More of an Adventure, needs more spooky…

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In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, R. F. Jackaby, are called upon to investigate the supernatural. First, members of a particularly vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens. A day later, their owner is found murdered, with a single mysterious puncture wound to her neck. Then, in nearby Gad’s Valley, dinosaur bones from a recent dig go missing, and an unidentifiable beast attacks animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Policeman Charlie Cane, exiled from New Fiddleham to the valley, calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer.  (From Goodreads)

So it may help to read the first one in order to grasp a bit of understanding of the character relationships and the overall plot (there’s a main one underneath the layers here)

***Possible spoilers here you’ve been warned***

I loved the first one, really liked the characters and Jackaby’s quirkiness. With this one though, it’s a different type of case, albeit still with a supernatural/fantastical element but it felt like you were reading an Indiana Jones type of adventure. Which is all right and it made things different and interesting but I was looking forward to something a little more darker and spookier.

However, the adventure aspect with the missing bones was still well written and enjoyable to read. It took more of a comedic tone and I enjoyed the fighting between Lamb and Horner over the bones while poor Charlie seems to be always stuck in the middle of each argument. Abigail really shined in this one with her passion of dinosaur bones, she was in her element and showed how much she loved doing the job despite the obstacles she had because of her father and society. She really stepped up and developed a lot in this book.

And yes! She breaks the tension with Charlie!!! Finally! It was all throughout the novel until she finally took matters into her own hands. I like them both together. They seem to complement each other well enough even though it seems she has a much more determined and strong minded temperament whereas Charlie is more mellow and laid back. Well maybe Abigail will slowly bring him out of his shell?

What I enjoyed the most about this plot is there’s an even deeper and darker story underneath and this was just a diversion. That pale man is creepy and I hope it gets explored more in the next book as it features Jenny’s story too. This was a fun read but I’ll be happier going onto much darker things in the story.

I give it a 6 out of 10.

 

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Anything Assassin’s Must Be Good

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In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down. Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.  (From Goodreads)

This book reminds me so much of Assassin’s Creed. I LOVED IT!

***Spoilers ahead you’ve been warned***

The world building is really well done with different Families pitted against each other and each one wanting to rise up in the ranks to gain more influence and power. There’s elements of fantasy, as it also involves deities and Gods (each city has their own patron deity). Lea has Safraella for example, who happens to be the Goddess of her city and protects her followers from the ghosts that frequent outside during the night. I loved this concept as it kept the world interesting and played a large role in Lea’s character.

Speaking of Lea. I really enjoyed her as a character. She’s fiercely loyal, headstrong, and her skills are on point. She’s a survivor and once she sets her goals, she does it. Despite all she goes through, she continues to keep going. I love her devotion to Safraella. It may seem fanatical to some but it’s what kept her advancing into her plot for revenge. (Also, she wouldn’t have the drive to go find Les and Marcello)

Although I rather liked Lea and Val together but well he just had to go ahead and do that thing didn’t he but well, Family before family right? Les and Lea were all right. Not the ideal chemistry that I thought she had with Val, but it’s still sweet nevertheless. I can’t say I enjoyed reading the romance in the book though. It felt awkward and out of the place (do we really have time for this when revenge is priority??) and I didn’t care too much for reading about that. I preferred the plotting and surprises that were in store for Lea with the Da Vias.

Aside from the awkward moments of romance, the plot itself was great. It’s got good amounts of action and drama to keep the reading going, and the excellent world building really helps in this case. I especially liked the encounter with Lea and the Goddess Safraella herself. The last third part of the book closed nicely (bwahaha! Revenge was sweet!!!!)

I’m looking forward to the second book, I’d like to know what happens next considering what Lea chose to do.

I give it an 8 out of 10.

 

You Won’t Forget This One…

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When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends — her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.  Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.  This is Alice’s story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget. (From Goodreads)

It’s a quick, but extremely brutal read. This may not be for everyone.

You really do feel for ‘Alice’ throughout the novel and what she goes through. There’s a feeling of utter helplessness watching her suffer under the hands of Ray and his cruelty is hard to read. What’s worse is, as the novel progresses and Ray develops other plans to include Alice you feel horrible reading the book (almost like having a bad taste in the mouth).

Alice’s behavior is also hard to read. She’s been conditioned because of Ray, and some of her actions are the cause of it. You almost cringe because you start doubting her and wonder if she really will listen to Ray or not. She’s had various chances to leave Ray but her fear for her family kept her staying. It’s understandable as Ray is a manipulator and managed to twist things around to get Alice to be compliant.

There’s pieces here and there of Ray and his background. However at that point you don’t care anymore since he’s an awful scumbag and deserves any horrible thing coming at him. It’s a pretty straight forward plot, everything is done through Alice’s perspective, and it’s definitely the type of book that will stick with you for a long while.

I’m not going to recommend this, it may be too much for some readers. Definitely pick up something with a much lighter theme after this one.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

Like a Reality TV show you can’t break away from…

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Welcome to Manderley Academy

I hadn’t wanted to go, but my parents were so excited… So here I am, the new girl at Manderley, a true fish out of water. But mine’s not the name on everyone’s lips. Oh, no. It’s Becca Normandy they can’t stop talking about. Perfect, beautiful Becca. She went missing at the end of last year, leaving a spot open at Manderley— the spot that I got. And everyone acts like it’s my fault that infallible, beloved Becca is gone and has been replaced by not perfect, completely fallible, unknown Me. Then, there’s the name on my lips— Max Holloway. Becca’s ex. The one boy I should avoid, but can’t. Thing is, it seems like he wants me, too. But the memory of Becca is always between us. And as much as I’m starting to like it at Manderley, I can’t help but think she’s out there, somewhere, watching me take her place. Waiting to take it back. (From Goodreads)

This is one of the few times where I enjoyed the book however the characters were so unlikable I was amazed that I stuck through and finished the novel. It was well written enough that I was super curious as to what happened to Becca and whether she was really around or if she had a horrible outcome. The mystery element was well done to keep you guessing. The point of views changes between Becca and Callie’s. There’s a good easy flow between the two perspectives so it makes the reading easy to follow and quick.

That being said, the characters were just awful in a sense not that they were unreadable (almost) but they were just horrible awful people. Even our main character wasn’t that likable. However I digress. Let’s break them down:

Becca; Oh darling. You horrible awful attention seeking harpy. Not only do you have issues of your own but because you aren’t happy you feel the need to destroy others and to make sure you drag them down into the mud and follow you through your misery. I had no sympathies. Even when it was revealed what happened. Except for …well you know.

Max: Another horrible creature and he’s pretty much meant for Becca anyway as they’re both rather terrible people. The “I like you but I don’t want to be together” spiel is ugh. On top of that after you say that you go and do the pursuing. You’re the emotional manipulative type just like Becca and it’s hard to figure out which one is worse. You emotionally  play with the main character and give her the yo-yo treatment then get mad when she’s talking with your best friend..oh wait sorry let’s re-write that: “Best Friend”. Dude, you’re like a horrible Tinder date gone wrong.

Dana: You’re a psychotic twit and holy mother mary do you have issues. I get what happened and you stood there and was an observer but you lashing out and being Queen Horrible to Callie (main character) was inexcusable. This behavior can’t even be blamed on grief, you’re just pure malice. Your obsession with Becca is creepy it makes you look like the type of fangirl nobody ever wants.

Madison and Julia: You have no spines and you follow Becca like she’s a Goddess. Stop being sheep and your condescension towards Callie was uncalled for. You each deserve a swift kick for treating her like that.

Johnny: You broke the Bro-Code. You should be banned for life.

Callie: Where do I start with you? You started off as a great main character and a lot of sympathies to you because you started off on the wrong foot and in a precarious situation. However then you did this yo-yo game with Max saying “Yeah I like you but I never said I was going to be with you” sure, that was a savage burn on your part but you keep *whining* about how you like Max so much and he’s not returning the favor because of Becca but he keeps coming back to you like you’re the side piece and you don’t seem to mind that treatment. You try to stick up for yourself with Dana (which was admirable) but then you shrink back into your turtle shell and you just *walk* into these situations even though YOU KNOW it’s going to turn out with potentially bad consequences. You’re like the friend that complains about how horrible your significant other is treating you but you’re still with that person but you don’t listen to advice. You have got to be one of the most frustrating characters I have ever read so far.

Well now! That sums up my opinions of the characters. I say go for reading this one. It’s almost like you’re watching reality TV and it’s such a guilty pleasure but you can’t help but not look away. Maybe because the characters were just so hateful you had to keep on reading. You just wanted to know what was going to happen next.

I give it an 8 out of 10.

 

A Subject to be Aware of. Definitely Recommend this one.

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In order to save her family’s farm, Roshen, sixteen, must leave her rural home to work in a factory in the south of China. There she finds arduous and degrading conditions and contempt for her minority (Uyghur) background. Sustained by her bond with other Uyghur girls, Roshen is resolved to endure all to help her family and ultimately her people. A workplace survival story, this gritty, poignant account focuses on a courageous teen and illuminates the value—and cost—of freedom. (From Goodreads)

This was a great eye opener albeit a sad read on what’s going on with the Uyghur and how they’re being treated by the Chinese government. They’re not a very well known group of people and after finishing this book it’s an eye opening experience.

