, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, even though I am American. My friend and college roommate picked up this copy for me in London several years ago. It is actually the first time I have read this copy. All my other readings have been Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. There are just subtle differences that make it more British, such as the Weasley family's Christmas jumpers instead of the American sweaters.
It has been several years since I have last read the series. I had forgotten how much I love these books, especially the little details of them, like Hagrid's pink umbrella and Lee Jordan's commentary at the Quidditch matches. Plus, the other students named in the sorting ceremony that do end up being minor characters in later books. Oh, and how exciting the race at the end to get to the Philosopher's stone is, and how much smarts and cunning it took Harry, Ron, and Hermione to get through each challenge and defeat Voldemort/Quirrell.
While reading this book, one question started to plague me. What happened to Harry's grandparents, especially Lily's parents? I assumed since James was from a wizarding family, especially since in later books Sirius mentions spending holidays with the Potters, that they were killed by Voldemort in some capacity. But Lily's family are muggles, and her sister is obviously still alive, but never is there any mention of the Evans's parents except with Petunia talks about how proud her parents were of Lily being a witch. Were they killed by Voldemort too, or just die in some other fashion because surely if they were alive they would have been a much better choice for Harry to live with than the Dursleys.
To Read or Not to Read:
Thursday, 21 December 2017
American Gods is by Neil Gaiman and is a full cast narrated audiobook.
Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.
But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow's best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.
Life as Wednesday's bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. Soon Shadow learns that the past never dies...and that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing - an epic war for the very soul of America - and that he is standing squarely in its path.
1. I loved the concept of this book. That as people come to America that they bring their gods and monsters with them, but America is not fertile grounds for these things to thrive. The story and characters were all so interesting. Plus listening with a full cast made the book all the better, and Gaiman even read some of the chapters himself.
2. Shadow is definitely a mysterious and interesting character. He finds himself caught up in this power struggle between the old gods and the new gods not sure why he is so important to it all. Her definitely has interesting life philosophies, and way of seeing the world.
3. This book has a wonderful supporting cast of characters. From Wednesday to Laura and the people of the town of Lakeside. I think my favorite was Mr. Nancy. He was funny, and wise. I am definitely have to read "Anansi's Boys" because of him. I will say that I figured out who Wednesday was very quickly. Maybe it is because I recently read a book about his pantheon and picked on the clues extremely quickly.
4. I pretty much liked this story from beginning to end. I enjoyed both the main story and the subplots.
To Read or Not Read:
Saturday, 16 December 2017
Jane, Unlimited is by Kristin Cashore.
If you could change your story, would you?
Jane has lived a mostly ordinary life, raised by her recently deceased aunt Magnolia, whom she counted on to turn life into an adventure. Without Aunt Magnolia, Jane is directionless. Then an old acquaintance, the glamorous and capricious Kiran Thrash, blows back into Jane’s life and invites her to a gala at the Thrashes’ extravagant island mansion called Tu Reviens. Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.”
What Jane doesn’t know is that at Tu Reviens her story will change; the house will offer her five choices that could ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But every choice comes with a price. She might fall in love, she might lose her life, she might come face-to-face with herself. At Tu Reviens, anything is possible.
1. If like me, you are a Cashore fan from the Graceling series, be warned this book is absolutely nothing like it. It is a very different style of story, and story telling. In some ways is reminds me of the Chose your own adventure books I read as a child. There are five different stories that diverge depending on Jane's choice after the very first part. They range from stories with a little mystery to very out there in concept stories.
2. Jane is a quirky and charming character. I feel that she stays true to herself even with the chaos around her in the stories. I love the ideas of her artsy umbrellas and I kind of want one. Although, I think that the fall in love is a bit misleading. There are hints in a couple of the stories of something between her and Ivy, but I never felt that really went very far.
3. For the most part, I thought most of the supporting characters were forgettable. I liked Ivy alright. Really the best supporting character was Jasper, the basset hound. I loved him, surprise, surprise. He was adorable, and was the center of the last story with Jane.
4. While I enjoyed most the stories, the one that centered on Kiran's missing stepmother was just strange and creepy. I am not sure it added anything to the book. I think my favorite stories were the missing children/spy story and the soul dog story. That being said, I don't feel that with the individual stories made for a great novel.
To Read or Not to Read:
This is definitely a take it or leave it book.
Sunday, 10 December 2017
Flame in the Mist is written by Renee Ahdieh and narrated by Nancy Wu and is the first book in the series of the same name.
The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.
So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.
The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.
1. I really enjoyed pretty much everything about this book. From the setting, inspired by feudal Japan, to the characters, and the narrator. Wu captures the tone of this book so beautifully in her narration. Ahdieh proves, like in her The Wrath and the Dawn series, that she is a master at the hate to love trope.
2. I have to admit, as much as I loved Mariko, sometimes she really lacked in her common sense. She is very smart in the way things work, but is a little clueless in how humans work. Sometimes it is painful to watch her miss what seems so obvious, and for me, that makes her feel more real. She has great strengths, but also some glaring flaws.
3. One of the things I really loved about this book, it was a society where men were the obvious power players, but the women really seemed to control the power from behind closed doors. I, also, very much enjoyed the magical elements to the story. I look forward to learning more about them in the next book.
