Tear You Apart was not quite what I was expecting. Viv lives in a world of the wealthy, where curses can be bought and the roles are played out by thoTear You Apart was not quite what I was expecting. Viv lives in a world of the wealthy, where curses can be bought and the roles are played out by those involved in your life. Viv becomes Snow White, her boyfriend The Huntman instead of the Prince… and her stepmother must play out her role as well. An interesting concept and one that I enjoyed, but I did hate Viv so much… she was spoiled, toyed with her boyfriend whenever she felt insecure and still wanted the perfect happily ever after.
As much as I disliked Viv, I really enjoyed the other characters. Especially the twisted history of her stepmother Regina (Um… Once Upon a Time much?), who is not completely evil, but thrown into this just like the rest of the characters. Even the Prince was more than he seemed, which was nice in a sense. I really didn’t want this to become a hardcore love triangle problem on top of all the other things going on. Viv was the most straight forward, some spoiled rich girl who was a bit self-obsessed. I guess how you really would think of as a princess. I even liked her boyfriend better than her, the poor guy stuck around even when he was supposed to be killing her. I’m not sure she deserved his love, but he was loyal to a fault.
I loved the Underworld experience in this book the most. I loved the mix of fairy tales and the darkness in this world. I’m hoping if I read another book set in this world, it’ll have a more likable main character to keep me interested in her story. I felt more interested in the world and the other characters than what happened to Viv… honestly I was rooting for the Stepmother.
If you like unlikable main characters give this one a go. I enjoyed the fairy tale aspects and the darkness of the world and that kept me reading....more
The Evolution of Mara Dyer is the second book about Mara Dyer, supposed crazy teenager, only she’s not. For some reason she has these powers, althoughThe Evolution of Mara Dyer is the second book about Mara Dyer, supposed crazy teenager, only she’s not. For some reason she has these powers, although admittedly she seems to have killed a few of her friends and several animals. So of course, she’s a little crazy even though the reason people think she is such is somewhat accounted for. Following the first book, Mara wakes up in the hospital and seems to be on track to a residential home. She tries to keep herself calm and figure out a way to get home sooner than later. She manages to convince her mother into outpatient day school. Noah tries to keep her grounded as they figure out what her ex-non-dead-boyfriend is doing and wants from Mara.
So, there were some problems with this second book. Out of left field Mara starts having these flashback visions, taking her back in time. I’m not sure where this is leading yet, but there’s another book yet to come. It fits but it seems sort of dramatic since there was nothing of this nature in the first book. Of course, I listened to them back to back, so maybe I’m forgetting something. I found the situations intriguing but also distracting, as there was enough going on beyond that.
At the beginning of the book, Mara discovers that her powers may be hereditary and that her grandmother supposedly killed herself. Then also there’s a big reveal towards the end of the book that really made me go “what the heck is going on!”. I feel like this was a set up for more questions than answers given. There also was a lot of sexual tension between Mara and Noah that I honestly enjoyed (guilty pleasure) and the narrator of the book makes Noah sound so amazingly delicious…
Back on topic, I’m starting to see the wider picture here, as Mara and Noah are not the only two with special powers. I’m not sure exactly what direction this is leading in, but I’m definitely intrigued into what will happen next. Despite the flaws, the audiobook was a compelling read and I found myself finding excuses to listen in for hours.
The second volume in this series leads to more questions and some interesting plot directions. Lots of swoon-worthy scenes mixed in with the mystery and intrigue. ...more
The Glass Arrow really blew me away. It’s a dystopian that reverts back to treating women like property and because of processed food pills, women areThe Glass Arrow really blew me away. It’s a dystopian that reverts back to treating women like property and because of processed food pills, women are not as fertile as they once were. Aya has grown up away from this life, living in the wild, but always being hunted. One day she is captured and taken in to be groomed to be auctioned off. She has managed to get out of being sold so far and her latest plan involves instigating a fight that ends with her nose being broken.
Sent to solitary confinement, she is guarded by a Watcher, who cannot talk and has been changed to follow orders. Aya meets a Driver boy there, a group of people who are mute and live outside the actual town, but come in to do work for money and medicine. She finds herself opening up to him and telling him things about herself that she never revealed to anyone. I loved these interactions, as she begins to call him Kiran, as the color of his eyes remind her of a Kiran stone. All the while, she is trying to plot a way to escape before she has to go to auction again and her month in solitary winds too quickly to an end.
The inevitable leads up to an actual auction and although she tries to stage herself in a way to be unwanted, she catches the eye of someone very unexpected. Now that she is to be sold and removed, she has to come up with a new plan to make it back to her real home out in the woods, away from the city and back to those she cares for.
I like the strength in Aya, she is defiant but not stupid enough to try to get herself killed or worse, sold into prostitution. She is trying to delay the inevitable sale of her body to someone else. It sickens her that some of the other girls want to be chosen, when they are just usually used and rarely become an actual wife of someone. The center at the story is Kiran and his own story comes to light as well during the second half of the novel.
The Glass Arrow spun a world where it is dangerous to be a woman who wants to be more than an object. It’s a scary reality that our society could regress and treat us as something to be owned. This novel definitely made me want to check out Simmons’ other books.
A great dystopian novel with a strong female lead and an intriguing world....more
The Wrenchies was a beautiful read, if not a bit confusing. I loved the artwork, I loved the settings and the colors used to portray a post-apocalyptiThe Wrenchies was a beautiful read, if not a bit confusing. I loved the artwork, I loved the settings and the colors used to portray a post-apocalyptic world where only children survive. Once you close in on adulthood, the Shadowmen come for you. These kids form gangs and this one follows the Wrenchies, a group that is filled with interesting characters. Unfortunately, after killing some Shadowmen, they find their name written on a paper and know that they are after their gang, who seem too good at killing off the wretched, freaky creatures that look like warped men in suits.
Then it gets even trippier as multiple dimensions are introduced. The basic premise being that the creator of this world and the Shadowmen is a comic book artist, who has been captured and needs to be rescued. The scientist, a large towering man that is somewhat of a legend is supposed to guide them and brings in characters from other worlds – include a set of grown Wrenchies from the comic series and a boy named Hollis, a chubby boy who wears a superhero costume everywhere.
As much as the plot got a bit messy and at times, I reread and went back to see if I had missed something, I realized I would just push past and enjoy the ride. I loved the illustrations, the characters that were built. It’s a bit gory at times, and the Shadowmen shove their fingers in the eyes of their victims which is quite an appalling way to meet your end. I like the length, giving enough space for the plot to push around into some strange events.
A messed- up graphic novel, in both good ways and bad. Not a book for everyone, but one I enjoyed and may even reread....more
Killer Instict is the second book in The Naturals series, following Cassie, a girl who can profile people with ease. Part of a group of teenagers thatKiller Instict is the second book in The Naturals series, following Cassie, a girl who can profile people with ease. Part of a group of teenagers that the FBI has found and gathered together, she helps solve different crimes, especially those involving serial killers. Her own past with her mother disappearing via a serial killer brings the topic close at hand. Killer Instinct involves a copycat serial killer, one that is copying Dean’s father. Dean is one of Cassie’s love interests, who pushes back on her interest in him because he struggles with who he is. Worried he could turn out to be like his father, he distances himself from most of the other teens in the group.
Michael is Cassie’s other love interest. He’s a bit cockier and has his own history. Cassie is constantly trying to ignore having to choose between the two boys, feeling like she shouldn’t have the time to have such a dilemma when trying to find serial killers. I love when Cassie outright feels upset and pissed off that she has to deal with personal problems when all she wants to do is her job. Lia and Sloane also play a big part in this book and I love them as well, both of the girls having their own loud personalities that are unique.
I love how layered Killer Instinct is, the twists it takes and the really frightening plot points. When serial killers are involved, there really is no way around being able to stop every death. It’s like a train wreck you can’t look away from. I’m hoping the series will continue on because I cannot seem to get enough of Barnes’ writing.
An exciting addition to the Naturals series, full of intrigue, plot twists and solving the mystery in a thrilling way. ...more
Ready Player One is honestly a book I hadn’t heard of, until I was gifted it in a swap. I randomly picked it up when going downtown Chicago – I didn’tReady Player One is honestly a book I hadn’t heard of, until I was gifted it in a swap. I randomly picked it up when going downtown Chicago – I didn’t want to bring a library book – and was on my way to the Beercade ironically enough. Wade is the protagonist of the book, he’s a high school student who has a rough home life, his parents are both dead and his aunt and her multitude of boyfriends share part of a trailer. In order to login to OASIS, where he attends school, he hides in an abandoned van in a junkyard where he has everything he needs to hook into the virtual world.
Beyond that, Wade is a gunter, one of the many hunting for the creator’s – Jim Halliday – idea of the ultimate lottery, a key to everything he owns. The only problem is that ever since he died and the quest unlocked, no one has gotten even close to figuring out the first clue. This scavenger hunt includes a lot of pop culture, including old gaming references and even old arcade games that Jim loved growing up. Wade has always been obsessed with the hunt, there’s only one problem – he’s too poor to leave the world his school is on to go anywhere to investigate. Yet he manages to be the first one to unlock the first gate, only he manages to also meet the girl he has had a cybercrush on for a while now and he can’t help but give her a hint to help her out.
Thus begins the real adventure. Wade has to deal with the instant news that his avatar has unlocked the first Gate and cleared it. Now everyone wants to know who he really is. He finds sponsors willing to give him money and now he can really start to hunt. The only problem is there is a corporate group out there trying to spoil everything and they are after Wade.
I fell in love with Ready Player One, which had references to some things from my childhood and others a bit older. I love the budding romance, the mystery behind Jim Halliday himself and the action, even though most of it technically is in a virtual world. I even cried at the end of the book, I really loved how it ended and what message it sends to readers. Cline creates a world within a world that is so creative and imaginative I loved seeing the different places and games that Wade would have to play through to get further in the quest.
An amazing story, with science fiction elements but a human element that overrides everything. ...more
A Darker Shade of Magic blew me away. This book is so dark yet so vivid, the writing absolutely blew me away. Kell is our main character, one of two mA Darker Shade of Magic blew me away. This book is so dark yet so vivid, the writing absolutely blew me away. Kell is our main character, one of two magicians who can travel between the worlds held together by one town – London. His home is in Red London, where he was raised alongside the prince of that land. Kell is a messenger, traveling between the worlds to the varying monarchs to deliver messages.
The Gray London is where he finds Delilah Bard – aka Lila. She’s really what brings me to love this book if I’m being honest. Lila is a thief and loves to wear disguises. When first introduced to her, she is dressed as a young man and passing for it. She’s a thief with a bit of a heart and not one to take free hand outs. What leads her to meeting Kell is when she chases after some boys who were picking on a smaller one. Kell saves her and she robs him of a small black rock in his pocket.
This small black rock is the cause of every bit of trouble in this book. It’s pure magic and both Lila and Kell know it. Kell is more drawn to it because of his Antari nature, being able to use magic. Lila seems more immune to the pull of its power and knows that it is something that should not be handled frequently.
Now for the bad guys… Kell is not the only Antari left. There is another named Holland, who works unwillingly for the evil twins that rule White London, who are so freaking creepy it still makes my skin crawl thinking about them. Basically, they feel this existence of the black rock and Kell knows it needs to be destroyed before it falls into the wrong hands. But he will have to travel to Black London to do so, a place that has not been heard from since the worlds closed off to one another. All the while, he will have to keep the stone safe from falling into the hands of Holland or those he works for.
I really just fell in love with this world. I always love London as a setting, there’s so much to explore and the characters really brought the world to life as well. I loved the very different settings that were still somewhat the same. There was a lot of danger and witty banter that really pulled me in as well and kept me reading into the wee hours of the night. Such a great book.
For lovers of dark fantasy, great characters and alternate London settings.. read this book!...more
Kate: What do you want to discuss first when it comes to The Vault of Dreamers? Do you want to start with the world and the school?
