Book Review: Ash And Quill by Rachel Caine

Book: Ash And Quill by Rachel Caine

Published July 2017 by Berkley|368 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: The Great Library #3

Genre: YA Steampunk/Alternate History

 Words can kill.

Hoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealously guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny…

Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule.

Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies—and to save the very soul of the Great Library…

I really liked Ash And Quill!  This has been a really cool series to read, and it really is amazing what the Library will do to keep their power.  For some reason, I’m reminded of the Catholic Church and how huge it is- the Great Library feels like the library version of the Catholic church.  I’m not sure if anyone gets the same vibe, but I really felt it in this book, more than the previous two books.

America really does have it’s own thing going on, and I really am curious about why there seems to be more dissent in America.  Maybe because it’s further away, or it’s just what we do over here, but after this book, I’d really like to see more of what’s going on over in America, and if they’d be of any help to Jess and his friends.  I doubt we will, but who knows what is in store for Jess and everyone else after the way the book ended?

I can honestly say that I really think Jess needs to keep an eye on his dad.  I don’t trust his dad at all, and I half expected him to turn on his son.  There is something awfully shady about him, and if he doesn’t make it, I’ll be happy.  I really like the letters we see throughout the book, and it really shows what the library will do to keep certain things hidden and away from the general population.  They’ll do anything to keep printing presses suppressed, and it was interesting to see how people reacted to the idea that they could print books themselves instead of going through the Library for books.

Things are getting a lot worse, and this is the darkest book we see yet.  I think it’s a result of everything that’s happened in the series so far, and considering they’re prisoners in America, it’s also not surprising.  I’ll admit that I am intrigued by what Morgan can do, but she seems to have this…vibe about her.  Everyone wants to control her, and I still don’t completely understand why.  I mean, it seems like there’s not a lot of people who can do what she can do, but I’m not completely convinced of her special snowflake-ness.  Also, I don’t love her and Jess together, and it feels like they have zero trust and chemistry.  At least Wolf and Santi are an amazing couple, and they really do see this group of kids as their own.  Like it or not, they are a family, and they really are bound together.

It just goes to show that we can choose our family, at least to some degree, and that family isn’t always people we’re related to by blood.

I just want to know what happens next.  What is Jess really up to with that plan of his, and how on earth does he think it’s going to work?  It’s going to be a long wait for the next book.

4 stars.  I really do think this is the best book.  At least so far.  I don’t find Jess and Morgan believable as a couple, but no one can compare to the awesomeness that is Santi and Wolfe.  There’s a lot of twists and turns, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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Top Ten Tuesday: My 10 Favorite Books From 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers share their own bookish top ten lists based on the topic of the week.  You can check out Top Ten Tuesdays here.

The 10 Best Books I Read This Year

I haven’t done a lot of reading this year, but I’ve done quite a bit of re-reading too.  It definitely feels like I don’t have any many books to choose from, but here are my favorite books I’ve read this year.

  1. The March Series by John Lewis.  These graphic novels are absolutely amazing, and if you haven’t read them, you really need to!  They show, so very well, what it was like to be part of the civil rights movements and how hard they worked to get equal rights.
  2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.  I loved this book, and Starr is amazing.  The hype is absolutely worth it, and you won’t regret reading this book.
  3. Now I Rise by Kiersten White.  I’m a huge fan of hers, but Now I Rise is an amazing sequel.  This is a great take on Vlad the Impaler, and Lada is a really interesting character.  I’m pretty sure And I Darken made my Top 10 books of the year last year, but this series is definitely getting better.
  4. When We Collided by Emery Lord.  This book was absolutely beautiful, and all I could do when I finished it was sit and hug the book for a few minutes.  The way I felt about When We Collided…it’s been a long time since I’ve felt that way about a book, and it was good to know I could still feel that way about a book I read.
  5. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.  I really liked this graphic novel, because of how the three stories tied together.  It’s definitely worth checking out, and I can’t imagine this book being told in any other format.
  6. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones.  I loved this re-telling and it’s so beautiful and dreamlike.  It really reminded me of The Night Circus, and it’s a must-read in my book.
  7. Tell Me Something True by Katherine Owen.  I have loved this entire series, but Tell Me Something True really adds to both Tally and Linc’s story.  Was I sobbing by the end?  Of course I was, but it was worth to see how their story ended.
  8. You Bring The Distant Near by Mitali Perkins.  I really liked seeing 3 generations of women adjust to living in America.  These women were connected by being family, and I liked seeing how much things had changed for them.
  9. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.  It took me forever to actually read this book, but I finally did it!  I liked it a lot more than I thought I would, but at the same time, the book scared me as well because I could picture everything a little too well.
  10. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.  If you haven’t read this book, you really need to!  It is a hard read, but while I was reading it, I felt like I was actually on the Underground Railroad with Cora.  You see how uncertain it is, how hard it is, and most certainly how dangerous it is.  I think it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a while.

