Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Winter

That's a wrap, folks! Not only have I finished off Winter by Marissa Meyer, the last book in the Lunar Chronicles, I've also completed my fifth year of NaNoWriMo! Now, my sixth book, a retelling of Cinderella (funnily enough), isn't yet complete, having maybe another ten thousand words to go, but I still call hitting the fifty thousand word mark a success. The last couple days were done back in my home state of Washington, where the weather for the holidays was icy and my family inviting. My mom is also a reader of the Lunar Chronicles, so I felt a bit bad when I had 200 pages left when I boarded my flight away from Washington. But I'm done now!


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Revolution has come to Luna. The cyborg Cinder, also known as Princess Selene, has returned with the hacker shell Cress, the thief Thorne, the farmer Scarlet, her alpha fighter Wolf, and the android Iko to reclaim her throne. With Emperor Kai set to marry Levana and crown her Empress of the Eastern Commonwealth, time is running out to bring the tyrant down. Already on Luna are Jacin, a guard who grew up in the palace, and Winter, Levana's stepdaughter, the most beautiful girl on Luna. Only, Winter refuses to use her Lunar gift, and it's slowly driving her insane. All these past characters join together for one last push to save Earth from the wrath of Queen Levana.

Man, I have so many mixed feelings about this book. I guess I'll do what I usually do when I can't decide. Pros first, then cons. 1) It was awesome to see all my favorite characters together for the final battle. 2) I felt like the insight into Levana that was developed in Fairest was represented here. 3) Winter's insanity was at the same time realistic and poignant, without being the only point of her character. 4) Iko is awesome as usual. 5) Well developed world, despite the fact that most of the series doesn't happen on Luna. Cons: 1) The middle dragged a bit. I wanted to get back to the action, and I think having so many points of view bogged down the story. 2) Whereas the last three books spent more time on their titular character and love interest, I felt like Winter and Jacin were barely represented here. I would have liked to have seen more of them. 3) [BIG SPOILERS AFTER THIS] I have mixed feelings about Cinder's plan to release a video of Levana to show what she really looks like. On the one hand, knowing what I know about Levana from Fairest, this would absolutely break her and could bring her down. But having this be the crux of Cinder's plan, when she didn't know that was Levana's weakness, made it seem like Cinder thought the best way to show the people how bad Levana was, was to show her as ugly. And that's just...wrong. She was a megalomaniac narcissist. It didn't matter that she was disfigured under her glamour, she was evil. 4) Maybe this makes me a bad person, but I kind of wanted one of the main characters to die. Cress or Wolf or someone. It just seemed too perfect that they all lived, although injured, considering how powerful the Lunars and their wolf soldiers are.

All in all, I still adore Marissa Meyer and will read her next series. It just felt like this one had too many main characters to be as smooth a ride as the last three.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars (More like 3.5)
Up Next: Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

Monday, November 23, 2015

13 Little Blue Envelopes

It's November, so it's NaNoWriMo season! I've been working hard at my sixth book, a retelling of Cinderella with an assassination plot! It hasn't left me with much energy for reading, both with my brain and my eyes. So I haven't been reading much, even though I have a couple books I'm really hankering to read (Winter by Marissa Meyer!!!). I actually finished reading 13 Little Blue Envelopes like two weeks ago, but, you know...tired. But anyway, on to the review!


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Seventeen-year-old Ginny Blackstone just got thirteen envelopes from her aunt who passed away. Inside the first envelope is a letter with $1000 telling her to fly to London. Each letter will have directions in what to do and where to go, all of them around Europe. So Ginny is off to discover Europe and herself, and maybe find out more about her elusive, wandering aunt.

Okay, pros and cons of this book. Pro: It takes place all over Europe, including three places I've personally been to. I spent three months in London a couple years ago and fell in love with the city. To seeing Ginny navigate the different customs and transportation and museums of London caused a very mushy wave of nostalgia in me. The same goes for Edinburgh and Paris. Pro: Aunt Peg was very very flawed, and it showed in her letters and in her life. Pro: What happens in Greece seemed very realistic at a point when I needed something to go wrong for Ginny. Con: I didn't know anything more about Ginny at the start of the book than the end. Con: Implausibility of overprotective parents to allow their daughter to go travelling Europe with no phone, no laptop, no communications, and no extra money. Yeah....no, not going to happen. Con: The romance. Snooooooze. Con: Underdeveloped secondary characters, which is something that can really harm stories like this.So, overall, a quick, easy read that made me want to go back to Europe.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: Winter by Marissa Meyer


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

If I Stay

I have been on a roll with audiobooks lately. They are perfect for when I'm washing dishes or working on a puzzle or anything else really that requires my hands. THey also help me keep my eyes in near-perfect condition. If I Stay by Gayle Forman has been on my radar for years, and I finally got around to reading it via audiobook last week. Here are my thoughts:


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Mia is a rising cellist with dreams of going to Juliard. She has a loving, quirky family and a great boyfriend. But all that changes one morning when Mia and her family go for a drive. The car crash killed her parents at the scene, and Mia is evacuated to a hospital where she's in a coma. But she's also awake. Some bit of her that no one can see can walk around and think and see what is happening around her. And as the night lengthens she realizes it's her choice to wake up. She's just not sure she wants to.

I don't really understand why this book got all the hype. Sure, I enjoyed it, but it wasn't like WHOA, life changing. It reminded me a bit of Before I Fall, with the specter of death that's already happened and is to come, It also has an aspect of "don't know why ghost-Mia exists" which is similar to Lauren Oliver's "Don't know why Samantha is reliving the same day over and over." If I Stay hit me in a couple ways and fell flat in some others. The everyday tragedy of a car crash hurt me. Because a family was destroyed, one with history and a future and fights and love, due to an accident. It snowed, and cars don't do well on snow, and so a family was torn apart. Adam's final speech to Mia also jerked at my heart strings, I think in part because the narrator of the audiobook was very good and putting emotion into the words. The ways in which this fell flat include: 1) Family seemed stereotypically perfect 2) I didn't end up caring for Mia's parents like I should have, so their deaths didn't hit me very hard 3) I guessed the twist very early on, so it wasn't  a surprise when it happened and I wondered why Mia hadn't been worrying about it more 4) The ending. While the last few lines were nicely written and would make a great end to a movie I just....her choice whether or not to stay seemed like a no-brainer that wasn't addressed too much during the book. I wish it had been more prominent, with compelling reasons on both sides.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Demon King

Man am I late in writing this review! I actually finished this book last week, but I had a very busy weekend dressing up as the 11th Doctor. I hope you all had a great Halloween as well! I spent my time baking with some great people and watching a baking show. But before that I read The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima over the course of a couple days. This is the second series of Chima's that I'm reading, the first one being The Heir Chronicles. And, since I'm feeling lazy, I'm just going to copy-paste the Goodreads description


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"Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can't sell—the thick silver cuffs he's worn since birth. They're clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he's never been able to get them off. One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back. Meanwhile, Raisa ana'Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She's just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her..."

