Thursday, May 10, 2018

Book Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Passenger (Passenger, #1)Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

More like 4.5 stars but I'll explain why in a moment.

First of all, I didn't like Etta much at the start of the book. I wasn't sure if she was going to make the right strides to be strong but after a while, I grew to respect her choices and her strength of mind, which in turn made her a better character. I wasn't very keen on her clinging to the idea of still making her debut, what with when considering her new circumstances, I felt she had a little more to concern herself with than making it back to New York for her violin debut, BUT when you take in account that the book takes place in what, 10 days?, I forgave that once more of the book went by.

Book Review: The Female of the Species

The Female of the SpeciesThe Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Alex Craft has a secret, a violent secret, one she is happy to keep. After her sister was murdered, Alex learned a truth about herself she didn't know before, a violent fact that keeps her isolated but willing to fight if she has to in order to make sure the world is one that she can live in.

When Alex starts her senior year, she has to learn to deal with new friendships. One with Jack, a popular athlete, and another with Peekay, the preacher's daughter. Both will change Alex in ways she never anticipated, and the three of them together will learn things about themselves and each other that will change the way they see the world for the rest of their lives.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My initial reaction to this book is an awe-struck, nearly slack-jawed feeling of something that words can't really suffice for right now. More thoughts soon as I figure out exactly what I want to convey about my feelings for this book because one thing for sure is that it should be discussed. And I want all the right words for when the conversation starts.

More thoughts, starting now:

Book Review: The Burning World

The Burning World  (Warm Bodies, #2)The Burning World by Isaac Marion

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Once upon a time, I heard about a new book, something set for release a few months away in the future and I did something I don't ordinarily do, which is I actually pre-ordered a copy. That book was Warm Bodies. I loved that book so much that I urged my Dad to read it because he's a big zombie fan.

However, I think I'll wait until the last book is out before I suggest this book to him. While it started out great, the plot started to drag around the halfway mark, making it seem like a struggle to get through the rest of the story. The long journey, the various stops, the almost repetitive actions of the characters made me feel like the book was going nowhere for too long. Also, knowing that there is indeed a final book to finish this journey, this book feels like it suffers from middle-book syndrome. It is essentially a stepping stone to the end of the story.

I do want to read the rest of this story, mainly because I keep remembering how much I loved the first book and how, even though I was certain there was only going to be the one book, I still wanted to know who R was before, what he did before he became the zombie we first met. The story is finally going into those details so I'm going to stick it out through the end. I hope it will be brilliant.

Rating on my Blog Scale: 6 Stars. Book 3 says it's called The Living and will supposedly be published in 2018 but there is no exact date and there is currently no cover art available for the release. Hopefully more information will be available soon.

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Book Review: Fate of Flames

Fate of Flames (Effigies, #1)Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

Massive creatures called Phantoms, terrorize the world and 4 girls, known as the Effigies, protect the world from them. Each Effigy is connected to one of the 4 elements of the world, and when one girl dies, another one is randomly chosen to take her place.

Maia is the latest fire Effigy and she doesn't want the job. She's followed the Effigies for years but when it comes down to it, she never thought about what it would mean if she ever had to step into one of their spots. When a young man shows up with the ability to control Phantoms, Maia has to put aside her insecurities and help the other Effigies to work together to stop him before it's too late for the world.

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

More like 1.5 stars. This had a lot of good ideas but the lead, Maia, was too weak. She waffled too much and never grew as a character. When something happened that she didn't like, she made up reasons to believe her own version of the events. And that was the last straw for me. Her reasoning, her fangirling, her tendency to mope around and whine, was too much for me to root for her in this book. And despite the almost lack of romance, it stuck out too much at inopportune times, making Maia falter because the story needed her to do so. Not okay when it comes to understanding a character.

If the next book changes leads, I might read it. If it's just going to be more of Maia, no thanks. I liked Lake and Chae Rin so much more than Maia and Belle. Their stories seem to be way more interesting as a whole. And there wasn't enough to explain the world and why it was the way it turned out. There was just some flimsy explanation of well, effigies were eventually discovered but weren't well tracked for many years, so yeah. The book dragged and it made me frustrated to read about Maia and her tendency to react poorly. I wish I had liked more of it in the end.

Rating on my Blog Scale: 2.5 Stars. After all, I did finish it in the end. I tried checking out the second book but I didn't get into it and returned to the library unread. I might try again in the future.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Book Review: The Deep End of the Sea

The Deep End of the SeaThe Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book did something I have wanted to see for a long time, exploring the what ifs behind the story of Medusa, who I have long believed got the short end of the stick in a situation that never should have happened, if you've read Ovid's version of her story. I hadn't read anything by Lyons before this but this book solidified her as one of my "need to read her books" authors. I went off and bought her entire The Collectors' Society series after finishing this book.

My only problem was with the length. I wanted so much more and while the book works, I think it could have easily had another 100 or more pages added to the story. It ended too soon for me. However, I am happy to say that the other books I have of hers are a bit more generous with the page count, and I am slowly making my way through them so they can last just a little longer.

Talented writer with a great sense for stories. I am grateful to have found Heather Lyon's books and hope to read more in the future.

Rating on my Blog Scale: 9 Stars. I've read this several times since I first bought the book. One of my definite favorites.

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Book Review: Vassa in the Night

Vassa in the NightVassa in the Night by Sarah  Porter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was weirdly beautiful and strangely tragic all at once. It's the story of a girl struggling to understand her worth and where she belongs in a world with magic creeping in around her. And I loved it more with each passing page.

Book Review: Do You Want to Start a Scandal?

Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Spindle Cove, #5, Castles Ever After, #4)Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Charlotte Highwood has a problem. She must find out who had a scandalous tryst in the library at the ball she attended because everyone believes it was Charlotte in the library the night of the ball. If she doesn't find out who the couple was, she'll be forced to marry Piers Brandon to save her reputation.

As they work together though, Charlotte is faced with another dilemma, the fact that marrying Piers might not be as bad as she thought it was going to be, after all.

This is more of a 3.5 Stars for me but it's Tessa Dare, and I adore her books, so I bumped it up to 4.

BUT there were a few things that bothered me about this book.

Book Review: Goldenhand

Goldenhand (Abhorsen, #5)Goldenhand by Garth Nix

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I was fifteen, I finally decided to buy the book I'd seen sitting on the shelf of my local bookstore for at least a month. I finished Sabriel in a day, ignoring everything around me in order to do that. I found the book in time to learn that a second book in the series was set for release and I bought a brand new perfect hardcover of Lirael a few months later. Abhorsen was released when I started my senior year of high school.

I say all this now so that everyone can understand, I've waited YEARS for this book to finally exist. My heart almost stopped when I saw it on the shelf at the store. I even got a little misty-eyed because darnit, I have wanted this book for so long. I admit, I haven't sat down and read Clariel yet because I wanted to know more about Lirael and Sam and Nick and Sabriel and Touchstone and while I do have that book (autographed, which makes it precious), I couldn't sit down and read it because it wasn't the story I'd been hoping for.

Book Review: Queen of the Tearling

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am going to be generous here and give this a solid 3 stars. In the end, I didn't feel like I had wasted time reading this book. Was it brilliant? No. Was I incredibly impressed, overwhelmed by the world? No, can't say that I was. BUT, eventually, this book started to show some merit, and that is why it gets 3 stars. It is a solid middle of the scale book.

Book Review: The Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Garden (The Collector #1)The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 Maya has a story to tell. It's a horrible, frightening tale about a garden, filled with butterflies, cared for by a gardener.

Except the garden isn't some beautiful oasis. It's a prison. The butterflies are girls, kidnapped and tattooed with butterflies on their backs, renamed by a sick, twisted man they call the Gardener, who likes to keep pretty things for his own pleasure. No one knows where they are, no one knows what he does, until one day it all changes and the girls are set free.

The girls survived the horrors they faced but now comes the next part of their lives, trying to work to fit into a world that isn't sure where they belong anymore. Maya has survived the garden but now she has to face the task of telling the FBI about what happened to them, all the while trying to understand it all for herself. Is she telling them the truth, or is she only telling parts of it, and why, if she is, would she hide anything at all?

That was frightening and beautiful and disturbing and very nearly heartwarming.

But this book is probably not for everybody.


So it turns out there was some kind of disconnect between my writing reviews across various platforms, and while my Goodreads account has at least one in-depth review a month for the last year, my poor blog hasn't been receiving my updates.

That's what I get for being so lazy, I don't even personally sign in to my site to check and make sure that my reviews were showing up the way they were supposed to. There will be a lot of reviews posted over the next couple of hours and hopefully, more of my reviews will be going up consistently once a month from now on.

Book Review: Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame

Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental FameWhere Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame by Mara Wilson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's hard for me to say that I loved this book because the gut-wrenching honesty in this book and the story of the struggle of a kid growing up makes me feel like how dare I say that I loved reading about the lessons Mara Wilson has managed to get out of her childhood? It's just not the right sentiment, if that makes sense.

BUT I love her way with words, the way she turns a phrase, the quips and the snark and the way she doesn't pull her punches when it comes to the hurt. Despite the fact that she was a child star, and she grew up in a completely different way of life from me in terms of home and schooling, I found myself identifying with the situations she wrote about, the struggle to fit in, to figure out who you are, to find what you are good at and take chance at it. I teared up a lot more than I was expecting to because the truth is that this is a book about the struggles to grow up a little bit different from the rest of the kids. The fact that Mara Wilson was once a child star doesn't matter so much in the long run because she's a born storyteller, and as a reader, I wanted to hear more of her stories the further I got into the book.

I'm glad I took the chance to read this book. Mara Wilson is a voice in writing that I hope to hear more of in the future.

Rating: 10 Stars. This book was moving, unbelievably touching. I hope others come to it with an open mind because it's more in so many ways for all readers.

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Review: Reign of the Fallen

Reign of the Fallen (Reign of the Fallen, #1)Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

*I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways*

Unfortunately, this book was not for me. When I first read the blurb for this book, I honestly felt like it would be my kind of story. However, I found myself struggling to care about the characters. It felt like a lot of telling versus showing the reader why the characters interact together in certain ways, making me feel very removed from the story.

The setting seemed like it would be interesting but it was never developed enough beyond basically saying everything is like this because it has always been like this and that is all there is to it. I wanted to know the why's to this story and I feel like a lot of that was left out.

Finally, the pace seemed a little off. The story had a scene with what was supposed to be a major plot point of the book, or what I thought would be a turning point, and the characters kind of shrug it off to be dealt with after a festival. And why do they do that? Well, because the festival could be their last chance to enjoy themselves so off to the festival they go until the next bad thing happens. I did not understand the logic of the characters motivations. I felt they made poor choices for the sake of continuing the story and that does not sit well with me.

Overall, I feel like this book was okay, leaning a little towards I didn't like this much. I hope to read Marsh's previous release Fear the Drowning Deep in the next few months though, as I actually own the hardcover and have the e-book as well.

Rating: 2.5 Stars. I wanted to like this so here's to hoping I connect with the next book release.

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