Blood Rose Rebellion first caught my eye because of its striking cover (way back when it was blue). I'llRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
DNF @ 65%
Blood Rose Rebellion first caught my eye because of its striking cover (way back when it was blue). I'll admit it - I'm a sucker for a gorgeous cover. Then I heard that it was fantasy and set in Hungary and I knew I had to read it! Blood Rose Rebellion is a book with a ton of promise, but sadly it just didn't live up to my expectations.
Anna is the main character of this story and is, of course, special because of her lack of magic. She is "barren" in the magical world, the Luminate, or is she? After breaking her sister's super important debutante spell, she's shipped off to Hungary where she'll be less of a threat to society. Once there... things go downhill. Unfortunately, Anna is a really dumb character. Anna runs around in places she's been told are dangerous to prove she can. She makes stupid decisions despite the possibility that she could ruin things for everyone in the process. She puts her loved ones at risk for no good reason. Repeatedly.
Gábor is Anna's love interest who she falls for despite the fact that he's a "Gypsy" (Her internal dialogue, not mine.) Even after getting to know Gábor, Anna chastises herself for falling for him based on his ethnicity. She also continually uses the word "Gypsy" despite Gábor telling her the correct term is Romani. She is told that it's offensive and tells others that it it's offensive, but continues to say it - just not to his face. All of that being said, I actually did like Gábor. He was one of the only tolerable characters, although their romance leaves a lot to be desired.
Even if the main characters and romance are both crap, sometimes a great villain can carry a story. But that didn't happen here. The "Circle" was frankly a ridiculous threat and so were the individuals that Anna encountered up until I finally gave up.
To add insult to injury, Blood Rose Rebellion is incredibly slow. While things do happen and there is some magic, it all happened at a snail's pace and made this book difficult to get through. Despite the issues I had, I would probably have finished it if the pacing had been just a bit quicker. There was actually some really cool imagery and a unique magical world! Which brings me to my last point.
The one thing I really enjoyed about this book was the world building. Even if it wasn't a completely accurate representation of real-world Hungary, it was incredibly fun to read about and easy to picture. I also thought the off-limits magical place Anna visits was amazing and I would have liked to have explored more of it! Sadly, I just couldn't do it.
Blood Rose Rebellion should have been an amazing book! A setting we don't see very often combined with an interesting magical system would usually be right up my alley! I made it 65% of the way through this book before finally accepting it just wasn't for me and calling it quits....more
Gilded Cage has been one of my most anticipated books of 2017 since I first read the synopsis. I was immediately iRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
Gilded Cage has been one of my most anticipated books of 2017 since I first read the synopsis. I was immediately intrigued by the magical Equals and I couldn't wait to find out what Abi's terrible choice was. Not to mention the revolution that was hinted at. I went in fully expecting to love it. Now I have so many feelings about Gilded Cage and not all of them are good.
This book has multiple points of view. In fact, there are chapters told from seven different points of view with some characters getting one chapter each and never appearing again. Multiple POVs can be really hit or miss, but with this many different characters it's almost always going to be a miss. I had a hard time connecting to many of the characters because they'd disappear and by the time I got back to them I had to think to remember who they were.
Abi and Luke are arguably the main characters in this story. Abi has put her med school career on hold for ten years in order to get her family cushy slave days (more on that later), but when it doesn't go as planned, Luke get sent away while Abi stays with the rest of her family. Unfortunately, I didn't particularly care about either of them. I did find Luke's story to be a bit more exciting, but I still wasn't terribly concerned about his well-being and that's never a good sign.
The real bright spots in this story were the Jardine brothers - Gavar, Jenner, and Silyen. Gavar is the family heir and undoubtedly has an extremely intriguing backstory but, oddly, none of it was revealed. In the prologue we find out that he shot his baby's mother for reasons (?) that are never discussed in the 368 pages of this book. Jenner is the brother with no magic, also for reasons (?) that are never discussed. Finally there's Silyen, the mysterious brother with an absurd amount of power for reasons (?) that are never discussed and who I would love to read an entire book about. All of them seem to fall somewhere into gray on the spectrum and I'm certain they're going to be fascinating when everything about them is finally revealed.
My real issue with Gilded Cage is that very few things are sufficiently explained. The world building is never fully fleshed out. The slave days, for example, are confusing. The normal people of Britain - all those except the Skilled Equals - are forced to give up ten years of their lives to "slave days" where they will be considered sub-human and carry out hard labor. I'm not sure how a system would work where normal citizens go off to become slaves for ten years and then reenter normal society. To be honest, I think this book could have been better without slavery. There could have easily been inequality and need for a revolution between the Equals and unskilled without slave days and it would have made more sense, at least to me.
All of that being said, the story is interesting. I was intrigued by the talk of revolution and was eager to see how it would play out (or even get started). I also really wanted to see where each of the Jardine brothers would fit into this political shift - which side would they end up on? I was riveted by every single thing that happened with the Jardines! But the weird thing about this book is that it doesn't feel complete. Absolutely nothing is answered by the end and, although I know this is set up to be a series, each book should still wrap up to some extent. This one just created more questions as time went on and never really resolved anything.
At the end of the day, I'm most baffled by the synopsis. I never did figure out what Abi's "terrible choice" was. The romance that is hinted at never really gains any momentum and neither does the revolution. I want to know more about the aristocrat who "will remake the world with his dark gifts." Re-reading the synopsis after finishing the book, it seems like an overview of the series because many of the things mentioned never happened.
If everything in the synopsis actually happened in this book, it would have been much better, although the magical and political systems would still be unbelievable. What I would really love is a book about the Jardine brothers, specifically Silyen. Based on this character alone, I will be reading the next book in the series. I was definitely disappointed by Gilded Cage, but I'm holding out hope that book two will answer a lot of questions and hopefully give more insight into the Jardine family....more
The Beast Is an Animal is wholly unlike any book I've ever read. I actually thought it was a Beauty and the BeastRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
The Beast Is an Animal is wholly unlike any book I've ever read. I actually thought it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling (and apparently so does whoever put it on a BatB display at Barnes & Noble) until I read the synopsis. Retelling, this is not. The Beast Is an Animal is what I can only think to describe as a horror fantasy.
When Alys was only seven, the soul eaters came for the adults in her village, Gwenith. She didn't stop them as they entered and that fact has haunted her for her entire life. From the age of seven to fifteen she has lived in a new village where she and the other Gwenith children guard a wall to keep the soul eaters and the Beast away, but Alys has a secret - she has met the Beast and the soul eaters, and the Beast wants her help.
Alys is the kind of character it's difficult to truly love because she's so separated from other people. At the same time, I was intrigued by Alys and desperately wanted her to have a happily ever after. I felt myself clinging to any shred of hope right alongside her. There is a tiny bit of romance in the last third of this book. The love interest was perfectly fine, but I didn't feel like there was enough time for me to really fall in love with him. Luckily, the romance was a very minor part of the story. The character I was most interested in was The Beast and I really wish more had been explained about him! I loved the lore introduced, but there was definitely room for a lot more.
Sadly, this book was severely lacking in details. I loved the idea of the Beast and the soul eaters, but where did they come from? How did the soul eaters get that way, exactly? I really wanted to know so much more about the fantastical elements of this world, but there were so many things left unanswered. The ending of the story was also full of unanswered questions and a little anticlimactic after all the buildup. This was definitely an intentional stylistic choice made by the author, but it did leave me wanting.
The area where The Beast Is an Animal really excelled, though, was its atmosphere. The colors on the cover of the book pretty much sum up how the entire reading experience made me feel. Everything about this world was so bleak and haunting, I felt the hope being sapped out of me... but in a good way? I like it when a reading experience can suck me in and make me feel things. This book would probably feel right at home amongst Grimm's Fairy Tales.
I feel like I can't say much more about this book without giving something away, so I'll wrap this up. There's no way around it - The Beast Is an Animal is a strange book and it will not be for everyone. Even without all the details I would've liked, I still couldn't put it down until I knew what happened! Alys is a character who's easy to root for and the Beast is one of the most intriguing characters I've ever encountered. This book will creep you out and probably leave you unsure of what to feel, but I totally recommend picking it up!...more
Something you may know about me if you follow my blog at all is that I love mythology, folktales, and retellings.Read more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
Something you may know about me if you follow my blog at all is that I love mythology, folktales, and retellings. The Wrath and the Dawn was my first foray into Indian mythology and The Star-Touched Queen was the second. Both were five star reads for me, so I was thrilled to get my hands on an early copy of The Library of Fates, especially once I saw the comparison!
