Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson

Book Review

 


Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No NormalBook Genre: Graphic Novel, Comic, YA, Superheros

Book Series: Ms. Marvel #1

Released: 10/30/14 by Marvel

Pages: 120  Price: $15.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I Borrowed this book from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey! 

My Review:

Teens are a fickle group of readers and one area that is severely lacking at the library where I work is in the graphic novels section of YA.  With the popularity of the Marvel movies, I decided to start there and came across this comic.  Now I’m not really a fan of GN but even I have heard of Ms. Marvel from when it came out and decided to add this one to our library.  Of course, when it came in I needed to check it out for research purposes.  The wink is implied here…

I actually quite liked the GN and finished it in one sitting.  I liked that the hero is female and Muslim yet remains relatable to most anyone from the age group.  She faces much of the same problems any teen is going to have of fitting in, peer pressure, overbearing parents, struggling to find one’s own identity.  I liked that the comic wasn’t over sexualized which will make it an easier sell to parents.  It was fun and I hope teens in my community give it a chance.

Overall this book isn’t quite my style and didn’t convert me over to GN or Comics.  I still struggle to appreciate the graphics part of them.   Ms. Marvel wasn’t really written for someone like me however and I’m keeping that in mind with my rating.  I liked it.  I see the value of it and look forward to introducing it to others.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Advertisements

Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones

Book Review

 


Death and the Girl Next Door (Darklight #1)Book Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy,

Book Series: Darklight #1

Released: 10/2/2011 by St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 274 Price: $9.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed a copy of this audiobook from my library.

Book Synopsis:

Sophomore Year Was Never Supposed to be This Complicated
Ten years ago, Lorelei McAlister’s parents disappeared without a trace, and she is finally beginning to accept the fact that they’re never coming back. Life must go on. She’s got her grandparents and the support of her best friends, and high school is not quite as painful as she thought it would be.
But This is What Happens When You Fall for the Angel of Death.
Until the day the school’s designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it, standing outside her house in the dark, tough, sexy Jared Kovach – comes to school. Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other, and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity.
Life as She Knows it is About to Change Forever.
What does Jared know about her parents? Why does Cameron tell Jared he can’t have Lorelei? And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real? Thrilling, sassy, sexy, and inventive, Death and the Girl Next Door proves Darynda Jones is a force to be reckoned with.

My Review:

I believe I have mentioned a time or two before how I am long over YA books.  I am, however, a huge fan of Darynda Jones.  So when I stumbled across her YA series at my public library I decided to give it a shot.  This trilogy is also narrated by the same actor that narrates her Charley Davidson series so that was another plus.  I needed to wait my turn but over the weekend the first book became available.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started the book as I knew little about the trilogy.  I was hoping for Ms. Jones’s trademark humor and character comradery.  The cover looked to offer a love triangle as well.  If you are a fan of her adult series I believe you will probably like this one, as well, as they are pretty similar, but I’ll get to that in a minute.  The teenage drama is pretty light and the characters don’t actually spend a ton of time in school.  I did make an observation though that the adults in the story seem to let the teens off the hook pretty easily and are far more gullible than must adults would normally be, in my opinion.  The romance and language is very clean so don’t hesitate to let younger readers pick this series up.

The main thing I noticed about this book is how very similar it is to her adult series.  I believe one of the names is the same and the supernatural elements are almost the same as well.    I was surprised to see that this was actually published after the first Charley Davidson series because it feels like a predecessor to that series.  Not a prequel but more like a first attempt, if you know what I mean.  For example, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s first league book Born in Ice was actually written before her first Dark Hunter books and some of the characters in that book feel like first drafts to some of her later characters in the second series.

Regardless of how Death and the Girl Next Door came to be, I liked it.  Not as much as her other series but enough to put book number two on hold.  I’m not quite sure if I want to continue for this world’s potential or to see how it compares to the second series.  I almost wish it was a spin-off from the Charley Davidson series.  I think a YA book about a teenage Charley and Reyes could be a lot of fun or a series about their daughter’s life in the future.

