Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Last Star: A Review (The 5th Wave #3)

Description (Goodreads):

The enemy is Other. The enemy is us.

They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.

In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves…or saving what makes us human.

My Review:

I um... haven't been very impressed with this series. However, I saw the movie and it was SO good (I've already read the first two books by the time I saw the movie), so watching the movie actually made me want to finish this series.

But...once again... I enjoyed the story, just not the way it was written. A) there was a ridiculous amount of language, and B) like before, it's written in a way where you are confused if certain things happened or not. Important things, so your left really confused and not in a good way.

However, I will say it was a good book.

I just didn't care what really happened to the majority of the characters. Cassie is still an idiot. Evan is still awesome and the only one who is doing the right thing. Ben is still pretty good. Ringer is just "woe is me and all my hidden pain." Granted, she's been through a lot, but...I don't like her obviously.

You definitely have to really be into this series. I honestly think the first movie was better than the first book and if the producers keep it up, so will the second and third movies.

The ending wasn't even that satisfying. Or the way they got to that point. Just...meh.

3 out of 5!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: A Review (Harry Potter #6)

Description (Goodreads):

It is the middle of the summer, but there is an unseasonal mist pressing against the windowpanes. Harry Potter is waiting nervously in his bedroom at the Dursleys' house in Privet Drive for a visit from Professor Dumbledore himself. One of the last times he saw the Headmaster was in a fierce one-to-one duel with Lord Voldemort, and Harry can't quite believe that Professor Dumbledore will actually appear at the Dursleys' of all places. Why is the Professor coming to visit him now? What is it that cannot wait until Harry returns to Hogwarts in a few weeks' time? Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts has already got off to an unusual start, as the worlds of Muggle and magic start to intertwine...

J.K. Rowling charts Harry Potter's latest adventures in his sixth year at Hogwarts with consummate skill and in breathtaking fashion.

My Review:

Once again. Harry Potter is life.

I remember reading this book for the first time and just...was aghast at the ending. I was in denial until the movie and the seventh book came out.

But, I moved forward.

This book once again shows the strength between Harry, Hermione, and Ron's friendship. We see the young side of Voldemort and how he came to be the murder he is.

This book brings in a lot of the past with the present. I love how we see more of the behind the scenes of Voldemort and why he never dies. It's a terrifying thought really, to tear one's soul into pieces to stay alive...

One thing that made me really sad in this book is that Dumbledore's Army only consisted of Neville and Luna. Those two fit in so well with there, and they made good friends there. I felt for them as they struggled this year without the DA meetings.

Although, this book showed how much Harry and his gang are still in the dark about things. Dumbledore was only able to brush the surface of everything going on. It's a good thing Hermione was there to help them figure the majority of it out.

4.5 out of 5!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

End of Days: A Review (Penryn and the End of Days #3)

Description (Goodreads):

End of Days is the explosive conclusion to Susan Ee’s bestselling Penryn & the End of Days trilogy. After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?

My Review:

*There are spoilers here if you haven't read the previous books*

Oh my.

This was perhaps the best ending to a trilogy I have read in a VERY long time.

Plus, we get to see more of Raffe's past and it just made my heart hurt. Yet, it was also so happy and good. Man. Ee knows how to pull your heart strings.

We also have to ache as we see Penryn's little sister, Paige, go through all the horrible surgeries and deformities the angel's did to her. That poor little girl had to survive more than anyone else. She is by far the bravest, especially as she leads those nasty monster angel-scopions.

Overall, the angels are getting ready to start Armageddon. Things are on fire and people are wondering if they are going to live another day. The intensity of the situation kept me flipping pages like I was in the angel Apocalypse and finishing this book would save my life.

Penryn has rounded all the humans (the twins are my favorite, despite how crude they can be), and Raffe is still her angel confidant. And well, they finally have become a little more than just friends. Finally, Raffe realizes how in love with Penryn he is. Which was about freaking time.

In this last book Penryn and Raffe have proved themselves to be top favorite protagonists of mine.

Needless to say, I couldn't put this series down. I owned the first two books and didn't have the this book. So, of course, I immediately bought it. I needed it. And I am so happy I read this series. This is one that will stick with me forever.

5 out of 5!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

World After: A Review (Penryn & the End of Days #2)

Description (Goodreads):

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

My Review:

Another beautiful book by Susan Ee.

Man, I fell even more in love with this series! Which is awesome, because there was no second book slump!

This book starts right off where the first one ended. Raffe is gone, hunting for his wings, and Penryn is back with the military group she is sort of friends with and her mother.

