Book Review: Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits

 

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Get ready for a world in which anyone can have the powers of a god or the fame of a pop star, in which human achievement soars to new heights while its depravity plunges to the blackest depths. A world in which at least one cat smells like a seafood shop’s dumpster on a hot summer day.

This is the world in which Zoey Ashe finds herself, navigating a futuristic city in which one can find elements of the fantastic, nightmarish and ridiculous on any street corner. Her only trusted advisor is the aforementioned cat, but even in the future, cats cannot give advice. At least not any that you’d want to follow.

Will Zoey figure it all out in time? Or maybe the better question is, will you? After all, the future is coming sooner than you think.

Pros – …fast paced?

Cons – disturbed me greatly

Notes – I have a hard time grading this book. I’d give it 3 Stars, because it did keep my attention and it was engaging on a level, but the utter brutality and dis-likability of the entire cast is hard to get over.

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Book Review: Soleri

soleri

The ruling family of the Soleri Empire has been in power longer than even the calendars that stretch back 2,826 years. Those records tell a history of conquest and domination by a people descended from gods, older than anything in the known world. No living person has seen them for centuries, yet their grip on their four subjugate kingdoms remains tighter than ever.

On the day of the annual eclipse, the Harkan king, Arko-Hark Wadi, sets off on a hunt and shirks his duty rather than bow to the emperor. Ren, his son and heir, is a prisoner in the capital, while his daughters struggle against their own chains. Merit, the eldest, has found a way to stand against imperial law and marry the man she desires, but needs her sister’s help, and Kepi has her own ideas.

Meanwhile, Sarra Amunet, Mother Priestess of the sun god’s cult, holds the keys to the end of an empire and a past betrayal that could shatter her family.

Pros – Kepi, women came into power, friendship goals

Cons – Sometimes hard to keep track of who relates to who, plans got a bit convoluted and unnecessarily messy at times

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Book Review: Final Girls

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Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Pros – the reveal at the end, Quincy, the entire book

Cons – not gonna lie my one and only Con for this book is such a huge spoiler I can’t put it here

Note – I can’t stress enough pay attention to the details in this book. Every. Single. One.

Spoiler – I don’t spoil anything! Not even whether or not people live or die!

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Book Review: The Blazing Star

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the-blazing-starSixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.

But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?

She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.

Great.

Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.

As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.

Pros – Egypt! Sikara and Alex’s bickering, not insta-love just add teen lust

Cons – Alex’s general attitude, lack of context at times in regards to people, vague undefined time frame

Note – Isn’t that cover beautiful? You should also check out the book trailer, also gorgeous!

Spoiler – my historical note at the end contains spoilers for the Egyptian/Ancient Personages that appear in the book as well as documented history. Please refer to my GR Review if you’d like to avoid all of that.

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Book Review: North Sea Dawn

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north-sea-dawn

In 1066, the death of King Edward put the right of the English to choose their own king in jeopardy. Normans were set to invade England and claim the throne. The Vikings were preparing to launch raids against the British to grab land and wealth. One tiny island stood trapped between two opposing forces.

Lady Julia Cruithne is left with the responsibility of Aurelius, an island rich in trade but poor in defense, when her older brother is killed defending England. She has to secure the continued freedom of her people – through the meager means available to a woman in Medieval Europe. She believes she will have only her own sharp wits and determination at her disposal, and she must consider sacrificing her own freedom to an arranged marriage in order to keep the war from spreading to her island.

Eric Vandalsson is a man well-used to battle. He has won honor, wealth, and reputation fighting across Europe, but he has never earned the prize he covets most: a home. He agrees to invade England on the condition that he be the first to select lands and a woman from the spoils. Unfortunately for Eric, the invasion is not as easy as was promised, and he finds himself without his prize, without a king, and in desperate need of a safe harbor.

When the war spills over to Aurelius, Julia will forge a desperate, unlikely alliance to protect her people. The huge, taciturn Viking is skilled enough take on any opponent, but Julia did not expect to want to consider him as more than a guard. Eric will protect her from invading armies, but their agreement is tested when old allies become enemies and a new king, William of Normandy, casts his eye towards a rich island and an unmarried Lady. Eric will have to convince Julia that she does not have to give up everything she desires in order to save what she loves.

Pros – so finely written, the give/take relationship of Julia & Eric, the strength of the secondary characters

Cons – slow start, you sometimes want to tell Julia to take what she wants screw everyone else

Spoiler – Its a historical romance with a heroine who wants to live her life the way she chooses with the man she loves. How else do you think this will end if not happily?

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Book Review: The Dare and The Doctor (+Giveaway)

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Dr. Rhys Gray and Miss Margaret Babcock are friends—strictly friends. But over the course of the year, as they exchange dozens of letters, they share personal details that put them on the path to something more. When Dr. Gray helps Margaret realize her dearest dream and she comes to his defense in the uproar that follows, it seems that their connection cannot be denied. But will their relationship stand the scruples of society and jealous intendeds, or are they destined to be only friends, and nothing more?

Pros – Both Rhys & Margaret have their own passions they nerd about, this is truly a friends to more story, Margaret doesn’t go from “plain Jane” to “beautiful”

Cons – this didn’t feel like a “regency” or “historical” (change the time periods and outfits and I’d swear it could be contemporary), the obstacles felt contrived all things considered

Note – There’s a Giveaway at the end of my review!

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Book Review: Pirate Nemesis

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Killers. Thieves. Pirates. Family.

Mercy Kincaid is a fugitive from her own family. Her dangerous telepathic gifts make her a target. So is anyone she gets close to. When her best friend is captured and tortured, Mercy’s only hope is to reunite with the family that tried to murder her as a child. She trusts few among her blood relatives, but finds herself intrigued by an enigmatic and dangerous killer.

Reaper has spent a lifetime watching his people die. He’s vowed to kill anyone who jeopardizes their survival. Mercy’s gifts are the biggest threat they’ve faced in eleven years, since a biological weapon nearly annihilated the pirate colonies. But Reaper realizes her talents can either destroy them, or save them. He must decide if he’s fallen victim to her power, or if he can truly trust the beautiful woman and her compelling abilities. If he makes the wrong choice, everyone dies.

Pros – Mercy, Tama, Reaper, Vashti…

Cons – I have to wait for the next book

Spoiler – Technically “Pirate Bound” is the prequel to this, so this book spoils that book for relationship developments.

Note – Wee bit of profanity in this review. That’s my warning.

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Book Review: Vassa in the Night

vassa-in-the-nightIn the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling out again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair…

Pros – Babs (I will never not consider Baba Yaga a Pro in a book), the visuals of this book, Erg

Cons – The surreal nature sometimes makes it hard to understand just what happened, Vassa can be blind, dead things

Spoiler – If you know the original Russian fairy tale of “Vassilissa the Beautiful” you can guess how this will turn out.

Note – I got only one warning for y’all – if you have a weak stomach when it comes to dead things being described, be wary.

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Book Review: The Queen of Blood

 

queen of bloodAn idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure

Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .

But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.

With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.

Pros – Daleina is a pragmatic heroine, the forest is dark and full of terrors, Ven’s training program

Cons – Some parts (such as the romance) felt glossed over and “then this happened” storytelling occurs, Ven’s an idiot, EVERYONE I LOVED [spoiler]

Spoiler – I won’t ruin the end, but literally keep a box of tissues handy if you ever get emotional over fictionals

Note -Durst notes this in the author’s note, but originally this wasn’t meant to be book 1, this is sort of a “prequel” to the events Durst was originally writing about. Which…I love Daleina, so I’m glad. Also I don’t trust trees now.

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Book Review: The Dead Boyfriend

dead boyfriend

Caitlyn has never had a real boyfriend before. When she starts seeing Blade, she throws herself into the relationship with fervor. She ignores her friends who warn her that Blade may be a phony and that she is taking the whole thing too seriously. Caitlyn is smitten. She doesn’t care if she loses her friends. All she wants is Blade. When Caitlyn sees Blade with another girl, she completely loses it. She snaps. Everything goes red. When she comes back to her senses, she realizes that Blade is dead-and she has killed him. But if Blade is dead, how is he staring at her across a crowded party?

ProsMy status updates are just…precious jewels of wit, Stine’s inadvertent use of the “yandere” trope

Cons – Less sense than most Shadyside teens, overuse of “Diary”, patently unbelievable lies

Spoiler – I’m going to ruin the “twist” to this book. Not that it matters.

Note – as of writing this review I could not find a different synopsis than the one I have here. I found this one on Teenreads.com…but the names were different (Caitlin vs Caitlyn, Colin vs Blade, which is funny considering what really happens in the book).

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