Throughout the novel you follow the narrative of Roshen, who’s left her family behind and a potential fiance to work in a factory. As a reader you already have an idea on how this is going to go as factories over there are usually sweatshops with grueling horrifying conditions. What I was not expecting, and because I didn’t know much of these peoples is they’re on the bottom rung of the ladder everywhere they go. Since they don’t look like your average Chinese, they stick out as a visible minority and because their beliefs are very much different, they get treated horribly and are pretty much slaves.

You follow Roshen and a group of Uyghur girls as they toil through the factory under horrible conditions. You can feel their fear and mistrust, even amongst themselves because anyone can become an informant. What I was not prepared for, was for Hawa’s character. You already had an assumption about her because of her behavior but when she does something completely unspeakable on behalf of Roshen it was a complete blindside. The negative feelings you had towards Hawa disappears completely and is replaced with a kind of respect for what she went through.

Definitely recommended to read. It’s horrifying what these families and girls go through, and awareness is key.

I give it an 8 out of 10.

Great action and plot, bad love triangle

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MACKENZIE AND AMY WERE BEST FRIENDS.

UNTIL AMY WAS BRUTALLY MURDERED.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf. Lupine syndrome – also known as the werewolf virus – is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control. Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk. (From Goodreads)

***Possible spoilers, you’ve been warned***

The book starts off well and has a good pace and momentum throughout the book. The setting is also well done and small with a handful of characters so it’s simple and makes the reading enjoyable. I particularly liked the dream sequences Mac has with Amy. They can be cliche but it helps move the plot along and adds to the mood.

The werewolf aspect is interesting in the book. The notion of them having a ‘rehabilitation’ camp has a dystopia feel and there’s also Mac trying to solve Amy’s murder. So there’s different characteristics of the book to please YA readers which makes the experience reading this fun and enjoyable.

Of course you need a bit of romance in the story as well right? I’m all for Kyle and Mac being together. I found the love triangle aspect here irritating and forced on. Jason did not have sort of chemistry at all with Mac. It felt forced, awkward, and well…it just didn’t sit well with me (your boyfriend likes your best friend…just. No.) The love triangle just made things so cliche and sappy. The story didn’t need this. It was fine with just Kyle and Mac!

The mystery aspect was good throughout the novel. The crumb trail to figuring out who was behind the attacks wasn’t that obvious until the late third of the book and although it was already known who it was, the action sequence and climax of the story was pretty exciting and a lot of things are revealed. The revelations weren’t the type to blind side you, it fits well into the story and puts the pieces together. Which is fine. I think the action scenes are enough to keep readers interested.

I was happy with the way the book ended and I’ll be picking up the second one. Recommended for YA lovers who just want a good light read with some good action and a readable enjoyable plot.

I give it a 7 out of 10.

Sad to see The Grisha Go :(

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The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne. Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army. Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives. Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for. (From Goodreads)

***Spoilers. You’ve been warned***

The plot was a pretty fast paced one, just like the first and second. This one’s got more heartbreaking moments and I’m glad to see the romance drama has cleared as well. You still feel the awkward tension between Mal and Alina and it does induce moments of eyeball rolling but the heartbreaker comes when hell breaks loose and Nikolai gets taken away and becomes corrupted by the Darkling.

Did I ever want to cry out loud in horrifying rage.

Of all people Nikolai just HAD TO BE THE ONE. Just when things were getting a little better, when it looks like he might have snagged Alina and they might be together (just maybe?) but noooo! He had to be corrupted and although he valiantly did try to fight it my heart broke into two. (I guess you could say I’m all for Team Nikolai) Which of course clears the path for Mal and Alina to try again and rekindle their love.

This love triangle was one where I was happy with who she would end up being with either way. Of course I would have preferred Nikolai because I loved his character and personality. But now that Mal stopped his stupidity the chemistry was back between himself and Alina. It just felt right.

I loved how everything just came to full circle to close this series. How in the end, Mal and Alina go back to recreate the orphanage to house children just like how they used to be when they were young. It was sad to see Alina decline to be at Nikolai’s side, but also to decline to be at court with the other Grisha but, it was for the better. Alina had never felt like she was part of them, neither did Mal. It was touching when she received the kefta with the note (yeah I got a little something in my eye with that moment)

And even though the Darkling didn’t deserve it, kudos for Alina to take the high road and giving him a proper ending.

I enjoyed reading this series. I’m sad to see this series come to an end. I didn’t realize how attached I were to some characters. It was a nice sigh of relief at the end though. When I closed the book after reading the final page. It was a beautiful but bittersweet ending.

I give it an 8 out of 10.

 

(David and Genya!!!! FINALLY!!!!!!) 😀