I knew going into Empire of Shadows that this would be a companion to City of a Thousand Dolls instead of the sequel I had really been hoping it woulI knew going into Empire of Shadows that this would be a companion to City of a Thousand Dolls instead of the sequel I had really been hoping it would be. So, instead of getting more if Nisha and Jerrit, there would be a whole new set of characters with new problems.
One aspect that is super exciting about Empire of Shadows is the world. In City of a Thousand Dolls, we were a little stuck inside the compound with Nisha. Learning only tidbits about the outside world. This all changes with Empire of Shadows. This time around, we get much more than I had bargained for. Learning tons of new tidbits about this world, how it operates, and its politics.
Mara is a highly trained bodyguard. Living her life now to atone for the sins of her past. Early on, I fell in love with Mara's character. Her strength. Her personality. I just loved it all. As part of her duties, she is sent to guard
Revathi. Like Mara, Revathi is an incredibly strong female character. While Revathi took a little bit to warm up to, I can easily say that I ended liking her as much if not more than Mara.
In addition to Mara and
Stefan. Sadly, the romance this time around wasn't exactly what I had been hoping for. While sweet at times, Mara and Emil go from zero to sixty in no time flat. I had a hard time rooting for them simply due to the whiplash their insta-love gave me. But thankfully, there are so many other elements that work in Empire of Shadows to make it a great read.
Verdict: Empire of Shadows is a nice companion novel to City of a Thousand Dolls. Sadly, the connection between the two is revealed at the very last moment. While a complete WOW!! moment, part of me wishes that it had played a bigger part. Find me at:
The Taking is a great start to what could be a phenomenal series.
Kyra has two main loves in her life, softball and her boyfriend, Austin. After a hugThe Taking is a great start to what could be a phenomenal series.
Kyra has two main loves in her life, softball and her boyfriend, Austin. After a huge fight with her dad, Kyra has had enough. But instead of her night ending the way she expects, Kyra is blinded by a flash of white light, then finds herself waking up behind a dumpster at a local gas station. When she gets home, she gets the surprise of her life. The night she thought she lost was more like five years.
The Taking has a great premise. There is no doubt about that. I love stories with memory loss and a mysterious something lurking in the background. The Taking has plenty of that and some to spare.
The Taking has moments where it is extremely fast paced. Which is both good and bad. The good being that The Taking is constantly moving. I never had the feeling that The Taking was having a bogged down moment or that whatever it was that was happening was filler. The bad side of that is that Kyra's character suffers a bit from this. Her taking happens so early in the read that I never got a good feel for her before it all goes down. Which left me without a starting point of sorts to compare the after events to. Austin being a prime example. We are told Austin is this love of her life, but barely see him before anything happens. Because of this, I wasn't able to really care about Kyra and her new found situation as much as I would have liked.
This leads into the romance. While it is a decent romance, part of me, if I am being honest, found it a bit creepy. Kyra, understandably, comes back to her life with nothing being the same. Her mom has remarried and has a new family. Her dad basically went off the deep end. The love of her life, Austin, has grown up, gone off to college, and is now dating Kyra's best friend. Being gone from her life for five years, Kyra has a really hard time getting back into the groove of things. It makes sense and is completely understandable. But then you add in Tyler.
Personally, I like Tyler. I like Tyler and Kyra together. However, in the beginning, it also was just a bit creepy to watch the extent of Tyler's affections for Kyra. Knowing all the while that Tyler is Austin's little brother. Knowing that he had a thing for her since he was at least twelve, if not earlier. Maybe it is just me here, but the more I thought about it, the more it just felt a little weird. Thankfully, as The Taking moves on, I finally got some character development that I had been needing so this issue did become less on one. Especially once the Austin and Tyler connection started to take a backseat. Verdict: The Taking starts off great, if not a little rocky. Thankfully, The Taking finds its bearings later on, making this a series to watch. Find me at:
Taking place shortly after the events of These Broken Stars, This Shattered World introduces us to a new world and a new set of characters.
I had prettTaking place shortly after the events of These Broken Stars, This Shattered World introduces us to a new world and a new set of characters.
I had pretty high hopes for This Shattered World going into it. I knew this time around there would be little to no Lilac and Tarver, which was fine with me. But I was really curious to see how everything would tie together from These Broken Stars.