Anyway, again it was a good book and I’m glad I tried it.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Intensity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Book Review

 


Intensity (Chronicles of Nick, #8)Book Genre: Paranormal, YA, Urban Fantasy

Book Series: Chorincles of Nick #8

Released: 9/5/17 by Nemesis Publications 

Pages: 400? (134 according to my Nook)  Price:$7.99 Ebook

Buy the Book: Amazon Intensity: Chronicles of Nick

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I own a e-copy of this book. 

 

 

Book Synopsis:

It’s a demon-eat-demon world for Nick Gautier. Just when he thinks he’s finally gotten a handle on how not to take over the world and destroy it, Death returns with an all-star cast that is determined to end the Malachai reign and lineage forever. Worse? Death and War have found the one, true enemy Nick can’t find, and even if he did, it’s one he could never bring himself to banish or kill.

Now framed for murders he hasn’t committed, and surrounded by new friends who might be turncoats, Nick is learning fast how his father went down in flames.

The heat in New Orleans is rising fast, and Nick’s threat-level has gone into a whole new level of intensity. He’s learning fast that when War and Death decide to battle, they don’t take prisoners. The don’t negotiate. And they’re both immune to his biting sarcasm and Cajun charm. To win this, he will have to embrace a new set of powers, but one wrong step, and he will belong to the side of Darkness, forever.

My Review:

I remember complaining in previous reviews that 14 titles before we got to Nick’s adult Dark-Hunter book was way too many and I hoped Ms. Kenyon reconsidered.  Well, what do you know.  This is the last YA Chronicle’s of Nick book.  Thank god.  Not that I don’t love the series, or the character, or the world but I’m so over YA books.  At 43 I just can’t relate to them anymore and I have a feeling that shifting trends in YA had a bit to do with the early conclusion to the series.  That and Ms. Kenyon explained on her site that as the story progresses into the Shadow of Fire series she wants to deal with more Adult subject matter and didn’t feel comfortable publishing that in the YA market.  Good call.  I’m all for this shift in series and hope that it breathes new life into Nick’s story.

There is another caveat to how this book was published.  The publishing house kept pushing the release back and Ms. Kenyon did not want to disappoint her fans so she self published this title.  It might make it a little difficult for libraries to get their hands on but dedicated fans of the series should have no problem finding it online at a retailer of their choice.  The book in e-format feels far shorter than the 400 pages it is billed at but when you take into consideration how the print was formatted in the other books it probably isn’t far off from the same length as the others.  My e-book came in at 134 pages but it took me far longer than I expected to read and it would sometimes take two swipes to get the page number to change.

Now, what did I think of the story?

What the hell did I just read?!?!  A new character that came out of left field, make note to go back and check earlier books.  A shocking death!  Revelations as to just how important Nick is to the Dark-Hunter universe and teasing glimpses into potential futures.  There is a lot going on in this book and fans of the series should. not. miss. this finally! The focus and tone of this series has changed so much from the first book that I can see why it needs to leave the YA format behind.  To continue would put serious hindrance on the potential of what could be covered in future books.  Nick is growing up and its time the plot did as well.

I’m so excited to see what come to light in the next four books and I have hopes that this means Nick’s Dark-Hunter book isn’t that far off.  I have some major catching up to do as I am a couple of books behind already.  Ms Kenyon remains my favorite author but some of her books have become a bit more miss than hit lately.  I feel like a change is coming soon as the hairs on the back of my neck tell me something is afoot in the Dark-Hunter Universe.  I’m hoping for something to knock my socks off and make me excited about this world again. I know Ms. Kenyon has it in her and I see her setting up the pieces so I’m in it for the long haul.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Invision by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Book Review

 


Invision (Chronicles of Nick, #7)Book Genre:
YA, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Book Series: #7 in Chronicles of Nick series

Released: 6/3/16 by St. Martin Griffin

Pages: 368 Price: $19.99

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed a copy of this book from my library

 

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Think your life is complicated and confusing? Nick Gautier was born to bring about the end of the world…It’s not easy being the heir of a demon overlord.

But Nick is determined to thwart his destiny and get into a good college. To be more than his genetics and prophecy foretell. No one is ever going to tell this stubborn Cajun who and what he really is. Or how to live his life.

Not even the Fates of the Universe. But now that he and his team of ancient gods and demons have claimed the Eye of Ananke and he sees the missteps of the future, he has to battle the demons within that are far deadlier and more treacherous than any he’s battled before. All the while his arch nemesis is back and determined to reclaim his place as the harbinger for Armageddon. Even if it means killing Nick and barbecuing everyone he loves to do so.

My Review:

Okay, here is the deal Nick is one of my favorite characters in the Dark Hunter series this one is spun off of; so I am invested in this series and will stick it out no matter how frustrating I find it at times.  I will admit that this book was tons better than the last one. This one struck a better balance between info and action.  It still takes place over one freaking day…  When is this boy ever going to age?  And if there is going to only be one book a year, with 14 titles and only half way through it means we have to wait seven more years until Nick gets his Dark Hunter book.  Seven more years!!!  I am going to be 49!  I might stop caring by then…  I know Kenyon has a plan, and it will probably be worth it, but I wish she would release more than one of these a year.  Let’s speed things up a bit shall we?

Anyway, bitching done.  Like I already said this book was a much better balance and the characters actually did something besides stand around and talk.  I still feel like Kenyon is trying to catch all of the YA Only readers up to speed and prep them for the jump to the adult Nick book that is coming…eventually…  This time, she did so through a series of flashbacks, flash forwards, flash sideways, alternate timelines, etc.  I kind of liked this approach except for it got to be a bit confusing as to when we left reality and entered a flash.  Perhaps a paragraph or page break would have made that a bit clearer  I know it was meant to be confusing for Nick, but as the reader, I wanted to know what the hell was going on.

Some of the main characters from the adult series had just minor cameos in this book which as fine as this is a series centering around Nick, and some like Simi did have a more prominent role in this book.  There were a few new characters introduced and I am looking forward to learning more about them.  There were some peeks into the future and I definitely want to know more about what the hell happen there, how did that come to pass.  Kenyon also throws some hints into Nick’s future H.E.A and that it might not be Kody.  I’m not sure what I think about that.  I like the character but am not sold on her destined to be with Nick.

There  were some info-drops that came out of the blue.  Some important information just casually mentions like it was common knowledge already and I’m not quite sure it was shared in an earlier book.  Oh well, I’m not going back and re-reading this one yet.  I will just move on for now.  It is interesting to see how these characters all are connected and if you are a fan of the adult series then I would highly suggest reading this one as well.  Sure it is an alternate timeline, but we still get to learn interesting tidbits about the characters we love.

One character I was thrilled to see was Jaden.  He has always interested me in the Dark Hunter world and I crave more details about him.  Which we got in this book, in spades.  This was one of the better books in the series, kept me interested and revealed quite a bit.  Too bad it ended with the mother of all cliffhangers and we have to wait another freaking year to find out what happens…  Channeling my inner teenager:  Life is so unfair.

My Rating: 4 Stars

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1)
Linked to Goodreads

Book one in The Fifth Wave Series: Released 5/7/13: 457 Pages

I borrowed this book from my library

Author’s Site

Book Synopsis:

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

My Review:

Warning.  This review is going to consist of an unpopular opinion about a much-hyped highly-rated ya book.  If you are a sensitive author or rabid fan of this book walk away now.  This book was not for me and I may share personal view points you do not agree with.

Still here.  Good.  On with the review.

I have recommended this book to so many people, talked about on Top Ten Tuesday and even got super excited about it again once I saw the trailer for the upcoming movie.  I pushed the book up in my reading priority and checked it out one fall afternoon.  Then promptly checked it back in a week later.  It should have been an omen to me that this book and I were not meant to be.  Still a week or less later I finished up the other book I was struggling with and rechecked this one out and actually started it.  It took me 16 days to read this book.  16 days!!!  If you know me you know that I could read like 5 books in that amount of time.   I should have stopped around page 100 or so, but I pushed on chalking it up to reading apathy, but by the end I think it was a fair mix of personal issues and just not the right book for me.

The main problem I faced was pacing.  It was far too slow for me.  This book has a lot of world building in the beginning and I needed more action to grab me and suck me into the story.  It also took quite a while to figure out what had happen with mixed-up flashbacks that got a bit distracting.  The characters were alright, no one that I really disliked, but no one I really wanted to root for either.  I also spent half the freaking book waiting to meet the bleeping aliens that I lost interest.   I spent far too much of the book wanting to be excited about the story only to fall into frustration waiting for things to be explained.

Eventually we get enough back story and the flash backs fade into history and we stick in the current time line.  Then bam we switch perspectives and have to get used to being in the head of a whole new character.  It wasn’t that bad and I understand why it was necessary, to show us the action in several different locations.  While it was nice to see more of what was going down, but I would often find myself wanting to return to the previous person and finish up what was going down there first.  The romance was lukewarm at best, kinda creepy at worst.  Haters of love triangles or fourangles… may find frustration with this book.  There were some interesting parallels to WWII death camps that might fly over some younger reader’s heads, or maybe not I don’t know what they are teaching kids these days in history class.  Lots of guns and violence, but the end of the human race is the central plot point so I don’t see how it could be avoided.  I just happen to be reading it around the time of some major shooting in the news and I found it a bit uncomfortable.

I didn’t hate the story, but I was never really excited about it either.   I think this book is just further evidence that I am over my enamor for YA reading material.  At age 41 I am over the high school crushes and love triangles.  I just can’t relate anymore.  This book is a case of I so loved the concept way more than the execution. I had high hopes for this book, but in the end I think this is where I leave the series.  I honestly just don’t care what happens next.  I will still be recommending it  to fans of dystopian YA because I think there will be plenty out there that will enjoy this.   For me though it just didn’t click.  Well I tried.

My Rating: 2 Stars

 

Diary of Her Disappearance by Lexi Birks

scan0001
Linked to book’s Amazon page.

Stand Alone: Published 2/16/15

I own a copy of this book.

Book Synopsis:

Riley Conner wasn’t worried about going through the woods. She had done it all school year and had forgotten about her earlier thoughts of being stalked. In her mind, she was safe, away from danger. But as soon as she heard a crunch of leaves and the familiar sense of another presence, all the stalker theories came tumbling back. She remembered trying to run, but being grabbed from behind. She had tried to break away, escape, but the second a warm cloth was pressed to her face, she knew it was over. In the struggle, the trees had swallowed her diary. She wondered now if anyone would ever find it, read it, realize how ignorant she was, and then decide she deserved to be kidnapped. Greg: Riley’s missing. To me, she was a stranger. A girl whose name I didn’t even recognize. But when I saw her picture and realized our pasts had once entwined, I knew I would have to find her.

My Review:

This is the first book by a local indie author from my area, I have heard she has a second book being published soon and I am most definitely getting my hands on a copy of that one as well.  I was really blown away by the writing and story telling skill of Ms. Birks.   I believe this comes from a point I have made in other reviews, Ms. Birks is a reader, and when an author is an avid reader it shines through in their own work.  When you crawl inside different worlds on a regular basis you learn what makes a good story with compelling multi-dimensional characters, but also how to piece together and more importantly how to reveal a captivating plot. You also get a regular dose of what doesn’t work.  Ms. Birks shows us in her first book that she has done her homework and learned how to tell a good story.