What I’ve Been Reading: Part Three

So, I’ve been doing a series of posts talking about some of the books I read that I never got around to talking about.  We are starting to get to some books that I’ve read a little more recently than some of the other books, so I have more to say about them…but also not quite enough to do a full review.  If that makes sense.

  • Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields.  I wanted to like this one a lot more than I did.  It’s a cool concept, an assassin who can kill people by kissing them, but it didn’t work for me.  And that’s a little disappointing, because I really wanted it to work well.    I loved how Marinda looked out for her brother, and how much she cared for him.  It was really nice to see, but that was the only thing that I really, absolutely loved.  The story didn’t make a lot of sense, but things are magically explained at the end.  The thing that made the LEAST amount of sense was how another girl had to seduce the boys that Marinda kissed.  What’s the point of death by kissing if you’re not the one seducing them enough to get close to them?  And how do these boys even go from the one to Marinda without questioning it?  I do not understand this at all.  What, Marinda can’t seduce them or something?  Or this other girl can’t kill them?  This makes zero sense to me.  My rating is 2 stars for things that didn’t make a lot of sense and the lack of world building.
  • The Secret History Of Us by Jessi Kirby.  I used to LOVE her books, but the more Jessi Kirby books I read, the more I dislike them.  I don’t know if it’s because my interests have changed or I’m harder to please because I read a lot of YA contemporaries, but I didn’t like this one as much as I thought I would.  The pace was pretty slow, and I wanted more of Olivia dealing with her amnesia.  She does try to piece things together, but I wanted more frustration or something from Olivia.  I also wanted more with Walker, but instead, he barely made an appearance.  I wanted more of a reveal, and I felt like something bigger was going to happen.  But nothing bigger happened, even though the book made it seem like something mysterious was going on.  The Secret History Of Us gets 2 stars.  It was okay, but I wanted more than what we got.
  • American War by Omar El Akkad.  I really liked this book at the beginning, and it was really interesting.  But then it lost steam, and I lost interest by the end of the book.  Like The Handmaid’s Tale, the future we see in American War is one I can picture easily.  You do get a good look at what a modern war would look like, and it’s interesting that climate change is what triggers the issues between north and south.  I would have it expected it to be over something else, women’s reproductive rights, LGBT rights or something involving religion.  I know it’s terrible to make an assumption like that, but I do like that climate change is what triggers because it is different than what you might expect.   I felt like a lot of things weren’t really explained or addressed, and it felt like something was missing regarding the use of fossil fuels.  I don’t know if maybe Sarat’s perspective really limits what we know, since she was 6 when war broke out, but a little more broad of a picture would have been nice.  American War gets 3 stars.

Book Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman And Meagan Spooner

Book: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman And Meagan Spooner

Published December 2013 by Disney Hyperion|384 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Starbound #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth. 

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

I feel like I’ve seen this cover a lot, and I randomly decided to read this book one day.  Because of the cover, which is really cool.  Also, I finished Hunted by Meagan Spooner recently, and I really liked it, so I wanted to check out some of her other books.  This seemed like a good choice, and it really was!

I liked it, and the planet they land on is really creepy and deserted.  I thought Lilac and Tarver were an interesting pairing, and while she was lucky to have crashed on a random planet with Tarver, he probably wished he was with someone else.  At least for a while, but Lilac does prove herself.  I found Lilac to be much more interesting than Tarver, and there were times where I wanted more of Lilac and less of Tarver.  He was a lot more bland than I would have liked.

Something I thought was interesting was how everything was wrapped up pretty well.  I mean, this is the first book in a trilogy, so it’s not the last we’ve heard of this world.  But it makes me wonder what’s going to happen in the next two books.  Part of me feels like their story is over, which makes me especially curious as to how their story will play out in the next book.  I was not expecting their story to be so resolved at the end of the book, I really wasn’t.  Maybe Tarver will be less bland in the books to come.

The planet they crash on is super-weird, and the fact that it was essentially abandoned was also weird.  I wanted to know more about why people were sent there, and what their life was like on that planet before things went bad.  Why would Lilac’s dad be involved with setting up on life on this planet?  So he could have more power and control? That seems likely, considering Lilac’s monologue at the end of the book, but I’m still curious about what’s really going on with him.  I have the feeling he’s up to something, and that something is not good.

4 stars.  I really liked These Broken Stars, and I think it’s a good read-alike for Across The Universe by Beth Revis.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Fictional Places I Want To Go To

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers share their own bookish top ten lists based on the topic of the week.  You can check out Top Ten Tuesdays here.

Top Ten Fictional Places I Would Go To In A Heartbeat

One of my favorite things about reading is all of the traveling I get to do without actually having to go anywhere.  Some places, though, have really stuck with me, and I would give anything to go to the following places.

  1. Hogwarts/The Wizarding World.  This is my top choice, and I’m still convinced my Hogwarts letter got lost in the mail.  I’d love to go to Hogwarts and learn magic.
  2. Narnia.  When I was little, I always thought my closet would lead to Narnia, but sadly, it never did.  Maybe I need to check again…
  3. Middle Earth.  Weird stuff with Sauron aside, I’d definitely like to visit Middle Earth.
  4. Stars Hollow.  I know Gilmore Girls is a t.v. show, but it is still one of my favorite fictional places, and I always wished I lived in a world where Luke, Miss Patty and Kirk are real people.
  5. Night Vale.  Ever since I started listening to Welcome To Night Vale, I’ve fallen in love with that weird desert town.  There are Night Vale books as well, and it really makes me want to live there, even though I’d have to watch out for the Dog Park, the hooded figures, and Street Cleaning day.
  6. The Night Circus.  This book is magical, and I’d love to actually see the Night Circus.
  7. Morganville.  I know weird things always happen here, and there are vampires but still.  I always wanted to know what it was like to at least visit Morganville.  Then again, people always seem to end up staying…
  8. The Invisible Library.  This series is a cool one, but I like the idea of a library that takes you to all of these alternate worlds.
  9. The world of Wintersong.  This book is one of my favorites of the year, and I absolutely loved the world.  Parts of it are a little scary, sure, but overall, I love the world enough to want to go back to it.
  10. The world of Hunted by Megan Spooner.  I finished this book recently, and while this is a cold, dark world, there is still part of me that wants to live there.

Book Review: Vanish And Hidden by Sophie Jordan

Book: Vanish by Sophie Jordan

Published September 2011 by HarperTeen|294 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Firelight #2

Genre: YA Paranormal/Dragons

 

An impossible romance.
Bitter rivalries.
Deadly choices.

To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.

Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?I read the first book in this series years ago, in the early days of the blog.  I somehow never got around to picking up the rest of the series, but one day, when I was at the library, I saw this book and decided to pick it up and read it. After re-reading the first one (Firelight) because I had the feeling I would be really confused otherwise.

I really liked this book, and thought it was a good continuation of the first book.  It did feel like a second book, at least a little, but for the most part, it didn’t, which is good.  It does set up for the next book, of course, but there’s a lot going on and we see a lot of Jacinda and Tamra.

I was not expecting everything that happened with Tamra, and it was an interesting development.  It really caught me off-guard, because if there’s anyone I thought would never be tied to the draki world, it would be Tamra.  There’s quite a role reversal for Tamra and Jacinda, and Jacinda’s actions definitely have consequences in this book.

Jacinda was more frustrating in this book, because she was really indecisive.  She goes back and forth a lot, and I just wanted her to make a decision.  In Firelight, all she wanted was to go back to the draki world, but once she came back, all she wanted was to be with Will.  Hopefully, she’ll figure out what she wants in the next book.

I wasn’t a big fan of the romance.  I liked Will in the first book, but I didn’t really like him in this book.  And I kind of liked Cassian in the first book, but I’m wavering between neutral and dislike in this book.  I’m not sure why, since it’s obvious he cares for Jacinda and would do anything to protect her and keep her safe.  For whatever reason, I feel neutral towards him.

I did like the book, though, and I do want to know how everything turns out for Jacinda and Tamra.  And Will and Cassian, of course.  Oh, and Jacinda’s mom.  Basically, I want to know what’s going to happen to everyone.  I really do.4 stars.  I really liked Vanish, and I thought it was a pretty good sequel.

 

Book: Hidden by Sophie Jordan

Published September 2012 by HarperTEEN|260 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Firelight #3

Genre: YA Paranormal/DragonsJacinda was supposed to bond with Cassian, the “prince” of their pride. But she resisted long before she fell in love with Will—a human and, worse, a hunter. When she ran away with Will, it ended in disaster, with Cassian’s sister, Miram, captured. Weighed down by guilt, Jacinda knows she must rescue her to set things right. Yet to do so she will have to venture deep into the heart of enemy territory.

The only way Jacinda can reach Miram is by posing as a prisoner herself, though once she assumes that disguise, things quickly spiral out of her control. As she learns more about her captors, she realizes that even if Will and Cassian can carry out their part of the plan, there’s no guarantee they’ll all make it out alive. But what Jacinda never could have foreseen is that escaping would be only the beginning….

Loyalties are tested and sacrifices made in the explosive conclusion to Sophie Jordan’s Firelight trilogy.I’ve really liked this series, and this book really took me by surprise.  There were quite a few things I was not expecting.  At all.  Like escaping the enkros and all that came with it, and what they were really up to.  Most of all, how little they really understand, and hopefully, should they keep capturing dragons, they don’t learn that much.  It’s the same with the hunters.  Particularly where Will’s family is concerned, I hope they don’t find out the truth, because I am not fond of them.

There were so many other things that I did not expect- betrayal from the pride, what really happened to Jacinda’s father, and the death of one character really surprised me.  I think I expected everything to go okay, and while they did, to a point, there were some twists and turns along the way.  Which, looking back, wasn’t surprising, but still.  I did not expect certain revelations to come out.

It is pretty fast-paced, but considering it’s under 300 pages, the fast-pace isn’t surprising.  I did want more with what happened to Cassian and Jacinda, particularly with what happens at the end the end of the book but I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen since the book came out over 5 years ago.  I also wanted to see more of Tamra, but that never really happened either.  Basically, I just wanted something a little longer, because it did feel like something was missing.

3 stars.  I liked it, and it was a pretty good ending to the series, but I think I wanted something a little longer.  There were some things that came up that weren’t really talked about a lot, and I wanted to know more about those things.

What I’ve Been Reading: Part Two

In an effort to talk about a lot of the books I’ve read, I’ve decided that it was a good idea for me to do some sort of post where I briefly talk about some of what I’ve been reading.  All links to Goodreads if you want to check out the book!

  • Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert.  I honestly don’t know if her books are for me, because  this book was okay, and I wasn’t a big fan of Pointe when I read that.  Suzette was a frustrating character, and she seemed really self-absorbed. She cared more about herself than her brother and what he was going through.  I get that she needed to have her own life, and considering everything that her brother had going on, it makes sense she’d try to have her own life and do her own thing.  But…it just bothered me that she didn’t really seem to care about anyone but herself and what she wanted.  There’s a lot going on in this book, and it was a little unclear what direction Colbert wanted to take.  Everything felt messy and unresolved, and while it’s really cool that the story is about a Jewish black bi girl, it felt like there was too much going on for anything to really have an impact.  It was very surface level (at least for me), and nothing got the attention it really deserved.  Little & Lion gets 2 stars.
  • The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi.  I really liked this one!  If you liked Jumanji, you will definitely like this book.  Picture Jumanji, but with a steampunk, Middle Eastern twist to it, and you have The Gauntlet.  It’s definitely fun and cool and it’s perfect for all ages, not just middle grade readers.  I loved seeing the relationship Farah had with her friends and her brother, and how willing she was to go get her brother out of this game.  It’s fast-paced and you really feel like you’re playing the game with Farah and her friends.  The Gauntlet gets 4 stars.
  • The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz.  This is another book I really liked.  I really liked Sal and the relationship he had with his dad and his grandma.  This book really is about family and belonging and how we all fit together.  In particular, Sal has his friend Sam, and they are better off as friends than as a couple.  I’m definitely glad that there was no (romantic) relationship between Sam and Sal, because it wouldn’t have fit with everything going on.  And the more we see them, the more you realize they are stronger as friends.  I didn’t understand Sal’s anger issues.  It seemed a little out of place, and it didn’t seem like Sal.  Sal, Sam, and Sal’s other friend were remarkably similar in that their mothers died, and their biological fathers weren’t around.  Sal’s adoptive father was great, though, and Sal (and his friends) were really lucky to have him in their lives.  It does make me want to read Aristotle And Dante Discover The Universe but I’m nervous to read it because I know everyone really likes it, and what if I don’t like it as much as this book?  I did really like it, and I’d rate The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life gets 4 stars.
  • By Your Side by Kasie West.  This book was really cute!  I wish I liked it more, because it seems like the type of book I’d absolutely love.  I did like the trapped in the library aspect of the book, and I was slightly disappointed that the entire book wasn’t set in the library, because that would have been awesome.  But at the same time, I liked seeing how her weekend in the library changed her.  My big question is, how did the library staff not double check the bathrooms before closing?  I mean, maybe they closed the bathrooms early- I know my local library closes the bathroom 10 minutes before closing, but still, why not double check.  I know it would ruin the whole book, but it is a little strange to me.  I liked seeing Autumn and Dax’s relationship after their library lock-in, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about Autumn’s anxiety.  She seemed pretty calm throughout the whole thing.  I don’t doubt that’s a real thing for her, and anxiety is one of those things that seems to be different for everyone.  Or maybe what we saw is different than what she was really experiencing?  At any rate, I did really like By Your Side, and it gets 4 stars. 
  • Bird Box by Josh Malerman.  This book was a weird one, but like most of the other books I’ve talked about, I really liked it.  I heard about it on the Book Riot podcast, and it was creepy as hell.  There were a couple of moments that were truly terrifying.  I am curious about what it is that drives people to violence, and how it even came to be.  On the one hand, growing up in the world could be a good thing, because it’s the only world you’ve ever known, and you’re better able to handle it because you don’t know what it was like before.  But on the other hand, you’ll never know what the world was like before it happened.  I can’t imagine having to go outside blindfolded.  At least with the zombie apocalypse, you can see.  Not with this one.  I ended up getting the audio book (which I haven’t listened to yet), because in a world narrated by someone who’s blindfolded, and trying to get to a safe community, you wonder what the book would be liked if you listened to it.  I’m assuming you’d really be immersed in the world, and one of these days, I’ll have to listen it.  I really don’t want to give it away, so it’s probably good this review is really short.  Bird Box gets 4 stars.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Should Try To Read This Winter

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers share their own bookish top ten lists based on the topic of the week.  You can check out Top Ten Tuesdays here.

Top Ten Books I Will Attempt To Read This Winter

It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday!  I really can’t remember the last time I’ve done one, and knowing me, it’s probably been months, since I haven’t really done a lot of blogging.  But I’m in a blogging mood, and I really do miss doing TTT, so here we go…books I do want to read this winter.

  1. Imprudence by Gail Carriger.  I’ve had this book for ages, but I still haven’t read.  I could use something fun right now, and her books definitely fit the bill.
  2. Dawn Study by Maria V Snyder.  Considering how much I’ve loved this series, I’m really surprised I haven’t listened to the final book in the series.  I’ll have to start listening to it soon.
  3. Bird Box by Josh Malerman.  Even though I’ve already read this book, I really want to listen to the audio book this winter to see how it compares to physically reading it.
  4. The Lumberjanes.  I’ve wanted to read it for a while, but I think I’m ready to actually pick it up and read it.
  5. Tower Of Dawn by Sarah J Maas.  Why haven’t I read it yet?  I really need to start reading it so I know what happens.
  6. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon.  I’ve wanted to listen to this book for a while, because it seems like a really cute book.  I need something light and cute, and this book would work.
  7. Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza.  I feel liked I’ve been talking about wanting to read this book for a while but, of course, I haven’t gotten around to it until now.  But soon, I hope.
  8. Juliet Takes A Breath by Gaby Rivera.  I really liked Gabi, A Girl In Pieces, so I think I’ll really like this one too.
  9. Sorcerer To The Crown by Zen Cho.  I did start this one, but a few pages in, I realized that I’d do better with the audio book.  Which I still haven’t listened to, otherwise it would not be on this list.
  10. Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel.  I started this one ages ago, but like Sorcerer To The Crown, the print book was not working for me at all.  I do plan on listening to it, though, because I think I’ll actually finish it if I listen to it.

What I’ve Been Reading: Part One

I’ve been reading quite a bit over the last few months, but I haven’t been in a mood to review anything.  But all of a sudden, I want to at least share some of what I’ve been reading.  I’m a bit fuzzy on some of the books, since it’s been a while for some of them, but I’ll do what I can.

  • I’ve read The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah.  I checked out this book from the library, and having read some of her other books, I knew I had to read this one.  I really liked it, and she has such unique characters.  Even though the book is set in Australia, the characters and beliefs are ones I can see happening here in America.  I liked seeing how much Michael changed, and I can see, very clearly, how he didn’t really think about what his parents thought and why they thought that way.  He really does make an effort to change how he thinks and to come up with his own beliefs.  I also liked seeing Mina’s experience, and how not everyone is like their parents.  My rating for this book is 4 stars.

Let’s see…I did read Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler.  This book seemed right up my alley when I bought it years ago, but when I finally read it over the summer, I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.  I wasn’t a big fan of Anna’s best friend Frankie.  She seemed really self-absorbed and not willing to hear Anna out.  I get why she was upset, and that she was dealing with the loss of her brother, but that’s no reason to act the way she did.  Anna seemed to be there for her, which is good, but at the same time, it seemed like her parents were absent, and weren’t really around to help their daughter grieve.  I’d rate this book 3 stars.

  • I also read Control by Lydia Kang.  This one has a really cool idea- it sort of reminded me of X-Men, at least a little.  That’s pretty much all I remember.  That, and I was vaguely interested in reading the sequel.  I remember it being a futuristic world, with a lot of interesting technology.  It’s too bad I have forgotten it, but I’m pretty sure I liked it, so this book gets 3 stars.

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova.  I really liked The Historian when I read it years and years ago, and I didn’t know that the author had a relatively new book out.  I didn’t like The Shadow Land as much as The Historian, and I found myself skimming the more historical half of the book.  It didn’t really hold my interest the way her other book did, but it is written in a very similar style, which I liked.  I’d give this book 3 stars.

  • I finally read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood!  I feel like I need to do a post talking about the book and the movie, but for now, I’ll talk about the book briefly.  It’s scary how relevant this book still is, and how much of it still rings true.  I listened to the audio book, and I really liked it.  Claire Danes did a great job narrating The Handmaid’s Tale.  The only thing I didn’t like about it were the flashbacks.  They didn’t translate well to audio, and it wasn’t clear at first if we were in past or present.  I also could have done without the symposium epilogue part of the book.  It really took away from the horrors of what happened in the book, and while the idea of trying to piece together sources and the accuracy of said sources is interesting.  But I don’t think it really fit with the rest of the book.  The Handmaid’s Tale gets 4 stars.

Book Review: Hunted by Megan Spooner

Book: Hunted by Megan Spooner

Published May 2017 by HarperTeen|374 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy/Fairy Tale Re-Telling

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them. 

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. 

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

I really liked Hunted!  I really do like reading re-tellings, especially when fairy tales are involved.  Hunted is a re-telling of Beauty And The Beast, and I could definitely see the connections to the Disney movie that we all know and love.  But a little darker, and with some Russian folklore thrown in.  I really liked the addition of the Firebird, and it actually fit really well with the story.  I also thought that having Beauty be blindfolded was interesting as well.  I’m not sure why, but it made the story more interesting.

I also liked seeing the interludes that are narrated by Beast.  Interludes are the best way to describe them because they’re not really chapters.  But I really liked it because you get a lot of insight into who Beast is, and what he’s thinking.  You also get an idea of what happened, though not completely.

There’s something about this book that is cold and icy.  Which really fits the Russian feel of the book.  The snow and cold, and it’s rural and medieval Russia, and it just fits with everything going on.  It definitely feels more Russian than European, which was actually really nice, because it’s different than most re-tellings.  If you want a Russian twist on Beauty And The Beast, this is the book to read.  Actually, if you like Beauty And The Beast, this is a book I would recommend.

There is something about this book that is very haunting and restless, and Yeva definitely has a sense of wanderlust.  She definitely seemed happier when she was able to go between the cabin, her sister’s home, and the castle.  She and Beast seemed to fit well together, because they both seem restless and yearn for something more than what they have.  There’s definitely an…understanding…between them, and I actually really like that they aren’t in a rush to get married.  It would have been easier to have them get married in the end, but they don’t, and that was really refreshing to see.  Especially given it’s rural, medieval Russia.  I may be making assumptions here, but it seems like it would be the thing to do for that period and time period.

4 stars.  I didn’t completely love it, but I did really like it.  If you like fairy tales, Beauty And The Beast, and medieval Russia, this is the book for you!