We are insomniacs, book hoarders, wine tasters, occasional cosplayers, thrill seekers, oncers, ringers, collectors, gamers and explorers with a terrible sense of direction. We came, we saw....we're lost!
Warning: There will be spoilers in this review for the first book in the series, Wither.
This is the first book I've read by Ware despite having had my eye on her previous books. I now regret not having picked them up sooner. I was immediately drawn into the story of four tight knit teenagers who met at a coastal boarding school called Salten. They developed the lying game where they would concoct elaborate lies to tell people who were not part of their small circle and award each other points. The game had rules, one of which was, never lie to each other.
The girls are eventually kicked out of their boarding school and all go their separate ways until years down the road when their shared secret comes back to haunt them. A single text reunites them.
The book jumps back and forth between Isa's perspective and their past. The story slowly unravels to reveal how they met, their shared secrets, and what became of each of them. I didn't give this book a full five stars only because the final reveal didn't blow me away as much as I had anticipated. I enjoyed the ride and discovering the mystery, I just wanted a bit more thrill and suspense. I am, of course, looking forward to reading more from Ware.
I loved Bardugo's take on Wonder Woman. The theme of this story is friendship and loyalty so there was very little romance, which I didn't mind at all. The characters were incredibly likeable, and Bardugo's humor is always perfection.
Being a fan of the new Wonder Woman movie, I have to confess, I kept hearing Gal Gadot's accent as I read the book. This story is, of course, entirely different than the movie. Diana rescues a young lady named Alia. Risking exile from her home, Diana is determined to save Alia, who is a Warbringer, a descendant of Helen of Troy, and holds the power to bring about massive wars and destruction.
I was curious to see how Bardugo would handle writing such a kind, compassionate, honorable character when she is so exquisitely good at creating shady, morally grey characters as those from her Six of Crows series. She did an amazing job with Diana, and I absolutely adored Alia and her best friend, Nim. I loved their friendship, strength, intelligence and humor.
From what I understand, there was only one Wonder Woman book planned, but the ending teases that there is definitely more to Diana's story, and I would be absolutely thrilled to see Bardugo bring us more Wonder Woman!
What would happen if everyone over the age of 15 were to simply vanish, leaving only children to fend for themselves? If that's not interesting enough, throw in some freakish mutating animals, and kids developing crazy x-men type super powers. Grant gives us a world where suddenly kids are on their own trying to survive, food is running out, bullies are using their newly developing powers to take over and suddenly, snakes are growing wings and cats are teleporting. I always enjoy a book that keeps me guessing and tosses out surprises left and right.
Sam is the kind of guy you don't really notice until there is an emergency and he becomes the only one who will step up and take charge. He is a kind boy with a good heart. When the story starts he is 14 years old. One of the oldest kids in the FAYZ, as they call it. The problem is, the second you turn 15, you blink out. Disappear. No one knows what exactly happens when you vanish, and time is running out for a lot of the kids.
Astrid is very intelligent for her age, some call her Astrid the Genius. She also has a good heart and watches over her little brother. I enjoyed watching the friendship between her and Sam blossom and become something more.
Caine is a 14 year old kid from Coates Academy. He rolls into town with his crew of bullies and essentially takes over. He creates the rules and his posse of troublemakers enforces them. He has a plan and will not back down from a fight.
There were many different characters who were likeable on Sam's side of the divide and many who were just plain rotten on Caine's side. This story heads toward a war between the two sides. As the children begin discovering and developing their super powers, time is running out for both Caine and Sam who are close to their 15th birthdays.
I had some issues with many of the decisions the kids were making through the whole book. There was no order, the kids were wasting the food they had available. Instead of preparing for the future, planning ahead, many let good food rot and only ate junk food.
They were vandalizing and destroying places, throwing trash out in the streets. I had to keep reminding myself that they were children with no adult supervision. Some of the older children did attempt to create order by caring for the babies, gathering supplies, one kid even stepped up and managed the McDonald's, cooking food for everyone. Those moments were very satisfying to see.
I didn't mention much about the super powers that the children develop only because, for me, I found it fun and exciting to discover the powers along with the kids as they were realizing them. Not all of the kids have powers yet. This is only the first book in the series so I'm pretty sure we are going to be seeing new abilities pop up as we go. I think this series is going to be a fun adventure.
I enjoyed this retelling so much, and the book cover is stunning! Not the temporary cover pictured in this post, but the actual finished cover. Yeva comes from a wealthy family. She lives with her widowed father and two sisters. Her relationship with her family is beautiful. They care very much for each other, and put the happiness of others before their own.