Most of this shorter novel, it is only 161 pages, is told from the perspective of Greg, but we also get to check in with Riley but mostly through her diary entries read by Greg.  Later in the book we get to delve into the mind of the monster responsible for  Riley’s disappearance as he fills in valuable background information.  The three main characters were some of the best developed I’ve read in first-book authors in some time.  Ms. Birks does a great job giving them motivation and history and shows, not tells, us aspects of their personality that brings the characters to life.  Even the supporting cast of characters were well thought out and added much to the overall story arch.

The plot was the first thing that really impressed me though.  It was quite complex with all sorts of threads that twisted and turned as they wove their way through the pages.  I love stories like this, those moments where you see all the pieces come together and you learn how everyone is linked.  I did see who the ‘bad-guy’ was before it was discovered in text, but I think it was meant to be that way.  The love-story aspect of the plot was well done too.  No pointless love triangles that are so popular, annoying and overdone.  This one was quite sweet and Ms. Birks kept us guessing till the very end about how things would end up.

This book doesn’t have any classifications on Goodreads, but I would list it as YA, a mystery/thriller with a little light romance thrown in.  It is a bit darker tale, but not graphic.

This is a great read, that is only available online, for the vast majority of my followers, and you can find the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-a-Million.  I hope that many of you give this young, did I forget to mention the author is only 15 years old, indie author a try.  I don’t think you will be disappointed.  She has some serious talent and I hope she continues to share her stories with us.  I can’t wait to see what she does next!

My Rating: 5 Stars

 

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)
Click on cover to visit book’s Goodreads page.

Book #2 in the Throne of Glass series: Published 8/27/14

I borrowed this e-book from my library for the #ReadingMyLibrary Challenge saving me $7.99

Author’s Site

Book Synopsis:

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie…and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

My Review:

I can see why a friend of mine (Hey, Jen) said she liked this book better than the first.  I think I did too, and another blogger friend (Hey, Krystal) was so right about reading the novellas between books.  Knowing about Celaena’s history added some much-needed insight and context to the characters and world that I also suggest people take the same route and read them first.  So much happen in this book, which almost feels like it could have been broken down into two books, that I am not quite sure where to start.

I want to begin at the end, so lets, and I will try to keep it spoiler free.  WOW!  What a cliffhanger.  I want to dive right into the next book, but it might be a while before that happens.  I came out of this book feeling like I now have a pretty good idea of what happen in this world, a refreshing change of pace and I wish other series would be so forthcoming.  It is as if Maas has laid out this giant game board, set up all the pieces, explained the rules and now we will get to watch the battle unfold.  I can’t wait.  We also learn an important piece of information about Celaena at the end of this book.  Now Maas had been dropping some pretty big hind throughout the length of this story, and I figured it out about half-way through.  Actually I think everyone but poor Chaol knew this before the end, but he got to deliver confirmation about this on the last page.  I guess I was under the impression that Celaena didn’t know this, but now that I think back there were hints even in the first book, but we just didn’t know all the history of this world to put it all together.  Again though, wow, this is going to create some major drama!

Next I want to talk about Chaol and Dorian.  There was major movement for one of these men in this book, and I’m not surprised, but I think a piece of me wanted her to pick the other.  Now lets talk about the boys non-relationship wise.  I am pleased with the character development I see in Dorian,  he has such responsibility in his future.  I love how he is developing a bit of a backbone and is opening his eyes to more of what is going on in his father’s world.  I have hope that he is going to end up a true hero and noble ruler someday.  Chaol, oh sweet Chaol.  I liked the way you were changing, opening up, the direction you and Celaena were headed, but then you slipped and in the end I must confess I’m a little disappointed in you.   To quote Cher from Moonstruck “Snap out of it” (google it up if it is before your time).  I want to slap his face and make him see what kind of man the King and Kingdom truly is.  Still I give him credit for being an honorable man.  The next book is going to force him to make a choice though, and right now I’m not really sure what that will be.