Amrita is the MC of this story and she's a character I liked from the first page. Mostly because of the way her story started - with her childhood friend turned something more, Arjun. Although Amrita was undoubtedly a spoiled rich kid who had no idea how to take care of herself, I found myself sympathizing with her unfortunate arranged marriage situation and rooting for her and Arjun, to run off together and live happily ever after!
This book had a lot of great bits and pieces. I loved Amrita and Arjun, like I said. I thought Thala's backstory was fantastic! And I loved the idea of Sikander pursuing the three of them as they ran off together and dodged danger at every turn. In fact, The Library of Fates had me totally believing it would end up on my favorites shelf... until it went totally off the rails.
Be warned, this may be venturing into mild spoiler territory, but I feel like it's necessary to point out that this book probably isn't what you think it is. I expected adventure and romance and, I dunno, maybe a Library of Fates. But, while this book did technically have those elements, there was a lot of magic and talking wind and shape shifting animals and weird mystical beings without much explanation that don't really seem to serve any real purpose. Not to mention, possibly the worst case of instalove I've ever seen. "But Tracy," you say. "The blurb says Amrita has a childhood love!" Yes, reader, you're correct. That would've made a fantastic story. That's really the story I thought I was getting. But you see that itty bitty piece at the every end? The "another love" bit? I'll say no more about that.
The world, I'll admit, was interesting, but it really felt like it was trying to be The Star-Touched Queen. The writing was the same kind of lyrical style, but it just didn't work for me this time. Everything seemed far too rushed while the story simultaneously moved at a crawl. I was always waiting for things to pick up and for something truly exciting to happen! Unfortunately, it never really did. Even when the big plot points were unfolding, there was no real sense of urgency.
While I felt that the characters were well-written and easy to sympathize with, The Library of Fates had too many issues for me to truly enjoy. The rushed plot and elements that just didn't make much sense left me wanting and honestly wishing the story more closely resembled the synopsis. If you go into this book knowing that it's really heavy on the folklore and expecting extreme instalove, maybe you'll enjoy it more than I did....more
Contemporary fiction is not a genre I read regularly, so you may be wondering why I'm even reRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
DNF @ 47%
Contemporary fiction is not a genre I read regularly, so you may be wondering why I'm even reviewing Under Rose-Tainted Skies. This book caught my eye because of its own voices representation of mental health disorders. As someone who has had an anxiety disorder for as long as I can remember, I was very interested in seeing how Louise Gornall would write an MC with issues I could relate to. Now I'm not sure whether she did it too well... Either way, it didn't really work for me.
Norah is a teenage girl who is confined to her home because of severe agoraphobia. She doesn't know why it happened or what brought it on, but she has been confined to home for years, is homeschooled, and has regular visits with a psychologist. She spends her days reading, watching TV, and building things out of food, but doesn't have friends... until the new guy moves in next door. This begins an incredibly awkward relationship consisting of passing notes through the mail slot, writing messages in steam on the windows, and lots of spying.
Although I definitely appreciate what the author is doing with Under Rose-Tainted Skies, I found too many things about it to be unrealistic. Most of all that a teenager suffering with these disorders to such an extreme would not be hospitalized or medicated. I understand that had she been hospitalized this story could not have happened, but I find it hard to believe that someone who has anxiety to the degree that Norah does would not be on any medication and would be left alone by her mother. Which brings me to unrealistic point number two - that her mother would not make sure there was food in the house for her child before leaving her home alone for several days. I understand that this is an important event in the story, but it seems much too coincidental.
The main reason I had to put this book down actually wasn't the unrealistic plot points - it was Norah's narration. As I said, I have an anxiety disorder of my own and Norah, frankly, was causing more anxiety. Every single page, almost every single sentence is Norah panicking over something. Luckily, I do not have this level of anxiety, but she was just way too intense for me. I definitely believe Under Rose-Tainted Skies could have benefited from dual POV, perhaps with Luke narrating part of the story. I think a break from her brain would have made this a more enjoyable reading experience. I get that it's own voices and that it shouldn't necessarily be an easy read, but I also am not going to force myself to read something that's causing extra anxiety.
I think Under Rose-Tainted Skies has good intentions and that a lot of people will enjoy Norah's story. It certainly does give some insight into these particular mental health issues, even if it requires some suspension of disbelief....more
The Young Elites is the first book I've ever read by Marie Lu and I began here on a recommendation from a friend.Read more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
The Young Elites is the first book I've ever read by Marie Lu and I began here on a recommendation from a friend. I went in knowing very little about this series other than that everyone seems to love it. I wasn't really sure exactly what genre this book fit into and, upon completing it, I'm still not quite positive. Is it fantasy? Is it dystopia? Either way, I really enjoyed it!
Adelina is the main character of this story and she is so, so refreshing! It isn't often you come across a character whose hunger for power pretty much overwhelms everything else. Adelina is a girl whose life has revolved largely around a lack of power. She lives according to her father's cruel whims, unable to defend herself. Until she suddenly she is able, and she likes it. Adelina is power hungry and vicious, but she's also incredibly easy to sympathize with. She cares deeply about her sister, and she just wants to be loved and fit in. I felt for her from page one and I'm eager to see how she grows in the next two books.
As the bolded lines in the blurb show, there are other important characters here too. Enzo is the leader of the Dagger Society and love interest to Adelina. He was an intriguing character who I always wanted to know a little more about. The same can be said for Raffaele who is perhaps the one person Adelina feels closest to. My only real complaint is that the romance did seem a little insta-lovey. While it did end up working out okay, I never felt like I saw the romance happening - it was just suddenly there. You can't win them all, I guess.
The world of The Young Elites really made the story come alive. I felt like I could picture the city and the tunnels underneath. I was completely convinced by the atmosphere the author created. That being said, I was still very unclear of where exactly the book was taking place. While the city was easy to visualize, I didn't feel like I had a firm grasp on the world as a whole. I'm hoping The Rose Society is able to explain things a little further.
Plot is one area where this book does not suffer at all. There's magic, conspiracy, and romance - basically The Young Elites has all the elements that I love in a book! The story was fairly fast paced without many opportunities to get bored. The magical system of The Young Elites was fascinating and unique, especially Adelina's powers, which I am excited to learn more about. There were twists and turns to keep me guessing and the feels were real! If I was a crier I might have even cried once or twice. And then the ending totally blew me away! I didn't see it coming and now I'm dying to see what happens next in Adelina's story!
The Young Elites definitely lived up to my expectations! Although this wasn't a perfect book, it was really enjoyable and I ended up loving Adelina. I found her to be unique among YA heroines and I'm looking forward to finding out what happens to her in the rest of this series. I do hope there will be more added to the world so that some of my questions are answered though. ...more
//I received this book at ALA in exchange for an honest review//
I went into Flashfall knowing next to nothing aboRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
//I received this book at ALA in exchange for an honest review//
I went into Flashfall knowing next to nothing about it. I hadn't seen any reviews and only really knew what I had read in the blurb. Then I saw the trailer and I was sold!
Here's what I thought I was going to get from Flashfall based on these two pieces of information: a story about a guy and a girl who learn that their oppressive society is based on lies, they escape, and survive on the run in the outside world. What I got: not that, but still something really cool.
Orion is the main character of this story and she is a total badass. Orion, the lead ore scout in her community of miners, is incredibly resourceful and strong, but not unrealistically so. She has had a rough life and has lost several people who she loved, but is determined to mine enough cirium to buy passage for her and her father into the protected city. And she's very close to her goal. Dram is her caving partner and long-time friend. Together they begin to uncover truths about their home and the world outside that they had never dreamed of and work together toward escape.
I loved the relationship between these two! The fact that they had known each other for years made their quick romance totally believable and not at all insta-love-y. They were totally dependent on each other, but not in a vomit-inducing romance kind of way - in a life-or-death kind of way. I loved the way they constantly risked themselves for each other because that's just what their dangerous world called for. Oh, and there's no love triangle! Hurray!
