Book Review: Inferno by Julie Kagawa

Book: Inferno by Julie Kagawa

Published April 2018 by Harlequin Teen|397 pages

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

Series: Talon #5

Genre: YA Paranormal

TODAY, WE STRIKE BACK.

WE SHOW TALON THAT WE WILL NEVER ACCEPT THEIR NEW WORLD.

Ember Hill has learned a shocking truth about herself: she is the blood of the Elder Wyrm, the ancient dragon who leads Talon and who is on the verge of world domination. With the Order of St. George destroyed, Ember, Riley and Garret journey to the Amazon jungle in search of one who might hold the key to take down the Elder Wyrm and Talon—if they can survive the encounter.

Meanwhile, Ember’s brother, Dante, will travel to China with a message for the last Eastern dragons: join Talon or die. With the stakes rising and the Elder Wyrm declaring war, time is running out for the rogues and any dragon not allied with Talon. 

The final battle approaches. And if Talon is victorious, the world will burn.

I really liked Inferno!  Not as much I thought, of course, but it was a pretty good end to the series.

It’s fast-paced and action-packed and we’re kept on our toes from the beginning, until the very end.  I liked seeing how things turn out, and there are some interesting choices and revelations.  I don’t want to spoil anything since Inferno came out pretty recently.  Some things may be predictable, but I’m not one who usually tries to figure things out, so I was quite surprised by some of the things that happened in the book.

I liked Ember a lot in this book, and she’s changed a lot since we see her in Talon.  I actually re-read the series so I’d actually remember everything that happened up to this point, and I’m glad I did.  It was nice going into this book having been reminded of everything up to this point.  Ember is pretty amazing, and she was so determined to do the right thing, no matter what.  I think only Ember could get the allies she needed to take down Talon, and while I wish we saw more of the Eastern dragons, I get why they didn’t want to get involved.  Except for Jade, of course.

I did like that everything turned out okay.  I’ve come to love a lot of the characters, and I finished the book feeling hopeful that things will change for the dragons at Talon, and that St. George will continue to be there should Talon need a counterbalance.  I love that about her series finales- they always end with the hope that the characters will go on to be okay, no matter what happened before.

I suppose she does have a certain story she’s going for, and her Talon series has been no exception.  It is pretty predictable as far as last books go (particularly in her case) but that didn’t stop me from really enjoying the book.

I especially loved the author’s note at the end of the book.  She talks about her love of dragons, and how long the story has been with her.  And I love the modern take on dragons as owners of huge corporations.  It works, and I love that she does put a modern spin on dragons and knights, and how they changed with the times.

The other thing I loved about the author’s note was the part where she talked about othering and how we see people who are different from us, and that part really stuck with me.  You can really see it in the book as well, and now that I think about it, it is there throughout the series.  It’s in the interactions between Talon and the Rogues, St George and the dragons, and Talon and the Eastern dragons.  I did see the story in a completely different way after reading it, and I’m glad that so many characters did try to challenge their beliefs and see things in a different way.

4 stars.  So, I didn’t love it, but overall, it’s a pretty good ending to the story.

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Book Review: The Afterlife Of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Book: The Afterlife Of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Published October 2017 by HarperTeen|389 pages

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

Series: None

Genre: YA Paranormal/Re-Telling

On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.

She didn’t.

And then she died.

Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge–as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.

Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable.

But this year, everything is about to change…

I’ve been a fan of Cynthia Hand since her Unearthly series, so when I saw this book at the library, I knew I had to pick it up!  I wasn’t sure what to expect, since I loved her Unearthly series but didn’t care for My Lady Jane.  It’s not at all like Unearthly, but the writing did remind me of My Lady Jane.

I really liked Afterlife, and it’s a really interesting take on A Christmas Carol.  I like that they try to do some good, and actually help people.  It’s light and silly and Holly is not a likable person, in life or death, but I do think she learned from her time at the Project Scrooge.  At least, that’s what I’d like to think.  She seems to try at the end of the book, and it really did seem like she wanted to make an effort to be a better person.

It is interesting that Ethan is what gets Holly to start seeing things differently.  Even years after her death, she was still the spoiled brat we saw int the beginning of the book.  Why Ethan changed things, I don’t know.  It is explained, but…I don’t know.  It’s just interesting that someone her age is what got her to change.  It seems like she was more changed by making this work than he was.

It is a quick read, and it’s fun.  It’s entertaining, and while it’s not this meaningful look at changing yourself, it did get the point across.