One thing I hated (more of a personal thing, and something that went perfectly with the story) was that Raffe didn't come back until just after half the book was over. I love him, so it was hard to read the story without him. But, Penryn was able to figure out a few things for herself and develop as a character. So, it wasn't a real reason to hate, but I just really wanted them to finally admit they liked each other.

Let me just say, without spoiling what happens between them, the way Raffe and Penryn go about developing their feelings for each other and acting on them--it's my favorite. You can tell they care for each other, but they don't let their feelings for each other run the show. They have a goal in mind and they are there to make it, and working together is a perk.

I was just so happy that this wasn't an instalove but a well developed relationship.

These books are also action packed. Penryn does not mess around, especially as she wields that angel sword. Her mother is a crazy person and is perhaps even more scary than the angels.

And Paige. My heart hurts when I think of Paige, but man, this series is so good.

5 out of 5!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Angelfall: A Review (Penryn & the End of Days #1)

Description (Goodreads):

It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

My Review:

I fell in love with this book quite quickly.

Penryn is one of the coolest female protagonists I have ever read about. She knows her way around a fight and the post apocalyptic world. Which happened to have been caused by none other than ANGELS!

Angels! Already I loved the idea.

And then I started reading and fell in love with the story.

The story starts out with Penryn's younger sister (Paige) gets kidnapped by angels. Her younger sister can't walk and is literally taken out of her wheelchair by the angels. Tears were already running down my face. Not to mention that Penryn's mother is a crazy person. Like, legit crazy. So now Penryn had to figure out how to not only survive, but find her lost sister.

Oh, and get an angel, who had just been de-winged, to help her.

*Dreamy Eyes* Of Raffe. The fallen angel of whom I loved from the minute he came into play. Thankfully, there wasn't an insta-love (they didn't even really get together at all in this book, but it will must!). Anyways, Raffe is all masculinity and muscle. Yet, despite his hard exterior, there's something akin to a heart underneath. Despite his being "captured" by Penryn (because he was totally being held hostage *shaking head*), he helped her along the way.

Street gangs and angels and little factions of people staying together start to get in Penryn's and Raffe's way, until they find a camp that may or may not just help them more than they think.

Man... This was a really good book. I highly recommend it. I also appreciated how clean it was, especially since it was a post-apocalyptic book.

I give it a 5 out of 5!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Gifts of Imperfection: A Review

Descriptions (Goodreads):

Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we'd no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, What if I can't keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn't everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, PhD, a leading expert on shame, authenticity and belonging, shares what she's learned from a decade of research on the power of Wholehearted Living--a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.

In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough, and to go to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn't change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.
My Review:

I am not usually one to read self-help books, but this one was recommended to me and I rather liked it. This book teaches us how we need to let go of the person we think we are supposed to be, and become the person we are actually meant to be.

There are steps through out the book that teach how to let go of the small things and understand that through connection and letting go we can become happier. She talks about embracing ourselves as we are and to stop berating ourselves for being imperfect. Brown uses a lot of her own stories and experiences, which made me connect with her and want to read further.

Honestly, it was a really good book and Brown has great guideposts to how to live a happier life--they've certainly helped me look at things with a different perspective. I originally watched her Ted Talks and then found out she had written some books through a friend. I'm currently reading her book, Rising Strong, and I also rather enjoy it.

I give this a 5 out of 5.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Pieces: A Review (The Breakaway #2)

Description (Goodreads):

Two years after watching her kidnappers go to prison, Naomi Jensen is still in love with one of them. Jesse will be released in a few years, and Naomi knows college is the perfect distraction while she waits. But when her new friend Finn makes her question what is right and what is wrong, she begins to wonder if Jesse is the one for her...until she discovers he's out on parole. Naomi must sort through her confusion to figure out where love and freedom truly lie-in Finn, who has no connections to her past, or Jesse, who has just asked her to run away with him.

Pieces is a companion to The Breakaway and can be read independently, if desired.

My Review:

So, I did review the first book of this, The Breakaway, and I don't have much more to say about it than what I have already said.

Naomi is a FREAKING IDIOT. She is so incredibly weak-minded and frankly just dumb. Like, why would you ever move to Italy with a man who kidnapped you! Who obviously is still involved with sketchy stuffs. Insert eye roll here.

Jesse is also an idiot. He could have had a clean slate but he was impatient and stupid.

My friends can attest to my yelling out loud at these stupid characters. And yet, just like with the first one, I was so drawn in by their stupidity! That, and Michelle D. Argyle is a wonderful writer. Her ability to draw me in was great. Despite these characters being dumb...well, it's just who they are and why the situation happened in the first place.

So, even though I kind of hated Naomi and Jesse, I did like the secondary characters. They were pretty good.

The only redeeming quality about Naomi is that she smartens up at the end and does the right thing. About freaking time, right? Yeah, I thought so too.

