Sunday, June 28, 2015

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch


Meira is a warrior. She was raised by the commander of the Winter army and has been learning to fight for years. Yet despite this, Sara Raasch does not make her a heroine with unlimited skills and capabilities. Yes, Meira has grown up with sword fighting lessons, but she is awful at it. She hasn't beaten her best friend, Mather, in a fight once. And so her weapon of choice is a chakram, which she uses instead of pretending she is good at swordplay.
Mather is her best friend, but he is also the only heir to the throne of Winter, and therefore the future king. And so he and Meira can never be together, no matter how much they want to be. The plot is not focused on this, though.

**SPOILER**
Sir and Mather secretly arrange for Meira to be married to Prince Theron for an alliance of their kingdoms, which of course makes Meira very upset.
I was kind of disappointed when Meira was revealed to be the true heir of Winter, with magic inside of her because this is basically what happens in every YA book it seems. But the book was still written very well, so I liked it a lot.

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The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd


Based on The Island of Dr. Moreau...a mad scientist who experiments with dissections and organ transplants. I have to admit that although the idea is terribly disturbing, I was also incredibly fascinated with it.
Juliet is the daughter of exiled doctor Henri Moreau, living alone in England as a servant. When she runs into her childhood friend, Montgomery, she demands that he take her with him back to the island where her father is now living. Along the way, they rescue a castaway who is a young gentleman named Edward Prince. On the island, Juliet comes to realize that the rumours about her father's madness are true, and they were only a small bit of the horrors he has been practicing in his lab.

Negative content: Dr. Hastings tries to take advantage of Juliet. Her friend Lucy convinces her to go to a party, where the boys keep trying to touch them. Juliet sees a prostitute in the city and wonders if she will end up like her. There are many scenes where Juliet and either Montgomery or Edward kiss, or she is thinking about being with them
There are a couple uses of h*** as profanity


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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Angelfall by Susan Ee

Title: Angelfall
Author: Susan Ee
Series: Penryn and the End of Days, Book 1
Pages: 288
Genre: Fantasy
Method of acquirement: Netgalley
Publisher: Skyscape
My rating: 3.5 stars


My thoughts:
I did enjoy reading this book, though it's definitely not my favourite. There were many things that didn't really make sense or were not explained well enough.
   First...why did the world end up like this? Why did the angels decide to attack and make everyone run and hide, fearing for their lives and not even trusting other humans? I guess this is kind of explained a little bit toward the very end of the book, but still.
    Penryn's mom and sister, Paige. They're very odd additions to the cast of characters in this novel. Her mom is insane and schizophrenic, and her younger sister is paralyzed. But I don't think we are ever told how old Paige is, or specifically how she is crippled. It is implied that her mother had something to do with it, but nothing specific is really confirmed - only that she can't walk and it's kind of a mystery how that happened.
    Also, Paige is a very strict vegetarian. Because of a chicken that she thought was funny when she was a lot younger. How in the world can someone be a strict vegetarian in an apocalyptic world with barely any food?? And why does Penryn keep finding random energy bars lying around whenever she needs them? It's like they're Easter eggs or something...
    Penryn, being the narrator, obviously has a lot of commentary in the story. One thing she talks about earlier in the book is how she's so great at fighting because she had tons of intense martial arts training...yet she is afraid of a few random street gangs that might be outside where she is staying. But then she thinks she can fight angels? (And then later on she DOES fight a bunch of angels...and doesn't get killed)
    One of the characters says that Penryn must know that angels are bad news, because ALL of the angels in the Bible show up when there is bad news. Well, obviously the author (or at least the characters) don't know the Bible, because Gabriel telling Mary about Jesus' birth was not bad news, nor was the angel's announcement that Jesus was not dead bad news.

Language: I didn't keep a record, but there were quite a few swear words. No f-bombs, though.

Sexual Content: A man in the rebels' camp makes obscene gestures and rude sexual comments to Penryn. Women are allowed entrance to the angels' aerie to "entertain" them. Sex with human women is forbidden for angels, but apparently anything else is allowed. All of these women are scantily clad. Penryn and Raffe kiss passionately.

I probably wouldn't recommend this book to a friend unless I knew they enjoyed reading about angels or post-apocalyptic stories.
 

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**I received this book free for my Nook from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

 Title: Fairest
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles, Book 3.5
Pages: 272
Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Method of Acquirement: Library
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
My Rating: 4-5 Stars


My Thoughts:
Five Stars for story and writing, Four Stars for content

Marissa Meyer has managed to write the origin story of the villain in The Lunar Chronicles in a way that the reader can sympathize with her on a certain level, but it is still obvious that she is not a good person. Levana's childhood was very difficult, but it is show to us as an explanation, not an excuse for her behaviour.