4. I want to take a minute to talk about Okami. The mysterious member of the Black Clan, and Mariko's love interest. He has so many layers to him, and even at the end of the book, Ahdieh has not reveled all there is to know about it. I loved seeing his confusion over his attraction to Mariko before discovering what she is, and their banter was always entertaining.
5. As for the ending, Ahdieh throws out multiple twist and turns at the end, along with some enlightening reveals. I cannot wait to see where the next book goes.
To Read or Not to Read:
Thursday, 30 November 2017
Umberland by Wendy Spinale is the second book of her Everland series.
They’re dreadfully fond of beheading people here…
Gwen, Pete, and the others have escaped from Everland. Except the safe haven they hoped to find at Alnwick Castle doesn’t exist. With the Queen of England on her deathbed, Duchess Alyssa has stepped in, but things have gotten worse as the cure Doc created for the Horologia virus has mutated into something even more deadly. The only possible solution he can think of is to go back to the virus’s origin: an extinct poisonous apple.
Legend has it, though, that a tree bearing the apple might be found at the center of an impossible labyrinth hidden deep within Germany. A place no one in their right mind enters. With no other options, Alyssa sets out with only her sword, her wits, and the help of Maddox Hadder, a wild boy who oversees the castle gardens. To get to the center of the maze, she’ll be forced to battle monsters more terrifying than her darkest nightmares.
But can anyone truly survive the madness of the maze? And what if there’s no apple to be found there?
1. I feel that Spinale suffers a little from a sophomore slump in this book. The book dragged a little. It was told from three prospectives, Alyssa, Pete, and Jack. I felt that Pete's chapters weighed the story down a lot. Alyssa and Jack's chapters were far more interesting.
2. I did love Alyssa and Maddox together. They both are so layered as characters. I enjoyed seeing Alyssa learn that there is more to Maddox that what she initial thought. I really enjoyed Maddox's back story and who he is and how he came to Alnwick.
3. I find Jack a interestingly complicated character. Most of the time I cannot decided if he is trying to curry favor with his stepmother or trying to find a way to redeem himself to the lost boys. I am interested to see what happens with him in the story as the books progress.
4. Given the ending of this book, I really feel that this book was mostly laying the work for the next book.
To Read or Not to Read:
Read, because I feel like the next book all that happened in this book will really come together.
Saturday, 25 November 2017
The Sandcastle Empire is by debut author Kayla Olson.
When all hope is gone, how do you survive?
Before the war, Eden’s life was easy—air conditioning, ice cream, long days at the beach. Then the revolution happened, and everything changed.
Now a powerful group called the Wolfpack controls the earth and its resources. Eden has lost everything to them. They killed her family and her friends, destroyed her home, and imprisoned her. But Eden refuses to die by their hands. She knows the coordinates to the only neutral ground left in the world, a place called Sanctuary Island, and she is desperate to escape to its shores.
Eden finally reaches the island and meets others resistant to the Wolves. But their solace is short-lived when one of Eden’s new friends goes missing. Braving the jungle in search of their lost ally, they quickly discover Sanctuary is filled with lethal traps and an enemy they never expected.
This island might be deadlier than the world Eden left behind, but surviving it is the only thing that stands between her and freedom.
1. In this book, Olson creates a dystopian empire where the have nots, after a series of disasters, have overthrown the haves in the US. Those not part of the Wolfpack are placed in these work camps to provide for the Wolves. Eden and others are lucky to escape this place and find the sanctuary island her father's journal detailed.
2. Eden is a girl who lost everything. Her first love was killed on Day Zero when the Wolfpack took control. Her father is later killed by them. She wants nothing more to be free. She is determined to find the sanctuary, and quickly learns that there is more to this sanctuary than she knew. I become very frustrated with her character. She misses so many clues about the island and those around her motives. She spent the better part of two years obsessing over her father's journal, but missed so many clues he left her.
3. While on the island, the Resistance people show up. Their leader, Lonan, becomes the love interest for Eden. There really is a forced feeling to their relationship. He goes quickly from not trusting her to telling her everything. Their relationship is just not very believable.
4. There are a lot of unanswered question at the end of this book especially for one that is suppose to be a stand alone novel. The one that bothered me the most was the Edens memories of Birch, her first love, and Emma, her best friend. She tells us what happens to Birch, but there is no explanation for Emma. Was she killed, sent to different work camp, or part of the Wolfpack? There is absolutely no closure in that area. If Emma was so important to her, why does she not think about happened to her. Then the ending felt unfinished. There just so much more that needs to be resolved.
To Read or Not to Read:
As much as it pains to me say about a dystopian book, Don't Read. Maybe if a sequel comes out I might change my mind.
Tuesday, 14 November 2017
The Female of the Species is by Mindy McGinnis.
A contemporary YA novel that examines rape culture through alternating perspectives.
Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it.
Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best—the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, the star athlete who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the preacher’s kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone.
As their senior year unfolds, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting these three teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.
1. McGinnis does an interesting job with exploring rape culture in American, especially in a small town. I like that she does it without constantly throwing in the readers face, but you definitely know it is there and are uncomfortable with the implications of it (as you should be). I loved that she explored through three very different characters.
2. Alex is a interesting character. She has some serious sociopathic tendencies but has a her own strange moral code about things. She has really tried to distance herself from others, knowing that there is not something right about her. Still Jack and Peekay pull her into their lives.
3. I like Peekay the most of the narrators. She is a good person. She starts out a little naive, but after a party one night, she, in a way, loses her innocents. She is a good friend to Alex.