This Shattered World starts off, pacing wise, just like These Broken Stars. The plot begins by heavily focusing on our characters. Their individual stories told via dual POVs. For Jubilee Chase, the military is her life. She is good at what she does and it is her escape of sorts. She believes that she is on the right path... until she meets Flynn Cormac. Flynn is a native. Living in under his sister's shadow, but unlike his sister, Flynn wants a peaceful existence. When Flynn abducts Captain Lee, he is hoping that he can show her another way for everyone to come together. No fighting, just military and natives working together to make Avon a better place. However, as expected, Flynn's plan does not exactly go as planned.
There is a part of me that really loves this read. The beauty of Avon. The character development of Jubliee. The turmoil of the natives. I loved seeing how everything progressed with This Shattered World.
But This Shattered World was almost a DNF for me.
One of the issues I had with These Broken Stars was how long it took for the main conflict to show itself. Sure, there is the character / romance conflict going on. But the main issue that they (more than likely as a new couple) have to resolve is missing for most of the read. Like These Broken Stars, This Shattered World begins by focusing heavily on building up the world and the characters. I love that. It is great and wonderful, but it can also make the read feel stagnant much too quickly. I found myself more than once wanting to scream "let's go already!" After probably about the third time of this, I found myself seriously thinking I could not go any further. I loved the characters and the read as a whole, but the time it was taking for the overall big event to show itself was almost too much.
Again like These Broken Stars, once it did, it was a game changer.
This Shattered World in a matter of a few pages went from "I really don't think I can keep going" to "Finally, this is what I was waiting for. This is great!" Verdict: If you enjoyed These Broken Stars, This Shattered World will be a must read. Personally, I liked These Broken Stars better, but This Shattered World has its high points. If you didn't love or felt meh about These Broken Stars, This Shattered World will probably be one you better skip. While a good story, the plot formatting is pretty similar in both, which for me, is a cause for frustration more than anything. Find me at:
Incredible. Exciting. Completely original. Stray is the real deal times like a million!
I love me a good fairy tale. Heck, give me a retelling. I loveIncredible. Exciting. Completely original. Stray is the real deal times like a million!
I love me a good fairy tale. Heck, give me a retelling. I love them both equally. With the amount of fairy tale and fairy tale retellings, I pretty much figured I had seen it all. I was wrong. Stray is unlike anything I have come across before. It reads like a fairy tale, but it is completely unique and fresh. Stray was everything I didn't know I was hoping it would be.
In Aislynn's world, all women are born with magic. Whether you be a princess or a servant, magic is within you. But unlike most tales where magic is a good thing, Stray takes a different path. In Aislynn's world, magic must be controlled, suppressed. Women must stay on the Path, or face the consequences, which are not pretty.
Aislynn right away struck me as a girl out of place. While born into privilege as a princess, Aislynn never came across as spoiled or snotty. She is a down to earth girl facing a "normal" problem. Despite her best efforts and desire to fit into the norm, Aislynn cannot. Her magic is just that powerful. While Aislynn trying to stick to the Path could have come across poorly, Sussman makes it work. I don't want to say that I pity Aislynn, but in a way, I did. She tries so hard time and time again, but no matter what, her best isn't good enough. So, is it her or the system?
Stray is an interesting combination of many elements. While it is based firmly in the fairy tale camp, it strangely also has hints of a dystopian built in. The Path system that women are confined to, ultimately, is the villain of Stray. Sure, there is the "true" big bad villain out there in the background. The verdict is still out on her since we actually have not seen first hand what she is capable of. Will she actually be a villain? Or is she kinda like Aislynn, a person who never fit in right so that makes her evil? Only time will tell for certain.
A completely fresh and original take on magic. A must read for fairy tale lovers.Find me at:
The Sin Eater's Daughter, hands down, is probably my number one had to read for 2015 thus far. The cover, the summary, all of it just beckoned to me.The Sin Eater's Daughter, hands down, is probably my number one had to read for 2015 thus far. The cover, the summary, all of it just beckoned to me. Begging me to read it. The moment I saw this book it was like "GIMME ME! I have to have you. Like right now."
But, as often happens, with hype or expectation, some disappointment is bound to follow.
This isn't about Sin Eating?!? The Sin Eater's Daughter is a bit of a confusing title for me. At first glance, it seems obvious that The Sin Eater's Daughter would be about exactly that... the Sin Eater's Daughter. In a sense, The Sin Eater's Daughter was about the Sin Eater's Daughter just not in the way that I thought it would be.
There is no supernatural way that the sins are eaten. Just lots and lots of food to represent sin. While this aspect was pretty cool, I was kinda sad to see Sin Eating mainly being the focus of info dumping or flashbacks. As we got to know Twylla, we find out that she was born to be a Sin Eater. It is in her blood. Her mother was a Sin Eater. Her mother's mother was. All the first born females in her family have been Sin Eater's, even before the land had its monarchy.
If you ask me, making The Sin Eater's Daughter about Sin Eating could have been a really neat premise. But that is not the route The Sin Eater's Daughter took.
A Little Bit of Everything Okay, so The Sin Eater's Daughter isn't really about being a Sin Eater. I can deal. Goddess embodied has a better sound to it any way. Despite some of the downsides.
The Sin Eater's Daughter takes place in a pretty interesting world. A land with a rich history of kingdoms rising and falling. A land with varying views on how to move into the future. In the middle of all of it is Twylla and her supposed role, current and future. As the Goddess embodied, Twylla occupies a weird space in this kingdom. She is both part of it while separate at the same time. Trying to carve out a place for herself, while also desperately wanting to be like everyone else.
On top of all of this is our romance. Oh, what a weird romance it was. While there is quite a bit to like about it, once the truths begin to be revealed, the romance and what I thought would happen took a slight turn. Was I surprised at the twists The Sin Eater's Daughter threw at me? Yes and No. But part of me was actually happy that some of them happened. It is hard to discuss the romance all the way without giving away a big chunk of the plot line. So, we will just leave it at, there are parts that I really enjoyed, and some that I could have done without.
What Ending? Prior to me getting to the ending of The Sin Eater's Daughter, I would have to say I had very little complaints overall. Yes, there were some slow spots. Some elements that I am really not sure I think work, but I will buy into it anyways. However, there is one problem that sets a weird tone for the rest of the series: the ending. Now, the ending of The Sin Eater's Daughter by itself was not too bad. The last sentence or so felt a little cliffhangery. But, the epilogue. By itself, the epilogue was nice. If it would have been arranged a little differently, it could have set up the book to be its final piece. However, since we are only with the first book in this series, it felt wrong. Gave an unneeded heaviness to the read. Making me feel like I would have been better off to have ended The Sin Eater's Daughter on the last page as compared to finishing with the epilogue.
Verdict: I have a lot of love for this read. But there are some pretty bumpy parts / elements that I am hoping will get ironed out in the future. If you are looking for something a bit different, give The Sin Eater's Daughter a try. Find me at:
If you are looking for a book that has a sweet romance and a little bit more substance, Now That You're Here may be the perfect read for you.
Eevee isIf you are looking for a book that has a sweet romance and a little bit more substance, Now That You're Here may be the perfect read for you.
Eevee is your typical over-achiever. Super smart. Lives, breathes, eats to study. But she is good at it. Plus, with her best friend, Warren, by her side, she feels like she has everything she could want or need. Until Danny, the delinquent, one day begins acting like she is his only hope. For Danny, waking up in a parallel universe is a bit unsettling. Nothing is how it should be. No more high security, big brother government controlling his and everyone else's every move. While Danny feels like that is a plus in his book, the downside is just about everything else. His house is no longer is his house. His parents are gone. Life for him in this universe pretty much sucks. And surprisingly for both of them, the only person Danny feels like can help is Eevee.
Told in dual POVs, Now That You're Here gets to the heart of both of our characters. Watching Eevee evolve from almost a cold hearted, one focus type person to someone who actually shows emotion was kinda nice. It isn't to say that I didn't like Eevee throughout Now That You're Here, but I can definitely say that the type of character she is at the ending is much easier to like than she was in the beginning. Much of that is thanks to Danny. Although Danny does not belong in Eevee's universe, they definitely do belong to together. Now That You're Here shows us a sweet romance from the beginning stages that only gets better as it goes on.
Now That You're Here is much more than just a sappy romance. Nichols also takes the time to sprinkle in some interesting scientific theories. For the most part, these moments of science are nice enough to feel like you may have just learned something new or help you feel a better connection with the read if you are familiar with them. Now That You're Here gives us enough of this science speak to make it relatable to the book and our characters, but also not too much that it all just goes over the reader's head. It was a nice and surprising extra layer that I had not been expecting.
All in all, I am pretty pleased with Now That You're Here. It wasn't without a few plot holes or conveniences, but those are pretty easily over looked. The only real downside, if there has to be one, is that I found myself wishing this story took place in Danny's world and not Eevee's. Sure, sure. It looks like the sequel is going to go there, but throughout the whole book, I just kept thinking how much more interesting everything would be in his world. Verdict: A nice romance with great characters. Plus a little science sprinkled in for a little extra flavor. Find me at:
Chasing Power is really different. So different, that at first, I really did not think I was going to finish it. The story starts off a little slow.Chasing Power is really different. So different, that at first, I really did not think I was going to finish it. The story starts off a little slow. Introducing Kayla and her powers. Kayla has the power of telekinesis, the ability to move things with her mind. When we first meet Kayla, she is on lifting spree. She even takes pride in being able to steal things from shops. With her rich best friend and partner in crime, Selena, in tow, Kayla almost makes a game out of stealing. She has no remorse for her actions, and for me, that was a little bit of a problem. Early on, I had the hardest time finding something about her to like, to relate to. It wasn't until the back story was revealed that I finally began to at least understand Kayla a little bit.
You see, Kayla and her mother, Moonbeam, live their lives under the grid as much as they can. Years ago, Kayla and her mother ran from everything they knew, everything they had to escape Kayla's father after he killed Kayla's older sister. Since that day, Kayla and her mother have lived in an almost constant fear of being found by him. But Kayla has an escape plan. One that relies on a power she doesn't know why she has.
At this point, I think I have just about read and loved every book Sarah Beth Durst has come up with. Chasing Power is no different. Although, I was on the fence early on, once the action and plot started to unfold, it was game on. I was hooked and had to see how all of this would play out.
Chasing Power has so many layers to it. A crazy family back story. Special powers. Magic mixed in with a thousands of years old artifact hunt. While Chasing Power could of ended up a hot mess of way too much going on, it all works. It all ties in together perfectly, and gives readers on heck of a ride.
One thing that I have always loved about Sarah Beth Durst's writing is her romantic layer. No insta-love. No triangles. It is a complex, and often very complicated, love that makes you feel good inside. For Kayla and Daniel, it was not always an easy path. With family secrets, lies, and omissions standing in their way, let's just say there are a ton of ups and downs to this relationship. I loved every rocky moment.
Chasing Power began with a bit of a rocky start, but ended with a bang. For me, it seems Sarah Beth Durst can do no wrong. Loved this one.Find me at:
Kristen: Let's talk about setting to start off with because I found that Gates of Thread and Stone had an interesting one. I feel that it is a settin
Kristen: Let's talk about setting to start off with because I found that Gates of Thread and Stone had an interesting one. I feel that it is a setting we will see more of, the medieval feel with magic and technology intertwined.
Kate: I agree, the setting was an interesting one. But to me, the setting felt more like it was post- apocalyptic. Only, it was so far in the future that the people in Gates of Thread and Stone have no true understanding of what it was like before. This is the new type setting I feel like I am seeing a lot more of. But all the hints are there. In Gates of Thread and Stone, the hint for me was so subtle. You blink and you would have missed. Kai is having a conversation, but in the background is this object. It is only mentioned in passing, but for me, I was like "I know what that is!" Kristen: Yea, I saw that too.
Kristen: What I liked about the book was that I didn’t feel like it was an information dump. I felt like the book wanted us to focus more on the story than get too involved in the setting beyond basics.
Kate: Right, but it was just a little weird for me. I never felt like I got a real handle on all of it. I found myself having a hard time sometimes trying to move past the lack of setting definition once the Gods stuff came fully into play. It was like we started off with the setting being one way, but then it all started to shift. Making me question everything I had understood to that point. Which is the real setting, before the shift or after? Kristen: I'm not sure how I felt about the God stuff; I felt it turned the novel into something different than the original set up.
Kate: Exactly. However, I found myself liking that little twist. It was a little unexpected, which was nice. But then again I found that I was also asking myself, just what did I get into? Kristen: The twist made for some interesting new characters though. I like the inhumanity of the different characters that were these gods. How did you feel about our main characters though?
