Book Review: Through a Dark Glass

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On her seventeenth birthday, Megan of Chaumont discovers she’ll be sold as a bride to the brutish Volodane family—within hours. Her father grants only that she may choose which one of the ruthless, grasping lord’s three sons she weds:

~ Rolf, the eldest: stern, ambitious, and loyal?
~ Sebastian, the second son: sympathetic, sly, and rebellious?
~ Or Kai, the youngest: bitter, brooding, and proud?

As shy, horrified Megan flees the welcome dinner for her in-laws-to-be, she finds an enchanted mirror that will display how her life unrolls with each man, as if she were living it out in a breath. But there is no smooth “happily ever after” in her choices.

Deaths and honors, joys and agonies, intrigues and escapes await her in a remote, ramshackle keep, where these rough but complex men reveal one side and then another of their jagged characters—and bring forth new aspects of Megan, too. But the decisions of one teenaged marriage-pawn reverberate much farther than any of them have guessed . . .

Pros – What If….? Trope with bonus Sliding Doors feeling, realistic “you can’t always win everything”, decent variations between each character’s “door”

Cons – Events until a certain point are repetitive feeling, folk break “Guest Right” constantly

Notes – There are spoilers for each path here. If you would like a spoiler free review, please head to my Goodreads review

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Book Review: Sufficiently Advanced Magic

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Five years ago, Corin Cadence’s brother entered the Serpent Spire — a colossal tower with ever-shifting rooms, traps, and monsters. Those who survive the spire’s trials return home with an attunement: a mark granting the bearer magical powers. According to legend, those few who reach the top of the tower will be granted a boon by the spire’s goddess.

He never returned.

Now, it’s Corin’s turn. He’s headed to the top floor, on a mission to meet the goddess.

If he can survive the trials, Corin will earn an attunement, but that won’t be sufficient to survive the dangers on the upper levels. For that, he’s going to need training, allies, and a lot of ingenuity.

The journey won’t be easy, but Corin won’t stop until he gets his brother back.

Pros – familiar RPG world mechanics make it easy to understand the plot from A to B, friendship and communication are important here, The Voice of The Tower

Cons – Familiar RPG elements make this a repetitive read, Corin’s at times baffling thought process/leaps of logic, convoluted “bad guy” scheme

Notes – ok this review gets a little long winded and I apologize for that, but the book itself is pretty long (620ish pages / 22 hours audio)

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Book Review: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

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When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The patched-up ship has seen better days, but it offers her everything she could possibly want: a spot to call home, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and some distance from her past.

And nothing could be further from what she’s known than the crew of the Wayfarer.

From Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the chatty engineers who keep the ship running, to the noble captain Ashby, life aboard is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. That is until the crew is offered the job of a lifetime tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet. Sure, they’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years, but risking her life wasn’t part of the job description.

The journey through the galaxy is full of excitement, adventure, and mishaps for the Wayfarer team. And along the way, Rosemary comes to realize that a crew is a family, and that family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe… as long as you actually like them.

Pros – Rosemary, the crew at large, the examination of the diaspora that can occur so easily and unexpectedly in some cases

Cons – what ends up happening to one of my fav characters

Notes – I listened to the audiobook for this, so some of my spellings may not be as perfect as they could be. I tried to check them against the hardcopy of the book I have whenever I could

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Book Review: Before She Ignites

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Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

Pros – Mira, the entire theme of not being silenced (by yourself or others), dragons

Cons – Plot points brought up and left dangling (I know this is only the first book but still), the format, Mira toddled between realistic in her naivety and unrealistic a bit too frequently for me

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Book Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones

 

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Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

Pros – Jack, the Moors, Jill (yes I’m surprised)

Cons – None. Except you know poor Jack’s happiness…

Notes – While technically the second book in the Wayward Children series, this is a prequel to EVERY HEART A DOORWAY in terms of Jack & Jill’s story. As such if you already read EVERY HEART you know the outcome of Jack’s choice here, but the choices made to get to that choice are what’s most intriguing.

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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

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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: Don’t Stay Up Late

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Ever since a car accident killed her father and put Lisa and her mother into the hospital, Lisa can’t think straight. She’s plagued by nightmares and hallucinations that force her to relive the accident over and over again in vivid detail. When Lisa finds out that a neighbor is looking for a babysitter for her young son, she takes the job immediately, eager to keep busy and shake these disturbing images from her head.
But what promised to be an easy gig turns terrifying when Lisa begins to question exactly who — or what — she is babysitting.

Pros – I genuinely enjoyed this book. Possibly the best of the Relaunch titles.

Cons – Terrified me to never babysit again.

Note – This is less a review and more of a quiz…? Read my Status Updates!

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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: Give Me a K-I-L-L

 

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At Shadyside High, cheerleading can be a scream!

For the first time since the original series, R.L. Stine brings back his most beloved characters—the cheerleaders of Shadyside High.

The cheerleading squad at Shadyside has always been strong, but now there are rumors that lack of funds may mean the end of cheerleading at Shadyside. That would be a shame for Heather Wyatt, who has just transferred from her old school, where she was a star, and is eager to join the squad. There’s only one other girl who stands in her way—rich, spoiled Devra Dalby, who is also trying out for the one open slot. The competition to join the squad is anything but friendly—and it ends in murder. Will Heather make the squad—if there’s even a squad anymore—or will she end up dead?

Packed with screams and guaranteed to send a shiver up your spine, this is a terrifying installment in Stine’s bestselling Fear Street series.

Pros – none. Well ok Stine writes as energetically as usual.

Cons – Possibly everything.

Spoiler – You know what, who cares – read my spoilers below.

Note – My level of livid is pretty high here folks.

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