4. The last narrator is Jack. He is the golden boy of the school: smart, athletic, and cute. Jack is definitely the guy, who for most of his teen years, has let his hormones rule him when it comes to girls. While he does this, he has regrets about it. Once he connects with Alex, he really starts to change. He grows up, and with revelations about Alex herself, he learns to how to love someone despite their flaws.
5. This book deals with some heavy subjects without getting too graphic about it. McGinnis does a great job of pointing out what is wrong with the acceptance of rape culture without using very explicit imagery. It is hot topic and a subject that needs to talked about more, and this a great book to help get the discussion going.
To Read or Not to Read:
Saturday, 11 November 2017
The Sword of Summer is written Rick Riordan and narrated by Christopher Guetig and is the first book of the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series.
Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.
One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.
The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.
When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.
Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .
1. I loved Riordan's Percy Jackson books, so I was excited to read this book. It, in a way, takes place in the same universe as Percy Jackson. Magnus is Annabeth's cousin, and she makes a cameo in the book. Magnus, however, is a Norse God's son, and is learning to navigate his way through the Nine Worlds of Norse Mythology.
2. The biggest disappointment for me was the narrator for the book. Guetig has probably been my least favorite narrator out all the books I have listened to. He is more like a really good story time reader at the library than a voice actor for audiobooks. It also bothers me that he gives Magnus a faint mid-western accent when he is a boy who has lived his whole life in Boston.
3. While Magnus is snarky and funny, for me Samirah "Sam" Al-bbas is my favorite character. She is a Muslim Valkyrie, whose dad happens to be a big figure in the Norse gods. She is smart, and has some pretty amazing moves. Plus without her Magnus would be dead-dead, and she helps to keep him clued into who is who in the Norse world.
4. I enjoyed the book as a whole, and the wittiness, but I don't think it is as good as the Percy Jackson boos. I thought it was hilarious that Thor uses the most power weapon Mjolnir to watch television. I Blitz and Hearth, Magnus street friends who are more than what they seem. I want to know more from this series, and see if it will continue to improve.
5. On a side note, I now realize where J.K. Rowling got the Death Eater Werewolf's name from.
To Read or Not to Read:
Wednesday, 8 November 2017
Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare is the second book of The Dark Artifices series.
Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?
A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.
Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?
Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.
When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.
1. I really enjoy the world of the Shadowhunters, and I am excited to see the new developments in this series. I like the complex relationships both between the individual characters and the different races, i.e. the Shadowhunters and the Downwolders. In this book, Clare really highlights these relationships.
2. There are a lot of feels in this book. Emma and Julian struggling to deny their feels for each other. Christina, Mark, and Keiran work their way through their complex feelings and friendships. Kit, Ty, and Livvy building a friendship. Kit's decision whether to stay in the world of Shadowhunters. Diana dealing with her secret. With everyone's personal issues combined with the threats from the Unseelie King, there is never a dull moment.
3. Speaking of feels, Clare breaks my heart a few times in this book. Oh, and she is killing me with all the questions I have at the end of the book. I am dying to see where she takes the story.
To Read or Not to Read:
Monday, 23 October 2017
Shatter Me is written by Tahereh Mafi and narrated by Kate Simses and is the first book of the series of the same name.
I have a gift
I'm more than human
My touch is power
I will fight back
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
1. I picked this book because a friend was going on about how much she loved this series. I can say I was not disappointed with the story. The story did have a slow start to it, but once it got going I easily lost myself in it. I was not crazy about the narrator, Kate Simses, her voice was a little too child-like on the parts that were Juliette.
2. Juliette is a most interesting character. A character with the power to kill with her touch, but has a very kind heart. She tries so hard not to harm anyone with her touch, and really she just wants to be loved and accepted and not seen as a monster. I have so many questions about her powers and why she has them. I cannot wait to see where Mafi takes her character.
3. Adam and Warner present an interesting dichotomy of characters. Adam, who she knew as a child, who wants to protect her from the world. Warner, who is obsessed with her, wants to use her to help him. I am interested to see how things with play out with them and how their relationships evolve.
4. I really enjoyed the supporting characters of Kenji and James. Kenji was definitely funny, and has a few secrets of his own, and I am dying to see more of him in the future. James is wonderful in his child innocence and his love for this brother.
5. I have so many questions still at the end of this book. I am interested to see where Mafi is going to take this series and the characters.
To Read or Not to Read:
Wednesday, 18 October 2017
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.”
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:
Wednesday, 11 October 2017
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.
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.
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:
Sunday, 8 October 2017
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.
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:
Sunday, 1 October 2017
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.
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:
Wednesday, 27 September 2017
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.
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:
Saturday, 23 September 2017
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.
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:
Friday, 15 September 2017
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.
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.
Monday, 4 September 2017
The Brides of Rollrock Island is by Margo Lanagan.
Rollrock island is a lonely rock of gulls and waves, blunt fishermen and their homely wives. Life is hard for the families who must wring a poor living from the stormy seas. But Rollrock is also a place of magic - the scary, salty-real sort of magic that changes lives forever. Down on the windswept beach, where the seals lie in herds, the outcast sea witch Misskaella casts her spells - and brings forth girls from the sea - girls with long, pale limbs and faces of haunting innocence and loveliness - the most enchantingly lovely girls the fishermen of Rollrock have ever seen.