There are several other characters who are also important to this story, but the most interesting are the Conjurors. They have mysterious magical abilities which they use to make natural things... grow? get bigger? change shape? I dunno, they do stuff with rocks and trees and water and stuff. Honestly, this is one part of the book I could've used a lot more information on. They are kind of randomly introduced and don't seem to have a real purpose other than to help move the main characters along, helping them in difficult situations. I'm really hoping they're expanded upon in the next book.
The world, while fascinating, also had some issues for me. There is a somewhat helpful map in the front of the book, but I was still very confused about the area inside the flashfall. I wasn't really sure what cordons were as opposed to compounds. I wasn't sure how big each cordon was. The characters moved across them fairly quickly (I think?), so they couldn't have been all that big, but they couldn't see from one to the other. It was definitely unsettling though, so I thought that the world building was still okay.
I'm still not sure quite how to classify this book - strict sci-fi or dystopia. There seemed to be some elements of earth as we know it, but there wasn't enough backstory to really be sure. I did get kind of a Maze Runner feel from this one. Still, the story was amazing! Orion and Dram start moving on page one and don't stop until the last chapter. The plot moves at a breakneck speed and there are always new pieces of information being revealed. I loved the twists and finding out just a little more at each reveal.
Flashfall is a great, fast paced (possibly dystopian) science fiction story that did not disappoint, despite having some downfalls. I would definitely like to hear more about the Conjurers in the next book and hopefully get some more backstory. But the characters and romance was really well done and realistic and the twists are totally worth picking this up!
Last year I had the opportunity to review And I DarCornerfolds.com!InitialRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
Last year I had the opportunity to review And I Darken early. And I loved it. It became one of my absolute favorite reads of 2016! And then the next year was slow, slow torture as I waited for book two. But then, luckily, I got to read it early as well! In February. And the next year will again be torturous.
Now I Rise picks up very shortly after And I Darken ends, with Lada on the way back to Wallachia, where she intends to claim the throne, wreaking amazing havoc and attempting to pick up allies on the way. Lada was an incredibly strong character who I almost instantly fell in love with in the first book in this series, and I was not disappointed in her here! She makes no apologies on her way to accomplish her goals or for her means to that end. Is she brutal? Absolutely! And I loved every single sentence I read about her story. I loved watching the relationships between Lada and Bogdan, Mehmed, and Hunyadi evolve. Honestly, I could go on and on about my love for Lada, but now I have to rave about another character.
Radu. Oh, Radu's story was every bit as incredible as Lada's! At first, I wasn't too sure about the dual points of view once Lada and Radu went their separate ways, then I found myself completely loving each. My only complaint is that I wish I'd gotten a full book from each of them - a chapter here and there wasn't enough! Radu's story takes an unexpected turn in this book, with him heading to Constantinople on behalf of Mehmed and his ultimate goal of taking the city for his own. New characters and old are present as are new and old romances, all of which were incredible! Radu really came into his own in Now I Rise, accepting himself as he attempted to take control of his circumstances. I have always been able to sympathize with Radu, but this time he broke my heart a time or two.
I've mentioned that there were quite a few secondary characters important to the story, both new and old. My opinion of Mehmed definitely changed a lot during this book, although I was already on the fence with him in And I Darken. He really did keep me on an emotional roller coaster. I ended up feeling a lot of feelings I did not expect for Hunyadi! And Radu's companions in Constantinople... I'd need pages to tell you of my love for them. I have such high hopes for that storyline in the next book!
As you may have gathered, I absolutely adored this story. Each main character went in a totally different direction, but I adored how their stories played out and intertwined. Everything tied back to the first book and nothing was randomly thrown in as filler, which seems to happen in second books. Speaking of, this book never seemed to suffer from second book syndrome. There was strategic planning and awesome battles on both ends and I was always on the edge of my seat. I loved the intricacies of the battle between the Christians and Muslims and am certainly more interested now to learn more about that history. I can definitely see myself reading this series over and over!
This book spanned many vastly different locations, and all of the settings were incredibly well written. Even now I can clearly picture Wallachia, Constantinople, and everything in between. Kiersten White really has a way of writing that makes me feel like I'm actually in the action and can see everything as it happens!
I really cannot say enough good things about Now I Rise! I've already said I wasn't sure I'd love it as much as And I Darken with Radu and Lada on different paths, but it exceeded all of my expectations and left me with a serious book hangover. I am crossing all of my fingers and toes for an ARC of the next book and hoping I survive that long! If you love historical fiction and badass characters, this is definitely a series you don't want to miss!...more
I've put off reading The Bone Witch despite having owned it for over a year because a friend told me I would hateRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
I've put off reading The Bone Witch despite having owned it for over a year because a friend told me I would hate it. However, after hearing how amazing it is for months, seeing the gorgeous cover for The Heart Forger, and being told by another friend that I absolutely SHOULD read it, I finally gave it a try!
Tea, not pronounced like the beverage, is the Bone Witch and she is special. She has rare, strong powers that she uses as a child with no training to bring her brother back to life. She is taken by an older bone witch to learn how to be an asha. Intertwined with Tea's narration is that of a bard who has come to find older, banished Tea and learn her story. I enjoyed the way the two storylines were told and anticipated them coming together at the end of the book. All of this sounds awesome, and the beginning had me hooked!
Unfortunately, The Bone Witch becomes incredibly boring and tedious after the first few chapters. There are countless descriptions with very little action throughout most of the story. Tea goes to class, Tea has dinner, Tea makes friends, Tea gets new clothes, Tea has a crush, and on and on and on. Buried within all this monotony is a good story, but it takes so long to get to it that I just couldn't force myself to stay interested.
I found the characters themselves to be just as boring. Honestly, I can't remember any of their names besides Tea and her brother, Fox, who was probably the most interesting character in the entire book. I wanted desperately to care about Tea, but she came off as a special snowflake (is there another word for this that we can use now?) who has amazing powers for... reasons... and she is more powerful than anyone around her for other reasons. She also knows how to use them without training, which is, of course, out of the usual. I really wish more had been explained about why Tea was so much more advanced than the other girls around her.
Something I did love about The Bone Witch was the world building. Since 92% of the book was spent on descriptions, I definitely had a good idea of the world and what it looked like. There was some interesting backstory to the magic and the city, and I thought some of the creatures and especially the daevas were really unique. But again, all this comes at the expense of a plot. There is none.
Finally, I despised the ending. In fact, I thought the audiobook hadn't downloaded the last part and double checked, then texted a friend asking if I'd missed something major. The two storylines I mentioned earlier never came together. What I'm guessing is the middle of the story is shown at the beginning of the book, then we work towards that point from Tea's perspective, but the book ends well before the two converge. It left it all feeling very unfinished.
I didn't completely despise this book, but I was left extremely underwhelmed. I prefer to read series and don't mind a cliffhanger at all, but I hated the way this one was written. I don't mind stories that aren't completely plot-driven either, but this one barely had a plot at all and the characters were forgettable. In the hands of another author, I think this is a story I really could have loved. I just don't think Rin Chupeco is the author for me.
Let me start by saying this: if the blurb on the book cover calls it "One of the most frightening books ever writtRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
Let me start by saying this: if the blurb on the book cover calls it "One of the most frightening books ever written," I expect to be shaking in my boots. Now, I get that Coraline is a children's book, but I have seen this on so many "best of" horror lists that I just had to give it a try during the Halloween season! It's worth pointing out that this was also my first Gaiman book so I didn't really know what I was getting into, although I know his reputation.
Coraline is about a girl who lives in a really weird house with another really weird house on the other side of a bricked up door. Coraline was a fun character, if a little, um... weird. The real fun starts when she does exactly what she should not do by visiting the other side of the door in the room she isn't supposed to be in to begin with. There lives her other mother and other father, a couple super unnerving folks who want her to forget about her real parents and stay with them forever. Coraline meets other characters including a talking cat and a bunch of singing rats who help her on the way to get back to her world.
I really did want to know more about the other mother. While she was a super creepy villain, I never felt like I really understood who she was or why she was evil to begin with. All villains have some kind of backstory, but not the other mother. Why is she living on the other side of the bricked up door and what is her purpose? Maybe I just totally missed that.