I thought the story was very well written, and the characters were well developed for a short novella - even the ones that just appeared in Fairest .

And I really loved how all the little connecting pieces to the rest of the series fell into place and have begun to make even more sense. I can't wait for Winter!

I gave the content 4 starts because there was a lot of talk about Levana's older sister, Channary, sleeping with guards and soldiers, and also a huge part of the story revolved around Levana's odd lust for Evert,  to the point where she forced him to marry her...and it was really awkward... 

IT SHOULD ALSO BE NOTED that there is a VERY LARGE excerpt of Winter in the back of Fairest. It's not so large that it cuts into the length of the actual book too much though.

And the inside of the book has a gorgeous illustration of the Lunar palace


(Not my photo)

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee

Title: Gates of Thread and Stone
Author: Lori M. Lee
Series: Gates of Thread and Stone, Book 1
Pages: 333
Genre: Fantasy
Method of acquirement: Library
Publisher: Skyscape
My rating: 4.5-5 stars
 
Summary:
Kai has the power to manipulate time. In the city of Ninurta, this is a dangerous secret. Only Kahl Ninu, the city’s leader, is allowed to have magic. So, at the instruction of her “brother” Reev, Kai struggles keeps her power a secret. When Reev suddenly goes missing, Kai becomes very worried and investigates his disappearance. In doing so, she is told that the “Black Rider” has taken him. Joined by her friend, Avan, Kai decides to make the dangerous journey across the Outlands toward the Void where the Rider is rumoured to live.
My thoughts:
I enjoyed reading Gates of Thread and Stone very much. A few weeks ago, I entered a contest to win it and the sequel (The Infinite) on audiobook from the author. Sadly, I did not win, but I decided that I needed to read GoTaS right away, so I put my other books on hold and ordered it from my library. I’m really glad I did!
I found Kai to be a very realistic and believable character. Her feelings and fears were very real and I felt as though I could connect with her through them. When going to search for Reev, her friend, Avan, offers to go with her on the journey. Kai does not want to be selfish and take Avan away from his home to accompany her, nor does she wish to put him in danger. Yet she knows that she cannot do it alone, even though she wishes she could. She is afraid of refusing his help, but she is also afraid of accepting it in case that is not what is best for him.
The romance between Kai and Avan isn’t the instant “falling in love at first sight” that most books seem to have. They have been friends for a very long time, and the quest to find Reev brings them much closer. Kai is unsure of her feelings for Avan and is a bit confused about the whole thing.
The relationship between Kai and G-10 was quite confusing. I definitely don’t like them together romantically.
**SPOILER** When Irra announced that he was Famine, I thought that maybe he was one of the four Riders of the apocalypse, especially when Death and Conquest were also mentioned. However, they are Infinites, an immortal group of which there are 70 members. This cleared up the confusion of whether they were the Riders, but I am unsure of why there are 70 and how the author will choose to explain or use this information. 70 seems to be quite a lot of immortals that each have their own specific power. **End spoiler**
That being said, I am very interested to see how the lore continues to play out. I am also looking forward to the development of Kai and Avan’s relationship after the events at the end of the book.
**SPOILER** Kai’s true identity was very predictable, though Avan’s role was a total surprise to me. **End Spoiler**
Again, I enjoyed reading Gates of Thread and Stone very much. It is a story about real loyalty, family and humanity, and has wonderful potential with world building and lore.
Language:
The author made up a word for the world of the book (“drek”), which was used a bunch of times; about 3 uses of “a**”
Sexual content:
The town where Kai lives has many prostitutes, many of which seem very keen on getting to know her brother. However, Kai spends the majority of the book out of her town, so this is only in the beginning of the book.
Kai and Avan sleep very close together when there is no room in the cave they are hiding in
On multiple occasions, Kai thinks about kissing Avan
Kai briefly admires Avan’s butt when he’s in his training uniform
G-10 jokes about hoping Kai was trying to make a sexual request
Kai wishes she and Avan could sleep in the same bed (nothing sexual about it is implied, though)
Kai thinks about bathing with Avan
A boy kisses/tries to kiss Avan
Avan says he “doesn’t care about gender”, implying he is bisexual
Kai and Avan kiss passionately a couple times
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Series: N/A
Pages: 550
Genre: Historical
Method of acquirement: Summer book sale
My Rating: 4 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.