I honestly did enjoy reading these books. It was a train wreck about a stupid, weak-minded girl, but it was a great read.

I give this a 3.5 out of 5!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Flamecaster: A Review (Shattered Realms #1)

Description (Goodreads):

A burning vengeance.

Adrian sul’Han, known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic—and a thirst for revenge. The son of the queen of the Fells, Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now Ash is closer than he’s ever been to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. As a healer, can Ash use his powers not to save a life but to take it?

A blood-based curse.

Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told the mysterious magemark on the back of her neck would make her a target. But when the King’s Guard launches a relentless search for a girl with a mark like hers, Jenna assumes that it has more to do with her role as a saboteur than any birth-based curse. Though Jenna doesn’t know why she’s being hunted, she knows that she can’t get caught.

Destiny’s fiery hand.

Eventually, Ash’s and Jenna’s paths will collide in Arden. Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the king, they will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine.

Set in the world of the acclaimed Seven Realms series a generation later, this is a thrilling story of dark magic, chilling threats, and two unforgettable characters walking a knife-sharp line between life and death.

My Review:

Can I just say, Cinda Williams Chima is a FANTASTIC author! This is a continuation of her Demon King Series--which, can I just say is another one of my top favorite series.

In this series, it is about Han's son, Ash. And I have to say, I rather like Ash. He is a good mix of his father and his mother. He is motivated and kind. Despite his dark background, he cares about other people and will do anything to save his family--anything, but hurting innocent people. (Which was a part of a great character development).

Jenna is pretty cool. I don't mind her, as far as female protagonists go. She can stand her ground and there is still something mysterious about her that we don't understand and I just need to know NOW! But, unfortunately, we don't find it out. She is smart and clever, which I appreciate.

Lila is freaking awesome. She has a secret side to her that I so did not see coming. She is the only reason things have been working out for Ash. She is the reason anything is working out really. Man, this girl is awesome.

And despite his not really being the good guy, I rather like Destin too. He's in a tough place, but I believe he has the ability to be a really good person. And if I don't say so myself, Destin and the three above would make a super awesome combat, special ops-like team. Maybe my dreams will come true.

The plot was a driving one, with twists and turns. It was of course  a great adventure like always. Seeing this world after Han and Raisa's version of this world is incredibly interesting. This is one of my favorite fantasy worlds and there's so much more to learn. It's going to be great.

The one thing I didn't like about this book, and really it was only this one thing. Was Ash and Jenna had this kind of weird insta-love. Gag me. They barely knew each other and suddenly they're in love. Yeah, no thanks. Other than that, it was great!

I give it a 4.5 out of 5.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: A Review (Harry Potter #5)

Description (Goodreads):
Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected...

Suspense, secrets and thrilling action from the pen of J.K. Rowling ensure an electrifying adventure that is impossible to put down.

My Review:

Once again, it was wonderful to visit the world of Harry Potter. As I re-listen to this series again, I learn more about the characters and the magical world of witches and wizards. I don't think I will ever grow old of Harry Potter and his many friends.

I really love this book because of how the Dumbledore's Army is started. It was such a wonderful way for the students to unite together...and not only that, but they were able to help students who weren't as advanced in Defense Against the Dark Arts become better.

It's just super unfortunate that Dumbledore's Army was started because of stupid Umbridge. I can't stand that women. She just needs to not be a witch anymore...

And, can I say I'm glad Harry got over Cho. The movies don't show how annoying she actually is. All she does is cry. Granted, yes, she lost the love of her life, but she should not have played with Harry's heart. Gah. I'm glad Harry saw how awesome Ginny is, and dropped the crying Cho.

This book was very powerful as we learn that Voldemort can get into Harry's head. The emotional trauma Harry goes through as he deals with the murder of his parents in his head, but... Harry sees this as an advantage and uses his connection with Voldemort despite everyone telling him to stop. Sure, it was dangerous and incredibly risky, but! I think I would have done the same thing if I was Harry.

Harry Potter is one of my favorite series ever. It is definitely worth reading, especially if you love magic... (And who doesn't love magic?)

I give this a 5 out of 5!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Me Before You: A Review

Goodreads (Descriptions):

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

My Review:

This book has taken my heart and shredded into a million and twenty pieces. I can't even. How do I even review this book?

You know, what got me to read this book was the previews for this movie. I read it before the movie came out earlier this year, and then all my roomies at college took it and read it just as quickly as I did. And basically, we all feel the same way. It has taken our hearts.

I'm stalling because I honestly don't know how to review this. From the previews, Lou Clark is NOT who I expected her to be. I was expecting someone who was completely care free and lived life on the edge.