Honestly, this is just a really weird book. The world building is spectacular, though! Neil Gaiman really knows how to create a world that's unique and creepy right from the first page. The characters are all intriguing even though we never get to know them super well. What this book is not, however, is horror. I see now on Goodreads that the first genre listed is fantasy and that is much more accurate.
One thing I did really enjoy about this book was that Neil Gaiman himself performed the audio. I always wonder when listening to audiobooks if the author actually intended the characters to be presented in the way the narrators are interpreting them. The audio here portrays the strange, whimsical feelings that Gaiman obviously wanted to get across to the reader and it was awesome.
I enjoyed Coraline for what it was - a creepy children's book. I liked the characters and thought the villain was pretty great! I also really liked the world and the cat. I just expected more from a book that's blurbed as one of the most frightening ever written. I feel like there's a bit of nostalgia that goes along with Coraline and if I had read it when I was younger perhaps I could have appreciated it more. As it stands, I did like it, but really hoped for something a bit more scary!
Crooked Kingdom, I wanted to love you. I really, really did.
Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy is one of mRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
Crooked Kingdom, I wanted to love you. I really, really did.
Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy is one of my top five favorite series of all time. In fact, it may be my favorite series, period. When I read Six of Crows earlier this year I was amazed that I didn't love it. I found incredibly slow and didn't come to love the characters like so many others seemed to. I thought that Crooked Kingdom might be just what I needed to love this series so I bought it on release day and immediately started reading... and I finally finished it 16 days later (embarrassingly) after switching to the audiobook halfway through. This is obviously just not the series for me.
Crooked Kingdom picks up right after the explosive ending of Six of Crows. Inej has been taken hostage and Kaz has been busy devising a plan to get her back and even the score. He is forever trying to break down Pekka Rollins "brick by brick" to get vengeance for his brother and each scheme is more incredible than the last. That's basically what this book is - Kaz's scheming. He makes a plan, they carry out the plan, it works or doesn't. Rinse and repeat. That is to say I found it a bit repetitive.
Despite the fact that this book (and the one before it) is 85% character building, I never grew to love the characters. Although it seems everyone else in the world is in love with Kaz Brekker, I'm left wondering where he gets his reputation for being ruthless when he never actually does anything especially terrible. It's somewhat disappointing for a character with the nickname "Dirty Hands." Inej was kind of sweet, I guess, and Nina was interesting. I enjoyed Jesper and Wylan enough and if I had to pick a favorite it might be Matthias, but honestly any of them could have died and I wouldn't have been terribly upset about it, as horrible as that may be. I'm just incredibly disappointed to not have connected with characters who everyone else apparently adores.
I also still never found the romance. Sure, a couple characters kissed once or twice, but for the most part I am baffled. I constantly see other people squeeing over how sweet and adorable the romance is, how perfect the characters are together. What is everyone else reading? I'm still wondering what I missed and hoping someone can point me towards the swoony romance.
The plot of Crooked Kingdom was interesting, but it was just so tedious. It dragged on forever. It's actually weird. I liked it enough while I was reading it, but I just couldn't find the motivation to keep picking it up each day. (Hence, why I switched to audio.) I read somewhere that this duology was originally supposed to be one book and I think I would've found that much more enjoyable since it would've been more fast paced.
One thing I did really enjoy was seeing some old faces from the original Grisha Trilogy. The cast of characters in the back of the book had me really hopeful for more but I was happy with what I got. I did find Kaz's backstory to be interesting and I liked the revenge plot, but there was never much doubt how things would end up so I didn't feel incredibly invested. I did like how Wylan's story played out though. That was perhaps my favorite bit of the story itself.
Obviously, it's incredibly disappointing not to love a series by the author of what is arguably my favorite series of all time. The Six of Crows duology won't be going on my favorites shelf and I doubt I'll read it again, but I will definitely still read anything this author writes ever. If you loved Six of Crows, you'll probably love this one too! If you didn't, I wouldn't recommend this one because it's really more of the same.
Flame In the Mist immediately caught my attention with its gorgeous cover and promises of a Mulan retelling. I reaRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
Flame In the Mist immediately caught my attention with its gorgeous cover and promises of a Mulan retelling. I read The Wrath and the Dawn a little over a year ago and really enjoyed it (even though I still haven't read the sequel), so I knew I would have to pick this up when I got the chance! Unfortunately, it didn't end up wowing me like I'd hoped it would.
The story begins with Mariko being shipped off to an arranged marriage with the Emperor's son, a marriage that will help her family. On the way to meet her betrothed, however, her convoy is attacked by the Black Clan and no one but Mariko survives. With revenge in mind, Mariko decides to infiltrate their group, which sounds great, but everything really goes downhill from there. I have several feelings about Flame in the Mist, but I'll start with Mariko.
Over and over, even in the synopsis, the reader is told what a genius Mariko is. Throughout the book she invents things, but we're always told about the inventions and never shown. Mariko has an idea and *poof* a throwing star! Several characters comment on how intelligent and cunning Mariko is, but we never see it and I really wish we had been able to. I didn't dislike Mariko necessarily, I just didn't feel like she was anything special.
Okami is the other main character, the love interest. He was by far my favorite character in this book! In Okami's case we were actually able to see the qualities we're told about. I really enjoyed watching him prove Mariko's assumptions wrong. What I didn't like was how the romance came about.
(view spoiler)[Throughout the entire book, while Okami believes Mariko to be a boy, there are hints that he might feel something for her, but this is never explored. He is nicer to her, but he never acts on or even acknowledges any potential feelings. Then, suddenly, when he discovers that Mariko is indeed a she (because he accidentally touches her boob while saving her from drowning, by the way), they immediately make out. It's an extremely weird way to handle this romance and I feel like it could have been better if Okami's feelings had been explored even a little while Mariko was still in disguise. (hide spoiler)]
Several secondary characters round out the cast and I really did enjoy most of them! The one I wish had gotten a bit more focus was Mariko's twin. There were a few hints at the relationship between them, but we never got to see any of it.
I thought that (most of) the world building was really well done, at least in my uneducated opinion. Of course, I don't know much about the history of Japan, but I certainly felt like I could picture the forest where the Black Clan hung out. I also really enjoyed the different settings visited, especially the tea house. But there was a major part of the world that was extremely lacking, and that was the magic. What even is it? Random magical things happen and they barely get any acknowledgment. Is magic something that's just accepted in this world? Who has it and who doesn't? Why is absolutely nothing about this magical system brought up in the entire book?
The story was also a bit underwhelming for me. I was expecting a Mulan retelling and this is not that at all. The only similarity between Flame in the Mist and Mulan is that Mariko and Mulan both dressed as men to hide amongst a group of men and kind of learn to fight (kind of). Mariko is not part of an army, there is no war, but I guess she can throw some stars? That being said, the actual story was decent. I feel like if this hadn't been marketed as a Mulan retelling I may have enjoyed it a little more.
Overall, I didn't hate Flame in the Mist, but I wanted a lot more from it. More answers and more fleshed out characters, mostly. I did really like Okami and I enjoyed the world. Unfortunately, there just weren't enough positives to make this a good read and I can't imagine I'll read the sequel, despite it ending on a cliffhanger. I think that if you were to go into this book without any expectations of a retelling and understanding that there will be many unanswered questions, you might have better luck! ...more
If you're a regular reader of my reviews, I know what you're thinking. "Tracy, what is this? You don't read contemRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
If you're a regular reader of my reviews, I know what you're thinking. "Tracy, what is this? You don't read contemporary." And yeah, you're right, I usually don't. My contemporary reads are few and far between. I came across If I Was Your Girl while reading reviews for Beast (review to come). This author had reviewed that book and I was intrigued, so when I had the chance to get the audiobook through my library I took it!
If I Was Your Girl is about Amanda, a trans girl who has relocated to live with her dad after having issues with her last school after her transition. Her plan is to keep her head down to make it through senior year, graduate, and move to New York where she's sure she'll be accepted. Unfortunately her plan got a little derailed, and by a guy, no less! (It happens to the best of us.) I loved Amanda! She's a very relatable character, the kind of girl who somehow manages to get along with everyone. Literally. She's friends with the class-skipping stoner and the girl who goes to church three times a week.
