A book review blog.

Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking 3) by Patrick Ness

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Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking 3) by Patrick Ness

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Brief Summary: The war is on. Three armies, two species, one couple trying to keep everyone from tearing the new world apart. Todd and Viola are the only ones keeping the humans armies from killing each other, with the treat of the spackle army ready to wipe them all out. But who will keep Todd and Viola from turning on each other?

This is the third book in the series; read my review for the first book The Knife of Never Letting Go and the second book Ask and the Answer.

Spoilers for the Entire Series Under the Cut

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  • Review a relatively unknown book: No one knows what you're talking about
  • Review a really popular book: Everyone's reviewed it already and you don't really have anything original to add

I wanted to do a couple of reviews for tomorrow and Sunday for the books I managed to read in the last couple of months, but had no time to review. Help me choose which you guys will be more interested in seeing:

Unraveling (Unraveling, #1) by Elizabeth Norris

Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle, #1) by Diana Wynne Jones

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Emperor’s Edge (The Emperor’s Edge #1) by Lindsay Buroker

There’s also this series The IMA by an independent author, Nenia Campbell, who I’ve read since she was on fictionpress. I wanted to let more people know about her, however, this series is not YA, it would range more in the New Adult, and I would even say they are for a more mature audience. I’m a bit conflicted about reviewing it here though. Anyone know about it?

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy 6) by Richelle Mead

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Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy 6) by Richelle Mead

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Brief Summary: When the Queen is murdered, Rose is blamed and quickly put in jail to avoid problems. Thankfully, Rose’s friends are there to help… even if it means breaking her out and making her look even more guilty. So while Rose is on the run with Dimitri, Lissa and everyone else is trying to clear her name back in court.

Read reviews for Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, and Book 5

In the final book of the Vampire Academy series, Mead breaks out the big guns. Rose and Dimitri, brought together again, are on the run for their lives. Lissa is trying to clear both of them by entering the run for a new monarch. There are a lot of politics, a lot of action, and some heartbreak. Good finish to the series overall.

SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRE SERIES IN FULL REVIEW BELLOW CUT

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Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin 2) by Robin LaFevers

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Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin 2) by Robin LaFevers

 

Brief Summary GR: Sybella’s duty as Death’s assassin in 15th-century France forces her return home to the personal hell that she had finally escaped. Love and romance, history and magic, vengeance and salvation converge in this thrilling sequel to Grave Mercy.

Not-spoilery for the Grave Mercy/Possible Spoilers for Dark Triumph

In the second installment of His Fair Assassin trilogy, LaFevers doesn’t spare the action. In a ways, this was even better than Grave Mercy, with much more likable characters, a more gripping story, and great action. 

Sybella knows hell because her family are the worst kind of people. Her father is the most hateful man in France, betraying, killing, and torturing for power. Her brothers aren’t much better, one just like her father, and the other wants her as his lover. She ran away, practically mad, and was rescued by St. Mortain’s convent. She comes back from the brink of insanity, but before long the Abess sends her back to her father’s house to kill him when the God of Death commands. 

To say that the story is gripping is an understatement. The plot moves slowly, but it has just enough suspense to keep you flipping pages. Not to mention there’s enough danger present for the characters to be constantly on alert.

I loved all the main characters in this book. Sybella is no damsel and can kill quickly and efficiently, but she has a victim’s mind. And sometimes she thinks she deserves the cruelty of her family. At first, it seems that Sybella is once again on the brink of madness. However, once she is forced to abandon her mission in order to rescue a wounded knight, there’s a glimpse of hope for her.

Oh, Beast, my sweet ugly man. How I love you. He’s probably the sweetest, most adoring, loyal, lovable man in literature. He may be as ugly as sin, but the man has a heart of gold. Sybella gets rightfully frustrated with him, since he has the need to rescue just about everyone who appears in need of help, including Sybella. But, God, I love that man. In a way they rescued each other because, well, because she may have saved him from physical death, but he saves her from madness. They complement each other, though Beast does get irritating sometimes with his over-protectiveness. For God’s sake man, pull yourself together, she’s a maiden of Death. But in the end they make quiet the tag team. They both love fighting for a cause and for the people they love and care about. And they don’t leave each other behind. OTP FOREVER!!!!!