I also liked how each group had a team, and everyone worked together to make it happen.  It’s definitely a lot of work, and while you think it’s about Ethan, it’s really about Holly.  I don’t know about anyone else, but that did surprise me a little.  I wasn’t too fond of Ethan, and while I wanted to like some of the other characters we see in the book, we unfortunately didn’t see them enough.  At least, not long enough to have a strong opinion of them.

I remember liking some of the other characters we saw in her Unearthly series, but with Afterlife, we didn’t have enough time to get to know the other characters.  We probably saw Stephanie the most (after Holly and Ethan), but even with her, I had a hard time really caring.  Again, I know it’s about Holly, and Ethan (a little bit) but still.  I wanted a little bit more to some of the other characters.

3 stars.  I liked The Afterlife Of Holly Chase, and it is a cool take on A Christmas Carol, but I wish we saw more of some of the other characters.

Book Review: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence and Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

Book: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

Published October 2012 by Delacorte Books For Young Readers|397 pages

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

Series: Mystic City #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

For fans of  Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner comes a tale of a magical city divided, a political rebellion ignited, and a love that was meant to last forever. Book One of the Mystic City Novels.

Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City’s two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents’ sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud – and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths.

But Aria doesn’t remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can’t conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place.

Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection – and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city – including herself.

It’s taken me a while to actually review this book, so I’m a little bit fuzzy on what actually happened, and what I thought about the book.  The last months have been…rough…to say this least, but I’ll at least try to review the book.

So, it’s compared to quite a few things.  I didn’t really get why it was compared to The Hunger Games, and I don’t completely get why it was compared to Matched either.  X-Men is a pretty good comparison, though it’s not the best comparison.  And I’ve never seen Blade Runner (nor do I know what it’s about) so I don’t know how that holds up.

The world was…different, I supposed.  It makes me wonder what happened to the rest of the world, but you could probably say that about any other sci-fi/dystopia/post-apocalyptic book out there.  I wish we got a little more of the world than what we got, but this is the first book in a series, so there is probably more about this world in the books to come.

*I feel like I say that about a lot of series, and it almost never goes the way I want it to, information wise, so who knows if that is actually the case in this book.

It does seem very convenient that Aria and Thomas are getting married just when their families need to get along and unite against a rival politician who will ruin everything.  (I’m being slightly sarcastic here, but things do seem very convenient).  It’s also convenient that she loses her memories and that they don’t come back.  I can’t remember if they ever come back. which obviously isn’t helpful, and I know I wasn’t into the book enough to re-read it.  Or continue onto the next book.  Maybe I’ve just read too many dystopias and post-apocalyptic novels to be completely in love with the book.

Maybe I would have liked it a lot more had I read it when it came out.  As is stands, it sounds like a cool idea, but I thought it was okay.  Keeping in mind I have only a vague memory of this book, of course.  Maybe if you haven’t read a lot of YA dystopias, you’d like it.

My Rating: 2 stars.  While I did like the premise of the novel, it wasn’t enough to warrant more interest in the book or continuing the series.

Book: Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

Published April 2014 by HarperTeen|352 pages

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

Series: Charlotte Westing Chronicles #1

Genre: YA Paranormal

The blockbuster film Inception meets Lisa McMann’s Wake trilogy in this dark paranormal thriller from #1 New York Timesbestselling author Aprilynne Pike. This supernatural young adult novel is perfect for fans of Kelley Armstrong, Alyson Noël, Richelle Mead, and Kimberly Derting.

Charlotte Westing has a gift. She is an Oracle and has the ability to tell the future. But it doesn’t do her much good. Instead of using their miraculous power, modern day Oracles are told to fight their visions––to refrain from interfering. And Charlotte knows the price of breaking the rules. She sees it every day in her wheelchair-bound mother and the absence of her father. But when a premonition of a classmate’s death is too strong for her to ignore, Charlotte is forced to make an impossible decision: continue following the rules or risk everything—even her sanity—to stop the serial killer who is stalking her town.

I’ve really liked Aprilynne Pike’s books, so I knew I had to read this one.  It’s not my favorite of hers, but it was still interesting and different.  I’m curious about their visions, and Charlotte really was determined to put a stop to the serial killer in her town, even if it meant going against everything her aunt taught her to do.

I feel like a lot of what happens in the book could have been avoided had her aunt just been honest with her.  Then again, if she had been honest, this would have been a very different book.

The concept of Oracles is pretty cool, and I did like that there were consequences to changing things.  It could have easily been very different, but there is something very refreshing about there being actually consequences to changing things.

Charlotte puts her trust in some very questionable people, and why she didn’t go to her aunt is beyond me.  We do see the consequences of that, of course, but still.  If only her aunt actually talked to Charlotte, or if Charlotte went to her aunt for help, things would have been very different.  We can do the what if game all we want, and things went how they went, but I couldn’t help but think how they could have gone differently.