First off, this series feels very different to The Heir Chronicles, in a good way. It gets off to a slow start, but I became committed to the characters. I liked Raisa and how she wants to do good and is constrained by a mother who won't listen and her lack of real-world experience. I felt for Han, who just wanted to do right by his family but no one seems to let him. And I really liked Raisa's love interest whose name escapes me at the moment. For a while I was worried the story was going to devolve into a "princess learns what life is really like on the mean streets" story, and while there is an aspect of that, it doesn't last very long. Instead, it just adds flavor to Raisa's story. There's intrigue, which I always love, and a not-very-well-defined villain. But honestly I didn't mind that much, as this story felt like a really big set-up for the next book. The world is expansive and fleshed out, which I always adore in a high fantasy novel. To tell the truth, I'm more excited about reading The Exiled Queen than The Dragon Heir. While I can't give this book five stars because of the pacing, I'm excited to see where these characters take me.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising

Hello again! Yesterday I finished reading Red Rising by Pierce Brown. This book was a birthday present from a friend who really really enjoyed it. And since I trust his instinct on books, I wanted to give it a go.


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Darrow is a Red. He is a pioneer, a miner preparing Mars for colonization. But then one simple act of defiance against his overseers changes everything. Sentenced to die, Darrow instead finds himself with a group of rebels who expose him to the truth: Mars has been colonized for generations. The Reds are slaves, their rulers are the Golds. In order to end the horror, Darrow must become a Gold and infiltrate them at the highest level possible. But first he has to get through the Institute's schooling which might just kill him first.

This book left me with one burning question: Do guys really talk about balls this much? It seemed a bit excessive. But on to other things. The story here is like Ender's Game meets The Hunger Games. Unlike lots of stories, I felt like enough time was spent developing Darrow's life as a Red and his marriage to Eo before he found out about the colonization. And the process that turned him into a Gold was truly horrific. I have more mixed feelings about the school where Golds are pitted against each other in teams until one dominates the rest. The idea of the teams being divided and represented by different Greek "gods" was interesting, and reminded me of Divergent. I did find myself losing a bit of interest in the middle where Darrow seems to forget his overall goal of succeeding so he can overthrow the Golds. I wish more time had been spent on the revelation about Titus too. He was an integral character in the first part of the games and the reveal needed a bit more pondering. Let's see, what else did I notice? There were times I worried that all the females in this book would be stereotyped (being either silly, flirty, or easily-captured), but the character of Mustang helped with that. In the end I wasn't positive why this story had to take place on Mars, but I hope it'll become more relevant in the next book, which I will be reading!

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars (more like 3.5)
Up Next: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Wizard Heir

Guys, I met Marie Lu! And she was funny and insightful and AH. Okay, I've got that out of my system now. I'll talk about it more when I review The Rose Society. But today is about reviewing The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima. This is the second book in The Heir Chronicles, so as usual beware mild spoilers if you haven't read the first one.


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Seph has been bounced around schools for the last few years because of his unfortunate habit of accidentally blowing things up with his magic. With his foster mother dead, the family lawyer is his guardian, and he ships him off to a secluded school in Maine where there's no internet access, the alumni still live on campus, and the headmaster has a sinister interest in Seph. As Seph unravels the mysteries behind his school, he learns there is more to being a wizard than having powers. He's at the center of a community on the brink of war, where everyone wants him on their side.

I had a decent time reading the first book in this series. My problems with it lay in its summarization of events that I would have preferred to have read about. This would have given me more emotional attachment to the characters. But overall it was a pleasant read, so I figured I'd give The Wizard Heir a go. This book is significantly darker, though not crossing over into heart-pounding. The school Seph ends up at has a really creepy headmaster, who I disliked from page one. The torture he puts Seph through is horrific, and I felt so bad when all of Seph's plans failed. [spoiler] After he leaves the school, though, things really slow down, and there's the addition of a love interest that I found really unnecessary. I didn't get sparks from them at all. Is the character's power cool? Absolutely. Why did she have to be a love interest? No clue. The climax had some funny moments and some interesting reveals that I'd sort of guessed at already. Overall, not my favorite book but still nice enough to read the next book.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: The Rose Society by Marie Lu

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Six of Crows

Ahh Leigh Bardugo, one of the funniest authors I have ever met. I got the first book of her new series, Six of Crows, on the day it came out. But it was yesterday, while I was waiting for my cheese bread to bake, that I finished it off. It's been boiling hot recently, so it was quite stupid to bake, but I've never been the most logical when it comes to timing things like that. But anyway, this isn't a cooking blog. This is a book blog, and you'd rather hear my thoughts on Six of Crows.


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The Ravkan civil war is over, but the repercussions are still causing waves throughout the world. In the city of Ketterdam, a new substance that dangerously enhances Grisha powers is being fought over. Some want to destroy it, others want to market it. Enter Kaz, a leader of the Dregs gang. When he's hired to break out the only man capable of replicating the formula from an impregnable fortress, he knows he's going to need a crew. And the one he assembles is as motley as they come. There's Nina, the Grisha working to repay a life debt. Matthias, a Fjerdan who despises Grisha and has spent the last year in prison. Inej, known as the Wraith, capable of passing silently anywhere, and the right hand of Kaz. Jesper, a sharpshooter who likes to gamble more than he should. And Wylan, son of a merchant with a talent for demolitions. They have to break the scientist out before someone else gets to him, and if they live, it'll be the payout of a lifetime.

