Book Review Round-Up is a new feature where I talk about several of the books I’ve been reading lately.
Book #1: Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger
What It’s About: Class is back in session…
Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style–with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what–or who–they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all.
Gather your poison, steel tipped quill, and the rest of your school supplies and join Mademoiselle Geraldine’s proper young killing machines in the third rousing installment in the New York Times bestselling Finishing School Series by steampunk author, Gail Carriger.
What I Thought: This was such a fun book to read! I mean, her books are always fun to read, so this isn’t unusual or anything. I love seeing what Sophronia is up to, and I was quite surprised by how the book ended! I really didn’t see that coming! And I also want to see how that plays out in the next book! But I also want to see how things go with Sidheag and some of the events that happen in this one that we see much more of in the Parasol Protectorate series. It really makes me want to go back and listen to that series to refresh my memory! Anyway, I’m curious to see if Sophronia will end up with someone (and who it would be), and I really am looking forward to reading the rest of the series to see how things turn out. Especially with everything that keeps happening!
Rating: 4 stars. I really liked it but didn’t love it. While it’s a fun book that makes you wonder where things are headed, it also didn’t have the appeal that the other books did.
Book #2: Breaker by Emma Raveling
What It’s About: War. Prophecy. Freedom.
She fought for herself.
She fought for friendship and love.
Now, Kendra Irisavie fights for the survival of her world.
War rages on, leaving no one untouched. Destruction rips through elemental communities and terror flourishes in its wake. Suspicion soars, order fractures, and loyalties crumble despite Kendra’s desperate attempts to protect everyone she holds dear.
When an organized Aquidae army launches a series of merciless assaults, Kendra and her friends set out to end the bloodshed once and for all. With the fate of elementals hanging in balance, the Shadow and sondaleur hunt each other down in a brutal match of cunning and will.
Kendra has trained for this her entire life. But in a ravaged world where trust is scarce and no life is sacred, she soon realizes her battle may be against an invincible enemy and that her darkest days lie ahead.
Twists and turns shape her harrowing odyssey, leading to a stunning climax that challenges everything she believes in.
Torn between destiny and autonomy, Kendra must finally decide whether the cost of freedom is too high.
Heartbreaking decisions, turbulent alliances, and shattering revelations collide in Breaker, the explosive conclusion to the Ondine Quartet.
What I Thought: I just loved Breaker! You really couldn’t ask for a better ending to a great series! There was part of me that didn’t want to finish reading because didn’t want it to be over and yet I needed to know how it all ended. We do find out who the Shadow is, and I was surprised and yet not surprised by who it was. I mean, it really was perfect, but there was a small part of me that thought it would be someone closer to everything. I’m glad it wasn’t, because that would have been horrible, and yet that’s totally what I was expecting. There were a couple of character deaths that had me completely shocked, and one, I had to go back and re-read a few chapters because I couldn’t believe I missed it…only to not see even the slightest of hints. Maybe I need to re-read it again to see if I can find it…
Anyway, it really was a heart-breaking but hopeful end to the series, and I really want things to work out for Kendra, with being called to the ocean and then coming back with no memories…I hope they come back! Because I really want her to remember things.
Rating: 5 stars for being an awesome book that really tied everything together.
Book #3: Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown
What It’s About: Kendra has always felt overshadowed by her older brother, Grayson, whose OCD forces him to live a life of carefully coordinated routines. The only way Kendra can stand out next to Grayson is to be perfect, and she has perfection down to an art — until a cheating scandal threatens her flawless reputation.
Behind the wheel of her car, with Grayson asleep beside her, Kendra decides to drive away from it all — with enough distance, maybe she’ll be able to figure everything out. But eventually, Kendra must stop running and come to terms with herself, her brother, and her past.
With undeniable grace and humor, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown explores OCD, the pressure for perfection, and the emotional highs and lows of a complex sibling relationship.
What I Thought: I liked Perfect Escape! Not as much as I loved Hate List (because, really, I love that book so much, and it’s really hard to not compare every other Jennifer Brown book to that one, which is sort of unfair), but I still really related to both Kendra and Grayson. I could definitely relate to Kendra, and how she felt like she needed to be the perfect child, especially with everything going on with Grayson. You did get how people treated her because of it, and that was completely horrible of them. Seriously, it made me so angry. Anyway, it was really easy to understand why Kendra acted the way she did, and I think it’s something we can all relate to in some way. Still, I didn’t completely love Kendra, and felt like she didn’t really get what Grayson was going through, and saw him more as a problem than an actual person going through something. And I felt like she really didn’t seem to learn from her mistakes.
I also really understood Grayson, and how he felt. I’ve struggled with depression for a long time, and I can totally relate to wanting to be normal, even though there really isn’t a normal. I also really felt for him, because it definitely seemed like his parents weren’t quite sure what to do and that they seemed to walk around on eggshells because of the fact that he has OCD.
And the ending! It just sort of…ended. I really wanted more resolution with what happened when they got back home.
Rating: 3 stars. I liked, and I could relate to both Grayson and Kendra, but I also found myself annoyed with both Kendra and how the book ended.