Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Richelle Mead
PUBLISHED: April 5th, 2016
GENRE: Historical Fantasy
PREMISE: A rich girl escapes her life by becoming part of the glittering court.
MY REVIEW: I feel like lately, Richelle Mead might be in a bit of a writers rut. Like, she's burnt out or something. Because the latest few books I've tried reading of hers....haven't been great. Possibly, she's just taking on too much or something. I don't know. I'm not involved in her life. I just know I haven't been enjoying her books nearly as much as I used too and this makes me very sad.
This new book in a series, is the latest Mead book to disappoint me. Now, I'm trying to keep in mind that perhaps this is just first book syndrome. The way a lot of her book series are set up is that the first book is okay and then by the time you get to the third or fourth, everything is awesome. Unfortunately...there's nothing really compelling about this first book that makes me want to get that far. This is a mish mash of ideas that I've seen before. It actually reminded me a lot of The Selection, which...is not great because I dislike that series a lot. The characters aren't terribly interesting and the romance...I've got issues, lets just say that.
This was just very disappointing. Probably even more so because I really like Mead and want to be able to say I loved it and she's back in form. But...I can't. There's nothing really offensive about this. It's not godawful. But...it is average at best. It lacks Mead's usual spark that makes me enjoy her books so much. It's competent, but ultimately...forgettable in a sea of YA series out there that are a lot like this one.
WHO SHOULD READ: The Selection fans, you don't mind fantasy that doesn't really focus on fantasy.
MY RATING: Three out of Five sad sighs
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Julie Eshbaugh
PUBLISHED: June 7th
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Retelling, Classic-book referencing
PREMISE: A pre-historic gender bending twist on Pride and Prejudice. Seriously, that's it.
MY REVIEW: I wanted to read this book the minute I heard about its premise above. I mean, look at that, how can you not want to read that? Unless you're one of those who hates Austen. I've heard there are such people. I knew exactly what to expect with this book and it delivered on the expectations.
It strays a bit from the Pride and Prejudice plot. Particularly where the Wickham character is concerned. But it is definitely an interesting take on the tale. It also made me think about Darcy a bit more and how probably if Darcy had been the woman, he probably wouldn't be as well-liked by readers as he is. Sorry, but it's really amazing how when male characters are flawed it's fine, but when female characters are flawed they're considered unlikable. Without reading any of the reviews on Goodreads, I'm more then willing to bet money that there are reviews out there saying this was fine, but they didn't like Mya.
The writing style is a bit...strange and takes some getting used too. But on the whole, I enjoyed this take on Pride and Prejudice. Other then the setting, it's not terribly original. Some of the hunting scenes go on a bit too long as well. I'm not terribly convinced we need a sequel, but we'll get one regardless. It's not a perfect book, but its good points far out weigh its bad points.
WHO SHOULD READ: Pride and Prejudice fans, historical fiction fans, Romance fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five hunting parties
Friday, July 22, 2016
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Roshani Chokshi
PUBLISHED: April 2016
GENRE: Fantasy, Retelling/Reimagining
PREMISE: In an reimagining of the tale of Hades and Persephone, Maya is cursed with a dark horoscope. This curse leads her to an even darker marriage...
MY REVIEW: Ah Hades and Persephone, you are a favorite to retell aren't you? To be fair, I get it. There's a lot you can do with the tale. But personally, I still wish we could get retellings of other Greek myths. There are so many others out there that would be perfect for YA. But for now, I guess we'll have to deal with Persephone and Hades. It's a good thing I don't mind the myth.
This particular incarnation does an Indian take on it. It draw from Indian mythology and I do love what the author did with it. The world she came up with is beautiful and I adore the author's prose. Maya is a fun and spunky character who has more agency then most Persephone's get. This is a very readable book.