But magic always has its price. A fisherman may have and hold a sea bride, and tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she is. He will be equally ensnared. And in the end the witch will always have her payment.
1. This will probably be one of my shortest reviews ever due to how bored I was with this book. It felt like it took me forever to read, and I honestly struggled with finishing it, but I am no quitter. The book is told from the perspective of several different characters and their stories don't exactly make the whole very cohesive.
2. I honestly hated the characters of Misskaella and Dominic. They booth had some really horrible traits. Misskaella was a very bitter and vindictive woman, and Dominic was just so easily swayed.
3. I will say that the ending was not terrible, but it took way to long to get there.
To Read or Not to Read:
Sunday, 27 August 2017
Never Fade is written by Alexandra Bracken and narrated by Amy McFadden, and is the second book of the Darkest Minds Series.
Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.
When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.
As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself.
1. I loved this book just as much, if not more that the first one. Bracken does a great job of growth in the characters, along with the introduction of new characters. Plus. the story is amazing. The things discovered in this story, and it leaves me wanting so much more.
2. I want to take a minute to really appreciate the narrator, Amy McFadden. I think she is one the best narrators of any audiobook I have listen to. She captures Ruby's character so well. Plus, when she is doing the voice of the other characters, I almost think there are other narrators involved.
3. I loved Ruby even more in this book. Seeing the changes she gone through since the end of The Darkest Minds. Watching how she handles the consequences of her decisions and how she really has come into her powers.
4. I just want to say that this book hits me in the feels multiple times. From Ruby's reunion with Chubbs, to them finding Liam, all the way to the end. Bracken really knows how to pull at the heartstrings. Oh, and the big revelation at the end, I cannot wait to see what happens with that in the next book. (As I patiently wait for my next Audible credit to arrive.)
To Read or Not to Read:
Monday, 21 August 2017
Sad Perfect is by debut author Stephanie Elliot.
The story of a teen girl's struggle with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and how love helps her on the road to recovery.
Sixteen-year-old Pea looks normal, but she has a secret: she has Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). It is like having a monster inside of her, one that not only dictates what she can eat, but also causes anxiety, depression, and thoughts that she doesn’t want to have. When she falls crazy-mad in love with Ben, she hides her disorder from him, pretending that she’s fine. At first, everything really does feel like it’s getting better with him around, so she stops taking her anxiety and depression medication. And that's when the monster really takes over her life. Just as everything seems lost and hopeless, Pea finds in her family, and in Ben, the support and strength she needs to learn that her eating disorder doesn’t have to control her.
1. I rarely say this, but I absolutely hated this book. First off the entire book is written is second person. It makes it really had to connect with a character when the author keeps saying you ate an apple or you had a rough day at school. I am just like it was not me.
2. I felt that Elliot never adequately explains what Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder is to me. I wanted to know about it and the psychology to it, which I never got.
3. It was honestly such a struggle to get through this book. Multiple times I almost DNF'ed it but I am not a quitter. The writing was bad, the character was boring, and the main point of the character's issues was never explained.
To Read or Not to Read:
Avoid like the plague
Monday, 14 August 2017
Dragon Spawn by Eileen Wilks is the latest book of her World of Lupi series.
Lily learns she was right. Tom Weng—a powerful sorcerer allied with the Old One who keeps trying to take over the world—is still alive. But that's not the worst. Weng is a dragon spawn, the product of a botched hatching given a human form in an attempt to keep him from going mad. A failed attempt.
Meanwhile, Lily’s husband Rule is facing a Challenge to the death. Then there’s the possible reappearance of another sorcerer. But none of that matters when their enemy strikes out of nowhere in the worst way possible. Lily must face a nightmare and return to a place she never wanted to see again. The place where she died…
1. I really enjoy this series. The characters and the story lines are usually so good and keep you guessing. That being said, this is not my favorite book of the series. I felt Wilks dropped the ball a little with this book. One of my favorite things about this series is the relationship between the featured couples, whether is be Lily and Rule, Cinna and Cullen, etc. It just wasn't there in this book. It felt like Lily and Rule were not connecting as well as they usually do during the stories.
2. I did, however, enjoy the story itself. I like that Wilks plots out interesting twist and turns to get to the end game. I liked that Wilks spent a little more time focusing on Toby's point of view, and getting to know him as a character better. I cannot wait to see what kind of roles he plays in upcoming books. Plus, I liked finding out that Weng is a dragon spawn, and what exactly that entails.
3. Be warned, that Wilks ends this one in a cliff hanger, and a little bit of a confusing one at that. I have so many questions on what exactly happened and where she is going with the story.
To Read or Not to Read:
Overall Read because I think it will be important for the series overall story.
Sunday, 13 August 2017
The Darkest Minds is written by Alexandra Bracken and narrated by Amy McFadden and is the first book of the Darkest Minds series.
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.
1. Loved this book on so many levels. The dystopian setting, the characters, and the story all worked so well together. It is an interesting world that Bracken as written with a disease that has killed many children and those still alive suddenly have strange powers. I thought Fadden was the perfect narrator for this book. She really captured the tone and characters so well in her narration.
2. Ruby is definitely an interesting character. She has the ability to see minds and control them, but hides this, mostly in order to survive. Most with her talents have been eliminated by the government, but Ruby manages to hid who she is for a very long time. She is kind and brave, although she does not think so. Plus I love seeing the growth of her character throughout the book.