So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
 


My thoughts:
I really enjoyed reading this book. It is not at all my usual style of book...not the writing or the genre, but I still loved it. The style was very unconventional, which was hard to get used to at first.
Stories of the Holocaust are always difficult, and while The Book Thief is written about a young girl and has a bit more of a playful feel, this book is really no exception. 

Perhaps the most interesting thing about The Book Thief is that it is narrated by Death.

I did cry during this book. I cried at the end for Liesel and everyone in her town. Though I am not sure how much of my tears were actually for the story, or if it was mainly because I was returning to school...

    Language: There was quite a bit. No f-bomb, though, and the most common was an insult in German, which was used very often - usually in a playful manner.
    Sexual content: Rudy keeps asking Liesel for a kiss. [Something else I can't remember right now]

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

ACID by Emma Pass

Acid


My review: (4 Stars)
Overall, this was a great book. The twists and turns of the plot kept me hooked and the fact that Jenna didn't even know everything about her past or even her present was very intriguing.
The copy that I read from was an ARC, so there were a few typos, but they weren't terrible and were easily overlooked since the story was so good.
The only thing that really bothered me was the line at the end of the book "And best of all, we know that no one's going to walk in on us when we're kissing on my bed and he's got his hands under my shirt, or when I've got mine under his." Ugh...seriously? That does not help the story in the least...
Also, as a friend on Goodreads mentioned, this is a dystopian novel, but set OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES. So...that's unusual and refreshing.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Golden Daughter comes out today!

I really loved the first four books that I got to read in this series and I really hope to get a chance to read the rest very soon.
Golden Daughter's cover is soo beautiful! If you'd like to buy it, here is the link to amazon.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Dangerous by Shannon Hale



Rating: Umm, less that one Star? This book was awful, and I only read 7 chapters.

I got the sample of this book on my Nook, thinking that it would be cool, but wanting to test it first. I liked Shannon Hale's other books, and the idea of a sci-fi space story by the same author sounded really interesting.
I was definitely wrong. This book-the first 48 pages-was absolutely terrible. I did expect a romance sub-plot. But...that's not what I got. It seems that this is a teen romance book with some occasional science fiction things. If you are lucky.
Maisie loves science, and has always dreamed of being an astronaut and going to space. When she entres a contest to go to space camp and then wins, she is very excited. So she leaves her home and her best friend behind.
Problems I had with this book:
-Possible romance with her best friend, Luther. (And at that moment, I was hoping that would be the extent of the romance. I also kind of liked Luther's character...)
-Even though Maisie and Luther obviously grew up together, and, from what it seems, they only have each other as friends, they are incredibly awkward...Luther was surprised he was her best friend and felt strange giving her a hug when she left.
-Space Camp was in Texas. Look. This is a sci-fi novel. Can't space camp be...oh idk...in SPACE?
-What kind of space stuff do they do? Well...treasure hunting? (Right after the camp instructors insisted that this was serious stuff for older kids, not babies)
-Maisie's attraction to Wilder. Look, you just met him a day or two ago. AND you seemed to like your friend back at home. But now you are in love with this guy?!

"Had he noticed that I watched him in the cafeteria? Had he guessed that I re-read his file? That some nights when I closed my eyes, I saw his?" (umm...what??)

-Maisie is definitely an idiot when it comes to responding to creepy guys...
-On their first "date," Maisie and Wilder kiss about 8 times...and its not just innocent kissing, either.
-And then Maisie memorizes how long each one was, exactly, and replays it every time she sleeps...
-Wilder is overly possessive of Maisie after this (even though later on, it is made clear he really doesn't care about her)
-In case I haven't said it before, Wilder is a creep.

"Wilder traced my lower lip with his finger. "I like your mouth."
"I'm not that girl," I reminded him, but I wondered if maybe I was."

""Let's skip the next session," he whispered, his hand finding my lower back. "We could find an empty room and talk about microscopes.""

"Wilder kept holding my hand, rubbing my fingernails over his lip."

-And in spite of all this garbage that seems to border on sexual content, in the first 7 chapters, it seems to be made clear that the author has no intention of using any swear words. I might be able to honestly say that I would rather read a book filled with swear words than read a book with this stuff in it. It's not even outright, explicit sexual content, but seriously...
If I was in a situation like that, the guy would be dead.

I definitely did not expect this type of story...from the sci-fi genre description, or from the author. I probably won't be reading any other new books by Shannon Hale.