Her love interest, Grant, falls for her without knowing that she used to be Andrew and I loved their relationship! There was such a contrast between how simple it was on his end, just getting to know her, and how complicated it was for Amanda, who was often unsure of whether she should open up to him about her past. I really enjoyed watching them slowly get to know each other while Amanda let her guard down a little bit at a time. I will admit that the romance was kind of insta-lovey, but that's okay because it honestly wasn't the main focus of the story.
So yes, the characters are awesome, but so is this story! I think this is an incredibly important book because it's one of the first books of its kind in the YA genre and perhaps the first book about a transgender teen girl written by a transgender woman. In the midst of all the diversity discussion lately, I'm glad that this book exists and I really hope that we see more like it in the industry. I appreciated being able to experience what Amanda went through, seeing how it might be for a trans teen in America. I think Meredith Russo did a fantastic job of writing Amanda in a way that made it easy to step into her shoes and see things from her perspective.
My main issue with If I Was Your Girl is that it is somewhat unrealistic. The acceptance she found in small town Tennessee was amazing and heartwarming! But I do have a hard time believing that everything would be quite that smooth in Bible Belt USA, having been raised there. Still, I've seen people say ask, "Why shouldn't a trans girl get a happily ever after?" and I have to agree. I'd like to think of this book as a portrayal of the way things should be.
If I Was Your Girl was a really good read! I enjoyed it for the most part, although there were times when the story dragged and I got a bit bored (yay for audiobooks!). I really loved Amanda and her romance with Grant, even though it was much... sweeter(?) than what I'm used to reading. Like I said, contemporary is not my genre but I still enjoyed this book a lot! I'd definitely recommend If I Was Your Girl to anyone who loves contemporary romance or are on the hunt for good LGBT fiction. ...more
I will admit that historical fiction is not my go to genre... especially not WWII historical fiction. I read SaltRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
I will admit that historical fiction is not my go to genre... especially not WWII historical fiction. I read Salt To the Sea by Ruta Sepetys earlier this year and came away having learned a lot of history and also with a fantastic story that I really hadn't expected. Despite the content of either book being outside of my comfort zone, I decided to give her another try with Between Shades of Gray. I'm so glad I did!
This is the story of Lina, a teenager in Lithuania who is suddenly ripped from her home one night alongside her mother and brother without any explanation. She is separated from her father and does not know where he is or why her family has been taken. The three of them are thrown into a train car alongside many other Lithuanians who have also been arrested for unknown reasons. While aboard the train she meets many people, but the most important is Andrius, who becomes very close to her and her brother throughout their journey.
The characters in this book were amazing. I loved Lina and her family, I loved Andrius and his mother, and I loved most of the other secondary characters introduced. Lina was incredibly strong for being such a young girl, almost to the point of being reckless, but it was easy to sympathize with her decisions. I felt for Lina's mother so much as she tried to make the best decisions for her children in such dire circumstances. Although romance is far from the main focus of this story, I loved the relationship between Andrius and Lina. The evolution of their friendship (and sometimes not-friendship) was believable and heart-wrenching at times. I could really feel how much they depended on each other during their time in the camps.
Although the characters are incredibly written, Between Shades of Gray is not an easy book to read. This is a book about a family in Soviet work camps. The trials the characters in this book face are difficult and uncomfortable to read about. But even with all of the terrible events that Between Shades of Gray covers, there are glimpses of goodness, not only in Lina and the other prisoners, but occasionally in those around them. It's nice to think that even in a time of great tragedy, there is good in the world. Ruta Sepetys also knows how to create an atmosphere that feels real. The writing is immersive, sometimes uncomfortably so, but it helped me to connect with the story and the characters on a level that a lesser writer wouldn't have been able to accomplish.
My major complaint about Between Shades of Gray is that it moved very, very slowly. I think that perhaps this works with the story because a big point in the book is that time does move slowly for Lina. Still, I did find myself wishing that things would move along a time or two, especially early on. I also didn't love the way the book ended (a bit abruptly), although I did like the information presented in the epilogue.
Overall, Between Shades of Gray was a really good read! I'm not sure what everyone else was taught in school, but this is one area that my curriculum blazed through at lightening speed and, like with Salt To the Sea, I feel like I came away knowing a lot more about a historical period than I did going in. I did have a couple of issues with this book, but not enough to detract much from my reading experience. If you're a fan of historical fiction, I recommend giving this a try! ...more
When I stumbled upon Stalking Jack the Ripper at ALCornerfolds.com!InitialRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
When I stumbled upon Stalking Jack the Ripper at ALA earlier this year, I really had no idea what it was. I saw that it was presented by James Patterson and I thought it sounded interesting enough, even if mystery isn't my favorite genre. When I got home and realized it was a highly anticipated September YA release I was really excited to get to read it! To be honest, I kind of wish I had never gotten on board the hype train because this didn't live up to my high expectations.
The main character of this story is Audrey Rose, a girl who is more interested in dissecting corpses than attending tea parties, much to her family's dismay. She is not a bad character, but for some reason I just could not connect with Audrey quite as much as I wish had. I did feel like the author did a great job of showing her as a product of her time, while also making her strong and independent. The main issue I had with Audrey Rose is that she tries so hard to show how independent she is that she is actually reckless on a regular basis. I love strong female characters, but I have a really hard time with foolish ones and that is how she came off on a couple occasions, which was pointed out by other characters.
I absolutely loved Thomas, the Sherlockian love interest. I found him to be charmingly awkward and perhaps a little clueless at times, while also being totally brilliant. I did enjoy their romance although I wish it had been touched on a little more instead of the constant bickering and creeping around to spy on each other. The author has said that there will be more of a focus on romance in future books, so we have that to look forward to! Audrey's uncle, brother, and father were also interesting characters who I always wanted to know more about and never quite felt like I could get a good read on.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was the feeling that I was never 100% sure who the big bad was. There were times I was pretty sure (and I was actually right in the end after a wrong guess early on) but I was never sure enough to tell anyone else what my hunch was! That's how good the mystery is written! The reveal of who Jack the Ripper actually was fun, inasmuch as I finally got to see if I was right! Unfortunately, the way the reveal was actually, well, revealed was kind of a let down. The action was not quite enough to hold my attention and everything, including the twist, just kind of came at a snail's pace, not enough to get me really excited about any of it.
I will give it to Kerri - she knows how to create a world and an atmosphere that feels both historical and unsettling. Although I had issues with other parts of the book, the world building was phenomenal! The addition of old photos (some gruesome, some strange, and some not-so-strange) made things interesting and helped to set the mood. I will say that based on the hype I've been hearing, I expected this book to be much more creepy. Maybe I've been desensitized by the number of horror books I've read but, while I did feel a little uneasy at times, I never felt truly creeped out.
Overall this book was just okay for me. I think if I hadn't gone in expecting to be totally blown away by an incredibly creepy mystery, I may have enjoyed it a little more. I felt like Stalking Jack the Ripper was a decent mystery with an interesting historical setting. I feel bad for not loving this one as much as everyone else seems to, but I came away feeling pretty "meh" about the whole experience. I would definitely recommend this for mystery fans though because it did keep me guessing!...more
Ever since I heard that Meagan Spooner was writing a retelling of my favorite fairy tale, Hunted has been one of mRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
Ever since I heard that Meagan Spooner was writing a retelling of my favorite fairy tale, Hunted has been one of my most anticipated reads of 2017! I loved her Starbound Trilogy and knew I would probably adore anything she wrote. Yes, it was incredibly hyped, but how could a Beauty and the Beast retelling not be amazing?
As it turns out, Hunted is a pretty straightforward Beauty and the Beast retelling with a few embellishments to the characters' stories. Yeva is literally called Beauty and the beast is literally called The Beast. He lives in a castle in an enchanted valley in a forest and Yeva stumbles upon it while looking for her father. She is taken prisoner and slowly realizes that there's more to Beast than she first realized. It's almost cut and paste, which I have absolutely no problem with because I love this story!
Although this book is extremely predictable if you are at all familiar with this fairytale, Meagan Spooner has taken it and tweaked it just enough to keep it interesting. I thought that both Yeva and Beast were incredibly interesting characters! I was invested in them and would honestly have loved a little more backstory to Beast.