3. Liam is definitely a swoon worthly character. He really does have a heart of gold, and wants to make the world a better place. The way he cares not only for Ruby, but Chubs and Zu is so heart meltingly sweet.
4. Speaking of Chubs and Zu, they are such great supporting characters. I kind of adore Chubs dry humor and prickly self. And who could not love Zu with her sweet self. I do have to say that I did not like the Slip Kid one bit. He just came off as disingenuous to me from the beginning.
5. OMG that ending. It punched me right in the feels. I might have gotten a little teared up during it, which is never good when you are driving. I definitely download the next book in the series to start tomorrow because I have to know what happens to everyone.
To Read or Not to Read:
Friday, 11 August 2017
Wires and Nerve is written by Marissa Meyer and illustrated by Douglas Holgate.
When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers' leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the series.
1. I am almost ashamed to admit that this is my first graphic novel. I, of course, had to read it because it is Marissa Meyer and the Lunar Chronicles. I loved that Iko is getting her own story, and a graphic novel is perfect for the sassy android.
2. I loved Holgate's illustrations for this story. They captured the characters and the mood of the story so well.
3. It is definitely interesting to see Iko evolve as a character, especially since as an android she should not evolve at all. Plus seeing Kinney's reactions to how she handles things makes things interesting. He has not quite grasped that she is not your ordinary android.
4. I will definitely be picking up the next one when it comes out at the beginning of next year. I can't wait to see how Iko and Kinney's story progresses.
To Read or Not to Read:
Wednesday, 9 August 2017
Eliza and Her Monsters is by Francesca Zappia.
Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.
In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.
Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.
But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.
1. I really enjoyed this book. I loved both Eliza's story and the glimpses into the world she created with Monstrous Sea. Zappia did a fantastic job of really capturing a extreme introvert with Eliza, and her struggles with being social. I loved reading her story.
2. While I am not nearly as introverted as Eliza, I could identify with her struggles to socialize. I felt her character really helps to bring awareness to struggles with anxiety and depression.
3. I liked Wallace, who struggles with anxiety and issues himself. I like that he and Eliza just seem to get each other. I am disappointed in his reaction to finding out Eliza's secret.
4. One of the most amazing scenes of the book is when Eliza's brothers, Church and Sully, confront their parents on what revealing her secret did to her. I adored them in that moment. They seemed like high energy middle school kids who had little to do with Eliza until that moment. It showed Eliza how much they cared for her and how much they wanted to be apart of her life.
5. I have to say, I really want a Monstrous Sea book/graphic novel. I loved the little snippets of it that Zappia gives during the book. Plus, if you check out her wattpad, she gives teasers to more. Hinting there could be a full length novel if enough interest. Check it out here: https://www.wattpad.com/story/115593723-monstrous-sea-teaser
To Read or Not to Read:
Sunday, 6 August 2017
A Fierce and Subtle Poison is by Mabry.
Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl--Isabel, the one the señoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.
Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers--and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.
1. This story had so much potential, but Mabry just did not deliver on it. While well written, the story just fell flat mainly because the main character, Lucas, was so flat. The setting was wonderful and I was fascinated by Isabel's story, but I felt those were pushed to the side for Lucas's story.
2. Lucas was such a disappointing character. He was flat, and honestly did not make sense for the story. He inserts himself into a situation where he really had no business, which Isabel tells him multiple times. He is just a really boring character.
3. Mabry left wanting more of Isabel and her mother's story. The teases she gave from their lives and why Isabel is the way she is were the best part of this book. I wanted to know where Isabel's mother went, and felt there was so much more to that story.
4. I also felt that when Lucas becomes a suspect in the girls disappearance did not make sense. I get that the Inspector did not like him for being a main lander whose father is a jerk, but any investigator worth their salt would have easily concluded he could not have done it. Especially due to the fact the American girl went missing before he arrived on the island for the summer. It was ridiculous.
To Read or Not to Read:
Tuesday, 1 August 2017
The Dark Days Pact is by Alison Goodman and it the second book of her Lady Helen series.
June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen to spend the summer season in Brighton so that he can train her new Reclaimer powers. However, the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work have taken hold, and his sanity is beginning to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are even higher for Helen as she struggles to become the warrior that everyone expects her to be.
1. Much of this book deals with Lady Helen learning her role in the Dark Days Club, along with dealing with the politics that go with it. Goodman introduces new enemies, and not all are Deceivers. There a secrets kept and new powers and obstacles to deal with, and thankful, way less about gloves.
2. Interesting to watch how Lady Helen deal with keeping secrets from Lord Carlson and the Duke of Selburn. She is becoming quite the strong young woman. Although, I do get very irriatated with her at times because she almost blindly follows Pike's orders and does not question closely enough due her sense of duty. I do like the resolve she shows at the end with the whole situation.
3. I felt the ending of the book was well done. It fit with the story, and revealed a lot of important information. It will be interesting to see where Goodman takes the next book with those turn of events.
To Read or Not to Read:
Sunday, 23 July 2017
The Upside of Unrequited is by Becky Albetalli.
Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?
1. This book was adorably wonderful. I loved most everything about it. The story, the characters, and even the setting. This book made me both laugh and cry. It really does it me right in the feels sometimes, but I loved every minute of it.
2. Molly was wonderful. She was awkward and funny, and little shy, especially around boys. She was a character I could totally relate with. I love seeing her interact with both her family and her friends. Plus her inter-monologue at times is especially hilarious. My favorite was her inter stress over having to buy condoms one day and all that could possibly go wrong.
3. I enjoyed the family dynamic in this book. I liked that is was realistic, the family loved each other but they also had their fights. Plus Molly's moms, yes moms as in a lesbian couple, were funny and sassy. Then the grandmother who does not filter herself at all is amazing. When I am old, I want to be that way.
4. I adored Reid. Being a geek myself, I definitely have a soft spot for geeky love interests. Plus the way he and Molly awkward dance around each other is cute, and so terribly realistic especially in high school.
To Read or Not to Read:
Tuesday, 18 July 2017
The Battlemage by Taran Matharu is the third book of the Summoner series.
After the thrilling cliffhanger at the end of book two, we rejoin Fletcher and his friends in the ether, where they must undertake a mortally dangerous quest, all the while avoiding capture by enemies and facing foes more terrifying than anything they have yet encountered.
But this is nothing compared to what truly lies ahead for Fletcher, as his nemesis, albino orc Khan, is on a mission to destroy Hominum and everything and everyone that Fletcher loves.
1. This book fell flat for me. I was expecting something a little more exciting for this book, but Matharu spent a lot of time on the little details but the big action seemed very condensed. I was looking forward to getting to know Alice Raleigh, but she was just a shell of a person for most of the time when she was present, and the the rest of the book she was hidden away getting treatment.
2. I seriously felt that Matharu pulled and than this in this book. As in the story went and then this happened and then this happened, and so on and so forth. It made the flow of the story very choppy much of the time. The lack of flow made it hard for me to really get into the story.
3. I did like that finally Matharu reveals what is so special about Ignatius. It lead to an interesting confrontation with Fletcher and the Orcs. I will say that I found Khan an intriguing antagonist, and wished there had been more of him.
4. For me, the ending felt very rushed. It was almost like Matharu decided the book needed to end in this many pages and had to find a way to wrap it up quickly.
To Read or Not to Read:
Skip it, especially if you haven't started the series.
Monday, 10 July 2017
Between Two Skies is by debut author Joanne O'Sullivan.
Hurricane Katrina sets a teenage girl adrift. But a new life — and the promise of love — emerges in this rich, highly readable debut.
Bayou Perdu, a tiny fishing town way, way down in Louisiana, is home to sixteen-year-old Evangeline Riley. She has her best friends, Kendra and Danielle; her wise, beloved Mamere; and back-to-back titles in the under-sixteen fishing rodeo. But, dearest to her heart, she has the peace that only comes when she takes her skiff out to where there is nothing but sky and air and water and wings. It’s a small life, but it is Evangeline’s. And then the storm comes, and everything changes. Amid the chaos and pain and destruction comes Tru — a fellow refugee, a budding bluesman, a balm for Evangeline’s aching heart. Told in a strong, steady voice, with a keen sense of place and a vivid cast of characters, here is a novel that asks compelling questions about class and politics, exile and belonging, and the pain of being cast out of your home. But above all, this remarkable debut tells a gently woven love story, difficult to put down, impossible to forget.
1. I am just going to say it, I loved this book. It felt real, and dealt with real issue that people go through in times of tragedy. It easily displayed all the emotions one goes through when their life changes forever. I also loved that it showed how different people deal with things like this differently.
2. I liked getting to know Evangeline. Seeing the girl that was before Katrina and then watching her change and grow after Katrina. She is strong and smart, and learning to deal with the changes in her friendship with her best friend Danielle. I like that this character shows that is is okay to be depressed and learns ways to help herself, and I like that she is one that loves her small town and wants nothing more than return to it.
3. I like that this book follows from the days leading up to Katrina, through the evacuation and dealing with being a refugee. I felt that Evangeline's desperation to find out what happened to Danielle was something that many dealt with during this time. I also loved seeing how Eveangeline and Tru find a peace with each other.
4. One of the best things about this book was the ending. Without spoiling to much, it showed how resilient the human spirit is, and still how much time and work it takes to rebuild after an event like Katrina.
To Read or Not to Read:
Monday, 3 July 2017
The Ghoul Vendetta by Lisa Shearin is the latest in her SPI files series.
The agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) are paid to keep the peace. But that’s not so easy when an endless evil threatens to tear that peace to pieces...
A vampire gangster’s nephew is abducted off his yacht by a bunch of low-rent Creatures from the Black Lagoon. A slew of banks are knocked over by what looks like the cast of Night of the Living Dead. All of this may seem like the movies, but, I promise you, it’s not.
I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for SPI, and I know the culprits aren’t wearing disguises or makeup. They’re real. Deadly real. Especially their leader—an ancient shapeshifter who leaves a trail of chaos and blood in his wake. Now, he’s taken my partner, Ian—and his intentions aren’t pretty.
The worst part? This is only the beginning...
The beginning of the end of the human race.
1. Shearin's SPI files are quick, fun reads with lots of action and plenty of witty dialog, plus a little romance thrown in. The characters are great and have interesting talents and backgrounds. The story is a wonderful but suspense with magic. This may have been my favorite book, yet. I loved the character development in it.
2. My favorite thing about this book is finding out who the Ghoul that killed Ian's NYPD partner is and why he hates Ian so much. It was great story with some wonderful Irish folklore mixed into it. Plus, it really showed how close of friends Mac and Ian are. I like that Shearin is not pushing sexual aspect between them. They each have their own love interest, and together have more of brother/sister relationship.
