Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: Throne of Glass

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Publisher: Bloombury's USA Children's
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Source: Purchased.

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating  . But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

I'm pretty late to the Throne of Glass party, but that's ok, because better late than never! I'm always a bit nervous going into a popular, hyped-up book because the hype ruins so many of them for me. But not this one! No, this one I really really liked! Hooray!

I loved Celaena. She's just one of those characters that I couldn't help but fall in love with. Even though she's not perfect, I still wanted her to succeed. I mean, this girl has been through Hell and is just so strong and tenacious. Love her.

Then there are the boys. First Prince Dorian, who I enjoyed. He seemed like an all-around decent guy, though constantly in his father's shadow. Then there's Chaol, who I particularly liked (all though I'm not sure of the exact reason why). Since there are two guys, you can probably guess that there is a little bit of a love triangle. Although it's not very pronounced right now (as it is fairly one-sided), I think that it will be developed as the series progresses.

I also enjoyed the action in this book. Any book with a competition involved seems to add extra excitement for me and this was no exception. Especially since most of the competitors were very unlikable, so I particularly wanted Celaena to win!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and immediately bought the next two books after finishing this one!

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Review: Rebel Mechanics

Title: Rebel Mechanics
Author: Shanna Swendson
Series: Rebel Mechanics #1
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Source: I received a complimentary ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A sixteen-year-old governess becomes a spy in this alternative U.S. history where the British control with magic and the colonists rebel by inventing.

It’s 1888, and sixteen-year-old Verity Newton lands a job in New York as a governess to a wealthy leading family—but she quickly learns that the family has big secrets. Magisters have always ruled the colonies, but now an underground society of mechanics and engineers are developing non-magical sources of power via steam engines that they hope will help them gain freedom from British rule. The family Verity works for is magister—but it seems like the children's young guardian uncle is sympathetic to the rebel cause. As Verity falls for a charming rebel inventor and agrees to become a spy, she also becomes more and more enmeshed in the magister family’s life. She soon realizes she’s uniquely positioned to advance the cause—but to do so, she’ll have to reveal her own dangerous secret.

I love a good Steampunk story! And I definitely found Rebel Mechanics to be a fun time. Verity was a likable, although naive, character and I enjoyed the idea of the class conflict between the magical upper class and non-magical lower.

As I mentioned I did enjoy Verity as a character. She is sincere and likable in general, although certainly quite naive, especially in the beginning. I enjoyed seeing her struggle and make some missteps, but eventually figuring things out for herself.

I also liked the children that Verity cares for as a governess. Olive is such a sweetheart, I just want to give her a hug. Roland was lots of fun and a good representation of a lot of little boys. And Flora was so stuck up, but I liked that too, as it provided another challenge for Verity to face. And of course, their uncle Henry was one of my favourite characters, with his well-meaning and nerdy persona.

On the other side, Verity's mechanic friends were a different sort entirely. I liked Nat a lot, with his boyish enthusiasm. Lizzie was also a character I enjoyed. The boy Verity starts to fall for, Alec, however, was not a favourite. I just didn't like how much he pushed Verity to do things that weren't in her best interest.

As I mentioned, I really liked the way the author used magic to magnify the division between economic classes in the world she created. Class division were huge in that time period and I thought the emphasis the author was able to place on these differences was well done.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit and thought it stood us fairly well to the other steampunk books on my shelf. I am definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: The Road to You


Title: The Road to You
Author: Alecia Whitaker
Series: Wildflower #2
Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Source: I received a complimentary ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The second book in the Wildflower series--full of drama, heart, and that country music spirit.

Bright lights... Screaming fans... Cute roadies... Country music sensation Bird Barrett is officially on tour. The months flash by in an exciting whirlwind, due--in no small part--to a certain dreamy lighting tech named Kai. 

After the tour wraps up, Bird makes the move to LA, finding herself at the center of a trumped-up rivalry with another country music starlet she barely knows. Meanwhile, Kai's out on tour again with an indie rock band and growing distant, and Bird has the label breathing down her neck for a new hit song. Finding true love is supposed to be inspiring, so why does penning the next great country pop ballad suddenly feel so hard? 

ABC's hit show Nashville meets The Summer I Turned Pretty.

So far, the Wildflower is one of my favourite contemporary series! I find Bird to be so likable and relateable, even though her life is so much crazier than mine!

This installment starts with Bird going on tour as the opening act for a country superstar. It's there that she meets Kai, the intense indie roadie that Bird immediately feels a connection with. Once the tour wraps up, her label suggests that she move to LA and attempt to be a crossover artist.

Bird deals with a variety of issues this time around: a long distance relationship, navigating the pitfalls of the LA media, dealing with friends (both good and not-so-good) and trying to assert her independence with her parents.

I wasn't a huge fan of the love interest, Kai. He's a bit too hipster for my taste and I just didn't think he and Bird were a great match, despite their chemistry. But he really does seem like a nice guy and I can see other readers liking him a lot.

The other new character we meet is Devyn, a Hollywood actress who strikes up a friendship with Bird. I wasn't a big fan of her; she lives a bit too much a crazy Hollywood starlet lifestyle, compared the Bird's down-to-earth personality.