This book is strange too, because it had an open-ending.  I mean, things were pretty resolved, and it did seem like a stand-alone, and yet, there is a sequel…

…that I don’t think I’ll read.  I love her books, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t really have an interest in picking up a sequel.  I feel like I probably wouldn’t like it, and this isn’t my favorite book by her.  There was a lot that didn’t make sense, and I don’t know that reading the sequel would help or add to the world.  Part of me is hoping I’m wrong, but there’s no way of knowing for sure.  Not only that, but I didn’t really like this book enough to even want to pick up any other books in the series.

My Rating: 2 stars.  This was an odd one, and it was just okay.  Certain things were frustrating and confusing, and while I wanted to like it more, I couldn’t.

Book Review: The Hollow by Jessica Verday and Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Book: The Hollow by Jessica Verday

Published September 2011 by Simon Pulse|509 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: The Hollow #1

Genre: YA Paranormal/Re-telling

When Abbey’s best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead…rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen’s funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey’s life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he’s the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again…but also special. 

Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen’s betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her—one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.

I didn’t like The Hollow as much as I thought I would.

I mean, it is a re-telling of Sleepy Hollow, so that part is cool. And I like that Abbey knows what she wants to do- make and sell perfume for a living.  It’s really different, and it is odd to see a character who will probably take some college classes, but doesn’t have a plan to go to college.  College isn’t for everyone, and yet, she still knows what she wants to do, and has things planned out.

There is a little bit of a mystery, but I was bored by it.  It’s the typical best friend goes missing and turns up dead mystery, and of course, the missing best friend is basically Abbey’s only friend.  I know this book came out years ago, but what is with that sort of story?  It’s frustrating to read, and I’m not sure why.

I just wasn’t invested in Abbey’s story, to the point where I don’t think I’ll keep going with the series.  While there are some things I’m wondering, like everything with Caspian and the secrets Kristen was keeping, I have no burning desire to move forward with this series.

It seems like Abbey, especially at the end of the book, needs a lot of help, and I did like that she recognized she needed help.  But again, I just wasn’t invested in her story, and while I want to feel some sort of sympathy for her, I found I didn’t.

My Rating: 2 stars.  There were some things that I liked, but The Hollow ended up being okay.

Book: Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Published April 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers|360 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: Aristotle & Dante #1

Genre: YA Contemporary

Dante can swim. Ari can’t. Dante is articulate and self-assured. Ari has a hard time with words and suffers from self-doubt. Dante gets lost in poetry and art. Ari gets lost in thoughts of his older brother who is in prison. Dante is fair skinned. Ari’s features are much darker. It seems that a boy like Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life, would be the last person to break down the walls that Ari has built around himself.

But against all odds, when Ari and Dante meet, they develop a special bond that will teach them the most important truths of their lives, and help define the people they want to be. But there are big hurdles in their way, and only by believing in each other―and the power of their friendship―can Ari and Dante emerge stronger on the other side.

I know everyone LOVES this book, but unfortunately, I didn’t.  I liked The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life a lot better than this one.

It felt like I was reading snapshots of their lives, as opposed to a story about them.  I mean, there is a story there, and we see them hang out and become friends and discover things about themselves.  But I really felt like I was reading a lot of smaller stories that formed one big story.  It felt like there were a lot of scenes that were missing, and the pacing and timeline felt off.  It’s hard to believe this book took place over the course of the year, because it felt a lot shorter.  Again, I don’t think we saw everything that happened over the course of that year.

I did like the strength of their friendship.  That stood out, and there is strength in friendship.  I also liked the focus on family, and if there’s something Saenz does well it’s having parents be involved while also showing how much characters can grow and do things on their own.  He does fully-formed friendships really well too, but what really stands out is how much their parents are around and involved in their lives.  They’re actually there, and have really important roles, which is nice to see in YA.  It’s not very common to have parents actually around and involved.  Especially when the parents are still together.  I’m glad their parents were around, alive and still together.

I can see why people love the characters and story so much, but unfortunately, I’m not one of them.  As much as I want to believe that I just didn’t read this book at the right time, that just wasn’t the case.  I found myself bored and eventually, there were times where I skimmed the book because I just wanted to get through it.  It seemed a little slow, and while not a lot happens, I just wasn’t feeling it.

There was a moment where I wanted one of the characters to come to the realization that his parents did.  Unfortunately, we never see him come to terms with it in his way, or even talk about it on his terms.  Instead, he’s told by his parents, and I thought that took away from it, because we never see him actually think about.  I felt like he’s being coaxed into it, and that didn’t work for me.  However, I do understand that people may feel differently, and that maybe he did feel that way, but just didn’t want to admit it.

My Rating: 2 stars.  I didn’t actively dislike it, and while a few things things were done really well, it wasn’t enough to change the rating either way.  It wasn’t for me, obviously, but if it sounds like it’s up your alley, I’d say go for it.

Book Review: Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins And Rapture By Lauren Kate, Narrated By Justine Eyre

Book: Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins

Published April 2016 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Book For Young Readers|264 pages

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

Series: Rebel Belle #3

Genre: YA Paranormal

Just as Harper Price starts coming to terms with her role as David Stark’s battle-ready Paladin, protector, and girlfriend—her world goes crazy all over again.

Overwhelmed by his Oracle powers, David flees Pine Grove and starts turning teenage girls into Paladins—and these young ladies seem to think that Harper is the enemy David needs protecting from.  Ordinarily, Harper would be able to fight off any Paladin who comes her way, but her powers have been dwindling since David left town…which means her life is on the line yet again.

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins brings the fun once again in the finale of this pitch-perfect romantic paranormal comedy series.

I didn’t like Lady Renegades as much as I thought.  I did like it, but it’s been so long since I first started this series that I had some trouble remembering what had happened, and how we got here.  I did re-read the first book a few months ago, and never got around to re-reading the second one, so I was a little bit confused about what was going on.

Thankfully, we do get just enough that I was able to figure out, but it didn’t stop me from wishing that I had re-read the series before reading this one.

I did feel for Harper, who had a lot to figure out.  She had some tough decisions to make, and I can’t imagine being put into the position that she would need to make those decisions.  She did it, though, and yet…things still worked out, though not in a way I expected.  Part of me wishes that we had a little more at the end, to see how things really worked out, but at the same time, I think knowing would have taken away from it a little bit.  Harper did change a lot, and from what I remember from the first book…let’s just say that Book 1 Harper would not have done the things that Book 3 Harper did.

My Rating: 3 stars.  I liked it, and I liked seeing the changes in Harper.  I don’t have much else to say about this book, but it wasn’t as action-packed as I thought, considering it’s both the final book in a trilogy and a book about Paladins.

Book: Rapture by Lauren Kate, Narrated by Justine Eyre

Published June 2012 by Listening Library|Length: 11 hours, 40 minutes

Where I Got It: I borrowed the audio book from the library

Series: Fallen #4

Genre: YA Paranormal

The sky is dark with wings…

Like sand through an hourglass, time is running out for Luce and Daniel. To stop Lucifer from erasing the past, they must find the place where the angels fell to earth.

Dark forces are after them, and Daniel doesn’t know if he can do this — live only to lose Luce again and again. Yet together they face an epic battle that will end with lifeless bodies…and angel dust. Great sacrifices are made. Hearts are destroyed.

And suddenly Luce knows what must happen. For she was meant to be with someone other than Daniel. The curse they’ve borne has always and only been about her — and the love she cast aside. The choice she makes now is the only one that truly matters.

In the fight for Luce, who will win?

Rapture is the astonishing conclusion to the Fallen series. Heaven can’t wait any longer.

Goodness, this book was a struggle to get through.  It took me weeks, because I’d listen to 15 or 20 minutes at a time, and then stop because I was bored out of my mind.  This was not a good book to do on audio.

For one thing, there was no action.  Everything moved at a snail’s pace, which is not what I want in a series finale.  It was boring, and absolutely nothing happened.  I feel like a lot of the series finales I’ve read recently have been really boring.

Everything’s coming to a conclusion, and even though the book took place over the course about 9 days, it felt like so much longer.  Everything was in excruciating detail, a lot of which was unnecessary.  Unfortunately, I had no option to speed it up or skim, because I went with the audio and had no option to adjust the speed.  I suppose that is what I get for going with a physical copy of the audio book.

While this wasn’t the choice content wise, the narrator was actually great.  I’ve listened to a few books narrated by Eyre before, and she’s a pretty good narrator.  I think that was one of the few things about this book that I actually liked.

I did like Dee, who I thought was a really cool and interesting character.  It’s too bad we also had her around for a little bit.

Other than Eyre’s narration and Dee, there’s not much I actually liked about Rapture.  I already talked about how slow the book is, but Luce is an idiot, and Daniel is a terrible angel.  I’d say person, normally, but that doesn’t really fit.  He seems like such an ass, and I don’t get Luce’s interest in him.  He’s too moody and angsty, and it was just annoying.  I had no interest in their relationship…and to be honest Cam (or maybe even Lucifer, if you want to take in some of what happens at the end) would be a better choice for Luce.  Or least, a choice that’s not annoying.

Luce, more often than not, does seem like she’s too stupid to live.  That’s not a phrase I use often (if at all), but it somehow seems appropriate.  There was a point with Dee that I thought was going to turn out very differently, and I was yelling at Luce to not go outside without an explanation.  It didn’t go the way I thought, but there were so many secrets that were being kept from her that I was really irritated.  With a lot of characters.

Not really Cam, because he did try to warn Luce, but no, that girl was blind in her determination to do whatever Daniel and everyone else wanted.  She didn’t question anything at all, and I really wanted her to be less passive.  She was a little proactive, I suppose, but not really.

You’d think, this being the 4th book and all, she would have changed at least a little.  But she’s still the same clueless Luce we saw in Fallen.  After everything she’s seen and remembered, I would have expected at least some sort of change from Luce.  But alas, nothing.

One interesting thing is that, in comparison to a lot of other books out there that are about angels, this one is somehow more…religious.  It’s not preachy or anything like that, but the mythology or theology (or whatever you want to call it) is very different than what I usually associate with angels.  It’s more biblical, I suppose, though it’s been ages and ages since I’ve gone to church.  So I could be wrong, but that’s what I was reminded of for most of this series.  I liked it enough, I suppose, though not enough to have wanted to see more of it.

My Rating: 2 stars.  It was hard to listen to because it was moved very slow, and it was pretty boring.  I definitely lost interest by the end, and the last couple of hours of it ended up being background noise.

Book Review: Torment by Lauren Kate And Passion By Lauren Kate

Book: Torment by Lauren Kate

Published: September 2010 by Delacorte Press|392 pages

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

Series: Fallen #2

Genre: YA Paranormal

Hell on earth.

That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel.

It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts—immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something—something dangerous.

What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?

The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series . . . where love never dies.

For some reason, I decided to pick this book up even though it’s been ages since I’ve read the first book.

I did like seeing Luce at Shoreline, and seeing her fit into a world she didn’t know about.  There’s more to it than I thought, and I really liked seeing everything with the Shadows.  We learn a lot more about everything going on with Daniel, and what happened so long ago.

I did leave the book with more questions than answers, and I want to know more about Luce and why she can do what she can do.  I am absolutely convinced there is more to it, and I’m hoping we’ll get some answers.  I have the feeling the answers will be replaced with a million more questions, since there are a couple more books to go in the series.  But still, I would like some answers.  Especially with the Outcasts.  And the battle at the end of book.  It wasn’t completely explained and I’m hoping there are answers in the next book.

I didn’t particularly like Daniel.  He’s supposed to be the good guy, and the whole reason Luce is in this situation is because of Daniel.  And yet, it seems like she is an object for him to have.  Cam seems to care more about her safety than Daniel, and he seems much more willing to actually talk to her and explain things to her.

Daniel is really moody, and while I don’t expect him to be a saint, I expected something different from him.  It really seems like he loves the idea of Luce, and their epic history, but he’s shown no interest in wanting to get to know her.  Maybe he’s trying to protect himself after decades of finding her, only to lose.  It doesn’t make his behavior okay, because it’s not.  But I don’t get the sense that he really, truly cares about her and I’m having a hard time rooting for them.  It really feels like there’s no chemistry between Daniel and Luce.

Speaking of Luce, she was pretty whiny, but I don’t really blame her.  I think I would be too.  At least there were a few students who made things better for her while she was at Shoreline.  Hopefully she’ll continue to have some sort of group who makes things bearable.  I think it may be good for her, but we’ll see.

My Rating: 3 stars.  I liked it the same as Fallen (the first book) but I still want to keep reading.  I’m hoping Daniel will be different, but we’ll see.

Book: Passion by Lauren Kate

Published June 2011 by Delacorte Press|420 pages

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

Series: Fallen #3

Genre: YA Paranormal/Angels

‘Every single lifetime, I’ll choose you. Just as you have chosen me. Forever.’

Luce would die for Daniel. And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce and Daniel have found each other, only to be painfully torn apart: Luce dead, Daniel left broken and alone. But perhaps it doesn’t need to be that way…Luce is certain that something – or someone – in a past life can help her in her present one. So she begins the most important journey of this lifetime…going back eternities to witness firsthand her romances with Daniel…and finally unlock the key to making their love last.

Cam and the legions of angels and Outcasts are desperate to catch Luce, but none are as frantic as Daniel. He chases Luce through their shared pasts, terrified of what might happen if she rewrites history. Because their romance for the ages could go up in flames…forever.

I liked Passion, and it is very different than the previous two books in the series.  In this book, we see Daniel and Luce, over centuries and how they’ve found each other, time and time again.  I did like seeing how they found each other, and I certainly liked seeing how Luce reacted to her past.  However, Daniel’s chapters were really confusing, and, for me, didn’t add a whole lot to the book.  If they were a little more like Luce’s chapters, I don’t think I would have minded as much, and they did get less confusing as the book went on.  But for the most part, they didn’t work for me.

It was really slow, and there were times where I was pretty bored reading it.  Especially with the switch in narrators, and I’ve already talked about how Daniel’s chapters didn’t work for me.  It just made the book seem more confusing and also…we’re perfectly fine in Luce’s world, and then things change suddenly, and it made the book seem like a big, huge mess.  It made the book feel like Kate wasn’t sure what direction to go in with this book.

We do discover the reason for the time travel, but I feel like it took us a while to get there.  I get why Luce had to time travel, but it could have been a lot more interesting.  Maybe we just didn’t get enough time in each time period.

Unfortunately, Daniel didn’t get any better in this book, and while I didn’t like him before…I think I liked him even less in this book.  The tortured soul thing is bored and tired and downright irritating.  Luce, while entirely too trusting (cough *Bill* cough), was at least doing something.  Daniel, on the other hand, spent a lot of time moping around.

Oh, speaking of Bill…I liked him for a bit, but I wasn’t surprised by his story line.  At all.  Well, parts of it, anyway.  I thought other parts were…sorta lame.

Nothing was really explained, and and things seem to come of nowhere.  Like, we learned a little more about the relationship between Daniel and Cam, that too wasn’t explained well.  And it came out of nowhere.  I feel like that happened a lot in this.  Things come out of nowhere and aren’t really explained.

My Rating: 3 stars.  I’m wavering between 2 and 3 stars for this one, but I decided to go with 3 for this one.  I did like seeing Luce time travel and I did like seeing her reaction to her past selves.  Even though a lot of things didn’t make sense, for some reason, I did still like this book, though it’s my least favorite book in the series so far.

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.

ARC Book Review: Legion by Julie Kagawa

Book: Legion by Julie Kagawa

Expected Publication is April 25, 2017|Expected Number Of Pages: 384 pages

Where I Got It: I received an advanced copy of Legion from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: Talon #4

Genre: YA Paranormal/Dragons

From the limitless imagination of Julie Kagawa comes the next thrilling novel of The Talon Saga. 

The legions will be unleashed, and no human, rogue dragon or former dragonslayer can stand against the coming horde. 

Dragon hatchling Ember Hill was never prepared to find love at all—dragons do not suffer human emotions—let alone with a human, and a former dragonslayer at that. With ex-soldier of St. George Garret dying at her feet after sacrificing his freedom and his life to expose the deepest of betrayals, Ember knows only that nothing she was taught by dragon organization Talon is true. About humans, about rogue dragons, about herself and what she’s capable of doing and feeling. 

In the face of great loss, Ember vows to stand with rogue dragon Riley against St. George and her own twin brother, Dante—the heir apparent to all of Talon, and the boy who will soon unleash the greatest threat and terror dragonkind has ever known. Talon is poised to take over the world, and the abominations they have created will soon take to the skies, darkening the world with the promise of blood and death to those who will not yield.

It’s weird how much I’ve come to like this series, considering I wasn’t a big fan of the first book.

There’s so much I want to say, but I’m going to be vague for now, since I don’t want to spoil anything.  It is a must read, though.

I think I’ll start with St. George.  They’ve changed a lot as an organization (in my opinion), and I wish we had chapters narrated by someone in St. George.  It didn’t really have a place in this novel, unfortunately, but with how the last book ended, it would have been really interesting to see their perspective.

And Talon!  I can’t say I’m surprised, because I’m not, but at least it’s finally said why they want Ember back so much.  I kind of wondered it myself in the previous books, so at least they finally say it outright.  I wonder if that will change in the next book at all.

I also want more with both Mist and with Jade and the Eastern Dragons.  Will we see the Eastern dragons in the next book?  And are there other groups of dragons out there?  I doubt it, because I feel like they would have seen them in this book, but still.

I have no idea how our band of Rogues (and their allies) will go up against Talon, but I hope that they’ll win.  I have the feeling that not everyone will make it out alive, and there are a few characters I really love…and I hope it’s not one of them.  It would be really heartbreaking, and we’ve had enough of that in this book.

4 stars.  This series keeps getting better, and this is my favorite one so far, I think.  It’s going to be a long wait for the next book.

Book Review: The Flame Never Dies And Behold The Dreamers

the-flame-never-dies-coverBook #1: The Flame Never Dies By Rachel Vincent

Published August 2016 by Random House Children’s Books|241 pages

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

Series: Well Of Souls #2

Genre: YA Dystopia/Paranormal/Post-Apocalyptic

What It’s About: For fans of Cassandra Clare and Richelle Mead comes the unputdownable sequel to The Stars Never Rise, a book Rachel Caine, author of the bestselling Morganville Vampires series, called “haunting, unsettling, and eerily beautiful.”

ONE SPARK WILL RISE. Nina Kane was born to be an exorcist. And since uncovering the horrifying truth—that the war against demons is far from over—seventeen-year-old Nina and her pregnant younger sister, Mellie, have been on the run, incinerating the remains of the demon horde as they go.

In the badlands, Nina, Mellie, and Finn, the fugitive and rogue exorcist who saved her life, find allies in a group of freedom fighters. They also face a new threat: Pandemonia, a city full of demons. But this fresh new hell is the least of Nina’s worries. The well of souls ran dry more than a century ago, drained by the demons secretly living among humans, and without a donor soul, Mellie’s child will die within hours of its birth.

Nina isn’t about to let that happen . . . even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.

What I Thought: I liked it, but not as much as I thought I would.  I think a lot of it is that things were resolved pretty well in the first book, and it did work well as a stand-alone.  I don’t regret reading it, because The Flame Never Dies answers some questions and resolves some loose threads that came up in The Stars Never Rise.  But at the same time, it worked so well as a stand-alone that while I liked it, I’m also sort of meh about it.  What I think surprised me with this book is that, like the first book, things are resolved, with some loose threads and unanswered questions. From what I can tell, there will be only two books, so at least the overall story is resolved.  But things are open enough that there really could be another book in the series to answer those questions.

I was kept on the edge of my seat, though, and there were several times where you’re reading it, knowing that something is about to happen, and you’re just waiting for it to actually happen.  There weren’t a lot of surprises, but there were a few, and she does have a way of making you WANT to keep going.  There is part of me that wants more, but at the same time, I feel like, with this series, Vincent knew her stopping point and where things were headed.  It is nice knowing that the idea won’t get old because it’s being spread out over all of these books, and it easily could have gone that way.  But it didn’t, and I really appreciate that.

My Rating: 3 stars.  It’s enjoyable and fun, but I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the first book.

behold-the-dreamer-coverBook #2: Behold The Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Published August 2016 by Random House|380 pages

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

Series: None

Genre: Adult Fiction/Adult Literary Fiction

What It’s About: Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.

However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades.

When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

What I Thought: I ended up really liking it! Behold The Dreamers was a really good look at what it’s like to be in immigrant in the U.S. Things like the Great Recession and the collapse of Lehman Brothers really does have an effect on EVERYONE, and that was something I never thought about before. They came here for a better life, and they ended up not being able to stay, for a lot of different reasons- the biggest reason being their lawyer. Their lawyer didn’t seem all that great, or interested in truly helping them. I can easily picture families or people like the Jongas hiring a lawyer who seems more interested in the money they’re getting than actually helping their clients.

I felt for them, and how hard they both worked to have a better life for them and their children, only to have it change so much. They do end up going back to Cameroon, and it seems like they’re set financially over there, but they tried so hard to stay here. I felt like Behold The Dreamers showcased how desperate people are to come here and stay here, and how they will do anything to have a life here.

I definitely thought Jende and Neni were a lot more sympathetic than Jende’s employers.  I get they were affected by it to, but it was hard to sympathize with a family who seemed to be more interested in maintaining their lifestyle than actually trying to work on themselves.  They do seem to have their issues, but they were far more unlikable. The Edwards family were much meant to contrast the Jonga family, and you see how different things are for the privileged and those who come here, hopeful and wanting a better life.  Perhaps that is what Mbue was going for, and I did feel for all of the characters, even when it was hard to care about them and like them.

My Rating: 4 stars.  I really liked seeing Jende and Neni come to the U.S., full of hope and optimism, only to have their dreams dashed.  It’s such a great read, and I really recommend it!

Book Review Round-Up: When Reason Breaks, Compulsion and Split Second

Book Review Round-Up is when I talk about several books in one post.  Today’s books are When Reason Breaks By Cindy Rodriguez, Compulsion by Martina Boone and Split Second by Kasie West.

when-reason-breaks-coverBook #1: When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez, narrated by Cassandra Morris

Published February 2015 by Audible for Bloomsbury|Length: 7 hours, 16 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

What It’s About: 13 Reasons Why meets the poetry of Emily Dickinson in this gripping debut novel perfect for fans of Sara Zarr or Jennifer Brown.

A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.

In an emotionally taut novel with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls grappling with demons beyond their control.