3. Speaking of love interest, there is some great chemistry between Mac and Rake. Their relationship takes a big step forward in this book. I really like them as a couple. Plus, I like the combination of Rake's bad boy vibe that has a little bit of good to it.
To Read or Not to Read:
Thursday, 29 June 2017
RoseBlood is by A.G. Howard.
In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.
At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.
1. Howard does a re-telling/sequel of The Phantom of the Opera. Honestly, I struggled with this book. It was so hard for me to get into this book. The characters were a little flat, and the story was dragging so badly. It did not help that the text of the book was printed in red which is a little harder on my eyes to read. There were a couple of times I seriously considered DNFing this book, but I stuck it out until the end.
2. I just could not connect with the characters of Rune and Thorn. Nothing about them had me identifying with them. I can't say that I disliked them, but neither can I say that I liked them. They were just meh, for me. The best character is the book was the cat Diablo.
3. Then there was Howard's explaination of the Phantom, Rune, and Thorn's powers/quirks. It just had a forced/ easy way out feeling to it.
4. I will admit, the last fourth of the book was not horrible. The ending was a good one for the story, and so glad that this a stand alone novel.
To Read or Not to Read:
Don't waste your time.
Sunday, 18 June 2017
The Lake Effect is by Erin McCahan.
lake effect | n.
The effect of any lake, especially the Great Lakes, in modifying the weather in nearby areas
It’s the summer after his senior year, and driven, focused Briggs Henry is ready to leave behind his ex-girlfriend, his comically aggressive grandmother, and his parents’ money troubles for Lake Michigan and its miles of sandy beaches. He’s lined up a summer job working as a personal assistant and living in a gorgeous Victorian on the water—exactly the kind of house Briggs plans to buy his parents once he’s a multi-millionaire. But when he arrives, his boss, the eccentric Mrs. Bosic, tells him to get dressed for her funeral. Uh . . . It’s the first of many funerals they’ll attend this summer—to hilarious and eye-opening effect. Add to this a new set of friends-cum-enemies-cum-friends-again, and Abigail, the mysterious girl next door on whom Briggs’s charms repeatedly fail, and “the lake effect” is beginning to take on a whole new meaning.
1. A friend of mine picked up this ARC at a book festival and gave it to me. It is good coming of age story set on Lake Michigan in the summer. McCahan writes an interesting story with a quirky cast of characters. Plus, it is has quick pace to it but it does not feel rushed.
2. I kind of loved Briggs. He has some super awkward moments, which who has not had that occasionally. His interactions with Mrs. B are the best. They are funny and charming. Briggs goes through some big changes in this book, and while I liked him in the beginning, I loved him by the end watching him change and deal with the issues in his like.
3. I liked Abigail as a character. She had strange food taste, and that made her all the more charming. I did however figure out her secret that Briggs spends so much of the book guessing.
4. While Briggs and Abigail were great, it was Mrs. B that stole the book. She was funny and sweet. I loved that she dragged Briggs to all these funerals, and made notes for her what she wanted at her own funeral one day. Plus, she drops some great wisdom on Briggs throughout the book.
To Read or Not to Read:
Wednesday, 14 June 2017
The Struggle is written by Jennifer L. Armentrout and read by Paul Boehmer and Justine Eyre and is the third book of the Titan series.
A bloody path has been chosen…
The war against the Titans continues, and they remain determined to wreak havoc on the world, but Seth has become something all gods fear. Now the most dangerous, most absolute power no longer resides in those who have been freed from their tombs.
The Great War fought by the few is coming…
All may doubt and fear what Seth has become. All except the one woman who might be his final chance at redemption. Josie will do anything to prove that Seth is on their side, but fate has a nasty way of changing lives, of changing people.
In the end, the sun will fall…
The only way they can save the future and save themselves is by facing the unknown together. It will take more than trust and faith. It will take love and the kind of strength not easily broken. No matter what, their lives will never be the same.
For what the gods have feared has come to pass. The end of the old is here and the beginning of the new has been ushered in…
1. If you have read this blog at all, you probably know that I adore JLA, and this book is no different. I am really enjoying the continuing story of Seth and Josie. Seeing the character development in Seth from the Covenant series is great. He definitely displays a softer side with Josie, and I like it. I did feel like, at least, the beginning of this book was darker with Josie ending up in the Titans' hands.
2. I really like the narrators for this series. Boehmer and Eyre fit the characters of Seth and Josie so well. I will say there seemed to be an editing mistake in the actual reading, at one point Eyre makes a side note about a change that was made due to a typographical era in her text that was left in the audio. Kind of threw me for a second before I realized what it was.
3. There are definitely some crazy and interesting interesting changes for Seth and Josie. Seth becoming a god, and the things he can do now are just the tip of the iceberg for them. I cannot wait to see how this affects the story in the next book.
To Read or Not to Read:
Sunday, 11 June 2017
The One Memory of Flora Banks is Emily Barr's debut YA novel.
Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora's brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora's fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.
With little more than the words "be brave" inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must "be brave" if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.
1. This book was very hard for me to get into. I get that Flora cannot make memories after she is ten years old, but the constant rehashing of everything going on made the flow of the book hard to really dive into it. It did start to flow a little better once Flora made it to Norway, but by that time I had a hard time caring about the story.