I love the Ravkan world, and Bardugo's talent for making cultures distinct and layered. While I was bummed that Ravka didn't factor in much with this new series, I did enjoy the new lands we were exposed to: Fjerda and Katterdam. I loved how distinct each of the characters were and the side deals and Oceans Eleven-style plot. I will absolutely be reading the rest of this series. I did have one quibble, though. While I did enjoy the characters, I felt like, because there were so many POVs, I didn't get to know each of them as well as I wanted. When Matthias has a huge character turnaround, I didn't necessarily think the progress was shown enough. Kaz's undoing was more gradual, but I still wanted more. Overall, I felt like I had a really good introduction to these characters that I'll grow to love over two more books, but if there had been just 50 more pages or something, I would have felt better about the character development that occurred. Other than that, it was a fun story with some romantic interests and some political intrigue and two heartbreaking things that I'm interested to see play out.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: The Rose Society by Marie Lu

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

200th Review: Catalyst

I can't believe it, but this is my 200th review on this blog. Forgive me for patting myself on the back, but I'm quite proud that I've managed to keep this blog going for long enough to write 200 reviews. Over the years this blog has shifted from talking about writing to focusing on reviews with some writing interspersed. It's been a quiet last few days. I spent the weekend with an awesome friend, so I'm coming down off a very busy couple days. It's been a lot of Cheers and bingeing on the chocolate caramel tortes I made. Also, reading, of course!


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Tom has made it to an Upper, something that shouldn't have been possible with his track record. But it's not everything it's cracked up to be. A new general has taken over the Pentagonal Spire, and is running the place like a military base. New neural processors are being tested, and might be given to the general public. Tom is keeping even more secrets than ever from his friends. And Medusa isn't talking to him after his stunt with the skyboards. But the worst is yet to come, and if Tom can't keep a clear head, he might unwittingly help bring down the entire planet.

I've adored these books from the first. I love how hotheaded Tom is, and the jokes with the coding actually make me chuckle. I'm friends with a lot of programmers, and apparently I've picked up some stuff! The story in this book experiences a drastic change, one which had extreme consequences. It was horrifying, and led to a plot line that left me very sad. I actually stayed up past two the day I read this book because I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep if I put it down. What I really enjoyed about this book was the development of Vengerov, who had been the shadowy villain without much substance. I also liked the development of Blackburn. Every book revealed more of his character and changed how I saw him. Overall, I just enjoyed this book. The last few chapters had me smiling sadly, which only my favorite books do. I would definitely recommend reading this series.

Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars
Up Next: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Summer Reading 2015

It's the end of summer, and you know what that means! A round-up of all the books I read over the last four months. It's hard to believe this is my fourth year doing this. Unfortunately, I didn't top my best summer, in which I read 34 books, but to be fair that did result in my getting glasses, so maybe that's a good thing. This summer saw a lot of big developments in my life. I walked in my graduation ceremonies, so I am in all respects no longer an undergrad. I got my first on-site publishing job (squee!). I celebrated my birthday with some amazing whitewater rafting. I moved to California. And in between, I read 28 books!

Here's the genre breakdown: 8 fantasy, 7 paranormal, 4 historical fiction, 4 dystopian, 4 sci-fi, and 1 romance. As usual, fantasy leads the charge as my most common genre.

Another interesting thing about the books I read this summer is that many of them closed out series I've been reading for at least the last three years. Actually, 8 of the 25 were the final books in their series. This makes it more difficult for me to recommend them, as you'd have to commit to the series instead of just trying out the first book. In those cases, I suppose I will recommend the entire series.

Highly Recommended: The Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski (historical-ish dystopianish romance), Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater (paranormal), The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo (fantasy), and the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas (fantasy)

Recommended: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (fantasy), the Luxe series by Anna Godbersen (historical romance), and the Curse Workers trilogy by Holly Black (urban fantasy)

All of these books I gave three stars or higher on Goodreads. The ones on the highly recommended list I tore through as fast as possible because I adored them. Also I just want a bunch of people to read these books so I can talk to them about these awesome characters and worlds! You can check out the full list of books and their accompanying reviews either by looking at the Summer Reading 2015 tab above, or by hitting the Reviews label to the right.

This year starts a new chapter for me. I'm no longer a college writer. I'm an...adult writer, I suppose. I'm not starting school this month, or any month soon. Instead I'm making my way in the world, looking for work, finding the place where I want to plant my roots, and dealing with super fun things like taxes and insurance. But for every crappy day to come, and for every great day, I will always have a book by my side.

Enjoy!

Strange and Ever After

Here we go: yesterday was the last day of my summer reading project! It just struck me how five of the last seven books I've read have been final books in a series. And the book I'm currently reading is also the last book in a series! Anyway, I didn't finish off 2.5 books yesterday, like I knew I wouldn't. My eyes were far too tired for that, but I still managed to read quite a lot considering I worked for a majority of the summer. So without further ado, here is my last review for the summer:


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Jie has been taken by Marcus, and they're heading to Marseille. The Spirit Hunters have to get there before him to stop Marcus from discovering how to find the Old Man and raise the Black Pullet which will give him wealth and immortality. But even this has not united them. Joseph and Daniel still don't like Eleanor's black magic, and Oliver hates that Eleanor uses him solely for magic. As they rush to save Jie and then the world, they have to figure out how to work together or fail in both their missions.

It's hard to say what I feel about this book. There were parts I loved and parts I honestly skimmed over. Any fight between Oliver and Eleanor was annoying because it seems like he's annoyed about something completely unrelated every time, and then it disappears. I wanted a stronger relationship between them, perhaps like parabatai in Cassandra Clare's books, or maybe like Kenji and Juliet in the Shatter Me trilogy. I just didn't buy their connection. Or hers with Daniel. Things I did like: influence of Egyptian mythology. I adore Egyptian mythology and was quite pleased to see it here. Also, the betrayal was nicely done. Overall, this was a fast read, and not just because I was trying to finish up one last book for my reading project. I wasn't heavily invested in the characters, so the ending didn't pack a huge punch, but it was a pleasant enough read.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: Catalyst by S. J. Kincaid

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Salvage

Today is the last day I have to finish my summer reading project, which means finishing three books. Can I do it? Probably not. But yesterday I finished off Salvage by Alexandra Duncan. I got this book a while ago, mostly because Beth Revis promoted it. Also, it has a pretty cover. Interesting note: I knew all of the authors who blurbed Salvage, and in fact have read at least three of each of their books. That was pretty cool!


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Ava was born to be a bride, given in trade to another trade ship in exchange for treaties and goods. But when she makes a mistake on the night before her wedding, she is cast out and sentenced to death. Instead, she escapes to Earth where she finds a world completely different from the one she left. A world where women can and do work, where the gravity drags at her bones, and somewhere there is the truth behind her family's origins.

Well, this book was absolutely nothing like I thought it would be. I thought, weirdly, that it would be like These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner. Starts in space and ends up on an abandoned planet. Nope, that's not it at all. Ava does live on a spaceship, and does end up on Earth, but Earth is absolutely populated. I will give this book one thing: it definitely develops its world, down to the smaller technology. Could I have lived with fewer descriptions of fixing tech that milks goats? Yeah, I could have. Once Ava gets to Earth the world development gets more interesting. Unfortunately, it's also when the plot seemingly disappears for a couple hundred pages. Actually, I'm not sure there was a plot. Ava heals, learns to read, and how to help Miyole and her mother, then ends up in Mumbai and gets her first job and stuff. She looks for her aunt. Some people don't like the new way of talking that Duncan employs here, but it didn't really bother me. Maybe because I listened to this as an audiobook. I was rather surprised that this was a standalone book, but considering the lack of plot, I'm not all that disappointed. There is a companion book about Miyole, which I might read just to see if Duncan's writing has evolved. 

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Splendor

I love audiobooks. They mean I can do things like wash the dishes and tidy my home while also getting some reading done. Of course, it means they can also produce days like yesterday, where I sat on the couch, alternating between listening to Splendor by Anna Godbersen and watching Madam Secretary. By the way, loving that show. It doesn't hit me in the gut like West Wing does, but I'm quite enjoying it! Well, I've been posting enough reviews lately I don't have much else to say about my life. On with the review.


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Elizabeth is married and pregnant with another man's child, and her sister Diana has run to Cuba to follow her love, Henry. His wife Penelope has her eye set on the Prince of Bavaria, and Carolina Broad is enjoying her inherited wealth while hiding her true origins from her beau Leland. It's summer in Manhattan, 1900, and the rich families of the island are ready to see the last chapter in the saga of these socialites.

Okay, I want to reiterate: I like these books because I like social intrigue and hearing about old-timey fashions. The plots of these books were really simple, but they were good fun. Spoilers follow. I found it completely believable that Diana didn't end up with Henry. I know a lot of people were annoyed by this, because she spent the last 2 books pining for him. However, I saw it as, as her horizons were broadened, she realized she wanted more from life than being with a guy. Could she have handled the situation with Henry better? Yes of course. I still found it believable. I liked what happened to Penelope. She has won every battle she put her mind to, but when faced with something she really wanted and someone who was just as manipulative as she was, she lost. She got a taste of her own medicine and I liked that it brought her back to earth a bit. Do I think it will stick? Probably not. I also like what happened with Carolina. She needed to see that lying was not the right way to start a marriage. Leland also nearly beat Tristan to death, so does she really want to marry him? Better she ends with her sister. The thing that did bother me was Elizabeth's story. I wanted to hear more about how Snowden was responsible for Will and her father's deaths. Also, she was only able to kill Snowden because she was "possessed" by Will's spirit? Yeah, no. Let her have her own agency. She can be mad at this guy on her own and kill him that way. So, overall I found this a nice end to the series. It's fluff and fun and I think I'll read Bright Young Things soon.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars (More like 3.5)
Up Next: Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Black Heart

We're down to the wire with my summer reading project! I have until the 30th to finish reading five more books. Can I do it? I don't know. But I'm sure as hell going to try. It's overcast in California today, which for this state is basically a storm, so I'm going to curl up with Splendor by Anna Godbersen today after telling you all about Black Heart by Holly Black. This is the last book in the Curse Workers series, so beware spoilers.


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Cassel's mom is on the run after working a governor who hates her kind. Barron has reluctantly joined the FBI after his brother gave him no choice, and Cassel is supposed to join him after he graduates from Wallingford. If he graduates. Between Sam and Daneca fighting, Mina Lange asking for his help, and his home life being the joke it is, Cassel barely any brain power to devote to school. And now the feds and Zacharov need him to work for him. It's amazing Cassel's survived this long.

These books have something sort of odd about them: they are very self-contained. Like, there's not really a plot that carries over from one book to the next. Mina Lange is really important to this story, but you don't see her in the other books. There are lots of things like this in this series. And I do enjoy this series. The dialogue is snappy and the world is nicely rounded. The cons have many twists and turns and there is character development across the book. There were a few things that bothered me, though. I didn't really understand why Cassel loved Lila so much. I wish I could have seen more of that. Also, the ending. One of the plot points is sort of thrown away as unimportant when the reader is made to believe throughout the story that it is important. Also, overall the ending left too much up in the air for my taste. I know a lot of writers like to leave things ambiguous (looking at you, Lauren Oliver) but I want at least the majority of things to get wrapped up. I don't want it tied with a neat little bow, but closure is nice on a series. The readers stuck it out to get to that point, they deserve to know what happens to the characters.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: Splendor by Anna Godbersen

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sever

Another day, another book. I have now finished Lauren DeStefano's Chemical Garden trilogy! Before getting to my review, I'd like to make an observation about setting up a home for the first time after graduating from college: it's amazing how much fun you have have for so much money. Maybe I'm just weird, but I did get really happy when I found a pretty soap dispenser for the bathroom, and when I figured out how to fit everything in the closet with my new hangers. Of course there are some pressing issues to resolve...like not having a dining room table. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against eating on the couch, but one day I'm going to tip my plate with marinara sauce the wrong way and then I won't be able to enjoy bingeing on Parks and Rec because the couch looks like a murder scene.


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Housemaster Vaughn has finally alienated the most important person in his world: his son Linden. When Rhine ends up in the hospital and Cecily joins her soon after, Linden must choose between the father who's been his whole world, and the women who are and were wives. Rhine finally has allies in tracking down her brother, who's bombing research hospitals in her name. But when she finds him she might stumble on a truth that's too much for her to handle, a secret that's tied to her heterochromatic eyes.

I'll say this right up front: I liked this book much more than Fever. Where I had to struggle through Fever because nothing was happening and there didn't seem to be a plot, this one had stuff happen! Some of it I didn't understand why it got the page space it did, but that's better than nothing. I now firmly believe this could have been a two book series. Fever (and the character of Maddie) was pretty unnecessary. You could have taken the beginning and ending and put them in Wither or Sever and had a much tighter series. Anyway, my suspicions about Housemaster Vaughn were proved right, and you actually get to see him be evil. DeStefano still did that thing where she refers to something from a past book that was summarized instead of shown, but it didn't bother me as much because there was more action happening in the present. Characters talked a lot more and I really liked Reed. There were some downsides to this story though. One: I didn't believe Rhine's quick turn around on Vaughn. I know she didn't make a complete 180, but even the amount she did begin to believe him seemed too quick. And the switch to a focus on the cure was jarring after two books focused on escape. And Gabriel vanished from this book. And that's all I can think of right now.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: Black Heart by Holly Black

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fever

I thought I'd put the sweltering heat behind me in July in the PNW. I guess I didn't realize California is in a perpetual state of PNW summer. Since it's so unbelievably hot, I haven't had much energy to anything besides laze on the couch in front of the hurricane fan and read. Did I mention that I got copies of Fever and Sever a few months ago on deep discount? I love discounts.


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Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion and are on their way to New York to find her brother. But Rhine can't escape her past, or what the world has become. From prostitution in a broken down circus to crazy tarot readers and first generation people destroyed by their children dying so young, to her father-in-law haunting her every move, Rhine doesn't feel like she's escaped at all. But she has to go forward, because her time is running out and she wants her brother.

I so wanted to like this book. I adore Lauren DeStefano. I think if you go through my twitter history you'll see that a ton of my favorites and retweets are of her. She understands social anxiety and is cuttingly witty about life. I just wish that had transferred to this book. My biggest problem with the first book in this series, Wither, was that a lot of the action was summarized and described after the fact. This is compounded in this book, not only summarizing things instead of showing them, but also referring to a lot of stuff that supposedly happened in the last book but the reader never got to see. So it's referring to a reference, which makes it even harder for me to connect with Rhine. I couldn't find her father-in-law creepy because I never really saw him do creepy stuff, just heard about it. I didn't get the romance with Gabriel because it only seemed to exist in summary rather than the present. And to be honest, I have no idea what the plot of this story is. Rhine's not trying to find a cure for the disease, and her desire to find her brother doesn't seem visceral. This book is entirely a hop from one place to the next while trying to run away, only to end up exactly where she started where she proceeds to do nothing. And I'd be okay with that if Rhine were a more developed character. Sigh. Yeah, I'm hating on this book, but it's mostly because I'm so disappointed because I wanted to love it. I'm going to read Sever, mostly because I already own it. But I don't think I'll be reading more of DeStefano's published works. Instead I'll stick to her Twitter.

Goodreads Rating: 2 Stars
Up Next: Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Monday, September 21, 2015

City of Heavenly Fire

Aaaand finally I am caught up with all of Cassandra Clare's books in the Mortal Instruments series. City of Lost Souls sat on my shelf for over a year before I finally just got the audiobook in order to get through it. City of Heavenly Fire is better than that in a couple ways, which I'll get into later. I also listened to the audiobook of this one because my eyes have been tired lately and I've been getting more headaches because of it. This way, I could do the dishes and unpack my stuff in my new (*squee!*) apartment while also getting through this monster of a book.


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Heavenly fire still burns through Jace's veins. Clary's evil brother Sebastian is Turning Shadowhunters into something horrific, and then sending them to fight the Clave. After several massacres, the Shadowhunters retreat to Idris to make a plan of attack, but the Downworlders now have no protection, and Sebastian is preying on them too. Jace, Clary, Alec, Isabelle, and their Downworlder friends Simon and Maia are the only ones who know more about Sebastian, but even that might not be enough to stop him.

So many characters in these books. Looking at that description it seems pretty incoherent, but this is the last book in a six-book series, so there are a lot of terms like Clave and Turning and Downworlders that just can't be explained again at this point. The plot's been in motion for so long it seems pretty...dull to describe it again. I'm just going to give my impression on the story lines instead. Jace and Clary: Got resolved in the last book so this book mostly just reaffirms again and again that they love each other. Sort of dull, sort of nice. Alec and Magnus: So sweet. Love them. Very real depictions of different people that have sass and vulnerabilities that complement each other. Isabelle and Simon: Since I recently read Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater I had a hard time divorcing Isabelle Lightwood and Isabel Culpeper. To be fair, they are surprisingly similar characters. But I liked Simon and Isabelle. They're a charming couple who aren't as dramatic as Jace and Clary are. Clary and Sebastian: I didn't care about this relationship until the last...two chapters of the book when it became more interesting. But I liked that it built over a couple books. Maia and Jordan: What? Just....what? Talk about a loose end that was just cut off so it didn't have to be complicated. I did not like the way it was resolved, plain and simple. Such a cop out. Let's see. Everything else: Like most of these books, the action is well written and the story gets dragged out for too long (*cough* 725 pages *cough*). But I still like the dialogue and Magnus and Isabelle, and the epilogue had a lot of Harry Potter epilogue-esque fun to it. I might try the Dark Artifices, I might not. We'll see.

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars (Might be generous and say 3.5)
Up Next: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sweet Temptation

California is beautiful. I wonder how long it will be before I'm tired of perpetual good weather and used to living in a place with palm trees. Anyway, you don't want to hear about that. You want to know whether or not Sweet Temptation, a companion novel to the Sweet Trilogy, is worth reading! This isn't a standalone. You can't read it if you haven't read the entire trilogy. It just won't make sense. But that doesn't mean it can't be enjoyable to read!


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I think this time around I'll skip the description. In a nutshell, this book is a compilation of big or sizzly scenes from the Sweet Trilogy, but this time from Kaidan's perspective. I enjoyed this book quite a bit! I don't read a lot of straight romance these days so this book was a fun trek into the more romance-focused side of this paranormal series, and since I've journeyed into the realms of editing romance and erotica, I don't mind when things get hotter than your typical YA romance. In fact, sometimes it can be quite fun. And a British accent (yeah, I know it's a book, but you can totally tell!) is always a slam dunk. Seeing things from Kaidan's point of view is certainly interesting. It adds depth to his sometimes too brooding, mysterious image from Sweet Evil, and then shows nice character development through Sweet Peril and Reckoning. Since the second book doesn't really have Kaidan in it until I think halfway through, seeing what happens to him in that time is very interesting. Oh, and the epilogue made me tear up. And, as usual, kudos to a book that can make me have that reaction. *Especially* if they're happy tears. I'll definitely take a look at new books of Higgins' as they come out.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: City of Heavenly Fire

Friday, September 18, 2015

Envy

Yeah, I sorta forgot to post for a few days. In my defense, I did move to a different state in that time, so I've been rather busy. You know my story with the Luxe books: I never really wanted to read them, but it kept popping up in recommended lists, so I finally read the first one and ended up liking it. Now here we are at the third book, Envy.


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It's been two months since Elizabeth Holland returned to Manhattan, her heart broken. Two months since Penelope Hayes married Henry Schoonmaker. Carolina Broad is the ward of a rich bachelor and Diana Holland's love has abandoned her for a loveless marriage. With the who's who of Manhattan heading to Florida to escape the winter cold, passions ignite, secrets are revealed, and hearts are broken.

Mmmm social intrigue. It satisfies me so much. And pretty clothes. These are pleasant books, easy to consume and fun. This book was different because it moved the characters to Florida where they relaxed in even more luxury than before. That was certainly interesting, with the beach censors squawking any time a woman showed any skin on their legs, but women danced with busboys at night and no one cared. I felt so bad for Elizabeth in this book. Everyone is insisting she just get over her broken heart, and she can't. Diana is coming more into her own now. She's stronger, able to push aside her love of Henry more easily, although that doesn't stop her from falling into the trap of hope from time to time. Henry....I lost all respect for him in this book. He seemed so noble at the end of Rumors, sacrificing his happiness so Diana wouldn't be ruined. But he's just a coward. I'm not sure he deserves Diana when it comes down to it. Penelope got more layers in this book, which I appreciated. Yeah, overall another pleasant installment in the Luxe series. I just ordered the fourth and final book so we'll see how this all wraps up!

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Sweet Temptation by Wendy Higgins

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Darkness Strange and Lovely

Yeah, I'm pretty late posting this. It's been a crazy week and I haven't really had the energy to write up a blog post. Today's a catch-up day for me, so expect a couple more posts to follow this one. I never got into the whole zombie craze, just like I sort of missed the slew of everything-vampire romance books. I dallied in the latter after the tide slowed to a trickle, and found some books that I really loved and others where I went "Really?" I'd heard great things about Susan Dennard (Sarah J. Maas seems to adore her, which is good enough for me) so I decided to give Something Strange and Deadly a try. This is the sequel, so beware of mild spoilers.


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Eleanor Fitt is alone. The Spirit-Hunters have fled from Philadelphia to Paris. Her mother is in a mental hospital and Clarence and Elijah are dead. Eleanor is an outcast, a necromancer, and she's missing her right hand. When Marcus comes back to town, Eleanor hops a steamer to Paris to find the Spirit-Hunters. But someone else is on board, someone who can sense necromancy like she can. Oliver is Elijah's demon, and now it seems he's bound to her. But worst of all, the Dead are stirring in Paris.

I liked the first book in this series. It didn't blow me away, but it was a nice read. This book was much the same. I really like how Dennard paints the world to show the social structures of the day, with some references to fashion and technological advances and architecture. She paints with a deft hand so I don't have to read really long descriptions of things that have very little importance to the story. I like that about her books. On the other hand, like with the last book, the Dead didn't frighten me one bit. This book has much more focus on Eleanor learning necromancy, like really simple necromancy, than the zombies. And (spoiler) I wish her hand had stayed gone. It would have made it much more interesting to see how she got through the world as an amputee. Oliver's character is fun, but there's a point where he completely contradicts something he previously said and Eleanor doesn't notice. I'm not sure if it was meant to show how unreliable he is or what, but to me it felt like something that should have been focused on more or corrected. So, once again a pleasant read, if not a book that blew me away. Although, to be fair, the last book I'd read was Queen of Shadows, and it's hard to follow that.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
Up Next: Envy by Anna Godbersen

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Queen of Shadows

Unless you're a first-time visitor to this blog, you know about my undying adoration for Sarah J. Maas. It was, I think, three years ago when I picked up Throne of Glass, not knowing my book world would be changed forever. Yes, I already adored epic fantasy, but there hadn't been one since Tamora Pierce's books that really floored me. Graceling was close, but not quite on the same level. Throne of Glass is the only book I've reread in the last four years. I don't have time to reread anymore. There are too many new books to discover. But Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, The Assassin's Blade, and now Queen of Shadows have stuck with me.


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Aelin Galathynius has returned to Rifthold for revenge. The prince is enslaved by a demon commanded by the king, and Chaol is on the run. The rebels in Adarlan are organizing, but evil walks the streets with black rings on their fingers. The King of Assassins pulls the strings of people who would rather see him dead. And somewhere in the mountains is Morath, where the witch covens train with their wyverns, waiting for glorious war.

This book is really hard to describe. It's the fourth book in an epic fantasy series, and you see old players and new ones appear. My ship of Chaolaena seems to have sunk, and while I am incredibly sad about that...it also made sense considering what happened in the last book. I read this book over three days because I had work, and when I did read it I don't think I blinked at all. It's exciting and sizzly and Manon gets way more developed in this story which is awesome and I love her wyvern. Lysandra is probably one of my new favorite characters in the entire series, and it was exciting to see Aelin and Arobynn meet again. There's action and devious plotting and I adored this book. One day I will sit down and rank these books to figure out which one I like best because I can't say right off the top of my head. If there was one thing that bothered me about this book, it was that we don't get to see as many of Aelin's fights as I would have liked. Oh, and I suppose is got a little wearing to hear how awesome she was. But honestly, I think she's amazing so these are tiny little things. I can't believe I have to wait another year for the next one! Ugh! At least the second ACOTAR book comes out sooner.

Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars
Up Next: A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard

Friday, September 4, 2015

Red Glove

Okay, this review is a bit late. I actually finished this book on Monday, but I've had such a busy week, I've been too tired at the end of the day to write up a blog post. Also, I got my pre-ordered copy of Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas, so all my free time has been spent reading that. But anyway, as usual, this is a sequel so there will be mild spoilers if you haven't read the first one. Although, if you haven't read the first one I don't know why you'd be reading a review of the second one. Anywho, onward!


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A new school year is starting for Cassel Sharpe, and he's back at Wallingford where he's got his special effects guru Sam, and his activist friend Daneca and curseworked-to-love-him Lila, daughter of a mob boss. His brother has forgotten he was part of the plot to bring down Cassel, and his nutbag emotion worker of a mother is out of jail. And, perhaps worst of all, Cassel has discovered he's a worker, the rarest kind of worker, and that makes him valuable to the Feds and the crime families. When Cassel's brother Philip turns up dead, Cassel is put on the case to figure out who did it, while also navigating the cons everyone around him seems to be playing.

So, Holly Black is awesome at world building and details. It's great that all of her characters aren't just "jeans and t-shirt" people because honestly you can be an awesome person and still care about your appearance. Okay, getting off my soapbox now. So, this book has fun dialogue and an interesting world and good friendships. It's plot is plodding and sort of not there until the very end, but if you didn't mind it in White Cat, you won't mind it here. It's a short read with some good writing, and most of the time I'm willing to overlook a plodding plot if the characters are interesting. It's harder for me to read a book with zero character development and a really fast plot (looking at you, Lorien Legacies). The ending is a nice set up for the third book and I felt sad when I read it, which doesn't happen often. So, overall, a pleasant read. I'm giving this one 3.5 stars because of the world building.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars (3.5 actually)
Up Next: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Emerald Green

I completely missed it with my last post, but that review of Rumors by Anna Godbersen was my 500th post on my blog! I can't believe I've been blogging for so long. I actually missed blogging on the fourth year blogoversary! Four years and 500 posts later. Hard to believe. Well, anyway, today I'm reviewing another book with a girl in a dress on the cover. Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier is the third and final book in the Ruby Red Trilogy featuring time travelers.


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It's only been two weeks since Gwenyth found out she was born with a time travelling gene, but her life has become something more intense than insane. She has to travel back in time every day to avoid doing it accidentally, and she's part of a circle of twelve time travelers whose blood fuels the chronograph that sends them back in time. The Guardians are sticking to Count Saint-Germain's plan to read all twelve travelers' blood into the chronograph, but more and more Gwenyth doesn't trust this plan. If only someone would believe her. Her only possible ally, her fellow traveler Gideon, seems to have been manipulating her to fall in love with him for his own mysterious ends. Gwenyth needs to figure out what's going on, but she's very short on time.

Sooo I've liked these books for the snappy dialogue and the pretty descriptions of clothes and the fast pace. The time travelling framework has never been...spotless. Not being able to travel purposefully to the future seemed weird, and I had a hard time keeping track of all the moving parts of the story, maybe because I didn't read them all one right after the other. But this book had all the things I've been reading them for, so overall I thoroughly enjoyed the story. There was one little hiccup at the end that really bothered me though, and kept this from five stars. Spoilers ahead so stop reading if you don't want to know something really big: So Gwenyth is immortal, and to become immortal himself, the count is supposed to kill her, but she can't die unless she kills herself for the sake of love. To get around this, Gideon makes himself immortal, and it's sort of a serious as all get out thing that is glossed over. Gwen will outlive everyone around her, and Gideon joined her in immortality after knowing her for like two and a half weeks. These are important things that are mostly ignored at the end of the story. That bugged me.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars (more like 3.5)
Up Next: Red Glove by Holly Black

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Rumors

I held off on reading The Luxe for a long time because I felt I'd had enough of books with girls in dresses on the front. But it kept popping up as a recommendation for me on Goodreads and Amazon, so I figured why not give it a try. I ended up really liking it! It's got a bunch elements I adore: social intrigue, detail to fashion, sass, and backstabbing. While it's light on character development and there isn't as much dialogue as I'd like, I really enjoyed sitting back and diving into New York in 1899 where the dresses are imported and the rich spend their days socializing.


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New York's aristocracy has been mourning the death of Elizabeth Holland for several months. But now the holiday season is upon them, and they can't help but turn their minds to other pursuits. Henry Schoonmaker is in need of a new bride, and there are many willing candidates. Penelope Hayes is willing to do whatever it takes to marry him, even if it means leaving people ruined in her wake. Diana Holland wants to be with him for his free spirit and the connection they made while Henry was engaged to her sister. Meanwhile, Lina Broud is low on money, and no money means no way to fit in with the high brow people she's admired since she was a maid in the Holland household. She wants to become just like Elizabeth was, for Elizabeth captured the heart of Will, who Lina had been in love with. If she can do it, she can travel west and show Will that he could love her as he'd loved Elizabeth. But there's one small catch: Elizabeth is alive.