Well, I was wrong. She has so much more depth than I thought. First of all, the characters are way older than I thought. Clark is 26 and Will is around 35. Clark has done basically nothing with her life, she's worked at one cafe for ages until she loses her job. Which of course, after trying a million of other jobs, she begins working for the Turner's.

And Will hates her. Haha! Oh gosh, I love the banter between him and Clark. It made my life and made me fall in love with them. They fit so perfectly together.

Seriously, I love their relationship. They are so obviously in love with each other. And it's a gradual falling. It takes them months to actually discover they like and then love each other. Oh my! And the lines in the previews are the exact lines from the book.

If you want a realistic love story, read this book. If you want your whole heart to be taken away by it, read it.

I give it a 5 out of 5!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Reckoning: A Review (Darkest Powers #3)

Goodreads (Description):

Chloe Saunders is fifteen and would love to be normal. Unfortunately, Chloe happens to be a genetically engineered necromancer who can raise the dead without even trying. She and her equally gifted (or should that be 'cursed'?) friends are now running for their lives from the evil corporation that created them.

As if that's not enough, Chloe is struggling with her feelings for Simon, a sweet-tempered sorcerer, and his brother Derek, a not so sweet-tempered werewolf. And she has a horrible feeling she's leaning towards the werewolf...

Definitely not normal.

My Review:

Ah!! This was the best book out of all of them! It was so dang good!

Everything is coming to the nitty gritty and betrayals happen, and people who Simon and Derek discover that some old family friends aren't exactly who they thought they were. So not only is there tension among Chloe and her friends, but once again they're trying to discover who they can and can't trust.

Tori kind of takes a turn around in this book and I hated her a little less.

Derek however, I fell even more in love with him. Ah! I love him. He's seriously just the best. Dark and broody, but extremely loyal and intelligent. Chloe and his adventures were my favorite part in this book.

Simon is freaking awesome. Although, I do think of him more as a side-kick. Like, if I were put into a book with him, he would be the cool side-kick, funny friend. Still, he's awesome.

Seriously, this series got better every book! Plus, it's ending was just so...perfect. Not unrealistic with all bows tied, but still really, really good.

I have to give this book a 5 out of 5!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Awakening: A Review (Darkest Powers #2)

Goodreads (Description):

My name is Chloe Saunders, and if you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl - someone normal.

Now my life has changed forever and I'm as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment - not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization called the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I'm a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control: I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever.

Now I'm running for my life with three of my supernatural friends - a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch - and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

My Review:

This book started right off from where the last one began, and it started with a tense situation--which caught my attention and I couldn't stop from the minute I started.

Chloe and her friends are the run for their lives. Secrets from the first book have been learned and now they are trying to figure out what exactly has been done to them with the genetic engineering and how they can escape the Edison Group. Vague, I know, but I don't want to give any spoilers (although, the description kind of does).

Still, I liked this book more than the first one. Granted, the first book was still good, but it was mainly setting the stage for this book. So much happens to Chloe and her friend and it's pretty face paced. Friends are made, love begins to bloom, and I am so very much in love with Derek...

Once again we get to see how despite Chloe's mistakes and the sucky situations she's put through, she does her best to help her friends, even though Derek is kind of a punk sometimes. I like how even when she hates someone, like Tori (who I also hate), she recognizes they're still on the same side and helps them.

And let me just add this. I like how Chloe isn't in love with her power. So often we see MCs who just accept their powers, but Chloe is actually terrified of her ability to raise the dead. She does what she can to control it, but she doesn't truly rely on her power, but on her wit and her friends. I just think that's awesome.

I give this a 4.5 out of 5!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Summoning: A Review (Darkest Powers #1)

Goodreads (Description):

My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.

All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost - and the ghost saw me.

Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House... before its skeletons come back to haunt me.

My Review:

Chloe Saunders was quite a fun character to follow around. Although she was set financially, and was not wanting there, she had a pretty hard life. She didn't exactly have loads of friends and then she started seeing ghosts.

Which led her to Lyle House and lots of other kids who supposedly had loads of problems too. At first things seem to be going as well as they could for Chloe, but then we begin to see that Lyle House isn't what we thought it was.

This was a fun YA filled with surprises around every corner and a fantastically sarcastic MC. Chloe doesn't take any crap from anyone and fights for what she wants. At times she is a bit clueless, but overall, I really liked her.

As for all the other characters, it was fun to see Chloe interact with them and learn about being a Necromancer. It was fun to discover this new world of supernatural powers.