2. There were several things in this book that did not make sense to be. Minor issue is that Flora goes to movie's with her friend. Why in the world would you pay like $10 for a movie that you can't remember an hour after it is over. Waste of money. The biggest issue for me was the parents leaving to go take care of her brother in France and just planned on another 17 year old girl to take care of her. These over protective parents of a child that cannot remember anything are totally okay in trusting her care to a teenager. Not a in home nurse, and trusted adult, but a teenager. That just seemed ridiculous.
3. I did like the characters that Flora meets in Norway. This part of the book was the best with her learning to navigate on her own, and charming all these people.
4. Once learning more of Flora's condition and her mother's response to it made me a. question even more the leaving her in the care of a teenager, and b. really dislike her mother. The mother's reasoning and responses to her made her seem like some creepy mother with an unnatural attachment to her child.
To Read or Not to Read:
Skip this one
Monday, 5 June 2017
Perfect by Cecelia Ahern is the second book of her Flawed duology.
Celestine North is Flawed.
Ever since Judge Crevan declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with Carrick, the only person she can trust.
But Celestine has a secret—one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. A secret that has already caused countless people to go missing.
Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or risk her life to save all Flawed people.
1. I both love and I am terrified by the world that Ahern creates in this series. A world where people are judged and rights are taken away from their community for making what is considered a moral mistake. People are literally branded for making a mistake in judgement. They broke no actual laws. Sometimes it is a little close to what happens in real life.
2. I was very pleased with Celestine's character development in this book. In the first book, she was a little on the whiny side, and terrified of the world after she is branded Flawed. In this book, she owns up to the role she is playing in changing the system. She learns to take her problems head on, and takes on the cause of the Flawed.
3. This book develops the character of Carrick. He was very much the mysterious boy in the first book. This book expands on him. He is definitely a brooding guy, but he truly cares for Celestine. Ahern uses him to show what growing up a child of Flawed parents is like in the government's care. Plus, he is the one that helps to motivate Celestine to help the Flawed's cause.
4. My biggest disappointment was Carrick's parents. First, I was not crazy about their personalities. Then when Ahern reveals that they were branded as Flawed for being Doctors that were anti-vaccination, I really did not like them. Importance of vaccination is a big soap box of mine.
5. I did really like the ending and how things between the Guild and the Flawed was dealt with. Plus, I thought that Celestine was incredibly smart with her plan.
To Read or Not to Read:
Thursday, 1 June 2017
Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs is the latest novel in her Mercy Thompson series.
Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe...
Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise..
1. I submit this book as proof that I do read books other than YA books. In fact, I adore Briggs' Mercy Thompson series, and this book is no different. I was doubly excited that Mercy was in Prague. It is on the top of my want to visit list, and this book only help to fuel that desire. Plus, interesting introduction to the European Vampires and Werewolves.
2. I love the character of Mercy. She has so much sass and is smart. She often finds herself in impossible situations where her opponents underestimate. She uses her cunning and wit to make them look like fools mostly. Plus, I like that she feels real, with real fears and love.
3. I find Mercy and Adam's relationship fantastic. They are equals in their relationship. Both are always worried for the others safety, and they find strength in each other. And they have amazing banter with each other, good banter between couples always elevates them in my eyes.
4. Along with being in amazing Prague. Briggs' works in one of Prague's older legends of The Golem in the Jewish Quarter. And most importantly, she throws in a great Doctor Who reference.
To Read or Not to Read:
Tuesday, 30 May 2017
Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman is the second book in her Blackhearts series.
Edward “Teach” Drummond is setting sail to the Caribbean as first mate on the most celebrated merchant ship in the British fleet—until he rebels against his captain. Mutiny is a capital offense and Teach knows it could cost him his life, but he believes it worth the risk in order to save his crew from the attacking Spanish ships.
Sailing on the same blue waters, Anne barely avoids the Spanish attack, making it safely to Nassau. But lawless criminals, corrupt politics, and dangerous intentions fill the crowded streets of this Caribbean port. Soon, Anne discovers that the man entrusted to keep the peace is quite possibly the most treacherous of them all—and he just happens to hold Teach’s fate in his terrifying hands.
Life and death hang in the balance when Teach and Anne are given a dangerous mission. It’s a mission that will test their love, loyalty and devotion, forcing them down a path neither one could have ever imagined.
1. This is Castroman sophomore novel and the second in her series on Blackbeard's origin story. While I did not enjoy this as much as Blackhearts, I still enjoyed this book. I think that part of the reason I did not love it as much is there were not enough Anne and Teach scenes together. I love their chemistry and banter, which this book was missing a lot of, but on that note, I made sense for the story that they were not together as much.
2. This book had a significant amount more of action/fight scenes that the first book. For me, it really spoke to the difference between English society at the time and the atmosphere of the Caribbean towns. It really spoke to the sense of lawlessness and ruthlessness in ports in the Caribbean. This change also brings about interesting changes in the characters of Anne and Teach, and what they become willing to do to protect those they care about.
3. Castroman introduce several new characters, both friend and foe. Anne makes friends some siblings Coyle and Cara on her way over from England, who take her in as family. The antagonist in this book, Governor Webb, makes Teach's father in the first book look like a cuddly bunny. The man is evil.
4. The ending makes me very interested to see how the next book will go. The actions that Teach and Anne had to take and what they do next has me excited for the next book.
To Read or Not to Read: