Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (225)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.

This week I am waiting on Renegades by Marissa Meyer (11/7/17):

Description on Goodreads:
From #1 New York Times-bestselling author Marissa Meyer, comes a high-stakes world of adventure, passion, danger, and betrayal.

Secret Identities.
Extraordinary Powers.
She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.
Why I’m Waiting:
This sounds like a lot of fun. I’m interested in reading a story by this author that is not a fairy tale retelling. The story does sound like a lot of dystopias already out there, but I have a feeling this author will put her own, humorous, and fun spin on it. I can’t wait to read it.
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, May 22, 2017

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Summary from Goodreads:
Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.
So, I was mostly disappointed by A Court of Thorns and Roses. Then, I liked A Court of Mist and Fury a little more than book 1, though I still just felt like there was something I wasn’t getting that the whole book world got, but me. And then this third book happened. And I’ve gotten to the point where I’m not sure if I’ll be continuing with this series or not. I love Maas’ other series. And maybe I just expect too much from her because of my love of those other books. Either way though I liked this book the least in the series so far.
I didn’t hate it. I wouldn’t have read 705 pages if I hated it entirely. It did take me a significant amount of time to truck through it all, which is weird because even with the previous books in this series, a Sarah J. Maas book has never taken me more than a few days to read.
Book 2 ended with a big cliff-hanger. And thankfully, this one picked up right where that left off. You’d think with my drastic need for this book to come out and the way things left off in the previous book, I’d be flying through the beginning. You’d be wrong. The beginning was super slow. And that is my first problem. How can a beginning where (BIG SPOILER AHEAD FOR BOOK 2 –Warning you now) the main character is under cover with her ex, an evil priestess, and some seriously evil characters and not with her “mate” be boring?
The beginning moved so slowly I thought about putting this book down a few times. This should have been a hard-to-put-down part. I should have been biting my nails. I should have loved the suspense and revenge-like plotting. I was bored. There was not enough of any of those things I just said. I needed more suspense, plotting, and drama.
Then, finally, Feyre escapes (after her little bit of revenge that seemed more petty and less helpful for Rhys), and the pace picks up a bit. My second problem with the book, and it’s a problem I had from the second book, was all the “mate” business. Am I the only one creeped out by its usage? Like why can’t the characters ever say each other’s names instead of, “my mate.” It feels more animal than human. And it certainly reminded me of imprinting from the Twilight books. It felt like a cheep way to get away with insta-love. And every, single important character has one…It was too much. I was hoping this would be less eye-roll inducing for me in this book than it was in the last one. I was wrong. It was worse.
I liked the romance between Rhys and Feyre. However, the “mate” stuff kept taking me out of he story and I kept rolling my eyes. And I wish I could have enjoyed that stuff more because I know how sizzling Maas’s romance can be.
The second half of the book was a lot more action-packed. But, it was my least favorite kind of action-packed. It’s the one element of a lot of fantasy books that I just never got into, nor ever enjoyed as much as everyone else: war. It was all about fighting in war, planning for war, making alliances for war, etc. And war just isn’t my favorite thing to read about. Did Maas write it well? I think so. It’s just unfortunate that when the writing finally picked up, it did for a kind of fantasy style that I never liked.
There was a deeper sense of girl power in this book than in any of the others in the series so far, and I loved that. I loved how Feyre’s sisters had a big role to play. I loved that stuff wasn’t necessarily easy for the sisters just because of who they were now. I loved that the animosity between the fairies and the humans was still a thing. And I loved all the meetings with all of the high fey. There was some serious banter going on.
All in all, this could have been better. The beginning could have been so much more interesting. The “mate” terminology bothered me even more in this book than it did before. It kept taking me out of the story in parts I really didn’t want to be taken away from. And then, the book became a war book, and I personally hate reading war stories. The characters were still fun to read. I loved the girl power and the banter between the high fey. But, I’m not sure this was enough to keep me interested enough to continue with the series. I give it 6/10.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

From the author of the critically acclaimed Wolf Hollow comes a moving story of identity and belonging.

Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift on a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow's only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar.

Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn't until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.

Vivid and heart wrenching, Lauren Wolk's Beyond the Bright Sea is a gorgeously crafted and tensely paced tale that explores questions of identity, belonging, and the true meaning of family.
So, I’m kind of obsessed with this book. I knew I’d enjoy it because I loved Wolf Hollow. But, I wasn’t expecting this level of love that I have. I think I like it even more than Wolf Hollow. This book kept me up to 3am one night…on a night, where I knew I had to be up at 5am the next day. Go me.
The weirdest thing is I never really was a big fan of historical fiction, but I guess that doesn’t matter when the quality of book is out of this world. I just get so lost in Wolk’s words. I feel like I’m there with her main character. I connected so deeply to Crow. And in this one, there were just so many things I needed to know. This book I guess could fall kind of into the mystery genre. Crow’s history is such a mystery. It’s tied in with an abandoned leper colony, island travel, treasure hunts, a love story, con artists,  and so many other interesting things.
It also takes place on an island off Cape Cod, where I live. And it was so, so cool getting a glimpse of these places in the 1920’s. The mainland Crow visits (aka: New Beford) was just as interesting for me as Cuttyhunk.
Also, the life of Crow and Osh is so unique. They live off the sea. They set lobster traps and grow their own gardens. They live an isolated, yet beautiful and simple life. Their neighbor, Miss Maggie is another interesting character. She lives across the sandbar and helps teach Crow lessons. Crow helps her with physical chores and in return gets a lot of home cooked meals. Their world and life seems so extordinary to me that it almost read like a fantasy.
The mystery is what kept me up late. I had to know if Crow was connected to the Leper colony. And then I had to know other things like why a certain character was kidnapped.  And I don’t want to say too many more things because it’s best to go into this with as little knowledge as possible. It will hopefully be as nice a surprise and as enticing a mystery for every reader. Also, the overarching themes of family and identity ring so strongly and true.
This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year. I recommend it highly, particularly to fans of Middle Grade. I give it a 10/10.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (224)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on Piper by Jay Asher and Jessica Freeburg (10/31/17):

Description on Goodreads:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Jay Asher and co-author Jessica Freeburg brilliantly reimagine the classic Pied Piper legend as a powerful graphic novel about loneliness, love, and vengeance. Fans of Neil Gaiman and Through the Woods by Emily Carroll will devour this eerie, atmospheric retelling.