While the Abess is a rightfully wretched character, I began to feel there’s more to her than it seems. Both Sybella and Ismae don’t like her, other character’s don’t really trust her. But I just feel, I feel like there’s something missing that may redeem her in the third book. I can’t wait!!!


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Check it out at: LaFever’s Site, Goodreads, Amazon, B&N

Robin LaFevers has a tumblr! Here

Siege and Storm (The Grisha Trilogy 2) by Leigh Bardugo

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Siege and Storm (The Grisha Trilogy 2) by Leigh Bardugo

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Brief Summary: Alina and Mal have managed to run away from the Darkling, but it’s only a matter of time before they’re captured. The Darkling is more powerful than ever and it will take the newly forged friendships, lots of nerve, and Alina embracing her destiny to face the Darkling. But will it cost Alina her soul?

Non-Spoilery Review/Possible Spoilers if you have not read Shadow and Bone (reviewed here).

Bardugo is a fantastic story teller. The second installment didn’t falter or splutter, and was a magnificent continuation of Shadow and Bone. There was a lot of fast paced action, exhilarating story telling, and Alina being kick-ass. I loved the humorous tone of the novel when it wasn’t being serious and the sass of the characters. The new cast of characters is amazing; the Sturmhond was witty and clever and sassy, Tamar and Toliy were also pretty great. Alina saw some character development, she went from being a scared, haunted, little girl into someone who was ready to take charge of her life and lead the people against the darkness. However, her power is still new and it’s growing, which is starting to change her into someone darker. Her relationship with Mal becomes strained because her duties as the Sun Summoner become more important, and Mal wants the old Alina back. Mal is  there when he is needed, by Alina’s side and is ready to pull her back from the brink when she seems ready to topple over. And the Darkling, the sexy bastard, he’s one of the best villains in YA literature. He’s evil, he’s depraved, but he can still be clever, smart, and calculating. He doesn’t allow his greed for power to cloud his judgement (unlike Alina’s kisses :3 ).  Alina is growing stronger and she will be more than capable in handling him in the end. The only thing that bothered me was the slightly slow middle and Ravkan terminology. It seems to be a mix of Slavic and maybe other eastern European languages, I kept reading them in Russian and a lot of the time it was wrongly gendered or just weird. However…

I would definitely recommend it to lovers of YA fantasy and everyone who’d read the first installment Shadow and Bone.

Also the cover is lighter than the first, which to me symbolizes the Darkling’s power is getting weaker, does it mean the next cover will be white with darkness swirling instead?

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Check it out at Leigh’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, Abebooks.

Also, Leigh Bardugo the author has a tumblr: Here!

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VERY SPOILERY/ MORE InDepth REVIEW UNDER THE CUT. Do not read if you have not read Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm.

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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Brief Summary: Aristotle is an angry, withdrawn teen, with no friends.  Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as these two outcasts start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Possible Spoilers Ahead

Aristotle and Dante are both Mexican-American fifteen year old guys growing up in the mid-80’s. Ari is quiet, reserved, somewhat angry, and is haunted by both his father’s refusal to talk about the war and a brother in prison. Dante is less reserved, but that doesn’t help him fit in any better. He’s smart, hates shoes, and is not afraid to show emotion. But then one day they meet and become best friends even though they have very little in common.

This is a great story. It was refreshing to read about Mexican-American teens, and get an insight into Mexican American culture. This book doesn’t play off stereotypes, probably because the author himself is Mexican so he knows what he’s talking about, but he does make fun of them. All the characters were very well developed and we get to know them well throughout the novel. I liked how the parents were present as well. Usually, parents tend to be somewhere in the background or rarely present. But both Dante and Ari respect and love their parents very much, which is rare nowadays. The parents play a very pivotal role in the boy’s relationship too.

Not to mention this book is very LGBT friendly. It’s mostly about two boys trying to deal with growing up, trying to fit in, trying to figure out what they like. Spoilers While this book handles the boys’ sexuality rather well, they both have extremely supportive and understanding parents. And it made me sad that not all gay teens have that. I can’t wait till we live in the world that doesn’t view being gay as being wrong.

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Check it out at: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, Abebooks

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

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Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
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Brief Summary: Josie has had a pretty tough life. A daughter of a prostitute, living in 1950’s New Orleans, Josie has been looking after herself since she was kid. With friends like a brothel madam and her associates, Josie lives on kindness of people with very dark lives. Josie wants nothing more than to get out of dodge and start a new life somewhere far away from her no good mother. But it may be next to impossible to do so.

