Book Review

Review: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

 

 

Rating: ☆☆☆.5
Audience: Young adult, some language, love scene/kissing, very little violence
Length: 310 pages
Author: Shea Ernshaw
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: March 6th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I AM A BAG OF MIXED EMOTIONS.

I’m not sure how I feel. On the one hand, yes, solid ending, made sense, okay cool. On the other hand…no, not quite what I was going for, am I happy about this? I’m not sure. I think I’m satisfied?

The writing, world-building and folklore surrounding Sparrow was unique. I liked the the way the current Sparrow flowed with the town 200 years ago. While totally unfortunate this secluded location is still swamped in the Swan Sisters, it made for a good story.

It’s a quick read that kept me busy. I did see the plot twist from about ten miles away, but that didn’t deter me. Instead, I was enough in the dark about the resolve of the story as a whole I surged on to the finale.

Marguerite, Aurora, and Hazel [the Swan Sisters] are really the main characters. They have clear personalities and a bond that you couldn’t help but understand. Hazel broke my heart a few times over with her personal struggles. The story flashes backward every few chapters tying in the modern tale with how the girls became who they are today. Everything fit in smoothly and I never felt lost.

I did struggle with the twist because there was such a repetitive “everything is a secret, I can’t spill my secret” nature. It would have come off better in my opinion to actually be a little more blind-sided (thus, upping the mystery factor). I started getting frustrated that Bo and Penny wouldn’t just talk to each other. Not everything has to be hidden!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy/paranormal [witches], but set in contemporary Oregon
  • A love scene or two that are very glossed over, not descriptive; some kissing, etc.
  • Some expletive language
  • Minor violence (drownings)
Book Review

Review: Smoke and Iron (The Great Library #4) by Rachel Caine

Rating: ☆☆☆☆.5
Audience: Young adult, violence, a kiss or two, very little language
Length: 430 pages
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: July 3rd, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY: 

To save the Great Library, the unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone, Paper and Fire, and Ash and Quill put themselves in danger in the next thrilling adventure in the New York Timesbestselling series.

The opening moves of a deadly game have begun. Jess Brightwell has put himself in direct peril, with only his wits and skill to aid him in a game of cat and mouse with the Archivist Magister of the Great Library. With the world catching fire, and words printed on paper the spark that lights rebellion, it falls to smugglers, thieves, and scholars to save a library thousands of years in the making…if they can stay alive long enough to outwit their enemies.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

HOT DANG, THAT WAS A GOOD BOOK.

I’m so glad I’ve been continuing to read this series, this installment was the best one yet! I mean, heartbreaking and anger fueled, but really good.

I love Jess. He is such a great character. I can’t get enough of his sarcastic self. And all of his wielding and dealings keep me on my toes. His relationship with Morgan is still a toss-up in my mind. The amount of time they’ve spent together is real minuscule compared to the feelings they have for each other.

On the other hand, Wolfe and Santi have allllll my love. They are so precious. And getting Wolfe’s POV just added to it!! I love how fiercely loyal they are to each other and how that makes their relationship even stronger. I hope they at least come out at the end of the series actually having a chance for some quiet time and to be together.

 Also, also, KHALILA. A strong, diverse, genuinely kind woman This whole book is filled with diverse characters of all backgrounds. I feel like Caine did such a good job combining everyone together. There’s different religions, races, appearances, etc. It creates a truly universal book.

We got the chance to hear this from Jess, Morgan, Wolfe and Khalila (plus a few others in the last chapter). This increased the amount of action and the pacing. I thought it went a lot smoother than the other books because of this. The squad was broken up into different locations and this kept plot holes from being a mile wide.

My heart definitely shattered with the ending. I have no idea where this will take us in what [I think] is the last book. Can’t wait!

Overall audiences notes:
— Young adult sci-fi/dystopian
— Very little language
— Violence (guns, torture, physical, knives)
— Some declarations of love, and a handful of kisses

Book Review

Radiance (Wraith Kings #1) by Grace Draven

Radiance

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy romance, love scenes, minor language, violence
Length: 297 pages
Author: Grace Draven
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: January 13th, 2015 (first published Feb. 2014)
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

JUST WHAT I NEEDED.

This was exactly what I expected this book to be and exactly what I felt like reading! A solid fantasy romance that was unique in its own ways.

First of all, Brishen and Ildiko? They don’t hate each other. Yes, forced to marry, but both of them are actually decent creatures who decided to make the best of a situation they didn’t choose. Refreshing to say the least.