Kristen: Yes, I lovKate: What do you want to discuss first when it comes to The Vault of Dreamers? Do you want to start with the world and the school?
Kristen: Yes, I loved the setup; let’s go with that to start off.
Kate: I did once I knew what was going on; the beginning was a little weird for me because they kept talking about their ‘blip rank’, but it took a couple chapters for the book to really go into detail with what was going on.
Kristen: It reminded me a bit of anime/manga which throws you right into the plot without any context. I enjoyed the concept of a school mixed in with reality TV, although I thought it was strange Rosie wasn’t trying all that hard to improve her blip rank until the last day.
Kate: And with a lot of added help from not only our love interest Linus.
Kristen: Yes, it played out a little strange because she literally took all of his advice – on the spot – without too much overthinking from her point of view. It was like she hadn’t even considered how to improve her rank until that very second.
Kate: Rosie was quite dense at times.
Kristen: I like that Burnham called her out on what she did to gain popularity after she made the cut – feeling used for her popularity.
Kate: Didn’t you feel like his involvement with Rosie was a set up for a love triangle?
Kristen: Yes, but it obviously didn’t work out for a variety of reasons and plot points.
Kate: Right, but I liked that it dangled the idea and then pulled it back, like the author was saying “Just kidding!”.
Kristen: I agree – it was nice the book didn’t go down that road for once. Speaking of characters, what did you think of Rosie?
Kate: She had her ups and downs as a character. I felt like that once I was starting to like her, she had a really dense and naïve moment that threw me off. What did you think about Linus, her boy toy?
Kristen: I could feel the attraction between the two of them from the beginning. I liked that Linus was fairly genuine and almost asked her to abuse him romantically to get ratings even though he did not know her that well in person – just from the show.
Kate: I liked that I never really knew what to think about him – you knew who he worked for, but could you trust him or not was always a question up in the air.
Kristen: I think Linus played a big role in the mystery and it was nice to see he had a purpose behind handsome love interest.
Kate: The only thing that threw me off about the book was the ending, I’m not really sure what happened and even reread it a couple times.
Kristen: I think it will be interesting to see where it takes off in the next book. I guess we will have to read the next one when it comes out.
The Stepsister’s Tale is the type of twisted tale that I enjoy. Taken from the point of view of Jane Montjoy, a girl who has been told she is a lady,The Stepsister’s Tale is the type of twisted tale that I enjoy. Taken from the point of view of Jane Montjoy, a girl who has been told she is a lady, but has been milking cows and tending to their household for years. The story of Cinderella is re-imagined. Isabella is a surprise that arrives home with their mother one day, along with a man, who Jane and her sister Maude had never met. Her mother had remarried while she was away to a widower. The transition is hard, as the two sisters are used to hard work and Isabella is a delicate little lady who scoffs at the girls even when she tries to be friendly. There’s a lot of ‘getting off on the wrong foot’ going around, but then Isabella’s father dies and things take a tumble for the worse for everyone.
I’m fond of different view points in fairy tales and I love how Ella is not the poor picked on little girl like she is in the stories. The harsh reality of losing money while still trying to hold onto your pride is one that rings throughout the novel. Jane’s mother grasps onto stories of when she was young and wealthy, of the balls and the love of her life. The cruel reality is that not all men are perfect and her fortune was gambled away.
When the prince comes to visit while he is hunting through the woods, he spies Isabella and they share a dance. This one moment leads up to a tirade of incidents that include a ball. One in which it is obvious to Jane that the person the prince is looking for is her stepsister. But there’s so much more to this book than the usual story line. Jane herself has a love interest, a proud boy who lives in the forest and they tend to mess up when they are together. He assumes she lives in a big house and must have lovely comforts. She thinks he doesn’t like her and would rather not spend time with her.
I really loved Jane, she was awkward but starting to fit into what her daily life required of her. She wasn’t beautiful but was pretty enough to grab your attention. I liked her narration and her down to earth attitude. Overall, I just really enjoyed this book. I love twisted tales and this one really struck a chord for some reason.
A great retelling of Cinderella, a bit dark and sad but really well written....more