Possible Spoilers Ahead

Set in the 1950’s New Orleans Out of the Easy is a nicely paced, well written, character driven novel. It is written from a perspective of seventeen year old Josie; a smart, gutsy, and weathered girl with a tough life and education. She may be know to locals as a daughter of a prostitute, but Josie is very much her own girl. Josie’s mother is a no good woman, who cares more about money and herself than about Josie. Who had to raise herself since she was twelve. The only mother that Josie has known is Willie, a brothel madam.

Out of the Easy features an array of well developed cast of supporting characters. Willie may be a brothel madam, but she has a heart of gold and nerves of steel. She treats Josie as her own daughter and often acts as a fairy godmother.

The fact that much of the plot centers around a brothel and the life of women in sex business was quite interesting. These aren’t just empty women making a dime. They’re real people. The class, race, and the gender divide tensions were quite apparent in the novel, but they were handled well and showed everything in an unbiased and realistic way.

Our love interests include two pretty swell guys. And I’m happy to say that what could have been just another love triangle, turned out to be a very well handled portrayal of one. In fact, the romance was on the back burner for the whole novel. Josie had bigger problems to deal with than the two boys who showed interest.

Josie’s dream is to get out of the damn town and make a future for herself that doesn’t include dealing with brothels or other criminals. Her dream is to go to Smith College, but the problem is that she may not be qualified, and if she is, than she won’t be able to pay for it.

I do wish there was a little more conflict and the ending was a little more well rounded. But overall, the novel was beautiful and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

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Check it out at Goodreads, B&N, Amazon, Abebooks

Shatter Me (Shatter Me 1) By Tahereh Mafi

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Shatter Me (Shatter Me 1) by Tahereh Mafi

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Brief Summary: Juliette is able to kill people with her touch. For that reason her parents gave her up and she spent time in a prison like asylum. That is until the government wants to use her powers to control the masses through fear. Then she meets her puppy love Adam and they make their escape.

Minimum Spoilers/Negative Review with Positive Sprinkles

This book would have been perfect if Mafi wasn’t trying so fucking hard. I’m sorry for the expletive, but this book made me so angry. Good thing my English Degree is still in the mail, because I’d have stained it with tears. I’d read plenty of bad reviews for it, so my expectations were very low, but I went in with an open mind. I have two words to describe this book: Pretentious Potential. Or to make it a little more clear: Tries Too Hard.

This book was only good when Mafi stopped trying, and you know when she stopped trying? By the end. Of course, I understand that maybe Mafi was trying to symbolize Juliette’s broken mind in the beginning and her narration becomes more clear by the end. I can appreciate what she was trying to do with the repetition, and the hyperboles, and the figurative language, not writing out numbers below hundred, even the text strike outs were inventive. To a point.


Review Under the Cut to Avoid Pissing People Off.

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Taken (Taken 1) by Erin Bowman

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Taken (Taken 1) by Erin Bowman

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Brief Summary: Gray has grown up in a world with no men. Every time a boy turns eighteen, he disappears, never to be seen again. After Gray’s brother disappears, Gray accidentally stumbles upon a secret which unravels his entire world. Desperate for answers, Gray decides to go where no one has gone and lived: over the wall of the city.

Non-Spoiler Review

Taken is a fast paced, action driven novel. The story is told through the eyes of Gray a seventeen year old boy whose brother is about to be taken from him. When he uncovers a secret, Gray’s life becomes even more uneasy because everything he knows may potentially be a lie. Every time Gray finds an answer to his question, ten more pop-up. Twists and turns appear at every turn, and I actually can’t say much about the plot without ruining it. But let’s just the say the world is a little bigger and much scarier than Gray could have imagined and the secrets that he will uncover will threaten his entire world.

But the characters are well developed, though I sometimes found Gray a bit hard to like. That’s the thing though, I don’t think Gray is supposed to be completely likable. The supporting characters are just as great. I liked how assertive both romantic interests were and how it wasn’t just shallow attraction.

If you’re looking for a Hunger Games like dystopia, this book is definitely for you. It’s dark, twisted, and makes you thankful for the world you live in now.

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Check it out at: Goodreads, B&N, Amazon, Abebooks

More in-depth SPOILERY REVIEW UNDER THE CUT

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