Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Review: Cress

Cress Cress by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cress has spent most of her life trapped in a satellite, watching netscreens and spying on officials down on earth for the workings of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana. Her latest orders are to locate the cyborg Cinder and the group she has helping her: Captain Thorne, Scarlet and Wolf.

Rather than do their bidding, Cress makes an attempt to reach the group, hoping for the chance to join them as they work to stop Queen Levana's plans. But they need to rescue her from the satellite first.

Despite their best intentions, the group is separated during the rescue attempt, leaving everyone scrambling to locate each other while staying out of the reach of every citizen on the lookout for the missing cyborg mechanic and her crew. As they work to find each other, the group must also start work on a plan to prevent Queen Levana from marrying Prince Kai, a marriage that would give her legitimate power over the fate of earth and it's citizens. Time is running out and the world needs Cinder, Scarlet and now Cress, to work together and stop the Queen before its too late.

Finally, I finished this book! It took me ages because I just didn't have the time to sit down and ignore everything else so I could devote everything I had to reading this book.

Review: Cinder

Cinder Cinder by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cinder is a gifted mechanic, treated as a second class citizen because she is a cyborg. While her planet is being ravaged by a plague, her country has a cyborg draft that allows for cyborgs to be used as test subjects in a futile attempt to find a cure for the plague that has killed countless people. When her path crosses with that of Prince Kai, Cinder's life is turned upside down as she works to hide her life as a cyborg from him and is blamed for every thing that continues to go wrong in her stepmother's life. As the stakes get higher, Cinder finally begins to learn the truth about where she came from and what role she has to play in the fate of the kingdom.

I tried reading this. And then I tried again. Somehow, I just didn't take the time to really sit down and get farther than 50 pages into this book. When I started reading Scarlet however, things changed. I thought Cinder was interesting in that book and I realized that it would be better for me to read book 1 so I could really appreciate where Cinder came from and how she'd grown as a character.

Review: Scarlet

Scarlet Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Scarlet Benoit is on the search for her missing grandmother. When she meets a man called Wolf, who claims to have information that could help Scarlet, she only goes along with him for the sake of finding the only family member she has ever been able to depend on in her life. Cinder is a cyborg mechanic attempting to break out of jail with the help of another prisoner and a doctor who has discovered the importance of Cinder and what she means to the fate of the world. Together, the group must find a way to stop the Lunar Queen Levana from gaining control over the earth before its too late.

Okay, fine! I started reading this book before I actually started reading Cinder for the whatever time. I don't know why but when I tried reading this book, I just liked Scarlet that much more as a character. She was a girl with a good head on her shoulders, strength galore and a take-no-shit attitude that made her plain fun to read about. Of course, once I realized that Cinder would continue to have chapters showing what was going on with her plot, I put Scarlet down for a while until I managed to catch up enough in Cinder to justify reading both books at the same time.

Review: A Gathering of Shadows

A Gathering of Shadows A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was torn between reading this book now and then waiting a whole year before learning what happens after the cliff-hanger that apparently everyone already knows exists OR waiting until book 3 was released and then reading this book knowing I had the next one available.

Well, I just couldn't stand it. I HAD to read this book right away. And I loved every moment of it. There's just so much to this world that Schwab created, so many new ideas and characters and it was better for me to read it than to wait. I'm dying to know what happens next but it almost doesn't matter because I know that Schwab has something awesome planned and it'll be worth it to know that once A Conjuring of Light is released, I only have to take the book home and start reading it without having to catch up on the story first.

I can't recommend V.E. Schwab's books enough. I just have to tell people to read everything she's written under this name and under the name Victoria Schwab. Trust me, I have ALL of her YA and science fiction novels, and each one of them is worth the read.

Rating: 10 Stars because I loved this world and I can't wait to read book 3!

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Review: The Star-Touched Queen

The Star-Touched Queen The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Maya is cursed with a horoscope that makes her feared and alone. When her father arranges a political marriage for her, Maya is forced to go along with it for the sake of the safety of the kingdom. But when Maya marries Amar and becomes queen of Akaran, she learns that her curse is intertwined in a fate that spans more than she could have ever imagined and she needs to understand just what her destiny is before its too late.

I'm still banging my head over this one. My entire problem with this book was the lead, Maya. Apparently, at the start of the book, Maya doesn't like the wives of her father because they're all out to better their position and will tear each other down, and they believe that Maya is cursed. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop her from listening to their warnings before big plot twists hit.

Why on earth would anyone listen to a woman that hates them and then take their words as a truth that they need to remember from then on forward? WHY??

And that's not the only time that Maya does that. Oh no, once a stupid, gullible idiot, ALWAYS a stupid, gullible idiot. Maya got to a happy point in the book but she's in a place that she's not familiar with and she's a little wary about who she's with and what's around her. Again, she remembers the warnings of the woman that hated her and she keeps things to herself because somehow, Maya knows better and only she can keep herself safe. Then a villain rears their ugly head, and starts filling Maya's head with all sorts of lies, obvious ones too, and Maya takes the villain's words as the TRUTH and mucks everything up, even though she KNEW that the villain was a villain.

How does that even make any SENSE???