Now that I've talked about what I enjoyed, let me jump right into my complaints. Hunted is a book in desperate need of a villain. Not only has the villain been removed from the story, but the urgency has too. Without a time limit on the beast's curse, there's not really anything at stake and the book is incredibly slow as a result. Not even Yeva was in any kind of hurry to break the spell and I was bored to tears. It took me WEEKS to get through Hunted, which is incredibly abnormal. The writing also becomes more flowery as the end approaches, making it even more difficult to slog through an already boring story.
The world building was also severely lacking. Beast's valley is enchanted, can only be found if he wants you to find it, and there's a castle at the center. Yeva lives in a village and then in a cabin in the woods. That is the extent of the world building. Someone just informed me that this book was set in Russia and I had absolutely no idea! After the incredible world building in the Starbound Trilogy, I expected way more.
My final huge problem with Hunted is how it takes the tale of Beauty and the Beast and makes it even more creepy than it already was. Sure, we all know that there's a little Stockholm Syndrome happening here and yeah, it's kind of weird for a woman to fall in love with a beast, but it is still a classic and many people find it terribly romantic. In Hunted, Meagan Spooner has likened the relationship to a physically abusive one and it made me feel really skeevy about enjoying the romance. Here's an example taken directly from the text:
Yeva listened in silence, her own thoughts troubled. She'd known other women who'd formed attachments to men who were cruel to them, though she'd never known any in such dire situations. She'd always thought them foolish, weak, lacking in the self-assurance to know they were better than the men whose backhanded compliments made them flush so. But perhaps they were simply in love. Perhaps their hearts had betrayed them, and not their courage.
- ARC pg. 289.
This conversation goes on between Yeva's friend who is voicing her concerns about Yeva's time with the beast, and Yeva who tries to justify his treatment of her with internal dialogue like that quoted above. I mean... I don't know. I'll just let you judge that for yourself.
Hunted had the potential to be incredible - just look at the source material - but it fell way short for me. With the removal of all urgency the story dragged on forever and the romance creeped me out. I also found the ending to be pretty anti-climactic. The only thing I liked about this book was the characters and the parts that were pasted directly from the original. Sadly, this just wasn't for me.
I'd like to start this review with a story: I firsCornerfolds.com!InitialRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
I'd like to start this review with a story: I first saw Labyrinth sitting in my bunk bed on an Air Force Base in Afghanistan. One of my best friends on deployment was obsessed with the movie and was appalled that I'd never seen it! I remember sitting on my bed wondering what in the hell I was even looking at on my laptop screen. Still, something about Labyrinth hooked me. Even though the puppets are bizarre, the music is weird, and Sarah is annoying, the character of Jareth has always fascinated me. When I found out about Wintersong and realized that the Goblin King was going to get a romance, I had to have it!
Wintersong is unique because, while it is a retelling of the Goblin King and does sort of feel like Labyrinth, it is an entirely new story. The main character is Liesl and, instead of trying to rescue a baby brother, she is trying to rescue her sister Käthe. In order to retrieve her sister, Liesl must agree to marry the Goblin King and stay with him Underground. But of course, there wouldn't be much of a story if things didn't become a bit more complicated than a quick marriage.
Let me be clear, I loved every character in this book. Liesl is the ugly sister, the plain one who has only ever wanted to compose music. She's insecure and unsure of everything about herself and I identified with her so hard! I loved her unsteady strength and independence and her relationship with her siblings. But even more than I loved Liesl, I loved the Goblin King.
He remained mysterious all the way until the end, but I loved it. I have always had a thing for love interests who are a little hard to pin down and the Goblin King certainly kept his secrets. Although he has a distinct character apart from the Goblin King of the film, I pictured him as having (younger) Jareth traits and it made the reading experience that much more fun (for me, at least). His story did become more clear towards the end, but I feel like there is still a lot that could be learned about the Goblin King and I'm really hoping for another book!
I've seen some mixed opinions on the actual romance of Wintersong, but I have to say that I loved that too! The relationship between Liesl and the Goblin King was tense and a little angsty and their romance was definitely a slow burn. The Goblin King has his own past to contend with, while Liesl is trying to figure out what it is that she wants. I am not usually one to enjoy slow burn, angsty romance, but this one was sweet and perfect.
Although this is marketed as YA and the main character certainly fits that category, Wintersong didn't necessarily feel like a young adult book. The writing was heavy and lyrical and, while the romance isn't quite to the level of Sarah J. Maas, there were (thankfully) some bits that you might not find in a typical young adult book. I felt like Wintersong combined the best of both worlds. The ending of this book is also not as clean cut as you may be used to. I've seen that some people didn't love the way it wrapped up, but it definitely left me wanting more!
I expected to love Wintersong when I was granted a review copy (thank you, Netgalley!) and I was not disappointed. This is already at the top of my 2017 reads list and I am anticipating that it will stay in my top five. I honestly can't say anything negative! If you're a Labyrinth fan, this is definitely the book for you! Even if you've never seen Labyrinth, though, I think Wintersong is a book that any fantasy lover will enjoy....more
When it was first announced that the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child would be published as a book, I was really skeptical. Not only because I don't usually read scripts, but also because the script was not written by Rowling herself. (Rather, it was "based on an original story" by J.K. Rowling.) When it came right down to it, though, I knew I had to have a copy of the eight installment of Harry's story. So I grabbed my Ravenclaw robe and my wand and headed to the midnight release party. Over the next few hours I binge read all 320 pages and... well, now I have feelings.
This story picks up 19 years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, right at the same place as the original series' epilogue. Harry and Ginny are married with three children: James, Albus, and Lily. The Cursed Child is entirely about Albus, though. The other two are barely mentioned. Of course, Ron and Hermione are also married with children of their own. When this story begins, Albus and Rose, Ron and Hermione's daughter, are beginning their first year at Hogwarts. The nostalgia is back immediately upon reading this very familiar scene, but from there things advance at a breakneck speed.
There are several new characters in The Cursed Child, but the most important ones are Albus and Scorpius, Draco Malfoy's son, who become fast friends in much the same way as Harry, Ron, and Hermione did in The Sorcerer's Stone. I really enjoyed both these new characters and loved the relationship between the two of them! While Albus struggles with living up to the Potter name throughout this book, Scorpius has terrible rumors to contend with, and their similar trials bring the two unlikely friends closer together. One character I didn't much care for was Rose. I wonder if the writers were trying to throw back to how unlikable Hermione was in the first book when they wrote Rose's character, but she didn't work for me at all.
Old characters obviously have a huge part as well, but it seems as if all of them have become extreme versions of their original characters. For example, Ron is basically the comic relief of the play. There is actually a scene in which Ron, attempting to be threatening, holds his wand facing the wrong way toward a perceived enemy. Hermione is extremely logical, sometimes to the point of being rude. Then there's Harry, the overworked Ministry employee. I'll come right out and say it: I didn't like Harry in this play at all. He was uncharacteristically mean to pretty much everyone. I did love seeing Draco again, though!
I mentioned before that the plot itself moves extremely fast and that was another of my problems with this. I suspect it would work better as a play with more time between scenes, more time for characters to speak lines, etc. Unfortunately, this script is all a lot of us have and I feel that it should work just as well on paper since it's being sold for $30. Instead it felt like a lot of fan service and throwbacks to the original series crammed into a two part play.
Don't get me wrong, the nostalgia was there and it was a fun read at times! I liked getting to see the old gang back together and there were some fun surprises, but there were times I had a hard time accepting that this is canon. There were plot holes and inconsistencies and downright weird bits that seemed totally random. I can't say much about the plot without spoiling it and I definitely think that everyone should go in as spoiler free as I did. Click below if you want to see some of my spoilery complaints:
(view spoiler)[Trolley Witch - What even is this? Never has there been any mention of the Trolley Witch being some kind of 200 year old mystical being with weaponized hands who makes sure kids stay on the train! Whose idea was this because I cannot believe J.K. Rowling did this.
Time turner inconsistencies - This is one I've seen a lot of discussion about around the interwebs and I still don't know what to think. Time turners were a huge part of The Prisoner of Azkaban and I'm having a hard time accepting the way this device is used in the plot of The Cursed Child.
Harry is an asshole - Excuse my French, but who is this Harry? He certainly isn't the character we all came to know and love over the course of seven books and eight films. Harry would not tell his child he wished he wasn't his dad and Harry wouldn't be a jerk to Professor McGonagall.
Voldemort/Bellatrix love child - Um... why? How? WHEN? This is honestly one of the worst plot devices ever. It reads like bad fan fiction and that makes me sad.
No Luna/Neville - Seriously though! Where are they?? There are appearances by almost every other major character in the original series and there's barely a mention of Neville and Luna may as well not exist. (hide spoiler)]
One other thing I need to mention is the setting and there isn't much of it that's new. All the familiar places from the original series are revisited from Hogwarts to the Ministry of Magic to the Forbidden Forest. Obviously, there isn't much room for description in a script, but I had hoped for some new Wizarding World magic to be introduced instead of rehashing every location of the trio's old stomping grounds.
It's not that I hated The Cursed Child. In fact, I actually did enjoy most of my time reading it! But at the end of the day, I expected this to be so much more and, actually, so much less. There was too much crammed into such a short book and much of what was there just seemed like fan service. I am glad that I read it and do think that any Harry Potter fan should read it too, simply because J.K. Rowling signed off on it, but it is definitely not up to par with the previous seven books....more
There are books that I enjoy, books that I love, andCornerfolds.com!InitialRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
There are books that I enjoy, books that I love, and then there are books that are pure magic - books that feel like magic. Very few fit into the last category, but Caraval does. I first heard about Caraval at the ALA annual conference in Orlando last summer. Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet Stephanie Garber, but I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of her book. Without seeing any of the hype for this book, I dived in and was amazed. Caraval deserves every ounce of hype it has received (and I'll happily add to it)!
Scarlett is the main character of this story, and I loved her. She has wanted to go to Caraval since she was young, but has never had the chance... until now. Scarlett's mission while in Caraval is to find her sister who has been mysteriously kidnapped and not everything is as it seems. In Caraval everything is a game, nothing is real. At least, that's what they tell everyone who who goes inside. As Scarlett discovers, though, it's difficult to remember this when the stakes get high. I found Scarlett to be both strong and intelligent. She wasn't scared to take chances and be brave when she had to in order to save her sister, but she was never reckless (a trait I cannot stand in "strong" MCs).
Of course, Scarlett doesn't enter Caraval on her own! Julian accompanies Scarlett and her sister to the game and throughout the book. He is a wonderful character who I just couldn't get enough of. While I loved Scarlett, I adored Julian! My favorite kind of love interest is the kind that's a little dark, a bit of a scoundrel, and a little mysterious - the kind of guy that you're never quite sure about. The relationship between Scarlett and Julian was perfect! It was a bit of a slow burn and I tend to be impatient, but I loved the way things played out between them.
Although this book shines in every aspect, my favorite was most definitely the world of Caraval. I didn't know quite what to expect when I jumped in, but it wasn't this magical world. I knew from the synopsis that Scarlett would be fighting to recover her kidnapped sister, but I didn't expect the darkness in Caraval... and I loved it! Things are never what you'd expect and there are clues at every turn. I didn't have a map in my advance copy, but I still felt like I was able to picture the world in my head. Of course, when I was able to get my hands on the map, it made it even better! I can't wait to get my finished copy and do a re-read with the map within easy reach!
The story itself is mysterious and gripping. I was pulled in very quickly and once Scarlett got to Caraval I knew I was a goner. There is never a dull moment as Scarlett and Julian race to beat the clock and constantly run into new and exciting people and places. There are even super secret, mysterious (dangerous) tunnels! Thankfully, this is going to be a series! But I'm happy to report that there are no cliffhangers here. This roller coaster of a book wraps up nicely enough that you won't want to throw it at any walls, though it may leave you with a serious book hangover.
I loved every single thing about Caraval, in case that wasn't obvious, right down to the gorgeous cover. The characters were fantastic, the world was pure magic, and the story grabbed me from page one. I plan on reading this again as soon as I get my pre-ordered copy and I'm already dying for book two! I definitely recommend picking this one up if you enjoy fantasy....more
Timekeeper is a book that I have heard a LOT of blogger friends talking about. Over the summer I finally read theRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
Timekeeper is a book that I have heard a LOT of blogger friends talking about. Over the summer I finally read the blurb and then I realized what all the fuss was about. There aren't many good LGBT fantasies out there and this one sounded really intriguing! Alternative histories? Clocks with hours gone missing? Clock spirits? Steampunk is not a genre that I have a lot of experience with, so when I saw Timekeeper I knew I wanted to read it, but wasn't quite sure what exactly I was getting myself into.
This book's protagonist is Danny, a young clock mechanic whose father is trapped in a Stopped town and who just wants him back. In fact, his entire life's work as a clock mechanic has been working towards getting on the crew of builders who will attempt to re-start the town, something that has never been tried before. Instead he is assigned to a clock that seems to be in constant disrepair and it's here that Danny meets Colton, the spirit of Enfield's clock.
I loved these two characters so, so much! I'll admit I was a little skeptical of how Tara Sim could make a relationship between a human and a spirit work, but she did a fantastic job pulling it off! I feel like Colton in this situation could have easily come off as too naive or helpless, but instead he was adorable and certainly able to hold his own. Although Danny had his problems, I ended up loving him as well. His problems were easy to sympathize with, even if they weren't always easy to understand. I also really enjoyed Danny's relationship with his his best friend Cassie and thought she was a fantastic secondary character! I can't wait to see what role she plays in future books.
While the characters are fantastic, the world building is where Timekeeper really shines. Like I said, I'm not incredibly familiar with steampunk alternate universes, but I really felt like I could see this one! The clocks and their mythology could have been really confusing and hard to imagine, but it's all so intricate that it seems almost like some forgotten piece of our own world mythology.
This book has a little bit of everything - fantasy, romance, mystery, it's all here. There were times when I had no idea what was going on and I was surprised by more than one twist! This book had me on the edge of my seat! My one complaint is that the writing seemed a little bit too simplistic. I loved the whimsical nature the story had at times, but it is almost written as if it is aimed at a younger audience. As a result it seemed too cute, losing some of the urgency that I think was intended. This didn't necessarily take much away from my reading experience, but it's something to keep in mind.
Timekeeper is an incredibly unique book in a sea of high fantasy, dystopia, and retellings (not that I have a problem with any of those, of course). The world building and characters were amazingly well done and the story kept me guessing until the very end! It wasn't a perfect book, but it was a really great read that I'd definitely recommend for fans of alternate history and fantasy. I cannot wait to get my hands on book two!...more
Humor is not my genre. I will totally admit that I usCornerfolds.com!InitialRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
Humor is not my genre. I will totally admit that I usually hate funny books. I don't generally like books that try to be witty and make me laugh. But somehow, somehow My Lady Jane managed to sneak past my defenses and into my comedy-hating heart.
My Lady Jane is a retelling of Jane Grey, who was the queen of England for 9 days after the death of King Edward IV. I found this subject matter particularly interesting as someone with a casual interest in the Tudors. No, I've never done any research on it, but I did read Phillipa Gregory's Tudor books and own The Tudors complete series on blu ray, so I do greatly appreciate the entertainment value the family has provided. I didn't know much about Lady Jane, though, so I was really interested in her story. This one is unlike any other. Right from the start the narrator tells you that some facts have been changed rather drastically...
"And for England. We’re really sorry for what we’re about to do to your history.”
There were so many things I loved about this book, that I don't even know where to start! But since I usually start with characters, I guess I'll begin there. I loved everyone in this book, including the villains. A friend asked me who my favorite was and I didn't know! I found Lady Jane Grey herself to be endearing and relatable as a fellow bookworm. I loved her spunk! I also really enjoyed Gifford (G), Jane's husband, and Edward, her cousin! The male leads were hilariously clueless and lovable. There was substantial character growth throughout this story, which made me enjoy it even more. I love it when characters learn and grow.