When Yeva's father makes a terrible mistake and loses their entire fortune, the family is forced to sell their belongings and move back to their small cabin in the woods. Her father goes out hunting to provide food for the family, but despite Yeva's protests, he does not allow her to join him even though she is an accomplished hunter.
Yeva's father begins to show signs that he may be going mad, obsessing over a creature he is hunting. When he goes missing, Yeva is determined to track him down and save him, leaving her sisters in the care of her fiancee. Solmir is such a good man. He's in love with Yeva, willing to marry her despite her loss of status and the family's circumstances, and more than happy to provide them with a better life. That little twist in this, tale as old as time, was a refreshing change.
When Yeva meets Beast, she is captured and imprisoned in his old ruined castle. At first she doesn't realize that the one helping her is Beast. She believes the man who hides in the dark and brings her food is her ally not her captor. In this version, Beauty believes Beast murdered her father and she is out for blood! This Beauty is angry, calculating, and determined to kill the beast.
The romance takes it's time and when Beauty finally leaves Beast she never promises to return. I began to wonder if she ever would return to him. This is the first Beauty and the Beast retelling, I personally have read, where the author addresses Stockholm Syndrome. A friend of Beauty confronts her and discusses the fact that maybe what Beauty feels towards Beast is a psychological effect of the abuse and imprisonment using an example of a man who beat his wife, but the wife continued returning to him. I was impressed with the author for including this scene.
Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorite stories, and this was an enjoyable retelling with interesting, and at times, shocking twists. The ending had a lovely moral, which I will let you discover for yourself if you decide to read it. I look forward to reading more of Spooner's work.
Book 3 in the Red Queen series was an improvement over Glass Sword. I became increasingly disappointed in Mare's attitude in the previous book and didn't care for the path she was heading down. Despite the pain and torment that Mare endures as she is held captive by Maven, I was pleased to see the growth and change in her this time around. Her interactions with her family, Cal and even the way she treated others in general were vastly improved.
I admit, I was preparing myself as I read Glass Sword for the possibility of Mare becoming the villain (due to her increasingly foul attitude and disregard for human life) and Maven switching roles and becoming the true hero. That didn't happen, at least not in this book. Book 4 is still in the works, so you never know.
Maven's scenes were always interesting. Learning what makes him tick, why this complicated individual, even without his puppet master, Elara, pulling his strings he continues on his road of destruction. Another character I enjoyed seeing more of, was Evangeline. She always keeps things interesting. I wasn't surprised at all by some of the decisions that she makes in King's Cage, but I was very pleased.
Mare's relationship with Cal was very much improved through most of the book. There were some very sweet scenes, but by the end of the book, I was honestly hoping Mare would zap his lying princeliness clean off a cliff. I feel he is too weak and indecisive, and I've lost all interest in his character. He can ride off into the sunset for all I care. I'm more interested to see what will become of Maven and Evangeline in the final book of the series.
This is a debut novel from a talented author. Teenager, Lucinda Hayes has been murdered in a small town in Colorado. We alternate between several characters, learning about their lives and their connection to the victim. The characters were depicted in their most raw and imperfect forms and I feel that this is where Kukafka shines as a writer.
Each character has their own secrets, and they are battling their own personal demons. I had very similar feelings toward this book as I did with the Girl on the Train. The characters themselves were not particularly likable, they were all a bit twisted in some form, and as far as the mystery itself, I can't say I had it all figured out.
We learn about Lucinda through the eyes of the ones who knew her.
Cameron is a boy who has loved and "watched" Lucinda from a distance. Slipping out at night and watching her through her bedroom window. He is a complex, tangled boy, dealing with his own mess of emotions and feelings.
Russ is a cop who, having known Cameron's father before he disappeared, wants to protect Cameron and his mother. Russ has a complicated marriage with a woman whose brother he doesn't fully trust.
Jade is a girl with an alcoholic, abusive mother who treats Jade's sister as a doll she can dress up and live vicariously through. She treats Jade as a lost cause. Jade is in love with her childhood friend, but he only has eyes for Lucinda.
This book was not an edge of your seat thriller, it was a good deal slower than I expected, but it did keep me guessing until the end.
Many thanks to Simon and Schuster as well as the author, Danya Kukafka, for the opportunity to read an advanced copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book was incredibly surprising! It's dark, gory and I really enjoyed it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one for over the top gore, but I do love a good murder mystery from time to time.
The story was set in the 1800s, Audrey Rose is 17 years old, lives with her father and brother, but is secretly studying forensics with her Uncle, against her father's wishes. If her father knew she was up to her elbows in gore while assisting with autopsies and helping solve murder mysteries, he would lose his mind. Audrey Rose is not the proper young lady she was brought up to be.