Oh the drama. Elizabeth wanted Will but was engaged to Henry who wanted Diana even though he'd previously had trysts with Penelope who wanted Henry when he was with Elizabeth and found out about Elizabeth and Will from Lina who wants Will. It's this lovely, tangled web, interspersed with beautiful clothes and delicious food and dances and operas. Honestly, this book was just fun to read. And I didn't expect the ending. It hit me in the heart and I couldn't believe it had happened. This book won't blow you away with its intricacies and examinations of the human experience. But if you're like me and adore social intrigue in books, like what happens at court in fantasy novels, then you'll enjoy this book. I absolutely will read Envy. My same complaints for the first book remain, in that there wasn't enough dialogue and the characters didn't develop much throughout the book past their role in the web. But, there was change between the books that made complete sense, so it's something. These are the only things keeping this book from being rated five stars.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier

Friday, August 21, 2015

Ruin and Rising

I met Leigh Bardugo at a book signing last year. I laughed so much. She's a hilarious person, who gets just how fun it is to write food porn. She's right up there with Sarah J. Maas and Maggie Stiefvater on my list of favorite authors to see in person. So it killed me to have to wait an extra year before reading Ruin and Rising, the last book in the Grisha trilogy. I should have just gotten it in hardback, but I already had the first two in paperback sooo...But I won't make that mistake with Six of Crows. Oh no, hardback all the way, baby. Anywho...


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The Darkling sits on the Ravkan throne, and Alina Starkov is still missing the final amplifier, the one that might make her powerful enough to defeat him. She's underground, worshiped as a Saint, healing from her last battle, one where the Second Army was decimated. With the Darkling on the throne and more people dying every day, Alina needs to become as powerful as possible, even if it means destroying herself in the process. With her band of Grisha and friends, she sets off to find the Ravkan prince and the last amplifier. But even if they find the amplifier, Alina's not sure it'll be enough to defeat the Darkling.

Mmmm Leigh Bardugo's writing. Sassy and beautiful and properly sad. I just...enjoy her books. There is nary a sentence I pause at and go "eh." It isn't the lyrical poetry of a Stiefvater, or the stabbing pain and humor that is a Sarah J. Maas book. Instead, it's somewhere in the middle and it's delightful. The world is richly textured, and the dialogue is powerful and snappy. I adored Oncat (a cat whose name means cat) and Nikolai and Zoya and Alina. Mal was a bit boring, but honestly, he's not the point of the story, Alina is. And Alina has so much painful stuff happen to her, and she has to balance being powerful and wanting more power with being human. All in all, this book wasn't as sad-inducing as the first two books, but it's beautiful and fun and written very well. It's not often I finish a book and then read the last few pages again, and the acknowledgments, and the short story afterward. I dunno, Bardugo just draws me in. I can't wait to see what Six of Crows is like.

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars
Up Next: Rumors by Anna Godbersen


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Winner's Crime

When I first started reading The Winner's Curse, for some reason I thought it was sci-fi. I honestly couldn't tell you why I thought that, but I had this weird, medieval-but-with-space-travel picture in my mind. Maybe I'm just excited for the Their Fractured Light to come out. Or maybe I'm missing Firefly, I dunno. But anyway, I really enjoyed the first book in this series, although I didn't care much for the narrator of the audiobook. I'm working my way through the books I got for my birthday, and this one was next on my list!


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Kestrel is going to become the empress. She traded her freedom to save Arin, the new governor of the territory Herran. Now she's stuck in court, where people place bets on what her wedding dress will look like and her fiance hates her. It will be nearly a year until her marriage, but there will be events right up until the day, events that demand the presence of a certain governor. Unbeknownst to Arin, Kestrel becomes a spy for the Herrani, a gamble that, if she loses, could cost Kestrel her life and the lives of everyone she loves.

Okay, that is an admittedly crappy description of what this book is actually about. At the end of the last book, Kestrel didn't tell Arin that she got engaged to save him and his people. So he thinks it was just her trying to get power, play the same games as when the Valorians were in power in Herran. But really she's just trying to save him because she knows he'll do something stupid if he knows she's not happy. So, now that I've got the less elegant description out of the way, on to the review. I really enjoyed this book. Kestrel has a very calculating mind, and I always adore court intrigue. I felt so bad for Kestrel and Arin, even when I was mad at them both for being stupid. There are great details about clothes and cultures and food that really expanded the world beyond Herran. While admittedly, the big secret that Kestrel is trying to unravel while snooping ends up only involving a couple people and a few days of snooping, you don't mind that the story is slower because the writing is so good. There's a thing with a dog that made me incredibly sad, but I won't say any more about it here. You'll just have to read the book yourself. Love this series, and I can't wait to read the final book!

 Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sinner

I adore Maggie Stiefvater. I have read pretty much everything she's published. It took me a while to work up to wanting to read the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, but when I did I loved it, if not as much as The Raven Cycle, then nearly as much. I just like magic more than paranormal in general. But that didn't stop be from tearing through Shiver, Linger, and Forever. Then I found out there was going to be a companion novel about Cole and Isabel, basically my two favorite characters from the series. But I have this habit of keeping books in the same for as the first one in the series. So since I had the Wolves of Mercy Falls in paperback, I needed to wait for Sinner to be in paperback. And it finally is!


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Isabel's family moved to L.A. after everything that happened with the wolves in Mercy Falls. She's studying to be a CNA, she's working a boring job in a boring pretty shop, and she does her best not to think about Cole. Cole just came to town to film a reality show as he makes his next album. But he's also there for Isabel. She's the only one who understands why he says things just because they sound good. But just because they want each other doesn't mean it's going to work out. He's a wolf. She's a girl. Stranger things have happened.

So first and foremost, this book is not about werewolves. It's there, but it's absolutely in the background. Becoming a wolf is Cole's vice, but he's not doing it that often. This story is more about Cole and Isabel and all the stuff that keeps throwing them together and yanking them apart. Honestly, I enjoyed the story, it was interesting to see what happened with the reality show and with Isabel's family. But it's the characters I read this book for. I loved Isabel and Cole in the Wolves of Mercy Falls, so much so that I wished they'd had more page time. So getting to read how fierce and broken these two people were was a treat. That makes me sound like a horrible person. If you haven't read any Stiefvater, you need to now because then you'll understand what I'm talking about. Overall, if you're looking for a paranormal book, this isn't for you. But if you're looking for an amazingly written, tantalizing, beautiful book about two fascinating characters, this is for you.

Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars
Up Next: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski