Ryan Graudin’s The Walled City was a book that I picked up because I was in the mood for something action-packed. It certainly delivered in that regarRyan Graudin’s The Walled City was a book that I picked up because I was in the mood for something action-packed. It certainly delivered in that regard because there were plenty of action scenes and Graudin’s setting was inspired by Kowloon Walled City, a densely populated, walled city in Hong Kong that was famous for crime. I think the book would have been even more exciting, however, if the danger aspect in the climax had panned out so that the book remained realistic. Imagine my disappointment to find out that Graudin didn’t take the gutsy route and kill a character that would have most likely died in real life!
Another reason that I lowered my rating of The Walled City was that the characters could have used more depth. I also wasn’t a fan of the romance because it seemed like the romantic interest was only attracted to Dai due to his physical features. Realistically, there was no reason for her to trust Dai and risk putting her life in jeopardy. ...more
The last book that I read that involved a serial killer was Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer, a novel that I wished I had DNF’ed. Thankfully, after readiThe last book that I read that involved a serial killer was Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer, a novel that I wished I had DNF’ed. Thankfully, after reading Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers, I have found a book about serial killers that I would gladly recommend.
With its horrifying descriptions of crime scenes, references to notorious real life serial killers, and statistics and logistics about murder, I Hunt Killers was unsurprisingly dark. But, there was also unexpected humour laced throughout this novel due to its snarky main character, Jazz. Jazz was likeable as well because although he used his charm and skill to manipulate others, he was constantly worried about becoming a replica of his dad.
As well-developed as Jazz was, I found the secondary characters to be just as strongly developed. My favourite character from the cast of secondary characters would have to be Howie, Jazz’s amusing, loyal, and chatty best friend. A close second would be Jazz’s crazy grandmother.
Though there’s little I would change about I Hunt Killers, I would rather not have had POVs from the serial killer because they weren’t necessary nor were they particularly interesting. Overall, however, I Hunt Killers was brilliantly written.The last book that I read that involved a serial killer was Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer, a novel that I wished I had DNF’ed. Thankfully, after reading Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers, I have found a book about serial killers that I would gladly recommend. ...more
Since I loved Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, another sequel that I caught up on over my winter break was Days of Blood and Starlight. BesiSince I loved Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, another sequel that I caught up on over my winter break was Days of Blood and Starlight. Besides having more of Akiva’s perspective *cue my inner fangirl screaming*, I loved that Days of Blood and Starlight was a much darker read with some very surprising twists.
Although the main perspectives remain Akiva's and Karou's, Days of Blood and Starlight enables you to get into the heads of other major and minor characters too. I really loved this because it showed how war can affect people in such different positions of life. Through these different perspectives, the novel introduces you to new characters like Ziri and Jael and fleshes out some of the secondary characters from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I particularly enjoyed reading the perspectives of Liraz and Zuzana, and hope that their perspectives are included in Dreams of Gods and Monsters.
Days of Blood and Starlight also lacks the insta-love romance that was present in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. In fact, considering how badly he betrayed her, I love that Karou doesn’t forgive Akiva! At the same time though, I love that Taylor leaves open the possibility of redemption for Akiva.
A sequel that definitely doesn’t suffer from the dreaded middle book syndrome!...more
If it wasn’t for the blogging community, I probably would have never read Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. Eventually succumbing to tIf it wasn’t for the blogging community, I probably would have never read Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. Eventually succumbing to the hype, I read both Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight last year, and have been eagerly waiting since for Dreams of Gods and Monsters.
Since my thoughts about Dreams of Gods and Monsters are pretty scattered and I want to limit the amount of spoilers in my review, I decided to do a pros and cons list.
Pros: - Taylor’s writing remains as beautiful as ever. - While a part of me acknowledges that Karou forgave Akiva a bit too easily, another part of me understands that it was inevitable because peace would only occur between the chimaera and seraphim if their leaders put aside their need for vengeance. The romantic tension between Karou and Akiva was just so good! - I loved the slow growth of Liraz as a character over the course of the trilogy, but especially over this novel.
Cons: - Every time I got to Eliza’s POV during the first two-thirds of the novel, I had to force myself to read it because I knew that she was important. But, I just had an unbelievably difficult time caring about her, and resented her for taking away precious page time from Karou and Akiva. I would have liked to see her importance to the story be revealed earlier. - The inclusion of the Stelians (view spoiler)[not only made Jael’s surrender too simple, but also expanded the worldbuilding way too much for my liking. By the end, the focus wasn’t so much on the war between the chimaera and seraphim and its resolution, but on the greater war threatening Eretz (hide spoiler)]. I totally didn’t understand all the talk about the godstars, and was disappointed to not learn, for example, why Akiva is so special, even by Stelian standards. - Although I thought the person Ziri ended up with was perfect for him, I wasn’t completely sold on the romance because he had been crushing on Karou for pretty much the whole series. It just seemed like he developed feelings for someone else after one interaction with them – an interaction that readers aren't even privy to!
The final book in the trilogy, Dreams of Gods and Monsters provides enough closure so that readers will be satisfied, yet leaves the door open for a possible return to the world of Eretz if Taylor chooses to do so in the future.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Insta-love is a pet peeve of mine in novels so I was a little hesitant to read a book titled The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. AlthoInsta-love is a pet peeve of mine in novels so I was a little hesitant to read a book titled The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Although Jennifer E. Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight did actually end up being a cute, fluffy read; I felt like its romantic aspect was over emphasized by both the cover and title since a relationship can only develop so far in seven hours while on a plane. The more meaningful relationship that’s explored - through flashbacks and Hadley’s conversation with Oliver - is that between Hadley and her dad.
Aside from one scene at the wedding where Hadley acted childishly, I found Hadley to be a pretty relatable protagonist. It was easy to understand why she was so angry and upset with her dad and why she wanted to keep her distance from him. I also liked how she eventually conversed with her dad, knowing that she might regret it one day if she kept pushing him away.
I didn’t like Oliver quite as much. He got points for being British and being well read, but he didn’t reveal anything deep about himself to Hadley – and therefore the reader – while the two were on the plane. In fact, he kind of evaded her serious questions and/or changed the subject. As a result, I didn’t feel like I got to know him until the end.
Random Thought: Why didn’t Oliver and Hadley exchange contact details right away if they wanted to keep in touch? Considering most people have cell phones, it shouldn’t be that hard to give your phone number to someone else!...more
The Shattering by Karen Healey is an interesting blend of mystery and paranormal, which I wasn’t expecting. I requested it thinking that there would bThe Shattering by Karen Healey is an interesting blend of mystery and paranormal, which I wasn’t expecting. I requested it thinking that there would be a murder mystery to solve, but halfway through the book, the story entered into the realm of paranormal. Unfortunately, that’s when the plot became less compelling; and in the end, my initial hunch about Jake’s death proved to be correct.
There were some positives about The Shattering though. It is the first book I’ve ever read that is set in New Zealand and Healey manages to successfully convey the country’s beauty. As well, the group of characters in The Shattering is diverse and they’re created well enough so that they won’t become reduced to stereotypic labels like “the rich kid.” The alternating perspectives from Keri, Janna and Sione also allow the reader to understand each character better and know what is going on when they aren’t together.
After seeing so much praise for Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, I finally decided to give it a try. Despite a tiny bit of predictabiAfter seeing so much praise for Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, I finally decided to give it a try. Despite a tiny bit of predictability and a romance that had a touch of insta-love, I ended up loving Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I can’t believe I waited so long to read it! The story was absorbing and beautifully written, and the description of Prague and all the places Karou traveled to were incredibly vivid. Taylor’s own fantasy world of Eretz seemed as real a place as her earthly settings because of how well developed it was. I also loved how Taylor managed to make each character important in their own right since none of the secondary characters felt like they were there simply for convenience. ...more
Out of all the novels I’ve read by Justina Chen Headley, Girl Overboard is by far my favourite. Headley always does a superb job with character develoOut of all the novels I’ve read by Justina Chen Headley, Girl Overboard is by far my favourite. Headley always does a superb job with character development and Syrah’s evolution was no different. Initially, Syrah wants to just be seen as “Syrah” and not “Syrah Cheng” but by the end of the novel, Syrah has learned to embrace her last name and everything associated with being a Cheng while still being true to her own dreams.
Relationships were such a crucial element in Girl Overboard and this book had it all: a new friendship, an old friendship deteriorating but then being renewed, growing closer to family members, and maintaining the status quo. Each of them were portrayed so realistically and affected Syrah in their own way, which made the novel very emotional for me especially at the end. In fact, I did get teary!
The one complaint I have against Girl Overboard was that there was such a big mystery at the beginning of the book about the circumstances around Syrah’s snowboarding accident and the truth was a little anticlimactic. Still, the novel is amazing and has some wonderful messages that can be gleaned from it....more
A couple of weeks ago when I was browsing through the shelves of my local library, I came upon Justina Chen Headley’s novels Nothing but the Truth (anA couple of weeks ago when I was browsing through the shelves of my local library, I came upon Justina Chen Headley’s novels Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) and Girl Overboard. Since I’d read North of Beautiful about a year ago and had liked it, I decided to check out both books. Though I haven’t read Girl Overboard yet, Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) was a great book and I think it’s even better than North of Beautiful.
As someone who is bi-racial, Headley’s Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) really resonated with me because I can completely empathize with Patty. While I’ve been lucky to have never had to deal with racism like Patty, I do remember how it feels to not belong and hide your background to fit in better.
Patty was such a funny protagonist and the Truth Theorems and essays written by her that Headley incorporated into the novel were a very creative touch. I loved reading about Patty’s transformation from someone who was ashamed of her Asian heritage to one who embraces it! ...more