I adored Audrey Rose, especially her feisty nature and her stomach of steel. Stomach of steel compared to any normal female of that time period and many of the men as well. Speaking of the men, another fantastic character is Thomas Cresswell. He is confident, incredibly intelligent and does an awful lot of "deducing." He would make a wonderful young Sherlock Holmes! I enjoyed their flirtations and banter so much.
I loved the setting and the creepiness of hunting down a deranged killer on the dark Victorian London streets. Even though I did guess who the villain was I did not guess anywhere near how cringe worthy it played out in the end. There were enough surprises to keep me on my toes and the ending left things wide open for the next book in the series, Hunting Prince Dracula. The cover art on both of these books is beautiful and I can't wait to get my hands on book 2.
An amazing debut by a talented young author. When I first heard that Meg Caddy was mentored by the wonderfully talented, Juliet Marillier, I knew I had to give her book a try. I am so glad I did. She presents the werewolves in her world as gentle, peaceful creatures. I immediately fell in love with them. The world she created was beautifully done with many surprises and twists thrown in.
This book is a standalone and I am partly sad because I would love to journey back to Caddy's universe and revisit these characters. The story wraps up nicely and you are not left with any lingering questions. Things aren't wrapped up in a neat little pretty bow. This is a story of heartache and loss, battles won and lost, redemption, love and forgiveness.
The story is told in alternating POVs mostly through Lycaea and Lowell's perspectives. Lycaea is waer, but she was not born that way. She was turned against her will. I found her to be rough and tortured and not particularly likable at first. She has gone through many horrors and feels betrayed by those close to her. It wasn't long before I began to understand and care for her character. Lowell was born waer and he lives with his family in peace until he finds Lycaea washed up by the river. His character is kind and gentle and I absolutely adored him from the very beginning.
There was enough action and danger to keep me on the edge of my seat, especially toward the end. The romance was slow burning and did not take over the story. It was incredibly well done and I am very much looking forward to Caddy's next book.
I received a copy of this book through netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I don't normally read books like this, and it's not because I dislike sci-fi. I love watching sci-fi movies and tv shows, but as far as reading about happenings in outer space, it doesn't call my attention very often. This book caught my attention because the format is vastly different than any book I've read. The story is told through a series of interview transcripts, emails, official documents, the inner musings of a possibly insane AI, diary entries, spaceship diagrams and space artwork.
I wasn't sure how all that was going to work out for me and I was a tad skeptical, but I'm always up for trying new things. The story starts off with the interviews of two teens who's planet had been invaded. I can't say I fell instantly in love with Kady and Ezra. Kady's personality seemed a bit bland and the dialogue between her and Ezra left much to be desired. Maybe it was just the format. It's difficult to convey emotion through text or instant messages.
Once her skills as a hacker emerged and I was able to see her strengths, bravery and intelligence I liked her more and more. Kady and Ezra are stuck on two different ships separated from each other and their families, just trying to stay alive. They are all fleeing a large ship intent on attacking them. Ezra's ship is under the control of AIDAN, the AI with a mind of its own focused on seeing to its own agenda, and to make matters worse, we have a virus outbreak turning people into creepy, weapon wielding, zombie-like creatures who can think, hunt and kill the uninfected.
Did I mention those guys are creepy? The beginning of the book didn't draw me in. It took some time before things picked up for me, but when they did, I couldn't read fast enough. I loved the plot twists, but at one point toward the end, let's just say I was livid! I almost put it down. I'm glad I pressed on, because that ending was fantastic!
I also have to mention that AIDAN is a great character. If I had to choose, I'd say AIDAN was the most interesting, poetic and complex character in the whole book.
“Before this moment, I have never wished to be something other than what I am. Never felt so keenly the lack of hands with which to touch, the lack of arms with which to hold. Why did they give me this sense of self? Why allow me the intellect by which to measure this complete inadequacy? I would rather be numb than stand here in the light of a sun that can never chase the chill away.”
There were so many unique twists and turns. I definitely loved this book and the authors, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, are wonderfully talented, kind and gracious individuals which I had the immense pleasure of meeting at YALLFEST.
Jay personalized my book with words to live by
Gemina book 2 is sitting on my nightstand (it's so beautiful) just taunting me to come read it.
Mona Lisa has a secret or two, and Joey Peruggia, the great-grandson of Vincenzo Peruggia, the man who actually stole the original Mona Lisa in 1911, is about to discover exactly what they are. Secret rooms, hidden messages, a priceless painting, edge of your seat, non-stop danger, this book did not slow down.
I'm carefully tiptoeing around the plot, I would hate to give away spoilers, so forgive any vagueness on my part. To me this story was a mixture of the Da Vinci Code, National Treasure and a little Indiana Jones. When I finished reading around 3 am, I felt about as exhausted as the characters after having been shot at, run off a hill and forced to swim across a freezing lake to escape death, just to name a few of the inconvenient situations they find themselves in.
Joey and his girlfriend, Marie, journey from California to Paris in search of answers, before long they are deeply entrenched in danger and running for their lives. After making a deal to rent Boyce's boat in an attempt to rescue Marie, the two form a partnership. I enjoyed the relationship dynamic between Joey and the resourceful, quick witted teen.
This was a fast paced, exciting read full of adventure, relentless villains, stressful situations and a bit of humor.
Many thanks to BookTasters and the author, Phil Philips, for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
I loved the Lunar Chronicles, and when I heard that Meyer was writing a book about the Queen of Hearts, I was thrilled! Catherine wants nothing more out of life than to open her own bakery with her dear friend, Mary Ann. Unfortunately for her, her parents have other plans. Cath has caught the King's eye, and her mother is determined to see Cath become Queen at any cost.
Cath is not in love with the simple minded King and has absolutely no interest in becoming Queen. When she meets Jest, the charming, handsome, witty Joker, who whisks her away to late night tea parties and begins popping up in her dreams, the King becomes more of an annoyance than anything else. At times I almost felt sorry for the poor dolt.
This book will rip your heart out. Yes, I went there. Despite knowing where the story is inevitably heading, you can't help being drawn in. With the cast of familiar Wonderland characters including, Cheshire cat, the Mad Hatta, the White Rabbit, and many more, Meyer did a wonderful job bringing them all to life.
My favorite scene had to be the game of hedgehog croquet involving unruly flamingos with shrimp breath and the bone structure of a noodle being shaken by their scrawny legs.
"We practiced this, you foul fowl!"
I love Meyer's sense of humor, her writing style and her ability to breath new life into old tales. Meyers is great with happy endings, but I was curious to see how she would handle a much darker tale. I was not disappointed! Heartless is heading straight to my favorites list.
Every generation there is a set of triplets born, each one having the gift of being a poisoner, elemental or a naturalist. When they are very young they are separated and taken to be raised by their respective houses and trained in their gift. When they are 16 they will attend a ceremony and use their gift to fight and kill each other. Last queen standing wins the crown.
Katharine is my favorite of the three sisters. She is a poisoner, and while she is very adept at making poisons she has not been able to build up a resistance to ingesting the poisons. She is the smallest and weakest of the three sisters from years of basically killing herself from all the different poisons she has taken.Despite being the weakest of her sisters, she is the most ruthless and determined. She has been raised and trained by the Arron family who has held control of the kingdom for many years and are not about to give up control now. Natalia Arron brings in her nephew Pietyr to help Katharine become strong and confident and the two end up falling for each other.
Arsinoe is the naturalist, although not a very good one. An awful one actually. She is supposed to be able to make flowers bloom and have a "familiar" pet. Her gift has yet to make an appearance. She is very headstrong, maybe even a little rebellious, but she is fiercely loyal to those she cares about. Jules is her best friend and the most powerful naturalist in decades. Joseph, Jules' love interest, has served 5 years on the mainland as punishment for trying to help Arsinoe escape 5 years earlier. When he returns he brings another boy back with him. Billy is a suitor and is supposed to introduce himself to all 3 queens as a potential king-consort. He becomes friends with Arsinoe and while they each say that there is no love between them there is definitely something there. Billy is devoted to Arsinoe and helps her to escape right before the Quickening.
Mirabella is an elemental and the strongest one of her sisters. She is taken in by the priestesses who are ruthless and will stop at nothing to see their Queen crowned. I found it very interesting that despite being the most powerful of her sisters, she does not want to kill them. She knows that as a rule queens are not supposed to love their sisters but she remembers her time with them as children and still cares for them.
The book did start off a little slow. At the beginning I found it hard to keep up with so many secondary characters but they are essential to the story. It seems as though it is the individual houses and the priestesses that are vying for power and control over Fennbirn and the queens are more of a figurehead. I do wish there had been more world building. Billy comes from the mainland, there is no magic or anything there and Fennbirn is becoming something of a myth. But there was no explanation of how they are able to get to the island sometimes and other times they are kept out by a fog. How do they even know of Fennbirn?? If I knew there was an island full of magic I would be on the next boat over there! Maybe in the next book there will be an explanation and more info about the island and the magic inside it.
Overall I really enjoyed this book! There are so many twists and sub-plots to keep you hooked. That ending was totally unexpected and I can't wait for the next book to see what happens!