Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review: World After

Info:
Title: World After
Author: Susan Ee
Series: Penryn and the End of Days #2
Publisher: Skyscape
Publication Date: November 19, 2013
Source: Purchased.

Synopsis:
In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

Review:
I absolutely loved Angelfall, so I was very excited to read the sequel, World After. Unfortunately, this installment lack some of the magic of the first book, but was still an enjoyable read. Also, please note there might be spoilers for book one if you haven't read it yet (get on it!).

I think my main issue was that Raffe was absent for a large portion of the book. Raffe was my favourite character in Angelfall, so to not have him around wasn't great. Also, I wasn't a huge fan of Penryn without Raffe. She had a lot of time to dwell and repress her feelings towards Raffe, which kind of got on my nerves for some reason.

However, beyond that, I enjoyed the book. Penryn continued to be pretty badass. Penryn's mom continued to be that bizarre combination of totally badass and completely insane. And Paige! Poor Paige. I just wanted to give her a big hug, but I can totally understand why Penryn acted the way she did and I probably would too.

There's lot of excitement. Also, the locusts are super creepy, especially later on when you learn more about them. Also daring escapes and the like.

Overall, World After was a fun, enjoyable read that didn't quite live up to my love of the first book, but was definitely enjoyable enough to make me anxious for the next book.



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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review: Savage Drift

Info:
Title: Savage Drift
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Series: Monument 14 #3
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Source: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:
The stunningly fierce conclusion to Emmy Laybourne's Monument 14 trilogy.

The survivors of the Monument 14 have finally made it to the safety of a Canadian refugee camp. Dean and Alex are cautiously starting to hope that a happy ending might be possible.

But for Josie, separated from the group and trapped in a brutal prison camp for exposed Type Os, things have gone from bad to worse. Traumatized by her experiences, she has given up all hope of rescue or safety.

Meanwhile, scared by the government's unusual interest in her pregnancy, Astrid (with her two protectors, Dean and Jake in tow) joins Niko on his desperate quest to be reunited with his lost love Josie.

Author Emmy Laybourne reaches new heights of tension and romance in this action-packed conclusion to the Monument 14 trilogy.

Review:
After a bit of a bright spot with Sky on Fire, the Monument 14 trilogy settled back into mediocrity with Savage Drift.

This time we got alternative POV between Dean, who begins the story in a refugee camp near Vancouver, and Josie, who is in an O containment camp in Missouri. 

Throughout the series, the writing style has not been my favourite. It's stream-of-conciousness style, which isn't really my thing, especially combined with not really being a big fan of one of the narrators: Dean. I just didn't connect with Dean very well throughout the series. It has a lot to do with just not finding any common ground with him and some to do with just not being able to buy into a teenage boy falling in love with a girl pregnant from another man. Maybe Dean's a bigger person than I am or maybe that's just one of the crazy things love does to a person, but I just had a hard time buying it. It didn't help that I'm also not a fan of Astrid, so I guess I couldn't really see what the fuss was about.

Josie's POV was a bit better, but she go on my nerves a bit the way she was trying to cut herself off from everyone. I understand that it would be a totally normal reaction to what happened, but it's a bit annoying to read about over and over.

The best part of this series is definitely the plot. I love apocalyptic stories and that's definitely what kept me going through this series and kept the star rating up at 3. There was lots of tension that kept me flipping the pages excitedly to find out what happens.

Unfortunately, the ending/epilogue didn't really work for me. It was too neat and too happy. If that's you're thing, you enjoy it, but I prefer my endings to gritty stories to be a bit grittier. That's all I can say due to spoilers.

Overall, Savage Drift and the Monument 14 series in general was okay, but definitely doesn't make it onto my favourite series shelf.



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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Review: Sky on Fire

Info:
Title: Sky on Fire
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Series: Monument 14 #2
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
Source: Won

Synopsis:
Trapped in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, including a monster hailstorm and terrifying chemical weapons spill, brothers Dean and Alex learned how to survive and worked together with twelve other kids to build a refuge from the chaos. But then strangers appeared, destroying their fragile peace, and bringing both fresh disaster and a glimmer of hope. 

Knowing that the chemical weapons saturating the air outside will turn him into a bloodthirsty rage monster, Dean decides to stay in the safety of the store with Astrid and some of the younger kids. But their sanctuary has already been breached once. . . .