Despite me not being crazy over the love interest, I did really like this book and can't wait for the next one to be released!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Review: We Will be Crashing Shortly

Title: We Will Be Crashing Shortly
Author: Hollis Gillespie
Series: April Mae #2
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication Date: June 15, 2015
Source: I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

April Mae Manning from Unaccompanied Minor is back, and back in trouble, but this time, she's run out of chances...
April Mae was raised on airplanes by her flight-attendant parents. But since her dad's death and her mom's remarriage to the nefarious pilot Ash Manning, April's been in nothing but danger: two airplane crashes; two car crashes; and now, as a student pilot, in an old plane crippled over the Caribbean. Can she survive, and save her friends, or is this the watery end to "Crash" Manning's story?
Praise for Unaccompanied Minor: "A laugh-out-loud thriller about family court, money laundering and skyjacking" ~Kirkus Reviews

April Manning is back in this sequel to Unaccompanied Minor and her life is just as crazy as ever! There something fishy going on with the wealthy Colgate family, which also happens to include April's best friend Malcolm. That dirtbag/stepfather Ash is back, but April is ready to face him with help from her friends Flo, Ned and LaVonda.

Realism is definitely not the goal of this series. So much crazy stuff happens that I highly double would ever happen in real life. But if you go in not expecting a realistic story, you will have a ton of fun!

My favourite character is still Flo. She's so feisty and funny and I hope I am like her when I get old! Officer Ned is another favourite and I loved the crazy, over-the-top things that LaVonda would say. And don't forget the oh-so-lovable Captain Beefheart!

This series hasn't wowed me so far, but it's just so much fun in the moment that it doesn't really matter and I hope that there are more crazy stories for April "Crash" Manning. Could you imagine if she became an actual pilot!?!?!

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Shades of Earth

Title: Shades of Earth
Author: Beth Revis
Series: Across the Universe #3
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: January 15, 2013
Source: Purchased

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience. But this new Earth isn't the paradise that Amy had been hoping for. Amy and Elder must race to uncover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. But each new discovery brings more danger. And if their colony collapses then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been meaningless...

Shades of Earth had a bit different feel than the previous two books, mostly because it's not set on Godspeed (ok, kind of a spoiler for the earlier books, but it's in the description of the book, so I'm going to say it's fair game). Amy and Elder's relationship faces some new challenges in this book, as they are in a new environment and have new pressures.

Amy pissed me off a bit in this one. Mostly because she would kind of/sort of flirt with Chris a bunch, which annoyed me a lot. Elder was still a pretty sweet guy who I like quite a bit.

One issue this book addresses is the tendency for humans to not accept those that are not like them. I would like to believe that by the time this book is set in, we would be over that, but I think the division Beth Revis creates between the ship-born and the Earth-born is actually pretty realistic.

There's a pretty big twist towards the end of this one and I completely did not see it coming. Once explained though, I think it's a bit unrealistic that only one of the other characters would have figured out that something was up.

Across the Universe was definitely my favourite book in this series and Shades of Earth, while not as strong, was still a good read and a good ending to the series.


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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Review: Tangled Webs

Title: Tangled Webs
Author: Lee Bross
Series: Tangled Webs #1
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
Source: I received a complimentary ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

London, 1725. Everybody has a secret. Lady A will keep yours—for a price. This sumptuous, scandalous YA novel is wickedly addictive.

Lady A is the most notorious blackmailer in the city. With just a mask and a gown to disguise her, she sweeps into lavish balls and exclusive events collecting the most valuable currency in 1725 London—secrets.

But leading a double life isn't easy. By day Lady A is just a sixteen-year-old girl named Arista who lives in fear of her abusive master, Bones, and passes herself off as a boy to move safely through the squalor of London's slums. When Bones attempts to dispose of his pawn forever, Arista is rescued by the last person she expects: Jonathan Wild, the infamous Thief Taker General who moves seamlessly between the city's criminal underworld and its most elite upper circles. Arista partners with Wild on her own terms in the hopes of saving enough money to buy passage out of London.

Everything changes when she meets Graeden Sinclair, the son of a wealthy merchant. Grae has traveled the world, has seen the exotic lands Arista has longed to escape to her whole life, and he loves Arista for who she is—not for what she can do for him. Being with Grae gives something Arista something precious that she swore off long ago: hope. He has promised to help Arista escape the life of crime that has claimed her since she was a child. But can you ever truly escape the past?

I was pretty excited to read this book and I enjoyed it quite a bit, although it wasn't exactly what I expected. Briefly, it's a historical fiction story about Arista, who is basically a slave to this creepy London underworld lord named Bones. She is basically forced to blackmail people on Bones's behalf.

Arista wasn't the character that I was expected. I was expecting a sneaky, charismatic thief character (they are my favourite), but instead she she was filled with a lot of fear and hopelessness for her situation. This was not a bad thing, just not what I expected somehow. Despite her fear and desperate living situation, Arista is strong character and very loyal. I enjoyed her scenes with Becky, where it was very apparent how much she cared for her friend.

The other important person In Arista's life at the beginning was Nic. Nic also works under Bones and was Arista's friend and protector growing up. Now, Arista wonders if she might have feelings for Nic that go beyond friendship, but also worries about how the life they lead has hardened him. Nic was a complicated character for me. I was really conflicted by how good he could be to Arista, yet wasn't really a good person in general. I think it made his character multi-dimensional and real.

The final important character was Grae, who was the man Arista met one night and was super attracted to. Grae was such a kind and wonderful person. It made him likable, but also a touch on-e dimensional.

I can't think of anything about this book that bothered me or that I didn't like, but somehow it lacked the spark to launch it to a five star read.

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