But...it also had pacing issues. The middle dragged a LOT and...honestly at the end of the day, other then the fantastic world the author built and the fact that there's tons of diversity...there's not much to set this book apart from all the other fantasy books going around right now. Especially this year when you have things like Wrath and the Dawn, Rebel of the Sands, E.K. Johnston's A Thousand Nights. So...I liked it a lot. I'm definitely going to be picking up the sequel. But...it is a pretty average book. But it is a good solid debut, so...I don't know. I'm a little split on giving it three and a half or four stars.
WHO SHOULD READ: Hades and Persephone fans, Wrath and the Dawn fans,
MY RATING: I'm going with four out of five horoscopes for now.
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Book 2 in the Lois Lane series
AUTHOR: Gwenda Bond
PUBLISHED: May 1rst, 2016
GENRE: Sci-fi, media tie-in, mystery
PREMISE: Young Lois Lane continues investigations for her school paper.
MY REVIEW: The Lois Lane book last year was a lot of fun. I admit, I didn't have high hopes for it. DC has been...disappointing me as of late, to put it mildly ;sighs sadly about Batman vs Superman yet again; But book wise, I've been relatively happy with them. Still not sold on this Rebirth thing, but it is what it is.
This book is what I remember adoring about the DC comics. There's lots of actions. The characters are fun and inspiring. Lois Lane gets to do things. I was afraid they were going to try and force Clark into here and not let Lois be her awesome self but so far, the author hasn't done that. Clark is there, in the background. But Lois never gets overshadowed and still gets to do her things.
The sequel focused a little more on Lois' friends then Lois herself, but that's fine. The friends are interesting. Part of the charm of the first book was seeing all these different characters deal with each other. Writing wise, this is still quite average. But the charm of Lois more then makes up for any faults this series has. I can't wait for more. I know I've mentioned this before, but I'm thrilled that DC and Marvel are throwing their hats into the YA world. I think the books will go a long way towards getting more people interested in trying the comics.
WHO SHOULD READ: Lois Lane fans, Smallville/Lois and Clark fans, Superman fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five Lois Lane fangirl trash signs
Friday, July 15, 2016
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
PUBLISHED: February 9th, 2016
GENRE: Historical Fantasy
PREMISE: When her sister mysteriously disappears, a girl discovers she and her sister have unique gifts...
MY REVIEW: Remember the Steampunk Chronicles by Kady Cross? Well, this series definitely brought that series to mind. They're very much alike in terms of setting and plot.
Writing style, character, and tone however, they are different. This one has a humorous tone that was appealing The characters are snarky and as we all know, if your character snarks, I'm pretty much going to love them. There were many fun plays with dialogue in this one so reading it was a breeze.
It's not the most spectacular thing I've ever read. Again, it's very similar to the Steampunk Chronicles, so it's not terribly original. But, it is enjoyable. I may or may not give the sequel a look.
WHO SHOULD READ: Steampunk Chronicles fans, X-Men fans, Historical Fantasy fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five debutante gowns
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Part of the Journey to Force Awakens series/canon(it's complicated, okay?)
AUTHOR: Claudia Gray
PUBLISHED: September 2015
GENRE: Science-Fiction, tie-in novel
PREMISE: Set in the time when the Galactic Empire reigned supreme, a young girl and boy enroll in the Imperial Academy and start out as best friends. But soon they go on very different paths...
MY REVIEW: Full disclosure: I am Star Wars trash. I love it. I am the first to admit it's corny. But I don't care. I loved The Force Awakens and honestly am excited about this new book canon that we've gotten. Do I miss Mara Jade? Sure. But if the trade off for losing her is a more consistent universe, with more diverse characters, and better authors writing the books...I'm fine with a new canon. Sorry, but there it is.
Like the old canon, a lot of these Star Wars books are hit or miss. This book here is my favorite of them, and the first I've felt compelled to review here. If you are a Star Wars fan and aren't sure if you want to try the novels, this is a great place to start. Gray gets this universe. This is actually one of my favorites of the new canon. You don't have to be a super fan to get into this book. It's accessible for those who've only seen the movies and don't know every bit of trivia there is.