Meanwhile, Alex, determined to find their parents, heads out into the darkness and devastation with Niko and some others in a recently repaired school bus. If they can get to Denver International Airport, they might be evacuated to safety. But the outside world is even worse than they expected. . . 

Review:
If I were to choose a favourite genre, I would likely choose apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic. Mix that with my love for YA and Monument 14 should theoretically be the series for me. While I found Monument 14 to be ok, I definitely found Sky on Fire to be an improvement! I love how Emmy Laybourne was able to mix defending what you have with being on the road, two important aspects of any survival story.

In this installment, we have alternating POV between Dean and his little brother Alex. I found myself preferring Alex's chapters, since I identified more with him as a character. However, there was nothing wrong with Dean's chapters, just personal preference. I often have issues with alternating POV, but I thought it worked in this one, considering the plot.

As I mentioned, I enjoyed reading Alex's POV, but I sometimes found Dean to be a bit meh. He doesn't have a ton of personality, besides being immensely devoted to Astrid, who I'm also not crazy about. However, I love a bunch of the other characters, especially the little kids. Max always has me laughing and Baptiste and Ulysses are adorable as well.

One thing I wasn't expecting were the feels I got near the end of the story! I had tears rolling down my cheeks! I don't want to give anything away, but I definitely had a few hugs on my heartstrings.

My only complaint is that this book was short at only 212 pages. I would have liked another 50-100 pages to feel a bit more satisfied.

I enjoyed Sky on Fire more than it's predecessor, Monument 14, so I'm hoping that Ms. Laybourne is able to keep up her momentum with Savage Drift, which comes out soon!





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Monday, April 7, 2014

Dark One Rising Blog Tour


Today I'm happy to spotlight Dark One Rising by Leandra Martin

About the Book

Dark One Rising: Book One of the Tanith Prophecy series paints a touching landscape of beauty and solace brought to the brink of extinction by a powerful, evil force, whom only the Chosen One, unaware of her unique power, can battle for the soul of a kingdom. Within fantastic adventure and rousing action unfolds a truly human story of destiny and love and the power of  spirit that will overcome impossible adversity.

The Kingdom of Aelethia has been quiet for five hundred years, but the Dark One is rising from out of the depths. All of Aelethia will perish unless the Chosen One comes forward to save them. Unfortunately, the Chosen One doesn’t know her destiny in the world; she only knows she is odd and confused about where her destiny lies.

She wants to find love, but she cannot have the men in her life that actually love her, and the only other one that wants her is as evil as they come. The elves know of her destiny and must tell her and train her in time in order to fulfill the prophecy that has been laid out before her. Can she become the person they have waited for?

Can she, in time, destroy the evil that is threatening to overtake her kingdom? With friends to guide her and a man to whom she truly loves beside her, she may be able to save Aelethia from doom.

About the Author 

Born in Southbridge, Massachusetts, Leandra Martin is the author of five fantasy/science fiction novels, including the L’Landra’s Tale trilogy and Tanith Prophecy series. She received an AA degree in Broadcasting/Communications, spent a few years in radio, and participated for many years in community theater. She currently lives in Oregon with her husband, two boys and their blue eyed canine named Jett. For more information, visit http://www.leandramartin.com.

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (4)


Stacking the Shelves is a meme by Tynga's Reviews to share the books you've recently acquired.

It's been a month since my last Stacking the Shelves post because I went for 3 weeks with no new books. Crazy! This week I got a couple of books for review. I like having my rate of incoming books slow down a bit so I can catch up on the almost entire bookcase of unread books I have at home. These two sound great though.



For Review:
Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum
Thanks to Merit Press!

The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan
Thanks to Tor!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Review: Star Cursed

Info:
Title: Star Cursed
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Series: The Cahill Witch Chronicles #2
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: June 18, 20143
Source: Purchased

Synopsis:

With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate's friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.

Cate doesn't want to be a weapon, and she doesn't want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood's schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she'll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.

In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess's quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.


Review:
Jessica Spotswood sure knows how to stab me right in the feels. I am so angry right now! But those are the best sort of books in my opinion, the ones that make you irrationally hurt and angry about events that never even happened.