I give this a 4 out of 5!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Shade of Blood: A Review (A Shade of Vampire #2)

Goodreads Description:

In A Shade Of Blood, Bella Forrest transports you deeper into a unique, enthralling and beautifully sensitive story. Prepare to be lost in its pages…

When Sofia Claremont was kidnapped to a sunless island, uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet, she believed she’d forever be a captive of its dark ruler, Derek Novak.

Now, after months of surviving an endless night, the morning sun may soon rise again for Sofia. Something has possessed Derek’s heart and he offers her a gift no human slave has ever been given in the history of his cursed island: escape.

High school, prom and a chance to move on with her life now await her.

But will she be able to forget the horrors that steal her sleep away at night? … and the feelings that haunt her for that tormented prince of darkness?

My Review:

So I reviewed the first book of this series, and well, I loved the first book, but couldn't really handle this one. I just...too many cliches and whatnot. Yes, that's how the first book was, but yeesh. 

I sort of already fell out of love with this series during this book. Plus, it didn't get interesting until the very end. It dragged a bit, and I don't like dragging plot lines. I like when things happen and when things are happening. 

Sofia is still pretty air headed and Derrick is finally loosening up, but I still don't like him very much. And I don't like anyone else in the series except for maybe Vivian.

I think I will give this a series a rest. Granted, I don't hate this story and have access to the next few books on audiobook. Maybe, just maybe, if I don't have another audiobook to listen to, I'll pick up the next book. Not anytime soon though.

I give this a 2 out of 5.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Stars Above: A Review (Lunar Chronicles #4.5)

Goodreads Description:

The enchantment continues....

The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?

With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.
Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….
The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.
The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.
After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.
The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The Princess
The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.
Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century...

My Review:

Stars Above is a wonderful collection of Lunar Chronicle stories. I fell in love with it the moment I started reading it. Marissa Meyer actually came to Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, AZ, so my family drove out to go see her and get our books signed (yes the picture shows Cinder and not Stars Above, because we wanted the book shown that made us fall in love with the series). Meyer is a wonderful person and you can just see her love for reading and writing glowing in her face. She actually told us the original Little Mermaid story, and man, she's a fantastic story teller! I definitely think story telling is an art, and she excels.

Me, Mom (aka Paij Slater here), Marissa Meyer

Anyways, this collection of stories was so much fun. It was great to see the lives of some minor characters that we didn't get to see very much. We also got to see what they were thinking, which answered some curious questions I've had throughout reading the series.

Most of the stories were about what happened before the series started, and the last story is an epilogue of the series. Oh, it was so much fun! I was given everything I have wanted since the beginning of the series. If you love this series, I highly suggest you read it. And definitely read it after you have the entire series, or there will be major spoilers.

Meyer is by far one of my favorite authors and she is just as wonderful in person. I am so glad I got to meet her and read this great series.

I give all these little stories a 5 out of 5!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Breakaway: A Review (The Breakaway #1)

Goodreads Description:

When Naomi Jensen is kidnapped, it takes her parents two days to realize she's missing. Escape isn't high on her list of priorities when all she has to return to is an abusive boyfriend and parents who never paid much attention to her. For the first time in her life she's part of a family-even if it is a family of criminals. But she's still a captive. In a desperate attempt to regain some control in her life, Naomi embarks on a dangerous plan to make one of her kidnappers think she's falling in love with him. The plan works too well, and when faced with the chance to escape, Naomi isn't sure she wants to take it

My Review:

As you can see, this is another book about a kidnapping, and it's a kidnapping that includes Stockholm Syndrome. Which in and of itself is pretty scary and incredibly mind tripping. I had actually first heard this series when my mom, sister, and cousin were listening to it on audiobook on a fun road trip we took years back (I was reading my own book, but my interest had been peaked). Only now, however, have I actually read it.

So, our main character is Naomi Jensen. She is perhaps the biggest idiot I've ever read about. I kept thinking she would be smarter, but no. She failed, just about every time. Still, I was enraptured about the dynamics of her relationship with her captors. That's what kept me reading.

Naomi doesn't know how to have a functional relationship. She had an abusive boy friend before, who I very much hated, and parents who didn't know how to be parents. Essentially, Naomi was never taught what love really was or how to find someone who actually loved her, and didn't use her for her body or for her parents' connections. Which, I think just made her so incredibly naive that when she got kidnapped, she didn't have the capability to think like a normal human being.

Because I would have tried to escape so many times.

She only tried once.

I won't give too much away, but needless to say, I obviously don't understand how Stockholm Syndrome works very much. I can't comprehend how you can come to love someone who is keeping you locked in a house, away from everything that you have known and loved. Which I believe is another reason why I kept reading. I just had to know how this was all going to work out.