It does drag in the middle a bit, but for the most part, this book captures that great Star Wars feeling. It's long, but you fly through the pages. I love the complicated story the author has set up. I really hope there's a sequel. But in the mean time, I shall happily look into Bloodline, her book about Princess Leia after Return of the Jedi.
WHO SHOULD READ: Star Wars fans, Claudia Gray fans, Sci-fi fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five lightsabers
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Book 2 in the Dangerous Creatures series
AUTHOR: Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl
PUBLISHED: May 2015
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
PREMISE: Link searches for a missing Ridley.
MY REVIEW: I was looking forward to this series when it was announced. Did I think it was necessary? No. I was immensely pleased with how Beautiful Creatures ended things. But this series featured Link and Ridley. Two of my favorite characters in that series. So, I got my hopes up.
The first book was enjoyable. Not fantastic. But I got into it. This book...was honestly kind of a chore to get through. I can't put my finger on why. It just didn't have the sparkle that the previous books have had. Then there was that ending and lord only knows when we're actually getting a continuation. It's been a year, and no book has been announced.
So...yeah. I have very mixed and disappointed feelings about this one. I hope the authors continue, only because that was a poor place to leave things at. If they don't continue...I'm just going to pretend these two books never happened and it just left off as originally intended. Authors, sometimes, it's good to not do spin-offs. Just saying.
WHO SHOULD READ: Beautiful Creatures series fans, who don't mind cliffhangers
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five what was this? feelings.
Saturday, July 9, 2016
Book 2 in the Wrath and the Dawn Duology
AUTHOR: Renee Ahdieh
PUBLISHED: April 26th, 2016
GENRE: Fantasy, Romance, Retelling
PREMISE: Shahrzad is back with her family, but now facing war and trying to break the curse on Khalid.
MY REVIEW: I did really enjoy Wrath and the Dawn last year. I admit, I thought this was going to be a trilogy. But I'm actually pleased the author didn't go that route. She probably easily could have dragged this out into a trilogy. But the second book probably would have suffered because of it.
This was a great conclusion. It answered questions, developed characters, and gave a good satisfying ending. I wish certain characters hadn't died, but at the same time, it would have been unrealistic if no one had died. So I get it. The writing continues to be lovely and the realization of the world continues to be great.
In short, it's a good ending. As mentioned, I'm glad the author did not unnecessarily drag out the series. Because now she can move onto other ideas. I'm all for authors exploring more different ideas. That means we get more different books to enjoy.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Wrath and the Dawn, fans A Thousand and One Nights.
MY RATING: Four out of Five magic carpets
RATING FOR DUOLOGY: Four out of Five
Friday, July 8, 2016
Book 2 in the Red Queen Trilogy
AUTHOR: Victoria Aveyard
PUBLISHED: February 2016
PREMISE: Mare recruits other red and silver fighters to her cause while Maven pursues her.
MY REVIEW: I keep wanting to love this series more then I actually do. I do not like disliking the super popular books. Despite what people try to claim, it's not fun. I was hoping that the second installment would be a turn around for me. I have had trilogies have ho hum starts and then go on to be brilliant by the second book. Unfortunately...that did not happen here.
Mare continues to be a bland character. Honestly...all the characters continue to be bland. The idea itself continues to be average and a mish mash of other ideas I've seen before. About the only interesting thing going on in this series is Maven, and he was barely present in this book, so that made this book even more boring then the first. Everything about this series is just bland.
I gave this series a second shot. It failed to impress. I think it's time to bid farewell to it. I don't think it's utterly horrible or anything. It's a competent enough fantasy that I'll give it an average rating. But it's not impressive enough to warrant all the hype it's getting.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that loved the first book, those who don't mind cliche ridden YA fantasy
MY RATING: Three out of Five I've seen this book a million times before feelings