While I could have used a little more angst between the two (they almost got along too well) it was nice that they seemed to appreciate each other. It was charmingly funny that they initially thought each other absolutely hideous.  Of course it was a huge play on don’t judge a book by its cover, but I don’t hate that trope…when done well. The slow burn of Brishen and Ildiko seeing the potential of a romantic relationship had me saying, yaaass. 

Besides those points, it’s nothing new for the genre or ground-breaking in anyway, but I was craving a solid romantic fantasy that I could drift away into for a bit and this delivered. Some pieces of the story aren’t fully fleshed out (the magic system, the other kingdom, etc.). It didn’t detract from the story though.

I liked the side characters and thought they played their roles well. Each brought a different angle in the communications between Kai and humans. I was a little disappointed in the epilogue because I thought it would be a little more epic (if you’ve read it tell me!!) but I’m definitely interested in the next book for this series!

Overall audience notes:
– Fantasy romance
– Minor, barely there language
– Detailed love scenes
– Violence (arrows, knives, torture)

Book Review

Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers

Sadie

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA (but with major adult themes), violence, trigger warnings, a kiss, a lot of language
Length: 311 pages
Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: September 4th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

…WHOA.

I’m not even quite sure where to begin because this book was a lot. In a horribly poignant, sad, but seriously a good book, way.

The author does a great job of withholding the fullness of the story as you go along. I read this in a handful of hours because I was completely enthralled with Sadie and her story. Mixing in the radio personality was a unique twist that allowed more character access to Sadie’s past while she was hurtling forward to her goal.

I truly sat there after I finished not knowing my feelings. They were everywhere. I was angry, confused, distraught, and wanting a different ending (I’m also not even sure what exactly happened at the ending, anyone else? AHH.) And while that sounds like I didn’t enjoy this, it’s not that at all. Summers created such a world of emotions, that while on the negative scale, was a beautifully heart-breaking well written book.

Emotional exploration was at the forefront. Struggling through the raw waves of grief, exhaustion, denial, anger, and betrayal of a young girl coping with her sister’s murder and so so much more.

The main theme is very adult, and very tough to read about. I felt panicked for Sadie the majority of the time wondering if West (the radio personality) would figure out her story fast enough to get to her. And if even Sadie herself would survive her own journey to find the killer.

“…I can’t take another dead girl.”

Overall audience notes:
– Young adult, but definitely leans towards adult
– Trigger warning themes: sexual abuse of children (throughout the entirety of the novel)
– A lot of explicit language
– Violence

Book Review

Review: Archenemies (Renegades #2) by Marissa Meyer

Archenemies

 

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy/Sci-fi, no language, a kiss scene, violence
Length: 560 pages
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel Friends
Release Date: November 6th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The Renegades Trilogy continues, in this fiercely awaited second installment after the New York Times-bestselling Renegades by Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles.

Time is running out.
Together, they can save the world.
But they each other’s worst nightmare.

In Renegades, Nova and Adrian (aka Insomnia and Sketch) fought the battle of their lives against the Anarchist known as the Detonator. It was a short-lived victory.

The Anarchists still have a secret weapon, one that Nova believes will protect her. The Renegades also have a strategy for overpowering the Anarchists, but both Nova and Adrian understand that it could mean the end of Gatlon City – and the world – as they know it.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

DARN YOU, BOOK 2 SYNDROME.

Y’all, why. Don’t get me wrong, I’m buying the third book because crap will hit the fan since nothing happened in this book. I now fully expect (I know, should be keeping expectations low) the final installment to be a worthy tale since there is going to be a loooot to cover in 500+ pages.

I rarely know if an author has to make more books than they planned, or if it was originally intended to be a certain length, but really. This could’ve been a duology.

I’ll start with things I didn’t mind and enjoyed!

  • Watching Nova and Adrian try to flirt was so precious, and I definitely found myself chuckling occasionally.
  • The last 100 pages when the action picked up and sped through to the finale.
  • The scenes where everyone were friends/family, just doing friends/family stuff. I always like peaceful scenes interspersed with the drama.

Now this is where I get on the struggle bus:

  • WHERE WAS THE ACTION? For a long book, about heroes/villains no less, I expected so much more. Nothing essentially happened until the last, last section of the book where Nova started going through with the plans she made in the FIRST book. We spent the entire book talking about plans, to do this, that, blah blah blah. Someone do something!?
  • While I thought all the flirting was cute, this book was entirely focused on their will they/won’t they scenario. Fine, that’s totally fine, but like my previous bullet I was going for more and thought this should have taken a back seat. I personally was set on this being an action based book and was disappointed it felt more romance-ish.
  • Some of the characters were/became so disappointing. Ah man, I’m still fuming about it. So I don’t dive into spoilers, you’ll see what I mean.