One of her kidnappers, Jesse, is made out to be such a great guy, but how can you be a great guy when you could have saved a girl a year earlier, and only did so now because it benefited you? Just...crazy stuff that actually happens that I can't even imagine (and am incredibly grateful that it hasn't happened to me).

The ending was happy for me, but not so much for Naomi, which once again, weirded me out. There's a second book, of which I am excited for. Yes, Naomi is pretty stupid, but I can't stop reading the effects of her capture. It's such a train wreck, but it's fabulous and terrifying.

Argyle is a beautiful writer, and I enjoyed her writing style. It's another reason why I kept reading. She dives so well into Naomi's naive-ness and her strange way of thinking, that I'm completely drawn in. Sure, I can't connect with Naomi's airheaded-ness, but her story is interesting and Argyle keeps on surprising me.

I give this a 4 out of 5!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Clockwork Three: A Review (Standalone)

Goodreads (Description)

Three ordinary children are brought together by extraordinary events. . . .

Giuseppe is an orphaned street musician who sees no way to escape from his ruthless master, until the day he finds an enchanted violin.

Frederick is an apprentice clockmaker with a past he cannot remember, who secretly works to build the most magnificent clockwork man the world has ever seen.

Hannah is a maid in a grand hotel, whose life is one of endless drudgery, until she encounters a mystifying new guest and learns of a hidden treasure.

As mysterious circumstances bring them together, the lives of these three children soon interlock, and they realize that each one holds the key to the others’ puzzles. Together, the three discover they have phenomenal power when they team up as friends, and that they can overcome even the darkest of fears.

My Review:

This was a beautiful book about three kids who are trying to discover who they are.

Giuseppie is an Italian boy who was taken from his home and forced to play music on American streets to supply Stephano with money. His life has been horrible, and it got even worse after he discovered the green violin.

Frederick is a clock-maker determined to become a journeyman no matter what the cost, even if that means seeking help from the one who has taken him in.

Hannah is only trying to keep her dearest father alive and healthy. She works hard each and every day to put food in her family's bellies and afford healthcare for her father.

These three kids, through incredible circumstances are brought together to help each other in their quests. Nothing goes the way they want, and things always got worse before they started getting better. They nearly lose everything, only to discover that together they are stronger and can overcome anything that's thrown their way. I love the friendship that is created between the three. They lived in a time where young children were sent to work and could nearly be slave labor. And yet, by their example, someone very unlikely helps them.

This was a great book about kids learning how to fight for what they want. Each of the three had to learn hard lessons, and they made pretty bad mistakes, but they grew. They learned and moved on, climbing the ladder to success. If there were to be a book about these three in the future, I know they would be teaching their own children about the trials they faced and how to do the right thing, even when doing the wrong thing is easier.

I give this book a 4.5 out of 5!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: A Review (Harry Potter #8)

Description (Goodreads):
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

My Review:

I love Harry Potter.

I will say though, that it was so odd to see Harry as a father. It was so interesting to see the trio in their adult lives and the kind of parents and adults they are. Needless to say, I'm not surprised about what some of them are doing as professions.

One thing I wish I had was more of the world around. I feel that since this was a play, I missed out on so much else that was going on. Still, it was a wonderful book.

Can I say that Scorpius Malfoy was my favorite in this series. By far. He was so good and so kind and so unlike his father. I LOVED HIM. Albus kind of annoyed me at times. It was surprising to me that I liked a Malfoy more than a Potter. Haha. Albus was a good friend after he realized how selfish he was being. Scorpius was only good and kind to him and Albus was kind of a jerk a lot of the time.

But, Albus and Scorpius had the chance to grow so much in this short little story. I loved it.

There were many things that made me want to cry, but it was a beautiful story and I hope to one day see the actual play.

4.5 out of 5!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Shade of Vampire: A Review (A Shade of Vampire #1)

Goodreads (Description):

On the evening of Sofia Claremont's seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.

A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood.

She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine.
An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.

Sofia's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince.

Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.

Will she succeed? ...or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

My Review:

If you want a sappy, quick, vampire romance, this is the book series for you.

Oh my, it's so incredibly cheesy and full of cliches, and yet I still like it.

Sophia is a bit of a push over and kind of an airhead, but she is kind and compasionate. Granted, if I were in her situation, I would not have let Derick, prince of the vampires, in as quickly, but you know...cliche.

Derick's heart is centered in the right place, he just doesn’t act on it all the time, and only really when Sophia is around. Which, kinda makes me not like him a whole lot, but he does have his shining moments. And I like him way more than the other jerks in the book. Ben, gah. Who cares if he is Sophia's best friend, he's kind of a pig. And Derick's brother, yeah no. Let him burn in the sunlight please.

