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Review of Shadowcry by Jenna Burtenshaw

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0425184056.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgTen years ago Kate Winters’ parents were taken by the High Council’s wardens to help with the country’s war effort. Now the wardens are back…and prisoners, including Kate’s uncle Artemis, are taken south on the terrifying Night Train. Kate and her friend Edgar are hunted by a far more dangerous enemy. Silas Dane – the High Council’s most feared man – recognises Kate as one of the Skilled; a rare group of people able to see through the veil between the living and the dead. His spirit was damaged by the High Council’s experiments into the veil, and he’s convinced that Kate can undo the damage and allow him to find peace. The knowledge Kate needs lies within Wintercraft – a book thought to be hidden deep beneath the graveyard city of Fume. But the Night of Souls, when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, is just days away and the High Council have their own sinister plans for Kate and Wintercraft. (from Goodreads)

The story was pretty interesting and had a neat concept with the “Skilled”. I also liked the setting with the Graveyard city. So this is what rather kept me going for a bit while reading. The magic system itself was interesting and somewhat different from what I’ve read in the past. That kept the flow of reading along. Somewhat. The world building was alright although I wanted more detail and more explanation. What type of world was this? Yes it’s got magic in it but am I looking at fantasy with a Graveyard city? Is it a steampunk setting? What am I looking at here?

Now let’s move onto the characters.

Out of all of them, Silas even though he was pretty much your typical villain, was actually the most interesting. Even though he was the most interesting though, he wasn’t really that likable (understandably so, he’s a villain BUT I  always root for the bad guy). He wasn’t really part of the “cool bad guy” crowd I suppose for lack of a better explanation.

Edgar, who is Kate’s friend, meh. Not sure if I really liked him. He was a wuss. Sure, he had some few good moments. Otherwise though he just wasn’t that great at all. Kate was okay. She was a typical strong girl character you see in most YA novels like these.

In summary though, I’d have to say these characters in the book are ho hum. There’s not much feeling to them, they’re not likable, and they’re just…blah. Because of this and the lack of world building I just didn’t feel that much into the book and didn’t grab my attention. Sure, there were good points in the book but it just wasn’t quite enough to get me into the book like some others have. I’m not sure I’m going to go further into the series. I’d say take it or leave it with this one. I’ve seen other reviews where some have really enjoyed the book. Unfortunately much as I wanted to, I didn’t so much.
I give it a 7 out of 10.

Written by Karoline

March 13, 2017 at 7:24 am

Review of A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger

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London, 1385. Surrounded by ruthless courtiers—including his powerful uncle, John of Gaunt, and Gaunt’s flamboyant mistress, Katherine Swynford—England’s young, still untested king, Richard II, is in mortal peril, and the danger is only beginning. Songs are heard across London—catchy verses said to originate from an ancient book that prophesies the end of England’s kings—and among the book’s predictions is Richard’s assassination. Only a few powerful men know that the cryptic lines derive from a “burnable book,” a seditious work that threatens the stability of the realm. To find the manuscript, wily bureaucrat Geoffrey Chaucer turns to fellow poet John Gower, a professional trader in information with connections high and low. Gower discovers that the book and incriminating evidence about its author have fallen into the unwitting hands of innocents, who will be drawn into a labyrinthine conspiracy that reaches from the king’s court to London’s slums and stews–and potentially implicates his own son. As the intrigue deepens, it becomes clear that Gower, a man with secrets of his own, may be the last hope to save a king from a terrible fate. (From Goodreads)

 

Definitely not a book to be read in a quick setting. Are you into literary figures? Historical fiction? Historical mystery filled with spies and intrigue? Something that takes place in the Middle Ages? All of the above in one book? Sure! Let’s take it!

I’d have to say, there can be no better description of the Middle Ages than in this book. Everything was so visual and well written. The setting itself has good amounts of description, the characters definitely helped as well. They even had the mannerisms and speech of the time.

Speaking of characters.

Oh Chaucer. No. Just no. I don’t like you. He’s not exactly painted in the most best of light here is he? Manipulative, wife stealer, even with his supposed close friend he’s not upfront and honest with. You definitely have sympathy with Gower here. Even though he has a questionable job and past with his son Simon, he’s still a much more likable character than Chaucer in my opinion. Other characters that I liked; Edgar/Eleanor – the story arc with Millicent and Agnes was a good one. I enjoyed their side of the story with the ‘dregs’ of society. Another character I liked, Hawkwood. Yes he’s an odious villain that oozed all the horrible things you didn’t like. But he was such an awesome villain! Cold, calculating, and not one to trifle with when you get on his bad side and think you can get away with (that poor sod – those who read the book should know what I’m talking about)

The plot itself was pretty good. Lots of plot twists and turns. You’re left peeling layer after layer of intrigue and mystery while you get to the bottom of it. Once you had it figured out there’s still more left to figure out. I enjoyed it! There’s something about all the layers of intrigue that makes it a more compelling read.

However, a couple of things that made this read a not so easy one. The amount of characters. Quite a few to keep track of. So this isn’t the type of book that you can drop and come back to after a while (I mistakenly did that unfortunately, as life got in the way). You need to take you time, get to know the characters, the plot and how everything comes together. It sometimes can get a little confusing so some extra attention is needed while reading this book. Also, have a dictionary beside you. I suppose to keep with the medieval thing, there’s some medieval terminology that you’ll need to familiarize yourself with. It adds more to the book but I could have done without it. To be on the bright side, my vocabulary has increased with various middle age words.

Overall, take the time to read the book and enjoy. The spinning and weaving of the web and trying to find the center spot is fun and always is a treat to read when figuring out a historical mystery. Greatly recommended for Hist-fic fans.

I give it a 6 out of 10.

Thank you William Morrow for providing me a review copy!

 

Written by Karoline

March 8, 2017 at 7:42 am

Review of Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interference has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security,” but Cinder suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on. Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an “honor” that no one has survived. But it doesn’t take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for. (From Goodreads)

 

I am at a loss of words with this book. Where do I start? That it’s a fantastic somewhat retelling of Cinderella with a futuristic twist that includes cyborgs, other planetary beings, and a couple that you want together so freaking bad you can feel the sparks fly but when they’re so close they take two steps back and you fall back in your seat in complete frustration…yeah it’s that kind of book.

 

It didn’t take me too long to finish this one. It’s very engaging, loved the setting and Cinder as a character. She’s no Mary Sue, nor a damsel in distress. She’s just someone who was dedicated to taking care Peony and doing her job. We definitely love main characters like these!

 

The writing in the book was excellent, the characters are extremely well done enough that their personalities bring out the feelings from the reader. (My God, I hated Adri and Pearl so much I almost was spitting venom whenever they appeared in the novel). I loved Cinder and Kai. The chemistry is there, both of them are extremely likable, and you just KNOW they’re meant to be.

 

The plot is also well written. A plague is introduced in this novel, with otherworldly beings from the Moon also part of the story line with a ruler that makes all other dictators hang their heads in shame. The plot thickens with your usual villainous Evil Queen but I’m sure she’s got more up her sleeve as the series progresses.

 

YA lovers will absolutely love this book. It’s such a great read, it won’t take long to finish. Great start to the series, can’t wait to read more of this!

I give it a 9 out of 10.

Written by Karoline

February 14, 2017 at 8:13 am

Review of Ashes by Ilsa J Bick

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It could happen tomorrow . . .

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions. Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP. For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human. (From Goodreads)

 

At the end of this book I was yelling out: OH MY..EFFEN GEE WHY DID IT END THIS WAY WHY WHY WHY? Because it was EXCELLENT! AND I STILL CAN’T GET OVER IT.

Finally, I thought to myself, as I closed this book, a post apocalyptic plot that’s more realistic with no sugar coating and it’s all about survival. I felt myself turning the pages and staying up late to finish just one more chapter. It was so engaging and the plot itself was so well written it kept the reader near the edge of their seat.

For almost every chapter, there was always something new Alex would encounter and she would have to find a way out to survive or overcome. She’d have to be one of the most strongest and resilient characters I have ever read without acting like a lovesick naive twit like you do in some post apocalyptic YA’s out there. There was only one moment where Alex seemed to have forgotten about both of her companions from her journey but, I suppose she was sidetracked for good reason. I especially enjoyed the particular moment where Alex develops her skill to “smell”.

So what am I going to do? I think it’s about time to pay my library fines and take the second book out of the library (I’ve been slacking off about that) because I need to know what happens next!!! I most definitely recommend this book it’s an awesome read!!!

I give it a 10 out of 10

Written by Karoline

January 23, 2017 at 7:49 am

Review of Robopocalypse by Daniel H Wilson

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In the near future, at a moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and assumes control over the global network of machines that regulate everything from transportation to utilities, defense and communication. In the months leading up to this, sporadic glitches are noticed by a handful of unconnected humans – a single mother disconcerted by her daughter’s menacing “smart” toys, a lonely Japanese bachelor who is victimized by his domestic robot companion, an isolated U.S. soldier who witnesses a ‘pacification unit’ go haywire – but most are unaware of the growing rebellion until it is too late. When the Robot War ignites — at a moment known later as Zero Hour — humankind will be both decimated and, possibly, for the first time in history, united. Robopocalypse is a brilliantly conceived action-filled epic, a terrifying story with heart-stopping implications for the real technology all around us…and an entertaining and engaging thriller unlike anything else written in years. (From Goodreads)

 

You do recall World War Z right? For those have read it, they would be aware of the format and narrative of the book. It’s set through various points of views from various characters. Some may like this format, some don’t. I’m thinking that’s one of the deciding factors as to whether a reader will like this book or not. For me, I don’t mind it. It focuses on a small select group of characters so each one would have their own story arc.