Long ago, in a small village in the middle of a deep, dark forest, there lived a lonely, deaf girl named Maggie. Shunned by her village because of her disability, her only comfort comes from her vivid imagination. Maggie has a gift for inventing stories and dreams of one day finding her fairy-tale love.

When Maggie meets the mysterious Piper, it seems that all her wishes are coming true. Spellbound, Maggie falls hard for him and plunges headfirst into his magical world. But as she grows closer to the Piper, Maggie discovers that he has a dark side.

The boy of Maggie's dreams might just turn out to be her worst nightmare...

With striking illustrations from Eisner-nominated artist Jeff Stokely, Piper is an exciting new departure for Jay Asher that deftly touches on the same themes of truth, guilt, and redemption that made Thirteen Reasons Why a beloved bestseller.
Why I’m Waiting:
I love Jay Asher. I’d probably read anything he writes. Also, I’m excited to see what a fantasy story by him looks like. I love the Pied Piper story and I don’t think I’ve ever read a YA that covers it. All in all, this looks like something I’ll love. I can’t wait for Halloween!
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Good Week in Books (161)

I had a nice book week. I devoured a new Middle Grade. I was literally up until 3am reading…not so easily done when you wake up at 5am. I’m in love with an audio book that I’ll finish in the next couple of days. I’m also very much addicted to a fantasy right now too. So many books! I received 3 lovely new books for review (Thanks, Macmillan!)
The new books:

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
Shattered Warrior by Sharon Shinn and Molly Knox Ostertag
The Truth about Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo
How was your week in books?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Starfall by Melissa Landers

When Princess Cassia Rose fled her home world of Eturia to escape an arranged marriage, she had no idea her sudden departure would spark a war. Now after two years hiding as a ship hand, she is finally returning to her beloved home, but not in the way she imagined. Shackled by bounty hunters, she is violently dragged back to account for her crimes. Her only solace is that the Banshee crew managed to evade capture, including Kane Arric, her best friend...with occasional benefits.

Meanwhile, Kane and the rest of the crew of the Banshee plan a desperate rescue mission. But when they arrive on Eturia, Cassia isn't exactly in need of heroics—she's claimed her birthright as Eturia's queen, but has inherited a war-torn planet simmering with rebellion. Cassia must make alliances, and Kane, the bastard son of a merchant, isn't a choice that will earn her any friends. Kane knows he will never find someone to replace Cassia—and is certain she returns his feelings—but how can he throw away his own promising future waiting on a queen?

When the outer realm is threatened by the dangerous Zhang mafia, Cassia, Kane and the rest of the Banshee crew uncover a horrifying conspiracy that endangers the entire universe. In the face of unspeakable evil, Cassia must confront her own family's complicated legacy on Eturia and decide once and for all who her real family is.
This was a fun read. I absolutely loved the first book in the series. And while I knew this would be about different characters, I still had high expectations. This series has a definite Firefly mixed with Cowboy Bebop vibe. I love all the spaceship drama and strong character development.
That being said, it was not as good as book 1. The lead characters just did not have the spark that the original main characters did for me. Cassia is interesting. Her story though is very familiar. She has the same sort of dystopian/revolutionary story arc as many leading ladies in YA. Little add-ons to the story did make this a little different. And Cassia was a lot tougher that I originally made her out to be.
I guess I did ship the two leads –just not in the same way I shipped the two leads in the first book. I almost feel like its unfair to always be comparing this to book 1. Like if this was book 1, I’d have no comparison and I’d probably like this more.
I enjoyed seeing all the characters again. And one thing I really loved was being able to get right back into the swing of things. I felt like I never left the crew. I didn’t have to readjust to them. I just naturally got back into their stories. I also love that the crew got to go explore and figure out how to solve the problems on Cassia’s planet.
There’s still this overall sense of camaraderie and humor amongst all the characters. And I guess that’s what really makes this book shine. I could see this being a great tv show, maybe something done by Joss Whedon…A girl can dream.
All in all, it was joy to read this. It was not as good as the first book in the series. The couple was lacking a spark that I hope they’d have. And there were definite dystopian elements I’m kind of bored of seeing at this point. The characters and setting though were just as strong as before. I also loved the humor and how easy it was to fall back into the story again. All in all, I give it an 8/10.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (233)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills (12/26/17):

Description on Goodreads:
A contemporary novel about a girl whose high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream leads her to new friends—and maybe even new love.

The day of the last party of the summer, Claudia overhears a conversation she wasn't supposed to. Now on the wrong side of one of the meanest girls in school, Claudia doesn't know what to expect when the two are paired up to write a paper—let alone when they're both forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

But mandatory participation has its upsides—namely, an unexpected friendship, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia's ever seen. As Claudia's world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for.
Why I’m Waiting:
I love this author. I’m so glad she’s been writing so many books. She’s really starting to develop a name for herself in the YA contemporary genre. And I can’t wait to get my hands on her latest story. Also, I love the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This sounds like a fun, dramatic contemporary alright.
What are you waiting on this week?