This story is interesting by how the vampires have survived over the years. There are witches on their side and hunters trying to destroy them. You know, the typical eternal enemy story. Yet, even though this is like nearly every other vampire story I've read, I'm still listening to it.

The narrators aren't my favorite, but they're pretty good.

I give this book a 3 out of 5.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

In The After Light: A Review (The Darkest Minds #3)

Goodreads (Description):

Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

My Review:
(Once again, if you haven't read the previous books, there will be spoilers)

I will say, this is definitely the darkest out of all three books.

It's all down to the nitty gritty now. Ruby now must confide in others beyond Liam to get what she wants. She must learn to really fight and really control and manipulate others with her mind. She must push herself to her limits, no matter how bad it gets. She must walk with purpose and determination, even if all her energy is gone.

She must discover how and why kids gained these special powers.

And she accomplishes this. Liam and his older brother Cole, help Ruby grow into the strong leader she needs to be as she sacrifices herself for the greater good. As she makes painful decisions that will help all others around her.

Ruby truly shows her bravery and love in this book. She shows her selflessness and sacrifice as she gives her everything for the freedom and bettering of kids lives.

Her relationship with Liam was rough in this book, but I love how they survived the worst together. I love how Liam stayed true to what he believed, even if it didn't necessarily go along with what Ruby did. So despite their arguments, they both did the right thing, in different ways.

Cole was interesting to meet. Needless to say, it was nice to see Liam's older brother and learn a bit about their family life.

I will say, this series had a beautiful, realistic ending.

Once again, there was loads of language.

I give this a 4 out of 5!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Never Fade: A Review (The Darkest Minds #2)

Goodreads (Description):

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?

My Review:

(If you haven't read the first book, there will be spoilers here)

Well, if you thought this series couldn't get any darker, you were wrong.

Here, Ruby had become the Leader in a special ops team within the Children's League. She has become a darker version of herself as she tries to fight for kids just like her. She is forced to once again face horrors no kid should have to face and learn how to hone her ability so that she doesn’t unintentionally mess with other's minds.

Yet, once again fate brings her back to Liam and the crew. Although Liam doesn't remember her, he has a vague familiarity with her that he just can't place. He also has the key to how all these mutations came about the kids.

As Liam, Ruby and the gang try to discover what caused their abilities, they are forced to battle with adults and find refuge over and over again as they try to discover what happened those fateful years ago.

I honestly like Ruby. I wouldn't say she's the strongest female lead I've read about, but she's up there. She lives in a crappy world where what's right and what's wrong can be very hard to distinguish, but I believe she does well.

Liam too. I love how headstrong he is about doing things in ways that lead to less death. He really is a great leader.

Once again, there's a lot of language in this book. Otherwise, it is clean.

I give this a 4 out of 5!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Darkest Minds: A Review (The Darkest Minds #1)

Goodreads (Description):

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.

My Review:

This was certainly an interesting book.

The concept of colors related to kids with special abilities, who were sent to containment camps. Yeah, this definitely isn't a light read. The trials Ruby had to endure were pretty horrific.

Ruby has concealed her identity by tricking everyone to believing she is a Green, which means she can do far less than what she actually can. When an opportunity for escape comes, she takes it. Yet, this freedom isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Ruby goes on an adventure with Liam, Zu, and Chubs. Liam is a strong leader and does his best to keep things as clean as possible, which I appreciate. Zu, bless her, is adorable and is the glue that keeps them all together. And Chubs, is the loyal incredibly intelligent friend.

These four join together to find help among other kids, seeking for ways to help their cause, even though it all seems hopeless sometimes.

Ruby had to make some very difficult choices, but in the end, I believe she did well, even if I didn't particularly liked what she did.

There is a bit of language in this book, but other than that it is clean.

I give this a 4 out of 5!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: A Review (Harry Potter #4)

Goodreads (Description):

The summer holidays are dragging on and Harry Potter can't wait for the start of the school year. It is his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and there are spells to be learnt and (unluckily) Potions and Divination lessons to be attended. But Harry can't know that the atmosphere is darkening around him, and his worst enemy is preparing a fate that it seems will be inescapable ...With characteristic wit, fast-paced humour and marvellous emotional depth, J.K. Rowling has proved herself yet again to be a master story-teller

My Review:

As always, Harry Potter was a fantastic story to revisit. Jim Dale is one of the best narrators I have ever listened to, which is another reason why I love listening to Harry Potter.

In this book, it was interesting to remember the intricacies of the Triwizard Tournament that we don't get to see in the movie. Bagman was completely left out, and the whole blackmailing the Weasly twins did to him. We also didn't see Barty Croutch as much in the book as we do in the movie. Still, I love to see what I have forgotten from the book.