Kate: I still think Kai would have been better as a boy. Starting Gates of Thread and Stone was a little weird for me cause for most of the first chapter or so, I had totally forgotten that Kai was suppose to be a girl. And her character, early on, came across boy to me. Kristen: That definitely would have made things interesting and she still could have fallen for Avan even as a boy. I did like that Avan was bisexual, which made things interesting. Also, even though you might like Kai better if she had been a boy, it is nice to see a girl character that keeps her eye on the prize and wasn't completely distracted by her love interest.
Kate: I liked that. But I didn't like Avan as a love interest or really in general. He had his moments, but overall, I found him kinda blah. Kristen: I felt like Avan was willing to do a lot for Kai, which didn’t make sense until a lot later, when we got a fuller grasp of their background. Did you think there was a start of a love triangle with G-10?
Kate: It’s possible and I liked him more. Overall, I wasn’t really a fan of the romance in Gates of Thread and Stone. It worked, don't get me wrong. However, it also felt like it was just there to be there. I think Gates of Thread and Stone would have worked perfectly without a romance. Kristen: The romance felt lusty rather than serious. Anything else you want to discuss?
Kate: The ending....I didn’t like it. Kristen: I didn’t either. But let’s leave it at that, no spoilers for future readers.
Kate: Will you read the next one? Kristen: I think I will, I liked the characters and world enough and felt it moved along at a nice pace.
Kate: I had a few issues with it but I liked it enough to at least try the sequel.
Join in on the conversation. Have you read Gates of Thread and Stone? What are your thoughts? Find me at:
Once upon a time, the phrase DNF (Did Not Finish) was not in my vocabulary. But sometimes you find those reads that simply do not click. These unfortuOnce upon a time, the phrase DNF (Did Not Finish) was not in my vocabulary. But sometimes you find those reads that simply do not click. These unfortunate, DNF reads are cataloged within the DNF Chronicles. Even though the book and I did not click, we hope that you will still give any of the books featured a shot.
Read to: About 28%, which is around 120 pages.
Being a seeker isn't all that its cracked up to be.
Promoted as for fans of The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones, Seeker had a lot to live up to. Even before I started the first pages, I was excited, but a little iffy on the whole "for fans" promotion. The premise seemed mysterious enough, so I figured what the heck.
Seeker hits the ground running with not one, but two interesting fighting sequences within the first few chapters. A promising start. I even started to let my guard down a bit. Letting myself start to hope that I had a winner on my hands. Nope.
Issue #1: The Mysterious Plot to Nowhere I have no issue with a book holding on to its deeper secrets to later on. That is part of what makes a book fun. Going along and discovering tidbit after tidbit. Seeker gets some points for starting off with action. It drew me into the read, and made me think that I could possibly have found a nice thick read (it's close to 500 pages) to get lost in for a few hours. Then, the fighting stopped.
While it often takes a book a few pages or so to get its bearings, Seeker takes the mysterious plot device to a whole new level. Let's start with the basics...
What is a Seeker? Answer: no freakin' clue.
What is the "evil" they are protecting the weak and the wronged from? Answer: no freakin' clue.
Why does everyone else around these kids seem to really know what is going on, but no one can take 5 seconds to explain it? Answer: no freakin' clue.
That is a nutshell is part of my grip with Seeker. Even after getting about 120 pages into the read, I have just about no freakin' clue about anything.
Issue #2: Setting, What setting? With Seeker, I was lost. Literally. Seeker's setting is a strange blend. Part medieval, part futuristic. Part... I'm not really sure what it is.
Seeker starts out in a medieval castle of sorts with all the historical trappings. Fine. I can handle that. The recruits using weapons that are like something out of a science fiction novel. Okay. I can still handle that. Mixing the two isn't too bad. Flash forward a few chapters, now we have hover cars. Okay? Flash forward a more few chapters, now we are outside of the castle in small town close by. Here, we are again back to the medieval type setting. Um.. okay. You are starting to lose me. Flash forward a more few chapters, and now we are in a big city. In this city are skyscrapers, billboards, blimps, and the like. I. AM. DONE.
There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with mixing technology or time periods... when it makes sense.
For Seeker, it might have worked. It might have even worked really well. If anything had ever been explained. But it wasn't.
Seeker will probably end up being the type of read that either readers will devour or make them want to pull their hair out. While I never truly got to the hair pulling out stage, I was really close. I went into Seeker wanting to like it. Heck, it was on my list of must reads for 2015. I was super excited for it. It just failed to deliver. Hard.