This series is honestly magical (pardon the pun)! I am so invested in the characters and the plot events and enraged by the world Spotswood has created. Somehow, she has managed to combine three of my favourite stories into one amazing story: dystopian, Victorian and magic.

I love Cate as a heroine. She's not perfect, but she cares so much about the people she loves and she doubts herself, which is something I know I would do in her position. I also appreciate her sisters, Maura and Tess. I feel like their relationships are so realistic, as sibling rivalries and competitions can certain exist. I also loved getting to meet the other girls in the Sisterhood, Rilla and Mei especially.

The world-building in this series is amazing. I felt a current of anger every time I read about the Brotherhood and how horrid they were. I honestly can't wait to see how things play out in New England.

And the ending! I'm still reeling! I'll admit that I threw a little tantrum at the end, slamming down my book and clenching my hands into fists of anger. If you thought the ending of the last book was bad... But I'm a little crazy and actually love endings like this.

I am crazy about this series and I think I can safely classify it as one of my all-time favourites. It combines so many of my favourite things and I love Cate and I am dying to know what happens next!




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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Review: Providence

Info:
Title: Providence
Author: Lisa Colozza Cocca
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Source: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

The eldest of ten children on a dirt-poor farm, Becky trudges through life as a full-time babysitter, trying to avoid her father's periodic violent rages. When the family's barn burns down, her father lays the blame on Becky, and her own mother tells her to run for it. Run she does, hopping into an empty freight car. There, in a duffel bag, Becky finds an abandoned baby girl, only hours old. After years of tending to her siblings, sixteen-year-old Becky knows just what a baby needs. This baby needs a mother. With no mother around, Becky decides, at least temporarily, this baby needs her. When Becky hops off the train in a small Georgia town, it's with baby "Georgia" in her arms. When she meets Rosie, an eccentric thrift-shop owner, who comes to value and love Becky as no one ever has, Becky rashly claims the baby as her own. Not everyone in town is as welcoming as Rosie, though. Many suspect Becky and her baby are not what they seem. Among the doubters is a beautiful, reclusive woman with her own terrible loss and a long history with Rosie. As Becky's life becomes entangled with the lives of the people in town, including a handsome boy who suspects Becky is hiding something from her past, she finds her secrets more difficult to keep. Becky should grab the baby and run, but her newfound home and job with Rosie have given Becky the family she's never known. Despite her guilt over leaving her mother alone, she is happy for the first time. But it's a happiness not meant to last. When the truth comes out, Becky has the biggest decision of her life to make. Should she run away again? Should she stay--and fight? Or lie? What does the future hold for Becky and Georgia? With a greatness of heart and a stubborn insistence on hope found in few novels of any genre, "Providence" proves that home is where you find it, love is an active verb, and family is more than just a word.

Review:
Providence is the story of Becky, a teenage girl running from a less-than-ideal family situation, and Georgia, the baby girl she finds in a train car.

Overall, I liked Becky as a main character. She's a good girl and always puts the needs of others before herself. However, because of her upbringing, she is a bit judgemental, even though her heart was in the right place for sure. I also felt like sometimes she was just there, taking life as it came, rather than actively working to reach her goals. On the other hand, sometimes I was confused by Becky's actions, especially the way she acted towards Lily. I know Becky had Georgia's best interests at heart, but I'm still not sure why she couldn't trust Lily more. Rosie was a really sweet old lady, although I definitely found some of her actions unrealistic. 

There were a few unrealistic things that happened in this book. Becky and Georgia had a real stroke of luck meeting Rosie. If that hadn't happened, I'm sure this would have been a much different, grittier book. 

This book has hints of romance, but nothing really comes to fruition in that respect, which is probably pretty realistic, considering Becky's situation. although the boy in question is clearly a damn saint!

I'm not sure how I feel about the ending of this one. I thought it was going to go a certain way, but it didn't. I'm not 100% happy with how it ended, but am having trouble putting my finger on exactly why.

Overall, I did enjoy Providence, especially the first half. It's a fairly quick read and, despite being a bit unrealistic in my opinion, I would recommend it for fans of contemporaries that aren't too gritty.

Also, fair warning to my fellow animal-lovers, there's a certain flash-back scene that made me uncomfortable and very angry. Just be warned.



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