I can't support a book where the story is propelled forward by the stupid actions of a lead character. For a someone who thought she was smart and so much better than others, Maya was an extreme disappointment. Add to that a whole lot of insta-love and a "blink and you'll miss it" plot, and there's nothing I can really say to make me like this book.

Rating: 1.5 Stars. I was expecting some sweeping, magical tale and all I got was definitely not that.

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Review: The May Queen Murders

The May Queen Murders The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I had been waiting for this book to be released for what felt like ages. I loved the cover art and the synopsis intrigued me from the get-go. The idea of an old mystery, a town filled with superstitions and an old threat coming back to torture the present has all the makings of a classic horror movie. Unfortunately, that's where the good stuff ended.

Honestly, I wanted to love this story, truly I did. I was intrigued from the start about the shrieks in the woods from the town's own boogeyman, Birch Markle and the unease that seems to drift through the town at the idea of celebrating their "May Day" again after the last celebration a quarter of a century earlier was marked by the death of girl that Markle apparently killed before fleeing into the woods that same night. I mean, this book really did have all the classic marks of a true horror story. But the book didn't concentrate on that part of the story, all of that was just a backdrop for a tale about a young girl who is being left behind while everyone around her is growing up and trying new things. The fact that the story has Ivy, the lead, trying to understand what her cousin Heather, the new girl to now disappear, was keeping secret from her made me think that either I got the synopsis completely wrong OR Ivy needed to get her priorities straight.

Guess which one was right.

Review: The Mark of Cain

The Mark of Cain The Mark of Cain by Lindsey Barraclough
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars

Back in 1567, Aphra Rushes was raised by two witches, learning to harness a terrible power that she had deep inside her. She fell in love with Cain Lankin and sets the story in motion when she curses the descendants of the Guerdon line after she is burned at the stake for murdering her employer's infant son and for being a witch. In 1962, Cora and Mimi have returned to the ancestral home several years after the events of Long Lankin, with Cora determined to put the past behind her. But the curse needs to be fulfilled and Aphra will have her revenge, no matter what the cost.

I remember reading Long Lankin and thinking it was wonderfully creepy, giving just enough horror for the deep recesses of my mind to twist the images in the book and make them just that much more terrifying. When I learned there would be a second book, I waited impatiently for it to be released.

Unfortunately, The Mark of Cain didn't feel like a book from the same world as the first one.

Review: Red Queen

Red Queen Red Queen by Christina Henry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Alice and Hatcher have escaped through a tunnel to the lands outside of the Old City, only to find the place has been destroyed. Determined to continue on their mission, they set off across the wastelands to find Hatcher's missing daughter. On their travels they hear stories about the powerful White Queen and they see hints of the goblin she keeps to do her bidding and they see the true wrath of the creature called the Black King. Each powerful figure wants something from Alice and Hatcher but it is up to the pair of them to work together and save themselves before they are separated for good.

First things first, there is a rhythm to Christina Henry's works, a pace that is set from the get go. It's what makes these books such a quick read, especially in you are interested in the story. When I read Alice last year, it took a few pages for me to catch on to the music of the writing but once I had it in my head, I zipped through the book fast. However, there was an element to the story that was a bit of a let down so I didn't love the book, I only really liked it.

This book suffered from the same kind of let down.

Review: Roses and Rot

Roses and Rot Roses and Rot by Kat Howard
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Imogen and her sister, Marin, have both been accepted to attend an artists' retreat, complete with a fairy tale feel to the campus and the motivation to create whatever their hearts desire. Imogen is a writer, heavily influenced by fairy tales, and Marin is a dancer. Both women work hard at their craft while trying to keep distance between them and their abusive mother.

However, not everything is as it seems at the idyllic setting of their retreat. There are things in the woods and whispers of the truth about the true sacrifice it will take for the sisters to achieve their dreams. The question for them is do they try to get their dream, letting the competition force them apart, or is it safer for them to get away before it's too late?

I wanted to love this book so much but I didn't connect with anything in this story. I felt that the characters were forgettable, both for their actions and their feelings.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Review: Company Town

Company Town Company Town by Madeline Ashby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hwa is an expert at self-defense and the last person in her community that has chosen not to have bio-engineered implants. She's hired to protect the heir to the Lynch family, a young man named Joel, while also teaching him how to protect himself. But there's a murderer on the loose and it seems that Hwa is the only one who can put the pieces together and figure out who is after the women she calls friends. Hwa has to work out if the deaths are a coincidence or if someone is targeting the people she loves in an attempt to get to her.

It took me a while to finally sit down and get myself to read this book. I guess there's been too much distracting me from doing real reading for the last few months. But when I did start to seriously work through this book, I was charmed by Ashby's lead character, Hwa, a young woman who has made the best out of her situation.

Hwa was smart, resourceful, with snark and snap and a lot of bite. I really enjoyed her character, her interactions with Joel, the young boy she is hired to protect, and her back and forth with her boss, Daniel. Ashby created a well-rounded character, all facets of her understood without it needing to be spelled out. The same can be said for most of her characters, although there are a few tidbits I felt didn't mesh with the story but more on that in a minute.