The sci fi speak is comprehensive and it doesn’t make the book a hard read. In fact the action and different points of view make the pace of the plot fast and an enjoyable read. There’s plenty of moments where it can be frightening – in a society where we rely more on machines and robots only to have them turn against you and everything runs amok is a scary thought. (The part where Zero Hour happens is an example)

Now let’s be fair. Those die hard sci fi readers may or may not like this one. Perhaps it’s not sci fi enough, perhaps it’s too noobish, so I’m not sure if it’s for this type of crowd. Since I stop at the mention of quantum physics, this book is fine for me.

So did I like the book? YES I DID. I love the different points of view, I love the action, and the whole entire thing was an awesome read. I understand how it may not be for everyone but we all have varying tastes. It’s definitely worth a try in my opinion

Thank you Doubleday for giving me a Review Copy!

I give it a 10/10

 

Written by Karoline

August 29, 2016 at 8:20 am

Gunpowder Green by Laura Childs

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Tea shop owner Theodosia Browning knows that something’s brewing in the high society of Charleston—something other than her newest tea… The Indigo Tea Shop, Charleston’s favorite spot of tea, has just come out with its latest flavor: Gunpowder Green. Theodosia Browning cannot wait to hear its praises as it is unveiled at the annual yacht race. But when she hears the crack of an antique gun meant to end the race, a member of Charleston’s elite falls dead. Theodosia has a hunch that his demise was no accident—and will go out of her way to prove it. But if she doesn’t act fast, Theo will find herself in hot water with some boiling-mad Charlestonians—and more than a little gun-chai… (From Goodreads)

So this is book two of the Tea Shop Mystery series (Cozy Mysteries). I’m liking this! It’s quaint, it’s light with the same characters you’ve got to know and become attached to in the first one. What the reader will love besides a nice lighthearted mystery, is the nice descriptive setting of Charleston. Also, if you’re a tea lover, you’ll enjoy the various descriptions of teas.  One particular part that stood out for me was the “mystery tea” event. This scene stood out because the atmosphere and feeling was extremely well done and written. It was like the reader was part of the setting and taking a part in the event.

The one thing I do have to mention regarding this book, although the characters are extremely likable, and they’re well rounded out, the plot itself was a bit predictable and one could be able to guess who the culprit was. I hope this doesn’t happen in the next one as I’ll definitely continue reading this series.

Perfect choice for tea and mystery cozy lovers alike. It’s a great continuation after the first novel and I hope the others following will be just as good.
I give it a 7 out of 10

Written by Karoline

July 25, 2016 at 11:12 am

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

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Born Wicked

Born Wicked

Blessed with a gift…cursed with a secret. Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship – or an early grave. Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word . . . especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra. If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood – not even from each other. (From Amazon.ca)

Oh wow I loved this book. The three sisters were such memorable characters and each had their own distinct personality. Of the three I’d have to love Maura because of her outspoken personality, her temperament made her explosive and exciting to read about. I felt sorry for her at the same time because of what she goes through, but I’d have to say she’s my favorite character of the three.

The plot of the book was really good and interesting. World building was wonderful and I loved the setting. The pace of the plot was also steady and filled with mystery. I liked the concept of the Brotherhood and the Sisterhood, it’s interesting and different. The prophecy mentioned in this book was a little drawn out too much as I hoped, but perhaps that’s because I was eager to figure out what it was.

I can’t say that I really like Cate. She’s a typical older sister but I found myself yelling every few 50 pages: ‘CATE. FFS. TELL YOUR SISTERS’. It’s her keeping all the information away from her sisters that makes the plot even more entangled than before (but more exciting!). Of the two possible romances, I’d prefer Paul, only because he just sounds much more romantic (but a bit of a cad) than Finn.

Naturally with books like these, it leaves on a HUGE CLIFFHANGER that makes you want to pull your hair out because you’d have to wait a long time for the next book to come out. I’m telling you, it’s an ending that’s enough to make you want to scream.

I’d say, fans of A Great and Terrible Beauty, and Prophecy of the Sisters would enjoy this book. Similar setting, but very different plots. Overall fabulous reading and most definitely recommended!

I give it a 9 out of 10

PS: Another reason why I don’t like Finn? I don’t like redheads. When I think of Finn, I think of Archie. Um no…don’t think so.

Written by Karoline

October 1, 2014 at 8:58 am