What I Thought: I’ve wanted to read When Reason Breaks ever since I heard about it. I thought the dual narration worked really well, even in the audio book. It was hard at first, telling the two girls apart, but as the book went on, it got easier because Elizabeth and Emily are very different girls. I’m also glad that Elizabeth went by Elizabeth, because two Emily’s in the audio book would have been a little bit hard to keep up with. Especially with the connection to Emily Dickinson we see throughout the book.

Emily and Elizabeth are very different girls, but both of them are struggling with depression. With Emily and Elizabeth, we see very different portrayals of it, and I liked seeing how two very different people deal with depression in very different ways. They very much represent different manifestations of depression- outwardly for Elizabeth, and inward for Emily.

I will say that I was frustrated with how Mrs. Diaz dealt with the anonymous letters she got from one of her students. I get why she would assume the letters were from Elizabeth- Elizabeth is not only Goth, but has a lot of other issues that she’s dealing with at home. I’m not at all saying that if you’re Goth, you’re depressed and suicidal, and this book clearly shows that you can be depressed and suicidal and still appear like everything is fine, even if it’s not. But it frustrated me, because she’s focusing all of her attention on the student she thinks needs helps- it’s like she doesn’t consider that it could be someone else, and that was frustrating to listen to, because depression isn’t always obvious. At least she realizes that a student needs help, and that she was able to save the student in time. We don’t really see any attempts at recovery, but this book isn’t about that. It’s about the struggle of dealing with something and not knowing what to do or how to handle it.

Cassandra Morris was an excellent narrator, and even though I’m actively seeking out other books she’s narrated, if I saw she narrated a book that I was considering listening to, I’d definitely consider it as an audio book. I do wish she had done something slightly different for the two girls, but overall, she did a pretty good job. I could have sworn I’ve listened to a book by her, because she sounded really familiar, but I haven’t. Maybe she sounds similar to another narrator Ive listened to.

My Rating: 4 stars. Mostly because the assumptions that Mrs. Diaz made in regard to who was sending her letters was really frustrating (as understandable as it was), and it was a little hard to get over. It is a very good look at depression and the different forms it can take.

compulsion-coverBook #2: Compulsion by Martina Boone

Published August 2015 by SimonPulse|433 pages

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

Series: The Heirs Of Watson Island #1

Genre: YA Paranormal/Mystery/Gothic

What It’s About: Beautiful Creatures meets The Raven Boys in Compulsion, the first novel in a spellbinding new trilogy.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lived with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead—a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

What I Thought: I don’t remember how I came across this book, but it seemed intriguing enough, especially since it’s described as Beautiful Creatures meets The Raven Boys. I know I read The Raven Boys (and I know a lot of people love that series) but I don’t remember much about it, other than they’re trying to find…something. I do love Beautiful Creatures, and I was hoping that I would like this book as much as that series.

As much as I wanted to like it, I ended up not liking it that much. As much as I like the premise, it fell short for me. I can see the comparisons to Beautiful Creatures, and there is this southern Gothic feel to the book, but it didn’t work as well as I thought it would. I did listen to Beautiful Creatures on audio, while I read Compulsion, and I wonder if that would have made a difference. I have the feeling it wouldn’t. I really wish we had more information about the curse that affected all three families and why it bound them to the island. I feel like we got something, but it’s honestly not something I can remember. There are gifts and curses and there is not enough detail for me. All of the world-building was there (and to be honest, it felt a little forced), but never really explained. I wish it were, because those details could have been interesting.

My Rating: 2 stars. Even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book, I have a hard time giving it one star, and I’m not sure why.

split-second-coverBook #3: Split Second by Kasie West

Published February 2014 by HarperTeen|360 Pages

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

Series: Pivot Point #2

Genre: YA Paranormal

What It’s About: Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything.

What I Thought: I didn’t like Split Second as much as I thought I would. I liked the first one, but I thought Split Second was really confusing. It was narrated by Addie and Laila, and even though there were major differences in their chapters, in terms of how their stories unfolded, it was hard to tell them apart. Just when I got used to one of them, the chapter was over, and I was thrown into someone else’s story.

I did have trouble focusing on the book, so maybe my massive confusion was partly because I wasn’t paying as much attention as I could have. I do remember having this problem with Pivot Point, and being confused by the two different time lines, but I don’t remember having this much trouble keeping up with what was going on. It’s also been a while since I’ve read Pivot Point, so part of might be because I remember nothing. I have really liked the contemporary books I’ve read by West, so maybe her more paranormal stuff isn’t my thing.

My Rating: 2 stars. I found that I was really confused, and unable to keep up. It’s an interesting idea, but not my cup of tea.