Then there is Nehemia.  I am not sure what I think of her character.  I think she has them all blinded to her true self & that I am going to need more information before I sort out what to make of her.  I do think she was a force of good, but what a manipulator!  I think Celaena’s opinion and esteem that she has for her is a little unjustified, and I think Nehemia is using her for her own needs.  No matter how honorable they may be, you shouldn’t use friends.

This was a great book though, and I too think it was better than the first.  I loved how much insight we were given and there was a good balance of action, romance and mystery.  I look forward to seeing what happens next once all the pieces are put in motion.  I expect the battle will be long and bloody, but oh so interesting to watch.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Instinct by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Instinct (Chronicles of Nick, #6)
Click on cover to visit book’s page on Goodreads

Book # 6 in the Chronicles of Nick series: Published 3/31/15

I borrowed this book from my library for the #ReadingMyLibrary Challenge saving me $19.99

Author’s Site

Book Synopsis:

Zombies, demons, vampires, shapeshifters— another day in the life of Nick Gautier– and those are just his friends. But now that he’s accepted the demon that lives inside him, he must learn to control it and temper the very emotions that threaten the lives of everyone he cares for. Something that’s hard to do while trying to stay off the menus of those who want his head on a platter. And no one wants him more than the dark gods who created his race. Now that they know where he is, they will stop at nothing to reclaim him. And without knowing it, Nick has just embraced the one person he should never have trusted. The one person who will hand him over to his enemies to get back the life they lost.

Nick has finally accepted his fate, now he must learn to defy his destiny, and the dark, deadly forces that will stop at nothing to destroy everyone he loves so that they can again return to the world of man and own it.

My Review:

Ms. Kenyon.   I love you.  I love the worlds you create and the characters you fill them with.  But.  I did not love your latest release in the Chronicles of Nick series.  I wanted to, especially after the last one which was AMAZING.  However, I struggled with Instinct and it took me four days to read, when I usually devour them in a day.  I know I’m not the only one, which makes me feel a tad better, because after checking some of the other reviews I find others bringing up the same points I’m about to make.

This book takes place over the span of one day after the last one left off.  The biggest problem I had with this book is that nothing happen.  Well, practically nothing.  75% of the book was the main characters standing around and talking about what needed to be done and waiting for the next aggressor to come knocking on the door and fill in back story. The book could have been condensed to the last 50-75 pages that held most of the action with some filling in of the important information that we did receive in the book, specifically about Nick’s mother.

So many of the main characters were missing.  Caleb, Nick’s mom, Ash, Kyrian, Ambrose all absent or only mentioned for a few brief pages.  This seriously hurt the story.  That and Nick’s smart mouth is starting to get annoying.  A little is funny, but there was just way too much in this book and the humor felt forced, or that it had the wrong tone to it.  We did meet a couple of new characters that I am looking forward to getting to know in future books though.

The obstacles that Nick needed to overcome in this book also felt too easily resolved and his reaction to them didn’t feel authentic to the character either.  He took everything just a bit more laid back than he normally would.  Granted that could be the character  evolving or growing, but it felt a little abrupt for a change of character.

While I’m glad I read it, and didn’t DNF it like I was oh so tempted to, this book just felt like filler between two bigger books. I’m glad Nick is starting to get a handle on his demon side, but most of this book was spent in filling in back ground information on supporting characters.  Almost as if Kenyon is preparing everyone for when this spin-off world and the current Dark Hunter world will collide and join up in Nick’s DH book.  There are a ton more CON books to go though, and if half of them that remain are like this one I kinda hope she reconsiders the number of book and condenses them.

Still a huge fan, all hail Kenyon, but this book was not one of my favs and if I re-read I’m going to skip it.  If you are following the series though, I would go ahead and read Instinct even if it is a struggle.