We also got to see a bit more of Cedric Diggory in the book. I believe they portrayed him well in the movies, but he really was on Harry's side the whole time! Even in the third book when he beat Harry in the Quidditch match, he admitted that it was only by fault because Harry had fainted; and then in this book, he never ever got angry at Harry for being apart of the Tournament. Which, I thought was incredible, ESPECIALLY because nearly everyone else did. Cedric had the right to be angry and instead he remained Harry's friend. Cedric really was a great character. If he had lived, I’m quite sure that he would have joined Dumbledore's Army and Harry, Hermione, and Ron on their quest to defeat Volemort.

Another thing I loved about this book was how Hermione worked to get Rita Skeeter to stop writing such horrible things about everyone. Hermione really is clever and knows how to keep Harry and Ron in line.
Speaking of Harry and Ron. I never liked the fight they went through in this book, but I do believe it was a defining moment in their friendship when they finally made up. They both realized they had different roles to play and that didn't make one better or worse than the other. I love how Ron finally came to see that he wasn't really living in Harry's shadow, but rather being a part of something greater than both he and Harry.

I love this series. Honestly, nothing will ever make me change my mind. Growing up with this series has been wonderful.

I give this a 5 out of 5!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Heir To Edenbrooke: A Review (Edenbrooke #0.5)

Goodreads (Description):

Philip Wyndham has never envied his older brother for being the heir to Edenbrooke. He would much rather carve out his own destiny than live under the constraints of that position. But when his older brother dies unexpectedly, Philip's life is turned upside down as duty requires him to give up the life he planned. Philip takes on his new role as the most sought-after bachelor in London with alternating reluctance, boredom, and resentment. But all that changes the night fate leads him to an inn, where he meets the incomparable Marianne Daventry.

My Review:

Ahhh. This but a sweet novella of dearest Philip Wyndham, a character I fell in love with years ago and came to love all over again.

Heir to Edenbrooke is a nice novella in Philip’s point of view before and until just after he meets Marianne Daventry.

It is interesting to see how he takes his brother’s death and his sudden inheritance. It definitely wasn't considered a blessing to him, and now we finally know why.

This is a sweet addition to Edenbrooke that gives us the history of this beautiful place, which didn't always have such a beautiful past.

I give this a 5 out of 5!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Tournament at Gorlan: A Review (Ranger's Apprentice: The Early Years #1)

Goodreads (Description):

When Halt and Crowley discover that the ambitious Morgarath has been infiltrating the Rangers in order to corrupt the Corps, the young Rangers travel north to find Prince Duncan, seeking a royal warrant to stop Morgarath before it is too late. By weakening the Rangers, the most powerful force in support of the King, Morgarath plans to steal the throne.

Yet when Halt and Crowley arrive in Gorlan, they discover just how close Morgarath’s scheme is to success. Morgarath has a plan to discredit the Prince and alienate him from his father. At the same time, the Baron of Gorlan has been conspiring to win the trust and admiration of the Council of Barons to further his plan. If the young Rangers are to prevent the coup from succeeding, they will have to tread a dangerous path, which leads them to a thrilling climax at the annual tournament at Gorlan, where a series of bitter duels must be fought and won.

This origin story brings readers to a time before Will was an apprentice, and lays the groundwork for the epic battles that will culminate with The Ruins of Gorlan and The Burning Bridge—Books 1 and 2 of the Ranger’s Apprentice series.

My Review:

Can I just say how stupid excited I was when I saw this book laying on one of Barnes and Noble’s display tables?! Dang John Flanagan! Back at it again with the Rangers!!! I had to get it. And so I did. And read it immediately I did.

Ranger’s Apprentice has been a series I have held so very close to my heart for years now. I was also very sad to say goodbye to the series when the 12th book came out. Now, however, I have the early years and the adventures of Halt and Crowley to look forward to!! Just the fact that I don't really have to say goodbye to this world makes me so incredibly happy.

Oh, it was so great to see young Halt and Crowley band together the exiled Rangers together and plot against the evil Morgarath. Their humor and friendship among the Rangers warmed my heart and made them such real, tangible characters. Ah! The jokes they have even when times get hard, they know how to lift each other up and plan how to infiltrate a castle and kidnap someone. It's great.

It was also really cool to see Prince Duncan before his King days. We don't see him all that much in the original series, so it was cool to see how he started to become the great King he will be.

Plus, having read the original series and knowing the impact Morgarath had on the country, I'm very interested to see what happened during Halt’s golden days. We only saw a small part of Morgarath’s destruction in Will’s story, now we’ll finally see the giant underwater mountain of the glacier we've seen.

I give this book a 5 out of 5. Honestly, John Flanagan never lets me down!