But I mentioned that there were changes made to the history and that was honestly the best part, I think! The biggest tweak is magic, because of course there has to be magic in any retelling of Tudor England. This particular brand of magic is certainly unique. In this version of history, instead of Catholics and Protestants, we have Verities and Eðians. Eðians (pronounced Ethians) have the ability to change into an animal form and Verities believe this to be a work of the devil! (Gasp!) I bet you can guess which side the Princess Mary falls to... I really liked this addition to the story and, while it was obviously ridiculous, I found it to be hilarious and somehow perfect!
This is also not your typical 16th century society! My Lady Jane goes to great lengths to make fun of the misogynistic time period. Jane is extremely well educated despite what anyone thinks of her and prefers to read all day and never be married at all! The men who try to confine Jane to her ladylike box are made to look like buffoons on most occasions, although the men who treat the women of the story like humans instead of pawns are dealt with much more fairly. That is to say, this is not a book that makes all men look bad in favor of showcasing powerful women. Instead, all of the main characters are on equal footing, as it should be.
Despite what you might expect, this story doesn't all take place inside of castles. Instead, the characters have opportunity to visit many locations and make long treks through the country, which gave the authors a chance to build a gorgeous world. At least, I think it's amazing considering I've never actually been to England... It was so well done that I almost felt like I was watching a movie. I could picture it all so easily that I wanted to step into the book!
My Lady Jane is a fantastic story that I never expected to love! The plot is totally absurd and the entire thing reads like one big joke, but it works incredibly well! No, this isn't amazing, deep literature, but it's a light historical retelling that will probably give you the warm fuzzies and have you laughing out loud. I'm not sure who to recommend this for since I thought I was going to hate it going in, so I'm just going to say that everyone should read it and see for themselves!...more
Last year I read Snow Like Ashes afterRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
DNF @ 35%
Last year I read Snow Like Ashes after about a hundred people insisted I would love it. I did not love it. There were a lot of things I didn't like about the first book in this series and I really never thought I would read Ice Like Fire, but then I saw book three at ALA and decided to give it one more chance. Maybe the second book would draw me in where the first one couldn't and then I could be excited about Frost Like Night with everyone else! It was only after I had started that I noticed the warnings around Goodreads that this book wasn't as good as the first, so... the outlook was not good.
Ice Like Fire picks up shortly after Snow Like Ashes leaves off. Meira is (grudgingly) the queen of Winter and is working to come up with a plan to gain support for her kingdom in order to keep the dangerous chasm of magic closed. Of course, the king of Cordell wants it opened because he's all about the power, and Meira doesn't know where Theron, prince of Cordell (love interest #2, because there are always two) stands in the whole thing.
I'll admit, I only made it 35% into this book because I was so damn bored. I couldn't tell you half of what happened because I kept zoning out and having to go back to re-read if I wanted to see what I missed, but most of the time I just didn't care. Why didn't I care? Because the characters were still awful. (And by characters I mean Meira.) For the first 35% of this book, at least, Meira continues complaining about how much her life sucks now that she's queen even though she wanted to be throughout book one. Mather is equally annoying with his non-stop whining. I just cannot deal with whiney characters.
So I can confidently say I gave this series a second shot. I made it 1/3 of the way through Ice Like Fire, but I had to call it quits. I know everyone loves this series, but it's not for me. I still find the world building to be unconvincing. Even after traveling around the world a bit this time, I still only got that Summer was hot and Winter was cold. It just wasn't enough! Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be reading Frost Like Night after all....more
Change Places With Me grabbed my attention from the minute I read the description, despite the fact that the coverRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
Change Places With Me grabbed my attention from the minute I read the description, despite the fact that the cover wasn't all that intriguing. I love, LOVE books where something just isn't right and you don't know what it is until the end. I love the feeling of unease that comes with not being able to put your finger on the problem and I had very high hopes for this book! Unfortunately, it didn't meet my expectations.
This book begins when Rose wakes up on a normal day in her normal room, but at first doesn't recognize where she is. Right away, her step-mother begins to act like something is a little weird about Rose's actions, second guessing many of her statements and decisions, but eventually just going along with her. It's all a bit unnerving, but Rose continues about her day. She knows that some of the things she does are not things she would normally do, but she does them anyway because that's how she wants to live now. People change, right?
I didn't really care much about Rose because I don't feel like I ever got to know Rose at all. I guess that kind of makes sense since this is a book where even Rose doesn't quite seem sure who she is, but I still hoped to find some way to connect to her. It's so hard to like a book when I can't connect to the characters. Speaking of, the secondary characters were just as flat as Rose, if not more so. Simply put, I just didn't like any of them because I didn't know who they were.
The writing was another area I had some trouble with. I can't quite put my finger on why I didn't enjoy it, but I just had a hard time getting into it. That's not to say that this was a difficult read, because it wasn't. I flew through this short book fairly quickly! I did keep turning pages to see what happened, but the writing style definitely was not my favorite.
Change Places With Me has amazing potential! I expected it to be truly unnerving and honestly I wanted a huge twist at the end. Instead, we find out fairly early on what the secret is. It isn't directly told to the reader, but it was basically dropped right in my lap and was impossible not to figure out. I'd really hoped for a lot more suspense and maybe this would have made it a more interesting story despite the flat characters.
The synopsis for this book had me totally, 100% sold and I expected to be totally confused throughout the entire thing and shocked at the end, but that's not what this was at all. To be totally honest, in the end (which was also strange and abrupt), I didn't quite understand what this book was trying to achieve. I liked some of the concepts presented in this book, but ultimately it just didn't work for me....more
I have heard about Trial By Fire from some of my best blogging friends ever since it came out two years ago. AlthoRead more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!
I have heard about Trial By Fire from some of my best blogging friends ever since it came out two years ago. Although I had purchased the book last year, it was still sitting on my shelf collecting dust. It just never spoke to me, but still sounded interesting enough to buy just in case the mood struck. When it came up as available as an audiobook from my library, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to finally give it a try!
Trial By Fire is about Lily, a girl who is allergic to everything and her life is pretty limited as a result. She wants to go to a party for the first time, it turns out horribly wrong, and she... ends up in a parallel world full of witches and monsters. There, she meets Lillian, her alternate universe double, who also happens to be the strongest witch Crucible in this version of Salem and wants Lily to join her in her schemes. Obviously, because Lily is the heroine of this story, she decides to do the opposite.
I actually didn't have many feelings about Lily. She was an okay main character, I suppose, but she just didn't wow me like I hoped she would. I could certainly understand why she wanted to get away from Lillian, why she wanted to help where she could, and why she struggled with going back home. It wasn't that I couldn't understand her motivations, there was just something about her that didn't really click for me and I can't quite put my finger on it. I also didn't quite buy the romance.
The two love interests (because there must be two) are Rowan and Tristan. Rowan actually chases Lily down and tries to kill her upon their first meeting, but quickly redeems himself. There is actually a Tristan in Lily's own Salem, but he is a cheating scum bag so she has issues trusting this Tristan to begin with, but begins to realize they are not the same person. The three of them go on the run together and Lily has to work out her feelings for each of them. I didn't hate either of the love interests, but again I just didn't really connect with either of them. To be honest, I didn't really connect with this book.
Trial By Fire tries to be a lot of things. When I picked it up, I assumed it was fantasy, obviously with parallel universes as well. Those two things could probably work together alright, but throw in a ridiculous amount of science-y stuff and giant man-eating monsters and... it's just too much. Essentially, science is outlawed and the world runs on magic. I understand the point. Again, the problem with the book isn't that I didn't understand, it's just that I never really cared - I wasn't invested.
And on to something I never quite did understand - Lily's magic. It's repeated over and over that magic is something learned over years, so I cannot, for the life of me, understand why Lily basically just walked into Salem and dominated everything. I also couldn't understand why a lot of the magical elements in this story worked the way they did, especially the weird mind connection thing. In the case of the magic, I do wish things had been explained a bit more.
The world building was well done, I'll give it that! I had a great time picturing this alternate Salem with its differences from our world. I loved how the differences were explained to make me feel like they actually made sense instead of just being ridiculous. The gardens were especially interesting to think about. Unfortunately, an interesting world doesn't make a great book.
I wanted so much more from this book! I have heard endless great things about this entire series and, although I had never read anything by this author, I expected to be blown away. Trial By Fire just wasn't what I'd hoped. I never really connected with any of the characters and the plot was confusing and scattered. I don't think I'll be picking up the next one in this series....more