My Rating: 2 Stars

 

Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau – 3 Stars

Graduation Day
Cover art thanks to Goodreads, click on it to visit book’s page there.

Book Three in The Testing Trilogy.

I borrowed this book from my library.

Book Synopsis:

In book three of the Testing series, the United Commonwealth wants to eliminate the rebel alliance fighting to destroy The Testing for good. Cia is ready to lead the charge, but will her lethal classmates follow her into battle?

She wants to put an end to the Testing
In a scarred and brutal future, The United Commonwealth teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. The rebel resistance plots against a government that rules with cruelty and cunning. Gifted student and Testing survivor, Cia Vale, vows to fight.

But she can’t do it alone.
This is the chance to lead that Cia has trained for – but who will follow? Plunging through layers of danger and deception, Cia must risk the lives of those she loves–and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates.

Who can Cia trust?
The stakes are higher than ever-lives of promise cut short or fulfilled; a future ruled by fear or hope–in the electrifying conclusion to Joelle Charbonneau’s epic Testing trilogy. Ready or not…it’s Graduation Day.

The Final Test is the Deadliest!

My Review:

While I enjoyed this trilogy, the last book left me wanting and in the end I’m just kinda glad its over.  Out of them all I like book two the best and had similar feelings towards book one and three.  Perhaps it is just time to put YA dystopian books aside for a while.  I’m feeling so ambivalent about the book I’m really not sure where to go with my review, the book just didn’t grab me until the last third, part of that could have been I read the first chapter of my next read and got really excited over that, but I’m thinking more is to blame with the book itself.

So lets start with the positive, what worked for me in this book of the trilogy.  I liked how we got a better explanation as to how the world came to this point in its history.  I also enjoyed the action in the latter parts of the book.  I also respected the integrity of Cia, her strong moral compass even when she must do tasks she finds uncomfortable.  I liked the redemption of certain characters that will remain nameless to avoid spoilers.  I also enjoyed the way the trilogy ended.  It left me satisfied and ready to put this series behind me.

One of the reasons I read dystopian books/series is I enjoy the fight to overcome insurmountable odds to right what is wrong in the world.  I enjoy the characters who look at the awful worlds they exist in and want to do something to change them for the benefit of all.  I like the idea that we can overcome corruption.  This series delivers all that, but perhaps it just needed something more. I’m afraid it might get lost in the sea of other dystopian works that have flooded the YA market.  Still I’m happy I stuck it out.

So what bothered me with this book, what didn’t work for me.  It was slow to get into first off.  My mind would wander and I was being told so much instead of reading about action.  It got a bit tedious in the first half of the book.  Now I was happy to get all this information, but perhaps it could have been broken up a bit more instead of feeling I was sitting in one of Cia’s classrooms during class.   You may disagree, but I think the story would have been stronger without the romance.  It just felt tacked on and to me there was little chemistry between Cia and Thomas.  I was more interested in Cia and Raffe’s connection then I was with her and Thomas’s relationship.  I don’t think the story needed a romance or the failed love triangle that was thrown in for part of this book.  It just didn’t work for me and frankly I have trouble seeing a future for these two beyond the end of the book, and I’m alright with that.

If you LOVE dystopian genre books then by all means add this series to your to-read list, it was a good (but not great) read.  After loving book two more than the first I had hopes for the ending to go out with a bang.  Unfortunately for me it just fell flat.  Have you read the series?  Do you disagree with me?  Feel free to share your (polite) comments below.  Tell me how I’m wrong or right?

 

ARC The Revealed by Jessica Hickman – 4 Stars

The Revealed

 

Cover art thanks to Goodreads, click on it to visit book’s page there.

Book one in series, release date June 17, 2014

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley for an honest review.

Book Synopsis:

Lily Atwood lives in what used to be called Washington, D.C. Her father is one of the most powerful men in the world, having been a vital part of rebuilding and reuniting humanity after the war that killed over five billion people. Now he’s running to be one of its leaders.