The third book, I desperately hope, will be a real page turner. There were some scenes I completely expected to happen that fell through, that we all know HAVE TO HAPPEN AT SOME POINT. I was thinking it would happen earlier, but I’m still waiting to flush some character secrets out to really get the angst going.

Overall audience notes:
– Young adult fantasy, sci-fi
– No language
– Violence ranges based on prodigies ability
– Love is mostly teenage flirting, one kiss scene that is barely detailed

Publishing Day

Happy Publishing Day: The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

The Wren Hunt

I gratefully received this book as an e-arc from Bloomsbury USA Children’s through Netgalley and was taken on such a ride!

Here’s the synopsis:

Every Christmas, Wren is chased through the woods near her isolated village by her family’s enemies—the Judges—and there’s nothing that she can do to stop it. Once her people, the Augurs, controlled a powerful magic. But now that power lies with the Judges, who are set on destroying her kind for good.

In a desperate bid to save her family, Wren takes a dangerous undercover assignment—as an intern to an influential Judge named Cassa Harkness. Cassa has spent her life researching a transformative spell, which could bring the war between the factions to its absolute end. Caught in a web of deceit, Wren must decide whether or not to gamble on the spell and seal the Augurs’ fate.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

This a book where you can see the parallels between Romeo & Juliet. It was a unique, fresh take that I haven’t personally seen a lot of! The romance is well done for a stand-a-lone novel and the characters are a good mix of personalities.

You can find my original review here!

CROPPED

 

Book Review, Uncategorized

Review: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World by Stephen Brusatte

Dinosaurs

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Suitable for YA+, non-fiction, historical
Length: 416 pages
Author: Stephen Brusatte
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: April 24th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Brusatte traces the evolution of dinosaurs from their inauspicious start as small shadow dwellers—themselves the beneficiaries of a mass extinction caused by volcanic eruptions at the beginning of the Triassic period—into the dominant array of species every wide-eyed child memorizes today, T. rex,Triceratops, Brontosaurus, and more. This gifted scientist and writer re-creates the dinosaurs’ peak during the Jurassic and Cretaceous, when thousands of species thrived, and winged and feathered dinosaurs, the prehistoric ancestors of modern birds, emerged. The story continues to the end of the Cretaceous period, when a giant asteroid or comet struck the planet and nearly every dinosaur species (but not all) died out, in the most extraordinary extinction event in earth’s history, one full of lessons for today as we confront a “sixth extinction.”

Brusatte also recalls compelling stories from his globe-trotting expeditions during one of the most exciting eras in dinosaur research—which he calls “a new golden age of discovery”—and offers thrilling accounts of some of the remarkable findings he and his colleagues have made, including primitive human-sized tyrannosaurs; monstrous carnivores even larger than T. rex; and paradigm-shifting feathered raptors from China.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I LOVE DINOSAURS.

OH WOW, if you have any love for dinosaurs, read this book. It just hit my my top favorites for non-fiction books.

Y’all, this man LOVES dinos. And you can feel that on every page. You’re dragged in and loving the dinosaurs as much as he does. There was a magnificent flow and pace to the book. It would flow from Brusatte telling a personal story of finding a fossil, adding in pieces of how fossils are studied today, and then tying it all back to how that creature was living in prehistoric times.

It was amazing! I have always been absolutely fascinated with dinosaurs, so that probably is definitely enforcing my love and appreciation for this book. They’re so many places that dinosaurs are still currently being found. It is not a dead science, there’s so much more we can gather from fossils. He describes all of his colleagues and friends so eloquently that you really get an understanding of their personality and character.

All of the scientific analyzing felt like it would fly over my head, but Brusatte does a great job of putting it all into simple terms (I am horrid at math, so this was especially helpful) so anyone can understand.

Lastly, his ability to narrate his take on what dinosaurs lived like was it’s own story. I felt those dinosaurs as he described the asteroid hitting Earth. His use of pretty prose kept me engaged and flipping pages.

Also, guys, there’s pictures!! My biggest struggle was literally (no really, ask my husband) Googling every single dinosaur name that didn’t have a photo. I personally wanted to know what every one of them looked like. It would have been awesome to have more photos, but I understand that it would essentially be a picture book at that point.

Overall audiences notes:
– Non-fiction book, appropriate for all ages
– No language
– Violence is maybe a minor description of a dinosaur attacking another