But in the rediscovered peace on Earth, a new enemy has risen. They call themselves the Revealed – a powerful underground organization that has been kidnapping 18 year olds across the globe without reservation. No one knows why they are kidnapping these teens, but it’s clear something is different about these people. They can set fires with a snap of their fingers and create a wind strong enough to barrel over a tree with a flick of their wrist. No one has been able to stop them, and they have targeted Lily as their next victim.

But Lily has waited too long to break free from her father’s shadow to let some rebel organization just ruin everything. Not without a fight.

My Review:

Requested this one over at Net Galley on a whim.  The cover is beautiful and it sounded interesting.  Almost didn’t cause I have been reviewing so many requested reviews that I have fallen behind in books already on my to-read list.  I hemmed and hawed and finally hit that request button.  As you can see I was approved for a copy, still blows my mind that publishers do this for readers…, and I put it in line to read for review.  I AM SO GLAD I did.  Wow.  It was a really good book, couple points I will make later kept it from being five stars, but wow.  This one has potential to do really well I think.   This one is different from some of the other YA dystopianish books out there, and I’ll tell you why.

First of all it really didn’t feel like a dystopian book.  I’m struggling to find a classification to put the book in.  It has dystopian-ish qualities, but there are science fiction elements, political, and romance elements to the story as well.  The only classification that I would say it definitely falls into is the YA billing that the titles is tagged with.  The Revealed was a twist of a story that could appeal to readers of any of the aforementioned genres.

So what did I like about the book.  I loved that it kept me guessing.  A couple of points I kinda figured out, but most of the time I couldn’t tell which side of the good/evil fence a character fell on or what their motives were.  In the very beginning I wasn’t sure that I liked Lily. she was kind of whinny and came off as a rich kid complaining about her soft life and the other mean rich kids she was surrounded by.  The author did a good job of turning around my opinion of her though and I soon could see that yeah, maybe life wasn’t so great for Lily.  Just because she was comfortable and protected didn’t mean she was happy, didn’t mean she had anymore freedom than the rest of the teens in this world.

The premise of the story was also interesting.  I liked that we got in on this world as they were trying to rebuild things.  I also was intrigued by why were 18-year-olds disappearing and who this organization The Revealed was.  The fact that they had powers was also interesting.  How did they have them? Was it natural or man-made?  How were they able to move in and out of society without notice?  Why did they target this age group and only certain teen?  It all kept me reading.  Partially because most of these questions were not answered or even addressed until the second half of the book.

The first half was very much just a love story, a captivating one, but it had little to do with The Revealed.  The author focused on building up the chemistry between Lily and Kai Westerfield, who just happens to be the son of her father’s opponent.  This part of the story had a very Romeo and Juliet feel to it.  Star crossed lovers from rival families.  Who doesn’t love this type of romance?  In the second half of the book,  we are introduced to another potential love interest, but it just felt flat to me.  I don’t think the story needs it, lovers forced to be apart is enough of a draw.

So if it is so great what kept it from that fifth star?  Under age drinking is a major problem I had with the book.  Sure, it is a dystopian future society, but this is a YA book.  The main characters are all around the age of 18, none of them were 21 I believe.  In this world the author has created the rules might be different, but the teens in this one are not legal to drink until they are 21.  I thought the club scene set a bad example along with the lead character’s actions in that part of the book.  This is my only real complaint about the story.  If this could have been handled differently I would have gladly given it a five-star rating.

Through my digging I have come to believe that this is going to be part of a series, or at least I sure how it is.  The story left off at an interesting point, and I would love to see what happens next.  I think this series could continue to follow Lily or could easily jump to another one of the missing 18-year-olds.  I want to see how the author develops this world and the powers the teens have.  It is an interesting setting  Ms. Hickman has created I can’t wait to see what she does with it.